How the narcissist picks his prey

He looks for a nurturing, conscionable person. The more innocent, honest, humble and kind hearted the better. These type of people cannot recognize the narcissist’s ulterior motive. How could they? The facade he presents is nearly perfect in every way. Charming. Successful. Well liked. Charismatic. Great sense of humor. He says all the right things at all the right times. He is able to do this adroitly because he takes an inventory of the victim. Their likes and dislikes, their behavior and the emotions they reveal. He mirrors all of this back to the victim. He becomes “just like you”.  Each and every time with each new victim, conquest, mate or spouse. It is the narcissist’s modis operandi.

He always has an answer and it is always reasonable should you question his motives or intentions.  To think otherwise would be an aberration. This is not a person that has a bad bone in his body. Kind, caring and considerate. Oozing charm and charisma. You believe him and so do many others. He keeps a collection of supporters (minions), near and dear to him. But they don’t get to see the inside of the narcissist’s world. Only a victim who is pliant enough, trusting enough and humble enough will get to see that. If he senses that anyone is on to his games, they are abruptly discarded in cold, cruel callous fashion. He never looks back. He never apologizes. He has no conscience so he feels no remorse. His motive is for complete and total adoration. He is a dictator, an oligarch, a tyrant. His motive is to find someone that makes him look good in the world’s eye. Someone he can continue his charade with. He believes he is a king that deserves complete reign over all his kingdom, including the subjects in it. But, the king wears no clothes. And he knows it. He hopes no one else will notice.

He repeats the same patterns as he has always done before. For a narcissist, a sociopath who knows his victim better than they can recognize the predator, the above is the perfect scenario. Con men cannot con another who can see through the mask they project or who may have the audacity to question what is or isn’t real. The narcissist will  back up their lies, with more and more lies. They are very charming. Extremely convincing, and the victim believes wholeheartedly, that this tale he spins is fact, not fiction. It will be a rare day to ever find any proof of his true colors. Covering their tracks is a natural behavior. They are very predatory. But rarely violent. They kill differently.

They do not marry or get involved in relationships for love. They do it to appear “normal” to outsiders. They look for a cleat to tie their boat to; an anchor to make them feel safely secured in a turbulent sea. It is not properly anchored however, the boat is adrift. They don’t care whom they hurt or manipulate for their own ends. They do not feel what normal people feel. Once the victim is in place, in the drifting barge, the narcissist goes about his merry way, engaging in promiscuous sex and extra marital affairs, appearing to be every man’s man, every woman’s dream, covering their tracks well and leaving a wake of devastation behind them. They brush the dust off and move on swiftly. Other people mean nothing to them. They possess no moral code or conscience. They do not answer to a higher power like the rest of us mere mortals. They do as they please always and even brag about how they “always get what they want”.  If the victim does not abide by the game the narcissist plays, they will be severely maligned, abused, and destroyed.

Once the victim is safely secured in the narcissist’s prison, there is no escape. The narcissist will consume the thoughts, the functions  and beliefs of the victim. In their own conscience, the victim recognizes all the red flags, that something is very wrong. Something is not natural and the gut instinct that all is not true about this person, infects their thinking. There is a war going on inside the victim. A constant roller coaster of emotions. Hot and cold. Charming and cruel. The voice is tiny though. The louder voice, proclaims, he is wonderful, a prince, my soul mate because this is what she needs and wants to believe. He knows this. He knows because of their good conscience and moral compass, the victim can only believe absolute good in the narcissist.

The narcissist is a professional at appearing to be a soul mate to everyone he encounters. When caught in a lie or anything that negatively may impact the narcissist’s facade he projects, he cries. He pleads.  The tears and pleas for forgiveness are merely a ruse. Another disguise. The narcissist only cries for himself. The mask is slowly falling away and he knows this and he cannot bear being exposed. In time, he ultimately will discard and abandon the victim.  At first through a devaluation phase. He begins to see the faults in that person and clings tightly to them. A sublte shift in emotional attachment. Then the snide comments and insults. There are more waiting in the wings that the narcissist already is priming and will quickly move on to, to obtain the only thing he seeks. Narcissistic supply.

