Narcissist: Friend or foe?
To the typical narcissistic woman, you are no more than an object of “secondary narcissistic supply” that provides her with whatever she wants or needs within the relationship. Typically, she mistakenly interprets her own narcissistic needs as “emotions”. These emotional needs that the narcissistic woman displays can easily be mistaken by another as vulnerability and openness on her part, and she milks this misunderstanding by constantly acting the victim. In dealing with such a relationship, you may well be forgiven for thinking that you are having a friendship with her. In her manipulation she may even fool you that she cares about you, but in reality you don’t count one bit, because she is at the center of her own make belief world where she is Queen. Her world starts and stops with herself, but she goes out of her way to disguise that fact from everyone she comes into relationship with (her husband, boyfriend, children, parents, siblings, friends and work colleagues).
I mention friends, but in reality she does not understand what it means to be a friend, not in the normal sense of the word. What she surrounds herself with are acquaintances that she refers to as friends, and they come and go in her life with great regularity. The individual may think that they are friends for a while, but soon they become aware that they are in a one sided relationship devoted only to the narcissists needs. When the friend looks for a reciprocal relationship, the narcissist female becomes bored very quickly, and the relationship comes to an abrupt and inexplicable end. The narcissistic female becomes cold, uninterested and remote, and the friendship is all but over to the bewilderment of the friend. What the friend generally fails to work out is that they have been experiencing a utilitarian relationship (an absence of mutual involvement between friends) – this is an inversion of the way the narcissist was treated by her own parents, especially the mother. Each loss the narcissistic female experiences is another narcissistic wound to her, and in order to cope, she explains her deficit away by rationalizing that friends always disappoint her.
When the relationship goes wrong, the narcissists typical and much used excuse is to say that her friend was “jealous and envious of her”; therefore she had to end the relationship. The truth of the matter is that without her investment in the other person, the relationship begins to fold, and this folding is experienced by her fragile ego as rejection (a reminder of unemphatic and inconsistent early childhood interactions by her mother), which fills her with dread. So at the slightest whiff of rejection (real or imagined), the narcissists gives the so called “friendship’ the chop, in this way she is spared the intolerable feelings of abandonment that she cannot tolerate in any relationship. You need to understand that it is nothing that you have done; her acts are because she responds to some events with extreme fear of abandonment – events that would have little meaning to a healthy person. However, all of this leads to a lot of confusion for those unlucky enough to be in a committed relationship with someone with a narcissistic personality disorder. Once she has decided that the friendship is coming to its end, she now goes on to hunt for another source of narcissistic supply to fill the gap of the so called friend, and so the cycle continues.
When it comes to envy, there is no one more envious than a narcissistic woman. Her envy is actually a rage reaction whenever she is unable to control or possess something another person has. She bares intense resentment for anybody who she thinks has any form of advantage over her (it may be their educational abilities, their social status, their physical looks, their creativity, their success, their wealth, their popularity ….or anything in fact). Whatever the narcissist woman perceives another of having (that they do not possess), they are driven by an insatiable need to covet. The root cause of her narcissistic envy can be traced, most likely, back to the serious inadequacies found in the mother/child relationship that she experienced. Sadly the dysfunctional relationship between the young child and her mother leads the child to experience a strong surges of aggression that manifest itself in the form of envy. Furthermore, when a child feels rejected by its mother because they are too needy, the child learns to experience their needs as shameful. In order to protect themselves from further shameful feelings, they convince themselves that they do not have to depend on anyone but themselves. In order to feel safe, the narcissistic personality strives for superiority, and the drive for perfectionism, grandiosity, and self-entitlement begins. Unfortunately, the narcissist’s superiority is juxtaposed to an “inferiority complex” that harbors unconscious feelings of low self-esteem and inadequacy. So in order to maintain her superior position, she devalues other people who she imagines may have more prestige than herself. But before she does this, she will go out of her way to become like that person, to learn what she can from them, to model them so that she feels more powerful than them, and finally she discards that person by projecting “envy” on to them. It is through these methods of projection or projective identification, that the narcissist gets rid of her own painful envious emotions so that she can maintain her feeling of superiority. There are no rules as to how she achieves this, she will do this any way she can, for example by ruining the other person’s reputation, or breaking the person psychologically and financially etc. She then coolly moves on to the next cycle of hot pursuit, engorgement, and elimination which is endless.
Her books, “The Three Faces of Evil: Unmasking the Full Spectrum of Narcissistic Abuse” and “When Shame Begets Shame: How Narcissists hurt and shame their victims” set out to to help those who have been affected by a narcissist and also to address the shortfalls in a therapist’s education, so that they become better equipped to work with survivors of narcissistic abuse.Much of her knowledge has come from her post-grad studies in Criminology and Forensic Psychology, and it is through these disciplines that she has gained her understanding of “The Dark Triad”, (Narcissism, Machiavellianism and Psychopathy).
These three faces of evil are vital information for understanding the full spectrum of narcissistic abuse and the dire effects on the victims.It is her vision that narcissistic abuse becomes part of the curriculum of all Mental Health clinicians.