Why the Narcissist Views in Black and White Only



We all like to attach labels to people. People do it instinctively in respect of someone who they have just met, someone they have read about, a person they have known for a long time or someone they have seen on television. It is rare for someone to say that they do not have a view or an opinion about someone. Examples might include: –

“He’s a dependable chap, always there when you need him.”

“He’s a funny looking fellow.”

“She is very catty.”

“She is stunning looking.”

“A complete attention seeker.”

“A genius musician.”

“Really annoys me, I don’t know what it is but he does.”

Those are just classifications based on looks and personality. One can classify somebody by race, religion, birthplace, occupation, gender and so much more. Labels are used all the time as people are placed into boxes and compartments. Our kind do the same, but we differ in a fundamental way. We have an instant classification of people which is very straight forward. We will place people into further categories after this initial categorisation often using labels you would not and then we may well attach additional labels similar to the ones you use. What is this initial categorisation? It is simple.

A person is either good or bad. That person is either with us or against us. They either do what we want or they do not. There are no ifs and maybes about these classifications. There is no grey with us when it comes to deciding into which camp someone should be placed. You are either white or black. You cannot be light grey, mid-grey or dark grey. We do not do the middling; it is one or the other. Let me give you some examples of those around me at the current time.

Julia (my boss) – Good

My mother – Bad

Paul (a lieutenant of longstanding) – Good

Andrea (predecessor primary supply) – Bad

Rachael(sister) – Good

Eric (colleague) – Good

Tania (lieutenant) – Good

Lesley (It Girl) – Bad

Elizabeth (litigious former girlfriend) – Bad

Phillip (lieutenant) – Good

Colin (competitor at work) – Bad

Not one of them am I indifferent to. You should be aware that this categorisation is based on my view of them irrespective of their behaviour towards me. Lesley for instance responded to a hoover a little while back and still messages me with pleasant comments from time to time. I play along as I am a far from finished with her but she is a bad person because of what she has done and moreover I know she will be looking for an opportunity to unseat me and seek some form of revenge over me as a consequence of my repeated thwarting of her ambitions. I know her game.

These categorisations are fluid. In fact, they are extremely fluid with some people, usually our intimate partners, especially the Intimate Partner Primary source, but it will apply to secondary sources also (be they intimate, family, colleagues and/or friends). We will switch in an instant from black to white and to black once again. There is no slow change over time, there is no strand of white amidst the black. If you try to bring up the good things that you have done for us when we are attacking you in some way (as you are now viewed as black) you will be challenging us and therefore our first line of defence ( see The Narcissist’s Twin Lines of Defence ) will kick in and we will deny that you ever did any of those things for us – which only confuses you further and is how the gaslighting occurs. Remember, the Lesser and Mid-Range do this always by instinct and does not see the inconsistency or the contrarian behaviour . The Greater does so with some instinct but also calculation and is aware of the contradictions but we do not care.

You may begin as a good person when I wake-up but by breakfast you are a bad person. Sometimes you will be utterly unaware of why your status has altered and it may appear capricious and arbitrary but it is not; you will have done something or failed to do something which has shifted your classification. Most often it is linked to your failure to provide me with fuel and therefore you will be designated a bad person and subjected to treatment in accordance with such a status; devaluation and denigration. Conversely, one can also move from bad to good in the blink of an eye. You won’t necessarily realise why this is, but we do. It is entirely logical to us.

Your status as either white or black is also affected by other movements in our fuel matrix, often ones you have no idea about. Accordingly, you may be busting a gut to please us, thinking you are doing all of the things that we apparently like, allowing us our own way and being compliant but it is not working – you cannot shift from being viewed as black. This is because when you are painted black, everything you do is viewed through that filter. Whereas once we delighted in your status as a board director at a listed company, we now lambast you saying you think more of your job than you do of us. We once praised your signature dish but now we say it is bland and uninspired. This occurs because you have done or not done something, you have been painted a black and furthermore there is someone else in the fuel matrix who is outshining you, they are seen as white and despite your best endeavours to try to return to our favour, you are failing because that white status is ascribed to someone else.

All of a sudden we treat you favourably and you wonder why this has happened, perhaps you did something right for once. It is more to do with someone else behaving in a way so that they become black and therefore in order to maintain contrast (and with it the freshness of the fuel) you become white once again. The difficulty you have is that you often think this shift is because of something you have done, for instance, you bought us tickets to a particular event. Thus, when you find yourself black, you try a similar move to return to white, but for reasons explained above, it fails and you are left bewildered as to why it did not work this time.

