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Why I Call Myself “Mrs. Dirt” on Twitter, and Why I Won’t Change It 


For those of you who aren’t on Twitter, I won’t bore you with a play-by-play of the details of this ongoing, sordid scenario. 

Instead, I will give you a quick, bottom-line synopsis: 

A posse of straight female “feminists” have been tweeting their asses off denigrating me because I call myself “Mrs. Dirt” on Twitter. 

Although I have addressed this topic before (many times, actually), I have never written a specific post about it, so I wanted to do one to quickly refer to whenever needed. 

To be clear, these straight “feminists” are implying that I am a stupid, weak, fluffy-headed, submissive, Stepford Wife because I use the Twitter handle “Mrs. Dirt”. 

They are (very) wrong

So, here’s the scoop: 

I started calling myself “Mrs. Dirt” on Twitter right after we got married. It started as a light-hearted, silly, goofy celebration of the fact that…at long last, hallelujah…Dirt and I were able to do what our straight peers have always taken for granted since, well, FOREVER: get married!!! 

It was a dorky way to say to the Twitter world: “We are freakin’ MARRIED!”

So: now these “feminists” may be wondering: Then, why did I say I am “Mrs. Dirt”, versus Dirt saying she is “Mrs. Saye Bennett”?

Well, that answer is very simple too. Dirt is a well-known blogger who has been blogging for years, while I am not. I started this blog as a hobby, which I love, but very few people would know about my blog or my pseudonym. It would have been stupid to do it in reverse, because nobody would have gotten the joke.

Plus “Mrs. Dirt” is simply cuter too.

Then the whole “Mrs. Dirt” nickname just sort of stuck so I kept it.

It’s an easy way to identify me on Twitter and on our joint posts, and quite frankly, I like it…NOT because I am oppressed, or unaware of the history surrounding the use of the term, or unfeminist, or stupid, or vapid, or weak, or stuck in the 1950s. 

Instead, I like using “Mrs. Dirt” because it is a public, simple, fun, and obvious way to align myself with Dirt.

I use my real name and my real title in real life, and Dirt does too.

“Mrs. Dirt” is an internet name…it is not my real name…well, um, duh! (Saye Bennett is not my real name either, by the way).

So there’s absolutely no need for anybody to get her panties in a wad about an internet name because most people call themselves names on the internet like CatMommy1234 (which does NOT literally mean that CatMommy1234 gave birth to 1234 kittens either, by the way, folks). 

BUT: Here is the most important point:

Even if I had decided to take Dirt’s name in real life, or if she had taken mine…so what?? 

We are a legally married couple, and tons of married straight females have taken their husband’s name. 

The decision of whether to change names is their, and now our, choice to do…or not to do. 

Our marriage is just as valid as a straight marriage, and the fact that these straight “feminists” are badmouthing me regarding this topic is very telling of their underlying lesbophobia and utter lack of recognition of our marriage as being valid. 

(The other big clues that these “feminists” are lesbophobic is the fact that they put “marriage” and “wife” in “quotation marks” when referring to myself and Dirt — along with a barrage of other lesbophobic insults).  

True feminism does not include telling Lesbians how we “should” live our lives or what choices we “should” make. 

Finally, I don’t care what these “feminists” (or anybody like them) thinks of what I call myself on Twitter…or what they think about me, period. 

If anybody doesn’t like me or anything about me, please just avoid me in the future. Simple! Problem solved! You’re welcome.  

Announcement

I hereby declare that I am going to attempt to stop my part in promoting anger, hostility, and hatred on Twitter…not because I am wimping out, nor because I have changed my mind on anything, nor because I want to make up/get along with anyone…but instead, the reason is quite simple: it’s because I believe the old adage “Two wrongs don’t make a right”.

Yes, I/we have been unfairly attacked, but I know that counterattacking certainly does not make things better…in fact, it only makes everything worse.

I have always known, but had apparently temporarily forgotten, the rule that I cannot change other people, but I can always change my response to them.

For some time now, I have been allowing my own anger, hurt, and frustration to bubble over to the point that I (shockingly!) found myself acting like someone I am not…someone who said outright mean/rude things…someone who kept fights going long after I should have just walked away.

I cannot promise that I will never lose my temper again, of course, nor can I promise that I will always refrain from smarting off when hurt or angry.

