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Bullied by a narcissist


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For the majority of my school life, I have been “friends” with someone who has lately been manipulating and putting down me and my group of friends. She calls us names and makes threats and so much more. The thing is, she makes me feel awful when I’m around her but there are also times when we have so much fun which makes me doubt if I am just overreacting or if she actually is a problem. I’ve told my family and they didn’t do anything about it and my other friends know about how I feel about her but we are honestly really stuck. Sometimes she uses physical force but it’s mainly making everything about her and making accusations about me ‘not caring’ and just saying the most untrue yet hurtful things, making me feel dumb and unworthy etc. I have cried over her so so much and I just don’t know what to do.

Her previous friend group kind of realised that she was narcissistic and cut her off a bit, but I only figured this out recently because she told us that they were the bad guys and were gossiping about her which was totally untrue. She just plays the victim so much and it needs to stop.
I don’t want her to have power over me but she does and I am scared of her and who she might turn against me if I do something about it. 

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey there,

Welcome to the DTL community. I'm one of the digital mentors here and I give advice to those who reach out. 

I'm sorry to hear about how your friend is treating you. It sounds like her actions are having an emotional impact on you which is completely valid and totally understandable. You deserve to be treated in a respectful way, and that's not how friends behave towards each other. I'm wondering, have you ever spoken to her about how you feel when she is like this? Also, what has happened with the physical force? 

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29 minutes ago, Monsoon said:

Hey there,

Welcome to the DTL community. I'm one of the digital mentors here and I give advice to those who reach out. 

I'm sorry to hear about how your friend is treating you. It sounds like her actions are having an emotional impact on you which is completely valid and totally understandable. You deserve to be treated in a respectful way, and that's not how friends behave towards each other. I'm wondering, have you ever spoken to her about how you feel when she is like this? Also, what has happened with the physical force? 

I did try talking to her about the names she calls us and how they make me feel but she just said she doesn’t mean it. I don’t think she knows the effect she has on me so just brushes off whatever I say.

She pulls punches at me every now and then which hurt me and my self esteem, but there are also little things like pulling us back if we are walking too fast, and she pushes me off my chair when she decides I should get up, or whacks us if we are doing something ‘wrong’.

she’s quite unpredictable which does make me feel a bit unsafe around her

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey,

Yeah, I can totally see why you would feel unsafe around someone who is treating you this way. This is not how friends should treat each other, and it's right to question this kind of behaviour. Also, it sounds like talking to her didn't go very well which I'm sorry to hear. What do you think you will do next? Do you still want to keep the friendship ?

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I don’t really want to stay ‘friends’ with her but I don’t know how to leave. I’m also scared that she will turn more people against me like she turned us against her old group (who I am still friends with) before we had all the information. I’m really scared of her and the power she has in influencing the beliefs of other people. 
but yeah, I do want to be rid of her I guess, but how do you stop hanging out with someone who deliberately hangs out with you? 

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  • Digital Mentor

I think a really good way to stop hanging around with someone is to do it gradually, almost as if you have drifted apart in a way; do you know what I mean? Could that work? You could think about hanging out with other people for a bit. 

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Things have kind of gotten out of hand since my last post…

I wanted to try follow your advice and the new semester was starting so I was going to see if the classes I had with her were the same. I checked and one class (that I was already only just getting by in) had changed so that I was now with her. I knew that if I was in that class with her, I would have to sit with her along with our other friends because otherwise she would psychologically ruin me through guilt etc. So I talked to my friends and I sent an email asking if I could change classes. My parents proof read the email and decided to put the b word (bullying) in so that the school would know it was serious. 
I should have taken it out, I really should’ve but I didn’t. Bullying is a huge deal at my school and they make such a big fuss about it, and now they knew I was being bullied. I got an email asking to meet and talk about the situation and now three teachers know the situation and it has just stressed me out so much more than just being around her in the first place. 
I have had to talk about my well-being and I have explained the situation as well as I can - it’s so hard to put into words just how i feel around her. 
I get that my school wants to help, but they suggested I have a ‘restorative conversation’ with her to confront her about everything I’m feeling. From experience, i know that if she feels at all like she is being threatened or is embarrassed, she goes kind of crazy, either defensive or just shuts down and then I would have to endure the aftermath of the conversation which I’m sure you can imagine could go terribly wrong and I would have to suffer for the rest of my school life. 

im sorry for loading all this off, but I have just been so stressed and I can’t get her off my mind. I feel like here is the only place where I am not forced to talk to anyone I don’t want to and I just want to be understood and get my life back. :/

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey,

No need to apologise for loading all of this off. I can see why you are stressed, and to be honest, it sounds like you're scared of this person, do your response makes sense. What do you think? I do wonder though, is it worth giving the process a chance and seeing how it goes? What do you think? 

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I personally don’t think that talking to her would help anything, if only make it worse. 
yesterday I was in class with her, and the teacher said as a joke “pinch and a punch for the first day of the month” because he saw it was the first of the month. Instant terror went through me and after, I decided it was like if someone was scared of heights, and they are taken to a rock climbing wall. It’s the knowledge that you are going to have to climb that wall and it scares you. I was so scared in that moment that she was going to punch the life out of me, and my reaction to her scares me. I thought I was mostly over it and I am thankful she only punched me lightly, but I realised that I don’t really feel at all safe with her, even now. 
 

