Why The Narcissist Views In Black Or White Only



We all like to attach labels to people. People do it instinctively in respect of someone who they have just met, someone they have read about, a person they have known for a long time or someone they have seen on television. It is rare for someone to say that they do not have a view or an opinion about someone. Examples might include: –

“He’s a dependable chap, always there when you need him.”

“He’s a funny looking fellow.”

“She is very catty.”

“She is stunning looking.”

“A complete attention seeker.”

“A genius musician.”

“Really annoys me, I don’t know what it is but he does.”

Those are just classifications based on looks and personality. One can classify somebody by race, religion, birthplace, occupation, gender and so much more. Labels are used all the time as people are placed into boxes and compartments. Our kind do the same, but we differ in a fundamental way. We have an instant classification of people which is very straight forward. We will place people into further categories after this initial categorisation often using labels you would not and then we may well attach additional labels similar to the ones you use. What is this initial categorisation? It is simple.

A person is either good or bad. That person is either with us or against us. They either do what we want or they do not. There are no ifs and maybes about these classifications. There is no grey with us when it comes to deciding into which camp someone should be placed. You are either white or black. You cannot be light grey, mid-grey or dark grey. We do not do the middling; it is one or the other. Let me give you some examples of those around me at the current time.

Julia (my boss) – Good

My mother – Bad

Paul (a lieutenant of longstanding) – Good

Andrea (predecessor primary supply) – Bad

Rachael(sister) – Good

Eric (colleague) – Good

Tania (lieutenant) – Good

Lesley (It Girl) – Bad

Elizabeth (litigious former girlfriend) – Bad

Phillip (lieutenant) – Good

Colin (competitor at work) – Bad

Not one of them am I indifferent to. You should be aware that this categorisation is based on my view of them irrespective of their behaviour towards me. Lesley for instance responded to a hoover a little while back and still messages me with pleasant comments from time to time. I play along as I am a far from finished with her but she is a bad person because of what she has done and moreover I know she will be looking for an opportunity to unseat me and seek some form of revenge over me as a consequence of my repeated thwarting of her ambitions. I know her game.

These categorisations are fluid. In fact, they are extremely fluid with some people, usually our intimate partners, especially the Intimate Partner Primary source, but it will apply to secondary sources also (be they intimate, family, colleagues and/or friends). We will switch in an instant from black to white and to black once again. There is no slow change over time, there is no strand of white amidst the black. If you try to bring up the good things that you have done for us when we are attacking you in some way (as you are now viewed as black) you will be challenging us and therefore our first line of defence ( see The Narcissist’s Twin Lines of Defence ) will kick in and we will deny that you ever did any of those things for us – which only confuses you further and is how the gaslighting occurs. Remember, the Lesser and Mid-Range do this always by instinct and does not see the inconsistency or the contrarian behaviour . The Greater does so with some instinct but also calculation and is aware of the contradictions but we do not care.

You may begin as a good person when I wake-up but by breakfast you are a bad person. Sometimes you will be utterly unaware of why your status has altered and it may appear capricious and arbitrary but it is not; you will have done something or failed to do something which has shifted your classification. Most often it is linked to your failure to provide me with fuel and therefore you will be designated a bad person and subjected to treatment in accordance with such a status; devaluation and denigration. Conversely, one can also move from bad to good in the blink of an eye. You won’t necessarily realise why this is, but we do. It is entirely logical to us.

Your status as either white or black is also affected by other movements in our fuel matrix, often ones you have no idea about. Accordingly, you may be busting a gut to please us, thinking you are doing all of the things that we apparently like, allowing us our own way and being compliant but it is not working – you cannot shift from being viewed as black. This is because when you are painted black, everything you do is viewed through that filter. Whereas once we delighted in your status as a board director at a listed company, we now lambast you saying you think more of your job than you do of us. We once praised your signature dish but now we say it is bland and uninspired. This occurs because you have done or not done something, you have been painted a black and furthermore there is someone else in the fuel matrix who is outshining you, they are seen as white and despite your best endeavours to try to return to our favour, you are failing because that white status is ascribed to someone else.

