The One Place Where a Narcissist Can Never Damage You
“Just when you think you have the answers, I change the questions.”
The quote above is a narcissist’s mantra. Once they begin devaluing a victim, the victim’s world quickly becomes one of confusion, shock, of “What is happening to me? Nothing makes sense anymore.”
Although it is incredibly hard to beat a narcissist at their own game, what you can do is realize that their attacks are always designed to get you to react from one of two places. Once you realize that is happening, and move your mind and your energy to a different place, you regain your power.
Let’s learn how to move to the place where the narcissist can never damage you.
A quick review of the narcissist’s tactics
Before we discuss the two places where the narcissist does all their damage, let’s review the tactics they use to constantly one-up you and throw you off your guard.
Exaggeration: A massive web of lies built atop a smidgen of truth
Let’s take a look at an example.
What really happened: You walked by the narcissist and said “hello” as you passed them.
The narcissist’s interpretation: “He/she came right up to me and start verbally accosting me, and wouldn’t stop, and I was so scared that I had to stop what I was doing and leave the area.”
The narcissist piles so many lies on top of lies on top of lies that you, the victim, aren’t even sure what the truth is anymore. You begin to doubt yourself and your own sanity. Let’s see an example:
What really happened: The narcissist was out of town the weekend of the 8th and you got to enjoy a little well-needed peace.
The narcissist’s interpretation, weeks later: “Remember the 8th? You followed me to where my friends and I were, and sat at our table and started bothering all of us. You had on your Bulldogs T-shirt and you ordered your usual rum and Coke. You squeezed in a chair between my best friend and me. Are you really going to lie and tell people you don’t remember any of this?”
The narcissist can never admit their own worst qualities, so they project them onto you. (This is as close to a confession you’ll ever get from a narcissist as to who they really are.)
What really happened: At a neighborhood bar, the narcissist walks past you and assaults you as they walk by, hitting you on the arm and nearly knocking you out of your chair.
The narcissist’s interpretation: “As I walked past him/her, he/she turned in his chair and tried to assault me. He/she tried to punch me. Luckily I saw him/her coming in time and moved out of the way. I should have called the police but I felt sorry for him/her and just let it go.”
The narcissist uses a smear campaign to turn those around you against you. In the workplace, this could involve bad-mouthing you to your co-workers, your boss, even upper management.
In a social setting, the narcissist might go behind your back and lie to your friends about all the horrible things you supposedly do. Suddenly, you find you’re less welcome among your peer group and the places you enjoy.
In a family setting, the narcissist might lie about you to turn your parents against you, or your siblings. They’ll even use your own children as pawns in their campaign to bring you down.
Using such a campaign, the narcissist may turn some of those close to you into flying monkeys who participate in the abuse. Or those people may at least become enablers, people who are aware the narcissist is probably lying but who aren’t willing to expend the energy to confront them.
The first place a narcissist can do unlimited damage
Let’s revisit each of these tactics.
Exaggeration: You remember that there was a grain of truth to what the narcissist said (you did walk past and say hello), but all their many layers of embellishment on top never happened.
You had to go back and remember what actually happened. In your mind, where were you?
Gaslighting: The narcissist gave you their version of events that never happened, forcing you to go back in your mind and think to yourself, “Am I crazy? Could that be right? Did that actually happen? They’re describing it in so much detail!”
You’re trying to remember something that never happened, but still, you’re trying to remember. So, again, where were you in your mind at that point?
Projection: The narcissist is accusing you of things that you never did. So you consult your memory, and no, those experiences are not there.
A further peek into your memory, however, causes you to recall that the narcissist is guilty of the things of which they are accusing you.
Where are you in your mind?
Smear campaign: Weeks after word begins getting around, a “friend” takes you aside and tells you, “Hey, I think it’s pretty crummy that you did (x, y, and z) to (the narcissist). I thought you were better than that.”
You think back and realize, you never did x, y, and z. Where are you in your mind?
The answer to the questions I just posed is always the same: You had to go into your memory to determine the things being said about you were false. You had to go into the place in your mind known as the past. The past is the first place where the narcissist can do you unlimited damage.
The second place a narcissist can do unlimited damage
Let’s revisit each of these tactics again.
Exaggeration: If only you could sit down with the narcissist and calmly, rationally go over what happened. They would see that you simply walked by and said hello, and it was they who blew it all out of proportion.
