names have been omitted and changed in this post
He sat beside me, and I took a sip of my drink... the alcohol slid down my throat and I relaxed a little more... relaxing is still somewhat foreign to me. I'm always on guard and feel the need to stay in control... sometimes I get chastising from people about it, but I think it's natural for so many of us after narc abuse or really any trauma like rape to feel the need to stay in control. Maybe because we've felt our world become out of control. Yes, we know logically control is a joke... none of us really have any control in life minus our own actions but in that we cling to the idea of having some... however misguided, delusional or silly. At the end of the day if we are enduring the continual litigation of a narc either in divorce or child custody motions being filed we will likely feel very little control over our life which in turn may cause us to grasp tightly to whatever we can. I hear from so many survivors and thrivers of narc abuse that it took several years of clinging to the familiarity of life... cocooning oneself in comforting and stabilizing life routines is often what helps us in our healing.
Whether it's a consistent schedule, pj's and ice cream, favorite shows or Friday night bubble baths, gelato and yoga... we can choose what works best for us. Perhaps it's that working a job and recovering from a past abusive relationship takes all your energy... that's okay.... grief is time and energy consuming. We may feel the desire to add more to our plate at some point but if we aren't ready it will be premature and set us back. It's okay to take the time you need to heal... and then slowly become more open to new friendships, interests, love, goals, and risks as we find peace, healing and ourselves once again. Our goal after narc abuse is to live life to it’s fullest and not ever subscribing to another limited existence that we lived with the narc.
Country music played in the background... Justin Moore sang ‘Somebody Else Will’. The other patrons, some wearing jeans and boots sat a distance away talking and laughing. The atmosphere was dim and lively and he studied me in the darkened corner of the indoor patio where we sat together.
"You know.... I’ve been reading some of your blog posts and I don’t know about all this narcissistical sociopathical stuff.” He said, waving his hand with a smile and I burst out laughing at that.
He grinned at me and then continued “I mean… you seem to know what you’re talking about, you’re the sociopathical expert. You write really good, you know that?” He asked not really waiting for an answer and continued… “I don’t want to get on the bad side of the blog and all… “He said with a grimace and I smiled, “But I was reading and something I read jumped out at me. You wrote that love isn’t enough. You said that you have to have more.” He told me.
“Yeah, I don’t think it’s enough.” I told him… “You have to have so much more... compatibility, interests, similar backgrounds.” I affirmed. I wasn't going to sign up for golf, bike riding or football if I hated those activities or pastimes... it only made sense we'd become resentful of our partner if we were chronically dragged to do things we didn't like to do.
He shook his head,“Yeah, I read that… you wrote that you have to have all this other stuff. It was exhausting. “He sighed and gave me a chagrined look. “You have it all complicated like some big equation that has to be solved.” He said.
I laughed and suddenly pictured the scene in Good Will Hunting where Matt Damon is figuring problems at the chalkboard… “Like that scene in Good Will Hunting at the chalkboard?” I teased.
“Yes maam!”” He exclaimed and laughed “Let me tell you something… you know all about this stuff. And I have no doubt you’re helping people. I think it’s great! I have no doubt you’re making a difference. But when it comes to love and it not being enough…. “He shook his head “I will tell you, my dear, on that you are full of bs.” He told me.
My eyebrows shot up and I gasped “That’s just mean!” I exclaimed indignantly. “I am NOT!” I retorted hotly with an amused look. He and no one else could change my mind otherwise. I liked him but took what he said with a grain of salt. When it came to most people’s opinions on dating or relationships especially after narcissistic abuse I’d listen but then stick to whatever worked for me.
He sat up a little straighter in his seat and spoke “I'm not trying to get you mad!" He exclaimed with a grin and gesturing with frenzied hands toward my bun atop my head "I don't want to see bobby pins going flying out everywhere!" He added with a laugh.
Holy cow. I laughed at the imagery of that.
During my marriage every weekend it was NASCAR. My ex laid on the couch and watched those cars go round and round like hamsters on a wheel. If it wasn’t that it was football. Or he was resentful because he wanted to go on a bike ride and I had no interest. “I believe you have to have more... it’s an issue even in the best marriages.” I told him.