This announcement also certainly does not mean that I will stop speaking out when I see homophobia/lesbophobia or any injustice, and it also does not mean that I in any way agree with, nor do I want to have anything to do with, anybody who has attacked me, Dirt, any of our Lesbian friends/allies, or Lesbians in general.

I don’t plan to go back and remove any of my angry posts/tweets at this point though, because it would be a LOT to try to find ~ plus, I think that it would be a bit disingenuous to do so.

But rather, from this moment forward, I plan to continue speaking my truth and to defend myself, Dirt, and fellow Lesbians, but to try to do so without being mean to others…even when they say horrid things.

I will continue to speak up, to speak out, and to stand in solidarity with other Lesbians & with gay men, but I plan to try to do so in a way that doesn’t tear others down and create unnecessary angst/division.

In other words, I will strive to be myself from this moment forward…my real self, that is…the self that has been buried for a while now under multiple layers of anger, hurt, and frustration.

It’s worth a try, don’t you think?

Wish me luck… 

shutterstock_279269528 (1)

I Used To Be So Nice (Or: Why I Cannot Walk Away From A Battle With Lesbophobes)

As anybody who has read even a couple of my recent posts will likely already know, I have been angry lately at all of the faux allies and hetsplainers ~ very angry, in fact, but I must admit that underlying that anger is disappointment, frustration, puzzlement, and sadness.

I won’t rehash all of the drama….if anyone is interested, feel free go back through my tweets and replies to get a just a small taste of the brouhahas. I have also done several recent posts which mentioned the drama.

Anyway, someone on Twitter who also knows me in real life (and has known me for over 20 years), recently said something to the effect of being shocked that so many people were being so rude to me.

I actually laughed out loud when I saw that, because I immediately knew exactly what she meant:

In real life, I am, in fact, what most people would consider “nice”.  Meaning: I am typically polite, kind, considerate, giving, etc.; in other words, I get along well with others. (I am always direct and assertive in real life…but I am not aggressive/rude unless it becomes absolutely necessary).

But on Twitter (and to a lesser extent, on this blog), I am quite outspoken…sometimes even outright rude (which occurs, lately with shocking regularity, when I finally reach my maximum frustration tolerance level).

The problem is not just that Twitter is online interaction (meaning: versus in-person), either. I participate regularly on Facebook and LinkedIn and on other various websites/forums/etc., and I get along just fine with people on those, just like I do in real life.

No, I really think it’s specific to Twitter. Somehow, Twitter seems to bring out the worst in me. Actually, perhaps Twitter brings out the worst in everybody, based on my recent observations of various assorted brouhahas that I have NOT been involved in.

I think it’s the combination of the limited characters available to make important points, the fast paced environment, and the discontinuity in threads when multiple people are responding at the same time (which makes it difficult to follow the order of the conversation) that makes Twitter the perfect storm for misunderstandings, anger, hostility, drama, and trouble.

Combine that perfect storm of Twitter with my temperament (I am unwilling to back down — when dealing with a topic which matters to me greatly) and BOOM, it’s Armageddon.

Recently, I have been wondering whether I should just let an ongoing fight with a specific group of mean-girl lesbophobic feminists go…whether I should just walk away and let them stew in their own putrid, poisonous juices.

After all, I do actually believe in karma. People who are mean-spirited and vicious are obviously not happy people.

Also, I truly believe on-going anger and conflict is unhealthy…mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And these individuals are certainly not worth my health or my time.

So, I have been wondering:

Why am I having such a hard time letting this particular fight go? 

It’s not just my ego from being personally and viciously insulted by the ringleader, although I am sure that is indeed a part of it.

And it’s not just their shocking lesbophobia and appalling ignorance about Lesbians, although I am sure that is a HUGE part of it also. After all, utter obtuseness appears in many guises, including some very unexpected sources.

After much consideration, I think that (in addition to the above-noted factors) I am reluctant to stand down for 2 reasons:

First, I am truly horrified at the support that these individuals are getting from other straight feminists, so a big part of me wants EVERYBODY to see who these people really are. So, by calling them out and posting screencaps of their copious bigoted nonsense, I have been hoping that the proverbial aha! lightbulb would suddenly and magically appear above somebody’s head…anybody’s head! (I am afraid, though, that this wish is just a pipe dream).

