Contrariwise,’ continued Tweedledee, ‘if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

Makes perfect sense to me but I should imagine it will not to you. Welcome to the logic of my world. The penchant that our kind and me exhibit for telling you that black is white and when you eventually agree (and you will no matter how ridiculous this may appear) we will tell you that it was black all along. Or orange. Or azure.

Our ability to deploy contrariwise must rank amongst one of the most confusing, infuriating and draining manipulative techniques that we possess. Well, judging by your reactions when we wheel this out it is. In all honesty, it is used so often it may as well be a default setting. No matter what you say to us we will automatically adopt a contrary position even if that contrary position appears to you as untenable and that it flies in the face of logic. We will always find ways of undermining, denying and deflecting what you are saying to us, most particularly if you are trying to make us look bad, prove we are wrong or you are challenging us in some way. We cannot allow those things to happen. We have a number of standard phrases that we will use in furtherance of this ability.

“Why must you always exaggerate?”

“No, I have never done that.”

“You are over-reacting. Again.”

“I think you will find that you are being sensitive, I did not mean it the way you are interpreting it.”

“You always look at it the wrong way.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Your memory is playing tricks on you.”

“You/he/she/the world is making things up.”

“If you say so but you have got it wrong.”

“I never do that.”

“You always have to make a scene don’t you?”

Do any of these sound familiar to you? Our capacity to be presented with evidence of something and then in the next breath deny the existence of that evidence is staggering. We will reject what you say, deny we ever said anything (even though we actually said it just ten minutes ago) and twist our position so many times we appear to turn into a corkscrew.

Why do we do this? It serves three purposes. The first is because we are never wrong then we must never be shown to be wrong. You seem to have a fascination for trying to demonstrate to us that we are wrong about the things we say and do. That is a nonsense. We cannot be wrong and you must accept that. Our use of contrariwise enables us to ensure that we remain right and you remain wrong. It is entirely logical to us. If it is not so to you then that is your problem. You wanted to come into our world so now you must accept its rules. Do not try and argue that you did not agree to this. When you embraced our illusion you consented to this state of affairs. Do not try and deny that it is the case otherwise we will just have to provide you with some more contrariwise.

The second reason that we do this is that we have to have you in a state of confusion. This means that being a creature of order and logic you will try and make sense of our contrariwise which will merely serve to put your head in a spin. Furthermore, you cannot help yourself but want to show us that we are wrong. You cannot accept that we are unable to see the point that you are making. That is entirely the point. You are subjected to our rules now and logic, reason and sense rode out of town many moons ago. This confusion will leave you susceptible to our other manipulations and drain you of your resistance and resolve making it harder for you to escape our grip.

The third reason is down to our lifeblood, yes fuel. Your evident frustration, curses and desperation as you try to make us see that we are wrong provides us with delicious dollops of fuel. You tear your hair out, repeat yourself, raise your voice and collapse sobbing in frustration. It is all good fuel to us. No matter if you argued the point with the forensic precision of a top barrister we would twist the words so they achieve what we want and not what you want. To borrow from Lewis Carrol’s fantastic writing I leave you with the words of humpty dumpty, who was clearly a pioneer of our kind.

“When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean.”

27 thoughts on “Contrariwise

  1. WiserNow says:

    You always have to make a scene don’t you? (Ha! 🙂 )

    My mother used to say this a lot, usually after she provoked until a normal everyday conversation turned into an argument. This happened when I was young (teens, 20s and 30s) before I was aware of her being a narcissist.

    This kind of ‘contrariwise’ talk from her was not a constant thing. It would come up intermittently. Generally, normal family discussions didn’t turn into ‘arguments’. Most of the time, a discussion was just that – a normal kind of discussion. Every now and then, the discussion started off normal and then she would start her provocations. It wasn’t obvious that she was causing the argument deliberately. My mother was subtle and sneaky.

    When she did provoke, I would try harder to explain things with ‘forensic precision’. She would continue provoking until I became angry. Then when things got very heated, she’d say things like, “You love this don’t you? You thrive on causing this kind of screaming match out of a happy family gathering?” or “Why don’t you yell a bit louder so the neighbours can hear? You are so embarrassing.”

    She managed to provoke and provoke until she got fuel, and at the same time, she said things to cause me to feel responsible and guilty as if it was all my own doing while she was innocent and blameless. The guilty feelings after this lingered for days and were very confusing and emotionally painful. This happened A LOT while I was growing up.

