Editing Note: I originally posted just CZ's comment with nothing else. I had meant only to save this on a blog post for my own notes and not publish it. OOOPS!!However, since I've gotten three comments on it, I will leave it for now, edited to include other pertinent information. Here is the original link to the CZ's post, that I commented on and she replied:
The post is chalk full of good information, but something CZ had said in her comments to another person resonated with me and was a huge point of validation for me.
Her words were:
"The most dangerous problem in society is when people do not understand pathology and assume the narcissist operates in the same reality as themselves. My X used to tell me all the time that he wished he lived in my world because to him, it was Disneyland compared to the jungle in his mind (Eat or Be Eaten). It has taken ten years for me to grasp the meaning of his words."
I've often felt that my sister (and mother and MIL, to some degree) live in a parallel but separate universe from me. That, with my sister in particular, I can't really have a relationship with her because our realties don't overlap at all.
This was my comment, to which CZ further commented on (the original message of this post, and copied below):
"CZ, this article is enlightening and helpful. But this comment above really struck a chord with me. This seems to be at the crux of my relationships with my narcs. I've been trying to maintain relationships with people that live in parallel but completely different realities from the one I live in. And my narcs, unfortunately, do not have enough insight to realize that I live in a different reality. They assume that I operate in exactly the same way as them. And this in congruency makes any sort of real relationship impossible. "
Sorry for all the confusion on this post! And sorry CZ for publishing this without realizing what the heck I was doing. Darn buttons! I need to pay more attention!!! :) Here is CZ's final comment, the one I found most validating and helpful, and I'll leave it here for anyone else who may find it helpful.
"Hi Jessie! It's lovely to hear from you. <3
A great book for understanding narcissism is "Disarming the Narcissist" by Wendy T. Behary. She practices Schema Therapy and her insights can be particularly helpful for those of us seeking understanding. If we are dealing with a hostile malignant narcissist, maybe not; but the majority of us are not dealing with that degree of pathology. There are no malignant narcissists in my life today which allows me to be less defensive and more compassionate with narcissistic people. When a malignant narcissist is destroying your life, about the only thing people can do to protect themselves is "no contact."
I wonder if you could talk casually about schemas with the narcissists in your life? Not focusing on their schemas of course, but yours. This is how conversations with my X began, when I was in therapy and openly discussing my beliefs. Such as my response to Einstein's question (supposedly): "Is the universe friendly or not?" My X could not believe i didn't see life as "Eat or Be Eaten." This was the first realization we had that our perceptions were polar opposites. He said the universe was predatory and I said it was nice. We were both wrong. hahaha
What this helped me do as his wife (not that it changed the outcome) is recognize his fear which I had 'mocked' to some degree because I didn't understand. The level of fear he lived with day in and day out (fear of failure; the need to WIN at all costs) softened my heart. But I lacked the Rest Of The Story such as the inability to bond to people, etc.
There isn't anything WE can do to change the schema in someone else's head but we can prevent conflicts from escalating because we 'understand.' As I mentioned though, ending the relationship may be the only option if that person is unreasonable. You simply cannot expose yourself to hostility without losing your joy and your self-respect. It wears people down bit-by-bit and even as TERRIFIC as their boundaries may be, NO ONE can live with that degree of insult.
IF someone believes the world is Predator-Prey without allowing for alternative views, no matter what you say, no matter how you explain yourself, they will NOT believe you. They will think (as I mentioned on #21), that YOU are pretending so they'll let their guard down AND then, you'll GET 'EM. You can't work with that mentality and if someone is thoroughly convinced their perceptions are right, there is NOTHING you can do to convince them you have a kind heart and would never intentionally hurt them. As you wrote, "the incongruency makes any sort of real relationship impossible."