Scorched Earth – a military strategy that aims to destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy.
I knew I wanted to write about this, even had the post image drawn up for Instagram, but I could not find the words to write the post. Mercury retrograde and seeing people getting married brought up so many emotions for me, the most prominent one being anger.
I did not have the words until today, after an encounter with a narcissist that threw me back into my relationship, my marriage, and trying to escape. Having been with a narcissist has allowed me to pick up on the traits at a rate that one should not.
I have been known to tell people about themselves for years, and while I may from time to time still do it, there is a different tax paid emotionally when it comes to a narcissist.
People fake empathy and concern all the time, so I read things very carefully, ensuring that I am comprehending the message correctly. It is easy to spot when the message is not genuine. The concern is not so much about the person they claim to be worried about, but more so their perception of the person. “So and so doesn’t do this anymore because of you,” or “So and so has become this.” Never, “I’m really concerned that so and so isn’t acting like themselves anymore. Do you know what is up? Has something happened? What can I do to help?” Narcissists care about the image of the people they maintain relationships with. If they are not acting accordingly, it is now a problem.
I purposely do not tell people anything about my relationship. My entire relationship and marriage to a narcissist has taught me that any information that is divulged will be used against you. Not only will it be used against you but it will be used to taint people’s perception of you. A smear campaign will happen and whatever information you have told them will be twisted in a way that makes them seem like they really care(d) about the person and their wellbeing.
They do not and they did not.
What the narcissist does is all about self-gratification. After giving me an ultimatum, because I’m a f*cked up individual incapable of making up my mind, I purposely composed a message ensuring that I engaged the narcissist to respond in a manner that would make their mask slip. You see, normally people, with real concerns, will evaluate the message and respond accordingly. Narcissists will see the one area of the message where you criticized them or called attention to and focus solely on that. You will find yourself sitting there, maybe even ask them, “I thought this message was about your concern. I told you some pretty alarming stuff, but here you are, focusing on what I said about you?”
Throughout the message, I called attention to the fact they did not know the whole story, but in this one area they focused on caused them to try to relay information to me to prove to me, they did.
I left my body, and the Lee that kept saying, “Let me at ‘em,” returned.
It was like I was watching myself composing another message, calling out their fake concern, their need to turn what was supposed to be a conversation about my person into them. How their true concern became exposed, and that if no hostility was meant, no hostility should have been taken from a message answering the questions they asked and informing them there is more to the story. I called them out for being a narcissist. But I went one step further, and I told them that I could see their unhealed trauma.
The narcissist said I was angry and apparently asking me to do something was asking too much. They even called themselves “narcissistic asshole” for “showing concern.” The Lee that tried to survive that relationship, that marriage, began typing again. Only this time, she was out for blood.
The thing is, I was not angry, I was pulling out the traits I learned from my narcissist to fight another narcissist, and narcissists always project their feelings onto who they feel are their victims. I stand firm that I am no longer a victim; I am a survivor, just not one that is thriving. I am not only triggered constantly but I experience flashbacks almost daily.
Want to know how to make a narcissist mad? Point out their fallacies. Point out their selfishness. Add a little projection and then tell them they are nothing. Point out that you know what they are doing but do not stop there, call them out once again, and reaffirm that you see them, and then disengage.
The narcissist thanked me for my diagnosis, attempted to try to tell me that they did know the full story, again, and then said, “I don’t care what you think about me…I see that’s a lot to ask of you. You chose to take it to another level.”
I heart reacted to the message because this version of me saw that the narcissist was expecting me to respond once again, but this version of me knows the perfect way to piss off a narcissist – disengage.
You are probably wondering right now, “How does any of this correlate to you picking up narcissistic traits to survive?” Let me explain.
Once I read the message and read it once again, I saw the message was based upon their perceptions of who my boyfriend was today, in this stage of his life. Old Lee came up to the surface and responded in a way that showed arrogance and a grandiose sense of self.
When they tried to affirm that no, they knew the truth and threw something in my face for a reaction, I realized that I caused them to attempt to exploit my emotions and show their true concern – their feeling of abandonment. If they were only focused on their needs or the issues they addressed to me, that I responded to, would have been the focus of the conversation. I specifically asked them, “What is the definition of ‘masculinity,’ for you? Is it someone seeking gratuitous sex without satisfaction? Someone who bangs their chest and sees women as ‘play things?’ Someone who grinds and makes more than their women counterparts? What defines being a man for you?” This question went unanswered, but when I called them a safety risk, I ripped their mask off and this was now the focus of our conversation – my perception of them. Narcissists don’t like to be perceived as anything other than “good.”
So, then I exploited theirs, called out their unresolved trauma, their projection, the fact the true intent of their conversation had been exposed, and finally, gaslit them. Then the self-deprecation came and attempt to belittle me through dismissing me. So, I threw the one thing I knew would insult them, their attempt at admiration with fake concern was not appealing, I did not admire them, and I saw their attempt to gaslight me into feeling as though my reaction was unwarranted.
When I disengaged, I was shaking, crying, and sick to my stomach. The entire conversation threw me back to everything I ran away from – fake concern underneath a huge icing of telling me what a f*cked up individual I was. Not only was I a f*cked up individual but the questioning on if I took my medication, that they were only doing such and such because they loved me, that they changed because of me – it was like no time had passed.
The urge to drink after this encounter consumed me. It was my safe haven during my relationship, my coping mechanism that made me believe I was an alcoholic. I pulled out every tactic that was used against me against another narcissist, and the experience pulled old Lee back into my body, and now she is here, ready to fight for the Lee who is trying to recover.
She is here, and she refuses to hear that it is safe again.
If you or anyone is dealing with Narcissistic Abuse visit NCADV.org for more information.
BITD is a blog designed to educate on mental illness and maintain mental wellness through personal experiences.