Salutations Weaponised Empaths!
You asked. I delivered.
Salutations Weaponised Empaths!
You asked. I delivered.
What if you are entangled with a Mid-Range Narcissist? How will he or she react when you decide to utilise your new found knowledge to explain to this person that they are a narcissist? What is their response likely to be? Will they accept what you are telling them ? Will they act on this revelation in a constructive way?
Like the Lesser Narcissist, the Mid-Range has no insight and no awareness of what they are. The response of the Mid-Ranger will depend generally on which sub-category he or she belongs to.
The Lower Mid-Range Narcissist
If you tell the LMRN that he or she is a narcissist and even if you try to explain it by reference to behaviours of this person and material which coincides with those behaviours, the LMRN just will not countenance it.
You can expect that if you suggest this in an angry or accusatory fashion then the LMRN’s reaction will lean more towards that of the Lesser, causing an irritated reaction because you are challenging him. However, since you are delivering this accusation with fuel, he will remain in order to draw this fuel from you, denying the suggestion and provoking further argument. The more you persist in trying to explain to him that his behaviours accord with the actions and words of a narcissist, the more he will deny and deflect all in the pursuit of the fuel that you are offering until you give up in frustration and depart the argument. The LMRN will be fuelled and content that he has seen off your nonsensical challenge. You can expect to hear comments during this argument such as:-
“I don’t do those things, stop making things up.”
“I only stay in the study when you have been horrible to me, how is that a silent treatment?”
“If you were nicer to me, I wouldn’t want to go out and see my friends as much.”
If you deliver this accusation in a no fuel manner, trying to explain it reasonably then you are criticising the LMRN. He will recognise that the behaviours you are describing are regarded as problematic, although he will not accept that they have any applicability to him whatsoever. Whereas if this was done with the Lesser Narcissist he would erupt in heated fury, the LMRN will respond with cold fury. Your criticism will wound him, his fury will ignite since he has a low control threshold over it and he will just storm away from you, fuming but not able to draw fuel from you nor seeing the potential for fuel, unlike the argumentative scenario above.
He will sulk and engage in a silent treatment in order to try to draw fuel from you. If this does not work and you persist in trying to explain your point, say by following him and continuing the commentary, he will have a pressing need to escape your criticism and halt the wounding and seek fuel elsewhere. You can expect him to leave the vicinity, seek fuel from somebody else and dole out a longer silent treatment to you. If this takes place during devaluation, as it invariably will, he will head to the prospective primary source that he is seducing and draw fuel from this person. If the other person knows about you, you will be smeared and your reasonable explanation will be portrayed as an unmerited attack in order to secure sympathy fuel. If the other person does not know about you yet, the narcissist is likely to seek fuel from your competitor by way of compliments instead.
Thus, the LMRN will either deny and stay to provoke an argument to gain fuel, or if there is no fuel available, he will try a present silent treatment to draw some from you and if this does not work he will absent himself.
The Medium Mid-Ranger Narcissist
The MMRN will seize on the opportunity to draw fuel if accused of being a narcissist. He will naturally not accept it, but if you deliver the accusation and accompanying evidence in a fuel-filled manner then he will continue the argument to keep drawing on this fuel. He will not erupt in a temper as a consequence of this challenge and to keep the flow of fuel going, instead he will issue excuses for the behaviour you challenge him with. He will deny that he has behaved in this manner, blame you instead and fail to see that there is anything wrong or narcissistic in what he does. You can expect to be blamed as being a narcissist. With sufficient cognitive function and a degree of calculating behaviour, combined with his complete inability to accept what you are saying, you will be subjected to considerable projection. The MMRN will seize on the information you present him with and concoct lies as he turns it around and projects onto you. During this exchange, you can expect to hear:-
“You are the one who goes off in a huff, you are always refusing to speak to me.”
“I don’t lose my temper over nothing, that’s your trick, only last week you went off it when I worked late.”
“I don’t bring up things from the past, you are always doing it.”
“You have some cheek of accusing me of these things when you do it all the time. Stop trying to mess with my head, it won’t work.”
“Typical. You accuse me of controlling behaviour and here you are trying to tell me what I am. You are the narcissist, not me.”
“Ask anybody who knows me and they will tell me I don’t do those things. In fact, Donna only remarked last week about how she thought you did narcissistic things.”
If you deliver the accusation of him being a narcissist in a fuel free manner, this will be criticism and he will be wounded. His ignited fury will manifest as a present silent treatment which we will punctuate with denials in the hope of drawing a reaction from you and gaining fuel. He will maintain some effort to achieve this. Never erupting in a temper but rather sulking and then stating that he is not a narcissist in the hope of causing you to show some emotion and provide him with fuel. Projection will again be engaged in.He will not need to exit with the speed of the LMRN but there will be sulking and punctuated comments as follows:-
“I cannot believe you can be so hurtful. Actually I can since you are a narcissist.”
