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….

41 thoughts on “Why The Narcissist Views in Black Or White Only

  1. joyascending says:

    Hello, HG, this Black and White always catches my eye. I am a huge fan of Phantom of the Opera, so the masks pulled my interest. Before discovering your works I would watch this film over and over again, and I have seen the live play many times. It has always had a profound effect on me. I was wondering if you have seen this musical? I have experienced the most intense wash of emotions watching this, and now I understand why: the dynamics of the characters: the Phantom, being a narc, Christine Daae, the empath are immersed in that narc/empath relationship! His control over her, his rage, and how she was overpowered by him. Until she found a way out. Once I discovered you and your works, I view that musical with new perspective. I have always felt sorry for the Phantom when my other friends were like “are you nuts?” Only an empath would understand. I was wondering if you had seen the play/movie, and if you had a similar perspective.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello JA, no I have not seen it but I know something about it and thank you for sharing your observations.

  2. Empower Empaths says:

    Any tips for staying on the “good” side? In general, for the Narcs all around, like on the streets?!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You should not be aiming to stay onside of a narcissist. GOSO.

  3. Gigi says:

    It’s oddly comforting to know none of his views of me really had anything to do with me.

  4. wounded says:

    Can you come across as being in the gray? To outer circles can you purposely make things come across as something you are “working on” or is black and white thinking fairly apparent.

  5. Delilah says:

    HG if I was discarded and have not been hoovered because I am no contact does that mean I am painted black and I will stay that way or will my mid range ex paint me white again whenever he breaks up with anyone? I feel like I want to stay black so he will stay away.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I would need more information to give you an accurate answer and therefore recommend you arrange a consultation.

  6. Tori says:

    Thank you for writing this HG. I found it very enlightening. It would be interesting to hear how this shift from black to white and back again happens with narcissistic parents and their children.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

    2. Renarde says:

      I’m going through this at the moment. HG elegantly describes why the black/ white shift happens and therefore I cannot add anything more meaningful.

      I was black as black can be. My lesser brother collapsed a few weeks ago on the stairs. An accidental massive blow to the head. He collapsed on the stairs at my parents house. Sustained trauma and has not regained full cognitive function.

      He was my little brother. Yes, he was a tit but I love him. But now I’m painted white. Both MN and even PN are speaking to me quite reasonably on the phone. They have too. They need fuel.

      My poor brother never stood a chance against these two. To be frank; I don’t think he is actually my full brother. But that remains to be seen. We do not look alike. He does resemble my maternal grandfather.

      Being painted black is a good thing although we might not perceive it. It gives us time to heal.

      1. NarcAngel says:

        Painful to read. I’m sorry about your brother and you having to deal with all of that.

        1. Renarde says:

          Thank you NA for your kind words.

  7. kel says:

    Just because this way of thinking, ‘works for them’, doesn’t make it right. Narcissism depends on hurting others. Those afflicted with its traits need to Un-Learn it. No matter how their brain is wired, when they hit rock bottom, they are able to face reality better. Teaching people about narcissism is a way to help others, and a start to unlearning the old habits of narcissism. I don’t know if empathy can be learned, if it’s just an old bypass habit narcissists do, but narcissism is unacceptable behavior, it hurts people, and I don’t believe it does much good for the person who has it either.

    1. lisk says:

      Narcissism depends on empaths and their fuel.

      Cut the fuel lines.

      Yes, empaths, *that* is how you save yourselves and maybe even the world.

    2. mommypino says:

      I think that the only ones who have a chance or at least learning to regulate behaviors that hurt people are the self-aware greaters. More thab two decades of my life was spent trying to explain to mg Lesser Victim mom how her behaviors impact her, me, and other people and how God doesn’t approve of it (she claims to be religious) but it never worked. So I just tell my relatives now to minimize their interactions with her so that she doesn’t do all kinds of bad things to them like spreading vile gossips about them etc. This blog is so helpful because it addresses empaths, the targeted victims to protect themselves. Most narcs can’t be changed.

