After I trekked through Pinterest for some good links on Euclid, I went back to my main page and looked through pins that people I’m following are pinning. A pin on gaslighting showed up and I lost about 15 minutes of time pouring over it.
Something about this pin was different and caught my eye, though; it didn’t just confirm for me the mind-screw I went through from my biological father, my first husband, and then Doctor Horrible, it made me think of my mother-in-law.
“Surely she’s not a narcissist, too?”
So, I looked up “narcissistic parents” and sat with a dropped jaw as the puzzle I had been trying to solve in her for several years, felt solved. Most of the things on this list are things she does. I should have known when a person’s behavior and carelessness for other people leaves me confused and wanting to help them, I already have the knowledge of what they are… but that’s probably why targets of narcissists are chosen: we keep wanting to believe the best in others, even when we know better.
For some time, I kept trying to use DYT to Type her, thinking if I could just do that, I could restart contact with her and *help her,* you know, thinking knowing more of how she ticks, I could be a blessing to her.
It tore away at me to not be able to Type her. I finally asked God to relieve that anxiety and I stopped worrying, but I would still occasionally try to Type her out of curiosity.
But, realizing she fits almost all of the requirements for narcissistic personality disorder, I felt free immediately.
I don’t have to beat myself up… in fact, that’s what she wants. I will still feel sad for her choices, I will still pray for her, and hope she changes for herself and those around her… but I never have to tell myself that I *need* to help her, need to give in to her manipulation for any reason to “love her,” or feel badly for protecting my kids from her lying and web-spinning.
Further still, I finally grasped that trying to reason with Daryl’s family would do literally nothing, because they are being manipulated by her and are her enablers, or worse in the case of Daryl’s father, “flying monkeys.”
That was something else that set me free. You can’t reason with people still wrapped up in believing a narcissist to protect themselves.
I didn’t have that issue with Doctor Horrible – everyone got out way before me (or wasn’t gullible enough to believe him to begin with) and could see him for who he really was, long before I could. I didn’t have to convince anyone of his wickedness, they just opened their arms to catch the last member of the gang to survive.
While a large part of me feels sorry for Daryl’s family for being spun by her, part of me just doesn’t feel sorry for them because of how they have chosen to respond to others harmed by her. I didn’t excuse Doctor Horrible’s behavior away when he hurt others, I apologized for him. I was embarrassed by him disregarding others. And that’s quite different from the victim-blaming Daryl’s family repeatedly did. But, I still enabled . I still got spun around. I’m really no different, even though my choices were/are different in how I treat victims.
Basically, this whole thing was my puzzle piece I needed for closure. To realize she’s not “just” an alcoholic who needs help, but that regardless of that addiction, she is a life-long narcissist (I say this based on other’s descriptions of her from late high-school) and she will use my faults and my strengths to get anything she can, actively look for only her own benefit even when it’s to her detriment… My interaction with her will never be a blessing for her. My children won’t be a blessing for her, but are pawns in a game to control others. And I’m more than okay with No Contact to prevent them from being someone’s careless collateral damage.
Something interesting is how heightened I am now to the reality that all humans have a bit of narcissism in us. I can keep finger-pointing to Doctor Horrible or my MIL (and, as a way to heal, it’s suggested I do talk about what happened), but I want to keep a watch over my own heart and mind. I can already see from the narcissistic parent list that, in the aftermath of Doctor Horrible, I took on at least one tendency in “self preservation” mode and traded it for a couple different ones when I went through PTSD. I can see that, and that I allowed myself to make those choices abhors me.
Long winding way to say…. be watchful. If you find yourself around multiple narcissists, reflect on your self and seek why you are drawing them into your life – because, whether you think it or not (and I’m speaking to myself here, too), you are. You may be drawing them in because you are also a narcissist or because you have no real boundaries in your life or because you subconsciously believe you deserve that abuse. But you are drawing them in. That’s a good place to begin healing, acknowledgement.
Here are a few interesting articles about narcissists, their enablers, and one way to deal with a narcissist if you are forced into contact with them:
Can Narcissists Change? (The follow up article is also worth reading)