Dear Abby, You Are Not A Good Friend
I've been on the Netflix binge kick for a while now, especially since removing cable months ago. This week my Netbinge has been watching 'Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce.' Interestingly, I remember when this show was on cable, and I never really had the interest to watch it, but I heard some good things about it and felt the need to find a new series.
I absolutely LOVE this show! For a woman who's sneaking up into her 40's, I can appreciate the truth it brings into the lives of different women at different points of their lives. The main character, Abby, was a great inspiration...at first. Her success, drive, and strength (especially as she's going through divorce hell) was inspirational. However, as I approached the second season, I began to despise Abby's character. A known people-pleaser, which according to her friend Jo--sometimes made her appear to be a fake--especially as she was growing as a writer. Aside from her picture-perfect persona, she is an attention whore. Her friends would be talking about what's going on in her lives and could be laughing and/or in the midst of crying. Then BOOM! Abby would hijack the conversation and take it over by talking about her job and love life, then would leave once she had something else to do.
The show surrounds four friends... well Abby has intentionally broken down each of them by her narcissistic actions. In one episode, they were supposed to celebrate her close friend Phoebe who got her GED-- which means she never had a prom. The plan was to throw Phoebe a prom and make it an about her celebration. Abby was able to make it a business and personal venture by including her online magazine in the mix. She was so focused on impressing the 'current guy' in her life/column and the other potential clients in the room that she totally forgot about who the party was for in the first place. Another episode, they were celebrating a friend who was getting married by throwing her a surprise bachelorette party at a high-end gentleman's club. Abby got so wasted and once again brought her drama to the party. She got on stage with one of the dancers and showed her ass...literally. Interestingly enough, each of these episodes always included a moment of Abby lashing out, crying, and insulting her friends --- totally redirecting her obscene actions.
I realized that Abby's that FRIEND who's intentions are always questionable because she either throws back in your face what she's done for you OR she's always competing for attention in the room OR she's always making a topic or night-out about her. My jaw dropped during a few episodes in the second season, and I really began to despise Abby. The funny thing is that we've had a friend like Abby or have been her once or twice. So what do you do when you have a narcissist for a friend? Well boundaries are a definite MUST but it won't always salvage the friendship-- most narcissists don't see themselves in the same light as everyone. According to Psychotherapist, Educator, and Author Christine Louis de Canonville, "to the typical narcissistic woman, you are no more than an object of secondary narcissistic supply that provides her with whatever she wants or needs within the relationship. Typically, she mistakenly interprets her own narcissistic needs as “emotions”. These emotional needs that the narcissistic woman displays can easily be mistaken by another as vulnerability and openness on her part, and she milks this misunderstanding by constantly acting the victim. Her world starts and stops with herself, but she goes out of her way to disguise that fact from everyone she comes into relationship with (her husband, boyfriend, children, parents, siblings, friends and work colleagues)."
Deep, huh? Although this statement is true in many instances, all narcissists aren't bullies and/or bad people to the core. They can truly pick up narcissistic traits due to lifestyle and environmental changes. Most narcissists have unresolved childhood trauma--which is why therapy is suggested. I've found myself detaching from many friends that I felt were selfish, who only reached out to me when they needed me, and those who who simply were too dramatic. I've sometimes had to go thru a checklist on myself to question if I was a good friend or not, and if I carried some of these traits. I believe many people have narcissistic traits. This show has definitely sparked my interest in analyzing the dynamics of 'friendship.' All I know is that I don't want to be Abby... not at this moment of her life. Are you an 'Abby?' Do you have a friend like 'Abby?' Here are 10 warning signs that your friend (or you) could be a narcissist:
1. They Have a Sense of Entitlement
2. They Have a 'Split Personality'
3. They Lack Empathy or Compassion for Others
4. They Have an Excess of Pride
5. They Don't Accept Responsibility for Their Actions
6. They Don't Admit They're Wrong or Apologize
7. They Are Perfectionists
8. They Are Anxious-- A Lot
9. They Don't Respect Boundaries
10. They Carry Shame