Narcissistic Behaviour versus Being a Narcissist/Having Narcissistic Personality Disorder

I was recently asked a question in a comment:

“You mentioned in one of the steps about making sure they aren’t acting narcissistic versus being a narcissist. I searched on google, “what’s the difference between acting narcissistic versus being a narcissist or NPD.”
No site made a separation between essentially stating you can’t act narcissistic and not be a narcissist. I want to ask, what did you mean by your statement?”

I’m not certain to which of my posts the person was referring in which I mentioned in one of the steps about making sure they aren’t acting narcissistic versus being a narcissist (it might have been this one – The Red Flags I Use To Recognise A Narcissist) as that is something I know I mention fairly frequently.

And while I did reply to the comment (the Q & A can be found in the comments section of this post – How Are You?), and provide links to articles written by mental health professionals on the differences between normal narcissism and pathological narcissism, I thought I’d write a post in reply as well.

I realise that the way I express myself in words can be dense, convoluted, and confusing (this is partly due to my tendency to think in images, and as the saying goes – a picture is worth a thousand words – so when I translate those images into words… you get the picture or don’t get the picture because it is drowned out by too many words). I have yet to master how to say things clearly and simply… I doubt if I’ll ever master that skill, but who knows, but I’ll keep trying regardless of repeated failure.

So here goes another failed attempt.

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First a story:

When I was about 10 years old I was in a shop with a friend, waiting in line to buy something. It was around lunchtime, the shop was busy, the queue was long and slow as there was only one person manning one cash register. It was almost our turn, the person before us was just finishing up, when a woman swooped and barged in front us.

I’ve always been painfully shy, but that does not mean that I always allow people to take advantage of me due to my shyness. I objected loudly in this instance. Perhaps because I was in the UK where everyone knows to respect the order of the queue and wait their turn, or ask politely if they can go ahead of you.

The woman ignored my objection, so I objected again, louder than before, making it quite clear that I was not going let her behaviour slide. She turned around and looked down on me, letting me know with her body language and expression that I was a child and she was the adult, and therefore whatever she did to me was perfectly justified. She then told me she was double-parked as though it was my problem that she had done that, and I’m sure she’d have considered it my fault if she got a ticket. The point of her statement was to affirm that she was in the right to barge in front of me, take my place in the queue, dismiss my objections, and get what she wanted when she wanted it.

I let her go ahead. It was too late to do anything else as the cashier had already started to ring her up. No one else in the queue objected or wanted to get involved (this was the UK, and I was ‘making a scene’). I was alone in this fight for justice (although I did have my friend beside me, which may have been why I was being so bold).

To be fair to the pushy woman, she did grudgingly thank me for letting her go ahead of me.

Q: Who was the narcissist in the story?

A: No one.

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classic NPD signs and symptoms via Wikipedia

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The woman did behave narcissistically – her manner was grandiose, pompous and arrogant, she saw herself as superior and entitled to preferential treatment, she expected everyone in the queue to just let her go ahead of them, especially the stupid little child and when that stupid little child objected she ignored it, did not empathise, nor care except for how it might impact her and her life.

Her behaviour got her what she wanted, therefore she won, so the chances are she would behave that way again, and had probably behaved that way before.

However this does not make her a narcissist. To figure out whether she was a narcissist (had NPD) you would have to know a lot more about her, and would need to observe her on a daily basis for a much longer period of time in all the myriad scenarios, contexts, and relationships in her life. You would need to talk at length with her to understand her perspective and experience of the people around her, of society, of reality.

Chances are that this woman only behaved in that manner in certain situations which caused her to be stressed out, afraid, angry, anxious, etc, with certain people – those she did not know and whom she would most likely never meet again.

Maybe it was a one-off moment of bad behaviour brought on by the stress of being double-parked, in a hurry to avoid being punished by the law for double-parking in a busy thoroughfare at lunchtime, and perhaps she was only breaking the law because of some other stressor in her life. Maybe she was late for an important appointment and she realised she’d forgotten an item she needed to have without which she would have been penalised in another way.

We can all behave badly when we’re caught up in our personal life dramas.

