What Are The Strange Gifts of Children of Narcissists? – part 3

me: Hi *smiling

normal: Hello

me: What am I supposed to say next?

normal: What?

me: Sorry, I was thinking and it happened out loud *grinning

normal: Oh…

me: What do you want from me?

normal: What?!?

me: Sorry, I meant, what a pleasure to see you, how are you today, you’re looking good, what can I do for you, would you like a cup of tea or a kidney?

4 – Too often please others at your own expense? Your parents used guilt or pressure to make you put their needs first.

Yes.

But before I get onto the whole people-pleasing is a bad habit bandwagon, and maybe please people by getting on such a popular bandwagon…

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image from – The Cooper Review: The People-Pleaser’s Guide to Pleasing People by Sarah Cooper

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I’m going to share something which children of Narcissists eventually learn –  Narcissists can never be pleased even if you give them exactly what they’re craving, the whole world and everything and everyone in it, world domination, or global annihilation, as a birthday present.

There will be moments when you think that they are pleased, but it won’t last long. For a moment they thought they were pleased, until they found something wrong with it, and once again they are disappointed, it wasn’t enough to soothe the old itch, it didn’t heal their wound, it didn’t feed the hungry beast inside of them, and dissatisfaction returned with a vengeance.

The real quest you’ve been tasked with is to solve a problem which the Narcissist has been trying to solve all of their life – How do they get true and lasting self-satisfaction. How do they get what they want and want what they get? What do they really want? How do they find the magical and miracle cure which will make them feel better about themselves, one they can simply drink or eat and grow tall, big, strong never to feel small, weak, helpless, vulnerable, and powerless again? How do they fill, stop, the ever-expanding black hole inside of them, they’ve swallowed stars, constellations, galaxies and nothing satisfies it!

As a child of Narcissists you may reach, after much worrying and ruminating in an attempt to solve your Narcissist parents’ problem and fulfill your quest, driven to the edge by guilt, shame, desperation, that pinnacle of people-pleasing at your own expense – I should kill myself, they’d be better off without me.

In my case, I was regularly told how everything went to shit for my Narcissist parents after I was born (their relationship took a turn for the worse, my father’s career took a nose-dive, my mother’s social life disappeared, etc), and how wonderful everything was before I was born. I was told this so regularly, directly and indirectly, that I started making jokes about it. Whenever they would tell me stories about the wonderful times (which was often as Narcissists are nostalgic for a past which wasn’t at all like they remember it, where they were happy, rich, successful, beautiful, and everyone loved them) I would say “Ah, yes, the before-me times, pity I ruined it by being born.” – my parents would agree, and for a moment I had pleased them at the expense of myself, using self-deprecating humor (Self-deprecation is the act of reprimanding oneself by belittling, undervaluing, or disparaging oneself, or being excessively modest. It can be used in humor and tension release. – Wikipedia).

My joking included telling my parents that “Maybe I should kill myself, and the birds will sing again, the sun will shine for you, you’ll have your happily ever after at last.” – my Narcissist parents found that kind of joke particularly funny, and every now and then I was certain (children of Narcissists aren’t always wracked by doubt, and don’t always second-guess themselves) that I could see the cogs in their mind turning merrily, as though they had just been oiled, as they imagined the new golden age they would have once I was dead.

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How did I learn to be so funny that I could make a Narcissist laugh?

I learned it from my Narcissist parents (and from Monty Python – the just one more wafer thin mint sketch is the epitome of people-pleasing).

Narcissists have a great sense of humor – am I jk-ing or not jk-ing? Seriously, they’re hilarious, and they’re always jk-ing, joking, having a laugh at your expense – the problem is that everyone else just doesn’t have such a refined and superior sense of humour as they do. Other people just can’t take a joke! It’s very frustrating for the poor genius of comedy Narcissists. They tell you to go kill yourself, that they hate you, that you’re ugly, that you’re stupid, that you’re a failure, that you’ve ruined a perfectly good day, good meal, good outfit, good punchline… and you take it seriously, get upset, cry, cause a drama with your overly-sensitive precious little rainbow unicorn snowflake self. They were just kidding! Do they really need to spell it out to you! Do they have to walk you step by step through the joke and point out what was funny and why it was funny? OMG you’re so boring, and they’re just done with you.

The discard (to get rid of (someone or something) as no longer useful or desirable.) has entered the building.

And because it has…

I’m going to add the next entry in the  13 Ways Being Raised by a Narcissist Can Affect You by Dan Neuharth list

5 – Feel unable to get close to others even when you want to? Your parents had a come-here/go-away style that was confusing and unsafe.

because 4 and 5 go together, at least in my experience they do.

