Are narcissists often the ones who are nice, popular, and have many friends? I met and trusted one, but their true colors showed when they disregarded my hurt feelings. Other people think they're very nice though. I don't get it.

By Cris Good

Narcissists are often perceived as being nice and popular with many friends. The key word here, though, is perceived. What you see on the surface, however, is not reality. What you are getting is a huge smokescreen filled with funhouse mirrors and endless mazes leading nowhere. I’m not going to get into the psychological backstory of a narcissist. You can find many posts here on quora that will fill you in on the causation of narcissism.

What you initially see is an illusion that they have created and worked to perfect over the course of their lifetime. The culmination of the illusion is an extremely manipulative and malicious way of acquiring what they want. They are not known for doing anything that won’t give them some kind of self-serving payoff.

Think of it in terms of being a magician or illusionist. We are awed and amazed at how they can pull off some of the magic tricks that they do. How did they do that? It really defies sound logic and reasoning sometimes. The narcissist is an illusionist, too. Their stage is their life and only the ones who come close enough to see behind the curtain, are the ones who really see that it is, in fact, only an illusion. What lies behind is often ugly and grotesque.

The narcissist simply spins the illusion to garner praise, elicit trust in unsuspecting people, achieve or acquire something from anyone or everyone who is willing to be mystified and buy into it. Friends and acquaintances will be held at arm’s length otherwise the illusion would be shattered and they would be found out. Sometimes their friends can be illusionists, too, aka disordered.

Make no mistake about it: anyone can be nice with the intention of getting something in return. Usually, it will be at your expense. How many serial killers have been described by people who supposedly knew them as being “the nicest, sweetest, thoughtful person?” They were nice, but they had no goodness in them…no altruistic, empathetic, or caring bone in their body. They used their niceness to manipulate and achieve their sadistic, evil, and vile desires.

You were fortunate enough to see beyond the illusion. Don’t dismiss it or take it lightly. Heed the warning and limit or eliminate this person from your life as much as possible. They are not and will not be good for you or anyone you care about. You’ve already had a taste of the toxicity of this person. As for the others, they may never see past the illusion. It doesn’t matter. You have. Now you’re better armed to deal with this individual appropriately.