Monday, October 01, 2007

Narcissism: Cheating Your Way through Life

I think this is probably obvious to anyone who knows a malignant narcissist too well, but it apparently gets past most other people.

A narcissist is someone who has decided at an early age to cheat their way through life.

Little children learn that looking good is easier than being good. Cheating for "A's" is easier than studying for them. Sabotaging your peer's work is easier than doing a better job yourself. The list is endless. (See "The Teeter Totter Game" chapter in What Makes Narcissists Tick for more on this.)

"Hey," the narcissist thinks, "I can wage a public campaign against sexual immorality all day long and go cattin' around at night. That way I get a saintly name without having to live up to that standard. In other words, I get to have my cake and eat it too. Who wouldn't do that? I'd have to be an idiot not to."

Well, that's the way little children think. Because nothing is beneath them and their minds are playgrounds where they unknow what they are doing.

Moreover, at an early age they also learn that looking good always gets you treated as good, but being good often gets you condemned as bad. Case in point: Jesus of Nazareth, condemned as evil by holier-than-thous (whom he had laid a formal sevenfold curse upon).

I know of a pair of malignant narcissists at a school who characterize everyone else there as "saps."

Indeed, who plays by the rules in a game fixed for cheaters to win? Saps, that's who.

This is why treatment does no good for narcissists and psychopaths. In fact it just teaches them ways to fake it better. They don't want to change. Why should they? Their strategy for life is much more successful than ours.

Since their grandiose egos lack even a drop of self respect, they aren't above it, either.

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At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I needed to hear this today. I am dealing with my evil ex-N daily and it is horrible. One of the hardest parts is that he does not follow any rules, no rules apply to him, everyone is supposed to accomodate him, but I HAVE to follow all the rules. He doesn't pay child support, but I have to allow him "liberal" access to the children. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. It is hell dealing with this man and I don't know how to handle someone who doesn't have to follow the rules but can use them against me and does daily. It is truly torture.

At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Their strategy for life is more successful than ours" ? I doubt that. They are miserable, unhappy, envious, never really relaxed enjoying life and learning from the company of others, competing every single day of their existence. they don't even have their own life, own personnality, own values, THEY are JUST vampires.

At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Change? Let's just say, that the N I was with scammed me out of thousands of dollars with a fake "kid with cancer/medical bills" story as well as other people who gave him cash for this "child" and it was three years before anyone knew that there was no child.

He cried into his shoes upon being found out with lots of explanations as to why he did that, blaming it on taking xanex which no one is sure he was ever even on. Blaming it on actually needing money for a child he did have but, no longer was able to see because of money he owed. Tears the size of golf balls fell and left him soaked in abject revulsion of himself. Oh yes.

He only ever paid back two thousand because he wanted something ELSE out of the situation when he indeed owed far, far more than that but, bragged about paying even that amount after a time, forgetting how remorseful he had once been. When I say bragged I mean brought it up at every turn.

A normal human wouldn't think of bragging about this under the circumstances but, an N wants credit at all times where none is due! They feel if they are meeting ANY responsibility for the things they have done they should get applause for having deigned to do what any other grown up would merely expect to do. Under these circumstances anyone would feel grateful to even have been given the opportunity to do this instead of go to prison!

No, you see this man was given a chance to pay back the money and go to counseling since he wanted to make amends so badly. This was yet another hook, another way to exploit even more later on.

He went on to become more and more abusive. ASK for more "help" financially later on and then to further say that he was only being kind BEFORE to get the help and hadn't really meant a word he said or to quote him "Those promises you say I dont' seem to want to keep. NO! I don't. I guess your right, I don't want to live up to it. And therapy? NO WAY, not now, not *insert explative here* ever. I just plain don't want to!" New supply was right there on the horizon and almost totally under his spell by then.

This was said after pretending for over a year to want to "change" and "do better" and after having got even more much needed help to set himself up and get back on his feet after a calamity he caused which was yet another disaster. This man was a walking hurricane in peoples lives and was so good at getting second chances that I wasn't the only one to try and forgive his first scam. Psychopathic ability to hypnotize people into believing in him. I never saw anything like it.

"You are the first person to EVER even try to understand and help me to find a better way of doing things. I grew up like this and I just never knew any other way but, with your help which I know i don't deserve I will PROVE to you that I will turn my life around. You deserve so much better and I know that. Thank god I know now that I don't have to have that kind of life. I never would've known that but, for you.I was just desperate and not well etc. etc. etc."

Same baloney different people and different days and he is STILL running it on his new targets but with a different twist. I was three years and a bit into this before I found out that he was lying about everything. And my greatest stupidity and regret is EVER having been brainwashed into believing he could "change" One thing they do too is say "I wanted to tell you and I didn't mean for that to happen but, before I knew it we were involved and I was afraid I'd lose you."

