Circular Conversations

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  • #552
    Alex Delon

      Let me start by saying these aren’t conversations. They are verbal competitions and even warfare. Narcissists don’t use conversations to find understanding and compromise. They use them to win. These conversations are extremely planned and manipulated. There is absolutely no such thing as spontaneity. There is no place for this to be relaxed and natural chatting. No, it is war!

      I know in our household, in order for my husband to actually have a conversation with someone, it was like we had to go through some big ordeal. It was as though he was announcing to the world, in a very robot-like way, “We are now having a conversation.” Everything else had to stop. Everything had to be put down. Life ceased to exist….because NOW WE ARE HAVING A CONVERSATION. After making such an announcement, he would then sit quietly with his eyes closed for a couple of minutes, making everyone wait to hear his “great” words. It was almost like a ritual. I felt like the trumpets were going to come out of the sky, play a fanfare, and announce that the KING was about to speak. It was ridiculous and left everyone on edge. No one felt safe before a word was even uttered.

      Then you never knew what the actual topic was going to be. It could be absolutely anything, from teeny tiny small to gigantically huge. One thing was always for certain though, he had been offended, and we were going to hear about it. These “conversations” feel more like monologues from a dictator, and they last just as long. Everyone else usually kept their mouths shut. Why? Because over time we had all learned one of our rights: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you.”

      I have heard these circular conversations referred to as gaslighting, word salad, and verbal vomit. I prefer to call them conversations from hell. It is the most painful place I have ever experienced. I have never felt so alone and destitute as I have when trapped in one of these. And I do mean trapped. There seems to be no way out. Nothing you say will change the course. Nothing you say will turn it in a positive direction. The narcissist will unceasingly turn everything around and around, spinning forever in a bottomless pit of negativity.

      You find yourself defending everything you have ever done, said, or even thought. You are defending a look you had or the way you breathed. Guards are up and active. Spontaneity does not exist. Reciprocity does not exist. There is no natural give and take because with a narcissist there is no give. Staying relaxed is nearly impossible. In the conversation, you feel like you just can’t seem to keep with the topic at hand because it changes so fast. One minute you are talking about your frustration that he isn’t helping with the yard work and the next thing you know you are defending why you didn’t cook dinner last night. It doesn’t matter that he said he wasn’t hungry. It is simply ammunition against you.

      • This topic was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by Alex Delon.
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    • #146137

        YES!! This is so accurate. And if you break being “Mirandized” (Right to remain silent) god help you, this means war. Don’t defend yourself. Do not challenge him….


          Thank you for reminding me of what I definitely don’t want. It helps me keep things in perspective.


            Oh my gosh, yes! I hate the scolding start “we need to talk about this”. It sounds reasonable, but I know what’s coming and it makes my stomach drop. And the long silence. But heaven forbid you try to break in to the silences. It’s so controlling. There’s no way out here either – if I try to disengage (can be after hours of “talking”) it just comes back worse the next day.

            Alex Delon


              You are so right about the LONG silence!! It is extremely controlling and purely manipulative. You are trapped, and they know it. I hated it! To me, this was the silent treatment. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t talk to me for days or weeks. It was that he would say that he wanted to say something and then hold the suspense and negative energy for SO long! It was painful and excruciating!


                Have not ever witnessed or experienced *this* particular type of “circular conversation” in which there is no conversation, there is no argument, it is absolutely just a lecture, period.
                Have definitely been involved in some extremely strange conversations, however.
                The kind that make me want to literally *never* have *any* sort of conversation with *that* person ever again.
                I’m not really sure why your ex-husband called it a “conversation” when he actually meant a lecture, but that sounds different from what I *thought* “circular conversation” meant.
                Possibly these two things may actually be just variations of the same things.
                Recently I wrote to a person I don’t feel comfortable having conversations with any more.
                There were important things that I just really needed to say, once and for all, so I said them.
                Originally I did think that she might write back, but when she didn’t, it became a monologue.
                I think it is certainly possible that she might have enough common sense still left to figure that she just did not want to (ever again) give me any more evidence that she thought I could possibly use against her.
                And I’m starting to feel the same way about contacting her.
                Evidently it works both ways.
                Once again this is (in most ways) actually quite different from what you’re talking about. But I was getting reminded.
                Note. Any evidence I ever get against her is used *only* to do research about her problems or potential problems or to point out where she may possibly be wrong.
                NOT to just throw it back in her face.
                But she probably does not know the difference any more, and I can certainly understand how for privacy reasons she would probably prefer that I not know anything.
                (Or at least, not know anything beyond the dozens of clues she has already given me.)
                (She herself tends to seem somewhat clueless, which is exactly why I sometimes call her that [only to myself, not to her, but privately that’s become my nickname for her] [I do not believe in name-calling, this was when I just needed a name to refer to her by besides her actual name].)

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