Narcissists & The Game of Life

In The Game of Life, players who have a narcissistic personality will always play by a different set of rules than everyone else on the game board. To all normal players, the point of The Game – as reflected in the rules – is not so much about winning as it is about collecting as many Happiness points as possible without bumping other players off the board. The narcissist, on the other hand, obviously sees the finish line very differently. To him (or her), the point of the Game is indeed all about bumping players while still moving forward…. and fuck the happiness points.

zari-ballard-image-quoteTo ensure a fair start in Life, each player begins The Game with ten Conscience Cards. As players move along the board, they will have the option of exchanging Conscience Cards for Happiness points depending upon different scenarios presented. For example, if, by the roll of the dice, a normal player does happen to bump another player, it is usually done with regret and this player may choose, at that moment, to either forfeit the move or continue on ahead. If the choice made is dictated by Conscience (i.e. forfeiting the move), one card is exchanged for ten Happiness points. If the player has no regret about the bump, then he/she keeps his cards and continues on. This is how Happiness is collected and, ideally, the winner of The Game finishes with the most points but the least number of cards, having chosen, in large part, to journey through Life doing the right thing. And while players can also choose to begin The Game as a single player or in relationship mode with another normal player, the aforementioned point of the game, for the most part, never changes.

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A narcissistic player, on the other hand, will always play The Game in relationship mode all the while secretly moving along the board determined to win completely on his own. To hide this nefarious intention, the narcissist often begins the game disguised as “normal”, whereby reducing – and possibly eliminating – the chance of his normal player partner catching on, dropping out, or having him booted from the game. The narcissist may even switch player partners mid-game without either partner knowing – a game strategy obviously intended to cause emotional distress and confusion and increase his overall chances of winning. For his normal player partner, these game behaviors definitely create a series of unique Life challenges. Finally, at games end, even with no Happiness points collected and all of his Conscience Cards in hand, a narcissist will, without intention, declare himself a winner.

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The narcissist has but one true motivation in life and that is to always be getting away with something. Every day, that’s all it’s about! This is the secret to a narcissist’s success. And in the narcissist’s Game of Life, “getting away with something” isn’t necessarily based upon a partner finding out or not finding because this is just an option in the game. In fact, the narcissist fully expects us to find out or, at the very least, to be suspicious because then he gets to practice his ability to deceive after the original deception. This is the next level up – the lie after the lie. First he cheats, then he’ll lie about it, then we find out and confront him, and then he lies about it again. He now practices the art of never admitting to anything. If the narcissist is exceptional, he may even compel his partner to apologize for HIS bullshit behaviors and that’s a BONUS! And his reward for all this narcissistic achievement? A nice long silent treatment for as long as he likes or as long as he thinks you can take it – whichever comes first. Whew!! It’s fucking exhausting, isn’t it???

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Look, friends, when we’re involved with people who play by a different set of game rules than those that we hold sacred, we have to make decisions based on our conscience…on what we know to be true. We do NOT have to accept these unacceptable and disrespectful behaviors from anyone. We have to be true to ourselves in order to get the most out of this Game of Life and, with only one chance to play The Game right, narcissists simply have no right imposing on our journey.

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