The Many Faces of the Narcissist
For a long time I have been really astounded and fascinated by the ability of the narcissist to have so many faces.
From a personal and professional experience I have witnessed the following over and over:
The narcissist can be a completely different person with different people, and the narcissist has the ability to wear one ‘hat’, and then take it off at lightning speed and don another.
But how and why?
What is it that makes an abandoning, self-involved narcissist who ignores, and won’t connect or pay attention to one partner, turn into a smothering, ‘joined at the hip’, jealous, controlling partner with the next target?
What is it that makes a narcissist able to be sexually disinterested with one person, and crave sex with the next?
What makes a narcissist declare that she is monogamous and has eyes for no other person (and behaves like that), yet throws other men continuously in the face of the next man she gets into a relationship with?
I see these inconsistencies all the time.
I have experienced it personally in regards to the narcissist’s previous and following partners and myself.
The first taste I really had of this was a discussion years ago with the next partner of the first narcissist, after she found my material and contacted me.
The way he consistently treated her in their relationship bore very little resemblance to the way he related to me each and every day. If it wasn’t the same man, you couldn’t believe it was the same person.
I have also had many separate people come forward in the community who were involved with the same narcissist, who also consistently report a ‘completely different partner’.
It does need to be expressed however, that in times of narcissistic rage and when the mask cracks, the behaviours of projection, devalue and discard, malicious acts, pathologically lying, zero accountability, nil conscience, hoovering and smearing are identical.
What I am really talking about is the different ‘masks’ and everyday behaviours that narcissists play out.
Commonly I experience information regarding narcissists who refuse to do certain things, or refuse to give certain things up, then automatically change with the next person.
This understandably can be very distressing for the former partner, seeing and hearing about the new relationship where the narcissist is seemingly doing and being what the former partner wanted.
Yes, of course love-bombing took place with the new partner just as it did with you. The new partner received the ‘dream’ man or a woman turning on all the charm, promises and moves to fully hook them as the new target.
But what about when the love-bombing period was over? What about a year or two later? What does that mean?
This is where many former partners think ‘Maybe she can have a healthy relationship. She gives space, and doesn’t breathe down his neck constantly. Maybe something about me made her be a possessive, controlling freak.’
….or ‘I hear that he wants to have sex with her, and doesn’t go off fishing constantly. She obviously turns him on so much more than what I did. I thought he had no sex drive – it must be something unattractive about me.’
Of course this makes people question themselves, but I promise you this – when you know the truth and realise that a narcissist is a narcissist, you know he or she IS still acting unhealthily and abusively, and you realise he or she hasn’t changed. He or she has simply changed the way to abuse.
The narcissist is a consummate chameleon – he or she will change tactics and behaviours to suit the environment and the agenda as required.
I believe the real reasons why this happens are fascinating, and as truth always does – these reasons are a powerful boost to our own healing – because they help to set us free.
Why is the Narcissist So Nebular?
The narcissist is not ‘solid’ – there is no true sense of self.
Have you ever noticed how many narcissists are fascinated by body-language (many study it and read books on it), and are always ascertaining how to effectively read their environment and the mental perplexities of people they spend time with.
Many narcissists say things like “I worked him or her out”, or “I know what makes that person tick”, or “It didn’t take long to know how to talk to that person”, or “I learn everything I can about the enemy / the competition.”
Narcissists don’t show up in life in pure, wholesome and authentic ways.
One of most favourite, favourite quotes of all time (which divinely inspires me every time I feel it) is this one by Marianne Williamson– “Just open your heart, your mind and your mouth”.
This means being fully anchored in your body in authenticity and extending outwards with an open heart of love – as YOURSELF – regardlessof your environment. Because that is the most wholesome way possible to affect the world as love and truth, and it is the most effective way to inspire it and generate it.
This means being responsible for your energy only and then expanding it. It means you are a vessel for divinity – this means you are a conduit for bringing heaven down onto earth.
