"Oh my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent…" Jeremiah 4:19

Games Narcissists Play

PLEASE HELP US IF YOU CAN!

I had a friend suggest this so I’m doing it because we’re DESPERATE!

My son and I are being evicted thanks to a crappy roommate not paying his rent or share of the bills and I’m trying to get the heck out of Tampa and back home to Seattle. I lost my job in late October and Jason didn’t work for 2 weeks in November and then again for two weeks in December due to the holidays so we just fell into that “one month away from homelessness” category that many Americans are in. Well, we’re here and facing homelessness.

I’ve set up a GoFundMe page so if those of you who have found this site helpful could maybe consider helping us I would be incredibly grateful!  This information was freely given and will always remain so.  However, we’re really stuck so I’m just reaching out to anyone remotely connected to our world (even the kindness of strangers) who would consider helping us not end up homeless!

Thank you for reading this post.  I have no pride left, only desperation…things turned bad so quickly my head is spinning and I’m walking in circles so if you can help, PLEASE do! Also, if you could pray and/or put us on any prayer chains or lists you know, that would be awesome too.

The GoFundMe link is here:  https://www.gofundme.com/janetbyers


I’ve decided to try to put together a list of games that narcissists play to help others recognize when they are BEING played.  It is my hope  that you can gather the tools, and then the courage, to stop playing with these nasty narcissists!

I’ve learned that most narcissists play the same games and use the same language (some more viciously than others with lots of open hatred) but the subtle language appears to be rather “rote” and “common” — which of course, if they knew you thought them to be boring, common and average, would make them nuts.


DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS

This is a really fun game ALL narcissists like to play! It involves shredding your soul, your ego, your accomplishments and any belief system you have that does not agree with theirs. The way the game is won is for them to try to turn absolutely everything about you, and everything you do, into a complete failure. Extra points are given when they can take all credit for anything good that has ever happened and put it all in their pot. There are double extra points when they manage to put all blame for anything bad onto the other players.


THE PITY PARTY.

I read on another blog about the Pity Party and they added: (Longest. Party. Ever.) I laughed and promptly adopted it. It’s SO true that it’s the longest (dullest and worst) party EVER for the victims…the neediness of a narcissist seems bottomless, does it not? Sheesh, they are SO boring and their parties suck.


TWENTY-ONE

In this popular game, you are not allowed to ever reach 21. Even if you are 50 years old, you will still be treated like a child (a stupid child, a bad child, a silly child, etc.) You don’t get to have face cards and if YOU get an ace, it’s only worth 1 point.


THE KING / QUEEN GAME

The most important part to remember about this game is that no one can know the rules except the King or Queen. Either the King or Queen gets to make up rules as they go along, they don’t have to tell the other players and can change the rules whenever it suits them. They ARE, after all, the King / Queen and therefore always win the game too (even when you play fairly by that day’s rules.) You can be penalized for breaking the rules, even if they choose not to tell you the rules.


SPITE AND MALICE

This is a kind of competitive patience (solitaire) game for two players. It is also known as Cat and Mouse. The cards are arranged from low to high with the Kings being wild. Suits (normal order of things and / or common societal rules) are irrelevant in the game. The game ends when someone wins by playing the last card of their pay-off pile. The game can also end if the players run out of cards, in which case the result is a draw.

This is one my son found for me on the internet when we were talking about this post and the analogies are numerous and fun. Spite & Malice (or Cat & Mouse) is a perfect game for a narcissist because 1) it is actually a form of solitaire, 2) it requires “one upmanship” and pulling out “better” cards to beat the other player with. Oh, how many times have you experienced this game, dear one?

It involves a “pay off” and for the narc, that usually means hurting you somehow. They keep track of real or imaginary things you do, have done or might do. This is their “pile” and they nurture it, obsess over it and dump it on you whenever possible.


