If you’re living with a narcissist, prepare to be his or her “fall guy.” No matter what happens…it’s your fault.
I had a habit. I said, “I’m sorry” all the time.
If a drain got clogged, I was sorry. If I forgot an item at the grocery store, I was sorry. If I was tired, I found myself whispering, “I’m sorry.” Sorry, sorry, sorry. I always took responsibility. I was also so, so sorry.
Luckily, my husband called me out on it. A couple years ago, the kitchen drain got clogged. “I’m sorry,” I moaned. “I’ve let some food debris go down the drain. It’s my fault.”
“What!?!” His face wore an incredulous, puzzled expression. “It doesn’t matter how it got clogged. I’ll have it running in a jiffy…and quit saying ‘sorry’ all the time.”
Slowly, I’ve started to “git it.” Normal people don’t need nor want to pin blame for every unfortunate thing that happens.
In my three decades living in a narcissistic home, the role of “fall guy” just naturally fell to me. And with a conscience as soft as rose petals, I always accepted the blame. After all, I was never perfect, so yeah, everything was my fault.
If the kitchen drain clogged, yeah, I’d s’pose I’d let a speck of food debris or a hair or two go down the drain. But I was sorry.
Read all about how sorry I was in my article False Guilt: #SorryNotSorry.
And it wasn’t just household things that were my fault. Hell no!
When I was a kid and classmates were mean to me, I was always asked if I’d done something to them. What could I do differently to make the kids stop being mean to me?
When coworkers got their undies in a bundle, it was the same thing. What had I done? What could I do differently so they would straighten up and fly right.
Hell! I often thought that if I ever got attacked and raped, it would be my fault for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A New Fall Guy
After I moved out, the narcissists lost their fall guy. So a new one got assigned. In an email from Mom, she mentioned how she needed to be more careful (over and above her extreme carefulness) because the kitchen sink had gotten plugged…again.
And then it hit me! In my absence, it’s now her fault. She’s the new fall guy.
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Blame Must Be Assigned
In my experience, narcissists get mad if everything isn’t perfect 100% of the time.
If the minutiae of humdrum everyday life, like running a snake down a clogged drain, intrudes on their precious time, they get mad.
If they have to wait for anyone, they get impatient.
If anyone else has a problem, they get frustrated.
Anger, impatience, frustration, blame, lectures, shame…different sides of the same rotten dice.
Just remember: nothing is ever their fault, so…blame must be assigned.