It’s Narcissist Friday!
Who is the narcissist? He or she will never tell you. He will do almost anything to prevent you from finding out. She is hiding. She presents a false identity so that you will focus on that instead of her. He hides behind his created ego. You will only see the image. He wants you to admire the image, even worship it; but whether you do or not isn’t the real point. The real point is that you don’t see the truth about him.
All your attention must be focused on the image. Everything will be sacrificed for the image. Relationships mean nothing in comparison. No other person exists except the image—which isn’t real. What a strange life!
Most people think of the narcissist as someone who must always be right, always be the center of attention, always be in control, or always be served and satisfied. They think the narcissist is in love with himself. But the truth is much darker. The narcissist is the weak little child hiding in the corner making a big shadow on the wall to keep people away. We are all supposed to look at the shadow.
So the narcissist is slave to the image he has created. He must support it and worship it. He must do whatever is necessary to maintain it. If his image is smarter than everyone else, then he must be right. He will lie to cover his error. He will attack to defend his position. He will distract from any evidence that suggests his image is somehow less than he wants you to think. If her image is to be the victim, then she must be the most needy and most deserving victim. She must oppose any other victim who might pull at your heart. She must be the center of your attention and service.
Because the narcissist spends so much time and energy maintaining the image, he expects that you will also. You must. Your service to the image affirms him. If you don’t worship the image, you frighten the narcissist. He fears that you might be able to see the truth he has worked to deny.
Chances are that those who have been in narcissistic relationships have never really known the narcissist. They have only seen the image. It is something like those stories where the person has one name and identity but is really someone else, someone much different from the person they see. There is a hidden evil, a shame or sin, that must be covered and contradicted. There is a weakness that must be hidden. They have never known the real person.
So, of course, they suffer feelings of betrayal when they discover the lie. When they realize that this person has been a deception all along, they become angry. They think it has all been a lie and they have been used. And, for the most part, they are right.
But discovering the lie is not the same as discovering the truth. Most victims of narcissistic relationships find that there is no resolution, no closure, after the relationship. They learn that so much has been false, but they still don’t know what is true. Any escape or culmination feels empty. Victims are left with wondering why this all happened and what could have been done differently.
Sadly, the truth about the narcissist may never be known. It is usually too hard for him to share. Even with counselors, the narcissist will evade and deceive. Pieces of the story may be revealed, but the pain of the heart will probably not. Even when the truth about how she was raised comes out, she will shrug it off as though it didn’t matter.
It is important for me to close this post with a warning. It is normal to feel some compassion for the narcissist when the sadness of his or her life is considered. But compassion and trust must be two different things. We may desire to understand what would damage a person so much, but we still must guard against more manipulation and cruelty. Love and care from a distance. The narcissist doesn’t care how he hurts you, so you have to maintain boundaries and distance. There may be all kinds of reasons the dog will want to bite you. You must make sure you don’t give him the opportunity.