As I mentioned once we have classified you as good or bad, we will classify you further, usually linked to the fuel you provide and how under our control you are. After that we will use similar labels to you – an interesting, handsome person and so on. Thus, take Paul my longstanding side kick. He is naturally a good person but I also regard him as a very good source of fuel, a highly reliable source of fuel and completely under my control, loyal and dedicated. My mother is a bad person. Whilst she is a good source of fuel for her emotional outbursts and temper tantrums, she is only fairly reliable. I have little control over her, she is a traitor and scheming to dethrone me, she has no concept of loyalty and is actively plotting against me. Thus whilst she may provide fuel the other factors cause her to be placed in the bad classification. I do not consider her to be grey just because she provides fuel but cannot really be controlled.

Why do we regard people in this manner? Why is it that we cannot take a holistic view of them? For instance, one might suggest that with the ex-girlfriend Lesley that she at one point was loving, dedicated and did much for me. Yes, she became a broken appliance and let me down, she also caused affront to me for which she must be repeatedly punished. She continues to try to be pleasant to me. Do I not look at this myriad of attributes and factors (plus more besides) and place her on some kind of spectrum between good and bad? No I do not. Why?

In order to drive forward and also to defend ourselves it has to be an all or nothing approach. You are viewed as wonderful, amazing, loyal and functioning – therefore we interact with you in a committed and dedicated manner (for instance the love bombing which occurs with regard to those we seduce intimately) so that we are able to extract the maximum amount of fuel and keep you bound to us through the application of benign behaviours. This applies to all appliances – from spouse to lover to friends. Should you wound or challenge us, our self-defence mechanism which is narcissism must provide an absolute defence. To deploy this you cannot be viewed as grey, you cannot be seen in a wish-washy way, you have become the enemy so that all defences can be mobilised with suitable aggression and application to draw fuel to heal the wound or to quash your challenge and assert our superiority once again. This sudden shift from white to black to white again is a necessary device to enable us to function. We cannot do half-measures for if we did, this would result in indecision, a less than total approach and this would lead to reduced fuel, ineffective healing of wounding and partial suppression of challenges and all of that reduces our effectiveness and diminishes our control on the world around us. This then makes us feel worthless, insignificant and unimportant and returns us to a place where we must not ever go again.

This lack of object constancy, the fact we forget all about the good things you have done for us in an instant as you are painted black is bewildering for those who are ensnared by us, but it is entirely necessary for us to function, thrive and survive. The response must be total, it must be instantaneous and it must give us the maximum prospect of success whilst leaving you confused, stunned, bewildered, providing fuel and remaining under our control.

You should have learned by now that because we look at the world through a different lens to you, there are many things that you will do (which you will not be aware about) which cause us to oscillate from regarding you as good to bad and then back to good, often in the space of an hour or less. This is all based on how we perceive your compliance to be. During our seduction of you, you are only ever a good person because you represent that wonderful potent source of positive fuel which we desire. You represent the prospect of an undimmed source unlike the bad person we are devaluing and about to discard. You always respond positively to our overtures, our love-bombing and you give us what we want. Hence you remain a good person. Those who are in our coterie, our lieutenants and those who form our façade remain good people. Challenge us, defy us or even worse see through us and you are challenging our need for superiority and self-worth and you must automatically be designated as a bad person, irrespective of what may have come before, that would create a more complex view. You failed to do what we want; you are a bad person. You then change and do what we want, you become a good person. It is a simple and necessary classification that we utilise.

Accordingly, everything is either good or bad with our kind. Admittedly, though it usually turns ugly as well….


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33 thoughts on “Why the Narcissist Views in Black and White Only

  1. Alex 93 says:

    HG, if someone is painted black by a narcissist, will the narcissist also paint the immediate family members (spouse and children) of that individual black by default as well? Meaning the narcissist would view those immediate family members as an extension of the person painted black.

    For example, my dad is painted black by his narcissist brother (my uncle) after my dad confronted my uncle for stealing money from their parents. At family get togethers, my uncle dishes out present silent treatment(s) to not only my dad, but to his spouse and children (which includes me).

    Hope that explanation makes sense. Thank you.

  2. Anm says:

    My ex, who is a mid-range cerebral narc, hates hugs, and any physical contact. he will blame it on “OCD”. I hated the feeling of not being with someone who was grossed out by touch.

    My ex who is a malignant somatic hates hugs, will use hugs/physical affection as a tool. In our relationship, he occasionally “spooned ” with me in bed, during the honey moon phase, and during respite periods, but not much outside of the bedroom. He did constantly want me to touch him. I have many physical talents. I can give chiropractic adjustments, massages, cut and style hair, etc. He constantly asked me to physically take care of him with these things, until I hated doing it. It was like he sucked the life out of me. I seriously believe that he senses an energy connection when I touched him, he knew I was empathic, and me taking care of him fueled him. Now he is not allowed within 100 feet of me, so all is good.

