Narcissistic Recovery: PTSD Triggers

I am triggered and my mental and emotional state respond accordingly.

I am experiencing frustration with a client. Their behavior is reopening wounds that are already raw and irritated. Their behavior feels like being in a relationship with the Narcissist.

No matter how many different ways I express to this client what their expectations should be, somehow they continue to hear what they want to hear and reiterate their expectation. They do this even when their expectation is one I have consistently let them know I am not able to meet.

The topics are typically very silly, usually related to last-minute meeting requests.

Example:

Client: We have a meeting scheduled in an hour to discuss [non-urgent topic]. We’d like you to join us.

Me: I’m happy to meet with you on that topic. I’m afraid I have a conflict at that time, though. Here are some alternate times this week when I am available.

Client: So we’ll see you at our meeting?

Me: No, I am afraid I am not free at that time. Again, though, here are some times when I’d be happy to meet with you.

Client: We’ll see you at today’s meeting in an hour.

Me: Well, again, I’m afraid I have a meeting already scheduled at that time that cannot be moved. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Again, here are the times when I am available today and the rest of this week.

Client: Are you refusing to meet with us?

Me: It is unfortunate I am unable to meet with you at the time you have requested, but I am happy to meet with you at any of the alternate times I have sent.

Client: [sends meeting invitation via email for the same time]

… And so on. This same conversation has now happened several times on several different topics. Yesterday they escalated to my boss and he had the pleasure of experiencing it himself. He was amazed and horrified.

It is reminiscent of the years trying and failing to engage in logical, mutually respectful discourse with the Narcissist.

My boundaries are ignored and then I am disparaged for remaining consistent in them.

There is no path available towards a reasonable resolution. It is either capitulate immediately or be escalated on. Even when escalated on, when the client is communicating with my boss, capitulation is the only path forward the client is able to see.

I am lucky in that this is a unique circumstance for me. Usually, my client relationships are quite lovely.

With this one organization, though, I am haunted by thoughts of interactions with them long into my evenings, I am sleeping poorly, and they are on my mind first thing when I wake up. I don’t know what new injustices I might suffer from them each day.

I am glad my boss and my company understand that their behavior is not an appropriate way to manage professional relationships, and we as a group stand united against their attempts to bend us to their whims.

And yet, these communications are so upsetting to me.

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