In my experience, when a narcissist or other disordered abuser offers to do something uncharacteristically nice post-divorce, be wary. It’s usually an indication that the narcissist has already done something underhanded, spiteful or illegal or is about to do something underhanded, spiteful or illegal. I mean, c’mon. Are they really offering rhubarb from their garden or to return your grandmother’s Christmas ornaments out of the goodness of their “hearts?”
Highly unlikely. The narcissist is being uncharacteristically nice, generous or accommodating most likely because:
a) It’s a test balloon to see if you know what they’ve done.
b) Duping delight — the post or anticipatory gloat of having pulled a fast one and getting away with it (e.g., “Mwahahaha, I’m smarter than you!”)
c) Covering their butts (e.g., “If I’m nice the person I’ve repeatedly screwed over will NEVER suspect it was me!”)
d) Banking good will (e.g., “Even if he finds out I slept with his brother, he can’t get mad at me because I returned his X-box that I was keeping because he didn’t deserve to have it!”)
It’s tempting to think narcissists try to be nice after being bad out of guilt, BUT THEY’RE NARCISSISTS. Any guilt and shame they feel turns into rage directed at those they’ve harmed.
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. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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