It is difficult to deal with a narcissist when you are a grown, independent, fully functioning adult. The children of narcissists have an especially difficult burden, for they lack the knowledge, power, and resources to deal with their narcissistic parents without becoming their victims. Whether cast into the role of Scapegoat or Golden Child, the Narcissist's Child never truly receives that to which all children are entitled: a parent's unconditional love. Start by reading the 46 memories--it all began there.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Fable for our Lives

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won't sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

“Because,” replies the scorpion: “It is my nature...”

Scorpions sting, mosquitoes bite, magpies steal…does anyone expect anything different from them? How many hours have been spent trying to elicit change in the natures of these beasts? How much guilt and personal pain do we endure because somehow, some way, we provoked them? How much hope do we hold out that we can walk through a cloud of mosquitoes and not get bitten? Or do we simply accept that it is the nature of these creatures to sting, bite, steal and do whatever we must to avoid being injured by them?

You know where this is going, don’t you? Do you think that the rules of nature don’t apply to one particular pet mosquito you might have? Or perhaps you think you can induce your pet magpie not to steal shiny things you leave laying around your house. Have you tried, like the frog, bargaining with your scorpion only to find yourself stung yet again?

For some peculiar reason we find it easy to accept that the scorpion will sting without provocation, the mosquito will bite you because you are there, the magpie will steal because it is its nature…and we hold no hope of them changing their behaviours. We accept that this is what they are and what they do and we take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones from them. And yet, we live with a scorpion in our midst, a blood-sucking mosquito at our elbow, a magpie at the other end of the phone…and we expect them to change and we feel guilty about taking steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones from them.

I am, of course, talking about narcissists. And denial…your denial and the pervasive and perhaps subconscious belief that there is a chance that your narcissist will “wake up,” grow a conscience and miraculously transform into a loving person who will feel remorse for treating you badly and bend over backwards to make amends.

We are talking about hope, that same hope the frog experienced when he agreed to ferry the scorpion across the river, the same hope that was dashed midstream when the scorpion dropped the mask that inveigled the frog into making what would become a fatal agreement. Like the scorpion, narcissists spin a good tale. They draw us in with convincing logic and faked behaviours and, like the scorpion, can maintain the façade for as long as it takes to achieve their objectives. But once victory is firmly in their grasp, they revert to their true selves and you are again stung.

It is tempting to say that the frog’s mistake was in believing that the scorpion could change its nature, but I think it goes deeper than that. You can believe something is possible without committing your well-being to it…that takes hope. It takes both the belief that something is possible and the hope that it is true to take us to the point of making that commitment…the frog not only believed that it was possible for a scorpion to restrain its nature, the frog had the hope that it was true and, based on that hope, committed himself to what turned out to be a fatal venture. Humans do this all the time…we believe it is possible to get a million dollars by helping some Afghani general’s widow smuggle ill-gotten gains out of the country and hope leads us to believe her tale is true. We believe it is possible that the doctors are wrong and hope leads us to quack cures for illnesses like diabetes and cancer. We allow hope to lead us down paths where, if we had no hope, just bare facts, we would never consider treading.

Hope is not a bad thing…misplaced hope is a bad thing. When we hope some creature will go against its nature because that is what we want it to do, we are doomed to disappointment. A man who climbs the fence into the lion enclosure at the zoo because hope has led him to believe the lions won’t harm him…even though he has never been within touching distance of a lion…will be locked up (provided he survives) for observation, his mental health in question. And yet we, who have a lifetime of experience being hurt by the stingers of our narcissists, keep coming back for more, driven by the hope that this time it will be different.

It is said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, but I disagree. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is a manifestation of hope…hope that something, this time, will change, that something we say or do will lift the scales from their eyes, soften their stony hearts, open the locked and sealed doors of their minds. We try everything: kindness, cruelty, acquiescence, rebellion, withholding, generosity, love, hate…but nothing shakes them loose. We try to win their love, their approbation, using everything and anything that comes to mind: our techniques may change, but our objective does not: we seek their love, their respect, their approval. And we are regularly and predictably disappointed.

So what was the frog’s mistake? The fundamental mistake the frog made, the error upon which he set the hope that led him to make his fatal bargain, was the belief that the scorpion’s mind worked the same way his did. When the scorpion said “Because if I do, I will die too,” that made perfect sense to the frog. He believed the scorpion had the same mental processes he had and this logic was incontrovertible: the scorpion would not hurt him because in doing so, the scorpion would hurt himself. And this, I think, is where we make our biggest mistake in dealing with narcissists: believing that their minds work like ours and those of other people, believing that the same methods we use to elicit the cooperation of others will work on the narcissist.

