Narcissists are like con men—they’re always scheming for a way to pull one over on you. You can set up boundaries to protect yourself, but they find the weaknesses in your defenses and slink through. And before you know it you find yourself the patsy in their con.
Where a conman uses visions of riches to ensnare their victims, narcissistic parents are likely to use your own guilt and anxiety to get what they want. The narcissistic parent’s demands are not always stated up front. At times they use a con to steal what they want from you.
Cons follow a predictable pattern that looks like this:
- Foundation Work—the narcissist makes their plan and lays the ground work for getting what they want from you.
- Approach—this involves getting in touch with you. This stage is carefully prepared and they come armed with what will make you feel guilty so you lower your boundaries.
- Build-up—the narcissist introduces their scheme to you. What they want will mostly not be stated outright. They use this stage to lower your guard so they can get what they want.
- Pay-off—the narcissist appears to give to you, his victim, something that you have been wanting. This may be a physical gift or an emotional promise. The narcissist knows what you yearn for so they know just how to pay you so you can be easily manipulated.
- They Hurrah—this is a sudden crisis or unexpected development in which the adult child of the narcissist is pushed or forced to act. Once the hurrah is triggered the child is putty in the narcissist’s hands and will give her what she wants.
(For more information on how cons work, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confidence_trick#Stages_of_the_con)
Right now I’m trying to figure out the hurrah in my father’s attempt to con me. Continue reading