He shook his head and smiled “You are over there talking about all this stuff that people need when all people need is to have someone who really truly loves them. If you have that… trust and respect… everything else will fall into place.”
I shot him a look of ‘Uh, huh… sure, whatever’ and smirked with cynicism. “I don’t believe that.” I replied.
He leaned in and gazed at me “You know why you don’t believe that? Because you’ve never had a man really love you.” He took a sip of his drink and gazed off momentarily then resting his eyes back on mine “Haven’t you ever had a man treat you right?” He asked me.
I grasped my glass and taking another sip drifted off into the distant past “A really long time ago” I admitted.
“Who?” He asked me.
“Jeremy” I replied “It didn’t work out.” All I could then think to myself was it never works out... but I bit my tongue and didn’t say it.
"So you broke up with him too.” He stated.
I shook my head "No, he broke up with me." I replied.
"Oh my God!!!" He exclaimed with visible surprise. This was new news to him. He only knew about my other relationships. “No one breaks up with Jennifer, she breaks up with everyone!” He told me flabbergasted.
I chuckled, grimaced, rolled my eyes and spoke,
"Not that time... but otherwise, yes. They didn't treat me well." I replied.
He gazed at me with his dark eyes and gave me a sympathetic look that conveyed he saw the past hurt. I studied his face, dark hair, kind eyes, beard and large build. He looked similar to Jeremy. It was actually quite eerie… He too, was a mix of crown, Altoids, meaningfulness, warmth, kindheartedness and insight. It was weird. Was it hot in here? I cleared my throat and took another sip of my drink… then switched to sipping ice water as the room was becoming warmer. I was feeling the effects of the drink and being a lightweight I hadn’t even finished half of it. I began yanking at the scarf around my neck trying to loosen it a bit so I’d cool off. Alcohol always made me feel overheated which I found irritating. No one else seemed to have this issue. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat feeling very vulnerable and suddenly wanted to step outside into the night air where it was cooler. I wanted to escape. But that was my automatic go to response and my pattern so I decided to stick it out and stay in my seat.
He perceptively shook his head like he could read my mind and helped me take off my scarf which he plopped in my purse beside my chair. He spoke “I’m sorry you have not been treated as you should have been. You have the kindest heart of anyone I know. And I’m sorry you don’t think love is enough. But when you’re surrounded by people who care about you, who love you, who you can trust all that other stuff doesn’t matter so much. Because you all have a common thing… which is giving your love to people. And that’s powerful.” He told me… “I’m going to prove to you love is enough.” He stated with assurance. I stared blankly at him without words… I didn’t know what to say. And I nearly always have a reply or witty comeback.
But as much as I sat there without words, the truth is... a person who truly loves you won’t believe you aren’t worth the effort. They won’t subscribe to the idea that they can put in a little effort then throw their hands up because you’re suddenly an irritation or inconvenience. When it comes to love... it’s the one who loves you and loves you consistently that ultimately proves their words carry weight and their actions are not some cheap knockoff.
So how do we move on from the initial post-narc throes of despair of "OH MY GOD MY LIFE IS ENDING RIGHT NOW!", and "I CANNOT BELIEVE HE (OR SHE) DID THIS TO ME!!!", and even "WHEN IS THIS GOING TO GET BETTER???" ... to "Life seems to be improving....", and "I've had a good few days, weeks, months... , Wow, this past year has been better than previous years... I feel like I'm making progress...to "I feel lighter, less heavy and more and more like my old self... definitely different now after the abuse but more like myself than ever... ", and "He (or she) is really sweet or he (or she) is kinda cute... Oh wow, I'm noticing stuff like that again... I wonder what dating would be like", and "I feel like I'm in a good place; my job is going well, I have some financial savings again, my kids are my number one priority but I wouldn't mind expanding my plate to include more time with those I really care about... " and "Taking time for me is not selfish but absolutely necessary and enjoyable...." and "I know and own my truth and will not bend it to make others more comfortable or accept less than what I deserve.”
As you can see.... this process of leaving to eventually standing on that mountaintop and singing praise and gratitude for standing in our new chapter is exactly that... a process. It's a process of our thought process changing over time from catastrophic thinking(!) to questions that we ponder(?) and wade through in figuring things out to realizing newfound truths(!) about ourselves, the narc, the abuse and our life. And that's okay. It's normal and to be completely expected.
