The Parting Shot

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

The ancient Parthians may or may not have been the source of our term “parting shot,” but their archers had a similar practice.  As they rode away from the enemy, they turned almost completely around on their horses and fired back at the pursuers.  That unexpected act claimed many soldiers, even leaders.

I enjoy many kinds of music, including that of Michael Bublé.  So, when I heard a quote by him this past week where he mentioned narcissism, I had to check it out.  The Bublé family is struggling with the illness of one of their children, and the struggle is taking a toll.  Michael has announced his retirement from performing.  He will spend his time with his family.  Good for him.  I suspect that is far more difficult to do than most of us understand. 

In fact, the clue is in his parting shot.  He says,

“I don’t have the stomach for it any more.  The celebrity narcissism. This is my last interview. I’m retiring. I’ve made the perfect record and now I can leave at the very top.”

“The celebrity narcissism.”  There’s a culture that few of us will ever see.  The competition, the constant performance, the unreasonable expectations—look nice, talk nice, act nice.  Don’t let anyone see the real you.  Hide from everyone.  Try to hide from yourself.  Don’t cry.  Don’t give in to temptations.  Don’t cuss out the idiots.  Hold it in. 

So, he’s out.  Wow!  It’s tempting to think that he is a good guy who just got caught up in all of it and now realizes how artificial and meaningless it all was.  And that may be exactly what he is.  But then there’s that parting shot. 

Every performer is competing.  Every professional is expected to grow an audience, to stay ahead of the race.  I think we see a little of that in his claim that he has “made the perfect record” and “can leave at the very top.”  Just a comment to anyone who thinks he is giving up or copping out.  Just a note to those behind him.  One last statement of superiority.

I don’t know if Michael Bublé is a narcissist.  Probably not.  But he certainly reflects the values and behavior of that narcissistic culture he is rejecting.  Narcissists often give these “parting shots” as they leave a place or position.  Last words that lift themselves up and put others down.  Last words to remind you that he is ahead of you. 

When Richard Nixon lost the California governor’s race in 1962, he blamed the media.  He appeared before the reporters to make a statement after the loss and said, “You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.”

Of course, like most narcissists, he didn’t stay quiet after that.  We remember that Nixon came back to win the presidency in 1968, surprising all those who had written him off a few years before.  His parting shot in 1962 was a way of telling everyone that he was still on top and would have been elected governor except for the unfair treatment by the press.  It was someone else’s fault.

Narcissists not only like to have the last word, they want the last word to be cutting and pointed.  The employee says that it won’t be hard to find a better job than the one he is being forced to leave.  The husband who tells his wife that he never really loved her as he walks out the door.  The teacher who says she had no chance to win against the type of children and parents today.  The pastor who says that most of his congregation were not really Christians anyway.  The mother who tells an adult son that he never honored her.  The boss who predicts the failure of the company without him.

To be fair, many of us will think these things as we leave or are forced to go.  We may even wish we had the courage to say them.  But the narcissist will stop in his tracks, turn around, and just say it.  A parting shot.

14 Comments

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14 responses to “The Parting Shot

  1. Janet

    Wow! This is soooooo true! If I had a dollar bill for every vicious “parting shot” I got from my Narc bff! Then months down the road, I would get the obligatory fake apology, or an email as if nothing happened.
    2 years ago I finally told her it was time to go no contact, I was finished. She tried the back handed indirect “acknowledgement” that she had not been on her best behaviour but it was all because of x,y,z, blzh blah blah, etc. When I didn’t respond in the way her manipulations should have produced, she blew up at me, (narc rage) (narc injury) unloaded how unChristian I was as well as many other faults (devaluing) and suddenly “decided” she needed to go no contact (as if it were all her idea originally, gaslighting) for her own safety (???) (blame shift, criminalization, projection of abuse onto me). Well, about 8 months later I shockingly discovered she had started following me on Insta gram and posted a really weird 4 second video aimed at me (Narc hoovering). I ignored it. Months later she unfollowed, (no more supply). A text book case Covert Narcissist.

  2. Maya

    Here’s a common parting shot…”you’re nothing without me.” Extremely hurtful.

  3. The One

    Oooooh, is that what it’s called!!! The ex narc boyfriend/colleague told me a few yrs ago, “he needed to find somebody better than me”! You are talking about words that pierced my heart 😖?!?!
    I immediately cut all romantic ties with him! I figured, well if he wants somebody better, then so long!! After awhile, I thought about his scathing remark and thought, “he really is crazy, he’ll NEVER find anyone like me!!!” Now fast forward to today after many attempts to try and hoover me as if nothing ever happened. No thank you sir, no thank you!!

  4. Amy

    “Narcissists not only like to have the last word, they want the last word to be cutting and pointed…The husband who tells his wife that he never really loved her as he walks out the door.”

