What do Narcissists Want and Why Should Anyone Care?

Narcissus-Caravaggio (1594-96)
Narcissus-Caravaggio (1594-96)

Yesterday’s therapy hour was a couples session.

My partner is upset that I am still struggling to free myself from what he calls unhealthy online friendships that don’t really exist.

His complaint is that I’m more like a teenager than an adult online; that I don’t seem to learn from experience.

My partner complained that since I joined Second Life in 2008, I’ve lost money, my job, my mental health, I’ve been accused of stealing bad personal art, accused of stealing public art, and I am now being stalked by someone for reasons that are blatantly absurd.

I think these things would have happened regardless of Second Life.

My partner’s point is that my inability to protect myself affects him, because these “friends that don’t exist” trigger my symptoms and make it harder for him to live with me.

I sensed frustration from my therapist as well.

My partner wanted to know why I was making all of this public because to him it looks as if I’m goading a reaction.

I replied that I am making it public because I think it is the best way to counter an online smear campaign

I had an interesting email from a Word Press friend today.

She is a fine writer who was interested in using Second Life as a tool to illustrate her writing.

She logged into SL a couple of times and had such an overwhelming feeling of negativity from the ‘people’ she met that she decided not to pursue it.

She wrote that she found the atmosphere aggressive and decided to let it go for now.

To me that’s a shame but I knew what she meant.

What impressed me the most is that her filters were up and working. She sensed that she wasn’t safe and took action to protect herself.

I don’t have those filters and it pains and frustrates me.

It means that I waste time getting burned, waste time healing from the burns, and waste time trying to clean up the crap from the inevitable smear campaign.

For the record, an online smear campaign is a whisper campaign that is usually covert and takes place via email and texting.

You might ask why I continue to use a social network that is so obviously malignant that healthier  people can sense the malignancy in the virtual ‘atmosphere’.

The answer is simple and complex: the alternates refuse to give up their ‘bodies’.

I am ok with deleting all six accounts but I can’t and when I say I can’t I mean that I physically can’t.

I do have things that I want to carry out online.

I want to take part in what I see as a grassroots effort to transform the U.S. mental health system into one that respects its patients and works to heal and rehabilitate them.

Eventually I want to use my blog to sell some of my art.

It is true that in many ways I am still emotionally an adolescent.

I do like meeting people and I do tend to trust people from the outset.

My therapist says that I have to learn how to give my trust to people who have earned it.

I still don’t understand how that works.

I see struggles with narcissists as a crucial problem for abuse survivors, especially survivors whose abusive parents were narcissists.

However, I have an unusual gift.

I am able to take intellectual distance from my symptoms to see how they affect my relationships.

Beyond that, my years of working in mental health help me to create the kind of clinical understandings of myself that I used to bring to my patients.

I suppose the way I dissociate allows me to experience my illness as separate from myself.

I experience abuse directed at me in the third person.

Morally, I find it repugnant that anyone would dare to abuse and steal from someone they know is disabled.

That it has happened to me means that it happens to other people.

How many people with mental health problems fear using social media to break their isolation because they have been conned and harassed by sociopaths and narcissists?

I make this public because I believe that if you don’t tell your own story someone will tell it for you.

I am preparing to update all of my profiles.

I have had some successes this year.

There are people to thank.

But there is another reason to update my profile.

My stalker has escalated her efforts.

The stalker has even gone so far as to trash “Rob” to “Bobby”.

Consider the kind of person who will try to triangulate one dissociative alternate against another in a man who has Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Why wouldn’t this kind of behavior upset my partner?

It is sick in ways that I will never be and for that, I’m grateful.

By posting my story of these events I give a way for people to verify what they’ve heard.

Anyone who still believes that I’ve abused a whimsical flower of happiness after they read her comments is not worth my time.

My partner asked my therapist: What does she want?

What does any narcissist want?

They want to live in your head so that all you think about is them.

They want your talent and sensitivity.

They want your friends.

