She just wanted me around for the “likes”…

This morning, I’m listening to a great video by narcissistic behavior guru Dr. Ramani. She is one of several experts on narcissism that I follow on YouTube. She’s wise, insightful, and helpful, although I probably watch videos by fellow expert Dr. Les Carter more often.

Today, the video I stumbled across is on the topic of regret. I’m writing about it now, because I happened to be talking about this very same topic with Bill before I found Dr. Ramani’s video. Bill and I have both had our fill of interactions with narcissists. And we have both experienced regret in the wake of them.

She’s a very kind woman with good insight and better advice.

In this video, Dr. Ramani says “Narcissistic relationships waste time.” And they do. In my case, one of the most damaging relationships of my lifetime lasted about 33 years. I have countless memories of my time with this person. I grew up with her. The friendship probably died before we graduated high school. If it didn’t die in high school, it was definitely in its death throes when we were in college. But I still hung on to it for years, even though I knew that it was a ghost of the “friendship” we’d once had.

I repeatedly resisted the healthy side of me telling me to break off my ties with her for good. Why? Because we’d known each other for so long. I’d invested a lot in the relationship. I didn’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I hoped that one day, we could be friends again, more like we were when we were kids.

Then one day, it became painfully clear that she wasn’t my friend and hadn’t been for many years. It became obvious that she saw me as a source of supply and a possession… just one more soul on her Facebook friends list count. She wasn’t interested in being friends with me. She just wanted me for the “likes”. How did I discover this? Well, as it so often happens in my life, it was completely by surprise.

In the fall of 2013, I was sitting in my house in Texas when I got an email from a woman who used to sit next to me in the church I grew up attending. Like my former friend, she had known me since I was eight years old. Her husband was in the choir. My dad was in the choir. Her husband and my dad were both graduates of Virginia Military Institute, so they were like “brothers”. My mom was a church organist at another church, and my three sisters were pretty much grown and out of the house. So there I was, eight years old, with no one to sit with in the forced church services every week. And there she was, a middle aged woman whose children were either grown or in boarding school (she and her husband are wealthy). I spent years sitting through church services with her while her husband and my dad sang in the choir. She was my “special friend”, who even took me for summer outings every year.

Anyway in 2013, this lady, then about 80 years old, had known that my ex friend and I had been “besties” as kids. My ex friend was also the maid of honor at my wedding, which church buddy had also attended. So she probably figured I’d known that ex friend had a baby, and had been attending my former church. She’d had her baby baptized there, and apparently forgot that I was raised in that church and still knew people there.

Church friend wrote to me about the blessed event, probably expecting me to already know about it; but it really was news to me. The revelation that my former friend had kept the news of her pregnancy from me put me in a delicate position, since it didn’t seem appropriate to explain to this elderly lady that apparently my “bestie” and I not only weren’t “best friends” anymore, we weren’t even mere acquaintances. And it was she who had made it abundantly clear that we were no longer “friends” with this bombshell news about my ex friend’s baby’s baptism at the church I had attended as a child.

I think what I ended up doing was telling church friend that I hadn’t known about the baby, since ex friend and I were no longer friends. I didn’t elaborate as to why. I later heard that the church lady asked my mom what happened and my mom couldn’t tell her. When she sent more news to me about ex friend, I reiterated to her that the friendship was over, and I think she finally got the message. It was very awkward, though.

After I got that first email about my ex friend’s shady business, I went looking on her Facebook profile. We were still “friends”, but I had noticed some time earlier that I couldn’t tag her in a photo a mutual friend had shared. I didn’t think much of it at the time, because frankly, we hadn’t been chatting much anyway and I had unfollowed her so her posts didn’t show up in my feed. But after I got the news about the baby, I realized that all of her Facebook posts were public and none were about her baby. It was then that I realized she’d put me on her restricted list, which allowed her to see my page, but restricted what I could see on hers to her infrequent public posts.

She did this, even though we’d known each other since we were eight years old and I have actually met members of her family who are long dead– people like her father, her grandparents, and her great grandmother– most of whom have been gone for decades. I doubt anyone else she knows has ever met these people personally unless they are family members. I would have had a lot more respect for her if she’d just unfriended me, or even blocked me. But no… I was “restricted”, so she could keep tabs on what I was doing and still count me as a “friend”.

