Narcissist Thinking: It’s all about me and my feelings and what I want. What could possibly be wrong with that?
Oh My, Where Do I Even Begin? …
Stop and take a moment to really think about that way of thinking. I don’t know about you but when I close my eyes, in my mind I see a spoiled little brat whining in a nasally tone, “Yeah but I don’t wanna do that anymore, Mommy. ”
News Flash! When we become adults, there are a boatload of things we may have to do that we may not ‘feel’ overly thrilled about doing. For example: If I waited until I felt like I wanted to clean the oven, I’d probably burn down my house cooking my next pizza. If I waited until I felt like I wanted to take out the trash out, I’d be living in squalor among the rodents. Taking care of business and disciplining ourselves to do what needs to be done is what normal well-adjusted adults DO. Hence, that’s why it’s called ‘adulting’ [wink, wink].
But Narcissist, cheaters, abandoners, and manipulating character-disordered folks don’t seem to see it that way. Once they begin to feel less than thrilled about someone or something, their expectation is that The Universe will pull the handbrake and stop the world from turning while they summon a new and better feeling. Heaven forbid that they be [gasp!] ‘obligated’ and expected to follow through on commitments that THEY agreed to—of their own volition.
Certainly You Jest
Wedding vows? Faithfulness? Commitment? Come on., who are we trying to kid here? We all know that narcissists can’t be bothered with such mundane annoyances. In the case of male narcissists, we need to put ourselves in their shoes and understand their plight. Their wives may have gotten a few smile lines or put on a few pounds over the years. Or in the case of female narcissists, although their poor schmuck husbands may be heading for a heart attack from working three jobs to support her shopping addiction, heaven forbid that his waistline may have increased as well. In both the male and female narcissist’s mind, such terrible miscarriages of justice entitles them to a VIP ticket and priority boarding on The Exit Express.
Spend time with their children? Provide for their needs? Nah, Narcissists can’t inconvenience themselves with such mundane wastes of their precious time. Especially not when there’s the possibility that a batter Mr. or Ms. Shiny New Thing could be waiting in the wings. How can they be expected to tolerate the boredom of playing SuperDad when ‘their boys’ beckon them from the curb to go out every night and pound down a few brewskis? How can a female narcissist be expected to opt for a night in with her devoted husband and beautiful children when Girls Night Out has become a weeknight habit?
Narcissists like to think of themselves as mental giants and such enlightened progressive thinkers. Having to do things they don’t feel like doing seems so so small minded and restrictive. They truly believe they should live free of all encumbrances while someone else is tasked with bringing up the rear. Void of an empathy gene [or having one set to mute in their default settings] gives them no frame of reference to feel for chumps like us who take a tumble when they whipsaw us back and forth with their changing emotions and vacillating loyalties. They cannot comprehend such feelings—until it finally happens to THEM. The they crash and burn—smoldering at the bottom of the ash heap.
Sometimes An Object Lesson Helps
To any narcissist out there who might be in the vicinity, you might want to stop what you’re doing and listen up because I’m about to talk about your favorite topic: YOU. [Yep, I thought that would get your attention.] Okay, here we go. Take my hand and follow me out here on a hypothetical limb.
Lets say that you dumped your spouse and family for another better romantic ‘opportunity’. No doubt you justified it in whatever way made sense for you at the time. Better stated, you chose whatever
lie narrative you thought would play the best with observers and supply you with longest huff of the Keep Me In Denial Pipe. You had not even a twinge of conscience as you cavalierly Ctrl-Alt-Deleted your former life and everything associated with it. I mean, really, an amazing catch like you can’t be expected to stay stuck doing the same old 10/2/4 in a life going nowhere. Golf clap.
The first order of business was to move out … You then got a new place … You and Mr. or Ms. Shiny & New promptly set up housekeeping together … You took out a mortgage or signed a long term lease on your new digs … You signed on the dotted line for a flashy new car to better reflects the new and improved you … Let’s also say that during the affair process, you finished up that languishing degree program and/or obtained other advanced credentials to bolster your ego/further your money making ability/impress your new love interest.
The gods were smiling on you and you were recruited to a new position in another part of the country … What a stroke of good fortune for you, as you were able to further distance yourself from your prior spouse/partner, removing the possibility of killing your buzz by being reminded on a daily basis that you even had a former life.
To celebrate your new found freedom and job, you lavishly decorate your new office, outfitting it with the latest/greatest accoutrements. It may have been expensive, but in light of shiny new life and shiny new career, you consider it a noble recoupable investment. Yay you!
The moment the moving truck departs, you begin getting settled in to your new routine and life with Mr. or Ms. Shiny & New … You breathe deeply, acknowledging that life is indeed good again . You revel in your new lease on life, waking each day in a good mood, rolling over to kiss the welcome face of your new spouse/partner. You’re on top of the world. You live high on life, invigorated by the positive energy that comes from having so much ‘shiny and new’ all around you.
You exist in a state of Nirvana for a while. Then it happens …
One Monday morning you arrive to work as you normally do. Whistling in the elevator, you happily bounce through the corridors like every day before, greeting all passers-by. However, unlike all the other Monday mornings up until now, this one is different.
You arrive to your lavishly tricked out office and something is amiss. Unlocking the door, and find someone there. Someone unknown to you is sitting in YOUR leather executive chair. This unknown person is talking on YOUR phone. And even more insulting, this unknown person has their feet up on YOUR beautifully polished cherry wood desk.
