Do Narcissists Know What They Are Doing? The Mid Ranger


Previously I addressed whether the Lesser Narcissist knows what he or she is doing and why, but now let us examine the Mid Range Narcissist. You may well accept that the Lesser, unrefined battering ram that he or she is, just ploughs through life oblivious to the harm they cause, but surely the more cognitively blessed Mid Range narcissist is well aware of what he is doing? He plots and plans, yes? He knows precisely how to manipulate and thinks it through, scheming in advance to get the right result for him?


The Mid Range Narcissist (Lower Mid, Middle Mid and Upper Mid) has an increased level of cognitive function beyond the Lesser. The Mid Ranger also exhibits cognitive (fake) empathy, knowing enough of how he or she is expectedto behave in order to fit in, to con and thus ensnare. However, despite this increased cognitive function – and the Upper Mid Range Narcissist may be highly intelligent – it is instinct that once again rules the behaviours and response of the narcissist.

The Mid Ranger does not sit in a hollowed-out volcano like some Bond villain rubbing his hands together and scheming. He or she does not think about all the ways he or she can ruin the life of the empath in the forthcoming weeks. Their narcissism operates in a way, as ever, as a self-defence mechanism to enable the Mid Ranger to function and be effective – because he or she has not developed other coping mechanisms which non-narcissists have, to navigate a path through life. The operation of this is instinctive.

Does the Mid Ranger think that he will sit and sulk so he can assert control over his long-suffering spouse and gain fuel as she begs him to speak to her? No. He instinctively sits in silence because that is the optimum response as a consequence of him having been wounded. His narcissism operates to make him issue a silent treatment. This of course draws fuel and asserts his perceived superiority over the relevant appliance, but he does not decide to give a silent treatment, he just does it. He knows that he is not speaking to her.

Does the Mid Ranger decide that she will issue a pity play to her colleagues about the way she has been passed over for promotion, thus smearing the boss and gaining sympathy fuel from those listening? No, it is her manipulative response to having been wounded by not gaining the promotion.

Does the Mid Ranger recognise that his cold put downs upset you? Yes. He sees your tears, hears the hurt in your voice and your pained expression. This provides him with fuel (although he does not recognise as such) and he feels the power flowing from the provision of such fuel. This reaction to the flow of power might be to smile or smirk at you. You may then think, “He knows what he is doing.” No, he knows his action hurts you, but he feels no guilt, no remorse, no upset at behaving this way because as ever, from the narcissistic perspective, it is entirely justified.

To understand this further, imagine there is a Mid Range Narcissist and a victim. Husband and wife. Both have been at work during the day. The narcissist called his wife twice during the afternoon but she did not answer – this wounds him. She also failed to call him back. He is wounded again. His wife, as his Intimate Partner Primary Source is painted black as a consequence of his split thinking. Thus, from his narcissistic perspective everything she says and does will be viewed through a ‘black lens’ until she becomes painted white again. A normal, healthy person would work out that her failure to answer and return the call means she is busy, perhaps in a meeting. The narcissist, governed by paranoia and the overwhelming need to control is wounded. This person is not doing what he wants, his sense of entitlement (that she should be available) is dented. He feels like he is losing control. He starts to feel powerless and is reminded of a time when he once was regularly made to feel that way. This situation must be addressed – he must assert his superiority and his blackened view of his spouse will enable him to do this.

His wife is at home first. The husband walks through the door and she greets him with

“Hello darling, what have you been doing?”

An innocuous and pleasant question, enquiring thoughtfully about her husband’s day.

The husband does not regard it that way. His narcissism demands that he asserts control and that she is punished for her transgression. He does not think

“She did not answer my call, I must punish her. She did not call me back, I must assert control.”

Those needs for control and punishment are automatic and instinctive. Her question is viewed as prying, controlling and unnecessary.

