The Joys Of Therapy and The Narcissist
It is an acknowledged fact that you never see us coming. We are creatures that are insidious and pervasive. It is astonishing that we are not seen because we hardly arrive quietly. We appear with great fanfare, fireworks, flashing lights and symphonic sounds. You cannot miss us but of course all of that obscures what we really are. Even when our true intentions begin to manifest you still do not recognise what we are. There are those of you who meet us once and then fall prey a second or even a third time, such is the manner in which we inveigle our way into your lives. You never ever know who we are when we first enter your life and often you do not realise until years afterwards what has happened to you. Some never even achieve enlightenment. Everything we do is designed to deceive. We are shrouded in deceit, it oozes from us and taints everything around us but you rarely see all of that. We are masters of deception, masked and cloaked, our true intentions hidden behind a sheen of flattery and a wall of manipulation. We know you blame yourselves when you finally realise who you have danced with. We are aware that you see it all too clearly after the event and you blame yourself repeatedly. You really ought not to be so harsh on yourselves, you never stood a chance. It is not just you who cannot penetrate our veil of secrecy, the so-called professionals often fail as well. If they cannot see us then you can be forgiven for doing so can’t you?
There is an army of therapists, doctors, counsellors, life-coaches and so on. Call them what you will and for all their academic brilliance, their soothing words and supposed insight there are many (although not all admittedly) who are unable to detect us either. They have not experienced what you have and therefore they can only speak from a position of learned, rather than experienced, knowledge. Many of our kind never have any interaction with these people since we refuse to acknowledge there is anything wrong with us much less see any need to be subjected to this scrutiny. This diminishes the prospects of these professionals from gaining a proper understanding. Moreover on the occasions when they might just happen to have one of our kind inside their consulting rooms we do everything in our expansive charismatic power to persuade them that not only is there nothing wrong with us but we are the victims of vile behaviour from the very person who forced us to attend on this shrink. Accordingly, their opportunities to understand us and learn from us are limited and this in turn allows us to continue unhindered in our machinations.
Prior to the good doctors who at least appear to know what they are doing, I merrily attended sessions with therapists and their ilk on five occasions. How could I pass up such a succulent opportunity to gather more fuel from this new arrival and also from you. I would resist any attempt to move into this arena of psychoanalysis at first, purely in order to heighten your woe, hurt and frustration. Eventually and often when perceiving a risk that you would voluntarily threaten my supply of fuel I would agree to attend. I prepared in advance as I selected all of the instruments of charm and flattery from my Devil’s Toolkit. Oh how I enjoyed those sessions. My other half would always pay for them so there was a blast of fuel from the off and I relished the opportunity to demonstrate my amenable and charming nature to them. In these sessions with therapists and the like I always adopted a twin strategy. Charm on the one hand and plausible deniability on the other.
I would present at the appropriate place, early, relaxed and looking forward to the chance to tell someone all about me for an hour and paid for by you. I would be pleasant, engaging and treat the time as a fireside chat as I spoke well of my other half, my friends, my job and my achievements. I talked about some of my interests, film in particular and would always ask the other person about their favourite films. They never refused me an answer. The first session was always a breeze as I fillybusted until the time had elapsed. I would continue to do this in each session and often they would allow me to talk and talk. They might try and steer the conversation onto something relevant to my behaviour and I would steer it back on to something else. The first counsellor I saw admitted after five sessions that there was nothing to discuss much to my delight and the girlfriend at the time’s dismay.
It became a challenge whenever the issue of help, therapy or treatment arose. I would go along and draw the positive fuel from the therapist and then draw negative fuel from whoever had insisted on me attending.
“Yes it is going well, we just have a chat really. It is all very amicable.”
“She clearly likes me as she always laughs at my jokes.”
“Did you know he supports the same football team as me? He even sits in the same stand.”
“I am not allowed to tell you about it.”
The last one is a favourite as the pseudo-confidentiality that I apply to the scenario frustrates and irritates you because after all, you need to know because you want to help and by not telling you anything on the basis of instruction from the therapist your bewilderment and frustration increases.
Where my opponent has pressed the issue and asked me and kept on asking me about the alleged behaviours that you have detailed to them beforehand I am always able to drive such doubt into the conversation that it dilutes any attempt to identify what I truly am. It is laughable. When I first ensnare you I do not show you my true colours so do you think that I would behave any different with someone who is trying to trap me and pin me down? Of course not. The catalogue of behaviour outside of normative engagements is fed back to me and I am able to deal with it all. I am an astute enough person to realise that a bare-faced denial will seem evasive and may alert my examiner. Instead, I explain away the perceived problem.
