Narcissists are actors playing a role. These different roles that they so efficiently change in to are what is called “narcissist masks”. I want you to think of a narcissist as a chameleon that can change in to another role based on who they are with.
It is the ultimate con job.
One of the primary reasons behind this emptiness is her inability to “be put on record” of her stance. Because the narcissist needs to be able to be all things to all people according to her surroundings, to do otherwise would, in the mind of a narcissist, be caught between Scylla and Charybdis.
There will be lot’s of memory loss, forgetfulness and gaslighting if a conflict of memory arises. This is why conversations and interactions with the deceptive narcissist must be witnessed or recorded if dealing with these people is an absolute necessity.
Because I want other’s to stay safe, sane, and aware, I’m writing this with 1st hand experience through many years in dealing with them. They will come disguised as lovers, friends, and yes, even family members, or you may have had a narcissist parent or primary caregiver.
They will be wives/husbands, co-workers, neighbors, supervisors and business partners. I’ve been introduced to them, dated them, and run across them in business and networking events. They can make your life absolutely miserable with their penchant for total dishonesty.
“Whenever there is a level of perfectionism in a person, they are covering for something that not only isn’t glamorous, but is, in fact, quite ugly.”
As you fall for the charm, and the perfect words that paint a picture of honesty, confidence, and sound social mores, they reel you in to their control. What they see in you is a source of “narcissist supply”, and have no need for the person other than to acquire what they want from you. It will be either sex, money, power or influence.
The narcissist is in a perpetual game of chess, with a shrewd eye on winning at all cost. They move people around the board and dispose of them as pawns of unwanted objects at their whim. They play for keeps and plan their strategy well in advance, in secrecy and with cunning.
“When a Narcissist can no longer control you, they will control how others perceive you”
Fail to live up to the silent demands that are placed upon you by a narcissist and you will be discarded like list weeks garbage. And if they are threatened by your honesty or strength of character, they will destroy everything that they fear by all possible means. Their loyalty is to themselves, only. With that said, they may display a mask of false loyalty to a partner or enabler, but ultimately, they too, will be discarded.
Beware of False Generosity and Unsolicited Favors
I’d like to focus on the narcissist who uses financial “generosity” as a weapon of control – to malign and blackmail those who are recipients of his gifts. Having managed to amass some measure of financial success for themselves, the “financially generous” narcissist uses this as means to financially abuse people.
And when they fear a loss of control over the malevolent offering, reminders that a favor had been done for you is a tell all sign that there was an ulterior motive behind the favor given. The favor wasn’t done out of the goodness of their heart, but as a controlling and blackmailing tactic used to covertly malign your character.
The cunning deceptiveness of the narcissist giver gives her the ability to come across as emphatic, or generous, which on the surface is an admirable human trait that displays charity. It also provides for another mask of deceit. But like any mask the narcissist chooses to wear, the narcissist lets his mask slip around those closest to him.
The Mask Slips
The mask of the malignant narcissist will slip to reveal her empty void very quickly. The signs to look for are in the eyes, as you will notice a shift of light to darkness. A grimace of her eyes will be perceptible, also. Catch her when she is “off stage” and you will see a darkness where there was once her performance mask.
You have just spotted her “wound”, the false self that she discarded and replaced with her game face. But beware, this window will close itself as fast as it was revealed.
By experience, it would be wise to say nothing more and to silently plan on an exit from any relationship that you may have – including familial. Once their “false self” is threatened, you can expect chaos to creep into your world where there was none before.
The malignant narcissist is machiavellian in her nature. Any interpersonal relationships are manipulated to her end desire. She cares NOT if they are husbands, siblings, parents, or acquaintances – her only need is to fill her void with positive reinforcements that are able to project her omnipotence.
They are masters at deception and have been studying normal people for a very long time. And like a wounded animal backed in to a corner, they WILL attack with a viciousness that will leave you shaken to your core.
This, I’ve experienced. This, I know.
A Mask of Perfection
The covert narcissist can be extremely difficult to spot in a social setting, for some reasons that we earlier discussed – their absolute need to put on a game face, using charm, graciousness, and easily laughing or making well timed comments that displays a high level of social intelligence. You’re taken by the charm and lowered your defenses, and agreed to the proposal at hand.
What you failed to understand is that you are being played by a highly skilled social predator who is in need of her narcissist supply to continue on with her existence. She portrays a glamorous exterior with the perfect hairstyle, a dazzling smile that displays an un-human whiteness of cosmetic dentistry. Her mannerisms have been well rehearsed and perfected through many years, yet there is something about the shallow laugh that sounds phony.
Her image is of well polished success that she accumulated through years of hard work and focus, but that is only half of a dishonest story.
Soon, you hear of another former career of her recent past – a fashion model. Congratulations, you have just experienced the changing of masks to fit her own need of having people admire her and look to her in awe.
Whenever there is a level of perfectionism in a person, they are covering for something that not only isn’t glamorous, but is, in fact, quite ugly.
So thorough is the shame and trauma bond of childhood that she was in need to reinvent herself with the facade of “false self”, and destroying everyone and anyone, without conscience, who could expose her.
This I know – I am her brother.
- The Vampire’s Bite: Victims of Narcissists Speak Out by Leon F Seltzer Ph.D.
- 8 Ways Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Toxic People Blend into Society by Darius Cikanavicius
- Narcissistic Insult: When Reality Shatters Illusion by Dr. George Simon Ph.D