4 Behaviors That Unmask Narcissists

If you’d asked me a few years ago whether the person I was involved with was a narcissist, I would have answered “absolutely not.” He had none of the hallmarks that make it relatively easy for a layperson to spot a narcissist—the grandiosity, the need to be the center of attention, the haughty or overbearing remarks and competitiveness. He didn’t display the preening, the need to manipulate, or, of course, the lack of empathy. He didn’t appear to fit any of those definitions; in fact, if anything, he was quiet and not that into socializing, intent on not drawing attention to himself. He was insouciant about his appearance except in professional situations, and relatively laid-back. He was a thoughtful giver of gifts, willing to accommodate to my needs and—for me, at least—perhaps a bit too happy being by himself and away from the company of others. Does that sound like a narcissist to you? It didn’t to me.

He had other flaws I didn’t know about and discovered, none of which flashed a neon billboard that said NARCISSIST.

What I didn’t understand at the time and do now is that the narcissist shows his true colors in conflict. That point is brought out with clarity by two new books on the subject, Re-thinking Narcissism by Dr. Craig Malkin and The Narcissist You Know by Dr. Joseph Burgo (both are also bloggers on this site), and borne out by my own personal experience. Both of these authors take the position that the narcissist is, in fact, emotionally wounded. The behaviors he or she evinces are efforts to disguise or assuage the pain of that wounded self.

It’s in conflict—when even the healthiest among us becomes defensive and self-protective—that the narcissist reveals him or herself in fullness. They fully expose their lack of empathy—the cornerstone of the narcissist—because when the narcissist feels threatened, winning or succeeding to protect him or herself is all that matters, not consequences. A narcissist’s focus and determination to win at any cost underscore the shallow nature of their emotional connections—to you and to all others.

What kind of conflict shows the narcissist’s true stripes? The answer is all and any, ranging from the petty tiff to divorce court. If it’s the latter, abandon all hope of a reasonable negotiation or mediation; the true narcissist does neither. To borrow a term from the military, the narcissist’s policy is scorched earth, destroying everything and leaving nothing behind as he or she advances or withdraws—not a shred of connection or memory, respect for past connections, relationships, or the welfare of others involved in the conflict. The narcissist’s willingness to lie is nothing short of extraordinary and he or she will be completely unconcerned whether someone finds those lies out or not. It’s lack of empathy on steroids or, to put it better, aggrandized and entitled. The motto of the narcissist? “What you think of me is none of my business,” and he or she really means it.

If lack of empathy is one of the narcissist’s key characteristics, I think we often misunderstand it. Some of the difficulty may have to do with distinguishing fully between sympathy and empathy. When we are sympathetic, we connect largely through intellectual understanding and feel badly about the situation in which a person finds him or herself. Empathy is an emotional response in which we literally feel another’s pain as opposed to understanding his or her pain in the abstract. The truth is that most of us are not consistently empathic, nor are we equally skilled at this most important trait.

So what, precisely, makes the narcissist different?

The answer is his or her utter separateness. It’s not simply that he or she doesn’t feel for others and their pain; it’s that the level of connection, of attunement, is utterly foreign. Since you can be sympathetic on a very superficial level (writing a check and contributing to charity; being helpful by dropping off your neighbor’s dry cleaning; recommending your attorney to the guy who needs one), many narcissists appear quite sympathetic because they like looking good in the eyes of others. More important, they like reassuring themselves that they’re nice guys or gals. Empathy is another matter entirely.

Here are four behaviors that might tip you off to the real personality you’re dealing with:

1. Plays emotional “hot potato”

Kudos to Craig Malkin for giving this a name and for singling it out as one of the narcissist’s behaviors. Malkin identifies “hot potato” as a form of projection, as in the following scenario: You try talking to your partner about his dismissiveness and lack of connection and he responds by saying that he’s not dismissive but he’s just not willing to respond to your anger and constant complaints. The reality is that what you are saying is irritating the daylights of him—his jaw muscles are working and he’s on his way to being really frosted—but rather than own those feelings, he assigns them to you. (This explanation aligns with Malkin’s view that keeping the inner wound hidden is one of the narcissist’s primary motivations.) It’s entirely possible, of course, that if this continues, you will feel angry even if you didn’t start out feeling that way. Playing hot potato permits the narcissist to gain the upper hand.

Since the narcissist isn’t actually interested in what you feel or think—or making things better between you, for that matter—the game of hot potato will work to your disadvantage, especially if you care about him or her. You will probably feel guilty—“He wasn’t wrong, I was angry—until the moment in time when you have an epiphany and finally get it.

I’d like to add a personal observation about the game of emotional hot potato: They can play consciously to manipulate you but it can also be unconscious behavior on the narcissist’s part. In any case, what emerges from hot potato is the narcissist’s vision of what really happened and it will all boil down to one basic theme: It’s always your fault and never his or hers. The inability and unwillingness to take responsibility for actions and words under any circumstances are also narcissistic hallmarks.

2. Withdraws and then attacks if a demand is made

Some have described demand/withdraw as the most toxic of relationship patterns for good reason: It’s part of a downward spiral that often ends in the failure of the relationship. You don’t need a narcissist in the dyad, by the way, to have the pattern take over. Essentially, what happens is that one person (usually the woman, but not always) makes a demand for some issue to be fixed or addressed and the other partner withdraws physically and emotionally—stonewalling, folding his arms, etc. The pattern is particularly toxic because escalation is built into it—needs unanswered, the person demanding will become increasingly frustrated and usually louder. Of course, this simply means the person withdrawing will increase his efforts. Both parties feel aggrieved and put upon.

