Winners and Losers

It’s Narcissist Friday!    


I wish I didn’t think that a person had to be a narcissist to be in politics these days. Maybe it isn’t true on the lower levels, but it seems almost a requirement for higher offices. Narcissists love the praise and adoration of politics, and their supporters faithfully shield them from the criticisms or help them blame the accusers. Most politicians are used to getting what they want, from people who want to serve them. Politics offers a wonderful playground for a narcissist. Power, attention, prestige, admiration—these attract narcissists like spilled 7-up attracts ants. Politics offers all of these.

But please don’t think of this as a political post. I have never wanted to use either the pulpit or the blog for that purpose, in spite of my own opinions. Instead, my desire is to point out something about narcissism that we all see but may fail to recognize.

I recently watched both the victory and the concession speeches of a couple of the candidates. For the last year or two, especially the most recent days, the opponents had accused each other of terrible things. They had attacked policies, character, family, even personal appearance. Their sycophants had carried the insults even further.

Then, suddenly, when it was finally over, they say nice things about each other as though they have always been friends. Each praises the other for the passionate campaign and for service to the country or state. And life is supposed to go on as though none of the arrows had ever been shot, as though none of the injuries caused continuing pain. Now, I understand that Americans like to view politics in the same vein as sports contests. We admire fierce combat, but we remember that it is “just a game.” Someone heavily involved in slinging mud and filth during this season just said, “Well, that was just politics.”

I can’t help but think of the narcissist who rips your life apart, accusing and lying and manipulating. Then, when the battle is over, he says, “Hey, no hard feelings, right?” As a pastor, I have been through some hurtful church battles. I have had people lie about me and accuse me of pretty bad things. And, after it was over, they say, “Well, we can still be friends. Maybe catch a cup of coffee sometime.” No, we couldn’t be friends after that.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether the narcissist wins or loses. Either way, he forgets his cruelty and ruthless maneuvering. He just wants everything to be good now. He is shocked when you don’t return the “kindness.” You took things too seriously.

I have heard newly divorced wives say that the narcissist suggested they get together for intimate times once in a while, “now that it’s all over.” I have heard employees say that the boss who fired them just before they reached retirement and pension age thanked them for their faithful service. The narcissist friend who turned everyone against you offers to get together for lunch sometime, “just to catch up.” Mom rips you with accusations and insults then complains when you don’t invite her over for tea.

And our heads spin. They might be able to shift their emotions and perspectives that quickly, but the rest of us can’t. But, you see, for the narcissist it’s all a game. You were just an opponent, not a real person. When the narcissist told those lies about you and manipulated others to oppose you, he was just trying to win, not to hurt you.

I think there is a part of the narcissist that believes that. Since they don’t see anyone as real people, they can’t be accused of trying to hurt anyone. But I also think this is a lie. The anger and evil you saw in your battle are still there, just under the surface. The narcissist hates all opponents with nearly equal passion. You might not have been a real person, but you were a real enemy. The threat you presented required whatever the narcissist brought to the battle. The moment you present the threat again, the evil will return.

And the politicians who seemed to hate each other a couple days ago? Are they friends now? Can we trust them to work together for the good of all of us? Probably not. It’s just politics.

The claws might have pulled back under the skin, but they are still there.


(I should have said this earlier.  I know that people have differing ideas about politics and I have no desire to entertain that kind of debate on the blog.  Comments centered on the political scene, for or against candidates, parties, or ideologies, will be blocked.  You will notice that I didn’t mention names and held all politicians to the same standards.  If there is some perceived political statement in the post that offends you, I apologize.  That was not intentional.)  


Filed under Narcissism

26 responses to “Winners and Losers

  1. Cecilia K

    Thank you for your post, Pastor Dave. We so appreciate your empathetic counsel. I would guess it’s fairly easy for the Narc to think they can be friends again after an ugly battle, because they were not on the receiving end of all the hurtful words and actions. Well, in the two candidates’ case, they were both on the receiving end, but they had to make nice for public appearance’ sake, I guess. Now that the victory has been won, the means of being cruel to get that victory doesn’t serve its purpose anymore. Now, being kind and respectful is more useful to build their public image back up, as if we the people have forgotten all the unprofessional, ferocious animosity they displayed toward one another.

  2. Jodi Dombeck

    I wish I didn’t have to believe it either. Not only do nice guys finish last, they aren’t even in the running. Hard to choose which narcissist to support. Narcissists, narcissists, everywhere, narcissists.

