‘Don’t rock the boat, Lucy’; the damaging role of the narcissist’s enablers
My daughter got kicked out of a local shop the other day for not showing ‘proof’ of mask exemption.
When I went in to set things straight, I was asked with a patronising tone & head tilt, ‘Are you going to keep this going throughout the whole of the pandemic?’
In other words, ‘Please can you just submit? Like me.’
It reminded me so much of my mum.
‘Don’t rock the boat, Lucy,’ was one of her most used phrases of my childhood.
Because my family dynamic is narcissistic.
Narcissists are unnervingly similar in their seemingly formulaic make-up & behaviour.
They tend to be very controlling.
They lack true empathy & compassion (but will often have learnt how to mimic it for self-gain).
They cannot bear to be criticised & if they are, will sulk & hold a grudge, often silently & secretly, whilst formulating a plan for revenge or punishment for the person who upset them – whilst being extra nice in the meantime for maximum head fuckery.
They are very easily offended, which – as those unfortunate enough to be in their inner circle will know – makes them incredibly high maintenance.
If you get sucked in, the relationship quickly becomes all about them, their wants, needs, their image & dramas… & boy do they love a drama, even if it’s just in the form of an internal simmering rage of wounded self-righteousness.
They have a strong sense of entitlement, including the right to be abusive to others. In my experience, a narcissist could metaphorically punch you in the face; you’d say, ‘Ow, that hurt’, & their response would be, ‘And?’
They go all out to break spirits & quash personal identity & expression, because without these powerful & vital aspects of human individuality, you are a lot more easy to manage, condition & control; you can be moulded into a fearful people pleaser, too riddled with self-doubt & afraid of ridicule or punishment to question &/ or speak up.
Trained by the best in the business.
They achieve their goals through fear, ridicule, guilt, shame, bribary, preying on insecurities, denying your perception of reality, shifting the goalposts to keep you on the back foot, cajoling, coercing, isolating you from others to reduce your support team, blowing hot & cold to cause confusion, projecting blame onto you & others to keep the spotlight of accountability & responsibility away from them, showering you with praise, support & hope one minute, then bearing just enough of their teeth to put the shit up you the next.
They’ll keep you on your toes, never knowing what’s coming next but always looking to them for validation of your reality.
Your new reality – the one they replaced your old one with.
And all of this they will deny & deflect ’til the cows come home.
There are many reasons for all of this, mostly rooted in trauma. The problem is that full-blown narcissists are unwilling/ unable to look at this, & therefore project it out onto others & as a result are unable to change.
It’s not all bad though, & this is the key to how they do what they do.
They can be extremely charming & funny – life & soul of the party, helpful & capable, often with an air of authority; perfect for captivating people, laying the perfect breeding ground for hugely toxic & dangerous relationships, where a facade is shown to the world, & the real deal is only seen by a few.
And to see it is hugely isolating.
It feels incredibly sinister.
Like sitting in a huge cinema where everyone else is laughing their way through a heart-warming romcom & somehow you’re sitting through a psychological horror movie. You might even turn to the person next to you to express your disturbance, & they just look at you with a puzzled look of doubt, turn back & carry on spluttering into their popcorn. If you keep nudging them to see what you see they just get irritated.
Feel familiar, anyone?!
So according to the narcissist’s rules, of which there are many, the few that see, must under no circumstances challenge them with any truths.
If they do, it will be vehemently denied & they will be punished.
These punishments will mostly be covert, meaning that even if called out they could easily be explained away &/or twisted back onto those receiving them.
If it’s a more overt punishment, the narcissist will engineer the situation so that he/she is seen in a position of superiority & control, & simply ‘doing what’s necessary’, often ‘for their own good.’
Others witnessing the punishment will generally feel glad it’s not happening to them, & consequently work even harder to please the narcissist.
Sometimes they will turn a blind eye, & pretend it’s not happening, or in attempt to offset feelings of discomfort at knowing that what’s happening is wrong, convince themselves that the punishment was in fact justified.
To me this is an incredibly dangerous & pivitol point in a relationship with a narcissist, because you are now identifying with them.
You’re seeing the situation/ world through their eyes rather than your own.
You’re functioning from a place of fear, parroting their phrases of justification for actions that you would have previously seen clearly as wrong.
You’ve been programmed; you’re in their web & under their spell.
This is how enablers are born, & this is how narcissists get away with their diabolical behaviour.
Enablers (also known as ‘flying monkeys’ due to their flitting between & apparent allegiance to both parties), are yes people, whom the narcissist exploits & uses to do their work for them.
Being well & truly caught in the web, they’ll generally do this eagerly, ready to defend the narcissist at any moment, immediately shutting down any threat to the version of reality their masters have worked so hard to engineer.
These flying monkeys enable the narcissist to avoid being caught out. They allow them to remain hidden behind the smoke & mirrors whilst the drama plays out around them.
They give them infinitely more power via their increased reach, & since enablers will often be ‘nice’ people who’ve unfortunately had their minds manipulated & compassion hijacked, they’ll often have good relationships with the narcissist’s targets.
It’s a way to worm their toxic tendrils into the lives, minds & behaviour of so many more people than they’d ever have direct access to themselves.
(Also feeling familiar?)…
A few years after I discovered what was going on in my family, covid hit.
Narcissism will be well known by a lot of people reading this, & this is not a coincidence. I’ve found that a huge number of people who’ve been aware of what is happening in the world right from the start, will have already been on the receiving end of, & broken free of narcissistic abuse.
