Learn more about the narcissistic mind set and why you are up on the pedestal one moment and in the dust the next
Learn more about the narcissistic mind set and why you are up on the pedestal one moment and in the dust the next
I remember the day, or more accurately that the floodgates were opened on my promiscuity. It was when I attended a particular university for the purposes of an admission interview. It was early December and this historic and beautiful university city was lit up by orange and yellow lamps as a little mist clung to the narrow alleyways and courtyards. I had concluded my two interviews (read Fury if you want to know more about how they progressed and how one interview impacted on me) and returned to the junior common room to meet up with two other candidates. They were applying to the same college but to read a different subject to me. They were both English literature students. He was from Greenock in Scotland and she was a bookbinder’s daughter from Cambridge in England. Beer was consumed, stories swapped and the fellow from Greenock retired to his room. The bookbinder’s daughter, she was called Sarah, came back to my room and we talked before we climbed into bed together. I had a girlfriend at the time and whilst there had been dalliances with other girls I had not slept with another. That changed that night. And in the morning too. Sarah wandered away across the quadrangle to her room and I rose from my bed to seek out the bathroom. She decided to stay another day at the college because she wanted to spend time with me. I was happy for her to do so as I waited around, as was customary, in case an interview arose at another college. The following day we both departed, she to the east and me to the west and once I alighted at the train station near to my girlfriend’s house I went straight round to see her. She was pleased to see me and embraced me with enthusiasm. I returned the enthusiasm. I had no sense of guilt at my infidelity. Nothing at all. Instead I revelled in the way I had taken Sarah to my bed and now strode into my then girlfriend’s bedroom with her asking with admiration how my interview had progressed and what the college was like.
Following that first time I never looked back. I cheated left, right and centre. With that girlfriend and with all subsequently. Why did I do it? Way back then I realised how good it made me feel but I had no understanding of why I actually did it. Something always drove me to do it. I realised that the relevant girlfriend would be upset if she knew what I had done but this never stopped me. I never gave it a second thought. Even as I was locked in an embrace with some relative stranger and an image of the girlfriend formed in my mind I felt no tug of conscience, remorse or guilt. All I knew was that I was able to seduce, pull, entice and ensnare everywhere I went. I would meet someone and always find something attractive about them – it might be the colour of their hair, the length of their legs, their accent, the way they rolled the letter r, the fact they drank with a straw or the size of their breasts. It might be their enthusiasm for a particular band, their recollections of travelling or the manicured nails. Each and everyone had some kind of attraction. I could not resist trying to ensnare someone in order to bring them under my spell. It was then that I realised what it was that really drew me to them, it was the promise of their attention. I realised I was able to get them hooked on me. I had convinced myself that I was drawn to them for some other reason but it dawned on me that I was just telling myself that as a reason. A reason that I required to explain this compelling desire to couple with someone. But that was not the real reason. The truth was that I wanted their attention on me and this was the way to get it.
Yes it was pleasant engaging in that first kiss and I enjoyed the sensations that arose when the embrace escalated but it was not what I actually I wanted. I wanted them to praise me. I wanted them to become transfixed by me and for them to shine their spotlight firmly on me. The promiscuity has always continued and it does not matter who with it is the fact that I am able to do seduce and by so doing gather that starry-eyed admiration, those pleasing words and the attention. This engagement does not end with behaving in a promiscuous fashion. I will engage in discussions with a stranger of my own sex,at a bar, a railway platform or in a lift. I have no desire to seduce them sexually for that is not my preference but I do cause them to like me and in so doing give me that fuel that I need.
Often I feel like admitting my repeated transgressions straight away to the relevant girlfriend of the time but I have no desire to puncture my primary source of fuel by doing this. I do find it interesting how they always react with such alarm and distress on the odd occasion I do make such a confession. If I tell them how well I got on with a random male in an exchange at a bar, someone with whom I have swapped views, thoughts and opinions, I receive a smile and a comment of,
“Always good to make new friends.”
