Here is a short video from my YouTube Channel. If you like it you may like the others:
The memory is isolated from context, age or other circumstances. The best I can do is narrow it down to a period between the ages of 9 and 15 because I moved into this particular house when I was about to turn 9 and moved out on my 15th birthday, but I digress.
I had just noticed a rather large black spot between my two front teeth. I had tried to remove it only to find that it was what was left of the teeth in that spot. I had not paid a lot of attention to my teeth. Brushing your teeth does not become a habit when you don’t have a tooth brush.
The first time that I felt the absence of a tooth brush in my life was at a camp. My mother often sent us to camps and Sunday schools and evening activities. It did not matter if we wanted to go, she did not want us around. There was a bus that would pick us up on Sunday morning and take us to Sunday school and bring us home and she was delighted to have Sunday morning “off” each week. Long story short, I spent a lot of time places other than at home.
At this particular camp, they had a speaker one day talking about dental hygiene. The highlight of the presentation was that he had brought these little red pills. He explained that we were all to go and brush our teeth and then we would chew these pills and it would turn all of the plaque on our teeth red. This thrilled my friends and they were all going to prove how clean they got their teeth.
We were sent to our cabins to grab our tooth brushes. We were then supposed to brush our teeth and return. At that point, our success would be judged by the red tablet. I had not brought a toothbrush. I did not own a tooth brush. Instead of going back to the cabin, I took off into the trees next to the camp. I was hopeful that no one would notice that I was missing. I walked along a creek until I got tired and then I went back in time for dinner. No one seemed to be the wiser.
So, now I was examining another casualty of my upbringing in the mirror in the washroom. I had no idea what to do about it. I tried shoving toilet paper into the hole so that it would be whitish instead of black, but it was still obvious. I decided to just be careful when I smiled so that no one could tell.
I saw him swerve and stop and get off of his bike. He was a little ahead of me as we were biking down the highway, the only road that we could take to get to his parent’s place. Now, there is a “rails to trails” path that goes along this route that would’ve been nice at the time, but on the day we were travelling, we were right on the highway.
This incident occurred a considerable distance from our apartment. His parent’s place is a full 45-minute drive and we were two thirds of the way, but we had ridden our bikes. We had spent a lot of the summer biking around. Our trips had included biking to my hometown, to a wedding and up to see nicer scenery north of where we lived.
It appealed to him because we were doing something that he could brag about. We didn’t just bike; we biked 120 miles (200 km) in one day. We were adventurers; we were out there doing things other people could only imagine.
I enjoyed biking and being out on the road with just some equipment and my bike. This was something that I would do again. But, at the time, I didn’t realize why it was so important to do it in the shortest time possible and to only break if absolutely necessary. Now I know. It is all about bragging rights. If you are going to do something, specifically so that you can tell others that you have done it, it must be exceptional.
Now we were in trouble. The fork had broken off of the front of his bike. Two forks are necessary to hold the wheel in place and the right one had bent to the right and snapped off. We were just outside of a city and a significant distance from his parent’s place. This happened before everyone had a cell phone; so even calling someone would mean moving a bike, on one wheel, a considerable distance until we could get to a phone.
We were essentially stranded. After a few minutes of examining this fork and thinking about the laws of physics, yes physics — forgive me but I’m a scientist at heart — I realized that the pressure on the fork was down. In other words, it only had to have strength in one direction. In order for the fork to support the body of the bike and hold the wheel, it did not have to have sideways support. It had broken to the side. It did not need any strength in this direction.
What the fork needed was to be kept in alignment. If I could keep the top and bottom part of the fork lined up, the force down could be applied and it would be supported by metal on metal. There did not need to be a lot of strength sideways.
I found an appropriate sized piece of wood and rammed it into the fork and rammed the broken piece onto the other end of it. This perfectly aligned the two pieces so that pressure could be applied to the fork by the tire below and the handles above. He reassembled the wheel and we made it successfully to his parents’ place. I was thrilled. It is very exciting for me to come up with an innovative solution to a problem.
Every time I said something to him about it he brushed it off as obvious and not worth mentioning. When I tried to tell this story to friends or family he was interruptive and down played the significance. He never said that it was a good idea and just made it seem like this was so obvious that I was childish wanting recognition for it.
Now I know that he did not want to tell this story because he was not the star. There was a solution at hand and he didn’t find it. It hurt my feelings that day and for a few weeks afterwards, but I had no way of knowing that it was just a symptom of a larger problem and that I wouldn’t get credit for doing anything — ever…
Here we go again, live, or it was when I shot it, How to Outsmart a Narcissist.
Tomato red pants were the only thing that we could find given the parameters of our shopping trip. We were in a hurry. There were things that my mother would rather be doing. Unfortunately for her, I was not yet capable of going shopping for myself.
