Let's Play Pretend
Let's pretend (I love those words) that we are children again. We're being Superboy or Supergirl, pretending that we can leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Then some other kid comes up and asks, "What are you doing?"
You reply, "I'm leaping a tall building in a single bound. See?"
Then he says, "That isn't a tall building. That's nothing but a stick lying on the ground."
What's going to happen? You know, don't you? You are going to get angry with him. But why?
Is it because you care what he thinks?
No, what he thinks won't even cross your mind. By that I mean that what he thinks isn't even a consideration. Shakespeare would be as likely to wonder what Hamlet thinks of the line Shakespeare is writing for him.
No, what makes you angry with your little playmate is the fact that he is reminding you that you are just pretending. He is reminding you that your fantasy isn't true. He intrudes on it with reality, making it hard for you to maintain the fantasy that you are leaping a tall building with a single bound.
In other words, he spoils all your fun.
That's what makes you mad. That's what makes you stomp your little foot at him and try to make him stop it. He is threatening your delusion of grandeur.
Now turn the clock ahead. You have grown up, but no narcissist has. You don't need imaginary friends and imaginary superpowers anymore. But every narcissist does.
He or she plays the role of you in this story: they get mad at anyone not playing along with their fantasy, with anyone who reminds the IN ANY WAY that it isn't true. They go off at anyone threatening their delusions of grandeur by not following their script in a lifelong game of Pretend.
This explains the mind-boggling fact of them punishing every good deed you do for them! By coming to their aid, you have reminded them that they are not Superman or Superwoman, so look out. You are challenging the existence of their imaginary self -- a god towering above us all, a god who could never be brought so low as to need the help of anyone.
Hence, by helping a narcissist, you humiliate him or her. Doubt that? Then just wait and see the payback you get.
They hate you for reminding them that they have feet of clay. You have seen them weak and in need of your assistance, so you aren't going to be in awe of them anymore, are you? You will gain some self confidence from the event.
They hate you far more for that than they appreciate whatever you did for them, even if it saved their life and even if it was at great sacrifice to you!
In other words, the more they should love you for it, the more they hate your for it.
There is a French author (whose name I cannot recall) who describes malignant narcissists as, above all, perverse, perverted. I think she is exactly right.
narcissistic personality disorder narcissism