Naturally, I was hurt, because there was a time when I genuinely thought we were “best friends”. In fact, she was the one who had first declared us “best friends”, way back in the early 1980s. Honestly, even though we were not as close as we once were years ago, if I had known she was expecting a baby, I would have wished her well. But I have feeling that she didn’t want me to know about her baby because she was afraid I’d somehow steal her thunder. I got married before she did and remember that she’d made a lot of mean-spirited, passive aggressive digs toward Bill and me. I think it upset her that I beat her to the altar. I think she was afraid that if I knew she was pregnant, I’d go out and get pregnant too, or something. She is a competitive person who tends to get jealous and insecure about some things.

I went and talked to Bill and it, and he said, “Well… you know, at our wedding rehearsal, she did and said some inappropriate things.”

Then he proceeded to tell me about how she’d basically hit on him while standing in for me at the rehearsal. She looked at him seductively as she reassured him and told him to relax and pretend she was me. After the rehearsal of the vows was finished, she batted her eyes at him and whispered, “Don’t forget your vows, Bill.”

Bill, being a good guy and knowing that she was my long term “best friend”, figured he’d misinterpreted her behavior. He never mentioned it to me. If he had, I think I would have asked her to leave. Because that behavior on the day before my wedding was extremely disrespectful. I know that if I had done that at her wedding, she would have been furious and there would have been ballistic outrage.

After hearing about her shitty behavior at our rehearsal ten years after our wedding and then discovering that she had me “restricted” on Facebook, so she could see my posts, but I couldn’t see hers, I realized that she was most definitely NOT a friend. I was just something to be used… for narcissistic supply, moral support, adoration, or whatever. It was all on her terms. So, although I really wanted to tell her off, I decided the best thing to do was block her on social media and say nothing. And that’s what I did.

About a year later, I got an unexpected message from her ex boyfriend from our high school years, a guy I hadn’t talked to in well over twenty years. He had a book that I had lent my ex friend, back when we were teenagers (also when they dated, although I think they both carry a torch for each other). He wanted to know how to return it to me. It had been well over twenty years and I had already replaced the book, so I told him to keep it.

I’m sure she put him up to messaging me. There’s no reason he would have otherwise. We weren’t close when we used to know each other. I think she wondered if I’d dish to him. I kept it polite and non-committal because I expected he’d return and report to her. This is what’s known as “Hoovering”. Just like the vacuum cleaner, it’s an attempt to suck someone back into a relationship. Narcissistic people never really let anyone go completely. One way to tell that someone you had dealings with is narcissistic is that they “Hoover”. I suspect that her ex boyfriend was unwittingly serving as a “flying monkey”… doing dirty work on her behalf.

A lot of narcissists will try to Hoover.

Several more years passed. Then, in February of this year, I got an unexpected private message from my former friend’s brother. Again– while we were Facebook friends at one time, I hadn’t spoken to him in years and he wasn’t active on Facebook, so I unfriended him. Out of the blue, I got this message, supposedly from him, with an update on ex friend’s life, including news about the daughter she never told me about. I was tempted to respond to that effect– that I hadn’t even known she’d been pregnant, so I figure we aren’t friends anymore. But I’ve learned that the best thing to do is not respond. No contact is essential.

Moreover, I had a feeling that it might have actually been her sending the message. Maybe she got access to his account and sent me the message because I didn’t have him blocked (I did have her blocked at that time). Either way, I was certain that even if it was a message from her brother– not a bad guy, by the way– she put him up to it. And it had NOTHING to do with her wanting to be friends with me. I was just a possession to her. She was just looking for supply. It didn’t need to come from me. It could have come from anyone. She hasn’t changed. Narcissists never do.

I wrote the below passage in a blog post I wrote back in 2013. I sure called it, didn’t I?

Something tells me she will eventually pop up on Facebook again or send me an email to tell me about her baby or whatever other news she feels compelled to share.  Or she’ll want to take advantage of my super long memory or knowledge and she’ll contact me for that reason.  I’ve watched her do it to other people over and over again.” 

