Why Do Narcissists Operate From The Same Book?


It is an often repeated question that I am asked – why do narcissists operate from the same book or why do narcissists all behave in the same way? Is there some School of Narcissism, a University of Manipulation or a College of Coercion? The fact that much of what I write about with regard to my own behaviours and those of my kind resonates with so many, many people naturally causes this question to be asked. How is it that narcissists know how to behave in such similar ways? What is behind narcissists using such familiar and well-experienced manipulations? How do we learn to do this? Indeed, such is the similarity of experience that I am regularly asked by people whether I am their narcissist (I am not) and some even go so far as to write to me on a daily basis questioning my behaviour, pleading and chastising as they truly think I am the narcissist who is tormenting them (again I am not) but this is borne (in part) out of the recognition of similarity with regard to the operation of narcissists.

Do we all use the same book and if we do, how does this come about?

The first observation to make is that whilst there are similarities in the way that we operate there are also considerable differences. Of course, many of those who are ensnared by us find themselves ensnared by similar types (as in school and cadre) of narcissist, therefore the behaviours will indeed appear similar to the victim. However, Lesser Narcissists have a smaller range of manipulations, are rudimentary in their activity, have smaller fuel matrices leading to more interruption to their fuel supply which in turn causes more volatile and haphazard behaviours and have a low threshold on their ignited fury which will invariably appear as heated fury. These are considerable differences from the Mid Range Narcissist and both Lesser and Mid Range are different again from the Greater School.

Now, a Lesser Narcissist may use a silent treatment (the hallmark of the Mid Range Narcissist) but it is rarer, there are cross overs between the schools in terms of certain behaviours. For instance, all schools may use physical violence, however Lesser Narcissists do so more often and more brutally and without regard for consequence, Mid Rangers do so far less often, tend to use pushing, holding, spitting and slapping rather than punching, kicking, biting or head butting and Greaters, where physical violence is used (which is rare) may do so through a proxy or will do so in a manner less likely to be detected. Thus there is a similarity with regard to the use of physical violence but considerable differences in its frequency and application. Similar behaviours but with variations.

How about achieving coercion and control? The Lesser is a blunt instrument relying on blind fear through physical aggression (to person and property). The Mid Ranger will rely on being kind and good-natured moving to pity and emotional blackmail before involving threat, albeit it remains that. The Greater uses charm and reward before the use of threat which will be implemented if required. Thus all three schools engage in coercing and controlling victims but do so in differing ways.

What then of fuel matrices? The three articles I have previously written about those matrices show a commonality – we all need fuel – but significant differences in the composition and extent of those fuel matrices. The Lesser has a small fuel matrix with heavy reliance on the Intimate Partner Primary Source and is more likely to make use of a Non Intimate Partner Primary Source should the need arise. The Mid Ranger has a wider fuel matrix, but relies significantly on the IPPS also and less on a Non Intimate Partner Primary Source. The Greater has the widest and most varied fuel matrix and whilst there remains a reliance on the IPPS, it is not as great as the other two schools and indeed the Greater School can endure for far longer without a primary source at all compared to the other schools.

All three schools exhibit ignited fury when wounded (see the book Fury for more details in that regard) however the Lesser has a hair trigger in that regard and relies mostly, often exclusively on heated fury. The Mid-Ranger has more control than the Lesser but it is not substantially improved and their fury manifests more through cold fury. The Greater has a significant control over his or her ignited fury and will use both heated and cold fury should control not remain in place.

Not all narcissists are grandiose. Some are aggressive, others are passive aggressive. Some are haughty, others almost needy. Some focus on the physical, others on the cerebral. Some are successful and others are not.

Accordingly, it can be seen that there are similar strands with regard to narcissists, in terms of constitution, outlook and behaviour but with notable and significant differences between the schools. Therefore it is not accurate to state that all narcissists operate from the same playbook, but that it appears there are similarities. Again, as mentioned earlier, this appearance of it being the same may also be the experience of the victim because he or she has been ensnared by narcissists of the same school and cadre.

Yet, what if the differences I have explained above (and there are plenty more) are regarded as mere subtleties by victims and instead you point to the fact that we seduce victims, we love bomb, we devalue, we disengage, we suffer wounding, we hoover and we smear. Are those all not the operations of narcissists, are they not all the same? Do we not all regard people as objects as appliances? Do we not all lack emotional empathy? Do we not all experience envy, jealousy and hatred? Do we not all utilise black and white thinking? Do we not all have an overwhelming need for control of our environments? Again, these would be seen as significant ‘sames’ with regard to our kind and support the suggestion that we all operate in accordance with one, mystical, all-encompassing manual of narcissism.

It is clear from the many comments that I have read on my blog and social media platforms, from the e-mails I have received and the content of consultations that people have very similar experiences with regard to being a victim of our kind, whether it is romantic, familial, social or work entanglement. Thus it very much appears that we do indeed all operate from the same book and this raises the next question, how can that be? How is it that narcissists ‘know’ to operate this way, to have the same perspectives, to react in the same way and to deal with their victims in such similar ways?

That is a simple question to answer.

It is not the case that because one is a narcissist that one knows to operate in the same way as every other narcissist. No.

It is because we act in such similar ways that we are narcissists. If you do not act in this way, you are not one of us, if you do, you are and you belong to our club.

Manipulate, lack emotional empathy, regard people as appliances who belong to us forever, control people, need fuel, lack remorse, have no or poor boundary recognition, exhibit magical thinking, a sense of entitlement, have no concept of accountability, ensure it is never our fault, see only in black and white and so forth and you are a narcissist. Not the other way around.

It is the similarity in behaviour that makes us narcissists, not that we are narcissists so we behave similarly.

109 thoughts on “Why Do Narcissists Operate From The Same Book?

  1. cb says:

    … They even seem to enjoy the exact Same social media Memes! (I’ve seen at several intelligent midrange females, but it’s taken me years to grasp that these ladies are all NPD, it just struck me that they posted incessantly about politics everyday)

    1. They adore those comic drawings of housewives from the 1950s captioned “These are all the f*cks I give!”
    “Over there on that island are all the f*cks I give!”