They want the respect that you have earned.

They want your property.

They want the love that you have worked to nurture.

They want your skill.

They want your admiration even as they treat you with contempt.

They want your heart.

In my therapy I am held accountable when the symptoms of my illness causes someone pain.

I’m not allowed to say, sorry I’m sick, put up with it or leave.

It is my job to manage my illness and to decrease the harm it does to the people I love.

I am accountable for my actions; I hold the people I meet accountable for theirs.

If you are a narcissist and you choose me for your games know that I will eventually drag your sadism into the light.

Everyone to whom you’ve lied will know it.

My background gives me the edge I need when it comes to managing the difficult symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

It also helps me to see my interactions with other people with a certain degree of clarity.

Now consider someone who is sick with a mental illness, who doesn’t have my background and is stuck in shame.

For other survivors who face this kind of harassment and who believe that it is their fault I am here to tell you that you don’t have to take this abuse in silence and it is not your fault; anyone who takes advantage of your illness doesn’t deserve your pity.

Make copies of every threat and screed and if you feel strong enough, post them to your blog,

Don’t name names; trust me, people who have received a text or an email that trashes you will know who the narcissist is.

Create your corner of truth where your story is yours alone.

Update your profile with a link to the truth and invite people to decide for themselves.

Never let anyone take control of the story of your life.

Hold anyone who abuses you accountable…always.

It won’t be comfortable, but I believe that it will help to set you free.

RG 2016



37 thoughts on “What do Narcissists Want and Why Should Anyone Care?

  1. Robert. Take care: I want to read and listen-you are a warm and caring person, and your partner you will make it through! I am sorry that you have been assigned a psychiatric label, your a human, not a disease.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.

      I know that I’m a good person and that I am not my illness.

      The problem is that I live in a system that wants to label and marginalize me because it covertly acts on the premise that people with mental illnesses are not worth the time and the money we need to heal. Therefore I must be one with my illness in order to join with other people to push back on this mountain of institutional oppression.

      I want to live in a world that will let me have DID and and let me find a way to be a productive member of society…and when I do I can free myself from the label.

      Thank you for your compassionate and thoughtful comment. 🙂


  2. I love the fact that you have found strength. It is so obvious in this piece. Bravo. Incidentally, I had to change the privacy settings of my blog. Please come by some time and subscribe at http://www.theshamingoftheshrew.worpress.com. I miss your awesome feedback. Thanks so much, Rob and again, thank you for sharing your rich experience with the blogging community.


    1. It’s so good to see you…! I’ve missed your insights and your sense of humor. I did send a subscription request to you and hope that you get it.

      Thank you for your comments on this post.

      I’m glad that you can see the strength.

      The little narcissist who thinks she’s at the center of all of my writings has done a fine job of convincing the malleable that I’m posting about her and saying terrible things.

      But the problem of pathological narcissism in the lives of all abuse survivors is significant…and I am gonna bet that many of us have more than one of them around.

      It does take strength to break old patterns, to not feel guilty about wanting to be treated with respect and consideration, and to not feel wrong for calling out abusers who are often enabled in their abuse by many of the people we think of as friends.

      I write what I write and I’m not responsible for how people choose to use the information.

      And do I really need to point out that only a pathological narcissist announces that she is the topic of a post about an anonymous narcissist.

      I’ll send you another request…thank you for reading the post and leaving a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your candor – your open heart. Mine’s the same … and it’s a bit tricky learning how to remain open and receptive while still guarding our hearts. I’m currently learning that lesson and not doing too badly, though it has been one step forward and two back at times. It seems I’m getting much better at noticing the red flags early and am not afraid to cut the ties the moment I recognize them. It’s the family members who are narcissistic who keep dragging me back in. I dared confront one of them recently and was ‘punished’ by being the only family member not invited to the family Christmas, which was almost certainly the very last Christmas my mother will spend on this earth. So it hurt. It hurt badly. Back to the drawing board.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know. I have a narcissist family member who lives in my apartment building.