The narcissist’s habit of playing hot potato means that, put in the withdraw position, he or she will either withdraw or become incredibly aggressive—essentially blaming his or her partner for making the demand in the first place, casting it as sign of his or her flawed nature, etc. That’s hot potato combined with a classic toxic pattern. It not only throws the partner off, but, again, makes her more open to being manipulated into thinking that it’s all her fault. (Again, feel free to change up the genders in the description; female narcissists act the same way.)

3. Vindictive to the max

According to Joseph Burgo, this is actually a narcissistic type. To be honest, it was his description that clued me into the fact that the person I’d married was a narcissist after all. Forget meeting in the middle, settling your differences or, if you’re unlucky enough to be in a situation where you need an attorney, mediating; the vindictive narcissist will do none of the above. Lies are the arrows in the narcissist’s quiver, and it often doesn’t matter how outrageous they are. Perhaps most tellingly, the narcissist seeks to portray him or herself as a victim of injustice—not as a seeker of revenge or someone motivated to win—regardless of the circumstances. As Burgo writes:

“Because of his distorted, defensive relationship to reality, the Extreme Narcissist often believes the lies he tells, both to himself and other people. He doesn’t see himself as a liar but rather as an embittered defender of the ‘truth’ as he has come to see it.”

As Burgo points out (and as I can personally attest), the vindictive narcissist may proceed sounding reasonable, despite the fact that everything he or she says is a lie. This person will do what he or she can to impugn you, spread rumors about you, attack your reputation, or whatever else comes to hand. It doesn’t matter that none of it is true. That makes it hard fighting her or him—in an office, a community, in a family, or especially in a court of law. The usual rules of decent behavior simply do not exist.

The vindictive narcissist’s hustle often takes in otherwise capable and intelligent people, including attorneys and judges. Most of us are hesitant to believe that every word an individual utters is an outright lie, especially if it is easily discovered. But that only works in the narcissist’s favor: It’s his words against yours, after all, and he doesn’t mind grandstanding.

4. Indifferent to emotional outcomes

In my experience—as a person who has lived more than six decades but isn’t a psychologist or a therapist—most people want to come out of combative situations losing as few of their personal connections and relationships as possible. They want to feel that they have behaved reasonably well and fairly under the circumstances. That’s one reason mediation works but that’s not true of the vindictive narcissist, who could care less. If he (or she) ends up with scorched earth, that’s no big deal. He will see destroyed relationships as a necessary cost of getting what he deserves.

Of course, discovering that the person you’re dealing with may be a narcissist after all doesn’t help other than to arm you with knowledge as you think about and analyze his or her behavior. Knowing how the person responds in conflict will not only help you prepare and strategize, but help prepare you for the sorry truth. There’s probably no reasonable way to stop the merry-go-round because exhausting you (and your resources, for that matter) is part of the narcissist’s scorched earth policy.

It’s no wonder that recovering from conflict with a narcissist is so hard, frustrating, and sometimes embittering.

Peg Streep

Full article: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-support/201601/4-behaviors-unmask-narcissists%3famp

The Closet Eviction: Unmasking the Latent Homosexual-Covert Narcissist

In my experience, it IS common for a covert narcissist to be gay or bisexual and to always USE a woman as cover, (their MASK), to appear straight to the outside world. Covert narcs operate in complete secrecy. Manipulation and deception is their specialty.

A common theory regarding the fluid nature of a narcissist’s sexuality, involves their inability to maintain Object Constancy. Anyone who’s ever known a narc personally or intimately, understands the Truth of this statement perfectly…

It’s in a Narcissist’s very nature to change their minds about anything and everything–in a Split Second. They bore easily, need constant stimulation and have a hard time committing themselves to any one place, person or set of principles.

They prefer to keep their options open, while keeping their agendas hidden. Their need for constant admiration and pleasure-seeking thrills, drives them to experiment with anyone and anything–anytime, anywhere.

They do whatever feels good to them, without any hesitation. The rules do NOT apply to a narcissist. While some narcs may be completely homosexual, most of them view gender as trivial and inconsequential when it comes to meeting their needs for excitement and supply…

A narcissist has NO internal brakes to apply whatsoever. They don’t question themselves, or allow others to question them. They don’t respect others, value outside opinions or honor anyone else’s standards—and they NEVER concern themselves with other people’s feelings. They have NO boundaries and no capacity to recognize the validity of anybody else’s.

They’re elusive, predatory, opportunistic, shapeshifters; who live in a manufactured, fantasy world. Their world revolves exclusively around them and exists solely to Elevate their Status and Serve their endless needs…

The fact that so little is known about the true sexual nature of a narcissist, should come as no surprise… Everything they intentionally do, is meant to deceive, confuse and remain hidden in plain sight.

Very few people know what’s really going on behind a narcissist’s mask. Those that do, professional or otherwise, have a hard time establishing their “shifty” personality disorders as fact. They’re magicians and clever chameleons, capable of masterminding anything.