TRUSTING OURSELVES AGAIN... after a #narc
First we must learn to trust ourselves again. Which is hard after being swept into the world of a pathological liar. This is a huge undertaking because we must be able to listen to our gut instincts and trust our intuition in order to do much in moving forward.... we must be able to trust ourselves when our gut tells us a therapist is not good for us and or for our children and is actually detrimental. We must be able to trust ourselves when the narc tries to paint history one way and we know better. We must be able to trust ourselves when scrolling through a dating site and something tells us a particular person is shady. We must be able to trust ourselves when a co-worker begins to triangulate a group of employees and we feel bad vibes stemming from that interaction. Trusting ourselves is something that is needed in all areas of our life and it’s worth the time needed to do so.
STICKING TO OUR BOUNDARIES...
Likewise once we are adding more to our plate and embracing a larger circle of friends and maybe a relationship in our life it’s crucial to stick to our boundaries when we see questionable or downright shady behavior. If someone is putting pressure on you in a relationship that’s a red flag. If they are pressuring you to meet their parents, asking to meet your family, asking nosy questions... if they are suddenly wanting every second of your time those are red flags. If they are pushing for immediate emotional intimacy and physical intimacy it’s time to pull back and reassess; moving on because if they cannot respect your timeline, your needs, wants, etc... they never will. If they claim to be a Godly man or woman and are relentless in trying to get you in bed; cut the cord. If they are stepping on your values cut the cord. If they are love bombing you and putting you on a pedestal; building you up, voicing how crazy they are about you, praising you incessantly, showering you with gifts (it’s essential on this to determine whether it’s merely wanting to spoil you as you’ve been together a long time; looking at the length of the relationship, a self esteem issue and trying to “buy your love”, or truly someone personality disordered) and expecting a sexual relationship all too soon those are huge red flags that it’s time to detach and walk away. Having those necessary boundaries and being willing to enforce them are essential in dating so we don’t find ourselves sucked into another narcissistical vortex.
LET LOVE DEVELOP NATURALLY...
When it comes to our new chapter after narc abuse it’s so important we take things slow. Letting relationships organically grow and naturally develop. There should be no timeline on this or that... your relationship should not read like a must do list of immediacy and pressure. I don’t know about you but I’m in no hurry... what’s the rush? The ultimate outcome is typically marriage... so if that’s not something you foresee in your near future (2-5 years) then what are we speeding things along for? If someone starts harping on their age and how they aren’t getting any younger; let that be their problem. Perhaps they need to find someone who is looking for a timeline that matches theirs. Getting on a dating website is something that may often create an instant relationship today; we may go from being single to being in a relationship nearly overnight. It stands to reason a friendship is always preferable first to immediately jumping in “love”. With a friendship in place first you’ve likely seen whether they are who they claim to be. You’ve likely seen them interact with many other people and observed them at their best, worst and in between.
It’s seeing, realizing you can trust this new person which takes time. No one should demand instant trust from you. Why are they demanding that? What’s it based on? Your relationship with the narc was built on you catering to he or she. You were there to make them happy, to boost their ego; you were essentially a drug for them and when the effects wore off they claimed you were no good. But a truly loving relationship is two people knowing it’s based on mutual trust that has been developed over a long period of time. With the narc you were likely worried that if you didn’t please them you’d be tossed aside; instead now you should have a strong sense of security and knowing this new person isn’t going to turn on you. Someone who truly loves you realizes you are worth the effort; they see you as the gem you are and won’t prey on it.
Love is kindness. Love is caring more about you than being right. Love is putting more importance on others than our ego. Love is being a friend first and foremost. Because the hard truth is if someone is not capable of being your friend they will never be capable of loving you.