    2. Another social media trend they seem to love is putting up a very sexy photo of themselves captioned “you wanna know what this is? It’s me feeling ace about having so many awesome female friends”
    or “it’s me not giving a f*ck about all the mansplainers out there”

    They were fun/empowering to read at first,
    but these ladies (of all ages 18 – 65) could t seem to stop these chunks of similar posts. So they went on for years, long after others had faded the trend.
    I do believe some types of narcissists went to the exact same “taste in humor school”

    1. Caroline says:

      And “you say ‘bitch’ like it’s a bad thing”.
      My spiteful victim-N sister LOVES that one.

      1. cb says:

        I’m sure.
        Was a fun and empowering meme for a month or so.
        But these narcs put those memes as their header picture/profile pic on their social media, until nausea.

  2. flutterbymorpho says:

    What is magical thinking ? Not heard of that .

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It is thinking for instance that all people the narcissist interacts with are sexually attracted to him or her, or that the narcissist is the sole reason a business succeeds. Magical thinking appears in different situations (not just in relation to narcissism) but those are examples of how it manifests in narcissism, it is linked to the grandiosity.

      1. windstorm says:

        The term “magical thinking” has a very negative connotation. I try to keep an open mind. I believe that “magic” just means something beyond our own understanding.

        I have trained myself to constantly look to the world around me for signs of what I should do next in stead of making plans. Many people I know consider that to be magical thinking and as such, dismiss it as stupid. But this strategy works very well for me and has brought tremendous peace to my life. Just because we don’t understand something, doesn’t keep it from working. Much in the world is beyond our current understanding.

        1. WhoCares says:


          “The term “magical thinking” has a very negative connotation.”

          I agree…and as I read your words – I realize this is very similar to how I operate and I don’t view it as stupid. I never really questioned this way of operating because it never really led me astray…until I met my narc…and then I questioned everything because I looked around me (when things in my life were a shambles) and had to ask: “I was meant to experience this? This is what I get for seeking love?” That’s a hard pill to swallow. And because I tend to self-blame; when I was in the middle of much pain I thought that I *must* have done something to deserve this. (Not saying that I still feel the ‘deserving’ part, but I still, sometimes, question why I seem to be meant to feel such pain or had to endure that and come out on the other side.)

          Sorry if this is very personal (and don’t feel obligated to elaborate) but do you not then question your strategy if it brought to meeting your narcissist ex-husband?

          Post-narc and post-HG, I don’t feel exactly that way anymore because my ‘strategy’ has brought me through something – and brought many sources of joy (in addition to pain) and peace as well. Plus, it led me to find a community that I feel I belong to now – when I never truly felt part of a ‘community’ ever in my life. It has also taught me that ‘family’ is not necessarily biological.

          The problem with how I view my ‘magical thinking’ now is that – despite the good parts – the negative experiences have caused me to not trust this strategy for the time being and I’m stalled out – feeling like I can’t go back…but I also can’t go forward – at least not operating the same way as before. It is like being stranded in limbo.

          1. windstorm says:

            I never mind elaborating on anything. Maybe someone can learn something from it.

            I deliberately searched for a man like my exhusband because I’d always lived with narcs and that’s what I thought all men were. I thought “romance” was just manipulative lies and had no idea what a loving relationship looked like.

            Also I was just 16 when I got engaged. I was in my 30’s when I turned my life over to God/the universe and quit trying to plan and run my life myself. That was nearly 30 years ago and once I got used to it, it’s always served me well. Even when things seem to go wrong, it doesn’t matter. I just keep my mind open each moment to what seems like the best choice. After all, I really can’t tell what is “wrong.”

            That said, I did have the fiasco with my Moron in Munich a few years ago, but that hasn’t made me falter in my life strategy. I can only assume that it served a purpose. Certainly I have learned and grown as a person because of it. Perhaps having weathered that horror will enable me to better understand and help someone else.

            It was tough to have had such a disappointing experience in what was really my one last attempt to have a loving relationship with a partner. I never did feel I deserved such pain and disappointment, though I certainly have wondered what purpose it served.

            I do believe that we are all here on Earth for a purpose. But since I have no idea what mine is, it makes sense to me to give myself over to God/the universe rather than bumbling along blindly on my own .

          2. WhoCares says:


            Thank-you for elaborating – I know, personally, I do learn a lot from your posts. And I’ll just say: Wow – that’s so young to get engaged…no one really knows themselves at that age and wouldn’t be expected to know any different as a result.
            “I was in my 30’s when I turned my life over to God/the universe and quit trying to plan and run my life myself.”

            In a certain way I was trying to ‘plan’ all the time during my entanglement. Everything that I worked towards to help our situation during our life together only appeared to sink us deeper in trouble…(I realize that now, had I been partnered with a normal or an empath this wouldn’t have happened.) It is when I finally realized that I could no longer ‘plan’ for us – without digging a deeper hole – and I finally recognized the pattern in his behaviour…that I stopped planning and just chose to invest in what felt right for me. This was so difficult – as I did feel like I was *betraying* us – or him…but following my gut and what the ‘universe’ presented was, inevitably, what saved me. And it seemed so selfish, illogical and *against* common-sense to go this route but it was, in the end, my tether to reality. Hanging on to the last thread of what felt utterly selfish and frivolous was the thing that preserved my sanity, gave me a physical place of safety away from him, and connected me to a community. So, it was faith – of a sort – that led me through.

            “I do believe that we are all here on Earth for a purpose. But since I have no idea what mine is, it makes sense to me to give myself over to God/the universe rather than bumbling along blindly on my own .”

            These words of yours sound very much like something Joseph Campbell said: “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

          3. windstorm says:

            Thank you.
            16 is early to get engaged, but wasn’t that uncommon here 45 years ago. Also remember I was in a very unhappy home with two narc parents. Escape was my primary priority.