Any Disordered type of narcissist will fiercely guard their true nature and questionable identity from everyone they meet. The success of their charade, Depends on Total Anonymity. Self-preservation motivates them to manipulate or destroy anyone who threatens to reveal them…

All narcs lack a neurotypical conscience, as well as a fundamental Inability to connect emotionally with anyone. In fact, they actively distance and disengage from anyone who gets too close to them. Getting too personal or emotional with a narcissist, is the one thing they all Fear–the most.

Additionally, it’s classic textbook behavior for all narcs to exhibit an inability to feel remorse, regret, responsibility or EMPATHY… These are the very Dynamics that make it possible for a covert narc or otherwise, to be homosexual, pansexual or bisexual in orientation. They’re Uninhibited, Unrestricted and Wreckless by Nature. For them to use another individual, or a woman to accomplish their objective, is a given..

But the burden of having to live with such a Distorted, Disguised, Uncertain Reality; is a Mind-Shattering, earth-shaking, identity-stealing nightmare. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

It’s outrageously unfair and egregiously deceptive for any Gay or Bisexual man to marry a woman who believes they have an exclusive, committed, traditional and mutually understood relationship Together. She is there solely to exist as his Scapegoat, his object of constant Ridicule and his target for unrelenting Rejection.

Anyone who engages in such a practice, is an obvious covert narcissist. If a person believes they have a right to take whatever they want, whenever they want; without any fear of consequence or feelings of remorse for the damage being done: they meet the diagnostic criteria and the very definition of a Shameless, self-centered narcissist…

If a gay or bisexual man feels “ENTITLED,” to marry a woman for the sake of protecting their image and their appearance in society, what does that tell you?

It tells me they feel Superior, Entitled, Comfortable Living with Lies and that they care more about protecting Their Appearance, then they do about protecting the people they supposedly love, who’ve sacrificed their whole world to build a relationship with them… It’s a Criminal disregard for other people’s rights, that enables them to treat women like property…

The reality of being tricked and forced into such a punishing existence, is no less than HIJACKING someone else’s life completely… Any woman being fooled and led blindly into such a relationship; loses their ability to participate in a genuine, loving relationship.

Some even unknowingly sacrifice their ability to have children with these Pretenders. Eventually, these women lose all sense of direction and any expectations for having a normal relationship. Their lives are destroyed and their future is corrupted. Their identity and self-esteem have been irrevocably dismantled…

A gay narcissist never had any intentions of committing to a woman in the first place. They alone, knew what they were getting into and made that choice for themselves.

They also Choose to keep engaging in same-sex relationships on the side, while making their partners feel inadequate or responsible for the sudden lack of intimacy and understanding in the relationship.

It’s a cruel, oppressive and manipulative relationship from the start. It becomes ultimately shattering to any woman subjected to that kind of unmentionable abuse. The collateral damage this causes affected family members or children involved, is equally heart-wrenching.

If a gay man chooses to become involved, or to marry a heterosexual woman, that’s his choice. But it’s only fair and right to give any woman full disclosure and the same opportunity to make an Informed Choice for herself.

Gay people deserve all the same rights as any human being. But they don’t have the right to assume the rights of anyone they get involved with. The ACT of discriminately doing so, negates their partner’s FREE WILL and subjects them to being treated as less than human…

No one should be made to serve as a Sacrificial Shield. If you’re a gay man and you’re subjecting a woman to your covert lifestyle, you’re forcing her into the same kind of soul-wrenching, confounding, isolating closet you desperately seek to escape.

How is that not similar to making someone an indentured slave or kidnapping them and forcing them into a life of sex trafficking? Either way, it’s a Loveless, Calculated, Hostile Takeover of someone else’s life…

Unless you’ve been through this, or you actively engage in perpetrating this scam, you have no idea how devastating the reality is. I know some men cheat with other men, just to purposely skirt the laws of adultery they may be subject to, or that meet with their applied definition of infidelity. If that’s how you justify your actions, you’re the worst kind of narcissist and a truly, despicable human being…

-Jennifer Rose

Bridges on Fire: The Arsonists’ Unintentional Gifts

To walk across a bridge that takes us safely from one place to another we need it to be strong. Steady. Reliable. Supportive. True. Real.

How very lucky we are when an unforeseen, rare opportunity arises in life that challenges the character of those around us. The choice between principled right and wrong are then made. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, as painful as it can be when they fail that test miserably, it takes us on a journey into the realization of who and what matters most.

I once had a friend whose wife often boasted that her husband never burned any bridges. And why would he? That bridge may serve another purpose of benefit to him further down the road, just as she too benefitted him. The truth is he did burn bridges, they both had, they just both believed they’d never been caught.

Ironically, that same former friend (the wife) was the first person in my life to label and suggest to me that my ex was a psychological and emotional abuser. At that time of her labeling however, I just didn’t see it. She saw it, she knew it, she was the very first to identify it because she’d seen it before, but when it all reached the visible surface and hit the proverbial fan, she and her husband both made no mistaking of the crystal clear choice of where they stood, and their loyalty was always with him, no matter the truth and circumstances. They had both made that similar choice with others before. It was then I shockingly realized exactly who I’d allowed into my circle and the reality of why they were there in the first place.

