With Narcissism Meets Normalcy “this close” to celebrating two million hits (Thank you!), there is one article that leap-frogged over all the others to be crowned The Most Popular. Titled Here’s What Happens When You Tell Narcissists They’re Narcissists, comments have been all over the place. Some people think I did the right thing, some people think I did the wrong thing and a few people think I’m downright nuts.
You have the weigh the positives, the negatives, your conscience, your gut, your safety. There are so many considerations!
So, what do you think?
To paraphrase Charles Dickens, “You must first read my article Should Narcissists Be Told They’re Narcissists or nothing wonderful can come of this tale I’m about to relate. In that article, I shared how I created a kind-of litmus test to confirm whether my family were narcissistic or not. By offering to tell them the “core dynamics” (e.g. narcissism) that informed my decision to go No Contact with them, I was testing them.
Would they raise their hand and pay me the respect of taking me up on my offer to share the “core dynamic” with them? Would they ignore my offer? I’d decided that how they responded would either disprove or confirm my diagnosis of familial NPD.
Well, they failed. They confirmed my diagnosis by ignoring my offer…for fourteen long months. But after waiting for more than a year, one family member finally raised their hand and wanted to know the “core dynamic.” It was too late…disrespectfully late….but hey! Better late than never!
But their request left me in a quandary. How could I tell them they were narcissists without violating my strict No Contact policy. What do do? What to do?
If you’re No Contact with your family but still want to tell them about narcissism, here’s an idea from what I did!
I put up a free website. That’s right. I figured it was the best way of honoring their request to know the “core dynamic” while still remaining No Contact.
The homepage listed the dynamics in the family. All of them. No holds barred. The second page contained pictures of the many happy memories in my life, cause I didn’t want them to think it was all bad. Then there were two more pages of excellent quotes about narcissism, cults, etc. that described the family to a proverbial “T” with the hyperlink to the website where the quote originated. Then there were two webpages of apropros books, TV shows, music, etc. about narcissism. I also put up a page with every kick-ass natural cancer cure as a kind-of “hot coals” thing. They may be narcissists but I still shared all the antidotes I discovered that might help naturally cure their cancer. They might be narcissists, but I still loved them and I couldn’t live with myself if I knew of a cancer cure but didn’t share it.
After hours and hours of work, I published the website and waited.
I waited and I waited. Nothing happened. Surely, I thought, they must be Googling me. Either Google failed me, the website was too new to be indexed or perhaps they had a shocking lack of interest. Given their reputation as “Curious George,” I was surprised the site wasn’t discovered immediately.
So I put up more websites reflecting my narcissist’s unique interests and hobbies, incorporating lots of links back to the original website. I was trying to “herd” my narcissists, trick them, lead them…use any method at my disposal to get them to discover the website with the “core dynamic.” I wanted them to know the truth. I thought they wanted to know the truth. I honestly believed they would be humble enough to discover, research, learn and change. Yes, I was that naïve. That’s what love does.
Nothing worked. Finally, I had a “screw it” moment. I joined the message boards my narcissists haunted, posted a comment in a thread or two and simply included the link to the website in my footer of my comments.
Finally! They visited the website.
That’s right! I woke up one morning to find they’d been on my website. Frabjous day, calloo, callay! But here’s the kicker! As far as I knew, they had not visited the whole website. The quote pages went untouched. Even the “cancer cures” page was ignored. Nope! They only looked at the homepage and the page listing the good times, the good memories to the best of my knowledge.
Now, I should add, these are people who had diagnosed someone else (a co-worker they couldn’t control) as a “narcissist.” But…when the shoe was on the other foot, the proverbial “s” hit the proverbial “f.” They had me kicked off “their” precious message boards (which they didn’t own, btw.)
And went straight to their attorney.
That’s right! They were in their attorney’s office the day after “discovering” my website. Two days letter I received a letter from the attorney. Enclosed was the revocation of the Power of Attorney they’d granted me several years earlier. No surprise there. I’d done the same thing to them six months before. But, interestingly, the attorney said a little too much in his letter, allowing me to read between the lines. Maybe he felt for me. After all, he’d been my attorney too!
The drama of their over-reaction was fascinating as it unfolded. While narcissist expect us to swallow a plethora of criticisms humbly and gracefully, dare to tell them the truth about themselves just once and kablooey! Stand back and watch the dust, sparks and smoke fly. Narcissism confirmed indeed!
While the debate still rages whether one should or should not inform narcissists of their Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I’m glad I did it and here’s why:
- I notified them of why I, their “loved one” suddenly went No Contact. I owed them at least that much.
- I confirmed their narcissism via the “litmus test” for my own peace of mind.
- I gave them the tools for informing and educating themselves about narcissism.
- I gave them the opportunity to change and become better people.
- I gave them the data to diagnosis the problems in other dysfunctional, painful relationships.
- I loved them enough to share a list of cancer cures.
It’s Your Choice
Whether you inform the narcissists in your life that they are narcissists is entirely up to you. There are a lot of considerations. Are they violent? Are they vindictive? Will they use that information to turn your shared children against you via Parental Alienation? Are there a lot of flying monkeys about?
Are you doing it to benefit them? Do they honestly want to know? Is there a chance for them to change? Do you owe them that chance?
Do you owe it to yourself? Can you live with yourself if you don’t tell them? Can you live with yourself if you do tell them? What does your character demand? What will give you the most peace of mind, the clearest conscience?
I was raised to believe that “iron sharpens iron.” Family, I was told, exists to make each other better people. So far, it had all gone one way. My family watched, obsessed over, analyzed, critiqued, accused, projected, lectured, preached-at, mind controlled, assumed-the-worst and criticized me. Although they went waaaaay overboard, it helped to (hopefully) make me a good person. By sharing with them about narcissism et al., I felt it was my turn. I discovered a flaw in their characters that had wreaked havoc on their lives, relationships and happiness. I honestly thought they’d want to know so they could also learn, grow and become better people. They owed me at least enough respect to at least listen and I owed them at least enough respect to tell them about themselves.
So far, I see no evidence that they’ve accepted the “core dynamic,” learned, benefited nor changed. In fact, their continued actions continue to confirm my diagnosis of narcissism. I hope I’m wrong. I still hope against hope. At the very least, I put a bug in their ear. Perhaps, someday soon, they’ll look into it. Perhaps they have already! I hope so.
But, until then, I did what I thought was right and my conscience is clear.