The Thinking and Belief Patterns of a Developing Narcissist
By: Beth McHugh 2013
Narcissists rarely seek counseling as they do not have the ability to step outside of themselves and see that their behavior and thinking does not conform to that of the majority of the population. So, narcissists rarely participate in therapy and are most likely encountered in the office, in social groups, or most unfortunately, in the family setting.
But occasionally a narcissistic person will encounter problems with other people to the point that it will actually impact on their own lives. Here is a classic example of narcissism at play in the case of Leesah.
Leesah is 31 years, single, university educated, wants to be an independent woman and has no wish to marry. This is her choice in life, but this is also where normality ends. Leesah comes from a community in which women are expected to marry and conform to the husband’s wishes. Leesah does not wish to do this, and as her country of birth is in a state of flux in terms of the amount of power a woman possesses, there is no problem with Leesah wanting a life that she has more control over. However, she wants it all on her terms.
Leesah is an only child whose mother has been dead less than one year. She will tell anyone that she hates her father who is a “black, ugly pig”. As her mother is dead, she sees no point in talking about her, but clearly there was no relationship present prior to the death – at least from Leesah’s direction. She claims her mother only wanted to “control her”. But the truth is that Leesah’s mother wanted Leesah to be happily married and have children. This is no crime for a mother to think that way, but Leesah interpreted it as her mother wanting to “trap her as she’d been trapped herself”.
When queried as to why she hated her father because he was “black and ugly” her answer was that she was paler that therefore superior. She only wanted to date American men, yet she was not in the US. Hence Leesah’s immediate plan was to move to the US.
Because her father came from a country with a pronounced patriarchal background, he wanted to keep tabs on his daughter for her reputation’s sake. Leesah hated him, but could never give a reason as to why she hated him so much, only that he was ugly and black. Leesah herself has dark skin, although not quite so dark as her father’s but is easily recognized as being of the racial origin from which she comes. She is obsessed with perfect beauty – particularly her own – and will ruthlessly cut off anyone who is not “good enough for her” in her own eyes.
At 31, she wants her father to give her money but also “hopes that he dies soon”. He is trying to organize a working visa for her to go the US, yet she doesn’t want anything to do with him, just take his money.
She readily admits she “hates everyone” because she believes that she is superior to other people. In her words, “if they associate with me, then they will elevate their own social status”. Leesah is convinced that others are constantly imitating her and trying to be like her in terms of what they do, where they go and how they speak. Her interests become their interests and she hates them all the more for it. She belittles those she feels superior to, which at this pint in her life, appears to be almost everyone she has contact with.
She bends the truth to suit her own means and will tell one group of
people that her parents were forcing her to get married, while simultaneously
telling another group that “they never wanted me to get married
at all, that was just a smoke screen”.
Leesah changes her story to get what she wants and is extremely arrogant and controlling – the very things she claims she doesn’t like about her father. When asked is it possible that her father is grieving over his recently deceased wife, she claimed she “didn’t care”. She works in a field where she must deal with people, but is so superior to them all ( in her narcissistic mindset) that she finds it difficult to find work. In fact, her father has to use his influence to find her employment because her interview style is so arrogant and obnoxious that no one is keen on employing her.
She claims she can stand on her own two feet and wants her father out of her life, but cannot exist at 31 without his financial handouts. She becomes very aggressive when this anomaly is pointed out to her. She clearly is using her father for his money but is also interested in ways of “ditching the old man” while still taking his money.
She often states that people are extremely jealous of her, but with a part time Daddy-supplied job and average looks, it is questionable who is actually jealous of her. She only likes to be seen with “good looking” people, who are basically light skinned, and this is one of the reasons she hates her father. She doesn’t seem to understand that her father cannot help the color of his skin, and is not interested in discussing the logic behind that thinking, becoming quite aggressive when confronted with this fact that doesn’t fit into her world view.
Even the place that she lives in was sourced and supplied by her father, as she doesn’t have sufficient funds to support herself. However, she continues to tell those around her that she is totally independent, when in fact she is living in narcissistic denial.
She also believes that her particular life situation is worthy of having international human rights organizations called in to assist her to “get rid of my father”. When told that the best way to get her father out of her life is to get herself a full time job and start saving, she replied that she is “special and shouldn’t have to work, it (money) should just be given to me” and she give nothing in return.
The idea that she believes she would attract the interest of an international human rights organization is evidence of her strong sense of grandiosity and arrogance.
Her conversations are peppered with how much she hates people, and how unique and special she is. She also claims that she is not interested in loving and caring for anyone and that she is very materialistic and “sensual”. She is here to “have fun”.
She claims her parents wanted to manipulate her behavior so that other people do not find her attitude a problem. It would seem that her parents have spent years desperately trying to make their daughter more likeable and socially presentable. Unfortunately they have no idea that their daughter suffers from narcissistic personality disorder and therefore cannot understand why their only child is behaving the way she does.
In this particular case, it is unfortunate that Leesah is an only child. If the parents had had other children who were psychologically normal, it would not have been so difficult for them. The deceased mother was very stressed about her only child and this accelerated her early death. Her father, who would be still suffering from the loss of his wife, is desperately trying to get through to his daughter, even offering to organize work in the US for her, to please her. But Leeasah just wants the visa and to “get rid of the old man”. This is the attitude of a person in their teens, a time when a normal second phase of narcissistic behavior occurs, not the words of a 31 year old mature woman. Hence there has been a retardation in the development of Leesah’s emotional development, and although she is chronologically in her 30s, she is emotionally stuck in the infancy years.
