Darlene Lancer wrote a great article in 2019 on Medium. I recommend it. https://medium.com/narcissism-and-abusive-relationships/how-narcissists-play-games-to-seduce-and-abandon-you-63e115309552
I replied in two parts on Medium and want to add it to this page, because I am seeing intense interest in my darker writings, especially in regards to how we can approach, cope with, and recognize narcissists or other character-disordered people. Unfortunately, I had to deal with narcissists and character-disordered people too. I am healing from the immense damage that these people bring, and it has been a journey. I am getting better at drawing boundaries. I am not an expert on disorders. I am a good observer, and I can communicate in ways that others who take in my words can learn very fast.
Here is what I wrote on 26 June 2019:
I guess the most shattering thing is that narcissists are so credible at selling the promise of marriage or of a genuine partnership and can adapt so keenly to the longings of their targets. If they could just find partners like themselves, state beforehand that they have no history of keeping their promises to anyone, what exactly they want, how they perceive their fellow human beings, the non-narcissistic person could choose how to engage and have a clue about what to expect from a narcissist.
Without previous exposure to narcissists, one can not even notice their lack of empathy, their inability to be happy for others, their inability to approve of non-narcissists. Narcissists only admire and endorse other narcissists , who are more developed in their narcissism, wealthier, more powerful, more cunning, more successful at manipulating the “team” around them.
The one red flag that they often can not hide is a certain emotional flatness when asked about the people who have remained in their lives, for example, their parents, siblings, maybe an ex they co-parent with, even their children, or their “helpers” (adoring flying monkeys, the harem, the groupies, the “secretary”).
While not everyone who sounds fatigued by their inner circle, or hastily moves a conversation to a “more pleasant” topic, is a narcissist, the behaviour itself early on in the communication can point to a personality disorder or something dark, like narcissism.
All narcissists that I have met were unable to differentiate the people that were in their lives. The exes all sounded like the same person, not like individuals with unique personalities and preferences; the parents, the steady people, the caring people in their lives were perceived as “forces” interfering with their freedoms, their greatness.. Because those relationships are always with the one person, the narcissist, and he (or she) has that limited emotional spectrum and limited insight into others, and, as a rule, won’t ever do anything for another person, especially not when they are in need.
Thank you for bringing more attention and light to the vital topic of self-trust, boundaries and self-care around narcissists.
‘Mudita’, the Buddhist concept of sympathetic joy, is ‘too far out’ for a narcissist. They can not express it, because they don’t feel it.
Animals living in groups, children, and open-hearted people feel happy when one of their own experiences some kind of good fortune, receives some kind of advantage, is recognized for their efforts, or just has a lucky day, maybe meets a new friend for life, the perfect match and future spouse, or some kind of benign news that makes their day cheerful.
Some people also can be happy for another person who is not close to them, because we intuit that what was possible for them may be possible for us (one day)… and because it is also more fun to be in that field of friendly vibes.
Narcissists can not connect with that generosity and “vibing joyfully with joy”, because they don’t really experience it.
I am not sure why that is.
I observed a lot of annoyance and abrupt responses when someone they knew or heard about brought good news, even sudden break-ups with people who had what to a casual observer would appear like a really positive news. (Even a positive news for the narcissist!)
Instead of even a more neutral response like, “Oh, really? That is pretty good.. Hmm… Okay.. why not..“, there is a rapid disconnect. They remove themselves because they don’t want to be around smiling or laughing people and warmth…
They are drawn to tension instead.. They might make an attempt to introduce tension, for example, by commenting on some flaw or lack in a celebratory moment, then, disappear from the gathering..
“I see you are happy, good for you, keep doing what you are doing”, is not something a narcissist is capable of expressing. No “thumbs up” from the heart, ever.
I am adding that because such behaviours can be noticed quite early in the interaction… whereas most others will reveal themselves after a while, not right away.