  3. Rox

    This post helps explain why my former N still smiles when he sees me at work, says hi, and is truly mystified about why I ignore him and turn the other way. To him it was a “friendly” little chess match. To me, I remember in painfully vivid details how he stole from me, lied to me, put me in danger, didn’t have time to talk when a stranger grabbed me on a dark street, ignored my trauma when my little boy died, and cancelled our 20-year friendship when it looked like I might succeed in spite of him. He can continue to pretend that I’m “just being too sensitive.” For my part, I’ll continue to know that I’ve faced down pure evil and, with God’s loving protection, won this match.

  4. Once again, you hit the nail on the head, Dave. This explains a lot. Thank you!

  5. After receiving some comments continuing the political debate and strife, I realized that I should have made it clear that I want this to remain centered on the problems of narcissism. I have added the following to the post: “I should have said this earlier. I know that people have differing ideas about politics and I have no desire to entertain that kind of debate on the blog. Comments centered on the political scene, for or against candidates, parties, or ideologies, will be blocked. You will notice that I didn’t mention names and held all politicians to the same standards. If there is some perceived political statement in the post that offends you, I apologize. That was not intentional.”

  6. Gratefully Yours

    The switch from calling an opponent lousy to great is how the winning narcissist can up his victory boast. After all, it wouldn’t be such a big win if your opponent was a “loser”!

  7. Melody

    This is so helpful. Thank you.

  8. Selma

    Now that the “game” is over & the “prize” has been won, what happens when the Narc realizes that they’re actually expected to do the work & keep the promises they’ve made? Both the Narcs in my world (one at church & one at the office) don’t do much work — they look busy, they act overwhelmed, they take credit for others’ achievements — but they do everything they can to get out of any kind of real work. And when they need something from you, they shift into “no hard feelings/can’t we still be friends” mode. Perhaps that is what happens after political contests as well — when the Narc “prizewinner” who claimed that they’re the best candidate to ever run for the office, suddenly realizes they have no clue how to do the job.

    • Gratefully Yours

      Smart delegating is what a leader needs to get a big job done. Praying God’s delegated leader will honor God with wise choices. Romans 13:1 (NIV) “…there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God”.

    • Good comment. I think of the mothers who have lost custody or have to share custody with a husband who never cared until the divorce proceedings. If the dad can’t get the new girlfriend or his mom to care for the kids or can’t throw enough money at the kids to make them happy, he usually tosses them back to the ex-wife. But, of course, she shouldn’t expect any extra financial help. It’s about winning, not performing.

  9. Singing Eagle

    OMG yes! That totally says it all. Thank you!

  10. Yes, narcissists want to get all the credit and benefits of performing without having to actually perform!

  11. Enjoying the peace and quiet

    My mother. Again. I found out from my teenager that my mother had been slandering me to her and was preparing to pull a really nasty stunt. I’ve barely spoken to her since. Not because I’m still angry, but because I’ve watched her target one family member after another for over three decades, and it’s my turn again. She’s not safe and addressing it just becomes a nasty war she HAS to win. So, I’m not going there for Thanksgiving or Christmas and after politely declining her lovely emailed invitation, I was told I need to get over my “snit”. It’s funny. I’d rather sit home alone this Christmas than smile and pretend we’re a happy family. She does break one narcissistic rule, though. She gives really nice gifts…after ages eviscwrated you.

  12. Enjoying the peace & quiet

    In the case of our presidential campaign, when a narcissist wins, they’re like a cat with a bowl of cream. That explains the “niceness”.

  13. Enjoying the peace and quiet

    That should have said, “she gives really nice gifts…after she’s eviscerated you.”

  14. Penny

    After 40+ years of narcissistic behavior & abuse, I can usually spot a narcissistic “leader” in a nano second.
    Whether it is a pastor, a teacher, a “leader” or “candidate”, they are all amazingly similar in their behaviors.
    It matters not if the narc performs on the “world stage” or within a family system or a corporation, they are remarkably alike:
    it’s all about power & control; domination & isolation.
    I would bet that many here have heard the same words from their narcs as these candidates spoke to the masses. It’s like getting the “macro” version versus the “micro” version. But it’s all the same stuff, & its destructive, divisive, demoralizing & denigrating.
    Narcs never fight fair.
    Our culture often rewards these behaviors & ignores the damage, in exchange for drama & a seat at the table. Literally.

    “We’re all good, right?”


  15. Tammy

    Pastor Dave we all truly appreciate you calling it what it is, EVIL. Your comment about the claws is spot on. Some of those claws go back in their hidden sheath so nicely, they fool even the smartest of us.

    We don’t think like that (cold, calculated & strategic image building) so its hard to understand how they can seem to flip a switch so easily. Hear Pastor Dave clearly, the evil is still there. The evil was never EVER turned off… It was just hidden behind the façade.