    Or in my case — the husband (who thankfully is my ex now!) who plans a dramatic departure from their home in some elaborate scheme to make others believe the wife (me) kicked him out, passionately kisses his wife in front of their son and as he begins his exit out the front door turns and with tears in his eyes says, “If you ever want me back, just let me know!”, and waltzes out the front door as if in a Gone With the Wind movie.
    And me saying, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” LOL

    It’s amazing the things a narcissist will say and do, to continue to have the last word and make others see them as some victim, when they leave so many victims in their wake.

    Excellent post!

    • Penny

      Drama!!! It’s all about the drama!!
      They all deserve Oscars for pretending to be someone they aren’t.
      And why/how is it that they can cry or puke on cue??? It’s quite…..predictable.
      I’m sorry he did that to you.

      • Amy

        Yes, it is! It was amazing how he could cry at the drop of a hat and sickening because he had so many, especially from our former church, duped into believing he was some caring, emotional man. And the ironic part is, the minute we got home from church he was backstabbing most of those people who were only minutes before patting him on the back, giving him hugs and telling him they were praying for him.
        [puck]
        He did a lot of things to me and my two sons, but it’s going on 10 years that he left and I’m grateful every single day that God hear my cries and set me free.
        Life is good for me and my two sons, my ex on the other hand, is still the same. I can’t say I feel sorry for him, but I honestly feel sad for anyone who chooses this way in life.

  5. Fern

    Yes, I remember frequently receiving what I termed “Last Minute Bombs” from the Narc & his friends.
    One example of what they would do is, let the whole work shift go by relatively peacefully, & wait until basically the 11th hour (i.e. as I was punching out, or on the way to the car after punching out!) to drop their Bomb. They were even known to do this on the last day of the work week as well, so that I would have all weekend with no chance for a response.

    Something to get the last word, something to try and mess with me / rile me up, something to make their voice heard as the only one…. you know the drill….
    It could sometimes really bother me until I realized the tactic they were using, and being a Bomb, it was going to expand in my mind. Remembering that helped take away any “power” they thought they may have had.

    I am so appreciative of this community…a lot of validation in this post!
    Just wanted to share 🙂

  6. Penny

    “Narcissists not only like to have the last word, they want the last word to be cutting and pointed”.
    The classic final word comes from beyond the grave.
    The narc who promises everything (translated: money) then spends every dime and cuts loved ones out of inheritance.
    The narc who visits multiple attorneys to re-write and re-write and re-write the “last will & testament”, not as a blessing but as a curse.
    My narc has done this to her disabled grandson, against the wishes of her deceased husband.
    I could care less about her money, but it’s the cruel “last word” toward my son that was the final straw in my decision going NC. My son is not a pawn.
    Never forget that the narc is first & last about power & control….and that will be the only legacy they leave.

  7. My husband’s parting shot: https://www.kimsaeed.com/2015/12/02/to-the-bitter-end-a-sociopaths-11th-hour-confessions/. My husband was a performer. I don’t think his narcissism was a coincidence.

    • Penny

      Wow. I’m so sorry for what you endured. I’m so glad you learned that NC is not just from the narc, but from the Kook-aid drinkers, the bystanders, betrayers, flying monkeys, enablers & apaths.
      It so true you can get new friends, new homes, new careers, but you can never get back the wasted years. The years CAN be redeemed & the remaining years can be enriched & beautiful, but I too will forever grieve the years that were stolen, wasted & exploited.
      Blessings on you going forward….Selah.

      • Janet

        “It so true you can get new friends, new homes, new careers, but you can never get back the wasted years. The years CAN be redeemed & the remaining years can be enriched & beautiful, but I too will forever grieve the years that were stolen, wasted & exploited. Penny”

        THIS. IN. SPADES.

  8. Kim Costanzo

    Although this article is right on target, I wish you wouldn’t use famous people that you do not know as examples. Nixon WAS abused by the leftist press and false witness to shape the opinions of people you do not know is simply wrong no matter when they lived. Viet N was my generations war and we did not have the luxury of not being informed and engaged when our press, media and institutions were infiltrated by the enemy within.

    • Well, that’s what I get for mentioning a name! You are right, I didn’t know Nixon personally. But he was certainly in my generation as well. So was Vietnam. Nixon was badly abused by the press. He did not deserve either the treatment he had then or the reputation that clings to him today. Politics was changing dramatically at that time, and Nixon was caught in the process. I am not a Nixon-hater, as many of my generation have been. In fact, I wish that his accomplishments were better remembered. He was one of the better statesmen of modern history. He is, however, considered to be among the presidents who exhibited narcissistic characteristics – as were others who I will not name. 😉

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