Monday, January 29th, 2018
names have been omitted in this post
this post contains strong language
and some material readers may find offensive
I sat to the right of the new therapist, a small petite blonde woman whom I, at 5 foot 5 towered over. She smiled at my ex and I as we got situated for our session. He took a seat opposite us on a small russet hued loveseat and I opened a journal in my hands to take notes. She was to lead the reunification therapy for my son and I that was court mandated back in August by the 360th family court in Tarrant County. I had no problem with doing the therapy and hoped it worked… but I also knew anything related to the family court system was questionable… and with that I questioned if they wouldn’t set me up to fail. It wasn’t in their best interests for it to succeed… that would mean an end to litigation and their hands in not only our business but our pockets. At least now I was pro se and my pocket was out of the equation. My ex however still had his attorney to which I grimaced… yet in that him filing motions only hurt his wallet now, I smiled. In going pro se you certainly take some wind out of a narc’s sails… it reduces their power over you to some extent and at least you can smile knowing their attorney no longer has the ability to deliver excessive phone calls, letters and emails that are then charged to you by your attorney to read. They don’t tell you when you begin this process there is no limit to how much you can spend on a divorce and custody filings... it’s nothing to spend a hundred grand or more if you can squeeze it from your assets, cds and accounts... the sky and beyond is all game... eventually bleeding you dry and leaving you in a quagmire of financial despair.
Waiting for our appointment to begin I studied my ex… I smirked to myself… Oh, how I know everything you’ve done, I thought to myself. Predators are so stupid to think that they’ll continue to fool people and pull the wool over their eyes forever… because once you screw people over so many times… eventually people get sick of it… and guess what? They turn on you. They betray you. Fear the day people; those people close to you that you stupidly trusted and may still trust decide to band together and go against you… forming a circle of war and outrage…. desiring justice and retribution. Fear that day, you sorry piece of slime… because they won’t shrink forever… fear the shadows, fear the whispers, fear the consequences… because they will smile at your face yet laugh silently as you walk away unknowingly that your turn is coming.
The therapist spoke in the small dim room decorated with traditional furniture, impressionism paintings and feminine accents. “So we’re here today for me to inform you that for this therapy to work I need your cooperation.” She stated to my ex “And to do that you may have to be willing to have your son upset with you... meaning you may take some heat for awhile until this is resolved.” She added and he nodded. She continued “So your son has a history of physical aggression and I understand he has Asperger's. When was the last time your son showed physical aggression?” She asked my ex.
I stared at him. I already knew the answer.
“It’s been a long time.” He replied.
“It’s been a long time…” She echoed and jotted in her notes, I doing the same in my journal. “What would you say is a long time? How long has it been?” She asked him for clarification.
“More than a year.” He told her.
You sorry lying piece of… I thought to myself. He stared at me with zero emotion.
“He was upset that I was coming to this appointment today. “ He informed her referring to our son.
She looked puzzled and spoke “Well, I understand he doesn't want to do the therapy. So I wouldn’t have told him you were coming so as to not upset him. If you did tell him you could have waited until after the fact and even then frame it in a positive manner… like mom is really trying to do this because it’s important.” She explained to him… “Perhaps you shouldn’t have told him you were coming and made him more upset.” She pointed out.
“I’m always honest with him. I tell him everything.” My ex replied with a shrug.
“Yes, but there is a difference between being honest and sharing information that maybe doesn’t need to be shared so as not to upset him.” She explained.
“I don’t lie to him.” He retorted forcefully.
She paused and thinking on what he said finally spoke “Okay… let me ask you this… would you tell him the last time you and your new wife had sex?” She asked thoughtfully.
Without missing a beat he replied “Yeah, I would. I would hope he’d never ask me that question but yeah I would.”
You sick freak, I thought to myself... you really have no filter or moral code.
She shook her head and spoke “You cannot do that… as a parent you must set boundaries and only give out appropriate information.” She scolded him.
“We have a very open relationship and tell each other everything.” He told her.
“So I understand there has been quite a bit of litigation on your end… what is the intent of the litigation?” She asked him out of curiosity.
He turned to me and spoke with a face devoid of emotion “Oh. I thought we were done with litigation.”
“Are you willing to give me something in writing stating that you’re done with litigation? You’re the one who has continually filed motions the past five years, not me.” I pointed out.
“No, I’m not willing to give you assurances of what I will or won’t do.” He shook his head.
“You began the litigation process and you are punishing me. You are punishing our daughter with her not seeing me as much.” I retorted.
