Posts categorized "Projection"

Switching it Up

Just before I realized I was caught in a relationship with a narcissist I accidentally stumbled upon something which was an epiphany.

A little history first.  I'll try to be brief.  Growing up, raised by a narcissist, I was constantly told how angry I was.  My mother told me I was angry when I came out of the womb, which is interesting because I've never heard of babies being born pissed off.

I have since come to realize that she projected her own anger onto me.  Pregnant with her first child (me) which my father had talked her into having in order to keep up with all their friends who had gotten pregnant, she then found out he was cheating on her.  And out I popped.  A perfect target for her rage.  So I grew up being scapegoated and being told how angry I was.  And I believed it and acted accordingly.

Now fast forward to the present.  I'm in this relationship and I'm angry.  I've expressed serious concerns only to be placated and patronized by someone who could care less how I feel - a narcissist.  So we're having another dispute and they are actively trying to illicit an emotional response from me.  But I'm determined not to lose my temper.  I'm seriously trying not to be the angry one.  So I think hard and come up with an idea.  My partner never loses her temper.  Ever.  She's always laid back, easy going, no worries.   How does she do it?  I try to think what she would do if the roles were reversed.  If she were trying to get this job done and here I came trying to start something, what would she do?   She would smile and nod and agree with everything I said while continuing to do whatever the hell she wanted.  She would pleasantly, agreeably, blow me off.  So I decided to try that - to keep my cool.  I'm tired of being the angry one.  I'm tired of blowing up.  There must be something wrong with me and I need to take responsibility for it.  So I brace myself and go tackle the job I have to get done.

Sure enough, here she comes, trying to start something.  But I'm determined.  I will not blow my top.  I will not lose my cool.  I will smile, and agree and just keep doing the job until I get finished, then walk away - without getting angry.

OMG.  I did not stop to think what she would do.   I was so focused on not being angry I never anticipated how she would react.  She EXPLODED!  She was furious.  But I kept my cool and kept working - stunned at the reaction I was getting.  She yelled and screamed and accused me of placating her and blowing her off.  Uh, well, yeah.  That's how it's done, right?

OMG.  I'm still trying to make sense of this.  If I treat her like she treats me when I get "angry" and she gets angry, could it be that I'm having an honest reaction to how she's treating me?  Could it be that I'm not "the angry one" but that I'm reacting to treatment that would make anyone angry?  

This was several months ago and I'm still puzzling over this revelation.  

I'm alone, but then I always was...

Having pulled back from a narcissist I now feel completely alone in the world.  My entire life was wrapped up in them and their issues.  Absorbing their emotions, worrying about their problems, working on their goals I now have nothing but myself.

But then I never did.  When you're with someone who has no empathy and no remorse, someone who gaslights you when you try to set a boundary and attacks you when you are trying to tell them that something they are doing is hurting you, then you're not really with someone.  You are just by yourself with another body.  And a narcissist body sucks up all the oxygen in the room.  
Now that I'm by myself, I feel really alone, but a lot less stress.  After years of being told how "angry" I was I now realize I was absorbing their anger which they projected on to me.  I was also carrying my own anger because they gave nothing back, they played mind games on me and had absolutely no regard for me; my thoughts, my ideas, my beliefs, my concerns, my feelings.   Not only was I alone, but I was being emotionally manipulated.  At least now I am without the manipulation.