“Yes I admit I do sometimes lose my temper but who doesn’t? I work long hours and I do get a little irritable at times, I know I shouldn’t but I am only human aren’t I?”
“She is rather sensitive so she does tend to exaggerate. She had a bad time of it with her last boyfriend you see. I try and be supportive but it can be difficult because she sees so much in the same way as when she was with him. I don’t blame her it just becomes hard to deal with at times, I am sure you know what I mean, for example there was this one time…..”
“We have a passionate relationship so there are break-ups and make-ups. There is a lot of passionate energy between us and sometimes it does get a little out of hand, on both sides, but that’s the way we are. I recognise my part in this, that after all is why I am here and I would really appreciate it if you could help me to help her. What do you suggest?”
Events are watered down, instances diluted and happenings blurred. Plausible deniability is rolled out and allied with charm results in me walking away with another admirer to my collection and you bemused as to how I have seemingly got away with it again. You really ought not to (although I am pleased you do) get so upset by it since they really do have little chance to uncover what we truly are. What of Dr E and Dr O I hear you ask? Yes well it took two of them in a pincer movement and only because I had to yield to them but that war is still ongoing and there is much fuel to obtain yet.
14 thoughts on “The Joys Of Therapy and The Narcissist”
HG You mentioned in another comment somewhere concerning the good doctors something like you were running them ragged. Maybe not those exact words but the concept was there. Since you are self acknowledging to your doctors who have diagnosed you but you’re also self-aware those doctors must think they died and went to psychiatric heaven. They get to pick your brain and hear how you think. I mean I don’t know what you do in therapy but it’s almost like they have a lab rat that can talk to them. They get to study you and you’re able to articulate what’s going on. Now I can’t imagine that those good doctors are not going to want to write a book about their experience with you. There will be work written about you and work written by you..
Sitting down to write a comment on this it has just come as a big penny dropping to just what extent my narc used counselling for many different machinations and how dangerous it is to rely on ‘general’ therapists when you are in a relationship with a narcissist. He first used it with his ex as part of a hoover to prevent her leaving but he charmed then controlled the therapist to punish his ex even in therapy sessions (he told me the stories as pity plays but now i see them as what they were with my HG knowledge!!). He then continued to see this therapist ‘to get through his divorce’ using the sessions to triangulate me with her and to invalidate both my support of him and our relationship. He also used her ‘advice’ to justify his behaviour towards his ex. Roll on a few years later, this scenario was exactly repeated with me. He had a great ability to victimise himself to the therapist. therapy was used as a future fake. when he finally agreed to therapy after he had an affair (and it was a way to hoover me back) I came out of that single therapy session feeling like the worst human being on earth and it totally invalidated my reasons for leaving when i had the energy and reason to do so. From that I stayed another 4 years. He also used therapy as a facade when his child (because of his behaviour towards that child) had mental health issues. He limited the money (despite being wealthy) and the quantity of therapy, it was all a facade which was limited to prevent exposure but looked caring from the outside. No therapy ever lasted more than 6 sessions. So counselling played a large part of his control and, i now realise, huge doses of fuel for him. Two additional and important things i now realise from writing this though – i realise that at points of stress (for him) when there is no or a flagging IPPS he has used the counsellor not just as a facade but a means to guide him how to get through a crisis as he had absolutely no natural instinct or ability to deal with what was falling apart around him due to his machinations and where he would have previously used the IPPS’s character traits to do this. Just as worrying is not just how easily all these therapists are controlled during therapy sessions but also how therapy cliche behaviour advice just doesnt work. For example, i went naturally no contact with my narc when he zoomed off on one of his silent treatments, it was clear in my mind his behaviour was unacceptable and not normal but a well credentialed psychotherapist told me that because my mother was ill at that time that ‘i should not make large decisions at a time like this’ and so i relented and gave way to a hoover and went back and that became the worst year of my life. Also, a friend who has worked with Victim Support for domestic violence for years (and was the one friend who was consistent in telling me his behaviour was unacceptable) ultimately told me that she worked with people whose husbands ‘really abused them’ (because they called them names and hit them). This was recent and I was astounded. She also told me that the domestic abusers (probably lesser narcs) knew exactly what they were doing and would call each other out on the behaviour in group therapy (really?). When i was dealing with flashbacks (everpresence/addiction) from CPTSD from the abuse the psychotherapist told me that ‘its over’ and ‘to move forward’ trampling over my need for acknowledgement, validation and understanding. I never went back. i only come here now. The lack of knowledge as to the insidious, cruel, damaging nature of behaviour from a narcissist, particularly in the UK, is heart breaking for the victims, particularly young ones and that that can be reinforced and invalidated by counsellors is criminal and the profession is too far behind general knowledge of socitey. It’s not changing very fast – my friends daughter has just done her psychology degree and her knowledge of narcissism (studied for a few weeks) was cliche and lacking in depth.
