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.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rudeness—it can be a narcissistic tool


Since the inception of this blog more than three years ago, the following warning has been posted near the comment window at the bottom of each page: “I don't publish rudeness, so please keep your comments respectful, not only to me, but to those who comment as well. We are not all at the same point in our recovery.”

Silly me, I thought that was self-explanatory, but apparently not. The purpose of the warning was, primarily, to discourage trolls: if they know up front that they won’t get published ( and every comment, without exception, is reviewed by be before publication), they may not be willing to expend the effort to write something rude and trollish that they know will never see the light of day. There are some trolls, however…narcissists, really…who apparently see this as a challenge. And I have been dealing with one (possibly two) this week.

Rudeness is a tool in the narcissist’s bag of nasty tricks. Narcissists are well aware of the rules of polite discourse and know that we all expect that from each other. Deviation from the social script is what provokes shouting matches, fist fights, and worse. People hell-bent on winning at all costs can, when their ire is provoked, say and do ugly things. And nothing is more provoking than someone being rude for no discernible reason.

Narcissists use this to their advantage. If you can be provoked to losing your cool, the narcissist “wins” the competition going on in his head. The narcissist gets to walk away feeling superior for having taken control of your emotions and maybe even your better judgment, reducing you to a reacting, acting-out puppet. Some narcissists are so skilled at this that they aren’t even conscious of it…they blithely roll along, dropping little digs and barbs and spouting little zingers and skewering people with their sharp tongues, seemingly oblivious to the death by a thousand cuts they are inflicting on the people whose psyches are pierced by their unkind words. Other narcissists are keenly aware and use rudeness to hurt, control and/or punish others.

In the brouhaha with our visiting narcissist, James, there came some comments and emails from an anonymous writer purporting to not be James in disguise, comments opining that I should 1) apologise to James; 2) listen to James and 3) come to some kind of détente with James. I had to laugh because the author of these missives, if it wasn’t James, obviously missed the meaning of that brief warning near the comment window: “I don't publish rudeness, so please keep your comments respectful, not only to me, but to those who comment as well. We are not all at the same point in our recovery.”

So what was so rude about that, you ask? Well, rudeness does not have to be couched in offensive verbiage to still be rude. Think about it this way:

Suppose you held an open house with the objective of selling your cottagey little house and a person came in and started taking issue with the décor…with your choice of furnishings, throw rugs, knick-knacks, bedding. Suppose she criticized the colour of the sofa, the towels in the bathroom, even the bowl of fruit on the kitchen table. Suppose now, that you told her that since it was your house, it was going to be decorated to your taste, but all of these things would be going with you when you moved, and she should be focussing on the house itself, not on your sofa or towels.

Suppose, then, she told me you was incorrect, that the house should be decorated to her taste because your taste was wrong. Let’s say her taste was ultra-modern and yours was shabby chic and she is insisting that you must redecorate the house to her taste, not because it would sell better that way, but because she is right and you are wrong. Because her perceptions about your decorating taste are right and mine are wrong. Suppose, too, that she refused to stop criticizing your décor style, regardless of what you say about this being your house and that her taste is not appropriate to the cottagey architecture of the house while yours is.

This behaviour is what is known as “presumptuous” and presumptuous behaviour is the epitome of rudeness. In fact, Microsoft Word’s built-in thesaurus defines “presumptuous” as: arrogant, rude, presuming, audacious, insolent, bold, rash, and disrespectful.

Suppose now that the Critic, having been unsuccessful in winning your agreement, turns hostile and begins to engage in character assassination and ad hominem attacks at which time you politely steer her to the door and out onto the sidewalk and tell her she is not welcome back in your house.

What if another person has been observing the exchange between the two of you and she decides to now grace you with her unsolicited opinion…and that opinion is that you should apologize to the Critic and “work things out” with her? Well, in my opinion, this is no less rude than the original.

Why?