“What’s it got to do with you?” he snaps at her. His blackened view of her meaning his response is provocative and unpleasant. His wife is taken aback, her expression changes to one of hurt and the narcissist receives fuel from this.

“Sorry? What’s wrong? Why are you being like that?” she asks in a hurt tone.

These questions are challenge fuel. Her emotion gives him fuel, but because she is querying him, she is challenging him and thus (viewed by the narcissist) continues to reject control and rebel against him.

The Mid Ranger does not think

“Ah good, she is upset and confused. I know I will keep this going.” Instead, his instinctive response, which is automatic and swift in order to preserve him as his self-defence mechanism should, causes him to respond

“There’s nothing wrong with me. It’s you, always prying, asking me questions, trying to control me.”

The wife is taken aback once again. She knows she is not controlling (but then she may start to doubt this of course) but she is confused. Her confusion is welcome, it makes her easier to control. Her responses keep fuelling the narcissist. The Mid Ranger however is not considering what he will say next in order to keep confusing her, he is not considering how to gain more fuel from her, he is not considering how to assert his control over her, it all happens as a matter of instinct. He knows she is upset, but it is her fault because the narcissism makes it anybody’s fault save that of the narcissist. He knows that his comments trouble her, but they are necessary because she is the aggressor.

A third party watching this scene would decide that the narcissist responded unpleasantly at the outset and thus he is the problem.

The narcissist does not and cannot see that. He thinks he is the victim. He thinks his spouse is the problem because she failed to answer his call and call him back. His narcissism makes him think she is controlling  and thus he RESPONDS to her abusive behaviour and accordingly he is not the instigator. This is why, coupled with a lack of remorse and guilt is why the Mid Range Narcissist sees nothing wrong with what he is doing because all he is doing is responding to the unreasonable behaviour of another and therefore he is in the right.

This increased cognitive awareness of the Mid Ranger also gives rise to the façade. A Lesser would have an affair and would not care who knows – the cuckolded spouse is at fault for whatever reason he chooses and anybody who dares to say anything bad about his infidelity is a moron. The Mid Range Narcissist knows that society regards infidelity as a bad thing. He does not and moreover his narcissism will give him plenty of reasons why he should commit it. However, because he has enough cognitive awareness to recognise that it is frowned upon, he will hide the affair (unless there is an overriding beneficial reason not to) which gives the appearance that he feels bad about his behaviour. Not so, he does not want his façade damaged, he does not want the aggravation of the steady home life (with its attendant fuel and residual benefits) damaged. but again he does not think in such terms, he just knows that people will frown on him for cheating on his wife, so he keeps it hidden.

It may seem that the Mid Range Narcissist does indeed feel guilty for his behaviour. That he is genuinely sorry and he will make amends. Not at all. Again, he knows enough from instinctive observation that not talking to someone for a week is hurtful and viewed as a ‘bad thing’ and will even go so far as to admit that BUT there will always be a reason or an excuse. He will say

“I know it hurts you when I do not speak to you for a week BUT if you didn’t nag me, I would not need a time out.”

He instinctively blame shifts within this moment of apparent contrition.

Some Middle Mid Rangers and Upper Mid Rangers may plan to correct the perceived wrongs they have suffered, but this remains an instinctive response. He does not think – “I know this is wrong what I am planning, but what the hell, I will do it anyway.” He knows people may regard it as wrong, but he knows that he is justified because he has been offended, hurt, wronged in some way – namely wounded or challenged – and thus his action is justified and necessary.

When the Mid Ranger lies, he does not know that he is lying. The lie is his truth because his narcissism causes it to be – his narcissism will deflect blame, apportion blame to you, revise history, deny and so forth – all part of the instinctive responses which are totally necessary for the narcissist to regain and maintain control and is as a result of the The Narcissist’s Twin Lines of Defence

When the Mid Ranger gas lights, he does not know he is doing so. He may be contradicting what he said five minutes ago but his narcissism blinds him to this, it has to so the defence mechanism remains intact and effective, and therefore he genuinely believes what he is saying is correct and moreover you are wrong and therefore you are the problem.

