Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Narcissist's Ability to Become a Different Person

It was about this time of year when a narcissist went away to college as a freshman at the colossal University of Wisconsin in Madison. The next thing her family knew, she was a different person.

She had always been your good, clean-cut, all-American kid in high school. Got good grades. Went to Mass with her parents every Sunday. Was a cheerleader. Took part in athletics. Never touched drugs. Had a steady boyfriend who was himself a clean-cut all-American kid.

But in Madison, with no parents around to see what she did, she went wild. You name it – drugs, sex, riots – she was into it. Didn’t go to class. Partied all the time. Hopped into bed with anyone. As for Sunday Mass – she never went once. When her sister came to visit and expected to go, she announced that she didn’t believe in it.

She didn’t offer any explanation or relate her thoughts and reasoning on this. She just bit off the matter glibly by saying that she didn’t believe in it, period.

All within less than six weeks of coming out from under her parents’ roof.

Get it?

A typical narcissist’s transfiguration. It was like she suddenly was a different person. And The people at school who knew her now wouldn’t have recognized the person she had been just a few weeks earlier.

Anyone not born yesterday knows what happened. Since she could get away with bad behavior now, she did. Instantly she went wild. There was no gradual degeneration of her moral standards. Instead, they simply proved to be nonexistent. She thus proved that she had been a total phony before.

This equates with the frequent report that a narcissist goes wild after the death of a parent who exerted some control over them.

And there’s a warning in it. It means that the only rein on a narcissist is what they think they can get away with. That can and does change with circumstances over the course of life.

And when it does, you may get a nasty surprise. You may suddenly see your narcissist doing abhorrent things you never dreamed him or her capable of.

Simply because the only rein on a narcissist is what they think they can get away with. They have no moral restraint whatsoever. So, when external constraints are removed, look out.

This may explain why powerful narcissists seem worse. They may not be worse: it may be only that they can get away with worse, so they do.

This particular narcissist felt so uninhibited that she took a psychotic break when one of her roommates tried to talk some sense into her. Older students from elsewhere on the floor came running and literally held her down in what they later described in terms that remind one of an exorcism. They then took her to see her older sister in another town the next day, warning the sister that something was wrong with her.

Glibly the narcissist explained it all away to her family by saying that one of the girls’ cousins had slipped her LSD.

What she didn’t tell them is that she had begun a campaign of telling everyone in Madison horrible lies about them to make people feel sorry for her, in an effort to get some rich people who owned a bar on campus to adopt her.

So don’t assume that your narcissist’s assault-weapon mouth won’t be turned on you. Pay attention to what he or she tells you about others and know that he or she is going around saying as bad or worse about you, no matter who you are.