While I do agree that the overall pattern of behavior is consistent from narcissist to narcissist (it’s always self centered), I do also believe that the narcissist’s response to an isolated incident can be highly unpredictable. This is why I spent a lifetime of trying to do what I thought was right for my NM, only to have the rug pulled out from under me and having the game change as soon as I thought I had it figured out. If my NM was predictable, I would have figured her out during childhood and not carried her baggage with me well into middle life.
As an example, let’s say I gave my NM an unexpected gift of $1000. How would she respond? I can find at least 3 different responses that all would match her narcissism.
- She would beam with pride at having elicited such a wonderful, unsolicited, and unwarranted gift from me. Nothing says “narcissistic supply” like money.
- She would get angry with me, because “Is this all you think I’m worth?? You’re GC bro gave me $5000 last week!”
- She would devalue my gift by saying something along the lines of “Where did you get the money for this?” meaning that I, the scapegoat, must have come by it dishonestly.
All three examples fit the self centered pattern of a narcissist, but all three are very different and therefore unpredictable.
Unfortunately, in my experience, this is the dilemma that many of us face after having been exposed to narcissistic abuse. We have been exposed to black and white thinking since childhood and have a hard time dealing with the dissonance of things that are true and false at the same time. Yes, a narcissist is predictable, but they are also unpredictable. It all depends on the context. Yes, a narcissist’s behavior is always self centered, but how that self centered behavior manifests itself can vary wildly.
I hope that you are able to someday embrace the dissonance, Yes, the narcissist in your life treated you unfairly, but they were doing it to protect themselves and their horribly damaged inner child. In their black and white mind it was either you or them, and they couldn’t possibly let it be all about you, so they pulled out all the stops to make sure it was all about them. Do I feel sympathy for the narcissist? No. Do I understand why they do the things they do? Yes. Ultimately, it is their decision to continue to run from their demons and perpetuate their issues onto everyone that engages them. It’s truly sad how much damage a narcissist can proliferate (think Adolf Hitler), but ultimately, they never do win (think Adolf Hitler).
- Who Loves a Narcissist? (thenarcissistsson.wordpress.com)