This is so simple, so loving and has nothing to do with trying to gauge, fit in, manipulate, or try to twist things to your advantage.
It is about knowing your connection to the Field of Life – which infinitely adores you and supports you in the magnificent that you are – just for Being You.
When you are being this pure conduit, there is no need to try and twist and turn yourself into a pretzel to get a message across, by becoming inauthentic to try to control and manipulate the environment to your advantage.
That is exactly what narcissists do.
Divine messengers share the Source / God / Life pouring through them out into ‘The Field’. They enhance and add to Life with their presence.
Predators suck life from the ‘The Field’ to maintain themselves and reduce Life whilst doing so.
And it’s sad – it is all born from fear and anxiety. It all emanates from a total disconnection from Source / Life / God and the ‘Field of Life’, and is all about the fear of being unworthy, unloved and rejected by ‘Life’ and having to pit oneself against ‘Life’ (manipulate it) in order to be safe and met.
Please understand co-dependents who are wounded can do it too – try to gauge other people, try to earn worthiness, and try to ‘fit in’. And of course the results are painful and ineffective, because they are not coming from a true Source of Power.
But co-dependents don’t do it with the pathological purposeful deception, or go to the extreme lengths that narcissists do – and co-dependents don’t treat other people as dispensable objects the way narcissists do.
So how can narcissists spin on a dime and create and swap personalities so easily?
The reason is this: Because there is no REAL person home.
The narcissist is a False Self, a fictitious character of imagined grandiosity, magnificence and a ‘God like character’ who is above reproach (and all other humans).
There is no ‘real’ human left, because the narcissist deemed his or her inner being as unacceptable, worthless and ineffective to have needs met, hence why the omnipotent character was invented as the replacement.
Tragically for the narcissist this outrageous character created a complete egoic takeover of the disowned, starved, ignored and shrivelled up inner self and is now completely running the show.
Because this fictitious character is not real – it is incredibly fragile, nebular and cracks easily under any pressure. For all its puffed up self-importance, it can’t stand up on its own energy or merits.
Because it has no energy or merits.
The narcissist frantically tries to ensure the survival of the False Self, because it is all the narcissist has, and because it is the only buffer against the inner screams of the black, empty void of the inner self – where there is no longer any functioning person present.
How can the False Self survive?
It needs outside power and energy to survive.
Think of these two examples which are the total metaphors of narcissism – a celestial black hole, and a vampire.
The black hole keeps its existence going by sucking in celestial bodies and devouring them.
The vampire sucks blood to survive and discards the corpses.
Both the black hole and the vampire are really dead. They are non-entities – they aren’t ‘alive’, and they have to keep ‘sucking from life’ in order to keep generating a faux existence.
Just like the black hole and the vampire, if you take away the energy that is being provided to feed a narcissist their existence, then there is no existence, because there is no true existence anyway.
Sam Vaknin states “Narcissists are already dead. There is no person that exists”.
That may sound really creepy, but really what it lets us know is that the narcissist’s actions aren’t about themselves (there is no person to act for), it is all about getting energy to ensure the survival of the False Self.
What this really means is the narcissist’s actions are NOT about him or herself – they are actually about YOU.
Woohoo, again that may sound really creepy – but it’s actually empowering, because it takes all the power away from the narcissist, and brings it back to where all personal growth and evolution really takes place – which is focus on self.
And yes – you DO have a ‘self’ – and that’s why you are going to get out of this nightmare, and that is why you can completely break free from this person who is not even ‘real’.
How Narcissists Survive
There are two ways narcissists ensure the survival of the False Self – the fictitious egoic grandiose version of ‘themselves’.
The first is narcissistic supply – which is attention, acclaim, accolades, notoriety, superiority, approval, and in reality any strong emotion evoked from another being which feeds ‘significance’.
A-grade narcissistic supply includes ‘I enjoy making you feel intense torment on a regular basis – this makes me believe I exist’.
