5 Myths About The Narcissist

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I always read views propounded about me and my kind, with considerable interest. I see many intelligent and well-reasoned observations about what we do and why we do it. Many carry considerable force. Other views are purely driven by the understandable anger and hurt that is engendered in people by us, although as I have repeatedly sought to explain, when one operates through emotion, poor decisions are made and the clear picture is not observed. I also come across comments which are made about us which are inaccurate. I am not referring to the disagreement one might have in terms of an ad hominem attack against us. Many people consider us to be arseholes and bastards. I understand that viewpoint, many of my kind would disagree, but it is not that kind of value judgement that makes its way to becoming a myth about us. There are other more important misconceptions. As part of my ongoing work in explaining what we are, why we do what we do and your involvement in this narcissistic dynamic, it is just as important to explain what we are as detail what we are not. With that purpose in mind, I turn to five myths about our kind.

  1. We have no emotions

 

This view has gained some traction owing to the fact that my kind function with a considerable emptiness inside of us. The existence of this void can cause people to believe that because we are a shell and a husk that we are devoid of emotions. The fact that we feed off other people’s emotions also supports the view that we have none of our own. We need to steal the emotions that other people experience to enable us to feel.

The fact is that we do experience and feel certain emotions. We experience annoyance, anger and rage. Indeed, the churning fury which is always there beneath the surface, ready to be ignited, is a prevailing emotion of ours. We know boredom, disgust and loathing. We are very familiar with jealousy, envy, shame and hatred. Malice, malevolence, anticipation, contempt, aggression and power are further ones. Our stable of emotions is dominated by negative emotions. These are the ones which have been allowed to develop and that is because the force behind these emotions has been harnessed to allow us to achieve our aims. Our hatred for being devoid of fuel, drives us on to extract it. Our disgust at weakness causes us to always want to maintain superiority and strength. It is these emotions which make us effective and ruthless.

By contrast we do not experience joy or happiness, sadness or regret, serenity or love, remorse or guilt. These are alien to us along with others. We either have never known them or they have been stripped from us in order to allow us to operate with greater effectiveness, free from encumbrance and hindrance. We understand emotions because we want yours directed towards us. We understand how to mimic them and we understand when they should be exhibited (although some of our kind are better at this than others) but ultimately we do experience some emotions, just nowhere near as much as you.

  1. Copying us infuriates us

 

No it does not. If we are angry with you and shouting, if you decide to mirror this behaviour, all you are doing is providing us with fuel. If you parrot what we say to you, if there is any emotion attached to it, even if it is said with sarcasm, a sneer or contempt, it is fuel. If you decide to fall silent because we have, we may realise that the silent treatment is not reaping the fuel that we expected, but it does not infuriate us. Instead, we will just switch to a different form of manipulation in order to cause you to provide us with fuel. You find it hard after a while to keep mirroring what we are doing, your emotional capacity is such that it usually breaks through in some form and thus fuel is provided. We also recognise what you are doing and if you are giving us fuel, we will let you continue to mirror us. If you are not, your mirroring is not a criticism therefore there is no wounding, but we will shift to a different behaviour to bring forth the fuel.

  1. We miss you when you are gone

 

No, we miss your fuel, not you. That is what we miss most of all. We may also miss the traits that we were able to steal from you and also the residual benefits that you provided. It is something that victims of our kind find very difficult to accept. Surely some of what we said and did was genuine? It seemed that way, so surely it must have been? It must be the case that we liked somethings that you did? We did; the fuel, the traits and the residual benefits. We did not care about whether you were humorous, save that your sense of humour was appropriated by us for the purpose of making us seem better with other people. The radiant smile is only missed because it gave us fuel. Your extensive knowledge about wine was again another trait which made us look better.

Not only is it only these things that we miss when you are gone, the simple fact remains that if we discarded you, we decided that you were no longer worth the effort in keeping around and in most cases, we had identified and seduced a replacement. With this person in place, we focus on them, only turning to you to dole out Malign Follow-Up Hoovers (or Benign ones later when the replacement begins to turn stale). There is little doubt that you loved us with everything that you had, that you thought the world of us and nobody could have done for us what you did, but that is all from your perspective. Once we have discarded you, that all counts for nothing. You became a malfunctioning appliance and you have been replaced. We miss nothing about you.

If you escape, we will miss the three items that I detailed above and indeed we will look to recover them through the Initial Grand Hoover and Follow-Up Hoovers but do not think that our protestations of being unable to live without you, how we cannot imagine another day with you and we miss you so much, have anything to do with you as a person. They do not. We are unable to live without your fuel, we cannot imagine another day without using your traits and miss your residual benefits so much. All of these declarations, pleas, begging gestures and so forth are only designed to recover the three principle reasons we attach you. You can tell yourself that we miss you terribly if it makes you feel better but you are misleading yourself.