But the narcissist is not like other people. She has no “better nature” to appeal to, she has no compassion to evoke, she has no sense of reciprocity. Until we accept…truly accept…that the narcissist is like a scorpion, that she has her own agenda and will pursue it regardless of anything we do or say, we will continue to be lured into traps, then be hurt and disappointed.

And this is where denial comes in: the frog knew he was dealing with a scorpion. He did not delude himself into believing that the creature was something more benign, he did not deny the essential nature of the beast…but too often we do. We feel that it is somehow our fault that our narcissists treat us like shit, that there is something wrong with us because we don’t seem to be able to find that magic key that will unlock the love and nurturing parent we so deserve. And we feel guilty and we redouble our efforts, only to get stung again.

We make an immense mistake when we ascribe our very normal mental and emotional functions to the narcissist. In believing the narcissist thinks like us, we must believe that her attitudes and behaviours stem from the same kinds of things that would provoke us to those behaviours. And believing that brings a secondary belief: if we can be provoked to certain behaviours and also dissuaded from them, then if the narcissist’s behaviours are the result of provocation (what else could it be?) and she can be dissuaded from them by finding the right thing to say or do.

But what we fail to see is that there can be no magic key to unlock the loving nature of our narcissists because there is no loving nature to unlock. There is only self-serving selfishness and the narcissist uses whatever tactic or technique that works to get what she wants from the people around her. The frog knew he was dealing with a scorpion, he had no illusions about the nature of the creature he was dealing with, but too often we do not. And even when we do, like the frog, we may accept that our antagonist is a narcissist but fail to grasp just what that means in practical terms.

Humans tend to seek reasons…our brains seek patterns in order for the world to appear more orderly and predictable to us. When we are faced with a situation in which we cannot see a reason, we can be frightened because without a reason to help us build a predictable pattern, we feel unsafe. Our need for reasons underpins our creation of gods and religions, superstitions and magic: if we can’t find a reason that the sky bellows and weeps, then we create a reason…gods fighting, goddesses weeping, the lightning bolt a god’s weapon used to signal displeasure with the puny humans below. As children we do the same: our mother is angry with us and we can see no legitimate reason, we create one: we did something wrong, we are inadequate, we are not pretty enough, not smart enough, not accomplished enough…not good enough, for our mother to love.

We want to believe that our narcissists not only can change, but that given the right motivations, they will change. And that is where we are most wrong: narcissists don’t want to change, they simply want their own way and they want complete freedom—the kind of freedom that is not curtailed by such inconveniences as compassion or conscience—to pursue their goals.

The scorpion’s behaviour made no sense at all to the frog…he indulged his base nature and condemned himself in the bargain, something the frog would never dream of doing. To the rational mind, there has to be a payoff, and we cannot fathom the payoff a narcissist gets from her behaviour any more than we can fathom the payoff an anorexic gets as she deliberately brings herself to the brink of death by starvation. But just because we can’t see the payoff doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Be careful, also, of dismissing or discounting the narcissist’s payoff that you can see—just because you cannot see the value in the payoff, just because it is worthless to you, doesn’t mean the narcissist does not hold it in high value.

The scorpion, after all, was willing to die for his payoff and it didn’t matter if the frog—or anyone else—understood it or not. What mattered is that the scorpion valued it enough to die for, and that was enough to motivate him to do what he did.

Remember that the next time your narcissist does something baffling, you don’t need to understand anything about the narcissist’s behaviour, you simply have to accept that she does what narcissists do…and, regardless of anything you might say or do, always will.


  1. Great post, Violet. It reminds me of when I found my dearly beloved cat dead in the garden, in the rain. I was in tears, putting his rigid, wet body in a paper bag, and my sister (whom I hadn't seen in years) started cracking jokes about it. My other sister was there as well and although she did show compassion, when I asked her how on earth could someone be so cruel as to make fun of someone else's sadness, she said: "Oh, you know how she is." That's when I finally realized that I needed to stay the hell away from these people.The abuser gets excused and the abused need to understand because 'it's just how they are'? That's creepy, like some weird horror movie, but I see this kind of behavior more and more now. I calls 'em as I sees 'em and stay far, far away.