It’s possible that Leesah’s father may end his days not knowing that his daughter is mentally ill and keep on hoping that, if he gives her enough, she will change and love him. With narcissists, this is not possible. While Leesah lives in her narcissistic bubble hurting those around her, her father and extended family suffers. Not surprisingly, Leesah has no friends, only those that she cultivates for “fun”. They are all fair-skinned males. Yet she also claims she hates males and likes to control the ones that she does choose to associate briefly with. There is no real interest in these men, they are just objects to her. Leesah has no female friends, she doesn’t have the need for this type of intimacy.
Leesah freely admits she can’t get a greencard on her own without her father’s help, which he is giving. Yet she still persists , at 31 , in calling him “the monster”. It seems that Daddy gives Leesah everything she wants in order to get love, where in fact he is unwittingly feeding the narcissistic behavior of his daughter.
Even if she does successfully get a work permit in the US, she doesn’t want to own property, as then others may want to stay with her. But she cannot afford a house and willingly admits that she will let her father purchase a property for her. But then she doesn’t want him to visit and he is “black and ugly”. Leesah is a woman who is incapable of love, has no moral compass and sees no-one but herself and her own needs. At this age, her personality is fixed and she will only decline as the years pass.
She feels that people only want to mix with her to be “on par” with her and better their lives. She openly admits that she doesn’t see other people as being her equal. She claims that she is “too good” for them as they use her to climb the social ladder. But without being able to support herself at her age, on has to wonder what she has to offer anyone other than sex. Certainly she cannot offer even the most basic level of acquaintanceship since she is incapable of seeing other people as people, not objects.
She also “hates” beggars or street people and even believes that if they are seen with her on the street that this will improve their social status. She has the power, in her mind, to further their interests. She claims she wouldn’t speak to anyone who she doesn’t like, unless of course she can get something out of them, after which she has no further use for them.
The one thing she does seem to like is to openly flirt with white men in public places so that everyone can watch her and admire her. She has an obsession that men are incurably drawn to her – she hates the ugly ones and toys with the handsome ones. She believes that men are provoked sexually by her in ways that are beyond their control. She is fascinated by perfect beauty and sees herself as being perfectly beautiful. Leesah is an average looking woman but her illness means that she sees what she wants to see, and not the truth.
She does admit that she has problems at work because the married men there are drawn to her against their will, and she actively encourages that, but that no-one takes her seriously at work when it comes to promotion time. She claims no responsibility for the role she plays in this situation, but blames the men who she flirts with. Of course, no-one takes an office flirt seriously but Leesah has yet to learn this. For her the world is still a chocolate box, an idea which better adjusted people give up much earlier in life. Due to her illness, Leesah will always hold this view.
She claims her only motive in life is to make people jealous. This may occur for short periods, but in the end most people recognize Leesah for what she is – a shallow, self-absorbed, hurtful, callous and ultimately mentally ill person. One whose mental illness results in damaging other people, but not herself. She admits to trying to spoil others peoples lives, so Leesah fits into the narcissistic personality disorder with sadistic tendencies subcategory of this disorder. She doesn’t care who she hurts as long as she gets what she wants.
She claims that she has only worked for three years because “people misled me”. Again, here is the inability to take responsibility for her own life and her need to blame others for her not having work. The child in the adult’s body.
When asked, Leesah freely admits that she is not in a position to tell her father how she really thinks about him, because she is dependent on him financially. Any suggestion that they have counseling together is met with a firm “No! I hate him too much”. Yet she will take his money.
She believes she cannot fall in love, she has never loved anything or anybody, not even a pet. She seeks pleasure for herself only and mistakenly believes and repeats ad nauseum that she is not dependent on anybody. Somewhere she has denied that she is very far from being independent and self sufficient.
She has considered “using” someone by getting married, but has carefully and non-emotionally weighed up the pros and cons and decided it’s not in her best interest, even for the money. There is no talk of mutual love and respect in this thinking process.
Leesah always talks about wanting to have “fun” and that the people who love her want her to love others and take care of others, which she considers to be “sacrificing their lives” rather than showing love and care. She claims others want her to “suffer all the time”. In other words, Leesah just simply does not get that relationships are two-way streets. For Leesah, a “relationship” is an emotional cul-de-sac, with her at the centre. Unfortunately she doesn’t realize that a cul-de-sac is a dead end.
She believes that any man who does marry her would be the most powerful man on earth. Clearly Leesah’s personality disorder is well advanced and reality is not something that she has much hope of understanding in the way that the majority of the population would. She believes that people in the US are different and her life will be different there. But with the level of disconnection and disrespect she holds towards just about everyone she comes into contact with, it will not take long for her to manipulate and offend most people who she is contact with.
As Leesah ages, she will not be able to sustain this lifestyle. Previous articles I have written on The Aging Narcissist outlines the future in store for people like Leesah. In the meantime, one can only hope that her father actually gives up hope himself, as it’s the only way he will get any peace in the years that remain to him.