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excerpt from: Narcissism Decoded – 13 Differences Between Narcissistic and Healthier Behaviour

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Other people may not know what our personal life dramas are, they may not care to know because they have their own personal life dramas in which they’re caught up…

For the most part we only see the surface of other people, while we experience the depths of ourselves. We see others from the outside in, while we see ourselves from the inside out. So when we behave badly, we know why we’re behaving that way, we may not see it as bad behaviour at all because it makes sense to us, we know the reasons, excuses, causes, and we may expect others to accept our behaviour, to put up with it, to understand it, empathise with us, even though they might not know us and our story – something we may forget because us and our story is always in our face, in our hearts, and on our minds – or they may only know the surface of it, what we’ve allowed ourselves to share with them, what they’ve observed, what others have said about us and our story (gossip, etc), as we tend to only know the surface of others and their story.

And if we do remember (or are reminded by some obnoxious child who doesn’t let us barge ahead of them in a queue) we may only share a summary of our personal life drama with others (like that we’re double-parked) because trying to explain it in greater detail would probably take us another lifetime and we don’t have time for that.

[This is an interesting example of that – The lonely death of Delhi’s jungle prince Justin Rowlatt]

We don’t always have the time to explain ourselves and our behaviour in the moment, and others may not give us the time to explain ourselves later (if there is a later), especially if they’ve been hurt, angered, offended, upset, etc, by our behaviour.

We don’t always have the time to explain ourselves to ourselves… it can take many years for us to figure ourselves out, to understand our behaviour. It can be a painful process, and requires that we feel ready and willing to do it…. but we’re double-parked!

Life often feels like we’re constantly double-parked… and we’re double-parked in a world where everyone else is double-parked too and we’re all fighting over whose double-parked is more important, more urgent, more deserving of being given precedence.

Is it any wonder that we all may have a moment of thinking we’re the only non-narcissist in a world full of narcissists.

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excerpt from: Psychology Today – Why Some People (Maybe Even Us) Think They’re So Special

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Q: Is the world really full of narcissists, and if it is is there anyone who isn’t a narcissist?

A: (see excerpt below)

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excerpt from: PsychCentral – Narcissistic Personality Disorder vs. Normal Narcissism

Please note: NN = people with healthy normal narcissism

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When ‘diagnosing’ someone in your life (or yourself)… apply to them the consideration which you would like for someone else to apply to you when they’re ‘diagnosing’ you.

Remember that whatever you do to others can be done by others to you too… or maybe it’s remembering that that causes us to do things to others, because it was done to us we do it to them perhaps in an attempt to get resolution, closure, or balance the scales which we feel are tipped in everyone else’s favour.

Even if you’re double-parked, in a hurry to rush to judgement and know who someone is so that you know how to deal with them… think about those times when someone else has labeled you, been wrong about you (but was certain they were right because they only saw you from their perspective, and were perhaps angry, hurt, upset, offended, stressed out, etc), and how much that has affected you… use your personal power with care.

When assessing someone else you need to take into account your own subjectivity and bias – are you angry, suffering, hurt, stressed, etc, while looking at them and making your decision about them?

Have you been triggered by them or something they did or said, or didn’t do or say?

Are you perceiving the situation correctly, in context?

Are you perceiving them as they are?

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excerpt from: Entrepreneur – 10 Behaviours of Genuine People

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Is the person always like this or did something happen to them, in their life, in your relationship, which changed the way they behaved towards you?

Are they like this with everyone or is it just with you?

Are you able to talk with them about your relationship, the issue, the situation, and maybe have them clarify themselves for you?

Did you give them a fair chance to explain themselves… and give yourself the chance to get an explanation, listening to them as you would want others to listen to your side of the story and your explanations if the scenario was reversed?

Most people are not narcissists, do not have NPD, but all people can behave narcissistically. We can all behave badly sometimes, be arrogant, a know-it-all, rude, aggressive, dismissive, boastful, show-off, feel entitled, demand and seek attention, etc.

We can all sometimes appear to others as though we’re a narcissist.

We may lack empathy (run out of effs to give, too tired to care, not understand because we’ve never experienced something which someone else is going through), be overly sensitive (especially to perceived slights and criticism – we all have our weak spots, buttons which get pressed and to which we react impulsively, and… does anyone like being criticised?),

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excerpt from: Psychology Today – The 7 Habits of Truly Genuine People

