You describe the narcissist as a cunning, immoral extortionist. How does the narcissist affect people around him?
Sooner, or later, everyone around the narcissist is bound to become his victim. People are sucked - voluntarily or involuntarily - into the turbulence that constitutes his life, into the black hole that is his personality, into the whirlwind, which makes up his interpersonal relationships.
Different people are adversely affected by different aspects of the narcissist's life and psychological make-up. Some trust him and rely on him, only to be bitterly disappointed. Others love him and discover that he cannot reciprocate. Yet others are forced to live vicariously, through him.
There are three categories of victims:
Victims of the narcissist's instability
The narcissist leads an unpredictable, vicissitudinal, precarious, often dangerous life. His ground is ever shifting: geographically as well as mentally. He changes addresses, workplaces, vocations, avocations, interests, friends and enemies with a bewildering speed. He baits authority and challenges it.
He is, therefore, prone to conflict: likely to be a criminal, a rebel, a dissident, or a critic. He gets bored easily, trapped in cycles of idealisation and devaluation of people, places, hobbies, jobs, values. He is mercurial, unstable, and unreliable. His family suffers: his spouse and children have to wander with him in his private desert, endure the Via Dolorosa that he incessantly walks.
They live in constant fear and trepidation: what next? where next? who is next? To a lesser extent, this is the case with his friends, bosses, colleagues, or with his country. These biographical vacillations and mental oscillations deny the people around him autonomy, unperturbed development and self-fulfilment, their path to self-recognition and contentment.
To the narcissist, other humans are mere instruments, Sources of Narcissistic Supply. He sees no reason to consider their needs, wishes, wants, desires and fears. He derails their life with ease and ignorance. Deep inside he knows that he is wrong to do so because they might retaliate - hence, his persecutory delusions.
Victims of the narcissist's misleading signals
These are the victims of the narcissist's deceiving emotional messages. The narcissist mimics real emotions artfully. He exudes the air of someone really capable of loving or of being hurt, of one passionate and soft, empathic and caring. Most people are misled into believing that he is even more humane than average.
They fall in love with the mirage, the fleeting image, with the fata morgana of a lush emotional oasis in the midst of their emotional desert. They succumb to the luring proposition that he is. They give in, give up, and give everything only to be discarded ruthlessly when judged by the narcissist to be no longer useful.
Riding high on the crest of the narcissist's over-valuation only to crash into the abysmal depths of his devaluation, they lose control over their emotional life. The narcissist drains them, exhausts their resources, sucks the blood-life of Narcissistic Supply from their dwindling, depleted selves.
This emotional roller coaster is so harrowing that the experience borders on the truly traumatic. To remove doubt: this behaviour pattern is not confined to matters of the heart. The narcissist's employer, for instance, is misled by his apparent seriousness, industriousness, ambition, willing to sacrifice, honesty, thoroughness and a host of other utterly fake qualities.
They are fake because they are directed at securing Narcissistic Supply rather than at doing a good job. The narcissist's clients and suppliers may suffer from the same illusion.
The narcissist's false emanations are not restricted to messages with emotional content. They may contain wrong or false or partial information. The narcissist does not hesitate to lie, deceive, or "reveal" (misleading) half-truths. He appears to be intelligent, charming and, therefore, reliable. He is a convincing conjurer of words, signs, behaviours, and body language.
The above two classes of victims are casually exploited and then discarded by the narcissist. No more malice is involved in this than in any other interaction with an instrument. No more premeditation and contemplation than in breathing. These are victims of narcissistic reflexes. Perhaps this is what makes it all so repulsively horrific: the offhanded nature of the damage inflicted.
- Created: 17 November 2008
- Last Updated: 23 August 2014