      Every time I let her into my life she plays a game of divide and conquer with me and my partner.

      I rarely let her into my apartment for this very reason.

      The other day we had to discuss some family business so I invited her in.

      Naturally she thought that I had forgiven all of the things that I told her were unforgivable and assumed she was back ‘in’.

      Yesterday I came home and found a note on my door saying that she would pay my partner to vacuum her apartment.

      Understand that this woman is wealthy enough to hire an army of professional maids…

      My partner is Latino…if he had found it he’s have gone ballistic and our the rest of our day would have been ruined.

      She knows that he has sensitivities over the way Latino’s are treated by whites. She knows how offensive her note was.

      What makes them outrageous is that they always know what they are doing and they never do or say anything that isn’t intended to either secure supply or insult and demean. It’s a sad way to live and they know that as well…That’s why they hate being called out. It’s not that they have no shame; it’s that they can’t tolerate shame and their efforts to avoid shame causes them to do things that are shameful.


  4. There are a lot of golden nuggets here, but I prefer to focus on the parts about your goals.
    Trolls be damned, you achieve great inspiration and influence here.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Drama is like air to a Narcissist. If you mention them they suck in the air while sucking a little more of your life, happiness and what is important to you, out of you. If there is a way for you to live a healthy and creative life without the interaction, something between your soul and the Universe, do it. Narcissists are always sicker than we are smart. They are tireless in their destruction. They are insidious in their effect. If you think of them, you are invested in them, which is what they want. They want to be mentioned in your therapy sessions, your relationships, your desires, your frustrations. What they don’t want, is to be totally ignored. There is always an alternative to dealing with them and it will be happy, zero anxiety and drama. The drama can be addictive to those used to N significant people in their life. A limbic brain reaction. When we stand up to them but still have contact, we are merely tossing them treats. A Narcissist would be flattered by this post even, they had an effect, you invested time and thought, therefore, they exist. You’re one strong and admirable guy Robert, but logic and normal rules don’t work here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your wisdom…you’re like the Gandalf of narc fighters. I’ve written two posts that I intend to use as links in my profile.

      I know from several sources that this particular narc running a smear campaign and I can sense some of the damage in my interactions on Flickr.

      You can’t really damage my reputation in Second Life since I don’t use it as a social network but I do value my contacts on Flickr.

      In the ideal world people who get sudden letters and note cards that smear someone would wonder about the person who sent them and I trust that most of the contacts I value on Flickr will do just that.

      “The Monkey Dance” is my response to the smear.

      Anyone who reads those comments from her and still thinks that s/he is a victim is probably just another narc or a flying monkey.

      I wrote both of these posts for me because I really do believe that if I don’t tell my own story then someone will tell it for me.

      It’s my way of returning myself to me.

      If she is sick enough to find being exposed as a liar, a stalker and a thief; so be it.

      She is the one who has to fight day and night to create and cover up lies…

      Not me…

      Thank you for your comment…It helped me to clarify my thoughts.



    1. I always hold my head up. I live by this creed: “I hold myself accountable for my actions; and I hold the people I meet accountable for theirs.”

      If you are a liar, a sneak, a back stabber, a gossip, entitled, and unwilling to take responsibility for the harm you do, I’m the last person you want to mess with.

      There are plenty of stupid people on this planet who are thrilled to enable the sadistic pathology of narcissism. There are just as many who will asked themselves why they are getting letters and text messages that are little more than vicious rumor mongering. Those of the people I want in my life.

      The rest of them a invisible to me unless they do something to force me to see them. Thank you for refusing to play along with someone whose behavior is profoundly immoral.


