Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Sleight of Hand

"It is commonly suggested that sleight of hand works because "the hand is quicker than the eye" but this is usually not the case. In addition to manual dexterity, sleight of hand depends on the use of psychology, timing, misdirection, and natural choreography in accomplishing a magical effect. Misdirection is perhaps the most important component of the art of sleight of hand. Misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract its attention from anotherThe magician choreographs his actions so that all spectators are likely to look where he or she wants them to. More importantly, they do not look where the performer does not wish them to look. Two types of misdirection are timing and movement. Timing is simple: by allowing a small amount of time to pass after an action, events are skewed in the viewer's mind. Movement is a little more complicated. A phrase often used is "A larger action covers a smaller action.Care must be taken however to not make the larger action so big that it becomes suspect."(from the wikipedia article)

This is one of the biggest tricks up the sleeve of a Narcissist. My sister performed one years ago and it took three months for the penny to drop for me to be able to see what she had done. One of our friends and also both my husband and I had noticed that one of my niece's friends was being emotionally abusive to her. We all decided to bring up our concerns to my sister. We were all sitting round the kitchen table when we -gently- mentioned it. My sister jumped of the chair - like those toys in a box with a spring inside- while she said in an indignant voice: "but Sandra (my niece's friend's mother) is the only one that helps me!" and then run out of the room. Talk about a dramatic performance. And what a way to throw the real issue off the table.  

And that, my friends, it's how it's done.  .

12 comments:

  1. Ah, yes, sleight of hand. I'm very familiar with it's tricks. NM and NSis are masters at this. Throwing up diversions and hysterical fits to distract me from the real issue at hand. I think that's what NSis was doing over the holidays: making huge productions of emotions to gloss over the fact that I asked her to be accountable for herself.
    My MIL is much more subtle. She hides things behind "concern" and "loving" sentiments. And when that doesn't work, she lets our this huge, phony laugh to throw people off the scent of her nastiness.

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    1. They literally throw the ball off the court as far as they can aim, by the time you've gone to pick it up and looked at it you've already forgotten what the issue was. I think it's quite hard to see how they do it, just as it is when you watch a magician make something disappear. The key is to keep in mind what that actual issue is, and not allow them to sidetrack you. I'm going to be working on this over the next year.

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  2. This is great, Kara. "Misdirection" is exactly what happens! You start out talking about one thing and the narcissist brings up something that's 'emotional' and we lose sight of the original point! Do you think it's intentional, or just a habit they learned as children and haven't changed because it works??

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    1. Thanks CZBZ. To be honest, I don't know. We have been brought up the same, there's only just over a year gap between us and I don't know how to do it. How did she learn? I have no idea.

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  3. Kara,
    You come up with the most brilliant topics! I have so many thoughts about this; I think there could be dozens of sub-topics related to this that would make wonderful posts. Misdirection is a powerful tool in the hands of those who seek to confuse the issue and avoid honest statements about what they want, what they're feeling, what they're thinking, etc. I have gotten better over the years at dealing with this and not getting misdirected by red herrings that distract me from the point I'm trying to make or the question I'm trying to get an answer to. But watch out: being able to hold an N's feet to the fire by constantly bringing them back to what you want to discuss has its own dangers, because a cornered narcissist can be nasty, and a topic unto itself.

    I think I got fairly good at this when I was dating a therapist who turned out to be a pretty hard core narcissist himself. He was completely unavailable to discuss our relationship, but he was invaluable in helping me deal with other people's narcissism. He was masterful at both evading and not allowing other people to evade. In short, what he taught me was to go into a conversation knowing what you want to accomplish, and to not allow people's attempts to distract you to work. At every attempt, say, "We can talk about that when we've finished talking about what I brought up." Over and over and over, if need be. It really does work!

    Anyway, this is just one thought of many I have on this topic. Thanks again for some great food for thought.

    Kitty

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    1. Thank you Kitty. Thanks for the warning. I do know what you mean, though I've never been in the position of being able to corner a narcissist. I was thinking that in some cases, depending on the issue, is probably not worthy, only if it's really going to make a difference in your life then I guess it's worth the risk. I hope you'll get around to write a post about those thoughts. I'd love to read more on the subject.

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    2. Hi K +K,
      What Kitty says is true, Kara. You have this way of ferreting out really interesting topics, then, crystalizing their relevance. I always feel like something that was hovering just beyond my peripheral vision has been brought into view when I read your posts. More later. love CS

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    3. Thanks CS, it's amazing what you can see once "guilt" isn't taking any brain space ;) xo

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  4. I would submit that you HAVE cornered narcissists: case in point, your recent argument with your sister. Did she get nasty? Did she get blaming? Did she try to turn the tables or misdirect? Then you had her cornered! ;-)

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    1. hahaha I hadn't thought of that as cornering, oh dear, I still have a long way to go to acknowledge my achievements :P (Mainly she blamed and misdirected and made herself the "victim" but I didn't buy any of it :)

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  5. Yep, that's what they do. And good for you for not buying it! You know more than you think, my dear.

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