      1. mommypino says:

        Also, having said that Greaters have that ability, I don’t think that they would do it if there isn’t any extrinsic reward attached. Unlike us without NPDs, they do not feel guilt, love and attachment. They don’t have an internal reward or punishment system for their behaviors. So why would they alter a behavior that provides fuel for them? There is no intrinsic reward for that so they will not do it unless there is an external incentive or punishment associated with altering the behavior.

      2. kel says:

        Hi Mommypino,
        Narcissism has been around forever, but it’s at epidemic proportions these days and dealing with it is a new frontier. Since they hurt people, mentally and physically, it’s not something society can overlook. When we have several mass shootings every year by calm, unemotional killers who twice even left the scene and had lunch afterwards while hiding out, it tells you they’re likely narcissists as they have no emotion and no empathy. A narcissist’s kryptonite is to stop fueling them. When they hit rock bottom and face their fears is possibly the time to break them free of their security blanket-narcissism. They are not living in reality, they hurt others to survive. They are filled with contradictions, they know what they do even if they don’t understand why or take any blame. I’m not expecting any of them to voluntarily rehabilitate. We and society are just becoming aware of narcissism, and it’s something we need to isolate, label and change. No one has really tried to cure it by any drastic measures. Therapy is only a game to them. Once they’re forced to face their internal fear, then can they break free of their charade and unlearn their habit of always reversing reality. They are too afraid to feel. I have wasted my life on narcissists too. But more than that, they are dangerous. They have too much perversion for evil, hurting us should not make them smile.

      3. mommypino says:

        Kel, I agree with you. We definitely shouldn’t give up in finding cure for narcissism. Problem is, the awareness factor needs so much improvement. I have also wasted a lot of energy on narcissists in my life because I have been trying to put myself in their shoes having no idea that people don’t need to be serial killers to not have a conscience. Ordinary people can be interacting with us without anything that screams abnormal but they can actually be psychopaths or narcs. I was just not aware of it. I gave my narcs excuses for their behaviors. My mom just had a hard childhood and has paranoia, my half sister was scarred and hurting from finding out about our dad’s infidelity and about me, my stepdaughters are having a hard time about me being so close to their age. All of these seem like normal excuses for why they treated me poorly and the only one that didn’t make sense was the Somatic handyman and so that was the only one that got me into learning about narcissism and how the narcissists in my life have been leeching out from my energy for years. I think that HG’s work is so educational and covers so many things about narcissism that other psychologists cannot even touch and it should get more attention. His format lets regular people understand something so foreign and sophisticated for normal folks like us.
        You’re so right Kel, it’s even more becoming an epidemic with the younger generation in my personal observation. I think that parents need to evaluate the way that they are parenting and teach our kids about healthy intimacy by hugging them and kissing them and telling them how much they are loved.

      4. Kel says:

        I agree, you’re absolutely right. We need a Love revolution in the world right now. And to at least stop creating any more new narcissists.

    3. J says:

      They cannot unlearn it. They are absolutely wired for it. They cannot, will not ever change and reality has no bearing on that. I agree, however, that it is best for everyone else to truly know everything possible about them.

  8. DoForLuv says:

    I always feel like he sees me black most off the time , he ignored me a lot after the bronze period . But sometimes it feels like a act and he secretly values my “ fuel” way more than he wants me to know , whenever I try to escape (always when he ignores me or vanished) he notice it within’ a couple of hours and hoovers me right back in .

    But its my own fault still caring about this . With all the information I’ve been reading , consulting .
    It seems i’am using it how to intereact better with them instead off GOSO.

    I may be codependent when ever I lose one narcissist I trigger the other . I still understand the disrespect in their behaviours I just still can’t feel it. I keep worrying about being viewed as white .

  9. WM says:

    I was just thinking about that today. My dog is the same, things are either good (me, walks, weeing, food), or bad (other dogs, not getting a walk, being ignored). There’s no grey area. It is so simplistic, but it totally applies to how the N is. You’re either very very good or you’re very very bad.