Life delivers many lessons to us from many sources. Some life lessons come through professional settings, some tougher, painful ones more personally. Some lessons will come through the “tongue biters and enablers” we all encounter, and others from the toxic, tormented souls they attempt to use for their own personal gain. Sadly, these “supporters” care nothing for the troubled soul they enable. The irony of life. The ones who truly care will all disappear. You see, the troubled soul wants desperately to avoid the mirror, and that of course includes anyone who is holding one, and users will always choose the one with more money, not the one who does the right thing.

Often the few unprincipled who are left remaining have no real attachment to the people they support. There is always something of benefit to these types of people, such as denial of their own remarkably similar issues (the old saying of birds of a feather flock together), or perhaps a potential source of client referrals. Sometimes it’s an association with someone they can use on a more social basis, or perhaps for the benefit of private air travel, or simply just to boast about having a connection with them and for who/what others may believe them to be. That is of course, until one day when “The Shadow” is in complete control (See my article: The Shadow Knows) and there’s nothing left of that tormented person for them to use any longer, or they finally get caught red handed in their lifetime of lies highlighting and demonstrating their absence of character, and being called out on it. The characterless don’t like being caught and called out. That is when the arson begins.

Speaking untruths of other people doesn’t deflect from one’s own character flaws, shortcomings and true self. It always amazes me how many people don’t believe that is true. If you’re lucky, life will provide you with an opportunity for those in your close circle to either step up and rally around you for the sake of truth, character, and integrity or very quickly, undeniably show you their toxic deficit and absence of character. We don’t always get to see one’s true character come out until they are no longer able to hide it. People who wear masks will eventually let them slip. People who play roles will eventually forget their lines.

Beware of the cruel belittlers of others (as I mentioned in my previous article, “Belittle, and You Are Little,”) and pay close attention to what they say. If they say it about others, they’ll say it about you as well. It’s usually a crucial mistake to excuse or overlook their ugly, false rantings.

Tragically some people, (especially those with hidden or covert Narcissistic Personality Disorders and disguised addictions) choose to live life on the surface, creating no real meaningful or loyal connection to anyone. All people are objects to the Narcissist. They remain in an infinite re-cycling state of new euphoria of new relationships/marriages until eventual discontentment, inevitably landing once again feeling empty inside only to begin that cycle of forged connection once again. Remember, every relationship with a Narcissist automatically comes with a expiration date. They’d rather have the familiarity of failure than admit their desperate need for help with their unimaginable, life-long inner pain, personality disorders, addictions, delusions, inferiority complexes, and alcoholism. The more desperately they seek to regain credibility once it’s lost, the further they sink into proving they have none. The generational family secrets of emotional, psychological and physical abuse many have hidden for a lifetime and will go to great lengths to keep hidden from others, but mostly from themselves. Many people live in fear, frightened of any exposure that could leave them facing a mirror they don’t wish to see. Sometimes one’s good nature and honest spirit irritates the “inner demons” of others because truth always sounds like hate to those who hate the truth.

Personality disorders and hidden alcoholism/substance addiction as well as deeper more subconscious secrets can be fiercely protected not only by the one who is suffering, by also by those who benefit from its propagation. Beware of close “friends” who are aware of these conditions but continue to enable and encourage mental illness, abuse, lies, dysfunction, and addictions to grow. When we truly care about someone, we address their choices and behaviors with them, we don’t encourage them to continue those destructive choices and behaviors without counsel and accountability. When they cannot handle that accountability, carefully reevaluate them and take a much closer look.

I recently recalled a past conversation between that same husband and an ex-wife of another mutual friend. The ex-wife had pointed out to him that he didn’t have any friends who were not all much wealthier than he and his wife. At the time I thought she was unbelievably out of line and incredibly cruel. On several other occasions my former friend (the wife) had spontaneously and out of context felt the sudden need to explain why she and her husband didn’t live in a certain neighborhood or belong to a certain club. On those occasions I was confused and miffed by the repeated topic, unable at the time to follow her conversation and thought processes. I thought to myself, no one has asked you for an explanation of why you live where you live. It had never crossed my mind or occurred to me to wonder such a bizarre thing, but it clearly consumed her thoughts. Funny how time, clarity, and exposure changes things. I now see these points quite clearly for what they were. This proverbial moth sees the hidden flames.

Back onto the bridge.

Quite often it is a better, wiser, more self-preserving, self-honoring choice to walk away from burning bridges. I have learned that to simply let it burn requires more inner strength, faith, character, self-respect and courage than is needed to try so hard to put out the flames in order to save the bridge. There’s an immense feeling of complete control, an inner peace and sudden calm that results from realizing it’s sometimes better to just let it burn. It’s especially true if you’re not the one who set it aflame in the first place. Why try so hard to extinguish the flames you didn’t ignite? Why try to put out an intentional fire, an arson you didn’t set? In these moments you realize it’s far better to leave it burning, otherwise you may innocently lose yourself in the process and become their collateral damage.

Within those remaining embers, emerges a life that is quickly shifting, much like the winds that feed the fire forcing you to rise like a phoenix from the eventual ashes of an intentionally set destruction.

The bridge wasn’t as it appeared. It was carefully constructed to appear to be a real bridge, but without the real functionality and stability of one. It wasn’t strong and sturdy, reliable and steady. When you finally look closely you see it was secretly deeply flawed, cracked, shattered, weak, and unable to function and stand on its own. It is completely falling apart, quickly crumbling and rapidly growing weaker with time. It wasn’t real. The fire was inevitable.