            I have been accused of selfishness all my life. I believed it as a child and young adult, but came to understand the real pourpise behind these accusations as I grew older. But here in the Bible Belt, turning your life over to God is not considered selfish. Even the narcs, while skeptical and obviously inwardly derogatory, stayed pretty quiet in public. Now if it’d been common knowledge just what I consider “God” – that would have been another story! Lol!

            I loved your quote from Joseph Campbell. Sounds much like my thinking!

          4. WhoCares says:


            Yes, I’m glad you escaped the conditions of your home life. And that you overcame the effect of being accused of selfishness when you were young…I’m still overcoming that one…

            I’m not sure I could live in the Bible Belt. I am, probably, what some would call ‘spiritual’ in nature but have never been able to buy into organized religion. However, I have always been fascinated with religion (as an outsider), specifically; comparative religion, comparative mythology and the psychology of religion and personality. I come from a family of religious hypocrites where the adults did not attend church but sent the children there instead. Hypocrites and insincere individuals really rub me the wrong as a result…you would think that such sensivity would protect one from narcs…but, nah, apparently not.

          5. windstorm says:

            I am spiritual in nature as well and have always been interested in all religions and how they compare. I left the Church of Christ at 16 (fundamentalist Protestant) and began a systematic study of every religion I could gather data about. In addition to all the major religions, I studied many small spiritualist cults.

            The CofC was very, very narrow minded in the 70’s. I was looking for the most open-minded, tolerant religion I could find. It had to be Christian (Bible Belt) even though much of my personal beliefs were more Buddhist in nature. I picked Catholicism.

            Now I know all the people out there who were raised Catholic are going to think this was ridiculous. But if you weren’t raised Catholic and just came into it as an adult, after Vatican II and your church was a university campus Newman Center – the Catholic Church was WAY more progressive and tolerant than fundamentalist Protestants. I could fast, meditate, study other religions scriptures and believe in the daily interactions of God in my life (the church I was raised in believed God stopped answering prayers and doing miracles after the Apostles died). I could burn candles, chant mantras on beads, fly prayer flags and believe in mysticism. Not only be free to do all those things, but be praised for my spirituality.

            You might enjoy this analogy. One of my favorite religious
            writers was St Francis de Sales, a Genevan Bishop in the 1500’s. He said religions were like flower arrangements. When you first look at different ones, they seem very different, but when you look more closely, you see that they are all basically made of the same core flowers; roses, mums, etc., just in different colors and combinations. Religions are the same. They are all made of core truths like love your parents, treat others fairly, etc. These core truths are from God, the colors and sizes are products of the cultures of the region where the religion is practiced and the extra flowers were added by man. The older the religion, the more man made beliefs find their way in, but all religions contain truths from God. It’s up to us to learn to recognize them from the other “flowers” that have been added over time.

            I really love this analogy. In a way, all my life I’ve been studying the worlds religions as flower arrangements – identifying these core flowers and seeing how the various cultures have changed the colors and shapes and what other flowers have been added by man over the centuries. 🌸🌼🌻🌺🌹

          6. WhoCares says:


            “I am spiritual in nature as well and have always been interested in all religions and how they compare. I left the Church of Christ at 16 (fundamentalist Protestant) and began a systematic study of every religion I could gather data about. In addition to all the major religions, I studied many small spiritualist cults.”

            I think that it’s fabulous that you strategically researched and hand-picked your church in such fashion (and it seems similar to how you picked your husband?).

            Thank-you for sharing re: St Francis de Sales – I do enjoy that analogy – what beautiful imagery, of a bouquet of flowers, to convey that concept. I haven’t let my brain go that road in so long…but yes, I can identify because I used to believe that there are many roads to the same truth.

            I did indeed laugh at your mention of a Catholic church being your most open-minded option…my family of origin would have been considered ‘Roman Catholic’ – if you can be a non-practicing Catholic – ha! (What garbage…the only thing any of the adults ‘practiced’ was not eating meat on Good Friday. All this resulted in was a fairly regular family get-together for ‘tuna-melts.’) As children, both my parents went to the Catholic school system and both had abusive experiences there, so they swore I would not attend a Catholic school and I was educated in the public school system. I still did have exposure to organized religion. My best friend’s family were church-going (Lutheran) so my mother sent me along with them but I never fully embraced it as an adult.

            In my teen years – and some of my adult life – I was always intrigued and puzzled how others utilized ‘religion’ (the narc-empath dynamic solves a lot of this for me) to aid a particular end…while the only religious people I knew – and respected, for that aspect of their personality – were those who could intelligently reason their acceptance of certain views, didn’t those use those beliefs to manipulate people and they practiced what they preached.

            I have formally studied the subject of the psychology of religion and also really enjoyed learning about cults and religious sects…

            Personally, I’m attracted to polytheistic traditions and mythologies that have lively and longstanding visually creative practices.

            (This reply was initially ‘Quasi-length’ in nature, lol – but my phone and apps are acting up so I lost other versions of this – this version was shortened and retyped before I lost it too!!)

          7. windstorm says:

            I’m so glad you replied to my last comment! I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts! I am saddened, though, that your longer version was lost. I’m sure I would have enjoyed it even more! It is so frustrating when that happens! And I always feel that my first version that was lost was always more inspired. Certainly when I try to recreate it I am so frustrated at having to do so that I’m always sure my 2nd attempt is not nearly as good.

            I have discovered a solution to avert this catastrophe. If I realize I am writing a long comment, I copy and paste it into Notes. Then I can edit at my leisure, copy and send it when finished. That way I also have the copy in Notes for later reference in case someone replies.

            I did strategically research and pick my husband in a similar way. Lol! I am a methodical woman who likes to reason out all options before making choices. When I was young it seemed like I was surrounded by old women who often lamented their life choices – “If i had it to do over again, I’d never …..”. I did NOT want to end up that way!

            I knew I could not avoid making mistakes, but I was determined that when I was older that I would be sure that I had made the best choices available to me. That way I would never be plagued by these regrets.

