The Narcissist’s Playbook
The Narcissist’s Playbook
Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert
Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine
During the many years that I have been involved in the field of narcissistic abuse recovery, I have made a remarkable discovery; narcissists everywhere seem to be operating from the same playbook. I don’t know who wrote it, when it was written, or where a copy can be found, but it must exist because the evidence shows time and time again that narcissists are the least original beings on the planet. They all do and say the same things.
Narcissists may look human, they may even act human, but they actually have more in common with non-domesticated animals and insects than they do with humanity. As wild creatures, they live their lives in survival mode; empathyless predators on a perpetual hunt for vulnerable prey. And like a lion on the prowl, the execution of the victim’s capture may vary in detail, but the method of devouring the prey is always the same.
The stories that survivors tell me are shocking; credible only by those who have experienced something similar. Survivors justifiably believe that their experience is unique and that their abusers are more devious than most. The word “evil” is often used as a preface to the word “narcissist” because narcissism alone doesn’t seem to adequately describe the horror they’ve experienced.
Any experience you have had as a victim of narcissistic abuse is truly horrible. And while malignant narcissism does exist, it’s rarely applicable to the average situation. Narcissists destroy their targets through mind games. Malignant narcissists maim and murder. There is nothing worse than that. Victims of malignant narcissists rarely survive to tell their story.
Patterns of narcissistic abuse, whether parental, spousal, romantic, work-related, or otherwise, are so predictable that I could tell everyone’s story before they tell me, but I don’t because that’s not what survivors want or need from me. They desperately need to be heard, validated and supported, often for the first time. And they need a road map to recovery.
As horrendous and outrageous as the stories are, as brilliant and powerful as each narcissist is perceived to be, they are all versions of the same thing and they all seem to come out of the same playbook. They are brilliant in the sense that they can calculate a complex campaign of abuse that spans days, weeks, months, and years in milliseconds. And they are powerful in their ability to intimidate and control, though that power is only effective on those under their spell. Once the veil is lifted and they are exposed for who they are, they become powerless. It doesn’t seem like it because losing control over an emotional hostage incites a ruthless revenge that knows no bounds. There are no depths to which a vindictive narcissist will not stoop. But the revenge pattern apparently follows a playbook as well. Again, largely unoriginal.
Narcissists are the most destructive beings on the planet. They seek to destroy every life they intimately touch. Survivors of this abuse have a lot to overcome in order to return their upside-down reality to healthy functioning. With the right support and guidance, full recovery is absolutely possible.
It can seem like narcissists get through life without a scratch, while survivors must pick up the shattered remains of their nearly decimated lives. But like every other aspect of narcissistic abuse, that perception is illusory. Narcissists exist in a perpetual, self-tormented purgatory from which they can never escape. Survivors have the ability to heal, become better versions of themselves, and go on to live a happy life.
Power is transferred once the survivors gain access to the narcissist’s playbook. The playbook is elementary; anyone can learn it. The most difficult aspect of this upbringing, which feels totally unnatural to tender-hearted survivors, is developing the cunning and insightful character necessary to reclaim your personal power. Once done, the rest is child’s play.