1. ”I’m struggling. I blew it, I could sure use some help.’‘
The first key phrase that you might not hear from a narcissist is, ‘I’m struggling. I blew it, and I could sure use some help.’ Narcissists can’t do that. If they show themselves to be hurting and struggling, even when it’s glaringly obvious to everyone else, in their minds, that puts them way too much in a vulnerable position. And narcissists do not like to be vulnerable.
One of the basics of simple, healthy relating is for us to be vulnerable with each other. I see what’s going on in you; you see what’s going on in me. Let’s acknowledge that; let’s be open, and let’s talk about our highs and our lows, our pluses and our minuses. If you believe it, own it; say it. Let’s talk about it. The narcissist is like, ‘No, no, no. I don’t do it that way at all.
2. ”I realize I have some ongoing patterns…”
The second phrase you won’t hear narcissists say is, ‘I realize that I have some ongoing patterns that are feeding into our current difficulties.’ Now, if there are some difficulties that just keep popping up, you argue too much, or there’s some money mismanagement, or there’s stubbornness or a defensive that comes very quickly and easily into the relationship. Typically, you’re going to see that this is something that’s been going on for a long time. Healthy people who are trying to take a simple approach would say, ‘I know that I brought into my adult years certain trends and tendencies and patterns, and for the rest of my adult life, I’m going to be working on keeping those to a minimum. And so when we see it, I’m not just going to focus on the problem right there in front of me at the moment, but I’m going to focus on that in the context of the big picture.
Narcissists don’t do the big picture. It’s like, ‘Look, if you’re talking about historical trends and patterns, you’re just living in the past, and that’s a waste of time. Besides, I don’t know that it’s a pattern with me anyway. I’m not going to do something like that.’ So they tend to give brush-off statements. ‘So what if I have a temper? So what if I’m stubborn? You are too, and yeah, my old man was like that, or they’re filtered that way. And they do it too, so what?’ And they just don’t want to acknowledge that we all have our strains and tendencies that can take us toward some dysfunction. Healthy people will own it, and they’ll want to do something about it. Narcissists, you won’t hear them take ownership of that at all.
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