Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends. – DSM4
When a parasite attaches itself to a host it doesn’t concern itself with whether or not the host wants to be fed upon. It doesn’t care about the host’s well-being. All it cares about is, where it can get the resources it needs to survive.
Narcissists like to conquer and acquire things. It’s often a game of one-upmanship to them. Playing others for a fool makes them feel good about themselves. It reminds them that they are clever and better than everyone else. Since they believe that they are smarter than everyone else in the room, when they can relieve you of your hard earned resources or convince you to do something you otherwise wouldn’t it confirms their specialness.
They spend a great deal of time working out schemes and stories. Many are such prolific liars that they can drum up a convincing anecdote at the spur of the moment.
They get bored very easily and being normal, working for a living is for other less-special people. Yet they like to have things. Lodgings, clothes, cars, trips and food in their bellies, though they lack the discipline, skills and aptitude to obtain these things themselves.
Most of my clients talk about having to pay and support their narcissistic partners. Some talk about how they, highly educated men and women, have helped their partners get through graduate school, to the extent of writing their dissertation for them and using their influence to get them accepted into Graduate school, only to have their relationships end once the degree is achieved.
Narcissists use people it’s what they do. When they have a goal in mind, they will scope out just the right target, latch on and use their manipulation skills to keep their host dazed and confused while they get what they need.
It could be money, sex, fame, status, degrees, a place to live, or any resource they require. If you have it and they want it, you’re at risk. What they propose is a form of trade. You give me what I need and I’ll give you love and the relationship you’ve always dreamed of. They dangle the relationship in front of you, trying to see just how far you’ll jump for it. You’ll never attain it though because it will always be just out of your reach.
In the beginning your relationship will be incredible, but like always, when you interact with an emotional manipulator, the mask will always slip and they stop hiding their true selves. They then continue the game of smoke and mirrors, using lies, deflection, projection, triangulation and gas lighting to keep you from figuring it out.
When they get to the point where their host has run out of resources or they are have been figured out, they turn, and suddenly, they start to fault find and pick fights, in order to justify the fact that they’ve left you in complete ruin – emotionally and financially. They maintain their victimhood while making their partners out to be the villains.
Their entitlement mentality and their belief that they are superior feed into their justification that they should be allowed to use people. Their mentality is, “it’s your fault for being so gullible.” They have a unique ability to pass responsibility for their actions onto others.
It’s your fault I took your money. It’s your fault you’re in debt because of me. It’s your fault you’re hurt – you shouldn’t have trusted me.
It’s impossible to reason with such blatant avoidance and complete lack of accountability. To a Narcissist people are akin to a chess piece. If they have a need they will manipulate you into position. When you have run out of things to give them or they find someone who would make a better host they’re gone, and with their lack of responsibility you are devastated and left holding the bag and that does not worry them in the slightest.
Their feelings are superficial at best and while you are reeling, they are already feeding off their next host.
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These articles are great! So, here’s my nagging question: HOW DO I STOP wanting his validation? I don’t want to care what he thinks, truly – I. Do. Not. But, i can’t find that root thing, that root ingredient to pull out of the ground (my brain) to stop. I keep asking – why do i want his validation? and I can’t come up with the answer. How do I find it? How do I ‘validate myself?’ These seem like just words to me – i don’t understand them at all. I need concrete action steps, not a concept.
I guess my frustration is coming through in this post, but I really want it gone for good.
Outstanding article, Savannah, thank you. It could have been titled “Michael”, lol.
This again was exactly what I’ve been living. He got everything I had when I was finally broke in debt and dying of cancer he left. Well I survived cancer but lost my homes, job, health, credit and family. But I saved his home so he is fine. I have tried and tried to build my life again but every day is such a struggle. But I haven’t learned my lesson fully I suppose. I am again facing homelessness and am paralyzed with fear. Yet my brain is so damaged I can’t seem to understand that he will not help that he enjoys my suffering.
Excellent post. Where you mention “victimhood” I must say I really struggle with the way in which Narcs succeed at playing the victim whilst portraying the scapegoat as the aggresser, and almost everyone around them is so completely convinced by their facade. My greatest wish is that they could be exposed to the world for what they really are. I wonder if anyone has achieved this.
Yup, I fed, clothed, hosted, and pampered my covert parasitic narc over a period of 9 years! He came and went as he pleased, pretty much. He had at least 1 other place he was going, and I think (oddly) that was a man he fed off of. I never really got to the bottom of that relationship but I think it was one of a missing father figure for him. He got things there, new sneakers, expensive clothing, sometimes cash. I thought for the longest time they must be sexual with one another, but this still didn’t stop me. I was hooked on him and I take full responsibility for my part. He loved my cooking and he loved it when I bought him sexy underwear. While it was a shock when I found out about the whole narcissist personality thing, I do have to be honest about my part in it. He wasn’t the only one who objectified (me). I also objectified him. The shallowness of our drama-driven rollercoaster went both ways. Clearly, I had just as many issues with intimacy as he did. Or else I wouldn’t have chosen him in the first place.
Right on Dani,
I have had to admit I objectified my narc, too. I didn’t want an ordinary flawed person: I wanted this wealthy (seeming) man who traveled and ate well and bought me expensive lingerie. Once my mother said, “It seems to good to be true.” I hotly contested her assessment as I felt I deserved all these things! Now, I am doing the inner work and FINALLY learning to get those things myself, not through the “shortcut” of a man. It was NO shortcut. He ended up costing me more than I ever got for “free.” I can never get back what I lost but if I lost some illusion and have found out how I participate in this dynamic. So cool to read your empowering admission, Dani. We are half of the problem, people like us. When we stop letting the parasites feed that will greatly help!
Spot on Savannah