Narcissists and Points

It’s Narcissist Friday!     


Narcissists live by points. I wrote about the perils and follies of the point system of morality a couple weeks ago. It is something to consider deeply, I believe. The idea that doing good things earns us good points, while doing bad things earns us bad points, seems to ignore the truth that sometimes all a person really wants is points of some kind. Especially when we are afraid or weary, we just want something. That allows us to do things we consider wrong, just for the sake of “feel good points.”

Now, consider the narcissist from this perspective. One of the primary pitfalls of the point system is the collateral damage it does in relationships. Not only did the narcissist grow up more keenly aware of a point system, but he/she used that system to judge others. In fact, the outward look of judgment helped to distract from the inward look of self-criticism.

When I say judgment, I don’t mean legal condemnation only. Narcissists categorize everyone. They judge according to usefulness. They judge according to offense or benefit. They judge according to perceived comparisons. And that’s just a few off the top of my head. Narcissists are always judging others.

I wrote about this judging according to usefulness here. Narcissists can quickly form opinions about how useful a person will be to their (the narcissist’s) plans or needs. Some people are useful, at least for a while, and will be welcomed. Others are not useful and are usually ignored or disparaged. Still others are in the way and must be crushed.

Almost anyone in a narcissistic relationship knows how the narcissist keeps points based on offense or benefit. They seem to remember every negative thing ever done to them, and those negative points are forever on the other person’s account. Yes, they also know who has been good (read generous or subservient) to them, and those folks get positive points. It is interesting how quickly someone can lose all their positive points with the narcissist, but never the negative, but that’s another post.

Finally, the narcissist keeps points based on comparisons. This is probably part of the usefulness matrix, but that won’t be obvious. Many have noticed how the narcissist can walk into a room full of people and know almost instantly whom to avoid and whom to entertain. Comparisons are made on the basis of clothing, hairstyle, connections with others, position in the organization, facial expressions, and probably factors the rest of us barely notice. Spouses sometimes hear the narcissist say something like, “I don’t fit in that group.” Comparisons have already been made and the narcissist doesn’t like them. Contrary to what some think, most narcissists don’t like to be with people they think are “better” than themselves. They will make some kind of negative comments about the people and stay away. Nor do they like to be with a group of people deemed “less” than themselves. Not interesting, no benefit, not worthwhile. And, by the way, there are no equals. Everyone is either above or below in the mind of the narcissist.

That’s why you will see the narcissist in the group, but not with or part of the group. He/she is either the center of attention or the wallflower (is there such a word as “wallweed”?) Above and separate or just separate.

All of this is based on a system of points conceived in the mind and heart of the narcissist from long ago and reinforced over the years by life experiences viewed through the same perspective. Sadly, it also explains why the narcissist has so much difficulty accepting real love. He/she accepts service and loyalty and devotion, but love is a foreign thing.

In his heart, the narcissist never felt accepted simply on the basis of love. Acceptance/attention only came from points. So he has great difficulty believing that you ever loved him, mostly because he cannot understand or accept the reality of that love. In the same way, the narcissist has great difficulty believing that God loves him apart from a system of points.


Filed under Narcissism

24 responses to “Narcissists and Points

  1. Tammy

    I don’t have time to read this right now but I skimmed the post… and am cracking up as I pull out of my driveway. Wallweed!

    Pastor Dave, your wisdom is beyond priceless. Your wit and humor is a close second.

  2. cefeather

    So true about the way the narcissist forgets the positive points but sure keeps a running total of negatives. I recall begging with my narcissist ex to return and save the investment we both had in the relationship. She told me it would be throwing good money after bad. And when I asked for her forgiveness, she simply said she’d forgiven me 87 times and was not about to forgive the 88th (so much for Jesus seven times seventy). At any rate, they keep score and you are only as good as the last positive point your scored but as bad as every offense you ever committed to them. It is all about “what have you done for me in the past minute?” The really strange thing was that any person who had no value to her was labeled as having a personality disorder or being a narcissist.

  3. Christine Clements

    this guy is a genius, truly spot on

  4. I grew up with a mother who is narcissistic, a detached father, a golden child brother, and a golden child sister who mother lives vicariously through. I was the scapegoat and have been no contact for eight years. I was useful, at least for a while, and welcomed. When no longer useful I was ignored or disparaged and ultimately crushed.

    Something which is troubling to me is that your last paragraph describes me and which is of great concern that I may have narcissistic personality disorder as well. I know I am a cracked pot but is there anything you could share with me to assuage this feeling?

    Thank you and God Bless you for this ministry as so many do not understand.