All of a sudden we treat you favourably and you wonder why this has happened, perhaps you did something right for once. It is more to do with someone else behaving in a way so that they become black and therefore in order to maintain contrast (and with it the freshness of the fuel) you become white once again. The difficulty you have is that you often think this shift is because of something you have done, for instance, you bought us tickets to a particular event. Thus, when you find yourself black, you try a similar move to return to white, but for reasons explained above, it fails and you are left bewildered as to why it did not work this time.

As I mentioned once we have classified you as good or bad, we will classify you further, usually linked to the fuel you provide and how under our control you are. After that we will use similar labels to you – an interesting, handsome person and so on. Thus, take Paul my longstanding side kick. He is naturally a good person but I also regard him as a very good source of fuel, a highly reliable source of fuel and completely under my control, loyal and dedicated. My mother is a bad person. Whilst she is a good source of fuel for her emotional outbursts and temper tantrums, she is only fairly reliable. I have little control over her, she is a traitor and scheming to dethrone me, she has no concept of loyalty and is actively plotting against me. Thus whilst she may provide fuel the other factors cause her to be placed in the bad classification. I do not consider her to be grey just because she provides fuel but cannot really be controlled.

Why do we regard people in this manner? Why is it that we cannot take a holistic view of them? For instance, one might suggest that with the ex-girlfriend Lesley that she at one point was loving, dedicated and did much for me. Yes, she became a broken appliance and let me down, she also caused affront to me for which she must be repeatedly punished. She continues to try to be pleasant to me. Do I not look at this myriad of attributes and factors (plus more besides) and place her on some kind of spectrum between good and bad? No I do not. Why?

In order to drive forward and also to defend ourselves it has to be an all or nothing approach. You are viewed as wonderful, amazing, loyal and functioning – therefore we interact with you in a committed and dedicated manner (for instance the love bombing which occurs with regard to those we seduce intimately) so that we are able to extract the maximum amount of fuel and keep you bound to us through the application of benign behaviours. This applies to all appliances – from spouse to lover to friends. Should you wound or challenge us, our self-defence mechanism which is narcissism must provide an absolute defence. To deploy this you cannot be viewed as grey, you cannot be seen in a wish-washy way, you have become the enemy so that all defences can be mobilised with suitable aggression and application to draw fuel to heal the wound or to quash your challenge and assert our superiority once again. This sudden shift from white to black to white again is a necessary device to enable us to function. We cannot do half-measures for if we did, this would result in indecision, a less than total approach and this would lead to reduced fuel, ineffective healing of wounding and partial suppression of challenges and all of that reduces our effectiveness and diminishes our control on the world around us. This then makes us feel worthless, insignificant and unimportant and returns us to a place where we must not ever go again.

This lack of object constancy, the fact we forget all about the good things you have done for us in an instant as you are painted black is bewildering for those who are ensnared by us, but it is entirely necessary for us to function, thrive and survive. The response must be total, it must be instantaneous and it must give us the maximum prospect of success whilst leaving you confused, stunned, bewildered, providing fuel and remaining under our control.

You should have learned by now that because we look at the world through a different lens to you, there are many things that you will do (which you will not be aware about) which cause us to oscillate from regarding you as good to bad and then back to good, often in the space of an hour or less. This is all based on how we perceive your compliance to be. During our seduction of you, you are only ever a good person because you represent that wonderful potent source of positive fuel which we desire. You represent the prospect of an undimmed source unlike the bad person we are devaluing and about to discard. You always respond positively to our overtures, our love-bombing and you give us what we want. Hence you remain a good person. Those who are in our coterie, our lieutenants and those who form our façade remain good people. Challenge us, defy us or even worse see through us and you are challenging our need for superiority and self-worth and you must automatically be designated as a bad person, irrespective of what may have come before, that would create a more complex view. You failed to do what we want; you are a bad person. You then change and do what we want, you become a good person. It is a simple and necessary classification that we utilise.

Accordingly, everything is either good or bad with our kind. Admittedly, though it usually turns ugly as well….

32 thoughts on “Why The Narcissist Views In Black Or White Only

  1. EmP says:

    Giving an example of switching between black and white.

    My Lesser sister used to hate her mother in law. The woman had been painted black since the beginning of the relationship.
    My sister would even tell everyone that her husband’s mother had performed witchery on her.