Yet an admission of coupling with a stranger results in hysteria even though to me these interactions are similar. Yes, one might yield greater fuel than the other but in terms of intimacy they are equally redundant. That is not why I do it. I do not do it because I want to savour the sensation of another’s mouth against me. I do it because I want them to give me fuel. I can understand how you may be aghast if in a normal relationship a partner behaves with infidelity but to our kind it just about the attention, the admiration, the fuel. You have such a great hang up because sex is involved. That is just the gateway device to me. If I could get the attention another way so that it provides such fuel then believe me I will do it. However, in your world, on the whole, the act of a sexual union accords a greater connection between two people which means you yield more fuel and are more inclined to keep providing it as you seek more from the liaison.
Our promiscuity arises to enable us to achieve fuel. From the new target who is seduced by us and from you should we alert you in some way (either in whole or in part) to our new interest. The condemnation that is attached to promiscuity when in a relationship means that your reaction just provides us with even more fuel. There is a risk of your supply being punctured by this revelation but it is a calculated risk and is often done when the quality of your supply generally has started to wane.
To us promiscuity when in a relationship is merely a means to an end. To you, well, you behave as if it is the end of the world. It really isn’t.
When you see a friend or a family member in our grip, what do you do?
I do not mean the instance where you see your replacement as intimate partner, somebody who is often a stranger to you, but occasionally might be somebody that you already know. Tempting as it may be, in such an instance, where you do not know your replacement and no matter how much you feel that you ought to warn this person, you are wasting your time.
The charming of the new victim is so intense and the smearing of you as the discarded replacement means that your chances of persuading the new victim that we are what we really are, amount to almost nil.
In such a situation you have your own defences to consider and you must leave the new victim to determine their own fate, harsh and heartless as it may sound, there is little hope for anything else.
But what of the situation where you had no or little prior involvement with our kind and you certainly had not been ensnared by us? What then where we snake our tendrils towards somebody that you care about?
It may be the case that you are sufficiently aware (and thus in a rare group of those who are so aware and observant) that you identify the person that you care about is in the midst of our seduction. You recognise the red flag (most likely because you have experienced themselves) and now you see them again, but applicable to your friend or family member. This might be that: –
– You struggle to get to spend any time with this person because we monopolise their time;
– They talk incessantly about us and how wonderful we are, making reference to how quickly we have fallen in love with them, how we want to whisk them away on a holiday within weeks of meeting or even noises are being made about engagement and/or living together with undue haste;
– Your friend exhibits that starry-eyed, breathless and almost hypnotic reaction to our charm offensive;
– Everything appears to revolve around us, they talk about what we do, what we want to do with them and what we have been doing.
You recognise the behaviours all too well. Both in terms of how the insidious tentacles of our kind are snaking around this person and also in terms of how they react.
You know what lies ahead. You know the illusion will be woven thicker, deeper and more tightly around our victim. You know how it will all turn sour as the devaluation begins and the abuse is unleashed. As undoubtedly an empathic person you have the overwhelming desire to want to help this person. You also feel obligated to share the knowledge, the “Narc Craft” which you have acquired. You may even feel evangelical about the need to prise open our grip and allow this person to be freed.
If you do decide to help, what hurdles will you face?
– You are jealous of what we and the victim have and we will invent conversations where that has been said;
– You made a pass at us even though you knew we were with your friend/sister/cousin etc. Once again this is fabricated but we do this with such conviction based on our knowledge and experience that the victim nearly always takes our word over that of somebody else
– You are trying to control the victim. A classic piece of projection where we suggest that you, as the intervening factor, are always seeking to control this person’s life. Of course you are only trying to do the right thing, but we shall paint this in a completely different light.
Faced with these hurdles, a determined and experienced opponent in us and a seemingly supine victim it is entirely understandable if you were to decide that there is no hope and you shall just have to let the matter run its course in the same way you would when you see your replacement being ensnared.
You have an advantage however.
This time you know the victim well. They know you well. They trust you.
Invariably you will only have one attempt to make them see the light. Repeated attempts to persuade them only causes you to play into our hands as the crazy-making and jealous best friend or the controlling parent.
