Angels With Dirty Faces


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


11 thoughts on “Angels With Dirty Faces

  1. kel2day says:

    I think I’m finally grasping the facade and true self. I saw it in my sister when she adopted- no she took- the image of someone we knew- and from that time on she was this extra nice, very caring, sweetest person. I even bratty called it out when we were kids because I saw it happen, I knew it was fake. I know my real self was always getting knocked down, scoffed away, dismissed- it’s like being Cinderella before the fairy godmother- but I didn’t become someone I wasn’t. Later on in life, she became enmeshed in religion and church as the expert above all. This is her.

    They don’t ever get that far in developing their real self. They replaced it with their new self. They are their facade. Deep down they remember who they began as, but it’s a lie and a secret that can’t get out, or it will crumble the image they’ve been pretending to be all their lives.

    My explanation is probably not coming out sounding clearly, but this is kind of an epiphany for me. Empaths and narcs grow up together in the same house. One stays honest and true no matter the downside, and the other takes a detour, abandons the rocky road they’re on, but lives a false life and carries it with them forever.

    1. kel2day says:

      They, narcissists, are filled with jealousy, they have to find a way to prove their superiority, whether by being a good, compassionate, religious saint like my sister or by being the intellectual, witty perfectionist like my brother, or the rich successful seductive man like my boss, or my mother- a whole other story of being quietly cunningly perfect at every endeavor, her quest was to serve you, but for that silent evil streak and sour puss in her. There wouldn’t be anything wrong normally with adopting a facade if it weren’t for the fact that it was covering up a maliciousness. My sisters grown kids are still living at home with her, she messed them up so much I can never forgive her, and my own children can’t fully trust her because of it, which I’m relieved of.

      1. kel2day says:

        But I have to add, we all have good and bad in us. I love my family, enjoy their company, for get togethers every so often. None of us are superior after all

        1. kel2day says:

          Grammar yikes! 🙄 None of us IS superior. Ok that’s it for my epiphany!

  2. WhoCares says:

    If it weren’t for your work, HG, I wouldn’t be learning to recognize and avoid these types. Thank-you.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  3. jessrnny says:

    My Aunt is a MMRN AWADF. I can’t be around her very much and she knows it. She lives 5 min away and I never have her over. She’s abusive all the time but sounds happy to see me and is polite. It’s indescribable. I felt loved by her as a child but now I realize she just hates NarcMom.

    “It’s what’s best for the child Jessica.” Insert abuse “you should probably move back to NY you haven’t been very successful here.”

    “I was there when you were born Jessica, I care what happens to you.” Insert abuse “you make horrible life decisions. It’s hard to watch.”

    “Your daughter’s emotional problems worry me.”
    Insert abuse “no wonder she’s a mess, you are always angry. But…who can blame you with that mother of yours.

    “My daughter and her husband need to get away. Im gonna babysit this weekend.” Insert abuse ”She missed you last Tues when you worked late.”

    Pissed off Supernova Jessica incoming….
    “How are we related?”
    “Do you lack empathy or are u stupid?”
    “When I’m trying to love you I’ll remember that.”
    “You just want to fight with me. No.”
    “No..that was rude. Deal with it.”
    “I’ve made my point.”
    “What evidence do you have that I’m lying?”
    “This is why I don’t spend time with you.”
    “This is why we don’t come here.”
    “You sound just like your mother.”
    “Keep your fears to yourself.”
    “You aren’t kind enough to understand me.”
    “I don’t need your help.”
    “We aren’t coming then.”
    “Do you hear yourself?”
    “I’ve had enough.”
    “I won’t discuss that again.”
    “1. 2. 3. 4….should I go on?”
    “You won’t see us.”
    “That’s not for you to say.”

    NarcAunt “Crying and pity plays abound.”
    Rinse repeat

    There is always something “wrong” with my ddaughter and there’s always something I could have or should be doing about it. It’s insanity. I should post some of our text conversations.

    1. E. B. says:

      Hello Jess,

      Being nice and polite does not equal to being a good person, just like neither does volunteering.

      From what you wrote, there is something wrong with your aunt but not with you or your daughter.
      I know female MRNs like your aunt. As soon as they see you, they seem to be very nice and polite, they fake smile a lot. They do it deliberately to win your trust. They look as if they are happy to see you to make you respond favourably to their benign hoover. If they notice it worked, they start making hurtful remarks (some of them more subtle than others) disguised as *concern*. Beware when they tell you they are *worried about you or your loved ones* and that ‘they care about you and only want to help’.

      People who criticize your choices or make you feel ashamed of them are not empathetic, no matter if they are full-blown narcissists or not. They do not respect your boundaries.
      Criticizing and shaming has nothing to do with helping or caring about you. It is emotional abuse.

      I think it is important to teach children that a nice, kind, polite person is not necessarily a good person and that they should not reciprocate if they do not want to. They do not really know this individual and it is ok to remain neutral or to G.O.S.O, if they feel like it.

  4. Tammy says:

    One of my ex-narcs was famous for his volunteer work at our company. For many years he got volunteer of the year award for having the most volunteer hours at work. Before I knew it was pointless to tell him what he was, I had let him know that he was a narcissist. His ex- wife also told him but he of course denied it. He actually said ” You obviously don’t know the meaning of narcissist. A narcissist wouldn’t receive volunteer of the year 6 years running and also care about the environment the way I do.”. He was so concerned about the recognition that he talked of it non-stop. When I read this post I laughed because it fits him to a tee. He truly believes he is concerned with helping the less fortunate, yet has no explanation why I could be dying and he couldn’t be bothered with helping me. He can also not explain why he cheated on me repeatedly, lied to me at every opportunity, future-faked me for nearly 10 years, but hey… He’s a good person. Ha!

    1. E. B. says:


      People who really care about others or volunteer for selfless reasons do not make a fuss about it. They just do it without expecting anything in return. They do not want an award or to appear in the news.

      Façade management is very important to MRNs. In the small town where I live, most MRNs are to be found working or volunteering for the weak and vulnerable (nurses, social workers, teachers and so on). They engage with people they can easily control.
      They organize events in the community and appear as heroes on the local newspaper. They have the perfect façade AND feel powerful because they work with people they can control.

  5. AR says:

    My ex-female friend was a mid-range narcissist. She genuinely believed that she was good, generous person who hates injustice. She shared quite a lot about her childhood and her relationship with her dad. As an experienced person, it was easy for me to relate to her. From things she said to me about her dad, i could say that her dad was a narcissist. She cheated on her boyfriend who was denied a visa so he had to go back to his home country. When i asked her why? She replied:because he left me. Well, he had to leave and unlike her, her boyfriend didn’t cheat on her when they were in a long distance. There was a time when i advised her to go to therapy. I didn’t tell her that she was a narcissist as i know she would have denied it.

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