I had been wearing the same pair of pants to school everyday for as long as I can remember. This is a pattern that lasted until I went to high school and got my own job and my own money. At that point, I could buy my own clothing and dress however I could afford. I was not there yet.
I was about ten or eleven years of age and the demands of having children were just too inconvenient for my mother. Clothing shopping, well any shopping for that matter, was just not her idea of a good time, so she did as little as possible. When she did shop, she would let us know how expensive we were and how inconvenient we were, but I digress.
On this particular day she had other plans. She always had other plans. I had ripped the only pair of pants that I had. I probably had outgrown them. But, I had ripped them to the point that I could no longer wear them. My mother had been angry. First, she was angry because I had ruined my clothing. Second she was angry because now she had to take me shopping. Third, she was angry because buying me clothing was going to be expensive and finally she was angry because, as she let us know, she would’ve been an opera singer if she had not had children.
So we had hurriedly gone shopping. There was not enough time allotted for us to go to several stores and the department store that we were in did not have a lot of selection in my size. In hind sight, this is hard to believe and I now wonder whether or not she was trying to buy from the children’s department only because they have less expensive items, but I have no way of knowing. If she was, I was probably at the high end and that would explain the limited selection.
Unfortunately for me, a red pair fit. They were hideous. They were unacceptable. They were purchased. I was concerned about going to school in these red pants. I did not want to be seen.
My mother said, “Your ass looks like a big red tomato in those pants.” Nice.
I wrote my first book above, before I knew my mother was a narcissist.
We were in a hurry. We had a lunch to attend. It wasn’t so much that time was tight as the fact that he was the one that called the shots. If he was going to get the most out of his day, doing anything for someone else was always inconvenient. We were on the highway on the way home from a lodge. He had been working at the lodge, giving a talk, and because it was such a scenic setting, it was decided that I would go along.
I had golfed with him once at the lodge and I found it too challenging for me. He had wanted to golf again, so we went out that morning. I had no intention of golfing, it simply would have taken too long, and I knew that we didn’t have enough time, so I travelled along in the golf cart. The problem was that when we were as far as possible from the clubhouse, I realized I needed to pee.
Now, this is not normally a huge problem on a golf course. There are large relatively private places where you can take care of things discretely. Unfortunately, the people managing the course seemed to be a little suspicious of two people going out onto the course and only one person paying for a game, so they kept sending people around to make sure that I was, in fact, just watching.
Each time that I left the golf cart and tried to move into an area of relative privacy, someone from the club would come by in a truck, on a golf cart or simply walk in our direction. It was not going to happen. I was not going to get a chance to pee.
When he was finished playing golf he asked me not to go into the club house for fear that it bring up questions of whether or not I had played. We were leaving the lodge right away and it was decided that we would stop along the highway. I was becoming somewhat impatient.
As I write this story, it gives me that tense feeling that I get watching movies when you see the person making mistake after mistake and you know for sure that they are digging themselves into a hole. You want to scream, “Don’t do that!” or “Pay attention!” Little did I know at the time, but I was giving him great power. He fed off of this feeling of being in control, of having someone that desperately needed him to do something for them. He started to abuse this power.
I did not recognize at the time that he was probably amused by all of this. I could see that there was a place to pull off ahead and I said something like, “There is a Tim Horton’s up here.” He drove by it. Now, this is a four lane, restricted access highway that we were on and rest stops and exits were not that common on this stretch of the road.
I got angry. He claimed that I had not been clear enough that I had wanted him to stop. Now, I was at the point where I wanted him to just pull off to the side of the road. I would take my luck on the embankment. He would not stop.” We are in a hurry.” “I may be late if we stop.” “They are expecting us for lunch.”
Then the attacks started. I should’ve used a washroom before we left the lodge. I should be clearer if I want him to pull over. I was stupid for leaving things until I was so desperate. My choices were quite limited. I was uncomfortable now to the point that I was starting to worry that I might damage my bladder. I could just pee on the front seat of the van, or anywhere else in the van.
He was smug. He was certain that he was right and that my demands were unreasonable. Then I started to scream at him. Now, he pointed out, I shouldn’t get so emotional; I was insane and acting foolishly. I knew that if I was forced to void my bladder in the van I would never live down the humiliation. I did not know, at the time, that this all made him feel superior, in control, powerful. I didn’t learn that until much later.
He did eventually pull over at a drive through and I popped out as soon as the van was moving slowly enough that I could escape. He taunted me for getting out when we were still so far from the building, but I could see that if he pulled into the drive through that there was not enough room on my side for the door to open and I would once again be trapped.
We arrived early for the lunch but I was completely frazzled. I’m sure he pointed out to people that I was just a little unstable, most of the time, and that he had just learned to deal with my mood swings.
