Hi all! I've been lurking for some time and appreciate seeing all the NPD common behaviors and reactions spelled out as I start researching WHY and WHAT is happening! I did think maybe it was me who was going crazy - for awhile. Maybe I'm the problem - I know I'm not perfect. I see now clearly that I might be a little uneducated on this topic as I never really thought to explore in more detail why these interactions seem to affect me so adversely and that I do have some power by making an effort to manage my reactions. Since I get a welcoming feeling on this site and see a lot of people who have been down or are going down a similar road and offer a lot of insight, I'd like to ask for some input. I am currently working on my plan to deal with my BFF who fits all the NPD behaviors to a "T" and who is more like a sister as our relationship spans 1/2 a century and our families are fairly enmeshed - but still its a "chosen" relationship.
I am unable to continue to ignore or to attempt to deal with her selfish, entitled behavior - not only towards me, but in my presence towards mutual friends, her husband, ex-husband, parents and children and her manipulations to get her way or to invite attention and/or sympathy whenever the attention has shifted from her. I just want to jump in and scream "FOUL"! Really, what a piece of work! Along with excessive drinking to sloppy, stupid, black-out drunk and nonsensical pronouncements (sober or not) that are just plain weird and make no attempt to follow the line of the current discussion, she is now becoming more passive aggressive and attacking (seeing here on site as projecting) me or others when people question her behavior or try to reason with her. Seems many times like she is on another planet of her own and will start a conversation in the middle of a topic she must have been discussing with someone in her head. It's really trippy sometimes - she has always been rich, young and cute enough to giggle and pass it off as ditzy and cute, but as the aging is catching up with her over the last couple of years, it appears to be becoming more of a struggle for her and she hasn't found another persona that works, so she'll either attack - or will play the poor me "I can't handle this, I don't feel well, I'm really not able to deal with much anymore, have you heard how much my ___ is hurting me?" etc.
I can't change her, but I need to step away and leave her to be who and how she is. And I do wish to treat her as respectfully as possible in honor of our history and not antagonize her any further, I find I'm unable to come up with a response to comments such as these:
"be more allowing" because "that's just how she is and you love her anyway" ... this by her husband who gets upset when she and I tangle
"that's just who I am and since you love me, you have to deal with it" .. this by her whenever she is called on behavior or manipulations by anyone close to her
There is no opportunity for discussion or reason. She is dismissive. Whenever it is suggested that she might play a role in whatever issues or problems she is requesting advice or help on, she ends the conversation. There would be no way to recommend therapy. Although I personally would love to not continue this relationship in any form, I have decided that going NC is not an option at this point because there are too many other mutual and important relationships that are involved and I'm not into discussing with others (and behind her back) what level they are at in recognizing how draining being around her is. I'm selfishly looking to save just myself! At the same time I need to not make it anyone else's issue just because I decided now is the time for me to deal with it.
My plan of action is detached observation - I will not engage! I will not react! I will stay out of the direct line of communication. Since I am rarely alone with just her, I will just watch like a movie. I will also attempt to reduce the amount of contact, but we do see each other an awful lot as family/couples/kids and run in a number of the same tight-knit social circles so I will have to do some version of "everything is fine" while I detach as best I can. Talk about the weather and such.
My questions are these: Does anyone have some non-inflammatory responses for the above statements? When a statement such as that is directed at me, the switch to weather doesn't feel like it will work.
Also does anyone have any thoughts, insight or ideas that might help me to not feel like such a bad person? She is so incredibly insecure and needy underneath this behavior that I have no intention of doing anything that would hurt her overtly. I have started therapy to work through this, but you all have tons of specific experience I would love to hear if you don't mind sharing.
Thanks for listening!