Does anyone understand this phrase? Unfortunately, it hits home for me. I have been the fly. Entirely. What is his reason for the torment? “I wanted to get a rise out of you..” Why does the little boy pull the wings off of flies? Why does the Narcissist knowingly say and/or do things that will hurt you? Repeatedly?? To see your reaction. To get a rise out of you. It’s amusing. The hurt that he or she causes is of no consequence, and when you DO respond out of pain or anger, it quickly becomes your fault… “God, can’t you take a fucking JOKE?!” and, “I’m sorry YOU took that wrong.” My god… it’s ALWAYS our fault!
The newest addition to my “disordered” play-list (I’m sorry, it just fits), is a narcissist… 100% and has done this the entire time we were “together”, even when I tried to keep an amicable friendship with him. His latest stunt took the torment to a whole new level. I won’t go into the details, but he, knowing my past with jealous/abusive men, decided to act like one, out of the blue, complete with the relentless badgering. It’s a HUGE trigger for me. One that causes fear, trembling, and crying. It’s one that ALWAYS ended with physical abuse. He really hurt me. I was supposed to be OK with it because it was just a “joke”, that I was supposed to “…fucking take”, for the sole purpose of wanting to get a “rise” out of me.
Those of us who have lived through any time with a narcissist, know this game all too well. For the people who have never been “there”, I am going to list and define a few terms that are a favorite of many Narcissists. Definitely my own… There are 3: 2 phrases, and one word.
Lets start with the word, (or phrase) “Rise”, as in; ‘get a rise out of…’
Rise: as in; ‘get a rise out of’: A reaction. To rial. To irritate, momentarily torment, upset, as to play a trick on someone for amusement.
In order to rial someone up, you need to intentionally irritate them. This is solely for the purpose of getting a reaction. Used by normal individuals, this will rarely incur any damage, other than the swift kick delivered to the instigator. It’s meant to be funny for both parties. NEVER TO HARM, HURT OR DAMAGE!!! In the hands of the Narcissist or Psychopath, their SOLE intent is to cause harm. They intentionally anger, hurt, and upset beyond return, JUST to get the reaction. It is done repetitively, intentionally, and is torturous in nature. The reaction that is incurred, is ALWAYS expressed out of pain, grief and/or anger. This is what the Narcissist or Psychopath wants. It’s amusing. It’s a game. It’s cruel, totally and completely cruel. AKA: Narcissistic supply.
After time, this will cause lasting psychological and emotional damage to the victim, esp. when coupled with fake remorse; including tears, self-loathing, threats of suicide due to “hurting you” and the like. It’s an ACT!
I will list the two phrases together;
“Can’t you take a [f’ing] joke?!” and, “I’m sorry you took that wrong.” What is the common thread of both phrases? BLAME-SHIFTING!!
1) “Can’t you take…” is intended to make the victim or target feel stupid, because they didn’t catch onto the humor. They are made to feel stupid for getting so upset over a “harmless” joke, and insinuating that the target has no sense of humor. When the “joke” is intended to hurt you, it’s not a joke. It’s an attack. The only humor in that, is seen by the disordered one. It’s not funny, and it’s entirely cruel. It’s painful and meant to be so.
2) “I’m sorry you took…” (Not: “I’m sorry. You took that wrong.”) is designed to “appear“ as a legitimate apology. “I’m sorry you took that wrong”… Look at that sentence a little closer, said just as it’s written. No pause, break, or hesitation between supposed or proposed exclamations. It is one exclamation… YOU TOOK “THAT” WRONG. The “I’m sorry” is designed to make you believe it is an actual apology. “I’m sorry you took that wrong…” could be re-written as; “I’m sorry you were too stupid to catch on.” Not an apology. It’s intended to cause you to carry the blame for THEIR cruelty.