            I love analogies! You mentioned “many roads to the same truth.” I am certain of this, but what I have realized is that not only are there many roads, but that we’re not all traveling by road. Sure some of us may be walking the traditional way, but others of us are in boats or flying in planes or hang gliders, some even insisting on hacking their way directly thru whatever they find in their path. Not to mention that we all start our search from different locations. That’s why other people’s directions/instructions on how to get to the destination are often useless. We must all of us find our own way from where we currently are using whichever means we have at our disposal.

            My favorite analogy of the Buddha is that the quest for truth is like searching for the moon in the sky and that religion is like a hand with a finger pointing to the moon. He warned that a common mistake people make is they get caught up in venerating and focusing on the nature and shape and origin of the hand and finger and never actually use it to find the moon. They also refuse to acknowledge that many people can find the moon in the sky with no need of the hand and finger at all. This blind attachment and insistance that only their way is correct always seemed very fitting for many religious people I know.

            Since I was very small, 5-6 or so, I have felt an energy around me that comforts and guides me. It has always been and is present and I only have to reach out to it with my mind to sense it. I’ve always called this “God.” My quest in religions has to fit with my desire to draw closer to this authentic experience I have. Polytheism doesn’t work for me because this energy is one thing. I do enjoy the highly visual, but I guess I view all religious practices as highly imperfect attempts to create that hand with the pointing finger. At best they help create the proper mood and point you in the correct direction. But other than that, they are just the trappings of their particular society.

            Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I am always glad to hear them. ❤️

          8. WhoCares says:

            Windstorm – I so enjoy *your* thoughts on this topic…Thank-you for the tip on using ‘Notes’ – I use a similar alternative solution to I can edit my posts (the reply window in the WordPress app is so bleepin’ small I can’t be bothered to find my errors – that’s why sometimes I let any errors through in hopes that the content is clear enough lol) I love this subject – and your methodical approach!! (I’m sooo opposite; fly by the seat of my pants) – I will get back to you…It is Thanksgiving weekend here and I have to cook a turkey, lol. Take care.

          9. windstorm says:

            Ha, ha! We have turkey in our Thanksgiving, too. Do you all have pumpkin pie?

            Happy Thanksgiving !!🦃

          10. WhoCares says:

            Windstorm – Thank-you!

            We *do* have pumpkin pie; it also fairly traditional in Canada for thanksgiving…but I want to attempt some keto style pumpkin-butterscotch muffins instead for an autumn treat (the people I stay with do keto; so then they can enjoy some desserts too)…I recently had a normal pumpkin-butterscotch muffin at a local cafe; it was to die for! So…maybe instead of doing too many pumpkin desserts, I should do apple pie? I don’t know…my expertise is not baking…you may find me doing late night rantings here on the blog later because of being baking-challenged…

            HG, don’t worry, I won’t launch into a baking rant…nor will I share recipes. However I do wonder which chatter do you find more offensive…religion or baking?

          11. windstorm says:

            Oh I know the answer to which one he finds more offensive – baking!!

          12. WhoCares says:

            Windstorm – Thanksgiving weekend is over!

            To report: muffins, turkey and all the trimmings were a success…on that note, I just wanted to express my gratitude…first, while on one level it was weird to have a narc-free thanksgiving dinner, I am also very grateful to currently have a safe, loving and peaceful place to live to enjoy such simple pleasures. And I really hope those reading here continue to search out and successfully find a bubble of safety and sanity (especially if still in their current entanglement) – whether it’s reading here or an actual physical space in their real lives. Second, I’m very grateful to have access to the safe space HG has created here to learn, discuss and share – whatever stage of narcissistic entanglement we find ourselves in.

          13. windstorm says:

            Glad your Thanksgiving dinner went well and especially glad you’re in a safe, loving and peaceful place!

          14. WhoCares says:

            “You mentioned ‘many roads to the same truth.’ I am certain of this, but what I have realized is that not only are there many roads, but that we’re not all traveling by road. Sure some of us may be walking the traditional way, but others of us are in boats or flying in planes or hang gliders, some even insisting on hacking their way directly thru whatever they find in their path.”

            Yes, Windstorm, so absolutely true – we all travel different roads *and* by different means…This is also why I believe, after trauma, we all have different paths to healing – what works for one does not necessarily work for all.

            Somewhere in reading your post, these words popped into my head: “It’s not about the destination but about the journey.” I used to believe this one fully – now sometimes, post-entanglement, I feel like finding the first person who ever said that and poking them in the eye.

            (I still kind of feel that way but…holy f*ck…what a detour…)

            And I don’t mean to be simplistic or glib – especially considering those still entangled and reading this – but I have no choice but to look around at me, pick up the pieces and find that silver lining because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to carry on.

            “Buddha is that the quest for truth is like searching for the moon in the sky and that religion is like a hand with a finger pointing to the moon. He warned that a common mistake people make is they get caught up in venerating and focusing on the nature and shape and origin of the hand and finger and never actually use it to find the moon. They also refuse to acknowledge that many people can find the moon in the sky with no need of the hand and finger at all.”

            Thank-you for sharing this Windstorm. I never studied Buddhism in depth but I resonate very much with these words. And I especially agree with that last line in the quotation.

            Re: religious practices in general:

            “At best they help create the proper mood and point you in the correct direction. But other than that, they are just the trappings of their particular society.”

            This would have encapsulate exactly how I feel about religion. This is why I categorize folklore, religions and mythologies similarly – they are all beautiful stories, allegories and analogies for the human experience. I enjoy analyzing the similarities and differences I see in them.

      2. WhoCares says:

        Glad that flutterbymorpho asked this…I was never clear myself on what ‘magical thinking’ (from the narcissist’s perspective) was – one those things you think you understand – until it’s fully explained.
        Thank-you for explaining, HG.

  3. Kelly says:

    You even say the same words:

    I’ve Invested a lot of time in you (huh? When?)

    Don’t Concern yourself (with whatever issue it is that day)

    Other men don’t say that.

  4. Renarde says:

    HG, having a ‘brain moment. What is magical thinking again?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Please see answer given above.

