Narcissists expect to be treated badly because of this very thing. They therefore look for evidence of it in every single thing other people do. And of course, they find it, mostly because they push and provoke and harass and refuse to accept anything else.
For instance, a wife is speaking with her narcissistic husband. It’s the classic narcissistic argument, where no matter what she says or how she says it, everything that comes out of her mouth is hurtful, hateful and wrong. The wife is attempting to explain to the narcissist reasonably and logically that his accusations are senseless and untrue. As she is talking, she calls him “honey.” The narcissist replies, “Don’t call me honey” in a disgusted tone of voice. The wife loses her cool and replies, “Fine, [expletive]. I won’t.” The narcissist then says, “That’s more like it.”
Now, this was no doubt intended to be a knock against the wife, to imply that the wife using terms of endearment is fake or insincere because she is so horrible and abusive. But it really says more about the narcissist than anything, doesn’t it? They cannot accept being treated respectfully. It jams their radar, so to speak, and makes them very uneasy. Since they expect to be treated badly, they are constantly on edge, waiting for it to happen. They will often cause an argument or accuse someone of treating them badly for no reason simply to fulfill this expectation and ease their internal tension. Sometimes you can actually see the relief on their faces.
Explaining in these situations is useless. You will not get anywhere. Not only are they not listening, they don’t want to believe you. They want to believe you are evil. It makes them victims. It makes them the center of attention, and most of all, it makes them right. If they have to accept that you are not evil, then who is to blame for all these problems? There’s only one person left. In the narcissist’s cartoon, comic book view of the world, there always has to be a villain – and a hero, by the way. If the villain isn’t you, it will have to be them and if that’s true, then it means that everything that voice says to them is right. Don’t forget, narcissism is nothing but a defense mechanism against that little voice. That little voice says they are evil, horrible, disgusting vomit on the ground, so in self-defense, the narcissist creates a false self that is the total opposite of that.
A hero, in other words.
However, someone has to be evil, because all that hurt and bile and anger and bitterness has to go somewhere. So it has to be you. You were once the hero, when the narcissist first met you and you were perfect, and you were going to save everyone and make everything great. But you revealed yourself as a lowly human with no special powers and worse, you revealed that they are a lowly human with no special powers, either. So you’re now the villain in this story and you can never be anything else.
Beyond that, they like that you keep trying to make them understand that you love them. They like the futility, the sincerity, the fact that you keep trying and keep jumping through those hoops for them. They don’t believe you and they never will, but they love to hear it just the same. They like frustrating you and upsetting you and sucking your life force out one pointless argument at a time. Explaining is really only feeding their egotistical need for attention in the end because they aren’t going to believe you. They don’t want to and even if they did, the voice of that brutal superego that piles them on with internal abuse 24 hours a day would never let them.
Their disorder is set up so perfectly that exactly the things they need to hear and understand in order to change are exactly the things they are programmed to deny and block out the most. It’s really sad, when you think about it. Because of that blind spot, they simply self-destruct over and over and over again. They are some of the most miserable people alive, and they walk around their entire lives never realizing they are doing it all to themselves. There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.