    1. Well, your sister was DID know how she was. But you were the most right of didn't excuse the warped one and you stopped giving her opportunities to hurt you.

      For me, the enablers and excusers are as bad as the narcissists themselves...if they would stand up en masse and condemn the narcissists to their faces, they could effect a change in behaviour--not a change in heart or belief or feeling of entitlement and superiority--but if NOBODY supported the narcissist or excused his/her behaviour, the narcissist would have to stop those behaviours in order to get Nsupply, the only motive a narcissist does anything for. Absent 100% censure from everyone around her, though, the narcissist has no motive to change...and staying away from them and their enablers is, in my opinion, the smartest, healthiest thing you can do for yourself.

    2. I am so sorry for your dear cat :(.

      I have also heard the "this is just the way I am [or "..they are.."], and you have to accept that". This has been used to justify all the wrong doings against me. Like it is a law of nature that a) they must hurt people b) the people who are hurt just have to stay put. It is just that neither of the points is true at all!

      Almost all narcs have the freedom to choose; shall I hurt or not. I kept thinking a long time that they just cannot help themselfs. They really "have to" hurt me, because they do not know any other way to behave.

      But: at some point I realized that no, they actually don't have to hurt me! They do not treat all the other people so bad. When NM met the neighbour, she did not hurt her. When she met my friends, she did not hurt them. She did not hurt my GC brother. I understood that somehow this "law of nature" only applied to ME! I was the only person to whom she "just is like that". She DID have a choise! She choose to treat me like worthless shit! It is not "the way she is", it is the way she CHOSE to be! Oh what an eye opener!

      Secondly... I too have a choise. I don't have to stand for it, whether she just is or isn't that way. Just like in the story, the scorpion just is the way she is - still, nobody is supposed to stay put and just wait when it stings.

      What I am saying: very often the phrase "she just is who she is" is used for the victim as "you have no right to leave or defend yourself because she cannot help it". And this is sooo wrong. She CAN help it if she wants, and even if she could't, it does not mean that the victim has to sacrifice her/himself to the poor abuser who cannot help it.

      In the last conversition I had with NM before NC she once again said that "I am what I am and you just have to accept it. You cannot ask me to change". When I answered: "I know. But even if I accept it, does not mean I have to stand it. I have a right to choose not to have a relationship with a person who does not treat me well". This left her speechless. I suppose it had never even occured to her, that I, her doughter, have a right to choose also.


  2. Hi Violet, I've just come across something on the web, called EFT for healing oneself of emotional abuse from narcissists. (came up on my google search) ..What is EFT? I know nothing about it. Is it good, bad or what? Do you recommend it?.....Thanks :-)

  3. I strongly recommend against it.

    Go to the top of the main page of my blog and look at the tabs below the banner and click on the tab that says "Beware this site DONM" I will bet dollars to donuts that this is the site where you found the idea that you can heal yourself from emotional abuse from narcissists. Click that tab and read.

    Here is an excerpt from it: "Let’s start with some truth here: the site is run by a woman named Tracy Culleton [Danu Morrigan] and it is owned by her husband, Peter Harris, who owns an internet portal site and who designs and manages websites for a living. Contrary to the sad face Tracy wears on the site, she is actually an internet entrepreneur with many, many lucrative irons in the fire. Overarching all of her sites, however, is a thing called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or “tapping”) which she offers…for a substantial fee, of course…to everyone who reads any of her websites. It doesn’t matter what kind of trauma you suffer from, Tracy wants you to believe she can EFT you to emotional health, and that you need her services, no matter the cost. (Tracy is in Ireland—you have to pay for an overseas call for 30 minutes or more plus hundreds of dollars for each session!)

    "There is no bonafide, independent study ever done that indicates any effectiveness for EFT, only testimonials (anecdotal evidence) that people have given her that she displays on her site. Two years ago I contacted one of the writers of a testimonial (I don’t know if it is still running today) and this person told me a horror story that gave me the willies. Emotionally fragile, she succumbed to Tracy’s blandishments for EFT and Tracy’s pressure to write a testimonial. After a couple of sessions she had a severely traumatic reaction to Tracy’s probing and pushing. Given that Tracy was in Ireland and this woman was on America’s West Coast, there was no way Tracy could take appropriate palliative steps and the woman went into an emotional tailspin. She subsequently asked Tracy to take down her testimonial and not only did Tracy refuse, she posted the testimonial on a second site, this time using the woman’s full name (which is how I was able to track the poor woman down)!! Interestingly, there is nothing on any of Tracy’s sites that indicates you can get instructions on the internet on how to do EFT by yourself…for free!"