  3. JB says:

    The topic of black and white thinking actually came up once in conversation with me and the person I was involved with. I said that life isn’t always black and white and he thoroughly disputed this. Should have realised then really that something was amiss!

    1. Another Cat says:

      In some instances, JB,

      I’ve noticed empaths who are married to a narc, become like that, and think of many things as black or white, completely right or very wrong. After years of abuse. They are often a bit touchy and annoyed when speaking to ppl. After divorce and no contact, I see more gray zones and colour shades.

      But yes, mostly Midrange narcissists have talked like that to me.

      1. JB says:

        AC, believe me, his other behaviours left me in no doubt that he is a narcissist! Interesting what you have said though about empaths who are married to narcissists and how they can become like that themselves. Am going to be looking out for that in my mum’s behaviour (though I think she may be more of a ‘normal’ than an empath.)

        1. Another Cat says:

          Yes many get tired and irritable from being married to a narc. No wonder they’re irritable. They’re confused and don’t know what’s wrong.

          Before HG, very few understood that it was the spouse quietly turning them into nervewrecks. Or that they can be healed through divorce/no contact.

          I definitely get that your friend must have been a narc, though.

  4. Chihuahuamum says:

    Hi HG…Im curious and wanted to ask you…when youre going thru something difficult in your life and someone tries to express empathy physically thru say a hug. What are your emotions and do you accept that hug or does it make you feel uncomfortable?
    I ask bc someone i work with i expressed empathy thru a hug and what i noticed was discomfort accepting the hug and almost i want to say fear but, moreso insecurity. This person’s a greater narcissist i think. I suspect its a mix of that they dont feel worthy of true compassion mixed with being afraid of letting their guard down and viewing that as weakness and danger. It saddened me not bc i felt rejected but bc it made me fully realise how narcissists have no true self worth. Its very similiar to a codependant who has no self esteem or worth. Same origins different outcome.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I do not regard anything that I deal with as a difficulty, merely something that has to be conquered and being hugged will not assist me in achieving that. There are limited occasions when anybody would be moved to want to hug me on that basis as I do not present the opportunity for them to do so. People may assume that a period is difficult, for example, following the death of my father, although I gave them no reason to think that it is difficult, they just equated the death of my father with difficulty. I am not interested in hugs. I do not need them.

      1. Chihuahuamum says:

        Thank you for your reply HG. Its given me a lot to think about. I dont think ill ever truely understand or relate in this regard to narcissists. Well maybe i can a bit in regards to my mother bc when she tries to be affectionate or say something nice which is rare i feel uncomfortable almost dirty. Its very hard to explain. I guess it arises from extreme mistrust. Maybe i can relate to this. Lots of food for thought!

        1. Caroline-is-fine says:

          Hi, Chi…thinking you may deeply “feel the fake” off your mother – either that, or suppressed pain re: her, from your traumatic childhood experiences.
          There are, of course, people who are just not real “touchy-feely” (for a variety of reasons) – but who are not narcissists.
          I’ll always take your hugs.😉

          1. Chihuahuamum says:

            Hi Caroline…thats a good point about the touchy feely aspect. Im somewhere in between. I guess it depends who its with. Ive known this individual for many years so when i had seen them upset my first reaction was to try to comfort them but as soon as i did it was like they caught themselves and retracted the person they were in that moment back to the narcissist. I can see why but needed to see it explained again. Youd think it would sink in lol
            Getting back to the touchy feely youre right that some people arent this way. Its something to keep in mind in the future. I never overstep tho. With this person i did give them a hug but i could tell they were very uncomfortable so i backed off and instead offered verbal support.
            I always have free hugs sending you some! 🤗🤗🤗

        2. lickemtomorrow says:

          I have the exact same reaction to my mother and thank you for sharing Chihuahuamum as I haven’t seen anyone express those thoughts here before, or anywhere for that matter. I don’t like my mother’s touch, and feel exactly the same, uncomfortable and almost dirty. I recoil from her touch and part of that relates to the falsity of it. It’s not sincere, it’s given out of obligation, for the purposes of the facade, and I can see right through it. I think you explained it really well, and no doubt mistrust lies at the bottom of it.

          At the same time, as an empath, it’s hard not to want to give our affection to the narcissist. A similar recoiling appears to happen with them, and every narc I know, male and female, has the same response. They don’t like to be touched, prefer distance to closeness, and are very hygiene conscious. For them it is a rejection of intimacy. Which is where the intimacy of sex can become very confusing. That it purely serves the purpose of fuel for the narcissist and no deeper connection is still too hard to get my head around.

