Angels With Dirty Faces


You are surrounded by Angels with Dirty Faces, albeit you are unable to see that encrusted filth that cakes them. You are oblivious to the touch which taints and the soiled footprints which beat a path back and forth to you. These individuals are the patient friend who listens to your tale of woe, the kindly physician with the twinkling eyes who resides at Bedside Manor, the soothing carer who chats to the elderly and infirm, the diligent charity worker and the host of the site which professes to guide you, the victim, out of the maze of narcissistic abuse.

The Angel with a Dirty face is an individual who is utterly convinced of their inherent goodness and moreover they have an unquenchable desire for the world to know that they are a good person, that they care, that they understand.

This facade of virtue and integrity is fundamental. It is how they truly believe that they are because this is what the world must know about them. It is not the quiet application of the nursery worker who looks upon those in her charge and smiles inwardly at a job being done well. It is not the sheepish looks of the diligent nurse when he is praised by grateful relatives. It is not the patient smile and humble response of the therapist who is hand-holding their distraught charge through their third meltdown of the year. The Angel with a Dirty Face has a towering conviction that they are good and you had better believe it because if you do not, well, then that makes you a bad person.

The Angel with a Dirty Face is not the Lesser of our kind. No. He does not have the capacity to emulate empathy. He does not care and is not even configured to even be able to try to look as if he cares. He is too rudimentary and brutal, too caught up in attempting to satiate his own needs to bother looking outside of his own bubble. He does not understand what it is to care and nor is he capable of doing so. It is not the Greater of our kind. True enough the masterful Greater Narcissist will easily be able to mimic those expressions and words of concern and is not beyond their occasional use purely for the purposes of driving his agenda, but be known for this faked empathy? No, that disgusts the Greater. He does not wish to be seen as caring, that is for others to do, his greatness comes from delivering – whether it is profit, great works of art, sensational film and literature, glorious rhetoric on the podium, lung-busting athletic records, mesmeric dance, intoxicating sexual congress and so forth. The Greater wishes to be known for pioneering achievement, the caring and the cuddling is beneath them.

The Angel with a Dirty Face is very much the preserve of the Mid Range Narcissist. He or she truly believes that he or she is a good person. They want you to know it too and you must accept it, well, because it is true. They think that they care about other people, they think that they do good work but they must be acknowledged for it and this must occur repeatedly. They want the recognition. They want you to tell them how good they are, that they are helping people, that they see you understand that they are honest and decent. Of course all of those responses are the fuel that they instinctively crave although  they are unable to recognise that. They see nothing wrong with being identified, highlighted and rewarded for their sterling work, after all, doesn’t that just tell more people about the good that they are doing?

There are those of the Mid Range school who are obsessed with such a portrayal. It matters to them that are seen as that local community pillar, the teacher whose pastoral care is second to none and the organiser of charity bakes and cancer research sales within the office. Where there’s a good cause, there’s a good chance you will find an Angel with a Dirty Face.

These individuals are everywhere and difficult to spot because of course they believe what they show the world. The Greater knows the charismatic front he advances which masks the seething malevolence and smiles that cold, reptilian smile as he sees yet more sleepwalking into his grasp. The Angel with a Dirty Face does not have that awareness. He or she has sufficient cognitive function to create the appearance of goodness, to appear to care, to put into effect what they believe themselves to be and in so doing this enables them to blend with considerable ease amongst all of you. The trusting nature of people, both normal and empathic alike means that they will see no reason to doubt the apparent caring credentials of these people. What you see is what you get, right? Seeing is believing, yes? This person is caring, helpful and good so they must surely be that way, after all, who on earth would ever put on one front and behave in a different way? Yet as you have come to recognise, not only is it our kind who do this, the depth of the front varying dependent on the school of narcissist, but its frequency is far greater than people realise.

So, how do you find the filth beneath the purity? How do you ascertain whether that person truly does feel that emotional empathy, is good of heart and mind and it is not just part of a facade? There are two detergents which remove the masking facade and expose the dirt that lurks underneath.