This is why Mid Range Narcissists believe that they are good people, indeed empathic people and that the other person (the real victim) is the problem. This is why the real victim is labelled as an abuser, a tormentor and even a narcissist and the Mid Range Narcissist truly believes this to be the case. He does not think “I know I am the problem and she is not, but I am going to mess with her head” – he really believes the victim is the trouble maker because that way his responses and actions have absolute conviction, have the best possible chance of a successful outcome (namely fuel and control) and thus the manipulation goes on and on with no prospect whatsoever for change.

69 thoughts on “Do Narcissists Know What They Are Doing? The Mid Ranger

  1. kaydiva3 says:

    HG, is it possible for an UMR to have slight awareness of what they are? Even that they are different from other people?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes, they can recognise there is something different but they do not know what it is. The narcissism will not allow it.

      1. WokeAF says:

        For my MMR that awareness translates to being smarter than other ppl , or having “demons” , or being bigger, better, etc.

    2. SMH says:

      Mine did, kaydiva3, and he would make remarks about it here and there, for instance when I said that he seemed like two different people he responded that I was not the first to say that. I think he might also have added that some people hate him (I cannot remember). But when I finally said he was a psychopath he ignored it (this was over email) and when I said to his face that he had a personality disorder, he said ‘everyone has a personality disorder’ because his narcissism would not allow him to self-reflect.

  2. Corvino says:

    Terrific entry H G, as it suits perfectly with my ex gf who discarded me four months ago and replaced me at light speed. I wonder if this MMR its what other webs name as Malignant Narcissist and if its common that this kind has borderline traits, witch my ex definitely have.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You do not need other definitions or descriptions from elsewhere, the accurate ones are to be found here.

  3. Emextraordinaire says:

    HG… this is one of your most comprehensive explanations of a Mid Ranger. It resonates with me. Disturbing. I find it fascinating that (especially) an UMR (self diagnosed- but may be incorrect, yet to follow through with a detector session… on my short list) does not know how he is. Yes, yes, yes… instinctually he acts. What is the differentiating common denominator that distinguishes this individual from a MR to a (albeit lesser) version of you… and I do know ‘nothing compares to you’!
    These posts of yours are so mind awakening. Unreal.

  4. Anm says:

    There’s a Health Coach that I know, that is obviously a Midranger. I couldn’t stand how preachy he was with his Black and White thinking. I unfriended him on his personal page, but still follow him on his professional page. Today, he posted an article about Narcissism, and I almost spit out my drink.

  5. SMH says:

    My exLH once texted me while I was away that something was really wrong with him. He made me think he was going to commit suicide. MRN was more subtle and would hint that there were things wrong with him, maybe because I was IPSS in that scenario.

    Mercy, how are you? I was just thinking of you and wondering if I would ever see you here again.

  6. liza says:

    He told me several times that he will make me suffer, evrytime i tell him that somthing upsets me, he answers that i shouldn’t be telling him, because he will torture me, he’d say it in a playfull tone so i didn’t take it seriously but retrospectively it seems that he had some level of awarness. Anyway the next time someone tells me that they will make me suffer ,i will believe them.

  7. Sunshine Rain says:

    I have been in relationships with 2 Narcissists and I married and divorced one of them.

    In both cases, neither one of these men had any significant other relationships to speak of. They didn’t particularly get on well with other men (certainly not women) and didn’t particularly have any desires to form and maintain friendships with others. Family bonds were fractured, and I found their behaviour towards members of the public highly shameful and embarrassing (rudeness to waiters etc)

    I’m also pretty sure that no affairs were involved as the obsession/ infatuation with me was relentless and all consuming. Ive been discarded and hoovered more times than I can count.