Secondly, and much more importantly, I, Dirt, and the other Lesbians on Twitter who have been standing up to these individuals are all assertive, secure adults with a strong sense of self and a healthy acceptance of ourselves as Lesbians. So we can take their nastiness with a grain of salt. But: what if we were different? What if we were young dykes, just coming out, currently being rejected by family, friends, and society? What if we were vulnerable, scared, alone, confused, maybe even suicidal? What if we were struggling with self-hatred, dysphoria, and/or internalized homophobia? Would the horrid lesbophobic venom directed at us as Lesbians potentially be the last straw for someone like that? I honestly don’t know, and I sincerely hope not, but I cannot in good conscience allow these people to say such horrible, lesbophobic things without calling them out on it.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and if these individuals would say such repulsive, vile, hurtful, homophobic things to us, it is a fact that they have the capacity to do it to others.

My crusade may not do any good. I may, at some point, decide to lay down my metaphorical sword and walk away from this riDICKulous battle…

But not today.

Sword

Image: Pixabay: azboomer: Creative Commons CC0

What NOT Lesbian Film am I?

So many “Lesbian Movies” are NOT LESBIAN!

The dirt from dirt

These famous though not remotely “lesbian” movies have been renamed to reflect their true character, can you name the films original titles??

Straightbian Hearts Straightbians who happen in Vegas, role play in Vegas!

queerest colour More Blue Movie than Lesbian reality!

kissing Bored Straight Women tired of men-the Hetsplained “Lesbian” cliche!

Hells Straightbians Teenage Het girl crushes bordering on the Borderline-hmm and why exactly was/is this listed as Lesbian?

Chasing Straightbian Hyper sexual Het Woman pretends to be a Lesbian, pretending to be a dick virgin for dick, pretending to be a Lesbian again till the next dick CUMS around.

Bound A STRAIGHTBIAN cons a Dyke to do her dirty work for her! No way! A Het Woman who needs a man or Lesbian to do all the action? Wha?

alright The Straightbian train-Straight to the next dick! All aboard!

basic Borderline STRAIGHTBIAN with a penchant for cock-oh the shock!

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Reading List For Anyone Dealing With “Toxic” People

A few readers have emailed me asking for my personal recommendations for a reading list for dealing with the narcissists & other people who have toxic effects on those around them, so I thought I would do a post.

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Image: Pixabay: congerdesign: Creative Commons CC0

Please note that ALL of these disclaimers still apply.

1). Will I Ever Be Good Enough? by Karyl McBride (for daughters of narcissistic mothers)

2).  Will I Ever Be Free of You? by Karyl McBride (for those going through a break-up with a narcissist, particularly a high-conflict divorce)

3). If You Had Controlling Parents by Dan Neuharth (for those whose parents were controlling)

4). The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life by Robin Stern (for anyone being gaslighted or interested in knowing more about gaslighting)

5). Positive Energy by Judith Orloff (for those who want to protect themselves from negative energy)

6). Emotional Freedom by Judith Orloff (for those who want to protect themselves from negative energy)

7). How To Stubbornly Refuse To Make Yourself Miserable About Anything by Albert Ellis (the title says it all)

8). How To Keep People From Pushing Your Buttons by Albert Ellis (the title says it all)

9). In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People by George K. Simon (the title says it all)

10). Psychopath Free: Expanded Edition by Jackson MacKenzie (the title is somewhat of a misnomer due to the word “psychopath”, but still a good book for dealing with narcissists, sociopaths, and other toxic people)

This list is not intended to be comprehensive by any means, but rather just an overview of a few of my favorites that I would personally recommend.

Please let me know if you have any other recommendations, either by commenting below or emailing me at sayebennett@gmail.com.

08/02/2017: Edited to Add: 

11). Children of the Self-Absorbed by Nina W. Brown

12). Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward and Craig Buck

13). The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner

14). Why Is It Always About You?: The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy Hotchkiss

15). Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul Mason and Randi Kreger

Social Media & Covert Narcissism: How NOT To Let A Few Bad Apples Spoil The Whole Pie

I have previously written from a personal perspective about my own experiences/observations regarding covert narcissism and gaslighting, because I have (unfortunately) dealt with many situations involving various people who display covert narcissistic-type traits/features/behaviors, both in real life (starting with my mother) and on social media.

Yesterday, a commenter on my most recent post asked whether I would develop a “cheat sheet” to help identify covertly narcissistic-type traits/features/behaviors when on social media.

