The Narcissist and Grief



Grief. You may think that this is an alien concept to our kind. It is and it is not. On the one hand we do not feel grief but we do understand what it is and what it engenders in other people especially those who are empathic in nature and who have been entangled with us. We have watched with an almost child-like curiosity when you have received news about the passing away of a relative. If this happened during the golden period, you at least received some false empathy in the shape of some fabricated support and understanding to make it look as if we at least cared in some way. If your pet died during the devaluation, a long-loved pet, then we will have watched your display of sadness, longing and grief with contempt and jealousy. We would not have supported you but instead said something to provoke you such as,

“I don’t know why you are so upset, it’s just a dog.”

So that you focused on us again rather than wallow in your own grief. We have witnessed grief in others, observed and learnt how it is displayed. We have listened (when it served a purpose for us) during the golden period as to how it makes you feel and stored all of this information away. We do not feel grief. We may exhibit is for the sake of appearances if this will garner fuel for us and to preserve the façade, but it is never felt. You however experience grief in an intense fashion, given your capacity to feel and to empathise. We have seen your grief over a deceased relative, a friend taken suddenly and violently in a car crash, the celebrity who you adored who has passed away after a long battle against illness. We know just how capable you are of grief and we know that not only does it have the potential to be a potent source of fuel but we recognise its paralytic effect on you. Grief takes a hold and has the capacity to prevent you from functioning effectively. Not only that, its paralysis is such that it can prevent you from escaping this state of grief, keeping you locked-in a grieving mode, unable to move forward. Grief is an intense emotion. We have seen this. From the wailing cries of a parent being told that their child’s body has been found after they have disappeared to the dignified grief of a war veteran stood in silence with a single tear trickling down his or her cheek as they pay tribute to their fallen comrades. Whether noise or silence accompanies this grief it remains a powerful emotion and naturally one that our kind is keen to draw on for the purposes of extracting fuel. We see grief as serving two functions. Keeping you in a state of paralysis and therefore it follows that you will keep pumping out potent negative fuel for us to extract.

Now, I am not suggesting that I will embark on some kind of killing spree slaughtering your pets, taking down your favourite celebrities and murdering your friends and family, in order to create this repeated state of grief. Whilst one might see certain attractions in doing so, the effort involved and moreover the considerable downsides to such a course of action mean that it is not one that we would embark on. No, instead there is an alternative way of looking to create an enduring state of grief on your part. We want you to grieve for us.

This does not involve us taking our own lives. We rarely commit such an act. We will threaten it, certainly, as part of a hoover, but we regard the world as needing us and therefore we will extremely rarely commit suicide. We will however cause you to grieve for us and we do this when we eventually disengage you after a harsh devaluation. When this disengagement takes place we will leave you with three losses over which you will grieve. Your grief will be prolonged because there are three losses and thus this maximises not only the prospect of paralysis but also a longer period of the provision of potent fuel.

The first loss is the loss of who you thought we were. You were seduced and swept off your feet by this charming individual who mirrored everything you liked and disliked. We ticked all the boxes, we professed to be your soulmate, we gave you a perfect love, made every day special and had you excited to see us and hear from us. We created such a wonderful start to the relationship, unlike anything that you had experienced before. We understood you, we cared, we showed you such passion, we listened and engaged in those things which you always wanted to share with someone else. We wrapped ourselves around you, permeated your very core and entwined our lives so that you were never happier and you could never comprehend a time when such delicious rapture would end. But it did and how.

The loss of something so brilliant and splendid hurts you and feels like you have suffered a bereavement so intense and painful is the experience. Even though you hear the words that it was an illusion, that none of it was real and that you need to let go, it is still so hard to accept all of that and you miss us. Oh how you miss us. You miss that wonderful person we were at the beginning and you want that person back. No matter how many times you are told that he or she was just a creation, that it was an illusion designed to fool you and that we never loved you and never meant or felt anything we said to you, it is still incredibly hard to accept. Just like someone who cannot accept that someone who has died will not walk through the door at any minute, you cannot accept for a considerable time that the person you thought we were has gone. We know what you will be thinking (because we have caused you to think and feel this way) and although we may not always see your grief-ridden response to our absence we know what you will be thinking and feeling and this fuels us. Even greater is the fuel from your messages telling us you miss us, that you want the “old me” back and begging for another chance. Your grief for loss of the person that you thought we were, is both huge and prolonged.

