The narcissist’s lifeblood is controlling and it pulls on the emotional strings of those in their life.
One of the most significant ways in which they “feed” is by creating chaos.
The narcissist will always manage to bring chaos into your life. Whether it’s on a large scale, like actively working against you and taking steps to sabotage your success, or on smaller levels. As long as you have contact with a narcissist—you will always experience chaos.
The narcissist in your life will do things like “forget” to do something they promised to do at critical times. For example, if you have a big board meeting and need them to bring something from home, they will forget to do it, and it will put you in a place of needing to wing it, or be late when you go get it yourself.
There will also be other chaos-creating events, such as failing to communicate accurately, thus giving an incomplete picture. As a listener, you are confused and unclear about what they are trying to tell you and then they become frustrated with you. Talking to a narcissist is like completing paint by number painting with only half of the numbers. You’ll always walk away confused or having done a significant amount of work to understand.
The narcissist does this to create instability—they may be reliable and consistent for a while, only to do something to pull the rug out from under you. Their whole purpose is to keep you unstable and off-kilter. When you feel off balance emotionally and mentally, you are easier to manipulate. The narcissist knows this and thrives on keeping you easily malleable.
The narcissist will also do things like call you with a problem that they urgently need you to solve when you are in no position to do anything about it. This is especially likely to happen if you are in a place where you might be feeling happy, successful, or confident.
They can’t stand to see you happy or thriving because it means you are becoming less dependent on them. When you start taking steps toward independence and to create a life outside of the “crazy-making” they have held over you, they feel threatened. They don’t want to lose their source of supply (psychic energy), so they will up their efforts to reel you back in. They may have a desperate situation that “only you can fix” and will play upon your guilt to get you to comply.
For many, cutting ties with the narcissist in your life is not possible, even if it is the best possible option for you to maintain your wellness. You may have to go low contact, which means you only talk when necessary, and have structured boundaries around any such conversations.
So, what can you do?
The most important thing to remember when you have a narcissistic person creating chaos in your life is: you have to remain tethered to reality.
You must anchor yourself in the truth of what you know and the truth of what is happening. They can’t create chaos if you don’t participate, which is where good strong boundaries are vital. Recognize that creating chaos is part of how they feed on you—so take steps to limit their options to do it. Don’t rely on them for things, especially important things. Know that they are likely to create chaos in an effort to sabotage your success and happiness.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself and know that their behavior has nothing to do with you. Don’t take it personally and try your best not to engage. Get into therapy to build your inner resources and capacities.
Stay grounded in the truth and cling to your reality.
This is your best bet for getting out of these types of interactions whole.
Author: Lisa Vallejos
Image: Mike Schmid/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Leah Sugerman