Narcissists and Shame

Being a Narcissist is a difficult thing to be.

By Sabine Fourneaux

Shame for them can be about anything and everything. During the last 3 years when my N-ex was unmasked and living fully ‘out’ in his pathology, he would shout at me that he ‘refused to feel shame anymore’ as he behaved shamelessly with his nonstop abuse. He was aggressive in his new mindset, he said he embraced his perfection (he even wrote a daily prayer to himself and demanded I read it aloud with him every morning, I declined that bit of insanity) and refused to believe that accepting our imperfections was what led to growth, and instead said that ‘attitude’ just proved how inferior I was.

Here’s the weird part that happened during all the outrageousness… One night I came into a dark laundry room and found him hunched over the sink eating a bag of chips. No big deal, I love the occasional indulgence but didn’t understand why he was in there eating them and why in the dark. When I turned on the light he froze and started to break down. He was overcome with overwhelming shame for eating potato chips. He began to shake and was completely beside himself, I had no idea what was going on and took a very gentle approach asking why he was upset. He said he felt bad because chips were unhealthy for him. My heart went out to this man falling apart in front of me, I offered to bake him homemade sweet potato chips if he wanted a healthy alternative to satisfy a fat/salt fix and he blindsided me when he became enraged accusing me of trying to control him. He was mad for days about my interference. Walking on eggshells was my way of life — anything and everything was a trigger for him, no matter how innocent or kind, it was all twisted inside of him. (An added note, his go-to for munchies had always been cheese Doritos, which is why this was so ‘odd’ — eventually, all he would eat was pureed vegetables heated up.)

The only other time I saw him overcome with shame was when we were loading up our vehicle with some garden plants and he stumbled as he took a step back and half landed on the ground. I asked if he was okay and rushed to help him up, he became angry and embarrassed. His stumbling apparently revealed ‘weakness’ that he couldn’t handle in his perfection. It was such a trivial thing, we all stumble but he obsessed over it and kept saying it was because of something on the ground or the sun was in his eye, finally, he decided that there must be a neurological problem and he went to the doctor for tests.

Witnessing him over the years, I recognize how difficult this pathology can be for the NPD. Their internal life is very hard which is why they almost always decompensate as they age.

Shame and rage are always at work in the NPD — and none of it makes sense to a ‘normal’ mind because it is in pathological form.

Indifference and Decompensation (as forms of Narcissistic Aggression)

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