Thanks Mommy but I am afraid you misunderstood.
Narcissists are characterized by incapacity for empathy, and exhibit grandiose thinking and/or behavior, mood instability, gross selfishness, and amongst other qualities, a belief that they are special, entitled to recognition and reward.
Their interpersonal difficulties in the world encourage an often angry and hostile outlook.
Sexually, they tend to demean sexual intimacy -most are misogynists and have a thwarted, and conflicted relationship with their mother - or will be promiscuous, and flauntingly so.
In either case, the narcissist dislikes physical, sexual, and emotional intimacy.
To be involved with a narcissist is an appallingly toxic and bewildering experience.
Practitioners in psychology and mental health more often find themselves caring for partners of narcissists, such is their destructive nature.
Moral injustice can among the cost society pays for failing/refusing to identify such individuals while they inhabit educational institutions, political offices, and other positions that enable their exploitation of position, privilege, power, and status.
Narcissism is almost entirely about control.
It is a primitive and immature reaction to the circumstances of a life in which the narcissist (usually in their childhood) was rendered helpless.
It is about re-asserting one's identity, re-establishing predictability, mastering the environment - human and physical.
Understanding does NOT imply acquiesing to them, but it is, as always, the critical step to arming oneself to both protect and to fight.
The narcissist is never whole without an adoring, available, and possibly self-denigrating partner.
Their very sense of superiority, indeed their False Self, can depend on it.
A sadistic Superego switches its attentions from the narcissist to the partner, thus finally obtaining an alternative source of satisfaction.
It is through self-denial that the partner survives. Often denying their wishes, hopes, dreams, aspirations, sexual, psychological and material needs, choices, preferences, values, and much else besides.
I perceived my needs as threatening because they might engender the wrath of the narcissist's God-like supreme figure.
The predominant state of the partner's mind is utter confusion.
Even the most basic relationships remain bafflingly obscured by the giant shadow cast by the intensive interaction with the narcissist.
A suspension of judgment is part and parcel of a suspension of individuality, which is both a prerequisite to and the result of living with a narcissist. The partner no longer knows what is true and right and what is wrong and forbidden.
The narcissist recreates for the partner the sort of emotional ambience that led to his own formation in the first place: capriciousness, fickleness, arbitrariness, emotional (and physical or sexual) abandonment.
The narcissist idealizes and then DEVALUES and discards the object of his initial idealization.
This abrupt, heartless devaluation IS abuse. ALL narcissists idealize and then devalue.
This is THE core narcissistic behavior. The narcissist exploits, lies, insults, demeans, ignores (the "silent treatment"), manipulates, controls. All these are forms of abuse.
There are a million ways to abuse. It is tantamount to treating someone as one's extension, an object, or an instrument of gratification.
To be over-protective, not to respect privacy, to be brutally honest, with a morbid sense of humor, or consistently tactless - is to abuse.
To expect too much, to denigrate, to ignore - are all modes of abuse.
There is verbal abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse. The list is long.
Narcissists are masters of abusing surreptitiously ("ambient abuse"). They are "stealth abusers". You have to actually live with one in order to witness the abuse.
The narcissist often does not keep agreements, does not adhere to laws or social norms, and regards consistency and predictability as demeaning traits.
These unanswered questions hamper the partner's ability to gauge reality. His primordial sin is that he fell in love with an image, not with a real person.
It is the voiding of the image that is mourned when the relationship ends.
The break-up of a relationship with a narcissist is, therefore, very emotionally charged. It is the culmination of a long chain of humiliations and of subjugation.
It is the rebellion of the functioning and healthy parts of the partner's personality against the tyranny of the narcissist.
The partner is likely to have totally misread and misinterpreted the whole interaction (I hesitate to call it a relationship). This lack of proper interface with reality might be (erroneously) labeled "pathological".
Why is it that the partner then sometimes seeks to prolong his pain? Upon the break-up of the relationship, often it is the partner (but not the narcissist), who usually is unable to find closure and can engage in a tortuous and drawn out post mortem.
Repeated abuse has long lasting pernicious and traumatic effects such as panic attacks, hyper-vigilance, sleep disturbances, flashbacks (intrusive memories), suicidal ideation, and psychosomatic symptoms. The victims can also experience shame, depression, anxiety, embarrassment, guilt, humiliation, abandonment, and an enhanced sense of vulnerability.
But the question who did what to whom (and even why) is eventually irrelevant.
What is relevant is to begin to stop mourning oneself, and to learn to start smiling again
and to one day find love in a less hopeless, and pain-inflicting relationship.
Thus, to invest in a narcissist is a purposeless, futile and meaningless activity. To the narcissist, every day is a new beginning, a new cycle of idealization or devaluation, a newly invented self.
There is no accumulation of credits or goodwill because the narcissist has no past and no future.
She occupies an eternal and timeless present. She is a fossil caught in the frozen ashes of a volcanic childhood.