    Apart from the aforementioned, both fit your profile of the mid range perfectly. My question is therefore: is it possible for a mid range to have no secondary and tertiary fuel sources? Is it possible for the fuel source to come from the primary and the primary only?

    Maybe they weren’t mid range after all?

    Thanks for your help

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Hello Sunshine Rain, I suggest you use this to establish the school and cadre and then go from there

    2. WokeAF says:

      For what it’s worth, the middle mid Rangers I know (2 men , 2 women) have no close friends.
      Lots of acquaintances but no real friendshipS. Not one.
      It’s always been a red flag for me Even before I found out about narcissism bc it seemed to be a pattern of behaviour in some ppl I wondered about.

      So the MMR’s I know have no close friends or even friends at all just facade-acquaintances, and a lot of them.
      The lessers seem to have good buddies- usually other lessers.

      and My narcoholic who I think is a LMR also has no close friends – he has a few buddies , who are all lessers

      1. SMH says:

        WokeAF, Interesting because my Lesser (IPPS) had no friends. And I mean zero. He tried to isolate me from mine. He would get angry at THEM, walk away from me in the road if I had planned something, be jealous, suspect me of having affairs if I went to a party without him (because he didn’t want to go). My MRN (IPSS) only ever mentioned friends to me once the second time we met. I haven’t done narc detector on either one, so perhaps I am wrong about the Lesser, but he has all of the other qualities, including ‘anger management problems.’

        1. WokeAF says:

          I’m sure different narcs have different types of coterie but, I’ve not yet seen a MR , male or female- with close friends. Not even FAKE close friends. The women have male “friends” (IPSS & NITS) and the men have IPSS. ..but they just stuck around their IPPS and don’t really socialize
          That’s all I know

          1. Supernova DE says:

            Re: mid rangers and friends – my MMRN (IPSS) didn’t have friends either. He was exactly as HG describes in Fuel Matrix Part 2 – having mostly acquaintances through work whom he saw at organized events/planned parties. He spent most of his time at home, alone, working on his hobbies. I assume he was also utilizing devices to text NISS and IPSS while doing so.
            I assume somatics or elites would be more social, out at bars etc. My MMRN was cerebral.

          2. WokeAF says:

            Mine is a MMRN elite and is as you describe

  8. Violetta says:

    Was my LLN really so LL?

    He had heard me and some co-workers discuss a TV show we liked more than once. He had even gone up to one employee and asked him which actor I had said I liked best.

    Months later, he came up to my desk, and said the character that actor played, who tended to blow hot and cold, “knew how to give her [the occasional love interest] JUST ENOUGH attention to keep her hooked ….” And he walks away, smirking.

    So he knew, and it was deliberate. Bewilderment that someone could be so nasty where there was no known revenge motive, but also the beginnings of contempt. So, not my misinterpretation, but a cold-blooded plan towards someone he didn’t even know before this job. He’d complained about getting hurt in previous relationships: was he taking it out on me? Did it matter? I wasn’t any of his exes, I wasn’t his mom. Did I go around messing with guys for months on end because of any of my past hurts? The minute I realize a relationship isn’t ever going to work, I break up. He can go find somebody else, and good riddance.

    On the other hand, he WAS living in his parents’ basement at the time. And lying about it.

  9. BL says:

    This is a great entry. I am curious in the situation you presented, what happens if the wife doesn’t react to the husband’s, “what’s it got to do with you” comment. Does the narc see this as her admitting she was in the wrong, does he see it as further criticism, does it make him angrier, etc?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Her failure to respond would wound, meaning it would make him angrier. He needs fuel and for her to respond in a way which signals he has control. Her bursting into tears would be such a reaction.

  10. Karen says:

    My recent ex Narc is mid range I have concluded and this very article could have been wrote for him personally! You always manage to explain so articulately HG but also in a way that’s easily understood. For that I thank you.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome Karen.

