The Avatar of Dorian Gray

The Avatar of Dorian Graty

I am in the middle of an exhausting parallel process.

In Second Life I have made a break from someone who behaves like a pathological narcissist.

I have done the same thing in physical reality.

Both of these women seek to manipulate the other people in my social network to shun me.

The one in Second Life has an easier go of it because it is so easy to lie online.

In life, the narcissist is trying to manipulate my therapist.

Her belief in her superiority to everyone places her at a disadvantage in dealing with a psychotherapist.

This is why a psychotherapist is so crucial to treating Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I wrote about the reason for the break a couple of weeks ago

I referred to her as ‘he’ because I felt a need to protect her.

This is what she wrote to my therapist:

“What did he (Rob) have to gain out of telling his partner not to find out what I needed? His partner told me in frightened tones that Rob told him not to answer the door. That does violence to me and my emotional well-being. He (Rob) does this on purpose. I’m not going to let him (Rob) make me feel like a battered wife anymore. He might want to decide if he is going to treat me with respect. I believe that is what he means by boundaries. His partner is frightened of him. I think I may not hear from you (my therapist). That is Rob’s trump card. Fine. Be aware that he is good at manipulating people.”

The reference to being like a battered wife is the ‘trump card’ of the female narcissist.

I watched my Mother play that card with my Father.

What my former friend doesn’t know is that my partner and I have weekly couples sessions with my therapist.

These couples sessions are crucial to people with DID and their spouses.

The stress of being in a relationship with someone who has DID often precipitates a divorce.

My therapist met with my partner alone to get his side of the story.

This is her reply to my friend:

“You either distort the truth or purposely lie about things. For example, his partner reported to me that you opened the door the day you forgot your phone in their home. You said he opened the door. You characterized his partner as talking to you in frightened tones. On the contrary, Rob’s partner was shocked that you opened the door. I realize that dealing with this illness is confusing, however I know that in the past both myself and Rob have talked to you about this. Yet you persist in behavior that is damaging to Rob’s well-being. Rob has shared with you the things that are likely to trigger him. You either ignore them or purposely engage in the very behaviors that are likely to trigger and to upset him. This is dangerous to Rob’s mental health.  At this point, it is safer for everyone if you and Rob stay away from each other. Part of that will mean that communication will sometimes have to go through me.”

A healthy person might slink off in shame, but not a pathological narcissist. Here is her reply to my therapist:

“That isn’t really what I said. If you are going to rewrite the meaning out of it, you are acting as a conduit.”

It’s as if she thinks that her earlier email and everything she wrote in it has evaporated from the server.

The same thing is happening on Flickr with a former friend who is also a member of Second Life.

I knew that she had launched a smear campaign on Flickr when I noticed that mutual contacts stopped their regular visits to my stream.

I began to get odd email from people praising her work; I suppose to see what I might say. Next I got this email from a friend.

I’m using quotes from the email because I know that using third parties is the strategy of a narcissist. The one good thing that may come of this is that someone else involved with one of these characters may have a flash of recognition.


I got an email from x. She said to me that you had kicked her out of your workshop in SL!

My reply:

It would be all right if she kept the drama to herself…but she has spread it all over Flickr. Here’s the deal…I have this thing called DID. I’m in treatment. When I get confused or feel I’m becoming unreasonable I take a break. This is exactly what I told her. I told her, I feel confused and unable to reply to her email appropriately, I need to take a break. Her reply was to pack her digital bags and leave the workshop to start the drama you describe…”

The way virtual land works in SL, one creates a group for people to have access to it and deed the land to the group. Kicking someone off the land means removing them from the group.

She is still in the group and can use the workshop when she pleases.

The next email was more interesting.

Triangulation is a classic sign a pathological narcissist is in your life.

This is what our friend said:

“Good Morning. I just had a mail saying you ejected one of her photos from your Flickr photo group.”

This is a summarized version of my reply:

“X is triangulating you as a way to get my attention. I don’t recall removing her picture from my group but hell…I remove my own pictures from that group. If I did remove one of her pictures it was probably one that she knew I would remove. My criteria for removing a Second Life image is this: If it looks like a sex doll or an ad it’s out. That’s all. For my part, the only unforgivable thing a person can do to me is to lie to me and about me. I’ve cut people from my life for this, I’m certainly not going to tolerate it from someone I’ve never physically met. X is now another nail in the coffin of what little respect I had for the members of SL. Or at least the ones I’ve met, and that’s quite a few since 2009. I get on fine without them.”

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the break with the online narcissist is that she behaves in ways that might lead other Flickr members to think she is one of my alternates.

My therapist first noticed this.

My former SL friend invites every picture I post into every Flickr group she moderates regardless of the theme.

She ignores repeated requests that she stop doing this and she still does it.

