Last April (2020,) I somehow ended up with a bleed in my hip that was very painful. I was in the hospital for 4 days and actually got to see that they were prepared for Covid. So even though I was in fear of this deadly virus that had invaded us; I was comforted by the idea that the hospital was ready for what might be coming. When I returned home to an incredibly happy Cocker Spaniel, I received a phone call from a woman who identified herself to as someone from an agency that I trusted. I didn’t check out her story because we were knee deep in Covid and people all around me were checking on people. My neighborhood became friendlier than ever. There was little divisiveness in a country that was quite divisive.

Anyway, these phone calls kept coming in daily and I was polite even though I knew I had little in common with an Evangelical. Yes, by then, she had revealed her enthusiasm for Jesus. I am pretty much as far from being reborn as one can be. But she would bring me food, scrub my floors, shovel my snow. I didn’t ask for any of these favors. It felt weird. She had just inserted herself in my life, but it was Covid. She drove me to the clinic when I had a procedure done. She made herself available and I kept answering the phone. Strangely, I never told her that I had a grown daughter or that I had a son who passed years ago. The things that you would share with a friend; I never shared.

I never felt like a friend, but I felt like a project and there were so many times that I thought (I knew but I wasn’t ready to admit it) that she was lying about pretty much everything. Ironically, every lie had a morsel of truth in it; so, you never were quite sure. Lie vs truth? She would say – I’m going to help you with that but then she didn’t follow through and I’d complete the task myself. An example – the biggest con – I got you a grant from my Evangelical foolery to have your deck stained. That was in July 2020 and then, I was informed that the people who were going to do the staining had a sick daughter and couldn’t do it right now. That tall tale continued all the way through October. She had a dog sitter for me but whenever I contacted the person; I either got no response or a rude response. But the mystery caller said it was all a misunderstanding. It wasn’t. There was the hair appointment that never happened. Well, you get the point.

So, I finally realized that I was the target of a scam or the target of an unstable person at the very least. But I started trying to understand. Why would someone start making phone calls, start doing all these “good deeds,” start telling lie after lie? What was the motivation? Believe it or not; it brought me right to something called a communal narcissist, a religious narcissist, an altruistic narcissist. All three are the same thing, just with different names. I thought I knew all about the disorder, but I didn’t know this – an altruistic narcissist combats their feelings of worthlessness with an “I am a superior care-giver” façade. Like any other type of narcissist, they are seeking attention, compliments, praise or in narcissistic jargon – supply. Remember a narcissist needs supply to live much like a vampire needs blood.   

My problem was that I tried to make an irrational person understandable by asking questions like – why would you lie about everything? What’s the purpose of that? But then I think – narcissists are prone to lying. They lie because they lack self-esteem and lies make them seem more interesting. False promises are also a lie. Their goal is to get attention by any means possible. Actually, doing a good deed or keeping a promise, is not in the narcissist’s rule book. Their pleasure comes in not following through while still receiving altruistic supply by bragging that they did. NARCISSISTS LIE TO GET SUPPLY. They feed off of your emotions. They invalidate their targets by lying to them. It’s a game! I was supply to a con artist.

These altruistic narcissists are often religious and use their community of church goers for a source of emotion. They fill their empty buckets with other’s cries of “oh, you’re so wonderful.’ “Everyone knows that Jesus is God;” she will yell louder than all the rest, thus proving her faith is stronger, her heart is larger, her good actions are loftier than anyone else. But because she has a false self; she offers up promises but doesn’t follow through.  

So, how did I figure out what was happening? The beauty of narcissists is that they all use a similar playbill. They ghost you; and they step up the gaslighting. I’m quite familiar with gaslighting and I was getting that “this feels crazy” sensation. Then all the lies and half truths came rushing over me in a wave. I was full of doubt but that alone informed me that I was dealing with someone unstable and manipulative. Her mask slipped and she showed herself to the wrong person. Now, do I know that she’s on the narcissistic continuum? I’m not a therapist or a diagnostician. But I know gaslighting and I knew it was transpiring. So, thank you to the GASLIGHTING.

The essential problem in trying to figure out a narcissist, a compulsive liar, or a manipulator is that we begin from a place of goodness, and they don’t. We don’t know that people like them exist; people whose sole purpose is to collect attention for themselves by causing other’s pain.    

Let’s turn off the gas together! Let’s be aware of what gaslighting feels like because then we can escape the cycle of manipulation and abuse. This frog sprang out of that pot before the water started to boil.