  11. Lorelei says:

    I wish I would have stumbled upon this understanding many years ago. This is a great piece as is written so specifically to how I crumbled into nothingness. It’s unfortunate that he is so disordered and has hooks set into another—she’s in for so much loss and it sucks because he looks so put together and is so convincing. (Well not put together like he used to be but that is another story.) I truly view him as a walking/talking “disorder” the vast majority of the time. I think it’s easier because I didn’t love him, it was horrible as there were no good days to alternate with the bad, and he’s so increasingly unusual in my view. Thank God it was bad—I have zero doubt I’d be at it again bad it not been just deplorable. It’s similar to hitting rock bottom in a way with a drug.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you Lorelei.

  12. Pati says:

    HG wonderful article I must say, I do agree that they do things out of instinct, and they do protect their facade, they do have cognitive function,cognitive empathy however my question is when they are hurting us they know they like the negative fuel e.g. tears is that still instinctive? Since they know they are doing it?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes, it is instinctive.

      1. Pati says:

        Thanks a bunch !

    2. Emextraordinaire says:

      Hard to believe… instinctive… I know longer like that word.

      1. Pati says:

        Me neither !

  13. Whitney says:

    HG 💖💖💖🙌
    The “MMR” watches me and gathers information!
    After the sport he positioned himself to watch me and my friend talking. Then asked us later what we were giggling about.
    He sits near my conversations and just listens.
    👀👀👀👀 He is always observing me from afar.
    Do midrangers gather information HG?

    1. HG Tudor says:


  14. Just Me says:

    He has said “ I internally justify my behavior and resent others even when I know that I am wrong.” “I put you down so that you don’t see that you deserve better.” “I would rather be right than loved.” I believe mine knows and that is unforgivable. He told me that he was a “monster” and I comforted him, had pity for him… I don’t forgive myself either… because I too was aware.

  15. kaydiva3 says:

    HG, are you easily able to recognize mid rangers you meet? I feel like they are the hardest to spot.

    1. HG Tudor says:


      1. Lorelei says:

        In response to Kay’s question asking you if you are easily able to detect mid-rangers. I’d love to see you expand on this as Kay states they are the hardest to spot. It is apparent often but very confusing at times. Is this a skill that is quite developable for us?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          That is what the books Red Flag, Black Flag and the Narc Detector Consultation and Audio Consultation are for.
          I teach you to recognise the “smell of the narcissist” and I give you the confirmation using my objectivity and expertise.

  16. Supernova DE says:

    Do mid rangers ALWAYS have a C-IPSS once devaluation commences? Are there gaps where there are only unsuitable S-IPSS/DLS in the picture?
    a. Does the answer change if the mid ranger is cerebral?
    b. Does the answer change if the mid ranger is an anchor?
    Thank you

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Not when it starts, but they will aim to acquire one during devaluation of the IPPS. Yes there can be periods where there is no Candidate and there is reliance on S-IPSS/DLS.

      a. No
      b. No.

      1. WokeAF says:

        If in the second marriage there is a DLS and other s-IPSS, can it be reasonably assumed there were s-IPSS &/or DLS’s in the first marriage?
        Or can a narc change up , like – spend the first half of his life/first marriage having just occasional prostitute hookups , and second half/second marriage have full on DLS situations?

        I’ve always wondered bc, my MR was in total chaos mode when we met, as his wife of 30 years had left him unexpectedly. He has his (now-gf) in long distance communication online as a highschool sweetheart
        —(we discussed this briefly in consult)—
        – but claimed she only jumped into the picture when he became divorced.
        It was OBVIOUS he was in chaos mode when we met, for reasons I won’t go into as there are too many to list but I’m sure of it
        Which tells me either
        A) he didn’t have any back up s-IPSS (until I arrived) and was for some reason unpractised
        B) he was beginning seduction or even was having an online affair with his now-IPPS , or laying the groundwork

        Do they change their spots?
        Insofar as the spots being their m.o for s-IPSS?