    When I look back now, I think she was jealous and resentful. Maybe she was angry too, about her own life and for her own reasons. So, she made me the ‘scapegoat’. She dumped her negative feelings on me, gained fuel, blamed me for it and I was left trying to figure out what I needed to do to ‘improve’ so that the same thing wouldn’t happen again.

    Just as a side note: The ‘hot and spicy’ thread on the ‘Down’ post is not something I normally do in ‘real life’. I don’t enjoy conflicts and I avoid them as much as possible in my day to day interactions with people. Here on the blog though, I feel like it’s a helpful forum where things *can* be discussed more openly and the interactions can help others too. I find this helps me both as a learning experience for my own understanding and also to convey my perspective and learn about the perspectives of others.

    1. A Victor says:

      Hi WiserNow, maybe this has been mentioned before and I understand if you prefer not to say, but if you care to share, I’m curious how you stopped this treatment from your mother? I’m sad to learn this happened to you, it must have been terrible.

      Also, thank you for the last paragraph, I am glad to learn this about your ‘real life’ and also the reasons you feel it is fine to have some conflict at times here. I believe our learning is one of the reasons I have understood that HG allows some conflict at times. As an empath, who typically will not engage, I do benefit from seeing that I suppose, even as it makes me uncomfortable. I am working on being more assertive in general, not only in a conflict but in other ways as well. It’s like the kid who has to ask for a piece of cake or go without, I will go without, unless it’s my very favorite cake. But, I do like other flavors also, so I need to step it up at times. As such, I do appreciate you sharing that.

      1. WiserNow says:

        Thank you A Victor. That’s very kind of you and I appreciate it 🙂

        I understand what you’re saying about engaging in conflict. It’s not enjoyable to me either. As the family scapegoat my instinctive response used to be to either ‘fawn’ or ‘fight’. The tendency to ‘fawn’ is something I want to change. As an empath, it was instinctive to aim for harmony and peace in an interaction, however, what I’ve often found is that what I think is ‘polite and understanding’ is perceived by many non-empaths as ‘weak and submissive’ and open to be exploited. That annoys me. That’s why I’m learning not to care as much what people think or how they ‘judge’ me if I think I have a valid right to say what I think (within reason).

        Ever since I can remember, my mother’s dominant behaviour and her criticism and negative comments caused an instinctive urge in me to either withdraw into my own ‘space’ or to do something alone where I couldn’t feel her influence as much. When I was a child, I would read a lot and I enjoyed reading very much. I would ‘escape’ into the world I was reading about. Perhaps it was a form of dissociation, although I didn’t consciously feel like I was ‘escaping’.

        Even though my mother was very dominating and critical, she was also sensitive and caring in some ways. She was a good mother in that we always had cooked meals, she was very clean and cared about our health and education. So, overall, I didn’t ‘feel’ abused. It was emotional and psychological abuse. The cognitive dissonance about everything meant that I was probably living with very high ’emotional thinking’ back then.

        The thing that stood out was that my mother definitely made my sister the golden child and me the scapegoat. While this was happening, I had no knowledge about narcissism and didn’t know the underlying reason. It just made me very hurt, confused and angry. I wanted us to be a genuinely loving family and some things that happened were extremely hurtful.

        This kind of treatment from my mother never really stopped. She passed away some time ago and right to the end, the whole golden child/scapegoat aspect was very much the dynamic.

        While she was alive, it was easiest to adopt a kind of ‘stoic’ resilience and try not to let her get to me too much. Either that or stay away as much as possible and live my own life. The thing I’m glad about is that even though the ‘scapegoat’ role was given to me and set in stone as the life-time family role, I always fought against it and knew in my mind and heart that I did not deserve or earn that role. I didn’t actually know I was the scapegoat because I wasn’t aware about narcissism. It just felt incredibly unfair and unwarranted.

        The thing about being ‘scapegoated’ is that the rest of the family or group goes along with the family ‘roles’. My father and sister never (and I mean never) stood up for me or said anything to protect or defend me. They fell into their roles and were probably unconsciously glad they weren’t the ‘scapegoat’.

        Over time, despite all the protests, arguments, fights, falling out, etc, the family role kind of just becomes who you are whether it fits you or not. No matter how many good or positive things I did or what successes I achieved, nothing could shift that family role of being the scapegoat in the eyes of the other family members.

        Scapegoating is like psychological torture. It also changes your own self-perception of who you believe you are personally – only I always had a strong self-belief and self-respect for myself so I fought very hard not to let it define my own self-view or what I wanted out of life. Although, it does have an effect.

        I thought that ‘no contact’ wasn’t an option, because I couldn’t imagine walking away and not seeing them again. Low contact, learning and conscious knowledge, and recovery time in between is my way of dealing with it.

