Jean Paul Sartre said that hell is other people and anyone who has stood on the Underground amid a sea of steaming, rain-soaked coats wafting up your nose and MP3 leakage worming in your ear will know that the Piccadilly line at 8am is a one-way, cattle cart to Old Nick's playground.
But just as no man or woman is an island we are sociable beasts who need a mate or a life partner to make us mashed potato and give us foot massages when the going gets tough. We are often defined by our relationships, the people we chose to love or to call friends and that connection makes us feel good, "got" and grateful.
Well, that's the theory anyway. In reality relationships between lovers, relatives and friends, instead of being a bed of roses, can feel like you are swimming in a shark-infested, primal swamp. How did it get that people we like and love can be so, well, darn difficult?
How can I break this to you? Some people aren't who we think they are. Now there's no need to feel uncomfortable and, in fact, if you are it could be because you suspect a member of the family, partner, boss or pal may have some other agenda you can't quite work out but it's creating some mighty mischief for you.
Here's a quick test to see if someone near you might be playing with a loaded deck:
- You feel drained after being with them.
- Your words are often manipulated, twisted or willfully misunderstood
- You feel as though you or your needs can be neither seen or heard
- It's always your fault - even when it isn't
- You feel like the nasty bully all the time (even though you've done nothing) - this then forcing you into the role of the "rescuer"
- Past events retold bear little relation to the truth
Sound familiar? Is that you shuddering or your phone vibrating as Mr X or Ms Y wants to know where you are 24/7? Stick with it I have some news for you.
When It's Them
Mirror, mirror on the wall who's the fairest of them all, doesn't cover it because there is only one answer in their world, so why ask? The Narcissist sees the world, as it revolves around them, as nothing but an extension of themselves.
All roads and conversations lead to them. Their needs are paramount, their shaky egos need permanent massaging and they lack the empathy gene so badly it hurts (everyone else but themselves - ouch!).
A common complaint of clients who have relationships with narcissists are "I think I am going mad" as the solipsistic other half has a Teflon coating when it comes to blame and responsibility. They are perfect it's you with the issue. In fact sometimes you seem so invisible to them you start to wonder if you even really exist.
Here is a little film to give you a bit more context
|Dealing With A Narcissist: Emotional Freedom in Action|
A PA is likely to say mildly "Why are you getting so angry?" when you've begged, cajoled and spelt it out in countless considerate ways your needs, wants or how to be loved. They are known for their great ability to shut down and shut you out, put up an impenetrable wall, withhold love and the words you want to hear (all part of their armoury) and feign complete innocence no matter how much you go on (oh and you will) to get them to stop resisting and start being real.
Terrified of revealing their true selves the PA has built up a wall to hide behind and they cover it in butter so you slide down it every time you try to get close to them. Common cries from clients dealing with a passive aggressive is "I don't know what I am doing wrong".
When It's You
Sorry but this newsletter isn't just about pointing out the bad guys, slapping ourselves across the forehead with a "gee, so that's what it's all about" get-out clause. Sadly the big news is that we do play an equal role in the relationship we have with others and for this we must be responsible.
Someone with a damaged psychic wifi will seek out ways in which to play out their issues with "receivers" and it's down to us to have healthy self esteem, strong boundaries and a high sense of self worth to stop this happening.
This is not an easy process, say, if one of your parents was the narcissist or you are madly in love with a passive aggressive. But the first step is knowing what is their issue, what is yours and how it shows up between you both. Does that help?
If you would like to get more support with your relationships or help overhaul your self esteem then please contact me for a free 30 minute session. Email me now firstname.lastname@example.org