I finally found a therapist (actually I re-found her) who has been in a couple relationships with narcs. They get fooled too. She has 20 years experience and it was refreshing that nothing I told her was a surprise, she helps with overcoming the effects of CPTSD. I also see a therapist with my younger son who deals with high conflict divorce and personality disorders. She is now fascinated with HG’s work, as is a trauma informed therapist at another medical center here, who unfortunately can’t see clients more than once a month. I have also seen incredibly unaware therapists who have re-traumatized in their ignorance. I find it’s helpful to ask them if they have been in a relationship of this sort, for how long, how they recovered. They are rare. In the US with our healthcare system we then have to try to afford them. I always refer to HG’s work. I think it’s a great opening for them to “get it”. We pay them, they work for us. Important to remember that because someone is a doctor or therapist doesn’t mean they experience the same way we do or know everything. They are humans capable of ignorant mistakes. There is a large gap in the understanding of the affects of narcissistic abuse and what narcissism looks like in therapy and what the victims are experiencing. I apologize for my tangent omg.
You are absolutely right most mental health therapists and we can even include social workers don’t really understand narcissistic abuse. This is the extent of the training You have a class that may spend all of a half hour if you’re lucky an hour on narcissism You go over the criteria in the DSM which is just a list of behaviors but no real understanding of how those behaviors play out in everyday life. The professors are snotty they don’t want to hear any information that isn’t a clinical trial or empirical study or cited from a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Unless the therapist has had some experience in their own life which caused them to do some research on their own and still a lot of the information is incomplete or off the target although helpful at times. Unfortunately victims of psychological narcissistic abuse will be retraumatized in therapy because the therapist doesn’t really understand what’s going on. However I think HG’s work Will break through that snubbery because it is excellent and excellence will make its way to the top.
Ah gosh all these fantastic new articles HG and my life is so busy right now that I’m not getting the chance to take my time and digest them properly. I’ll have to bookmark them.
I’m so looking forward to some downtime with HG!
Thank you, HG 😭❤
My narcissist went to see someone once I really thought it had changed him because he stopped being so aggressive and jealous I couldn’t even go for a walk alone and he would say horrible things if he was with me like the way that guy looked at you was like he wouldn’t take no for an answer if he was with me and if I went without him he was thinking I was cheating but I am starting to see it comes in cycles and patterns from reading your books and paying attention to what he does.
I got a job interview last week a the moment we work in the same industry different places and I have been trying to get another job for a while and I got the call on Friday morning he was there and he seemed upset about it I am excited it’s a great opportunity if I get it that day got a message from a friend asking if I had a moment to talk and he stormed out the house when I called him back and then yesterday He went off at me for telling him about my day the way you write about your doctors has made me question whether or not he has just found ways of controlling his rage and I am wondering if he does this when he feels like he is loosing control of me I am a typical Aquarian very social I love people and my friends are both male and female but I don’t cheat I don’t believe that it’s ok on any level and I would not be interested in a man who was in a relationship either I have had it happen to me and I would not knowingly put someone else through it
Rare insight provided from this site is a game changer. Wish it was mandatory study for all in counseling positions.
I didn’t know one of your prefered topics of conversation are movies…any opinions on Ralph Fiennes?
Good actor. And a narcissist.
I thought as much. Thank you for confirming but too bad, him and Christoph Waltz are my favourite actors.
Thank you for this HG. My situation was slightly different in that one therapist I saw (by myself of course) did the ‘Give him the space he needs, don’t corner him so much you may be overthinking, learn to self-soothe, many of his actions show he truly cares but he’s stressed’ thing. The next therapist he agreed to see and paid for as a second grand hoover. We attended one benign session, he was charming, we sat glued to each other, another golden period after a hoover, mostly centered around managing differences in parenting strategies (mine of course due to 15 year age difference) and frictions due to available time (mine of course as a single mom). The second session the therapist cornered him about rigidity, his condescending tone with me, lack of understanding of demands of my life and time constraints. He lashed out at both of us and I melted. He then refused to pay again, citing her incompetence due to her youth and “degree in uselessness.” I told him it was just another bait and switch. Which of course was not a great idea but after 4 years of his crap I no longer watched my mouth lol. Thanks for this article HG.
You are welcome.