7 thoughts on “How the narcissist picks his prey

  1. I’ve been researching NPD online for several weeks now, at hours on end, and this may be the most concise, crystal clear description of what I just endured that I’ve seen yet. Still not rid of mine – I have to work with her. Lasted about 8 months. But educating myself has done wonders with my grief and guilt, and the unnecessary, useless jealousy (yup – she had a new model 3 weeks after discarding me). So it was HARD – actually there may not be a word for it. But coming into work every day, 40 hours a week with her, after THAT? Yeah, it was indescribable.
    Much easier now, armed with the knowledge I’ve got from my research. The only down side is that I’m afraid I literally no longer even regard her as human. She can tell I’ve changed, I know she can smell it. But I’ll never tell her what I know. It’d be pointless or worse, probably provoke either a rage event or God knows what else.
    So now she’s my experiment. And SO easy to make run the maze, like a mouse looking for cheese. Part of me does feel some regret at “playing” someone like I do with her now – but again, these creatures have as much in common with real people as my electric stapler has with an Aston Martin. I just remind myself that it’s for science – I really am learning a lot from it.
    A well-presented breakdown of this phenomenon. These are VERY dangerous individuals. Even after all I’ve read, I don’t think it can be over-stated enough. Trick is to educate yourself and DO NOT believe anything they do or say. EVER. Once I got out of the trap, I recovered my senses, went back, examined it closely – I know how it works – i know why it was built to work that way. I see the trigger. I can dance all over it, but I’ve learned what it is and I’m never going to set it off again.
    Again, great piece. It’ll help someone when they need it most.

    • Thank you Mike. I believe yours is an even rarer case. Narcissism rarely appears in females. It is far more prevalent in males, but it does happen. I think I’ve known at least one. It is the intimacy with an N that damages you emotionally, psychologically, physically and even spiritually to the core. It takes very long to get over these relationships because they are extremely hard to define. A normal person with a normal conscience just cannot wrap their heads around all the deception and lies. The People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck is a collection of real case histories that he studied and worked on as a psychiatrist for 40 years that he could only describe as pure, unadulterated evil. There is no counseling or medication that will ever help these individuals. Unfortunately, they are extremely well masked and very hard to detect. The book opened my eyes to the fact that true evil does exist. Yes, the research is extremely healing and is my catharsis as well. I try to continually expose my personal story so others may relate to it, learn from it and hopefully heal as well. It was just too disturbing, too psychotic, for me to rationalize any other way. Only a person with NPD, which is sociopathic, can behave in that manner. Do not feel guilty. That is your conscience speaking to you. The only way to understand them is to be like them.

