Who doesn’t love a carneval? Or a masquerade ball. The chance to dress up and pretend to be someone else, if only for a night. Forget the troubles of everyday life and just be – fabulous!
Most of us go home from the carneval or masquerade, relieved to remove the mask. It started to get uncomfortable after a while and we relax at the sight of our own face looking back at us once again in the mirror. Our real self.
The narcissist never left the masquerade. The mask, for all he knows, is his true self. Only that it’s not. Not really. The narcissist’s mask is the self he presents to the world. Yet it is not his real self. It is The False Self. It is basically an image, a created persona that the narcissist uses, to extract narcissistic supply: attention, admiration. The narcissist craves this, constantly and from many different sources (people/worshippers).
The False Self of the narcissist in my life was an image of a sporty, adventurous man. A man with very nice material possessions. He could be very charming. He could also be tender physically towards me, and was always pleasant: never raised his voice, never making any rude comments. He was very heroic, in his own eyes.
That this man would later on bring me to my knees in emotional despair, was unthinkable to me for a long time. It would take me up to 2 years to finally admit to myself that he was a narcissist and had almost broken my spirit completely. Narcissistic abuse can be like that, insidious, subtle, nearly impossible to detect.
After reading many articles and websites I eventually reached the conclusion that my partner was a covert narcissist. Apparently that type can appear very nice while in reality they’re using and abusing you so seamlessly that you don’t even understand it. Not until it’s too late and the damages are already extensive.
Instead of an aggressive, screaming, and physically violent man, I picture my ex narcissist as a wicked witch, killing me slowly with poison. Small doses every day until the deadly amount of venom has accumulated in my system. Death by a thousand cuts, if you will. (More on that in future posts!)
I stayed, my mind hazy, my judgement clouded, my emotions running wild, high and low, and high again. The poison was working. I’ve never felt so miserable or unhealthy before, as I did at the end of my relationship with a narcissist. I am indeed glad I’m still alive. I’ve been to the darkest places and back again.
But I stray in the writing, I see. Chaotic, like my mind often becomes when I think of all that I endured at the hands of this, this, actor, or con artist. I wanted to write: What about the real self of the narcissist? Does it exist? Is there anything under the mask? Is there a real person, with values, feelings, compassion, caring, regrets?
Now, if you read up on the subject, I think most websites etc would say that no, there is no “person” inside. There is no conscience, empathy and so on. After being involved with a narcissist for 4 years, I’m not as certain as many other writers on the subject. I feel that I have glimpsed an “actual person”, somewhere deep inside the narcissist. However, and I can’t stress this enough, this part of the narcissist is so small, and silenced by the ever present and dominant False Self, that it won’t make a difference.
What do I mean by this…? Well, sometimes I saw a small and wounded child inside him, sometimes I saw a shred of genuine remorse in the narcissist, about his actions. But despite that, he never changed his destructive behaviours. He knew he was hurting me, but didn’t stop. Ever.
The narcissist must, above anything else in this world, continue to get his narcissistic supply. Nothing will stop that ever ongoing quest. The False Self is the dictator in the inner kingdom of the narcissist. The wonderful image of The Perfect Person. This dictator will not stand for any opposing views within his kingdom. A faint voice from a small child within, or a shadow of a remorseful man, will be swiftly suppressed, down to the deep subconscious. They might never be heard from, ever again.
You can not extract real love from The False Self. I repeat, cease and desist. If you keep trying, you will suffer. Please do not think there is any chance of change. A relationship with a narcissist is one of few circumstances in life where you should give up hope. Give up and save yourself.