The Narcissicist’s Seduction: A Card Trick

Card trick

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Have you ever watched someone perform a card trick which appeared to be  magic? Has anyone ever explained a ‘magic’ card trick so that suddenly you understood how it worked and why you were fooled by it in the first place? Have you ever experienced the ‘Aha!’ moment which comes after dissecting the steps of a card trick?

The Narcissist‘s Seduction is  a card trick. (Please note that while using the term narcissist, I am also referring to Antisocial personality disorder, sociopaths, psychopaths, as all these disorders seem to bleed into each other in the middle and all perform many of the same card tricks.) Before you know that it is a trick, it appears to be magic. Once you’ve been fooled, however, you can dissect the layers and see exactly how the narcissist deceived you and with what ease you were deceived.

While the Narcissist performs his card trick of seduction upon you, the world around you, once gray and common, becomes magical. You would never guess that the very special relationship you are developing with the narcissist is actually a formulated recipe to create an aura of intimacy so that you will open up your trust and let this person into your life completely by throwing normal caution to the wind.

The narcissict who came back into my life after an absence of eighteen years played the most spellbinding of card tricks on me. It lasted close to three years, during which time I was under his control.

With an onslaught of cards and letters pleading forgiveness based on his ‘getting his act together’, with gifts of money and jewelry to myself and our adult daughter (whom he had not supported or raised), with nice clothes, exceptional manners and excessive friendliness to our friends, with constant attention, flowers, and putting his best foot forward by accentuating his upcoming art show and hiding his degenerate friends, by making puppy dog eyes and expressing his sadness at the years  spent without us, by swearing to our daughter that he had always been and would always be in love with her mother, by lying about his drinking and getting high, my ex husband the narcissist managed to wriggle a center stage position in our lives within four months of contacting us.

As my daughter recalls, “He sent a few gifts, said the right things, dressed nicely, was extremely polite, and we opened the door of our life wide open to him, willing on very little grounds to forgive all his previous bad behavior and neglect.”

As an opener of the card trick, the narcissist preys upon your vulnerabilities. I was vulnerable to this narcissist for several reasons. First, I was disappointed in love and lonely. Second, I had unresolved feelings for the narcissist. Third, I had a fanciful delusion of ‘true love’ which was probably based upon our relationship when were twenty and he had worshipped me on a pedestal. Fourth, I had a belief in life as  a spiritual journey, in which I should trust the people who came into my life if they appeared to have good intentions. Finally, I had a soft heart and forgave easily.

All of these characteristics combined within me to create a perfect storm for the narcissist invasion of Spring 2008.

When the curtain fell two and a half years later, the narcissist’s mask dropped and I could see him for what he truly was- an emotional manipulator who had used me for a sexual relationship and as a short cut to have a relationship with our daughter. Heartbroken, my world broke apart, and I have chronicled my emotional reeling in the first several months of this blog.

For many months last year, every day brought new revelations of what the narcissist had lied to me about, as I pieced together the pieces of the shattered reality he had convinced me to be true.

In retrospect,  I realize that his whole performance was a card trick. I see through it all. I see my vulnerability, his deliberate lies and putting his best face forward, his overzealous politeness to my friends and family, the gifts, the long phone calls, the vows of eternal love, as simply steps of the narcissist’s card trick of seduction. The trick worked; he eased his way into our lives without ever having to explain or atone for his past behavior. He simply glossed over it.

The narcissist card trick is all about show. It is about anticipating what others will want to see in order to gain their trust. The trick  is about front loading affection and intimacy with gifts and money. In this way, it is a sort of bribery. Narcissists lie, cheat and bribe their way into our lives because they want something from us. We are only a means to an end for them, and the seduction trick is their entrance ticket into our hearts.

Now that I see how the trick works, it is no longer a mystery. It is perfectly clear. But my knowledge is four years too late.


7 thoughts on “The Narcissicist’s Seduction: A Card Trick

  1. Pingback: Where Narcissicm Ends and Antisocial Personality Disorder Begins « Phoenix Rising

  2. I appreciate your blog and can definitely relate. One major thing for me, is to know I’m not alone in what I had experienced with this guy. I know what you have dealt with and I also have some of the same traits as you. Ie: forgive easily, etc… Thanks again.

    • Thanks for your comment. The key to healing for me has been realizing that his behavior and what happened to me seemed personal but was not. After reading dozens of stories of women and men getting out of relationships with narcissists and recognizing that they all contained similar if not identical components, I was able to disconnect from my feelings of being personally victimized and instead was able to view the situation as a universal one. The experience has made me reexamine myself in a radical way. For instance, why did I (or, do we) easily forgive behavior which should not be forgiven? I will be 45 this spring, so like you, I am starting over again.

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  6. That’s the problem: “easily forgive behavior which should not be forgiven”. The other “sin” was: easily “lull into heaven” when showered with overflowing fake attentions (“the card tricks”). You are the typical nice people who want to do and be good. But sometimes, our propensity for being good trumped our desire for truth. If we emphasize knowing the truth rather than wanting to be good (to show others or ourselves we are good), then we will not be easily deceived. But for the many, knowing the truth can be very painful for the false ego self. Therefore some would rather “have ears but don’;t want to hear” or “have eyes but don’t want to see (the truth)”, in other word, deceive themselves. But your tragedy was not caused by wanting to be good only, but also craving for what you called fanciful delusion of ‘true love’. Knowing the truth that this emotional manipulator of yours is an emotional manipulator/predator/vampire can shatter your dream of having that fanciful delusion of ‘true love’ , therefore you chose the blind path of being good hearted, “easily forgive behavior which should not be forgiven”. If you emphasize the truth from the start, despite of being showered with (fake) attention/adulation, you’ll demand proves of repentance or the truth first before savoring the sweet taste of adulation. But fortunately you survived and got more knowledge of yourself through this painful experience. Even if it’s four years too late, it;s something to be thankful for, cause this experience leads you to a path of “know thyself”, a path that I believe is the essence of true spiritual path. Although you may not see it as walking in this path of knowing thyself, I welcome you as a fellow traveler in this path because your experience, your karma, has forced you to retrospect or contemplate on yourself or to know thyself.

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