Whereas your replacement will regard you with suspicion, the person you care about will at least listen to you. Much in the same way as dealing with a smear campaign you need to allow the victim to make their own decision. To that end you need to: –
This approach may buy them time to question what is happening. This will give them the time to reflect and work it out for themselves. If they do not see it, repeating it will make no difference, the brainwashing has been effective already and you will end up alienating yourself.
By planting a seed of consideration, reflection and doubt, you may well cause this delay to the seduction to bring out a glimpse of our true selves from behind the mask, especially if the narcissist is a Lesser or Mid-Range. The challenge to their assumed flawless seduction, the hindrance to the otherwise predicted ensnarement and their lack of control compared to a Greater may well result in the mask slipping at an early juncture, the ignition of fury and evidence of us lashing out. That will be likely to be a clincher in allowing you to adopt a smug smile and declare,
“What did I tell you?”
You do have the chance to be a freedom fighter. The window of opportunity is slim and the odds are stacked against you, but you can succeed.
If you fail on the first attempt, do not labour the point. A second bite of the cherry will not prove fruitful and you will actually cripple your ability to assist the person you care about during devaluation. Instead, be ready to be there to catch this person when the golden period ends and the devaluation commences. You may have done enough to ensure that when the battle field alters when devaluation starts that you have more than a fighting chance to secure this person’s freedom then.
The Contrary Octopus is a minion we use to keep you ensnared and under our control. He has eight tentacles of contradiction which repeatedly coil around you, keeping you in their grip and squeezing your self-esteem and confidence from you.
1. You’ve put on weight
You haven’t of course, in fact you look fantastic and we resent that because now you look better than we do. If we are inclined to take pride on our appearance we hate the fact that you are outshining us. If physical perfection is not something we tend to major in, then we are resentful of the fact that other people will admire you and give you attention and not us. We once basked in this reflected admiration, proud of how attractive you looked, but that was when we seduced you. Now we do not want you looking better than us or drawing attention away from us or even worse still attracting suitors so you might even consider leaving us. Few people are secure about their weight and with our repeated sniping, this tentacle will squeeze some self-esteem from you as you worry about how you look. You are forbidden from attending the gym or going running though, we don’t want you do anything about it.
2. You need to eat more
You don’t. You had a healthy appetite once and these days it takes more effort to swallow your meals because of the anxiety that grips you as a consequence of our behaviour, but once again the issue of weight is something we know causes people concern and therefore it is low-hanging fruit in terms of undermining your confidence. You may resist, fearing gaining weight and this will only provide us with an opportunity to emphasise how you never do anything that we want and you are so argumentative. We want you cooking hearty meals so that we can indulge in them too. We want you running around after us. Naturally we will have wrapped the first tentacle above around you last week and then follow-up with this one, pushing and pulling in order to maximise your confusion. Don’t even try to suggest we said last week that you have gained weight, you are just being awkward again.
3. You need to dress up
You are so exhausted through our manipulation of you that you rarely wear make-up anymore. It is too much effort and usually attracts some scathing comment if you do so. It is far easier to pull on those jogging bottoms and a sweat top, after all, there are so many chores to attend to, because we will not help, that you are best dressed this way for reasons of practicality. We will criticise you for appearing like this and remark how you once took pride in your appearance. This will be said to make you feel guilty for letting us down because you are our extension and you are expected to look immaculate when we want you to. You of course need to second guess when those occasions will be because you will often be caught between the pull of this tentacle and the next one.
4. You dress like a slut
You managed to order something online for that forthcoming night out. Usually any suggestion of you visiting the shops is met with annoyance and criticism by us. We remark about you spending too much time and money shopping. You needed this new outfit and it fits perfectly, elegant and classy, showing off your legs which you still remain proud of. You have spent time doing your hair and make-up and you smile with satisfaction as you look in the full-length mirror at how you still scrub up well. The smile disappears in an instant as we loom up behind you and ask you where do you think you are going dressed like that? We don’t want you going out and enjoying yourself. We do not want you commanding attention and therefore we wrap this tentacle about you and apply the pressure, denigrating your clothing choice, berating you for wearing “too much slap” and bandying words such as whore and slut around until the tears start to flow.