The first concerns recognition. As I mentioned above, the Angel with a Dirty Face must have recognition. Watch what happens if you fail to acknowledge that person’s contribution or if you accord it to somebody else. An empathic individual may be hurt that their efforts have gone unrecognised but they will largely keep it to themselves, not wishing to be seen as churlish or attention-seeking. They may leave it to another to correct the error but they will certainly not make a song and dance about being overlooked. Unsung hero is a medal they are more than content to wear. Someone normal might be irked and may speak up but they will not react to the failure to accord to them sufficient acknowledgement for what they have done.

Yet the Mid-Ranger who is the Angel with a Dirty Face who is not given recognition will be unable to contain the effects of this wounding. The failure to praise them, credit them for their endeavours, acknowledge what a kind and wonderful person they are results in them being wounded and this will manifest through the ignition of fury. Being Mid Range, the failure to recognise brings forth mainly cold fury. Accordingly, watch out for:-

  1. Complaining to other people as part of a protracted Pity Play – “I cannot believe that Mary forgot to thank me for my funding efforts, I mean, she knows I do this every year and all I wanted was her to say thank you. that’s not too much to ask is it? I didn’t notice her bothering her backside to help out.”
  2. Sulking at the event
  3. Giving a silent treatment to the person who has transgressed
  4. Passing passive aggressive comments either on social media or in person.
  5. Cajoling third parties to remind someone to recognise what they have been doing
  6. Refusing to offer further assistance until they receive an apology for the ‘oversight’
  7. Belittling the efforts of others in the same sphere
  8. Threatening to join a rival organisation

The nature of caring, empathising and demonstrating this goodness is, as I have witnessed, meant to be an understated endeavour, a vocation where the act itself is its own reward which requires no standing ovation or repeated praise and lavish thanks. Recognition is not required. If it is provided, the empathic individual or normal person will graciously accept it, but it is not a concern if it is not provided. Selfless individuals do not seek this recognition, but the Angel with a Dirty Face must have it and if they do not, you will know the reactions along the lines of those above and the dirt begins to show.

The second method of exposure is that of challenge. An empathic person recognises that people have views and opinions, that it matters that they should be able to articulate them and that they are not invalidated. I have learned much about this approach in my interactions with others and I am intrigued by their capacity to allow this. They will allow others to state their case, they will advance their own but recognise that the two can exist side by side. It is genuine tolerance, not done for show or for kudos but borne out of the empathic decency of allowing the voices of others. Not so the Angel with a Dirty Face. If you challenge their methodology of how they dispense their apparent care, if you disagree with their views, if you suggest there is a better way, you will then see the angelic coating recede and the dirt beneath come very much to the fore.

When challenged in this way, the Angel with a Dirty Face feels their superiority attacked and therefore since they are a Mid Range Narcissist in disguise, this attack on their perceived superiority ignites their fury and the attack must be repelled. You should watch for the following:-

  1. Being smeared and bad-mouthed to third parties for your audacious criticism of the Angel with a Dirty face “after all they have done” and “just because they are jealous of what I do” and “all I am trying to do is help people and this is how I am treated.”
  2. Directing Lieutenants and the Coterie to attack the transgressor. This is especially evident in an online environment where people will “jump in” on the accused and land blows on behalf of the Mid Ranger, after all, he or she most prefers others to be doing the dirty work.
  3. Invalidating the view of the transgressor and doing so without reference to any substantive point but saying they are wrong, because they are wrong.
  4. Going on the attack directly against the perceived transgressor.
  5. Acting hurt and crestfallen.
  6. Rolling out Pity Plays
  7. Accusing the transgressor through projection, most notable labelling them as  a narcissist.
  8. Isolating the perceived transgressor through familial or social ostracisation, removal from social media, removal from committees or employment.

The Angel with a Dirty Face is a dangerous individual because their facade enables them to inveigle themselves into positions of relative authority and from there when their endeavours are not recognised and/or others politely question or challenge their way of doing things, rather than listen and apply, they will allow the dirt to emerge and use it to smear and pollute the innocent and those who are genuine in their intentions. This dirt muddies the water to such an extent and so convincing are the performances of the Mid Ranger in these scenarios that those who have done wrong end up being made to be the scapegoat, they are pilloried and driven out. Of course, achieving such an outcome only reinforces the Angel with a Dirty Face’s notion that he or she is absolutely right and that what they did was justified.

You will know these Angels with Dirty Faces. Time to do some cleaning of your own.


