Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Negotiating with the Narcissist Now!

Please advise!

The Dangerous Narcissist I'm translating for, apparently now as a volunteer, as he's not paying me, sent me an sms today:

"Hello, I just want to inquire how much you've translated so far. We haven't heard from each other in a long time. Regards."

I replied "I'll send a short installment this evening and write in detail in the e-mail." I wanted to buy time and think of the perfect reply that simultaneously extends the deadline, demands money already owed, and returns us to the original agreement, all in decent terms, inoffensive, and preferably without a single lie.

I'm an incurable optimist. But I do need to stop running away from this and face it. When my father left and I allowed myself to remember the ongoing problem I have with this man, I spent the whole day obsessing over it and it was that evening that I spanked my daughter! It's not a justification, not by far, but the stress of this thing that is weighing on me is NOT contributing to me being a good mother. I need to resolve this.

So, I'm sending a short installment that will, with what he owes me, add up to a nice, round number. Which will enable me to calculate his debts again and write them out in black and white, just so there's no misunderstanding. Without a new installment just restating his debt might seem accusatory.

Then I might write the TRUE sob story of how I had to accept other translations because I needed money for my family and my two little kids, and that's why his translation got temporarily put on the back burner. How I'm returning to it now, but will really need monthly payment, as previously arranged, so I can afford to decline other offers.

That's all I've got. Advice? Ideas? Very open right now. Will write and send the e-mail in a couple of hours, as soon as I finish the short installment I plan on sending.


  1. Sounds good, actually. Especially the part about being able to afford declining other work. That basically means, "I won't work unless I get paid", but you don't actually say that. Good stuff.

    Hope he reacts OK.

  2. Only one other thing that came to mind. The more he thinks you're a push-over, the more likely he is to act out in some way. If he thinks you're strong and scary yourself, he would probably leave you alone.

    The only problem is that he knows where you live.

  3. So, do I mention I have powerful friends or something like this, and how does one mention it "by the way"?

  4. And instead of admitting I have barely translated anything since February, I can instead promise a new big installment in ten days, provided I get paid before, and then work like crazy on that for the next ten days.

    You see, I hate ACTUALLY lying, but with someone like this, with whom it's certainly pointless and potentially dangerous to speak the truth, I'm thinking of ways to get creative... while not exactly factually lying.

  5. See, this is where my moral code differs from yours. Lying can indeed be very wrong. For example, it's wrong to cheat on your husband and then lie about it (cheating is wrong, lying about it is wrong). It is wrong to hit your kid with a belt when they're a toddler and then lie about it for many decades, again both the actual action and the lying being wrong. Etc.

    It is not wrong to lie to a crazy, dangerous psychopath who might harm your family. There is one rule, however. Be consistent, and make sure he doesn't know you're lying. Use your lie to make your situation better, rather than worse - to protect yourself. Saying what you think he wants to hear in creative ways without actually lying is bound to create some inconsistencies, and he'll pick up weird vibes. If you need, a straight out lie is fine.

    Then... I didn't think you should say you have powerful friends. Might even make him angry. And those powerful friends can never be counted on 100 percent to act exactly when needed so it's better to not mention that. By not being a push-over, I thought about something much simpler. Something that's normal in healthy, non-psychopath world: I work, you pay. You don't pay, I can't work for free. Pay, then I will work :). Sounds pretty reasonable, right? No normal person could misunderstand that. And many non-normals should understand this too.

  6. Those are my thoughts. Of course, if you are absolutely morally opposed and it would bug you beyond the solution of the situation, there is no reason to "betray yourself" for this wacko, if that's how you would feel.

  7. And mentioning powerful friends would make him actually think you're conspiring against him. Sorry for the serial posting.

  8. I wouldn't mention your family and your two little kids in your true sob story. I would just mention that you have financial obligations. (If this is a dangerous guy he doesn't need to know about your family)

  9. Do you have anything in writing about his agreement to pay you for your services? I'd keep it strictly business. I would even go so far as to say you haven't been working on it because it seemed to transform into a volunteer position, and you don't have time to work for free!

    Hope this works out!

  10. NLR, valid points, thanks!

    Anon, he already knows about my kids, his mediator told him all about me.

    upsi, nothing in writing. I live in a strange culture.

  11. In a written message to him you could describe your understanding of the past agreements and the extent to which they have been followed on each side, and ask him to tell you as soon as possible if his understanding is different. At least then you can prove you stated the facts and he didn't contradict them.


  12. This is too late, but can help others who is searching:


I encourage comments!!!