Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Fail-safe Narcissist Detector

100% satisfaction guaranteed or your money back

Do you want a sure-fire test to see if you're involved in a "friendship" with a narcissist? Okay, this is really simple. It is so simple that you may be tempted to dismiss it. Please don't.

I know this works from personal experience. I have seen this work consistently for others as well. It is the equivalent of smearing your body with blood and jumping into shark-infested waters....the sharks will bite. The dolphins, the fish, the sea turtles will not bite.


Just say NO. Yup, that catchy little anti-drug phrase contains all the advice you need to detect who in your life is sucking your life blood from you. This works so consistently well that if I was selling this advice I'd offer you a money-back guarantee.

What should you say no to? It doesn't matter. If you have noticed that you are always saying yes to everyone in your life then chances are you've attracted at least one narcissist. The beauty of the "just say no" experiment is that you don't have to wait to say no to something really big, nor do you have to wait until you're fed up or exhausted to say it. In fact, it is better to "just say no" to something rather small. Innocuous. No big deal. Don't be angry when you say it, either. Just matter-of-fact. The disproportionate reaction you'll get from a narcissist will be shown up to be all the more disproportionate if the "no" is small and reasonable.

More advice on saying "no": Don't be apologetic. This is very important. If you are challenged, just stand your ground and do not offer up any explanations, justifications or appear to be in any way unsure of your right to say that little word.

Stand back and watch the fangs come out. If you are dealing with a narcissist they will not be able to take your "no" with any kind of reasonable equanimity. They will challenge you in some way. If you stand firm, they may bring out any number of nasty methods to dissuade you from your decision. Don't get sucked in. Just stand back, watch and marvel at the transformation of what you thought was a friend into a fiend.

If you say "no" to a reasonable, non-narcissitic person, they will accept it for what it is. They will not try to shame you. They will not try to convince you that you're a selfish person. They will accept your "no" with grace and your relationship will not be damaged.

The narcissist's reaction to "no" is never positive. And it doesn't matter if you've been in the relationship for years or you've just met this person....the test will work.

This is a highly effective dating tool, by the way. Keep getting tangled with narcissists in your dating life? Just say NO. Early on. Don't waste time. You're not getting any younger. Filter the vampires out before the second date.

"Just say no". So easy. So effective. Doesn't cost a thing.


Anonymous said...

I have actually used this technique before. Works like a charm. Unfortunately, the narcissist in my life eventually resorted to tactics of stealth-like "punishment". Although I may be able to say 'no' TODAY, I discovered that within days, or at most, weeks, I would receive SOME form of 'punishment' for denying him what he believed to be his 'rightful' claim of successfully controlling me! I think it's important to add that when one is experimenting with 'no', to make sure that you have the RIGHT to say 'no'! For example, if you are literally stepping on his/her foot, and (s)he asks you to get off, that is NOT the time to experiment with 'no'!

Anna Valerious said...

A delayed negative reaction to a firm and reasonable "no" is still something you can work with. The delay is only a few days to a few weeks. The narcissist is exposed and you jettison the bastard, and you've only lost a few weeks of your life.

Yeah, I think people can understand that I was talking about saying "no" to something you have the right to say no to. "Small and reasonable" were the words I used. It is not reasonable to say no when someone asks you to stop standing on their foot. I credit my readers with having a reasonable I.Q.

Anonymous said...

Great advice. Being raised by one makes it hard to say no but when you finally do (in a reasonably situation) it is like a chain tied around you is broken.

With my mother I said no about to her when she was trying to force me outside for punishment. I would not go through that she can ground me etc but not that. She got angry and told to do it again several times and I just said no. She backed off!

(Found another punishment of course)


Anonymous said...

Yes, for sure this works. A few years back when I just started to get some backbone, I said no to someone who I was slowly coming to realize was not my true friend. She was one of my many narcissist friends (I attract that sort!).

I slowly started to realize that she only called me when she wanted to brag about something in her life; needed a favor or needed some kind advice related to house decorating. I felt used up every time I came in contact with her, whether it was in person or on the telephone.

So I stopped calling her. One day she called and of course she wanted something from me. The telephone number of the person who wallpapered my kitchen. When I told her that I wasn't able to give that to her, her voice got a strange surprised sound and she said "Oh." I didn't say "no", but I didn't give her what she wanted even though I did have what she wanted. So in my mind I said "no".

After a bit of silence (I let her stew in my "no"), we made some small talk. We somehow got on the subject of another one of my ex-N-friends and she was another person who only called me when she wanted something. I point blank told the person I was on the phone with that I no longer called that ex-friend, because I no longer call people who only call me when they want something from me. Once again she said, "Oh." Then she quickly "had to go" do something important for her husband. I haven't heard a peep from this woman since that phone call and that was three years ago. Good riddance!

I wish I learned this trick years ago. It certainly weeds out the N's and once you say no, you'll start hearing all the manipulation and things they say to shame you and make you feel guilty. You now have the power because you said no. And you can sit back and relax and listen to them come up with all the guilt statements and shaming tactics; you know it's coming because this is what they do. It almost makes me laugh now that I know what they are doing.

And Anna is so right. Don't apologize for saying no. Just say no. It's hard as a woman to not apologize, but I force myself to do it. I have a right to say no.

No, no, no, no, no! Just say no!

Lane_in_PA said...

(The last two hours reading this blog has done me more good than the last 10 months of therapy.)