    My dog will run away if he sees the N dog. Kinda funny because I totally get it. They’re both bullies.

    1. Renarde says:

      Dogs do not behave this way.

  10. lisk says:

    My, your kind is so damn fickle.

    By the way, I always got called out on my “lack of object constancy.” It was I who was the unstable one, always.

    Projection is a delight.

    1. Asp Emp says:

      “My, your kind is so damn fickle” – aptly described, Lisk. Id’ used the word ‘fickle’ when it was between me and an ex-girlfriend, 20 years later, I ‘unravel’ the “mystery” !! It is actually just like buying a new washing machine – comparing the ‘features’ and which one offers the ‘best’ ones for the price (how ironic!).

  11. Michelle says:

    While I intellectually understand this, this is one of the hardest parts of narcissist behavior to wrap my head around. I have a hard time imagining that this doesn’t give the narcissist away as not playing with a full deck.

    I understand that essentially the narcissist starts with a conclusion (I am perfect, I am always right) and works backwards to rearrange the evidence to lead to that conclusion. It is therefore necessary for anyone who criticizes the narcissist to be discredited by being bad. I criticized Narc Friend and caught him out at his game, so right now I am bad. That much I follow. But the painting white part baffles me. I know it’s a matter of need, but still . . . I have a hard time imagining him painting me white and sending me a friendly hello, despite the fact that he hasn’t disengaged from me. I am still not sure I believe it will happen, actually. I have seen stranger things before, though . . .

  12. WiserNow says:

    Narcissists always seem to be in competition with someone. Everything they do takes on an adversarial tone. The situation or task at hand takes second place to their ego and need to overpower whoever they’re with.

    A minor situation happened to me recently with a tradesman I called out to my house to provide a price on getting some building work done. It’s a small example, but I found it interesting. (Thanks to HG and this blog, I was one step ahead).

    I called the tradesman, asked if he’d be able to visit to inspect the job and give me a price. (At this stage, I had no idea if he was a narc or not.) He was friendly, said he could visit and said he’d arrive at 8am on a particular morning. So far, so good.

    On the arranged morning, he knocked on my door at 7:40am. I wasn’t quite ready, with wet hair, not fully dressed, and things that still needed organising. I answered the door and greeted him politely and asked if he could wait in his truck for about 10-15mins so I could finish getting ready before he came in. He was agreeable and said he could. Still good so far.

    We talked about the work, he seemed knowledgeable and efficient and gave me a fair price in a timely manner and seemed reliable. I decided to go ahead with the work. We agreed on the day he could do the work and he said he’d start at 8am.

    I instinctively felt he could be narcissistic because of his over-confident posturing, authoritative attitude, emotional “stiffness” and barely concealed arrogance, and probably because of my inbuilt narc sensitivity too. However, he was friendly enough, polite and very willing to find ways to do the work efficiently in the manner that I asked, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt as far as the work was concerned. He came across as very capable with a very “can-do” attitude.

    On the day of the work, I received a text at 7:45am, saying that he was delayed in traffic and would arrive at 8:30am. I instinctively guessed he was “paying me back” for the first morning when he arrived too early and I asked him to wait. In every other dealing with him, he was remarkably efficient, timely and even too early. I was friendly and said it was okay and that it would give me a chance to get a few things ready before he arrived.

    Then, at 8:25am, I received another text to say he was still delayed and that he needed to drive all the way across the city (?!) and that he’d probably arrive at 9:30am. This time I definitely knew he was paying me back for having the audacity to make *him* wait that first morning, even though he was the one who arrived too early in the first place. I stayed cool and calm, thanked him for his message, and said that it actually helped me because it would give me time to get some shopping done. For the rest of the time that he was working at my house, I was on relaxed guard with my logic cap firmly in place, being careful not to say or do anything that might ruffle his very sensitive ego.

    It’s a minor incident and most people would think I’m reading too much into it, but it’s just a small example of how the blame-shifting and passive-aggressive “retaliation” works with these kinds of people. Their egos are very, very easily bruised, yet they believe they are entitled to do whatever they like.