Sooner, or later, everyone around the narcissist is bound to become her victim. People are sucked – voluntarily or involuntarily – into the turbulence that constitutes her life, into the black hole that is her personality, into the whirlwind, which makes up her interpersonal relationships.
Different people are adversely affected by different aspects of the narcissist's life and psychological make-up. Some trust her and rely on her, only to be bitterly disappointed. Others love her and discover that she cannot reciprocate. Yet others are forced to live vicariously, through her.
There are three categories of victims:
Victims of the narcissist's instability
The narcissist leads an unpredictable, vicissitudinal, precarious, often dangerous life. Her ground is ever shifting: geographically as well as mentally. She changes addresses, workplaces, vocations, avocations, interests, friends and enemies with a bewildering speed. She baits authority and challenges it.
She is, therefore, prone to conflict: likely to be a criminal, a rebel, a dissident, or a critic. She gets bored easily, trapped in cycles of idealisation and devaluation of people, places, hobbies, jobs, values. She is mercurial, unstable, and unreliable. Her family suffers: her children have to wander with her in her private desert, endure the Via Dolorosa that she incessantly walks.
They live in constant fear and trepidation: what next? where next? who is next? To a lesser extent, this is the case with her friends, bosses, colleagues, or with his country. These biographical vacillations and mental oscillations deny the people around her autonomy, unperturbed development and self-fulfilment, their path to self-recognition and contentment.
To the narcissist, other humans are mere instruments, Sources of Narcissistic Supply. She sees no reason to consider their needs, wishes, wants, desires and fears. She derails their life with ease and ignorance. Deep inside she knows that she is wrong to do so because they might retaliate – hence, her persecutory delusions.
Victims of the narcissist's misleading signals
These are the victims of the narcissist's deceiving emotional messages. The narcissist mimics real emotions artfully. She exudes the air of someone really capable of loving or of being hurt, of one passionate and soft, empathic and caring. Most people are misled into believing that she is even more humane than average.
They fall in love with the mirage, the fleeting image, with the fata morgana of a lush emotional oasis in the midst of their emotional desert. They succumb to the luring proposition that she is. They give in, give up, and give everything only to be discarded ruthlessly when judged by the narcissist to be no longer useful.
Riding high on the crest of the narcissist's over-valuation only to crash into the abysmal depths of her devaluation, they lose control over their emotional life. The narcissist drains them, exhausts their resources, sucks the blood-life of Narcissistic Supply from their dwindling, depleted selves.
This emotional roller coaster is so harrowing that the experience borders on the truly traumatic. To remove doubt: this behaviour pattern is not confined to matters of the heart. The narcissist's employer, for instance, is misled by her apparent seriousness, industriousness, ambition, willing to sacrifice, honesty, thoroughness and a host of other utterly fake qualities.
They are fake because they are directed at securing Narcissistic Supply rather than at doing a good job. The narcissist's clients and suppliers may suffer from the same illusion.
The narcissist's false emanations are not restricted to messages with emotional content. They may contain wrong or false or partial information. The narcissist does not hesitate to lie, deceive, or "reveal" (misleading) half-truths. She appears to be intelligent, charming and, therefore, reliable. She is a convincing conjurer of words, signs, behaviours, and body language.
The above two classes of victims are casually exploited and then discarded by the narcissist. No more malice is involved in this than in any other interaction with an instrument. No more premeditation and contemplation than in breathing. These are victims of narcissistic reflexes. Perhaps this is what makes it all so repulsively horrific: the offhanded nature of the damage inflicted.
Not so the third category of victims.
These are the victims upon which the narcissist designs, maliciously and intentionally, to inflict his wrath and bad intentions. The narcissist is both sadistic and masochistic. In hurting others she always seeks to hurt herself. In punishing them she wishes to be penalised. Their pains are her.
Thus, she attacks figures of authority and social institutions with vicious, uncontrolled, almost insane rage – only to accept her due punishment (their reaction to her venomous diatribes or antisocial actions) with incredible complacency, or even relief. She engages in vitriolic humiliation of her kin and folk, of regime and government, of her [censored] or of the law – only to suffer pleasurably in the role of the outcast, the ex-communicated, the exiled, and the imprisoned.
The punishment of the narcissist does little to compensate her randomly (rather incomprehensibly) selected victims. The narcissist forces individuals and groups of people around him to pay a heavy toll, materially, in reputation, and emotionally. She is ruinous, and disruptive.
In behaving so, the narcissist seeks not only to be punished, but also to maintain emotional detachment (Emotional Involvement Preventive Measures, EIPMs). Threatened by intimacy and by the predatory cosiness of routine and mediocrity – the narcissist lashes back at what she perceives to be the sources of this dual threat. She attacks those she thinks take her for granted, those who fail to recognise her superiority, those who render her "average" and "normal".
And they, alas, include just about everyone she knows.