“I cannot believe how hypocritical you are calling me a narcissist.”
“You have some cheek accusing me of the very thing you are.”
If you do not provide this fuel and continue to advance that he is a narcissist he can only withstand this wounding for a short period of time and ultimately he will leave the vicinity. You can expect a prolonged silent treatment. This is done to avoid being wounded further so that when he reappears you will have hopefully lost interest in telling him that he is a narcissist and to allow him to draw fuel from another source, which is most likely going to be the person who is being seduced to replace you as the primary source.
Thus, the MMRN will engage in argument and do so with excuses and projection. Prolonged exposure to criticism will bring about his withdrawal and a prolonged silent treatment.
The Upper Mid-Range Narcissist
The UMRN unsurprisingly will capitalise on any provision of fuel when you deliver your verdict to gain more fuel. Being closer to the Greater school, he will utilise charm and persuasion couple with the less aggressive nature of the Mid-Range school in order to work the situation to his advantage. He does not accept that he is a narcissist but he will notice some similarity in behaviours. He will therefore accept that he may behave in the way you describe BUT he will always have an excuse for why he behaves like that, be it an environmental factor (“I know I can be withdrawn but it is because I am so tired from working so hard and I am not sleeping well”) or to blaming you (“I disappear because you are so hurtful in your comments towards me and I am not going to shout in front of the children.”) Thus you will be lulled into thinking that you are making some progress because there is recognition, but this is just a form of manipulation. This is being done in order to make it seem like you are making headway but there is no real insight, merely a ruse so you keep engaging and providing fuel through the ongoing discussion as your irritation, frustration, upset and anger increase. Accordingly, if you deliver the accusation in a fuelled manner you can expect to be drawn into a lengthy discussion where there will be no acceptance and instead a continued to attempt to draw fuel from you.
If you accuse the UMRN of being a narcissist and do so without fuel, then naturally this is criticism and you wound him. He has some control and the fury will not ignite straight away. Instead, he will remain and try to draw fuel from you in order to heal the wound. This will manifest through the making of excuses, seeking to draw sympathy and then move on to projection in order to try to get an emotional reaction from you. The UMRN will have a higher energy level and a higher control threshold on his fury, so he will put extra effort in to his attempt to garner fuel from you. Thus you can expect to hear comments such as:-
“I might do those things but I am shattered from all the work I do looking after you.”
“I am not a narcissist, but I understand why you might think some of the things, not all, are hurtful, perhaps we can work something out?”
“I am not what you say I am, but I guess I have a few issues, it is just because I am so stressed. I need you to help me please. Will you help me?”
“You know, I have said I needed your help but you wont give up accusing me and do you know why that is? Because you are one and you are trying to mess with my thoughts. I don’t need help actually, you do.”
“I might do a few of those things, but who doesn’t? What we really should be talking about is your behaviour. I didn’t know what you were until you started to mentioning this narcissistic behaviours, but now I come to think of it, it is clear that you are a narcissist and we should be discussing you, not me.”
It will prove difficult in such a scenario with the initially sympathy-seeking and then projecting and blame-shifting UMRN not to provide fuel and therefore it is highly likely that he will not need to exit the scene and dole out a silent treatment because he will gain fuel and cause you to make admissions about your own behaviour not being perfect in order to deflect from discussing him. When forced to defend yourself, you will react in an emotional fashion and thus the fuel is gained.
Here we are again. In that all too familiar place. I have lost count of how many times I have found myself here. Despite my very best endeavours, my valiant intentions and earnest dedication I am stood in this hallway of despair. Some time ago this hallway was a welcoming place where polished tiles gleamed and marble pillars glinted. The air was filled with the scent of jasmine, bright sunlight pouring in through the glass dome high above. So many corridors and doorways led from this hallway, offering exciting and intriguing possibilities, new experiences and enthralling opportunities. I can still picture you when you had crossed the threshold, invited into my world and you stood open-mouthed impressed and amazed by the grandeur. With a typically generous and expansive sweep of my arm I offered you the free run of those corridors and rooms. You took full advantage of my generosity and why not? You were a very welcome and special addition.
