Are you or somebody you know chained to the narcissist? Are you a co-dependent? What does this mean? How did you become this way? How does the narcissist know what you are? How does the narcissist exploit this condition and how might you escape him? These questions and more are posed and answered in this fascinating book. Delivered direct from the dark-hearted master, the narcissist provides his unique observations on those who are co-dependent and find themselves chained to the narcissist.
There are occasions when you have been on the receiving end of one of our conversational narc grenades which has been thrown at you as we then walk away from the ensuing carnage, sucking up the fuel and marvelling at our own brilliance. There will of course been times when you wished that you had something which you could lob at us in order to make some kind of impact, a comment or a gesture which does not take much effort but manages to land a blow on us. The problem is, until such time as you have received the benefit of my mentoring I should imagine that your responses to your particular narcissist have been along these lines:-
Shouting and hurling insults at us as you lose your temper
Crying as you call us as many names as you can think of
Throwing something at us with a yell of frustration
Banging a door shut in annoyance
Telling us what you think about us as you bristle with anger
Of course as avid students you will know that all of these responses and more besides have no impact on us other than to provide us with fuel. You can call me as many insults as you can think of but if you do it as you scream at the top of your voice in anger or with tears spilling down your cheeks, the savage words merely fuel me. Now, for the purpose of extracting more fuel and providing me with something to go and complain about to other people (thus gaining more fuel and smearing you into the bargain) I will provoke you even further. Once you have lost yourself to emotion, we will keep pushing, prodding and provoking in order to make you deliver even more fuel to us. We will feign that we are hurt, we will pretend to be angry in response, we may even mimic being frightened of you. It is all fabricated and is just designed to draw more fuel. Accordingly, you should not respond in this fashion. Instead, when deploying these ripostes, you must do so without showing any emotion. If you do, the intended effect will fail. If you do these without expressing any emotion you will not provide and fuel and the effect will be that we will feel criticised and this will wound us. Be aware that when wounded our fury will be ignited. This may mean we withdraw, we may unleash a cold fury (silent treatment) or a heated fury (insults, violence) and therefore you should proceed with caution. You are best performing these ripostes when you are departing so you are leaving your own empathic riposte grenade behind to explode and wound us. In some instances, departure may not be possible and therefore you need to consider carefully the type of narcissist you are with and their likely reaction to criticism. Caveat out of the way, here are the ten critical ripostes for you to use against your narcissist.
Point and Laugh
Point at us and give a hollow laugh. A slow, hollow laugh which is repeated will provide no emotion. Alternatively, point and just say “HAW ha” in an exaggerated manner, akin to the Simpsons’ character, Nelson Muntz. We will not know why you are laughing and the fact you are pointing at us but giving what is a derisory laugh will feel like a significant criticism to us.
“You are big on emotion, low on substance.”
We like to think we are important and of considerable substance. You are the emotional one, not us, even though of course we are the ones which thrive on your emotional attention. To suggest we are emotional (when of course we have a limited range of emotions) implies that we lack control. To suggest we have no substance (which hints at our need to adopt the characteristics of others and also impugns our importance) adds to the criticism. The Lesser will be wounded by the suggestion of being emotive and unimportant, The Greater, knowing what he is will be wounded by the massive hint at knowing what we are, alongside the suggestion of lacking control and lacking importance. A double whammy.
Feign sleep when we are talking
There is no emotion in closing your eyes and emitting a gentle snoring as you are sat down or lying down and we embark on one of our lengthy monologues. Once we realise you are not paying attention the criticism will wound.
“I have to be elsewhere.”
If this is said without emotion you are telling us that our presence is not magnetic and commanding enough. Make your exit and leave us to our ignited fury at this wounding remark.
“Jim has one only his is better.”
Useful for when we are crowing about some material possession. “Jim” may be somebody known to us both or you may make him up, the key thing is to point out that whatever we have, then “Jim’s” is better. It may be that his is a nicer colour, or his if larger, faster, more spacious, tougher, more durable. Whatever it is it will wound us. You can even keep rolling out the fictional Jim on repeated occasions and it will soon dent our crowing and have us wounded.
“I wasn’t listening; can you repeat what you said please?”
You should always be listening to us. We are important. Any suggestion that you are not amounts to a criticism and if you actually tell us that you were not doing so, then it is even worse.
Fall asleep when we are having sex with you
To impugn our Olympic sexual mastery in this way is a massive criticism. It need not be full sexual intercourse either. If you are touching us, drift off or vice versa. Best used with a Mid-Range as they tend to go off in a wounded sulk rather than erupt in a rage.
“It is just not that interesting to me.”
Any suggestion that we are dull or boring when we are demonstrating something to you or regaling you with our latest tale of brilliance will constitute a wounding criticism.
