Monthly Archives: May 2012
This week’s Friday Five: Five Songs You’ll Never Hear in the Aunt Alex’s Army Commissary, Because The Lyrics Are Way Too Codependent.
1. Stand by Your Man — Tammy Wynette
2. Tainted Love – Soft Cell
3. Help Me – Joni Mitchell
4. Jolene — Dolly Parton
5. Black Coffee — Peggy Lee
Feel free to add your own in the comments section. When you’re dining in the Army commissary, no one wants you to gag because of the music.
:: Because Aunt Alex gets mail.
Dear Aunt Alex:
The flaming narcissist ex has a new girlfriend, and she seems (from a distance) to be a nice person. I feel like I should warn her. How should I do this? Write her a letter, give her a call? And when is the right time?
Well, aren’t you an altruistic dear. Aunt Alex loves that about you.
However, come on over here and sit in this chair, Dear, and let the Army cadets wrap this rope around you until these helpful feelings of yours pass.
Nothing about this is a good idea, and here’s the worst part of this not-good idea: You’re staying engaged. You’re staying involved, and I do daresay that your wanting to stay involved in his life is the main reason you want to warn this poor woman about the mess in which she’s finding herself.
But, we needn’t rank your motives in any order, or even look at them more closely than that. How should you do this? You shouldn’t. When is the right time? Never. She won’t listen and has to find out for herself. You need to detach, mourn the loss of your hopes, and put all of this love and concern into your own life and future.
Now, you let me know if those ropes are too tight, and I’ll go get you some nice rice pudding with cardamom.
Sitting on the doorknob, acting like he owns the place, waiting for someone to come along and let him in. Isn’t that just like a toad?
(I’m not making this up. There was a toad on Aunt Alex’s doorknob. I took him and gently put him down in the garden. I didn’t do what I want you to do when a toad shows up at your door, Friends, which is call the cops and ask for a restraining order.)
(Actually, it’s a frog. But Aunt Alex is exercising her blog-given right to be a drama queen.)
So, Aunt Alex was with a narcissistic old flame the other day, making out with him in the back seat of a flames-embellished, spoiler-bedecked Hyundai, when….
Hm. Got your attention there, didn’t I.
And now, let’s leap right to the point here: Life is complex, feelings are complex, and relationships are complex, but when it comes to narcissists, simple is your friend. Bare-bones, reduced-to-the-elements points are your friends. Straight-talk is your friend.
I’ll bet dimes to doughnuts that you’ve bought into the BS of a narcissist before. You’ve done this not because you’re dumb, or weak, but because you’re emotionally generous. You give the benefit of the doubt. You allow for some wiggle-room. But, boy, would the straight talk ever sound different:
Wiggle-room: “I’ll just hear him out and see what he has to say.”
Reality: “I’ll just give him MORE attention and give myself MORE hope, when the truth is I’ll only end up hurt and depressed.”
Wiggle-room: “It’s OK if we spend a little time together. I won’t let things go too far.”
Reality: “Things absolutely will go too far, because he’s a scammer and a liar, but I won’t see it coming until it’s too late.”
Wiggle-room: “I’m a kind person and I believe in people who want to change.”
Reality: “I want him to change, and want to help him change, but he hasn’t yet, is all talk now, and isn’t putting up an ounce of effort other than the blathering about it.”
Wiggle-room: “We were only talking. We missed each other.”
Reality: “We were making out in his car, while his fiancee waited for him to come and pick her and their new baby up at the hospital.”
See how that works?
It’s the narcissist who is damaged goods, and he can plow a path of emotional sewage and destruction without any help from the rest of us. When we give a narcissist so much as a micron of wiggle-room, you can bet your doughnuts he’ll use it to shove through your personal boundaries and wreak further havoc on your life. Second chances, second-guessing, letting his abuses go, forgiving and forgetting — none of these approaches have a role in dealing with a narcissist. It’s like adopting a rabid dog who’s already bitten you and your family members multiple times, because you think he might be OK now. It’s just not a safe, or likely, or worthwhile bet.
Narcissists are liars and phonies who will never change, ever; not soon, not later, not a lot or a little. Cut your losses, and you’ll be glad you listened to your own straight-talk.