The second is the ability to project the inner self-loathing, self-rejection and dire insecurities on to someone, in order to let off the pressure cooker enough to make the ‘space’ and ‘relief’ to keep the delusion of ‘existing’ going.
You may have heard the expression ‘kicking the cat’.
Angry people lash out. Egos are judgemental, they find fault, and they are nasty, childish and vicious. The narcissist has such intense self-loathing that he or she has to hit other people’s weak spots. He or she generates superiority by making it his or her right to punish other people for not reflecting back effectively how magnificent and REAL the False Self is.
In other words “How dare you NOT feed my False Self the energy, attention, approval and significance it CONSTANTLY needs to shut up my black inner void and stop it eating me alive!”
So the narcissist automatically finds and hits your weak points in order to avoid his or her inner implosion. Revenge and maliciousness are the short term saviours.
Hitting Your Weak Spots
This is the deal….
In order for the narcissist to punish you, he or she needs to find your weak points. The places to hurt you, get you to react and supply significance whilst ‘kicking the cat’. The blindspots that you are insecure enough or confused enough about that you will hang around and take the blame for them.
I’ll use my own story as a prime example.
Many of my weak spots were to do with fear of engulfment. Fears of being taken over, abused and controlled. Fears of being distrusted, or being accused of lack of integrity or lack of loyalty or lack of honesty were also big on the list.
Because these were weak spots, predictably I was under-developed and lacked evolution in these areas. I would get triggered, fail to speak up healthily, fail to know I had rights regarding personal space or the rights to source my own energy and interests outside relationships, and fail to know that my own solid anchoring of my own integrity was the only approval I required.
So instead I would mistake intense attention as love, let people engulf with me and then when it was far too late realise I was being violated, controlled, projected onto and abused – whilst not having the ability to healthily look after myself.
No wonder I had big issues and fears around this – all to do with DNA deep ancestral wounding (inherited from females forebears) and very young childhood wounds (programming), which ensured I would keep attracting abusive engulfers into my life in order (of course) to finally have enough wake up calls (pain) to go to these wounds, face them and heal them.
So these being my big weak links (there were also many more) the first narcissist predictably honed in on them like a heat seeking missile (that’s what ALL narcissists do), engulfed with me (my powerless boundary function allowed it easily) and then started micro-managing, controlling, and was possessive, jealous and abusive whilst delivering soul-shattering accusations.
Back then my painful triggers and deep activated fear and panic caused me to NOT take ownership of these wounds that he was highlighting for me, but to instead declare my innocence and fidelity. I lectured, pleaded, begged, screamed, cried, yelled and fought and handed over tons of A-grade narcissistic supply.
Boy his False Self got a great hit of ‘I exist’ out of me!
Now his massive ‘change’…
He was incredibly distant from his next partner, showed her very little attention, and ran around with other women that she knew about. He talked about them, threw them in her face, disappeared regularly and kept telling her stuff that made her feel ‘unattractive and not good enough’.
She stayed, she hung in there just like I did…she also clung, begged, pleaded and cried.
When I talked to her, it didn’t take me long to work out that her inner emotional unhealed wounds were all about ‘fearing being left for other women’, ‘not being attractive enough’, and ‘other women having more to offer than her’.
It was no coincidence this was the deep wounding genetically from females in her family, as well as her childhood conditioning.
Being a narcissist – of course he worked this out and found the exact recipe to punish her – whilst knowing she would stay in the game long enough to make sure regular punishment could take place – which of course granted him a guarantee of having a secure ‘cat to kick’.
The ABSOLUTE TRUTH is this: When we are being delivered our wounds on a plate – we DO hang around, we DO stay in the game – for AS LONG AS it takes us to get the message and do the work on healing our inner wounds.
The dynamics of life are ingeniously engineered to grant us everything we need in order to heal, and narcissists are the grand deliverers.
And if we don’t do the work – even if we do get away, or it ends because of a final discard – the pulls, addictions and obsessions DON’T go away.