        I forgive my mother because of her life experiences. I have empathy and compassion for her. Although, to be honest, I no longer feel the dread and tension that I used to feel.

        Thank you for asking A Victor. When it comes to being more assertive, I think you’re doing fine as you are from your comments that I’ve seen. How you feel about yourself will probably come naturally to you and then the things you feel you want to change will start to change in a natural way. The changes will happen as part of your whole thinking process as you learn more and think about what you’re learning. I’ve found that there’s no need to stress or push things. Just stay aware and be conscious of your thoughts and reactions and see what direction your thinking takes 🙂

        1. A Victor says:

          WN, well, here is another can of worms. Hahaha, one I’ve been thinking about but hadn’t been ready to wade into yet. I actually got off my phone and went to my laptop just to respond to your comment! No worries, I don’t expect length, I just wanted to be able to put thoughts together without worrying about autocorrect.

          The assertiveness here does not translate to real life. But I am working on changing that.

          For what it was worth, I was my dad’s GC. That made me my mom’s scapegoat most of the time. But, because of their dynamics, she went easier on me than I would’ve had otherwise, I’m sure. She was still physically, emotionally and mentally abusive. I’m not sure why it made her different with me, she may have been afraid I would tell him what she was doing, more than my siblings. So though they had worse physical abuse, which I cannot even imagine, I had the worst mental and emotional abuse. I am the oldest so some of that was going to happen just due to that aspect. I learned early not to share with my mother. One time when I did, one of the last times, I was 7 or 8. My dad had told me he loved me more than anything. In my child’s heart, not understanding anything yet really, I was absolutely devastated with guilt and sadness for my mom and siblings not to be loved as much also. In a rare moment of observation, she realized something was wrong and asked what it was. I told her, with tears. She said the perfunctory “I’m sure he didn’t mean it like that.” and proceeded to go tell him I was in tears that he’d told me he loved me. I don’t remember him saying it again until I was in my 30s.

          Being his GC I lived in constant fear that I would do something to lose his love, everyone else did and it was never fully reinstated, so the it was tenuous and felt very unstable. As her sometime scapegoat, I and my siblings were cycled through this with her, there was constant triangulation. It was such a strange thing. Compound that he sexualized women, in general. Femininity and beauty were held as high standards, the mind and character, not so much. So I thought that was where my worth was, as a human and as a girl and then a woman. I had no support from him to further my education beyond high school. No support for anything. Only condemnation on the one A- or B+ I might get on my report card, no notice taken of the A’s. Every time it was a sinking feeling to face this. And no real contact in between. Lots of faulty sense of self stuff here.

          My mother, knowing of course how he viewed women, would occasionally throw me at him in odd ways, sick ways. I think to see his reaction. Thankfully he had none in those instances. It was so traumatizing though. It is one of the things that has been the most difficult for me to sort through, being here I have been able to put it up to the narcissism, she’s just a bad person.

          And then there were my siblings. A brother and a sister. She several years younger, hearing how my dad had asked my mother if she would get an abortion. And then seeing her entire life how he was with me, not great but better than with her. My heart broke at the time and still does for what she endured but I was helpless to help her. Same with my brother. And as you said, we do accept those positions within the family because, for me at least, it was the safest place to be. And I had no idea how to change anything, no power to do so. My mother had us terrified of our father through what she told us and the control over our relationship with him that she exerted. And we were terrified of her because she was so evil.

          Anyway, this is a lot of my thinking, so far, around the GC dynamic and the scapegoat also. I experienced both and I think in various ways they both affected me. I think being the GC did give me a sense of power that I might not have had otherwise, possibly helping to build the Super that I have. I wanted so badly to help my siblings, to save and protect them, that was a major source of pain. So Savior was likely influenced. I had to learn to carry things she dumped on me. Etc. And I think when I was born I just wanted to be a normal kid who grew up to be a normal person who lived an average life and died happy. Sounds so simple.

          Well, my comment did grow, thank you for your openness. And, thank you for removing the pressure to hurry things. I am always in a hurry, I like things resolved and to move on, so this is not easy for me. So thank you for that also. The good news is we are here!! And we are okay!

          1. WiserNow says:

            Hi A Victor,

            Thank you for your message and for sharing your experiences honestly. I’m very sorry about all the things that happened to you and your brother and sister. It makes me feel very sad that you experienced that. I can relate and my heart goes out to you. Having things said and being triangulated, being made the GC and then the scapegoat . . . it’s all so confusing and emotionally painful for children.

            It has a profound effect on the rest of your life and it impacts how you ‘attach’ and relate to other people.