“Let me know when you have finished.”
This can be applied to so many different activities. We expect you to either be a willing and enthusiastic participant or a delighted spectator. If you make this remark when we are showing off about something and then walk away we will be wounded by this criticism.
“No that does not make sense.”
Remember how frustrated you become at our circular conversations and inability to understand the point you are making? Well, this is your chance to turn the tables. You probably do understand but by suggesting we are not articulating ourselves clearly when delivered without emotion will amount to a criticism. We may try and explain again. If so repeat the comment. You can then walk away as our fury ignites and no doubt we insult you for being stupid and thick but who is the one who has just been wounded?
I know what they say about me. I always know. I know they crowd around, earnest expressions etched across their made-up faces, their mouths flapping as they spout their supposed wisdom to you.
“We will be here for you. You have always got us.”
“If you are unhappy there must be something wrong.”
“Is it right to be treated like this?”
“You are not the person you used to be.”
Who are they to claim what is right for you? Have they held you on that cliff-top with the foaming ocean churning beneath us, the cool Atlantic air brushing past us as a canopy of stars hung overhead? Have they looked into your eyes and seen the pain that I know was there long before I came along, a pain that I have shouldered for you? Where were they when you called at 3am and asked that I tell you a story because you had just had a horrible nightmare? I do not recall them soothing you and keeping those night demons at bay. Do they know you inside out? I think not. They do not know every each of you in the way that I do. Each delicate piece of you that I have kissed and caressed, so there is no place about your person that has not been embraced by me. They have not done that have they? Have they held your long tresses back and rubbed your back as you spewed those cocktails back up and groaned about what how much money you have just regurgitated? No. It was I who rode to your rescue as they wove their drunken way to another bar. They do not know your favourite ten songs and I will wager more than they earn that they have no inclination that you are frightened of geese.
Oh I know alright. I know about their messages which they send you. I have seen them and it is fortunate that I have so I can spare you from the green-eyed lies. They do not have what we have and nor will they ever. One cannot blame them for their wretched jealousy, they are just flesh and blood, but are they your true friends when they seek to pour such sedition in your ears when my back is turned? Ought they not to be happy for you, delighted that you want to spend so much time with me. Do they not see that your sadness on occasions is borne out of your deep and perfect love for me, that such is our connection that you justifiably feel upset when you irk me or irritate me. I know you do not mean to do it and that is why I have not pushed you aside like those other pretenders who came before you. You understand what it is to have found someone who fulfils all your hopes and your dreams and you understand my pain when you sleight me or let me down. Yet, since you are such a good person, my upset becomes your upset but they do not see it. I suppose if I was charitable I might ascribe their short-sightedness to the fact that they lack your special qualities. Only you understand me and only you have that deep-seated bond with me so that what I feel resonates with you. That is who you are and who they are not.
I heard them caution you about moving in together, their comments about “undue haste” and “it is too early” and “he wants you where he can see you.” Well, why should I not? Why should I not have my number one fan with me as often as I can? Why would you want to be anywhere else? Why would I not want to have someone so pretty and wonderful as you besides me? Does not every winner want to show off his trophy? Of course.
I know they have cautioned you about my temper and urged you to depart, claiming that it will only get worse and you will suffer. They mistake passion for temper, but then they would wouldn’t they, it suits their selfish purposes to try and bring down what you and I have. People usually do that when they do not understand something. It is a predictable and regrettable response. As for their remarks about me controlling you, how can that be so? I chose you for so many things and chief amongst those attributes was the attraction of your strong mind and keen intelligence. So what if I suggest what you might wear and how you should do your hair, I am taking an interest. Would you prefer it if I never commented on how you looked or made no suggestion as to what suited you? I know a couple of them think I stop you seeing them, but that is just more of their campaign of slander. Perhaps it is selfish of me, but the times I have asked you to cancel plans to see some of your friends were only because I wanted to be with you. Perhaps I sounded firmer than I intended, I suppose that might happen when you spend all day working hard to support a relationship, it does make one tired. Do not be concerned by their observations that I make all the decisions about what we do, where we go and how our money is spent. I am happy to bear such a burden for us both and you have admitted, have you not, that I do know more than you about certain things. I am only doing what is right for you, for me and most of all for us. Of course, they do not bother to gain possession of all the facts. They would much rather whisper untruths in your ear based on hearsay and ill-informed perspectives. I suppose that is a price I have to pay for loving you so totally, so completely and so perfectly.
