Ignoring the Narcissist—How to Spot The Monkey Dance
You already know by now that the narcissist is unbeatable at their own game—which is to win at all costs. You’ve hired attorneys, you’ve tried to reason with them, you’ve given them what you think they want and nothing works. They keep coming back, keep being jerks and a**wipes and they keep wearing you down.
You think you have no options. I’ve heard other victims say they have contemplated killing the narcissist or killing themself to make the madness stop. Let me assure you, violence is NOT a solution or an answer, but ignoring them is.
In the wild when animals face off against each other they dance, huff, growl, scream and get all worked up, biologists call it “a monkey dance.” Monkeys are particularly vocal and animated when they’re angry and their angry monkey dance can be very intimidating to other monkeys. When drunken men do this same thing, scream, threaten, jump around, and throw things in bars, police officers also call it “doing the monkey dance.” Whether it’s in nature, or as a result of the male or female ego trying to impress or intimidate, it’s still a “monkey dance.”
The monkey dance is usually an orchestrated series of screams, arm waving, drama, threatening words, jumping up and down and all around and throwing stuff. At first glance it’s intimidating and frightening and viewers, especially targets of the dance, feel threatened, scared and want to run. Good. That’s what the monkey dance is supposed to evoke in an opponent—fear and flight. It keeps people and animals from getting injured. But it’s a bluff! Researchers have learned that the monkey dance is just that—a dance designed to intimidate and frighten those around them so they’ll flee and the monkey won’t have to fight. Because in a real fight? The monkey usually loses.
I want you to sit for a minute and visualize yourself behind bullet proof glass, watching an angry monkey on the other side. They’re acting like two-year olds in a rage (and indeed many of them may have suffered their emotional wounding at that age). See the monkey throwing its own feces, screaming, running around the room, punching holes in the wall, throwing things, waving its arms. Keep watching. Remember the bullet proof glass. They can’t hurt you.Their actions are all bluff and threats.
As your mind begins to see that the dancing, raging monkey can’t hurt you, you begin to relax. You stop feeling threatened and begin to feel curious. What will he do next? Keep watching. Eventually you start to see patterns. He steps in his own poop, then throws it. He windmills his arms, then hops up and down. Eventually you start to laugh because you finally see what he’s doing—pitching a fit. At about the same time you see him as a non-threat and a joke, he senses a change in you because he sees your posture change.
You’re leaning forward, not back. You’re not afraid of eye contact. You’re laughing. The monkey begins to feel uneasy. That’s not how his dance is suppose to end. You’re supposed to run away, to see him as some sort of all-knowing, all dangerous threat. But you don’t. He changes his tactics. He beats on the glass. You may be startled for a minute, but you laugh, knowing he can’t break through. Eventually you get bored with the feces throwing, fit pitching monkey and YOU TURN YOUR BACK ON HIM. You have other things to do, and you quit watching, responding or caring that mr. monkey is still dancing behind you. You have finally learned how to ignore the monkey.
Narcissists are a lot like angry monkeys doing their monkey dance. When a narcissist goes into a rage, 99 times out of 100 that’s all it is—a glorified, poop throwing, pissing, stomping temper tantrum. And because we’re such co-dependents and generally so hooked into pleasing the narcissist, we fall for it. We respond just like they want us to. They get what they want, and we’re left feeling frustration, anger and fear while they go on their merry way. But we have a weapon they can’t defeat—IGNORING THEM. The ONE thing the narcissist wants, and gets, with this stupid dance, is our attention. Remember—narcissistic supply. They need our attention, negative or positive, to breathe. They literally cannot survive without our attention. So ignore them. When they start to pass out from lack of supply they are literally forced to go elsewhere to seek it.
I know. Ignoring them is VERY HARD. You’ve got a thousand reasons why you tell yourself you NEED to pay attention, to watch what they’re doing, to worry and obsess over them and their pissy little dance. Unless you’re living with the narcissist, or have custody issues, or work with them, or they’ve been physically violent in the past, totally ignoring them is your best path to salvation. When you hold the ONE thing they can’t get? They want it. If you waiver just a bit and give in, you have to start over because you’ve just taught them that persistence wears you down and it then becomes a game they want to win. Don’t let them.
The bulletproof wall is in your faith, your mind, your self-control. It takes a little longer to learn that ignoring them is the best way to deal with them, but you can.
