As discussed in Translating Crazy: Narcissist and Borderline Buzz Words and Phrases, even though narcissists, borderlines and other toxic personalities speak the same language and use the same words as you, they often mean something quite different to the narcissist. If you operate under the belief that narcissists and other abusers use language as defined by most reasonable people and the Merriam Webster Dictionary, you’re setting yourself up for misunderstanding and hurt. It’s generally a mistake to assume good will or intention to a narcissist’s words, promises and declarations.
Words are typically a smokescreen the narcissist employs to confuse and deceive. Narcissists study and observe their prey. They know your hopes, dreams, fears and sources of shame. They know what you want to hear and, when in seduction mode (love bombing), they’ll shamelessly play to that. They’re often such masterful liars, how can you know what’s fact and what’s fiction?
Generally, the most effective way to determine what a narcissist really means — the truth of the matter — is to pay attention to what they do, not what they say. They’re acts are the facts; words are noises they make with their mouth.
What does friend and friendship mean to a narcissist? A friend is someone the narcissist can exploit, manipulate and abuse without consequences. Friends are required to enable, apologize for and be loyal to the narcissist to the point of insanity. In other words, a friend is an enabler, an apologist, an enforcer, a flunky, a sycophant, minion, cheerleader or flying monkey. Is that how you define friend? Is that how you define friendship? Do you still believe the narcissist is capable of friendship? That the narcissist is your friend? The narcissist may be your wife, girlfriend, husband, boyfriend, parent, sibling or colleague, but they are not your friend.
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
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