I talked with my friend L today. We unleashed our complaints about inflation and the hot weather etc. for an hour. Then the conversation inevitably veered towards family issues.
“You know my mother-in-law had said that she would raise our kid for us. Seriously. Raise our kid for us. That was long time ago, before our kid was born. However after our kid was born, she rarely lends a hand. Also before my husband and I got married, she, as my future mother-in-law, said that she would give me her jade bracelet. That’s like more than ten years ago. She still haven’t given me the bracelet. I guess she had never had the intention of giving me that. So why did she say something she never intended to do?” L said.
“That’s called future faking. I have been watching videos on narcissism and future faking is one of the manipulation narcissists do to their victims.” I said.
“Well, I don’t like to analyze things, especially not my relatives. You know. I am afraid that I might discover something I don’t want to discover.” L said.
“You want to talk about your relatives but you don’t want to analyze them.” I said.
“That’s true. I just want to talk to let out some steam to make me feel better, but I don’t want to analyze.” L said.
“Are you saying analyzing further will not make you feel better? But you haven’t tried to analyze them yet. How do you know you will not feel better once you have analyzed?” I said.
L could not be persuaded. After hanging up the phone, I recalled those instances when my own narcissistic relatives did future faking regularly. They said those things just to make themselves look good, to gain attention and admiration, to manipulate me so that I did something or made a decision according to their wishes.
Or it was an occasion when there were other people around. They wanted to show others how generous, helpful, magnanimous they were while you were the problem, you were the disappointment, you were the sulky ungrateful youngster. In those days, I was too gullible to see through their narcissistic games.