It’s Narcissist Friday!
If information is power, then the narcissist will have it. Ever notice how the narcissist knows things you don’t? Or how the information you want is hard to get? Or how information is bottle-necked at the same place (person) all the time? Yeah, that’s on purpose.
Narcissists love to have information. They gather information about people especially. All the latest gossip and dirt. They make it a point to know the back story on everyone they think they can use. They know who is open to manipulation and compromise.
But there’s more than that. The narcissist knows that information is important to movement in our lives and in our organizations. So he/she will use it as a tool for control. You get only the information the narcissist wants you to have. Many of those who work with narcissists will tell about the bottleneck that is the narcissist’s desk. It might be the boss, or it might be a co-worker, but things stop at that desk. Sometimes it’s the secretary or administrator. When you have to hunt for the information you need, something you ought to have, you almost always find it at that desk.
And remember that the narcissist doesn’t just want to control, he/she wants you to know you are being controlled. You are to feel inferior and confused. It is the narcissist’s superiority you have to deal with. Anything you get is a privilege for you.
Sometimes you are expected to know the information, the information you were never given. Just to keep you on edge and inferior, you are held responsible for information you don’t have.
“You should have known about that appointment They called three days ago.”
“We always use that supplier.”
“Oh, he changed his mind. Didn’t you get the memo?”
“What do you mean you don’t have it done? I told you a week ago!”
“Really, you showed up? Ha ha! That meeting was called off a month ago.”
But, of course, the narcissist never actually sent that memo or reminder. He/she knew about it and held you accountable for it, but didn’t really tell you. The appointment was on the narcissist’s calendar, maybe even available on another calendar most people don’t use, but not where you would see it easily. And now you look bad. Now you have to scramble. Now you are frustrated and confused. And now the narcissist has even more control.
Many spouses understand this. From the little things, like not mentioning that he used up something in the kitchen, to the big things, like letting that insurance policy drop or never following through on an investment. Or even bigger, like not mentioning a marriage and a daughter and letting the third wife think she was the second until the daughter showed up (yep, true story).
Controlling information makes the narcissist feel strong. He knows something you don’t. She has a way to make you look foolish or make you scramble.
Information is power.
So what do you do? Plan on gathering your own information. Find and be aware of any obscure places information might be found. The narcissist will probably have a way of claiming that the information was out there for you. Find his/her hiding places. Ask others to copy you on information. Create a community that shares information as much as possible. Others have faced the same bottleneck.
Keep your own paper trails. Email trails are easy to maintain and retrace. If you can show that you never received an email, or that you received inaccurate information, you will at least know that you are sane. Have a family calendar and make it clear that you are only responsible for things entered on it. Post it where others can see it.
Don’t trust the narcissist. That seems like something that doesn’t need to be said, yet trusting that person may be what got you into trouble in the first place. Double check everything. Get confirmations. If you are responsible for something, make sure you will have what you need. You don’t want to find out that the projector is in the narcissist’s car just before you need it. (Okay, that dates me, but you know what I mean.)
The old adage about the word “assume” making “an ass out of u and an ass out of me” doesn’t really work with a narcissist. It will only make an ass out of u. If there is risk in something changing, don’t assume that it hasn’t. Certainly don’t assume that the narcissist would have told you.
Information is power. The narcissist will grab it and hold onto it. Then use it against you. That’s how it works.