If only those who heard about that supposedly horrible incident would take time to listen to your side of the story. Surely, at some point, that’ll happen, right? Then things will be OK.
Where are you in your mind?
Gaslighting: If you could just get the narcissist to look at the calendar with you and realize they were out of town that weekend, and you couldn’t have accosted them… they were out of town that weekend… weren’t they? Or maybe you have your weekends confused…?
Someday things will be back to normal, you’ll regain your memory, and this will all be over. Where are you in your mind?
Projection: The narcissist just hasn’t realized yet that what they accused you of, they actually did. But they will. It’s bound to happen. Right?
And when they do realize they were at fault, they will go to the co-workers, or the mutual friends, or the family, and set everything straight. I mean, isn’t that how it works in a just world?
Where are you in your mind?
Smear campaign: Your friends, or co-workers, or family have started to turn against you… but they just don’t understand! There’s still hope! All you have to do is get everyone together and tell them the truth. Yes, they haven’t seemed to be able to make time to listen to you yet, but surely they will… at some point… they just have to!
Where are you in your mind?
Someday, hopefully, soon, it just has to happen. Those words tell you exactly when you are in your mind — you’re in the future. The future is the second place where the narcissist can do you unlimited damage.
Now (quite literally, now), for some good news
The narcissist has two places they can go to cause you unlimited grief, pain, guilt, shame, confusion, frustration, and anger: the past and the future.
However, those places don’t exist!
All that exists is the magical moment of Now.
Now is all you’ve got. Take a moment to get present. Feel the Now moment within your body. Follow your breath if that helps.
It may help to visualize. Feel yourself sitting in whatever room you are in. Take a moment to sense all the furniture in the room. Now take a moment to become one with all the space in the room that is not taken up by you or the furniture. It is impossible to do this and not be in the Now moment.
If you prefer to organize your world by sound, turn on a TV or radio. Hear the words being spoken. Then, notice the spaces between the worlds. When you are tuned into the silence between the noise, you are in the Now moment.
For more information on how to tune into the Now, I recommend The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
The one place where the narcissist can’t damage you is Now
Think about the last time you felt anger toward something your narcissist said or did. You have to recall what happened, right? That’s because your anger is rooted in the past.
Use one of the methods above to get in the Now. It’s not possible to be angry while being present, is it?
Think about something you fear the narcissist will do to you. The word “will” indicates that your fear is tied to the future.
Get in the Now moment and you’ll find your fear is gone. Being present and being fearful cannot be done at the same time.
The narcissist can’t damage you in the Now. The past is just a figment of your memory, and the future just a figment of your imagination.
Therefore, the narcissist can’t damage you. Period. Once you understand this, you step into power.
It took me 5 years to understand this. It only has to take you an instant. All you need to do is get present.
When you stay present, you make decisions from a higher place of intelligence
There are no people better than overthinking things than victims of narcissistic abuse. We spend hours reviewing what happened, thinking about what we could have done differently. We spend days and weeks imagining conversations with friends, co-workers, family that will straighten everything out, that will make everything normal again.
All that re-thinking, all that imagining, all that projecting into the past and into the future — does it do any good? Does it ever change anything? NO!
The next time you have to be around the narcissist, or around one of the people who has bought into their smear campaign, take a moment to get present.
When you are present, you don’t react to the current situation — you respond. You’re not calling on the ego-driven mind to guide you. You’re calling on your intuition. You’re calling on that deeper part of you that is soul-connected to everything else in the universe.
Don’t give the ego time to offer an opinion. Let your feelings, your intuition, your soul tell you how to respond. Short-circuit the mind. Be out of your mind.
I will advise you, when you get present, the message you’re very likely to get from your intuition and feelings is “get the hell out of here, right now.” Heed that message as much as you would any other from your deeper self. Narcissists are dark people. You’re not likely to get a lot of warm fuzzies in their presence.
Tying it all together
With tactics like exaggeration, gaslighting, projection, and smear campaigns, narcissists try to get you to one of two places where they can damage you: the past and the future.
They cannot damage you in the powerful moment of Now.
And the Now moment is all that exists. The past and present are creations of our ego-driven minds. Therefore, narcissists cannot damage you.
When you get present, you will have access to a much deeper intelligence, and you will intuitively know the best response in matters involving a narcissist. That response may well be to get away. Whatever it is, don’t give the ego a chance to second-guess.
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