  1. We hate being alone

 

We need people. There is no doubt about that. We need people because we need the three principle benefits, chief amongst which is fuel, but that is not the same as saying we hate to be alone. In this instance, there is a degree of truth in the above statement but it requires considerable qualification. If we have been well-fueled we are able to be alone, engage in solitary activities and spend time in our own company without difficulty. Of course, the longer this goes on, eventually our fuel level drops and we will need to seek out people, but we do not hate being alone in such a situation.

Furthermore, the advantages of technology mean that although we may not be physically proximate to somebody, the advantages of Skype, text messages, telephone calls and even hand-written letters allows us to be on our own but in contact with many fuel sources. Add to this Thought Fuel and you have a situation whereby we can be physically isolated but with such connections we can manage perfectly well extracting all of these variable fuel types.

Remove such connections however and in a situation when our fuel levels are already low and we are physically isolated with no means of contacting people and that is when you shall see that we hate to be alone.

  1. We have a conscience

We do not. We think only of ourselves, our needs and how each situation can benefit us. We may appear to exhibit a conscience in order to con people and this is something more witnessed with the Mid-Range and Greater Narcissist, in order to fit in to a situation and people’s expectations but we have been created without a need for a conscience. If we had one, we would not be able to trample on people in the way we do. We would not be able to always be moving forward, never caring for what has gone before us. If ever you witness a situation where one of our kind appears to have had our conscience pricked, all it means is that we see an advantage in pretending that this is the case and we wish to dupe you and others for our own benefit.

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35 thoughts on “5 Myths About The Narcissist”

  1. To me it is very contradicting:

    if you want our emotions, it must be that in your way you feel it:

    joy, sadness, remorse, loneliness , kindness, faithfulness… etc…

    even if it is coming from the “fuel” you extract from us, it must be that you feel it..

    otherwise why would you seek for it??

    you do have feelings, but you twist them for attaining your aim…

  2. Thank you for discussing emotions, HG.

    I began reading your website because of recent interactions I had with a business associate / friend who exhibits narcissistic traits — lying (even when the lies don’t advance his cause), manipulating, turning me against certain of my employees in an attempt to get them fired, etc). I want to know more about this person in order to deal with him if he resurfaces. He filed a lawsuit against me and was soundly humiliated in court, but I don’t expect that to be the last I see of him. I could go on the offensive against him and make it impossible for him to ever work in my part of the world again, but I don’t want to waste time and other resources on him if there’s a good chance he’ll leave me alone in future.

    While I came to this website with a specific goal in mind, I have gotten far more from it than pointers on dealing with a former business associate. My mother was a narcissist with borderline personality disorder. Naturally, my brother and I were/are majorly screwed up. Both of us have narcissistic traits. Yet both of us can experience joy. At least I think that’s what it is. The kind of joy I experience is of a transcendent nature. For example, I remember as a 2-year-old seeing dust sparkling in sunlight on a gravel road; and when I was maybe 19 or 20 seeing a pomegranate caught in a ray of sunlight from the setting sun, when all around it was in shadow; working out a difficult mathematical proof; listening to a certain recording of The Messiah (Sir Neville Marriner / Academy of St Martin in the Fields).

    My brother tells me he experiences a similar kind of joy when walking, seeing the world as art.

    Our mother did not seem to experience joy. Far as my brother and I could tell, she did not have a stable self. All she had were her various masks. Since these depended on the reactions of other people, she would become very depressed and even suicidal when she could not see confirmation from other people that she existed. She could never sit quietly. She felt a constant need to make small talk.

    It’s interesting to see you feel shame but not guilt.I believe my mother felt shame, and that was the root cause of her burying her Self and relying solely on masks. Most of her waking life was spent trying to keep hidden (even from her own consciousness) a Self she thought of as ugly and dirty. I know enough about this personally from introspection. At some point in my adult life I realized I would need to work around this aspect of my personality if I wanted to have financial stability. This is something my former business associate / friend does not seem to have understood. A person overly burdened with a shameful Self cannot reach long-term goals. My former ba/f frequently sabotaged himself. This thing I call a work-around is not the same as putting on a mask. A mask is for other people. A work-around is for one’s Self. The goal, whatever it is, must be seen as something apart from the damaged Self. I have found meditation to be more helpful than drugs in accomplishing the work-around.