            I think that being either a GC or scapegoat is difficult. They are both abusive ways to treat a child and they both mean the child has a ‘lack of control’. The GC is treated with more ‘positive’ regard in some ways, so they may not feel the emotional pain of the abuse, however, the GC is put on a pedestal and they need to ‘live up’ to that position – if they don’t, it’s implied that they won’t be ‘loved’. The GC is also ‘enmeshed’ with the narc parent – treated like the parent’s positive ‘extension’. All of it is based on ‘conditional’ love. The parent is either consciously or unconsciously saying, “if you do/don’t do this, I will not love you”. Not in so many words and maybe they don’t mean that or don’t want to say that, but that’s the message the child receives.

            I think that parents are also products of the society and social expectations they grow up in. They may also be trying to ‘live up’ to certain expectations with the historical upbringing they were given. Their children then become part of *their* instinctive and ‘learned’ responses. I have empathy for the parents too, to an extent. Even though I find it difficult to ‘understand’ narcissists, I can see that we are all products of our genetic predisposition blended with the environment we ‘learn’ from.

            In a family, when the mother and father have a difficult, resentful or suspicious relationship with each other, the children are unwitting and innocent parties in the group. The children are there, dependent on the parents, and they see it and feel it and the parents instill their own ‘issues’ onto the children. There’s no easy fix or easy way out. It’s a case of working through it to get over it.

            After reading and thinking about these kinds of ‘dynamics’ for a while, it’s becoming clearer to me how deep the effects of ‘cognitive dissonance’ go when this has been what you have experienced from a very early age with your parents. The manipulative and subtle threats of ‘conditional’ love place a child in a real bind that runs deep. The emotional push/pull effect would be difficult for any adult, let alone a vulnerable and immature child. It’s a trauma that stays with you.

            While your parents are alive, the ‘trauma’ doesn’t really go away. It’s there in the back of your mind or in your cell memories or instincts. To explain your experiences is to acknowledge them and to look at them for what they were and to then learn from them.

            I think you are brave and honest in talking about them. To me, it shows you want to learn from them and become stronger by acknowledging them and to live with the knowledge of them. I find that it helps me to hear about the experiences of others too, because it gives me more information and ideas that can inform my own experience.

            Yes, A Victor, we are here and we are okay! I think we are more than okay! We are brilliant empathic superheroes who can understand and adapt to anything. We have walked through fire and come out on the other side with our truth intact 🔥💪😎😘

          2. A Victor says:

            You are correct, I don’t bond normally, very loosely but fiercely at the same time, if that makes sense. But once a certain point is reached, I let go, and once I do, I never look back.

            You’re welcome. I have been so thankful for all the things people have shared with me, it is very helpful, for ideas and connection, to understand many people have been where I am and they’re okay now, that is very exciting to me. Your knowledge, and that of others here, is so helpful for filling in pieces and getting the thought processes going. I have been thinking lately of just how deep the cognitive dissonance goes, like you said. It’s like the onion that has been mentioned and every layer feels like a weight be lifted, but there’s always another layer. I guess we just keep peeling away at that darn thing. And yes, the conditional love thing is very powerful, and horrible. I did not have that toward my kids and I think it helped me sort through it, settling on, it was him, a choice he made, his loss. We always said about my dad, brilliant intellect, zero people skills, that in itself was cognitively dissonant. He was in management positions in his career, the professional being easier for him apparently, but no social or family connections. Very sad really, he died never having had a real connection with another human being.

            Yes, I do want to learn what happened to me, here I am, finally. Had I known about narcissism years ago, I would’ve done it then. But better late than never. And I likely would’ve ended up with a lot of incorrect information anyway. Hearing other’s experiences is super helpful, the process they worked through, or even pieces of the processes.

            Your last paragraph is awesome and true! Thank you for writing!

          3. WiserNow says:

            You’re very welcome A Victor and thank you also for your message 🙂

  2. BC30 says:

    I thought the frequent quotes from this book were odd. Must be a shard harvested and harnessed from a prior toaster. 🍞💔

    1. Sweetest Perfection says:

      Quite the contrary; they are wise.

      1. BC30 says:

        OMG 😱 I was thinking about you yesterday and that we hadn’t heard from you in some time. 😃😃💜

        1. Sweetest Perfection says:

          So it was you who summoned me? I was wondering… haha. I’ve been really busy but I still read some comments here and there. Everything going well, I hope!

          1. BC30 says:

            Twas I! haha I am a bit of a witch, but a good one. 💖

          2. Sweetest Perfection says:

            All witches are good, we are just misunderstood.

