Attributes of the False Self
Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert
Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine
Narcissists feel no more love for the people they have relationships with than they do for strangers. They may use the word "love" to express their feelings, and they may at times demonstrate appropriate loving behavior, but it is a ruse. They are emotionally unequipped to love anyone but themselves. Even that love is distorted.
With all their perceived power and greatness, one would think narcissists have very high self-esteem and great self-love. That is not so. They actually have poorly defined senses of self, frequent episodes of self-loathing, and constant feelings of inadequacy.
By "they" I mean their true selves. That is a side of narcissists no one ever gets to see. It tells them they are unlovable, inferior, worthless, ugly, and powerless. Feeling that way about themselves is unbearable, so starting in childhood they disown that part and replace it with a facade they are proud to show the world. This facade is known as the "false self."
The false self is an impenetrable suit of armor that once conceived is there for life. Its job is to absorb the narcissist's pain, hurt, fragility, and all perceived attacks from the outside world. It keeps him or her from excruciating self-examination and introspection; from having to face terrifying fears that he may be less than perfect.
If anyone tries to expose the narcissist for who she really is, the false self lashes out with rage so terrifying, no one wants to cross her again.
The false self is everything the true self isn't; grandiose, superior, and entitled. It tells narcissists that everyone likes them, everyone envies them, everyone wants to be like them, and because of their superiority, the rules that apply to others do no apply to them.
Once the false self takes over, the true self is virtually unreachable by the outside world. The persona you see is one of an imposter, capable of morphing into whatever personality it needs to in order to capture the most narcissistic supply. Narcissists don't have relationships. They take emotional hostages to guarantee reliable source of narcissistic supply.
With the false self running the show, it is impossible for narcissists to see their own imperfections. That is why they cannot admit anything is wrong with them, hence there is a lack of validation of victim's experiences and an inability to acknowledge their wrongdoings. It is also why they cannot be helped. The false self keeps them blind to the truth.
If you are clinging to a "relationship" with a narcissist with the hopes of it getting better, please understand that it never will. They see no reason to change and resent even the slightest insinuation that they should.
Narcissists look and, for the most part, act like everyone else, but their brains don't function in the same way as those without the same pathology. They are toxic, abusive, vindictive individuals with no redeeming qualities. Don't let them fool you into believing otherwise.
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Randi Fine is an internationally renowned narcissistic abuse expert and coach to clients worldwide. She is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing and Recovery Second Edition, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. Ms. Fine is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.