    For the record, she is obsessed with the idea of people putting spells on her.
    She suffers from migraines? It’s a lady who has a crush on her husband and wants her out of the picture – so is now performing strange rituals. The car breaks down? It’s the jealous neighbour’s evil eye. Someone brings her a present? She sprinkles it with holy water and/or throws it away. I got sprinkled with holy water myself because she thought I had a bad “vibe”.

    So anyway, my sister is going through financial difficulties at the moment, and her MIL offered to lend her money.
    The woman became her BEST friend. She now calls her everyday, asks her for advice, plans regular trips to go visit her (since she lives in a different town).

    I am curious to see what will happen once she gets what she needs.

  2. MB says:

    HG, I’ve just listened to your narration of this article on YouTube and I have a question if I may.

    Does the narcissist know WHY he sees you as good or bad? Is it a conscious “decision” made moment to moment? If you were to ask him why, would they have the awareness to tell you? (that is of course if they wanted to and we all know they won’t) Or is it only the greater? Obviously you can because you explained each person in great detail.

    Ps The pollen must be bad where you are. I’m sorry your nose is stuffy, Sir. I hope it feels better for you soon. Some Buddha Jumps Over the Wall soup might be just what you need 🙂 Good thing I Googled that recipe.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Only the Greater.
      If you asked a Lesser or Mid-Range why, that would be seen as another attack on superiority and would have to be rejected – thus you would be told anything to achieve that.

      1. MB says:

        Thank you

  3. Caroline says:

    This “black and white” thinking is very interesting to me because someone in my family has high-functioning autism, and he is predisposed to think in “black and white.” However, you can explain to him (examples) the gray areas of life, and he can understand and has a willingness to accept these other perspectives, when he is given that template… he also may (at times) not be aware that his actions seem insensitive to another, but if you help him “put himself in another’s shoes,” he will not only feel it… but he will be among the most kind and empathetic toward someone in need of emotional support or tenderness. And it goes way beyond cognitive empathy… it is something he deeply feels within, often to the point of tears of understanding. He makes a big impact on so many. He’s a catalyst for change… I’ve seen it countless times.

    He also shown a great ability to read people, in a pretty sophisticated way, to know who will best receive a blunt fact and be moved by it in a positive way — and who will respond best and be helped with a more gentle approach. He is very intelligent (IQ)~but his EQ (Emotional Intelligence) can be brought out to a very high degree… he just needs a hand at awareness sometimes.

    So I feel that there is wiring involved with both (narcissist and those on the autistic spectrum), but – it seems – there is a big difference in the ability to absorb/accept/appreciate certain realities. I guess one is self-protective/deflected at the core…the other more open, willing, to be moved by a range of human emotions and experiences.

    1. narc affair says:

      Hi caroline….my son is very high functioning autism and thinks black and white too along with holding onto negative thoughts. Something couldve happened 5 yrs ago and he will bring it up like it occured yesterday. I think the same area of the brain are affected but narcs are way more advanced in understanding peoples reactions and emotions. People with autism struggle with the social aspect.

      1. Caroline says:

        I treasure him and learn so much from him that’s invaluable. I’m sure you’re very good with your son, NA. Have a blessed Mother’s Day.:)

      2. narc affair says:

        Hi caroline …happy mothers day to you as well and the other mums and grandmums on here 🤗

    2. SMH says:

      Caroline, This is helpful. I was so confused about whether mine had Aspergers or narcissim that I read everything I could get my hands on. In the end, I came to the same conclusion. The two conditions might present in some of the same ways but motivations and sensitivities are completely different. Aspies don’t lie, cheat and sexually abuse. My narc cannot even imagine that his actions are disturbing, and never calibrates according to a situation. He has hinted that people do come to hate him. He can have a modicum of self-referential cognitive empathy but zero emotional empathy. The last time I saw him I said ‘for the longest time I thought you had Aspergers.’ He said ‘I might.’ I said ‘you don’t. You have a personality disorder.’ He said ‘everyone has a personality disorder.’ Self-protective and deflecting.

      1. Caroline says:

        Thank you, SMH. You’re exactly right about the intent/motivational aspect, and those with Asperger’s don’t have the narcissist’s cycle either. I know several who have children/teens with Asperger’s who went through the same questioning, because of the self-absorption aspect (those with Asperger’s get stuck on their special interests, for example)…and (like NA mentioned) those with Asperger’s have a big challenge within the social skills arena (they can be taught social skills…but it’s much more difficult for them to pick up on the more nuanced ones and apply them onto all situations). If you hit the topic online, you’ll see people confused on Asperger’s v narcissism.