        Thanks 🙏

      2. WokeAF says:

        And they don’t ALWAYS actually LEAVE the marriage do they? If they benefit from it and can have sIPPS OR DLS?

  17. Lisa says:

    I’m not questioning the fact that they don’t know, but when they read about things as my ex did he knew he recognised behaviours but of course this is critisim of him which he doesn’t accept and there’s always the But It’s Not My Fault. He’s like this because of X Y and Z never because he’s just very likely a narcissist.

    1. HG Tudor says:


  18. WhoCares says:

    *NOT deriving pleasure! (Hey, I’m only halfway through my coffee, and it’s unadvisable for me to type while uncaffeinated.)

  19. WhoCares says:

    … background of phone conversation that he knew would have distressed me.
    The reactions of others (who don’t know your work HG) is always interesting…they seek such response as him knowing what he is doing and state: “That’s sick.” But I do see it now that they are deriving pleasure – simply power.

    (Sorry, pressed ‘send’ midway through typing.)

  20. WhoCares says:

    “He sees your tears, hears the hurt in your voice and your pained expression. This provides him with fuel (although he does not recognise as such) and he feels the power flowing from the provision of such fuel. This reaction to the flow of power might be to smile or smirk at you. You may then think, “He knows what he is doing.” 

    I have seen the smirk or tiny smile and even heard a chuckle in the background

  21. kel2day says:

    This might explain some things to me, as when I was a teen to twenties, seems like nice things I was doing for my family were taken as negative, rather than joyfully as I was expecting. For example, eyeglass frames changed styles to wire rims in the seventies, so for Christmas I got my dad a gift certificate for new glasses. I was a young person and this was a first kind of an adult kind of gift. My father’s reaction when he opened it was that I was saying he looked old fashioned, that it was a put-down, which made me feel bad and confused, and wasn’t what I ever dreamed of doing. He did use it, and quietly updated his glasses. I’ve never explored my dad’s personality as he passed away so long ago, whether he was a victim with a messed up perception or whether he played on the narc team too, but geez looking back on things knowing what I know now I can see why I’ve been so messed up throughout my life and a morsel to be preyed on.

    1. K says:

      Assuming he was a narcissist, the gift was challenge fuel. He deployed projection and triangulation (the control lies in those manipulations) to draw negative fuel (felt bad and confused) and then, later on, he deployed a Volte Face and quietly updated his glasses (control/gas lighting).

      You seem like a genuine person who gives with no strings attached and I am sorry that your dad did that to you on Christmas day. He exploited you empathic traits of love, kindness and decency and I felt sad for you when I read your comment.

      1. kel says:

        Thank you so much K. Your comment has helped me more than you can know. I didn’t even realize this was a sad moment as it wasn’t unusual and I believed them and just accepted I was always wrong. But I can see now it wasn’t really about me, it was their narcissistic defenses lashing out. There’s no way not to offend narcissists. I just didn’t realize it until now why they treated me that way, and that it wasn’t my fault.

        1. K says:

          You are welcome kel,
          It wasn’t your fault at all and you are correct; it was his self-defense mechanism coming to the fore. You were conditioned to accept that you were always wrong or at fault and that became your “normal”. As a parent, I felt tremendous sorrow reading about your experience. Children are dear and should be cherished and loved.

          You are also correct to point out that it wasn’t about you; it was all about him. One of the best things about narcsite is our ability learn about NPD so we can post our experiences and work through our feelings in a constructive way that allows us to move forward.

          The memories will always be there but we are able to understand them, then look at them with detachment over time and, eventually, put them to rest. It’s about letting go and realizing it was never your fault to begin with.

          1. SMH says:

            Detachment and letting go are really key concepts, K. Thanks for putting it the way you did as you know we all struggle with exactly those two things!

