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The Myth Of The Narcissistic Mask: What Happens When You Get To Know a Narcissist?

The Myth Of The Narcissistic Mask

If you let the whole matter drop and do not throw it in their face, things will eventually go back to what passes for normal in your house.

I am not suggesting that you ignore their bad behavior. I am just predicting the likely outcomes. For example, if you are dating, this fight may cause them to leave the relationship. Again, it is not about an “unmasking,” it is about having a fight and the person believing that it is easier to leave than apologize or try and fix things.

Related: How To Make A Narcissist Respect You: The Only Way

Why do people say narcissists never let you go?

There are all sorts of people with NPD. Some are happy to date lots of people or have one-night stands, while others want a long-term monogamous relationship. Many narcissists are what I call “recyclers.” They leave you after a fight or when they get bored or because they find someone else more attractive. If they move on to someone else, that relationship is unlikely to work out either. They move on again. Some reach out to prior lovers when there is no one new in the picture.

The idea that narcissists never let you go is somewhat over-dramatic. Stating it that way exaggerates the narcissist’s power over you. Yes, some narcissists do try to reconnect with their exes, but so do all sorts of other people who find themselves alone.

What is hoovering?

One night, your narcissistic ex is sitting around lonely, horny, and bored. They start reviewing who they can reach out to for some late-night romance or sex. You come to mind. That is when you get that cute late-night text—or a simple “Hey there.” If you respond, they will come over for some late-night sex, or try and get you to come to their place.

If you do not jump at the chance, some narcissists get more interested in you. They start courting you again. If they enjoy the challenge, their boredom disappears, and they may try and resume their relationship with you. If you still resist, they may up their game and go to ridiculous lengths to try and suck you back into a relationship. This is called “hoovering.”

narcissistic mask
The Myth Of The Narcissistic Mask: What Happens When You Get To Know a Narcissist?

Summary

People with narcissistic personality disorder have shaky self-esteem. Some hide their sense of inadequacy behind a grandiose facade. This is not really a carefully crafted “mask.” It is more like an instinctive attempt to present themselves in a way that they feel is impressive and will get them what they want.

Related: The Truth About Narcissistic Personality Disorder

You will eventually see a narcissist’s imperfections. If you confront them, they will try and turn the tables and devalue you. It is as simple as that and not particularly mysterious. We are not dealing with the “Phantom of the Opera” who really had a mask and something to hide.

Check out Dr. Elinor Greenberg’s book, Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration, or Safety.


Written By Dr. Elinor Greenberg
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today
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The Myth Of The Narcissistic Mask: What Happens When You Get To Know a Narcissist?
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The Myth Of The Narcissistic Mask: What Happens When You Get To Know a Narcissist?
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Dr. Elinor Greenberg PhD, CGP

Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D., CGP, is an internationally renowned Gestalt therapy trainer who specializes in teaching the diagnosis and treatment of Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid adaptations in a lively and practical way. She has trained psychotherapists in her approach in the US, Norway, Sweden, Wales, England, Russia, and Mexico. Dr. Greenberg is the author of the book: Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration and Safety.View Author posts