But… I would be lying if I said I didn’t regret the loss of the “friendship”, or at least the illusion of the friendship. The truth is, we had many good times together. We spent many days and nights together playing. We went on trips together– shared books, movies, music, and many Saturday mornings playing with our Barbies together. And, at least until we got to high school, we genuinely liked each other, and it felt like a real friendship, even if people close to me didn’t like her and repeatedly warned me about her self-centered behavior.

But then it started to become clear that she just wanted me around to make herself feel better. There was no reciprocity in our relationship. I was doing most of the work to keep the relationship going, and many times, after talking to her or messaging with her, I was left feeling really angry and upset. She has a way of making cutting remarks that are intended to make the other person feel small. She never misses the opportunity. I also noticed that she wasn’t interested in my successes or triumphs. She only liked to see my failures, vulnerabilities, and heartbreaks. And not because she wanted to offer support.

In fact, I noticed that a lot of her friends were people I wouldn’t necessarily put as her “equals”. Most of them were people who had significant problems of some sort– obvious ones. I suspect it made her feel better to have people around who were worse off than she perceived herself. I came to that conclusion because I noticed that she became distant whenever I had successes. She didn’t want to hear about my triumphs, like a real friend would. She only wanted to hear about the bad stuff or, if she was in the mood, to have someone to gossip with and/or badmouth others to. I noticed she generally had shitty things to say about people we grew up with… she accused one woman who was in a happy marriage of being a “Stepford Wife”. She accused another woman who looked youthful for our age as having had cosmetic surgery. She was gleeful as she told me about another “friend” who had gained a lot of weight and seemed to be gaining more. It was just toxic and mean, especially since she claimed to be friends with some of them. I realized that she was probably saying the same nasty shit to people about me, too.

This could be her theme song. This was the cast we saw when we saw Avenue Q in England in 2016. They cleaned up the language in this version.

Personally, I like it when my friends succeed. I especially like it when Bill succeeds. I don’t feel jealous or slighted when he does well at work, nor am I jealous of my friends who are doing well. I like to be around people who are successful. I try to learn from them.

Yes, I have regrets. I’m sorry I wasted so many years with someone who didn’t value me or my friendship. I’m sorry that I wasted time with someone who kept me from making friends with people who were real friends. I’m sorry that I willingly subjected myself to years of her toxic crap. I’m sorry that she was my maid of honor and that she’s in my wedding pictures. I’m sorry that I put Bill in the position of having to wonder how to handle her inappropriate behavior at our wedding rehearsal. I regret that so many childhood memories involve my times with her, instead of times with other people who might be real friends with me today. I regret that her treatment made me a worse friend to other people. I really regret ever comparing myself to her and thinking that I wasn’t as “good” as she was, simply because of the things she said and did to try to make me feel that way. And I’m sorry that my experiences with her make it hard for me to trust people and make new friends.

But I don’t regret learning the truth about her before it was too late. I have the rest of my life to make real friends, and I’d rather be alone than be “friends” with fake people, anyway. Life is short, and it’s often not a lot of fun. However, it’s always better when it’s not spent wasting time with people who just want to bring you down and watch the world burn. I may regret decisions from the past, but I still have a great future to look forward to… if I survive this pandemic, anyway.

musings, narcissists

Attention gluttons…

I was going to title today’s post “attention whores”. I thought better of it when I realized that people who crave attention aren’t really like whores. When we think of whores, we think of people– usually women– who prostitute themselves for money. Many people think that prostitution is immoral. It’s illegal in most parts of the world, even if it is “the oldest profession”. But it’s not really about greed so much as it is about debasing one’s self for money. Or, at least that’s the usual argument I’ve heard against prostitution. There’s also the issue of human trafficking, particularly of minors, but not every prostitute is caught in situation like that. Here, in Germany, for instance, prostitution is legal and regulated. There are health checks done and taxes paid, and it’s an actual job.

When it comes down to it, people who are “whoring” are behaving in a transactional way by using their bodies. It’s not quite an accurate term for the type of people I’m writing about today. “Attention whores” aren’t selling attention to lonely people. They’re greedily seeking an endless supply of attention, most often from people who have an irrational need to be liked. To me, that’s less like prostitution and more like gluttony. I also appreciate that the word “glutton” has less of a misogynistic feel to it. So, today I’m going to write about attention gluttons. I’m sure you’ve encountered them. They’re everywhere these days.

