Saturday, November 30, 2013
This blog is intended to shed light why women can be so mean. As a woman, I've had some unpleasant experiences with other women.
Many others have had similar encounters. Workplace bullying has reached epidemic levels, with about one in three employees reporting they've been targets of abuse. Oftentimes, this comes from a female supervisor or colleague.
Narcissism is at the root of much of this. It's not normal for an adult female to to mistreat another woman, either as a coworker or as a friend. Emotionally healthy people don't act this way. Nobody is perfect. Sometimes even the nicest people hurt others. But they recognize their mistakes and they try to make amends. They admit they were wrong and they apologize.
Someone with narcissism, however, believes everybody else is wrong. Because she's never at fault, she sees no need to apologize. If she apologizes, it's often not sincere. She may also try to shift the blame back to you.
I've read online forums where women lament the fact that a friendship suddenly ended, or that a triangle has formed and two of her once close "friends" are now a twosome, and no longer have room for her. Reading through some of these posts, it's clear that personality disorders, such as narcissism, are at the crux of the problem.
Helping others understand what's going on will help them understand why some women can be so mean to each other.
Flickr photo by Aprillynn77
Friday, November 29, 2013
Too many of us have been taken in by a narcissist, only to discover this person isn't who we thought they were. Someone with strong narcissistic tendencies has a low regard for the truth. Of course, there are always exceptions. People are individuals and they can't be packaged in neat little boxes. But, by and large, when dealing with a narcissist, expect lies.
Oftentimes, lies are mixed with small bits of truth. This makes listeners much more likely to swallow the lie. That's why you need to play your cards close to your chest. Never give people information they can later use against you, unless they've earned your trust.
Narcissists believe they pull themselves up by pulling others down. It doesn't work that way, but that's how they think. So they'll seize every opportunity to discredit you. Spreading malicious lies about you, or about someone else, is how they destroy the opposition. Narcissists always need an enemy. So if it's not you today, it could be you tomorrow.
Also, never believe anything a narcissist says. They often construct elaborate disinformation campaigns to throw you off track. If you're dealing with a female narcissist, be extra careful. Character assassination is her chief weapon.
Of course, we shouldn't live in fear of what people think. But narcissists are capable of causing enormous destruction. Narcissistic abuse at work usually means your employment will soon be be coming to an end. Most targets (about 75 percent) must either find a new job or find themselves (involuntarily) standing in the unemployment line, according to data from the Workplace Bullying Institute.
Flickr photo by Jaredebernhardt
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
After extricating yourself from a narcissistic friendship, you'll want to avoid another relationship with anyone else who has a disordered personality. The trick is paying attention to any red flags she may be waving at you. Oftentimes, these are subtle but unmistakable warning signs.
For a few years in my life, following the death of someone close, I managed to attract my share of false friends. One, in particular, managed to turn my life inside out. I've learned a lot since then. Now I'm very careful whom I trust, and I let friendships develop gradually.
Watch out for people who comes on too strong, too quickly. For instance, after I was awakened to the fact that a certain percentage of folks (about 1 in 25) have strong narcissistic tendencies, I happened to encounter one of them.
I had spoken with her over the telephone briefly, on a work-related matter. Within minutes of beginning our conversation, she launched a tirade against her supervisor. It was a nasty and highly unprofessional rant in which she even complained about how her boss chewed her food. I was greatly taken aback, because this woman didn't even know me.
Then she practically begged me to meet her in person because she wanted to be my friend. Amazingly, she was in a position of responsibility. Yet she seemed to have a big problem with appropriate boundaries.
This is an extreme and obvious example of what I mean. But if you proceed carefully, you'll probably be able to discern someone's character before you get too involved.
Flickr photo by arenamontanus
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I'm Catholic, so I try to follow the teachings of the Church. The Bible says that if someone sins against you, to tell him or her directly. That's why I believe this is the best way to proceed.
However, when dealing with a disordered person, you must be extremely careful. They won't accept responsibility for their actions. They also won't apologize, no matter what they've done. Don't expect them to. What you'll probably see is a wall of denial and, probably, a lot of blame shifting as they try to pin their terrible behavior on you. Don't fall for it.
Confronting an abuser sends a strong message you're not going to take it anymore. Especially if you do it the right way. The trick is to be totally detached and unemotional. Focus the conversation on their actions, rather than your feelings. If the other person has a personality disorder, they don't care if they've hurt you. Telling them how sad you are doesn't register. That's why it's better to stick to the facts, and base your conversation solely around their behavior.
Back everything up with specific incidents. In fact, it's better not to confront unless you have a list of these incidents.
You could encounter what psychologists call "narcissistic rage." That means the person will lash out at you. But you don't need to respond. Simply say, "I see we're going to have to talk about this another time," and walk away.
If this drama is playing out at work, though, you'll need to tread lightly. Use a minimum amount of words without any emotion.
However, if you deal directly with an emotionally unhealthy individual, be prepared. She knows you're on to her. She's terrified you'll tell other people what she's done, even if you don't plan to. So she might spread some malicious gossip, in hopes that if you do talk no one will believe you.
Flickr photo by bobsfever
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Because people with personality disorders lack empathy, they use people for their own means. When they are finished, they throw you away, or discard you, like an old tissue. The fact that this may hurt your feelings, or that, perhaps, you valued the relationship, does not concern them. You've served your purpose, so they're done with you.
People who have difficulty relating to others may also take extreme offense at seemingly innocent actions. This is also a good indication you're dealing with someone who has a personality disorder, especially if they react inappropriately to something that should make them happy. Even if you apologize profusely, for some imagined wrong, they may not accept. They may then "punish" you distancing themselves and withdrawing their affection.