    • Mary27

      They say that if you are worried about being a narcissist then you probably are not. Simply because a true narcissist doesn’t self evaluate or worry about it. They are completely confident that they are always right and they feel totally entitled to have others bow and scrape to them. No matter how many people try to point out where they have offended and hurt someone else… it goes right over their heads and simply doesn’t register on their radar.

    • trstupar

      Ditto, what Mary27 said. Also, understanding that God loves us without a system of points may be something that we struggle to understand or need repeated affirmation in order to really “get it”, but the N. will never even contemplate it.

    • Mary Walker

      I feel your pain and understand how you relate to the last paragraph, so do I, my mother is also a narcissistic personality. BUT, a big but there, the fact that you see it in you and question it says you aren’t a narcissist. I love the Lord with all my heart and walk with him the best I can daily. One of the hardest things I’ve had to get past and am still trying to is to not earn his love, live in grace. He is so good and so patient with me and is showing me everyday how to do this. It’s something I have to pray for on a regular basis but I am slowly getting it, you will too, just ask:) I hope this helps and I will be praying for you too.

      • Dear Mary,

        Your words were a healing balm to my soul. I too love the Lord and am at the point now where I thank Him for this pain as without it I may have not searched or found Him. Sometimes though Satan likes to use the voices and treatment in my past to tell me I’m not worthy and then I struggle..

        Prayers to you Mary and God Bless You!

  5. Thank you Mary27 and trstupar. I have had EMDR to cope with this and I agree with you both. My heart tells me this but my head (which I believe is Satan using this achilles heal to torment me) tells me otherwise at times. God Bless you!

  6. Cami

    It’s really sad that these people never got genuine love so they can’t give it. Sometimes I feel pity even compassion for my ex and then he does something horrendous again. He walked out on me (after 19 years)and our kids without looking back. He ended up losing his job and could no longer pay the mortgage on the house I was living in with the kids. He wanted me to help him save the Home but I told him no because I wanted to move on. He put the house up for sale, got a buyer and told me that we had to get out in 3 weeks. He sold the house for a very low price. Now he blames me for him losing 80k in equity. Mind you, the house was in his name and I wasn’t a party to the negotiations with the buyer. He has held this against me for months. The great thing is I am out of his home in my new place and he can’t control anyone or anything. Oh-he also threatened to give the dog away just to hurt me. When he found out it didn’t move me at all, he kept the dog.

  7. Wow, did I score in the negative because I was honest with him. I didn’t disparage him, but I did say once that our children needed their father’s warmth and love. BAD me! BAD me twice, I did have the self-respect to ask for things I wanted, and he’d accede, then resent me for asking and resent me even more that he “gave in” to what I asked. Whew, I didn’t realize it was going on given all the times he told me he loved me. Which face of his was/is real? Boy is he going to hate and blame me when he gets his third denial of his “annulment” petition from the Catholic Church -no, neither of us was Catholic, but his current civil marriage wife is, and she knows she married an abuser – I smell the spirit of Jezebel! Perhaps this will be God’s justice. I’ve prayed for his salvation for eight years, but now I need to pray for myself to walk away emotionally, clean. Funny thing is I now have friends in the Diocese who see me as a true Christian.I prayed healing from Dandy Walker Syndrome for the unborn grandson of one of the Tribunal staffers, and Jesus healed him in utero! Way to Go, Jesus!

  8. Victim no more

    I vividly remember when the narc used to do something horrible to me and I was crying … He would come to me and say you forget all the good things I do for you…. And I remember saying to him…. It seems you think this is a point game where you accumulate points and as long as you stay in the positive I will not hurt or think you are horrible for doing what you just did… Doesn’t matter how many good things you did (in the beginning) … If you crush my spirit and make me feel insecure it hurts and I will not like it and I will cry and I will tell you f*cked up!!!! He did not like that at all…. And seem to not understand ….

  9. journeytoselflove2017

    Yes! Everything is a game to the narcissists and we are the puppets

  10. Haha… “Wallweed!” I love it, and will use it! (Though, unlike the narcissist, I won’t pretend that I came up with it)

  11. Oh, I remember getting zinged with a point system years ago with the ex-narc. He told me shortly before the breakup how I was doing badly with his point system. One of the points against me was that I didn’t want to convert…. It drove me crazy to find out he even *had* a point system, especially since we’d been engaged for several months already.

  12. Missing Me

    A relationship with a narcissist is like being caught in a revolving door.

  13. joy

    I’ve said that so many times…that everything is a game to him. Even relationships with the’s something he’s out to win and it doesn’t matter that there is enough love to go around. He doesn’t see it that way. I told him I didn’t understand why he seemed to think our marriage was a competition. I didn’t understand why, in his life, I was cast as his opponent, and not his teammate. I’m so glad you write this blog. So many people can read this as they go though it and start to understand before they have spent decades loving someone who can never feel loved.

