Dealing With the Debs

Ever since I started writing about my ongoing problem with a Deb, I’ve been collecting enough hints on how to deal with such characters to write a primer.

(For those of you who haven’t been following this saga, Deb is — was — a narcissistic character in Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare who has come into my life for real, and has been bedeviling me for the past year.)

Following first my own inclinations and then advice from friends (a couple of whom are therapists), this is the list of what I have done so far:

I tried ignoring her, but for the Debs who love attention, being ignored makes them ramp up the pressure for attention.

I tried setting boundaries, real physical boundaries (before my arm was completely healed, it frightened me to have people invade my personal space) and asked her to honor the boundary, but she took the request as a challenge and refused.

I tried being super nice, as a friend suggested, but somehow, the Deb took this as a sign of my conceding, and she stepped up the aggression. (You know the kind of aggression I’m talking about — small insults she laughs off as “just funning” and make you sound foolish if you complain about them.)

I tried standing up to her, in fact got right in her face, and she gave me the innocent act. Though, with the Debs, it’s hard to know if it’s an act. I get the impression sometimes they really do think they are innocent of abusing others.

I tried running away from her — literally running — but she completely misunderstood and thought I was running from someone else.

I tried breathing out the bad energy and breathing in the good, but I got the sequence wrong. You’re supposed to breathe in the bad energy, transform it into good energy and breathe that out. How does one do that? Haven’t a clue, but I will try it.

I just recently tried Ho’oponopono and though saying those phrases (I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you) didn’t seem to work, it did help me to dispel the bad energy as soon as I was alone.

I’ve also just recently tried to use that pent-up energy to propel me into doing something strenuous, for example, the last time, as soon as I got home from class, I strapped on my backpack and went out walking, even though I was already exhausted from class.

One thing I haven’t yet tried is to do standing Kegel exercises in class. Apparently, the pelvic muscles are the ones that dispel stress, and by doing Kegels, you can find your center.

Another thing I haven’t yet tried is to give myself permission to fixate on the issue when I’m alone, which, along with the Kegels, is a suggestion from a therapist friend. She advised really giving in to the energy of the conflict, but to allow myself no more than say thirty minutes to obsess. That seems like a good idea. When I get something in my head, I fight the thought, which keeps it going around and around and around. By giving the thoughts space and validity, maybe I can stop the cycle.

It does makes sense — when you try to think your way out of such a problem, it causes circular thinking because you can’t logically find a way out of an illogical situation.

Eckhart Tolle says, “True intelligence is to rise above thinking as the source of intelligence.”

Dr. Haleakala S. Hew Len, a proponent of Ho’oponopono, says, “The intellect working alone can’t solve problems, because the intellect only manages. Managing things is no way to solve problems.”

So, there you have it — a brief compendium of ways of dealing with the Debs and the negative energy they spew.

If I had known from the beginning that this particular real-life Deb was my Deb, my creation, I might have done things differently before they escalated, but how was I to know? One does not expect one’s nemesis in a novel to appear in one’s life. Now, I’m to the point where I have no desire to deal with her — my only hope is to keep that energy from affecting me, and to dispel whatever energy I do allow to affect me.

Sounds like bliss!


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

12 Responses to “Dealing With the Debs”

  1. SheilaDeeth Says:

    Now I’m thinking of Debs I have known. I guess I’m lucky to interact with none at the moment, but I’m scouring my writing to see who else I might be inviting into real life. I still think there’s got to be a Deb book in there.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I think you’re right about there being a Deb book, and I was just given the idea about what the story is about. There’s a therapist who says things just are and we make up stories about the things. So Deb just is. All the rest is the story I made up in my head. Could be interesting to see where I can take that, both in terms of negating her energy and for a book.

      • SheilaDeeth Says:

        You’ll be able to channel all the energy she throws at you into the book.

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          I had an interesting thought. Maybe she didn’t step out of the book. Maybe I stepped into it. I wonder if I can write when I am actually in the story? If I am still going to dance class when I finish my old work in progress, I will start writing the new Deb book. Being there will certainly give me inspiration!

  2. Wanda Hughes Says:

    One more suggestion, although it’s given with tongue in cheek. How about bitch slapping the Deb into the middle of next week? I’ve seen that innocent act so many times, my stepmother was a champion Deb. I watched her Deb act from the time I first met her, when I was about 4 years old. Nothing dissuaded her from victimizing everyone she could reach with her manipulations. My only saving grace was I finally got out of the house and out from under her influence, at least to some degree.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It’s a good suggestion, but I am trying to cut down the drama not add to it! A friend just sent me this message, which I am sure you can relate to: “We can no more control a narcissistic personality then we can control a schizophrenic whether making nice, ignoring, praying, meditating, or even moving physically away. If they want whatever it is they perceive you have, they will attempt to destroy your reputation, for their so called friends to see… if you confront, they will play the victim card and point out to her audience, if you ignore – same thing. Never give them a reason to do finger pointing…eventually ease out of the social circle. Let them find another target”

  3. Deborah Owen Says:

    Good heavens. Think I’ll change my name. lol

  4. Fast Pam@thelifebus Says:

    Oh Pat, dealing with a narcissist is extremely difficult. As u said, there is no logic in their psyche, which makes it maddening. I have a sister and a mother with this disorder. I have cut them both out of my life for various reasons. Mostly for my sanity. I’m sorry about your brother.

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