I believe I am well-suited to providing a key to figuring out if you are being tormented by a narcissist or are caught up in a narcissistic social structure, family or otherwise.
My qualifications are I was uniquely incapable of figuring this stuff out for many years. Being uniquely incapable qualifies me because I really know what it’s like to be abused by narcs for long periods of time, decades of time. I was also a serial fool, falling for more than one narc, more than one narc situation.
Cut to the chase: The key to figuring out narcissists and narcissistic situations is the double-bind, the no-win. Narcs put you in double-binds and enjoy watching you squirm. That’s how you can identify them.
I was raised in a narcissistic home. As Scapegoat, I accepted the program since that was all I knew. As a kid I had no clue.
Looking back, I do remember the frustration of being trapped in no-win situations. But at the time, I had no concept that these situations had been created or managed by one or more of my narc family members.
The key to understanding why narcs use double-binds is understanding that at their core narcs are very simple. Narcs want narcissistic supply. If you don’t give them supply, they will get mad at you. If you do give them supply, they will act like they like you.
Like or don’t like. That is the core of a narc’s social psychology. It is two-polar.
If you are a Golden Child (GC), the narc will like you till they don’t. If you are a Scapegoat (SG), the narc will probably always hate you though they do enjoy watching you suffer and may appear to like you when you do.
A GC’s ‘s life is dedicated to avoiding narc anger while feeding the narc with supply. An SG’s life is filled with being caught in some kind of double-bind. The best an SG can do is not be noticed.
GC’s have it worse than SG’s because a GC is raised to be especially shallow. Very hard for them to get beyond that.
The presence of a GC and SG in the typical narcissistic family structure is a result of the narcissistic parent’s or parents’ need to either like or hate. So they like one child and hate the other. It really is that simple.
So, if you think you are dealing with a narcissist, the way to tell is they will put you in double-bind, no-win situations. No matter what you do, you will be wrong. You may not notice what’s happening at first, but you probably will feel it. You will feel frustrated, nervous, anxious, sad, or have a nagging sense that something’s not right. Once you are sure of what you are seeing, get the fuck out of there. It’s almost impossible to fix a narc.
If you are in a GC or similar position with a narc (even as an adult), it will be harder for you to see what is happening, but you may be able to see other people being trapped in double-binds.
One more point—narcs are very good good at impression management and torturing select people. It can be very hard to see what they are doing because most of what they do may be done behind your back. A full-on narcissist is a very simple (two-polar) but vicious individual. There is no point in hating them, let alone challenging or trying to fix them. Their simple two-polar nature makes it almost impossible for them to change.