Before we go any further, please note that ALL of the following disclaimers apply:

I am speaking as a person with personal experience/observations regarding narcissism (rather than as a psychologist). Furthermore, NOTHING written on this blog is ever intended to be professional advice, nor does anything I write ever substitute for professional advice. If you have any mental health concerns regarding yourself or a loved one, you need to seek professional advice from a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, or other qualified professional.

The word “narcissist” in this post, as with my previous post, is meant as a descriptor, not as a diagnosis. Please also note that people may exhibit such traits/features/behaviors but may or may not meet the clinical criteria for diagnosis.

Additionally, it would be inappropriate to diagnose anyone over the internet anyway; thus, these posts are simply to describe the possible warning signs of such traits/features/behaviors; NOTHING said on this blog is ever meant as a diagnosis of anybody.

Also, please note that, as necessary with any broad topic, I am speaking in generalities in this post. It is literally impossible to cover every single example, and there will always be “exceptions to the rule”; so the items listed here may not apply to every example.

Additionally, everybody occasionally exhibiting a couple the behaviors listed below is clearly not a narcissist; so please always remember that everyone can have a bad day and do/say something out of character. So: rather than jumping to conclusions based on limited data, it is very important to always look at the whole picture and to consider a person’s behaviors over time and with different people.

The main question always is: Can the person ever admit when she is wrong and/or take responsibility for her part in a situation? If not, that is a BIG warning sign.

Finally, please note that I will be using “she” in this post for convenience, and since my own personal demons are with females who display covert narcissistic traits; but, of course, please keep in mind that both males and females can/do display these traits/features/behavior.

Moving on from my long list of disclaimers, it is important to note that covert narcissism is much trickier to recognize than the more obvious overt variety. When people typically think of narcissism, most people conjure up the overt narcissist: someone who is obviously “full of herself ” ~ the proverbial “show off”; typically very-well-dressed…often even “flashy”.

But: covert narcissists are much less obvious and therefore, they usually fly under the radar. On the surface, the covert narcissist will likely seem to be friendly, modest, perhaps even “plain”/unadorned in appearance/dress, self-effacing, warm, approachable, etc.  However, these impressions are simply a part of an effective facade that serves its purpose well: to prop up their weak egos, by fooling people and garnering attention/support.

Therefore, the covert narcissist can be more insidiously harmful than her overt counterpart: both because it is easier to be ensnared in her web of lies, and because others are very unlikely to ever see her for what she really is.

Now, let’s look at some of the potential warning signs of a covert narcissist on social media ~ keeping in mind, of course, that any of these factors in and of themselves do not necessarily mean the person is a narcissist; that all of these items will not apply to everyone who exhibits narcissistic traits; that the term “narcissist” is used here a descriptor only (not as a diagnosis); and that this list is not meant to be comprehensive:

