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The Narcissist’s Commandments

You must not disappoint me.

You must not inconvenience me.

You must recognize all of my expectations as reasonable.

You must, at all times, accommodate me.

You must recognize my “special needs” (special in an important, not disabled, sense); and must always satisfy them.

You must be glad for my good moods, and understand and tolerate my bad, nasty ones.

You must see my anger, rage and contempt as always arising for justifiable reasons.

You must make tireless efforts to placate me when you’ve upset me.

You must appreciate that my comfort supercedes yours and everyone else’s.

You must find what interests me, interesting; and you must convey your interest.

You willingly assume responsibility for my happiness, and blame for my discontent.

You must never oppose or defy me.

You must always know what I want without my having to ask; and you must always communicate what you want without my having to ask.

You must recognize that double-standards are unacceptable, except when they’re mine (in which case they’re not double-standards, just differently applied standards).

You must stop shoving the word “reciprocity” in my face. Reciprocity means that both of us do what I want and need.

You appreciate at all times my importance and significance, or I’ll find someone who will.

You recognize that, even though we’re both “tired” at the end of the day, my fatigue is ten times more valid than yours, and so you cut me ten times more slack than I cut you.

You worry about your accountability to me, and I’ll worry about my accountability to God.

You find that everything I say makes sense (and therefore brooks no opposition).

You appreciate that your value to me is proportionate to how good you make me look, and feel.

You somehow sustain yourself as an alluring sexual object to me, or I license myself to satisfy that demand elsewhere.

You may have noticed that what underlies all of these commandments is an inflated sense of entitlement (the attitude at the heart of narcissism). I look forward to your feedback and to your adding creatively, and from your own insights, to my assuredly uncomprehensive list.

(This article is copyrighted (c) 2009 by Steve Becker, LCSW.)



358 Comments on "The Narcissist’s Commandments"

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  1. TNewman says:

    You’re right again and we must NEVER forget that it is our caring nature that helped to get us romantically involved with sociopaths in the first place! I also believe that children of sociopaths or people who have been previously involved with a sociopath tend to recognize their behavior as normal. I don’t think we are ever able to clearly see them for what they really are until we remove ourselves from their presence or come out of the fog…like you said. It’s amazing how much differently these people look once that has happened. There’s a sense of relief that comes with the removal of them from our lives that we don’t readily understand even if we are the ones to be discarded by them.

  2. henry says:

    The ultimate final discard belongs to us and it is our salvation.

  3. Matt says:

    Newman:

    “I also believe that children of sociopaths or people who have been previously involved with a sociopath tend to recognize their behavior as normal.”

    Well, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, sister!

    I grew up with an N mother and an S father. I still remember telling my mother when I was in my teens that she was suffocating me with her control. Her response? “Everybody has somebody controlling them.”

    The will to fight back was knocked out of me in that instance. Then throw in the manipulation, deceitfulness, untrustworthiness, exploitation, etc. That early conditioning set me up perfectly for a long, long line of N/S/ BPDs who wreaaked havoc in my life. Why? Because their behavior struck me as perfectly normal. After all, everybody has somebody controlling them, right?

    Not anymore. I have adopted FDR’s statement (at least I think it was FDR) “Better to die on your feet than survive on your kneees.”

  4. Leah says:

    Wow, I just made that statement a week ago – about dying on my feet rather than living on my knees – to my now-former therapist, who was very nice and a good listener but more afraid of the ex-vampire than I was and probably inadvertently reinforced my problematic passive tendencies.

    I’m glad for you, Matt, that you got to that point so much sooner than I did.

  5. Escapee says:

    Re “Everybody has a master” –

    Here’s a story that defined this for me:- (you may have heard it before).

    The ‘master’ is standing over you, holding a big stick, he says “if you drink that cup of coffee on the table, I will beat you with this stick. If you don’t drink that cup of coffee, I will beat you with this stick”.

    What do you do?

    a) Drink the coffee – may as well get something out of it, as you’ll be beaten anyway

    b) Don’t drink the coffee and take the beating

    Answer: Neither. Take away the stick. It’s only HIM saying he’s the master – it doesn’t make it true.

    This is what we do when we go NC or leave – we take away the stick (the power).

    We are masters/mistresses of our own destiny as far as I can see. You have to take back your own power

    It took me a long time to get to this and this little story helped me see that, for such a long time, I would have plumped for a or b – it just didn’t occur to me that there was another option that I was strong enough to choose.

    Once I went NC, there have been many other issues to deal with in the healing process but at least I have my ‘power’ back.

    We are masters/mistresses of our own destiny as far as I can see.

    Free will and all that ……………..

  6. MariaLisa says:

    Escapee:
    Good analogy! Very true. Thats real character building.

  7. Lovefraud bloggers,

    Again, please do not jump to conclusions about the motivations of other contributors. Overt abuse is not tolerated on this site. If the tone of someone’s comments bothers you, please simply ignore them.