In my last post, I talked about the fantastical nature of the narcissist’s delusions, and how it can be quite the mind-boggling endeavor to try and live under the same roof with a person who doesn’t share the same reality as the rest of the earthlings in the house. See, every person has their own reality. And, each one of our own personal realities is a bit different. The thing is that the rest of our realities are all similar enough to where we all agree upon them.
It’s not so with the narcissist. His reality is so far off from what the rest of us subconsciously agree upon, that it causes…well…it causes problems. Two opposing realities cannot exist in harmony. It creates a rather uncomfortable mental state, known as cognitive dissonance, and so the two realities end up being fought over until one reality is once again agreed upon and, everyone feels safe and secure again. But, this fighting over reality is where the trouble lies because, as we all know- narcissist’s fight dirty.
Trying to convince a narcissist that his version of reality is false is truly a fool’s errand. (No offense intended to those of you who still keep trying anyway- shit, I’m just as guilty of it.) It is in protecting these delusional realities that the narcissist starts to employ tactics like gaslighting, and baiting. Those are the two most common ones, from what I have experienced.
First, the narc tries to convince you that your REACTION to whatever he did, is the REASON for why he did it. Then, if that doesn’t work, then he will simply start firing off the gamut of ‘trigger-statements’ (that’s what I call them), or those statements he makes that he has learned, in the past, are guaranteed to really chap your ass. The result is that you wind up in a conversation that very much resembles the workings of a hamster wheel. Seriously. Round and round you go- escalating with each revolution- and it doesn’t stop until someone loses their cool…which is exactly what he wants.
It seems as though the list of what makes narcissists unbearably irritating, just keeps growing, doesn’t it? But no worries because, what makes this a very simple problem to deal with is probably something you have right under your nose.
So- what do you say to putting a stop to these ridiculously asinine arguments? Great.
There are two tools to ensuring that the narcissist’s delusional reality never messes with your head again.The first tool is one that can be used to great effect all on it’s own if- and ONLY IF- you can stick with it. And, trust me, it isn’t easy sometimes. .. especially when you will have someone doing everything in their power to get you to drop it.
The first tool is this: Just stay calm. Keep your cool. Speak softly, and calmly, AT ALL TIMES. Do NOT- under any circumstances- get angry, or start yelling at the narcissist. If you do that- he wins. The whole reason he NEEDS you to get mad is so he can tell himself that since you lost your cool, he was justified in all the previous shitty behavior because you came at him angrily. It matters not (to him) that you only got angry AFTER he did, or said, something hurtful. The only things that counts is that you got mad, and THAT is why he always has to act defensively (or insert whatever other adjective to describe his behavior) towards you.
In these kinds of fights, the second you lose your cool, you’re giving him exactly what he needs to twist the reality of the situation even more- and allow him to write himself into the story as the poor victim. The one whose “being punished” (my husband’s favorite term). The loving and doting husband, who tried so hard to please you, but failed only because you are just one of those people who insists on being miserable. Does any of this sound vaguely familiar to you?
As long as you stay calm, and soft, and gentle…the narcissist has nowhere to go. I warn you- he will continue to try to escalate his meanness, to try to incite you to anger, but if go into any discussion knowing that ahead of time, you can keep in mind that everything he says to try to poke at you, is just that: a pathetic attempt to relieve his own shame at how unconscionably he is treating. DO NOT give in to his petty tricks.
The second tool at your disposal is called ‘video’- LOL. Video tape every conversation you feel could turn into an arguement. Then, you will have unarguable evidence that YOU were the one who was calm, cool, and collected, and HE was the one flying off the handle- for no reason.
This is incredibly powerful. There have been more than a coouple of times when having videoed the conversation saved my ass. When my husband would try to re-create reality, saying that I came in jabbing at him and yelling, I simply played the video and commented, “Hmmmm, that’s funny. According to this video, I entered the room quietly. Softly brushed your leg, and continued to speak calmly and lovingly the whole time- while you dismissed me, and said cruel things to try and poke at my weaknesses. According to this video, YOU were being really mean for no reason. How about that? Lucky I had this on, huh, otherwise you might have gone your whole life thinking that you were the victim here, when really you acted more like a predator. That’s probably an important thing to know.”
As you could imagine, there’s not much that the narcissist can say about that. Game over…or should I say, delusion done? LOL. You win, and the narc is left to try to reconcile his version of reality with what was captured on video. No fun for him, but definitely satisfying for you. (Of course, I highly recommend considering the value of a relationship where this sort of thing is your source of satisfaction- I’m just saying.)
As a reminder- and this is VITAL, so PLEASE PAY ATTENTION– the tip about the video DOES NOT APPLY is your narcissist is physically abusive! You do NOT want to do ANYTHING that could incite him to anger.
These kinds of tactics will only be effective if your narc is the covert kind.
If your narc is physically abusive, you NEED to get out ASAP. No tips, tricks, or tactics are going to work unless you are willing to stand up for yourself, and follow through by calling the police anytime your man so much as threatens to harm you. Though, personally, if your situation has got to the point where your man is willing to lay his hands on you in anger…well, I really don’t feel that there is any reason to endanger yourself any further.
Of course, I also understand why that makes it even more difficult to safely escape, so don’t think for one second that I am judging you or anything. I’m absolutely not. In fact, I think I feel a post coming on about how to handle physically abusive narcissists. I haven’t written about that yet, so….. maybe that ought to come next.
~The Narcissist’s Wife