The Narcissistic Partner is a Pretender Extraordinaire

narcissist-pretenderSince 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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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54 Comments

  • Elaine Baylis-Slade

    December 28, 2015 at 9:47 pm Reply

    Hello…
    Hi Zari…
    I have been on your site for several hours now reading a great amount of your articles and posts from your readers & subscribers. I would like to say that I am Impressed by your writing as well as your knowledge,compassion and advice. “You know your stuff” as they say…of that…I am convinced…so bless you for that…they also say that we learn something new every day…and I do…& today has been no different…thanks to comming here…so let me just say that every day is another insight…a real substance over time moment happens for us all …incrementally… instead of time over substance moments that seem to plague that type of narcissistic living cycle…My Story… exceeds even the 43 years that one of your male writers offered. My online research started for me roughly 3.5 years ago….researching passive agressive tendancies I knew were existing in my relationship with my spouse…long story short…about a year later…these searches & research gained…I then by, lets just say a miracle one night…found Melanie Tonia Evans…& in turn through her… Sam Vaknin, then, many others including Ulrich Osterhues…which is exactly where I found the link to your site…& I am glad that I did…My story if broken down into 5 or 10 or 15 year intervals…individually, they would probably match many of your subscribers stories… so in that sense, they would not be unusual …to you or your readers…I can only say that after those many years…I have probably experienced all & everything they have combined & then some. I lived with narcissism since childhood with an immediate family member who was also of a borderline personality…I inherited the borderline personality as well as learned it…I also know now that long ago I had already started to develope inverted narcissistic behavior…and when the narcissist was not around giving their abuse to my mother & 3 sisters because they had abandoned us for a spell to what ever…I know know I was exhibiting narcissistic tendancies… at age 19…I met another Borderline / narcissist… I married him at age 22… & as they call it …the “danse Macbre” continued… for a further 24 years …we seperated 4 years ago this January & it still goes on…The things I could tell you…you have most likely read…they would be the same but different as they are all over any blog site you would care to read…you name it as they say… even the ones I read here…I offer anyone to ask me anything they wish…I have learned many things in this time…and have much to share…you only need ask…Blessings zari on your works & to you all…

    • Zari Ballard

      December 29, 2015 at 7:31 pm Reply

      Hi Elaine,

      Thank you for writing…I love your insight and that fact that you’re a survivor of the “Danse” although it continues..good for you. If you ever get a chance, read my book When Love Is a Lie because it will, no doubt, resonate with you…indeed, our lives become interchangeable when we’re involved with these monsters. Thank you for sharing and feel free to write anytime and respond to posts. Your wisdom is always appreciated here….

      Blessings to you for the New Year! Be free and be happy!

      Zari xo

      • Elaine

        January 4, 2016 at 6:33 pm Reply

        Hello 🙂 …Hi zari
        Thank you for your response, blessings & good wishes sister…they are greatly appreciated. Since last writing you, & returning to your site to read more of your articles & more of other readers stories, I came across one particular post from another subscriber that had for a spell, outwitted her “N” partner by creating a psudyom dating profile.
        I have had many thoughts as to what indeed I might share with you & the other readers next, when there have been so many, it is hard to know where to start.
        So,tonight I thought I would share with you an outwitting of my own. I think she (the author of that post) yourself for sure and indeed some of your readers will appreciate this.
        I was never one for some gadgets…the computer being one…nor did I ever have a job where the use of one was required…that was the “N’s” domain at home & I did not mind…but… I am an observer…& a quick study & did work as the head of security for a major company at one time…an “n’s” worst nightmare…like you say… My story tonight starts when my N left our home… for work in another province…first time ever…It was his bigest discard moment in our 24 years. He had always worked local… but because I was in the process of standing up to him & starting to regain some of my power back…he felt of course that he had to up the anti…& take a job that would see him away for months at a time…home for a week in between…that way, he would be in control again…or feel he was in control of us again. When he left, I cancelled the internet & took back the modem…some of the accounts were in my name only…the phone & inertnet was one…The computer sat there for about 5 months untill one day…it donned on me…turn it on…see what you can find without internet…I had not gone near one unless I was looking at the screen when he was showing me something…& what I managed to find…was a bunch of big surprises…as you would imagine. Now here’s where the story gets somewhat sweeter. prior to this, with the help of a friend, I had been using their computer to correspond with my spouse…for the purpose of sending back & forth seperation agreements & legal documents & the like. & it hit me…my spouse had connected his laptop remotely to his computer before originally leaving & not being the brightest crayon in the box sometimes, he I assumed had left it that way & for good reason & I figure that he probably did not fully understand the whole concept of remote accessing or if he did it did not fizz him because he believed it had been disconnected…and many times underestimated me…but I let him get away with most cause I really did love the idiot… So I wrote him an email one day saying how unfair it was to my friend that I was having to use his as he uses his for his business & that I might be becomming a nuisance…. he was busy discarding everything so he had no problem when I asked if I could have “our” computer…he replied with yes you can have both of them & here is one of the passwords. Bingo…so I got full ownership & a password & email proof of it all & reordered internet. as soon as I hooked them up…it immediately recognised my previous credentials as owner of the account…same as before…I got advice from google & searched every inch of that computer inside & out untill I I had 3 other passwords that were well hidden…I was then able to spy on his every move ( but not ever in any way that he could tell) nor did I ever change anything…not a dot on a i or a cross on a t or a penny…I had access to everything…his bank, his phone, his email, his dating site info, his letters to everyone!!! and proof of the porn sites…etc etc etc…in other words…the works…I knew already his every move from living with him for so long…so nothing surprised me but the fact that…everything was still being done exactly the same as before…proof as we now know that they do not change for others either…their game is the same only different players involved that replace us…proof they are no more happy where they are …or living a better life like they try to get us to believe…their only happiness is in believing they have got something over you.
        I did this for 6 months. every day, untill he returned…with his new girlfriend in tow… He did nothing out of the ordinary except spend my support money on everyone & gave me all the proof I needed…he was mortified as you would expect at me having had this private inside hidden camera into his life that he wanted me to believe was so much better without me…& you can bet I paid for it…& still am…cause the fun just never stops…but boy…what a victory at the time… it was a one off for sure…we…whom ever they choose as mates are the stronger ones…they are the weaker of the two in these relationships, their life long goal is always to be in controll… in order to do this, they feel they must take away our power to level the field…they know that if they don’t, that they will never achieve the greatness they seek as we will in their minds always out shine, out perform & out love them. & they hate us & themselves for it…but can not stop from doing it…hope you enjoyed that small victory story…thanks for listening…one small leap for human, a giant leap for human kind…blessings & love to all X’s

