Arguing with a wall
Have you ever tried to argue with a wall? It can be infuriating. You try to be calm and rational, but the wall doesn’t budge. Doesn’t even acknowledge you said anything, it just stands firm on what it believes. You can say anything you want and the result will be the same – the wall will still be there in your way and nothing will have changed.
For anyone who has had to deal with someone that has a personality disorder, this is what most conversations feel like. Until you’ve actually lived with a PD person, you really don’t have any idea. “Oh, it can’t be that bad” makes me want to laugh. You’re right – it’s worse. “You are just imagining it” – really?! Huh. I documented when this happened and guess what – it’s happened multiple times. “I can’t believe they would actually be like that. Maybe you are just seeing a problem where there isn’t one.” – again, really!?
Until you live with someone with narcissism, borderline personality, histrionic, or antisocial disorders – YOU REALLY HAVE NO CLUE!
As for those of us dealing with it, unfortunately, after awhile, we truly believe it is our fault and we are going crazy. Maybe it is us. Maybe the PD is really not the one with the problem?
Just the fact that you think this and question things shows that you aren’t the problem. The PD WANTS you to question and believe that you are the problem. That’s how they control and manipulate you. Talk to others, calmly, and get some other thoughts. Ask anyone else that has lived with the PD if they thought the same things. You may find that you are cracking the veil and seeing the world that the PD wants to keep hidden from you. That’s what a personality disorder does.
Below are several sayings commonly heard coming from people with a personality disorder. Out of context and on the surface they sound like things that normal people might say and make it seem like you are the one with the problem. But, as with most things they do, the PD has ulterior motives and different definitions of what these sayings mean.
What you’ll hear from a personality disorder
1 – You don’t understand me – This phrase is very commonly uttered to make you question your thoughts and believe that you have misunderstood things, you are the one that should feel guilty. This tactic is used when the PD is gaslighting – trying to make you feel like you are crazy and questioning things. No matter that the PD just said something hurtful or they said something that is a skewed view of past actions, this saying will throw you off and make you concentrate on it rather than whatever lie you caught them in. They win. If you hear this phrase, stop and go back to what you wanted to discuss before the phrase was uttered.
2 – Don’t be so sensitive and defensive – Again, this is meant to throw you off and make you think about what is being said rather than what you originally wanted to discuss. Usually, the PD will have said something that was a complete lie or goes against something they said or did earlier and you were pointing it out. Or they gave you a ‘backhand’ compliment – something like “Well, I guess that eyeshadow looks good on someone that has eyes like that.” They said something wrong and want to redirect you away from what they said, so they accuse you of being sensitive.
3 – No matter what I do, it’s not enough – Oh you have to love it. Wait, what do they do? Usually, the PD will do as little as possible, but always want to make it seem like you are giving them grief. They may point out the dinner they warmed up in the microwave 3 months ago. They may just say this without anything specific in mind. It’s just to make you feel guilty: “Yeah, I guess you do a lot, I’m sorry I got upset.” Or they just did something they shouldn’t have and you told them not to, but they did it anyway. Maybe you had been waiting to have friends over on Sunday afternoon and that’s when they decide to mow the yard, thereby drowning out anything said. Forget the fact that they could have mowed it any night the week before, or all day Saturday or Sunday morning. They chose right when it was the most bothersome to you and then accuses you of not appreciating them so they won’t mow anymore. They win no matter what.
4 – What about what you did …. – A PD never forgets, they are like elephants (ok, I know that’s a myth about elephants). No matter how bad something was that they did, they will bring up something that you did before that they consider worse. Or at least something they can use to redirect you. It may be something they’ve brought up countless times before and it may be something that was resolved long ago. It doesn’t matter. They don’t want to talk about what they did wrong and won’t admit it anyway, so you have to feel guilty about something you’ve already apologized for. And if that doesn’t work – see #2.
5 – You make me do this – No matter how off the rails a PD may be, no matter what actions they do that are destructive or what they may scream and no matter where they are, it’s still your fault. They cannot take responsibility for their actions and will blame everything on you. They got upset at the dog so they drug the couch outside to burn it – it’s your fault because you didn’t pet the dog enough last night. They start flinging Christmas presents at people’s heads while screaming in a rage – it’s your fault because they wanted a happy holiday and you’ve ruined it somehow. Every temper tantrum they throw will be your fault, every tirade will be because of you. If that isn’t enough of a reason to get out, I don’t know what would be.
6 – You should get some help – This is another thing said that is designed to redirect the conversation and make you think you are the one that is crazy. You must be, you are mad and upset and yelling, but the PD didn’t do anything. It’s all you. Then you are defending yourself and the more you defend yourself the worse you sound. No matter the flaws and errors in anything said, no matter how much the PD is the one that needs help, in their mind, it’s you that needs the help. But they’d be willing to put up with you and help you – just admit whatever was your fault and it will be forgotten. Until next time.
7 – Stop playing games – Everything you’ve said up to this point watered down to you trying to trick them or make it seem like they are crazy. That must be it. You are irrational and making things up, playing games to make it seem like the PD is crazy. Well, no, actually, you aren’t playing games – but it’s hard to be accused without reacting. This is another saying to make you react and to make you lose control so you can’t think straight. It’s much easier to control you that way. This is completely what the PD wants everyone to start thinking, so this is a good one to throw out there when there is an audience. “See everyone? They are yelling at me and causing a problem. Oh, and on top of that, they are making stuff up – playing games – to make it seem like I’m the problem.” Like any dealings with a PD – shut up, don’t react, and get out. You won’t win. Let me repeat that in another way – you will only lose. You aren’t dealing with a normal, rational person.
8 – Everyone thinks you have a problem – This one is really meant to play on your fears and insecurities. Who wants to be the person everyone else is whispering about behind their back? Like all the others, this is going to throw you off and make you start questioning things. You won’t remember what the original problem or argument was, you’ll be so worried that ‘everyone’ thinks you have a problem. Just remember, to the PD, everyone is probably just the 1 person at work that you’ve never met but believes everything the PD says and also the old high school friend that lives five states away, but chats with the PD to hear of all the problems they are having dealing with you. Totally one-sided, so no, not ‘everyone’ believes you have a problem.
But what can I do about it?
Actually, that’s a pretty easy question, but the answer can be difficult to actually do. If you have heard these phrases and thought maybe you are the one with the problem, realize it probably isn’t true. Get some help. If your partner refuses to get help – well, it may be them. So here are the easy steps to do:
1 – stop talking or arguing
2 – walk away and don’t engage any longer
3 – keep right on going and don’t stop or look back
You won’t make them see the truth or admit they are wrong. You can’t use logic with them. It’s really pointless. They want you because you continue to believe them and you continue to fall for what they are saying – so break that chain.
Other useful articles:
And we have a book to help with determining if your significant other may have a personality disorder