Since the narcissist is unable to feel true human emotion (except for, perhaps, rage), he has, throughout life, learned to mimic the emotions he needs to get exactly what he wants. He is a pretender extraordinaire…an emotional impersonator…..and it’s no wonder we fall for The Lie because this person is really very, very good at what he does. He has to be because he’s a narcissist and narcissists are chameleons.
So, narcissists may have learned to adapt and conform in society but they’ve also created a very covert way to do it that is amazingly compliant to their own terms. By mimicking emotions and appealing to the goodness in the people that they target, narcissists and sociopaths have managed to rule the world on many different levels…from the lowest levels of society all the way to top levels of government. Simply put, they are fucking everywhere.
Think about all the things the narcissist told you – particularly at the beginning of the relationship. During the Idolize phase, the N is shrewd indeed. Typically, he/she will love-bomb the hell out of you, showering you with attention, friendship, camaraderie, romance, and all those things you’ve always wished for in a partner. He’ll make you laugh until you cry and he’ll tell you how different you are from anyone else he’s ever been with. He’ll mirror every good quality that you have until you find it absolutely amazing how many things you both have in common. The relationship itself will feel effortless in just a short period of time and your heart will feel light as a feather. He’ll use the word “soulmate” to describe how he feels about you. You’ll start a sentence and he’ll miraculously finish it as if you share the same brain. Finally, you’ll have found a lover who is also your best friend…the romantic element we always dream about, right?
You see, narcissists can read people very well. My ex used to brag to me about this talent – about how he could figure a person out in five minutes. Over a 13-year period, I watched him use this talent to get what he wanted out of his parents, his friends, his co-workers and to hurt those that he didn’t particularly care for. Of course, I was included in his narcissistic evil plan and certainly it was with me that he was able to hone his skills.
It is the narcissist’s uncanny ability to impersonate emotions that gets us, as their partners, into trouble. Especially at the beginning, we typically have no reason to believe that what we are experiencing isn’t real…that what this person is telling us isn’t true…..that what lies ahead isn’t going to be as wonderful as he promises us. Why should it occur to us that it is inevitable that things will take a dark turn?
Humans have a tendency to believe the narcissist’s pathological lie because it’s in our nature to want to believe. Narcissists know this because, as I said, they have carefully observed the way the world works. They have figured out that humans are basically driven by their emotions in everything they do and especially in romantic situations. The narcissist uses this knowledge throughout the relationship, building you up and breaking you down over and over until you become nothing but emotion. And then he’ll hate you for being too emotional.
The narcissist’s ability to fuck with our heads is how he gets to do whatever he wants behind our back without us ever really finding out. He’s able to create just enough suspicion to keep us filled with anxiety while never really giving us any cold hard facts. It’s all about creating uncertainty and making us doubt our gut feelings (which are never wrong). Whenever I attempted to call my ex out on a suspicious behavior, he’d defiantly say, “You can never prove that!” And he’d say it with the utmost confidence. In looking back, I can see that he never really denied anything…he simply stated that I couldn’t prove it and that was that. He knew exactly how to keep me separated from whatever other world he was playing in. I’m sure that you remember plenty of times where you found yourself apologizing for the soul purpose of apologizing even though it was he (or she!) who had created the conflict. You may have even fallen to your knees sobbing, begging to be forgiven…..for what? For catching him in a lie? Oh yeah, been there, done that.
What we experience with a narcissistic partner is trickery at its best. To get us wrapped up, the narcissist puppeteer puts on his best face, becoming a Pretender Extraordinaire…molding and shaping the emotional environment of the relationship in such a way so that he can have his cake and eat it too. To get back into our good graces after a discard, a narcissist spends a good deal of time future-faking (i.e. telling us what we want to hear), saying all those things we’ve been praying for him to say and making all kinds of plans with us that he has no intention of hanging around for. Later, when you remind him of his own words and promises, he’ll respond with nothing more than a blank stare as if he hasn’t the slightest clue what the fuck you’re talking about.
Again, narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths are very, very good at what they do! As we move into recovery or as we struggle with No Contact or even as we suffer through a silent treatment, we mustn’t spend so much time wondering “How did I get here? How could I have fallen for this crap? I thought I was an intelligent person…”. As human beings who long for love, although we might be wary of being fooled, the truth is that it isn’t in our nature to anticipate that everyone we meet (and are attracted to) is an out-and-out con artist and pretender. This doesn’t make us stupid or naïve or anything of the sort – but it can get us hurt (as we know) at least the first time around (and hopefully not the second).
With literally millions of narcissists walking the earth, the chances that we will meet one some where at some time in our lifetime is fairly inevitable. Our only means of protection – and I mean ONLY! – is to create relationship boundaries and deal-breakers and then commit to keeping and protecting them until the day we die. A narcissist can smell a boundary from a hundred yards away and, believe me, he or she will fall away of their own weight before even considering you as a target!
Stay strong and keep to your journey!
***Updated from 2014 article by Zari Ballard