Bi-Directionality and the Socially Mobile Narcissist

Posted: December 19, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

When it comes to social mobility, narcissists are bi… bi-directional, that is.

Although all narcissists believe they belong at the top of the social ladder, they’re more than willing to climb down a few rungs if it serves their ultimate goal. This means that these smug, power-hungry elitist assholes are more than willing to make it look like they care about those less fortunate than themselves, but don’t let this Norman Rockwell paint job fool you. If a narcissist is spending any amount of time with those who are levels below him, it only means that these people are the rungs he plans to step on while climbing his way to the top.

Nothing titillates a narcissist’s senses more than someone who’s down on their luck. Throw in half a dozen or so of these people and you have a narcissist’s wet dream. They often go to great lengths – and great expense – to surround themselves with people who are down on their luck. Why? Because narcissists need a captive audience; in other words, people who are dependent upon them. After all, these are the ones who will look up to the narcissist, flattering and admiring him and giving him his narcissistic supply. This group of unfortunates serves a second, more sinister purpose for the narcissist: they’re there to bear the brunt of his rage when things go wrong and he needs to tear someone down to build himself up. Because of their dependency, the narcissist knows he can get away with treating his minions in such a negative and unhealthy manner.

While the deadbeats, losers, and dregs of society make a great platform, narcissists aren’t content to simply stand above the masses. Their lives are defined by an insatiable craving for money, status, and power, which means they’re always courting those whom they perceive as “the elite.” Whether it’s the who’s-who of a local social scene or the top businessmen, politicians, and personalities in a given area, the narcissist is often courting these people in a desperate attempt to capture their attention. His sense of entitlement and grandiosity leads the narcissist to believe that he belongs among this elite. Sadly, the narcissist often sabotages his own successes, often by assuming the role of the subordinate, cowing and deferring to the group of people he holds in such high esteem.

What’s perhaps the saddest part about this scenario is the narcissist’s inability to know thyself, so to speak. If he could accept the fact that he suffers from a personality disorder – good luck to anyone brave enough to try telling him – he would understand that those in “the elite” are not without their own varying levels of narcissism. They know that the narcissist is only interested in them because of what he hopes they will do for him… they can practically sniff him out from a mile away. With his agenda as transparent as his personality, the narcissist is often “read” by the very people he believes he belongs amongst and these social circles often use him at best, or ignore him at the worst.

The narcissist either doesn’t realize that he’s not wanted or he’s all too painfully aware of this fact. Either way, he will never acknowledge the problem to his underlings or himself. Instead, he’ll often say that he’s on the verge of something big, often enlisting his minions to support his long-shot schemes with the promise of some great reward on the back-end. And like a pit bull locking its jaws, the narcissist clamps down tightly upon the hope that he will one day be welcomed by those elite-level people he so desperately needs and he’ll continue fighting this losing battle until the bitter and inevitable crash.

Remember those who were below the narcissist on the social hierarchy? They come in handy when the narcissist dreams of reaching for the brass ring come up short. Instead of recognizing those who helped him try to achieve his goal, these “unwashed masses” will bear the full brunt of his narcissistic rage. This will manifest itself in small temper tantrums over perceived slights, projection of faults and flaws, and full-on blame for the narcissist’s failures. It’s never easy for those whom the narcissist has surrounded himself with and in many cases, it’s difficult for them to leave the narcissist, usually due to financial or familial dependency.

So what’s the point of all this? Well, the subject of narcissism seems to be all the rage in the blogosphere these days. There are hundreds of thousands of people who’ve suffered the wrath of these monsters in ill-fitting human skins, and these walking wounded (aka “survivors”) seem oh-so-willing to share their expertise. Being raised in a home I affectionately call “Trauma Central,” I, too, have “grown up narcissist” and believe I have a few things to offer in identifying their behavior. I share these tips with you in hopes they help you identify the narcissists that might be in your life so you can take the appropriate steps to distance yourself from them.

Do you know someone who’s climbing one or both directions on the social mobility ladder? If so, try taking a closer look… not just at what they’re doing but why they’re doing it. Question their motives, even if it’s only to yourself, to determine whether they’re being a good Samaritan or they’re using charity to disguise their own selfish schemes. You should also want to question what role you might play in all of this. Do you often feel used? Do you feel the relationship is unequal? Does this person often frustrate you or blame you for their problems? If any of this sound eerily familiar, your friend-in-question could be a narcissist or similarly personality-disordered person.

If you strongly suspect the person in your life is a narcissist, take the advice that everyone in the narcissism awareness movement adheres to and go NO CONTACT.

  1. terridactal says:

    I am convinced that my fiances father is a narcissist. My fiance and his father only got back in contact 4 months ago after 13 years.
    The man admitted to regulating his business finances so he didnt have to pay child support. In fact he was proud of it. Then promptly told my fiances that the kids were to blame for not coming to see him all these years. Of course they were all under 9 when he left.
    The man has all the tell tale signs of narcissism. Since moving here to start my life with my fiance this man has caused no end of havoc for me. He hates me. I didnt know he wouldnt respond well to a young woman who spoke her mind and wasnt interested in talking about him all the time.

    This man has his own business which he often cuts corners when he can. He is filthy rich but cant pay his son above minimum wage. He is up in the social ranks. He is so soft spoken yet charismatic. But i see him standing with mixed signals, like hes trying to maintain an image of the perfect man and yet also thinks hes dominating the room.

    How do you get away from a narcissist who might happen to be your father in law?

    • JP_Ribner says:

      My answer might not be the comfort you’re looking for, but as I see it, you might only have two choices:

      1. Convince your fiancee to go no contact with his father, or…

      2. Break it off with your fiancee.

      Admittedly, I’m not therapist or life coach, but I have grown up narcissist. (I didn’t call my childhood home “Trauma Central” just for kicks.) One thing I know about narcissists is that their children are often on the narcissism spectrum as well… or have some other personality disorder. I also know that narcs tend to “hero worship” their parents no matter how nasty or shitty their parents are. I believe this has something to do with the children needing/wanting/seeking the approval and validation that they never received from their parent. And how could they? The narc parent can’t see past the tip of his/her own nose, let own recognize and accommodate the needs of the children they brought into this world.

      I’m sorry to hear about your situation, but I can’t deny that there are some possible red flags to at least keep at eye out for. Sit down with your fiancee and share your concerns about his father. If he’s not up on all this “psychobabble,” you might not want to dump the whole “narcissist” thing on him all at once, since most people don’t understand what this means. Perhaps point out dad-in-law’s toxic relationship with him and how it affects his life negatively and watch how he responds. If he vehemently defends him, take another hard look at his father and ask yourself if this is someone you can live with for the rest of your life… because there’s always a good chance your fiancee could have/develop some of the same destructive pathologies.

      Contrariwise, if he agrees with you about dad’s toxicity, you might find fertile ground to start an open dialogue. Perhaps convince him to talk to a therapist – one who’s well-versed in personality disorders – and see where it goes from there.

      Whichever the case, I wish you the best of luck!

  2. […] I posted how narcissists seek out people below them on the social ladder while simultaneously trying to mix […]

  3. Reblogged this on sierrasummersloveandlust and commented:
    Very insightful!!

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