I think most people crave attention sometimes, sometimes to the point of “gluttony”. We all go through periods when we need some extra TLC from friends and loved ones. Normal people are astute enough to know that not everything is about them, and after they get the attention they need, they’re willing to share the limelight with others. People who crave constant attention aren’t like that. They live for drama, and they are very good at creating it and attracting others to it. Or, if they can’t create it themselves, they will insert themselves into someone else’s drama and try to make it all about them. Even if pathological attention gluttons don’t treat the people they attract with much respect, those who are enchanted by attention gluttons keep coming back for more, because their drama is kind of like a trainwreck. It’s hard to turn away.

Like most people, I’ve been a bit of an attention glutton at times; but I’ve also had a few of them in my life. I recently purged a couple from my world because they finally went too far. Right now, a lot of people are under an unusual amount of stress. I’ve been fortunate in that my life isn’t that stressful right now. My troubles recently have been mostly psychological, but even those haven’t been that bad. I haven’t had to worry about paying the rent, for instance, or wondering where my next meal is coming from. I do have some friends who are in some legitimately scary situations right now, particularly when it comes to their finances. Most of them are handling things pretty well on their own. Or, at least that’s how it seems, because they aren’t constantly crying for attention on social media.

There’s someone I know who is always gunning for attention. She’s a very charming person, so she has a lot of people who are willing to supply her with what she needs. She’s funny, witty, talented, intelligent, and at least on the outside, seems friendly. But I’ve noticed that the friendliness isn’t particularly genuine. I get the sense that if I really ever needed any help– not even financial, but even just emotional help– she would not be available. Instead, she would turn it around so that the issue became about her and her endless problems.

And yet, she never hesitates to ask for assistance. Sometimes she’s bold enough to ask directly, but I’ve noticed that, more often or not, her requests are kind of indirect and passive. Like, for instance, she’ll casually mention that she doesn’t have enough money to buy food or medicine. Her friends will express concern and ask how they can help. Then, she’ll say something like, “No, I’m not asking for money. I’ll be fine. Don’t send me emails or private messages about this.”

The pragmatic among us will shrug and say, “suit yourself” and let her handle her own business. But deep down, you expect that she’s just waiting for that one person who must take action. There’s got to be at least one person who will insist on helping her, because they need to be a helper. Attention gluttons love those types of people– the ones who will do anything for a friend– even a really crappy, selfish “friend”. They seem to have a finely tuned mechanism for seeking them out, too.

I’ve noticed that she tells tall tales. A lot of the things she claims are true don’t ring true. Most people accept her stories at face value, though, because they probably assume that questioning her will lead to an unpleasant drama. In fact, I have, on occasion, seen this happen when someone dares to call her on the carpet for something outrageous she’s said, or some ridiculous claim she’s made.

I have noticed that these types of people are also very good at “Hoovering”. I’ve written about that phenomenon before. A person who “Hoovers” is trying to suck you back into the dysfunction. You will hear from them later, after the drama has blown over a bit. They’ll poke at you to see if you respond. Oftentimes, they won’t mention the event that led to the blow up. If they do, they’ll offer a lame non-apology of some sort, designed to make you feel badly for “misunderstanding” them. It’s happened to me a lot of times. I’ll be legitimately upset about something and the person will act like I’m overreacting or “crazy”. Maybe sometimes it’s somewhat true that there was an overreaction, but a mature person will at least acknowledge the other person’s pain. Attention gluttons don’t do that, because they don’t see other people as humans. They typically see them as sources of supply.

A lot people who are “attention gluttons” are also pretty narcissistic, although I don’t think they’re necessarily always that way. Sometimes people are like that because they never got the attention they legitimately needed when they were young children. They’ve grown up insecure and feeling unloved, so they seek security and love when they are adults. You could almost feel sorry for them… until they finally go way too far and you have to cut them off. Then they make you out to be a terrible person for not being able to tolerate their drama anymore.

My husband, Bill, is particularly attractive to “attention gluttons” because he’s a very empathic person. He feels what other people feel, and he genuinely wants to help. Sometimes he helps a lot more than he should, which leads to other people resenting him. I think his ex wife, who is very narcissistic, was attracted to him because he’s so caring and nurturing, and she knew she could eventually manipulate him by telling him that he wasn’t a good enough partner.