“I feel the sibling relationship is more important than yours with our daughter." He told me then turned to her "But I do want this reunification process to work. I want to know that we tried. Our son will eventually come around but only if Jennifer will allow the process to work. She’s disgusted by me and doesn’t want to see me. Because of that it may not be successful.” He informed the therapist. He was making this session about him and what his needs or desires were not our sons or mine. In his mind the only way a relationship with my son would ever be successful would be with him in the midst of it. I begged to differ. I would not stand for it. He could take a hike. How could I not be disgusted by him? It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why.
“I question how much he really wants this work…” I interjected to the therapist “Because he’s already lied here today in this session. This process won’t be successful if he’s not even willing to tell the truth.” I told her.
“What has he lied about?” She asked with surprise and a hint of exasperation.
“He’s lied about the physical aggression. He said it’s been over a year. That’s a lie. There was an incident at his home over Christmas break in December where he was outside on the deck with his wife and the kids were downstairs on the bottom floor in the house. Our son got into a spat with the step daughter visiting from London who is like seven or eight years old… our daughter witnessed it. He got angry and grabbed the step daughter’s leg as she tried to go up the stairs to get away from him and it caused her to trip and fall. Our daughter was upset by it and told me.”
“She was mistaken.” He lied, “She merely tripped. No one hurt anyone.”
“No.” I shook my head “Our daughter doesn’t lie. She was telling the truth. She saw it happen.”
“Were you there?” He asked me with simmering anger in his tone.
“No, I wasn’t there.” I replied with irritation.
“Well, then.” He stated, staring at me like it was all settled and case closed.
I turned to the therapist “No, this is one of his favorite comebacks… anything I say he or his attorney comes back with ‘Were you there?!’…” I snarled sarcastically with contempt. “Give me a break. Give it up. This is the routine they use in court and it completely gets them out of addressing any issues.”
“So did it happen or not?” She asked him pointedly.
“It did.” He admitted.
“So why did you tell me it had been over a year since physical aggression?” She asked him.
I spoke “He lies about everything. He lied in court saying the children spend all this time together… that’s what he based his motion to get more custody on… for the kids to spend more time together. Then I hear from our daughter that our son is at the neighbors all the time and the kids don’t spend any time together. Yet he got on the stand in August and told the court ‘They are just all over each other’…. Those were the words he used… ‘all over each other’… who says that? They are opposite genders, years apart and at this stage of development should be parting ways for now, not ‘all over each other’… “ I stated emphatically.
My ex then chose the grandstanding tactic and with great production practically leapt out of his seat and came up in my face “OH REALLY?!!! WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY?? THAT THEY’RE FUCKING EACH OTHER??! Is THAT what you’re insinuating now???!!!” He practically screamed at me hatefully, disgustedly in my face, ugly and over the top. It reminded me of some scene from a Nicholas Cage movie gone bad.
I sat shocked in my seat at his sick words and spoke “Wow! Just wow! You know, those are your words, not mine! You are so inappropriate!” I exclaimed.
The therapist began waving her arms and practically yelling… “Stop! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!” She cut in, trying to be heard over the fray and I watched from my chair as he sank back into the loveseat completely composed like nothing had ever happened.
A narc, more namely a sociopath will never tell the truth... they lie as easily as the air they breathe. When it comes to therapy with a personality disordered person they will use it to their advantage and lie outright to the therapist... making you out to be the issue... they will cite you as the reason for the therapy and the reason why it won't be successful. They love to sit there on the therapy couch calm as can be and twist and spin better than an old lady with a needle and yarn how they are so superior and know better and are really trying... while you sit there outraged and indignant, rightfully upset and trying to defend your position.
They are expert manipulators and if they have a degree it comes second to their ability to craft reality to their liking and their favor. You sit there baffled and completely shocked at how they manage time and time again to come out of therapy sessions smelling like a rose while you sit there looking like Cruella De Ville herself. The cruel reality is a narc or sociopath is excelled at snowing the therapist to think they are the innocent victim of an angry ex who is disgusted by them for no reason. When in fact they have plenty of justified reasons... let me write a book... on why they are completely sick of this person who has orchestrated so much damage in so many people's lives.... and yet doubly frustrated that the people who need to recognize it often don't.