LIAR’S POKER

All people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) play this game superbly. They are consummate liars. Their entire persona, their world and their very selves are completely based in lies. They are truly empty shells in most respects (except what IS in the shell is truly evil, toxic and ugly.) The good stuff is all made up in order to get OTHER people to give them praise, worship, adoration and accolades…their much needed narcissistic supply…their daily dose of fresh blood that keeps them going. Of course, other people have to bleed for them to feed but who cares? They don’t.

The Devil is a liar and narcissists are his beloved evil children.


KEEP AWAY

This is a game that YOU learn to play. They hate it. One of the most important things to recognize is that they will NEVER cop to the fact that any games are being played so it IS up to you to stop playing.

This means you don’t try to bring up past stuff because you’ll always be told you’re wrong, they are right and you need help. You don’t try to get them to acknowledge — let alone take responsibility for — their words or actions because, according to them, they didn’t do it.

Most of them literally can NOT see what they are doing to you (or WILL not see.) They might (sort of and quite grudgingly) appear to acknowledge that they’ve said or done bad things but they’ll never stop or change (unless they seek serious therapy and most will not because nothing is wrong with THEM you see. It’s everyone around them.)

Yes, they might sort of acknowledge…but you will pay the price for your attempts at bringing the relationship into a healthy place. In their unconscious mind, they are dirty, evil, flawed and horrible. They usually cannot acknowledge this fact but are driven by a compulsion to make others feel the same way. They are filled with envy and rage and trying to get them to acknowledge these facts will bring out a monster…with you being the victim they fully intend to eat. Remember, fake acknowledgement is only a way to keep you in the game.

A support group or therapist is usually very helpful to those of us who choose to stop playing the games.  Total NC (no contact) is the ultimate form of “Keep Away” and completely stops the games but some people don’t feel able to do that (and that’s okay, we’re each on our own journey and need to do the things that are the best for us in healing and learning self care.)

If you are in a love relationship, you CAN walk away from the toxic narcissist in your life. If your boss is an abusive narcissist, you CAN find another job.  You CAN walk away from your parents too but you will get a different reaction about that from society, especially if you are a Christian.  If you choose to stay, one way to STOP playing their game is to not respond to jabs, barbs, pleas, put-downs and the like.

It’s REALLY hard to do but think of it this way:  If you’re playing a game of catch with a ball, the only way to stop the game is not to catch the ball when thrown, or not pick up the ball and throw it back.  (Of course, in a normal game of catch, most people won’t try to stab you to death if you want to stop — which a narc will do in some way or another — but it IS possible to stop playing.  Just be prepared for an onslaught of negativity, accusations and histrionics.)

Ignoring them drives them nuts but ignoring inciting words, keeping your mouth shut and not responding to inciting words, hanging up the phone (with proper notice such as “I’ve got something I need to do” — not slamming it down in fury!) or leaving the location are all ways for YOU to refuse to catch the ball, or put the ball down / choose not to throw it back. This is “Keep Away” — you stay away, walk away and refuse to play.

You do NOT have the power to change them but you can walk away from the games…YOU have the power to stop playing.  The scissors to cut the apron strings are scissors YOU own, not the dull pair that don’t cut; the ones that your narc mom owns.  Daddy’s toxic lap is one you can choose to step down from.  If your spouse wants to play, you can choose not to.  Lay down the ball, walk away and enjoy the temporary rest.

I say “temporary” because they WILL be back to play another day. They WANT their dose of narcissistic supply from you (and feel eternally entitled to it.)  Only you can withhold that. They will do EVERYTHING in their power to tell you that you do NOT have the right to stop playing. Only you can stop playing because they won’t. NEVER. EVER. You are the only one in the game who can play “Keep Away!”


CRAZY EIGHTS

I think it’s their favorite…YOU are crazy any time you try to confront them, talk of past issues or behaviors, bust them in the middle of doing something awful or just when they feel like being complete pukes.