They will consequently have sniffed it out a mile off.
It’s not the case for everyone though.
I knew something was very wrong in my family for years & years, but had no idea what narcissism even was, let alone how to deal with it.
Had I known about it, even been taught about this pathological condition as a child, things could have changed for me a lot sooner.
When I began studying narcissism during a particularly hellish episode of family life, it was like reading my own biography. All the missing pieces of the jigsaw clicked into place.
To hear that this was a thing, experienced by countless others was what it took for me to finally listen to my instincts & lose the self-doubt.
I finally broke out of the cognitive dissonance I’d been in for so long.
‘I know I’ve got this right, I know it’…
‘I have got this right, haven’t I?’…
‘But they’re all telling me I’m wrong, & they do seem to care about me’…
‘Maybe they are right after all’…
‘Maybe I’m overreacting’…
‘I’ll drop it – it’s more comfortable.’
I went from this, on repeat, to someone who not only called their family out on their shit & later left altogether, but can stand in this current shitstorm with total trust in my instincts & conviction in my actions.
Stubborn whispers of, ‘stupid’, ‘idiot’, ‘fool’, ‘worthless’, ‘what do you know’, ‘no one will listen to you’, still haunt me now & then, but are nothing more than a hangover; a challenge to release the final toxic residue of the part of my upbringing that has ironically been the making of me.
I’m sharing this only to illustrate how it is absolutely possible to break free of & thrive.
Because what we’re experiencing in the world today is narcissism on a global scale.
And the role of the enabler is a huge one.
The ones who go along with it.
Sometimes going all out to bully others into going along with it.
Thinking they’re safe & looked after if they just do what they’re told.
Or maybe they just can’t be bothered to upset the apple cart; to have to deal with the inevitable fallout & difficult adjustments that come with acknowledging the severity of the situation, choosing instead to mock, downplay & explain it all away with a plethora of illogical ‘reasoning’ that will always be lapped up by others in the same echo chamber of false security.
An easy life.
Not rocking the boat.
Turning a blind eye to their metaphorical siblings getting shafted.
I’m alright, Jack.
Except they’re not.
They’re well & truly in the narcissist’s psychological clutches.
Blinded by trauma bonds like Stockholm syndrome, misplaced trust, manipulated by gaslighting, battered into submission, or the classic, ‘It’s just…’ state of denial.
And very much (often unknowingly) contributing to the problem by being an extension of the narcissist’s abusive arms.
Keeping it all going for them.
I have seen in my own family how, over time, particularly as the drama increases & darkness or threat of the narcissist is exposed, people can seemingly morph into a mini version of them. Their own personality is so much in the narcissist’s shadow that it’s barely seen.
Their identity is lost in exchange for being ‘looked after’ & ‘granted immunity’ from the abuse they know the narcissist is capable of.
The truth is though they are not really cared for or immune.
How can they be when they’ve handed themselves over & given up their sovereignty?
Sold their soul.
They are being played, used & abused.
They just don’t see it. (Yet.)
Think I’m overreacting?
No one’s handing themselves over?
How many people have allowed an injection they didn’t want into their body because they were coerced, guilt-tripped, scared, manipulated or threatened?
The danger of this is that the more embroiled you are in the narcissist’s web, the more dependant you are, & the harder it will be to get out.
This is precisely what’s happening at the moment with the passports & boosters.
It’s abuse, & it’s a trap.
But it’s also another chance to get out.
In this global situation, where the era of narcissism & all that comes with it is coming to a messy end, getting out is a necessity, because they are going down (to be replaced with a societal upgrade like no other).
And if you have no line in the sand; if you’ve given it away & remain overly attached, embroiled & dependent, too proud to admit you’ve been had, too invested in the lies, dependent on educational/ career status or social identity, or completely unwilling to look at past traumas, you will go down with them.
They know this.
That’s why they’re trying so hard.
It may look from the outside like the non-compliers are being punished the hardest, but things aren’t as they seem.
You don’t need a mask, 4 injections, endless swab tests, OCD & a barcode to be free.
Real freedom comes from sovereignty.
Those ‘conspiracy theorists’ that have been irritating you with their non-compliance are actually your friends who have broken out of the abusive relationship you’re still in & are trying to help you see what they’re doing to you.
I didn’t experience my family dynamic just to back down when the same pattern appeared in my life again.
I experienced it so that I’d have the insight & tools to do the exact opposite.
And to call out bullshit when I see it.
So yes, lady in the shop.
I absolutely will keep this going throughout the whole of the pandemic.
And if part of my role here is to be a thorn in the backside of people like you, who are unknowingly contributing to & enabling a hugely abusive situation which is adversely affecting everyone, yourself included, I’ll take it.
And if I’m fighting for my daughter’s right to walk into a shop with her face out, please don’t expect to silence me.
And don’t belittle it.
Because in March 2020 when many of us called what was coming, we were laughed at, criticised & yelled at for being ‘dramatic’ with all this talk of vaccine passports & draconian control which if we don’t resist, our children & grandchildren will inherit…
‘It’s just a mask’, they said.
Bollocks was it.
It is narcissistic abuse to a huge & evil degree. And it won’t be stopping with vaccines & passports anymore than it was ever going to stop with ‘2 weeks to flatten the curve’.
They will keep it going for as long as they possibly can, & that comes down to our willingness to obey, humour & enable them.