    We would all like to have an effective shortcut to healing but if we are to be brutally honest with ourselves, we have to accept there is none. Nothing works except doing the painful work of therapy (whether guided by a therapist or not) that takes us back to the original pain we are repressing, bringing it out in the open and processing it. And that hurts. And it takes time.

    You can try all the panaceas in the world...drugs, alcohol, tranquilizers, voodoo like EFT and it will not heal you. At best, you will get momentary relief of your symptoms but the problem causing the symptoms will still be there until you address them.

    I used to work in the biotech industry and part of my job included researching the existing literature (in medical journals) for specific information my boss wanted. I know how to do this very well and I have researched EFT when I first came across it. There is only one so-called "study" out there about it and it was not conducted by an independent research team, it was conducted by one of the originators of EFT--and because it was not an independent study, it is not bonafide. No other study supporting the efficacy exists.

    You would do just as well...if not better...with a program of regular meditation.

  4. Dear Violet,

    This post is fantastic! It points out the biggest problem - ignorance to the existence of people who are not neurally equipped to have concern for others.

    It's time to stop feeding kindergarten children myths such as "Everybody has feelings".


    1. Tina, everybody DOES have feelings, including psychopaths and narcissists. What they lack is the ability to feel for others...empathy for the feelings of others...but they most definitely have feelings and it is that fact that provokes many of them to their outrageous behaviour.

      That incapacity to feel for others, however, is not an acceptable excuse for treating others badly...a person can have no idea about empathy but still recognize social mores and expectations and comply with them. Narcissists and psychopaths simply refuse to accede to the expectations of society and, without the ethical compass of empathy to guide them, end up dangerous to the emotional well-being of others.

      They do, however, have feelings themselves and have a right to have them respected until and unless respecting their feelings means hurting someone else. And it is dangerous, I think, to raise children with the idea that if a person doesn't seem to have feelings, it is ok to treat them with something less than respect.

      It is my firm belief that everyone--and I mean EVERYONE--is entitled to be treated with respect and care for his/her feelings until and unless a person does something worthy of earning my disrespect. This takes me out of the realm of being "entitled" to judge others and put them in the position of creating their relationship with me: treat me with respect and you'll get it back; treat me with disrespect and you may get that back as well.

  5. Thanks Violet. Yes that was indeed the site, and when I realised it was the one you'd warned about, I got off it. (I didn't realise, immediately. I'd just started reading some lady's testimony.).

    But I DID see the advert for EFT and was curious what the heck it even is!

    You were certainly right. Everything they offered (including a kit), cost money. You even have to pay to do the questionairre to find out if your mother is a narc. Considering that info is readily available on the net for free, I felt the site was just exploiting people.

    That's when the penny dropped, that it was the site you'd warned about.

    I was curious though. It doesn't sound like something I'd be able to cope with. I've already learned the hard way, that I have to go slow with all this. Dragging up memories and painful things said to me, all at once, (a few days ago, I tried a therapy I read about in a New Age book), made me go to pieces afterwards.

    I thought I was okay, but then all these feelings of shame, and rage, and guilt and a sense of injustice came boiling to the surface, and I was mess! Trouble was, I didn't know what to do with the feelings, and it was so traumatic! I found myself WISHING I'd never undertaken the procedure to start with. (It was a New Agey self healing book). I ended, crying and distraught, and feeling helpless, like I was drowning in my pain.

    I realise now, that it was totally unsuitable for a person like myself, trying to recover from serious abuse.

    So no, I'm definately NOT interested in quick fixes.

    Instead, I spent today journalling, and that helped so much more.

    This wasn't about my mother, incidently. A few months ago, I got savagely (verbally) attacked by a malignant narcissist. It's long story, but it was so vindictive, and when I realised and tried to get away, he stalked me, to attack me over and over again. It was harrowing, and I was left badly traumatised. Fortunately, my partner (who was away) was there for me, albeit, long distance..

    Believe it or not, all that set MN off originally, was that I didn't share his point of view on something, and graciously tried to agree to disagree. Next thing, pow!!! He was enraged and launched a personal attack on me, and spent his morning at work making phone calls and trying to find anyone who knew me, to drag up things about my personal life, to use against me. And tracked down my ex.