    It may be difficult to admit that the kindness and earnest effort to win your forgiveness isn’t sincere, but your emotional health and so much more is at stake. Call it what it is. When they say “Oh honey, he’s your brother” or “Cant you see he still loves you” or “She couldn’t possibly have meant that. Why can’t you put that behind you”… You know what to do. Move on with your life. Shake the dust off your feet, put the evil behind you and head in the direction of healing and happiness. Its not easy, but there are plenty of us that not only survived MULTIPLE narcissists in our lives but are thriving.

    I continue to be the target of both covert and overt attacks. Despite their best efforts, I have peace that passes all understanding. Yes there is pain because of our children and what I see them endure, but I have joy in my heart and a Savior that has already won the war.

    We can forgive but we are smart to vividly remember that those claws are just as sharp hidden as they were when they sliced & diced just moments before. Stay away. Stay far away. Know you deserve WAY better and take the advice of others on this page. When they smile sweetly and say “Can’t we just be friends?”


    • Melody

      Agreed. And an observation on narcissism in society this election (not political commentary just social): I have found there is a meme in Christendom that says we MUST be friends with everyone on social media or in church settings or whatever. Whereas, even Jesus had enemies and He handled them very differently from friends. I found out a few people were mockers of me over life experiences and concerns that differed to theirs. It hurt. Basically addressed issues asking them to stop and they basically refused. Many of the same or the flying monkey types in the equation would also say don’t unfriend over it, it is just politics. I found it isn’t just politics when people are being hurt. It has led me to preemptively remove certain acquaintance level friends and a few with whom I go way back for their behaviors towards others or viewpoints that harm, because the blindsiding claws would hurt so deep. Then they’d smile sweetly and say something like “have a blessed day”. I can’t have a blessed day if someone attacks me for caring for others, or attacks those others I know and love. So I believe we are to love all, but we can’t be close to all. Only narcissistic thinking demands we be close with people who are essentially our enemies, opening ourselves up to potential abuse. Such thinking seems to me to see people as all the same and interchangeable instead of irreplaceable individuals. Sometimes I think God opens our eyes to our differences not so we can hate, but so we can protect the good in ourselves and others. Hope that makes some sense!

  16. Anne

    Thank you, Pastor Dave, for your insightful essay. It was very timely and your words reinforced my own beliefs about how to deal with narcissists in our everyday lives. I never thought I would de-friend people, mostly support group friends, on Facebook but I have done so this week. It’s one thing to support a candidate but another thing to gloat and spew forth venom towards those who disagree with you.

    I am dealing with this in my personal life as well, having a hard time figuring out whether the man I am dating now is right for me. We disagree politically on some very key issues and, although he has never been verbally abusive as my ex-husband was, I don’t know if I can trust him with my heart. It’s so much more than politics; it’s core values. I’m afraid we’re too far apart on key beliefs and I am probably wasting my time with him.

  17. Georgette

    Anne, ask God to reveal the man you are dating to you and start journaling everything. I did that with ex-narc and when I would go back and read my journal all I could say OH MY GOD….OH MY GOD…OH MY GOD and then I asked God to get me out of the relationship. It took a couple of years and it ended. The narc ended it in a very painful way. He devalued me and the church supported him and I lost my church family over it. In the end I am slowly healing. I see Jesus working in my life to healing and how he saved me from a horrendous relationship and a possible devastating marriage. He married his fourth wife. You have a gut feeling about the relationship, listen to it! It is Jesus telling you something is not right! You might like the love bombing he did or does. I know I miss that somewhat even though it was never sincere. Tammy you are spot on:We can forgive but we are smart to vividly remember that those claws are just as sharp hidden as they were when they sliced & diced just moments before. Stay away. Stay far away. Know you deserve WAY better and take the advice of others on this page. When they smile sweetly and say “Can’t we just be friends?” My ex-narc wanted to be friends and have me come over to meet his fourth wife and act like we are friends and for some reason it just didn’t work….needless to say I am devoted to no contact!

  18. Georgette

    *act like we are friends and tell his fourth wife for some reason the relationship didn’t work….

  19. Wow so true Dave. He can flip faster than I can flip a pancake. To the neighbors he said I was a B— who was too religious, to my face he told me he was more reliable than God and justified in his affairs, but suddenly he wants to be a “good Catholic”? A colleague of his from his work met me about five years after our divorce at a church singles event, looked at me quizzically, and then said, “But you’re such a sweet lady!” I can only imagine what he said about me at work. I haven’t told our two kids anything he said to me – that wouldn’t be right to do – but I am ever so grateful to God that the Tribunal sees through him and will soon give him a second and definitive final NO on his petition to “annul” our 38-year marriage. Still, I can’t hate him, just have God’s compassion for how misguided and deceived he is and pray for him daily to truly come to know God as real, alive, holy, and passionately loving if/whenever he turns to Jesus in true repentance.

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