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spoil the good moods of others (because we’re in a funk, depressed, we didn’t mean to rain on their parade but they insisted on having their parade in our personal space and the noise and chaos was too much, or maybe we were afraid their happiness would get them killed), act impulsively (and delete all our social media accounts… then regret it later), deny or hide our mistakes (does anyone like to make mistakes and shout about it from the rooftops? Look at me, I effed up again!), blame others (because sometimes it is someone else’s fault and sometimes it just makes us feel less awful about ourselves), withdraw when upset (need some time alone to sort things out, go silent as there is nothing more to say, take a time out to count to a hundred otherwise you’ll say what you can’t take back, block people on social media), hold grudges (sometimes to remind ourselves not to trust certain people again, or because tit-for-tat, or we need something to cling to), are driven by fear (fear is often used to manipulate and control us, get us to ‘behave’), shun introspection (don’t want to go there, don’t want to think about it, feel that way, it’s too soon, seek to escape), etc…

The difference between normal narcissism even when it tips into the unhealthy and becomes very narcissistic, and pathological narcissism is in what happens in between and afterwards, and in the fact that there is an in between and afterwards.

If you’re dealing with someone who is genuinely a narcissist, has NPD, there are certain markers which will be consistent and unmistakable, and one of those is that there is no in between and afterwards to their narcissistic behaviour.

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Excerpt from: Psychology Today – The Truth About Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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Being human is a complicated experience. Living life is complex even when it’s a simple life (usually according to others who see the lives of other others from the outside in and it looks simple and easy compared to their life which they experience from the inside out and it is complicated and difficult from that angle). Being human living a life is…. something which we all have to figure out bit by bit while double-parked on our own even when queuing in line with other people.

We’re all rather hard on ourselves, which tends to make us hard on others… we need to be gentler with ourselves so that we can be gentler with others, but being gentle with ourselves seems to be so hard to do… sometimes by being gentler with others first we teach ourselves to be gentler with ourselves.

Things don’t always follow a logical order…

Sometimes by understanding others, it helps us to understand ourselves better…

Sometimes cutting others some slack is about cutting yourself some slack… which is rather narcissistic, but hopefully in a healthy way.

One last thing…

Caveat Lector – reader beware, this is a personal blog and the posts herein are written by a person, not unlike you… although I’m probably far messier than you are, but maybe not… who is, like you, trying to figure things out.

Feel free to ask questions and to question me and my answers to your questions…

And please feel free to share your own answers to questions.

Over to you.

10 thoughts on “Narcissistic Behaviour versus Being a Narcissist/Having Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Add yours

  1. Both my parents are Narcissists and I recently just broke up with a covert Narcissist that I allowed to brainwash me. I read a previous entry about how it was for you to be a child of Narcissists and it really hit home. I was married to a overt narcissist for 14 years and in a 15 month relationship with a covert narcissist until last month.

    I was suicidal for three weeks- all the while pretending everything was fine because I did not want to lose custody of my son.

    I normally do not engage in blog entries but I wanted to let you know how insightful your post was to me. I am trying to work on healing myself- I am listening to The Power of Now- this seems to help.

    I fear that the building up of myself may take some time. I feel extremely lost in my identity as I try to detach from the pain-part of myself. I seems I had so much more ego dominating my life than what I could previously acknowledge.

    I may be wrong, but I feel most of cluster B personality disorders have narcissistic tendencies.

    Like

    1. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

      One of the things which comes across in what you’ve shared of your story is that you are endowed with a core strength, a strong center/inner sense of Self. You’ve been through a lot and you’ve got yourself through it all to where you are now. You’re an amazing person.

      Healing from narcissistic abuse takes time. A large portion of it is about getting to know yourself as you are rather than as the narcissists in your life have told you that you are (and that includes the narcissistic side of Society). It’s about discovering/rediscovering yourself for yourself (without the input of others).

      A loss of identity often accompanies the healing process – it’s a bit like stepping through the mirror to see what’s behind the surface appearance/reflection, and finding a whole world to explore, with only yourself as a guide.

      I’ve personally found writing about the pain-part to be helpful. The pain needs to tell its story, and have you hear the story, really listen and acknowledge it, as part of the pain comes from not being seen/heard/accepted – it needs to owned rather than disowned. Within the pain-part’s story is the release from the pain – the healing is within the wound.

      Be careful of the concept of detachment and getting rid of ego – children of narcissists tend to get programmed to do this by their parents, we are taught early on to detach from ourselves, from our needs, from our feelings, from our emotions and our thoughts, from our pain, and not to have an ego (as our developing ego is viewed as a threat by the narcissist parents) because we’re not allowed to have anything for ourselves, of our own, we’re supposed to be empty vessels into which the narcissist parents pour themselves – our lives are supposed to be all about them and their egos, their needs, their feelings, their emotions and thoughts, their pains.

