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?