The game is played like this:  You are told that you have a very vivid imagination, that you don’t know what you’re talking about, that they have no idea what you’re talking about, or that you’re simply making things up to hurt them or cause problems.  Because, you see, it’s obvious that YOU are crazy.  Just ask them, they’ll tell you (and tell you that everyone around you agrees with THEM that YOU are crazy.)

They will claim not to remember even very memorable events, flatly denying they ever happened, nor will they ever acknowledge any possibility that they might have forgotten. This is an extremely aggressive and exceptionally infuriating tactic called “gaslighting,” common to abusers of all kinds. Your perceptions of reality are continually undermined so you end up without any confidence in your intuition, your memory or your powers of reasoning. This makes you a much better victim for the abuser.

You’ll hear words and phrases like:  “You just took it wrong.”
or “You always take everything I say out of context.”
or “Why do you always have to live in the past?  Why can’t you move on like normal people?  Maybe you need to see a therapist.”
or “You’re remembering wrong, it didn’t happen that way.”
or  “I swear I am constantly walking on eggshells with you; you are so sensitive!
or “You’re crazy if you think…”

“You’re just imagining things; you are so touchy!”
or “Maybe you should see a therapist; I’ve tried and tried to help you but you just don’t seem to want my help.  We really need to move on; this isn’t healthy for you.”
or “I was there and you are overdramatizing the situation…it did not happen that way.”
or “Just ask so-and-so, they’ll back me up…you are wrong.”
or “No one else in the family feels the way you do about this so you need to just think about that missy; think about what you’re doing to us all with this constant drama and trauma….maybe you should see a therapist…”

Get the drift?  Basically you are wrong, your perceptions are wrong, your memories are wrong, any bad memories you have are imaginary, you need help, they’re only trying to help you, no one in the family agrees with you and so on.

You’ll also hear words like “always, never, ever, constantly, forever” and other dramatic ways of expression such as “You always try to make me feel bad; I can’t change the past so WHY do you have to constantly bring this stuff up?”
or “You never seem to be able to…”
or “Why are you forever doing…or saying…”
or “I never did any such thing; you’re just making that up to hurt me.”

Whatever it is that you are “always, constantly or forever” doing usually has to do with you trying to get them to understand, and take responsibility for, THEIR part in it.  Whatever it is that you “never” do most likely has to do with refusing to play their game.

“You NEVER give me the benefit of the doubt!”
or “You NEVER give me credit for all my hard work.”
or “Why can’t you EVER see my point of view; why does everything have to be about YOU!”

This one is one of my favorites because if you’ve gotten them to that point of frustration by having the bad taste to bring up their bad behavior, their mask will slip.  The one thing they hate is something NOT being about THEM…as long as they can be the wonderful one, of course.  Anything bad about them simply does not exist and YOU ARE CRAZY to think otherwise.

 

16 responses

  1. This is one of the better blogs I’ve seen on the subject, you’re right they do love playing games, it’s so sick and twisted how many people are broken inside and want you to feel just like them.

    August 27, 2015 at 8:54 PM

  2. It is truly amazing that everything here has a ring of truth as it relates to my personal experience. The trouble I have lies in the fact that each of us has the potential for NPD. If there is to be a cure, then the victims need to be equipped to facilitate that change, rather than just walking away. In the latter case, can anyone imagine a world where Narcs are avoided? Seems like most people will become anti-social!

    December 25, 2014 at 10:39 PM

  3. This was my life almost word for word. It’s amazing how many people have gone through the same thing once you get out there and see you’re not alone. My pastors had to teach me that “Honoring my parents” does not mean I must allow them to continue to abuse me and my family. That was a hard one for me to learn because I was being a “bad son”. I have to keep asking myself “Who does God say I am?””How does Jesus feel about me?” That has become my compass in this madness. We’re on Zero Contact for over a year and it’s pure freedom. Still work to be done but the light is at the end of the tunnel. Here’s to breaking damaging cycles!