The purpose of the house being open in the first place was for prospective buyers to look at the house and decide if they might want to purchase it. The original Critic was not invited as a decorator or stager or real estate agent whose opinion about the décor was solicited: she was there as a potential buyer and her concerns about the décor were unwarranted because it would all be gone when the buyer took possession of the property. The initial Critic turned a visit to a home for sale into an argument over taste in furnishings and right and wrong: she created an issue that not only did not exist, it had nothing to do with whether or not the house would be suitable for her needs (remember, the décor would be gone when she took possession of it). As the discussion escalated, the Critic became more and more demanding, from taking issue with the décor to demanding that you agree with her viewpoint on the décor. This was extremely disrespectful as it demands a complete stranger change her views to suit that of the Critic for no other reason than the Critic believes she is right.

The Observer is transparently supportive of the Critic. The reasons could be anything: she is also presumptuous, she also prefers modern furnishings, she prefers to side with the attacker rather than the defender—but her reasons are immaterial. What is material is that she has also taken a presumptuous step: her opinion is unsolicited and it supports presumptuous, rude behaviour.

Everybody has a right to disagree with what I say on this blog…but you must disagree without being disagreeable. What you don’t have a right to do is to attempt to impose your viewpoint here by trying to make me wrong thereby dictating the content of my blog. You have the freedom to disagree and to express that disagreement and, if I agree with you—if I overlooked something germane and that oversight significantly affects my conclusions, then I will acknowledge that. But the person who decides whether or not your observation is germane is me, not you. And if I disagree and I write back and explain why I disagree, pressing the issue further is rude—on your part.

If you support someone’s disagreement, that is ok, too. But supporting someone’s rudeness is not ok. This is not a public forum, this is my blog. I write it to express my observations, my viewpoint, my discoveries and epiphanies; I do not write it to provide a forum for debate. Here, you are free to read and comment—even comment your disagreement—but you are not free to attempt to control the content of this blog. If you want an interactive forum or you wish to control the content of a blog, you are free to create your own.

If you think I am being harsh or selfish here, consider that the way our narcissists beat us down and kept us in check was to cause us to think that we have to tolerate their disrespectful ways, to make us feel guilty for even wanting to stand up for ourselves. A meme I saw on FaceBook says: “I have reached a point in my life where I find it is no longer necessary to try to impress anyone. If they like me the way I am, that’s good. If they don’t, it’s their loss.” Narcissists bank on people feeling the opinions of others are more important than their own opinions of themselves and narcissist use that as a way to manipulate them. I don’t play that game anymore…any airtime a narcissist gets here will be at my choosing and because it fits into my agenda.

So, if you have a comment here or you want to send me an email, keep it civil and polite. You can disagree, but if you are disagreeable about it, then you have crossed the line into rudeness. If I disagree with your disagreement, let it go—you had your say, let that be enough. To persist in trying to make your point and change my mind is disrespectful since this is not a public forum, it is the electronic equivalent of my house. It is a peek into my brain, my processes, my conclusions. Please respect that.

10 comments:

  1. "Rudeness is a tool in the narcissist’s bag of nasty tricks. Narcissists are well aware of the rules of polite discourse and know that we all expect that from each other. Deviation from the social script is what provokes shouting matches, fist fights, and worse. People hell-bent on winning at all costs can, when their ire is provoked, say and do ugly things. And nothing is more provoking than someone being rude for no discernible reason"

    Yes!

    I agree wholeheartidly with your entry and thank you for a perfect summary to which I can relate too.

    I was constantly embarrassed and baffled by the narcissist in my family (Mother/Eldest Brother) complete and utter rudeness to those they deemed "below them" e.g - waiting staff, shop assistants, tradespeople. and their best defense to go on the vicious attack.

    FYI, I for one have found you a god send this past year since I have started this journey, your information has been invaluable to my self-education.

