By Samuel López De Victoria, Ph.D.
If an extreme narcissist were religious, he would worship himself. He would apply to himself the phrase that says, “You shall have no other gods besides ME!” Narcissist are full to the maximum… with themselves.
In my years of studying human nature and counseling many individuals, I have come across an amazing type of narcissist. This kind of narcissist is the one who is so seductive he makes you like or believe in him or her with your whole heart. In my personal opinion, this type is the most dangerous of all narcissists. The following are some characteristics of this impressive little “god.”
Charm creates a feeling of being delightfully attracted to something. You can be fascinated with something or someone because of beauty. Though the looks of a person can be stunning to the point of you saying, “Wow!”, nevertheless, a captivating narcissist does not necessarily have to have good looks to draw you in. Good looks, definitely, can increase the magnetic pull towards the narcissist, but that is not the core. You can also be charmed by the pulling power of someone reflecting you so as to create a deep rapport. This intense connection is created when a person gives you the feeling like you’ve known them a long time or you feel initially safe with them. They have unlocked the door to your insides. A skilled extreme narcissist knows just how to reflect your music back to you so that you feel like he has your playlist of favorite songs.
More astute than you
An astute person is one who creatively figures out some unique and impressive angle quickly, an angle few think about. Skilled narcissists can typically outsmart most folks. They are three steps ahead of you. They are also fast in coming out with these unique approaches. That is why you are constantly intrigued by them. When your relationship sours with one of these narcissists, you better watch out. They generally have already thought through how you might react and are ready to discredit you or destroy you. They have their ducks in order. When they get a lawyer you can bet that they are determined to humiliate and obliterate you.
A skillful narcissist can be some of the greatest storytellers. They can weave a complex story and mesmerize you with amazing statistics, trivia, quotes, history of events, to the point that you could feel overwhelmed. Naturally, they would be the center of those stories, often re-writing history. These skillful narcissists are hardly boring. They incessantly can talk to you with interesting information. Those I have known, I have often gleaned amazing information from. They too are students of human nature, but with a goal in mind. Their goal is to further their power by enhancing their stature and influence among those around them. Sometimes they exaggerate their claims and position. The media abounds with examples, ranging from politicians and business people to actors who are given to hype.
Skillful narcissists work hard at being believable about their myths of themselves. They arm themselves with information that enhances their position and even can change the numbers to suit their arguments. The end goal is to snag you into his/her lair. One trick they use is to play the game of appearing magnanimous. In other words, they appear to take the high road of being nobler than you by forgiving your mistakes. Many times this is a set up to later trash or destroy you. I remember one who came into my office with their former lover. The narcissist said something like, “God knows how dysfunctional I am… and of course, I have my own therapist that I speak to about this… but… Could you please help my former partner here who is so vindictive… and mean… as a matter of fact, I think this person should have an MRI because they have behavior that is similar to that of a person having a brain tumor.” I could not believe how creative this attack was. I had to read between the lines to see the fake tears of this narcissist trying to take the position of Mother Teresa.
Able to cover tracks
I am always amazed at how a skillful narcissist can cover their tracks. They will play two women at the same time and cover it up with some important business emergency out-of-town meeting. I’ve even seen them have false online identifications. Some may even exaggerate accomplishments, and though they work at a prestigious firm, they might be a junior member or a hated boss who steals credit from others. They can frame the theft as them first having the original ideas. One story sticks out in my mind with a skilled male narcissist who married a woman that he slowly destroyed over the years. It got so bad that one night he got right in her face and spit at her. She had to push him away from her and call the police. When they showed up, she was asked, “Did you touch him?” She said, “Yes, I pushed him.” They hauled her away for being the supposed perpetrator of domestic violence. On the way out and with a concerned face, the narcissist said to the police, “Please be careful. She needs her medication because she is a bipolar person!” Judge for yourself.
Among the greatest actors in the world
One of the main characteristics of narcissism is that there is a wounded and/or insecure child inside the adult. To survive and compensate, the child has to divert attention and give appearances that are not necessarily true. The skilled narcissist has had many years of theatric practice often changing roles to suit the situation. Because they perceive that their very life is at stake they are zealous to protect and perfect their disguises. These theatric roles cover a wide range. Some are comedic. Others are highly “respectable.” There are also those who use intimidation to create distance and admiration or respect. They might use leather, tattoos, piercings, chains, motorcycles, cars, brash loudness, etc. They can also choose to be the lovable and huggable teddy bear persona. With the skillful narcissist, it is not so easy. The reason for this is that they actually believe they are the persona. I have had narcissists, in a moment of rare transparency and “weakness”, admit to me that they don’t even know who they are.
As you can see, the skillful narcissist is a person with some pretty amazing traits. In my opinion, they can be formidable. They can be impressive in power, strength, intelligence, size, and difficulty. If you find one opposing you, they can be astounding enemies. They are not omnipotent, though they might think so. They do have limitations. Their ego is their own undoing. Many times, when they discover that you are on to them, they disappear. They do this if they perceive that you can blow their cover and expose them as a sham. For an extreme narcissist, being fully exposed to the world is the greatest pain in their lives. It is also the best medicine to their disease because it will force them to look inside and deal with their pain and wounds. If and when that happens, they will become like the rest of us, realizing that we do need others to help and love us. They will see how they need to love from a genuine heart that does not seek to use people. A former and healed narcissist can turn all his powerful assets, which he used to advance himself, to making a powerful contribution in the lives of others and being realistically liked. In the meantime, be careful and avoid being duped and drawn by the amazing magnetism of this kind of person.