  • She may be quite popular on social media. She may have a relatively large number of followers who she doesn’t know in real life (but, nonetheless, she often interacts with them as if she does know them);
  • She may have some special status in real life that inflates her sense of importance on social media (for instance, she may be an actor, singer, author, professor, popular blogger or YouTube star, model, athlete, expert in her field, etc. etc. etc.);
  • She may interact with her followers and others regularly on social media in such a way that she seems to be friendly and approachable. However, these interactions are likely to be superficial and/or sometimes even overly-sugary-sweet. (“Good morning, my delicious treat!”; “Good night, my sweet lambikins”…when talking to people she has never met in real life and who she is not romantically involved with);
  • She maintains her friendly, affable facade very well…that is, until she suffers a narcissistic injury and retaliates. The trigger could be anything from someone simply questioning something she said, to someone disagreeing with her, to someone saying something she perceived to be insulting, etc.;
  • When the covert narcissist feels insulted (and it does not matter whether the “insult” was actually intended, or whether it was completely unintentional), she will react by attacking the person who she feels insulted her (who has now become her target);
  • Instead of continuing the discussion in the original thread, she will often quote what was said on her own account, in order to distract from the fact that she is misrepresenting what was said and in order to get support from her followers;
  • She will often take whatever was said out of context and then twist it to make it seem like her target was the aggressor and that she was inexplicably “attacked” out-of-the-blue by the target;
  • By doing the above, she enlists her numerous followers to defend and support her, thereby propping up her weak ego, while simultaneously tearing down the person she perceives as her opponent;
  • Instead of sticking to the original topic, she will often intentionally throw a number of unrelated “red herrings” into the discussion to confuse the issue and derail the discussion; (Or she will allow her supporters to do so on her behalf);
  • When the drama appears to be finally dying down, she intentionally restarts it, both because she needs the attention and she desires continued revenge against her target;
  • She will often stand back quietly and “innocently” as the drama against her opponent unfolds…but her true feelings/motivations are revealed to anyone who pays close enough attention, because she will “like” statements that are personally insulting and/or untrue about her target;
  • She will never back down, nor will she ever admit she is wrong in any way;
  • She will not take any responsibility whatsoever for her part in the disagreement;
  • She will never “meet someone halfway”, so any olive branches offered by the target will be ignored or thrown back in the target’s face;
  • If the target blocks her after many hours of harassment by her supporters, she will likely intentionally mention that fact to her followers, while stating “innocently” that she has absolutely no idea why she got blocked by the target; which then triggers a new round of attacks on her target;
  • She will “hit below the belt”; which means: instead of sticking neutrally to the original topic, she will engage in personal attacks/insults and/or encourage/condone others to do so on her behalf;
  • She may “sweetly” talk down to her target and/or minimize the target’s education or accomplishments or knowledge (or condone her supporters in doing so);
  • She will demonize her opponent(s) and/or encourage others to do so;
  • She may go back and delete all of her own tweets which might make herself look bad (which further makes her target look bad because the history of the conversation is erased, leaving everything out of context);
  • If confronted, she will say that the target is being silly, sensitive, wrong, mistaken, confused, dramatic, etc.;
  • She is dismissive and/or derisive of others’ genuine concerns, no matter how politely those concerns are stated;
  • She will twist/misrepresent whatever is said by her target; in other words, “intentionally misunderstanding” what happened in order to make the target look bad and/or to garner sympathy for herself;
  • If caught in a lie, she will either outright deny that she said it, or will say that she didn’t mean that by it;
  • She may contact her followers/supporters/friends privately to elicit sympathy and to directly or indirectly encourage them to attack on her behalf;
  • She may have multiple “sock puppet” accounts to use as needed for her own behalf;
  • She enjoys shitstorms on social media, even if she says otherwise, because she becomes repeatedly embroiled in them;
  • If she is famous, she may have spoken out publicly about how she has endured/overcome repeated “bullying” on social media;
  • She makes herself seem like a victim in order to emerge victoriously as a hero who has “conquered bullying”;
  • She may intentionally seek out and start disagreements with strangers, in order to to get attention and keep drama going;
  • Her timeline is a testament to her techniques (often “quote tweeting” someone else out of context with a criticism of what was said; and/or the implication that she is a victim; and/or as an invitation for her followers to pile on);
  • She capitalizes on the attention of the arguments on social media by garnering interviews, giving lectures, doing videos, writing papers/posts, and/or utilizing other means to talk about the horrid “bullying” she has endured;
  • When someone points out to her that she is encouraging her multiple supporters to personally insult the target, she denies it totally, even “modestly” denying that she even has multiple supporters, despite clear evidence to the contrary;
  • She says intentionally provocative and/or offensive things to stir up trouble, then pretends to be shocked and dismayed when a brouhaha ensues;
  • She engages in gaslighting techniques (and similar examples), as described in this post;
  • She may falsely imply the target is a racist, a misogynist, sexist, or any other “ist” (or is somehow otherwise wrong/bad) in order to discredit and distract;
  • She may make false accusations/allegations against her target…again, in order to discredit and distract from the real topic, which is her narcissistic injury. (For example, someone once made the false claim that Dirt had “sexually abused” her on Facebook…which is beyond ridiculous and actually not even possible, but, apparently, both logic and truth are completely lost in these bizarre battles).
  • She may call her target such things as “dangerous”, “crazy”, “biased”, “bigoted” (etc.) in order to demean her target’s credibility and to try to stop anybody from listening to anything the target has to say.

My own personal lessons in having dealt with multiple such situations/individuals now on social media are as follows:

I now truly feel the only way for me to deal with covert narcissistic behaviors on social media is to identify and avoid these individuals whenever possible. (Note to self: Do some basic research on the person’s timeline BEFORE jumping into the fray).