36 thoughts on “Angels With Dirty Faces

  1. CB says:

    You are exactly describing how many ppl on social media,
    and in church charity groups, behave. They seem angrily obsessed with letting people know how ‘good’ they are.

    What one notices, subconsciously, this is always present, is their body language and posture.
    It is too intense. Not mild. They try but can’t fake away the haughty/intense posture, blocking doorways while they speak (to isolate targets), raising their voice, sounding angry when they cry, not sad.

    next to these covertly tiresome ppl I always felt like a ‘hippie’, not enough. I asked myself questions like “Why don’t you stand up more, talk more loud, like these heroes do?”
    but also
    “These ppl care so muuuch. Don’t you? Are you some hippie?”

    Empaths and normals never feel like they are enough.

    But the thing that never added up for me, was the AWDF’s body language. Way too intense. Didn’t seem to match their own daily words about being kind and mild and humane.

  2. Donna says:

    Please keep writing about midrangers.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I shall.

  3. WhoCares says:

    Well, certainly not about the puffy variety my guess is…

  4. WhoCares says:

    Bibi – yes, what a bold one that was to be so upfront about his shallowness. I get what your needs were in the friendship but I can’t help wondering what kind of empath he would attract…given that he appeared to be self-aware but couldn’t be bothered to exhibit cognitive empathy.

    I’m pretty sure the artist I met at the clinic had a bit more substance than ‘puff’…he had the awards to show for it…

    You and NarcAngel going on about pastry have made me a bit peckish…I’d ask HG what type of pastry he prefers…but I know how he feels about the topic of baked goods.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I’m not overly bothered about pastry WC.

  5. Ooshbitchbegoosh says:


  6. Kate says:

    Oh, yeah, I see this! Is there a perfect opportunity to don that superhero costume, do a “selfless” act, get a shot, then post it on Facebook with some long-winded !ittle-miss-smarty-pants proclamation of how all is well now because of them??

    How’s about feeling as though their name really ought to be on someone else’s degree because they assisted in some way in the past, no matter how long ago?


  7. BurntKrispyKeen says:

    Good morning, WhoCares. I’m so glad that I am not a dude. My “game” on the bar scene would be less than adequate. Pretty sure I’d go home empty-handed. 😡

    It’s so much easier being a woman in that regard. I always did say that I felt sorry for the gentleman who has to be the pursuer. I guess that kind of stuff takes the confidence of a narcissist?

    Not that I was trying to pursue anything! Only trying to have a little fun. But the next time I’m feeling frisky, I am going to enjoy a bowl of ice cream before I comment. I can’t think of a more delicious way to cool down. (I hear from /iroll that the right flavor can make some pretty profound memories. 🍨)

  8. WhoCares says:

    Haaha “Dork Fuel” BKK??

    Seriously glad my mouth wasn’t full of *caffeine fuel* when I read that!

    You crack me up!

  9. Lou says:

    I think my boss is a AWDF. A BIG one. Realizing this was a bit of a shock. For years I had thought he was one of the best human beings I had ever met, if not the best. I believe he has some awareness of what he does and tries to control it. I am not sure. I am a NISS so it is more difficult to see the whole picture. He has an IPPS with whom I have little contact, but, from what I have seen, looks like NPD. He does do and say things which provoke in the office, but moderately. And the good things he does are many. Very very tricky one.
    I am very carefu wiith him now.

  10. 69Revolver says:

    Well hell, HG.

    All this time, I thought I had my nex pegged as a Greater. But now after reading THIS shocker, he looks more like a Mid-Ranger???

    I’m 73 days NC and that rotten jackass still has me confused.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Well done on your NC. Greaters are very rare.

      1. NarcAngel says:

        Re: Greaters being rare

        Does it annoy or amuse you then when you read that almost everybody and their sister claim to be with one?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Amuses me. I know why it happens.

      2. Bibi says:

        I think I have known one Elitist Greater. He lived in an Asian country but was of Western looks (fair skin, green eyes, tall) and so he stood out among them. He admitted to being unhappy when in the US or other Western countries because he didn’t stand out.

        He had a considerable intelligence, where he mastered a tough language quickly and he had writing talent, albeit was very lazy at improving–he only wanted the recognition.

        He said he got rid of his clothes every 2 yrs and had to have the latest fashions. If he didn’t look like he stepped out of a magazine, he was depressed.