Come here and please me… I’m feeling sad, lonely, I need a hug, I need chocolate in human form. This does not please me, go away… leave me alone, you don’t understand me, why does no one understand me, I am so misunderstood. Come back with something better… something which will make this all go away… and don’t come back without it. Where have you been, I needed you, I need you… I don’t need you! Go away! I don’t need anyone! I am better off without you, you’ve let me down, I deserve more, I deserve better… from this day forward I will never settle for less again! Wait. Don’t leave, how could you even think about abandoning me at a time like this, if you go I will kill myself, I’ll die, and it will be your fault, you did this to me. It’s your fault I feel this way, that I hate myself, that I don’t have self-esteem, self-confidence, you did this to me with all of your abuse. I can’t live with you anymore, you’re destroying me. I’m going away, for good this time, for my good. I’m putting myself first. I’m back, did you miss me, have you stopped being such a psycho, I can’t live without you. If I can’t have you, no one can! Wait, what.. Do you think that I can’t live without you, I’ll show you! I’ll prove you wrong! I’m outtahere! I have returned just to prove to you how wrong you were about me, come here and look at this proof. Go away your negativity is cramping my style, I’m absorbing all of your bad vibes and feelings, your black moods, you’re dangerous, you’re toxic.

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You can’t get close to people if you’re pleasing them at your own expense – the very act of trying to please someone puts distance between you, separates you, polarises you. It elevates them and debases you. They are master and you are slave. They are parent and you are child. They are the hostage-taker and you are the hostage. They are the boss and you are the employee. Or it can elevate you above them. You’re the parent and they are your little child. You’re the doctor and they are the sick patient. You’re the good samaritan and they are the beggar. You’re the saint and they’re sinner whom you will save one deliberate random act of kindness after another.

And you often enable people-pleasing mode because you’re afraid of being rejected… in one of the many millions of myriad manners that others use to do that.

It’s not just Narcissists who play the come here/go away game. It’s not just Narcissists who leave you feeling guilty, feeling that you should put their needs before yours, make you feel confused, and unsafe.

The confusion and feeling of being unsafe doesn’t just stem from growing up with Narcissist parents. The whole human world is confusing and frightening, unsafe, can appear to be a Narcissist parent – it certainly behaves the same way as they do a lot of the time.

I am also going to add

6 – Find it difficult to relax, laugh or be spontaneous? Your parents behaved unpredictably or over-scrutinized you.

because 4 and 5 and 6 are a trio of trouble and strife.

It is impossible to relax when you’re feeling guilty, pressured into pleasing someone (or else they’ll reject you), when you’re confused about what is expected of you, when you’re uncertain about your status in the relationship, when you might get expelled, blocked, ghosted for being yourself, for saying the wrong thing, for doing something or for doing nothing, and if you’re not relaxed in someone’s company, and don’t feel at ease in your own skin, you’re not going get closer than you absolutely have to… which is as far away as possible without offending the other person.

And you can’t be spontaneous when you’re feeling unsafe – it could get you killed.

You can’t wear what you want to wear because it will attract the wrong kind of attention. It’s not fashionable. You’ll get mocked. Shunned. It is offending the eyes of others.

You have to stick to predictable behaviour to contain the unpredictability of others – which ultimately isn’t as unpredictable as it seems, but it takes much worrying and ruminating to figure that out and spot the predictable patterns in people’s unpredictable behaviour.

You have to do what they want you to do, be who they want you to be, tell them what they want to hear, but do it genuinely or they’ll get annoyed with you – are you catering to them!? But they’re such a nice person, so friendly and warm, welcoming, empathic, compassionate, they’re spiritual and you can be your authentic self with them, just don’t do that people-pleasing bullshit with them, it displeases them… oh, and while they’re giving you helpful pointers to heal you, you should smile more as you have such a beautiful smile aren’t they kind to be telling you that, frowns make people not like you, not want to be with you, the only thing people remember about you is how you make them feel and you want them to feel good about themselves don’t you, and don’t say anything bad about anyone ever, that accumulates bad karma, and is a downer to hear for those who are enlightened beings.

Can you tell that I spent a bit too long trying to find myself in the New Age community, participating in workshops which were pushing and promoting the 90’s version of Mindfulness and Authenticity, listening to long lectures about The Power of Positive Thinking, downloading into my mind through headphones the shouty bossy voices of Life Coaches, and browsing the Self-help section of bookshops (then buying the book because I felt guilty if I read more than one paragraph and didn’t pay for it, even if it was saying the same thing as all the other books I’d read – which was that I sucked as I was, but I could be made better if I just followed orders)?

