One word I coined here years ago is “narkles” — or narcissist sparkles. It’s that phenomenon with cheaters — the instant chemistry, the chump having their initial doubts about this person, but being wowed by the intensity of the narcissist.
Narkles are like that spotlight that swivels in a studio audience and lands on the Lucky Winner. You! They’ve set their sites on YOU!
How do narkles happen? I think first narcissists cultivate this air of exclusivity, of great self importance — which is pretty ironic with cheaters because really, they’re not exclusive at all. They’d sell their soul for a kibble. But they come across as terribly self confident and never, ever wrong. (And because they’re never wrong, hey, there’s no need to apologize. Infallible people never say sorry.)
Ordinary people tend to fall for people who act extraordinary. Who don’t display the normal neuroses and awkwardness most of us suffer with. These people are very sure of their point of view, whatever it is. That they’re the smartest person in the room, the most attractive — or an interesting variant on narkles — the most misunderstood, or in need of help.
Contrary to the life of the party type of narkles, I think there is an aloof kind of narkle — the I Am Very Sad and Misunderstood And Only With Your Loving Patience Can You Save Me. Oh yes, you’re the only one who really gets them. Who is allowed into the walled garden of their soul. These freaks display self importance by holding themselves apart from others, withholding, maybe if you try really, really hard you can get them to smile. They did? They smiled at you? There’s the narkle spotlight — you’re the special one! Now could you do their homework for them and maybe lend them some money? Because well, you’re special. You’re the only one they trust to help them.
Other narcissists, my ex was like this, have a charm onslaught — a jaunty Hey Let’s Throw a Party setting. You can’t stay mad at the man who wants to swing you around the dance floor, can you?
When I was dating him I felt like he was a bit more alive than other people. I can’t really describe it any other way. I’ve read sociopaths described this way — this frisson of attraction, the intensity, the narkles. It was intoxicating.
Now, to write that now, many years later is almost unbelievable to me, because I know the Real Him. And I lived with the slob, and his chaos, and his mindfuckery. But when all I knew of him was narkles — he was a very different person. Charming. Never tongue tied. Direct. Like I was the most important person in the world. Maybe that’s what they’re doing — they’re projecting. All the self importance and superiority they feel about themselves, they’re projecting on to you. You are FABULOUS! The perfect ONE! You are NEVER WRONG. Everything you do is exactly what they’ve always wanted in a person!
Until it isn’t.
That’s the problem. Disordered wing nuts “idolize and devalue.” It’s what they do. The dial doesn’t stay set at “narkles” all the time — just when they’re wooing. Just when they want something. And later, when they’ve lost you to their abuse, and they need you back — for cake, for money, to not lose face — they try the narkles on you again.
And chumps, we LOVE narkles. It’s like crack. When is that charming, sexy person coming back? Where is that person I fell in love with and married? Who is this raging, entitled asshole? Surely THAT person is the anomaly?
Narkles. Abuse. Narkles. Abuse. Narkles.
It takes a long time to realize the asshole is who they really are, and narkles is a pocket of magic fairy dust.
Here’s the good news about narkles — if you’ve ever been taken in by narkles, you can spot it again and you won’t have a taste for it. Like food poisoning. You’ll notice the person who shines a bit too brightly, a bit too desperately. You’ll be repelled by the person with the iron clad self regard. You can’t be bothered with the Complicated Artist in the corner who demands that you decode him.
You’ll crave people who are authentic and awkward and kind. Who are just alive and not more alive.
So tell me about your experiences with narkles, CN!
This one ran before. Today is Mr. CL’s birthday! A terrific mensch who just loves and doesn’t love bomb. Well, unless you’re a dog, in which case, it’s all the treats all the time. Anyway, got a late start breakfast celebrating.