Bill is eager to please others, and he’ll try harder if he thinks he’s not doing enough, even though the truth is, he usually goes way above and beyond what should be expected of anyone. I often tell him how much I love and appreciate the way he looks after me and Arran. Ex, on the other hand, was constantly telling him that he wasn’t good enough. She’d shame him, and tell him that no one else would ever want him. After awhile, he believed it. Meanwhile, she’d resent him, because he was so good… and she knew she wasn’t his match and never could be.

I have also noticed that “attention gluttons” love a good cause. They love to jump on a bandwagon and promote their cause, which will invariably be something that is easy to support. For example, I’ve noticed a lot of people cheerleading for face mask wearing. That’s a cause that is easy to support during a global pandemic. People are rallying with their constant cries of “Wear the damn mask!” (which frankly, pisses me off, because it’s rude and dismissive and doesn’t take into account the people who have legitimate health and/or personal reasons for NOT wearing them.)

I’ve noticed that an attention glutton I know, who is not usually known for being compliant when someone tries to tell her what to do, is now on that bandwagon. Lots of her friends are cheering her on, too, because she’s good at spinning a sob story. Anyone who doesn’t jump on that bandwagon is an asshole, the way she tells it. She doesn’t respect the other viewpoint.

But… I would be willing to bet that this bandwagon will eventually crash. They almost always do with this type of person. They get tired of the cause, and start seeing reasons why it wasn’t such a good idea after all. They eventually abandon it, sometimes with a lot of drama and chaos. It becomes apparent that they never really were true believers of the cause; they just liked the attention it got them. And once the supply of attention is over, so is their support.

Bill’s ex wife was like that. She’d get all gung ho about something and jump into it full throttle. Then she’d get bored with it, or something would happen that would piss her off. She’d do a 180, and either abandon the cause completely or jump on the other side of the issue.

The person who inspired this post has met Bill in person. I remember the first time she met him; her tongue practically fell out of her mouth and she almost started panting. She said he was extremely cute. He is pretty cute, but I have a feeling her initial strong, positive reaction to him wasn’t just because she thought he was physically attractive. I think she could sense that he’s empathic, eager to please, and very kind, and she needs those people in her life. I don’t know for sure, but I’ll bet she was a bit envious of me for being married to the type of person she craves.

But if she had married Bill instead of me, I’ll bet that very soon, he wouldn’t have been enough. After a short love bombing phase, she’d start to complain about his shortcomings. The abuse would begin, and she’d devalue him to get him to the point at which he might start believing she was the best he could do, and no one else would want to be around him. That, to me, is the most tragic part. Because I know that’s not true, but after awhile spent with an attention glutton, a very kind and understanding person might start to believe it is.

Recently, I’ve found that I don’t have much time or patience for people who need to be in the limelight all the time. I can’t deal with the stress of the constant yammering for attention. I’ll bet those types of people are fine with the occasional departure of a usual source of supply, as long as there’s someone there to keep dropping worms into the hungry bird’s mouth. And sadly, there almost always is.


They never stop, do they?

A few days ago, I was sitting in our hotel room in France when I decided to see if there were any filtered private messages for me. Every once in awhile, I get a message from some dude looking to hook a sucker. A couple of years ago, I got hate mail via private message, in which an anti-choice male decided to invite me to go die and called me a fat, murderous cunt. You’d think after getting those kinds of messages from strangers, I’d learn my lesson.

Well… this year, I got a private message from a family member of my former best friend from childhood. At one time, her brother and I were Facebook friends, but I decided to delete him because I found out that his sister had not only done some very hurtful things somewhat recently, but she’d also double crossed me on my wedding day. I blocked her and unfriended him, since he was never on Facebook anyway. I figured we wouldn’t have anything to talk about, since her sister had made it clear that she wasn’t a friend of mine, and I didn’t necessarily want her having access to my page via his. Having known her for many years, I know that she’s not above lurking to get information and/or gossip.