    1. Caroline R says:

      I think your intuition was working perfectly there.

      1. WiserNow says:

        Thank you Caroline R. Now that I know how they operate and why, I trust my own intuition more. I still second-guess myself at times though, because I still find it difficult to fully accept that grown adults who appear intelligent, confident accomplished in a worldly way can be so petty and immature in other ways. To them it’s fuel, but to non-narcs, it’s irrational and twisted.

        I find that I’m still moved to give them the benefit of the doubt in a way. It’s a way to keep the overall situation “civilised” and to help ensure that things go smoothly. It’s also a way to make sure that my own experience is as positive as possible if ‘no contact’ is not a viable option. It’s a relief when no contact can eventually be put in place though.

    2. mommypino says:

      The Somatic narc handyman who tried to seduce me was so unreliable with schedule. My husband tried several times to move his patients’ appointments so that he could stay at home while the handyman is working only to have the handyman cancel last minute and reschedule on a different day. He didn’t seem to like having my husband around at home while he was working. Although he was trying to seduce me so of course he wouldn’t want my husband there. The handyman acted like he is totally entitled to go to work whenever he wanted to. He also had a really good posture and confident swagger (which I find attractive). I told my husband about what he did so that he wouldn’t hire him again, but now we can’t find anybody else to do the work that we need to get done since our county has a small population. ☹️ Maybe I’ll just have to watch on Youtube on how to do dry wall and to texturize it myself.

    3. mommypino says:

      Next time that we hire someone who might be a narc I’ll just pretend to be a narc. I’ll talk over him, not listen, ignore him, etc. That way everything will stay professional and we can hire him again.

      1. WiserNow says:


        I understand what you’re saying. It’s difficult to know what to do with narcs when you need them in some way. It’s a case of “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”.

        They can be confident and very good at what they do, because they do take pride in being good at something, if only for the attention or to be better than others and to “win” the job in some way. So, they are more likely to get the job done in that way. The trouble is that they expect you to play their game even though you are the one paying them to do the job and they should really be respectful of your needs instead.

        If you need them in some way, it helps to take the emotion out of it as much as possible, stay out of their way, and generally put up with their narc behaviours until the job gets done.

        Ultimately, I won’t be calling out the narc tradesman again because I don’t want to deal with him anymore. If your narc handyman gets a reputation in your county, he may start to find it difficult to get work unless he becomes more reliable. If he doesn’t have much competition though, unfortunately, that may not happen.

      2. mommypino says:

        WiserNow, so true.

  13. Leslie says:

    The narc is a two year old mentality in an adult body. No internal emotional checks and balances. Me. Mine. No. Tantrums. Polar shifts. The next phase like this is approximately 13 when unbridled sexuality is thrown in.

    Although they have moments of cuteness, no one really likes dealing with the insanity of terrible twos or thirteenies. And the legal freedom and lack of accountability for an adult males them truly miserable emotional criminals.

  14. shesaw says:

    HG, do/did you ever experience that you have a choice (in the very moment), be it only a split second, to see someone as all good or all bad? Thank you.

    1. HG Tudor says:


  15. Fuel on the Shelf says:

    “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.”

    I have a question about the paragraph above. You say that we cannot be viewed as gray or wishy-washy. If that is the case then WHY does my Piano Boy MMRN act wishy-washy towards me in a way that treats me as gray? Everything is wishy-washy lately. Having a phone call, meeting up. It’s not as if he does not want to. But it is also not as if he wants to either. He has had a “take it or leave it” approach in regard to his interactions with me. And it comes across VERY wishy-washy, middle of the road. Why is this?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      To create shifting sands and create uncertainty.

    2. MB says:

      Merry Christmas FOTS! I know this is an older question. Hopefully, you are behaving yourself.

      1. gabbanzobean says:

        I’m trying MB. He’s still very intoxicating and I continue to seek my piano boy fix.

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