Now, if you’re like most people who’ve been steamrollered by a narcissist, you’ve had a discussion or an activity (or a thousand of them) between the two of you completely fall apart and end up tense and miserable, and found the blame for that laid squarely on you. As a Very Nice Person, you’ve been willing to consider that you MIGHT have had something to do with it. But I bet you’ve been so confused about what went down that you’re wondering what you did wrong just because it’s impossible to sort out what happened, and he’s telling you it’s your fault. You sort of know you didn’t cause the breakdown in communication, but you don’t see what happened, and if he says he does, maybe he does.
And that paragraph was MUCH easier to understand than the random meltdown of a narcissist.
Let’s look at what really happened, and then next time he completely screws up a nice time (you ARE still with him, aren’t you? Please? For me?), you can see if this resonates with what seems to be going on.
The reason these freaky fights, struggles and meltdowns can be so hard to figure out is that it wasn’t an event, or words, or deeds that started it. I know it LOOKS like it was something you said or did, or something he “felt” or thought or “misinterpreted”. And I’ll bet the farm that he’s SAYING it’s something you said or did. But what really happened first was a totally unpredictable and irrational explosion of anxiety, rage and/or terror inside his head. THAT is what happened first. It happens a lot, and he can’t control it. Then, feeling that awful anxiety or rage, he looks around for someplace to put it, because he sure as hell can’t just hold it and deal with it. He has to vomit it out. Oh, and look who’s right there.
So, suddenly, on an otherwise splendid day, he’s all uptight, furious, making bizarre assumptions, and generally being an ass and blaming you for what amounts to one thing — making him feel the way he feels. Yet the truth is, it’s his screwed up head that’s making him feel the way he feels. It’s his disorder, his disease. It has nothing to do with you. But you’re a close target, and he sure as hell isn’t going to handle his feelings like a grown-up. He’s gonna act like a deranged ape and get rid of as much toxic emotion as he can.
By spraying it out onto you.
Through tantrums, passive aggression, withholding, or overt abuse, he’s going to pretend you caused it, you did it, you started it. The truth is even scarier, and weirder: What started it was invisible and completely erratic pinballs of hate slamming around and wreaking havoc in his head. Not even he sees the meltdowns coming. The nasty feelings come first, out of nowhere, like a pop-up clown in a pinball machine.
And you sure don’t need me to tell you what comes next.
Friends, please don’t take on the responsibility for bad scenes just because he says you should. And please don’t waste a lot of time struggling to figure out his moods. They’re as random as the banging around of a pinball.