Over the years I had noticed many narcissistic traits in my good friend, but at the time I was not aware of the term “narcissism”. I could only take comfort in the confused notion that I was being punished for the sins of my youth, and that in suffering, we will all mature and become wise adults.
My friend has a wonderful and charming public persona and is extremely sociable. She organises many events and likes to go out regularly. People who do not know my friend very well usually have great admiration and think how lucky I am to know such a wonderful person.
Within some time, she then developed a habit of having episodes of seemingly uncontrollable rage, and I had still not fully understood what triggered these attacks. The doctor prescribed the cause as a lack of estrogen, but the irrational episodes did not subside and from what I hear, continues to this day. She started more and more to scream at only those close to her, often for very minor misdemeanours. She began forever complaining of feeling exhausted and ‘stressed out’.
I really do think that the narcissist is the principal sufferer but it has to be said that it is definitely not pleasant living with one. These people are toxic.
All in all I am tempted to say that narcissists deserve to stew in their own rancour but I have to remind myself that they themselves are often suffering, and are trying to cover up their low self-esteem.
Having read a little about narcissism I realised that there are many people in my predicament. There is a saying that a problem shared is a problem solved but, like me, there are very few people that they can share this particular problem with others.
It has taken a long long time, but I have learnt that the only way to win with a toxic person, is not to play.
And until you accept that fact, you’re anybody’s sucker. All it will take is one bloated accusation, one lie, or one insinuation about you, and you’ll forever be the toxic person’s most treasured source of satisfying fun and games. If you don’t know how to leave the bait alone and find another, quieter, more indirect route back toward being left alone, you never will be.
Abusive people know that as long as they can set and keep their hooks in you, you are stuck being there for them to use and abuse – to feed on. When they want to, abusive people will say and do whatever it takes to keep you glued painfully to them and their world, because if you are stuck to them, they will always have you handy for whatever emotionally abusive purpose they want.
You may need to cut contact altogether if you are in an entrenched personal relationship, and if so, you may get hoovered and manipulated into staying connected. This is often easily done by deliberately upsetting you so much that the urge to call or contact them just to have your say will be intense, because the lies or other distortions being propagated are so hurtful. Don’t fall for it. Just ignore the whole thing, walk away and wipe your hands. There is no winning such battles. The greatest reward is freedom from the toxicity, which only comes with your non-involvement.
The sooner you do, the sooner it will start to become quiet, which, given certain toxic types, can take long enough without additional delays being thrown in. Don’t tell yourself you have to reply — learn to recognize your refusal to respond for what it really is — a sign that it will be over as quickly as possible because you knew how to ignore drama-baiting and send the toxic person looking for a better target.
So when you find yourself invited into an ugly tug-of-war with a toxic person, simply drop the rope immediately, walk away and LEAVE IT BE FOREVER. Because the simple fact of the matter is, toxic people can’t have a tug-of-war with you if there’s nobody holding on at the other end.