It’s Narcissist Friday!
I have received many emails and comments that talk about how the narcissist has separated the writer from family and friends over the years. This is a sad but common occurrence in narcissistic relationships.
In spite of the fact that most narcissists seem to surround themselves with people, narcissism is fundamentally an isolationist disorder. Narcissists only show the image of themselves to others. They share only what they can control. They hide from others.
Narcissists hide because they are afraid. They are afraid of facing the reality of their incompetence and vulnerability. That fear causes them to be very aware of the power of others in their lives and world. People with power to expose their weaknesses or put them in uncomfortable situations must either be controlled or avoided.
I have suggested before that the narcissist sees a person in one of three ways: tool, toy, or obstacle. A tool is used to get what he wants. A toy is used for pleasure. An obstacle must be removed or overcome.
Every person in a relationship brings others with them. A young lady may have parents or siblings or friends who have been supportive. A business colleague will bring a network. A friend will bring other friends. These support people must fit into one of the three categories for the narcissist.
Parents, for example, are often seen as obstacles. Narcissists will sometimes move their families away from grandparents or they will refuse to attend family gatherings. Younger siblings, sisters for example, might become toys for the narcissist to use to build his self-esteem. Grandparents could become tools, sources of money or comrades in convincing a wife to comply. Some narcissists are able to convert a spouse’s family and friends, but most simply isolate.
Many times I have been told that the narcissist required the victim to move. He couldn’t lose his job. She (the N) couldn’t leave her hometown. He had to stay close to his kids. So the new spouse or girl/boyfriend leaves her job, his hometown, her kids. It will be okay, we will visit often. But it doesn’t seem to happen.
Your friends wonder why you don’t call, why you can’t connect, what has happened. There really isn’t any answer except that the narcissist seems so strange about it. You don’t want to get together with anyone without him, but you certainly can’t go with him. So, you begin to separate yourself. Just to keep the peace. Just to avoid a hassle.
But the hassle is purposeful. It’s in the plan. And the little comments or outright lies. They begin to get under your skin. Who could be so wrong all the time? Maybe there is something to what he says. He says that your mom hates him and wants you to get a divorce from him. Nothing could be further from the truth, but you better keep them separate. Better not go to Thanksgiving this year. He would just cause a scene anyway.
Pretty soon, you are living far away from your parents. To defend him, you have to stand against them. Same thing with your siblings. Then your friends. Pretty soon you are alone. That was the plan.
Listen: I know this can be very hard and scary. There could be a real risk if your spouse is violent or given to very strong reactions. But you are a person. You need other people. They may need you. Get in the car and visit your parents. If he doesn’t want to go, let him stay home. Call one of your friends. Get to know a neighbor.
And if you are afraid of the reaction you will get from your spouse, there may be even more reason to reconnect with people who will stand by you. Tell them that you are afraid. Yes, your narcissist may get angry or act hurt, but you have a right to be you. Your feelings are valid and important.
Narcissists neither know nor care about the feelings of others unless they can use those feelings for more control. Don’t expect your narcissist to do what is best for you. Expect him to do what he thinks is best for him.
If you are afraid of abuse, please be willing to report anything to the law and let your narcissist know that you will report it. Take pictures, go to the hospital, call the police. I wish I could emphasize this enough. No spouse should be afraid of being abused. It isn’t right and it should stop. That’s what the heavy hand of the law is for.
Be careful, but you have to take care of yourself. So many have told me that they are all alone against the abuse of their narcissist. If you can avoid this early in the relationship, do it. If it ends the relationship, let it end. You have to be healthy. You have to be you.