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Some of the motivational, inspirational, affirmational, change yourself to change your life stuff which I read, heard, and absorbed was informational…

I found out that affirmations don’t work for me… because they’re too similar to the brainwashing which Narcissist parents do to their children, and I had developed a resistance to it.

I discovered that the power of positive thinking… was similar to the magical thinking of Narcissists

“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” ― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

and my mind tended to notice the negative side of the positive.

One of the negative sides of the power of positive thinking is that sometimes it’s totally delusional to think that way, especially if you’re stuck in a relationship with someone who thinks that way and there can be only one master of your destiny, influencing, directing, and controlling your environment, making life what they want it to be and you must and will want it too because it’s positively powerful, and you don’t want to ruin their life by being an obstacle on their path to success and world domination.

“Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass.” ― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Your negative thinking must not impede the stampede of the Narcissist chasing the dream, doing what a hero does defeating villainous failures like you, crushing you underfoot…

“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.” ― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

I did however embrace the whole – don’t be logical and quit because you’re never going to win, be stubborn and keep going as you’re flayed alive by a thousand tiny cuts.

Your Narcissist parent needs you to make their dreams come true…

they can’t do all the work themselves you know (they need a loyal soldier to fight their enemies for them) but don’t tell anyone else, that’s our special bond, our dirty little secret, the outside world must only see them, the most successful person the country, world, universe, has ever known, and their masterpiece, their oeuvre, their greatest success…

and to be there for them when the power of positive thinking doesn’t give them everything they want, disappoints them, fails them. This shit doesn’t work! It’s supposed to work! I thought positive thoughts, and it was hard work! I was nice to all those losers, they owe me! It’s the negativity of others which is blocking me, they’re envious of my magnificence! Why are people who do nothing getting all the rewards! It’s not fair!

The world is a monster full of monsters and you, the child of Narcissists are fully aware that you’re a monster too (you may be the worst monster of them all, you keep being told that you are but it’s vain to think that, who do you think you are! It’s proof that you’re a monster!) – everyone is a monster except for the Narcissist, of course.

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When I first started blogging, 4 and 5 and 6, reared their heads like a seriously mad Cerberus – was the three-headed hound from hell protecting me from entering hades or preventing me from escaping the underworld?

A bit of both.

While the internet is a wonderful wonderland… it’s a wonderland. There are as many pleasant characters and experiences as there are unpleasant ones.

A lot of people online think they’re Alice. Almost as many think they’re the Mad Hatter.

Speaking of Alice in Wonderland… my mother used to call me The Cheshire Cat. Why? Because I could disappear leaving only a big perfect smile, and she couldn’t get passed the smile to find what she was looking for.

Then I went and  “ruined my beautiful smile” …

by fainting and breaking my fall by hitting the edge of a chair with my mouth. She was very upset with me about that, once she found out about it – which took awhile as it was in a busy restaurant, I’d left the table to get some air (I’d passed out at the table but no one had noticed except me, which was a relief as I didn’t want to bother anyone, ruin their evening of pleasure). I did make it outside but only after I’d fainted, a member of staff picked me up and helped me outside, plopped me down in a chair , and then rushed back inside to get a glass of water for me and inform my party about the incident.

My mother had forgotten about me (this wasn’t unusual), so it took poor her a few moments to understand what the flustered member of staff was saying to her. She also had a thing about people not enunciating properly – if you wanted to please her, and for her to acknowledge your words rather than pretend she hadn’t heard or couldn’t understand, you had to speak clearly, don’t swear, don’t raise your voice, don’t mispronounce anything it has to be pronounced the way she pronounces it even if she is wrong she is never wrong you are, etc.

In the meantime I was a post on Facebook which random strangers, diners coming and going, people in the street outside, felt obliged to leave a comment on – some of the things people say… especially when they feel they have to say something, to be a part of something. Someone asked me if I was pregnant, then giggled.

To be fair to people, I am a people too and I have and do say some of the things people say… especially when I feel I have to say something, to be a part of something. When you’re trying to bridge the gap between you and others, get closer instead of pushing away, or when you’re attempting to relax, be spontaneous, have a laugh, not be an awkward killjoy, join in the fun. People-pleasing in particular makes you say and do some very bizarre things…

It can also get you into dangerous situations… but on the flip side it can get you out of them too.

