am I like that too?

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I remember telling one of my friends that in writing about personality disorders and bad behaviors, I tended to turn the spotlight on myself and ask those same questions. Am I like that too? Do I do those same things to other people? Do I carry those traits? Being in social research where you are constantly shining the light into the darker corners of humanity means I am especially adept at doing that to myself. It’s not one of my favorite things to do to myself.

Like most folks, I don’t relish looking inward. When you have to take a good long, hard look at yourself, you might find out things you don’t like. But I have found this to be an essential and valuable tool when gaslighting and lies are afoot. Questioning what I did to deserve this kind of treatment, usually brings about a conclusion that I can not ignore.  

When I spend a lot of my time writing about, researching and trying to understand and process what a narcissist was and how they functioned, I found myself sitting back in my chair many times in bewilderment. Was I like that? Did I have those same traits? Many days I was unable to talk myself out of the funk this causes, but in the end and after speaking with experts, I now know that I am definitely not like that. I’m not perfect, but I am not mentally unhealthy. The one big clue is the way I handle situations. The other one would be that I would even ask myself those questions. I’m not asking what’s wrong with the people that don’t like me, I’m asking what kind of problem do I have that would make me unlikable. There’s a huge difference in those lines of questioning and self reflection.

Do you ever find yourself shining the light back in your own face and asking those scary questions? Is that how I sound? Is that how I look to other people?

If I were like them, I’d be a whole lot better at gathering the ranks up and pretending to be a victim, so the person I’m set on excommunicating from the group is left to dangle out on the cliff’s edge alone once everyone dislikes the tart too. I’d be awesome at the ever popular narcissistic silent treatment. This is where you “go dark” in hopes that the person is so overwhelmed by your silence that they come running back to the fold with tremendous remorse and beg to be let back in. I’d be a whole lot more agile at forcing them to jump once I’ve destroyed every connection they ever had to my “group”. Excluding them from parties and not inviting them to participate are great ways to let someone know how displeased you are with the way they act. It’s also a great way to set the bar for other friends to follow. I’d make sure everyone knew some tiny damning morsel about the person so there would be no question about whether anyone wanted to be friends with that person again, or not.

But I suck at every single one of those.

There’s this rap that goes like this:

i-dont-care

 

While some of you might think this is a terrific philosophy, it gets me into more hot water than just dealing with the latest narc in my life. But it’s true. I am not charming enough to gather my very own flock of flying monkeys. I do tend to say what’s on my mind, but I try to be a bit discreet about it. I’m not interested in being mean to other people. I am not a victim and have no reason to give anyone the silent treatment. In fact, implying that it’s a silent treatment means the possibility of reconciliation exists. When I walk away, when I say I’m done, then I’m done. It’s not a silent treatment, it’s the distant echo of me being gone because there’s nothing left there. I’m not waiting for an apology because I have stopped making an emotional investment. A silent treatment implies an emotional investment because you have to nurture those kinds of hurt feelings. I stopped nurturing toxic behaviors a long time ago.

The hot water it gets me into is that this kind of blunt confrontation with someone who is obviously displaying narc tendencies, will get you one really painful narcissistic smear campaign.

The best advice I can give to anyone that has the same impulse that I have, is to at least try to walk away quietly. I always feel better in a situation if I am just completely honest about what I’m feeling and thinking, rather than being prepared to shine someone on so I can escape them quietly. Let me help you out here…shine them on!

This kind of monster doesn’t deserve your honesty, your forthrightness, your loyalty or even your time. They add nothing of value to your life. They have proven to you how easily they can devalue you as a human being. Odds are, you probably haven’t even known them that long! Just walk away! You owe them nothing. And who cares if they know how you feel, or not? They certainly never gave a fig about how much they were hurting you and believe this, they will keep hurting you as long as their rotten little hearts desire. They can carry a grudge for years!

When I describe them as a monster I am not exaggerating.

This morning, as I’m looking in that mirror and  I’m wondering what I ever did to deserve some of the crap I’ve had to deal with, I tell myself that even though it might seem to me and to others like I did nothing, I am sure there’s one thing I did do. I showed them what a good friend looks like. I modeled the healthy behavior of lasting friendship and I shined my own special light of love on them because in that moment, I dearly loved them. It didn’t take long for them to begin undermining me. It didn’t take long for them to begin segregating me from their other friends and to start telling me how awful their other friends were, so I wouldn’t want to be around them. And it didn’t take long before they started telling me how much their other friends didn’t like me either.

I have to tell you…that is not what friendship feels like.

To a narcissist that sees the love one person is capable of beaming to their friends, this has to be some of the most frightening moments of their lives. They already know, or perhaps they suspect, that this is not something they will ever be able to do themselves and it’s scary having you around because everyone will want to feel this good. Everyone wants a good friend. If everyone wants a good friend, then this might cost the narcissist, who wants everyone to love only them.