The truth is... a narc or sociopath is often the one who will say the most inappropriate things... people may raise eyebrows and silently question why anyone on earth would utter such a thing... but few people realize that they are a threat... that they are personality disordered... more likely they will merely, foolishly think of them as inept or socially maladjusted.... not predatory or dangerous... and that is a huge mistake on their part. They give them too much credit and too much benefit of the doubt. The therapist is asking you, the target to trust this person and trust the process when you've looked pure evil in the eyes and know that won't ever be possible... because you have witnessed, you have experienced firsthand what destruction they are truly capable of.
A narc will deflect when called on an issue which is one of their favorite tactics... the old "Were you there?' question and routine... something they say to get out of actually addressing the issues brought up at hand.... they believe by merely stating those three little words they can swiftly shut you down and move on... with zero accountability. Sociopaths are not fixable... even if a therapist can recognize the signs someone is a sociopath they may erroneously believe they can fix them... they may see them as a challenge to be conquered. Which much to the detriment and dismay of others will be a huge waste of time on everyone's part. A narc or sociopath is not fixable... they don't want to change for the better... they actually enjoy causing other's pain and suffering. They carry within them a huge degree of entitlement and believe they deserve everything they have and what's to come... while others sit around wringing their hands in despair hoping someone somewhere will eventually bring consequences down upon them and justice for those who have been hurt time and time again.
names have been omitted in this post
this post contains language
“I've never seen anything like her... "He said to her, referring to me "She could sell ice to Eskimos... I've never seen anybody sell something faster than her."
To some extent it was true... at that time art which was a passion of mine growing up, I soon discovered I could sell art with the snap of my fingers. I was in my early thirties and it would be in two years in 2012 upon filing for divorce and leaving the art business I'd enter real estate and yet despite some success hated the contract aspect of it.... I discovered having ADHD and dealing with contracts weren't the best way for me to make a living... too much stress in the case of potential error and it nearly gave me a nervous breakdown... I hated having moments of panic wondering if I'd remembered such and such. It wasn't worth the sleepless nights. Some might say I gave up but I was glad I tried it... I learned a lot and sometimes realizing something isn't a good fit and gracefully bowing out speaks to maturity versus stomping our foot and stubbornly clinging to something that isn't.
But for now the couple I had just waited on had bought the painting they'd admired and I was ecstatic regarding the newest sale. I stood there beside him and sniped "Yeah? Too bad I never see any of the money!" I huffed.” Are you actually going to give me my commission this time?" I demanded.
"You'll get your money... "He replied in a cool tone. But I knew he was lying. I always had to remind him, again and again. I always had to nag and beg. It was such bullshit. Oh how some people like that you can snap your fingers and make the magic happen but then they don't want to pony up and pay you for your hard work.
"I sure as hell can't sell that well... "He trailed off and looked at me "I don't know how you do it."
"I don't crowd them and rush them... "I replied "You can't keep talking. It screams desperation. You make a few positive comments and then stand back and admire the painting. You have to know when to be quiet." I told him.
"Ohhh, okay... " He trailed off sarcastically and shook his head but I knew he wanted to say more. It was simmering on the tip of his tongue just under the surface. Of course so did I.
"You know... if you'd let us make some changes around here the place could really thrive." I told him "There are a lot of things we could be doing to improve." I informed him dressed, in black heels, dress slacks and a long gray tunic.
He stood there with his arms crossed and closed off to any change that I would broach. Often the old ways that no longer or maybe never did serve any good purpose are clung to out of dysfunctional comfort because of familiarity no matter how destructive they are. Sometimes an iron clad fist of control is preferable over growth. “Oh, yeah? And what are those?" He asked... but not in a tone that was genuinely curious and amicable but instead brimming with contempt and suspicion for me and any new and so called improved ideas.
"First of all... we need to be charging the customers more. We're serving the wealthiest people in town... we're not selling socks. So we need to be acting like it. Any service you provide you need to be charging them the most you can without them walking away." I told him.
"I'm not doing that... we can do a good job and give a good value." He shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.
"I'm all for doing a good job.... the job, the service should be excellent... but you're GIVING your services away most of the time. Why would we do them any favors? It’s no secret that the wealthiest people are often the cheapest. They ALL want a good deal... they all ASK for a good deal... they're like a bunch of whiny preschoolers who want their cookie. No way.... “ I shook my head... “I’m so sick of this shit... "I told him, "I can't keep dealing with this!" I snapped.