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When my mother finally arrived at the scene of my crime (getting attention, causing a fuss, disturbing her lovely evening, being so selfish and thoughtless) – that’s when I found out that I had chipped my front tooth. The way pointed it out still reverberates – she had been classically trained as an opera singer, and could make her voice carry stridently, piercing your eardrums with an icepick (perhaps to give you a lobotomy).

Apparently I did it to deliberately destroy my perfect teeth (which my mother took pride in and owned, because all of me belonged to her) and ruin my beautiful smile (which my mother hated except when she loved it because it reminded her of my father, and she was envious of it, she said so repeatedly until I felt guilty for having it), and give her yet another heartache to cry over (and I knew how much she loathed being a cry-baby – that’s why she trained toddler me to never cry, so why would I be so cruel). My mother had also been an actress, so when she got going it was a vaudevillian Shakespearean drama set in a three-ringed circus.

While I’ve never forgotten that incident and the ensuing weeks of drama, I don’t think about it that often as anything more than a fun fact. I have shared this story before on my blog. I’m repeating myself quite a bit in this series within a series, because I’m reviewing things. I always feel a bit awkward about repeating myself because I associate it with a habit I developed when speaking to my mother and I wanted her to actually hear what I was saying – I’d repeat the same sentence three times in a row, or as many times needed until she repeated my words back to me as though they were her own.

But the other day I was at the dentist (a new dentist – my previous dentist wanted to fix my capped tooth because it was ‘ugly’, luckily I chose not to people-please that dentist. The cap may be ‘ugly’ but it suits me fine. If it ain’t broke again, don’t fix it.), and the dental hygienist said “you have great teeth, it’s a pity you’ve ruined them with the grinding” and for a split second I was right back in the past, re-living that incident, feeling guilty because… somehow it’s my fault that I grind my teeth when I sleep. I almost pointed out to the hygienist that if anyone should know that those with bruxism aren’t doing it deliberately… but I didn’t want to be rude, and she didn’t mean it the way I heard it (or did she?).

 

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I don’t do the Cheshire Cat smile anymore, and not because my teeth are ruined and my smile is ugly, but because I don’t need to. The truth behind that big smile is that I mainly only did it when I was very angry. In nature when an animal bares its teeth, it’s not smiling at you.

There are also a lot of superheroes and supervillains online. A lot of people think they’re Batman, luckily all the Batmans seem to live together peacefully and don’t appear to need to engage in a – There can be only one – fight till the heads of all the others are chopped off and the last one standing is a supercharged Batman who has absorbed the lifeforce of all the others (yes, I know that’s Highlander, and he isn’t a member of the comics club, but whenever I think of superheroes and supervillians it reminds me of Narcissists, and then I’m reminded of Highlander – when my Narcissist parents fought it was similar to the fight scenes between immortals).

I enjoy surfing the web like Spidey, and dipping into the other worlds within this world. I don’t belong in any of those worlds, so I try to tread lightly, not step on any toes. Maybe I’m more like the Invisible Man once he’s naked. I’m always ready to click away to get out of there.

Am I walking on eggshells? Making myself as inconspicuous as possible? So as not to disturb the Narcissist parent, trigger them and their wrath, their displeasure, their avenging punisher ways?

Right about now, funk soul brother, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of – Wait a minute, something’s wrong with the picture you’ve just painted – you have a blog, that’s hardly being inconspicuous, invisible, not belonging to a world.

When I first ventured into the social media sphere, I really didn’t want to be here and yet I did. I had to want it more than I didn’t want it to do it…

although I was given my very first social media accounts, a Twitter and a Facebook account, as X-mas gifts, so maybe I was people-pleasing the giver. Being particularly sensitive to the fact that I had traumatised this giver in the past, and pretty much trained them never to get or give me anything, due to my gift-phobia (as mentioned with accompanying illustration in the first installment of this series within a series – What Are The Strange Gifts of Children of Narcissists?).

What happens when two people prone to people-pleasing try to please each other?

In this case I was just emerging from a period in my life which included confronting a big ball of internal mess (the stuff which surges out of the dark hiding place where children of Narcissists store all of their emotions, feelings, thoughts, trauma, secrets, self, because those aren’t allowed in the Narcissist’s family, or in polite society). By then I had been No Contact with my Narcissist parents for years, but I still hadn’t felt safe enough to let myself out of my cage. But after over a month of being confined to bed, unable to move due to excruciating physical pain – I’d injured a nerve which affected my back, I literally could no longer stand (it) anymore. Time to deal with it.