The second loss that you sustain and grieve for is the loss of the potential that we showed to you. There was no doubting that we were brilliant at our job. You saw the plaudits and you felt the benefit, for a time, of the accompanying pay cheque. You saw the trophies amassed for our various achievements in different fields and you heard other people speak so highly of our accomplishments. The compassion, kindness and love that we showed to you and to others (although false) still causes you to think that somewhere we are truly capable of this goodness, if only we would harness it and let it be free. You have witnessed two things. The reality of our drive to be the best and the accompanying good that such drive and ambition brings – a surgeon saving lives, a scientist inventing cures, an entrepreneur creating wealth and jobs, a policeman making the neighbourhood safer, a teacher educating so many people to a high degree – means that our rampant desire to be the best has the considerable potential to actually do good for others. You also saw something in terms of the way that we treated you and as an empathic individual you still believe that this goodness can be freed and used to both our benefits so that we are both happy together. You came to regard us as a wounded and hurt person and in conjunction with your innate desire to heal and fix, you felt that if you could heal us then the mutual benefits would be amazing. There was so much potential waiting to be unlocked and utilised and now with our departure and your discard, that potential has been lost. You grieve this loss of opportunity and how things might have turned out oh so different. You want to turn back the clock, do things differently and the inability to do so causes you considerable grief and pain.

The third area of grief which you sustain from coupling with us is not grieving over us, but it stems from being with us and that is grieving the loss of your identity. Before we came along you were happy, independent, strong, bright, well-liked by family, friends and colleagues. You had many interests and you enjoyed life. Yes, there were flaws and vulnerabilities but you handled them as best you could as you forged a path through life knowing who you were. Then we came along.

We subsumed you into us. We eradicated your characteristics as we either stole them for our own construct to show the world or we eroded them through the steady application of our vicious manipulations. Your confidence evaporated, your self-esteem disappeared and your self-worth plummeted. You became steadily isolated, losing friends, neglecting your interests and even become distant with family. You allowed yourself to be fully consumed by us. It was entirely understandable how this happened because we wanted it to happen and we acted in a manner to cause it to happen, but nevertheless your loss of identity was a steady and insidious consequence of the grip we held over you. Now, as you sit alone, ruminating on what once was, grieving the loss of who you thought we were, the loss of the potential, you are also hit by the loss of who you were. You no longer recognise that face which stares emptily at you in the mirror each morning. The world is grey and drab, music sounds harsh and grating, conversations irritate and make you fearful, even your favourite foods taste like ash in your mouth. You have lost yourself and the sense of foolishness from allowing this to happen and the grief arising from such a loss is substantial.

This triumvirate of grief arising from entangling with us provides us with substantial fuel and we know that burdened by not just one or two, but three forms of grief, it will take you a long time, if ever, to escape the effects.

9 thoughts on “The Narcissist and Grief

  1. Truthseeker6157 says:

    I don’t recall reading this article before today. It’s shockingly accurate. That shouldn’t surprise me now, but it still does surprise me that someone without emotional empathy can write in such a way. It’s exactly how we do feel, and we feel that way for a very long time afterwards.

    Reading this today, what is described feels like a distant echo, an undertone of melancholy, but I can hear it, albeit faintly. My mind is tempted to wander back and think about it for a time, indulge, a few minutes, an hour, maybe two.

    The logical side of my mind steps in then and diverts me away from that, wags a finger and tells me there is nothing further to be gained from looking back. That’s done. Over. Get your bloody act together! So I choose to look forward instead because I’ll be damned if I waste any more time or energy on someone who never gave a stuff about me from day one. We can’t say that about regular guys but we can definitely say it about the narcissist. It’s an iron clad guarantee. Screw him. He was a whiney git anyway.

  2. Joa says:

    This middle regret is easiest to overcome. In the end, one accepts that there is no “us”, even though we were so beautiful. Currently, I don’t see myself in a relationship with Narcissist # 1 or Narcissist # 2 at all. Impossible. Stupidity. Unnecessary effort.

    Even though their lives are more colorful, exciting, interesting, there is always something going on, changes, madness, activity – these are only appearances. Glamorous, fast and destructive as fire. My life is steady, calm, with momentary hurricane and storms. Like water. I am deeply convinced that despite appearances, I am slowly, systematically and forcefully moving forward. They are still standing still. Always in the same place.