Stunned, you begin the interrogation … Who are you? … How did you get in MY private locked office? … And just who do you think you are to be sitting in MY chair—with your feet on MY desk, no less?!
An Unexpected Response: The Silent Treatment
The person sitting at your desk flashes you a big dose of condescending side eye then continues with their telephone conversation. Feeling righteously indignant, you repeat your questions, amping up the urgency with louder volume. Again, the person at your desk throws you more side eye, acts disgusted with YOU, then turns the chair completely around to ignore you, and continues talking.
Unable to take any more, you shriek: “I said, WHO are you?! … And why are you in MY office?! … I demand you stop talking right now and answer me!’ By this time, you are visibly shaking and speaking through gritted teeth.
May I Introduce You Dear Narcissist To The Gaslight Boomerang
Staring at the back of your executive chair, you notice that it starts to turn ever so slowly back around. The still-unknown stranger sitting in your chair calmly and very politely apologizes to the person on the other end of phone, explaining that an ‘obvious lunatic’ has wandered into THEIR office. They excuse themselves, saying that they must go ‘handle this nutcase’.
The stranger at your desk uses the intercom to call security and then places the handset of the phone back on the cradle. This mysterious person then condescendingly interlocks their fingers and hands placing them on top of the desk. Then, leaning forward toward you, said squatter says slowly in a calming voice: “And what may I ask, makes you think this is your office?”
Now on the defensive, you launch into needless justification of who you are, what your position is with the company, how long you’ve been there, etc. No response. In desperation, you then point out that your name appears on the academic degrees that are framed and hanging on the wall. You then hurriedly grab a small picture of snapshots of you and your new love on your recent vacation and hold it up, flashing it like badge as additional identification.
The person sitting at the desk nods and says, “Hmmm … I see … and how long have you been having these delusions?”
You are unable to believe any of this is happening. This person who is still occupying your chair and seated behind your desk goes on to remark that obviously something is mentally off with you. Disputing your reality, Mystery Person says that the degrees on the wall do not have your name on them, and the beach photo from the desk is from their vacation.
Now, Now ~ Calm Down Dear, There’s No Need To Get So Upset
About that time, there is a knock on the office door. Building Security and your boss arrive together. Before anyone can speak, you launch into a frantic tirade about what has been happening. You explain that this person has no right to be invading YOUR space, and besides, how dare they insinuate that you are mentally deranged!
Your employer listens empathetically, smiles sweetly, and waves a hand to signal that everything is under control and Security can leave. You breathe a sigh of relief, anticipating that your trusted boss is about to set everything straight by promptly evicting this obvious trespasser.
Your employer then sits down in one of your guest chairs, and invites you to do the same. You begin calming down. Your pulse starts trending down toward a more normal number of beats per minute.
Your employer turns to you and opens a monologue. A few sentences into it, you begin to see a pattern and identify a theme that you know very well. It’s then that you remember how you either turned off or chose to extinguish any expression of your empathy gene. You gulp as hear the beeping alert and realize that The Karma Bus is backing up at your address.
Your boss’s conversation goes something like this:
I know this may be a bit hard for you to wrap your head around, but it’s over—your employment here, I mean. I know that I told you that this job was yours and I want you know that I really meant it when I said it—at least at that time. I know you invested heavily and may not be able to recoup all the sunk costs from moving here for this job. No doubt you’re obligated to significant expenses like a home mortgage, car payments, utility bills, student loans, groceries etc. My replacing you with someone else and not letting you have time to prepare yourself may make it difficult, if not impossible to meet those obligations. Bummer.
I know it’s really a crappy thing for me to spring something like this on such a nice person like you, but [shrug] what’s a person to? … I’m just not feeling it any more. I want you to know that I never lied to you. When I first met you and decided on you for the position, I was just sure that you were ‘the one’. But we all know that time changes things, right? In other words, that was before Fancy Pants Interloper there in your chair came across my radar.
Besides … I’ve been in business for what I feel is a long, long time and frankly, I’ve paid my dues. I’ve put what I wanted aside. I’ve been good, paying out a lot of salaries and benefits for a lot of other employees up until now. I had to stop and ask myself: okay, when is it my time to do what I want to do. You know what I mean?
If I’m totally honest, I have to admit that I also really get off on all the excitement that goes with the hunt. Looking for the next replacement keeps it interesting and exciting. I especially love the contact high I get from the smell of fear and desperation wafting in the air when I pull the rug out from under an unsuspecting employee.
I know that you appreciate when someone just comes right and says it. And well, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that FancyPants Interloper here is [hands down1] better than you ever were. Come to think of it, in rethinking things, I was never that sold on you in the first place. I stopped loving having you here some time back. I just never told you. My bad.
If you’re completely honest, you’ll finally admit that you knew it too because I pride myself on hiring intuitive people around here. You had to have picked up on it. Never mind the large surprise bonuses I gave you or the times I sent company-wide memos touting your praises to everyone, bragging about how good of an employee you were.
I have confidence in you. I know that some day after you’ve given it a lot of thought, you’ll understand. I know you. I know that you would never want to burden me with having to feel bad. I know that I can count on you to be good about this. I know that you won’t let me down. I know I can count on you to suck it up and take all the blame, despite being shafted like this.
Besides, I know you have a lot of personal pride and would never want to stay here, knowing that I’d always be looking elsewhere for someone better and constantly comparing you to them. So what’d ya say we agree that you’re going to mosey on off now and stay silent about this matter as you live in your car.
That is, until your car gets repossessed and sold at auction.