          2. K says:

            You are welcome SMH
            It’s definitely a struggle; keep reading and then read some more. That’s how I keep my ET in check.

          3. Supernova DE says:

            How are you doing? I can’t remember what thread it was on (maybe even this one) but you were talking about your MRN wanting you to fight to be IPPS.
            This happened to me too, and always perplexed me. He would say things like “I understand you want to have the top spot, to be the most important in my life.” And I would say, “Yea, no, your wife has that spot, and that’s fine with me.” Of course I got a deval for those comments every time, but it happened a lot in retrospect. I often felt he would say things that made it seem I wanted a real commitment from him, though I never asked for this and basically didn’t want it (what I wanted was not to be triangulated with other IPSS. Triangulation with IPPS wasn’t possible).

            I guess that is projection? Or testing?

            I’m not saying he didn’t do a number on me, he obviously did, but I never wanted to be IPPS. I also don’t think I was ever truly C-IPSS because I was just too feisty for him.

            I also wonder if MRN often keep IPSS who are superior to them in ways (ie socioeconomic status, intelligence, overall lifestyle etc) to puff themselves up “look who I can get”, but wouldn’t consider making that person IPPS for fear of the appliance outshining them from the start. Curious if others have thoughts on that theory.

          4. WokeAF says:

            WELL U just blew my mind – I couldve written every word.
            Except for triangulation with IPPS- he did that too, but more so to get negative fuel from her .

            I suspect he keeps IPSS / DLS that will keep things exciting , and maintain the facade, in my case. Also to , triangulate with IPPS to get negative fuel and keep her trying harder.

          5. SMH says:

            Supernova DE, How are you? Haven’t seen you here in awhile but I remember that our narcs are quite similar. I am doing very well, thanks. 18 months NC now and barely think of him except when there is a likely hoover or I come on here! And you? Any contact?

            MRN was really subtle about the IPPS thing but the moment I told him I was fine as IPSS is seared into my brain. I thought I was giving him what he said he wanted but his tone changed completely. I’ve written about other clues in other comments (wedding ring etc) and don’t want to repeat if you have read them. I think K actually helped me get to the place where I understood the dynamic, but it was some time ago now.

            This was during a period where he was ‘reconciling’ with IPPS and it was difficult, and he probably wanted me to be there if he hit a wall. So it was something of a test of my devotion and I failed by taking that option away from him. I didn’t see it at the time because of course I would have been there for him anyway as IPSS or even as NISS, but that he wanted it, even subconsciously, made a whole lot make sense and it also makes sense within the narcissistic complex/dynamic, right? It makes triangulation with IPPS a whole lot easier, as you point out, as well as guaranteeing a good fuel source if things did not work out with her.

            I know why you didn’t want it but my reasons were less clear, since I was single. In my view, we were fundamentally incompatible in our values and lifestyles. He had also been married for 25 years plus and there was no way I could have taken IPPS’s place. She provided the stability he needed while I had my freedom. To me it was perfect the way it was. I might have even told him that I would leave him if he left IPPS! (half joking but I probably would have). I don’t want to be married again and at that point I did not even want to be in a real relationship. I think only now – two years later – am I even considering that possibility with anyone.

            He also has three young adult daughters and it would have been a nightmare. Who wants to bust up someone else’s marriage and then take the kid fallout? Never mind the rest of his family. It might sound hypocritical but I did not want to be that person and I didn’t see any other options except for him to exit his marriage first, without me in the picture. That is what I told him when I made my final escape. Then, I said, you can contact me and we will see where we are at. Of course I knew it would never happen and anyway things got worse post-escape so whatever I said at the moment of escape was overshadowed by the shit that came afterwards.