  • Ashmom

    December 1, 2015 at 1:29 pm Reply

    It’s sickening to know these ‘narcs’ are so smart and use it all for evil, walking off into the sunset, leaving victims scarred the rest of their lives, pretending have a good marriage and procreating too making more narcs no doubt. (I hear they literally love themselves so much that they prefer masturbation – no suprise, and sex w them ain’t all that!). Of course all their other ‘friends’ will back them up to the gates of hell to help them trash the victims when done with them – why do people believe everything they are told? Yet don’t believe the victims? Mine was a workplace friend and we, or I guess just I, thought what a fun relationship, about a year. Didn’t go past platonic and when he cut it off he really did even tho he works in just a diff area now. Don’t even see him in passing but nature of the workplace. Has not contacted me at all in the seven months since he “broke away”. Agree lots of what he talked about and statements made he actually did it or was what he said, so it can sure be the clues right in your face while the con is happening. I had called him on stuff he did and said esp calling him a pussy OMG! But I think he couldn’t deal w me anymore which of course then I was the crazy bitch. Do Ns really all have the same vocabulary and tactics and if so when is the con gonna be up? They really eff up our psyche and head and it makes me feel us humans have no chance in this game we are in on earth, you know?

    • Zari Ballard

      December 7, 2015 at 3:00 am Reply

      Hi Ashmom,

      Yup, it sure appears that they all follow the same pathological relationship agenda whether their lovers, spouses, siblings, parents, co-workers, or just “friends”. but here’s the deal: it’s in no way abnormal for us to assume that the person that we are focused on and care about is telling us the truth at any given time. It’s not abnormal for us to trust this person’s intention. This is why we have the tendency, at least for awhile, to give these monsters a pass. It’s unfathomable that what they’re doing is deliberate…it goes against the norm of what we know. And then time passes and before you know it, we’re in it up to our eardrums. So much of it is passive-aggressive too and this is why we end up looking like whiners to anyone outside of the relationship. Yeah, it’s a fucking mess alright.

      I’m glad you’re out of it and that you don’t have to see this person every day even though you’re in the same place. Friends like that you definitely don’t need. As for what he says to others, as long as you stay silent, offering no opinion whatsoever, he’ll end up looking like the asshole that he is. Trust me, I know. There is power in your silence when it’s over. His mouth runneth over and the world does see it, girl. It’s just that they’re as dumbfounded as we were once and they haven’t quite figured it out yet. Narcissists are good at what they do and it just takes a while

      Stay strong and be happy! I’m here to support you…:)

      Zari xo

      • Ashmom

        December 7, 2015 at 6:09 pm Reply

        Zari, many thanks for replying and devotion to help others out of these messes. I keep up with your blog/news on this subject and other blogs, articles and books. I like to do my ‘research’ on things and certainly this subject qualifies to get back my sanity! I hope the people he still talks with do realize his assholeness and don’t get hurt. A lot of guys say he is an ass. It’s almost horrifying to realize since Ns mirror people that is who we are enamored with and then broken by in the end, ourselves! But we are also being shown our true good selves so that could be a positive. No wonder it’s a real mindfuck! I figure if I do see him I’ll act like he’s invisible and if he’s stupid enough to talk to me I’ll be gladly ignorant!