    1. Thank you. I came out of this one feeling stronger. I learned that I could stand up for myself but I think I mostly learned how to live with the fact that I cannot control justice. To me it is an injustice to make choices that prevent other people from enjoying their lives and having success and a big part of the stress in related to the fact that I don’t understand such people. What I’ve learned is that I don’t have to understand them. In this instance I had to find a solution to a fairly common problem for many people who use social media. Internet Narcissists wouldn’t use it if it weren’t such an excellent source of ‘supply’. Every time they successfully manipulate someone into participating in their smear campaigns they get a little jolt of happiness. Some people who write exclusively about narcissism call these enablers ‘flying monkeys’. Their job is to repeat the smear to spread it around. I realized that I can’t do a thing to make her stop. But I can write a post that provides evidence of what is really going on with an awareness that the kind of people I want to meet are the kind of people who will ask themselves why they being triangulated. I’m glad that you wanted to ‘like’ the post. It took me years to understand this. Thank you for leaving a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for this and I hope you continue to out this person, should they keep up the nonsense. I hope you can develop your filter.

    I’ve been triple whammied since the holidays. My mom is also a narc and is my best friend when she needs something and not getting along with my sister. Otherwise, I’m dirt. This hurts because she is mom and you are supposed to respect your mom in spite of it all. So, I keep giving in when she does this. My ex recently sent my sister a generous donation with a note saying he wants back into our lives. This is the man who let me sleep in my car because I forgot the house key. Yeah, he tought me. My coworker is unable to drive so I am her transpo sometimes. Yesterday, I had a headache so bad that i nearly passed out. Her response? “Come on over and we can do something.” I opted to stay home instead which prompted an annoyed response. A friend of mine is also fighting her own battle.

    Wtf is wrong with these people? Is it really more prevalent or do we people who have these narcissists in our lives just finding each other?

    Thank you for allowing me to rant and ramble. This hits home. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for leaving the post. Here is my honest response based on what I’ve learned. I like the idea that these narcs can also be our best teachers. Narcissism may be more prevalent in our culture, malignant narcissism in 21st Century America calls itself patriotic. But that’s what they do: they corrupt the language, corrupt our concepts of love and parenthood, corrupt religion, (I saw a “Thank you, Jesus for President Trump” sign yesterday) they corrupt everything they touch and an turn our most noble endeavors into cheap games that one can only win by cheating.

      But those of us who were raised by and abused by Narcissists are ‘groomed’ to respond to their needs. That’s why so many of us have spouses and friends who treat us as if we are there to serve them and who tell us we’re crazy for even thinking that we should attend to our own needs. We need to break down the filters that keep us from seeing all of the healthy people out there. WE are also groomed to rationalize and justify their abuse. There may be more of them, but we can’t tell because they are all we can see.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your honest response. It is reprehensible that we have allowed this to permeate society. I like your use of the term corruption. People have a sense of entitlement at whatever cost.
        My mom and the coworker don’t fly into rages but have other means. This is due to the fact that I mostly hang out in public places….ohh the glares could knock you on the floor, though. Or, they would try to humiliate or confuse. My ex let me have it but good, always in private. A boss once told me that she was never wrong and I would be accountable for any errors. We were a team of two. At least she was honest.

        My at the time best friend threatened to kill me when I was 9 and put my neck in a grip. That broke my trustometer. I think it may haved saved me by helping to leave before they broke me completely, mom excluded.. My ex and I never married but were engaged for 10 years before I broke free. My boss, I left after a year. I agree that these people teach us. It is sad that our filters don’t work sooner because of our upbringing.

        Please tell your partner that WordPress has some pretty awesome people. I’ve been around for 4 years. Some of the people with whom I correspond are closer than blood family. It is the bad ones who make it seem bad. I’m unfamiliar with Second Life.

        Going to read some of your other posts now.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for your honest comment.

        I feel the sense of grief and loss in your writing.

        It is not easy to survive an abusive parent and the Hell of it is that we recreate that relationship out of a need to try to make it right.

        Nothing can make it right.

        All we get are fresh wounds and another entitlement freak parked in our heads.

        But we do learn…

        That’s where the hope is.

        Thank you for reading my blog.