            I don’t think I was ever fully C-IPSS, and for the same reason as you as well as the others I just listed. But I don’t think he thought subconsciously that I was superior to him either. I am better educated but not by much, and he has more money, probably by a lot but we still have the same economic class background. We just made different life choices and I am very different from IPPS. Ultimately I think we knew that we were too different – in fact I once said that I thought we were both having mid-life crises and wanted to test the waters of what the other had. Though we had a lot of superficial things in common, I could never have lived his life and he could never have lived mine – we sort of instead lived vicariously through each other.

    2. Violetta says:

      My grandpa on my dad’s side may have been this kind. When Dad was in college, he gave Grandpa some of Stephen Potter’s One-upsmanship books–basically parody etiquette books on being a bad sport, making guests and hosts feel uncomfortable, outmanoevering professional or romantic rivals, and so on. Some time afterwards, Grandpa said to him, “You know those books you have me? I didn’t like them.”

      When we were cleaning out Grandpa’s stuff after he died, we found the books in pride of place on the mantelpiece.

      Go fig.

      1. SMH says:

        My Matrinarc was (is) this kind too. I gave her a book when I was in college about something I was studying that really excited me. She laughed in my face. Bitch. Then my niece recently did it to her (her grandmother). My niece is not a narc but the book was definitely something way below her level of understanding of the topic, so she was kind of rude about it. Matrinarc went off the rails!

  22. Lisa says:

    I think some of them do kind of know, I know 2 narcissists , one my ex and one a family member that have read about this stuff. My ex had read about personality disorders 10 years before I met him, when I learnt about them and mentioned them he knew all about them. Maybe some of them later in life either get accused of it or start to realise something is off. It made no difference though because he would admit different things at different times, sometimes he’d say he was a borderline other times he’d say he had nar traits and mostly he’d say No I’m not you are 🙄. He read about anti social personality disorder once and said he thought that fitted him, that’s because he didn’t actually realise what that is and probably thinks the name of it just sounds like a bit of an introvert. I understand your writing about the narcissists reactions and not their knowledge HG, but just incase anyone thinks that the narcissist having insight makes a difference it does not.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Mid Range do not know. They engage ins very subtle blame shifting which nearly always successful manipulates the victim into thinking the narcissist has awareness.

      1. Fuel Shortage (Gabbs) says:

        Do you mean subtle blame shifting to themselves?…

        As in….

        “I am a horrible person blah blah blah…”

        “I deserve for my wife to leave me….”

        “Karma is coming for me…”

        And so on…

        1. HG Tudor says:

          “It is not me, it is my demons.”
          “I cannot help it, there´s a chemical imbalance.”
          “There is something wrong with me, I do not know what it is though.”

          1. MB says:

            I have ADD is a common one too. “I get bored easily.” Yes, babe, you do, because you’re a narcissist!

          2. WokeAF says:

            I’ve heard all of these from my MMR

          3. Fuel Shortage (Gabbs) says:

            Thank you for clarifying. Why badmouth himself then? Why say that he deserves bad things to happen to him? Why say that karma is going to come for him? If all of it is MY fault then why that shift? So that I can cluck my tongue and say “Oh no you’re not… you’re a good person, blah blah blah”

            See I’ve tried doing that. And he will respond and disagree with me and say “you’re delusional and insane then”. To me that makes me think he that he doesn’t want me to challenge his notion of the horrible person he says he is. The only other alternative is to agree with him and say “yeah you’re a real shithead”.

          4. HG Tudor says:

            Pity Plays.

          5. Pati says:

            My midranger is the opposite, he tells me my brain doesnt function properly. It’s never him

          6. Lorelei says:

            The best alternative is not to talk to him Gabbs. You state, “The only other alternative is to agree with him..”
            Please please please listen to what HG has been telling you. This man could give two poops if you get hit by a car tomorrow and that is fact.

          7. Mercy says:

            Chemical imbalance! Yes those are the exact words he used to describe it

          8. HG Tudor says:


          9. Emextraordinaire says:

            I would always say jokingly ‘what is wrong with you?’ And he would side glance at me and say half laughing, ‘ I don’t know, something’

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