        • Zari Ballard

          December 7, 2015 at 6:51 pm Reply

          Hi Ashmom,

          Yes, acting as if they’re invisible is the appropriate response! Turn and walk the other way. And if they see us first and come over, then we act as if they’re invisible and we’re deaf. LOL

          Zari xo

  • Kristen

    April 20, 2015 at 3:27 pm Reply

    This article describes my situation perfect

  • CJ Johnson

    November 30, 2014 at 9:11 pm Reply

    So I read articles last night and I understand concept of No Contacr DIFFERENTLY FOR 1st Time in 2.5 years I see it has his issues his sickness my choices to keep doing ALL I COULD DO TO GET A smidgeon of approval of love of acceptance by another JUST TO BE BACK IN SAME lifeboat alone TIME AFTER TIME! Well for my Health and my belief in God and his total opposite view on Jesus I primise myself to RELEASE ALL ATTEMPT TO GO TO his spots TO CATCH HIM what GOOD WOULD COME?? Nothing A LIAR IS A LIAR IS A LIARVI CANNOT WASTE ANYMORE OF MY LIFE PURSUING A PERSON INCAPABLE OF LOVE..so I have begun my walk of NC with this last message / prayer to him, I dedicate to ALL who read these words God lives in He will always be there for you HE WILL NEVER EVER LEAVE YOU! ” Hey XX you will be 1st I know if UmI have STD since you will need to share to other partners PLEASE do me the same courtesy..REMEMBER 80% do not have symptoms so if 1 of others tells you do me favor so I can live long happy life with grandchildren I have been blessed to have in my life. Your rage against women internally is a flame which will more than likely never extinguish but your destiny is yours alone when your ashes are spread God will be the one you answer to ~ There is a Heaven and a Hell you still have a choice to believe that Jesus was the son of God and the God of Israel! ~ Dear Lord help XX realize errors of his ways and how his mother’s rage which he said occurred and pain of daughters death will ONLY be healed by accepting your everlasting love And let him drink your eternal water and not the alcohol he does to rid the pain~ I pray for myself to heal from XX inability to love since true love only comes from you and replace my pain with your joy and love. In Jesus name Amen

    • Zari Ballard

      December 5, 2014 at 1:19 am Reply

      CJ wrote....I see it has his issues his sickness my choices to keep doing ALL I COULD DO TO GET A smidgeon of approval of love of acceptance by another JUST TO BE BACK IN SAME lifeboat alone TIME AFTER TIME!

      Hi CJ,

      Thank you for sharing and for the prayer. Yes, it is so true that they manage down our expectations of the relationship so that we expect less and less and they get away with more and more. And “alone in the lifeboat” is such a sad but beautiful way to describe how we feel each and every time. It is truly time to end the madness.

      Stay strong!

      Zari xo

  • Carolynn

    November 22, 2014 at 4:15 pm Reply

    Hey Zari. Carolynn here from email the other day, where I told you about how I overcame my Narc ex. This excerpt in your post jumped out at me:

    “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!”

    Oh WOW. No wonder my ex fucked off after I started keeping boundaries. He stalked me for 6 months and I just ignored him, which I’m sure drove him crazy. But he’s been pretty silent the last few months since I blocked him everywhere including his number and email.

    If he wanted, he could probably still get in touch with me. We share a network and he knows my mailing address.

    But I guess I’m not as fun with boundaries.

    Seriously, if someone doesn’t respond to my email, I take the hint that they don’t want to talk to me. Why in the world would you ever think the appropriate response is to try texting, calling, and social media stalking that person repeatedly? Take a hint, dude.

    • Zari Ballard

      November 24, 2014 at 10:43 pm Reply

      Hi Carolynn,

      Yup, boundaries that we commit to are BOR-ing to a narcissist and they can smell them a mile away. On the other hand, boundaries that a narcissist can cross are GREAT FUN and, believe me, he knows the difference. The narcissist has a knack for figuring out our soft spots from the moment he meets us and he starts crossing them immediately. We’re usually not even aware that these boundaries (of ours) exist because we’ve never had anybody try to cross them and this is why we’re always so confused in the beginning when the narcissist hurts us so bad. He strikes chords that no one else ever has. It isn’t until we are up to our ears in the crap that these boundaries become clear to us…after we watch the areas of our lives were he inflicts the most pain…that we start to step up and put our foot down. And we sure know what happens then, don’t we? POOF! Off he goes!

      You got it, girl!!!

      Zari xo

      • MissB

        July 3, 2015 at 12:19 am Reply

        I wish I stuck to my boundaries. I read through chats we had right in the beginning of our relationship. It was filled with ultimatums and boundaries. But I didn’t stick to them at all. Could have saved myself alot of trouble if I did.

        • Zari Ballard

          July 3, 2015 at 6:22 pm Reply

          Dear MissB,

          You’re not alone, believe me. Crossing boundaries is a narcissist’s favorite thing to do and everyone here has allowed their boundaries to be breached many times over. The truth is that our boundaries – once we create them and commit to them – are our #1 DEFENSE AGAINST THE PREDATOR. If you can, download my book Stop Spinning, Start Breathing from Amazon because it’s a workbook-style recovery book that has an entire section devoted to creating boundaries. I think it would help you:)

          Stay strong, sister!

          Zari xo

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