My commute into work was unsustainable. I was driving almost 70 km (40 miles) into a large city. This particular highway would come to a complete stop if one drop of rain, or heaven forbid, a snowflake, landed on it. On more than one day it took over three hours to get into work.
In addition to the commute, the job was not during normal working hours. This is very important when you have small children because school and day care are during the day. If you have to work different hours, childcare becomes difficult. Spending time with your children is almost impossible if you are working evenings, or early mornings — think 4 a.m. All of this to say that I was highly motivated to get a new job.
At my place of work, promotions were rewarded through a competitive process that could easily be described as memorizing the assigned materials and being able to answer questions on it in both written format and during an interview. There was a job available about 20 km (12 miles) from my place. It was an office job, during the day, and would be a significant raise in pay and quality of life.
I made the first cut and they informed me that they would send me a fax. The information in the fax would be a significant part of the “interview” process and it was understood that I was supposed to be prepared to discuss its contents. The technology at this time was not what it is today. We did not own an actual fax machine. Our computer was hooked up directly to the phone lines (Yes, this was quite a while ago!) and was configured to answer the phone when a fax came in and download the file in electronic format.
I’m using the word, “our” but it was definitely his computer. I did not know how to use it well and we “shared” an email account during this time. It was before I was aware that you could create free email acounts, or perhaps before free email accounts were available.
I was anxious to read and start thinking about the fax so I asked him if the fax had arrived yet and he assured me that it had not. I asked daily for about three days and it was not there. Then came the day of the interview and the fax had still not arrived. I did not know who to contact about the fax and the people I spoke to at the office were not able to help me track it down.
I confidently went into the interview knowing that someone on their end had not sent the fax and that they would know how to deal with the interview. I had underestimated how competitive my husband was. He saw this job as potentially better than the one that he had at the time and he had done his best to undermine me. It would not be acceptable to him for me to have a job that was better than his.
As a narcissist he always had to “win”. He had to be on top. He always said that he supported me, but the underlying message was, “Go ahead and do whatever you want as long as you take care of everything that you are currently taking care of and don’t ask me to help.” By the way, this is not support.
The fax had been sent almost a week before and he had simply lied about it. The receipt for the sent and received fax was shown to me. I requested that the interview be rescheduled but that was not possible. When I confronted him he said that he had made an honest mistake. He did not realize that there was a new fax on his computer. He got angry and said that he was too busy to “discuss” this right now and started to criticize me for interfering with his ability to get his work done.
He liked to say that the best defense was a good offense and I was often the target of his anger. If he could attack sufficiently then he would not need to take responsibility or apologize — ever. I naively thought that it might have been a mistake. Unfortunately, it was part of a larger pattern. I just hadn’t figured it out yet.
1. They don’t care about you.
This is the most hurtful of their traits but it is the most consistent. It can be confusing because they often “pretend” to care about you and this is one of the reasons that people stay in these painful relationships for so long.
See it from their perspective. You have a purpose in their lives. They need you for what you provide for them be it the necessities of life, adoration or nourishment or you are their receptacle; a place for them to dump their negative emotions. In any case, this is your role, so if you leave they will have an unmet need. They have learned what it takes to keep you in their lives and because of that you may mistake some of their gestures or gifts or thoughtful acts as a sign that they care about you. This is not the case; they just know how to keep you around.
2. They must always win.
Realizing this helps to make disagreements and decisions make sense. They are often sore losers to the point that they’ll accuse you of cheating if you win at a game; or they will just be unpleasant. As far as making plans, if you want something that they don’t want, it is expected that they will not only disagree with you, they will let you know how subpar your suggestion is and why it is not valuable.
This can become confusing because they will often use tactics to get you to agree with them. On the surface, this can seem as though you “agreed” to do what they wanted, but further examination will reveal that they only do what you want if they also want to do it, or it will make them look good.
Common ways of convincing you to do what they want are by arguing that their idea is better, promising that you will get your way next time or simply convincing you their idea is far superior. If you insist, they will make your life hell and sooner or later you’ll agree with their ideas so that you don’t have to go through the drama that follows when you want your way.
3. They do as little work as possible, unless it benefits them directly.
For instance, they may work really hard at their careers because they benefit directly and success in a career is a way to get nourishment from people. i.e. people are impressed The flip side is that they do as little “invisible” work as possible.
Narcissistic parents often appear to be the most engaged because they are out with their children, taking them to the workplace and being involved in their activities. All of these choices make them look like good parents. In the home it is another story. There are no witnesses and spending time with their children is not valuable, so they choose to not be bothered.
Also, tactics will be used to make sure that you do most of the work. Name calling, accusations of being lazy, feigning illness or an inability to do the work are common ways that they get out of doing their fair share of the chores.