        His goal was to make a lot of money and just do shallow crap with a rich friend of his who was a somatic. He would tell me about their orgy parties and I was always trying to seem ‘open minded’ by saying ok, whatever. In retrospect, I probably should have told him to stop telling me this.

        Because he was smart he knew a lot about literature and had interesting observations. Though he told me he had never dated a girl who read a book.

        When I had problems with the Mid Ranger, this Greater was the one who told me not to sweat it and he was actually comforting. He said, ‘This sounds like his problem. Don’t make it yours,’ or something.

        But there was an emptiness to him and a selfishness and coldness that I can’t put into words. I could feel it. Eventually we had a falling out, he blamed me for something and the devaluation came.

        Oh well. There was more to it, but it’s no matter now. He admitted to being a hedonist and only wanting to ever please himself. His most often used expression was, ‘I don’t care.’

        I wasn’t so much hurt by him but disappointed. I was a tertiary source. Even before I knew of narcissism, I remember thinking, ‘He only associates with those who benefit him.’

        The Mid Ranger greatly resented him, however. Funny, huh?

      3. WhoCares says:

        Bibi – that was an interesting and insightful account and yes, funny -or very telling – that your Mid-ranger was jealous.

        In reading your post I realize that I think I had a chance encounter with a Greater (not certain about the elite part) quite long ago.

        I had just happened to be in a walk-in medical health clinic, near a university campus, and sat down in an empty chair next to an older gentlemen (or maybe he sat down next to me; I don’t recall the particulars). But, of course, spending your time in the waiting area of a medical clinic is no picnic for anyone and when he initiated conversation with me I happily obliged.

        He appeared kindly, well-educated and wordly – with an ‘air’ about him. The only commonalities we had were the reality of being in the same waiting area and the subject of art. We probably talked for a good 30 minutes, at minimum, and it was interesting to me because we had very differing perspectives on art. And frankly, I didn’t understand half of what he was saying but I’m a *very* good listener 🙂

        (I do recall getting a ‘whiff’ of the “misunderstood artist” syndrome but that he could quite easily support the concepts behind his work – and I knew better than to question that.)

        I did learn that he was a well-known artist (from overseas) and was soon to give a talk on the university campus and that he was staying in one of the student residences at a nearby affiliated college. (Interesting to note that, by his appearance and manner, he could easily afford to stay in a more than decent hotel – or…perhaps he was an artist who had struck upon hard times.)

        He told me about his work and some of the theories and concepts that inspired it – which impressed me. And I clearly recall the ease with which he evaded my inquiry when I asked who he was – but I do remember that it was done quite deftly and with *charm*. I dropped it because I knew I could verify his identity later by looking up scheduled guest speakers at the university.

        Towards the end of our conversation he posed a question to me that stays with me til this day – it both irritated and perplexed me – and it flew in the face of many commonly held societal beliefs (ones that I thought I believed in as well). And I remember thinking; how could he say that!? *Why* would he do that? (Haha.)

        Once I left the clinic I truely wanted to attend his talk but I was otherwise engaged.

        I was able to determine later that he was/is a very celebrated, internationally known artist.

        And now, after typing this and post-HG, I question why he was there in the clinic – perhaps he actually had a legitimate health concern (he told me what ailed him but I forget) and maybe he wasn’t *feeling well* (which is a grain of truth) – but was it an actual physical ailment or was he just low on fuel that day? 😉

        Interesting that he could have chose other places to stay but he *found* himself in the midst of a wealth of younger, eager, questioning minds…

        Anyway, the question he asked me, which confronted both my own personal belief system and society’s values at large, makes a whole lot more sense now having been around HG’s blog for a while and doing the reading.

        HG – Greaters (and up) really do enjoy a bit of mystery, don’t they?

        1. NarcAngel says:


          Well I dont, so out with it – what was the bloody question???!!!!!

          My guess is he had anal warts.

      4. WhoCares says:

        NarcAngel: HaHa!

        Re: the question?
        Oh, it was just a whole lot of artsy bullshit.

        Artists are good at that.

      5. Bibi says:

        Thank you for sharing that Who Cares.

        He sounds like an Elitist or Cerebral who just wanted to preen and impress. While at the clinic? Why not? How silly. That sounds like quite an interesting situation.

