No Mental Illness gets a bigger following of Hate than Narcissism. Ironically, it is the one Mental Illness that so many people struggle to Identify and Define “until it’s too late.”
Despite my 30 years in Psychology, Sociology, and Philosophy, twice in the last 10 days, I found myself caught up in the Story of a Narcissist. The first time, I had no idea the Narcissist was a Narcissist. The second time, knowing she was a Narcissist, I still was caught up in the paranoia, the story, and the need to swoop in and save.
“How?” I asked, mind blown that a known Narcissist was able to hoodwink me, not once, but twice.
I returned to what we did know about Narcissism, and realized two primary causes for its ability to mask itself:
1 – The Narcissist sends us on a wild goose chase, giving us a red herring that distracts us. They hi-jack our RAS in our Subconscious Mind so we are on the look out for the classic Internet Defined characteristics of the Stage #4 Narcissist, oblivious to the fact that the Narcissist presents first and foremost as an Empath with or without early to late signs of Borderline Personality Disorder.
2 – The Narcissist presents as a weak, vulnerable invalid. Someone who is helpless, consumed by paranoia who seeks to defend themselves. The Narcissist at Stage #1 and #2 are convinced they are dangerous to others, they hate themselves. Stage #2 Narcissists often switch between attack and accuse, self-loathe and hate, and alert and defensive, looking for the next threat. They often need saving. They function in urgency, high states of secrecy, and they very much talk with a language that makes them appear as helpless, but constantly under attack. The thing that really stands out the most, is the Narcissists in Stage #2 truly are sincere about loving others, wanting to be better, and seeking help; three characteristics the Stage #2 Narcissist is adamant that the Stage #3 and #4 Narcissist doesn’t want.
It is the determined and genuine sincerity that has every single one of us all looking the other way.
In truth, every Empath and HSP is looking at and hating on their Future Self if they continue on the Must Save-Be Saved Cycle of Narcissism.
Also, I cannot ignore how much Urgency and “Pressure,” often self-imposed, that there was. This is a huge factor in Narcissism. Especially in Stages #1 and #2. It was as if the Super Hero prioritized the “need to save,” feeding off of the “Emergency mode” of the Damsel In Distress even when the Damsel is not present.
The Narcissist in Stage #1 presents as the Super Hero needing to save others due to a deep internal belief that they cannot save themselves. So they project this inability to save themselves onto others. “If I can’t save myself, then maybe I can save others, which will define my Worth and Sense of Value.”
I cannot emphasize to the reader enough that this is Narcissism, which has already infected them. The traits of the Narcissist at Stage #1 is an Empath, HSP. Kind and loving. Over-giving. Dreads conflict. Is a People Pleaser. Saves everyone while sacrificing the Self. They “need” to save and, when the Narcissist at Stage #2 or #3 begins to dig their claws in, the Stage #1 Narcissist withdraws from all others, breaks down under the weight of giving and nurturing as if they they are feeding a parasite never satisfied with the amount of saving.
And who do they need to save? Well, a Narcissist in Stage #2, #3, and/or #4 of course.
The “Super Hero” becomes so weak that they become the Damsel in need of someone else to step in and save them. Addiction is common at this stage. Depression is prevalent. When they are beyond the point of “broken” from too much giving, this is when Stage #2, Borderline Personality begins.
Stage #2 is the “Borderline Personality” Stage where the Narcissist toggles between The Super Hero and the Damsel In Distress.
By Stage #3, the Super Hero is all but gone and the Abusive Damsel presenting as a feeble and weak invalid has taken over.
By Stage #4, the Narcissist has completely abandoned the Trojan Horse of gentle, sweet, invalid, and the Abusive condescension has fully taken over. This is the infamous “Narcissistic Monster” we all hear about online.
The Damsel In Distress poses as the bate in the “Save Me” trap, designed to lure Super Heroes infected with Narcissism to Narcissist Training that will complete their transformation from Super Hero to Damsel. When the Super Hero abandons the relationship, their Narcissist Training ends, ready to continue with the next Narcissist they swoop in to save, or attract. With enough time, the Stages of Narcissism come to completion, with Stage #3 or #4 when the Narcissist presents as vulnerable and helpless Damsel for maybe three months into the relationship before turning on their unsuspecting Super Hero and “going in for the kill,” literally in some cases.
The only ones immune to Narcissism are those who internalize the First Law of Survival: You Can Save Yourself. Maybe you failed to save yourself as a child because you were too ignorant, too weak, or too dependent. Maybe you stopped trying to save yourself after awhile because you assumed failure. Maybe your lack of knowledge kept you in a position of attracting Narcissist after Narcissist. Maybe your over-nurturing mother or father prevented you from ever having the opportunity to Save Your Self so you grew up, never knowing if you could, in fact, save yourself.
But two things now are very clear. You do have the knowledge to understand your situation. You do have the Authority to change your situation with the choices you make. You can now SAVE YOUR SELF. You do not have to save any one else ever again. You do not need anyone to step in and save you ever again.
How do you end Narcissism?
You must KNOW that you CAN save yourself. And then you must DO it. You must KNOW that you CAN learn to Trust, set boundaries, and claim your Authority over your life Choices. And you must KNOW that you can learn, and grow, and change. You must NOT save others. EVER. You MUST save only yourself. You must ALWAYS expect ONLY YOU to save YOUR SELF.
You must KNOW who you are and DEFINE Your Self.
How do I cope with the remorse of what I did with my Narcissism?
This is a difficult truth that everyone who recovers from this cycle must come to terms with. I am a firm believer that what we do while under the influence of a Mental Illness does not define us. What we choose to do when we are healthy and consciously aware of our actions does. Self-forgive. Self-soothe. Self-Compassion.
Many people will struggle with “Who am I without this thing in me?” You are the qualities you desire and value. You are your ethics. You are the summation of your loves, dreams, and desires. Removing Narcissism from your Mindset will result in a 3 to 5 day adjustment period as you re-define your Past Stories. Grieve. Cry. Treat this transformation period as if you are undergoing a death in the family.
Retreat to your “nest” and isolate yourself. Work on defining the Self and surrounding yourself with what you love. Refrain from talking to people as much as possible while you calibrate yourself. Be sad. Try not to hate yourself. The Disorientation is normal and it will pass. Seek comfort in food, warmth, home, blankets, movies, hobbies, pets.
Refrain from prejudice and any resistance to the change.
You most likely will feel a shift of priority in love and you may realize that a lot of what you cared about is no longer the case. This is normal. Love is real. Narcissism just infects real love. Narcissism is just the projection of Self-Love onto another. Turn your attention to your own Self-Love and your own Self-Saving.
And give yourself space to cry and love yourself.