I’m not being conceited or vain by saying this about myself. Being a good friend is not like being naturally beautiful. I work at being a great friend. It’s something I take pride in knowing about myself and it’s because I love my friends. I want my friends to feel good about themselves. I want them to bask in the glory of having loving relationships with their significant others. I remind them of the love and the great things going on in their lives. I celebrate them and their successes in life.

They say you can’t be a good friend to anyone else, unless you are friends with yourself first. I am my own best friend. I don’t mind being in the company of myself and tend to spend time in self reflection rather than desperately seeking out some company. I don’t need to constantly surround myself with big groups of people just so I can feel good about myself by thinking that perhaps a lot of people like me. The only person I am concerned with liking me is myself and the rest will happen organically, or not at all.

Don’t kid yourself. You will still run into toxic people. The difference is that when you navigate these treacherous waters once, the next recovery time will be much shorter.

Until next time this is Madeline Laughs and she’s asking you to ask yourself those tough questions and then to move on with a happier and healthier life surrounded by folks that just love you, because that is what friendship feels like.

 

 

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About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice, Personal Boundaries Primer and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to am I like that too?

  1. whine-wine-whatever says:

    I ❤ this.

    I''m reminded of a quote that I have on a Post-It note on my office wall of affirmations. It was written by Madeline Scribes! And it goes like this:

    "Ask yourself if you approve of the way you're allowing yourself to be treated."

    Having a solid self-image and a sense of self-love is so key to being open to loving others and seeing their worth.

    You rock, my friend. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cgemc says:

    This is how I approach those situations and people.

    I have spent many actual working hour working with varies personalities. I have even had these conversations with you. I used to ask myself, well do they know the pain they cause, is it because they grew up in a toxic home and really don’t know how to act differently. Either way it really doesn’t matter because there is a disconnect and they don’t realize their own actions and they will be right no matter what. The reason is because in their eyes they’re and most people won’t change and seek further understanding. Only in special circumstances, for example a traumatic event that is life changing and even then most people don’t make that connection because psychologically they can’t. I look at people like this with disorders, with handicaps. I treat people like this the same. I don’t look down on them and I certainly don’t look down on myself. Its just like a drug addict, its a disease. If I encounter someone with even dementia and they believe I am their daughter I’m not going to argue with them, I’ll be your daughter. I’ll treat you with respect and dignity. If that doesn’t work there is nothing more I can do to change that situation. Im not going to sit and explain to them who my parents are and who your kid is because that will make the situation far worse and eventually make them so confused that they are on mental overload and have a complete break down. So sometimes just going with the follow and letting them be who they are is the best option. Everyone has a right to be who they are, you can only control yourself in those situations. Its all about keeping a professional attitude and making it business, keep your personal life at the door. For your own sanity of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do get what you’re saying here, but a person with dementia is a completely different situation than someone who is narcissistic or has sociopath tendencies. Narcs are a product of upbringing, while a sociopath is born that way. Both are Cluster B personality disorders, but they have nothing to do with dementia. But I know you know that. For anyone else reading the comments, I want to make that clear for them. 🙂

      Dementia is an eroding of the brain function and those are definitely folks that need our empathy and care. You do a great job at that and I know those people are lucky to have you in their lives. Under those circumstances you are most qualified to keep your composure and remain professional. These are people you wouldn’t want to walk away from because they aren’t toxic, just living the best they can in the rest of their time here on Earth. That is your livelihood and I am so proud of you for staying professional and checking your ego at the door when you go to work. Dealing with the aging and infirm is a special kind of talent that not many folks possess.

      I don’t look down on people with Cluster B personality disorders, but I am more apt to walk away from them once their behavior becomes a negative in my own life. I’m not interested in having my time consumed by someone that only wants to see me suffer by hurting me. Who would?

      For more information on personality disorders, please visit this link from the Mayo Clinic. We all have some of the same traits as any of the disorders described here, however when we find that we have all of them, that’s when there might be a problem to address. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/personality-disorders/symptoms-causes/dxc-20247656

      Like

  3. Tejaswi says:

    Well, there you go, my friend. This explains my absence better than anything I might have used as a reply to your query, 🙂

    Yes, very well put. I could not have said it better myself. And certainly, self-criticism is something that isn’t done often enough by people. Possibly I overdo it. But the ability to be honest with oneself is required. Or else we would all be delusional. Which reminds me, in the old days people going into Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry needed to have sessions of their own first before starting their own practice. In a way, that was self-analysis too, in an interactive way with another professional. The discovery of the self is often an humbling experience and often painful too. That has probably been a problem with me from the beginning – I can always see the other side of the argument and I can always empathize even with those inimical or hostile to me. This balancing of viewpoints is a drawback in the eyes of the world. (It is, actually). But then it is a sense of justice and fairness as well. Maybe.. Not so sure now. But I don’t regret it.
    Good to hear from you, Madeline.. and it is great to read your writings again. Thank you. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

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