[for anyone into astrology – at that time transiting Neptune was in my 6th house, health, duties and the day-to-day details, squaring my natal Neptune in the 3rd house, thought processes, communication, and education (which may well include brainwashing and training by Narcissist parents). My natal Neptune it is involved in a T-square with the Moon and Venus (in Pisces), which could be interpreted as – natural and supernatural People-Pleaser. Neptune square Neptune is considered one of the Mid-Life Crisis transits – have a crisis and work things out.]

Engaging in Social Media seemed like an opportunity to test out some of the things I’d worked out during my crisis. It was a challenging challenge challenging me to challenge myself.

In certain areas of life I’m one of those people who jumps into the deep end and then learns to swim – according to my mother that is how I actually learned to swim as a baby, except I was thrown in the shallow end (which was still deep for me) by her. A child of Narcissists is always being thrown into the deep end by their parents, it’s for our own good this is what great parents do – now sink or swim! Sometimes sinking is the better survival option (I used to pretend I could breathe underwater, and one career which appealed to me was freediving, another was swimming with sharks).

Engaging in Social Media is similar to being out and about in the world, socialising in Society, but there are differences – sometimes those are positive and sometimes they’re negative.

The learning curve is steep, and relying on coping mechanisms which you use offline can be hit and miss.

One of the strange gifts of children of Narcissists is the ability to use worrying and ruminating as more than just a tool for self-flagellation (for more on this please go to – What Are The Strange Gifts of Children of Narcissists? – continued). I’ve used this a lot to work out how to survive and thrive in my own weird way on Social Media.

I’ve killed off accounts, and blogs along the way – An Upturned Soul is the result of lessons learned, and is still teaching lessons to be learned. My very first blog was rather nice… too nice, I felt trapped by how nice it felt it had to be (funnily enough it’s name was connected to my Neptune T-square). I wasn’t going to blog again, but then some time afterwards I created Damaged and Dangerous (my tumblr which still exists, but which I haven’t been active on for a long time). I called it that to remind myself that it and I did not have to be nice, and a lot of what I posted on there were images and quotes which appealed to my dark and shadow side.

It got it’s name from the following quote:

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I did feel a bit trapped by Damaged and Dangerous too. One of the problems with creating a blog is getting stuck in a role, in the theme you’ve chosen – which you chose when you were in a place, but at some point you aren’t in that place anymore because blogging has helped you grow, change, understand, work it out of your system, and any number of other things.

An Upturned Soul was created to be a more balanced place for an unbalanced person. I wanted to be able to be nice and be dark, shift with my natural and unnatural shifts, have everything in one place – I know, it can be very confusing for people, especially if they come here because of one post, maybe press follow because they want more posts like that, and then they find that I’m posting things which aren’t that at all. She’s supposed to be writing about astrology but instead it’s all about Narcissists. She’s supposed to be writing about Narcissists, instead it’s all this astrology bullshit. I thought she was nice, but she’s mean. I thought she was polite, but then she used… oh I can’t bring myself to repeat it! And I simply can’t tell when she’s being serious or taking the piss, being a sarcastic dick. I think she may be a Narcissist!

This place is a mess – I am a mess. This is me. Sometimes I forget that this is my blog, and I made it a place where I could do and say as I pleased, people-please me who is a people too. Sometimes I forget I’m a people too because I was never quite allowed to be one, and not just by my Narcissist parents. If you have anything which sort of sets you apart from other people – you’re not really a people too, you’re an ‘other’.

I have a few things which sets me apart (I only know they’re things which set me apart because of how others have reacted to them – originally I thought they were ordinary and normal), the simplest of which is – I have Dyslexia.

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I can read backwards with ease, I can read text which is upside down too without much difficulty, and I used to be able to write backwards until I was shamed into not doing it – which was just as well, and I’m not that bothered by that in and of itself, what bothers me is similar to what bothers me about conformity.

During my time on Social Media I have fallen nine times and gotten up ten – okay, I confess, I’ve fallen far more often than that, too many times to count. I have made pretty much every mistake listed in the – DON’T do this online – guide. I have also made almost all of the mistakes listed in the – DO this online – guide.

You know those How-To-Be a great, popular, with thousands of followers willing to pay you money for scribbling your thoughts in a post or sharing a meme, successful, admired and envied, the fairest of them of all blogger guides… when I read them, and I have read them (not so much these days), they tend to make my personal red-flags pop up and sound the alarm. They’re a cross between How-To-Be a People-Pleaser and How-To-Be a Narcissist.

