Narcissism And The Voice In My Phone

Months have passed since I last wrote about narcissism. At least, I think it’s been months. I could check, but that would require more effort than I am willing to expend at the moment.

I took a day off work today and the weather is goddamn perfect. So far, I’ve accomplished sitting on my ass and getting the new plates for our Soul. I’m thinking about making more coffee, but again…effort.

I left the house without being entirely sure where I was going to get the plates. You guys, my phone does this awesome thing where I can say an address and then this nice lady tells me how to get there.

Shut up. I’m old. I can be impressed with this if I want to be. I’m still scarred from years of trying to read maps. I have some spatial dyslexia issues and maps are horrifying to me. My brain does not process that information well.

I tell the nice lady in my phone where I need to go and she starts directing me out of my neighborhood. I already know that part, but whatever.

Then, I realized that I had to swing by the bank because the BMV doesn’t take credit cards. I looked at my phone. Do I cancel the request? Or do I annoy the shit out of the lady in my phone by doing the exact opposite of what she was going to tell me to do?

Yep. I am still so afraid of getting ridiculed for being wrong that I felt anxiety over not following the directions that my GPS was about to spit out.

Fucking really?

I decided to leave the GPS on and perhaps spend a few minutes pondering how much longer I wanted to continue waiting for people to get annoyed with me because I can’t follow simple instructions.

Being the adult child of a narcissist means that I spent my formative years being told how I was wrong about most things.  These messages were delivered with anger or contempt or superiority. I know that most people do not enjoy being wrong, but probably can be wrong without feeling like they want to vomit. Some people deal with that by becoming defensive and combative. Others deal with fear of being wrong by staying quiet a lot.

I stayed quiet a lot.

I have been changing, though. If someone introduces a topic to me, I don’t instantly get all sweaty and panicky. If I don’t know what they are talking about, I say “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” It’s so simple!! And not painful!! It took me years to get there.

Still, when I realized I was feeling actual anxiety over defying the voice in my phone this morning, it became clear to me that I still have some work to do.

I decided that I would replace the voice in my phone and talk for her.

In 500 feet, turn left. 

Goddammit. I said turn left. Do you think that was left? Because it was not. 

Seriously, these are simple instructions. 

Take a U-turn in 50 yards and continue in the opposite direction. 

Bitch. Are you even listening to me? 

I’m not telling you shit anymore. You obviously are not interested in listening. You probably can’t cook either. I bet you don’t even preheat. 

Did….did you just make a complete circle? Is this funny to you?

If you wanted to go to a specific place, then why would you go the most wrong way you can go to get to that place? Are you really that stupid because damn. I almost feel sorry for you. 

Almost. I am too annoyed with you right now to feel sorry for you. I kind of want to spit on you. 

Okay. Okay okay okay. You are going the right way now. Don’t fuck this up. You have a total of two turns to reach your destination. You can do this. 

Wait! Why are you turning here? WHY? Did I fucking say to turn here? You were NEARLY THERE!

(I had to stop for gas).

Your destination is on the right or whatever. I don’t even care. I’m going to watch Netflix now. Loser. 

So, I spent the morning of one of my vacation days sitting in the BMV. I had to take a number. There were 14 ancient men who were getting their driver’s licenses renewed. Painful. Seriously painful. They all had to do eye exams and not one of them were happy about it.

Still, the weather is perfect.

I think I’ll make that coffee now and sit on my deck and think about chores that I know I’m not going to actually do today. Tomorrow I will. For sure.




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  • One day, my husband actually turned to me in the car and said, “You do know you’re ALLOWED to not do what GPS says, right?”

    This, after a trip to Ireland with a GPS that didn’t have maps of the rural areas we were visiting. We were convinced that its voice was getting more annoyed and ultimately panicky by the second.

    • Hahahahaah…I’ve been doing the annoyed GPS voice for a while now. I’m sure Randy loves it. He is very old and mistrustful and thinks the GPS is always wrong. We already have “differing” travel throwing GPS into the mix is always fun. Well, by fun I mean we’re probably going to argue over the GPS. haha.

  • Maybe I need to get a GPS voice…hmmnn a real voice to actually put real words in my head to shrink from…hmnn. Wait, does the GPS ever say, “I’m soooo disappointed in you. You know I love you, but….”?

    If I’m going to let a new voice in, it will have to pull it’s weight with condescension and patronizing. How else am I going to justify pulling over, bailing out, slamming the door and screaming, “I’m never talking to you ever again!” as I stomp bravely down the street?

    Fuck it…two of my voices just said to quit worrying about a new voice we can’t even afford.

  • I use the phone GPS quite a lot – Occasionally in a traffic jam I decide to go around the houses to avoid being at a standstill or like you, I divert to a shop or get petrol, it really does get its knickers in a twist! I do tend to answer the GPS back though! There’s something satisfying about doing so – a form of GPS rage!