Still, I know they urge you to leave me. I am no fool. I have overheard their comments, heard what they say when they telephone you and seen the messages. I know they want you to depart and escape me. Well, do it. Go. Leave everything that we have built up together. Leave my guiding hand and perhaps someone more grateful will come along. I do not want that but why should my largesse and love be abused in this way? Why should I pour my all into an empty hole? Go do it. Pack your bags and leave. I will not stop you. See. If I controlled you would I not be begging you to stay and pleading with you to ignore them? If I pulled your strings as they accuse me of doing so would I not be threatening you now with all manner of terrible consequences if you had the audacity to step through that door and away from me? But I have not and I do not, because you already know don’t you? That is why I chose you. But I shall not stand in your way. If it really is awful being with someone who only ever has your best interests at heart and who loves you perfectly, albeit sometimes clumsily and erratically, then leave me. Just leave.
The precursor to a criticism of how you do not do something for me. It is a twin explosive assault against you because not only do I tell you that you are failing me by not doing something for me I also choose something that you actually do carry out. By suggesting that you no longer do a particular act or say a certain thing, when you actually do so, I intend to leave you speechless with exasperation and confused as to just how I can say such a thing. You will be stunned by such a blatant contradiction and this will result in your emotional response coming to the fore, rather than a reasoned one. All the better fuel for us.
2. You always….
The flipside of the above and likely to be tossed in your direction not long after the above narc grenade. The allegation of “you always” will be followed by some put-down and criticism highlighting a behavioural trait of yours which we deem unsatisfactory. Once again we will actually highlight something that you do not do in order to perplex you. You will defend yourself against this scandalous accusation and once again erupt in an emotional manner.
3. I’m sick of you controlling me.
Thrown at you in order to project our own rampant control of you. This is also used to deflect any criticism of us when you chastise us for our behaviour. Any attempt from you to point out the error of our ways or even to try to help us in some way will be met with this response. We do believe that you are trying to control us, by trying to break our own control of you and we cannot allow this to happen. It is through our control that we gain what we want from you and therefore any threat to this must be met with something that will knock you off balance. Accusing you of the very thing that we are doing will cause such astonishment and consternation that our aim is fulfilled.
4. My ex wouldn’t do this
A narc grenade of triangulation and who better to do it with than your predecessor. By implying that your predecessor has some form of superiority to you, after all the smearing of her name we did when we first ensnared you, not only will you be taken aback by this sudden volte face, you will also be mightily offended at being compared to someone who we hate so viciously. Drawing you down to her apparent level always brings forth a reaction from you.
5. My ex would do it
Another flipside whereby we are seeking to coerce you to do something for us, something which you are evidently reluctant to do. You have reservations and no doubt with good reason, but that does not matter to us. You are our extension and therefore you ought to be complying with our wishes without hesitation or refusal. By triangulating you again with she who went before you we are threatening that you are inferior to her and raising the prospect that you will be soon dispensed with if you do not do what we want.
6. I love you but I don’t like you right now
This carefully crafted narc grenade will shatter you as it appears as a compliment before ripping your heart out as you struggle to comprehend what we have just said.Surely if we love you, then we must also like you? What do we mean by saying this? It creates confusion and will have you trying to persuade us to both love and like you. What we mean when we lob this grenade towards you is “You say you love me but you will not do what I want.”
7. If you loved me….
We know that you are a love devotee. A passionate supporter and believer in the concept of love and we use this as grenade to about compliance. We know that you take pride in your integrity and decency and therefore you have standards to always uphold. By suggesting that your failure to act in the manner we want or that your disagreeing with us is somehow representative of you loving us less, we are challenging what you stand for. This will always force you to react by stating your case, reacting in an emotional fashion and ultimately doing what we want, in order to prove that you do indeed love us.
8. You are over reacting
A favourite to make you react even more. You take matters seriously and there are many things that we shall do which will cause you to respond in a serious and concerned fashion. By using this grenade, we belittle you and cause the issue to be about your reaction rather than what we have actually done.It acts as a brilliant way to deflect discussion and dissection of our behaviour and instead causes you to try to prove that you are not over-reacting, which will invariably actually heighten your response.
9 I can’t deal with this right now
Our grenade that is thrown in order to provide us with an escape route from any crisis or situation that requires us to be either accountable or supportive. We do neither and we want to keep it this way. We will invent some other reason which means that we have to depart or that you have to deal with this situation as we hurl the grenade, leaving you to catch it and deal with the subsequent explosion as we walk away, free from involvement, responsibility and culpability.
10 I don’t remember
The blast from this grenade is used to eradicate the problem that you are facing us with. Whether it is an accusation that we have failed to something or evidence of misbehaviour, this grenade is a failsafe way of enabling us to escape the problem. Often it will be used even when it is blatantly clear that we can remember, making your flabbergasted reaction all the more satisfying. There may be irrefutable evidence that we know and can remember but this never stops us from hurling this grenade at you and making good our escape from your attempt to blame us.
