Mr. Congeniality~ The Narcissist

This is a scan showing a double perf black and...

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While sorting through video files on my computer this morning, I came across some footage of my narcissistic ex lover.

I was surprised; I hadn’t realized that any video of him remained. Yet, there are several shorts of mundane moments in which I am filming and he and I are talking in the background.

Some of these were filmed one year before our relationship ended (when I discovered his ‘other’ life) and others are from seven months before the finale.

Hearing his  voice shocked me. It is so completely congenial, warm, friendly, chatty. We are engaged in conversation, making shared observations, cracking little jokes, making each other laugh. We laugh quite often in the ten minutes of combined video. We are silly and intimate.

Listening to our snatches of conversation, I thought, “No wonder I was fooled! We sound like we are in love.”

Indeed, we sound like a couple who enjoys each others’ company and conversation. No trace of tension or conflict between us. Anyone who listened to our voices would think that we were highly compatible.

Watching and listening to these shorts, it is challenging to grasp that he was sleeping with another woman.

I wonder- did he ever call her or text her during the weekends while I was visiting him? Perhaps when I was upstairs watching tv and he was downstairs making dinner, did he go to the back of the kitchen and sneak a phone call to her? After I figured out his deception, I realized that on several weekend afternoons, he would cal me on the phone as soon as he arrived home from being with her. Conversely, I wonder, did he also call her up, or drop by her house, within the same hour after I was back on the highway, heading home?

Although I was concerned that listening to his voice might upset me, it turned out to be a helpful experience. I can see, hear and understand why I trusted him, why I believed him when he told me that I’d always been the love of his life, and why I had absolutely no clue that he was sleeping with another woman.

It’s hard to believe that someone could be so narcissistic as to carry off an entire weekend of deception like that. However, he didn’t deceive me for only one weekend, but for two dozen or more. Eighteen months of pretending. Not just to me but to his family and my family, and to our adult child.

At the end of the relationship, he admitted to having used me as a pawn to further his own relationship with our child. I do not know at what point my role as pawn began. I believe that it was somewhere during the first year of our reunion Somewhere along the line, Mr. Congeniality, the narcissist, started up a new relationship and decided that it was better and easier for him to string me along than to be truthful and risk upsetting the apple cart full of relatives, including his own adult child.

I don’t know how he lived with himself, during the eighteen months of deception. How did he manage to keep his poker face through all those weekends of deception?

Pathological lying comes easily to persons with Narcissistic Personality disorder. They are also charming and superficially glib. Narcissists make great conversationalists and crave excitement. I guess it must have been quite exciting for him to be the center of attention for two women at once. It must have kept his narcissistic supply full.

I listen to my/the woman’s voice on the video and I feel so much empathy for her. She does not know that she is being tricked. She believes in the sincerity of the man’s voice. She thinks that she is living in real-time, and that she is experiencing true happiness. She does not know that her partner is not with her in real-time because he is playing a game. He is playing a game with her trust, her naiveté, her affection, her emotional well-being, her time spent coming to see him and her energy. He is playing a game with her very life. The outcome of the game is that the narcissist will get what he wants, and that her life will be crushed. Her only wrong move was to trust him again.



The Narcissicist’s Seduction: A Card Trick

Card trick

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Have you ever watched someone perform a card trick which appeared to be  magic? Has anyone ever explained a ‘magic’ card trick so that suddenly you understood how it worked and why you were fooled by it in the first place? Have you ever experienced the ‘Aha!’ moment which comes after dissecting the steps of a card trick?

The Narcissist‘s Seduction is  a card trick. (Please note that while using the term narcissist, I am also referring to Antisocial personality disorder, sociopaths, psychopaths, as all these disorders seem to bleed into each other in the middle and all perform many of the same card tricks.) Before you know that it is a trick, it appears to be magic. Once you’ve been fooled, however, you can dissect the layers and see exactly how the narcissist deceived you and with what ease you were deceived.

While the Narcissist performs his card trick of seduction upon you, the world around you, once gray and common, becomes magical. You would never guess that the very special relationship you are developing with the narcissist is actually a formulated recipe to create an aura of intimacy so that you will open up your trust and let this person into your life completely by throwing normal caution to the wind.

The narcissict who came back into my life after an absence of eighteen years played the most spellbinding of card tricks on me. It lasted close to three years, during which time I was under his control.

With an onslaught of cards and letters pleading forgiveness based on his ‘getting his act together’, with gifts of money and jewelry to myself and our adult daughter (whom he had not supported or raised), with nice clothes, exceptional manners and excessive friendliness to our friends, with constant attention, flowers, and putting his best foot forward by accentuating his upcoming art show and hiding his degenerate friends, by making puppy dog eyes and expressing his sadness at the years  spent without us, by swearing to our daughter that he had always been and would always be in love with her mother, by lying about his drinking and getting high, my ex husband the narcissist managed to wriggle a center stage position in our lives within four months of contacting us.

As my daughter recalls, “He sent a few gifts, said the right things, dressed nicely, was extremely polite, and we opened the door of our life wide open to him, willing on very little grounds to forgive all his previous bad behavior and neglect.”

As an opener of the card trick, the narcissist preys upon your vulnerabilities. I was vulnerable to this narcissist for several reasons. First, I was disappointed in love and lonely. Second, I had unresolved feelings for the narcissist. Third, I had a fanciful delusion of ‘true love’ which was probably based upon our relationship when were twenty and he had worshipped me on a pedestal. Fourth, I had a belief in life as  a spiritual journey, in which I should trust the people who came into my life if they appeared to have good intentions. Finally, I had a soft heart and forgave easily.

All of these characteristics combined within me to create a perfect storm for the narcissist invasion of Spring 2008.

When the curtain fell two and a half years later, the narcissist’s mask dropped and I could see him for what he truly was- an emotional manipulator who had used me for a sexual relationship and as a short cut to have a relationship with our daughter. Heartbroken, my world broke apart, and I have chronicled my emotional reeling in the first several months of this blog.

For many months last year, every day brought new revelations of what the narcissist had lied to me about, as I pieced together the pieces of the shattered reality he had convinced me to be true.

In retrospect,  I realize that his whole performance was a card trick. I see through it all. I see my vulnerability, his deliberate lies and putting his best face forward, his overzealous politeness to my friends and family, the gifts, the long phone calls, the vows of eternal love, as simply steps of the narcissist’s card trick of seduction. The trick worked; he eased his way into our lives without ever having to explain or atone for his past behavior. He simply glossed over it.

The narcissist card trick is all about show. It is about anticipating what others will want to see in order to gain their trust. The trick  is about front loading affection and intimacy with gifts and money. In this way, it is a sort of bribery. Narcissists lie, cheat and bribe their way into our lives because they want something from us. We are only a means to an end for them, and the seduction trick is their entrance ticket into our hearts.

Now that I see how the trick works, it is no longer a mystery. It is perfectly clear. But my knowledge is four years too late.