  2. I figure it was rare as well, but I’ve heard it said that N females are not less common, they’re just less commonly exposed for what they are.
    Mine was severely abused as a child and teen, basically let your imagination run wild and then double the result. House to house with a meth addict mother, lived with a biker gang, tending bar at 16 to support her family – bad, very bad stuff. Now she’s the local spokesperson for the United Way and sort of a local celebrity at the university where we work. (It’s probably not lost on you that those two facts are classic N alpha and omega.) She’s also the Associate Director of our unit. I’m the receptionist. She runs a part of our department that is very student-heavy, she has a whole gaggle of – I call them the Mutual Admiration Society. I used to enjoy the banter, loved watching her with 4 or 5 students in particular, some of our favorite kids here. Now it’s disgusting to watch. They’re the “collection of minions” you mention above. They have no idea.
    Much of my guilt comes from the fact that it started while she was married. She left her husband of 15 years after about 3 months of me on the sly. Also learned during that time that she’d cheated on him repeatedly over the years, even got caught once. Of course, got the whole song and dance about MY life, MY needs, MY ball and chain, MY last chance to get out and be MYself. And bought it all because I’d been brainwashed. She’d sniffed me out and made herself into my ideal woman, just like I’m sure she’s doing to the new guy.
    It was WEIRD, she just hit me up one day with a rather suggestive text. Few days later we go for beers after work and she flat-out propositions me. Let’s have a little fun, don’t worry, I’m not leaving my husband, blah, blah, blah. I thought about it and made a selfish decision that I ultimately paid dearly for.
    Red flag: in less than a month we were in LOVE, I mean love like I’d never known it. Now I know it was a false reality manufactured for my benefit, like a nutty episode of Star Trek or something.
    Then in April, after one of the best weeks we’d had – Boom. Done. Over. I knew it was coming eventually. We couldn’t come “out” at work because we’d both lose our jobs. We couldn’t go on normal dates because everyone in town knows her. It was never going to be a normal relationship.
    I sometimes think back to a conversation we had a few weeks before the end, where I got really angry about all that and made no small noise about just stopping, just ending it because it was inevitable anyway and it’d be easier if we just do it now. And we always agreed that either of us could stop it at any time, no questions asked. She got really upset at that. I misinterpreted it at the time, I think. I’ve read recently that they will bolt at the FIRST sign that you might bolt before they do. And consider this: “I’m the Associate Director, gorgeous, hyper-intelligent, successful Hitchcock Blonde, and the middle-aged, round-bellied receptionist is thinking about dumping ME?!!??” So there’s that.
    My one wish is that there were some way I could get her ex husband this information, the kind I read every day about Narcissists. I know the guy. Not well, but a little. I know he’d recognize it immediately. Might take some time and grief to sink in. 15 years is a long time to be taken for a fool. He’s having a real hard time, and she feels nothing but annoyed with him. It’s disgusting, after what we did to him. In fact, I think that was probably what set me off on my quest to understanding all this. When I started hearing her talk about him the way she did, tell stories about her and the new guy making fun of him. I thought, “Jesus, after all this, and more that he doesn’t even know about, you have the nerve to mock him??” And I knew this wasn’t a normal person. She didn’t even defend it. She didn’t even consider that it was not appropriate, not okay, not remotely funny. She just stared. Sipped her Starbuck’s. I can understand her new guy cracking wise, God knows what he’s been told. But her? She felt NOTHING. It was chilling. And that’s when I think the light went on for me.
    Anyway – I had it coming, for what I did. But it’s just nice to get my own story out there and off my chest. Maybe someone will read it and see some parallels, some clues like I’ve recently received. A lot of these threads have helped me understand what happened.

    • Yes, chilling is what I saw and felt at one point too. And that stare! One minute he could be the most charming, charismatic and almost angelic person, then give an ice cold glare where I had no idea who he was or what he was thinking. Over dinner one night he admitted that he had had several affairs during his 30 year marriage. He said, “can you blame me?” I think my jaw hit the floor. I had plenty of red flags too but when I questioned him, his sincerity or his intentions, he would turn everything around and make me feel guilty for ever questioning him in the first place. They thoroughly do enjoy manipulating people to meet their needs. It is what they must do. The whole experience makes me feel sick in all honesty and I do understand the guilt, but don’t allow it to affect you. I’m at the point now where I’ve been inside the sick mind of the N for so long, that I pity them. It’s exhausting to need to constantly keep up a facade for the world to see and to lie, steal and cheat to get what you want or need.
      I was involved with someone very successful, very charming, very charismatic with minions jumping through hoops like you were. When I finally saw a photo of his wife I was shocked. He never said a word about her or described her in any way. I imagined a successful, beautiful, educated and competent woman. What I saw was a woman who’d been victimized and traumatized for 30 years. I’m sure he made her completely crazy. His new victim is a doppelganger, just younger, type 1B. It is truly terrifying. I had no business being with him, which he knew all along, but allowed me to believe the lies, fall hopelessly in love, plan my life around him, miss career opportunities that he talked me out of etc. It is taking me a long time to recover emotionally, psychologically and financially.
      The only thing he ever said that was true was, “if I had told you the truth, you would have ended it with me and I could not bear the thought of that”. And yes, they MUST end things first. Now when I read that email, I can see the clues to his illness. It’s there in black and white. He also said once, ” Always dump them before they dump you”, but he said it was his sisters idea of relationship advice. Then he laughed.
      Narcissists do drop clues constantly though. I’ve tried to outline that in many of my posts. The Lula Lake one was absolutely outrageous as were many others. But I never doubted him because he was so unbelievably convincing, charming, sweet and seemingly sincere.
      As far as alerting the poor ex husband, I feel likewise about his ex. You see, nothing about them is true so I have no idea the real story behind the wife or anything for that matter. I have no idea about anything about him. Unless you really know what his situation is, you may as well smack your head against a brick wall. But still, I expose what I can and I obviously don’t worry about the ramifications. Not anymore anyway. Evil like this needs to be battled and brought out.
      I hope my story and my posts help you. It certainly helps me too, knowing I wasn’t alone and that others have suffered the same fate at the hands of the same monster.

