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.

26 thoughts on “Angels With Dirty Faces

  1. leelasfuelstinks says:

    @Empath007: I do not think that your situation is about men vs women. We know how manipulative narcissist are, don´t we? These people have been brainwashed by the narc. They are his coterie! That´s what they are. They also could be women, or women AND men: coterie is coterie! Please don´t let your ET hijack your wonderful empathic traits!

    Do you remember our discussion a couple of month ago? Do you remember how I was pissed when I got theoretically “rejected” by “my” narc? My ET hijacked my narcissistic traits (I´m pretty high and strong in those actually). I was so pissed, I went Supernova! And you know what? Eventually it turned out: Even though Mr. Narc is a middle mid range elite – he´s WAY more at the cerebral site. And I? I was pissed only because of my stupid narc-ego! “How can a man reject such a sexy woman like me?” – Haha, it´s narc-alert! I took TDC, I read more, I asked H.G. questions and there it is: The truth looks mostly different than our ET thinks it looks! And then we realize: Our ET hijacked one or more of our empathic or nacissistic traits.

    And now, if we apply logic we see: They are NARCS! And they brainwash and manipulate people – men and women – to become the coterie.

    1. Empath007 says:

      I work in a highly male dominated industry. There is and always has been sexism at play. Some years its been more prevalent then others. The fact of the matter is a male employee is not judged as harshly as a female employee for their sexual endeavors. Yes, he’s a narcissist with both men and women in his coterie, but sexism does exist. It’s not my ET.

      Anyhow, I get to remain in No Contact…. so he may have won the battle, BUT… I remain an escaped appliance, so I have won the war.

      1. leelasfuelstinks says:

        What can you do? You can´t change it. You´re an escaped appliance, all you can do is just don´t give a sh….! The injustice and the smear is of course upsetting but all you can do what is best for YOU! And focus on YOU, and YOUR LIFE!

  2. Asp Emp says:

    “It’s time to do some cleaning of your own” – I may be physically clean, mentally cleared. Emotionally, it’s ongoing.

    Hmm, an Angel with a Dirty Face? Ah, no. It’s more like a Devil with Clean Hands……

  3. Duchessbea says:

    Leela, loving your new name. That’s a tricky one. The best advice I can give is give no credence to whatever lies and bullshit is being said about you. Hold your head up high and continue doing a brilliant job for the company. Your hard work and dedication to your job and respect towards colleagues will always be noticed and noted and it will help you in the long haul. Also might be whose to look around for similar positions going in other firms and start afresh with a clean slate. Either/or, I wish you well with the employment. 💗💗

    1. Empath007 says:

      You are absolutely right. Thank you for this 🙂

    2. Empath007 says:

      Duchessbea, I want you to know I have taken this advice to heart in the last week. And it’s actually been working. Not sure if it makes a difference to anyone I work with but it definitely makes a difference to me. Sometimes taking the high road can sting a little… especially when we’d prefer justice served. But in this case it was necessary for me to not try and expose him and just hope to God one day the right people will notice what’s going on with him and female staff.

  4. Duchessbea says:

    Gina G, very sorry to hear about the loss of your family members. I hope you are doing okay. Forget about all the people who won’t have anything to do with you anymore. You deserve better people in your life. Hold your head up high and get out there and be the best person you can be and live your best life. Sending you hugs and Much Love. 💗💗

  5. December Infinity says:

    I have witnessed a few of these types of ‘angels’. Clearly there is nothing angelic about them.

    1. leelasfuelstinks says:

      They are demons in disguise. 😉

  6. Gina says:

    The ex’s shrink is one of these. He requested to see me after the ex started “therapy” with him. As a side note, I had been asking the ex to attend marital or personal therapy for years, he had always declined either saying there was not enough money (he spent it all) or there was nothing wrong with him, he had no problems and was happy. The problem was the marriage (meaning it was me of course.) By this time it had been suggested to me, by my MD, that the ex was a narc. I was extremely fortunate to have a doctor who had honors in psychiatry from medical school, and because I was becoming so sick and the descriptions I was giving about my “marriage” she told me it sounded as if I was describing a narcissist. I told the ex and the shrink what she had said, it was all discounted and the doctor did not know what she was talking about.

    I naively thought that this shrink would be impartial as that was his job. Well, I unknowingly challenged him after sitting there for 45 mins. I asked him if he thought he was qualified to diagnose narcissism? He said yes (of course), but that it was extremely unwise of me to put labels on my ex. After this the shrink was very hostile towards me, when I would email him for help he would give short (passive aggressive) answers such as “we’re all entitled to our opinions about such things.” However the ex was seen as just trying to get help and save the marriage by his entire family…..this shrink has written several books, has a “Christian” bent, and speaks all over the world about how to save your marriage. He is indeed a mid range narc.