    October 17, 2014 at 8:58 AM

  4. OMG, this was the best article ever. Just ended a relationship with a lying, controlling narc. I was so tickled when I read the Crazy Eights, cause that’s him all the time. I remember when he had his Facebook account…he has since closed it for whatever reasons…anyway, during the time of our dating, I went looking around on his page. I saw where he was flirting around with this woman and told the woman to call him, THEN he lied another time saying he was going to his ex wife’s bday party and had posted a picture of a concert that he was attending the same night.

    I confronted him about it, he became FURIOUS that I was snooping around on his page. I tried explaining that’s what you do when you are friends with someone, but if he wanted to look around on MY page I had no issue with it being we were in a COMMITTED relationship. I mean he was furious…but of course, he had a big lie to try and cover it up. I was furious and extremely hurt that he lied to me, but needless to say I tried to make things work anyway, knowing my trust at that point had flown out the window. So when he figured I had cooled down a few days later we were discussing it and he kept saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about”…and when I went to his page to show him, he had deleted both posts!!! LOL

    He was livid that I was on his FB page and kept saying I had no right looking around…I started to feel bad, but now I’m seeing that’s the game they play.

    Thanks for this blog…this is like really fantastic. I just caught him in a act last weekend and that was a very nasty encounter…ended up calling the police and everything. I wasn’t hurt, but you can best believe he’s the VICTIM now and everything is my fault, not seeing how his lying and game playing has effected my emotional state. I have been a total wreck, that is until I my friend told me to read up on this disorder, NOW I know what I’ve been dealing with cause I thought I was crazy, but he’s the one that’s crazy.

    May 3, 2014 at 6:16 PM

  5. Can’t thank you enough for this blog. I’m learning so much and I’m having lightbulb moments all over the place

    August 18, 2013 at 3:38 PM

  6. My x narcs favourite thing was to say why is it always about you, what about me my pain, what a joke he was a hollow person who wouldn’t know the truth if he fell over it.
    We have been apart many months now, but religiously he contacts me every week either by email phone or text, and I have never replied and have kept no contact, this appears to be driving him out of his mind, and I have found my silence one of the best weapons ever, it feels good to have taken my power back after 2yrs of abuse from this man, I am starting to once again function like a normal human being, good luck to all who have suffered and are suffering this kind of abuse there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
    A very accurate article.

    July 18, 2013 at 9:14 AM

  7. My husband is narcissistic and he loves to play the blame game.

    May 30, 2013 at 12:39 PM

  8. TWENTY-ONE – that is my favorite.

    May 8, 2013 at 11:17 AM

  9. How about HIDE & SEEK: You close your eyes and don’t look, don’t notice and don’t get upset while the NPD trods anywhere they want. It’s not until you open your eyes and sometime later that you find they were hiding in your personal life, in your personal affairs, places they don’t belong. And the only person they were hiding from was you. Until they were done. Now you get to pick up all the pieces from the damage they caused. Oh, and don’t accuse them for the damage, whatever they did was under the guise of “helping” or “caring”, all the damage is NOT their fault. It’s yours. You should have never closed your eyes.

    May 8, 2013 at 11:13 AM

  10. Loved reading this. I’m 6 weeks post-no contant with my ex, and I’m still trying not to feel pathetic for falling so hard for his tricks. It’s pitiable.
    So much truth in this piece. It’s a pretty terrible turn of events that I only ever considered narcissism as the root of the issue before I could properly call him out for what he was.
    Onward!

    March 29, 2013 at 11:07 PM

  11. I was married to a NPD for 8 years. He destroyed my self esteem before it was all over by accusing me of every wrong doing that HE actually committed. He lied, he cheated, he told me I was selfish. The problem was, I didn’t know he had NPD. I didn’t really know what it was. But when I went to some counseling, I learned that this is what I was living with. And once I learned what I was dealing with I started to heal. It’s a slow and painful process. He hurt me so deeply that a year later I still cry about it. He was the love of my life. But I have done the No Contact approach (unless I absolutely had to contact ihim about something and then it was strictly business – like – “there’s is mail at the house for you – go get it” I keep feeling like if I could stand in front of him and yell and scream and tell him I know what he is, I know what he did, and I know it wasn’t me – I would feel better. But I hae also learned that this is not going to help anyone. So I am letting time do it’s healing, and I will be healed.

