How on earth did narcissists and sociopaths ever pander their diabolical wares before the invention of cell phones, Facebook, and other forms of social media? For those of us who’s relationship with a narcissist dates back, say, 13+ years, I think it’s safe to say that narcissists back then, sans the gadgets, were much tamer, far more cautious people with far less tools and strategies for making us nuts. Back then, it simply wasn’t as easy for the narcissist to be a narcissist because to be the best narcissist ever, a narcissist has to have weapons and there simply weren’t that many to be had. Narcissists can not be narcissists on brain power alone; they must have tools…weapons of mass destruction…options for making us insane. Back then, the N, of course, didn’t know what he was missing but you can bet he knew that he was missing something. Living in a society that’s basically driven by love and emotion and not having any extra ways to pretend that he/she had either one must have been difficult indeed. Back then, the victims, even while shocked at the weird passive-aggressive behaviors, simply thought this guy was just more of an asshole than the last guy.
But then came the cell phone and then came social media, giving the world of narcissism and sociopath a rocket-blasting boost that is still going strong. Yup, narcissism evolved right along with technology at a dizzying pace. And while the narcissists of the world thought they’d died and gone to heaven, the people who dared to love them thought for sure that this was hell on earth.
Narcissists & Cell Phones
Narcissists use cell phones to hurt you by continually playing what I call The Cell Phone Game. The Cell Phone game, in a nutshell, refers to any narcissistic antic that revolves around the narcissist’s cell phone that gives you anxiety. In other words, if you’d be willing to give anything (and I mean anything at all) to have just one cozy hour alone behind locked doors with your guy’s (or gal’s) cell phone, then I’m 100% sure your N plays The Cell Phone Game.
For example, the N will use his phone as a tool to exacerbate your anxiety during certain phases of the silent treatment. First, of course, unannounced and unexpectedly, he suddenly goes silent (Phase 1). THEN, he uses his phone in a variety of ways to extend the chaos and make you crazy (Phase 2): 1) when you start power-calling his phone to find out what’s up, he deliberately lets it go to voice mail – for weeks at a time, 2) you text frantically and he doesn’t respond, 3) he allows his voice mail to fill up so that you know he isn’t even listening to your messages, 4) he blocks you from both calling and texting, 4) he changes his phone number (the ultimate rejection and my ex’s favorite!), 5) he gets a brand new phone with a new phone number (only you won’t discover this until he comes back), 6) after a long silence, he suddenly rings you with just two short rings, leaving no message, and then won’t pick up when you call back – ever, 7) he changes his voice message to something that just makes him sound single, 8) he turns the phone off so that it goes right to voice mail forever, or 9) he lets his minutes run out so that you don’t even know if he even has a phone.
And even while the two of you are technically “together”, the narcissist can still use his phone to torment you by 1) being very secretive about what’s on it but acting like whatever is on it is no big deal (and you’re delusional!), 2) freaking out every time you even go near it, 3) appearing to conveniently have left it somewhere else whenever he comes to your house, 4) appearing un-phased by the fact that, when he is with you, his cell is mysteriously silent, and 5) pissed as hell that you even thought to bring that up! His cell becomes the perfect tool for creating plausible denial and, thus, one of the most effective ways of managing down your expectations of the relationship
And, finally, the narcissist will use his cell phone texting finesse as his favorite way to hoover or as his favorite way to accuse you of something ridiculous when you least expect it. When it comes to creating narcissistic ploys and tactics to use involving the cell phone, the sky’s the limit!
Narcissists & Facebook
Judging by the sheer volume of letters and comments that I receive detailing scenarios of narcissistic behaviors that happen to involve Facebook, it’s clear to me that this particular form of social media has become the ultimate narcissistic playground and weapon of choice. Facebook is to a narcissist what a baseball field is to a baseball player or an ice rink to a hockey player or a basketball court to an LA Clipper. Facebook is a stomping ground for narcissists and sociopaths. It’s a place where they can shine and also shine people on. A narcissist will, among other things, find victims to target via Facebook (or be somewhere where potential targets can find him), juggle multiple relationships simply by blocking and unblocking certain victims at certain times, idolize, devalue, and even discard his victims via Facebook, create smear campaigns against victims to make himself look good, and deliberately post pictures of his newest target, professing his “love” for this person just a few short days after crawling out of his “girlfriend’s” bed never to return.
Facebook is no place for you to be if you are truly serious about maintaining no contact. In fact, blocking the ex via phone, text, email, and other avenues of social media while still checking on his life via Facebook constitutes breaking no contact even if you’ve made no contact. No contact is about you – not the narcissist – and, thus, it’s imperative that you understand the futility of stalking via social media. Doing this does nothing more than compound the anxiety that you are already feeling. Some will even tell me that they can’t help themselves but we all know this isn’t true because the truth is that we’ve always had the power to stop it. I’m telling you that you’ve always had the power and you must believe me!
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Understand that NOTHING – and I mean NOTHING – the narcissist does is ever random. NOTHING! So, when he dumps you or you dump him and he shows up on Facebook boasting about a new target and acting all in love, this is a deliberate act – a strategy! We forget that the narcissist knows us as well as we know him and probably even better (because that’s been his job, after all). He knows that you’ll check for him on social media eventually because he knows your habits. He knows you will do it and he’s going to make fucking sure that you have something to see that provides a big fat jolt of familiar anxiety.
At any given time during the first year of no contact or a break-up, checking an ex on social media will immediately set you back – even if you think you can handle it. It’s been almost two years for me and I still won’t do it. The success of going no contact and your overall recovery depends solely on your intention. Once you actually block his number (so he can’t call or text) and block him on Facebook and on all of your social media, the relief you feel will be amazing. It’s a relief that comes from never having to wait for anything from this guy ever again. No more waiting for a call and stressing you’ll miss it. No more waiting for a text and checking every five minutes. No more checking the caller ID in the middle of the night. No more checking email and social media for some snarky message or sickeningly phony-sweet hoover. Without having to wait and hoop-jump and wait some more, you’ll have so much time to be you that you won’t know what to do with it. And you will be able to do whatever you want whenever you want.
You will be free…and the journey from that moment forward is all yours.