    1. Cup Cakes says:

      Dont worry too much, I ve experienced the same.

  7. Empath007 says:

    Lately, I am feeling very defeated by the power of facade. It amazes me how even the most well intentioned person can be sucked into it and unable to notice the “odd” behaviour. In the case of my own narc, not even the majority of women he’s been with seem to think he’s anything but a good guy. Regardless of how they were treated. With the new developments at my work this week I spoke of the other day, I feel very disheartened that once again the man is protected, believed, respected … and the victim involved is not. Cast to the side and viewed as “crazy”.

    1. Gina G says:

      I don’t know your story but the longer you stay the worse it gets. Possibly his other girlfriends were more on the normal side or not as empathic, meaning they did not try to change him they just left or it ended. My marriage lasted 23 years, I saw red flags very early on, the marriage was really bad for at least the last 13 years but I still stayed. You cannot defeat the facade and getting frustrated about it is a waste of your time and energy. In the past 18 months I have lost my father-in-law had a divorce and recently lost my father. In addition to that I lost all of the people in my ex-husband’s family, they all took his side. If you focus on that you will go nuts and never dig yourself out of the hole. You have to focus on the people who stayed by your side and form new relationships. It’s the only way. And do things for yourself, you have a lot of energy you just have to redirect it. but only if you’re no contact of course. If you’re working with a narcissist in a lead role then you probably need to find a new job, in my experience when you’re not strong the narcissists all become jumbled up with the main narcissist and it holds you back.

      1. HG Tudor says:

        Sensible observations.

      2. Empath007 says:

        Hello Gina,

        First off, I’d like to say, I’m very sorry for all of the recent losses you’ve experienced. That is a lot all at once and I wish you all the best while you heal.

        I read your comment (and Leela’s) very carefully and found myself nodding. I do have truth seeker and justice in me, I don’t see those as bad attributes, however, they are not always realistic as we function in a society that has been operating a certain way over thousands of years.

        I will try and make this as short and succicnt as I can:

        I had a relationship with my narc who was a co worker (not above nor below me at the time in terms of rank). Our relationship was a secret for the most part – excluding the people we each told. When things were starting to turn really ugly I was offered a promotion and transfer to a new office – it was perfect timing – I negotiated a raise… and left.

        Since there has been new opening at his office, one in which would have been a “climbing the ladder move” for myself. I was flippantly “offered” the position… but truthfully, everyone at that location had already made their mind up about it because it was worded ” You don’t want that one right ?”… and I could not disagree, because no.. I don’t want it, as I do not wish to continue being harassed by my narc. HOWEVER it was likely stated that I had created tension amongst staff at that location and was not considered. There are several issues with this from my perspective:

        A) The male counterpart involved in this relationship has NOT been reprimanded… instead he is getting his own little promotion now.

        B) The staff making these decisions are not basing their decision on the actual FACTS… only the one sided smearing of the narc. Which is not only not logical. Its completely sexist.

        C) My personal reputation is being affected and his is not. Even though we both engaged in the relationship – and in fact – he has engaged in several relationships with female staff.

        D) Its sexism. I’m being discriminated against purely based on the personal opinions of all these men and NOT on the merit of my work (which is exceptional by the way).

        Now… I understand the world is not always going to be fair. I now understand, that I will never engage in a work related relationship ever again in order to protect myself. It’s great that I learnt lessons… I know I am hardly the only one to go through this experience. But the decisions making of these other people is based in bias, gossip and lies. Which makes it inaccurate.

        I have decided to drop it. I am writing about it here because it gives me a chance to express myself in a safe place where no one in my real life needs to know about.

        Thank you for your words of encouragement, I really appreciate that you could write them to me amongst all of the things that you are going through right now. Honestly, that says so much about you and your character. I’m really sorry for once again for all of those major losses happening at once. I’m happy to hear it sounds as though you have support and are leaning on that. It can feel so lonely when we are exiting from a narcissist and feel as though the whole world has turned against us… we need to look to our own strengths like you said and redirect our energy! that is so true.

        Social justice me is not satisfied. Thankfully I have an exit plan for myself. and you’re absolutely right. I am going to focus on that. and focus on getting myself the hell out of here.