Last year I didn't go home for Christmas for the first time ever. We were in the middle of a series of bad snow storms that began early for our area. Flights were haphazard if not cancelled, and driving 650 miles was not an option as conditions were dangerous. I had advised mother beforehand that I probably wouldn't see her over the holidays if it kept snowing like it had been. On the 22nd my mother called to ask what time she could expect us to be at her house. I said, "No, we can't make it for Christmas. The weather is too bad. We're thinking about coming down later when things improve."

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Seven months later I am still paying for not risking my husband's and my life to visit her. She has accused me of lying about the weather conditions, she has told me she doesn't believe that Pittsburgh is 650 miles from Atlanta, going so far as to blaming me for her health problems, and that's just for beginners. Let's not get into what she has done with the Will.

I am 56 years old and for the first time in my life, I said No to my mother. I didn't say it to hurt her, I merely stated the Conditions of Reality, that traveling to Atlanta was not physically possible at that time.

That simple word NO revealed my mother for what she really is: a petty, punitive, hurtful and evil narcissist. My therapist has suggested many times that she is NPD, he's even used the word Evil, but I just couldn't see it.

Until now. Thank you, Anna, for this blog entry. I see my therapist later this afternoon and I can't wait to tell him how good it feels to be free. I am amazed at how clear everything looks!

Anna Valerious said...

Lane in PA,

Thanks for your comment. I'm very happy to know that you've found clarity and understanding here because that usually translates into total freedom from the narcissist. It is easier to get the physical freedom than the emotional kind. All the best to you as you forge ahead without the evil narcissist tied around your ankles!

Quinn said...

I can see where you're coming from with this test, but wouldn't saying no without giving any explanation annoy anybody and everybody? I thought it's only polite to tell them why you can't or won't do it if you're asked to do something you can't/won't do.

Obviously if the person totally flips out we'll know that something's wrong with that person, but what if they just question why you're saying no? Does that make them a narc?

Anna Valerious said...

Notice I said to use this as a test..not as a way of life. Also, to make the 'no' "small and reasonable". We can all find a time and place where a no falls into the "small and reasonable" category and where questioning the no would be just plain rude or nosy.

Quinn said...

Thanks for the quick reply. Would you mind just giving me an example of when 'a no would fall into the "small and reasonable" category and where questioning the no would be just plain rude or nosy'? It's been a couple of hours since I've read the post and I still haven't been able to think of any.

The smallest request I could think of at all was "could you please pass the salt?" and if the person had said "no" without any explanation, although personally I wouldn't be mad at them, I'd still be left wondering if they're mad at me about something and question that.

Quinn said...

Also I wasn't trying to imply that you were suggesting this as a way of life, I was questioning the validity of this as a test.

Anna Valerious said...

"Would you please pass the salt?" ... to say no to that would be small and UNreasonable. LOL For instance. "Let's go to a movie tomorrow night." You could respond with "Tomorrow night doesn't work for me. Maybe another time."

If you've already seen a pattern of a person expecting you to say yes to them whenever they ask a particular thing of you that can be an indicator that you need to test them out. Perhaps you have a sister-in-law who has gotten used to being able to call you at a moment's notice to drop off her kid for you to babysit while she shops or something. You can test her out by saying an unapologetic "no" instead of always feeling like you have to do it because you've done it in the past and she's come to assume you're always available. You could say, "This afternoon doesn't work for me. Perhaps next time I can do it." If the SIL is a decent person she'll graciously accept your answer without demanding a "why" as to the reason you're not available on her demand and she'll like start thinking that she should start giving you more notice in the future and not assume you're available on her whim. If she is a narcissistic shark then she'll probably get testy and question your right to say no to her.

Hope this helps you envision situations where a no isn't unreasonable nor something that is your responsibility to do just because someone asks you to.

Quinn said...

Thanks a lot for that clarification! When I first read this I thought the test involved literally just saying one word "no" and leaving it at that lol, I'm sure that would annoy most people.

However in the examples you've just given I can see that unapologetically did not in any way mean rudely.

Cat Lady said...

This blog is amazing, you are writing my life story here? I ran across this blog last night and stayed up late reading your posts.

I turned 40 today and have spent 40 years of my life in hell because of an evil narcissist that has always treated me like her slave. I have broken away from her 5 times and not talked to her for years. Doing that though means that I have to deal with horrible rumors about me in the family or even people I have worked with or socialize with. Reading your blog has given me strength to keep myself away from my toxic mother. The rumors are a joke compared to being in contact with her. My mother is pure evil and I have always felt this deep down in my heart.

Thank you for this blog Anna, I'm going to spend the next half of my life healing and getting in touch with the girl I was meant to be. God bless ;-)

empresslori said...

Quinn: You wrote -

"I can see where you're coming from with this test, but wouldn't saying no without giving any explanation annoy anybody and everybody? I thought it's only polite to tell them why you can't or won't do it if you're asked to do something you can't/won't do."

In any etiquette book, it's made clear that no one is under ANY obligation to explain why they can't attend/fulfill someone's request. "I'm sorry I can't," repeat as often as needed. Why I can't or won't do something is NOT EVER the requester's business. If you give a narcissist an excuse, you're giving them something to overcome and pressure you into folding and doing/attending whatever their request is.

I realize you probably won't see this as your comment was close to two years ago, but felt it was still important to comment as your statement on giving an explanation why you can't do something.

The caveat to this is: feel free to give explanations to your sane, reasonable friends and family.