He has narcissistic traits, they are narcissists; the word has become so passé it makes one wonder if people understand what a narcissist really is.
Not every second person is a narc although popular culture will have you believe they are. Its possible people have more of these type traits now but a real narcissist is still in a category of their own.
You have to live with one to know one or know the signs very well even then it can take years to recognize those who travel undercover.
Unless you know something of psychology and most do not; it is a minefield as well as a costly personal learning experience.
When a friend unwittingly married a covert narcissist only realizing it some thirty odd years later, I took copious notes on top of doing a lot of research.
What I discovered was mind boggling and I’ll share some thoughts here. Where to begin? The beginning is a good place to start.
Narcissism is a personality disorder but it’s more complex than that and psychologists don’t fully understand everything about the condition.
It starts in the mind with a skewed sense of self and others; they don’t have an identity, at least not in the normal way we understand it.
Narcs have been called soulless and TS Elliot’s poem The Hollow Men rings true, they hollow at the core, they the walking dead; just passing through life.
Here’s some of his lines; shape without form, shade without colour, paralysed force, and gesture without motion. We are the hollow men the stuffed men; headpiece filled with straw. The eyes are not here, there are no eyes here.
The disorder is not only tragic for those affected with it but for those who are entangled with these sorts in a big way; either through blood or marriage.
Psychologists like to assign all sorts of reasons for the disorder except anything that has to do with the spiritual; that’s because they rationalize that along with religion it went extinct in the sixties.
An overt narc is loud and proud and manages to clear a room more often than not with their obnoxious ways; which makes them easy to avoid.
Not the case for the other variety or covert kind.
These types construct a false identity which they hide behind and present to the world to disguise who they really are. This is their ideal self the one that embodies the characteristics they wish they have; but don’t. Since they hanker after societal acceptance, they have to, because they can’t afford to reveal themselves; they would be criticized for one. For them this equals rejection.
Yes, while others construct a false identity to protect themselves usually because of abuse or something along those lines, though not a good idea either, the difference between them is the former does it in defence; while the narc does it to launch an offense, to con others in some way.
They are manipulative, have no empathy, and don’t take personal responsibility for their actions. Something is very wrong with the way their brain processes things which explains why they the way they are.
Are some more prone to it than others, and why, even factoring in the same early life experiences?
Some reckon they have no conscience others that they know what they doing but do it anyway. In some way narcs know they off, they haunted to a degree but they react against it by doubling down.
They justify themselves constantly even though it come across as illogical but to them at least it beats having to face themselves.
They choose people based on how they may advantage them. Those who are a soft touch are prime targets for example.
They provoke and press the buttons of those they in a relationship with, and dis them to make themselves feel better. It’s about pulling them down to their level so they don’t feel so alone because misery loves company and all that.
Someone described the experience with a narc like this; they suck the life out of you just like a parasite; or feed on you like a vampire.
The covert narc has a public persona and a private one and a rule that reads never shall the twain meet. Their worst selves are only revealed and reserved for their life partner and children.
Their partner ends up believing their whole lives with them was built on a sham. It wasn’t a commitment on the narc’s part but a plan. To commit would mean that something would be required from them; and they won’t do that. That’s why they’ll never change; for the most part.
They are known to be loud and dominant, well at home anyway and are prone to rages. Also they have low frustration impulse control.
Are they deviant or diabolical, maybe even both; this is the question?