        1. leelasfuelstinks says:

          Dear Empath,
          I understand you 100 %. (I´m a SUPER Emp by the way 😉 ) I hear you, I know exactly how much this injustice hurts. I got furious when I learnt that “my” narc had smeared me. There came the “Daily Smear” and the “Global Liar” (as H.G. wrote so perfectly). He projected everything HE was into me! So, I needed attention, admiration and care all the time, I was crazy and demanding, I was mentally ill and dangerous – that´s exactly HIM! Of course I was the “crazy one” – how can we forget about that? 😉 I was really outraged and it was super creepy because back then I just had read about smear campaigns and the label “crazy one”, and I read exactly the same sentences in H.G.s work and I experienced EXACTLY what H.G. wrote. I think a couple of days later I took the NDC and H.G. confirmed (see my post above).

          So, what about justice? There´s none! According to DSM-5 those people have a serious mental illness (excuse me, H.G.). This helps me to understand this “injustice”. They act this way because they are narcs. Because they are wacko, balla balla, (excuse me one more time, H.G.)!! That´s how I personally think, even though I learnt, it´s a self-defense mechanism and all the pain, the injustice, the hurt, the damages those people cause are collateral damages. It just helps me to think for myself “balla balla”. 😉 😀

          1. Empath007 says:

            Yes. The smearing is such bullshit. But what I’m mostly pissed off about is how men huddle together, protect one another and ostrisize women. Not all these men involved in making these decisions are narcissits. Many claim to be feminist. But when push comes to shove… they are wimps… they are nothing but trained monkeys who will discriminate against a woman for a relationship gone Rocky and side with the male narcissits because he’s their “buddy”.

            I don’t forgive.
            And I don’t forget.
            And I’m officially going to be as passive aggressive as possible. Put on an act while doing the bare minimum for a work load.

            And hopefully be able to quit once this pandemic lets up a bit and more opportunities open up and I focus more on my studies.

      3. Kristin says:

        Well said. Living with a narc is truly like living with multiple personalities. It amazes me how he manages his different facades. The eloquent, intelligent attorney, the knowledgable, personable business owner and the redneck abusive prick that I live with. It’s like watching a movie and wanting to throw up.

      4. Cup Cakes says:

        Sounds familiar to my past.

    2. leelasfuelstinks says:

      These are our truthseeker-traits and our desire for justice! I´m very high on those (TDC). But you know what? There are things, there are people we will NEVER understand. I´m learning to accept that. I never understood why other Empaths can stay so long with their narcs. Fact is: They just don´t know they find excuses for the odd behavior, Love Bombing is extremely powerful! It even changes neural pathways!

      By the way: It´s me: Leela 🙂

      1. Cup Cakes says:


        My narc presented bad behaviour over the years and would also provoke me to the point where I would say something & then they wound turn it around and say” I cant believe you said that” and then they would seek for sympathy from family members on things that were never said. Pathetic !

    3. Another Cat says:

      Sounds awful Empath007.
      Bold question from me: Could you change department?

      1. Empath007 says:

        Not bold another Cat it’s a good question ! I did change locations right around the time of our break up. So we haven’t worked physically in each other’s space for quite some time now. Im realizing all the naivety of my 20s. Dating someone I work with is a mistake I will not repeat. I am in the process of changing careers but that is going to take some time as I do my Masters. So I’m in limbo at the moment. Plus it’s a pandemic… so I’m best to hold on to my stable income for now. I just have to learn from this and move on.

        1. Another Cat says:

          Empath007 wrote

          “I am in the process of changing careers but that is going to take some time as I do my Masters.”

          Seems like you’ve got things going rather smoothly 007, on your way to more success and to not be troubled by the narc ex. Work narcs are a piece of work.

          As you say, these covid times jobs can be scarce, transfer not the easiest. I’ve been on zoom meetings most of this year not meeting that narc collegue at all.

  8. leelasfuelstinks says:

    I was “lucky enough” to get to know exactly such an individual – a middle mid range Type A and dominantly cerebral elite narc.

    It´s really extremely hard to spot such a narc but they cannot keep up the facade forever. As you get to know them a bit better you will see: Underneath the altruistic and caring facade there comes the smug, the passive aggression, the emptiness, the Pity Plays, the Silent Treatments, the boiling fury. There comes Mr. or Mrs. “Its all about ME, ME ME!”

    You think they are oh so nice but they Love Bomb, they Gas light, they roll out Pity Plays, they Blame Shift, they hoover, they smear, they do not recognize boundaries, they smug, they gossip, they very quickly switch topic when it´s not about them, so they bring the topic very quickly back to them, you see malice joy, you see envy, you see selfishness, you may even see The Stare (I did).

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