  3. Interesting HG. I read a HONY (Humans of New York) thread on Facebook yesterday about a guy that had an isolated childhood and thinks he’s a sociopath. He doesn’t feel empathy but makes intellectual choices to act in an emphatical way and I found it interesting to read all the comments; most of them ensuring him that of course he isn’t a sociopath; sociopaths have no awareness and so on; the usual discussion of nature vs nurture and the inability in people to understand how empathy can be mimicked for further gain of the sociopath; and how displaying faked emotions can be a part of an ongoing manipulation.

    1. Sounds eerily similar.

      Catherine, what is HONY? Facebook page? Theme? ..? I’ve never heard of it.

  4. I have to disagree with the being alone part. Every narc I have had the painful displeasure of being with was really never alone.. Even if physically by themselves they lived on thought fuel or were working on the next primary source. There were the plans and machinations to fuel them which allowed them to be engaged in their minds.

    I was with my sociopath in a tiny town in northern Spain. No English papers or internet and no English speaking people (I could speak Spanish). I thought he might kill me and roll me into a local ditch he was that enraged daily. We spent a mere 2 days there and I’ve never been so relieved to get out of a place… He was completely cut off from fuel supply except for me and it drove him crazy.

    When I read “they can’t be alone” my interpretation is they are out of their comfort zone when they don’t have a primary along with their secondary and tertiary sources buoying up their fragile egos. As you’ve mentioned HG desperation sets in when a primary unexpectedly leaves and the next primary has not been vetted properly and ensconced. So even when my ex was physically alone he was constantly watching porn, contacting the other women he juggled and getting off on my distress over silent treatments and discovering his infidelity.

    He was always amongst his harem in his own mind and planning his next fuel gathering forays…

    1. Well, the real question is…not to get philosophical, but I will. What does it mean to be alone? Having internet and Skype isn’t really alone. A narcissist could not go live off in the woods isolated as a hermit and just admire nature. He would die.

      So really the answer is yes and no. They can be alone as long as there is a limit to it and they know fuel is coming. But they cannot truly be alone.

      As example I knew this writer narcissist who was really just a mooch and bum and liked to fantasize about living in the cabin in the woods ala Henry David Thoreau. Well, sure he could spend a week isolated in a cabin, but when get got back he made sure to blog about it and share all his photos so everyone knew how cool he was.

      Granted, there is nothing wrong with sharing the experience but he had to make sure everyone knew how deep and philosophical and serious he was. He used to admit he couldn’t be without people for very long.

      So alone yet not.

  5. “I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day” – Douglas Admas, the Salmon of doubt

  6. Right. He appeared so self-confident, stable, wise, non-judgemental, friendly.. all characteristics that I missed growing up. Later I understood he just didn’t have these emotions of happiness and sadness. The feelings of anger and stress he solves with the bottle and the drugs. He is not very judgemental, because he doesn’t care about other people at all. I discovered he had zero empathy, but occasionally faked it. How you can be fooled when you are a naive, non-confident, empathic young woman that never learned anything from her parents but appearances, shame, guild and the ever presence of a judgemental, angry god.

  7. I think that they do hate to be alone. Because without an audience what are they? Without the game playing, lies, false personas ….what is there?
    All these cruel activities are done because they want to feel something. They want to fit in and present themselves as human. Even if its a horrible human. Its interacting.
    Alone they have to face a fact. They are not a fully functional human.
    They are not like everyone else. They are not God like or beings to be worshipped and catered to but defective humans.
    If a car was missing a tire you wouldn’t say it was perfection.
    Narcissists are human in appearance but missing the most vital things emotionally and spiritually that make us human.
    Most people who are challenged with physical, mental or emotional impairment are called disabled or handicapped.
    They cannot function on a normal level and worse yet they are destructive to people around them.
    So I think when they are isolated and alone with their thoughts. That loneliness must be horrible. They lie to others but never believe their own lies. They know what they are. They can never fix themselves. So alone they have to deal with emptiness. A huge vacuum, a human stripped of the all the qualities needed to live life completely. Missing the ability to experience what the most common individuals take for granted. Alone they have nothing.

    1. Marsh,
      Having a physical, emotional, or mental handicap does not necessarily prevent anyone from functioning on a normal level. Nor does it make them destructive. Take Faith, the two-legged dog, for instance. She does not know she is disabled, she lives her life as it is given. It is her normal.

      I also think my nex believed his lies. (At least some of them) He did not recognize how his own behavior had affected our families opinions of him. Instead he vehemently blamed ME… convinced that I had gone behind his back to influence their opinions. Knowing what I do now, I believe he was probably projecting. This self-defense mechanism overrode any knowledge of me, common sense, or logic.

