Narcissist's Charm and Charisma

Narcissist's Charm and Charisma

Reading Narcissist's Charm and Charisma 5 minutes Next What is a Narcissist?

My therapist once told me that narcissists can charm the pants off a rattlesnake.

I think this is an understatement. My narcissist was very charming, and he knew it. Often, he would brag behind closed doors about how he was charming, and I was like “a bull in a China shop.” He wasn’t wrong. He took great pleasure in always reminding me how awkward I was compared to him.

If truth be told, his charm was largely what drew me to him in the first place. I started to attend my church in February 2017, at the request of Fanny, a former friend and, now, one of my narcissist’s most lethal flying monkeys. My narcissist was the President of the church, and would often get up to preach or tell lengthy stories based on his alleged values, morals, and principles. One Sunday, he told a riveting tale about growing up on a small farm in the panhandle of Texas and how the whole community came together to help one another at his urging. In hindsight, I think he might have watched one Little House on the Prairie too many and took on the persona of Pa (aka Charles Ingalls).

Narcissists have 'savior complexes,' and this is just one of many examples of it manifesting in my narcissist.

I have since visited, twice, his “small town community” that consists of his parents’ homestead, a “town” 20 minutes away with two houses, a defunct church, and an ambulance that you have to drive YOURSELF to the nearest hospital which is some 60 minutes away. I saw nothing reflecting the quaint community he bragged about bringing together in some of his sermons; in fact, there was no community, and his parents seemed to be on less-than-ideal terms with anyone within a 60-mile radius. His mother got great joy out of berating two female homesteaders who lived 30 minutes away, suggesting that she was on to their wily ways as evidenced by their short haircuts and manly style of dress. But the congregation back in my hometown some 1500 miles away sat in awe as my narcissist regaled us with tales of perseverance and community spirit made possible by him.

He would also often get up in front of the Church to talk about his selfless service in the Peace Corps.

To hear him talk, you would have assumed that the entire African Caribbean village he lounged about in, drinking beer and sucking resources from for two years, was without water until he came along and saved the day. The White Savior! I have my own issues with the Peace Corps (the institution and not the overwhelming majority of people who serve/served in the Peace Corps who seem like really kind people for the most part who want to make a difference). I view it as a soft-power, sneaky tactic to promote imperialism and justify colonialism. I lean towards pacifism myself, but, as an Army veteran, I see the Peace Corps as a tool to promote Western colonialism just as much as military intervention – but at least with the US Army we do it genuinely with our guns showing not hiding behind some alleged desire to ‘help.’  I think this metaphor perfectly reflects the difference between my narcissist and me. I am raw and real and awkward and clumsy. I come out with my lone gun showing.

He is crafty and nefarious and charming and bombastic. He hides his arsenal of weapons behind his smirk.

As time went on, I began to ask my narcissist more questions about his two years in the Peace Corps, and, from what I could gather, his ex-wife did all the heavy manual labor while he sat around and drank beer on taxpayer money, only to come home and act like the hero who saved the destitute Black people of the Caribbean.

My narcissist was, generally speaking, only cruel to the people closest to him (his kids, my kids, and me), and his “friends” were largely flying monkeys or lower-level narcissists. In normal relationships, you’re more loving and affectionate to the people closest to you. However, since narcissistic brains seem to be wired differently, they’re cruel and callous to the people in the home and really kind and respectful to people outside of the home at the surface level. Every once in a while my narcissist would let the mask slip, particularly around people who did not net him any advantage. I once saw him aggressively tell off an older lady at church when he was worried that his first wife's, Prissy, job might get cut and that would negatively impact his child support obligations. 

As this blog goes on, I will talk more in-depth about how charming and charismatic my narcissist was (and how he knew it and used it to his advantage), but I think this is enough to give you an idea of the type of person he is and, by contrast, the type of person I am. Our two, unique personality styles were largely the reason why he was able to recruit his flying monkeys, along with mismatched power dynamics in the church.

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