Damned If You Do, Damned 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.

41 thoughts on “Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don´t

  1. December Infinity says:

    ‘There is no system you can depend on, no method of working out what is safe to do and what should be avoided…’ This was my life for the past several years. I was damned either way. I was walking on eggshells for 4 years (plus longer if I were to include the past ‘ships’ with the other narcs that have sailed!). I am glad that is over. I am still learning about all of this so the articles on this site are helpful.

    1. leelasfuelstinks says:

      I was walking on eggshells for 20 years! I grew up walking on eggshells, damned if I do, damned if I don´t, could not rely on ANYTHING with PatriNarc when I was a child. And I decided: NO MORE!! JUST NO MORE!!! Not gonna walk on eggshells anymore! Those who wanna make me walk on eggshells can f … themselves!! 😉

  2. BC30 says:

    This mistreatment was one of the main reasons I was led to have affairs.

  3. Eternity says:

    Keeping the peace and always giving the N whatever he wants. Sometimes I would agree for the sake of agreeing just so I can avoid another silent treatment. People would always tell me that I am a people pleaser and never say no
    Well not anymore I have had enough now.

    1. leelasfuelstinks says:

      Join the dark side of us empaths! Enjoy the power of the middle finger and the f-word! 😉 😀

      That´s how I would react to the situation described above.”So, you don´t like your tea, huh? You know what?! F…. you! And I will NEVER EVER make you tea again! You´re a grown-up, aren´t you? So then, honey, in future you make your tea yourself. Bye.” Middle finger up in the air! 😀 😀

      1. Eternity says:

        Exactly, good for you ! Awesome ! IA was always the last person to serve . I always served everyone before myself. Guess what ? Now I am serving myself first and it feels amazing! No more too much salt/sugar.

        1. leelasfuelstinks says:

          Good job! Keep it up, sister!

          And now everybody knows why my fuel stinks 😉 😀 😀 😀

          1. Eternity says:

            Thank you so much!
            That’s ok sometimes fuel can do that !

      2. Asp Emp says:

        (laughing, for ages)…. so I suppose that also rules you out to ever working in a cafe? 😉 (laughing)

        1. leelasfuelstinks says:

          Fortunately – for everybody – I don´t work in a café, no! 😀 😀 😀

          1. Asp Emp says:

            Nothing wrong with that! My very first job was in a hotel restaurant (earnings went towards my driving lessons & my first car)….. Val Doonican was a customer & it was part of my ‘responsibilities’ to take the menu & bread rolls….. he never smiled, miserable sod….

          2. HG Tudor says:

            If you were Val Doonican, do you think you would have smiled?!

          3. Asp Emp says:

            Laughing……. bloody good thing I am not Val Doonican…..

          4. Eternity says:

            Asp Emp
            My very first job was at Dairy Queen. I was making a banana split slipped on the peel and it landed on a customer . It was an artist by The name of Kim Mitchell. He wasn’t smiling either.

          5. Asp Emp says:


          6. leelasfuelstinks says:

            No nothing wrong with that. But I think I better don´t do it 😀 But work with customers too and sometimes I would LOVE to tell them to f… off! 😀 Of course I stay friendly, but there were a couple of abusive clients who tried to treat me like a slave. I ended the collaboration and told them to please go elsewhere. They can be haughty to whoever they want but NOT WITH ME!!!! No way, Ladies and Gentelmen!

          7. Asp Emp says:

            Laughing…… I went from working in that hotel to a supermarket (for a few years) ….. once there was a customer (it was very noisy & busy cos it being a Saturday) and I was stocking the shelves, using an old hand held pricing gun – on the floor – so I didn’t hear this woman talking to me….. apparently, she started to be very rude – the store manager was informed by a member of staff, he came and shouted at the woman – telling her to leave the store (he was angry), she left, quietly (laughing) and he asked if I was ok etc. He never ever spoke to me in a negative way, ah bless him. These days, well, I’ll admit that I can turn from a ‘lady’ to something else (laughing) if an obnoxious stranger is, well, being obnoxious……. no, I don’t take not s**t any more – I am nobody’s “tertiary” source!! It’s like adding fuel to the fire……

          8. leelasfuelstinks says:

            Neither am I! Those who treat me like a slave can please go elsewhere and be arrogant and haughty to whoever they want to. I am friendly and charming towards every customer, but there comes the point …. guess what? Yeah! When ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! 😉

          9. Asp Emp says:


          10. NarcAngel says:

            Well it’s Kim Mitchell’s fault. He might as well have gone for a soda. Nobody drowns and nobody dies.

