I was talking to a friend on chat about people who hide behind a mask or wear a mask to protect themselves. Our discussion triggered this poem. I will title it “What Lies Beneath The Mask?” as suggested by my friend Vicki.
Why a mask?
Why do people wear a mask? Is it to hide their emotions or hatred or who they are inside? And do they wear a mask by choice, or is it a learned process?
I am sure what I have to say today will not sit well with some. You may think I have no compassion or believe I need to have a better understanding of the mind.
Those who know.
I am speaking to those who have dealt with masked people on a personal basis like in a relationship. And I am speaking to those who have had to work with people who wear a mask.
I am talking about those who manipulate others and are mean to better themselves. An excellent example of a person who does this is a narcissist.
Most of you have heard the term narcissist, but if you have not had a close relationship, then you do not understand what someone with this mental illness can do to another person.
There are also those of you in this world that says a person with a mental illness do not know what they are doing, and we need to feel sorry for them. I disagree with this thought process.
Let me talk about what a narcissist is. We will go with the definition first.
According to the Merriam Webster:
an extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance and a person affected with a narcissistic personality disorder.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder: a personality disorder characterized especially by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, persistent need for admiration, lack of empathy for others, excessive pride in achievements, and snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes.
Out of all of the Mental Health Diagnosis, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is the least diagnosed. Why? Because a narcissist believes they are right and do not need help.
A scenario of life with a narcissist
Now that we have a better understanding of a narcissist, I want to talk to those of you who are in a relationship with one and want to break away but cannot achieve this. I am going to refer to this person as he and him for ease of writing, but there are both male and female narcissists.
When you met him, I am sure you thought you met the love of your life. He knew how you felt and what you wanted. He understood you and serenaded you to win you over. He was like you and perfect in every way.
After a few weeks or months, everything changed. Everything was your fault, you could do no right, and you were put down all the time, even in front of others. He yelled at you and maybe hit you.
You tried to do everything, but still, he was not happy. You knew the person you met and fell in love with is inside of him somewhere. The way he treats you has to be a temporary thing, and he will come back to you soon. It was all so perfect in the beginning.
He doesn’t like your sister and family. He thinks they are trying to harm him, so you separate from the ones you love because maybe he is right. But even if he isn’t right when you talk to them or about them, it triggers the rage in him.
It has now been two years, and you have tried to leave him three times, but when you do, he is so kind to you after a couple of weeks. You begin to think your leaving brought back that person you met in the beginning. So, you go back to him. You go back to the horrible, manipulative person you left.
Another few months go by, and you suspect he is seeing someone else. You ask him, and he admits it because the other woman is good to him and she loves and understands him. But you stay with him because you know he will be the person you met one day again if you do everything right.
A better understanding of why
My scenario sounds horrible, doesn’t it? And those of you who have not lived with a narcissist is thinking “just leave him.” But those of you who are with him are thinking, how did this happen? Why does he have such a hold on me?
Let’s go back to when you met him, and everything was perfect. A narcissist can mirror their target. And yes, everyone is a target. When you thought he knew you so well and you were both alike he was wearing his mask to draw you in. As soon as he had you, he took off the mask when no one was around and revealed his true self.
He started talking about your family. They are against him, and he lies about examples of things they did. He does this because family support takes away his control. He wants you to be alone with no help of family and friends.
At first, he only did this in private, but his disdain for you grew. But remember that he never did like or love you. You are a target and a supply for him. He cannot love anyone but himself.
He began to put you down in front of others. It is crucial that he looks good. He has to be the number one person in the room. He has to be the life of the party. He leads everyone to believe he does everything, and you are lazy.
He has done his work on you, and you feel worthless. You don’t have the strength to stay away when you leave. The worthlessness is indescribable. No one can feel what you feel or see what you see.
He has choked all of life out of your soul. But what do you do next? You have left him two other times, and the third or fourth will be the last. Never again do you answer him or talk to him. The only way to break the ties of a person who is so manipulative is to cut all ties.
I am a good judge of character. But when I meet a narcissist, I am always fooled. Why? Because a narcissist is the only people in the world, who believe they are perfect and doing what they need to do to survive.
When a person lies to me, I know it. When someone is not honest with themselves, I know it.
But a narcissist believes what they say which makes them more dangerous than the worst serial killer. They take the mask on and off at will. A narcissist is a mask of black, grey, and white.
The narcissist in the workplace
If you work with a narcissist, you will see the fun part of them unless you cross them. If you cross a person like this, they will do everything and anything to discredit you. A narcissist has to look good at all times and will do horrible things to get back on top of their game.
I have seen narcissist sabotage other people’s work to discredit them. The narcissist has a following of chosen people who will do their dirty work. I know this sounds insane, but a narcissist is crazy.
What do you do?
There is no reasoning with the narcissist or the people around them who do their bidding. Their protectors do not want to be the victim.
You have to walk away, have no contact, do not answer messages, do not engage. A narcissist will use social media to try to engage you. Ignore all of it. If you give them a second, they will take a significant part of your life. To draw you in is a game to build themselves up. They hate themselves and have no self-esteem.
Years later, the same narcissist that you cut off will come back and try again, but you have healed and can now see the real character of his narcissistic personality disorder.
When you first meet a person who wears a mask, you may not see through it. They are charming at first, but the mask has to come off at some point. When you do see the mask, it is in your best interest to run and never look back.
A narcissist is manipulative and when given a chance will destroy everything inside of you. Never think that you are stronger than they are or you can play their game. You are no match for the persons who lie behind the mask of hatred, deceit, and pain.
If you have experience with a narcissist, please share with us. If you have suggestions on how to walk away please also share with us. I love comments, and I am here to answer any questions you may have. Please leave any comments in the comment section below.