What I just said could:

a) get me into trouble – get me ranted at, told off, corrected, or unfollowed, or whatever else people use to express their displeasure and make sure you notice it.

b) displease someone… like one of those someones who has written one of those Succeed Online posts, worked very hard to compile it, make it easy to read (only 3 mins), simple to use (tidy list with soundbites – just follow the orders), and freely available to all others who aren’t sure where to start, what to do, how to do it, how to behave, who to be to be ‘Liked’ and ‘Followed’.

c) both of the above

But if you look at them from the perspective of a people-pleasing child of Narcissists…

suggestions such as – ‘Like’ the posts of other bloggers even if you don’t like them, as this will encourage people to ‘Like’ your posts too – is both people-pleasing and what Narcissists do to get what they want (ie. narc supply in the form of collecting Likes and followers).

I have this vague memory of writing one of those guides myself. It’s somewhere on this blog, but I don’t want to look for it… knowing me, I probably didn’t do it correctly, as you’re supposed to, I put too much food on the plate (there’s no way a soundbite will feed you, give you enough nourishment to make it through the day, eat some more – this is an Italian thing, and a child of Narcissists thing, and a people-pleaser thing) and it was too long (only a 3 hour read).

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with those guides (with all guides, instruction manuals, lists, How-To’s, etc). Some of them are brilliant and give good advice. Some of them press all of my – Do NOT press this – buttons.

One of the interesting things to come out of all of the above is that – Sometimes being a People-Pleaser or a Narcissist is positive!

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Now Playing! by Clay Bennett

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I’m sort of kidding and sort of not kidding.

Confused? You will be.

People say they don’t want you to lie to them, but then they get upset if you don’t and run away from you into the reassuring arms of someone who lies to them. They don’t want you to sugar-coat, so you don’t… and they abandon you to go where there are sweet cookies. They cry because they find out a dream come true was too good to be true, and then another too good to be true come along and sweeps them off their feet.

It’s unpredictably predictable or is it the other way around.

And while it can be frustrating, make you pull your hair out all at once or strand by strand, we’re all people too, and we all do that confusing, predictably unpredictable stuff which drives others crazy and drives us crazy to both when we do it and when others do it.

We hate Narcissists, but we love them too… or at least we loved them when they were being someone we thought embodied all our wishes, dreams, fantasies about who we’d love if we ever met them. Part of our hate of Narcissists come from hating to have to part with the fantasy, the dream come true, the wish granted. We helped them fool us, we were fools – no one likes to be a fool (does a fool on a Tarot card like being a fool?).

Some of the things which Narcissists do are similar to some of the things which people-pleasers do, and some of those things are encouraged, wanted, needed by people, and promoted by people teaching you how to be the sort of person people are willing to accept as a people too, a valuable member of society people too.

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excerpt from Wikipedia: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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There are quite a few similarities between people-pleasing and love-bombing (is an attempt to influence a person by demonstrations of attention and affection. – wikipedia), hoovering (is a technique that is named after the Hoover vacuum cleaner, and is used by Narcissists (and other manipulative people) in order to “suck” their victims back into a relationship with them. – thriveafterabuse), and other tactics which Narcissists use to get what they want.

The main difference is motive and motivation. People-pleasers are genuinely trying to please people. There may be a cluster of reasons why they genuinely want to please people, (ie. they would like to be friends with someone and being pleasing is a good way to do that, they want to belong to a social group – get along with their work colleagues, they’re an introvert and it eases the awkwardness for others, they’re afraid of people and pleased people are less likely to attack), and the reasons will vary from person to person (people-pleasing can sometimes be passive-aggressive killing someone with kindness – you don’t want to be mean but you’ve had enough, and this is the only way you know how to express that, maybe if you overfeed them, they’ll go away because it’s too much). Sometimes it is as simple as – they are pleasant people who just want to spread pleasure around one pleasing gesture at a time.

There are also similarities between having a hard time getting close to people and the distance which Narcissists put between themselves and others, even during their merging with you phases. Again there are differences.

For children of Narcissists who were isolated from others by their Narcissist parents in various ways, the most confusing of which is when the Narcissist parent winds up a random person (who may be a stranger to the child, and may even be a stranger to the parent) and then sets them off in the direction of the child to scold them, who protected themselves from their Narcissist parents by shrinking into themselves, disappear, who could never get close to the Narcissist parent but was often engulfed by them, invaded by them, possessed by them, and who may have found that the world beyond the Narcissist family was hostile – getting close to others just does not seem like a good idea, or even possible – because others, the normals, can be stand-offish, may be protecting themselves.

And there are similarities between finding it difficult to relax, laugh, be spontaneous and the facade of Narcissists, which appears relaxed, laughing, spontaneous, but it is rehearsed, choreographed, and designed to appear authentic.