5. Hurry up
This tentacle will always make an appearance when you are doing something that you enjoy. If you are browsing in a shop, you will be castigated for walking too slowly and told to get a move on. If you stop to talk to some friends who you have bumped into one afternoon we will hover nearby coughing and harrumphing in order to unsettle you in front of those people before taking you by the arm and pulling you away, hissing at you that you are showing off. Whenever it involves you, you are wrenching the spotlight away from us and therefore your event needs to be over as quickly as possible. Expect early departures from parties where you are given more attention than us, from concerts when it is your favourite band playing and from family events where your supporters outnumber ours. The octopus’ tentacle will wrap around you and haul you away.
6. Stop rushing me
Naturally when it something we want to do or where the attention is on us then we can take as long as we like. It does not matter if we need to go and pick somebody up, reach the shops before they close or get back for dinner, it is our time in the spotlight and we are damned if you are going to cut it short. No matter how politely you may remind us that we need to be somewhere else you will always be cut down for trying to undermines us and rushing us. It will provide us with the basis for criticism, even though we have stood in the bar for an hour longer than necessary regaling our coterie with stories of our brilliance.
7. Shut up
Nothing you say has any value. Who are you anyway? You are nothing without me so shut up and listen. Do not dare to speak and point out my many faults and contradictions, you are not allowed to do that. You are not permitted your own voice or opinion, those are denied to you. Mine is the only voice that must be heard, strident and bragging. You are not allowed to defend yourself when I am wrongly accusing you of something. You are not allowed to talk when I am reading, flirting online, watching a television programme or staring into space as I plot my next move. Your silence is expected and when I tell you to shut up, you had better do it.
8. Well, say something
What’s wrong with you? Speak. Anybody would think that you are not allowed to say something. You stand there mute and idiotic. You are making me look stupid by not joining in with the conversation. This is my evening remember and you had better shine and sparkle so everyone realises how great I am by choosing you. Make them laugh, say something of note and don’t embarrass me. Make sure you speak highly of me and keep the praise going, laugh at my jokes, prompt the praise and fulfil your role as my number one cheerleader. Don’t ever stand there in silence when I am ruling the roost. What do you mean I just told you to be quiet? Don’t start with those games again, how many times have I warned you?
Vent your spleen. Have your say. Give us both barrels. Let us know what you really think. Such sentiments towards my kind are entirely understandable and they invariably occur post discard and sometimes post escape. There are differing rationales associated with this almost overwhelming need to speak to us about your experience of being entangled with our kind.
1. Anger. You realise how you have been manipulated, abused and taken for a fool. Your anger is substantial and you feel a pressing need to unleash that anger against us with a litany of insults and some choice language.
2. Enlightenment. You have had your epiphany and realised precisely what ensnared you, how it happened and why. You have seized this knowledge and now feel elated that you have done so. There is a sense of superiority in finally having all the pieces of the puzzle click into place and you want to confront us. You may not actually tell us what we are but you will certainly want to use the words, “I know what you are now.”
3. Unfinished Business Part One. Nearly all discards occur without you being told that the Formal Relationship is over and if you are given such notice you are rarely given any proper or adequate explanation as to why this has happened. This results in the need to confront us at a later stage in order to try to find out why what has happened, has happened.
4. Unfinished Business Part Two. This is akin to the situation above but the basis of this confrontation is in order to demand of us how we could do what we did and address your need to have us explain ourselves for what we did during the relationship.
5. To Understand. You do not know what you were entangled with and you are unable to comprehend how somebody could behave in that manner towards you after everything that you did for us. This tirade details all of the help you gave us, the advantages that you conferred on us and each and every thing you did for us in the name of love.
