Laura was full of questions: Had her husband had a physical affair with his young, beautiful, personal trainer or was it just an emotional affair? Obviously, he went crazy at 60, like a 13 year-old swept away with first love. Everyone saw his infatuation and had commented on it.
But he wouldn’t talk about it; he denied everything, accused her of not trusting him, of being paranoid, of making a big deal out of nothing. Then her threw a temper tantrum, stormed off to his room and loudly slammed the door. He froze her out for the next week until she approached him to make up for having caused him a problem.
Real narcissists don’t have real conversations.
Everything Laura said about her husband told us he was a narcissist who wasn’t going to admit anything at all. He was perfect, he knew what was right and best, and she should stop making trouble in their marriage.
The more he avoided a real conversation, the more she was driven to confront him, the more she wanted to know everything that happened, the more he withdrew from her or attacked her until she gave in.
He was clear: he might say, in a general way, he was sorry she was upset, but he wasn’t going to have an honest conversation from which they might build more honesty and a better relationship. He was going to continue criticizing, bullying and abusing her until she gave in. The “loud, silent treatment” was simply one tactic.
Narcissists’ conversations are in service to their agenda, which isn’t about truth.
His agenda was to do whatever he wanted and to get her to butt out. He’d do anything to get her to give in, except expose the truth. He thought that would require him to give up power and control. He wouldn’t be in charge any more.
Narcissists say, “A conversation won’t do any good.”
But what he meant was, “It won’t do any good to further my agenda in the style I want.” Which meant, “I’m not going to deal with it your way (honesty and openness), I’ll only deal with it my way. So shut up.”
They’d rather beat you into submission or charm you into letting it go.
That fits their agenda and the style they’ve chosen to get where they want to be – in charge, in control. They’ll persevere until you kiss their feet or ring.
He blamed all the problems on Laura, which fed into her guilt and self-bullying. He was clear: Whenever she stood up to him, she was not being perfect so she had 100% of the responsibility for causing him to act the way he did.
If they’re real for a moment they’ll attack more in the next moment.
Sometimes, narcissists will relax and let down their guard for a moment. Beware. That’s very scary to them so they pick up their sword and shield, and whack you harder, just to show you who’s boss.
What did Laura do?
We’ll go into that another time. There’s no one-rule-of-what’s-right; all tactics depend on the situation. The important thing is what you’ll decide to do with the narcissists in your life.
Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation. The best way to learn how to take power in your life and to be the person you want to be is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:
- Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
- Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.
Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.