I wrote about the incident that caused me to finally decide to do the social media purge in my old blog, but I don’t really feel like rehashing what she did on this blog. It’s a very painful memory, and I have discovered that not everyone reads this blog for innocent reasons. Suffice to say, that day, I ended a 33 year history with someone with whom I share many childhood memories. She had once called me her best friend, then stabbed me in the back and put me in the position of awkwardly having to explain that we’re no longer friends to people who had known us as friends back in the day.

My ex friend’s brother said he’d been “cleaning up his timeline” and noticed that I had left him a greeting (and it would have been well over seven years ago that I did that, but technically he’s right). And he wanted to let me know what his sister is up to… she’s moved to another state to take a new job. Her husband and daughter are finishing the school year in Virginia and, I guess, are going to move in the summer.

In the past, I would have been tempted to respond to his message. It actually made me kind of sad that I couldn’t. You see, he mentioned my ex friend’s daughter’s name in the message, but my ex friend hadn’t even had enough regard for me to tell me she’d been pregnant, let alone tell me that she had a daughter or what her daughter’s name was. I had to accidentally find that out from someone else… someone who had assumed we were still friends and passed along the information to me, thinking I’d know. When the mutual friend had passed the information about ex friend’s daughter to me, I hadn’t realized the relationship we’d had together had changed as much as it obviously had. I was initially shocked and devastated; although after thinking about it, ultimately I wasn’t surprised.

Later, I discovered some other really nasty, inappropriate, spiteful behavior on her part. It was kept from me by my husband, who thought maybe he’d misinterpreted it and wanted to spare me some pain. I could have forgiven her for not telling me about her baby. It’s not the first time she’s done something like this to a person she’d once called a “friend”– someone other than me, that is. She’d kept the news of her engagement from her ex boyfriend, a guy she still considered a “friend”. I thought it was ridiculous, since they’d broken up years ago. But she said that if her ex knew about her nuptials, it would “ruin” the “friendship”. I guess her reasoning for not telling me about her child was similar. Maybe she thought I’d be jealous or try to upstage her somehow, although if that’s what she really thought of me, she clearly didn’t see me as a friend. That’s not how a friend behaves. I couldn’t forgive the way she behaved at my wedding, though… even though I found out about it years later.

I have now come to the conclusion that I don’t want her in my life. However, other people seem to think I should know her business. Besides our mutual friend, who wrote to me twice about her before I rather firmly explained that I no longer considered my ex friend a friend (though I didn’t go into why) and didn’t want to hear more about her, I also once heard from her ex boyfriend, a guy I had neither seen nor spoken to in years. He had contacted me, ostensibly because he had a book that I had lent my ex friend years ago and she’d never returned. He wanted to know if I wanted the book back. I suspect she put him up to contacting me, since he’d have no reason to otherwise. I wasn’t “buddies” with her ex boyfriend. I was pleasant enough, but didn’t dish about the ex friend, and I told him to keep the book, since I had replaced it years ago.

This time, the flying monkey is apparently her brother… and I don’t believe for a minute that he got the idea to write to me on his own. I was friendly enough with him when I was a kid, but again, we weren’t buddies or anything. He’s never written to me before, never even responded to that random Facebook greeting from years ago, and I have no idea why he’d write to me now, unless she put him up to it.

It makes more sense that I’d hear from my former friend’s ex boyfriend than her brother. In fact, I almost wonder if she was on her brother’s computer or something and decided to reach out to me using his account. I wouldn’t put it past her, but I also wouldn’t put it past her to summon her “flying monkeys”. Flying monkeys are people a narcissist uses to do their dirty work. They often get deployed when the narcissist is feeling cowardly and wants to test the waters. I’m not stupid, though, and I’ve seen this shit before. Narcissists are masters at it. It’s like they studied the same textbook. But then, if you’re around enough narcissistic types, you sort of become “vaccinated” as you start to recognize their bullshit for what it is.

This sudden reaching out technique is called “Hoovering”, and it’s typically done when a narcissistic person is feeling bored, lonely, or otherwise needs attention. They reach out to old sources of supply in the hopes of getting what they need. But make no mistake. They’re still the same people they always were, and they think nothing of the people they’re reaching out to. I could respond to her, but it would be meaningless to her. She’d be just as happy if someone else she’d reached out to, out of the blue, responded to her query. She doesn’t care about reconnecting with me. It’s not about her desire to be friends with me. She doesn’t actually value me as a person, other than what I can give her… which I suspect, at this point, is attention. It’s about having that all important ego supply. It’s called Hoovering for a reason. They’re trying to suck you back into a shitty relationship, just like the famous vacuum cleaner sucks up dirt.

