It’s Narcissist Friday!
I have written some about friendships with narcissists before, but it seems appropriate to chime in with a little more here since I have been writing about friendships with legalists over the past week.
There isn’t as much written about narcissistic friendships because the assumption is that you can simply walk away from them. It isn’t like being married or born into a family or even stuck with one at work. But this seems to ignore the way narcissists connect with people.
Narcissists need friends. There may be some separated narcissists who prefer to live away from all others, but those would be aberrant. Normally, narcissists try to surround themselves with people who will give them adoration, service, or opportunity. You don’t get a lot of attention all by yourself.
So, generally, narcissists develop a personality that is outgoing, welcoming, and friendly. Some of the strongest narcissists I have known are very friendly people, willing to connect with almost anyone. It is this friendliness that many people see first and some never see anything else from the narcissist. That’s why they have a hard time believing the negative things narcissists are accused of.
But sometimes narcissists are able to trap people into what appeared to be a friendship at first and then became an abusive relationship. These victims are abused and manipulated and find it very difficult to escape. Why? Because the narcissist knows their secrets and knows how to twist their emotions. Just like the husband/boyfriend abuser who is able to lure his victim back for more, the narcissist presents himself/herself in friendships as repentant, hurt, and needy. He is also able to subvert other friendships so that the victim is seen as the abuser or at least as the cause of the problems.
So what do you do if you feel trapped in this kind of friendship? Obviously, get out if you can. Pay the price and be free. Let her tell what she needs to tell about you. Let him separate you from other friends who will believe his lies. Just get out.
I understand that there are times when this seems impossible. So begin by setting small boundaries. Say no more often. Don’t be as available. Learn to barter your time and energy with the narcissist. If he wants you to do something for him, require him to do something for you. The more you can keep to this kind of relationship, the more you will find him distancing himself from you. When you become a burden, in any way, he will focus on someone else and you may be free. There are ways to play the narcissist’s game against him.
And be thankful that your only relationship is as a friend. Some people are married to these folks!
I would be very interested in hearing your story, particularly if you solved the situation. I know others would be interested as well!