      Children of narcissists sometimes need to do the opposite of what is advised when it comes to healing – rather than get rid of ego and detach from our pain (which is something we’re already well-practiced at doing), we need to own our pain and embrace our ego – as we have often spent our lives erasing and disowning ourselves for others, being who others need us to be for them, doing what others want us to do, and neglecting ourselves to focus on others.

      This is an article about ego and its purpose as viewed through psychology – https://appliedjung.com/ego/ – it also discusses the individuation process and the ‘hero’s’ journey.

      When using the teachings of others to heal, take from those teachings what is helpful to you, what feels right for you, and leave what doesn’t feel right for you – part of the process of healing is to create your own healing system for yourself, as only you can give yourself the healing you need.

      Best wishes on your journey, trust in your inner strength!

      Like

  2. You’re welcome.

    Thanks for reminding me about those posts. I went back and re-read them and had a similar reaction as when I went back recently to re-read the old emails. It was like sticking my hand in a bowl of cold jelly (I really don’t like jelly). It was a bit like an instant replay and you’re right, there was no other choice. And when I made it clear that he was out, I then saw how really nasty he is because he let go of whatever modicum of self-control he had.

    I agree that certain situations bring out characteristics that we don’t need until we do. I learned that while in the military but had really forgotten it, almost completely. Yes, I did need to be reminded. My non-narc ex-husband is a trial judge and I think he recognised a lot long before I did – he wasn’t surprised when my ex-narc accused us of having an affair and tried to use that when we were getting divorced (there was nothing for him to use except his imagination).

    It’s become more and more to watch Donald Trump. People keep wondering why he’s trying to discredit their federal law enforcement. When I say it’s because that’s what narcissists do when they feel threatened that someone has figured them out, that someone knows that they’re full of shit, they often find it hard to accept. As you have pointed out, that’s because most people don’t live on high alert.

    Thank you. 🙂 You are amazing and caring too, and I think you also have a lot of strength. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you 🙂

      There’s an excellent six part documentary on Netflix – Wild Wild Country. It’s a fascinating perspective on narcissists and on relationships with narcissists showing both the honeymoon/golden period phase and the slow descent into all the other phases after that. It shows how people get caught up in a narcissist’s version of reality, and then don’t know how to untangle themselves from it once the ideal dream turns into a hellish complicated messy drama. It shows how narcissists go about getting what they want and how things escalate when the narcissist can’t get what they want. It also shows how the narcissist always seems themselves as the hero/victim and sees everyone else as the villain/victimiser, and how nothing can shake that view.

      There’s a detailed series of articles which covers most of what’s in the documentary and adds more info – http://www.oregonlive.com/rajneesh/index.ssf/2011/04/part_one_it_was_worse_than_we.html

      Watching it from the viewpoint of an ACoN, it was all very familiar (narc family) territory even though it was very different and on such a large scale. It’s interesting to view things from the outside looking in while knowing what it’s like from the inside looking out. It was kind of therapeutic watching it.

      It’s nigh on impossible to explain narcissists to people who haven’t lived the narcissist experience because it requires navigating the illogical. Even for those who have lived the narcissist experience it can all seem too farfetched to be real. Just as the story in the documentary and article series would seem like the figment of a madman’s nightmares… and yet all of it happened and is recorded fact.

      I guess we all have to live it to learn it… whatever it is 🙂

      Like

      1. Thank you very much. 🙂

        I have started watching the series (only part one so far) and also have read the articles. It is fascinating in an “I almost don’t want to look” way. Eeek. That situation could have wound up a whole lot worse – I often feel the same way and sometimes think I have had something of a fortunate escape.

        It is difficult to explain to non-narcissists. And yes, up until last spring when my ex-n intruded again, I had started to feel a bit like it had been a dream – the experience of him was fading. But not anymore.

        Thanks again for the great suggestion. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, good explanation!
    I do recognize a lot of what you say.

    I’ve also noticed and found out.. there is a huge global drug/ alcohol addiction going on i wonder if that adds to narcissistic behaviour these days. Especially coke can do that as well. People tend to hide their addiction.

    I’ve met some people with those narcisstic trades and found out later about their addiction sad enough..

    So yeah you can’t really rule out certain things.

    Can you find narcisstic behaviour in horoscopes? Maybe where the leo-sun sign is?