    2. There are a number of therapists who specialize in narcissistic abuse and they all seem to agree that the prevalence of narcissism is indeed, rising at a somewhat alarming rate in our modern society. We really need to learn to protect ourselves. So sorry you’ve had to go through your dreadful experiences. Letting you sleep in the car is just despicable.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The best protection is understanding that there aren’t really more of them. Most codes of conduct exist as a civilizing influence. There are not more narcissists, there are more enablers. The media of Kennedy’s day would not have given Donald Trump a forum. That generation knew the destructive power of money and racism. It saw the results with its own eyes.

        The first thing we need to do is stop allowing the politically correct right wing to silence us by dismissing a sense of common courtesy as politically correct.

        Manners are not political; they are manners.

        The inability to act on life threatening realities because of obstructionist dogma is what is politically correct.

        And only one of our political parties playing that game at the moment.

        Facts are also not political.

        I don’t see the leaders of the Democratic Party dismissing Republicans as traitors; though they have plenty of ammo if they ever chose to sink that low.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you. That was only one instance of his antics. I let him do things like that for 13 years. He is trying to work his way in again. He is sick. The horrible part is that
        kids are involved. It is a convoluted cluster. The sad part is that he is using a time of grief when defenses are down. I’m 8 years and 300 miles removed, now, but it’s a gutpunch nonetheless. My protests are unheard. Such a cf because they know what he is.

        It makes sense from what Robert said, if we are raised by a narc, our filters are messed up. I wonder if I have an invisible sign on my forehead that says “vacancies for narcs preferred’. The twisted part is that I would defend someone if I saw it happening to them. To Robert’s other point, not enough people do. It’s like cutting a head off a snake. On the other hand, I’m so surprised how many there are…or maybe we are finding voices against them.

        Thanks again.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think that any time people speak for themselves it’s powerful and good. The point is not how THEY feel…we know how they feel….they’ll tell us and anyone who is willing to listen…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Great tips. I’m not familiar with Second Life. I’m sorry to read you have a stalker, very disturbing. Curious as to why you partner doesn’t think online friends are real. Two of my best friends, I met online and these friendship have since morphed into offline friendships. I really don’t distinguish between the two. Wishing you all the best. I hope things work out. People can be such jerks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good question– and I need to clarify that he’s Spanish speaking so his English is pared down at times. What he meant was online friends who aren’t really friends.

      And he is coming from the experience of watching me deal with this issue with different people. The pattern is always the same. I meet a proverbial damsel in distress who turns out not to be in distress at all but merely looking for a new person to add to her collection. My ‘must save Mother’ response kicks in…I give them comfort and before I know it I’m sucked into a drama that is specifically designed to break me down. He has watched this happen at least four times since I joined Second Life and I think he’s frustrated that I don’t seem to learn. I used to wonder how Linden Labs survives when almost every member I’ve befriended has turned out to be a flaming narcissist. I eventually realized that I’m the problem. I’m the one who attracts them and let’s them in…the only solution that works until I lean how to ‘see’ healthier people is to keep to myself. But that’s what he means. People who enter your life just to mess with you are not really friends.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. that makes perfect sense. I understand your situation. I’ve been taking advantage of a few times. It’s made me a bit more jaded. However, still have a heart for people and a hard time saying no. There are some really kind people in this world, but there are also some really devious ones as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You wrote: There are some really kind people in this world, but there are also some really devious ones as well.

        You are so right.

        There is a kid in me that is still looking for the ‘wise’ people who run the world with justice and if he just looks hard enough he’ll find them.

        It’s not an entirely negative trait but it sure gets me into trouble.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I agree with you…this is why the extremes that dominate our politics in the States should worry everyone.

        Extrmemes are unhealthy for the individuals and cultures. The inability to use reason or to control destructive
        behaviors are symptoms of a pathlogival state of mind.

        We may treasure the myth of the individual in the States….but the fact is that one is free to be an individual
        only when one frees other members of the community to be individuals too. Individualism is a collective experience.

        Liked by 1 person

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