If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you can NEVER please them. They created the illusion for you at the beginning of your relationship that they were very pleased with you. They made you feel like you were a wonderful partner for them. This illusion was just that…an illusion.
The narcissist will set down the standards of your interactions with them, at the beginning of the relationship. You will attempt to comply with them, because they have convinced you that this will benefit you somehow.
They want you to believe that the rules were a mutual agreement between the two of you. They want you to think that the rules evolved, as a natural process of the growing relationship.
The rules about constant contact, personal interaction and how to solve (or ignore) disagreements were made by both of you…..or were they?
No matter how much effort you put into following the rules of the relationship, you cannot follow them. Why? Because the narcissist will change the rules when they feel like it. They will not always tell you that there are different behaviors required from you, or tasks that they want done.
The rules will suddenly change and you will break them, because you are still trying to be a good partner and follow the rules you think are correct. When you do not do what the narcissist want you to do, you will be punished for you misbehavior.
One example of how the rules can change is the clingy aspect of the new relationship. At the beginning of your relationship with the narcissist, they were clingy and needy. They told you that they wanted to be in constant communication with you.
They called and texted you all the time. They answered your emails. they answered when you called them or called you back right away.
They told you that they wanted to be supportive of you. They made you feel like they thought about you livingly all the time and really missed you when they had to be away from you.
This made you feel special and wanted. You felt that the narcissist had always had bad partners who had abused them in the past, but now they had you. You were the one partner that they needed all along.
You were made to feel safe in the relationship. You were made to feel admired and valued by the narcissist. They told you often. “I am so glad to hear the sound of your voice. Seeing you is the best part of my day.”
Then one day, you were not able to pick up the phone, right away. You were working, shopping or on the other line. Maybe you were in the shower. You were not aware the narcissist was calling you or there was no possible way for you to answer the call right away.
When you called them 2 hours later, they were furious. They questioned the very nature of the relationship itself. They thought they could trust you and now they felt betrayed.
They will overblow the situation of your not calling them back right away, into a major relationship issue.
Then their true colors begin to peek through the charming exterior. They become cold to you and make you feel emotionally shut out.
This “emotional shut out” is cruel punishment. It is a tool of manipulation to control you. They have already set you up to need them to be there for you. They have isolated you from your other emotional support, by demanding all of your time.
Once you have lost contact with your friends and family, the narcissist becomes your sole source of emotional comfort. This is done deliberately and it is calculated into their plan. Once they have you in a position of being emotionally dependent on them, they can use it against you.
The narcissist ensures that you will have to turn to them for emotional support. They allow you no other place to turn. Then when you do not follow “the rules” they can restrict you from their emotional support. They manipulate you by making you feel like you have to “be good” in order to have emotional love and approval.
They may have hinted that they might have to break up with you, because they need to be with someone who is reliable. They made you feel selfish and inadequate.
So, you comply with the newly set down rules they make which are probably as follows.
- Check your phone frequently for calls in your call history.
- Do not go anywhere without your cell phone glued to you.
- Frequently check your text messages and your email. (the narcissist may communicate by a means that they do not usually use, just to check that you paying attention )
- Let the narcissist know if you are going to unavailable for any period of time and exactly (to the minute) how long that time period will last.
- Notify them immediately upon becoming available again. ( Don’t take a shower, stop for coffee. Do not do anything in between that specific thing that you have to do, and notifying the narcissist of its completion)
You can follow these rules for a while and they will be the rules for however long the narcissist wants them to be.
But the rules you follow become different that the ones that they have to follow. You will begin to notice that they do not call you back for hours and hours, because they are talking to someone else on the phone. They expect you to be available at 8pm, each night so they can call you. But one night they do not call you until midnight.
The rules become confusing to follow. You are made to wait for them, but they will not tolerate waiting for you. You have to revolve your schedule around them, even to the point of finding out from them when the best time is for you to take a shower. Your personal care should not interfere with their needs.
So, you sit there by the phone and they do not call. Hours go by and you call a few times. You worry that something may have happened to them.
But if you try to talk them about this, they will not communicate in any logical way with you. They can be angry when you make them wait, but when it is you that has to wait, there is no discussion.
Your feelings of worry, loneliness and fear about what is happening in the relationship are simply “NOT OPEN FOR DISCUSSION.”
The narcissist rule of “Not Open for Discussion” is a whole post in itself. We will get to that one soon.
There is no two-way communication at all. They are allowed to insist on your being there for them, but they are not there for you. You long for the clingy narcissist that you had the relationship with in the beginning. They seem not to need you anymore, in the way they originally said they did.
There may even be short-term rule that they make and do not inform you about. They always have an agenda to be met.
By expecting you to comply with an agenda that is in their head, they set you up to fail. By expecting you to do things that you have no idea they want, they set up to fail. They love for you to fail, because they can use this in order to watch you suffer.
It must have been your fault that you were not aware that they needed help with something. They may even say to you “Next time check with me if I need anything, before you just start talking about your day.”
There is no way to keep track of what the rules are, or when they change. The narcissist may give you the schedule for the next 2 hours and then tell you they are disappointed in you because you did not remember that the other thing needed to be done also.
They will say “I count on you! I count on you to make sure my needs are met. I count on you to make me feel safe. What am I supposed to do, if you do not help me?”
There is always a need of theirs that is greater than the needs that you have. Their problems are more urgent. Their feelings are “more sensitive” than yours are. Thier past was more painful. Their struggles are greater.
There is always an emergency or something that is critical for you to do. Things have to done the “right way” and you are supposed to know what that is, even if they do not tell you.
YOU CANNOT WIN! DO NOT PLAY THE NARCISSIST GAME WITH THEM !
They are far better at this game than you are. They have years of experience of learning about how to control and manipulate other people. They are better than the average psychiatrists at predicting human behavior, modifying human behavior and studying people.
They will study your mind and then take it apart. Don’t play. Get away !