    1 example, this person exploits her medical condition and ask so much attention of “the poor me” chiron taurus 5th house square venus leo 8th house conjunct her north node.
    Sun virgo 28 in 9th house conjunct saturn 0 libra and jupiter virgo 22.
    Grand square with NN venus leo in 8 with mars 15° conjunct uranus 22° in scorpio 11th house square moon in aquarius 17° in 2nd house.

    I also only noticed asteroid nessus since last year and what it is suppose to mean.
    In my generation its in sign cancer.. i’ve had a hard experience with it. Beeing emotionally blackmailed, exploited, manipulated pfff..

    Anyway im off topic lol.
    Good article!

    P.s. i know you’ve used it as an example but the cashier also could have stepped in lol. Considering it’s her job and probably deals with that behaviour regurlarly 😉

    Like

    1. Thank you 🙂

      HA! After I wrote the story out in the post, I did wonder about the cashier in the same way that you did. It is a very old memory, albeit a fairly vivid one for me. I think the cashier did the best that she could given the circumstances, she was right to just let us sort it out on our own, and it did get sorted out quickly – the whole story took place within the space of a couple of minutes (it always takes longer to tell a story than it does to live it). Sometimes the best thing to do in a tricky situation is to wait for it to resolve itself, had she stepped in it might have caused even more of a scene which would have inconvenienced all the other people waiting in line. It’s almost a ‘Trolley Problem’ only without the fatalities.

      I saw a film recently – Friends With Money (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0436331/) – which had a scene in it (with Frances McDormand) that was very similar. In the scene in the film there was also a long queue in a shop, the cashier didn’t realise that someone had cut the line and had already started to ring the line-cutter up by the time they realised there was a problem. In the film things go from regular scenario to crazy mess because that’s entertainment!

      There’s been a huge global drug/alcohol addiction problem for decades ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_drugs & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition_in_the_United_States). Addiction is a very old human experience and problem. Addiction does make a person behave very narcissistically, but I would say that the ‘real narcissist’ in this dynamic is the addictive substance, as the relationship of a person to their addictive substance is similar to that of a person and a narcissist.

      I saw an intriguing film about gambling addiction the other night – Mississippi Grind (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2349144/)

      I read an article awhile ago about marketing technology, it mainly discussed apps and social media, and one successful tech entrepreneur stated that the goal was to get people ‘addicted to using’ an app. I’ve noticed more and more articles appearing in the news about ‘addiction to using social media’, with quite a few of those articles talking about people trying to ‘quit using’ social media.

      You’re absolutely right about looking beyond the surface narcissistic behaviour of an addict and seeing the story behind the addiction. We all have our addictions, not all of our addictions are to the usual addictive substances, and we all have a story behind our addiction. There is a lot of sadness in this human world.

      The Dalai Lama said this in a recent interview – “Education everywhere is considered important,” he explains. “But if you look, the content of so-called modern education – very much orientated about material value. Not talking about inner value. So now, today, the best educated people, emotionally – lot of problem!” – via http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-43208568

      I think a lot of what’s going on at the moment is about people becoming conscious and aware of what’s lacking, what’s missing, what needs attention, which is why there’s a focus on personality disorders and narcissism. What’s wrong tends to make us stop and assess, research, investigate, and look for what’s right. We’re all attempting to figure ourselves and others out, get to grips with the human experience. This is indeed the ‘Age of Information’ and informing ourselves.

      I think we’re all going in the right direction, which often requires detours in the wrong direction. Sometimes you have to end up at a dead end to realise its a dead end, then backtrack and try another way to go.

      I don’t think astrology can pinpoint narcissistic behaviour because every placement, aspect, etc, is made up of both a positive and a negative expression. Most professional astrologers tend to stress that the natal chart shows potential, options and possibilities, but what we do with the potential is up to us.

      This is an interesting perspective – https://www.elsaelsa.com/astrology/narcissism-self-rejection/

      Every sign has narcissistic potential. Leo is often singled out as the ‘narcissist’ of the zodiac because of its association with certain narcissistic traits and behaviours, but those narcissistic traits and behaviours are also part of self-esteem, self-confidence, and the normal and natural will to shine as an individual. Where Leo is in our chart is where we ‘shine’. If we get frustrated in our attempts to shine, if we feel unseen, unnoticed, as though others are trying to steal our shine or cover it up, we may act out and may do so narcissistically. Leo is also where we appreciate the ‘shine’ of others. Leos are the best cheerleaders of the zodiac – if they notice your shine they’ll tell everyone about it and push you onto centre stage.

      If you break narcissistic behaviour down into components, each sign and planet contains an part of it.

