I was raised in a narcissistic family, where the children had to cater to the needs of the parents. It wasn’t until I was in my forties that it dawned on me that children are not supposed to make allowances for the parent’s lapses, but instead, the parents are supposed to help the children with theirs. We all grew up eventually, parents included, so that helped, and by doing for my parents what they hadn’t done for me once I was out of diapers — help them at their neediest — I paid off whatever karmic debt had been accrued.
Then, I had to deal with a brother who had some sort of personality disorder, enhanced by the grandiosity of a narcissist. After two years of his abuse, I literally drove him away — took him back to Colorado and dumped him on the street. I didn’t want to do that — I’d planned on getting him a motel room for a week or two, but the laws in that particular city made that impossible. Leaving him there was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I cried the entire 1000 miles back to where I was caring for my dad in his last days. I have not seen my brother since. I did not give him my phone number, and the address he had for me now belongs to someone else. It makes me very sad to think I had to resort to such measures, but it truly was a matter of survival.
You’d think by now I’d have learned to deal with the narcissists that get their claws into me, but since another narcissist has shown up in my life, one I have been calling “Deb” after a character in Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare I am once again researching narcissism. A lovely and very wise woman told me that you cannot control a narcissist, whether by making nice, ignoring, praying, meditating. If they want whatever it is they perceive you have, they will attempt to destroy your reputation, and if you confront them, they will play the victim card. Her advice was to ease my way out of the situation. Although I know the only way to deal with such narcissists is to walk away from them forever, as I did with my brother, in this case, I’d also be walking away from something that once was a lifesaver — dance classes. And I’d be walking away from a friend who is almost like a sister to me.
One thing I found in my research is that narcissists, for all their bragging about how strong they are, are inherently weak. They project themselves onto another person, seeing their bad qualities in that person (because they can’t face them in themselves), and subsuming that person’s good qualities into themselves. And, despite what it might seem with all this recent blogging about the Debs, I am strong. No wonder she has fixated on me!
Just knowing all this will help, but I also came across two very good ways to deal with the Debs. One is to envision the energy that connects the two of us, and using bright gold scissors, cut that cord of energy. Visualize her energy snapping back into her and my half of the energy cord shining brilliantly as it rises to the sun. I love this idea because it is energy that really seems to be the issue here — both her negative energy that disturbs the energy created when dancing, and the energy I have been giving to the situation.
Another way to handle the Debs if you can’t escape is to be like a rock. Apparently, narcissists play with people the way children play with Barbie and Ken dolls (or whatever the current doll fad is), but they tend not to be interested in dull, gray rocks.
I’d been mostly doing okay by retreating into rock form and not goading her into the drama that she feeds on, but from what I have been reading, even something as minor as a flinch or a turning away (which I have to admit, I have done) can escalate the drama, especially if another person is there to help it along by calling attention to the reaction.
So, bright scissors and dull rocks.
Sounds like a plan.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Unfinished, Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram 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.