Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

DAMNED IF YOU DODAMNED IF YOU DON'T

Society and people need rules. The requirement for regulation looms large in everyone’s life. Pay your taxes, don’t park in that place, don’t drop litter, say please and thank you and so on. From laws to rules to codes of conduct, through to convention to procedures to etiquette we are bound up in rules wherever we go and whatever we do. People grumble and complain about them but ultimately they prefer the world to have these rules. People like to know where they stand. You know what you can and cannot do. You may not agree with it, but you at least have some certainty. Those that found themselves in the horror of concentration camps complained that there was never any certainty to the day. You could be subjected to punishment for walking too slowly one day and too fast the next. It was random and awful, yet such a system is horrendously effective at undermining someone’s will and paradoxically causing them to try harder in order to avoid a sanction.
Our behaviour is much the same. There is no rhyme or logic to it. Last week I said I liked sugar in my tea and this week I do not. I deny that I said I liked sugar in my tea and moreover this triviality causes me to erupt in rage when you put sugar in my drink this week. You are confused and anxious by this random control that I exert over you. It is all intentional. Do not make the mistake of thinking that we cannot recall what we said or did the previous day, that we are somehow blind to our previous likes and dislikes as if affected by some form of amnesia. This disorientating tactic is deliberate. You may as well ascribe outcomes to the numbers two through to twelve and roll two dice. That gives you just as good a chance of determining how I will behave. One week I sleep with the bedroom window open, the next it must be closed. Yesterday I want silence in the kitchen in the morning, today I want the radio on. Each day you are put on parade and then awaiting the inevitable criticism as I will find some fault in order to control you, demean you and provoke a reaction. I am like an insane regimental sergeant major who deems the buttons on your uniform to not shine enough despite the hours you spent polishing each one. Like his parade ground bark, I will unleash my haphazard criticism of you with a barrage of abuse, raising my voice and making you wince with each syllable. We understand the effect of repeatedly being shouted at and it causes you to submit to our demands Invariably I will see what you are doing and pick the opposite as being what I want. I am a natural contrarian. All of this is done to maintain your heightened sense of anxiety, forcing you to second guess and thus become conditioned to our will. Periodically we will approve of what you have done and your sense of relief is so overwhelming you receive a natural high. This in turn causes you to want to repeat it and therefore each and every day you are walking on those eggshells as you try to please us and avoid our erratic and groundless rage. There is no system you can depend on, no method of working out what is safe to do and what should be avoided, yet still you will try. As ever, you want to make matters right and keep the peace.

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16 Comments

  1. It’s slavery. And they use our love, fears, and insecurities to condition us to endure the slavery. When you take someone’s identity away, you’re making a slave. Don’t be fooled.

  2. Purple, he did it on purpose. When you’re confused, you can’t think clearly and that gives them space to maneuver and attack you again from another angle. Noting is ever right, they undermine everything you do, either directly or implied . It’s all part of the game. And that’s all it is to them, a game. Confusing you is sport. You don’t exist to them as a person, you’re a tool, an object, an appliance. It’s not you , it’s them. Normal people don’t behave this way.

    1. Sadly what is normal nowadays? Even non narcs use some of the same tactics and play mind games. I think those that dont are in the minority. Where does that leave those of us in the minority? Struggling to survive and hold onto our values and who we are. The world is full of minions and followers. Thats the easy route. Staying true to yourself is the more difficult route bc quite often it means conflict with the narcs and highly narcissistics out there. Its worth it tho to be the change you want to see in the world. Not easy but worth it!
      Narcissists carry on their narcissistic parents legacy of contributing narcissism to the world.
      It hasnt been a smooth journey being the empathetic sensitive one in my family but im glad im not a narcissist.

  3. Yes, except there is a predictable ‘hostile narc economy’ going on, it’s just that their self-esteem aka sadistic power relies on our negation. Once we accept that our feelings don’t matter in this situation, we separate our self-worth from their actions and it’s easier to see more objectively. It’s not easier to take, it’s easier to separate from. It is always impersonal with the illusion of intimacy (that’s why it’s so dangerous!)

    Concentration camps are about dehumanising subjects into objects of non-worth. That makes it easier to dispose of people. That’s why devaluation happens before discarding, it’s part of the same process. Someone once said – you turn people into shit so they can be flushed down the toilet. One survivor stayed in the toilet area, because then no one wanted to touch her. Which is very dark, but that’s nihilism for you. Extreem narcissism is nihilistic.

    If a victim in such a camp had any sign of spirit and individuality, they’d be punished – the randomness of it was strategically fear-inducing, which erodes the spirit. Inmates adopted an animal-level collective identity. But there are also stories of officers helping to tie the shoelaces of a broken person, these random acts of kindness were not part of the torture, it was simply because a broken person is the proper subject of the camp. Sadism is an ironic principle and masochism makes a parody of sadism, even though it also suffers the real consequences.

