Narcissists don’t tell the truth. It has been unfamiliar to them since childhood. From the beginning they learned to make up stories about their self importance, social mastery, intellectual brilliance, unique talents. These vignettes of greatness effortlessly roll off of their tongues. They have been practicing the art of self deception all of their lives.
Narcissists are highly secretive in their words and deeds. Everything they do or say is designed to protect their sense of perfection, self importance, superiority and greatness. This is especially the case with the classic larger than life narcissist. (This post refers to male and female narcissists).
When you enter a relationship with a narcissist it is unlikely you will be aware of how these individuals operate. Don’t blame yourself. The classic narcissist is highly skilled at attracting people to him whom he can control, manipulate and exploit. Many narcissists are very charming and attractive. They have an exciting vibe that magnetizes us to them. They know what to say that evokes a positive response within us. When the narcissist is on his seduction game it is very difficult to back off. We take in the compliments, the laser beam attention that encompasses us, the feeling of confidence that they communicate. The air is electric with their presence. It is a very believable fantasy. We are swept up by the charm offense of this intriguing individual. We are captivated and can’t let go. This is the beginning of the story for many individuals and their encounters with highly skilled narcissistic personalities.
Beneath the surface of this high level stage performance is the hidden agenda. The narcissist is seeking something from you that he must have as a narcissistic supply that will enhance his perfect image and worldly stature: your physical attractiveness, social/business status, financial positioning, your influential family connections, your education and professional pedigree. The narcissist knows how to “go for the gold” that he finds in you. He may even need to find someone of good character to play against his less than sterling moral profile.
Some readers and clients tell me that they knew before they married their spouse that he was narcissistic–self absorbed, selfish, lacking empathy, given to rising rages, image driven and lacking in emotional intimacy. Despite this intuitive sight they married the narcissist anyway.
As the years of the marriage progress, the character traits of the narcissist come sharply into view. The spouse is constantly subjected to the Hidden Agenda. Promises made are always broken. The reasons for these breaches are lies that work for the narcissist’s whims and desires. During the end of these marriages the narcissistic spouse insists that a fair mediation agreement that will be fair and amicable. Not true! The narcissist hires lawyers from hell (often narcissistic personalities) who whipsaw the opposing side into a court room ordeal designed to exhaust and drain the victim of abuse. In the meantime the narcissistic spouse secretly moves his financial resources to safety for his private use.
Making and acting on the decision to leave a narcissistic spouse permanently is a huge step. It is a difficult road to travel but a necessary one if you are going to move forward with your life and the recovery that you deserve. As you heal you know deep inside that there are never going to be any more hidden agendas or psychological ambushes.
Learn to put yourself first. You deserve this. The process of healing requires your patience and self understanding. Be kind to yourself and give yourself tremendous credit for moving ever more confidently along your life journey.