Don’t cede your power

Several blogs have been focusing on the impact narcissists have had on their lives. These narcissists have controlled their lives through an overbearing presence which is built on a foundation of deceit and greed to elicit devotion and attendance to their needs. When the victim does not kowtow enough, the narcissist makes the victim feel he or she is to blame and lessens his or her standing.

An old friend who counseled teenage students at school would often say “Don’t cede your power.” You choose to react to situations, not others, so don’t give your control or power away. True, it is harder to do this with a narcissist, as the abuser is very adroit at making others feel they are at fault. Donald Trump accuses others of lying and cheating when he has lied and cheated at a record clip in his life and during the campaign and is on trial for such, as we speak, in three separate court cases.

I worked for the longest time with a narcissist who leaned into people all the time. His overbearing manner and position would get folks to do his beck and call. Over time, the smallest slight would cause these people to snap and his response would invariably be “What did I do?” The straw that broke the camel’s back was small, but after a year of tolerating his narcissism, the victim blew a gasket, to mix metaphors.

Rather than let it fester to the point of disproportionate reaction, do your best to remain in control of how you react. “I am sorry you feel that way,” is one response placing the feelings back where they belong. “That was not my intention, so I am sorry you misconstrued that” is another. Voting with your feet is another. What I mean is reduce or eliminate exposure if you can. This may prove difficult, but it is well worth it.

One thing I have learned in my fifty-seven years is you cannot please a narcissist. You can only placate them. When I learned this about the individual I knew, I managed accordingly. I stopped going to lunch with him, I would offer pushback as needed and encourage him to see the other’s point of view. I also did not trust him at all, as I knew he would talk behind my back just as he did every one else. I did not need evidence as I just knew, but every once in a while a piece of evidence would float my way.

Narcissists are abusers. It is about their control. So, do your best to not cede yours, and if you cannot, then seek other avenues limiting or eliminating exposure to his or her negativity. You will be very glad you did.



21 thoughts on “Don’t cede your power

  1. Excellent post Keith. The biggest problem for people who use social networking sites are the narcissists who also use them to find fresh victims and fresh sources of supply.

    Narcissists think nothing of stealing another persons work and complaining loudly when they are called out about it.

    If someone sends you an email that slanders a person you both know or that you barely know you’re dealing with a narcissist.

    If someone says, “I don’t know why people always turn on me” you’re dealing with a narcissist.

    If you find yourself in discussion with someone whose primary style of debate is an appeal to your emotions you’re dealing with a narcissist.

    One of the biggest problems in this country is the large minority of people who believe that they are ‘entitled’ to take from our national resources without giving anything back.

    If you are listening to an argument that attempts to justify greed and a callous disregard for the lives of other people you’re dealing with a narcissist.

    And the last rule is this: People who ‘don’t want the government to tell them how to live’ even as they make laws that regulate who gets food, where people pee, and who people should marry are narcissists.

    They are unworthy of our time and attention.

    • Narcissists do need an audience. My wife is the best of listeners, so she attracts overbearing folks. The dilemma is they wear her out and she has to divorce herself or compartmentalize her interactions. It sounds like you have had more than your fair share.

      • My Mother was an abusive narcissist which means that I have spent much of my life unwittingly replicating my relationship with her. Adult survivors of child abuse replicate the abusive relationship in an attempt to gain mastery over it. Within every adult survivor there is a child that needs to figure out and correct what it did wrong in order to earn the parent’s love.

        The narcissist damages every0ne with whom they have a relationship but nothing compares to the damage they inflict their children.

        A good model for understanding this is this congress which is the most pathological congress I’ve yet to see.

        It sees children gunned down in their schools and votes to make guns more available to the people who kill our children and also votes to deprive our children of food.

        And as any narcissist will say: the beatings are for their own good.

        Now imagine having a parent who places you in harms way and deprives you of food because you don’t ‘deserve’ safety and you’ve been so ‘bad’ you don’t deserve to eat.

      • Rob, this truly makes it hard to unplug from. When a parent is the purveyor it is even more traumatic. Your relating it to our Congress is a very interesting analogy. Best wishes on your continuing fight. Keith

      • I see our politics through the eyes of a child who was bullied by his mother and his community.

        As far as I’m concerned the GOP is a political party of mindless bullies who delight in stripping people of power and watching them suffer.

        As a child who was gay I know how it feels to listen in silent fear and shame as people around you tell fag jokes or goes out to beat up a fag…

        I know how it feels to receive beatings from people who call themselves Christians but who are profoundly immoral and so ignorant that they don’t understand that the Rabbi they claim to follow was a Jew.

        I know how it feels to be held down and beaten as a sissy, to have my eyelashes cut off because they were too long and thus too girlish.

        I know how it feels to be broken and blamed for it by people who are sick with hate.

        My prayer is that someone will lift a child like me out of his misery and give that child the resources he needs to build a life worth living in a civilized nation of people who respect the sanctity of life so much that they house, feed and educate all of their children without question.

      • It is a very good prayer. It saddens me you were tormented, not just by kids, but by adults who should know better. OF course, a monument went up yesterday to the first LGBT protest, when cops closed raided a gay bar for selling alcohol to gays less than 50 years ago. It seems this “take the country back” motto is giving some license to do harm to LGBTs and this precedes and is only inflamed by Trump.

      • This is the part about the racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic South that we don’t talk about but which is clearly visible in photographs. They did not limit their violence to adults, they beat and tortured children. Yes… there are racists and anti-Semites in the north and west but they don’t claim their contempt for the rights of other people as a sacred regional heritage that must be treated with the same respect as the signing of the Declaration.

      • Bigotry cannot be tolerated anywhere, but it is so very sad when it is instigated by poor religious leaders.

  2. I so admire the people who are able to look deeply into their own reactions, then extrapolate outwards to understand what it is they are really reacting to. When faced with difficult people and situations, I tend to retreat, to hibernate. I’m not good at analyzing what is happening and then adjusting my reactions to that analysis. This is a great post.

    • Linda, I think we all tend to avoid, but there are times when pushback is needed. One of the best pushbacks on people who feel you don’t understand their argument or you would otherwise agree is to say “No, I understand your point, I just don’t agree with it.” Thanks for offering your thoughts. Always appreciated. Keith

  3. My experience is that if you stand your ground strongly – without getting emotional, they find somewhere else to troll.
    That’s an easy thing to write and not always an easy thing to do. But there is a part of me that can do that with utter success and I think maybe that’s why I’m rarely bothered by a narcissist.
    I wonder if the narcissists are on the hunt for the right sort of prey. I’m not the right sort.
    Or maybe I’ve just been lucky so far. Its hard to define success off of one person’s experience.

    • I think your stance is appropriate and works for you. Narcissists needs audiences, so a willing listener to be influenced is required. That is why Trump is more successful in the campaign than he should be, his followers don’t realize this exploitive narcissist is using them and always has.

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