The SW Experts | Who Are the Narcissists that Lurk About Us?
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Who Are the Narcissists that Lurk About Us?

Man-behind-the-mask

Narcissism and Relationships/Breakups: Part 2 of a series

Narcissists are difficult to spot because they wear numerous differing masks throughout their lives as they draw in the various people they groom for varying purposes. They must hide the empty spaces inside themselves, those vacuums normally occupied by a heart and soul. They passionately cover their self-loathing which they eventually project onto us, their victims. (Either they were born that way or life experiences in their younger years tragically shaped them. They are somehow victims themselves.) The emptiness they hold within compels the constant replenishment of nourishment via the emotional energies of others. That same emptiness that does not allow them to truly love.

Narcissists are expert at hiding their true identity while they groom their new victims.

Clever, Narcs exhibit characteristic charming personalities when in pursuit, operating behind near perfect projections that many of their targets find difficult to resist.

Narcs veraciously consume all the love and adoration they can extract from others, leaving the victims drained and devastated. A Narcissist’s need in this regard is insatiable.  A Narc can never sincerely reciprocate in kind with the precious emotional commodities they determinedly seek.

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Once victims’ precious fuel is successfully depleted.

The Narc unceremoniously discards them and attention moves to the next victim … a new treasure chest of nourishment for the Narcissist to ‘hoover’ in order to fill the emptiness. Be sure, a Narc always has one or more potential victims being groomed in the wings, being cultivated to fall for counterfeit charms. The Narc will move on, neither holding us gently in their thoughts nor harboring regrets, continuing to use the energy sources that others supply. Amazingly, a Narc often will attempt to return to the dismissed victim for yet another cycle when other fuel sources are low.

Very few things in human emotional life are more exhilarating than being pursued by a Narcissist. Not many experiences in life are more devastating than being devalued and discarded by one who we thought truly loved us. A rollercoaster ride with a Narcissist leaves us emotionally gasping for life … having had our sacred inner and outer selves sucked away. Our self-esteem? Crushed.

Other metaphors can be applied to such an experience.

One is the vampire who preys ruthlessly on others. Like the emotionally drained victim of a vampire, we may be so vulnerable and wounded ourselves that we want and even consciously allow the Narc to return to repeat the ravaging cycle.

As we draw closer to someone we hope for love, truth, honesty and respect in the developing relationship. With a Narcissist, though, there should come a time when we must nudge ourselves to think and think again. As we fall more and more under control, we must wrestle with ourselves and walk away once the signaling behaviours morph into a cohesive set of red flags. Learn to recognize Narcissists:

  • They show little regard for the feelings of others
  • They are arrogant, aggressive and controlling at times
  • They are grandiose
  • They have a self-perception of being unique
  • They have a sense of entitlement to special treatment
  • They need admiration
  • They are withdrawn and mysteriously unavailable at times
  • They are critical of us
  • They insult us
  • They become angry when they are questioned about their actions
  • They have a fragile ego
  • They tell lies and manipulate us
  • They lack empathy
  • They must always be right
  • They blame others
  • They are unaware of their hurtful behavior
  • They cannot apologize sincerely, if at all

When we consider such signs we cannot imagine loving someone who exhibits them.

But somehow many of us have managed to. The narcissistic mask had been cunningly crafted to draw us in. We now must determinedly walk away, push through the pain and heal. For most of us the time will again come to seek a new relationship.

Perhaps a valuable lesson has been learned: No relationship is worth repeated, emotional, and often physically attendant pain. Unfortunately, considerable wounding may occur before the Narcissistic mask slips. Truly, ‘no relationship’ is better than one with a Narcissist.