My grandfather had died a month or so before it all came crashing down. Grandma called us up one morning. It was my uncle, her beloved Golden Child. He was beyond upset, Grandma said. Pacing the house. Sobbing. Refusing to eat. Something my mom had said or written, we were told, had sent him over the edge.
Mom was flummoxed. She searched her sent emails, her memory, her conscience. There was nothing. Maybe one line in an email, vague and innocently meant, could’ve been willfully misconstrued by someone wanting to be hurt, someone longing to pick a fight. That was all.
So she reached out. She talked. She wept. She apologized…for what? She wasn’t quite sure.
But it was for naught. Her Golden Child brother’s terms for reconciliation were “You meet me and my mommy alone or fuggetabout it.”
Well! My mom wasn’t about to enter the lion’s den without even her husband by her side, so she offered new terms: “Just you and me, Brother.”
Almost two decades later, to the best of my knowledge, the family remains estranged. Fractured beyond all repair. And every single year, at Christmastime, Grandma bemoans her broken family, gives the yearly gift of a Guilt Trip and ruins the holidays for my scapegoated mom, year after year after year.
“So what’s the point, Lenora?” I hear you saying. It’s simply this:
Narcissists strategically pick trivial fights
to get rid of people they no longer need or want in their life.
And the poor kicked-to-the-curb person spends precious years of their life, trying to figure out what horrible thing they did to deserve being kicked-to-the-curb.
Nothing. You did absolutely nothing.
Forget the fight. Forget the “issue.” It doesn’t exist. It’s a non-issue. A red herring.
It was all a strategy. A long-planned goal of discarding you…but in a specific way to make you look guilty while the narcissist appears as pure as the driven snow. The innocent, woe-is-me victim. Very class stuff.
The fight itself is a moot point. Don’t overthink it. Heck! Don’t think about it at all. Just go. Go gracefully and count yourself lucky to have been dismissed. Discarded.
My mom didn’t do that because she believed in her baby brother’s character and love for her. Thus she assumed that if he were upset, it was real. It haunted her, wounded her, grieved her and confused her for years.
My dad now, he understood what had happened from the start. “Your brother never liked me,” he’d say. “This was just his way to get rid of us. But he had to wait until his father died in case he needed Grandpa to bankroll another SUV.”
You had to admit that the timing was uncanny. Grandpa dies. The family draws together for one final family Christmas. Less than a month later….out of nowhere…kablooey!
But we’re not the only ones.
A friend recently told me a similar story. Something to do with, “Boohoo, you didn’t choose the bridesmaid you should have chosen for your wedding. I’ll never speak to you again.”
From the outside looking in, the situation is ridiculous bordering on humorous. So trite! So shallow! So obvious!
But for those inside the story, it was extremely painful.
First, the betrothed couple were taken aback. After all, they barely even knew the woman the narcissist insisted they choose for a bridesmaid. (The lady in question couldn’t have cared less, btw. If she’d had her druthers, she’d probably have preferred not to be a bridesmaid at all.)
It was the beginning of the end of that relationship. Such a trifle..but it tore the family apart.
Or did it???
When I first heard that story, it was a massive trigger. Brought back the whole brouhaha with my uncle. From the outside, I could see it all clearly.
It was The Discard.
When a narcissist is “so done” with you and wants to get rid of you, they’ll use anything and everything to accomplish the task. They have only one Rule:
Position it to make the non-narcissist look bad.
And the non-narcissist, being a normal person who eschews conflict as much as possible, takes the situation at face value. They believe that any fight must be valid as fights are such unpleasant things to be avoided at all cost. “Why would anyone in their right mind create such unpleasantness if it isn’t completely justified?” thinks the normal person.
So they try desperately to figure out what they did so wrong for their nearest and dearest to kick them out of their life….forever.
They soul search. Weep. Write letters. Call. Leave voicemails. Apologize. Grieve. Grovel….for years.
Meanwhile, the narcissist ignores it all and goes blithely, happily, on their merry way with absolutely no intentions of “making up” because there is nothing to make up about.
It was a fake fight. It served its purpose. They’ve moved on.
And so should you.
Don’t give the fight another nanosecond of thought. No more soul searching! And definitely no more calls, letters, emails or apologies.
You did nothing wrong. So stop groveling!
Take a leaf from the narcissist’s book and get on with your life.
You’re lucky to be free.
And never, ever go back.