Oftentimes, it's very difficult to know when someone has deep-seated issues, which make it impossible for her to have an honest relationship. Sometimes this becomes apparent only when the "friend" in question drops you suddenly. She stops calling. She won't return your calls. If you ask her what's wrong, she'll say "nothing." This is "discarding." Normal, healthy people don't do this.
Discarding is much different than just two friends drifting apart, which happens naturally with no hard feelings. It's also different than deciding a new friendship isn't working out, and trying to pull back. If the other person asked why, and usually they wouldn't ask, you'd be able to say, "We really don't have too much in common, but I think you're a really nice person" or something to that effect.
Don't feel too badly if you are discarded by someone you considered to be a good friend. The fact that this happened indicates something was fundamentally wrong with the relationship.
Flickr photo by Randy Son of Robert
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Female narcissists are undoubtedly the most clever creatures on the planet. Extremely manipulative and deceptive, to the rest of the world they appear as angels. That's why targets have extreme difficulty finding support. The disbelief factor is so strong that others can't conceive of what's happening.
It's difficult for anyone who hasn't dealt with a female bully to understand these dynamics. That's why I think it's better not to discuss it with anyone. There are two reasons why. One is that it's best not to reveal the sins and shortcomings of another, even if that person is tormenting you. The other reason is that people may not believe you, especially if they like the person in question.
If you work with a female narcissist, and she has it in for you, please don't make the mistake of talking about this at the office. In a toxic environment, it's hard to know whom to trust. There's a lot of confusion in the air. The bully, most likely, has already sullied your reputation. Actually, it's a pretty safe bet to say she's done that. A bully wouldn't attack if she didn't think she had you backed in a corner. She does this by cutting off your social support before throwing her first grenade.
That's why the Internet has evolved as the best means of support. You'll find a lot of other people who've lived through similar situations. They'll believe you.
Flickr photo by magerleagues
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The realization that someone posing as a friend was causing problems in my life was a sad awakening. But it was also liberating. Once I clearly saw the source of conflict, I knew what to do. The only logical response was to make a clean break. Although I pray for this person, I've decided to have no contact with her.
Previously, I had spent years watching a number of other friendships crumble, inexplicably. There was no peace in my life, and I didn't know why. My social circle of had, mysteriously, dwindled. Then our family started having difficulties in our church, the same one this woman attended.
I began reading about toxic personalities in an effort to make sense of it all. But I didn't realize my close confidante fit that description. The information I had shared armed her with insider knowledge. Freeing myself from this dynamic has changed my life.
Now, I have new friends and no more drama, chaos and confusion. If you find yourself in a toxic situation, there's always a cause. Once you remove it, you'll never look back.
Flickr photo by izarbella
Friday, November 8, 2013
Narcissists have no integrity, so your secrets are never safe with them. However, most people discover this only after the fact. They've already confided in someone who will then use this information against them.
It's easy to spill your guts to a narcissist because, at first, they appear so trustworthy. They also have a knack for drawing out information, as they're not afraid to ask highly personal questions. They'll stare at you expecting an answer, and, in the uncomfortable silence that follows, you'll start talking.
They may also "confide" in you, as a means of creating "intimacy." The idea is to get you to reciprocate with something equally revealing. The only problem, is that they've probably told you something that's either not true, or it has no potential to harm them if you told anyone else.
Many women run into trouble at work because they disclose too much, to the wrong people. The effects of this can be devastating. If someone is trying to muddy your image, it's more believable if include a grain of truth wrapped in their malicious words. They may even disguise their nefarious intent by pretending to show concern for you.
It's always a good idea, especially on the job, to be extremely careful with what you share, especially if you don't know someone well. Narcissists appear friendly, especially as they're sizing you up and probing to find your weak spots.
One thing to watch for is somebody who comes on too strong too soon. This is often a sign of a personality disorder.
Flickr photo by RestrictedData
Monday, November 4, 2013
If you've ever dealt with someone who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, you know what it means to have your life upended. No doubt, your social standing has taken a beating. Relational aggression is a female abuser's chief weapon.
You've probably lost people you once considered friends, or at least close acquaintances. Narcissists have a propensity to distort the facts. They also have an uncanny insight into our weaknesses, and they know how to exploit them. Possessing extremely divisive personalities, they are masters at pitting one party against another.
Narcissists like to dominate the social scene. To accomplish this, they need to undermine their "rivals." For instance, they may see another woman with many friends friends. She is happy and popular. Ruled by unbridled envy, they want what she has. And, lacking proper social boundaries, they'll do anything to achieve their goal. They eventually topple their target, either by setting her up for failure or by ruining her reputation.
Why don't people stop her?
There are two reasons. One is that narcissists are very sly. So no one may realize what she's up to.
The other is that most people, even if they're well meaning, will go along with the program. That's because narcissists know how to deliver exactly what someone else wants. Here's what I'm talking about.
My close friend wants to meet another friend. So I do the introductions. Friend number two (a covert narcissist) suddenly stops speaking to me. However, she makes grand gestures to my other friend and attempts to meet all of her needs.
Friend number one desperately wants playmates for her children. She also wants them to be from the same faith background. (All three of us share the same faith.) Friend number two (the narcissist) makes her children readily available. She also offers friend number one (who wants to get more involved with a particular religious community) an easy means to do so, because the narcissist knows a lot of people in this church.
At the same time, the narcissist shuts me out of the new social circle she's forming with my friend, whom I introduced her to. Friend number one knows, on some level, this is wrong. But she's highly invested in finding suitable companions for her children. So she's trying to balance it all. On the one hand, she's hoping to maintain the friendship with me. At the same time, she's being pulled in another direction.
This is an example of how narcissists manipulate relationships. They cause a lot of damage, but we also need to forgive them. That's the only way we'll ever recover from an encounter with a female narcissist.
Flickr image by furryscaly