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Why Narcissists are So Frustrating

Updated on October 19, 2016

Therapy May Make Things Worse

People who suffer from malignant narcissism are mentally ill. These morally disordered folks could benefit from taking a good look at their actions, and then making plans to amend their lives.

However, in general, they don't seek help for their problems. That's because they believe they are always right, and that everyone else in their lives is at fault. No use trying to talk to a therapist, or a spiritual counselor, to try to sort it all out, when others are to blame.

In fact, it's widely believed that therapy can actually make someone with strong malignant traits worse. That's because by chatting with a counselor, or a psychologist, they aren't going to share their innermost thoughts. Instead, they are more or less "grooming" the therapist, in order to find out what makes him or her tick. (This is similar to what they do with their targets, early in a relationship.)

During this grooming process, in which they interact with the therapist, they also learn more about the human condition. Unfortunately, someone who is morally disordered may use this information to improve their game, in order to better manipulate the people around them.

(However, not all mental health professionals believe that talk therapy will exacerbate malignant narcissism.)

Narcissists are double minded.
Narcissists are double minded. | Source

Buying Your Loyalty

Malignant narcissists always have an angle. If they do you a favor, it comes with strings attached. If they give you a present, you end up paying for it, in one way or another. It might just be with guilt, "after all I've done for you," but there's always a price. Nothing is free or given away when a morally disordered person is doing the giving.

Most of the time, though, a narcissist is on the receiving end of the bargain. Remember, it's never a bargain for you, but it always is for them. Even if they appear to be generous, the payment will come due later.

Sometimes, narcissists give you a present or some sort of financial compensation to buy your loyalty. On the job, the possibility of promotion may be dangled in front of you like a carrot. This may occur because he or she wants to recruit you as a "flying monkey," in order to help them torture someone else. (Narcissists always have an enemy.)

Be very careful if you decide to accept any offer, or reward, from someone whose ethics leave a lot to be desired. Sooner or later, something will be expected of you. Going along with the plan may mean you'll need to compromise your own morals.

Dealing with a narcissist is always complicated. If you are to stay on their good side, sooner or later you'll have to bend, and it's going to be in the wrong direction.

Narcissists are infuriating.
Narcissists are infuriating. | Source

Narcissists Play With Your Head

It's extremely frustrating dealing with someone who wears a mask, because deep down you have this uncanny feeling that something isn't right. You may have a sense of not being comfortable, but you can't quite put your finger on it.

In the beginning of a relationship, a malignant narcissist will pretend to be your friend. As the "bond" deepens, the compatibility you first shared will begin to disappear. You'll begin to see glimpses of the real person hidden behind the mask. It's not a pretty picture.

Still, you don't see the worst behavior this person is capable of. That's going to come later. Meanwhile, you start to get a sinking feeling more and more often, but you don't yet know why.

Then, the real person starts to emerge. You don't want to believe this is happening. "Everyone has their bad days," you tell yourself. But the bad days only get more frequent.

However, interspersed are a few good days, which serve as strong reinforcement to maintain the relationship. The fact that the good times are so intermittent only makes you work harder to get them back, when things seem to slip into a more negative cycle.

Unfortunately, for the rest of humanity, malignant narcissists know just when to show their best behavior once again, as they did early in the relationship. They do this when they realize they're losing their grip on us.

Narcissists and You

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Narcissists and Triangulation

When dealing with a disordered personality, you'll see what psychologists refer to as "triangulation." This means that someone with a character disorder typically won't deal with you directly if he or she is upset. Instead, the complaint will be brought to a third party, often in an attempt to gain support, or to try to win that person to their side.

Of course, the third party only hears one side of the story, which more often than not may contain exaggerations and outright fabrications.

If you're involved with a morally disordered person, it's usually only a matter of time until this happens. So, strap your seat belt on. It's going to be a long, bumpy, uncomfortable ride.

A high-functioning narcissist, who doesn't appear odd, or ridiculously grandiose, often succeeds in turning people against their current enemy. Many malignant personalities, on the surface, are charming and persuasive. When someone with a moral disorder is able to function well in society, he or she can be extremely dangerous.

