The Music Mirror
Mirroring is one of the first things a narcissist does when hooking a new source of narcissistic supply. It’s part of the love bombing stage.
I’d hazard a wager that one of the earliest “mirrors” in a budding relationship with a narcissist is a shared taste in music. Close runners-up would probably be liking the same kinds of movies and authors.
Early on, I was surprised that Tina seemed to share an appreciation for a wide range of older music with me. Being that she’s from a younger generation, I didn’t expect a huge amount of cross-over in that department. From old school hip-hop to 80’s synth-pop, Tina thought my taste in music was exceptional.
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I knew that couldn’t be the whole story and I’d garnered enough bits and pieces to know Tina also liked some metal and grungy rock. I was prepared to give it a go, but she was oddly reticent about it.
Every once in a while, I tried to coax some of her other likes out of her. I didn’t want to monopolize the radio, so to speak.
We were in our bubble out in the Buffalo penthouse listening to Pandora on amplified speakers connected to my laptop. Internet was streaming from my cell phone’s hot spot. Entertainment options were pretty limited at Tina’s apartment unless I brought my bag of electronics out with me – so I always did.
The usual mix of 80’s funk and newer electronic dance music was pumping out of my speakers. Tina was singing and dancing along as we enjoyed a bottle of Hell Cat Maggie whiskey together. I tried again to open Tina up about her other musical tastes. Pandora was pretty much the only way I listened to music anymore and it was always on during our many long road trips together. So, I proposed creating two new Pandora stations. First, I’d create one based entirely on Tina’s favorite songs and bands, then I’d merge my station with hers for what I expected would be a mutually enjoyable mix. We’d never be subjected too long to something we didn’t like and we’d be exposed to each other’s tastes, offering a chance to learn to appreciate them. I thought it was a damn good idea, but Tina was a still a little reluctant.
“It’s like, when I’m with you, I like to listen to your music,” she tried explaining. “When I’m with Amber, I like to listen to Amber’s music, which is more the hard rock and metal kind of stuff.”
“But what does Tina like for herself?”
The odd thing was, she didn’t seem to have an answer to that.
I did eventually get a list of songs and bands out of her, though. Not a long list, but enough to start her customized station. KTIN, I called it. Mine was WDAN and the merged station that I created about a week later was dubbed KTND.
I figured the merged station (K-Tina-N-Dan) would become our road trip staple, but Tina would usually ask that I switch it back to WDAN, actually preferring to keep her music choices out of the mix of what we listened to together.
It’s not so simple as to say that Tina simply pretended to like whatever I liked. She did have some background on some of the things we had in common. She could rap along with NWA, for example. The first movie we saw together was Straight Outta Compton, because of that genuine shared interest. It was sometimes simply pretending. Sometimes, it was a matter of emphasis or exaggeration. The point was to amplify perceived commonalities and sideline any differences. This probably takes place to some degree with any new relationship, but much more so with a narcissist.
It was a rare moment of honesty that provided some insight into Tina’s chameleonic nature when she explained how her musical preferences varied to fit her current company.
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I do have my favorites and do associate certain types of music with those I know. While my love of music is very important to me I never realized how personal it is to others, or thought it could be a red flag, if they aren’t comfortable sharing their favorites.
Narcissists hook their victims by becoming (in the beginning) a “perfect” companion. That means becoming almost a mirror-image of the target. They suppress differences, build up commonalities and acquiesce to their victim’s wishes. They’ll defer to us on choice of restaurants, movies, and control of the radio dial. It’s a temporary part of the love-bombing phase.
Narcissists don’t have much of a personality of their own. They just mirror their company and try to behave in ways they think will gain them acceptance.
I’ve learned all about that recently and wish more people were aware of how they work.
OMG!! That is exactly true!!