        Those with Asperger’s can be so misunderstood, because often they do not stand out as having anything obviously wrong (unlike someone with a physical challenge), so they’re, instead, often viewed as odd and/or thought to be rude/uncaring…but those I know who have it are very kind human beings. My heart hurts for their struggle with society understanding/accepting their real, daily challenges.

      2. narc affair says:

        I find it interesting the similarities between aspies and narcs. I think its because the same area of the brain is affected the hypothalamus but possibly in different ways.
        My son for instance ill build up and say hes the most handsome boy and all the girls will chase him and he will say “mhm” lol but its not at all from a narcissistic standpoint he just enjoys the kind compliments. He also gets absorbed as you say into his interests and his grades. When he doesnt get a good grade he is stubborn in understanding the reason why and resorts to that its unfair. Black and white thinking.
        He struggles at times letting go when he feels hes been mistreated him even if it wasnt meant that way.
        He would never scheme or even know how to scheme. Narcissists are very socially aware and understand how people think this is the opposite of aspies.
        Its a spectrum as well like narcissism. No two with asd are the same. My son has a lot of empathy but in certain situations doesnt like when someones sick hed rather be away from them. Also when someones crying he tends to go to his room and want to be away from it. Its from a feeling of discomfort. I know he does care but feels awkward.
        It would be interested if the two were researched to see why the similarities.
        Its unfortunate they get confused but i guess both struggle in life. Narcissists are intentional in the pain they cause but its a maladaptive coping strategy.

        1. SMH says:

          Narc Affair, I think the two conditions get confused in part because both are on a ‘spectrum,’ of sorts. Also, narcs dissemble so much that it’s possible to mistake some of their behaviors for things they cannot control. For instance, mine seemed to have a hard time understanding written words and some kinds of logic, even though he is very verbal and articulate. I’d need to explain things over and over. He made me feel like my mind was spaghetti, even though I think I write pretty clearly. So I thought maybe he had problems with figurative language, which is a sign of Aspergers. But of course he was perfectly capable of picking out references to himself and of writing at length when he wanted to!

  4. Insatiable Learner says:

    HG, perhaps, you can shed some light on the situation. I would appreciate it. Why does a narc go for months without contacting you (when in the past the contact was regular) but when you ask him directly if he wants you in his life, he says yes. Why does he promise contact in the near future and then does not contact you? Why not just say go away and I don’t want to talk to you ever again, it’s over, or something to that effect? The appliance in question was a secondary intimate source. Thank you!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. No hoover trigger or HT but HEC not met.
      2. It is future faking.
      3. Because that would not keep you on the hook.

      1. Insatiable Learner says:

        Thanks so much, HG! As always, I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to respond! Your ever-grateful reader and student.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are welcome IL.

      2. Clarece says:

        You forgot one…
        4) You never give closure.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Thank you.

          1. Clarece says:

            I got your back! Lol

          2. HG Tudor says:

            I am obliged, Clarece.

  5. SuperXena says:

    “This then makes us feel worthless, insignificant and unimportant and returns us to a place where we must not ever go again.”

    So, this is the narcissist’s defence mechanism to avoid those same feelings that have once felt by him/her (“….returns us to a place where we must not ever go again”) during childhood caused by the abuse of their caretakers?

    Making others feel that way ( worthless, insignificant and unimportant) is their way of avoiding those feelings again?
    So is it a projection of the narcissist’s own fears towards the person they entangle with?

    1. HG Tudor says:


      1. SuperXena says:

        Thank you for your openness and for your straightforward answer.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are welcome SX.

  6. narc affair says:

    Otherwise known as splitting. Bpd’ers have this type of defense mechanism as well. Very quick to flip flopping based on triggers. I think thats why its such a rollercoaster with narcissists bc one minute youre a good guy then the next they dispise you and youre left wondering why. What did i do?? Its mind boggling.

  7. Sherry says:

    Being that NPD is a maladaptive, thinking in black and white would be part of the disorder. It’s certainly not normal, but makes sense if one has NPD.

