Narcissists, without their armor of grandiosity, will fall apart. They reach a point where their armor is the only thing holding them together. Narcissists become what I like to call “grandiosity sharks.” Have you heard how a shark has to keep moving through water to breathe by pumping, and if the shark stops moving, he sinks to the bottom and dies? This is because sharks can’t pump water across their gills on their own like other fish can, so they have to constantly swim through water to externally move the water across their gills. If they stop swimming, sharks not only stop breathing, they sink to the bottom and die.
Well grandiosity sharks are people who have to keep swimming through a sea of external validation in order to breathe and stay afloat, because much like the shark can’t breathe internally, they can’t generate validation and self-esteem internally. If they stop moving through the sea of validation for a given amount of time, or their swimming is temporarily disrupted due to a blow to their ego, they figuratively suffocate, sink to the bottom and die.
As I’ve said in the previous installments, I believe the codependent is actually better off than the narcissist. Because codependents are more in touch with their feelings of self-worth, they have a better idea of what’s wrong with them. Also, because they are more aware that they have low self-worth issues, you don’t have to waste a lot of time convincing them they have low self-worth issues. They’re often the first people to admit they have low self-worth!
This gives codependents more self-awareness than the narcissist. The narcissist has blocked access to his own feelings of low self-worth thanks to the layers upon layers of defense mechanisms that make up his armor of grandiosity. You have to break down this grandiosity in order to get him to even admit to himself how low his self-worth is, and the worst narcissists would rather die than admit to themselves that they loathe themselves. And how can you go about fixing your problem when you can’t even admit to yourself much less others that you have a problem to begin with? This desperation to avoid accessing their own feelings of self-hatred helps explain why narcissists always blame others for everything but never themselves.
That’s why codependency is widely considered curable by mental health professionals but narcissism isn’t. To a narcissist, the payoff of remaining a narcissist is the ability to continue to lie to himself about how much he hates himself deep down. According to the narcissist’s warped logic, this ability to continue to lie to himself about the extent of his self-loathing is a better payoff than any potential benefit he would derivefrom curing his narcissism, because a cure would require him to access his feelings of self-loathing in order to deal with them. That’s why narcissists often have to hit rockbottom before they can seek help, because it’s only at rockbottom that their self-loathing becomes so bad the old defense mechanisms no longer work and they can’t suppress the self-loathing anymore or deny to themselves the true extent of their self-hatred. It’s only at rockbottom that their old strategy for dealing with ego setbacks, which was to replace old defense mechanisms with new, improved stronger defense mechanisms, no longer works.
…So the PUA, who thought he finally figured it all out and had finally found the final fictional goal that would wipe out all his past failures and most importantly his fix his core issues and reverse his primary inferiority feeling now realizes that at his core, nothing really changed. Suddenly he loses his grandiosity, and like I said, for a narcissist, even a compensatory one, grandiosity is all that holds him together. The new defense mechanisms he developed to create this grandiosity now start to fail him and he can’t project, can’t rationalize, can’t intellectualize and can’t deny, which causes him to re-access all those feelings of self-loathing he had been religiously blocking since he became a compensatory narcissist. He starts to feel his newest secondary inferiority feeling of failing as a PUA, then he starts to re-feel all his previous secondary inferiority feelings that drove him to become a PUA in the first place, then ultimately he re-feels the original primary inferiority that caused his deepest core issues to begin with.
Picture all these inferiority feelings rushing at you at once. Is it any wonder why Mystery turned suicidal and totally lost it when his stripper girlfriend chose another PUA over him (many strippers are narcissistic Cluster B emotional vampires)? Is it any wonder why Neil Strauss became obsessed with that woman Lisa once he realized his pickup tricks didn’t work on her? I have no proof and it’s pure speculation, but reading how he described their courtship I think it’s very possible she may have been a pure narcissist.
(By the way, I want to point out that stripping and sex work in general are profession that attracts a HUGELY disproprortionate amount of narcissists and borderline personality disorder sufferers, which lends credence to my theory that becoming a PUA often just makes one into a sophisticated form of codependent, because why else would these guys keep being drawn to strippers and pornstars, who can be some of the most severely personality-disordered people out there?)
…When you read the book The Game, Strauss and his PUA friends totally fall into these traps. The exploits and accomplishments he describes and the superpowers he claims these PUAs have definitely fall into “exaggerating achievements and talents.” In the book, Strauss is presenting himself as an expert and teaching bootcamps to strangers for money before ever even getting laid! And apparently it’s very common for guys who barely get laid to teach bootcamps. Isn’t that an example of “expecting to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements?”
Strauss discusses how pickup artists after a while always tend to distance themselves from or even dump their old friends who don’t follow PUA. Soon most of their friends are PUAs, because they believe those are the only people left that are worthy enough of associating with. They form organizations called “lairs,” rent houses and apartments and give them names like “Project Hollywood” and fill it with other PUAs as roommates. Isn’t this a perfect example of “believing he is ‘special’ and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special high-status people?”
Part of giving up their old non-PUA friends is that they believe they are holding them back because they won’t become PUAs too. The PUA has “swallowed the red pill” and his friends are now haters who can’t appreciate his success and his self-improvement. Now that he is improving, they can’t be happy and even start appearing envious to him. Strauss discusses similar dynamics in his book. Isn’t this an example of “believes others are envious of him?”
…There are plenty of stories, both within the book The Game and in lots of internet gossip surrounding the setting of the game, “Project Hollywood,” about the guys all trying to cockblock each other. One guy would be hitting on a girl, then the next guy would try to hit on the same girl behind his back, etc. They would call it “stealing sets.” At one point the PUA Herbal stole the girlfriend of Mystery from him, which caused Mystery to have a total mental breakdown. Doesn’t that describe a lack of empathy, an inability to “recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others?”
As for the rest of the elements of the narcissism definition like being preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited power, brilliance, success, beauty or ideal love, needing excessive admiration, having a sense of entitlement and being interpersonally exploitative, I believe when you read the book and read gossip from other sources regarding the people and events described in the book, all those aspects of narcissism are described in numerous, obvious examples…
…what sexual affection conquests are to a man, flattering attention and ego boosts are to woman. Society teaches women this from very young, and as a result women realize early the power they wield by strategically denying and granting men access to their vaginas, or even just the potential for access to their vaginas. Society however doesn’t teach men about the fact that flattering attention and ego boosts to a woman are as important as sexual conquests are to men, and that the best weapon men have against women and their way of leveling the playing field is to strategically deny and grant women access to their flattering attention, or even just the potential for access to their flattering attention. Women are told to respect themselves and their bodies, but men aren’t similarly taught to respect themselves and their time.