Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More on the Diversion Game

I received an email from a reader of my blog after yesterday's post. She has come up with a great list of opposites as further examples of the distraction of labels that narcissists use. With her permission here is the list:

Generous - but she was very stingy with gifts and her time.
Helpful - not around when my sister and I gave birth to any of her grandchildren.
Sincere - will smile to your face, then loves to gossip and make fun about what you said, did after you leave.
Loyal - but she will cut you off and sever all contact as soon as you offend her in anyway.
Loving - refuses to have any contact with her grandchildren.
Truthful - denies ever saying things that hurt people, lies about events and what took place and what people said, lies about being able to see her grandchildren.
Humble - refuses to ever say she is sorry to anyone, has pathological pride.
Respectful - yet hurls venomous insults that strip you of your self esteem (I have been called selfish, greedy, rich b*tch, demon possessed, liar, evil, backstabber, etc.
Longsuffering - easily offended at any insult real or imagined. Forgiving - harbors grudges and gives silent treatment for months and years on end, will never let you forget a trespass against her.

These are some good examples of the naming game of opposites that narcissists play in order to throw us off their scent trail. Another one this reader named was "gracious", but I couldn't show her example because it contained identifying facts about her. So I'll share my own experience.

"Gracious" was a word my mother became enamored of using very frequently in the last ten years or so. She would point out to various female family members that she herself is "very gracious". "Watch how I deal with people when we go shopping. See how gracious I am with them..." Direct quote. She had no idea what a silly fool she was actually making herself into. She treated the clerks and salespeople like she was the Queen of England who was feeling magnanimous toward her subjects that day and deigning to treat them like part of the royal family. I remember bemused looks on their faces, and all I wanted to do was get the hell out of there. I was embarrassed to be associated with Her Grace. My daughter, sister and cousin were all subjected to these lessons of observation of Her Grace at various times. None of us found the irony lost on us. This woman, who took extreme pride in her ability to be "gracious" to total strangers, would treat her family members most ungraciously. Especially when she was a guest in our homes. None of us have had a more ungracious guest than my mother. She is petulant, demanding, unthankful, and just plain rude. Those are her good behaviors.

Every single adjective above I have heard my own mother appropriate to herself. I am pretty sure you could recognize most if not all of them as false descriptors your own narcissist has used to describe themselves to you or others. Another name for this game is hypocrisy. Narcissists live, breathe and are hypocrites. Every word and deed is an exercise in hypocrisy. Don't let a hypocrite become your moral arbiter. When they point and scream at something you're doing or not doing consider it the ravings of a lunatic or, at best, a spoiled five year old. Let yourself know they are lying hypocrites and see how foolish it is to let them instruct you on some moral point. They are amoral and vile. They do not believe in these virtues. They pretend to believe them in order to gain the upper hand.

Dictionary definition of hypocrite:
"One who, professing virtues that he does not respect, secures the advantage of seeming to be what he depises."


Anonymous said...

I cannot believe what I am reading. I am reduced to tears. You are writing my life. I am in total shock that someone else out there is dealing with this. I am in what I hope will be my last phase of therapy as I ask the reasons "why" so I can move to forgiveness and finally bury my past so I can be a person who no longer operates emotionally from life long abuse, for my children, myself, my remaining family and hopefully my future husband. Thank you for your willingness to speak out. I thought it was nuts to think that your parent would kill you, however I am fully aware that I live with this fear and the possibility that it is a reality. Picking up the pieces is so hard. I am lucky to be in recovery. I am blessed with a great support system. I am so very grateful for your words.

Anonymous said...

I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts about "forgiving" the narcissist even if you have cut him/her out of your life. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Did we have the same mother? Mine's been dead 6 years and sometimes I am so furious and full of rage it just bottoms out and I feel.... NOTHING.

Perhaps we know each other from the Yahoo Group?

Good for you for writing about all this!

Anna Valerious said...

Barbara, I don't know if we "know" each other. I have a link to the Yahoo Group I'm in in the "links" section...perhaps we're in the same group. I really do think that getting to the place where you feel nothing is a good place. I wrote about it here:

I don't think that feeling nothing is a bad thing at all. I think it is actually healthy. Read the post and tell me what you think. In case the link gets chopped up by my posting it in the comments section here, the date of the post is Sept. 9, 2006.

kyleth said...

Were your mother and mine long lost twins? It sounds like they were. My mother likes to call herself kind one minute and the next she's cutting me down. Lacking a sense of one's true self is a bitch isn't it?

Sadly, I'm still living with her until I can get my own place. So I get to deal with her weekly threats of either calling the police or kicking me out. It's weird. One day I'm her genius child and the next I'm the spawn of satan. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I found this site-thank you. I have a sister who I know longer speak to because of the angry feelings it stirs up. She divorced her husband of 30 years for having an affair and then launched a campaign (unsuccessfully, thank God) to ruin him in their small town. She forced friends to choose between them, turned her two sons against him and persecuted his family. It was so bad he had a heart attack within a year and died at age 56. And she stood at the funral like the self-righteous bitch she is. ALL the while SHE was having an affair with a married teacher and eventually broke up that marriage. Add to that she spouts about what a good Chrisitan she is and is always at church-a narcissistic bitch and a hypocrite! I told her what she had done and ws doing was wrong and for that she and my nephews no longer speak to me. In fact I have 2 great nieces who I have never met.

Thank you for a label and understanding of what she i and how it has made me feel.

Anna Valerious said...

I admire your courageous stand against the immorality of your sister. I'm sorry it resulted in the loss of other beloved family members, but that is to be expected. It is important to take stands on truth when lives are being decimated.