    Then he started writing sick twisted stuff to me, and when I blocked him, he used his work email address to tell me he was tracking down my ex, and was going to ruin me and my reputation. I hadn't done anything wrong, and he could find nothing on me except a painful break up due to a cheating ex, so he started saying it was MY fault that I got cheated on and that I attract weirdo's and it secretly excites me.

    The only person getting excited, was him!

    I just couldn't believe the lengths this man was going to, to get his revenge. All because I held a different opinion (over something trivial) to himself.

    My partner was wonderful though. I contacted him, and he got me through all of it. He's been my best friend for the last several years, and knows pretty well everything about me, and is my staunchest ally.

    Narcissitic rage, huh. Never dare to disagree with them!

  6. I have a few questions for you.

    First, I have no experience with malignant narcissists. I'm not aware of any immediate or extended family member that has any personality disorder. I've just been reading a few sites that are written by others because I stumbled onto the topic and want to learn more..

    You wrote "Or do we simply accept that it is the nature of these creatures to sting, bite, steal and do whatever we must to avoid being injured by them?"

    One thing I've noticed in others writings is that the emphasis is on avoiding the MN. Doesn't this play into the MN's hands? Doesn't it leave the initiative to them, and puts everyone else on the defensive, and in a great deal of stress waiting for another attack?

    My question is: Wouldn't it be better to gain the initiative and engage the enemy? Put them on the defensive, by pushing their buttons incessantly and without mercy? Make them avoid and fear the abused instead of the other way around? Make THEM go NC, or be destroyed.

    I have a hard time understanding why going on the offensive is not discussed in any site I read. I know there could be a reason for that. It could be because I don't know enough, and there are legitimate reasons for not doing this. But as a reader, I have to ask what I consider the obvious question. Why not go on the attack. It's self defense.

    1. Why would anyone want to increase the discord and drama in their lives when a less fraught path was available?

      What you fail to realize about narcissists is that they to not respond to provocation like mentally balanced human beings, and they have few (if any) limits. I know narcissistic mothers who have mounted extensive campaigns to malign their scapegoat children and make them look crazy (or worse) and end up taking custody of the target's children away from them. I know of scapegoat daughters ending up in mental health facilities due to the lies told by their narcissistic mothers. I know of one woman who ended up in jail when her mother called the police and reported she had been beaten by her daughter and the woman's enabler husband claimed to have witnessed it.

      Who, in their right mind, engages a crazy person who has no limits to the level she will sink to get her own way when cutting off contact is an available choice?

  7. Sweet Violet,

    I am not saying to engage them on their terms. Just the opposite.
    I know they're dangerous, and they don't respond like real humans do, even though I don't know this by personal experience but by reading about them..

    By provocation, I mean reframing the conversation, or using other offensive tactics that actually work instead of being on constant defense. I'll give an example of what I am writing about.

    Suppose for example you have a weight problem.
    Suppose mommy dearest calls up. She heard of a diet that might help you. She is trying to push your buttons while appearing oh so helpful.
    Respond with "Ohhh HIIIiiiii! I was just thinking about you. I have some good news! "
    And then give her some good news about your life and tell her how happy that makes you feel.
    Totally ignore what the beast says in reply and go on with the conversation on your terms about your good news.
    And then hang up on her because a friend just showed up at your door. Doesn't matter if it's true or not, just so she thinks there is a friend at the door. Let this thing know that someone else out there is more important than they are.

    Give her nothing. Except rage and fear. If rage and fear are all they understand, then I say give it to them generously, with heaping portions. Let that creature feast on it.

    Is it legal to record conversations? I'm not sure where you live, and laws vary. Some states allow recording if you are party to the actual conversation. I'm in IL, and technically it's illegal (last time I checked) but it isn't prosecuted if I am a party to the conversation. If you can legally do this, then why not do it?

    I'm writing about being underhanded, and maybe vicious depending on what you consider being vicious, but 100% legal. And pushing the buttons that will set them off. Poke them with a verbal stick. And let them blow up and be known as the crazy one. Bonus points if you can get a recording of it.

    They are going to do what they want. If they want your kids, they will find a way to try and take them. If they want a person to be miserable and end up in a mental hospital, they will find a way, whether they are engaged (fought) or not. Am I right or wrong?

