… is no true king.

~ Tywin Lannister to King Joffrey Baratheon (Game of Thrones).

I don’t watch Game of Thrones, neither I have read the books. However, I have read enough and watched many YouTube videos, making it possible for me to be familiar enough with many characters and general storylines. I have come to the conclusion that several characters could be considered narcissists, sadistic, or even sociopaths, young king Joffrey being one of those.

I’ve seen many videos where he kept on pointing out that he was the king and expected people to do whatever he fancied. The only two people who seemed to know how to handle him and who were not afraid of him were his grandfather Tywin and his uncle Tyrion Lannister.

For some reason, the scene where his grandfather tells him that a man who says ‘I am the king is no true king‘ reminded me of how my husband and other people who seem to be enamored of themselves might make a point of letting others know about some quality they want others to believe they posses. (And they themselves believe so, whether they have it or not.)

I believe that people who usually know who they are and what they are don’t point it out and they don’t feel the need to do so. They could be millionaires, geniuses, extraordinary talented in an area, and they are still humble about it. I’ve seen it first-hand. I have relatives, both dead and alive, who have been Olympians and more than once, actually. But they never pointed it out, nor they talked about going to the Olympic Games, World Cups, Panamerican Games, Etc., unless they felt they absolutely had to. They would only and mostly talk about it when youngsters would ask in that way kids have that you cannot not answer their questions. Or when someone had undeniable proof that they had been there by pointing at a newspaper picture, article, or both, and saying to them “You can’t deny it. That’s you!‘ My own mother was in a national team and she never told me about it until I insisted in asking her after one of my aunts had disclosed it to me. I was a preteen by then.

My husband usually describes himself as a leader. I’m not sure what he might be a leader of because I have never seen his followers. Maybe I should say to him something along the lines that a man who says ‘I am a leader’ is no true leader. People who are natural leaders do not feel the need to tell others that they are leaders. They just show it through their actions.

On the other hand, a natural leader finds ways to make people feel that they are the ones making the decisions. In other words, a natural leader might have the final say, but they encourage their followers and people they are mentoring to think for themselves, to propose ideas, and in the long haul, they help them grow as persons. At least that’s how I like to think about natural leaders and good leaders.

And then you have the people who like to portray themselves as leaders when what they are in fact is being dictators. People under dictatorship do not have the ability to provide input. They are scared to voice their opinions, ideas, or concerns. And that’s what living with a narcissist feels like.

I grew up under dictatorship. You have to make decisions around what the dictators determine and follow their rules. For instance, if there are curfews, you cannot stay out on the streets after a certain time of day. Well, you could, but you’re risking being taken in if they find you on the streets. Sometimes you cannot even decide on a job. You’re just impose a job. Under some dictatorships, you’re not free to read whatever you want, some authors or books are off-limits, you can’t practice a religion, you can’t study certain events from history (they may even be completely removed from text books,) you can’t pursue some careers, some products and goods are not available, you cannot move around the country without special permits, you can’t even leave a country without special passes or documents.

Living with a narcissist is like living under dictatorship where all your basic rights are being removed by the higher authority.

Living with a narcissist basically feels the same way. You are scared of voicing your concerns, your feelings, your thoughts. If you decide to voice any of those, you may even go into a panic attack way before confronting your narc. Your feelings, thoughts, ideas, and concerns are discarded, trampled, disregarded, even forbidden. You don’t count. You’re even told how you should feel, how you should act, how you think. There’s no freedom in a relationship with a narcissist. Your entire reality is dictated by your narc. You’re even told that what you lived through is not what you think or remember it being.

barbedwireAny society who has been under dictatorship knows this, too. You’re told that something that is happening to you is not the way it is. Things are done behind public eyes. Machinations, manipulations, deceit, deciding for others, removing rights, punishment for things that would be perfectly normal and accepted under other circumstances or leadership. Think about World War II. So many people going to the death camps and so many other people not even knowing about them, or denying they existed, while all the way, some people were ardent followers of Adolf Hitler and his entourage and what not’s.

And that’s where the problem relies when it comes to flying monkeys: They fell under the narcissist’s spell. And the narcissist can be so convincing with his or her words that his or her followers believe him or her. They cannot even fathom that the narcissist may not be a good person. They are so enamored by the narcissist’s charm. But those of us who know them intimately know that it’s just a sham. Or at least we eventually start seeing it. And once we do, there should be no stopping us. That’s when we need to make a decision, for our own sake: Are we going to stay as victims waiting for a miracle to happen, or are we going to take matters in our hands and become survivors, getting out of it victorious? The choice is ours in the long run. We may be stuck for a while. There may be circumstances preventing us from completely breaking the chains that link us to the narcissist. But I cannot imagine my wanting to stay as I was only a couple of years ago.

Once I saw what was going on, I had to do something about it. I didn’t live through one dictatorship to die in another one and by choice. I don’t like what is going on in my life right now. It’s no fun going through a divorce and fighting for custody of your child. But I rather be where I am today a hundred times over staying stuck in the fog of gaslight, abuse, and lies.

Wherever you may be in your journey today, know that you’re not alone. There are a lot of us out there who have made it out of the fog or who are making it out now, step by step, one day at a time. It is a hard journey and it will hurt along the way. But that pain is necessary to heal from the harm that was inflicted on us. That pain is nothing in comparison to the pain we suffered under the reign of the dictator. And if you don’t believe it, just know that if your narc says that he or she is the best you will ever have, know this: Good people do not say they are good or the best; they just show it through their actions and without even trying to show it. In fact, they are not even aware of it. And if your narc insists that you will never find anyone like him or her, just smile and reply: ‘That’s the point!’

It might be an uphill climb, but when you reach that mountaintop it will be worth every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears you put into it.