Spotting the Monkey Dance
It’s not hard to spot the monkey dance. It happens any time you disagree with, confront, ignore or inadvertently shame or confuse a narcissist. Narcissists are hard-wired to monkey dance anytime they’re not sleeping, sucking up or looking for new victims. It’s who they are. What’s more important is learning how to DEAL with the monkey dance.
Dealing with the Monkey Dance
Monkey dances come in various forms: cell phone calls, text messages, postings on FaceBook or in social media groups you belong to and so on. You may see the monkey dance if you live, work with or encounter a narcissist anywhere they deem it okay to dance. What’s important is to BLOCK your viewing of the dance.
Emails are digital monkey dances. Use filters on your email to ensure that whenever they email you, their email goes directly to a folder where you don’t know about it, you don’t see it, and you’re not tempted to read it. If they’re planning legal action action you can’t stop it by reading an email because you can NOT reason with a narcissist. They don’t understand or care about you. They ONLY care about themselves. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking they’re reasonable people. They just want to suck you into their dance. You can’t DO anything until they act, so why get in a froth about their dancing. IF they file legal action you’ll get a certified letter in the mail. Then you can address the letter. 99% of what they threaten never comes to pass. For the 1% that does, attorneys are wonderful for dealing with them as long as you don’t get a narcissistic attorney.
Block their email on your cell phone. If your phone doesn’t have this function, call your provider. If they need a court order to block the person or number, then get it. Don’t answer their call. Don’t listen to their voice mail. 99% of what they’re threatening won’t happen and all it does is upset you. IGNORE THEM. IGNORE THEIR MESSAGES. They are not worth your time. YOU have something to offer society and friends, they do not. You wouldn’t offer your friends turds for treats would you? Then stop interacting with the narcissist because their negative energy infuses your own and makes you miserable, which makes your friend’s miserable. And you NEED your friends.
Hire an attorney. Attorneys can cost thousands of dollars, or not. Take your time looking. Make sure they’re not a narcissist by interviewing them and looking for tell-tale signs. I’ve found an attorney who charges me flat rates for services and offers me a very low rate for being the person the narcissist must deal with if they want to dance. A cease and desist letter can cost as little as $25. The follow up with criminal charges for stalking and pursing other legal action is about the same. If you’re worried about your monkey, then find an attorney the first time the monkey starts dancing. Explain your situation, get your letters and start the legal process rolling. Most monkeys don’t like jail, which is where they could be headed once you document their abuse and their contacting you after an attorney has told them to “cease and desist.” There are laws in many states that prohibit emailing and phone calls and online harassment.
Avoid Dance Floors. Meaning, don’t go where the narcissist likes to dance. If you’re working with, involved with or otherwise forced to deal with the narcissist they’re going to dance no matter what you do or say. It’s THEIR pathology, not you. When they launch into their screaming, offer them a banana, or you can leave the room, the office, the house or go stand by a friend of yours so they can watch the dance too. Monkeys can be shy (unless they’re celebrity monkeys who love the attention) but the average monkey dancer doesn’t want their other sources of narcissistic supply to see them in a rage. If you belong to a social media group, stop posting. Unfriend and unfollow. Don’t stick around to watch the train wreck or get tempted to react to something they say. IGNORE. IGNORE. IGNORE.
If that’s still hard to do, buy a plastic banana or dancing sock monkey and write your narcissist’s name on it. Every time you feel tempted to respond, react or engage with them, even in your mind remind yourself they’re a dancing monkey.
If you’re a generous, kind person, which you are because a narcissist was attracted to you, you may think this is cruel and insensitive and painful. And to do it to a NORMAL person would be, but narcissists aren’t normal. They’re unable to feel, sense or appreciate feelings, compassion or other people’s needs and boundaries. Where you’re worried about them and not yourself, they’re ONLY concerned with themselves and wringing every last ounce of attention (good or bad) out of you, before dumping you and moving on to their next victim. The better you are at ignoring them, the faster they’ll move on.
DO NOT FALL INTO THE TRAP of TRYING TO REDEEM, CHANGE, RESCUE OR SAVE THEM. It can’t happen.
Anyone who tells you it’s possible is thinking of the 1% of the .0000005 % that might have changed. Now, go find ways to ignore your narcissist and remember, every minute you let them sit in your thoughts YOU lose.