  5. Coffee Time says:

    I never did like the playbook description, or that narcs are all clones. I always thought they sounded akin to drug addicts or alcoholics. Considering HG’s explanations of fuel that seems very accurate. They all learned to cope the same way, and while they have different means to get what they need, they need it for the same reason and have the same troubles as it goes on and become damaged the same way.

    1. Caroline says:

      Coffee Time,

      Yes! Narcissists operate in a similar way to alcoholics/drug addicts…it’s the first time I’ve really grabbed hold of that particular concept (even though I’ve often used the term “fix”), in how both groups will manipulate/hide/deceive to get a fix.

      It might even be said that empathy is also suspended (for alcoholics/drug addicts) when their sole focus is the fix. They are desperate for that fix — may abuse those they’re supposed to care about — may get various withdrawal symptoms when they don’t get their fix (of course, with “gaining fuel” v “acquiring alcohol/drugs,” those behavioral/physical withdrawal symptoms will vary).

      Your description helps, at just the right time, in just the right way.

      Thank you!

  6. Bettina Katsaros says:

    It is like you guys all attend some kind of a certification seminar

  7. Nikki Barelli says:

    It’s a trip how every time I have a question in my head about why or how, etc. , that my narc is or does or knew too do, I get my answer with in 24 hrs. or immediately right here while checking in with my new extended family & teacher extrodenairere. Thank you for clearing up and or opening up my mind to a different angle so I have a better understanding of what makes my lesser tick. I’ve shared with many of my customers, who also are victims or survivors, to your blogs. Most are exteemely greatful to have found your posts, as I am, helping us better understand our narcs and how to deal with them.
    Thank you H.G. & goodnight all.

  8. Tammy says:

    Hi HG,
    A song that comes to mind is “walk the line,” by Johnny Cash.
    It’s very strange to act both narcissistic and then empathic. Of course my Empathetic traits are far mor prevalent. It shocked me at first, but I can relate to how your kind act. I can relate to being an extremely sensitive Empath. I know it’s because I disassociate.
    Another fine disorder I deal with. But each day seizing my power like you told me. Still can’t access the blog, but at least I have your site here.
    Best wishes to you, IF.

  9. Serene says:


    Could you please give an example of magical thinking? Or point me to an article/book.

    Thank you.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Please see answer given above Serene.

  10. Kathleen says:

    Fabulous HG! This is a nice summation of so many concepts you’ve addressed in-depth in previous articles. And I love the picture accompanying this. Good day.

  11. Carolyn says:

    I always thought that love of my life (a man I was dating 10 years ago) was a narcissist but I changed my mind last year when I met my last boyfriend – a true mid range narcissist.

    Now I know what is a difference between being narcissistic and being a narcissist. The first man had a strong will, sometimes was arrogant and very demanding but I know he loved me, we had real connection, our laugh was true, our sex was true, our fights were true. He was able to have a normal faithful relationship. And he is with the same woman since we broke up, they have a normal happy relationship. Why I thought he was a narcissist? Because of his hard character, his arrogance, boundaries, assertivenes. But what is crucial – HE WAS LIKE THAT FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. He didn’t change during the relationship. He never pretended to be a sheep. He was the same at the beginning and in the end.

    But my last boyfriend, M-R narcissist – OMG. He was a wolf in sheep skin. Fake mask of prince charming. Fake love. Fake connection. And the monster under the mask. This is the difference. The first boyfriend didn’t wear a mask, didn’t lie to me, he was always himself and was true in it.

  12. lisa says:

    HG, through your work with the good doctors have you learnt what exactly this is? i understand that this behaviour in people equals narcissist but do you know exactly what it is medically ?

  13. Anm says:

    I dated a lower lesser somatic for 4 months in my 20s. I was doing modeling work, a size 2 with an eating disorder brought on my a different narc relationship, and so I was prey. He probably had the fuel matrix of a lower greater, even though he was a lesser. Revolving door of the most beautiful looking empaths-often with borderline traits, a very extensive close circle of friends and outer circle connections. When he was making me his ipps, he inquired about my childhood from childhood friends that weren’t even apart of my life anymore; he would often scope out my ware abouts like a greater would, but he was definitely a lesser. He couldnt keep a day job for longer than 2 months, so he would fall back to dealing drugs at night or stealing from people; he would drug me with ambien, sexually assault me, and steal everything from my purse; vandalize; drink to sleep at night; he neglected his son to an extreme, unless a girlfriend stepped in, this was how he often kept girlfriends around for longer than a few weeks. When I left him, he already had another beautiful empath lined up, but he still ended up in a mental hospital for attempted suicide, and had his lieutenants terrorize me for it. He recently did follow through with killing himself, unfortunately I was actually relieved his drama was over with.

  14. Leslie says:

    The character Adam in the Bible is a narcissist.

    I have value for your work. It is helping in a suicide prevention and personal growth programme for males and females in a developing country in which the entire culture is narcissistic.

    I would also like to point out that it is the creature that is consuming all the fuel you collect. You are just the creature’s fuel harvesting appliance. You are being manipulated and puppeted by the creature into keeping it alive. You are the one inside the construct. You are keeping yourself imprisoned not the creature.

    Now isn’t that ironic…..

    1. Kathleen says:

      Leslie- excellent news on helping developing country. Which country is it? Also interesting thoughts about H.G.s creature.

  15. kiki says:

    This article is very enlightening HG. Since acquiring my education here I notice I have several narcs circling me. Well two for definite.
    I was unaware for awhile , but now I can see it. I just want a break from these people , not to have to look over my shoulder and watch my back .
    Hg I think I am an empath , what if an empath acts like a narc would it deter the narcs , kind of like camouflage.
    I don’t have the manipulative traits and I am easy read so it would be very difficult ,would it work though?

    1. HG Tudor says:


  16. wanderingrecklessly says:

    I believe they all have tons of similarities but they all operate differently because what the goal is for one is not the same for the other. I have 2 women who are narcs in my life and one is open with her narcissism and could care less what people think and the other is covert and quiet and hides it. She hides behind her mother, the open and malignant narc. She uses her as her puppet so she can come out looking clean. The other one wants to look abused for attention and one pity for having to deal with the other. They are horrible nonetheless but appearances to them mean how they look as a person not a pretty face. I have met other narcs who are more about looks and what they own and money. Quite frankly the ones around me are hoarders and lazy and lack tons of life qualities but pretend to be someone they are not. These narcs are evil!