          11. Eternity says:

            Ha ha , he actually asked for a root beer float as well as the banana split. I will never forget the look on his face . I then hesitated to ask for an autograph.

  4. JB says:

    I don’t get it, you say don’t make the mistake of thinking that the narcissist can’t remember what they said the day before etc, and that it is deliberately done to disorient, but if the narcissist is unaware and not actively planning these behaviours, how is this the case?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Compartmentalisation, revision of history – controlled by the narcissism. May I suggest you organise a consultation so I can explain this to you so you understand.

      1. JB says:

        Ok, think I have got my head around it – so they do remember what happened, but the narcissism causes them to park it and re-write history, so by the time tomorrow comes they remember it differently and genuinely think that they are in the right? Planned subconsciously by the narcissism, not by themselves.

    2. Leigh says:

      JB, I thought that paragraph was confusing too.

      Mr. Tudor’s article says, “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.”

      Mr. Tudor, I need clarification. Are you saying that the knows they are deliberating causing disorientation. if the narcissist knows, wouldn’t that mean there is awareness on some level?

      1. HG Tudor says:

        That applies to Greater and Ultra, not Lesser or Mid-Range.

        1. Leigh says:

          Thank you for the clarification.

          1. HG Tudor says:

            You are welcome.

  5. Asp Emp says:

    http://www.collinsdictionary.com “A contrarian is a person who deliberately behaves in a way that is different from the people around them / a person who typically acts or thinks in a way contrary to popular or accepted opinion”

    On occasion, someone who does not know me would view me as “difficult” when in fact the ‘system’ or that person’s “attitude” towards me is wrong. This would be my aspergers thinking (to a certain degree, my aspergers ET – or maybe, my narcissist traits coming out, oops).

    Now if what I have said above is perceived from the view of a narcissist, they would not necessarily know (a Greater would – they know what they are) – so a narcissist would be ‘instinctively’ behaving in a way that ‘society / medical profession / other authorities’ would view as ‘a salmon swimming in the wrong direction’.

    I can be ‘contrarian’ too. KTN has changed the way I Think and so, in my view, I’ll say “Damned If I Do, Damned If I don’t” and just go with the flow….

    1. A Victor says:

      I recently purchased 5 Reasons Why the Narcissist Argues. It has been known in our family for years that every conversation with my mother is her attempting to force the other person to see things her way. The approach to any conversation comes from this place for her. This piece of information has been so helpful in understanding why she does this, knowing the why does help.

      1. Asp Emp says:

        Good to know – I obtained that information too. Mother is ‘deflecting’, ‘re-writing history’, doing ‘gaslighting’.

        1. A Victor says:

          Yes she is.

          1. Asp Emp says:

            I’m sending you ‘virtual’ grenades – not the empath’s type either (aliughing) 😉

          2. Asp Emp says:

            Not to you personally – your mother…..

          3. A Victor says:

            Asp Emp, hahahaha!! Thank you!!

  6. leelasfuelstinks says:

    I lash out! I can´t stand that! Defiance immediately kicks in!

    I shout back!! “(Please insert the nasty words here 😉 )”!

    Challenge fuel, huh?

  7. A Victor says:

    This can leave permanent damage, especially when done to children, a person who may not ever be truly fully functional. Heartbreaking.

    1. leelasfuelstinks says:

      Yes, here! I´m an ACON (adult child of a narcissist) but one of the lucky ones.

      1. A Victor says:

        I think I am one of the lucky ones as well. Not as sure about my siblings but they don’t talk to me about this so I don’t really know. I emailed my sister some info about narcissism and this site but she has not responded.

        1. Duchessbea says:

          If people are unaware it may come as a shock to think everything they thought they knew and everyone they thought they were close to or related to is ‘corrupted’ by narcissism or by being a narcissist. It is the best awakening to get. But also hard in a way as you have to go no contact and stay no contact with people who were previously ‘great’ friends and relatives. It is sad but it is also vital to do this. As HG says ‘when you know, you go’. 💗

          1. A Victor says:

            Thanks for that encouragement Duchessbea. It is a thing in the works. My siblings left decades ago with virtually no looking back.

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