Just Let The Sleeping Dog Lie


You’ve heard the following quotes, haven’t you?  Don’t poke the bear?  Just let the sleeping dog lie?  Well, how about if I add, don’t try to explain it to the narcissist?

I have learned the hard way that a narcissist can hear you, but they can’t listen to what you’re saying, even if you’re using all the right words to explain how you feel.  Because when they hear you begin to say anything, even if YOU take the blame and not say it’s the dysfunction of the relationship, they will only hear your criticism of themselves (even if you’re not criticizing them) and they can’t handle that.  Name me one person who can handle feeling blamed for anything or not perfect.  Yikes, you’ve just stepped on a landmine that is sure to blow up in your face and not in anyone else’s.  Because you’ve overstepped into the ugly zone.

As an empath, I tried to explain how I felt to the narcissist in my life.  I used the I word repeatedly, talked about my feelings so as not to elicit any reactions or have them feel like I was blaming them, because I really wasn’t.  But it backfired like a powder keg full of dynamite.

I knew better.  But I couldn’t help myself because I thought I could fix the relationship.  I wanted to reveal what I saw that was going on in our relationship and give them the opportunity to tell me as well.  I wanted to help them and to help myself.  I wanted us to both get what we wanted out of the relationship.  I wanted it to improve.  I wanted us to connect better.  I had good intentions and I didn’t point fingers at them nor blame anyone.  And still, I got my ass handed to me.  (Sorry for the vulgarity)  It wasn’t a pretty scenario and it made things worse, even though my intention and goal was to improve the relationship and the situation.

I learned my lesson the hard way so I’m writing to tell you to NOT CONFRONT THE NARCISSIST because it will only end ugly.  Better to slowly add distance to your relationship with them or at least limit the interactions.  That’s my best advice.

But hey, I’m open to all advice, so if you’ve got experience in this area, please, share with me!  It’s a zoo out there, so any time we can help each other I think we should!

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12 Responses to Just Let The Sleeping Dog Lie

  1. BeowulfSabrina says:

    This is one of the most difficult lessons, you know? Wanting to help cos we ARE so good at helping, fixing, making everything better because we have empathy and we understand other points of view. Not doing anything is so hard. They don’t hear. It ends ugly. It backfires. They project, they transfer, they have zero ability for insight or self awareness. I did it AGAIN! And then he told me it’s not helpful for me to be helpful. I have the EMAIL!!! I can’t win. Being a good person with good intentions – it’s never enough.

    Liked by 3 people

    • janieleeds says:

      That’s when you let go Sabrina. You can’t change people. We can only change ourselves and if that means distancing ourselves, then yes, we have to do it! I get it. I understand. It’s never easy. But we can only control and fix ourselves, not others, even when we are meaning to be helpful and loving. I’m so sorry…you know I get it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. TJ Fox says:

    Ugh! That was a major issue with both my ex and OC. NOTHING that came out of my mouth could be taken as anything other than critical. It was so much easier for me to let go when it was my ex, but when OC started, it was so hard as a parent to let go when I knew it would only hurt him in the end. To then be bashed by my own parents and told I wasn’t doing enough made it all that much harder. I think I’d have to say the truly helpful phrase would just be to not ever engage a narcissist in the first place, but that isn’t always possible.


  3. snowtrill says:

    I completely understand. We even went into marriage counseling before the divorce (his idea so the therapist could “fix” me) and the therapist recommend divorce. He of course started going through his manipulation methods as soon as we walked out of the session. I kept the therapist for a while after the divorce and when everything was final she told me to look up NPD and it was one of the biggest a-ha moments in my life. I agree with your add wholeheartedly!

    Liked by 2 people

    • janieleeds says:

      I’m so sorry. I’m glad you’re away from him and can heal. I think we intentionally want to help, but sometimes it’s simply not enough. I hope you’re healed and happy now! 🙂


  4. Yes all very true. Walk away (very fast). Sometimes easier said than done.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Janie it is hard isn’t it?
    I had always held on to the idea that he was learning. He had learned to tread a little more carefully but he could never resist the temptation to throw a spanner in the works. After twenty years I knew many of his tricks. I knew he liked to ruin our birthdays, Christmas etc, safter a particularly traumatic birthday that he would get whatever he meted out back on his own birthday. That stopped that nonsense. He loved to take us all out for a great day and then fly into a narcissistic rage, once we returned home. I refused to go out with him for a while.
    He had terrible OCD too. I would watch his behaviour and could tell by the habits which were appearing, when things were heading South. I would tackle him early as I knew that the longer I left things, the worse his eventual explosion would be.
    I learned to manage his behaviour but it meant constant hard work. I don’t know about you but the good thing about having been together for twenty plus years was I had eventually satisfied myself that it would never really change and that I never wanted to get back with him, especially once I had learned about narcissism.


    • janieleeds says:

      It is a good thing that after so many years and after learning so much, we can be at peace in knowing that we don’t want to return to that relationship as it wasn’t what we needed/wanted/deserved. Time allows us to see things differently when we’re finally away from the middle of it. We get a good look from the observer point of view which is clearer than when we were in the storm.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We don’t see things clearly because they train us to see only what they want us to see.


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