It’s been some time since Narcissism Meets Normalcy indulged in the fun of being a raconteur, telling a real-life anecdote about a real-life narcissist practicing their narcissistry in, shall we say, creative ways. But when my friend and fellow PsychCentral blogger, Christine Hammond, published 29 Manipulative Text Messagessuddenly I remembered.

Cue harp flashback music…

The year was 1995 and my family had gotten our first cellular phone. Pause for a moment of hushed awe.

This was before the days of “everybody’s got one. ” We were still in the “every minute costs money so don’t call unless it’s an emergency” phase.

This little expensive cell phone, to the great shock of all you young millennial whippersnappers out there, did one thing and one thing only: phone calls. No texting. No “going on the Web.” Heck! We barely knew what “the Web” was back then. I still fondly recall my grandparents gleefully arguing with each other. “Com!” “Org!” “Com!” “Org.”

They had no idea what it meant. It was just funny sounds to them.

Naturally, my mother (affectionately known was Mater Secundus) immediately informed her mother, my narcissistic grandmother affectionately known as Mother Superior, of our new cellular phone number. It was only to be used in case of emergency.

Little were we to know just how soon and how hard that “emergency” would hit.

When the next Saturday rolled around, Dad, Mom and I went shopping as usual and ended the day at our favorite fast food joint. Usually either Taco Bell or Arby’s.

Dad had our new technology in the holster on his belt, but saw no reason to have it on. After all, we were all together. If an emergency befell us, we’d hardly be calling each other about it. And after all, we had only one cell phone.

Happy, tired and full we arrived home to a blinking light on the home answering machine. It was….guess who!?! Narcissistic Granny, of course!

For some reason, she had called our cell phone. Getting no answer, she proceeded to FREAK!

Now, let me remind you: the week before when we hadn’t possessed a cellular phone, she was fine. For all the weeks, months and years before that, if she’d called our house and gotten no answer, she’d have calmly assumed we were shopping or something, left a message and thought no more about it.

But not this time! Oh no! This time she threw a mother of a shit-storm.

She worried. She worked herself up into a lather. She was sure some horrible fate had befallen us, so she dispatched the Golden Child, her I-still-kiss-my-mommy-on-the-lips thirty-six year old son, hurtling down the fifteen miles of highway to “check on us.”

We arrived at our house before he did. Immediately, my submissive, apologetic mother called her mother to assure her we were still in the land of the living.

And was reemed out for her troubles. “I was scared shitless!!” Grandma snapped angrily.

My uncle was recalled. He never did arrive at our house, much to Mom’s relief. She never felt she could live up to her mother’s exacting, exhaustive and frankly ridiculous levels of housekeeping. Neither can I.

I can only assume that, suitably chastened, our cell phone was probably left on every time we left the house ever after.

Twenty-five years, a quarter of a century, have passed since that incident but I remember it like it was yesterday. Verbatim.

Grandma throwing a hissy and re-establishing control, control, controlall under the guise of “love” and “care.”

Mom, probably submissive and apologetic, her modus operandi. Definitely not setting any boundaries.

Dad opting out, not protecting his wife, washing his hands of the matter. Unaware or uncaring of the actual dynamics going on.

It had nothing to do with worry or love or care. What were the odds that, on our very first weekend with a cell phone, we’d suffer a horrible emergency when we’d been fine cellphone-less for the previous fifteen years! C’mon! Think about it Grandma!

No, it was all about control, control, control. And this was tame compared to the other hissies Grandma threw, one time even landing herself in the hospital with chest pains because shock! gasp! her daughter stood up to her for the first and only time. But I digress.

All good stories should end with, “And they lived happily ever after,” but of course, we didn’t. We’re talking about rampant narcissism/codependence here. We existed. We coped. We smiled through it all. But did we really live-live-live!?

Although now that I think about it, one person did live happily after: me. The farther I get from narcissism, the happier I get. And the happier I get, the harder it is to write about narcissism. I have to wallow in the unhappy memories of narcissism for inspiration. That in turn generates gratitude for how nice things are now vs how they used to be. Which makes me even happier…! It’s a vicious circle. 😉 😀

Now, it’s your turn. How have your narcissists used cell phone/smartphone technology to their narcissistic ends? My tale was tame. There’s some doozies of stories out there, just waiting to be told.

So what are you waiting for!?! Click the Comments button below and as the old adage goes, “Tell the truth and shame the Devil.”

As always, thanks so much for reading!

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Photo by Elvert Barnes