      2. A Victor says:

        Nice to hear from you Sweetest Perfection!

        1. Sweetest Perfection says:

          Thank you AV!

      3. Leigh says:

        Sweetest Perfection, welcome back. I heard Enjoy the Silence the other day and I thought of you. I’m not a huge fan of Depeche Mode, like you or Mr. Tudor. “Enjoy the Silence” is definitely one of their songs that I enjoyed. I hope you’re well.

        1. Sweetest Perfection says:

          Thank you, Leigh! I hope you are well too, and the fact that listening to DM makes you think of me makes me incredibly happy. I posted the title of that song on social media right before I went NC. One of my favorites. If you like the song you will love the trailer of this new show on Netflix -I still haven’t watched it but just the trailer gave me goosebumps-. The opening scene is also reminiscent of the last scene in Fight Club.

          1. Leigh says:

            Now that I know that “Enjoy the Silence” holds a special meaning for you, its going to remind me of you even more!

          2. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Awwww 🖤

          3. Bubbles says:

            Dearest Sweetest Perfection,
            Hi lovely sweet pea, sooo good to have you ‘in house’ again 😊
            ‘Halston’ is on my ‘to watch’ list …. that scene around the table where he’s telling everyone to ‘ f… off ‘ ……that’s what happened to us by our son’s partner!
            Charming isn’t it ???

            Mr Bubbles n I are in the midst of binge watching ‘Gossip Girl’ ….. on the downhill slope now. Now there’s a narcissist show if ever I did see one! Everyone’s so into and up each other …….just don’t turn your back 😱
            It’s funny, all the likeable ones at first, you dislike and all those you disliked, you end up liking! Hmmmmmmm🤔
            Thank you for the link, I can hardly wait to watch it
            We miss you 💕
            Luv Bubbles xx 😘

          4. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Dear Bubbles, thanks so much, I have missed you all too! I can’t believe your son’s partner treated you that way. That is intolerable. I can’t put up with bad manners and even less in front of someone older than you, how sad for you to have to endure that and see your son ensnared… I am really sorry.
            I never watched Gossip Girl, and have no idea what it is about, but a golden rule for me is to stay away from people who talk at other people’s back. They will do the same to you as soon as you turn around!
            I don’t usually watch shows with Mr. SP because I prefer international ones and he says he hates reading subtitles -haha- but one we recently loved was Behind Her Eyes, the end is really shocking. Astral projection is also a relatively common thing in my family, I just found out, so it resonates with me. You and Mr. Bubbles may like it, or maybe not… We finished it in three days! Much love to you, I’m glad to hear back from you as well 🥂💕

          5. Bubbles says:

            Dearest Sweetest P,
            Just binge watched Halston …… faaaaaaabuuuuuuulooouuuusssss !!!!!
            Thank you 💕
            Luv Bubbles xx 😘

            Ps Just a tad narc shall we say ? 🤣

          6. Sweetest Perfection says:

            I’m so glad you enjoyed it, dearest Bubbles!!! Oh, definitely, the show must enter HG’s list of films or shows portraying narcissists!

          7. Bubbles says:

            Dearest Sweetest,
            Karma got him in the end ! (No pun intended) 🤣
            I’d luv to hear Mr Tudor’s thoughts on him
            Fashion designers are as temperamental as chefs 😂
            I’d never heard of Halston 😱
            An absolute must watch
            Luv Bubbles xx 😘

          8. Sweetest Perfection says:

            I’d rather have a chef. Actually, I have a crush on one (totally platonic, he is 5 Michelin stars and a celebrity). Chefs feed you, while most fashion designers don’t want you to eat.

          9. Bubbles says:

            Dearest Sweetest,
            Luvved your comment
            Soooo true daaarrrrrrling !!!
            I luvved it in the end where the new costume designer gave him ‘what for’ ….. Halston was completely stunned and almost in shock that someone should speak to him like that
            Gay narcissists are hilarious …. sooo ott!
            Luv Bubbles xx 😘

        2. Bubbles says:

          Dearest Sweetest Perfection,
          Yes, sadly our son is ensnared, however, he asked if he could join us for lunch on Mother’s Day (without narc) …. so that’s huge progress ! Had a fabulous day!

          Basically, Gossip Girl follows the lives of privileged teenagers on the upper east side !
          Lots of big events, breakfasts, bling n bullshit 🤣 You won’t like it cos it’s what they do, talk behind and stab you in the back
          We’ve seen Behind Her Eyes….. 😱….great wasn’t it ?
          Luv Bubbles xx 😘

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