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.

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

  1. kathy0720 says:

    Ok.. Yes, I get that these key elements are across the board that you list.. Question—are the specific behavioral characteristics listed in your other post describing the different classifications what makes a greater “a greater” or their “self-awareness?” A little confused about the greaters. Would a greater always know they are calculated? I hope that makes sense.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes – that is the Machiavellian element of our status – MR and Lesser do not have that.

      1. kathy0720 says:

        But would they accept “narcissism”
        as their truth—or would some still fail to accept it? The scheming and the cunning nature seems consistent, but is the self awareness? I find it hard to believe there are truly 5% of “greaters” with your self awareness.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I am an Ultra, I am higher than a Greater – my awareness is heightened owing to my inherent ability, the input of the good doctors and also the input of my good readers.

          1. kathy0720 says:

            Omg HG. You are yes.. I’ll give you that.. Sounds like you are feeling pretty fancy today.

      2. Getting There says:

        Would a Lesser or a MR match the description of a Machiavellian personality? Or would only a Greater?

      3. Getting There says:

        (I apologize that I post this twice as there seems to be an issue on my side when it comes to posting.)

        Is it possible for a Lesser or a Midrange to match some of a Machiavellian personality? Or would only a Greater?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Only a Greater.

      4. Getting There says:

        Thank you, HG!

  2. Mercy says:

    This is one of my favorites. First time I read this I literally did the head slap at the end. Such a simple logical answer to a complicated question.

  3. Christina L Rea says:

    Thank you for posting this HG. I have always wondered, so this makes absolute sense. I ran into my ex narc after a 7 month hiatus at a store he never visits. I was shocked to see him there. I even asked why he was shopping there. I don’t believe in coincidence with him. A friend said maybe he needed to see you. I laughed and said no, he needed me to see him. She said that’s the same thing and I said no, it isn’t. Thanks HG. You have helped me tremendously.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  4. Michelle says:

    I notice marital or relationship infidelity as a common theme on your site. Can someone be a narcissist but never cheat on a romantic partner?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Highly unlikely, bear in mind there are various forms of cheating and in certain cases you do not know about it.

      1. Michelle says:

        Re: cheating — With someone like, say, Mother Theresa, what would constitute “cheating” in that situation, since she ostensibly does not have a romantic partner?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Emotional or financial infidelity.

    2. wissh says:

      This question comes up so frequently on narc support Facebook pages and I am always amazed by the number of women who emphatically claim their narc doesn’t cheat.

  5. NarcAngel says:

    A brilliant and most logical explanation HG. Thank you.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  6. J.G says:

    Hello, H.G.TUDOR.
    I don’t know if they operate according to some book, but your books give me a lot of ideas…
    You are incredible, I don’t know what is better to read your pots or your books. While I wait for you to upload your post, I read your books and when you upload them I read your post again.
    Don’t you think you’re hooking me?
    I’m reading Adored and Abhorred
    All the chapters are very good and some hard but one that I read on the blog I love and rereading it is even clearer for me. Why must is Hurt?
    What would happen if when the narcissist is fattening on his victim this instead of responding with emotional attention (FUEL). she delivered criticism and devaluation to the narcissito.
    They are envious by nature and need the elevation of their ego.
    This would not be a massive attack.
    They would run away or, on the contrary, I would have to run away because of the ignition of the Uncontrolled Fury for having revealed me.
    This chapter does not show how you can harm the narcissist as well.
    How do you get devalued by your own IPPS?
    Because a blackberry stain, with a green one is removed. Would one become a supernova?
    I think I should run away……

    1. J.G says:

      This post is magnificent, simply sober and masterful.
      It could not be otherwise coming from the hands of H.G. TUDOR.

      1. HG Tudor says:

        Thank you.

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