Creating multiple accounts to promote your own work is the kind of thing that members of gaming communities do on Flickr. It’s obvious to the more professional members of Flickr and is a great way to lose their respect.

The worst thing you can do to a pathological narcissist is say ‘no’. No means a boundary and boundaries don’t apply to them.

In 1979 Christopher Lasch, at the University of Rochester, published ‘The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in An Age of Diminishing Expectations’  (Norton, 1979).

Lash describes the cultural narcissist as, ‘A chaotic and impulse-ridden character who lacks the capacity to mourn…lives an almost parasitic existence…[and is unable] to enjoy life in a process of a growing identification with other people’s happiness and achievements.’ (p. 37-41).

Healthy Narcissism or healthy self-regard is based on self-awareness.

In particular, respect for the rights and boundaries of other people.

A person with a healthy sense of self-worth seeks reciprocal relationships based on empathy and a sense of the self as worthy of love.

In 1975 Dr. Otto Kernberg published Borderline Conditions and Pathological Narcissism.

In Kernberg’s view one manifestation of Narcissistic aggression is chronic intense envy which causes the narcissist to want to spoil, steal or destroy the good things created by or enjoyed by others.

My friendships with these two women is a direct link to my Narcissistic Mother.

Each of them chosen by me to play the role of my Mother in my life.

This is the replication compulsion that scars the lives of adult survivors of childhood abuse.

“…the repetition compulsion describes a pattern in which survivors seek out abusive  people. They recreate the trauma to “fix” the primary relationship.  But any relationship with someone who resembles the abusive parent ends in failure. The survivor is trapped in a cycle of abusive relationships, with people who are disrespectful and psychologically abusive.”

paraphrased from How Childhood Abuse Can Manifest in Adult Relationships

The good news in all of this is that I am holding my boundaries, but the price is exhaustion mixed with grief and remorse. I’ve made this Hell.

The most painful part is that I know that removing these two narcissists from my life is no guarantee that I won’t replace them with two more.



Blog for Mental Health 2015


23 thoughts on “The Avatar of Dorian Gray

  1. Wow. This is a lot to digest, but full of very useful stuff.

    You didn’t mention the role in your life of the flesh-and-blood woman who has access to your therapist. I suppose that’s a purposeful omission, but of course I’m curious. I can hold curiosity, however.

    It’s amazing to me that you are able to participate in so many virtual communities. Does this help your alters to have places to live?


    1. I do have a flesh and blood woman in my life who has access to my therapist. There have been many women in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my str8 alternate–who used to come out and get into relationships with women who were invariably like the Mother. I have a journal that dates back to 1984. One of the entries opens with, “Who is this weird str8 guy that takes over my body?”

      So one of these women is still around…she isn’t entirely bad–she’s basically just a narc who doesn’t understand why I won’t let her run my life. And she doesn’t participate in therapy because like any good narc she has to compete with the therapist so she’s no asset when it comes to forging a healthy way of life… She’s like a family member I don’t want to see (which means she’s like a member of my blood family)– A good example of her obtuse narcissism is the note I found on my door the other day. She runs the building we live in…my partner is Nicaraguan. He finds being targeted as a danger by a group of people who supported the invasion of a disarmed nation deeply offensive…He also is no ones janitor or maid. So she leaves a note on my door saying she will pay him to vacuum the common areas of the building. I balled it up and threw it away. She loves to cause strife in our relationship. Two days later I ran into her and she asked me if I got the note. I told her I threw it away. Then I looked at her and said: I know that your pathology blinds you to how insulting it is to ask a Latino to be your houseboy–but trust me, it’s deeply offensive. Be well.

      I’ve discovered that the only way to deal with narcs whether online or in person is to hold them accountable and not wait around to listen to the screams of objection…

      The multiple accounts tend to foster confusion and fragmentation. But I haven’t learned how to get around it. The only communities that I actually participate in are WordPress and Flickr. I use twitter and Facebook but I’ve already seen too many flame wars to find them interesting as anything but adjuncts. And I only use SL as an extension of my inner world. People probably see my ability to use the game without interacting with other people as a form of narcissism and I suppose it is, but if your left brain honestly believes that your right brain is a separate person then it makes sense. I can go into SL and collaborate with my alternates on a project…and THAT’S progress.


  2. This. I hate necro commenting, but this. It resonates. I hope you don’t replace these toxic people with other toxic people.

    We choose them and they choose us. What a vicious cycle.

    When our jobs were being cut, a former boss brought me along because of my skill set but warned me that she never made mistakes. Ever.

    I have no idea what the others saw in me. If i granted them 5 seconds in my mind they would have run.

    Healthy me would have left my ex 2 months into the relationship. He stalked and taunted me. He only proposed bc he thought he was losing me. Then he thought i was property. He is trying to work his way back in. I feel like sht bc he appears so nice…but no. The guilt is trying to eat me alive.