Now, do you understand why?
So let’s look at how his next partner would have been if he behaved like he did with me.
I KNOW 100% a woman like her would not tolerate for one minute a jealous, controlling lunatic – because engulfment is NOT her wound. She would be naturally very clear how unhealthy and abusive that is.
Likewise I would not have tolerated a man throwing other women in my face because that is NOT my wound. I am naturally very clear how unhealthy and abusive that is.
Is this starting to make sense?
So the truth is this: The narcissist is always going to act like a narcissist and the only way a narcissist can act, have energy or exist is to find people’s weak spots and use them as a weapon to beat that person up with.
Here’s another example that I have come across many times. If a person desperately wants ‘something’ that is extremely important to them – the narcissist will refuse it. He or she knows that hurts profoundly. Additionally the narcissist will rub that person’s nose in all the fabricated ‘reasons’ why he or she doesn’t deserve, or is not good enough to have that ‘thing’. This could be marriage, children, time with family…the list goes on and on.
Then the narcissist with the next partner, who is not particularly stressed about having ‘that thing’ can grant it. If its food for the narcissist’s image and also adds extra ‘I can keep hurting the previous partner by giving this ‘thing’ to this person’ (revenge on previous partners are powerful motives for narcissists) then as far as the narcissist is concerned that is a fabulous reason to do it.
If the narcissist is dating someone who loves dinners, and going away for weekends, and feels that is important to them and the relationship – the narcissist will resist, and find reasons to deny that to the person. Then if the same narcissist is with a person who is more of a homebody and doesn’t really want to go away or have fancy dinners the narcissist will want them.
If sex is very important to a person, the narcissist will find ways to lose attraction, and interest and may turn to pornography or other outlets to avoid intimacy. If the person feels turned off from sex with the narcissist, then the narcissist will demand it more, and additionally incite guilt and blame, and use ‘reasons’ from that person’s past to accuse them of ‘sexual dysfunctions’. The person turning off will be held accountable despite anything the narcissist did previously to hurt them and cause them to retract.
If a person wants space a narcissist will engulf, if a person wants more connection the narcissist will disappear – all the while constructing every excuse, fabricated evidence and confusion to make that person take the blame for the narcissist’s nasty, punishing behaviour, and because there is a weak spot involved, the narcissist gets away with the crazy-making on that topic.
Are you getting the picture?
How the narcissist behaves is not about him or her (there is no-one there), it is always about YOU.
The narcissist is a no-body, he or she is a no-person, and has no power and has no real substance. He or she is purely feeding off the ability to suck your energy and incite your attention to know he or she exists, and additionally you are the receptacle for the narcissist’s darkness and pain.
You are THE target for punishment.
So how do you heal and escape this?
The only truth is this – by healing your weak links, and evolving and up-levelling yourself.
Then not only will you escape the pain, attachments, obsessions, addiction and illusions of ‘love’ and ‘meant to be’, or the ‘need to hold the narcissist accountable’ – you will also become immune to narcissists.
More than that, you will evolve a vital part of yourself that was not only co-creating ‘being abused’, but was also holding you back from your incredible, expansive, flourishing, joyful, love-filled TRUE life.
See the perfection in it all?
The truth is this – the ONLY way we are going to put an end to narcissistic abuse is by taking our energy OFF the narcissist, and putting it FULLY on ourselves and doing the real work we need to do.
If we all did that and took 100% responsibility for our wounds and our blind spots (because they are ours, they are our responsibility regardless of how they got there), there would be nothing for narcissists to hook into, and nothing to feed from – and they would truly dissolve back into the nothingness and powerlessness that narcissists really are.
Then all illusions, inauthenticity, lies and abuse would end…
Then more and more people would be sourcing power authentically, and delivering love, truth, and real power and wholesomeness into ‘The Field’ to enhance and add to Life.
That’s how we stop the insanity and change our world….one person at a time.
The only person you can change is you. The only person you are responsible for is you.