At some point, they’ll run out of narcissistic supply. The narcissist from whom you’ve extricated yourself will need a favor. They’ll want some product or service you provide. Perhaps their other friends have gotten wise to them and gone splitsville. And then they come flying back to you — full of forgetfulness, love, charm and smarm.
Don’t. Be. Fooled.
I almost was.
My August 23rd, 2017 article Why Do All My Friendships Crash and Burn surprised me by its popularity. I was like, “Wow! So it’s not just me who picks narcissists for friends over and over again!” Like so many of you, I concluded that my Friend Picker was broken. Given a room full of perfectly nice ordinary people, my Friend Picker will zero in on the alcoholic, the person in the cult or the charming narcissist every time. It never fails!
Sometimes it takes years of friendship before you realize, “Damn! I did it again!” Your friend was just a little too charming to be true. You laughed at their egotism, chortled at their competitive streak and ignored their insults. Depending on your emotional pain quotient (and ours are legendary from years of practice), it may take awhile before you say to yourself, “If this is friendship, somebody goofed.”
In my case, I feel my narcissistic friend (like every con artist) got cocky towards the end. They mistook my kindness for weakness, and spewed gossip, criticism and insults in my hearing, much of which applied to me regardless of how much they said, “Oh, I don’t mean you!” Their coup de grâce was a shocking attempt to cheat me. That’s when I said, “Whoa. Gimme a second. You said that, then you said that, then you did that. Wait a minute! You’re a narc! Hells bells, not another one.” (I didn’t say it outloud, obviously.)
Like you, I’m kicking myself squarely in the ass for repeating my pattern.
But rather than make a federal case out of it, I simply drifted away. Even as we made the decision to drift away, I told Michael, “They’ll try to get us back. Mark my words! When they burn off all their other friends, they’ll try to recycle us back into their sticky narcissistic web. That’s not happening. Forewarned is forearmed.”
Being free has been so nice! Peaceful. No more nervous laughs when my friend publicly derides her husband’s performance in bed. No more tongue-biting when she starts spewing insults about fat people. No more asking, “How high?” when she asks me to jump. No more listening guiltily to gossip about all and sundry only to have “Sundry” treat me like shit when I ran into him, making me wonder how often my so-called friend gossiped about me to “Sundry,” poisoning me to him just as she poisoned him to me. (Mother always said, “They who gossip to you will gossip about you.”)
Well, it was nice anyways.
Now my Narcissist wants me back! Yessiree bob. After more than a year of drifting away, now she suddenly loves us “more than ever” and wants us back! The letter arrived last week. Every page dripped with charm. As I read it, I felt like Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town when he wiped his hands on his lapel after shaking a lawyer’s hand, commenting, “Even his handshake is oily.” The letter was oily. Here are some particularly juicy excerpts, grammatically corrected just enough to make them readable.
I miss not seeing you’s as much as we used too. 🙁
Remember how we’d be together almost every weekend…
kinda really miss that. 🙂
That is literally what she wrote. She wrote “kinda” and changed it to “really.” Wow. Just makes me feel all warm n’ cuddly! (Not!) Oh, it get’s better! The very next sentence reads…
[I] think Ron really misses looking his stuff up online.
Note how quickly she moves on to the services they want, couched as her doing a kindness to Ron! They want to use our computers! Her cult doesn’t allow computers! Oh, it gets better!
And I miss our chats, board games and an occasional movie,
altho not that as much as just getting together.
Bullshit! If she missed our chats, she’d call. If she missed playing board games, she would’ve pulled ’em out the last two times she invited us to her house. Ah now, we’ve arrived at the truth. Her cult doesn’t allow TVs and DVDs and she wants her Julia Roberts fix, but realized how selfish she was sounding and tried to dial it back.
Oh, it gets better.
We feel that there’s this drift between us
and have often talked about it
and were wondering if it’s something we did?…
Our friendship with you’s has always meant a lot to us
and can’t stand the thought of having something come between that…
We love you guys just as much and more than ever!
Gag me with a spoon! After a year and more of drifting away, now you’re worried about the relationship!?! Now you “love us more than ever!” #cringeworthy She must think I just fell off the turnip truck! Oh, it gets better!
And another thought I had that I figured
might have made you’s feel like we’re pulling away
is that I haven’t been calling for [a service I provided to her] anymore…
but if you do want to [service] me just let me know.
I have told her repeatedly that I am unable to provide that service anymore. The machine is broken. BUSTED! She wore it out and never bothered to pay for repairs!
Just because she found out I was able to jimmy-rig it to work for me one time, now she figures I’m a liar. If it worked for me, it can work for her too. Game on! Notice how she tries to position it as a perk for me, as if I just thrive on being her little slave.
I think a quote from Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory is apropos right now!
You don’t seem to be understanding the English word “no.”
Maybe a different language will help.
Binary coded Ascii, 0110111001101111….
Let me try gangsta, hells no.
Hells no! No computer. No internet. No television. No DVD. No chats. No games. And definitely NO MORE SERVICES!!!
When her letter arrived, my first inclination was to tell her the truth. It took seven pages of fevered typing to get all my anger and hurt out on paper and I felt ten pounds lighter after writing it. But I didn’t mail it. “Always sleep on important decisions,” my grandpa advised.
I went one better.
I talked it over with my Facebook friends. They threw my own advice in my teeth. Quoted my articles to me. Said, “Lenora, you know what to do already.”
The consensus was, of course, to do nothing…and DON’T send the letter – she’ll just use it to victim-play. She’s not a friend; she’s a user! You don’t owe her a damn thing. Boundaries, Lenora!
That is exactly the advice I’m going to give you now. If and/or when your narcissist tries to recycle you back in because they “love and miss you” so much, ignore them…run…get a harassment restraining order…do whatever you have to do. But don’t go back.
NEVER, ever go back!