- Circular conversations
You’ll think you worked something out, only to begin discussing it again in the next conversation. And it’s as if you never even said a word the first time around, or the 10th time around. The narcissist has lots of complaints about you, while ignoring any legitimate arguments you may have provided, time and again. At the end of the conversation, nothing will be resolved. The same issues will come up over and over again—why are they friendly with their ex.... again? Why are they suddenly distant? Why do they seem so eager to get out of your presence? And every time you bring up these issues, it’s as if you never even had the argument in the past. You get sucked back in, only to feel crazy & high-maintenance, then they decide “I’m sick of always arguing about this.” It’s a merry-go-round.
2. Bringing up your past wrongdoings & ignoring their own
If you point out something the narcissist is doing—like ignoring you, not listening to what you say, being distant, or issues with their ex—rather than discussing the issues you ask them to resolve, they’ll mention something from the past that you’ve done wrong. Did you once upon a time do something wrong? Well then, what they're doing isn’t really all that bad compared to what you did years ago. Did you do XXX two years ago? Well then, you can’t complain about what they're doing now. And God forbid you bring up any of their wrongdoings. Then, you are an abusive lunatic with a list of grievances that have no basis. In this way, the problem you bring up, however simple, never gets solved.
- Condescending & patronizing tone
The entire conversation will have the basis that you're obviously unreasonable, obsessed, or crazy, and they are entirely reasonable and a victim. It’s almost like they are examining you, because you realize that they aren't listening, just waiting you out. When you finally react emotionally, that’s when the narcissist will tell you to calm down, and tell you their feelings are hurt or you are abusive. The whole point of this behavior is to depict you as unhinged, and therefore give them the upper hand. Because remember, conversations are competitions to be won, not problems to be resolved.
- Accusing you of doing things that they are themselves doing
This will put you on the defensive, especially in heated arguments. You are trying to save the marriage or relationship, asking for changes, and to be heard, but they will begin labeling you with their own faults...so if they are negative and critical of you, they say you are like that. The narcissist will depict you as a horrible person, but they will at times accuse you of this in an indirect way. This will frustrate you and of course, you will react negatively, proving their point as far as they are concerned. By diverting the conversation into your numerous and onerous faults, they never discuss the real problems in the marriage. This is called PROJECTION by therapists.
5. This is true, but wait, then THIS is true
If you angrily pull out of the conversation because it goes round and round, the narcissist will start insulting the things they once said they liked about you...you become a terrible person now. You’ll be left wondering who you’re even talking to, because a positive thing is said at one time, then a demeaning and insulting comment later. They love you and they despise you, they think you are a good person, then a very bad person. There is no stability in their view of you. They leave you feeling totally unloved even while saying they love you.
- The victim
Somehow the narcissist's problems and their confusing behavior that's inconsistent with a marriage or relationship will always lead back to a conversation about their abusive past, and then they compare you to their former abuser, even if the former abuser ex IS the problem causing the confusion. The idea is for you to end up feeling bad for them, even when they've done something wrong. Then after doing this, they will seek an opportunity to bond with you over their supposed complex feelings. And once they have successfully averted your attention elsewhere by acting as if they have changed, they will soon become distant and things go back to the way they were.... no bonding or deep spiritual connection whatsoever. They are the ones saying “abuse” while being abusive—and, in the end, you are left feeling nothing but empty.
- You begin explaining basic human emotions and actions
You find yourself explaining things like “empathy” and “feelings” and “being nice”, what is a “bad person” and what is a “good person”, what are bad motives and what are good motives, what is OK for a person to do in a certain circumstance, and what is not OK, or you explain that a person has obviously bad intentions, which the N says has good intentions, then says the opposite later, and then claims they never said anything else. Most adults do not need to be taught the golden rules from kindergarten. You do this because you have attempted to see the good in them. You think to yourself, “if they can just understand why I’m hurt, then they’ll stop doing it.” But they won’t. In the first place, they wouldn’t have done all the hurtful things they have done if hurting you was their primary concern. The worst part is, they have this sweet, caring persona. They know how to be kind & good, but they will hurt you again and again, and then you realize that your happiness is not nearly as important to them as you once imagined, because they are more than willing to hurt you if necessary for what is a “higher good” in their mind....and they really believe they are doing the right thing while doing this, and your pain is irrelevant. The marriage is sacrificed to the “greater good”, or to what they want to do, no matter how hurtful it is to you.
Everyone messes up every now and then, but narcissists give flimsy excuses rather than actually following through with promises. When their actions don't match up with their words, they shrug and say they weren't really thinking about it. You'd be humiliated if you broke a promise, but they are emotionless and it simply isn't a serious problem to them, even when you point out that they are destroying the all trust in your marriage and that the marriage can't survive without trust. They know that, but it's irrelevant, whereas once, it was extremely important to them...but that's long gone. You are disappointed so frequently that you can't feel relieved when they do something decent—they condition you to expect to be disappointed again and again, and you are. All happiness is temporary, and just a short reprieve before another inflicted hurt.9. “What in the world just happened?”
These conversations leave you drained. You may be left with an actual headache, but definitely a sense of total frustration. You will spend hours, even days, thinking over the argument you've just had. You’ll feel as if you exhausted all of your emotional energy to accomplish absolutely nothing. Even if you have well thought out arguments in your head, you can never respond to all the deflections, accusations, personal attacks, and asides that make your points get lost and become irrelevant, so you try again and again to bring the conversation back on track. You will feel the need to defend yourself and much of the time is spent in this way. You can tell the narcissist isn't really listening, they just want you to shut up so they can go back to doing the same thing and ignoring what you said. You’ll try to come up with a diplomatic solution, and you admit that you have been wrong at times.But in the end, you’ll find that you’re the only one truly apologizing. One day you realize you are the only one trying to save this marriage or relationship, and that's the saddest day of your life. You sink into despair. It's hopeless without the narcissist truly wanting to repair and renew your relationship. You become resigned to a divorce happening, sooner or later. Perhaps now, or perhaps you will go on for years in a loveless relationship...empty inside. Your spiritual life is dead.