If you stick around long enough, you'll eventually play the role of enemy. You may not be immediately aware that you've been drafted for this position. But it will soon become apparent when other people start avoiding you for no discernible reason.

The puzzle of narcissism.
The puzzle of narcissism. | Source

Lying and Deception

Walking with a malignant narcissist is like taking a trip to a strange land where things are turned upside down. Because morally disordered people can be a lot of fun (in the beginning of a relationship), you're enthralled by their engaging personalities.

Later, though, when reality sets in, you realize that you've heard a lot of lies. Some of these lies were told to avoid accountability or a serious consequence, or to portray themselves in a more flattering light. But, amazingly, you also realize tall tales were spun for no apparent reason, and that the person you held in such high esteem was lying solely to pull one over on you.

The fact that they did this was someone strange. But serious students of narco-logy (this includes many of us once taken in by a deceiver) start to understand that some disordered people derive pleasure from tricking people.

This revelation, of course, is very frustrating. Fortunately, it often provides the motivation we need to start disconnecting. Life is too short to invest any more time into someone we'll never be able to trust.

I am not a trained mental health counselor, so I'm only writing from personal experience. My watershed moment with a narcissistic friend was when I realized everything was a lie, and I wanted nothing more than to run in the other direction.

Narcissists Make Life Messy

Someone once said the longer you have a narcissist in your life, the more cleanup you'll have to do. That's because once they decide you no longer serve their purpose, they spend an inordinate amount of time trying to destroy you. Sometimes, the destructive patterns start before a narcissist has decided he or she no longer needs you in their life.

This is extremely confusing, because you receive so many mixed signals that your head begins to spin.

Later, as the relationship unravels, you begin to take stock. The narcissist in your life may have relieved you of a lot of money. He or she may have run you out of a job. You may have lost a few friends. You've undoubtedly wasted a lot of time and energy that could have been better invested elsewhere.

It may take time to work through all the strong emotions of sharing your life with a narcissist.

One thing that's extremely frustrating is the fact you need to recover, but you may not get a lot of support. Narcissists are masters at not leaving a paper trail. Most people who know this person would never believe what he or she is capable of, because they've never seen the face behind the mask.

Recognizing an Emotional Vampire


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  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Another excellent hub in this series. Thank you.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

    Emotional vampire is right. They sneak up on you often before you realize what's struck you, preying on you, and leaving psychological marks (and practical impacts to your life) that are not so easily undone. They are master manipulators. I like your vivid descriptions. You might run with this one for a Halloween theme?

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    The thought of a malignant narcissist grooming a therapist is very disturbing! Thanks for sharing more of your knowledge and experience in relation to malignant narcissism.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

    Thank you for making me (and I'm sure others, too) so much wiser concerning people with this kind of behavior. Great work, and much appreciated.

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

    I am learning much about this topic. I don't kmow how anyone can deal with these type of people. Excellent post!

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    Hi Eric, Flourish, Alicia, MsDora and teaches, thanks so much for reading this one and my other articles as well.

  • Relationshipc profile image

    Kari 2 years ago from Alberta, Canada

    I can't imagine being someone like this. I've had narcissistic friends that I have cut out of my life, and even though I didn't know they were narcissists at the time, I do now. This article rings true for me from beginning to end. One friend suddenly found a new friend that she seemed to like better (I stopped letting her manipulate and use me) and suddenly she was trying to destroy my relationships with others while being nice to my face.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    Hi Relationshipc, that sounds like typical disordered behavior. Narcissists love to create conflict.

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    MizBejabbers 2 years ago

    One narcissistic person I know had counseling for military post traumatic syndrome disorder at the VA. This made part of the problem worse for the rest of us (family members) because his counselors said that he was “incapable” of changing his behavior. That wasn't exactly grooming a therapist, but it gave him a green light to be a bastard, but at least he isn’t subtle and a person can get out of his way.

    The problem with the one I’ve had to deal with in the office is that he is still here. I’ve quietly warned several people, but a couple of them have taken my warnings with a grain of salt. Recently one came to me and told me that he was giving her trouble now. She acknowledged that I had warned her and thanked me.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    Hi MizBejabbers, I'm sorry to hear this person is giving someone else trouble. She must be under a lot of pressure.

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