"Well, it’s worked just fine!" He retorted “You know, you think you’re so smart!” He tossed at me with sarcasm.
"It could be so much more!" I exclaimed almost pleading with exasperation knowing it could... seeing the golden and promising potential of the business but not able to do anything about it because my hands were tied. "How do you think were ever supposed to get ahead and increase salaries if you continue to keep us in this pit?! If you'd just let someone else have some decision making... but no... you want to control everything!" I practically yelled. I was fed up... I had been broaching ideas for years now along with others but when they aren't heard or acknowledged or given any life you eventually have to make the difficult but necessary decision to either continue to hang in there and simultaneously scream into a pillow daily (!) or simply walk away to save your own sanity. I finally chose the latter... I could not take it anymore. It was a sinking ship that could not be helped and in many ways after I walked away I hoped it sunk... because it was such a poor and sorry reminder of all the financial and emotional pain wielded for years upon years. Pack it all up and express mail it to hell, I thought... I wanted to drive by one day and it all be gone... like it never existed.
When people actually care about their employees they ensure they are taken care of. If as a leader you’re getting screwed financially essentially your whole staff is getting screwed too and then one wonders how a business hasn't gone into the ground. If your numbers aren’t where they should be... guess what? As a leader that’s your fault. You either aren’t managing the business correctly or aren’t holding someone accountable beneath you. You know what often the problem is? Someone giving customer service confuses their customers as being their friends. They aren't your friends. By putting our egos aside and not trying to win people over with 'good deals' or the guise of people pleasing or massages to boost our egos and realizing we can get what we need by giving excellent customer service yet simultaneously charging what we need our business would be in a better place... namely in the black and not in the red.
Instead, in the midst of “good deals” or “good value” which may in some cases be code for the employees getting screwed may translate to the employees suffering financially. Maybe someone in authority gets a little low on cash and then up-charges some unsuspecting customer driving a Maserati because they want to go buy a material item such as a painting, vase, rug, bronze, etc for themselves to feed their ego. That item purchased whatever it may be doesn’t go back into the business for profit but hoarded and stored. Or maybe money on certain sales is being made under the table and not shared with the employees but only belongs to one person. Yet on the same note what if you then have some poor little widow come in who needs to sell something just to put food on her table and you knowingly charge her more than you should? The people you need to be giving a break to, some empathy to you're not. The people you’re donating something to in the name of charity is ironically the crappiest thing you can find... comparable to searching a junk drawer for gifts to give, true character screams loud in these moments often hidden behind closed doors where no one is aware of them happening except those closet to the perpetrator.
Narcs are known for giving perks and allowances to others that they would never give to their own employees or family, etc. They do whatever they can to save face in the community and be seen as a "good guy" or "respected woman" and be liked. Being liked by strangers at the detriment of one's own circle is a sign they do not value their employees and use them in whatever ways they can. Narcs are known as users and abusers in their relationships and that’s no different when it comes to business. They use others to get ahead in life and are usually the only ones to reap the benefits. It's not just about money though... that is only one portion of the issue. If a manager is not respected for his or her decisions or lack thereof whether it's the marketing, the hiring and firing process, holding others accountable, treating employees with blatant gross disrespect either through emotional or physical abuse, (as narcs are known to do) talking out of both ends (ahem) when it comes to profit or lack thereof... and manipulating the excuses as to why those numbers aren't what they should be due to fear of being fired by higher ups and or being outed and held responsible for screw ups.... it causes unrest, maybe fear, disgust and uncertainty in the lower positioned people in regards to whether this "leader" is someone truly capable of leading the flock... if they are showing signs they are inconsistent and or to be doubted there will be seeds amongst the employees that grow into gradual lack of trust and maybe even in extreme cases resentment and hidden hate for them.
