The Masks of a Narcissist: a Halloween Special

What Makes Narcissists Tick (Kathy Krajco, RIP) is a blog that helped me along the way.  I have been re-reading her posts this week and I came across one I don’t remember reading and her insight in this particular post entitled, Imagine You Are a Narcissist, got me thinking about the many masks of a Narcissist.  And it seemed appropriate as Halloween is coming up.

Halloween is the one time of the year that everyone is ‘allowed’ to be someone else.  You let go of your reality to literally put on a mask or costume…pretend to be someone else.  Well, a narcissist is celebrating Halloween 365 days a year.  They are wearing a mask with a purpose…to get what they want as Kathy Krajco points out in this post (part of post below, click here for entire post).

Imagine that you are a narcissist. Remember, to do this, you must do everything you do solely for effect: to draw a reaction from others that gets what you want from them. No other consideration matters to you.

Remember also that you have this unbearable pain inside, the pain of unbearable shame. All your life you have felt like you’re inferior, not up to standards, worthy of contempt. But you keep awareness of that at bay by playing pretend that the opposite is true = that you are god and that the rest of humanity (except for the very special people like you) are dirt beneath your feet.

But every time someone in your workplace or family treats you like an ordinary man or woman and as their equal, worthy of your consideration and respect, they are challenging your precious delusions of superiority.

You HATE that! Because every time they relate to you as a man, they inadvertently remind you that you are not a god. And that makes those true feelings you have repressed surface to consciousness on you.

You must stop that from happening! So, in terror, you instantly ATTACK anyone who inadvertently says or does something that reminds you that you are not God.

You will do anything – ANYTHING – to prevent a moment of self awareness! Because you have this dark, unutterable terror that it would kill you. Really, you are that frantically afraid of seeing your true self in a mirror.

So, you are playing Pretend 100% of the time. 24-7-365.

We know this mask.  The ATTACK mask!  Any ATTACK: the subtle insults or the out right ones, the no response, ignore, defame your character, even yelling, constant criticizing.  All because we treated them like a human instead of as a superior being.

Bottom Line: You kill your pain by causing others pain. (In other words, like a three-year-old, you pretend that you can transfer it to others.) You glorify your image by trashing others’ image.

But what happens if the N does’t get what they want and we figure them out.  We figure out that they try and hurt our feelings, they don’t treat us like humans…what happens then?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what you will do. You will just switch masks. Now you put on your “victim” mask. Your “Who-poor-little-old-me?-I-wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly” act. What better place for the devil to hide? Now you whine about what a wretched childhood you had. Now, so that people don’t realize that you are just a predator who attacks any vulnerable prey in sight, you say that the victim hurt your poor, poor, tender feelings and that you were just lashing out in self defense.

They make the switch to get what they want.

After reading this I realized and understood more about the male and female narcissists in my life…more about why they were one way one minute and another in the next.  Don, a NM, believes his job is prestigious and women are inferior, etc.  As soon as something reminds him that he isn’t all that: my remarks against his chauvinistic behavior…he ATTACKS me.  Why, because I tell him that men and women are equal when he says otherwise.  If he can say that WOMEN are inferior then I can say that WOMEN are EQUAL.  But when I remind him that his words are false…he insults everything about me.  He can’t take it anymore.

The female Ns in my life play the superior complex a little differently…it depends on what is important to them…being the ‘perfect’ mom or a career woman or the most friends, best social life or clothes, house, etc.  In one or all of these things they think they are superior to everyone else!  Lydia believes she is the ideal mother.  She ATTACKS other moms she knows…subtly criticizing their methods or approach.  She is obsessed with this to the point that she has to tell people her kids are happy (twice in one sentence).  In my opinion, you don’t have to tell your friends your kids are happy.

With Marian, her job was important.  She had to be superior to everyone else.  The reality of it was that she was not.  Every time she was reminded of it (which was almost everyday at work) she threw a fit at work.  She ATTACKED her colleagues and then proceeded to manipulate managers by defaming their character.

But something interesting I noticed with Lydia and Marian, they usually claim superiority in a few aspects of life whereas Don claims superiority in everything…a god-like…manner.  However, Lydia and Marian switched to the VICITM mask often whereas Don did so infrequently.  He made excuses but he still wanted to maintain the control.  Lydia and Marian played VICTIM more often, finding this a more effective technique among people like me and other female friends.

What masks have you seen from your Ns?

Male and Female Narcissism

I became interested in the topic of the differences between male and female narcissists when I realized that one of my friends, Don, is a male narcissist.  Until that time the narcissists in my life had been female – which is contrary to much of the literature stating that male narcissism is more prevalent (75% of all narcissists are male).  I have disagreed with this and highlight the findings that I found useful on this investigation.

Is Narcissism more prevalent in males than in females?

Kathy Krajco’s Blog Narc-attack has a post entitled ‘NPD? A Male Disease?  An Adult Disease?’  She answers this question beautifully.  Females are just as prevalent and are underrepresented in the statistics.  The females I have dealt with are more vicious than the males and are more clever at coming across as saints to the general public.  The subtly of the female narcissists makes people think we are the ones that are crazy instead of them.  Dare I say I do not openly talk about this subject with many people and have reduced my thoughts to this blog.

The next question for me was:

What exactly are differences in male and female narcissism?

I read a website which explains the differences (Winning Teams).  It highlights probably the most significant difference: subtly.  Men assert their narcissism directly and females do so indirectly.  That may explain why female narcissists can go undetected and why at first it is not evident that the female is narcissistic.

With my dealings with Don he is indeed more assertive…or aggressive in his narcissistic expressions.  He hogs the conversation and competes with you directly.  He will outwardly say that his job is more complex and in higher status and pay than yours.  He says his car is better than yours.  He will tell you that you have nothing going on and he is busy all the time.

Lydia, his wife, expresses narcissism much more indirectly.  She mentions that she has a new car and tries to weave it into the conversation, she instead ever so often tell stories about her dealings with the new car.  She makes a joke about you rather than directly tell you that you have no life.  She is the queen of subtly insulting you and showing her superiority.

What is interesting about dealing with Don & Lydia is that my boyfriend is not that bothered by Don.  He recognizes that Don talks all the time and my boyfriend has to interrupt to get a word in.  However, my boyfriend is not as upset with Don as I am.  Don is more verbally hurtful towards me than my boyfriend.

Does the male narcissist treat males and females differently?

My first response was YES!  I read an article entitled ‘A man with attitude – male narcissists‘.  This explains why the wife/girlfriend deals with the worst of it.  This explained why Don would verbally attack me and not my boyfriend.  Male narcissists are chauvinistic and old-fashioned.  Don does not like the fact that my relationship with my boyfriend is one of equality.

The male narcissist measures himself (competes) against other straight men.  This usually means that he has male straight friends who have a lower status (according to his measuring stick).  They don’t have a glamourous job or a high status/paying job.  If a friend of his were to obtain a better job (or more money, etc.) then the male narcissist will voluntarily drop this friend.

The women who are dealing with male narcissists…my heart goes out to you.  You should realize just how strong you are.  The fact is…no matter what sex, race, shape, form they come in…they are all terrible and truly evil.  I hope to one day be free.

Any thoughts on the differences are welcome!

Related post: Male N or Female N – which is worse?

T Reddy