6. Clear the Smear. Predictably enough, you will have been smeared following your entanglement with us. You have heard all about the lies that have been peddled about you and you want to set us straight about how those comments were wrong, that you did not behave in the manner which we have described to other people and ultimately how you need to clear your name.
7. The Right to Be Heard. You have a significant desire to want to be heard, especially as our manipulation of you will have caused you to feel that you have not been listened to during the Formal Relationship. You want your voice to be heard, you need to articulate your thoughts and feelings and an opportunity to avail yourself of discharging this need is too good to pass up.
8. Convey the Pain. You remain horrendously wounded by your experience of being entangled with us and you want to let us know how badly we hurt you, how much it pains you still and how upset you are to have been treated this way.
9. Sing the Praises. Sometimes you exhibit a capacity for nobility which manages to transcend the hurt, the pain and the anger. You remain bewitched by the golden period and all those magnificent attributes that you believe we still possess and therefore rather than attack us, expound bitterness or lash out, you declare all the reasons why you still love us, why you find us mesmerising despite what has happened and you wish us well for the future.
10. Justice. It is only right that are given the right of reply to the treatment that has been meted out against you.
11. Medicine. You put up with the tantrums, the lengthy invectives, the oral onslaughts and you were pummelled by our words. Now it is the time to give us a taste of our own medicine.
Whatever the motivation may be, your need and desire to have that final confrontation with us, to purge yourself of all those thoughts and considerations is huge and is very difficult for you to resist. Indeed, most of the time you do not resist it at all, instead you look to engineer situations whereby you are able to speak to us and deliver this tirade, this riposte, this howitzer. You will seek us out in order to provide us with a piece of your mind. Is this a good thing? Well, there are two potential upsides when this is looked at from your perspective. The first is that you are able to get things off your chest. All those thoughts which have whirled around your mind for weeks on end, the ifs and buts which prevented you from sleeping, the imponderables and the unanswered have been released as you allow your words to explode from you in an outburst of emotion applicable to whichever rationale which has driven you to this point. The second is that you may well feel that you have achieved some kind of closure by engaging in this step of giving us a piece of your mind.
But what about our perspective on all of this? What does this blast, this sounding off and this diatribe mean to us? This is where giving a piece of your mind in such a manner is actually not a good thing for you to do. Why is this?
1. Sounding off in such an emotional manner, whether it is insulting us with angry words, crying with pain, savagely mauling us with a sneering and twisted face or even expressing how you still love us, just provides us with fuel and it is plentiful. You may have collared us on the telephone to vent at us. Anybody normal would end the call as they are repeatedly harangued and insulted, but not us, we will listen as we soak up all that fuel. Yes, we will be argumentative, defensive and belligerent but that is just to keep your tirade going owing to the plentiful fuel you are providing to us.
2. This is a prime opportunity for us to hoover you. If we see you are angry, we may express false contrition, if you are hurt and upset we may declare how we will make changes so everything is right, if you reminisce about our wonderful times we will offer that golden period again to you. You are giving us a glorious opportunity to hoover you and in your heightened emotional state there is a good chance this will succeed.
3. If we do not hoover at this point, you have just given us several reasons to execute a hoover at a later juncture by confirming to us that you remain adrift in the emotional state, you are fountaining with fuel and still beholden to us. The signs are good and it all points to a successful hoover in the near future.
4. You confirm to us that you have failed to grasp the logic and reason of the situation and therefore your defences are weak. This means that further manipulations can be used and they will prove effective in terms of fuel and control.
5. We take no notice of what you are actually saying. You may think that your speech is devastating, that you are landing telling blows on us, that you are assassinating our character and making us look terrible. You are not. You are playing into our hands. We are laughing at you inside.
6. You are confirming that we continue to have considerable control over you. We may be busy with a new primary source but this confirmation acts as a green light to further unleashing of manipulations against you because you are not able to let go.
The temptation to give us a piece of your mind is vast and overwhelming but if done in the usual emotional fashion of the typical empathic individual you are just giving us more of what we want, failing to hurt us and extending your own entanglement with us.
Recognise the abuse and understand why it happens to you