      1. Jasmine, I believe the narcissistic person I recently had to deal with in a business context believed his own lies. This may help him in the short term, because he comes across as completely sincere. But it hurts him badly in the long term and puts strict limits on how long her can carry on a scam.

        For example, he accused me of contacting him when he had asked me not to. But EVERY call between his phone and mine was incoming to my phone. He actually seemed to believe his lie, but it was ridiculously easy to disprove.

        I have also seen him tell lies that did not advance his own cause. I can’t imagine any reason a person would do this if they didn’t believe their own lies. In cases such as this, he comes across as sincere but stupid. His IQ is toward the right tail of the bell curve, and he’s marvelous at manipulating people short-term. He could be very successful in business if he were not burdened with this fatal flaw of believing his own lies.

      2. Exactly Primrose! My nex is very similar. Unfortunate for him, his histrionics and his need to consume copious amounts of alcohol; both taint his world. After each binge he “cleans up” his fb page, hiding the posts that rant incoherently to no avail. People are not dumb. The ones paying attention catch some inconsistencies, or are at the least – suspicious. I’ve done little in the way of trying to expose him… choosing instead to let him do it on his own. I just turned on the light.

  8. My ex had dedicated a song to me early in in our relationship about how he loved me completely. One day months later, I sang this song to him as we were laying in bed together and he cried. Is that possible for a Narc to do if they don’t have positive emotions? Or does that mean it’s not possible that he was a Narc? I thought some of his other traits were consistent woth that of a Narc (e.g., inability to take criticism, how he discarded me, manipulative tactics), but the emotions items throws me off track because I saw him cry a few times that seemed very sincere. Unless it was possible that his deep insecurity was showing through his hard, exterior, narcissistic veneer?

    1. Lucy, I think there is occasionally some kind of sincere feelings. My ex-husband never shows emotions. But when he watches sport and some of our national ‘hero’s’ win, I see him tearing up. That must have something to do with his childhood memory I guess.

      1. Yes, Lucy and Blank, I’ve seen the vulnerability as well; the façade cracking; the light flooding in for a brief moment. Mine couldn’t of course do intimacy, but sometimes he got close to it; he opened up a bit and then I had to punished for him getting too close. That was a repetitive pattern with him. If we had a wonderful evening and he happened to show something more true; then the next day he would be more abusive than ever. But mine wasn’t aware of what he was; and when he pledged his love to me he meant it. That’s at least how I think of it now. He did love me the only way he knew how and of course that wasn’t love at all, it was control, powerplay and abuse, but he didn’t see that. He thought he needed to manipulate me because I, and the rest of the world, tried to manipulate him and in the end his upside down world makes me so sad.

    2. Hello Lucy! I have witenessed my Nex to cry, but it was so fake it was comical. Your Narc may as well have faked (much more convinincingly, though) or maybe you singing the song was so fullfilling of positive fuel he indeed cried as an anticipation of how much thrill (read fuel) he could extract from you. One never knows, they wear so many masks one may as well be partially true.

    3. Crying is a pity play used the most by mid-range narcissists looking for fuel and to manipulate and control to keep fuel flowing in copious amounts. Some mid-rangers can fake crying really well, while others are terrible at it. From my experience, there was nothing sincere about any of my narcissists tears. They were all charlatans looking for the Prime Aims: fuel, traits and residual benefits.

  9. To not experience happiness… I feel happiness coming from a dandelion growing through a sidewalk crack.

    It’s called hope. That is the energy you seem to be living without.

    Something that you don’t know though… those parts of yourself that you think are missing. The emotions… they are there.

    I see them. I can literally access your emotions with my mind… especially in bed. Let me tell you, what you’re doing is repressing emotions and you’ve been doing it for so long since you were a child, that it’s an auto response to emotional situations.

    You have childhood programming to shut down in response to love. Because you were denied the amount and type of attention you needed from your parents, your mother especially… you project your unhealed wound from your mother onto every woman you date or sleep with.

    You are chasing your mother’s love. Your mother did not love you properly. When any woman gets too close, she’s no longer fitting the madonna prototype you have trapped in your subconscious mind. She has betrayed the role that you NEED her to act out for you, as you replay your unhappy childhood over and over again searching to fill the hole that you felt alone in your bed at night when she told you to stop crying… coldly.

    So not only do the women fail in this way, but caring love feels suffocating to you. You were denied emotions that you needed as a child and you have continued to play the role of love-withholding parent in your own mind for yourself.

    You are simply accepting your mother’s programming. It takes pain to break this.

