I used to pride myself on being able to get along with people I would now recognise as narcissists. I knew how to get on with them because I knew how to get them to like me, and so I got the best out of them. They were still a dick to everyone else, but if they were capable of being nice, it mustn’t be their fault, right? Other people just hadn’t taken the time to understand them and act accordingly.
There’s some logic to that. We should take the time to understand and accommodate others. But my perspective was severely skewed toward my own inflated sense of responsibility. If you have to tie yourself in knots and only show one distorted sliver of your personality; if you have to be unperturbed by the way they offhandedly diminish you; if you have to constantly be impressive in just the right way to stay on their good side; if you have to agree with their point of view and never raise a point of dissent unless it’s the specific kind they like and find impressive; if you have to constantly operate within their defined parameters in order to maintain peace…is that person really worth the time it takes to understand and accomodate them, Yve?
The problem I had was that I did all that shit as easily as breathing. That was my entire people-pleasing way of being in a nutshell. That was why, not only did I find it so easy to ‘get on’ with narcissists, I actually found it much more difficult to get on with normal, healthy, well-adjusted people.
The contorting of myself into pleasing forms for others is probably the most self-destructive undertaking I ever embarked upon, and at this point I have to come to terms with the fact that I threw away years of my life on it.
Now please excuse me while I finish reassembling my limbs.