          1. Chihuahuamum says:

            Hi lickemtommorow…ty for your reply! I couldnt figure out why i felt dirty when my mum would be affectionate or give a compliment but i can see parallels to what i asked HG. I think it stems from being emotionally violated akin to being sexually violated which i was as well but not by her. Violation leaves you feeling damaged and broken. It also destroys trust in others. Ive always had a hard time just accepting a compliment or feeling like i need to be modest to the point of putting myself down.
            I think the dirtiness is bc it feels fake and i feel violated by the lie of her fake affection or compliment bc of the fact shes mostly invalidated me my whole life and had me as the scapegoat. This isnt to pity myself only to understand where this dirty feeling stems from. I think its from feeling violated as her daughter the one she shouldve protected and from all the emotional abuse over the years.
            When she does offer affection or say something nice i always keep it neutral and say thank you but never reciprocate bc it would be fake. I feel no closeness to her other than the few good memories i do have of her in my childhood.

          2. lickemtomorrow says:

            Once again, I can relate Chihuahuamum. Thank you for sharing x

          3. JB says:

            LET, that’s how I feel when my dad hugs me. He knows it too, and acts like it upsets him, which makes me feel bad, and confuses me as to whether he can be a narcissist because if he were one he wouldn’t be upset, would he? Yet every other behaviour screams narcissist..

          4. lickemtomorrow says:

            JB, pity play? By your dad? If he shows all the other signs of being a narcissist it’s likely just another manipulation and now I’m wondering if you’ve organised to do a narc detector with HG for him. It’s one way to get to the bottom of things.

            I know I was extremely glad when Chihuahuamum brought the topic up <3

          5. JB says:


            I think you could be right. My dad is king of the pity plays, so I guess this could be another one. Clever isn’t it, treat someone badly then ask them for a hug and tell them you love them, before going back to treating them badly..such a headfuck. Leaves you thinking you are imagining it all, he’s not so bad, etc, etc. I haven’t done the NC on him. Not in a financial position to do so at the moment and HG has done such a great job of describing the behaviours I am pretty much 99.9% sure anyway.

          6. JB says:

            LET, I meant narc detector – ND not NC!

      2. Empath007 says:

        I love having insight to your mind HG. How completely unrelatable to my own experience. To me, a sincere hug simply signals to me that someone cares. They may not know what to say to make things better. They may not know what to do to make things better. But that’s not the point… I don’t need them to make things better or solve the problem. I just need to know they care.

        1. lickemtomorrow says:

          Beautifully said from an empath’s perspective, Empath007 <3

        2. Eternity says:

          Same here. I love giving hugs it is a part of me. If someone is sad and does an amazing job at something it shows that you are there for them.
          Second nature.

      3. Another Cat says:

        HG, do you think any school or cadre of narcissist likes receiving hugs from their wife/husband when the two are alone? After, say 8 years of living together?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          It is positive fuel and demonstrates control so it attends to two important aspects of the Prime Aims but it is not liked for the hug in itself in the way you like to be hugged.

          1. Witch says:

            Narcs are like when straight men go to a gay club and expect to be chatted up… they don’t need the hug and some may not want the hug, but they are offended if no one tries it on them

          2. Another Cat says:

            Thanks HG!
            Was just trying to figure out how some empaths endure living with a narc for decades.

          3. HG Tudor says:

            The clue is in “endure”.

          4. Empath007 says:

            Mine “liked” hugs and physical contact, because he understood
            It was a affective manipulation tactic with me. He never appeared repulsed by it at all. If anything he was constantly encouraging it. The way I see it we both received what we needed from the transaction.

    2. Eternity says:

      I agree, Narcissist dont like to hugged. If you try it’s like a hugging a tree. They will not want one. Now with Covid19 and social distancing makes it easier for them to reject it completely. .

      1. lickemtomorrow says:

        I’m going to guess a lot of narcs were rubbing their hands at having an excuse not to be close due to Covid. With hand sanitizer, of course 😛

      2. JB says:

        I’m confused now. My dad will often go to hug me, and it’s me who finds it stilted and uncomfortable, not him. I feel that way as it feels so false to hug someone who makes me feel the way he does. I don’t get why he asks for hugs and will quite happily say he loves me (putting me in an awkward position as I know I am expected to say it back but I struggle to, because I don’t, and then feel guilty) when the rest of his behaviour is pure narcissist?

  5. Asp Emp says:

    I don’t need a label. I already know. I’m good. I’m also bad. For the right reasons!

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