It makes me sad, too, because we grew up together and I have so many memories of hanging out with her. We did have a lot of good times, even though my parents hadn’t liked her and tried to warn me about her. I should have listened to my mom, even though it was she and my ex friend’s mom who had gotten us together in the first place.

Anyway… I no longer think about her much, although the initial breakup was very painful for me. I don’t wish ill on her. I don’t care enough about her to wish ill on her. I liked her brother well enough, but I’m not getting back into that shit with her. She brought out the worst in me. She can go Hoover someone else.

Les Carter’s latest video… makes a lot of sense, especially when you have dealings with this type of person.

Beware of the “quick friend” and missing “the good old days”…

This morning, I watched yet another video by Dr. Les Carter. In it, he shares the fable of “The Alligator and the Rabbit”. I’m sure you’ve heard of or read this story yourself in any number of incarnations, like the similar fable, “The Frog and the Scorpion”. The version Dr. Carter shares is the tale of a foolish rabbit who trusted an alligator to go against its nature. The alligator agreed to take the rabbit across a rushing river on his back. Once they got to the other side of the river, the alligator ate the rabbit. The alligator then tells a bystanding turtle that he can’t help his nature. Alligators eat rabbits; therefore, the rabbit never should have trusted him. You can watch the video below.

We’ve all been in situations like this one…

Although I’ve had a few run ins with narcissistic people myself, by and large, they don’t tend to like me very much. I think it’s because I am not particularly eager to be liked. I mean, there was a time when I was more eager to be liked than I am now. When I was a child, it even seemed essential, and given that children are dependent on others, it probably was. But I’ve never had a “people pleasing” personality. I’d rather please myself. Maybe that makes me selfish, but it also keeps me out of the traps set by so-called “quick friends”.

You know what a “quick friend” is, right? A quick friend is someone who “sweeps you off your feet”. This person comes on strong with positive regard, flattery, and attention. I mentioned “love bombing” recently. Well, a “quick friend” is quick to love bomb and sweep other people up into their spheres. Once you’ve been dazzled by their seductive bullshit, you soon see another side of this person who seems too good to be true. Then, you try to focus on getting out of the situation, but the “quick friend” continues to blind you with more confusing love bombing mixed with something that seems more like disrespect and hatred.

You might see this phenomenon in a lot of different situations. If you’re thinking of joining an organization, for instance, like a very restrictive church or, especially, a cult, you might encounter love bombing. When Bill and his ex wife joined the Mormon church, they were “love bombed” by active members. They had many invitations to dinner and people were extremely friendly and nice. All of it dissipated once they’d all been baptized. Those people now had to turn their attentions to the next investigators/prospective members.

I experienced attempted love bombing back in 1994, when I attended a session for a multi-level marketing scam. People already in the organization paid a lot of attention to me and tried to flatter me into signing up, even though applying for the job involved a $20 “application fee” and I would have to “rent” a desk in the office to the tune of $500 a month. I look at those terms now and realize how preposterous they were, but when it was actually happening, I felt pressured to be nice and give in to the flattery. Especially since some of the flatterers were attractive men who acted like they liked me. Fortunately, while I do have low self-esteem at times, I also have a healthy measure of common sense.

You might experience love bombing in the form of a boyfriend or girlfriend who comes on very strong, overwhelming you with what appears to be genuine love and affection. But then you realize that what seemed like love was actually nothing but empty flattery designed to appeal to your ego and sweep you into an abusive trap where your lifeblood and self-respect gets sucked away. It can be very difficult to get out of these kinds of situations, particularly because the abusers will usually try to “Hoover” their victims back into the relationship. You can read more about the “Hoover” concept, as it pertains to emotional abuse, here.

