Ever been with people who make you feel crazy? Usually it’s an intimate relationship, or perhaps a family member. The way I define the craziness is like a spider web. The scenario goes a bit like this:
You are a gentle little bug, maybe a ladybug, or a moth, or bumblebee. You have flown by this spider and its web many times, maybe even said hi in passing, and the spider has always been charming, never alarming.
One day, the spider invites you to sit with him on the web. Since some trust has been formed, you decide it’s okay to sit gingerly on the web. Deep down, you know something is just not right, but the spider’s charm is enough to make you go against your gut. Your friends always tell you that you worry too much anyway.
Everything is going fine, the conversation is pleasant, and after a while, you fly off, with just a tiny pluck from the spider web. Whew! “See?!” you say to your inner voice. “The spider is just being friendly.”
Several times more, you are invited to sit on the web with the spider, and each time you pluck yourself gingerly from the web and fly away. You are quite enjoying the feeling of getting away with something. Your gut tells you the spider is dangerous. You know he catches his dinner in the web, but yet you manage to sit with the spider almost daily with no problems!
You really like these visits with the spider, and you decide to tell him so. He seems not to acknowledge what you said, but you figure that maybe he is just shy and not sure how to take the compliment. Again, you gingerly pluck yourself from the web, but as you fly away, a dark cloud passes over and you get a sinking in your gut. You think back to all the good times and shrug it off.
The next day, the spider doesn’t speak to you, and you wonder if he is sick. And so it goes for a few days. Finally, you approach the spider to ask if everything is okay, and he asks you why you sent the dark cloud over his web. You explain that it’s nature, and that you had no control over the dark cloud, but he won’t listen.
You step closer, gingerly, on the web, to explain to him the coincidence of the cloud. You tell him you were concerned that maybe he was sick, but he does not acknowledge what you said and instead accuses you of wanting him to be sick. You step closer, but find your foot enmeshed in the web. He sees you struggle a bit and there is a glimmer in his eye. Again, your stomach sinks, but you know you can show him that the cloud was really just a natural passing.
Yet, the conversation keeps veering other directions, and each time you try and defend yourself, you get a little more entangled. As you come to your knees, your wings now starting to stick in the web, you wonder if you really did bring that dark cloud with your doubt, and maybe your doubt did cause him to be sick. Your gut says you are right, but the more you struggle, the more enmeshed in his web you become.
The only way to not become completely cocooned for the feeding is to stop fighting and play dead.
And that’s how every day is when you live with someone who is narcissistic.
Every time you trust your gut with these folks, they give you an explanation that makes you doubt not only your gut, but your own worthiness. They find your weaknesses or fears and back you into a corner.
I engaged in conversation with an ex that used to make me feel crazy. I had that sinking feeling that I could never win this fight, and that if I engage, it will just get nastier and nastier, and he will never ever hear my side or acknowledge it, but instead turn it around on me. I felt panic, for I lived several years with this man, and I truly felt crazy and worthless when I was with him.
The only way to beat them is to laugh. Do not engage in fear. Stand in your truth no matter what they throw your way. Do not entangle yourself in their web, but pluck yourself gingerly from the web and hover if you must, but do not engage.
Part of my therapy is to heal the pain this man caused me so many years ago, and to feel this coming up again, but to recognize it as his craziness, not my worthlessness, helped pull me through. I trusted my gut.
I responded in positive faith and kept true to my message. And I will remain true to myself and my daughter, but I know this will be a struggle for some time to come.
How do YOU disarm a narcissist?
What do you do to avoid the “crazy making” that happens with narcissists?