    This sit with a co-worker pisses me off. Yesterday, I made her furious in a crowd of 3. She was berating someone and I called her out. An hour later I was called into my 2 up boss’s office to explain something i told work narc in confidence. I am so f*cking DONE with her. The guilt comes later bc she is a victim, too. I won’t betray her but I can’t be with her anymore.

    I hope you can filter people before they bring toxcicty into your life. I hope the same for me. I am so happy…as much as i can be…that i found your blog.


    1. Thank you for reminding me of this post…and for leaving such a great comment. As for this time around, I may have learned my lesson. I will absolutely assume that if my therapist sees something wrong then something is wrong. My therapist noticed that this particular narc was behaving as if she was one of my alternates. I thought, why would someone do that? Then I realized that narcs don’t need a logical reason for behaving like selfish, sick f–ks. But I didn’t have that insight until it was too late and I had already lost a group that I worked my butt off to build. I suppose the group is a trophy, I suppose that for her it’s like wearing my head on a belt…but survivors excel when it comes to cutting our losses–It’s also a great way to find out who your friends are. Watching people swallow her cupidity is almost fun…:) I think I’ll re-blog this post…Thank you again…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you…It sucks that she stole people away from you. Yeah…those who refused to believe her tripe are good friends. What a c word she is.

        Your therapist sounds wonderful. I believe you WILL be able to make your own calls…til then…yay for your therapist.


      2. Thanks…

        My therapist is sharp…and she checks out my online activities because I’ve asked her too. I also don’t see how intensive psychotherapy can be successful if the therapist has no insight into how the patient’s life is affected by his symptoms.

        She’s been through this with me before…in 2010 it was the same old BS with a different narc…so she knows my patterns and she knows my vulnerabilities and she has an analytical take on why I attract them. She’s also noticed that unlike most prey I bite back and this inevitably throws the narc off because what they are used to are brown
        nosing acolytes, naive trauma victims who are bright but not bright enough to see that their ideas have been swiped, or shamed trauma victims who fall silent and go away when they realize they’ve been had (again).

        I don’t do that…I used to, but not anymore.

        I don’t believe that people who are fair minded can really be swayed by a narc…

        The only people who respond are those who don’t ask, “Why is this woman talking shit about someone who was treating her like family?”

        Or better:

        “Why is this woman talking shit about someone I barely know.”

        In many ways narcs are like alcoholics. Instead of booze they use people to numb their pain. And they survive by using enablers.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You bite back…good. I think i said this before. When i was 9 my best friend threatened to kill me. It put up a barrier of sorts. So i thank him. I haven’t found a therapist that i trust. Im happy you have one.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Good. I say threatened but it was way more. I recommended your blog to a friend of mine. She is going tbrough an experience with a narc. I hope you don’t mind. You are helping me. I thought she might gain from visiting your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m fine with a visit from your friend…My blog is in part written to help people find solutions. I don’t always have them but I think opening up the idea of their being a solution is a start. I tried to follow you but your blog shows up as not there…am I doing something wrong.


      6. No one has all the answers but you have helped keep me sane in the past weeks. So I am singing your praises.

        I used to contribute to a blog. The owner closed it and that is okay. Another WP cf where you have one email addy never to be used again…In database world Wp gets it right…but ugh.

        I contribute to the matticus kingdom…not too often. I prefer to read and learn. He lets me post things. It is a healthy outlet.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is…it’s frightening and painful. Much of the recovery of an adult survivor of abuse is undoing the conditioning and learning how to see past the brainwashing. A child desperately wants to love and be loved by his parents; especially his Mother. Children seek to please their parents; I think it’s an evolutionary adaptation that enhances survival. The double bind for an abused child is that the only think that pleases the parent is a complete abdication of the self. When the child becomes chronologically adult the conditioning is in place. In my case, there was very little contact with the world of everyday people. By the time I was 21 the DID was in place so any chance of effective psychotherapy was stymied by the fact that no one ‘really’ believed DID was real. Even now, in spite of physical evidence that DID is real we have a mental health system that holds onto dogma as if it was part of the Church.

      The current dogma is all we have to do is change our thoughts and bingo….it’s all good. But it isn’t that easy for people with trauma histories. We must come to terms with what was, how it is affecting us now, and somehow put strategies in place for seeing people who are healthy, and we have to become healthy enough to attract healthy people.

      An adult survivor of abuse is like a bleeding swimmer in shark infested waters. Not only will a narcissist willingly feed, he will leave you alive so that he can bite and maul you until he finds another person who is willing to be a hostage.

      One would think that such a person spiritually reek so badly that no one would go near him.

      But abused children normalize that stench and treat it as normal if they survive to become adults.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your ability to express your situation, and your pain, is remarkable, Robert. Your voice is so important in the world of mental health advocacy. Please keep the dialog going. You have a lot of support here. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

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