Within those burned bridges of the past lies a beautiful rebirth and refueling of all that was unknowingly taken. We simply can’t save some people from themselves and sometimes, quite often we just shouldn’t try.

So go ahead and let it burn. I promise you’ll be extremely glad and eternally grateful that you did. In time you will see the truth of it all. Everything you had inadvertently overlooked or completely missed (until the opportunity arose for a test of character) will become crystal clear when the smoke fades. The missing pieces of the puzzle always appear in time. Always. Every time.

So again, go ahead and let it burn. You’ll quickly see the many wonderful, strong, steady, reliable, supportive, true, and most importantly REAL bridges all around you to replace the weak ones you didn’t know you had. Your new bridges along with many preexisting, reliable and remaining bridges will be better and stronger than ever before. Character and integrity truly are everything. So stay close to the people in your life who feel like sunshine, not the burning flames. ☀️

The friendship which can cease has never been real.” –St. Jerome

Grateful, thankful, blessed.

For T, N, M, K, A, S, D, G, L, W, P and to all my ever sturdy bridges. ❤️ Thank you, to eternity.

Separating the Narcissist’s Delusion from Reality

If you’ve ever dealt with a narcissist, you’ve probably experienced the sharp shock when you noticed the world wasn’t exactly the way the narcissist wanted you to think it is.

A narcissist can be a great storyteller. They captivate you with tales of personal triumphs, heroism, even selflessness. But it’s when you look behind the curtain that you discover they’ve rewritten history. Not only are they living in a fantasy, you believed all their self-mythology.

Narcissists are overly occupied with themselves. They exaggerate their achievements and use clever tactics to make themselves feel superior. Ever entitled, they tend to manipulate and exploit others, then rationalize their actions to shirk responsibility or blame. If a narcissist isn’t currently being praised, they are planning or waiting for the next moment when they will be praised.

You may imagine a person like that wouldn’t have anything good to say about themselves. What could they possibly regale you with if they spend the vast majority of their time treating other people like chess pieces? That’s where storytelling comes in. They tell you about how they helped a coworker in need, leaving out the part where they made that coworker pay for it time and again.

The narcissist has to be adept at recognizing right and wrong. If they played the bad role in a situation, they have to tweak it to make it seem as though they were in the right. When someone hangs up on them because they criticized that person’s parentingability, the narcissist tells that story differently to others. “I offered her some advice and she went off on me. That’s the thanks I get for always helping her out? She’s too sensitive.”

In this rewritten version of history, the narcissist is the one waiting for an apology — not the other way around. This is why in the case of extreme narcissism, the narcissist may be very isolated.

We have to imagine the other perspective, if we want to grasp reality. Here are a few examples:

  • The narcissist who adores their children.
    The other side of this is that their offspring never received any praise. What you believe to be parental pride is actually just bragging. They’ve got the best kids. Meanwhile their children have no idea that their parent tells anyone anything about their achievements. In fact, the narcissist may show disinterest or downright disrespect for their children.
  • It’s important to note here whether the narcissist’s adult children are in his or her life. If they’re nowhere to be seen, something is fishy with the narrative you’ve been told.

  • The narcissist who has been burned by others.
    They may tell you tales of rejection and heartache, but their ex may be someone who was pushed to the brink. For instance, a narcissist who cheated on his wife for a decade divorces her. He remains friendly with her, accepting her persisting praise and devotion while she hopes they will reconcile, until she begins dating again, at which point the narcissist feels abandoned. He wanted the ex to remain hung up on him and certainly didn’t want her to find someone new first.
  • Obviously, when you look at the whole story, it’s the ex who has every right to hard feelings. So the narcissist does some editing: “I wanted her back. Anyone could see that. In the end she actually left me!”

  • The benefactor narcissist.
    This one gives a lot of money and time to others, whether that means to charity or personal acquaintances. But they’ve never given anything without the whole world knowing about it. They aren’t altruistic, so they can’t accept making a sacrifice without praise. If they gave to charity, everyone in their social circle would know exactly how much and when.
  • If they gave money to a friend or family member, the part of the story you’ll never hear is how that person become beholden to them. They may have taken on the role of personal assistant, doing every little task the narcissist asked of them. The narcissist may make the other person agree with everything they say, bolstering the narcissist’s confidence and belittling the recipient. If the recipient fails to praise the narcissist, they will be cut off.

Become your own detective. When a narcissistic person tells you about his or her life, make sure you can connect the dots. Is there corroborating evidence that confirms what he or she told you? Look around their environment. Truly great people have something to show for it. Is this the life of an admirable person or have you entered an echo chamber of narcissistic delusion?

Sarah Newman MA, MFA

Full article: https://psychcentral.com/blog/separating-the-narcissists-delusion-from-reality/

The Troubled and The Toxic: A Dramatic Parody through Narcissism, Masking Addictions and Alcoholic Delusions

The dumping ground. Where all the unwanted things end up spending their eternity. Nothing there can grow, thrive and live well. Instead dumping grounds epitomize destruction, decay and toxicity.

Untreated, addictions however will and do grow. In fact, addictions need dumping grounds as a place to fully thrive to their potential. There cannot ever be anything there but destruction and devastation in these places that obstruct an honest, authentic, happy, and productive life.

