Some people are just dicks. You know the ones I’m talking about…douchebags, bitches, assholes, whatever term you prefer. Most of us probably have the great displeasure of dealing with one of these tool bags in our lives, whether it’s an ex-spouse, a boss, or a pain in the ass coworker. I sincerely hope you aren’t stuck with any of the above but if you are, please know I’m truly empathetic and let me know as soon as possible so I may buy you a drink or 5. You deserve it. We deserve it.
Before I get into the details of how best to deal with these mutants of emotional warfare, I think it’s important to first attempt to understand their inner workings, as scary as that may sound. I say “attempt” because I don’t think anybody can truly understand or relate to a person who acts with such hate and malice.
I’ve encountered many such people and to be honest, I’ve sometimes struggled not to let them get in my head. But I’m making great progress as of late, I’m proud to say. It’s a skill and like any skill, it takes some patience and dedication to achieve but I’ve had plenty of opportunities to practice.
A lot of the people I’m referring to were and are narcissists. If you don’t understand or know what a narcissist is you can Google it, or better yet just watch the news. We are very privileged here in the great US of A to have a textbook case currently residing part time at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. That is, when he’s not sexually assaulting women, plotting with the Russian underworld to undermine our democracy, or donning a white sheet and hood as he “rallies the base” (i.e. uneducated and gullible white folk) across the country, all presented with an unapologetic burning cross on stage. When you’re above the law, why hide the fact that you’re a racist, sexist, and lifelong criminal? Anyway, the crowd eats it up like ice cream on a hot summer day, I’m telling you. It’s quite the show.
And really when you think about it, what better way to learn what narcissism is than with a real life, in the orange flesh case study who demonstrates daily, if not hourly, all the common traits of a true narcissistic nimrod? By the way, if you think this type of mental disorder is something to shrug off or take lightly, remember Adolf Hitler was also a narcissist.
I know several of these psychological fuck ups in my own personal life. One of these ass clowns is my wife’s ex-husband (also referred to as Rage Monster, Douchebag, Disneyland Dad, Piece of Garbage, Piece of Shit, and many more). Without question, he’s a narcissistic dick.
I also have friends who have narcissistic exes as well and the stories they’ve told me are eerily similar. They tell me in detail of extreme arrogance, compulsive lying, cheating, the lack of any empathy whatsoever, and how they’ll do whatever they can to beat down others to make themselves look superior.
What helps me in dealing with their behavior is the understanding that they literally can’t help themselves. They’re like infants who don’t know any better than to cry when they’re hungry or need their diaper changed. An infant has an excuse though: they have an undeveloped brain and body. For the adults I’m talking about, the fact that they can’t help themselves doesn’t excuse any of their behavior. A lot of them were impacted in childhood or they’re just wired wrong, and despite the outward signs of grandiosity and arrogance, they are really quite shallow and insecure.
Probably what helped me the most though is realizing that these people will never, ever change. It’s just not going to happen. Ever. It’s in their DNA and they’ve lived so long in their self-centered world that to expect anything else from them is just going to end in total frustration. The sooner you accept this, the better off you’ll be. It takes some time but it’s a very important first step.
There are some other tactics I’ve used as well to calm my reactions to these people, including the Rage Monster. Besides accepting that he will never change, I’ve tried to look at it in purely objective terms and take the emotion out of it as best I can. In his case, most of his current anger is the result of being forced to pay for his own kids. If it were up to him, me and my wife both realize, he would pay absolutely nothing in child support and feel perfectly fine about it. Why would someone feel this way about supporting their own kids? Simply put, it’s because the child support payments are made out to his ex-wife.
Let me explain this a little more because it’s an important part of who a narcissist is and it’ll help in dealing with them. Basically narcissists don’t like the word, “no”, and they don’t like to lose or to be seen as weak. They seek complete and total control. So when my beautiful wife finally decided she was done with his bullshit shenanigans, she left him. As a result, from now until he dies, he has made it his sole mission to try and destroy and punish her, and if the kids get in the way, it’s just collateral damage that in his psychotic, distorted mind, is an acceptable consequence of him trying to reach his goal. In other words, the ends justify the means.
To deal with this we remind ourselves that the only reason he acts the way he does is because someone stood up to him and won. This is the equivalent of being kicked in the balls for a narcissist. Understanding the “why?” of their actions puts everything in greater perspective.
Also, we have the law on our side. It’s not perfect by any means but it does offer some protection against gross misconduct on his part. Narcissists, remember, want total control and complete power over those around them, and they truly believe they are above the law.
This is certainly the case with Mr. Tan Man in Washington, but it’s also true of any narcissist, including my wife’s ex. He still attempts to make up his own rules and there are still plenty of mind games but financially he has to pay child support and my wife now has the option of simply ignoring him most of the time.
This has taken a lot of his power away and by not engaging with him, it’s also helped ease some of the stress in our lives. His power is now limited to routinely responding with, “that’s what child support is for” to any request to pay his fair share of large expenses related to his kids. It’s the equivalent of a child throwing a temper tantrum and we view it as exactly that. He’s grasping to maintain any level of power over her and his options have been severely diminished. On good days, it’s actually pretty entertaining to witness the desperation.
Besides not engaging and realizing these people will never change, I also want to stress the importance of staying focused on your own life and what you want to accomplish. It’s very easy to let someone who’s constantly trying to get under your skin to do exactly that. But as I’ve mentioned in my other posts (Nobody liked Veruca Salt), you have to put blinders on and focus your time and energy on the things that add real value to your life. Don’t let someone else distract you from your bigger picture.
In my case, I remain committed to everything I want to do in my life, no matter what the Rage Monster or people like him are doing or attempting to do. They are damaged, toxic souls who live in their own Hell and honestly, that’s probably the greatest realization of all. Narcissists live in a fantasy world of their own making and they expect others to play their assigned roles. Fortunately for us, we understand them better than they understand themselves and as a result, when asked to play our part according to their master plan we simply reply, “Fuck you.”