Now look at us. Your failure has made this a cold and desolate place. The dome has suffered as a consequence of your frequent eruptions of frustrated anger, the once clear panes now either broken or smeared with the grime of your betrayal. The sun has not shone into this hallway for a long time, in fact, neither of us can remember when it last did so. The tall pillars are cracked and chipped, testament to your unwarranted assaults on our person as your forked tongue of criticism lashed out at us. The tiles are fractured and uneven causing you to regularly trip and fall to the floor, the cold slap of your downfall a stark reminder of the change that has gripped this place. You can hear the low moan of the wind as it billows, wuthering and gusting, seeking entrance through the broken windows and dilapidated shutters. That is the wind isn’t it or is it the tortured protestations of the shades and spectres which still haunt this hallway? Sometimes you see them, the forlorn figures which glide haplessly along the dirty passageways, heads bowed as they seem to be seeking something. Whenever you see them you feel a strange sense of familiarity and understanding with their plight even though you are unsure who they are. No doubt a consequence of the empathic traits which still cause you to remain here.
I let you walk these beautiful corridors. I allowed you to marvel at the statues, the ornaments which adorned the walls and alcoves, mesmerising you with their beauty. You felt loved, you felt content and you felt safe as you walked this place never needing or wanting to step back through the door that you once entered all that time ago.
Now you are sat on the icy floor, your hands clasped together and raised in a gesture of contrition and pleading. Your face is etched with wounding woe and the lines of desperation evidence your determination to remain. I brandish the heavy iron key that will unlock the dark door which looms over you and which will reveal the doorway to the cold, uncaring and harsh world beyond, a world you have no desire to return to. I hold the key as I stand over you watching you and although I hear your voice I cannot discern what you are saying. You struggle to your feet, weakness pulling at you as you pull down the sleeve of the tattered garment which you wear and you begin to rub at a nearby pillar. You spit on it and frantically try to remove the grime as if you are showing me that the damage can somehow be undone. You turn and look at me, hand still moving back and forth and I see that eternal optimism in your eyes. That look which once looked like paradise to me and now only serves to reinforce your selfishness in wanting to remain here after everything you have done and everything you have not done as you let me down. Again. The distortion that has surrounded your voice has gone and now I can hear you as you are pointing to the windows and the doors which hang from their hinges, holes smashed into them.
” This place was once so beautiful and you have let it fall into neglect, why have you done this? I just do not understand. I helped you keep it shining and in a pristine condition but then you just lost interest, you would not work with me anymore and it began to fall into decline. It was too much for me to maintain alone though heaven knows I tried, I really did. Not only did you not help me but you then started to hinder me, stopping me from carrying out my tasks, holding me back and diverting me.”
Why are you saying such things to me? Why are you seeking to pin the blame on me? Why are you trying to make me responsible for the demise of this once grand place? I shake my head and point the key at you, a clear signal of my intent. Your face twists and the tears start to form in your eyes. Perhaps they might fall into the now dry fountain and bring about restoration. Does such restoration hang from your sadness?
“Don’t make me leave, please I do not want this to end,” you plead, your eyes, which once shone with delight and joy, which are now glazed as your fear of abandonment starts to rise.
“This does not have to happen, ” you continue as you place a hand against my arm, ” let me stay, I only want us to be happy, to be as we once were. Surely we can do that? Our laughter once echoed through this place and it can again. We can repair the damage, it is not about who caused it, I can put that to one side, I just want us to be together and for us to rebuild what we once had. We did it once, I know we can again, let us join forces and re-create that wonderful time once more, let us admit sunshine and clean away the dirt and the hurt that seeks to envelope this place. We can fix the glass, mend the doors, scrub the floors and clean and tidy and make good. We can do it. I know we can. I can sense it deep inside you, I know it to be the case.”
Your words are impressive and burgeoning with hope. Perhaps it can be done but then you let us down and for that you must pay the price. That momentary consideration of allying with you and recovering what we once had is dispelled. We shake our head.
“It cannot be recovered. There is no hope to do so,” we say slowly.
A tear spills down your cheek and hovers on your chin as if unsure of where to go.
“Then let us at least pretend that we walk through gilded and fragrant halls once more. Please? We can pretend can’t we?”
Yes, we can pretend. It is all we ever do.
You think about me every day. You wait for those teasing and tempting text messages which come through repeatedly during the day and then dry up around 6pm when you know that I am home with her. Once in a while there might be a sudden text at 9pm telling you that she has popped in the bath and that I love you, I miss you and I hate being apart from you. The text also warns you against replying and therefore all you are able to do is touch the glowing screen and try to feel the sentiment behind these electronic messages of desire.
How you cherish that period around 5-30 pm when every day we speak on the ‘phone, just you and I. I am driving home from the office and I use the half an hour or so to regale you with my compliments and to issue those promises that perhaps one day I will be driving home to you. Whatever you are doing you always ensure that you are available and your ‘phone line is free in order to engage in this call. You now arrange social engagements to take place later or you remain at your workplace, ensconced in the office, appearing to be engaged in a business call, save that you smile far too much for something that is work-related. That half an hour of heaven when we talk as if we were properly together, making plans, discussing the things we like and dislike, planning the next time we can snatch some time to make love without being detected or laughing about what was discussed when we met for lunch.