    I am sorry you even needed to address this on your blog in regards to trolls and rude comments

    Thank you fro all you do

    ReplyDelete
  2. The ultimate rudeness: Not only are you wrong, but you are insane to disagree with the narcissist. Your disagreement is a manifestation of mental illness because the narcissist has a God-like knowledge of reality and you do not. Even when you talk about your own experience per se, about which you truly are the one and only authority, the narcissist knows more than you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. buddy.causey@gmail.comAugust 17, 2015 at 1:05 PM

    I am a 68 yr old male with 2 sons ages 8 and 13.Their mom is a Narcissist to the extreme . We divorced 6 years ago and we are still having wars. She is now using the boys as weapons against me by using Parental Alienationagainst me with my 13 yr old . She has succeeded in getting him to say that I hit him and was turned over to the police and Child protective services here in Alabama, even though their was no proof what so ever. This is just the latest thing. Every year it is something new. I am remarried. She is remarried. She cheated and ended the marriage. How can I fight back without using or hurting the boys. The boys deserve the right to love both their mom and Dad . Their Mom is a full blown .nut case and doesn't care who she hurts Parental Alienation is a horrible form of child abuse and it is crippling to be the one attacked. If you have any insight I welcome it.

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  4. I would also like to hear some insight like the previous poster, buddy.causey. My husbands ex-wife is a narcassist and she is doing parental alienation and I fear it will turn into her telling my step daughter to lie and say someone has done something to her. My husband won 50/50 custody in February 2015, even though it was no cake walk dealing with stuff from his ex before that. It's definitely been hell since. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Candelaria, 1) never talk bad about the ex to the children, they will see her ways, it will come to light. 2) always be there for the children to talk and you will keep it confidential. 3) don't let the Narc get your feather riled....that is what she wants. The less communication, the better. When the kids are old enough, then they won't be pawns as much. 4) Don't believe what she says to be true, don't believe the threats, just keep doing the right thing. The more you engage with them, that fuels their "supply" and they need more and more. I know it's hard, but don't let it get you down! You can do it.

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  5. Children deserve better than to become pawns in power struggles between their parents. Because every situation is different, I cannot offer a "one size fits all answer" except to recommend weekly therapy for the kids to help them process the dynamics of the parents. A parent who induces a child to lie does lasting damage to the child's psyche but wiithout proof, there is no way to prosecute. Therapy for children (play therapy for the youngest ones) can help them process what is going on around them. it can also give you the potentiaal for an expert witness in future court cases. In your situations, I would rather spend my money on therapy to help the kids than lawyers to fight the other parent.

    ReplyDelete
  6. FWIW, Dr. Craig Childress has a website on parental alienation.
    Great article, Violet. Thanks.
    Tonya

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for your blogg,really inspiring, and made me realize that I need to scan myself to make sure I don't end up as a narcissist. Thank you and wish you all a happy holidays, christmas and new years....cheers

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    Replies
    1. The fact that you are concerned about being a narcissist pretty much ensures that you are not.

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  8. I remember my mom used me and my sister as pawns to go up against my dad as children. Now my mom is using my sister and my dad to go up against me knowing the truth about her behaviors. I had money taken from me and lost a lot and part of it is my fault yet my mom taking money from was not part of the deal. I was angry and devastated and my mom is like why can't you get your life right, I told her why do you lie and say you never steal, I have seen this motive a lot in my life she has done it to other people. Growing up in this kind of environment is dangerous and I have seen because I have been around my mother for so long that I caught onto some of her bad behaviors. Yet alone trying to change them. I feel messed up because of these behaviors. I use to be a pathological liar because of my own folks, told me to lie. I lied all the time because my mom told me to, my dad would do the same or he will get an earful from my mom why he never defended her or some sorts, it's so aggravating when people believe my mom'/ lies and your sitting there looking like the bad guy. My mom says I have all these issues when she doesn't see what she does as wrong and my father and sister enables her behaviors. I don't want my kids to be impacted by that at all.

    ReplyDelete

I don't publish rudeness, so please keep your comments respectful, not only to me, but to those who comment as well. We are not all at the same point in our recovery.

Not clear on what constitutes "rudeness"? You can read this blog post for clarification: http://narcissistschild.blogspot.com/2015/07/real-life-exchange-with-narcissist.html#comment-form