Narcissists are “reality benders”

My kids and I have watched the series “The  Last Airbender” television cartoon series (different than the recent movie).  In it, there are “benders” who are able to manipulate the four elements of water, air, earth and fire by using their own mental energies.

I have decided that a great analogy is that narcissists are benders of “reality”… they wind up creating so much “crazy making” that you doubt yourself.  You doubt all the really crappy stuff that has been occurring… did that really happen?  The NPD person says it didn’t, or that you misinterpreted it, or you’re making it up.  They screw with your head so much that you doubt your reality and what is really happening around you.  It’s like getting married in the land of Oz with the officiant being the Wicked Witch (or was it the nice witch??).

I’m finding that it doesn’t change when they deal with what happens with their children.  My daughter bounded through the door this weekend after visitation was resumed…. saying that the weekend was awesome and her dad was great.  I looked at her, stunned, with a blank jaw-dropped look on my face.  She said “Why are you looking at me like that?”  I said “I’ve never heard you say anything like that”… , the words stumbling out of my mouth.  I then asked her if her and her Dad have talked about what she has said about being with him.  “Well… ” she pauses… “yes, maybe”.

It seems to me that the last thing that she needs is to have me to have yet another conversation about it.  So, she told me a little and I asked no  more.  I asked her to ‘remember her truth”.  To make sure that she doesn’t allow someone else to change in her mind what really happened for her.  Whatever she experienced, however she felt – remember it and stick with that.  That’s her experience and her truth.

I also asked her to make sure to speak with the social workers and counselors in her life.  I told her to tell them exactly what happened and what was said to her… not to tell them what she was told to say, but what was said to her.  This is telling what happened, and that’s okay. If it’s confusing to her, they can help her work it out.    Given that I’m sure he is saying I am manipulating my children’s opinion of him (because this would be projecting what he’s doing himself onto me – it makes sense that he will do this) – I’m hoping my best move is to so keep my children focused on what they’ve experienced and how it felt to them… keep the information as clean and crisp and clear as possible.

“Validated”… it’s that word that so many of us as adults dealing with pyschopaths use when we realize that our reality was really our reality.  I can’t imagine how tough this might be for small children!


12 Responses to “Narcissists are “reality benders””

  1. Heather says:

    I’m glad you’re ok.

    If you can manipulate his desires for you in a compassionate way to help him behave himself, that would be a bonus. I have a good friend who does this with her NARC ex with a lot of grace, although she admits that it takes tons of energy and tires her out.

    Good luck ; ) Glad you got an OP!!!!

    • Whoops – sorry to be confusing! I didn’t get an OP (yet)… this is my mantra, vision and prayer that I am praying to be fulfilled. Of course, my prayer is followed with “or better” – meaning that I am asking for that, or a better solution that maybe I can’t see from my human pespective 🙂

    • p.s. I wonder if your friend feels tired from doing that with her ex because in essence she gives away her energy in the process… Almost like giving away her power.

  2. Heather says:

    U ok?

    • Hi – and thank you 🙂 It’s been tough, but I am also focusing this month on a personal “healing journey”, which I intend to write about. My philosophy is that we attract experiences into our lives, and therefore we have the ability to ‘unattract’ them. So, I am taking a deep dive into myself to remove old beliefs and philosophies that may potentially be attracting this situation. For example – removing the belief that I’m not worthy to have what others have – the support of others, the nice house, good job, etc. In the meantime, I am visualizing the outcomes I want to see for me and my children’s sakes. My mantra is “best christmas EVER. Order of protection, kids with me. We are free, filled with glee.” It pained me to watch my daughter break down in tears to know that they had 6 days currently scheduled with their father over Christmas. So, I told her that anything can happen – to believe and pray for miracles, to remember that she is worthy of miracles, and to always and continuously speak her truth about the situation. I then replaced thoughts about her crying and upset with that mantra.

      I also have a philosophy that this theory can apply to all of us in this situation. That said, though, I will work intently on myself as the first guinea pig!

      How are you???

      • Heather says:

        As for me…I’m doing ok. Ex is getting tons of time with kids over Xmas. NOt exactly looking foward to it but I’ll see kids over break to check on safety and it does help with childcare payment issues for sure. Trying to be kind to him and at the same times set some firm limits when he tries to emotionally bully me. Same old Same old ; )

        • I find the holidays really tough – on both me and the kids. My kids just want to be home. Last year, my daughter said she didn’t want to ask Santa for any toys for Christmas – that all she wanted was to stop going back and forth to her Dad’s. I cried inside for the guilt I felt for that and having put them in that situation. I’m glad you’ll get to see them and connect with your kiddos during that time. It makes a huge difference.

