I Was Narced Again!
My children learned from their dad how to talk me down, get their way, mess with my head. I call it “narcing”. (Actually, I call it their dad’s name + ing but here I’ll call it narcing)
My two boys who have been with me full time the past 2 years have stopped narcing me. My middle son, though, spent a year away at college and was gone most of last summer, and he is still a natural at it.
He is in a really bad place right now, and I am heart broken for him. He’s been home since early February, and his behavior has become increasingly narcissistic. He hasn’t spoken to me in about 2 months, he’s not getting psychological treatment and he is not taking care of some physical problems he needs to address. His behavior is so similar to his dad’s that I’m being triggered left and right, and have really been struggling to keep my head on straight.
About a month ago I told him he needed to move out by May28th. I hated to do it, and I probably wouldn’t have done it if he was at all civil to me, but he is not. He’s miserable, I’m miserable and for the most part, his brothers are miserable. He hasn’t spoken to me at all since. Until Saturday. He came home from work and handed me a $20 gift card to Blue Apron and said “here. I thought you might like to use this”.
I was like a giddy school girl who just got invited to Prom by the high school quarter back! I was so excited that he had talked to me & given me a gift! Things were going to turn around; we’d be okay, he was better and all would be well. That’s what I thought for an hour, at which time I realized I’d just been narced again!
This was one of the dad’s go-to techniques when he knew I was really pissed. He’d come home and give me a gift. It was usually a cheap gift, presented with little fanfare, and it was usually not accompanied by any change in behavior. Yet I was supposed to express excessive gratitude for the gift and “get over” what it was that was bothering me, since I’d been given a gift. The fact that the issue at hand wasn’t resolved and the narc continued to treat me like shit was supposed to be over-looked, because I had been given a gift.
There are 2 things bothering me about this.
- Can my son change? I feel fairly certain that the other 2 are well on their way to better mental health. They have watched me change, grow stronger and happier, and they have witnessed how much pleasanter our lives are. I believe they are converts to the light side. My middle son though, remains fully entrenched in the dark side. Is it just too late for him? I want to believe it is not, but when he pulls out an old narcing behavior, I think maybe it is.
- When will I get it? When will I automatically look at the gift and see it for what it is? Manipulation is all it is, and it took me an hour to see that. During that hour I was texting my sister saying “yeah….I think we’ve turned a corner”, which of course she knew was not the truth; she knew I was being narced.
In talking about this with my sister later I realized that the whole gift thing is a huge issue. She commented that this wasn’t really a gift at all, because Blue Apron is wildly expensive and doesn’t address my gluten issues. My 1st thought was to shame her for not worshiping the gift; that is not acceptable in the narcing relationship. As she talked though, I started to realize what I had suspected all along: because gifts are supposed to be from the heart, a non-narc gives terrible gifts! If you are in a healthy relationship it is 100% acceptable to not rave excessively about a gift! If you are living in a narc’s world, dissing a gift, regardless of how ridiculous of a gift it is, is just not acceptable. Ever. It will be met with tremendous rage or some other type of consequence.
Dictionary.com says this about the word gift: a thing given willingly to someone without payment
Willingly without payment are the words that jump out at me. A gift from the narc is never given willingly, and it always requires payment.
There is always a reason for the gift. Maybe you’ve been angry with the narc and he wants sex – Gift. Maybe people are questioning his commitment to you – Gift. Maybe he’s just broken up with his girlfriend – Gift. Gift’s are never given willingly. The idea that a narcissist might just see something and think “geeze, I think she would really like that, and I’d love to give it to her” Never, Ever happens. There is always a goal.
The goal is your payment. You will never get a gift that does not require payment. The payment might be forgiveness for their latest affair, or it might be letting go of the current issue, or agreeing to something he wants to do that you don’t. There is always a payment required for any gift.
So, my son gave me a gift. Once I got past the school-girl like joy at the delusional thought that our relationship was getting better, I saw it for what it was. It was a shitty gift, given for a shitty reason. It was his attempt to get me to back off, to not force him out.
In the next few days I found out 2 additional things:
1 – Blue apron has been giving out these gift cards to drum up business. Most likely my son was given it at work, so he put no thought or effort into it At All!
2 – Once he’d ended his “presentation” of the gift, he went back to the silent treatment. He has not spoken to me since.
It’s just so crazy.
I am in mourning at the thought that I’ve role modeled this behavior as acceptable, and perhaps turned him into a narcissist.
I’m mourning the fact that I accepted this shitty behavior for 25 years.
Today would have been our 25th wedding anniversary, and I feel so blessed that it is not; that I’ve escaped.