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excerpt from Reader’s Digest: 13 Reality TV Show Secrets the Producers Won’t Tell You by Michelle Crouch

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Awhile back there was a sudden glut of articles about Narcissism and Social Media, with titles such as – Is Facebook Turning People into Narcissists.

The selfie in particular was used to prove how narcissistic everyone was – if you’re addicted to posting selfies, you must be a Narcissist! That is misinformation of the BS which someone being lazy spreads kind – maybe the person who started that rumor (A smear campaign, also referred to as a smear tactic or simply a smear, is an effort to damage or call into question someone’s reputation, by propounding negative propaganda.- wikipedia ) was a Narcissist who was getting annoyed with all the fun the people taking selfies seemed to be having, all the attention selfie-takers were getting made them fume. Or maybe they were scientists who needed to quickly publish a paper to keep their grant. Or maybe they were scientists who were also Narcissists who were also Social Media users who were so fed up of seeing happy smiley faces and wanted to turn those upside-down frowns around, so they hatched a plan to abuse their position of power, and in an authoritarian voice they stated a fake news fact and then watched one group of people fight with another group of people over who was a Narcissist, and the real Narcissists sat back with their tub of popcorn watching others fight (Let’s You and Him Fight) – what a masterpiece of entertainment!

Narcissists will spend much time and energy (which someone else is going to have to refill) over-scrutinising people, to learn from studying them, dissecting them, pulling off their wings, how they are the way they are. Watch a Narcissist with their new greatest love on earth or best friend forever, and they will gradually morph into that person before discarding them because they got what they wanted, didn’t get what they wanted, decided they didn’t want what they wanted. They also do this with celebrities and other people who others admire.

Please note: All people mimic others, pick up traits, behaviours, habits, often without even realising it, especially if we admire them, want to be like them, love them, want them to like us, or spend a lot of time in their company (and suddenly you’re using words they use which you didn’t use before), this is similar to what Narcissists do but isn’t the same thing – and if you are aware of doing it or having done it, it does not mean you’re a Narcissist or narcissistic. It means you’re human and doing what humans do – we can learn a lot this way.

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excerpt from – WikiHow: How To Be Diplomatic

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There is something which I sometimes say, which I know isn’t people-pleasing, which sometimes pushes people away, which can make me tense on the outside (but relaxed on the inside because this notion helped me to relax)…

Narcissists aren’t necessarily doing what they do deliberately, with malice aforethought, with the intention of being a manipulator – it’s second nature to them to be that way (If something is second nature to you, you are so familiar with it that you can do it easily without needing to think very much about it – cambridge dictionary).

People-pleasing is also something which becomes second nature. You’re not necessarily doing it consciously, deliberately, with goodness aforethought, with the intention of influencing, manipulating, people by pleasing them.

And to stop people-pleasing, to stop feeling guilty, pressured to put the needs of others first, to stop pushing people away, to stop keeping yourself at a safe distance, to stop feeling confused about whether others want you to come or go away, to stop feeling unsafe, afraid, to stop being tense, to stop feeling scrutinised, watched, judged, to stop… doing what you have been doing for all or most of your life, to return to innocence, be spontaneous, laugh, be yourself…

but wait…

isn’t all of that a part of you being yourself?

Yesterday I received a new comment from a new commentor, on an old post about flies (Flies and Other Messengers of Nature), which was lovely and had a rather well-timed piece of advice – they told me to embrace my shadow side and to read up on the Law of Polarity (Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.” – The Kybalion.)

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Principle of Polarity from Elearnmarkets

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I probably should have gone with the Yin Yang symbol and meaning, as that represents the same concept, and is much more straightforward, but I liked the use of the words resistance/support in this rather technical blurb and the idea of how they work together, and swap places. And other elements in this blurb reminded me of Narcissists – breaking your resistance to turn you into their support system, demand superseding supply, so I thought it went better with what we’re doing here.

What are we doing here?

Good question, Me, I’m glad you asked because I had completely been sidetracked by Myself (or maybe not).

So…

What’s the positive side of being a child of Narcissists who has had to people-please for survival purposes, can never get close to others, and never feels safe enough to relax, laugh, and be spontaneously themselves as they are?

Last night I was watching a new TV Series – Mindhunter – which is based on a book (which I read a long time ago, along with other similar books) written by an FBI profiler, and charts the development of criminal profiling and criminal psychology. Narcissists are mentioned. In the very first episode we are introduced to one of the main characters as he arrives to negotiate with a hostage-taker.