  14. isabella

    my husband is a narcissist . we have been married 15 yrs, m fairly young he’s the only serious relationship i’ve ever had. he is a pastor. all our marriage i thought it was my fault, that God was testing me, that it was my cross to bear. he has no empathy, even for our children. life is about him and him alone. i forgave many things, some i am ashamed to admit even to myself. because i’m smart and beautiful, how could have i made such a bad choice ? he has an impeccable image, no one knows or even would believe if i tell them. some days i wanna leave and others i’m thinking maybe this is a spiritual warfare and i am giving in to the enemy’s plan. i have given up on happiness but it hurts . i dont know what to do. because he is the way he is talking to him wont change anything. before i use to accept and play right into his games, but he cant manipulate me anymore. so he apologises when he is backed into a corner and once that situation passes, he makes me pay otherwise. i dont know what to do. i’ve turned to God , i need help. he wont go to counseling . m going ot counselling but its an unsaved therapist so her advice is to leave. i am ashamed so i dont talk about it to people but the few i have either told me to leave or stay for the children’s sake but to protect myself. any dream of a real relationship with a real connection is out of question. i need counsel. maybe people who have been married for many years and overcame narcissim in their mariage ? or is it a spiritual attack, should i just pray about it ? i know God hates divorce. but m too young to be living like this. since hes a pastor well i cant really take this to church either. thanks for your help and sorry for the long post

    • Mary Walker

      How horrible, I’m so sorry. I have a friend who was in your exact position, as soon as she filed she felt the peace of God flood over her, if that helps. Also my ex was a narcissistic personality, he divorced me by the grace of God. I stayed in the marriage for 20 years, my youngest was 16 when we divorced, I am now watching the damage done to my son. It keeps me up at night, I’m sad almost always, I want a do over. I wish I knew then what I know now, I would have left. I thank God because he reminds me daily that he is turning my ashes into beauty. The one thing I’ve learned from all of this is that God hates abuse in any form. We are called to suffer for the case for Christ not the abuse from others. I truly believe and know in my heart that God cares so much more for an abused soul then he does for the covenant of marriage. I see no where in the Bible where it is telling me I have to suffer at the hands of an abusive person because of their brokenness. I hope this helps. I’m praying for you.

      • isabella

        thank you so much and thank you for the prayers !! and thank you for saying we are to suffer for the cause of Christ and him alone! this came as a revelation to me as i had this twisted concept that sufferinfg was almost a synonym of womanhood. how is your friend doing? where u married to a pastor too? thank u so much for your reply i feel understood. my dad when i was young and i dont want my kids to grow up without a father but better one that is away so maybe when he shows up he’s nicer than one that is there but not a good example. it stroke a chord in me what u said bout your sons. i carry the weight of everything in our household, the finances , the children upbringing, the chores etc he’s focused on his ministry , on making it ”big” someday. it pains me to admit but i so wish he would leave me .i am not ready to ask for a divorce cause i dont want to be the bad guy in the sense that he made our mariage hell but by me filing its like m the one who pulled the plugged , broke a covenant and he gets off scottfree

        anyway, thank u so much u have no idea the relief just to read your response. thank uu, thank u

    • I highly recommend Leslie Vernick who is an author and christian counselor for women. I have attached a link to one of her articles:

      • isabella

        thank you!!!! i visited her website and printed a lot of free ressources . i also saw she has books on amazon i will buy soon and i listened to some of her videos on youtube. thank you very much. she mentionned some scriptures that i am looking at right now. it just dawned on me God doesnt want us to suffer, we are to suffer for the cause of Christ not from our spouses!!! and she said in one of her videos that u can be christian and not mature, and its true because he is a pastor and knows more than me in terms of scriptures etc i always assumed he knew better and what i didnt understand i was to submit and where i felt pain and was uncomfortable i was to pray to resist the devil. please pray for mee!!! i just want God to manifest his works and plans for my life . i want to submit to God’s will .. thank u again for responding. you have no idea how it helped!! God bless u 🙂

  15. Isabella, I love it when we all reach out and help one another when they are struggling. That’s how God intended us to His hands and feet. Praying for strength for you as you go through this journey of healing.

  16. Stacy

    I think that for those of us who have spent our entire lives experiencing and living with the point system of narcs, it’s all we know. I know that I never knew there was unconditional love. That is something that Jesus is teaching me now, at this point in my life. But it’s still hard sometimes for me to accept and realize after 60 years of believing in a lie. Jesus wants me to learn the truth of my real identity as a beloved daughter, loved unconditionally. He set me free from an abusive husband, and now I am realizing how truly free I am now. Free from this point system for love!

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