Feeling Sorry for the Narcissist
Narcissist Mask Slips
Imagine having to go through life wearing a mask. You can never remove it, at least in public. You worry constantly that someone will see the ugliness that hides behind it.
Much of the time, the mask is extremely irritating. You want to rip it off. But doing so would expose your biggest secret. You're not who you pretend to be. If people knew the truth, they'd sprint in the other direction.
Wearing a mask day in and day out is exhausting. Despite your best efforts, occasionally, it slips. When it does, a beast appears. Sometimes, it's just a brief appearance, and the ogre is replaced with an easy-going smile.
But you live in fear that slippage is going to happen, no matter what you do.
Then, there are those unusually perceptive folks. They see through the mask. They are repulsed by what's behind it. These people pose a threat, and they must be neutralized and marginalized. That way, if they decided to call you out, no one would believe them.
Imagine going through life wearing a mask, and how truly stifling it must be.
Malicious Behavior Detection
If you've ever been hurt by a malicious person, you're probably familiar with the term "malignant narcissist." You're also aware that some people wear masks to cover their darker personality traits.
Although such people may appear happy, their inner misery is what compels them to abuse others. Some social scientists, who study morally disordered people, seem to think that this dulls the emptiness and pain. They are probably correct.
Please understand that I'm not a psychologist, and I have no formal training in this type of personality disorder, other than a couple of introductory, college-level psychology course. My "education" came after meeting one of these characters in real life.
Although I am not qualified to diagnose anyone, you and I can determine when a certain set of behaviors qualifies as malicious. So I'm going to shift the focus away from particular labels, and talk about actions.
Maliciousness is when someone deliberately plans to harm someone else, and then gleefully follows through on their plan. Watching another person in pain makes them happy. Someone who operates this way is also capable of constructing elaborately sophisticated scenarios designed to destroy a fellow human being.
Unfortunately, a minority of the population seems to have a severe character flaw, which, apparently, fuels these actions. It's good to know this, so you can protect yourself especially whenever a new person enters your life.
However, if you've read this far, you've probably already become entangled with a narcissist, and you're trying to put your life back together. If that's the case, then read on. I'm going to explain why it's good for us to pity these mean, malicious beings.
Getting Hurt by a Narcissist
The normal response to narcissistic abuse is anger. From a non-professional standpoint, I can tell you this is a normal emotion, and probably a healthy one, at least for a short time. However, over the long run, it will eat away at your soul. Anger will cause you great harm and much distress. That's why it's much better to view the nasty experience through the lens of pity.
Why Do I Feel Sorry for the Narcissist?
Of course, the term "narcissist" shouldn't be thrown around lightly, especially by those of us whom are non professionals. Also, we should never talk about a specific person being a "narcissist" with others, simply because it isn't nice to point out someone else's faults, as people with personality disorders are so prone to do. We certainly don't want to model them.
However, we should be aware of certain behavior patterns, so we can protect ourselves from emotional predators. So, labels aside, one fact remains. A minority of people, both men and women, do not relate to others honestly.
Dr. Martha Stout, PhD., who wrote The Sociopath Next Door, estimates that 1 in every 25 people have the potential to abuse others, in hideous ways, yet feel no remorse.
Instead, some of them appear to love causing trouble. Crafty and clever, very few people can see through their artfully crafted mask. This makes it all the more frustrating, because those you should be able to count on for support let you down, and side with the narcissist, because, after all, he or she is so "nice."
All of this can do a number on your psyche. You feel weak, frightened, devastated and discouraged. But in your weakness there's a silver lining. That's because you have the potential to bounce back stronger than ever. The narcissist, on the other hand, has dug himself deeper, and likely gained no insight in the process.
Narcissism Behind the Mask
Should you feel sorry for someone whom abuses others?
Narcissists are Bullies
I'm not sure if all bullies are narcissists. But I've never known a morally disordered person whom wasn't a bully.
When a narc picks a target, he or she is very single minded in this pursuit. For awhile, you seem occupy their uppermost thoughts. Your reactions provide thrill, entertainment and a sense of accomplishment. However, narcissistic people get bored easily, so, eventually, this game will become tiresome.
Then, they move on and find someone else to torment. This, however, should give you evidence of how empty a narcissist's own life has become. This type of unbalanced behavior proves you are dealing with a case of arrested development.
Happy, successful people do not try to elevate themselves at the expense of someone else. They don't need to, because they can stand on their own merits.
Sympathy for the Narcissist
So, if you've ever been targeted by one of these very disturbed individuals, take a step back and try to see things from their perspective.
Behind the mask, now showing signs of cracking, is a seriously sick person. They may be able to hide this fact from most people, but not everyone. Left unchecked, their behavior has the potential to get worse.
Oftentimes, people with antisocial personality disorder, who disregard the rights of others, also have a problem with substance abuse. This means they're headed for a crash landing, at some point.
Many disturbed people also have poor impulse control, and they spend themselves into debt. This, too, is bound to catch up with them.
It's probably a safe bet that their personal relationships are a mess, as they don't have the capacity to truly love others.
Perhaps, as a Catholic, I see things a bit differently. From my vantage point, the biggest tragedy is that their bad behavior will have eternal consequences. A malicious person wastes precious time, which could have been spent on personal growth, as well as helping others and making the world a better place. Someday, they're going to regret this.
I believe we're all going to be judged, by a loving and merciful God. However, this is balanced by His justice.
At the end of our lives, we'll have to give a full accounting of our time on earth. Take pity on those poor souls who spent it mistreating others.
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