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16 hours ago, MelH said:

I personally don’t think that talking to her would help anything, if only make it worse. 
yesterday I was in class with her, and the teacher said as a joke “pinch and a punch for the first day of the month” because he saw it was the first of the month. Instant terror went through me and after, I decided it was like if someone was scared of heights, and they are taken to a rock climbing wall. It’s the knowledge that you are going to have to climb that wall and it scares you. I was so scared in that moment that she was going to punch the life out of me, and my reaction to her scares me. I thought I was mostly over it and I am thankful she only punched me lightly, but I realised that I don’t really feel at all safe with her, even now. 
 

Yeah, I really get how you don't feel safe around her and your fear response to her makes a lot of sense given what has happened in the past. I'm wondering, have you been able to try gradually hanging around with her less and less? If so, how's that going? Also, have you had the restorative conversation with her yet? 

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I wish I was better at replying, but it’s really hard for me to build up the strength to talk about it. I have not had the restorative conversation and i think i am going to try avoid it. Trying to distance myself from her is not working very well. With classes I have with her, it’s really hard to distance myself because she would ask what’s up or make herself seem like the victim - like I was avoiding her. Yesterday I had a really trash day. I wanted to hang out with the rest of my group, but it’s like she would wait for us and walk right next to me. She also has a way of turning a compliment into an insult and an accusation where I get defensive. She’ll say something nice but with an accusatory tone, backing me into a corner and I have tried just saying thanks or whatever but it just frustrates me because she is ASKING for attention. The ‘compliments’ firstly make me feel insecure and secondly it’s usually something she is better at so you are forced to build her up or deny it in the process. It’s super manipulative and every time I feel so powerless. I am really trying to stay away and more and more people are supporting me but I feel really stuck. I don’t want to do anything that might raise questions and allow her to victimise herself. 

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey,

I just want to check, do you still want to talk about this? I noticed what you said about how it's hard to build up the strength to talk about it, so I thought I'd check in about this. It's totally okay if you don't want to; I can tell how draining this is for you. Take care and speak soon. 

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I do. I know I need to talk to someone about it instead of bottling it up inside until it’s too big to handle. I just want to say thanks for helping me so far and I think it will be good for me to confront my feelings.

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey,

Yeah, confronting your feelings here will really help you to move forward, so I'm glad to hear you still want to talk about it. At this point, I can definitely see that distancing yourself from her isn't working as you've said, and I think you might have to be really clear with her about where you're at or have the restorative conversation with her. What do you think?

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I am considering it, but I just can’t see how that would go well. In every scenario I come up with, something goes wrong, she gets defensive, she ignores me etc. And after is just a nightmare of accusations. I don’t even know where I would start.

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey,

The restorative conversation would be led by someone at school, it wouldn't just be you two, so if you get stuck, there would be someone else to help. There is plenty fo research out there to support how helpful restorative conversations can be, and I think you should give it a go because it is very likely to have a positive impact :)

What do you think?

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I don’t know. I’m scared of how she will react. I feel like for her it’s kind of subconscious but it would be treated like a conscious issue. Kind of like complaining to someone that they snore. The only thing that would happen is either one person sleeps somewhere else or nothing. 
I feel really stuck. I feel like the two solutions are, slowly stop hanging out with her or confront her. Both don’t seem to be working/ideal so I’m feeling kind of depressed and I can’t focus on my school work. 

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey,

Yeah, I really get that sense that you feel stuck with this, and I'm sorry to hear you're depressed. I'm wondering, can you tell me more about what you mean about how its subconscious but will be treated like a conscious issue? Also, I'm wondering, can you tell me what you know about the restorative conversation? 

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My personal opinion is that she just has a need to be in control but she can’t control it? I don’t think she realises what she’s doing and idk, my perception is that her reactions are subconscious because I don’t think she would ever purposefully hurt us but even if I do say something about it, she might not be able to stop it because it’s an auto response. 
I know that there will be a teacher to be the ‘middle ground’ and then I will share my concerns with her and I guess the teacher will kind of sit there. I guess there might be a point in the convo where we figure out a solution but i don’t know. The whole idea stresses me out

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Yeah, I totally get that the idea stresses you out. I think at this point, the restorative conversation is the next best option and worth a try considering that gradually spending less time with her doesn't seem to be working. Also, I'm wondering, have any of your friends or family given you any advice at this point as to what to do next?

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Well they all agree with me that the restorative convo would be a bad idea - especially my parents. I have talked about it a lot with my friends and one of them has seriously considered saying something to her, so I might explore that idea a bit more and see if my friend would share her side of the story with her instead of me telling my side. That might help her see that there is an issue even if it’s not coming from me.

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  • Digital Mentor

Hey,

I think that's a really good idea, getting someone else to speak with her. When the person with an issue that needs sorting confronts the person, it can sometimes get quite emotional, but when someone more on the outside of the situation communicates the message, the individual causing the harm can usually find it easier to process as there can often be less threat perceived by them, so definitely give that a go! If you do decide to do that, would you like to let us know how it goes?

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