Have you ever been confronted with a narcissist? How to identify one? How to react? Based on my practice and the testimonies of my patients and victims, I will try to decipher for you who the narcissist is, who his prey are, how they can get out of it and if the narcissist is “curable”. The narcissist is a term that is used a little bit randomly, yet it is important to distinguish between narcissistic perversion as a personality functioning, and perverted or narcissistic behaviors, which can appear in any of us at any time. Narcissists have nothing to do with occasional behavior. On the contrary, it is a whole personality based on a particular way of functioning. And anyone, at some point in their life, can fall under the control of such a profile.
A real crushing machine, its privileged sphere is the love sphere but it also works in the family circle or the professional world. Between 10% and 20% of the population is affected and this pathology affects men more widely.
Is the narcissist ill?
It is a pathology of the register of unstable or borderline states, between the family of neuroses, i.e. structures of the register of normality, and psychotic structures (of which the best known is schizophrenia). The narcissist thus oscillates between madness and an apparent form of normality. The difference is that the struggle is played out internally for schizophrenics whereas it is expressed in the relationship with the other for a narcissist. The narcissist is a capricious little boy, terrorized by the idea of losing face, of dissolving into his emotional nothingness. Beware, it is a madness without apparent symptoms.
Who is the narcissist?
The narcissist functions 24 hours a day in the strategy and the manipulation, on the mode of the predation. Narcissists have a strategic intelligence, very rational. They do everything to seduce and put under control his entourage, to exploit and destroy them.
Narcissists destroy quite consciously, they use their strategic intelligence, because they do not love, does not know how to love. They calculate in a very pragmatic way how to seduce and exploit their preys.
Narcissists are obsessed by the image they give to others and continually seek to be the center of attention. Their ego is disproportionate, just like their reactions, they do not accept the slightest criticism. They have an unshakeable will and are always right.
They are masters in the art of finding the weak points and vulnerabilities of their prey. They have a serious perverse disorder and enjoy making others suffer and using them to destroy them. An excellent puppeteer and manipulator, they know perfectly well how to use others to get what they want. They often lies and hates above all to be unmasked.
One of their most effective ploys is to play the role of victim. As a self-elected victim, those around narcissists sympathize with them, pity them, and understand their ordeals.
How does one become a narcissist?
The possible causes of this severe borderline are multiple. The risk factors are both genetic and environmental. These are people who have experienced trauma in their family relationships:
A strict education where one had to excel in order to be rewarded or, on the contrary, an overly lax education where compliments from the mother/father were given and admiration was boundless.
A trauma suffered in the past (abuse, aggression, betrayal). Narcissism is then a defense mechanism to avoid being destroyed again.
The “ideal prey” of the narcissist
The toxicity of the narcissist feeds on relationships and feelings, on vulnerability and weaknesses. The couple can therefore be his ideal playground!
Contrary to what one might imagine, the victim is not a poor wretch, it is generally an attractive and sunny personality, empathetic and generous, intelligent and sensitive and who does not feel any pleasure in suffering. The victim is overflowing with love to give. Tolerant, patient, the victim is endowed with a high level of ideals. Easily made to feel guilty, victims always have the impression that they are not doing enough or well enough. In their vital need to be loved, they want to please.
Narcissists are interested in their victims because they need someone solid, loving, caring, full of energy and resources to feed on, like a vampire. As a “genius predator” they have an incredible intuition to scan personalities and find the flaw in their future preys.
The prey may be weakened by a recent trauma: bereavement, break-up, financial difficulties, professional failure…, or by childhood wounds of abandonment, emotional deficiencies, an immense need to be loved and/or the prey does not feel worthy of being loved.
Narcissists can be attracted to those who question themselves and who are thus more flexible, more malleable and therefore more easily manipulated.
SEDUCTION : They first enter a phase of seduction and know how to tell his preys everything they need to hear. As an accomplished seducer, the narcissist will flatter his preys in an excessive way, put them in value, make them addicted to the image he/she sends back.
When the seduction takes hold, the mask falls off and the descent into hell begins for the person on whom he/she has placed his/her claws. Loss of confidence and reference points, destruction, dark thoughts, the narcissist takes control over his trapped victim.
ISOLATION: The narcissist gradually organizes isolation by acting simultaneously on his victims’ familiar environment, going so far as to make them quit their job, move… and on their entourage by starting to get rid of those who prevent him from succeeding.
By cutting the victim off from all his bases, the narcissist takes full control of his life. He makes it his/her thing. The victim becomes a puppet, a toy for the narcissist who does not recognize the victim as a person because a narcissist has no feelings.
PSYCHIC DESTRUCTION: At the same time, the victim is “brainwashed” and very quickly becomes the object of perpetual denigration, initially expressed in the form of jokes, which become increasingly violent:
denigration “you are useless, good for nothing, fat…”
reversal of suffering “I’ve had enough of your mood swings”, “you’re the one who’s crazy
guilt “you never make the effort to understand me”…creating lack with phases of distancing to create a vacuum around the victim and force him/her to call back or take the first step back to the narcissist
EMPRISE: Psychic destruction is in place, the prey becomes a doormat. The narcissist has thrown his hold on his prey, he is now his only pillar and also his only referent. The petrified victim, deprived of any reaction, has allowed the trap to close progressively loses reference points, values, discernment, self-esteem, and is drained of energy without even realizing it.
Can they be treated?
Unfortunately not, it is a serious pathology. We cannot add a structure that has been missing since childhood. And it is very rare that the narcissist becomes aware of his or her pathology and tries to start a treatment process with a professional. Their way of thinking prevents them from doing so, since “everything is the fault of others”. The “others” in question will not themselves be able to heal the individual, even if they unconsciously aspire to do so, and only reinforce his position. By establishing a relationship based on empathy, trust and sincerity, the victim will indirectly respond to the pervert’s desire
So, what to do when you are a victim of a narcissist?
The only strategy is to flee as soon as possible because you will always be weaker than the narcissist. You have to save your life while there is still time, because the fight only empties, exterminates slowly in the silence of the walls of a house. To stay is to die slowly in an invisible and inevitable destruction.
One cannot negotiate with a narcissist, discussions do not lead to anything.
To put narcissists out of harm’s way, you have to be totally indifferent, blocking them on social networks. You should not communicate with them at all, even insults, it is a contact and it is enough for them. However, do not be mistaken, a victim who is silent is not safe from anything because on his side, the narcissist will try to do everything to convince.
The management of the children must remain the only contact. It is imperative to warn the family and friends circle because narcissists cannot stand rejection and will do everything to get his/her prey back.
Overcoming such an ordeal is a struggle. Sometimes the victim’s self-esteem is so badly damaged that he or she feels fully responsible for what the narcissist is doing to him or her. Under these conditions, it is necessary to take a step back from the situation, to obtain an objective image of who you are and thus find the strength to put an end to the toxic relationship.
This is a difficult task, almost impossible to achieve alone. Get a professional to help you get out of the toxic relationship, mourn and live again.
The work on yourself will allow you to become aware of what you are going through, to put words on what you have experienced and, thus, to pass from the status of object to that of subject.
The professional will listen to you without judging you (which must not have happened to you for a long time) and will offer you a framework of trust in which you can finally let go of your defenses.
You must regain your self-confidence in order to rebuild yourself!