  3. StrongerMe says:

    It’s tough because he’s their father and they are kids and despite it all, they WANT a good father that loves them. My kids can be so angry and then he will do something and they become giddy and say that “he is getting better.” It’s so hard to keep quiet because as an adult, I see the pattern. I also know the heartbreak that will be in their future. These good episodes usually have ulterior motives and once those are accomplished, he disappears again or becomes his usual angry self.
    It becomes a terribly tough position because you don’t want to rain on their parade, but you know that they are being manipulated.
    Such a fine thin line…that often feels like it’s tied around your neck…

    • Amen – they do want a good father, and hope all the time that he is that. I read an article about “cognitive dissonance” recently which I hope to find and post the link. It’s that aspect of hearing one thing and watching the behavior that doesn’t match. I tell my children constantly that they need to stay true to their truth and what they experienced and want in life, and that they need to accept their father as he is even though he isn’t what they wished he would be.

  4. Heather says:

    Of course they are airbenders! good metaphor : )

    But when the narcs are behaving themselves, you need to become your ex’s biggest cheerleader!!!!

    If he’s not being abusive or doing the narc injury/rage thing…you want the kids to have a good time. Why? they are stuck with him as a father. You want him to get the ego stroked by behaving himself and being as decent of a father as he can (even if he’s just doing that to show the world that you’re full of it).

    The only alternative is that he treats the kids like dirt. That will likely happen one day. Push the day until they are adults if possible.

    I’d totally make a big deal about him behaving himself …to himself and (totally important here…swallow the ego) to the “experts.” Really…feed his ego….and move the fighting away from the kids to the extent you can.

    • Sigh… I try to stay away from giving my ex any positive comments because of how much he always wants to return to the relationship (although I will recognize the good actions to others so I don’t look like I am only trying to put him down).

    • JenelleMarie says:

      Have you ever thought that as long as you are his cheerleader you are still prey to him as he needs you to get his ego cup filled? As long as he realizes he can still be a part of your life and get any iota of attention or self worth from you, the person he abused and used and hurt and threw to the curb, then he is still able to walk away with his head high feeling the high that caused him to act that way within the relationship/marriage. “Hey, i treated her like crap and she still adores and loves me and praises me, look how well she talks about me”. Which also can be used in court. And eventually once you no longer have the energy or desire to do so, he will turn to the kids and punish them until they decide to treat him with the same cheerleading.

      Just some thoughts as I use to do that 5 years ago when i first filed. And i fell back into the pattern of cheerleading and basically dog training (giving ‘treats’ for good behavior or commands that were listened to) that got me no closer to healthy living. Enabling in any form harms us and our children. Cheering the ex for behavior that the vast majority of the population do of their own accord is only supporting the original behavior i left (in my humble opinion).

      And i’ve learned that what i was trying to do through that was control him. If i got him to be a good dad through my support and energy than the kids were safe. But it doesnt work that way, they are still narc’s, they still will have moments of arguing with our kids out of our presence because they have to be the king in everyones eyes and we cannot control or change these people. Once I accepted that, I moved on to teaching my kids empowerment and acceptance, to surrender to the fact that this is their father, they cannot change him or others and to accept his worth in their lives, love him and live life happy regardless of his actions. And i found more energy, i found peace, i found ways to work on me. For the first time in over a decade, even single, tired with a special needs kid and 2 other kids . . . my cup is honestly overfilling.

      There is great worth in zero contact or minimal contact and only being a firm, yet polite co-parent. The improvement in my mental health and my childrens has been night and day difference. They see i will not take his crap nor will i fluff him up (and i work overtime at not speaking negatively about him, which is the hardest part lol), they are learning they do not have to either for healthy love. And he slowly but surely has moved away from us as victims, he misses half his time of visitation, he has begun replacing his gf and her kids as his new family. Because i stopped trying to control him, he lost any and all value in my life. He saw that he no longer had any power and thus moved on to a new victim who he could control and manipulate and get more ‘feedback’ from than me.

      Just my own personal experience and it works for us. Not saying your theory is wrong, but thought this was a worthwhile discussion.

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