No wonder the new targets believe him. Most convincing liar I could have even imagined in my most outlandish dreams. Who KNEW exactly how good some con men are??

N's LIVE to see what they can pull over on you and how much they can get out of it. That is ALL they live for. There is no ability to change and the KEY is that there is no WILL to change. They cover up their shame by shoving it off on to you. Neat trick huh? There has to be genuine remorse and empathy to want to change. N's don't have either. There is no impetus for change. Their idea of change is to morph into another persona, and "change" by stealing the identity of someone around them. Nothing is EARNED.

Predators who have practiced this and nothing else their whole lives will not change. They have no feelings of true remorse the way we do so what's to motivate them to change? All they do is learn to hone the skills of exploitation better and better over time.

They learn how to cover their tracks better. They can even learn to smear you while appearing not to. "Well, I suppose I shouldn't talk and maybe she had a right to be upset but, it really hurt me when she ......fill in the blank, and after all I WAS trying to pay her back!" and you can be sure back handed comments like this one will be used to make it appear that he is being overly gracious to you again and again, while painting you to be a monster that actually MADE the N do many of the things they have done in the past.

They have been abused the new targets cry! They have never known real love! What do you expect from them when they have been treated so poorly!?!

They get away with it. They have graduated with honors from the school of opportunism. They ENJOY every bit of hell they cause and every lie they make you believe in.

They are predators as much as any wild beast is, they feed off of human suffering and attention. Asking an N to change is no more effective then trying to make a vegetarian out of a man eating tiger. You might make it appear for a while as if they have changed but they are only planning how to devour you the next time you go into the cage to feed them.

Watch out when they are "nice" or "sorry" because they are buttering you up for something even worse the next time. They believe they are perfect and everyone ELSE is to blame and YOU are the one who has to change and indeed you will the longer you stay around an N but, not for the better.

They are capable of many things beyond your worst expectations but, change is not one of those things. The only thing that changes is the abuse which goes from bad to worse.

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Who is made miserable? Them? Or their victims? Are not their victims miserable, unhappy, never really relaxed and enjoying life? Are not their victims lives often totally RUINED? Are not their victims often driven to suicide?

Come on, what does the narcissist suffer compared to that?

N get away with what they do. They steal, lie, con, and abuse ... and come out smelling like a rose, with the victim being the one who gets to take the punishing for their sin. What a joke.

I would love to believe that they they get their come uppance. For, then there would be some justice. But I have never seen it.

I know there is nothing people refuse to believe more obdurately than that there is no justice, but there is no justice.

Only during the few moments of self awareness that sneak up on them now and then do Ns even KNOW how rotten they are. But it doesn't last long, for they just jump behind the Looking Glass into the Land of Pretend again. It only happens because they occassionally don't keep themselves distracted enough to keep their repressed guilt and shame buried.

But those feelings are but a moment's duration before the N buries them again.

The pain of the victim lasts a lifetime. The financial and social damage does too.

That's just the way it is. It sucks. They sin, and the very VICTIM gets to be the one guilty and punished for it.

They become stars. They rise to the top. They rule nations. They get away with murder. I'd call that successful. It's just one of those things we don't want to believe. But it's reality.

At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, they not only get away with it they flourish in the new environment where no one yet knows how utterly evil they can be.

The worst thing they do is steal your faith in all you have ever known about your ability to trust yourself and your fellow human beings. You can NEVER be the same after they get done with you. You find out things you never knew and never needed to know. You are changed forever and cannot go back to feeling as safe in the world as you once did. You've got a tremendous mess to clean up and it takes a very, very long time. You are left too deeply wounded to just get up and get moving to pick up all those pieces.

And even when you do? A trauma like this leaves a mark on you and that is my greatest anger...that I KNOW there is a dark place carved out by the N in my heart that no matter how long I live will be there. The pain of what he did to my life will lessen but, I will have to be reminded of it every time this soul destroying mess crosses my mind. What do they care? What do they pay? I'll be YEARS digging out of this hole in so many ways.

The scammer, the con man, the one who is an abuser with a criminal record as long as my arm?? Well, he went for "help" at a drop in center for the mentally ill and a homeless shelter and within less than a year was made volunteer president of the organization. He has the promise of perhaps a free apartment from them in his future. His probation officer let him off with coming in once a month instead of once a week she liked his efforts so much. AND he has NO debt. he is surrounded by new friends and admirers there.

I feel like he waltzed off with the entire life I used to have! Surrounded by friends, great prospects, financially stable. All destroyed by the N. He has earned not one bit of this. It was stolen.

I was once sexually assaulted years ago and that experience while horrific was not as damaging as this was. And why? Because I had support and there was some justice!I did not have to endure everyone around me standing WITH my abuser and lauding him while blaming me for being assaulted. And that attack did not go on for YEARS with no let up, it was from a true stranger. Not the person I loved in my life and was closest to. Who I one day discovered was indeed a complete stranger to me!