You manage to arrange to have lunch with me at least once a week. We deliberately choose a place that neither is likely to be recognised in and we place ourselves around the corner and out of sight. Hands held beneath the table and then removed when the waiter nears us, just in case. Stolen kisses, lingering looks and promises, oh so many promises of the wonderful world that awaits us once I manage to free myself of the chains of my marriage.
You listen carefully and attentively, showing the empathy for which you were chosen as I make oblique references to my miserable home life. Each time you gently press for more information to enable you to understand what it is that I have to ensure. What it is that I have to put up with and what it is that has driven me into your arms. I try not to say too much at first. I do not want our oh too brief times together to be spoiled by my tale of woe, but your sympathetic ear proves irresistible and I allow you to learn of the injustices that I suffer on a daily basis.
“We just do not get on any longer.”
“She lost interest in me sexually three years ago. I am amazed I have lasted this long.”
“Nothing I seem to do is good enough. No matter how hard I try, she always finds something to criticise.”
You listen and nod. I know you are desperate to weigh in and slide a knife between me and her and cut our bonds, but the decency that you are imbued with prevents you from doing so. You even suggest reasons why this state of affairs is as it is. You are kind, generous and understanding.
You thrill to my sudden calls out of the blue. You always answer after one ring, sometimes even less, thus denoting that your ‘phone is kept next to you at all times. Your voice always tells me how delighted you are to hear from me. When we meet your eyes, your kiss, your hugs and your spoken enthusiasm cause me to soar as I witness your devotion and desire.
You experience a surge of excitement when you are disturbed by a chime in the middle of the night and see that I have managed to issue another text to you.
I cannot get you out of my head and had to let you know. Don’t reply, I am in bed with her.
The delight that you experience at hearing from me when you expected not to is tempered by the knowledge that I am with her and not you.
The weekends are hardest as you often tell me. I can tell you want to say more but I know you are fearful of pushing me away by being too demanding. I text you when I can and even managed to call you, speaking in hushed tones from a toilet cubicle or a changing room in a department store, stifling my laugh that I have pretended to try on some clothes just so I can call you.
I keep you hooked though. I know how much you want me. I know you love me and I know you want me to be loved, to take me away from the misery of my marriage. I promise you that one day we will be together. Now is not the time, it isn’t quite right at the moment, there’s a family event coming up and it wouldn’t be sensible to drop such a bombshell with that on the horizon, there is a family holiday she booked it and I didn’t know until now but what can I do? I will have to go. I keep the promises coming and the excuses flowing and still you hang on.
I know you wonder why I keep my ‘phone close to me. You haven’t said anything yet but I am not stupid. I can see the suspicion in your eyes when I wake and immediately check my mobile.
“I am waiting for an important e-mail that may have come in from the States overnight,” I explain and issue a disarming smile. You nod. You seem to accept the explanation.
You have complained how you are unable to ever get me on my ‘phone when you ring when I am on my way home. How many times have you left messages asking me to pick up some milk or to collect one of our children from swimming or football only for me to pick the message up too late?
“I need to be available for my clients. They don’t know I am driving home nor do they care; they need to speak to me. After all, if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have this would we?” I explain pleasantly sweeping an expansive arm at the large house and expensive furnishings all around us. You nod in acceptance. You understand my work is important. I tell you often enough that it is.
“I wish you would meet me for lunch when I come into town,” you say every week or so. I kiss your forehead and tell you that I wish that I had the time to enjoy lunch the woman I love but it is a sandwich and a bottle of fizzy water at my desk for me. There are targets to hit. You nod in understanding and tell me that I work too hard. I thank you and my mind drifts to what I will eat in that Thai restaurant I will be having lunch in tomorrow.
“I wish they would leave you alone,” you sigh when I turn away from you in bed after having made love to you. Your hand lingers on my back, wanting to maintain the closeness and the connection as I attend to my ‘phone on the night stand and issue a late night text before placing it face down.
“I know but it saves waking up to a problem,” I say before turning back to you and kissing you as we nestle in our marital bed.
I know you cherish our weekends together when the demands of the working week intrude less on our domestic life. I can sense you looking at me as I sit, phone in hand, a smile of contentment playing across those lips but nowhere near as wide as the smile inside of me as I fire off a tempting and teasing message.
“Just seeing if Dan is available for squash next week. Tuesday night, so I will be back late,” I say across the room by way of explanation, opening up a gap in the week for someone other than you. You smile and nod and return to your book.
“I love you,” I say suddenly and you look up, the devotion and desire burning in your eyes and it seems so familiar almost making me say something, but the thought passes and I wallow in the admiration and love that you send towards me. You have never ceased to do that.
You do not know about her.
She thinks she knows all about you.
Neither of you really know what I am.