Someone (please forgive me for not remembering who) suggested that Narcs are like monsters under the bed, laying in wait. This image led me to a crazy train of thought. Few people I know would describe NMIL as a monster. Some would describe NM and NSis that way, but they are a little more "out in the open". And my stories are not as horrible (little physical violence, no real screaming fits, little to actually be "fearful" of) and so I often wondered if I was actually just imagining my monsters.
But I think that is one of the things I've found the most confusing about all of this. I am more certain than ever that these women in my life are narcissistic, toxic, and at minimum, difficult. But they are not "monsters" as others would describe them. How could I reconcile this?
I used to teach preschool. We had a discussion about strangers with the kids. We had them describe bad guys. Of course they used words like "ugly" "mean" "wearing black" and other typical "bad guy" terminology. But that was actually scary. Because the bad guys that could harm them probably wouldn't look like the bad guy lurking in the shadows at all. He wouldn't be some shady figure hiding in the corner. Because, really, what kid would go near that? And then how would he get to them? No, bad guys are your neighbors, and friend's of your parents, your teachers, the football coach. Bad guys have shiny trinkets to lure you. Bad guys seem like nice guys.
And when you look at "grown up" bad guys, most of them aren't wearing horns either. Of course, we have masked robbers and the creepy dude on the street corner. But the real bad guys are better at hiding themselves. They look like your friends, and neighbors, and relatives. They are financial advisors, and friends, and coaches, and the nice guy down the street who you discover is a serial killer but you never knew because "he seemed like a nice guy. Kept to himself. Mowed his lawn. Always had a treat for my dog."
Bad guys can't be bad guys by advertising it. Lions don't sit in the open waiting for prey to walk by. If we all saw it coming, we'd all run for the hills. Bad guys look like good guys.
Post Note: I've found so many words that describe narcissism sound very violent. For example, "narcissistic rage". Although, it's clear to me that many, many people suffered violent retribution, for me that wasn't really true. My narcissists "rage" is very covert, sneaky, and passive aggressive. Do any of you have examples of narcissistic rage that is really about anger but is hidden because it is not out and out violence?