It’s Narcissist Friday!
(I am aware that this blog continually attracts new readers. With somewhere around two hundred posts on narcissism and narcissistic relationships, it can be challenging for anyone to really use this material. The search function works very well, if you know what to ask for. Otherwise, we will all have to wait as the blog posts are sorted and categorized in preparation for a new (and exciting!) website. So for the next few weeks, I want to dig back into the archives to pull out some of the posts that seemed most helpful over the last few years. Please feel free to comment.)
Okay, I may be the last person in the US to watch the Avatar movie. I watched it last week. No particular comments on the movie. But there was one thing that stood out and I think I will remember for a long time. When the people wanted to communicate real connection, they said, “I see you.”
A couple of weeks ago I had an encounter with one of the narcissists in my life. I have to limit the details because I don’t even want to come close to identifying him. I was visiting with two friends when the narcissist came up to me (most likely to see why I was there—this was his turf). He put his hand on my shoulder and I turned and we exchanged greetings. So far, so good. It lasted about a minute. After very brief conversation, he began to berate the two friends with whom I had been speaking. He spoke so negatively about them that I was afraid of what they would think. Apparently they were (or pretended to be) in conversation themselves and didn’t hear what he said.
Now, the narcissist couldn’t have missed the fact that someone was standing with me. He should have known them by name and position. The only thing I can figure out is that he simply didn’t see them as anything important to him at the moment. After his statements, he looked up at the clock and said that it was slow. Then he walked away without a further word to me.
So, what happened? He didn’t see them; at least not in the sense the Avatar movie uses the phrase. Because his mind was on what he was saying, because he was positioning and preening, because he didn’t know if I was still a threat to him, he didn’t pay any attention to the people standing nearest to him. He sent the same message to me when he walked away without finishing the conversation. Once his little purpose was over, he moved on to the next opportunity to make himself look important.
You say, Dave, didn’t you try to defend your friends? Didn’t you try to fix the situation? Nope. As I often am around narcissists, I was dumbfounded. What had happened was so far from anything I saw as normal that it took me a few moments to understand it. By that time, the opportunity had passed.
This is what the narcissist is like. Others are not important until they are important to him. He simply doesn’t see them.