    I’m Catholic (raised – which also influenced my psychoanalytic approach), but i was fascinated with all this as a kid, because i recognised my family’s behaviour in it. They say that borderliners lack awareness, but we often have highly developed awareness, i was even precociously clever – we just suffer the emotional consequences of negation and rebelling against sadistic authority, which begins with dissociaton and later struggles with a traumatic response to attachments. Undoing a primary psychodrama of negation is extremely difficult because of how the brain and social subjectivity, develops. It’s too simple to say – it’s about low self esteem, it’s about deep fears that become compartmentalised and scattered throughout a ‘volatile self’.

    I can see how a narcissistic response to our attempts to ‘heal’ them, is met with cynicism, because these attempts are not selfless, they’re about restoring our own self-esteem and agency in the situation, which goes against the abuser’s will to power, which they instinctively identify with their survival. We also become unwittingly complicit in our own dependency-addictions when we enter that ‘healer-victim’ dialogue. Healing has to take place outside of personal relationships, partners cannot re-parent a sick person, for many reasons, the psychodrama will just repeat itself.

    The abuser’s own self-esteem issues have become ‘resolved’ through predatory behaviour and a nihilistic value-economy. When they’re attracted to us, it’s to the ‘possibility of a person’ who can be totally their’s, much like how a baby relies its mother for survival but doesn’t see the mother as an individual separate from them. The more real i became to Narcy, the more he would tell me how fake and unreal i was. I “lied” about who i am to him, in his view, because i offended his total possession and control by being an individual, which is inevitable – because no one can possibly exist only to serve the egocentric whims of another. This wasn’t a dialogue, it was the destruction of dialogue.

    Thanks for this acknowledgement.

  4. Mind Fuck manipulating Rape of us sired to them until they die. Oh HG the Intention of you waking up each morning and think ”Who will be my drug today to feed my drug hunger.”

    1. Spirit, yes, but unless you’re economically and kinship – bound to them, we also have an obligation to reject abusers, it helps to realise we’ve been taught to be docile subjects of society.

      It’s almost like HG is Foucault.

      You know, social rules are **ideally** made to make us responsive and responsible. Proper autonomy comes from accepting realistic boundaries and working with them – not skipping outside them – through our imaginations. We are however, creatures of imagination so this isn’t straight forward.

      But when we let these rules define who we are – not just social conduct, they can override our instincts and intuition. We need to be able to recognise the difference between friend and foe, and not be trying to get our enemies to ‘love’ us, as a panacea for internalised insecurities.

      It’s not easy, it’s everyday heroism. We do need boundaries that come from healthy self-interest.

  5. Do you really think my mid-ranger did this on purpose? He seemed convinced that he had clearly communicated his confusing expectations. I really think he was delusional enough to believe that he was being clear. And he didn’t really completely contradict himself. It was more like he’d ask me to do something similar to something else, then become enraged when I didn’t do the “similar” thing that he hadn’t been clear about, insisting he’d been clear. Confused yet? I still don’t know what he did or did not ask me to do. It was so damn confusing. And sometimes he’d make a passing suggestion and then, like 2 or 3 months later, suddenly become enraged that I wasn’t treating it like a doctrinal, holy rule. And by that time I couldn’t even remember if he’d actually ever mentioned it or not.

    He was pretty consistent with how he liked his coffee, though. But he’d wake up at completely random times and wonder why I didn’t have a cup waiting for him… at the random time I didn’t know about until it was too late. If I tried to have it ready before he got up, it would be “This coffee is cold. Why didn’t you wait until I was awake to make it?” Lol. AUGH!! I stopped trying to make coffee for him. Obviously because I’m a horrible person.

    1. Purple
      That sounds so childish to me. I count my lucky stars that I’ve never lived with one. Walking on eggshells to please the unpleasant and ungrateful. Make your own effing coffee from now on baby Huey!

      1. I made my ex husband a sandwich and held out the plate to him. He didnt take it but looked at it from all angles like he was inspecting it to make sure it was acceptable. The balls. My eyes never left him as I let the plate go and it crashed to the floor. Then I walked away. Never happened again.

        1. You’re such a badass NA. You’d be so much fun to hang out with! You live in the US? I need to visit. Ha ha

          1. I have a friend in Montreal I haven’t seen in years and a narc in Toronto but I’ve never been to visit either one

      2. Yeah… sometimes he was so ridiculous, I assumed he was kidding, and I’d kid around back at him about things I was sure he was kidding about. I think there were times he didn’t know how to react. He’d just kind of go quiet in a confused kind of way. Like “Uh oh. Did I go overboard with my nonsense?” Lol.

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