Circumlocution: Lessons in Communicating with a Narcissist 

“When you ask a psychopath a straightforward question that requires a straightforward answer, he usually goes round and round in circles or talks about something else altogether.”—Claudia Moscovici, “Dangerous Mind Games: How Psychopaths Manipulate and Deceive

The ex-narcissist has been employing several diversionary tactics this week. Trying to reach a decision with him is like trying to corner a wild horse in field with no corners and unreliable fences. At any moment, he might flee or fight. He might jump the fence. It’s instinct. He can’t believe I am anything but a predator, though for entirely different reasons than the horse. 

His initial response to trying to make a decision was that of a little kid who closes her eyes and thinks you can’t see her because she can’t see you. It’s like he just decided to ignore any message that didn’t suit him. Unfortunately, medical decisions for the kids can’t just linger around unresolved. With advice from my lawyer I put some pressure on him to engage in a conversation as we’re required to make joint medical decisions. 

Sarcasm and passive aggressiveness came next. When that didn’t work, he tried to change the subject and triangulate.  Why wasn’t I focusing on the medical decisions for our other child? I solved that by addressing the concern of triangulation in a new message thread. Of course, he didn’t reply to that because he doesn’t really care. His whole purpose was to derail the conversation. 

He isn’t stupid. He doesn’t want to commit to something in writing because he won’t be able to go back and gaslight me by misremembering the past. (Though he has tried that previously.) After all those strategies failed to derail me in my pursuit of a decision he used projection. He accused me of starting an argument. Clearly asking why he wanted to ignore the advice of two different doctors is starting an argument. 

And then he feel back on the silent treatment. 

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