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Shall We Play a Game? February 14, 2015

Posted by alwaysjan in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Narcissistic Game Playing is the most frequently viewed post on Planetjan. Perhaps the emotional game of “Tag! You’re it!” and the subsequent chase that is the hallmark of a relationship with a narcissist resonates with readers. Just when you think you are finally IT, the narcissist runs away and expects you to give chase. If you cry out in despair, they will mock you or accuse you of being too needy. You made me run away! Just as it takes two to tango, it takes two to engage in narcissistic game playing. And there is only one way for you to WIN this game.

Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are the consummate cons and this is how they roll. With such a barren inner life, narcissists derive much pleasure from engaging you, or complete strangers, in games, so they can do what they do best… bluff, evade, and even show you their poker face (though at times you might detect a snicker).

They can balance an endless number of women or “friends” like plates in the air, while giving NONE of them a second thought. They like to keep you guessing and will manufacture scenarios to make you jealous. You will never get the full story from them. There is always a missing piece of the puzzle. They like to feel that they are always in demand though actual demands scare them. Your feelings annoy them. Your attempts to explain your feelings annoy them even more. If you’re like many women, you persist. “Yes, but I am special. Things will be different with me. I can make them change.”

If this sounds at all familiar, it’s time to take off that tinfoil hat. I’m sure you really are a unique and caring person. It’s just that the narcissist doesn’t care about you as a person. In fact it’s your human needs and wants that make it impossible for them to have a relationship with you or anyone. (And yes, people have written to me who swear that “their N” has found happiness with the next person. Appearances can be deceiving. Don’t be fooled again.)

I was recently creating a crossword puzzle for my students online and decided to give it the title Shall We Play a Game? I couldn’t remember if I had the phrase right and ended up googling War Games, the 1983 movie, which starred an incredibly young Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy. I hadn’t seen the movie since last century, so I fell down the Wikipedia hole. Bear with me because this explains how to beat the narcissist at his/her own game.

In the movie, Professor Falken is an Artificial Intelligence researcher who designed a “Thermonuclear War Game.” The backdoor password is the name of his dead son, Joshua. and the computer identifies itself as “Joshua.” David (Broderick) is the slacker hacker who inadvertently activates the game when Joshua asks, “Shall we play a game?” It soon becomes clear that this is not a game.

The countdown to WW III begins with David and his friend, Jennifer (Sheedy,) frantically trying to locate Professor Falken. Even after he’s found, all seems lost until Falken and David direct “Joshua” to play tic-tac-toe against itself. This results in a long string of ties, forcing the computer to learn the concept of an unwinnable game. Joshua obtains the missile code, but before launching, it cycles through all the nuclear war scenarios it has devised, finding they too all result in stalemates (“WINNER: NONE”). Joshua concludes that nuclear warfare is “a strange game” in which “the only winning move is not to play.” The computer then offers to play “a nice game of chess,” and relinquishes control of NORAD and the missiles averting nuclear disaster. The only way for you to win this game is NOT to play. Game over. Disaster averted. Life goes on. Upbeat music. Closing credits.


1. Tracy - February 15, 2015

Hi Jan,

It’s 100% true what you say here, of course- but bears repeating (especially considering the popularity of this topic). I’m sure you never imagined striking such a nerve in the general population? The experience of being ensnared by a disordered person is definitely scarring.

As you know, I was an NPD target (really resent the subservient term “victim”) a few years ago and even today, I remain affected. Not in any way such as wishing or yearning to see her again (oh, hell no!), but in that the experience opened my eyes so wide that I now can see it in so many others. It’s kind of frightening that I never grasped it before…it’s sort of like a, “They Walk Among Us” realization– with the majority totally unaware! Yikes!

On the flip-side of that is that the knowledge has helped me to avoid other such toxic people & to keep them out of my life (or at arm’s length if it’s a business relationship).

Thanks for keeping this highly important topic in the public eye. Your site is a very accessible way for those who believe something is “off” in their dealings with another to find info & examples. It may not be what you had originally intended (or imagined), but it’s a wonderful public service,

Tracy 🙂

I always enjoy your insights. I also like your referring to yourself as a “target” rather than a “victim.” The power of words! 🙂 Jan


Tracy - February 16, 2015

Thanks for the kind words, Jan. And I do hope you keep your dear readers informed of your new book? I appreciate your writing style & would definitely be up for purchasing. 🙂

I’ll need a year (or two), so don’t hold your breath! LOL Always, Jan


2. Lynette d'Arty-Cross - February 15, 2015

A very good point, Jan. NOT playing is the only way to play.

Good to see you back, btw. 🙂 I am recently back after recovering from hip surgery.

So glad you’re on the mend. Do I get to say “Hip hip hooray?” This is my last year of teaching. After June I’ll be spending most of my time working on a young adult novel. Jan


3. SUSAN - February 15, 2015

OMG Me to a tea I have for the last and final time seen the light, after cheating behind my back for a WHOLE year and I took him back tut tut you STUPID women yes I took him back and ten months down the line he has got BORED again oh !! that same old chesnut NO the fact is I HAVE GOT TO STRONG FOR HIM that’s whats happened, I could not forget the hurt of that year and although I kept it to myself and suffered in silence, he has taken to getting bored lately and withholding sex, when I approached him he said that he was not sexually driven like me !!!!! what after cheating behind MY back for a year hmmm yes too right !!! god its taken me over THREE years to understand all this and I now finally see how he ticks!!! it was never love, but the love for himself, Ive shed lots of tears, but NOT this time around thank god !!!!! still hurts of course it do, but now I understand, and yes he was my SECOND N I hope to god there is not a THIRD my eyes re open now 😦 😦 oh 4got to say hes STILL sending me the odd tex once a week why……lol don’t worry I KNOW why now….hmmmmmmmmm

Narcissists are master manipulators who can, when it suits them, convince you that left is right and right is wrong. His withholding sex is like a person who holds a treat out for a dog then derives pleasure from watching the dog jump higher and higher trying to get it. It’s all a very twisted go-round. The texts are designed to rattle you. He’s toying with you. If you reply, it tells him that you’re still willing to play. Jan


SUSAN - February 15, 2015

Ah I see, I wondered why he kept sending the odd tex, like im sat here on my own watching our fav tv programme, or hope your ok and yesterday believe it or not…..Happy V,Day isn’t that cruel Jan in my book ??? ( knowing we are not together) why the hell would he tex me that ? -(

He sent it because he is cruel, and it makes him appear caring? A while back on this blog, someone reported that they received such an email at Christmas. But the N forgot to delete the names of the other women he was sending the email to! Jan


susan - February 16, 2015

omg thats down right cruel.! so although the N has an actual illness I call it they also KNOW what they are doing.Hence the cheating etc and mind games.They are certainly toxic!!


4. Richard - February 15, 2015

Excellent analogy. And now I want to see the movie again.


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