If I do find myself embroiled in an argument with someone who I feel is gaslighting me or otherwise not fighting fair (as described above) in the future, I plan to try to remain cordial and extricate myself as soon as possible. (“Try” is the key word in the previous sentence: I do better with this some times more so than others. It is a learning process that I unfortunately keep having to re-learn).

I always hate to do so, but I will block the individual if necessary, as well as any others who are creating drama on her behalf.

I try to always remember: NOBODY CAN WIN AN ARGUMENT WITH A NARCISSIST and everything I say can and will be twisted and used against me.

Here’s my own personal to-do list for future reference when dealing with such individuals in the future, taken from my most recent post entitled A Battle With A Narcissist Is A Losing Battle Indeed:

MyNarcissistRecommendations

Please also read my previous posts on  covert narcissism and gaslighting for further information, background, examples, and recommendations.

Social media has a lot of positives: to stay in touch with family/friends, to reconnect with old friends, to make new friends, to discuss issues, and to exchange ideas with a variety of people.

However, social media also has many negatives: it can become a free-for-all brawl where normal rules of basic decency often don’t seem to apply. People say dreadful things to each other on social media that they would never dream of saying in person. People often show their worst selves on social media; instead of lifting us up, social media often has a tendency to drag us down.

My vow  for the future is to try to not let these relatively few bad apples spoil the whole social media pie. In the future, I vow to try to not let myself be sucked into a vortex of negativity so that I also end up saying things that are not nice. I vow to take a break when social media feels overwhelmingly negative. As a very wise person said to a friend on Twitter recently, “Go rest. They will still be here when you get back.”

A Battle With A Narcissist Is A Losing Battle Indeed

Before I start discussing my topic today, I wanted to clarify something:

Most of my regular readers know that I have a Ph.D. in school psychology and that I work as a school psychologist as my day job (because, alas, nobody wants to pay me to blog).

I originally noted my Ph.D. and profession in my WordPress and Twitter bios, having added that information to my bios more out of habit than anything else ~ an automatic response to the ubiquitous “Who are you?” question.

I have now removed that information from my bios. I didn’t remove that information because I am ashamed of it in any way, nor am I trying to hide it.

Instead, the reason I removed that information from my bios was two-fold:

1). 99.9999 percent of the time, I am writing as a person/Lesbian, not as a psychologist. In the rare instance when I am writing as a psychologist, I am careful to specify that fact.

2). I’ve found that many people are unduly impressed with a Ph.D. People have a tendency to mistakenly think that because someone has an advanced degree, he/she is somehow better than others who don’t. That’s not true. I most certainly do not feel that way myself, and I decided that by saying I had a Ph.D. in my bios, I might be unintentionally perpetuating that elitist nonsense.

All of the above is to explain my decision to remove that information from my bios at this point (because I have received a few questions about it), and to reiterate to everyone to always assume I am speaking as a person/Lesbian, rather than a psychologist, unless I specify otherwise.

Today’s post is also (very) personal, not professional. Narcissism is a topic that I know a lot about, both as a person and as a psychologist; however, my focus today is solely on the personal, rather than the professional.

Much has been written about narcissism: the symptoms, definition, treatment, and so forth. For those curious about the basics, a simple Google search will garner oodles of results; to get the most reliable information, start with information from a known reputable organization such as the American Psychological Association, the Mayo Clinic, etc.

This post isn’t intended to be a lesson on narcissism or a description of narcissism, but rather a discussion of my own personal observations/reactions.

I do want to clarify that some people may display narcissistic-type features/traits/behaviors but may or may not meet the clinical criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Bottom line: We cannot, and should not, diagnose others on the internet anyway, so I will focus on features/traits/behaviors rather than actual or intended diagnoses.

***Therefore, for the purposes of this post, the word “narcissism” will be used as a descriptor rather than a diagnosis. Also, I am using “she” in this post because my own personal demons are with females who have narcissistic traits, but, of course, these traits can be exhibited by either males or females.***

Why do I know so much personally about narcissism?  Simple: Because I am the daughter of a narcissist. I have sort of danced around this fact in my previous posts about my mother, because I was hesitant to say the bald truth publicly. I was raised to never say anything negative about my mother, and old habits die hard. In fact, so hard that I never did speak a word about it until after she was dead.

I won’t go deeply into my personal experience with my mother and the effects on me as her daughter, at least not in this post…I am not quite ready for that yet.