It can happen gradually over time like a slow growing malignancy, or quickly like an out of control and deadly storm. Eventually if left to its own resources addictions will destroy careers, lifelong friendships, relationships and families. Lies, deceit and secrecy become a regular part of an addicted life. They are one in the same. Addicts will eventually find themselves shunned, ostracized and begin to draw themselves away from old friends toward other deeply troubled addicts who will enable and not pressure them to seek any help. One of only two outcomes can happen, a person gains control over the addiction, or the addiction controls them.

As I previously shared in my blog post, The Steadily Lowering Standards of an Alcoholic, “An alcoholic is someone who can violate his own standards faster than he can lower them.” -Robin Williams

And so through the advancement of the disease of addiction and substance abuse there begins a new set of lowered standards of living and of the type of people one seeks out in the dumping grounds of addiction, mental illness and substance abuse. A Narcissist can become the bigger fish they’ve long desired and pretended to be if they leave the bigger pond and swim over to a much smaller, isolated, unknowing pond where it is unlikely the truth will be discovered by other fish. It’s so much easier there where the standards are already low. Living in the mind of a Narcissist and an addict, if you feel you can’t keep up with your current charade any longer, simply begin a new one somewhere else. Going back a lifetime, the established pattern of personal failures becomes clear and is ever present.

When one chooses to dig around inside their (dark) shadow, down where the hidden garbage, filth, and disposed trash is, one inevitably ends up covered and surrounded by waste and refuse. One can be certain whatever else they find lying there on the dumping ground floor is absent of authentic value and is surely no one’s lost, misplaced or recklessly discarded treasure. It’s merely a parody of reality, and “authentically” their just reward for digging around through disposed remnants. There they will find only other scavengers. Other addicts. Other users. Other deeply afflicted, toxic and troubled souls much like themselves and they will feel relief there, for a while. Like pure, authentic rubbish if you will, they will likely stop at nothing short of complete personal, professional and often financial devastation and destruction through their poor choices and continued bad decisions. They will become so detached from reality with the advancement of time and their disorders they’ll do most anything to convince others including themselves, of the authenticity of the facade they’ve created and constructed, no matter of the eventual consequences to their life.

We all have our opinion and view of what defines toxicity. It’s often established through experience and acquired wisdom. Combining certain medications can be toxic (even lethal at times), just as many often learn in college during their first taste of adult freedom that combining alcohol types can be a very bad choice and well, quite toxic when they feel the effects into the next day. For most, that lesson learned serves them well in life moving forward.

But what makes a person or a situation toxic? People who cannot observe or maintain boundaries with others are toxic, people with unresolved issues, psychosis, substance addiction and mania can be as well. But one of the most dangerous toxic combinations from a mental health perspective is untreated alcoholism combined with a long standing, untreated, pre-existing personality disorder. These combinations such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, alcoholism or Bipolar Disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder (Sociopathy and Psychopathy), and substance addictions for instance are dangerously toxic combinations often with tragic outcomes when left untreated.

When feeling their secrets are exposed, the naturally competitive Narcissist will stop at nothing to “win” by playing the victim, usually and poetically at their own expense by desperate attempts to validate their irrational choices and convince themselves and others their bizarre behavior is somehow rational. History does not lie. Each time and through the years it is desperately revealed to those who are around them for any long period of time. When in that desperation they join forces with another addict with a long history themselves of severe personality disorders, patterned instability and substance abuse as well, it will once again be revealing, growing and festering in destruction over time. Ad nauseaum, ad infinitum.

What are delusions? Delusions are fixed beliefs that do not change, even when a person is presented with conflicting evidence. Delusions are considered “bizarre” if they are clearly implausible and peers within the same culture cannot understand them. Delusional disorder refers to a condition in which an individual displays one or more delusions for one month or longer. Delusional disorder is distinct from schizophrenia and cannot be diagnosed if a person meets the criteria for schizophrenia. If a person has delusional disorder, functioning is generally not impaired and behavior is not obviously odd, with the exception of the delusion. Delusions may seem believable at face value, and patients may appear normal as long as an outsider does not touch upon their delusional themes. Also, these delusions are not due to a medical condition or substance abuse. (1)

Some examples of delusions from reality can be falsified involvements, accomplishments, falsified relationships or connections with accomplished persons, or famous athletes or celebrities.

Alcoholic Psychosis can occur through exposure along with Delusions of Grandeur (Megalomania) and Alcoholic Delusions. These are two of several categories that fall within the scope of Delusional Disorders. Those with Delusional Disorders are often unaware their beliefs are untrue and irrational, even when faced with undeniable proof. (We will discuss these more in an upcoming article).

We learn through clinical research and individual evaluation there are numerous complex variables and deep, multi-faceted issues within personality disorders and the comorbidities/co-occuring disorders and alcohol or other substance abuses and addictions. When we can visibly see the disorders through close observation and examination of outward sudden uncharacteristic behavior, physical appearance and lifestyle changes, there is great cause for concern. When one chooses to leave their normal life, abandon their hobbies, standards, and interests and live inside the shadow as Carl Jung postulated, or as we’ve described here “the dumping ground” it is indeed a true tragedy.