    1. Morning sun says:

      Black and white thinking can be pretty useful. Painting the N-ex black saved my sanity. My therapist tried prodding me into seeing him as simply human and as soon as I did, BAM! emotional thinking was back, and with it the sadness and pain of grieving – of which I’ve had enough.

      Maybe after enough time has passed I’ll ‘unpaint’ him.

    2. /iroll says:

      I’d say that NPD is very adaptive to survival situations where a person “destroys parts of themselves for self-gain”.

      As someone with bpd, i know that society rewards narcissistic behaviour and stigmatises vulnerability. So in a way, society has spoken. People are afraid to break social norms because they associate, on a primal level, survival with group belonging. Narcs manipulate this, they know how to mirror people and convince them that the narc’s (concealed) emotional shallowness and chaotic inconsistency is – their (the victim’s) limitation – by convincing them and everyone else as well, that the narc is expanding their limitations vicariously through the narc’s grandiosity or leadership or “one who cares less” in relationships.

      Leaders must sacrifice others for progress! In ‘ancient times’ and cultures, some people willingly sacrificed themselves, it’s part of performing – and being part of ‘the sacred’ within collective culture.

      We’re all Aztec prostitutes for the malignant narc! ^ ^ Even royality is not above sacrificing for the gods of cultural survival. They’re trying to win over the bottom to get on top, in other words, via the mainstream, because trying to actually be the best of everything, is too much work and impossible.

      So that’s not stupid. It’s highly conceptual really. How many people really understand how power works.

      Narcs will ask you to pay for their power, in one way or another. They’re performing everyday and utilising aspects of themselves that normal people wouldn’t want to sell (the narc will want to prove you otherwise), the inalienable aspects of their subjective beings! Narcs have already done this, they aim to be successful at it – so they can always go further than you into existential doom 😉 They’re willing to sacrifice you because they have “nothing sacred” to sacrifice but their autonomy which relies on your sacrifice, that’s their bottom line – and not just that, they already sacrifice you by manipulating you into performing a mirror-function for them that helps them regulate their self-esteem, what compensates them for their inner self sacrifice, the source of their power. Success rates vary greatly, but it’s not an adaptation that makes no sense. Most people are primally motivated to survive according to norms of group belonging, and that social feature assists in the narc’s redirection of shame onto the victim/scapegoat. It really is fascinating to witness, and is evidence of action rather than spoken ideal.

      In that respect ‘love’ and ‘the good’ does appear as a faux/arbitrary moral authority and that is certainly how the narc, conciously or unconsciously – sees it. They are not making subtle distinctions, because those don’t serve them.

      The primary issue that is motivating the narc’s splitting, is shame – they can’t process it because it tarnishes their ideal self-image. Shame is how society teaches accountability before damage occurs and there is healthy and unhealthy shame. There is however, as i said, a socially symbiotic relationship between the narc’s shame avoidance and society’s shaming of others in order to protect positions of power. So shame is also a useful tool for the narc.

      I do think that narcissists over-identify with masculine mythology, but even fantasies can impact our real world dealings.

      Why would they give all this up? Even if they did meet a limitation that they couldn’t ignore, starting again is like being a child again, it’s scary, vulnerable and would probably also require changes in their current dealings. It’s a massive mountain of change for them to be their real selves as opposed to their grandiose selves. Who do you think society loves (superficially) more?

      1. /iroll says:

        ^ ^ not a scientific argument, but human sacrifice is a cool subject because we do it all the time. Foucault would call democratic governments biopolitics, meaning governments choose who ‘lives or dies’ by creating legitimate or non-legitimate political citizens, or the class system that delegates rights, for eg. The Uk has ‘royal subjects’ – which is very quaint and exclusive. Even humanists can put lives already at risk to further danger and not solve the actual issues, by de-politicising ‘innocent victims’ who are given gifts of charity but not citizen rights.

        So this sacred and sacrificial humanity is also a modern condition. I was just trying to explore how narcissism ‘me vs you’, ‘us vs them’ – does exist on a social spectrum and is not actually alien to human society.

        It is also easier to connect addiction to poverty (low self-esteem from abuse, impoverished rights, underground economies), but not to entitlements afforded to people by wealth and influence, or even as endemic to the struggles to compete in a consumerist ‘image-focused’ society.

        Do we need to sacrifice other lives in order to prosper, as a necessary evil, or to feed the addictions of the powerful?

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