Narcs often use their positions of power to use others and or coerce them into sexually based relationships like those we've seen exposed in the media lately. It's not new news that narcs objectify women and treat them as nothing but a tool to be used. Narcs thrive on power and believe their higher up positions will cause whomever is their target to cower ( and question themselves if they would be believed by others) and acquiesce to them. By staying in the relationship and or departing from it the narc moves on to a new body; a new man or woman, a new form of supply to chase, conquer and own so to speak... feeling powerful that he or she has managed to triumph again in their sick little fantasy world. When I had a higher up approach me once and say "You have really good looking legs".... I stared at him and replied "You DO realize you're married and being inappropriate, correct?" He shook his head and spoke "I'm giving you a compliment for Christ's sake." I responded by saying "No, you're not. You're offensive. Don't ever talk to me that way again." That was his one time warning. The next time I'd raise hell with human resources. It never happened again... we have to call out people who cross lines on their behavior and if necessary out them for the way they are. Because if we allow it to stay hidden especially in the workplace it will only worsen and aside from enduring behavior we shouldn't be accepting we will feel powerless if we are. Being involved in unsavory situations we may end up getting pulled into all sorts of additional situations we don't want to find ourselves in.... like being subpoenaed in law suits, divorces, custody battles, company investigations... causing headaches for everyone if and when the behavior is finally revealed or discovered.... instead let's get the situation addressed immediately and have zero tolerance policies in place for every company so it's clear what is acceptable and what is not because narcs count on zero accountability to continue their gross ways.
In the case of family businesses the general failure rate is high; typically reaching a seventy percent failure rate before the second generation can even take over... and third and fourth generations aren't much safer. Family businesses often have unique challenges as those who are in power (the oldest generation) may not want to relinquish any power to the younger ones. They don’t always realize the younger ones are looking at it with a fresh set of eyes and see the holes that need to be repaired. The solution is not to give equal power as that nearly always leads to a fracture of the family in a power tug-of-war and the dissolution of the business... yet the newest generation must be given some decision making or they may feel their efforts are fruitless and walk away. Narcs are classic control freaks.... they are incapable of letting anyone else have any decision making as they always believe they know better (no matter what the department even if they only excel in a niche). In the case of narc parents they expect their children to make them look good, to serve them and follow in their footsteps. Narc children grow up being told who they need to be for their parent. Narc parents typically choose a golden child as their favorite and a black sheep that they dislike. Even if they have a golden child he or she may not be allowed any decision making... as a narc trusts few if anyone. If no one is allowed to make decisions that is to the detriment of the business as they lose so many golden opportunities for their business to become well rounded; people of varied skill, perspective and experience can add value to a company's overall success.... but the one in charge has to be willing to listen and really want the company to grow. Growth is a foreign concept to narcs because they absolutely abhor personal growth and giving in to growth would be the equivalent of loosening their iron clad grip on whatever or whoever they are trying to control.
Maybe they refuse to get their business and inventory organized yet simultaneously complain they can't understand why the company doesn't seem to grow and they've lost the such and such order. Maybe a manager gripes about how they need some money and always seem short but yet in the same breath admit they aren't capable of producing financials that will enable them to track their revenue. Maybe the numbers aren’t what they should be yet no one recognizes the controller is a waste of space. Maybe a techie can’t write a line of code to save their life but they chastise their peers that can. Maybe the administrative assistant can't figure out what food to serve at the company party yet won’t let anyone else give input. Perhaps the company head bitches about the management underneath them yet never cleans house and consequently let the chips fall where they may. Granted, these scenarios do not always automatically translate to the person being a narc but it’s possible. A narc positions themselves as superior to others and yet are incredibly inept. They inflate their image to be grander and more important than it truly is. Working for a narc who is ineffective is often frustrating at best, or at worst complete hell for those that see the company issues firsthand like bright flashing lights and would love to make the necessary changes yet their hands are tied.
We cannot be surprised when people finally become silent or retreat or let loose with a litany of pent up gripes, sacrifices, injustices and long unvoiced needs when they work for or with a narc. When it comes to business we can take one look at the television show The Profit and see that oftentimes people who are failing at business are failing because of poor margins, deep-seated-personal issues they have not relinquished due to control or fear or namely ego-based thinking or a lacking of management and leadership skills on their part. When a business fails it’s not typically the employees who need to be scrutinized but the leader... ultimately a narc may have difficulties leading because being a leader means they would have to put their ego aside to do so... and we know that in itself is next to impossible.