This was originally posted on my other blog, but it fits here. When I wrote it I got very emotional but couldn’t figure out why. Now I finally know why.
Here is a hypothetical letter written from the point of view of a narcissist’s True (lost) Self.
Always follow the advice of the True Self. Don’t listen to the false one because it’s lying to you–whether you’re a narcissist or a victim, it’s still a lie.
Letter from a Narcissist’s True Self:
I have lied to you about nearly everything. I am not sorry for this behavior because I cannot empathize with you. I chose narcissism so early in my life that I never had the chance to develop a conscience or the capacity to feel remorse or empathy for the way I hurt you. Still. I know it’s wrong on an intellectual level. I just cannot feel your pain. Sometimes I wish I could, but I can’t.
I became a narcissist because as a child I felt too vulnerable. I was sensitive. I felt too much and most of it was painful. I was made to feel like I was nothing, a nobody. I was hurt, betrayed, abused, just like you. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t loved, or why I was treated with contempt and like I didn’t matter. I was also was never given a good example of how to become a good person. I never had anyone to model in a positive way.
Life was so painful for me I had to do something about it. Something drastic. I had to become strong and never show weakness again, because my weakness was killing me. I was trained that being a sensitive person who feels compassion and remorse, a person who can love others, is a weak person. I know that isn’t really the case, but it was how I was trained. I was so young that I couldn’t see how wrong that might have been.
I reached a point where I had to make a choice. In order to survive, I had to sacrifice my humanity. I didn’t want to do it, but I felt like I had to. I didn’t want to be hurt anymore. I had to sell my soul.
In order to sell my soul, I had to shut you and everyone else out. I couldn’t allow myself to feel too much. I couldn’t allow myself to be sensitive anymore, and that meant I could no longer allow myself to love anyone, feel anyone else’s pain or joy, or feel sorry if I did something wrong.
I had to don this mask that I wear, which is a lie. In order to keep that lie intact, I had to treat others badly. I had to diminish you to prop my false self up. I had to hate you in order to “love” the mask that I show the world, because if I didn’t continually prop myself up by making you feel bad, my mask of lies might fall off and expose the real me, a powerless and vulnerable child which I had to protect at all costs, even if it meant destroying everyone else around me. I am a bully but inside I know I am nothing. I act like I love myself but I really hate myself. I only love the mask I wear. I abuse you to protect that mask.
Read Michelle Mallon’s story here.
You can never get through to my true self because the lies I tell are nearly impenetrable. I have lied so often and for so long that I myself have come to believe my own lies. I am a walking lie. That is the truth.
I will never let you get close to what I really feel. I don’t even know what I feel anymore. Most of the time I feel nothing, because a lie has no feelings. But try to destroy my protective armor, and I will try to destroy you. If I must go down in flames, I am going to take you with me. I will rage and abuse you. I will gaslight you and tell you the most horrific lies about yourself.
I may seem nice at first or when I feel like the supply you give me is threatened or you may leave. I know how to get others to trust me–by acting like a nice person. I am good at acting like a nice person but I can’t feel a nice person’s emotions. It’s hard work to act nice, because that’s a lie too.
When you begin to trust me, I will start abusing you, because I must keep you at arm’s length and keep my mask of lies intact at all costs. Both the niceness I show you and the asshole I become are both lies. I cannot even access who I really am. I have forgotten. I just know that my true self is there, somewhere, and I can never, ever, let you meet them.
If you mirror back to me too much of the truth about me–if I become aware that you KNOW this mask I always wear is a fake–I will attempt to destroy you or cut you out of my life. I cannot afford to have the truth about myself revealed to me. Nothing terrifies me more than facing the truth about myself so I have dissociated myself from it. It scares me so much to realize how evil I have become. It hurts me so much that I had to choose this fake self because of what was done to me. I hate being evil. I really don’t want to be this way but I will never, ever admit that. I cannot ever show you or anyone in the world how weak and vulnerable I really am. But deep inside, I know I am.
I am still an infant. I never grew up. My emotional and moral development was arrested when I was just a very young child, so I only have the emotional maturity of a child that age. That’s why I can’t care about you. It’s why I must always have my way. Can a two or three year old care about YOUR feelings? Of course they can’t, and like a toddler, I can’t either. I am like a mentally challenged person, only my retardation isn’t mental, it’s emotional and moral. I’m emotionally retarded.
It’s hard work keeping up my false self. I am paranoid and defensive all the time that I will be discovered and exposed. It’s enormously stressful to be a narcissist. It’s stressful and often painful, and I know I have sacrificed the ability to ever feel real happiness in order to never be hurt again.
But still, I hurt all the time. You can hurt me very easily. The only way I dare show my hurt is by projecting it back onto you through my abuse and through my rages. I’m a bully because I always hurt so much. But I can’t hurt FOR you, only for myself. I cannot afford to hurt for you. I’m too busy always licking my own wounds and trying to keep the lie going. I will hurt YOU if I must to keep the lie intact.
As I age, I may soften a little but most likely I won’t. I could even become worse. Don’t wait for me to change because I most likely never will. Once I chose this life, there was no going back. I chose darkness and once that’s done, there is no going back to the light. I sold my soul and there’s no way to buy it back, but through the grace of God himself.
If you care about yourself (because I can never care about you), you must leave now. Don’t play my games. Ignore me and act like I don’t exist. Being treated like I don’t exist is the worst thing I can imagine, but if you care about your own survival it’s what you must do. I will destroy you if you don’t. Heed my warning.
There’s even a small–a very small–chance that your abandoning me and taking away the supply I get from you could make me take a look in the mirror for the first time at the lost child I left behind so long ago. If that happens, I will be in so much pain I may seek the help I need. Don’t count on it though. Even if I ever seek help, once I start feeling too much pain I will probably leave counseling. Feeling that pain is too terrifying. It’s easier to abuse my own mind (and yours) by keeping up the masks and lies.
Here is a song that describes me well.
Don’t wait for me to change. I won’t. Don’t play my games. Even if I rage, hold your ground. You’re stronger than I am. I will never let you know I know this. Don’t fall for my lies.
Better yet, leave now. Keep your soul intact. Don’t allow me to turn you into a shell of what you used to be or worse, a person like me, even though it’s what I want.