  17. MommyPino says:

    It is amazing how much I have learned from your blog and books. I wish that I have encountered them years ago. Then my husband and I would not have loaned money to my narc half sister. Also I wouldn’t have tried extremely hard to be accepted by my step daughters who has a lot of narcissistic traits. The older is probably a covert one, she is the smarter one of the two and she manipulates her younger sister who has bipolar to do a lot of the dirty work of being really nasty to the gutter with me. And I would not have reciprocated the attempts of my husband’s ex wife (really black hearted but acts like a meek lamb, possibly a victim narcissist), my step kids’ mom, to befriend me. My husband advised me not to, but I thought that if you are kind to people, eventually positive results will happen. I also thought that it would make my step kids accept me but they just laughed at me and said that I am really stupid. I thought that my mom had paranoia all those years, now I know that she is a lower lesser victim narcissist. My half sister was a mid ranger elite narcissist ( she just passed away). And my husband’s ex wife is a mid ranger victim nacissist. I’m still not sure if my step children are really NPD afflicted but they are so mean and manipulative. So it is possible. The handsome handyman with amazing biceps and abs who tried to seduce me is possibly a mid ranger somatic narcissist. My encounter with him was the reason I found your blog and I learned about narcissism. I’m just so thankful that despite my strong attraction towards him at that time, I decided not to bite the apple. It was probably one of the hardest things that I have ever done in my life but now I am ever so thankful. It could have been a really costly whoopie. And I can just imagine the delight of my step daughters and their mom if I fall from grace.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  18. LD says:

    HG, is it common to start seeing narcissistic traits everywhere around you once you know about it?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes, it is called education, however it is sensible to temper it with expert input – namely me.

      1. LD says:

        So, my next question is… not because there is a narcissistic trait means that someone is a narcissist per se… isn’t it? and if so, are there specific traits that only narcissist have? do you have an article already about those? Thank you!

        1. HG Tudor says:


          You need to distinguish between narcissistic traits (such as infidelity, pride, envy, jealousy for example) and narcissist elements (black and white thinking, magical thinking, no emotional empathy for example).

    2. Renarde says:

      Oh yes and I’ve found it a tad overwhelming at times. At these times I repeat my mantra.

      Everyone has N traits.
      Middles will usually display cognitive empathy.
      Only Es hold the twin pillars of cognitive and affective empathy and in a greater proportion than the Normals.

      Mind you, if I recall correctly, 1 in 6 of the population are Ns. If you’re an E, that number will possibly be greater (in inner and outer circles) as they will have been drawing close for years in some cases.

      I don’t know when you were weaponised. In a month or so, it will have been a year for me. Lately, over last month, I’ve relaxed into it more. Possibly because I had become ultra sensitised to the whole concept.

      I’m pretty happy at the moment with who is what in my circles and now the larger ‘world view’ is attracting my attention. That’s fascinating.

  19. merrymagenta says:

    I hadn’t realised that utilising black and white thinking is a narcissistic trait. Would you mind explaining the reasoning behind that to me, please, HG. Thanks.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Do you mean why do we use black and white thinking (if so please see article/video of same name) or why is it part of being a narcissist. Please note it is not a narcissistic trait but an aspect of being a narcissist, a subtle but important distinction. Jealousy is a narcissistic trait and such a trait applies to narcissists, normals and empaths, black and white thinking applies to narcissists not to normals or empaths.

      1. merrymagenta says:

        I meant that I’m an empath, yet I utilise black and white thinking.

        1. mollyb5 says:

          Merrymagenta , Are you maybe thinking you judge people quickly or you have an internal judge ..internal right or wrong ? INFJs have internal right or wrong . Is this what you are saying feels like black / white thinking ?

          1. merrymagenta says:

            Hi mollyb5,

            I previously posted the following additional response to HG’s request for clarification explaining in more depth what I meant, however, it hasn’t appeared yet. I’ll get the hang of posting to WordPress one of these days!

            Here goes:

            My black and white thinking differs from a narcissist’s somewhat in several ways though. For example, it isn’t fluid and I don’t do it for any kind of gain; revenge, control, etc. I do it to protect myself from ‘bad’ people (it’s mostly subconscious, so I’m not entirely sure that that is my motivation). Everyone starts off white (They are immediately deserving of my trust until proven otherwise… another example of my inner child driving the bus), then they become black. There is never any grey. They are either good or bad. Being bad cancels out anything good they did in the past, redemption is impossible. Becoming black is invariably caused by someone demonstrating that they have an ‘inferior’ (to mine) moral compass, or not living up to the (unexpressed) standards I set for them and myself. They can never become white again and are immediately disengaged from and discarded. There are no second chances. I previously thought that I repressed/suppressed feelings and emotions regarding them, but I really don’t, they actually cease to exist as far as I’m concerned.

            I wrote this a few days ago and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. There’s definitely a ‘shift’ going on in my perception. My subconscious mind is working like crazy trying to break through. I’ve realised now that everyone remains constantly ‘white’ unless they do something awful enough to clash with my moral compass, or heightened sense of justice. That’s why I’m especially susceptible to the drip effect, salami slicing abuse and manipulations. To get my attention or for this “protection” to kick in, it has to be something absolutely hideous, an accumulation of many lesser acts of obvious malice over time, or directed at someone else. So, a skilful narcissist is able to keep me in the dance for a long time, either unaware, or subconsciously aware, while being unable to join the dots.

            Having given this a lot of thought, I’m more inclined to think that my “black and white” thinking has less to do with being an empath and more to do with trauma and psychological/emotional damage. I’ve always known that I am seriously damaged. However, since finding my way to this blog, I realise that even that was an underestimation. I’m beginning to see the full horror and psychological effects of the abuses I’ve endured over the years, from my narcissist parents, through to my recent romantic relationship with a Greater and the many narcissists in between.