    January 24, 2013 at 10:07 AM

  12. Moulay, your response hit home for me! I felt like you’re writing about me and I understand completely what you have been going through. I was severe abused verbally and psychologically by my ex husband and it becomes PTSD for me. It is going to be a long haul before I can trust a man again. Thank you for sharing…

    January 6, 2013 at 1:13 PM

  13. I have been accused of being a narcissistic mother. My daughter saw a counselor who was convinced that was my diagnosis. My daughter has deep emotional issues and she lies. I’m not perfect but narcissistic is a ridiculous diagnoses without ever interviewing me.
    People love to put labels on other people without taking responsibility for their own actions. This is not even a diagnosis …….

    January 5, 2013 at 6:53 PM

  14. thank you so much for posting this……goodness, all of these applied to my npd husband. i have known for a while something was not right, but over the last 6 months i became convinced beyond any doubt it was npd. he is evil, pure and simple. we still live under the same roof but are separated. i just started a new job in Insurance and my goal is to get out of here ASAP and never ever ever look back… i am grateful for websites such as these that really give such insight to this. i am sure it helps countless others that are looking for help and healing. once again, thanks for the information!!!!

    January 2, 2013 at 10:28 PM

  15. Everything on this site describes my father to a T…a capital T! It’s almost like the chains are being released by just reading this! My only problem is this, how do you deal with a narcissistic father that uses the word of God against you. I am a Christian. Have been a Christian longer than he has, but because he went off to this Christian recovery program and found Jesus, he thinks he knows it better than me and uses the word of God to beat me up. He is constantly throwing Bible verses at me to correct anything I do or don’t do. A person should not cringe when they hear the word of God, but I do when he uses it on me. Because I won’t accept his ways of thinking and bow to him, he says I have the “mind of Satan” and that I “need to get in the Word of God more” and I’m “not the Christian that he thought I was.” HE is now using the one good thing I had in my life against me. What do I do?

    September 2, 2012 at 1:30 AM

  16. This is GREAT! What horrible people those NPDs are.
    The last quote is nice too. I was abused by several NPDs (three, almost everyday) throught my life, and had severe psychological and emotional abuse by others, and I know how an NPD person feels, since I almost became one. (I guess it’s a defence mechanism)

    “Everyone is stupid, and an idiot, I am so Cool and Great, People are lucky to have someone like me. Making a mistake is very VERY painful (especially in public), because it reminds me of my lies. I feel extreme pleasure insulting, and putting down others, because it makes my grandiose fantasy slightly more real. I will easily detect the weaknesses of others, and this also makes me very happy. I have great acting skills (yeah really).”

    BUT I decided to never lie to myself again, and to be a good person. If God put me with those evil people, it’s for a good reason. So I never become like them.
    The childrens of narcissists who became narcissists themselves are a failure, they should’ve become the contrary of what their parents were. Trials show people their true colors.

    What I mean is, NPDs ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS, AND THEY KNOW IT, THEY KNOW EVERY SINGLE Horrible thing they do is Bad. They have a conscience, but keep finding reasons to do what they do, tricking their own brains.

    They’re like drug addicts needing drugs, they have to abuse you to get their fix. When I stopped being NPD, I had physical, and emotional withdrawals for a long time, but it was worth it, I started feeling emotions and empathy much more strongly.

    But I also discovered, GREAT Not well known WAYS to be stronger than them, and to make sure they don’t EVEN TRY TO hurt you.

    June 7, 2012 at 8:12 AM

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