This morning, I received a message from someone I once thought of as a friend. I wouldn’t necessarily say we’re on bad terms now. We no longer live in the same community, so we’ve stopped engaging very much. But while I once thought of her as someone I liked, after awhile, I started noticing that what had seemed to be genuine friendship had turned into something that seemed less genuine to me. I started to think perhaps this person was a bit untrustworthy, so I withdrew. I didn’t get the sense that she missed me, either.

Anyway, about two years ago, I was in a Facebook group with this person. Things got very toxic because of a charismatic male member in our group who had managed to impress everyone with his creatively crafted verbal abuse. He was the type of person who would stoop to very low levels to humiliate other people. A lot of people thought he was hilarious. When I first encountered him, I also thought he was clever and funny. It was all fine and good for those who thought he was funny, and a lot of people did. But if you found yourself on the receiving end of his abuse– the butt of his jokes– it was not funny at all. He would not hesitate to go way below the belt in order to appear to “win”.

Once I saw his uglier side, I mostly tried not to engage this man. In fact, for a long time, I had him blocked. I unblocked him when one of the group leaders suggested that my impressions of him were false. She convinced me to give him another chance. It’s too bad I listened to her, because my instincts about him turned out to be dead on.

One day, this verbally abusive guy turned his attentions to me. Rather than stay and try to fight with him, I opted to leave the group. I got a lot of shit from people for doing so, and I’m sure I was the butt of a lot of jokes for awhile. I could hardly blame them for making fun of me, since I had engaged in that behavior myself. Sure, it hurt, but I probably deserved it on some level. I resolved to do better in the future.

I eventually got over this big drama and moved on, even though it pained me to know that people I thought could be real friends, really weren’t real friends. Still, I wasn’t surprised at this outcome. I got to thinking that eventually, the people who thought Mr. Verbal Abuse was so funny would someday realize what he really is when he turned on them, too. I don’t think he picked on me because I was “special”. I think he eventually treats everyone– particularly women and men who defend women– in this way. Perhaps they’ve finally had their turn.

So this morning, my friend said that some people in the old group would love to have me come back. They felt nostalgic for the old days, and realized that, even though they’d allegedly thought of me as a “snowflake” when I opted out of the group, I wasn’t all that bad. My old friend wrote that the group was a lot smaller than it once was, but still quite active. And they supposedly miss me.

I have to admit that for a fleeting moment, I was flattered that I had been missed. My initial instinct was to let bygones be bygones. But then I remembered that I had actually left that group on two occasions, mainly due to ugliness that went too far and got way too personal. I realized that it’s been nice not being involved in the drama that erupted within that group. And, while there are people in it who are funny and genuinely likable, I don’t need any more toxic crap in my life now. I’ve got my hands full dealing with other, major, residual toxic crap that resulted from our four years of living in the Stuttgart area.

So I told my friend “thanks, but no thanks”, and offered my regards to those who “miss” me. I mostly feel good about that decision, even though I, too, miss the good times we had. We especially had fun barbecues, but since most of us have left Stuttgart, even the barbecues are in the past now.

In some ways, this situation seems a little like what Bill went through when he and his ex wife split. She very dramatically demanded a divorce. When he agreed to it, she saved face by going to the notary public she had arranged. But then she later had second thoughts. She tried to “Hoover” him back into the relationship.

Bill said that after their split, Ex would call him and sigh on the phone, whining about the “good old days”. She then tried to entice him back into her “parlor”, reminding him of the children she was holding hostage. Bill was tempted, because he really missed his kids and his paycheck… but then he realized that she’d drawn a line and he’d crossed it. One day, she’d draw another line and he would cross it again. They’d be right back where they started, but probably worse off. He also realized that being away from her made him feel much better, the same way anyone feels better after getting away from something toxic.

After awhile, once the FOG (fear, obligation, and guilt) fades, you start to realize you’re much better off without the seductive narcissist or any groups that employ abusive, narcissistic techniques to keep people entrenched. Moreover, once people show you who they are and what they are capable of, it’s best to pay attention and learn from it. Leopards don’t change their spots. Alligators don’t suddenly turn into peace loving vegans. Scorpions don’t give up their stingers for friendship with frogs. And those who don’t learn from mistakes made in the past are doomed to repeat them.

And by the way… the longer I live and the older I get, the less offended by those who think I’m a “bitch”. The truth is, I kinda am a bitch. But I’d rather be bitchy than abused.