The saddest part of all is not as much for the narcissist/the delusional addict, (primarily because they’ll do anything to convince, believe and attempt to prove their delusions are real), but for any healthy connections they may still have left who helplessly or possibly unknowingly witnesses the destruction as it unfolds. The only (albeit perceived) protection for the few remaining friends or healthy adult children in their lives comes from the distance and isolation they are able to create for themselves from the situation in order to attempt to protect themselves from the toxic, inevitable, eventual bad ending. There is no real protection from the bad ending as it cannot be prevented, but one can absolutely prevent it from directly impacting their own lives.

Reality and truth can certainly be disguised, covered, buried, camouflaged, hidden, denied and even avoided for long periods of time…but it always (eventually) finds its way back out to the visible surface. That’s the thing about reality and truth. Everything that is buried is bound to rise again, even if it’s lying dormant on the ground, unconscious if you will, dwelling at the very bottom of the trash heap.

(1) Delusional Disorder, Psychology Today.

The Shadow Knows: A Close Look Inside a Man’s (Dark) Shadow and Hidden Psyche.

“The Shadow Knows. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.” (Men being used here as the whole of humanity). In many cases, few truer words have ever been spoken.

I’ve chosen this title because of its significance to me on several levels. The Shadow was a popular radio show series in the 1930s that also was made into a popular comic magazine series and several movies over the decades. It is also an expression frequently used by some who are old enough to remember it, sometimes adopted into their vernacular as a commonly used catch phrase and perhaps most significantly of all, it’s completely true. The Shadow Knows. It truly does.

So what exactly is a (dark) shadow?

The “Shadow” according to Jungian psychology and postulated by Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung is the place in the human psyche where all the dark, unacceptable, shameful personality traits are unconsciously kept hidden from view. The repressed, the suppressed and or the disowned qualities of one’s conscious persona. These are the things that as the name suggests are dark, socially unacceptable, morally corrupt, ethically bankrupt and go against civilized societal norms and values. These are traits within a persona that one buries deep within them because they are well, very dark.

These are the traits that no one sees initially by the one possessing them, but over time when a balance upset is triggered and subsequently offset, (if the dark traits are left untreated lurking within the unconscious), they can begin to escape from the shadow and visibly out into view for all who know them well to see. Some examples are sexual preferences, deviant sexual interests, fetishes, breaking laws of God, laws of man, laws of the land and society, or other taboo curiosities they may or may not have acted on prior. Some of these may not be considered (by the person hiding them within their shadow) to be acceptable behaviors or expected standards of others. The balance between the light and the dark can become overturned by an upset, a life changing event or a disruption or identity ending in their life where one begins to live out what tendencies have been hidden inside their dark psyche, sometimes hidden for a lifetime. If the balance between the acceptable and the hidden (unacceptable) is shifted, one may see a person attempt to over-compensate for it by pushing the fulcrum to the other side. For instance a man who may have tried tirelessly to be a good, honorable, enviable man for many years exhausts himself into a crisis state or psychosis and begins to live inside his shadow where he is not good or honorable. These are very real traits but he has hidden them within his subconscious because they are undesirable. The shadow that he tried so hard for years to deny and keep hidden has come out. Think of it as a storage closet or a basement if you will where all your unwanted personal belongings you’ve hidden and held onto are put away and kept for years because you’re just not ready to see what’s there or sort through what’s kept inside. Think of the commonly used expression of someone having hidden skeletons in their closet. These are the dark secrets they keep locked away from view from others and from themselves. Unfortunately there’s really no way of knowing what dark things someone possesses in their subconscious until those features begin to come out of the shadow and present themselves. At that time it’s very easy to connect their new behavior with what they had professed to despise in others for so long. They will likely change friends, social circles and zip codes to somewhere no one knows them and those they do know will not be able to see what dark things they’re now living out that they’ve hidden inside their shadow for years.

There are different degrees of darkness within each persona’s shadow. Not everyone’s is as dark as some. As I said in a previous post, if one doesn’t address what secrets they hide inside their shadow, especially the darkest of shadows, one day they’ll wake up lying next to it wondering how it got there.

At a young age we begin to learn by observation and participation what is considered acceptable behavior in a civilized society and of course, what is not. Those behaviors vary depending on one’s culture. What may be considered rude or classless by one society may be acceptable or even an expected behavior in another. A quality such as selflessness for example may be expected in one culture, while another might promote self-advancement over putting others first.

When one has lived their life projecting their unconscious shadow onto others in a critical manner, it eventually causes a see-saw effect and a sudden, unexpected shift of power. The person pretending to be living in the light suddenly, without much warning becomes a person now living in the darkness. The darkness they possessed but projected onto others then becomes their life. The hatred they expressed (openly in some circles) for other races, homosexuality and homosexuals, promiscuity and promiscuous persons, the unethical, the characterless, the unrighteous, the liars, addicts and thieves are all examples of what can be inside the shadow. These are all the things that can be stored inside the shadow but once that balance is compromised, the shadow becomes their reality and they begin to live inside it allowing these dark sides to take over.

One can conclude the healthy yoking of the conscious and the unconscious would be to balance the good and the evil of one’s persona, the yin and the yang, the dark and the light, the positive and the negative. When one overpowers the other, there is chaos. When one is suppressed, like everything that is buried, it is bound to rise again.