Well, wasn’t that the roller coaster ride? Don’t look so miserable at least you are getting a letter. The last four never got anything at this stage, I just disappeared and the first they knew that I was no longer interested in them was when they saw me parading my new acquisition. Still, they brought it on themselves or at least that is what I keep telling myself because after all, nothing is my fault is it? So, here is your letter. Yes, this is a Dear John letter, a missive designed to tell you that our entanglement is now at an end (for now – more on that later) and that I am now romantically involved with somebody else. Just as an aside, did you know that they originated from letters sent to soldiers by their unfaithful wives. Yes, brave Johnny was out there fighting the good fight whilst his Mrs was shacked up with Johnny-Come-Lately and she decided that rather than wait for Johnny to come home from the front she would choose Johnny Come Lately who was stationed in her home town. Seems our kind did not even suspend operations because of World War Two. Anyway, I digress. Yes, this letter is to tell you that you and I are no more. The simple reason is you are no use to me anymore. I know it seems damned unfair but my needs are all that matter you see. You gave it a good shot; I will give you that I suppose. You lasted longer than the one before, whatever her name was. Something to be proud of isn’t it, there haven’t been many who have held on to me as long as you have. I know in between the tears and the confusion when you read this letter you will be wondering why on earth have I done this after everything that you have done for me. You see, it is exactly that kind of selfish thinking that put a hex on you and me. If you had spent more time thinking about me and my needs, then we wouldn’t be in this position. Well, actually, we probably would because so far no matter what anybody has managed to do, I have always found them to be lacking eventually and had my head turned by somebody else. It always seems to happen and it cannot be my fault can it? I don’t do anything wrong. I mean I chased you, made you feel special and did all the tickling, hair-twirling and sweet nothings, you got a good time, come on you have to admit it. Oh I know things went sour afterwards but I have already written to you about that, do you have to go on about it? There you go again. Me, me, me. Never a thought for how I might feel. Have you any idea what it is like needing to rely on someone else to validate your existence? Oh you do. Well, that makes it worse actually, if you do know, why didn’t you do something about it? Anyway, I don’t have time to go into all that now. I daresay you are wondering why I have chosen someone now rather than try and work things out with you or at the very least agree to an amicable split before looking for a new victim. Well, it is a fair question I suppose. I have had the new person lined up for a while. You just weren’t doing it for me anymore and I had to make sure my needs were met so whilst you waited for me to come home, dinner in the oven, or dealt with the children again on your own as I was away on a “business trip” I was busy choosing her and seducing her. She is a right cracker, going to give me lots of emotional attention, better than you ever did. Oh don’t start with the tears, no actually carry on, that makes me feel better when you cry. I could list all the things that she is and which you are not, but I cannot be bothered to do it now, I am too excited about spending time with my new toy, er I mean partner. Don’t worry though, I will triangulate you with her at some point so you can find out all about why I chose her and we may as well have a little competition where I pit you and her against one another and I sit back and choose a winner. That’s what you get to do when you are as brilliant as me, so we can save the analysis about her for another time.
I’ve left you with a load of debt. Nothing to do with me as everything is in your name, but I suppose it will give you something to concentrate on alongside wondering what has just happened. I am going to take a few household items too, they are mine after all and I need to make sure my new home has everything. I imagine you will muddle through somehow, not that I care of course, but I might pretend to care if you give me the reaction I am after. I daresay you think I am cold-hearted and callous bastard but you have to understand this is your fault and not mine. If you had just tried harder to please me and keep me happy then I would not have had to look elsewhere. You made me have this affair because you are selfish and do not think about me. It is no point digging out that ridiculous list you have kept of everything that you have supposedly done for me, I know for a fact it is made up, but then you are something of a fantasist after all, at least that is what I have been telling all our friends and families, plus the neighbours, oh and your boss and the chap at the corner shop. Well, I am not having you spreading lies about me by saying I have gone off with some young bit of stuff leaving you in a half-empty house, with no income, a load of debt and the kids to look after. That would make me look bad and I have a reputation to maintain. Don’t even think about telling tales. Nobody will believe you. I have made sure of that and I will see the kids when I can be bothered, but when I do decide to bother my backside you had better not start playing silly buggers or I will have you in court and the judge and everyone else will know about your drink and drug problems. It is no good pretending you don’t have them, I know you do, or at least, I will make it seem like you do.
Well, I think that is everything. I have left a few bits and bobs in case I want to come back and torment you by haggling over a toaster and that collection of coloured vinyl records. Don’t think about calling me or hassling me, people already think you are a nut job. So, this is it. As I mentioned, at least I am telling you it is over, so you know. See, I am considerate after all. I would say good bye, but is more like au revoir, but when I say so.