|Re-post from a reader....Reprinted with permission|
This illustration came to me one day and I have found it helpful in understanding the reasons why the N's behave the way they do. It does not make it less damaging and it certainly does not EXCUSE it. For ME it is important to understand the reasons for it and it keeps the knowledge of what our REAL adversaries look like fresh in my mind. This replaces the "image" of the powerful, fearful, unbeatable monster and replaces it with reality. It makes it easier for ME...and I hope you might find it helpful as well.
A "typical life" has a solid core of integrity and truth. The experiences we have had, the good AND the bad, are there. The lies we have told, the secrets we have kept, are there as well. We make mistakes, we tell lies, we cause minor (and even major) harm to other people. None of us lives a life of perfection.
We recognize this and we decide that we want to IMPROVE, to CHANGE, perhaps to make amends. We can, and do, choose to pluck out the pins that are undesirable in order to replace them with other pins...better pins. They can be removed, replaced, manipulated and more can be added...but nothing changes the core...except a few more small holes may appear.
One of those experiences (or pins) has nothing to do with all the others. The pins are NOT connected together...but they become a part of the cushion for a time. If one gets bent or rusted, we can choose to pluck it out and we still have our core.
The core may become worn or dirty but it does not sustain damage that makes it non-functional. The CORE always REMAINS.
Our integrity may be tarnished but it never disappears.
The narcissists life has no core. If a core ever DID exist, it was, long ago, discarded when the abuser saw no value in it. Once discarded the abuser can never reclaim it and can never build a new one. They must CREATE persona after persona in order to get what they desire. They begin to build a house of cards meant to hide their lack of integrity, their lack of truth, their lack of EMPATHY.
They have constructed their life, lie upon lie, each being balanced on the back of another. Each "fact" becomes more tenuously balanced on the lie underneath it.
The narcissist senses this at some level.
Despite the fact that they may profess to BELIEVE their own lies...or justify the lies as "the end justifying the means"...they KNOW that this is all a "house" built in their OWN minds. It has no basis in reality...no TRUTH...NO INTEGRITY.
The abuser realizes that the majority of people WILL recognize a lie for what it is when it is discovered...and will SEE EXACTLY how one lie told changes the WHOLE story being told by the N. That is one reason why they struggle SO VIOLENTLY to keep others from discovering any lie...no matter how small or "insignificant".
They KNOW that if, just ONE, of these cards is torn, becomes worn or fails, the whole construct WILL BE DESTROYED.
Especially hard to deal with is that the lies told furthest back in this construct will cause the MOST extensive damage. The narcissist, rather than trying to rebuild any part of this construct (even if it is only 2 layers down) chooses to guard the ENTIRE structure.
They will not (cannot) , for instance, realize that their children have SEEN what they have done. No number of lies will overcome the MEMORIES of a child of sufficient age. A rational person would likely chance ADMITTING the truth and count on the love and integrity of the child to obtain forgiveness. ( i.e "Trying to repair damage that is only a level or two down")
Instead, they will steadfastly DEMAND that the children believe EVERY LIE they have been told. If necessary, the abuser will resort to gas-lighting in order to attempt to RECONSTRUCT the memories of their children.
Perhaps this is because they know that if the "cards" start to fall from the top they MAY just dislodge some nearer the bottom as well...and the whole thing may come tumbling dawn.
Once the fall starts, the lack of a core will be obvious to all. For this reason, they give ALL ENERGY to guarding the house of cards. They will try to DESTROY anyone who threatens it.
NO ONE and NOTHING is important enough to divert their attention away from this task because they KNOW that it is very possible that nearly every person in their lives will be lost when the house collapses anyway. For THIS reason they sacrifice everyone who might love them...one person at a time...in a foolish attempt to keep the truth hidden forever and maintain their personas.
The sad thing is that they are only PARTIALLY right. There are some people who might be able to deal with the truth and remain present with the N in their pile once it falls... but instead of appreciating that loyalty, the N continues to abuse and use them in order to protect the unstable house.
EVENTUALLY, they succeed in completely burning those relationships as well....showing each victim, including their own children, that they are UNIMPORTANT in their lives...willingly and purposely destroying them in order to try to "win".
Throughout the span of a lifetime, they run into many people who have the capacity to start the collapse by bringing to light the lies upon which the construct is built. This exposed lie may be near the top of the pile or it may be very near the bottom...and the damage that can be done SIMPLY BY TELLING THE TRUTH, is likely to be significant.
The only choice the N sees is to attempt to destroy these people or make them FEAR telling the truth by threat. If the attempted destruction of this person is INCOMPLETE...the threat REMAINS, FOREVER. This is likely the reason that N's never seem to really move on completely. They are too busy trying to PROTECT the house of cards from ALL threats.
Some threats just never go away and some threats refuse to be silenced.
Funny thing is, for the MOST part, these threats have NO INTEREST in bringing down this house...they merely want to be left alone and would gladly walk away from that house without doing any damage.
The more the N torments these "threats" and forces them to defend themselves against the lies that they tell...the more the threat must defend and attempt to bring those lies to light.
It would be INFINITELY smarter for the N to simply "play nice" or walk away...but they do not have this capability. They live in a delusion of omnipotence, entitlement and superiority. They feel justified in making the "threats" PAY for seeing their own power, for knowing the truth, for LIVING.
The abuser often FEELS like they are winning and they may have some small victories, but NOTHING will save that house when it starts to fall.
What is true is that the liars house of cards is doomed from the very beginning.
It can only be built so high before GRAVITY brings it down.
NOTHING STAYS BURIED FOREVER.
A lifetime of abusing everyone in their path is very likely to leave the abuser standing alone in the pile of cards that is the wreckage of a lifetime of evil acts.
It is inevitable.