            Sorry to lay all that on you, Molly, I got a bit carried away. Please don’t feel that you have to respond if it’s too much.

            I’m an INFP, so being judgemental, or quick to judge isn’t usually an issue for me. Do you utilise some kind of black and white thinking too, Molly?

          2. mollyb5 says:

            Oh of course. I do. And I was always told the judging is an internal right or wrong not an outward judging of others at right or wrong because I am intuitive infj. …and a feeling infj

          3. merrymagenta says:

            Is it in any way similar to mine?

          4. mollyb5 says:

            Yes. With strangers … I don’t have the emotional space in my heart for everyone …I have my children , my large family of brothers and sisters , my patients with dementia ( who I have to emotional filter how I administer time to ) we do have limits ., at least ..I do . But I have angels , seriously , helping me ….sooo we are not bottomless pits of care ! Yikes. Not me

          5. mollyb5 says:

            It won’t appear all the time …HG filters things that don’t benefit his main reason for having his blog

          6. merrymagenta says:

            Oh, right. I thought he just posted them, then ignored them. I’ll keep that in mind in future.

          7. mollyb5 says:

            I’ve had many he doesn’t post if way to long

          8. mollyb5 says:

            He will also arrange them at times differently. He sells books and this is business ….he says he is honest on this blog which he seems to be with everyone . But it is a business .

      2. merrymagenta says:

        My black and white thinking differs from a narcissist’s somewhat in several ways though. For example, it isn’t fluid and I don’t do it for any kind of gain; revenge, control, etc. I do it to protect myself from ‘bad’ people (it’s subconscious, so I’m not entirely sure that that is my motivation). Everyone starts off white, then they become black. There is never any grey. They are either good or bad. Being bad cancels out anything good they did in the past, redemption is impossible. Becoming black is invariably caused by someone demonstrating that they have an ‘inferior’ (to mine) moral compass, or not living up to the (unexpressed) standards I set for them and myself. They can never become white again and are immediately disengaged from and discarded.

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but that doesn’t exactly scream empath. Perhaps it’s a manifestation of past trauma. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t think in this black and white way.

        Does that make any kind of sense, or am I just spraffing a load of shit?

        1. mollyb5 says:

          So like ….you never speak to them again ….or you ignore them if they are family ? Do you have kids ? Do you have black / white thinking …with them ?

    2. wounded says:

      Merry, how do you use black and white thinking if you don’t mind my asking.

      1. merrymagenta says:

        Sorry, there is confusion regarding multiple postings. Hope I answered your question, wounded. Any feedback would be appreciated.

        1. K says:

          I think Black and White thinking can occur when we are very defensive and we don’t trust anyone. This is a very short article that you may find helpful.


    3. wounded says:

      Aha! Ok now that the comments are all here thank you MM for all that. My friend is in therapy and black and white thinking was mentioned in her diagnosis. In her world situations are either really good or bad, also tying in catastrophic thinking where one bad thing ruins the day/expecting the worst.

      So a general question: how often do healthy people use snap judgements, grey areas. I’m trying to get a better understanding. Pardon if I don’t make sense.

  20. J says:

    I read with great interest, HG. Well done! I think your rather scientific perspective, (N behavior makes one N), is spot on and is further proof that Narcissism is a real thing, and not merely the imaginings of victims. Question: You mention the skill with which Ns acquire traits from other non-Ns in other posts. Is it common for Ns to acquire higher level N skills from other Ns? Is this perhaps the “N University” people might think exists?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you. Narcissists do not tend to pick up manipulations from other narcissists because the behaviour is instinctive and of course Greaters (instinct and calculation) do not need to pick up manipulations from anybody.

  21. merrymagenta says:

    That makes a lot of sense, Clarece. Speaking as an empath with an inner traumatised child, conflict resolution with a narcissist, who also as an inner traumatised child can escalate pretty quickly.

    1. Clarece says:

      Hello Merry M! That’s why that perspective struck a chord with me as well. In a conflict, if something triggers one of my past hurts from childhood (knowingly or unknowingly), I know I react accordingly being very defensive whether it’s warranted or not because now I feel provoked. Hence the emotions pour forth then at a rapid pace for the Narc.

  22. Lori says:

    I have a question how can Trump be a lesser with the fuel matrix he has ?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      He fits upper lesser in all other regards but benefits from an extended fuel matrix. If you look at the various factors Lori his fuel matrix suggests Greater BUT everything else points to UL, thus UL it is.

      1. NarcAngel says:

        Good question Lori


        So in essence a Lesser’s fuel matrix can be extensive but consist of lesser quality fuel (mostly tertiary for example)? or the quality has no bearing in making him a Lesser?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          An Upper Lesser because they are successful (usually on a local level – think well known businessman in a town or city) not sophisticated, brags, boasts and bullies – has a few businesses – do it my way or else, no façade.

          1. Mercy says:

            Could I have some help because this explanation is finally putting some pieces together for me. Mid range traits but has an extensive fuel matrix because of his career. Would this be an Upper Mid?

          2. HG Tudor says:

            Organise a Narc Detector consultation.

          3. Mercy says:

            Thank you, I will. I’ve been considering another consultation

      2. Lori says:

        I keep learning everyday, but I sure had Trump labeled a greater due to level of success and fuel matrix. I attributed the other aspects of his coarse bluntness to being a native New Yorker

      3. Lori says:

        Can a narcissist have aspects of both cerebral and somatic? Mine was a lesser without question. High school drop out but had an incredible physique at one point but also had this need to debate people to show his intelligence, and I must say he did at times seem quite intelligent, but I think it was somewhat fake in that he would pick a topic or two and really educate himself on it displaying quite the knowledge of it. He was also quite anal about grammar and punctuation which I thought was rather funny coming from a drop out. The reason I ask this is that some times he seemed more interested in discussing current events or other intellectual topics more than he was interested in sex

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Yes it is called Elite.

