The narcissist considers herself to be intelligent, complex, analytical, logic-based, and something of an enigma.
To the stranger she seems strong, secure and in tune with her own needs, and she loves to exploit that, but the reality is that her character is underdeveloped, pitiful and weak. It’s a weakness which seems strong - she energises when required to fight, she seeks a battle which will enable him to (over and over again) establish what she feels is his superiority over the remainder of the human race - the fools and the decent, responsible people who (by and large) willingly comply with what is required for a smoothly-run society.
But the fools' general acceptance, our general acceptance, is what keeps the world running. Narcissists mistrust that. Perhaps they outwardly demand political change and overhaul, but once again they’re often hiding their own truth behind a facade. A narcissist needs those very systems as much as the rest of us do. Without those systems they would not survive, as they do not have the character to effectively support themselves – they need the financial backup of the state. Perhaps they hate the police and law and order in general, but would be the first to make the call if a group of youths were getting a bit too rowdy. There's a constant and underlying hypocrisy at play.
‘My’ narcissist: she’s surly, sturdy and intimidating. You can't put your finger on exactly what it is, but there's something uncommon about her body language, about the way she holds her neck and shoulders, about her stance and about her stare... It may be indefinable, but it is certainly not quite right. Not quite trustworthy.
And if you're the person I think you are then you feel things, you think things, you empathise and always try to look at the brightest glowing embers of your fellow humans. You probably also try to view shortcomings as challenges or chinks in otherwise flawless armour. And guess what - you're just the type of person my friend and her narcissist comrades are looking for. They need you to make them function and each will draw you into their world by love-bombing you early on - so you're inclined to think the best of them in later times of cruelty and pain.
At first there will be gifts and compliments and tolerance, but soon (and these things start small so you can't always see them till it's too late) you're backing away, defending yourself, constantly dealing with insults and unpleasantness and unhappy times.
If you are happy, the narcissists give you reason not to be. You look to outside your relationship for relief, only to find that they destroy those relationships, or even destroy the people themselves. Soon you, the empathic being that you are, will be providing the narcissist with precisely what they require, perhaps out of fear - or perhaps through misplaced loyalty... or perhaps (and this is one of the reasons why their love-bombing is inevitable) the hope that all this may be just a temporary phase they are going through. It isn't. It's permanence and it's reality.
Narcissists give you nothing but flattery, commands, insults and grief. Why?
Because this person can only take. And you can't heal a narcissist - not ever. This person will never be changed because, to change, first you need to want to change and understand that change is required.
But narcissism is egosyntonic. No narcissist may tolerate any thought or statement about themselves which challenges their own existing belief system. They cannot accept that they may be unpleasant or might benefit from some form of behaviour management, and they are certainly not people you would ever find studying a self help book for nuggets of truth and assistance.
Consider asking someone what, if anything, about their personality they would change or like to work on. Most of us thoughtful types would surely put forward a suggestion - perhaps we'd like to remove our negativity or gain more confidence or decrease our gullibility or take command of our lack of self control.... whatever. Most of us have our suggestions. Some of us have a great many. Narcissists, on the other hand, would state with great bombast that you must be crazy if you think that it's them that’s the problem. They are perfectly in control. They are just right as they are. They are perfect. This is what they do – projecting their own mental condition back onto you and to anyone who dares question them.
After all, this is simply a game, the game of narcissistic life, and, yes, a narc will play till the end. But they will play only by their own rules as those are the only ones acceptable to them. When you wish to play another version of life - the normal, not narcissistic game, no matter how many times you may try to explain, the narc will say, ‘No. You're a fool, that's not the game’. You, your thoughts, your possessions... all inadequate, all wrong, all pathetic – so they say.
So why won't they let you go? Why do they hold onto you if you are so inept? Because you, you poor ordinary soul, are his lifeline and link with normal humanity - his victims.
Life with a narcissist is a form of hell, and just about the most unpleasant time you will ever experience. They say one thing and when you question them about it they deny it (that's called gas-lighting). They project their weaknesses onto you. They demand their narcissistic supply (a supply of attention, good or bad, which keeps them fired up and makes you unwell, confused and hurt). Oh yes, they hurt you. They make excuses and give the hurt a reason, but my God, how they hurt you.
And it's all for one reason - because of their desire to control you and keep you with them. Not out of any kind of love, because this person won't experience love as you or I know it, but out of their need to be with someone who meets their need for control.
Complex aren't they, these narcissists? Well, they'd certainly like you believe that - that they're full of intense mystery and hidden depths - but the reason they need to intimidate, bully, hurt and siphon off your powers is because they have none of their own. You see, at the start of their lives, when the emotional self was maturing, they stagnated. They've never moved on towards full emotional maturity or into a state of taking responsibility for their own actions, growing their own true personalities, developing their strengths and improving their weaknesses. They've remained in a semi-toddler state going through the functions of being a real human being, but not actually managing.
It's all an act. The only thing that isn't an act is the nastiness. And you, the normal, the empath, the victim, the enabler, had better get out when you can, as soon as you can.