I have always believed honesty is the best policy. No matter what, when it comes right down to it, if you don’t know what to do; go with honesty and let the pieces fall where they may. Lying only perpetuates more lying and almost invariably it will back fire in your face. Lying about other people is a real sore spot with me, mainly because I have been the victim of a smear campaign and dealt with people who chose to believe the lies and refuse to even entertain the idea that they are believing lies. I have had to end friendship’s with people who believed the lies even though they professed to not be taking sides. Sometimes there is no choice, people have to choose sides because if they don’t they are condoning or agreeing with the lies or behavior.
I really hate dealing with conflict and have always preferred to keep the peace at all cost but I have found since the narcissist I have anxiety attacks at the first sign of dishonesty or if I hear slander or gossip.
I suppose that’s because while with my ex the honesty line got blurred from black and white to a solid grey and eventually the narcissistic fog obliterated it from sight all together.
My ex was forever being accused of stealing and every job he ever had was lost due to being “falsely” accused of stealing. He lied about cheating on me, about how much money he made, he lied about having 6 months to live for God sake!
He lied when he didn’t even have to lie. It got to the point I just automatically assumed he was lying and was pleasantly surprised when he wasn’t.
In the beginning I would bring him up on it if I caught him lying. (*hint. If you have to teach a full grown man about the virtues of honesty. Run!!)
I thought the lying was a rare thing and due to low self confidence or out of fear of losing me. Haha. Rather ironic, I believed he lied about inconsequencial things because he had lied to me about how all the women in his life had screwed him over and left him. I was going to show him what real love was all about. Gawd! Thinking back I was SO naive!
As time went on I realized his lies weren’t always so innocent and I would try to tell him it was wrong to lie. (If you find yourself trying to teach a grown man how to be a responsible adult, run!)
I struggled with his lies; I was embarrassed by them, it went against my values and it bothered me.
Cognitive dissonance had me telling myself that his actions weren’t a reflection on me. I was not responsible for his actions as long as I remained honest. It was not my position to act as judge and jury.
But it doesn’t work that way. If you live with a liar you are assumed to also be a liar. If you are an honest person and you know your significant other is scamming someone is it your responsibility to warn them?
Does it depend on the severity of the crime? If you are the wife of a man who sexually abuses under-age girls and you know. As long as you don’t participate in it are you responsible for ensuring he doesn’t abuse any more girls? Should you be punished for turning a blind eye?
As we are seeing now with various celebrities bring accused of molesting women; are the people who knew about it and didn’t say anything also guilty?
As much as I told myself his actions weren’t a reflection on me, I noticed I had become very cautious about who I told he was my boyfriend. I started wanting to warn people, I was not proud to be his girlfriend.
After losing a 3rd job for being falsely accused of stealing, I found myself explaining to him that when you take things that don’t belong to you people tend to think you are stealing. People are funny that way. (*hint. If anyone is over the age of 3 and doesn’t know this. Run!!)
I had to ask myself why I was with someone I was ashamed to admit I was with? But by that time I was in so deep I didn’t see a way out. He had sabotaged my truck to the point it was only running maybe a 1/3 of the time. The repairs kept me broke, I was fighting a losing battle.
He started to not come home at night and I didn’t even lose sleep. I knew to get angry was useless. I had gotten really good at suppressing my emotions. If I cried I heard, “That’s all you ever do is cry”. If I got angry I heard, “This is exactly why I don’t come home. You’re always angry!” If I was suspicious I was called jealous and paranoid. I started keeping track of every time I cried or got angry on a calendar.
But I never left. So I just prayed he would tell me a good enough lie that I could lie to myself. I knew he was lying, that wasn’t the point; I didn’t believe anything he said anyway. But as long as he was lying I didn’t have to face reality. As long as he was lying he still “cared” and I still had a glimmer of hope that maybe he wasn’t lying this time and he really did love me.
All victims of a narcissist live on hope and that is the hardest thing to lose. The victim knows he abuses her and treats her like shit, she knows he is cheating, she knows he is lying but she has hope. Hope is a big thing, without hope it’s hard to find a reason to go on.
* NOTE * He is not the only one playing mind games, the worst ones are the games we play on ourselves!
I kept hearing this voice in my head saying, “How can you be with someone you are ashamed of and don’t respect?
After I left him I felt hopeless and of course he took every opportunity to make me feel hopeless. I felt totally broken and I didn’t have a clue how to put me back together, I could not ever get my innocence back. I have compared it to feeling like a puzzle someone dumped on the floor. But pieces were missing and pieces from another puzzle were mixed in. I was overwhelmed to the point of immobility.
I knew in order to be happy I had to live according to my moral standards and if I was living with someone who was consistently dishonest I wasn’t living true to my core self.
How was I going to put myself back together and ever find my core self, who was I?
I started the process the same way I would start putting a puzzle together; one piece at a time.
I looked at every horrible thing he told me I was. I owned what was true about me and I threw out what wasn’t. The things that were true but I didn’t like; I vowed to change.
This analysis of myself took me back to when I was a child and things I was told about myself when I was growing up. I had always been told I was “too sensitive”, I was a “flake”, I was never good enough, skinny enough, out going enough. Without even realizing it I had spent most of my life feeling like an impostor who could be exposed at any minute because I was trying to be what other people told me I should be.
When you are not living true to your core self it is impossible to have inner peace and it is very easy for a narcissist to make you feel “less than”.
Somehow I knew that if I could figure out who I was at the core and liked me that was going to be 1/2 the battle of protecting myself from another narcissist.
It has gotten easier over time, (7 years) to not succumb to the pressure from my ego. Our ego gets us in big trouble you know. My mother has a technique that my ex used also. They want you to do something or agree with them that someone else is wrong so they say something like, “You would never do something like that.” Or “You always help me, not like so and so.” My ex would say something like, “you are nothing like my ex’s, I can talk to you. You are calm and rational. All my ex’s were psycho bitches.” It makes you better, favorable.
* Later when he was calling ME a psycho bitch I said.
” I would be concerned if I was you.”
He grinned and snorted, “and why is that?”
Me: “Well, all your exs were psycho bitches and now you are calling me a psycho bitch.”
Him: “Yeah. So.”
Me: “Well. I’ve been thinking. Either you are attracted to psycho bitches, or you turn women into psycho bitches. Either way; you have a real problem.”
It is human nature to want to compare favorably to others, to be the “best” and it’s a very subtle way of getting someone to comply.
I have had a dilemma lately where someone I know has been lying a lot about other people and being vengeful to make herself look better. Privately I have brought her up on it. I have been trying to not play into their drama and pity party stating outright I refused to get pulled into the dysfunction. I thought I had it under control, but then they lied before I had a chance to run interference and I exposed them.
They went on a tearful campaign proclaiming their innocence and I was made to look like the bad guy and now everyone is angry with me.
With a relationship with a narcissist I always advise going no contact but sometimes that is not possible or not easy, say; with a parent or sibling.
I have had people come into the blog asking what they can do about the sibling who constantly makes trouble and lie’s about them or a parent that causes drama but always comes away smelling like a rose. I never know what to say and these recent events reminded me what a helpless feeling it is to deal with these toxic people.
They won’t kill you and are not as blatant as most narcissists but damaging none the less. If it is a family member, to go no contact means you lose your whole family. You sit at home for Christmas, you are the one who is made to feel the pariah.
It’s not so easy to live true to your core self and set boundaries when you face losing your whole family.
Have you ever dealt with a toxic family member? How did you handle it? Did you turn a blind eye or speak out? What was the outcome?