I have never had even a parking ticket and yet they believed him over me when I tried to warn them. I was the one held up for judgment by his new "helpers"

There is no justice with them. And you are right it is something we have to face. I am glad you said it. I am tired of those who bring up "karma" Sorry, that's not good enough given what they have done and frankly I don't see it. Time and again, I have read these stories and I have yet to see the downfall of an N.

I have heard professionals say they "feel sorry" for them so it was with great relief I read your post against such sentiments. Thank YOU for telling the TRUTH of this. The entire ugly TRUTH. It is bearing WITNESS to this and really only those of us who know what they really are can do that. We owe it to each other out of compassion and to regain some measure of faith. The only thing that really heals after an N has done this to your life is the truth. We've had so little of it, and nobody hears us or believes us unless WE tell it to each other! No fake platitudes about prospects for "change" in them or "karma" BULL!

I can take any truth now. I've been through life with an N and frankly at this point sugar coating things leaves me wanting. There is no validation in it. When I read the stories here, I remember them, I recognize them all too well but, I wish I could tell each ONE of you that yes, I BELIEVE you. They ARE exactly this twisted. It is EXACTLY this hard to take.

There is no justice but the truth is what HEALS. We have had so very little of it, it's nothing but a blessed RELIEF to hear it.

At 10:06 PM, Anonymous Kim said...

This has got to be the only reason narcissists weren't deselected by evolution to die out. Their survival strategies are too dang good.

But it only seems fair that once they reproduce they should just die, there is no other possible use for them, evolutionarily speaking :D .

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Lynn said...

I tend to agree with 12.20PM poster. "They are miserable, unhappy, envious, never really relaxed enjoying life and learning from the company of others, competing every single day of their existence. they don't even have their own life, own personnality, own values."

This is true, I don't believe they are ever really happy. They are forever chasing personal fulfilment, flitting from one pursuit to another. This is where their victims are created. The Narc, believing that entering into a business deal, marrying, becoming a father, getting promoted, or travelling will be the thing that makes him fulfilled, realises that it doesn't and everyone involved gets a very raw deal, while the N appears to walk away happily and rebuild his life elsewhere with fresh supply. There's no doubt that in his wake is a handful of victims who did nothing wrong except be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The difference is the victims who are 'normal' people can see the abuse for what it was, and as hard as the experience has been on them (me included) they do have a chance to 'repair' their lives. The victims have a chance to learn from the awful mess they've been through but the N does not have the internal mechanism to repair their lives and will never find emotional happiness. In that sense, the N is doomed to forever chasing the elusive sense of fulfilment, they can't repair their lives and are hard-wired to consistently make the same mistakes over and over again.

And unfortunately, creating more victims as he goes.

At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, trying to understand their pain or lack of happiness almost feels like a continuation of the abuse. It's all about them. I don't care how they feel. I did for 17 years. Now I care about how I feel. If I had to say, however, my guess is that what they experience is less than human. Are sharks capable of being happy or sad? Probably not. They require "food/supply" and become hungry without it and satisfied when they have enough.

At 7:41 AM, Blogger Lynn said...

I have found that finding my own level of understanding {him} has helped stopped the feeling of the abuse continuing as I've understood and fixed my own feelings. It's been a big help to me thinking that he's hardwired for failure makes me see that it's not MY problem at all.

Having said that, I think we are all in agreeance that none of us give a hoot about whether a shark is happy or we're all in agreeance with you.

At a counselling session earlier this year, the counsellor told me to "Stop focussing on his bad behaviour and start praising his good." My response, "I don't focus on him good, bad or otherwise. I focus on looking after ME." Then got up and walked out.

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

How do you "fix" your feelings?

Why would you want to "fix" your feelings?

I have seen it -- on a documentary - people who manage to unfeel minor surgery! I do not think that is a skill a healthy mind acquires. They just go into a state of hypnosis. Anesthetized feelings. You can see on the brain scans taken while this is going on: some parts of their brain are repressing activity in others.

I can make it sunny on a rainy day that way. Delusion.

Yet again I say that feelings are not sins or faults or failings. The abuse doesn't go away if you just imagine you don't feel it.

This is not to say that longtime abuse cannot get us into unhealthy thinking patterns where we obsess about the abuse, thus making our feeling more painful. We may indeed have to control our mind more wisely, changing these thinking patterns so that our feelings aren't so tender.

But no counselor worth a dime advises victims to "fix" their feelings. That's just a sneaky way of blaming the victim. If he punches you, he is to blame for you feeling sore, not you. Put some mental ice on it. Try to get your mind on other things. Eventually you will. But your feelings are not a disease.


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