For many of us who’ve witnessed the imbalance and sudden shifting of someone into the darkest parts of their shadow, we know how troubling and disturbing it is to see. It is however not entirely rare. The psychotic break that occurs within psychosis is indeed tragic. I have spoken with both colleagues and others who have had or seen similar experiences occur and while it is tragic, there is no assisting anyone who is unaware of their subconscious and the underlying psyche that has grown into power and is now in control as a result of the years of denial of its existence.

In order to live a fulfilled and truly healthy life it is imperative to have faced and accepted whatever is hidden deep inside one’s shadow. It is a very real part of our persona. It does not go away. The harder one tries to deny its existence the stronger it becomes. Like living in the light and denying the existence of the dark doesn’t make the darkness disappear. Looking at the world through the proverbial rose colored glasses and denying the existence of evil does not make evil nonexistent. In order to accept the good, the positive, the righteous, the honorable, we must first accept whatever undesirable traits exist within our own psyche with balance. Without this needed balance and healthy processing of these qualities one will inevitably one day as previously stated, find themselves waking up next to their shadow, and it will be a devastation for them and a fast moving downward spiral into a rapidly declining abyss and again, darkness.

The Shadow does, truly Know.

You’re So Vacant. You Probably Think this Blog is About You…

Narcissism, Grandiosity, and False Presentations.

When we think of grandiosity (as a healthy person), we may think of someone fluffing a story to make it more exciting to the listener, or the proverbial fish story of the “big one” that got away. Everyone embellishes a little at times, it’s human nature. With a Narcissist, grandiosity is an entirely different animal. It’s pathological. They present false achievements, false involvements, false associations, false connections, and pass them off as their own, sometimes going undiscovered, unsuspected for many, many years.

I know because I’ve lived it.

The covert Narcissist is truly a master craftsman at playing the victim. They are able to create triangulation through their new source once the previous one has been depleted (or their true identity has been discovered) and convince (some) they’re the victim when in reality, things couldn’t be further from the truth. They victimize.

I know because I’ve earned my degree. I know because I’m a therapist. I know because of numerous old friends, exes, relatives, and business associates who have come forward with surprising, shocking facts and secrets. I know because I’ve experienced it.

A Narcissist has no true authentic self. They hate and hide from truth, from reality. Deep down, they hate their vacant self. They hate that they feel they must take their identity from someone else, usually a close associate or friend they can falsify details of events and their involvements in them. Someone they feel has achieved a high status and enviable success. These are accomplishments and people they covet and are resentful towards for not having achieved the same level of success themselves. They will create false accomplishments online and in places where they think it can go undiscovered by the person they’ve taken the identity from. When discovered and confronted, they will deny any knowledge of it, but continue to leave it as it is, never rectifying the public lie. They know it’s there because they had it put there, they even gave speeches about these false accomplishments. Speeches that belonged to someone else. Speeches that weren’t theirs to give. They leave it there because it gives them the momentary feeling of a level of success they feel vacant of and desperately long to have for themselves.

This grandiosity is needed to create their false presentation of false achievements. Besides, they’re not going to go back and humiliate themselves by asking the people they had place the false information online years ago to now take it down. The covert Narcissist is masterfully able to hide their true identity and behavior patterns for years, even decades from those around them.

I know because I’ve lived it.

Sadly, they do not feel they are good enough as they are because deep down, (often unconsciously and even subconsciously) they see themselves as they truly are, without an authentic persona. They attach and surround themselves with accomplished persons for as long as they can and any others who will enable their false persona to continue to exist, until they are discovered and must then drastically lower the bar of their standards to keep that needed source of admiration flowing from somewhere, anywhere that doesn’t challenge them to face reality and truth. Even so much as desperately, uncharacteristically resorting to hypersexual and extremely promiscuous types that they have previously vehemently maligned, devalued and degraded. (This pattern is well documented and researched. We have discussed this common behavior in previous articles).

Each persona they create belongs to someone else and is inauthentic.

It’s much healthier and healing to bravely face and deal with what one carries around hidden deep inside of them than it is to work tirelessly to keep it hidden inside one’s dark shadow. Once it’s faced and properly treated, one has the capacity to move forward into a healthy, truthful, genuinely happy life. All the fears they hide from themselves and the world around them would be released and properly managed. What they’ve hidden from everyone for years, sometimes for decades would then be settled. The hidden dark shadow from their dark psyche. (I’ll write more on that next).

If they don’t deal with what’s there everyday existing inside their dark shadow, it’s a guarantee that one day they’ll wake up lying right next to it, wondering how in the world it got there.

So what do they so desperately not want you or anyone to see? Is it just the vacant, stolen persona and addiction they’re protecting from view, or perhaps something much, much more? Something so deeply buried in their dark psyche, they’re too ashamed and afraid to acknowledge, reveal or admit. All one can do is hope they find a way to love and accept themselves as they truly are one day, and do it in a healthy way without inflicting further damage to themselves or other unknowing victims in the future they may use to conceal their reality from being uncovered and revealed. They may also quite ironically, open themselves up to become a victim by others who see an opportunity to take advantage of them during these desperate attempts to keep reality hidden from view.

I know because I discovered it. I know because I’ve lived it.

Listen and learn. Read. Study. Even if you’re not in the field of mental health there are many great resources available. Pay close attention to your gut and to the patterns of behavior and do not ignore the pathology. Your instincts will never lead you astray. They will always tell you the truth. All you have to do is trust in it.