  10. Do narcissists experience sentimentality or nostalgia or hold memories dear?

    I had a moment where I remembered a girl from my youth and how as kids we were not nice to her. The poor girl had drug addict parents and lived in poverty.

    She was very annoying and needy, I thought. Always wanting to come over uninvited.

    I didn’t get why this was the case until I was older and realized how horrible her life was. I had a number of moments where I cried for her, and I how wish I could have been nicer.

    So no moments as that, then?

  11. #1 & #5 are hard for me to understand. They are such a part of my life, the absence of them is difficult to fathom. I get it.. i understand the concept.. but i cannot begin to imagine how it feels

    1. Jasmine
      Sometimes I try to imagine what it must be like to be a narcissist. I posit that HG feels perfectly nonchalant and carefree to do whatever it is that he needs to do, and that he is satisfied with who he is and how his life is going. I do not think he misses positive emotions (you can’t miss what you never had or don’t remember) and having no conscience (again, you can’t miss what you never had) simply facilitates his indifference and machinations. Being a narcissist is HG’s “normal”, like being an empath is our normal”. We simply exist as we were created. Predator and prey.

  12. I feel you are writing this not just to enlighten us, but to seek our help in cracking what’s puzzling you.

    From what I read, I believe you do experience joy and you do experience falling in love. The joy – is what you feel when you get admired or get otherwise noticed by others. When you feel your existence matters to someone greatly you experience joy. The joy is what you call “fuel” because such wording shields your ego but essentially it is the same thing. We have many other sources of joy around us in addition to someone’s emotions that validate our existence. Imagine you could get fueled by a pet or a blue sky and things like that.

    You experience falling in love when you cannot stop thinking about someone who has what you call “desirable traits.” More to it, it seems unlike most of us, you always fall in love head over heels. Because your pull is so strong you go ways (via online research, prep studies, strategies, etc) to concur her heart, while we are just giving it a chance by investing some effort. You can fall in love while we can also stay in love: it helps not to confuse minor obstacles and things that matter.

    You find refuge in being “efficient.” But your blog screams that “all you need is love…”

    1. Agreed. Perhaps it is like the human eye mutation (tetrachromat) that allows some people to see a vast rainbow of colors, whilst others only see the norm. Blue eyes are actually a genetic mutation. Maybe empaths can “see” a rainbow of emotions while the narcissist is colorblind and does not recognize whether the light is red or green

    2. Ann, Some people think of romantic love as a cultural construct rather than a “normal” human emotion. Romantic love does have some of the characteristics of narcissism, including obssession. I say this not to condemn romantic love but to point out that a certain amount of selfishness is good.

      When I was a child, around 8 years old, I was confused by the teachings of the Christian church. What, I wondered, would it look like if a person consistently tried to approach life according to the principles taught by Paul of Tarsus and other early Christians … my thought experiment led me to the conclusion that an entirely un-selfish person would soon be dead.

      I prefer the word “selfishness” to “narcissism.” Both terms have been tainted, but narcissism is, by definition, a pathological condition. To the extent it prevents a person from experiencing joy and to the extent it drives a person to harm others, then of course it is pathological. But one would not condemn drinking a glass of good wine with dinner just because some people are alcoholics. Likewise, to label all selfishness as pathological would be a mistake.

      Perhaps one reason life can be so difficult for people on the narcissistic side of the spectrum is that early in life they were repeatedly told that selfishness is evil.

    3. Ann
      HG doesn’t feel joy, he feels contentment or power. And I believe he “falls in love” with someone’s fuel, which could be construed as infatuation or lust, but it isn’t love as we understand it. The individual means nothing to him; it is her fuel output that means everything. His blog screams that all he needs is “fuel”, traits and residual benefits.

  13. I hear everything you are saying. I believe it to be true. And yet I still do not understand after the seduction and love bombing of hundreds of women, you feel no residual effect. Not a drop seeps into your being?

      1. Then you wouldn’t have spheres that could be triggered on which to hoover.

    1. The narcissist is not capable of emotional connection, however, he is an expert at compartmentalization. Think of it like this: you play Space Invaders, Pac-Man or Asteroids on your Atari system. Then along comes Xbox one or Nintendo Switch-a new toy with all the bells and whistles-Atari is disengaged with and promptly replaced. Now he is having a blast with his new appliance. What about poor Atari? The response: Atari who? Time goes by and something reminds him (sphere of influence) of the fun he had with Atari and all of sudden he is hankering for a game of Donkey Kong (positive hoover fuel), thus the hoover commences, but the formal relationship isn’t resurrected, because the nomad is getting ready to replace Xbox with Play Station 4.

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