    They are going to keep doing this until they are stopped. And from what I read, any fighting back is done on the MNs terms because they are reacting and responding to the MNs behavior, so no wonder it has no effect on them, or it actually feeds them. Abused fight back defensively and that leaves the initiative to the MN,

    If cutting off contact is an available choice, and it actually works and doesn't provoke stalking, then I understand that. But what if that isn't a viable option, or what if they find you? From what I've read, some MNs will stalk. I personally would not want to be constantly looking over my shoulder 24/7/365.

    People write about "vengeance". This isn't vengeance. It's self defense. People have the right to fight back hard when under attack. It just seems that not many have the desire. I said it seems that way, to me. But I am only in my shoes, not anothers' shoes.

    Are there any men that blog about this?

    1. I still don't understand why anyone would choose to engage a narcissist and bring all that drama or why anyone would even advocate it. Yes, some of them will stalk, but most of them, if denied Nsupply long enough (and engaging them gives them Nsupply) will go to greener pastures. Since we who were raised by narcissists know that there is no possible way to change the narcissist's behaviour and belief, and the only way you can "win" is to get that narcissist to change, what is the point? All you do is make your own life more disrupted than it already is, make the narcissist the focal point of your life, and encourage her...counterproductive, if you ask me.

  8. Hi Violet - I just discovered your site after some looking into how to deal with difficult family members I'm currently dealing with. While i'm a fairly strong person and can stand up for myself, I have my faults. I tend to verbally (and sometimes even physically) lash out against people who anger me by their own narcissism (dangerous...right?) and while I don't want to go to jail for anything, I realize after reading this I get angry by my own holding on to hope that the narcissist will be 'different', when in reality, it's me who either has to accept it or move on. It's very hard when it's family - and sadly family you were once very very close with.

    What's some way to cope? In a way, they're "dead" to me - i.e., their old self. It's dead. It's never coming back. They're now this lost person with an agenda and will take down anyone in their way. Violet, It's so bad I don't even want this person at my wedding this summer! Is shutting them out completely a good idea? What should I do?

    Thank you for any advice.


      Read these entries and see if No Contact is right for you. It is perfectly acceptable to end contact with these people. There is no reason to keep toxic people in your life--NONE--but I caution you not to wait until the 11th hour. If you are going to go No Contact, do it as soon as possible and ignore that little voice that says you should write a letter explaining that there will be no more contact and why. That NEVER goes well...narcissists take it as a challenge to force you into contact and they will repudiate everything you give as reasons. It will only make them angry (and scared inside because in losing contact with you, they lose a potential source of Narcissistic Supply). If going No Contact is right for you, the "fade away" approach is generally the best.

      Best of luck to you

  9. So true, Violet. Narcissists LOVE the drama, love the challenge, and are all about it being a bloody competition. ...which they must win at all costs.. :-(

    It's a foolish thing to take one on, thinking you can beat them, because they are usually already doing things you could never have anticipated and it's usually something where YOU will cop all the blame, and wish afterwards with all your heart, you'd not allowed the narc back into your life, or worse, thought you could beat them at their own game.

    As Violet pointed out, narcs have NO limits. You can never really anticipate their next monstrous step, and often what they are ALREADY doing....meaning, they are already setting you up. They've already out maneuvered you (and sabotaged you), before you've even started.

    All it does is excite them. They feed on it. My NM loved to be challenged, and where a normal person would be in tears and stressed out by being confronted, my NM would go cold and deadly calm and verbally cut her 'opponent' down until she'd break them (I'd seen her do that with many people over the years), then privately set about her future revenge. And revenge with a narc doesn't stop, until they are sated. And sometimes, that may be a lifelong campaign against the other person. (momentarily interrupted, if the other person is of use to them in opposing some new opponent).

    I don't think narcs are ever satiated. And that's what makes them so dangerous.

    Opposing a narc, only excites them. It's like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

    That's just my experience.

    1. Very well said, Venus. VERY well said.

      Thank you.