Children of Narcissists would probably make rather good hostage nogotiators (I’m leaving the typo because it’s spot on!). I’ve not tested that theory out, but I have had to negotiate my way out of sticky situations where I felt as though I was a hostage (and being a child of Narcissists is a permanent hostage scenario, Stockholm Syndrome sets in and becomes what you end up thinking love is). I’ve used my people-pleasing skills, and other skills children of Narcissists learn, to deal with threatening individuals (and I’m not just talking about my Narcissist parents). Threatening individuals are often being threatening towards you because they feel threatened by you.

The author of – The Gift of Fear – which I think is an excellent book to read if you’re a child of Narcissists, came from an abusive home, and turned the skills he learned to survive his childhood into a profession. He became a security expert helping people to protect themselves from those who are unhinged.

 

We know the protocol of dealing with the angry, the silent, the depressed, the tantrum-thrower, the sulker, the overly emotional storm in a tea cup, the moody, the bluesy, the stiff, the hard, the delusional, and the damaged and dangerous.

We’re skilled at making others feel better about themselves.

And while we may prefer not to deal with people at all – that too is a strange gift. We know how to be alone and be comfortable being alone.

While we may never get as close to people as we keep thinking we should, or could if only… it’s actually not as unhealthy for us or for others to keep our distance.

Our distance from others gives others the personal space they need to feel, less pressured, less pestered, less overwhelmed, less burdened, less boundary-less, less helpless, and more able to breathe, move, know themselves, hear themselves, feel themselves growing beyond that person wrapped up in a duvet in a dark room curled up in fetal position who is sick and tired and tired and sick of being told that they’d feel better if they went outside and got some fresh air and sunshine… they know… they know… it won’t help.

In some ways we’re closer to others than we’ll ever realise… or maybe we do realise and that’s what keeps us respectful of personal boundaries. Do you ever feel when you read what I write that I am writing about you, that I got inside your head somehow but how could I do that when I don’t know you? And no, I haven’t been spying on you in Big Brother, big industry, secret-service, hacker style.

We can spot a fake laugh, a fake smile, and forced spontaneity. We know when someone is tense not just from observing the physical giveaways, tics and twitches, but because they’ve told us how super max chill chilled they are one time too many even though we never questioned it, and their voice is making that sound of someone trying to brainwash themselves with positive affirmations.

We can tell the difference between true authenticity and someone being authentic because it’s the in thing to be, but they’re not certain who their authentic self is supposed to be and whether they will be liked for showing it. They’ve read the articles and guides, and are following the soundbite instructions, moving down the orderly numbered list… we can make it easier for them just by creating a safe space for them to just be as is, that’s all it takes to be authentic – to be as is. It requires no thought (which doesn’t mean it is thoughtless). There is no action or words to it, other than what happens, what comes out. There are no rules or instructions other than what nature does naturally.

It’s very difficult isn’t it, so many voices

Society at large or up close can make you feel so guilty for being yourself, especially when it tells you to just be yourself… that’s what you were doing… were you not doing it? Were you doing it wrong? It has so many demands, so many needs, hungry mouths to be fed that taking the slightest bite for yourself… no, no, you have it, you need it more than I do, you deserve it…

but it can be so unpredictable – one minute it likes you for putting its needs first and then it hates you for it because now it feels like it owes you something! One minute it gives you a come hither signal, only to push you away!

It’s so confusing – you wore your heart on your sleeve, but sleeves aren’t fashionable this season!

It’s so stressful, always watching you, judging you, finding flaws and faults while it begs you to please achieve perfection…and so perfection you achieve only to be knocked off that pedestal because didn’t anyone tell you that nobody’s perfect and you’re a nobody, or that there is no such thing as perfection, or…

It loves you as you are, don’t change, but if you just… it might love you more. Ugh! Who told you that you’d look better with a smaller nose, it was so much better before!

It feels so unsafe on the outside, and on the inside too…

We know and we are fairly good at making it feel safer. We’ve dealt with the monster under the bed, the one in the closet, the one under the floorboards, in the attic, in the hallway, in the tree, outside the kitchen window, in the mirror, and in the bodies of our parents. And when we meet it in other people, other places, out there in the world and on the world wide web, in articles about our kind, we deal with it there too… in our own way.

Our own way is a bit strange, it isn’t how Alice would do it, nor how Batman would, we don’t have superpowers or… we do have unusual friends. Both inside of us and sometimes outside of us too…

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me: Okay *smile thank you bye *shuts door

normal: ….? *places delivery on doorstep and walks away shrugging, chuckles…

gets in van and drives…

Over to you…

4 thoughts on “What Are The Strange Gifts of Children of Narcissists? – part 3

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