        The Mid Range was jealous of the Greater b/c the Greater was more showy and had the life the Mid Ranger wished he had. Greater was also a model, *Eye Roll* living in a foreign country, etc.

        Greater also did not put up any fronts before me–he never lied to me about his identity the way the Mid Ranger did. Because he wasn’t targeting me as a Primary Source, he was more honest in his delivery. He never pretended to care about me.

        He and I corresponded for at least 6 months or more. It was a while, but I was in the position of learning from him since he lived in a country that I wanted to learn about. Since I was utilizing him for his knowledge, we got on fine.

        I learned a lot from the Greater, where as I learned very little from the Mid Ranger. Mid Ranger was taking from me, in other words. Mid Ranger never recommended any book or film or unique perspective on anything. At most, he would come up with an interesting observation but not realize it. Greater had more cultural knowledge.

        Mid Ranger also stopped talking to me and so I encountered the Greater and struck up a rapport with him and Mid Ranger resented this.

        He did not want to talk to me but also he didn’t want me talking to anyone else either–that is, other guys. Neither relationship was intimate, which made it very weird.

        I tired of hearing about brand names from the Greater and all his shallow pursuits. I didn’t like the way he spoke about women–in terms of their worth, (must wear lots of gold and dress a certain way and only be Asian) and I kept thinking how I was glad I was not one of his girlfriends.

        He had real artistic talent that I told him he should pursue, but that would never land him the fuel he needed, and nor would it aid in the lavish lifestyle he wished to live. So he’d rather just be a cliche.

        He admitted everyone he knew was shallow and only cared about what he could give them. They only flocked to him b/c he dressed and looked a certain way and gave off the air of status. He was well aware that if he didn’t appear as this, they would not associate with him.

        I suggested he meet people with more depth and value but these materialistic sorts were the people he valued. They were the ‘higher fuel sources’.

        Greater was like a large scone. All puffy on the outside and impressive when you see him from a distance but once you bite into him there is nothing but air.

        1. NarcAngel says:


          I do love a scone with clotted cream, but too often they only come with jam tomorrow.

  11. Morning sun says:

    That is my mid-ranger ex to a T. Position of relative authority, local community pillar (then doling out pity plays how he’s doing so much and nothing would be going on without him and whenever people don’t go to him to organise something, it sucks majorly and yet nobody seems to give him enough recognition and thanks)… ‘dignified’ pity plays in the sense of him being above all that but still, people are unappreciative blah blah blah.

    Truly amazing how you nailed it, HG.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It is an important article.

      1. Tipitakarass says:

        It certainly is. Important body of work in general. You are leaving your mark HG. Another thank you to you for your writing

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Thank you and also for reading.

  12. BurntKrispyKeen says:

    Yep. My narcissist definitely wanted to be seen as a good person. But after reading certain parts of this, I wonder about myself? I often do that, and it’s scary.

    Pretty sure I got a little dirt on the end of my nose. I’ll be sure to scrub extra hard at bathtime.

    But that little brown-eyed cutie you chose… makes me want to clean his face and squeeze those cheeks!

    I think you just gave me baby-fever.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes, get that loofah going!

      1. BurntKrispyKeen says:

        Will do, sir… but I might need a little help with my back.

      2. BurntKrispyKeen says:

        Actually, I’m better opt for the cold shower again. Pretty sure I just made myself blush. 😊

      3. BurntKrispyKeen says:

        I* not I’m…
        See, I got all flustered I couldn’t even say it right. Is there such a thing as Dork Fuel?

  13. Challenge Fuel says:

    “The Angel with a Dirty Face has a towering conviction that they are good and you had better believe it because if you do not, well, then that makes you a bad person.”

    Yup!!!! I always enjoy this article as it is a reminder of “Saint” Piano Concert. Yes I have now replaced the “Mr” with “Saint”.

    Saint Piano Concert….the ultimate angel with a dirty face who actually thinks he is a good person in every way and has everyone fooled.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I regard this article as most applicable to your situation CF.

      1. Challenge Fuel says:

        Well you know what they say…

        “The pursuit of righteousness is more for fulfilling then one’s ability to physically or existentially attain it.”

        Now remember: if anyone asks how we know each other…we are Bible study partners!


  14. Melissa says:

    Spot on, HG😉

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you.

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