  3. Been flitting around the rest of the site – good stuff! You really do have it out for these useless wastes of flesh! I’m with you there. Mine is acting a bit weird, but otherwise leaving me mostly alone. Saw a Yahoo Answers thing this summer with the question: How do you drive a narcissist crazy? Answer was (drum roll please): Ignore them.
    Mine just came in here (while everyone else is at lunch), asked how my weekend went, then gifted me with a 25-minute (uninterrupted) litany of everything she did this weekend, or has planned in the next 3 weeks. At least I’m learning to fake interest. I think I fooled her. Maybe she got her fix and will leave me alone for a few more days. I think it’s hysterically funny that I don’t have to ACTUALLY give a damn. Just have to look like i do. If I were tested over that “conversation”, I’d fail miserably. But I’ll never be tested. They seem to express and expect things in an “off” way. It wasn’t about the conversation at all. She doesn’t care how my weekend went. That was just a set-up so that she could have a reason to talk and watch me react to her. I was watching her watch me, it was fascinating. Why would someone talk that much and not care if anyone is paying attention? Nutcase! I keep saying it over and over: once I figured it out, MAN it’s a relief, she can’t get to me anymore, but it’s immensely entertaining to watch her try!
    Been thinking myself recently about starting a blog of my own on this subject, as I appear to have a narcissist in captivity, available for study. Folks could log in, send me random experiments and I’d do them, make her jump through hoops and report the results online. I think that’d be a gas.
    I keep this posted my desk along with a lot of other quotes to keep my mind right, thought I’d share. It helps me a LOT when she’s right here at my desk, especially when we’re alone like just now. I was actually reading it while she talked.

    O divine Art of Subtlety and Secrecy!
    Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible: and hence we hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.
    Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest.
    In raiding and plundering be like fire, in immovability like a mountain.
    Let your plans be as dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
    – Sun Tzu (The Art of War)

    • The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Would you believe he actually uttered those words once to me? I now know he was allowing me to glimpse into the real persona underneath. If only I was able to detect deception such as his, never would any of it have taken place. I thank god I am not nor ever could be a type 1A or type 1B. Narcissists are to be pitied. After the hatred and confusion subsides, you come to realize that they absolutely must lie and deceive to obtain narcissistic supply. There is nothing of substance underneath. They are naked. A person such as myself would never naturally allow for it. Only a timid, humble, catering, borderline personality would go along with the nonsense, the lies and deception. At first meeting I was weak. But no more. Only a very weak person would entrap themselves like Type 1A and Type 1 B to be manipulated to, lied to and deceived forever. That is their fate. They are wolves seeking weak prey. I am none of these things. I should thank him for setting me free. I pity them all.
      Good luck to you. Fight the good fight.

  4. One more quote for you and your readers, and a fine example of my current philosophy:

    Such a one is encased, is he not, in an armor – such an armor! The armor of the crusaders was nothing to it – an armor of arrogance, of pride, of complete self-esteem. This armor, it is in some ways a protection, the arrows, the everyday arrows of life glance off it. But there is this danger; Sometimes a man in armor might not even know he was being attacked. He will be slow to see, slow to hear – slower still to feel.
    – Agatha Christie

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