  • Damn that b*tch in the GPS! Always “yelling” at me when I’m already anxious about being lost… 🙂

    It is this “awareness” that makes moving forward possible. I made a mistake a couple years ago (well – I’ve made TONS of mistakes – finish the sentence!) that I didn’t freak out over and nitpick at until I fell into a deep depression. I realized how freeing it was to not beat myself up over every little detail needing to be perfect. In fact, when I accidentally asked for hocks instead of shanks at the butcher shop – know what happened?!? NOTHING! I didn’t melt into a puddle of shame. The butcher didn’t laugh at me. They just found me what I really wanted and that was that. It was an amazingly normal feeling – that didn’t feel normal to me… But hopefully we’re all getting there one tiny step at a time!

  • This is both hilarious – and not. I often yell loudly in my car, “Shut up!” to my own inner gremlin, that is intoning one more bad embarrassing memory that I absolutely MUST think about again for the 3007th time, before the day is done. I’ve often wondered if a patient was next to me, what they might think. I hope I’d just laugh! Ah, heal the healer…

  • My husband and I have named the phone GPS voice “Daffy” after Daffy Duck. Because she fluctuates between extreme condescension and dementedly spewing and sputtering instructions that make no sense. I talk back to her all the time.

  • My friend told me that she was worried that her GPS was seriously depressed, because it told her to “drive 500 yards and turn right” as she was pulling on to the Golden Gate Bridge… The GPS that East Bay Paratransit has in their vehicles is so annoying that most of the drivers use their smartphones instead. Still, as someone who logged a million miles behind the wheel of various delivery trucks before there was such a thing as GPS, I think it’s pretty freaking cool. Nobody should be driving a 20′ bobtail around with an open Thomas Guide balanced on the steering wheel, as I have more times than I care to admit…
    I saw the picture of you and the Bloggess and I’m trying not to be majorly jealous.

  • Hey, Michelle, thanks for making what is excruciating – for those of us with scars – into something totally funny!!

  • Oh Michelle – we have similar conversations with our GPS and have said on more than one occasion she is going to turn around and tell us that because we are not listening to her she is going to stop telling us how to get places. We did have a name for her but for the life of me I can’t remember what it is – I feel a bit bad actually – sort of like forgetting my child’s name but I can remember that – it’s Kate – no wait – her real name is Kaitlin – she just likes to be called Kate. I know her second and third names are Petronella Spudski but what we chose for the G – I have no frickin clue. Will have to check with the family. She was christened when we were travelling around Spain and did do a great job – most of the time. There was this one instance when we were travelling on a (new) four lane freeway and she showed us driving through a paddock and kept saying “Find the nearest road” for absolutely ages – we switched her off eventually when we realised we were going to be on the new road for a lot longer than we originally thought !!!
    (I just know what I ask A and K what her name is I’m going to go “Ohhhhhhh yes – how could I forget that ?” but for now, menopause brain is in full swing and I just can’t remember !!!)

  • A little off topic, but it’s not the anoying GPS lady that drives me crazy, it’s the fact that the GPS is inacurate. I don’t know how many times I have been searching an online store of a company that has brick and morder locations and for the GPS to be way off. Ex. Looking up store locations nearest me it tells me I must be in Witchta, Kansas. Uh, no, I’m in Colorado, hundreds of miles away. What am I, fucking Dorothy! Though I wouldn’t mind having her shoes. LOL.

  • My mom and I decided that the GPS voice should come in different options. George Clooney voice, Antonio Banderas voice, etc. And it should compliment us, tell us how gorgeous we look and how nice we smell in between the giving of directions.

  • I’ve had issues with asking my phone for directions to a particular street and it gives me a street with the same name in another state…or country. I’ve never checked but I’m pretty sure the latter directions start by taking me to the airport.
    Recently I had to get my car’s emissions checked and because it’s only once a year I can never quite remember how to get to the place but my phone helped get me there. Once we were within 500 feet of the right street it said, “Oh, you wanted to go to the NEAREST ONE. Why the fuck didn’t you say so?”
    Annoyingly when I use that kind of language with my phone it gets upset.

  • I know that voice. That voice is a son of a bitch.
    Just the other day I took my car to get washed for the first time on my own. And I was almost completely sure I’ll get stuck in that washing thing, will try to get out and save my life, and will get beaten to death by the giant car wash brushes.
    I didn’t!

  • You list all the reasons I never use my phone for a GPS. I know my language would be aggressive and I would get aggressive. A friend changed her GPS voice to a sexy Australian guy, but I think I may be beyond even Aussie help! In my own defense I do fine with a real person giving me directions.

  • I ask my phone all sorts of questions. I like to think it’s my own personal 8 ball! (round plastic toy one, not illicit drugs!) Every time my husband asks something that I don’t know he says “Ask your phone” and after the answer he says, “that gawd damn thing is a genius!” It amazes him every. single. time.

  • Here via your comment on The Bloggess – did we have the same grandmother? I was trapped in a high chair…
    Argue with and defy the voice on my GPS all. the. time. – also in recovery from and still in therapy due to narcissistic parent. Hello, tribe-ling!

    • Hello! So glad you are here! I dunno if we had the same grandmother, did yours die a lonely alcoholic, because if so, we might be cousins. haha.

      I’m sorry you were affected by parental narcissism, it’s such a fucking drag.

By Michelle


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