Have you ever been lured into a store with the promise of a great--almost unbelievable--deal? Then, you get there and find that there are conditions: the deal is only available for people with perfect credit, green hair, purple eyes, an IQ of 220 and whose mother had no children? Otherwise,  you're out of luck.

Or, perhaps more realistically, you meet someone with whom you would like to do life or business, and as you get to know them, they seem unbelievably perfect for you. In fact, everything you say, you think, you value, you want, you see, or you are ready to create or go for in life,  is somehow exactly what they say, think, value, want, and see. It seems a perfect fit.

But, then, there are tiny lines, then cracks, then crevasses, and finally, the truth is revealed: they were pretending, posturing...or, reeling you in!

When you deal with narcissistic behavior, believe the actions and NOT the words!

They hoped by aligning with you, they would be able to pull the wool over your eyes long enough to get just what they want. And, at first, you can hardly believe that what they are doing is not what they said they valued. You may even second-guess yourself and think it may be your fault. You may have had this happen in business. Unfortunately, you may also have had this happen in love. But, there are people who are simply so wounded, narcissistic or self-interested, that this is the only way they know how to control life...and, you.

It's the old "bait & switch" marketing manoeuver: 

What I'm appearing to offer is glossy, attractive and beautiful, but what you'll really get is dull, unattractive and more than a little shop-worn. In fact, it will be just what you didn't want, but come on in anyway, and buy, buy, buy!

What can we learn from this?

People will SAY anything. What we need to bring ourselves to know--difficult though it is because we want to think the best and believe them--is that people will always SHOW us who they are by their behavior choices. It really doesn't matter what folks say because their behavior tells us what we really need to know about them.  Here's an amusing. thought-provoking example:

I was giving an eight-week seminar program throughout the summer. As I walked across the parking lot to the class, I could see participants standing outside talking with one another on this lovely evening. One woman spotted me and said in a loud voice:

“I really meant to come last week.”

“No, you didn’t.

“Yes, I really meant to come last week.”

“No, if you had meant to come you would have come. Meaning to is just another way of justifying your behavior with hindsight. It’s meaningless.”

Everyone joined in an insightful discussion about all this before the classwork began. It’s worth thinking about. Think about how many relationship problems exist because folks want to believe someone’s words, even when the person’s behaviors and actions are in direct opposition to what they say!

What we DO tells people who we are. People will never fail to show us who they are, regardless of what they say.  Often, we so want to believe their words that we justify their behavior, so we don't have to deal with the truth they are showing us. That's unwise.

Trust what people SHOW you, not what they say...and, not what you want to hear!

That was hard-learned for me, and for most of my clients. How about for you?

© Rhoberta Shaler, PhD.  When you're ready to say "No more!" to toxic relationships, unnecessary drama, and poor examples for your children to follow, work with Dr. Shaler directly now.  Subscribe to her Tips for Relationships. Listen to her podcasts for valuable insights and strategies to reclaim yourself, and create healthy relationships with yourself and others: Emotional Savvy: The Relationship Help Show, and Save Your Sanity: Help for Handling Hijackals®.


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