    The first regret, the longing for a perfect illusion, still exists in some ways. They are both close to me in a way. Especially Narcissus No. 2 – the father of my child. And they will always be. If they need me, they will meet with my help. I can’t do otherwise. I know this is my weak point. But… in the end, I decide whether help is really needed and in what form and when to provide it. I can also cut it off if I find that it is no longer needed or is pointless.

    Third regret. Selfishly, it was the one who hurt the most. Innertube. Shell. SOMETHING. So much was me after this second relationship. I lost myself. Many years passed before I built my new, improved identity from scratch. She’s even better. Each subsequent edition of “me” is better. I feel great pride in myself when I write this 😊

    Thank you, my beloved narcissists 😊 Sometimes you have to demolish to build something more wonderful in this place. Plow the field to make it bloom more beautifully.

    Even this interaction now, I needed a lot. My first words, when he spoke years later: “You don’t even know how good it is that you just showed up now.”

    He unlocked me. To get in, he opened that rusty padlock. I took full advantage of myself to break free.

    I feel grateful and I can’t help but feel it. I have a very positive attitude towards both. Nobody was closer to me. It was great.

    He erases the good and highlights the bad. I erase evil and emphasize good.

    1. Truthseeker6157 says:


      You sound like you are getting stronger. Logic is starting to take hold.

      I thought about your comment when I listened to this.

      1. Joa says:

        This is the first time you are wrong. I am still flying in the upper parts of the sky 🙂

        Logic never leaves me, but I keep hiding it 🙂

        To live by logic alone is a downfall for me. Then I will fall like Icarus.

  3. Bubbles 🍾 says:

    Dear Mr Tudor,
    Good grief !
    Mr Bubbles n I are feeling sorrow over our “dear ol friend” who is suffering ageing memory loss and the onset of dementia
    To witness a narcissist with this condition is quite saddening indeed, knowing what I’ve learnt here
    He took another fall and is in hospital again
    Witnessessing the frustration, the anger, the aggression, losing control, the loss of fuel, the wounding
    He enjoys being cared for to a point, but remains fiercely independent ….he’s adamant not to use a walking stick or frame to help assist
    His stubbornness overrides his commonsense
    He’s abusing everyone, is angry at the world, he’s angry at his family for not acknowledging him for being the family’s “patriarch ” and for not taking him in and caring for him ……he believes he’s OWED this “I looked after them all their young years, they OWE me” ” I built a pool for them, I helped clothe n feed them, if it wasn’t for ME they wouldn’t be here ” “I’M the head of the household, I deserve respect” “they should all be here for ME” “I KNOW what’s going on” ” I want a lawyer” “I won’t go and spend Christmas with her (daughter) this year, they can miss me ” ” I don’t care about the rug rats, I don’t want to know them ” ……and so on
    He’s now sulking and verbalising he wants to die
    Poor lad came in to get his hospital dinner menu …… what an ordeal
    Have any lovelies here experienced a narc with dementia ?
    (My grandmother had dementia, but nothing like our “dear ol friend” )
    Mr Bubbles n I are the only one he trusts
    Thanking you
    Luv Bubbles xx 😘

  4. privatejourney60 says:

    Thank you, HG!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  5. hope says:

    HUGE. “If you are not on track to achieve the objective, you don’t want to give up too soon and lose the desired outcome, but you also don’t want to get caught in the escalation of commitment. When we will not admit that we made a bad decision, we are in the process known as escalation of commitment. We tend to maintain commitment to losing courses of action, even in the face of bad news, by wasting more resources, called throwing good money after bad. Why? Because we don’t like to lose something once we have it, and we don’t like to admit we made a mistake, even to ourselves. Do you know anyone who will never admit to making a mistake? The pain of losing outweighs the joy of winning. It’s called loss aversion. When you make a poor decision, you should admit the mistake and try to rectify it quickly” (Robert Lussier, 2019, Principles of Management). I often find myself relating my coursework to my relationships. This was HUGE in my reluctance to let go, not understanding it was a lost cause. Now I know it was exactly that.

  6. pcsands says:

    yes…that has happened in my thought process through the years….grief of who i thought you were….grief of who i thought we could be….and grief of who i used to be. those three thoughts do pop up even after all this time…and maybe another one. grief of seeing love was weaponized love.

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