    2. From "I Want to Be Happy": Anonymous' point of view or the things they are actually suggesting are not being read and understood accurately. They are not saying it's better to engage over 'no contact'. Just reading what they actually wrote. And the offensive tactics are for when you cannot get 'no contact' happening. Also, my post should not be misconstrued to appear to suggest engaging over no contact.
      I agree, it is the best use of my time to focus on my life and creating my own happiness and whole family. In my case described above, where I had to be in considerable contact at the time (years ago; I long since moved far away and mostly no contact), I did what I personally needed to bring my suspicions about my mother's malice for me to the fore. I didn't go to her for the purpose of baiting her, but when the opportunity presented itself, I would go in if I could, if I felt strong enough to push her into a corner (figuratively) and make her squirm with the discomfort of having been found out. It's like setting up a hidden camera so you can see who or what is actually stealing cash from your register at work. You have your suspicions, your certainties even, of who the culprit is, but your boss doesn't see what you see, and actually seems to think it could be you who is stealing. So you're frustrated. You even second-guess your suspicions based on bits of circumstantial evidence that she's the one, like, it only happens during her shift, but no, you didn't actually see her hand in the till. Then, when you catch her on video and show it to her and your boss while she's claiming it wasn't her, it's powerful. You feel vindicated, including to yourself. A conflict inside yourself is resolved and that feels good, even gleeful. It's a long-awaited smack down for your side.
      In my case where I could corner her through the use of many of her own style of conversational plumbing tactics to face her lies, or reveal them in such a way that she could not argue with, it was Exhibit A in my own trial against her--keeping in mind that I truly did not want to find out for sure that my mother really and truly was that black hearted toward me. It helped me to ACCEPT the truth about her, to convict her. That's useful

  10. The following is from a reader who was unable to get her comment to post, so she sent it to me via email and asked me to post it for her.

    Oh, yes, wow, I like the idea of going on the offensive against my narcissist mom and enabler/co-narcissist dad. I used to quite enjoy baiting my mother just as she had baited me for years, into revealing her own lies or contradictions and then slamming her with it to her face to where she COULD NOT deny/excuse/smokescreen/etc. She'd be in a momentary state of shock, cornered, helpless, and it was DEE-licious for me. I would not drool and smack my lips, though, no no. I just enjoyed the effect and then, like she would do after slicing my heart to bits, just continue on as if nothing was happening, just pick up the conversation from a nearby spot and move on, la ti da, kind of what you'd call cat-and-mousing her. It was useful to see that I could outsmart her on that level, at least. And she's pretty freaking smart, with so many more years of practice at tricky-talk.

    Like so many of us learn though, that kind of engagement probably just escalates a war that can never be won. But they were invaluable moments in my life where the lies had been stripped away and there we were: mother and daughter, stabbing each other until one knocks the other one's sword down and sticks the point of her sword to the skin of the other. In my mind, that's what I felt like, and I thought along the lines of, "I could run you through right now, and we both know it, so we leave this battle knowing that I spared your life."

    I did that several times over in a few years' time. It probably made her more guarded, more offended at me, even more alluring a target for her to aim at, and no doubt, NO DOUBT, caused her to attack me more viciously behind my back. Knowing what I know now, chances are she described those conversations where I nailed her, but changed who said what to whom. She is a classic case in that regard: always taking credit for what good I've done, and trashing me for crappy things SHE'S done or said to or about others (meaning my siblings and in laws). I've heard that directly and voluntarily from two siblings, and seen it in the private email between her and another sibling (I was "cleaning" my mother's jammed-up computer for her while she was in the room with me... can't tell you how long I was waiting for a chance at that job... JUST to see if I could find something in writing, and I did. Just once, just one crack at her computer... pay dirt. Painful, but, the real truth, in black and white.) And, one sister in law copied a letter my mother wrote to her son, my nephew and junior by twenty years, where my mother arbitrarily brought my name forward to bash me; I begged that sister in law to help me keep my sanity by giving me a hard copy of that letter, on the promise that I would never, ever shove it in my mom's face. That SIL never really liked me, but, this she did give to me. Seeing it in black and white was powerful, but possessing it in black and white is long-term NOT FORGETTING.

    Anyway, the point is, I'm so glad I had those moments of going on the offensive and gaining the victory of seeing her squirm with her unveiled lies, and of the achievement of cornering HER; and, I can't really tell you or myself if it made my LIFE any happier. It helped me put the period at the end of the sentence though. It's hard to CATCH this woman, and I did, many times while I had to be in her vicinity anyway, and it informed my continued healing: she was really, really lying, and bad-mouthing me, and I got her to paint herself into the corner and reveal herself. I certainly could no longer go on trying to fool myself whether she was trashing me to others or not. That's a passage, progress, as long as I REMEMBER it. That's the thing: we have to keep remembering every day: this is what she is and this is why I must keep saying NO to her being in my life.

    I want to be happy.


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