Ina previous article, I explained a strategy I’ve started using when I’m approached by possible narcissists that involve asking them one important question about themselves.
In that same article, I explained the main reason I’m able to even get this far is based on one common thing among every narcissist I, and many of you, have encountered — they initiate contact.
There is no such thing as “meeting” a narcissist.
I would learn this over the course of many years, as each of my relationships with them involved them approaching me in two ways:
out of nowhere, or
after spending some time in close proximity ( i.e., at school or work)
My ex was a follower of mine back when I had Tumblr. He followed my account very closely and assessed me through my every post and reblog before love-bombing me.
Another ex of mine worked with me at a car wash. He waited about a few weeks, after watching me, before making his move while we were alone, detailing a car together.
(Yes, I was a car washer and detailer.)
Although there are many of these scenarios to choose from, one thing rings true in all of them — it was them that approached me and sparked conversation, adamantly.
One way or another, they actively pursued me and relentlessly embedded themselves into my life; and sometimes they made it look so casual. But only one of these cases stands out when it came to me learning this lesson,
All I Wanted Was a Sandwich — Not a Narcissist
The story of how I bit off more than I could chew
There was a Philly cheese steak spot in my neighborhood I used to go to all the time with my father. It was a popular spot and a staple to all of us who lived here.
(It has since closed down.)
It had been many years since I’d been back there but one sunny Saturday in late August, I decided to go back. For old-time’s sake. When I walked in I was on the phone with someone I was actually about to meet up with.
I placed my order, got it, and left.
Didn’t think anything of it.
I went back that following Wednesday and placed the same order. This time, as I waited for my food, the cook said —
I see you’re on whack ass Team Apple.
Immediately, my attention shifted.
He was playfully picking a fight with me. I was shocked but ready to play ball, so we started a playful argument. Before I knew it we were engaging in a conversation that lasted the length of his shift (five hours).
We both lived nearby but he walked me home and left with my phone number. Within a week we were dating and I was being pressured to have sex. He also started living with me.
One night he came to spend the night and it became a continuous thing. Everything moved fast. They always do with narcissists.
This is how we “met”.
He Mirrored Me to Get a Conversation Started
Image by Shutterstock.com
Narcissists modify their approach — according to your personality
This relationship would be one of my most abusive for one very ironic reason — Kareem was a stonewaller.
The reason this matters when comparing it to the way he approached me is because anytime we had the smallest disagreement his response was either to —
- ignore me
- shut down
- get passive-aggressive, or
- leave and not make contact for days
A far cry from the playfully combative man behind the counter.
I mentioned he was also living with me and my mom so he would walk into our home and not speak to us. Yes, he would ignore us but come home and eat our food and sleep in my bed, (the times he did come home).
Needless to say, this relationship didn’t last long and would be the experience that broke me out of tolerating silent treatments. But it did something else for me too, it taught me a very unexpected way I could be assessed by narcissists.
Remember when I said I was on the phone with a friend?
Well, this is how Kareem assessed me. In fact, this is how he was able to determine exactly how to approach me.
The friend I was talking to was a guy friend of mine and while we were on the phone with one another we were cracking jokes.
In other words, we were playfighting.
I never addressed him by name so it wasn’t clear if I was talking to a man or woman, especially because there were no romantic ties. Therefore the conversation was both platonic and playful. It could have been anyone.
I genuinely came for the food, and because all I wanted was a sandwich I paid no attention to Kareem.
Other than —
- “Can I get a — “, and
- “Have a good one.”
I didn’t have anything to say.
It was business.
But he was paying attention to me and how I was interacting with someone in a position he wanted to be in. What position? a familiar one.
Kareem observed how I responded and initiated dialogue with someone who was familiar to me and watched closely as I revealed different details about myself, like —
- my playful nature
- quick-witted comebacks, and
- a natural feistiness within my personality
From there he knew his best bet to cut through the red tape of getting to know me was to be what I would learn he naturally wasn’t — upfront and bold, direct and playful. The fact that he was funny didn’t hurt either.
(Sadly, many narcissists actually are.)
I can also say this for a fact because he admitted this.
Kareem told me, himself, he wasn’t sure how to approach me at first but figured picking a fight with me was the best way to go.
But I was able to reassess the details of that initial encounter and locate the missing piece that lead to why he was able to make that assessment.
Because of this situation, I was able to pass the wisdom over to a buddy of mine when the same thing happened to him.
Remember My Friend, Darren?
Darren didn’t meet Alison, organically either
I spoke about Darren and Alison in this story.
Well as it turns out he was also approached by Alison but it happened through another method I’m gonna bring up right now,
Through a third party, or as they’re known in the world of narcissism, a flying monkey.
- The term ‘flying monkeys’ is another way of saying ‘abuse by proxy’ or having someone else do the bidding of in this case a narcissist.
In this case, the flying monkey was Bianca, Alison’s cousin.
Bianca was on Darren’s praise team (which is part of the music ministry at his church). On one particular Thursday, Alison came to see Bianca during rehearsal and spotted Darren, but she didn’t say a word.
The following Sunday is when Darren would “meet” Alison, with the help of her flying monkey, Bianca. Bianca approached Darren with Alison, as he was heading to the parking lot to leave.
She casually introduced the two before inviting Darren to a birthday dinner she was having. Darren didn’t have a car at the time, and was using his sister’s car to get around and wouldn’t be able to have access to it on that particular day.
Bianca asked where he lived and when he told her Alison chimed in that she also lived there too, to which Bianca immediately said —
“Oh, Alison can drive you!”
Darren didn’t feel right about it because he had not only just met Alison but he barely knew Bianca that well.
Bianca then said —
“Are y’all gonna exchange numbers or what?”
This is how they met.
Sadly, experience is the greatest teacher and he would go on to ignore his intuitive feelings and offer up his address and phone number, beginning a four-and-half-year abuse cycle that came to an end this past February.
Like me, Darren was also told by Alison that their entire “introduction” was orchestrated, with the help of Bianca, who thought he would be “a good fit for her”, despite —
- not knowing him that well, and
- never considering she might not be (and wasn’t) a good fit for him
As a result, the two of them were hooked up, with Darren being the only one unaware this was all a setup from the start.
Out of both of our experiences, I think it’s important to note how the female narcissist took a more passive route to orchestrate a meeting by using a third party to assist her.
Regardless of the contrast, Darren and I made it out of our toxic situations safely, more aware, and more alert than we’d ever had to be before.
Especially now that we both understand that being approached by an admirer might seem innocent but could actually be the first vital sign that you’ve been picked by a narcissist,
After already being assessed.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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