But I am sharing this information to illustrate why I not only recognize narcissistic features/traits/behaviors in others, but, more importantly, to explain why I also still occasionally fall into the traps set by female covert narcissists…even now. Yes, even now. Even after getting a Ph.D. in psychology. Even though I am certainly old enough to know better. Even after years and years and years of working to understand the dynamics between narcissists and their targets. Even though I know all about narcissism…well, at least intellectually, that is. Even though I do (or should…?) actually know better than to engage.

As I said, old habits die hard, especially when you are conditioned to respond in a certain way. Sometimes, without realizing it until it is too late, I still unconsciously respond like Pavlov’s dog to the siren call of a female covert narcissist (which only happens online at this point, because I am MUCH better at recognizing and avoiding them in person).

When I do respond, I unwittingly become an active participant in a toxic pas de deux. It is a dance that I recognize all too well. It is a dance that will never end well for me, because there is no winning with a narcissist

But: A narcissist cannot perform her twisted dance without a partner, someone who is primed to dance the specified steps. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes, and I now find myself finally ready to hang up my dancing shoes permanently.

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Image: Pixabay: Jabore: Creative Commons CC0

For me, the warning signs that I have been sucked into the vortex of a narcissist are as follows:

  • an uneasy feeling of familiarity, even when I am dealing with a complete stranger on the internet;
  • a distinct difference in my response to that specific person which very far from my normally calm self;
  • queasiness, shakiness, fatigue, headache, malaise;
  • a very strong feeling of needing to defend myself and/or my point of view;
  • knowing I should pull away from the situation/argument, but feeling strangely unable to do so;
  • anger and defensiveness, usually way out of proportion to the situation;
  • a seeming inability to disengage without a LOT of conscious effort;
  • losing sleep and a general feeling of unease and restlessness;
  • unable to truly focus on anything else for the duration of the dance;
  • an obsessive, oppressive feeling that I need to fight as if my life is at stake;
  • fight or flight response (rapid heartbeat; tense muscles; etc.);
  • repeated fantasies that everyone else will somehow magically see the narcissist for who she really is;
  • feeling unreasonably threatened (while knowing that the person poses no literal physical threat);
  • strong emotions trumping my knowledge/logic…I can even consciously be aware that the individual is likely a narcissist (or that she at least exhibits some narcissistic features/traits/behaviors), but yet still feel compelled to engage anyway, despite knowing it is a fool’s game to do so.

Of course, everybody will have different ways of recognizing that they are dealing with a narcissist; the above is my own personal list only, based on my own experience.

So, you may be wondering: How can anyone win a battle with a narcissist?

Sadly, you can’t. I can’t. Nobody can.

Let me say that again, because it bears repeating:

NOBODY CAN WIN A BATTLE WITH A NARCISSIST. 

So: If I ever find myself locking horns with a covert female narcissist (my personal Achilles’ Heel) again, I vow to remember the following:

  • Recognize the above signs, preferably sooner rather than later;
  • Remember that any response whatsoever gives the narcissist fuel which she will use to burn me at the stake;
  • Walk away. No matter how hard it is, walk the hell away and keep walking (or, even better, RUN LIKE THE WIND);
  • If the situation occurs on social media, block the narcissist immediately, and block everyone who attacks on her behalf (because she will enlist others to do so);
  • Remember that narcissists are usually incredibly cunning/manipulative and extremely good at fooling people, so most others are not going to be able to see the truth about her (so give up the hope that they will);
  • Refuse to engage with the narcissist, her minions, or even random strangers offering “help”;
  • As much as I may want to defend myself, I need to remember that I don’t need to do so (and, in fact, it will even be counterproductive if I try);
  • Listen to my wife Dirt and to friends I trust ~ they will always be much more objective about the situation/person than I can possibly be at the height of the drama;
  • Remember that I could fight all the female covert narcissists in the whole world, but not only would I not win my battles with them, but, more importantly, fighting with them would certainly never heal any wounds from being the daughter of a narcissist.

Finally, to quote Vizzini from my favorite movie, The Princess Bride:

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is ‘Never get involved in a land war in Asia.’ But only slightly less well known is this: ‘Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!’ Ahahahaha, ahahahaha, ahahaha—-thud”

Another classic blunder to add to Vizzini’s list is: “Never engage in battle with a narcissist”…because I have a better chance of single-handedly winning a land war in Asia than anyone does of winning a battle with a narcissist.