Got an interesting letter from “Chump Son,” who raises an issue most of us can probably relate to, if you’ve ever tried to reason your way to consensus with a narcissist — asking for some consideration, and finding they get secondary gain from denying you. AND they file away that request under “Chump Vulnerability I Can Exploit Later.”
You don’t like it when I don’t do my laundry? Fuck you. Watch it pile up. You aren’t the boss of me! Note to self… chump really hates a messy house. Exploit that nugget into — Chump Is a Hard Ass. Chump Has Impossible Expectations of Me. Etc.
This ain’t normal. But if you live with the crazy long enough, you’ll find yourself asking reasonable things 57 different ways (maybe it’s the way I asked?) and hoping for a different result.
This is always the wrong approach, of course. Because the problem isn’t YOU, the problem is that the game is rigged. It’s THEM.
Chump Son writes:
I realized how my attempts to be reasonable — (“Gee, Dad, it really, really, really upsets me to hear you complain about Mom. I think that you should talk to someone else about this.”) — to exercise self-control, to ask nicely, to try to nudge the conversation, were all like blood in the water to a Great White Shark.
Reasonableness is vulnerability. There was recently another article (I think) on The Huffington Post by a lady who said that, if you are dealing with a narcissist, you don’t want to be reasonable or nice in the conventional sense — you want to be strategic. And that means being cold-blooded. So long as I was saying, “Dad, this really bothers me. Don’t do it,” I was inviting yet another filleting.
Of course, with a normal person, this would not be the case. Normal people think, “Shit, this hurts Chump Son’s feelings. I won’t do it.” N-people do NOT do that. They smell that blood in the water.
Piggy-backing on yesterday’s post — that is why boundaries are so important, especially with disordered wing nuts. They aren’t playing with the same rule book you are. It’s pretty clear through their actions that they do not give a shit. About your feelings. About what you want. About what the greater good is. It is all about them.
Also — and I learned this too late, but it’s so important when you’re going through a divorce — never discuss your feelings with them. In fact, the 180 and no contact are such effective tools because they deny the narcissist the essential information that they need to mindfuck you. To manipulate someone, you need to know what their buttons are. When you tell a narcissist “Hey, this REALLY UPSETS ME” — you just handed them your button.
So be an enigma. Don’t show them your vulnerable underbelly. Don’t try to plead or reason with them, or tell them you care. More than just being kibbles and centrality to them (which they love), it’s POWER. That’s how the empathy-deficient see it.
Remember, you’re not a pawn, you’re a person. Tip over the chess board and leave the game.