      I think in some ways the Human Design system is a more useful lens for looking at narcissistic behaviour. The description of the 4 types is intriguing when you consider the descriptions of energy dynamics within a narcissistic relationship – narcissists can’t seem to generate their own energy and appear to need ‘fuel’ from others (narcissistic supply). The centers are also intriguing, especially in exploring the ‘open/undefined’ centers (http://humandesignsystem.blogspot.co.uk/2005/08/human-design-system-understanding.html). Most of all though it’s the idea in Human Design that people are conditioned to feel that they’re not good enough as they are, that they feel pressured to be who they are not and do what does not come naturally, and may feel obliged to live a life which isn’t their own natural choice – when we can’t be ourselves and think we should be anyone but ourselves, we end up hating who we are as we are, and that leads us down a path where we may be unhealthily narcissistic.

      Off topic is never really off topic – it’s us making connections, figuring things out in our own way, and it can generate some amazing aha moments!

      Thank you very much for sharing, you have a wonderful way of exploring which is inspiring!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate when I accidentally hit send. 🙂

      … world fall on our heads. All of us behave like full-blown, mad foolish narcissists every now and then. As you point out, it can sometimes get us through though – I probably did my best narcissistic bit when I got my ex-narcissist out of my life. Then I went through a couple of periods where I really worried that I might be one. I remember chatting with you about that some years ago (years ago – ⚘ – a little cyber flower in recognition of good time spent).

      People do need to be cautious about “diagnosing” narcissism – it has definitely become a buzz word. Your commenter asked a good question about the distinction and it’s important to remember that not everyone who acts like a narcissist is a narcissist.

      Good post. 🙂

      Like

      1. Thank you for the beautiful cyber flower 🙂

        With your narc-ex you fought fire with fire because water wasn’t going to put the fire out. When dealing with a real narcissist we may have to adopt narc behaviour, ‘speak’ to them in their language, because they don’t understand non-narc behaviour and therefore what we’re trying to ‘say’ to them does not compute for them and gets us nowhere. We get our narc on to get the narc gone from our lives.

        If you read your story of your relationship with you narc-ex in this post – https://lynettedartycross.com/2012/12/01/how-are-your-boundaries-holding-up/ – you can see that the only way for you to break free from narc hell was by becoming someone other than your usual self for the period of time needed to get you through the ordeal and out of it for good.

        You could not be your usual self with him. You knew that would keep you trapped in his version of reality which was slowly sucking the life out of you. Your primal survival skills kicked in and kicked him out.

        Narcissists mistake kindness for weakness. They do not comprehend meeting people halfway, compromise, cooperation, give-and-take, working together, etc, to them those sort of behaviours = losing and being a loser. Narcissists tend to only be ‘kind’ when they want something, and if their ‘kindness’ doesn’t get them the prize they’re after, they quickly become mean with added anger because being kind was hard work for them and it should have paid off, they should have been rewarded for it. And you become the ‘mean’ one for not giving them what they wanted when they were being ‘kind’.

        You knew that he wasn’t going to go easily, because you were aware of his history – https://lynettedartycross.com/2012/12/09/and-im-pleased-to-introduce-narcissistic-instability/ – and that he would drag things out for eternity.

        You basically had to become ‘worse’ than him.

        However once you got out, and felt safe and secure enough to relax, you would have reverted to being your usual self, and your usual self looking back at who you had to become to break free from your narc-ex would have been shocked by how tough, strong and ruthless you could be.

        Certain people/situations bring out aspects of our character and personality which often lay dormant because we don’t need them… until we do. Seeing another side to ourselves which we rarely get to see can unnerve us, and we may not know what to make of it afterwards, especially when it’s what we would normally consider to be ‘darkness’.

        It’s important sometimes to be reminded in the present of why we behaved as we did in the past, and your narc-ex recently resurfacing was a reminder to you – I thought the way your ex-husband who isn’t your narc-ex reacted was interesting as he was very concerned for your safety. It sometimes takes someone else’s reaction to highlight just how extreme the narcissists we’ve been in a relationship are, and to show us why we had to become not our usual self to deal with them.

        You only unsheathed your sword and used it when it was necessary, to protect and defend yourself when all other options ran out. Unlike a narcissist who never sheathes their sword and goes around slicing and dicing willy-nilly just because they can and because they see enemies everywhere.

        You are a deeply caring, intensely gentle and amazing human being, who has an awesome might within and thus should not be messed with and driven to extremes 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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