What lies beneath the mask, is “The Mask”


This is a dark fairy tale

This is a story about loving someone who has a severe personality disorder.  Narcissistic personality disorder. Its about my love affair with a beautiful younger woman who does not exist. There was no-one there. She was an apparition. A portrayal. A tormented and tormenting false self. A mask. A mask that gleamed with hints and vague portrayals of sanity and personality.

By design, pathological narcissists harm and attempt to destroy those that they come in to contact with. This is especially and dangerously so with their so called intimate partners. Sometimes the harm is deliberate and sometimes its just a by product of the disorder.They wear masks that disguise a deeply and irreversibly damaged unoccupied shell void of emotional empathy and remorse. It hides the severe self hatred, lies, envy, entitlement, self-centredness, confabulations, delusion and grandiosity. Sometimes, what we see is not what we get. The term narcissism and narcissists are used rather freely today but there is an enormous difference between having narcissistic traits, we all have them to a greater or lesser degree, and being a pathological narcissist. Pathological narcissists share a number of traits with psychopaths as both of these cluster B personality types have no emotional empathy for others and are highly interpersonally exploitative. This makes them extremely harmful as they are not able to care for and love others.

Emotional empathy is the prerequisite for love. Truth is the foundation for authentic intimacy. Emotional empathy is the component that graces us with our humanity and without this, we are alien like. An artificial intelligence of sorts. In the absence of these essential elements, truth and empathy, narcissists do not know and cannot realise what it is to be fully human. Kind, caring, authentic and empathic people are severely and often irreparably damaged by relationships, and specifically, intimate ones with narcissists.

I fell in love with a woman who existed in a biological and physiological sense only. She was dissociated and ostracised from her true self since her very young and early years as a little girl. Her disguise was the very portrayal of empathy, authenticity, kindness and humanity. The two of us entered into a trauma bonded psychological, physical and emotional covenant that was almost impossible for me to break free from. One day, three years later, I left her and broke the cycle of abuse. I had a part to play too and I was not an innocent.

In our time together, being exposed to her disorder and loving her almost ransacked me of all that was sacred and real. The final invoice to me was to be for my life. It was my intuition, my willpower and my will to live that saved me from my ultimate destruction. So often I wish that all of this was not true and that she did indeed have a sweet heart that bleeds and beats to the tender drum of humanity but it is not so.

Pathological narcissists are everywhere and roam freely among us undetected and the extent of trauma that they inflict on people defies belief. I believe that knowledge and exposure is vital and in these, lies the power to recognise, empower and remove ourselves from these severely disordered people. As with the pandemic of COVID-19, we know that there is something amiss in the air but we don’t know exactly where and what it is.I had the feeling that something was very wrong in this relationship but I could not put my finger on it. Something about her was off key somehow, something was misfiring. The very moment that I realised who and what I was dealing with, everything fell into place and I have come to realise that I have become both a victim and a survivor of narcissistic abuse.I began to understand my vulnerability in my attracting and being attracted to narcissists for thedance of the codependent and the pathological narcissist is a complex and deep rooted one and I was able to break free from the compulsion of my lifelong repetition. I realised that my attraction to her was a symptom of my own unhealed wounds from my formative years. In a sense, she became a cruel but necessary and revelatory therapist. 

I have written this story with an immense amount of research and deep feeling. I have created a dialogue of sorts, a running commentary between what I am experiencing and feeling and what I believe is happening to her as a person suffering from this incurable personality disorder. This is based on the behaviour that I saw in her, the feelings that I had whilst being with her, the many books that I have read, the detailed experiences and feelings from so many others who have been narcissistically abused. I have also conducted numerous interviews with two world renowned self aware psychopathic narcissists in order to get their perspectives as part of my research for this book. I wanted to be as accurate and well researched as possible.

The stark reality of my experience with her and the suffering that it caused me is that it was not personal although it certainly felt like it at the time. Narcissists by their very nature will abuse all that they come into contact with.

Ultimately this is a tale of hope, where their antitheses hopelessness, fear and confusion tried their very damnedest to succeed and failed.  

© Charles Bowes-Taylor | September 2020

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