4. They lie. This is worth repeating.
I realize that everyone knows that narcissist lie, but what might not be immediately obvious is that they lie for no reason. This may be a way of feeling superior. This may just be to undercut your self-confidence or they may just not realize that telling the truth has value. The thing to take away is that they lie, even when the reason for the lie is not obvious.
This might not be directly obvious, but what you might experience is a perception that you are forgetful; that you may be losing your mind or that you are confused. This is a common response, because most of us do not immediately assume that the other person is lying for no reason.
5. They like drama.
I suspect that this is a result of being unable to feel love and joy the way that other people do. They crave emotion and hate and anger seem to be their preferred vehicle. This is not true for all narcissists. There is a type of narcissist that seems to prefer sadness and pity. Either way, they either start fights out of nowhere to fill this need, or fall into a state of despair. This puts the focus on them and they get deep into the emotion.
If you are their “receptacle” it will be your role to be either the target of their anger or the person that comforts them when they are, oh, so, sad. Drama is often used to sidetrack an argument or to avoid doing something for you. You may have disagreed, asked for a favour or needed some comfort.
Other times, the drama comes out of nowhere. Some insignificant oversight becomes blown out of proportion until the original slight is long forgotten.
6. They do not comfort others.
Sadness and anger are OK for the narcissist, but if you want to get support from them you are “needy” “You should leave your troubles at work” or “quit your job”. “Suck it up” “You are never happy”. “There is no way to please you”. All of these phrases can be used to make you feel like you should not require comfort.
In addition to that, if you do need some support, they are unavailable. This may take the form of their day being worse, a huge work deadline that must be attended to, other plans that came before you started to make demands or simply attacking you for not handling your situation better.
If you get attacked or put down when you wanted a shoulder to cry on or for them to lend an ear to a problem, you may be with a narcissist.
7. They do not like to be alone.
This can take the form of demanding that you stay in when you’ve made plans to go out. It may also be that they have several on-line relationships that nourish them and provide unconditional acceptance. You will find that if you have a life that takes you away from them, they are quick to find someone to fill the time that you are away.
This can also be expressed by them calling you repeatedly while you are at work, texting you constantly or simply showing up when you least expect them. They do not want to be alone and if you are in their lives, they want you around as much as possible.
8. They do not take responsibility for things.
This is a combination of convincing you that you must do all of the work, lying to make it seem like they did not know that it was their responsibility or blaming you for any problems. For instance, they may have done something to hurt you in the past, but it is only a problem because “you” can’t get over it.
If they forget something, for instance, it was up to you to remind them. If it is their turn to do the chores it is because you are lazy.
9. They do not acknowledge the accomplishments of others.
It is important to them to “win” at everything. If someone else is successful, in some part of their life, this is swept under the carpet. No one else’s accomplishments have any meaning to them because it detracts from how wonderful they are.
If you’ve ever shared good news from work, tried to get some excitement over an accomplishment or looked for a little acknowledgement about something that you have done and been shut down, you may be dealing with a narcissist.
10. They can be extremely charming and solicitous.
Most narcissists have learned that they can fool people by being nice to them. If someone is kind and compliments you, you are less likely to see them for who they are. This is how they get their foot in the door in relationships. It is also a way for them to create drama because they can make you look unreasonable to people who only see their charming side.
If someone seems to good to be true, they probably are. You may be dealing with a narcissist.
Narcissists need a receptacle for their anger. They need to direct their hate and animosity at someone. It is not enough for a narcissist to dislike you, they want to make you suffer. The only way to avoid being on this constant emotional roller coaster is to break off all contact. For those of you tired of the drama inherent in dealing with a narcissist, the best advice is NO CONTACT.
This is a major step for many individuals. If it was a romantic relationship, the first step is to stop having sex. Gradually, no face to face communication, then no telephone calls and the contact becomes less and less personal. Get an answering machine, block them on Facebook, direct their emails to a specific folder to be opened on your terms and stop responding to texts, or block the texts altogether.
This advice falls short when a relationship must be maintained for a co-parenting agreement. It is impossible to avoid all communication if you have children with your narcissist ex. Now there is hope! There is a website designed perfectly for this situation.
This portal provides the tools necessary for the exchange of information, scheduling and the communication that is required when there are two people, that no longer like each other, trying to co-ordinate parenting responsibilities.
Its features are amazing. It is possible to record everything that is said on this website. It is also possible to give lawyers and other caregivers full access. This means that any verbal assaults will be recorded. It also means that you can stream line your encounters to one place. No more middle of the night calls, texts while at work or unwanted comments on social media. It becomes possible to block them completely. Add in an individual that physically moves the children between homes and you are scott-free!
The website I’m referring to (there may be others) is “Our Family Wizard“. Sign up with your ex and start garnering the benefits of a true no contact situation.