      4. Lori says:

        Can a lesser be an elite ?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          UL could, based on delusion than reality.

      5. Kathy says:

        So he’s basically got the intellect of a used car salesman? Perhaps owner of said used car dealership? No wonder the white trash of America love him.

    2. Lori says:

      Can you direct me to an article that discusses Elites ? Your answer makes sense because I often felt he masqueraded as some know it all intellectual with little to back it up

      1. HG Tudor says:

        Elites are addressed in Sitting Target.

  23. Lori says:

    They are all the same because of the way they coped with their childhood wounding.

    HG I see this same thing with Codepebdents. Codepebdents all derive their self worth externally, but some are quite smart, successful and demand the spotlight and praise like a narcissist and yet others fear success and avoid the spotlight. Some codeps exert control over others some are controlled, but they all look to another for self worth and have blurred boundaries both with crossing other people boundaries and having theirs crossed

  24. K says:

    Perfect! I copied and pasted three “playbook” explanations in my notes and, now that there is an article to direct bloggers to, I can delete them.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      See how I look after my librarian asset?

      1. K says:

        Thanks HG, I really appreciate it. It frees up room for more notes.

  25. Bibi says:

    Oh and one last point–it’s important that people know not all narcs are grandiose. My Mid Ranger was not grandiose, but quiet, introverted and passive-aggressive.

    It’s because of this misconception why many might not realize what they are with. Before I knew what he was, I actually tried Googling to see if extreme passive aggression was an actual disorder.

    1. J says:

      My midranger was also not grandiose. I think he preferred to hide and study people in plain sight.

  26. Bibi says:

    Your penultimate paragraph should help settle some anxiety some feel when they visit this site and wonder if they are the narcissist. The only times I can think of engaging in any of that ‘club behaviour’ was only after I had been continually fucked with–and it was only done to a narcissist.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Valid point Bibi.

  27. Clarece says:

    I recently heard a perspective regarding communicating with a Narc during conflict. It will almost always be the wrong way to communicate to a wounded Narc because it is almost like dealing with dual personalities. On one side you have the full grown adult facing you and you are trying to appeal to their sensibilities and reason with them. On the other hand that doesn’t reach the traumatized child inside of them, stunted at whatever point they disassociated. If you were to try to accommodate to the wounded child and that perspective, then you offend the False Self’s Adult version of the person with their superiority complex over you. That’s why it’s a no win situation.

    1. NarcAngel says:

      Hi Clarece
      Thats interesting and definitely applies if the two reside simultaneously. I had previously thought of the adult and child as switching in and out but not present at the same time (during a confrontation for instance). A different perspective to ponder so thank you. Hope all is well with you and your daughter is enjoying her new school year. I am looking for HG’s new Narc Tales. For fun, I always look to see if I can identify any of the posters here including you in the characters haha. I think I spotted Indy once or was it just me?

      1. Clarece says:

        Hi NA! To expand on the theory on the adult self (which is the constructed False Self) and the child self (which is the True Self), I guess envision a parent / guardian standing in front of and protecting the child. However the child is right behind witnessing and hearing everything but never learned the right coping skills because all he / she could do was learn to survive.
        My daughter is doing really good. Got her first part in the middle school play so I’m really excited for her. She got a part with a pretty decent amount of lines. She won’t just be a “tree” or landscape on the set. lol
        As far as HG’s Narc Tales, I never thought to apply any of us as his characters. That is so funny! I think I’m too boring to give him much material though.

    2. shesaw says:

      Clarece, NA,
      I always thought the two of them being entirely separate also / not present at the same time.
      HG, may I ask you – what is your experience with compartmentalization? When you compartmentalize, is that other part of you existing in the background, are you aware that you are compartmentalizing? Or do you conclude after you compartmentalized ‘hey, I must have been compartmentalizing’ – but you were not aware you were doing it in the moment?

      1. HG Tudor says:

        It is recognised by me after the event, not at the time.

        1. shesaw says:

          Thank you, HG. I really appreciate you answering this one. I wish I knew more about the compartmentalization aspect – I am trying to understand what it is and why it happens. May I ask 2 other questions to you?
          1. From your experience, is compartmentalization comparable to dissociation (because it happens unconsciously, like something is triggering it? )
          2. If you recognise that you compartmentalized after the event, do you reflect on it after and learn from it (remembering/focussing on the moment/time/situation during which it occured, thus making yourself more aware)? Or isn’t there any learning effect possible?

          1. HG Tudor says:

            1. It is comparable.
            2. It increases awareness but it does not alter the instinctive response.

          2. shesaw says:

            Thank you for responding to my questions again, HG. I highly value your answers.

  28. candleglow2 says:

    I have just had a Pygmalian moment .. ” She’s got it …by george she’s got it” Thankyou HG .. just you wait Henry Higgens just you wait haha sorry going off on a tangent singing now !!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Jolly good.

      1. candleglow2 says:

        oooooh ! how loverly ..smiling now ..

      2. Nika -Survival says:

        Maybe we could just see your hand, sometime, or your foot… or, the socks you are wearing… just to see.

  29. wissh says:

    And yes I am one who has posed this question.

    HG: “Manipulate, lack emotional empathy, regard people as appliances who belong to us forever, control people, need fuel, lack remorse, have no or poor boundary recognition, exhibit magical thinking, a sense of entitlement, have no concept of accountability, ensure it is never our fault, see only in black and white and so forth and you are a narcissist. Not the other way around.”

    It is this paragraph that leads me to believe my ex is a narc, the other things don’t fit as well, though it could also be that I just never experienced them with him. While this explanation makes sense, it requires rewiring of my own brain to fully grasp it. Ugh.

    Also, I’ve now diagnosed my mother, tyvm, we always just thought of her as a crazy abusive liar. How nice that she fits into the label quite well.

    Thank you, HG.

  30. NarcAngel says:

    Such an excellently clear explanation. Makes so much sense to think of it in this way as opposed to the common playbook belief. Thank you for expanding on this.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you NA, should also save my fingers when this questioned gets asked in the future!

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