It is interesting, the belief narcissists have that they can just wait a while after they’ve done something shitty, until they think everyone is over it, and then pretend nothing happened. Like they will just start emailing you or whatever, on totally banal topics, and you’re like, why is this in my inbox. There’s stuff on the table that you need to acknowledge.
I mean, I can see why they think this course of action would work. It often does! Narcissists depend on people like me, who will make excuses for them, and think about how they had the worst childhood, or they don’t know any better, orwhatever. We get invested in protecting their feelings, so we don’t speak up. And then if at some point we start to learn or grow, or have some boundaries, and we say, whoa, that was not ok, that upset me, the narcissist doesn’t know what to do.
Obviously what you should do when your friend says she is upset is say “I’m sorry I didn’t intend to hurt your feelings, let’s talk.” Or even, “You know, I kind of did intend to hurt your feelings, and I’m sorry about that, we really should talk.”
Saying things like “I knew you’d be upset,” or “Other people made you think that,” or “I’m disappointed in you,” or suddenly coincidentally having a crisis is the classic narcissist response to someone attempting to introduce the topic of other people’s feelings. They want to bring things right back to themselves. And if you push back, even a teeny bit, if you say, “That really hurt my feelings,” they will flip the fuck out. It’s so threatening to them.
For most of us, it seems so obvious and kind and generous to say, “I’m sorry, let’s talk” instead of generating a 10-point manifesto on Why I Don’t Need to Apologize or doing the “I’m going to pretend it didn’t happen game” or the “OH MY GOD I SUDDENLY AM HAVING A CRISIS TRIGGERED BY YOUR FEELINGS” gambit. But I’m realizing narcissists are super threatened when their friends get in touch with their own feelings—probably largely because the narcissist fears being held accountable for their actions. If their favorite doormat suddenly sticks up for herself, that’s very destabilizing to them, which makes the thought of an apology and an honest discussion terrifying.
They will throw away years of friendship rather than have that discussion, and they will justify it to themselves in all kinds of ways. It’s actually pretty sad, I guess. This is not actually about anyone on tumblr (though it may apply to many people on tumblr!), or at least not to anyone I interact with on tumblr, maybe they have blogs on here. So don’t ask me if it’s about you, just think about what it might mean
this resonates so deeply in my life that it’s giving me goosebumps. but recognizing this? recognizing these behaviors and these manipulations? it has been nothing but completely freeing.
I love you, A~—also I just duh realized that you could replace “narcissist” with “addict” and you’d be at one of my meetings.