After the damage has been done and you are left sobbing… the Narcissist begins to show “remorse”, by admitting that he hurt you (often not of his own accord, but only after you ‘teach’ him and/or tell him how badly he hurt you)… immediately following this, is when he pulls out “I’m sorry you took that wrong.” to transfer guilt to you. He might cry tears, speak in a self-loathing way, “I’m such a piece of Sh**!”, as well as threaten or sound suicidal for hurting you. This is also part of the game. He wants you to feel bad for HIM, in the end. He has to “one-up” you, by hurting worse than you. It transfers the guilt to YOU for the fact that YOU are hurting, which was his intention to begin with! By hurting and crying, you are supposedly hurting him WORSE! Does this make sense? Of course, I’m talking about the game of the Narcissist, as applied to his target.
Of course, after a while you start to quit caring… or you will feel actual guilt, as dictated by the over-the-top expressions of the Narcissist boyfriend. It’s all in how you choose to respond, and how you perceive everything. If you see yourself as the “horrible” woman, for “hurting him” by misunderstanding his intentions and ultimately causing his horrendous “pain”, this will eat you alive completely. Of course, this cycle is never ending. You will have days or weeks when things seem like they used to be…in the beginning…when things were wonderful. What you will see next, is another out-of-the-blue attack, designed to hurt you just for the reaction it gives. Again, you will be manipulated into carrying the guilt that is NOT nor has NEVER BEEN yours to carry! It’ll happen again, and again, and again…. without end. That is, until YOU are through being the blind patsy for his benefit.
How do you know that the remorse they are showing is fake? What happens in the coming days? Does that person repeat the behavior, knowing that it hurts you? Does a cycle become apparent, even after he shows tears for hurting you? Or even threatens suicide? After all of the pomp and circumstance, does he continue to blame-shift? If all of these fit your situation, you are dealing with fake remorse. You are dealing with someone who gets strength from your pain.
If you happen to fall for this game, please don’t beat yourself up. It’s done so sweetly much of the time, that you aren’t aware of what is happening til it’s too late. The shock has already been dealt to you, and you are writhing with pain. We all know what it’s like. The fact that you fell for a “fake” persona is difficult to accept. You love them deeply, and it’s hard to believe that you have been a toy. They torment you and hurt you as part of a cruel game. It might take some time to fully believe what is actually going on. It goes completely against what you thought and believed about this person. The fact that you fell in love, makes it all that harder.
If you are a survivor of previous psychological abuse, and as a result were able to see the tactics early on, count your blessings. It doesn’t erase the pain, or the fact that, regardless of fore-knowledge, you continued to believe in the individual and your relationship. The facts just hadn’t hit “home” yet, though you knew and understood. It’s hard to believe this “sweet” person is actually a damaging Narcissist. The “jokes” become more painful and pointed in time. They become more damaging. You become more and more hurt.
I have to tell you, however… One of the tactics used after you try to break it off with the person is that they will COME BACK, ever so slowly, desensitizing you to their advances. A little at a time until you are almost hooked again. You get to the point of having to remind yourself just WHY you broke up in the first place. You have to remind yourself of the pain that person caused, repetitively. They break you down a little at a time until you start to believe the lie all over again. Once you begin to feel “at ease” with the Narc again, the cycle will begin again. It’s progressive, incessant and intentional. It’s good to give it a little time to be sure of what you’re dealing with, before making a final judgement. Sometimes you have to go back a few times, before your heart finally understands what your head already knew. When you finally “get it” and your heart follows…
GET OUT! STAY OUT! Don’t entertain a friendship of any kind. No contact means no contact. It’s hard at first, but remember to tell yourself, “Why would I want a repeat?!” You don’t want this person as an ally, or for any support at all. You are strong, and have others you can depend on. Cling to them and stay OUT of a relationship for a while 🙂
Peace… sweet peace…
It’s yours when you accept it.
- Trauma Bonding-When it isn’t Love (ladywithatruck.com)
- A joke that’s not funny… (behindthemaskofabuse.com)
- Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury: What You Need to Know (projectblissful.com)
- It Was Just a Joke (allthepageswereoutoforder.wordpress.com)
- Narcissists Lack Empathy (and how to counteract his influence with my children) (livingtransparently.wordpress.com)
- You are in a Relationship with a Narcissist, Now What? (narcissistadvice.wordpress.com)