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How to recognize when your narcissist is wearing a mask

Wearing a Mask or Two-Faced

People who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder tend to behave one way to some people and another to others. Often known as being two-faced or wearing a mask in public. Narcissists are known to behave a certain way in public. They are often described as charismatic, generous, and wonderful people. But in private, the mask comes off and they emotionally abuse those close to them behind closed doors.


People who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder care the most about their image over any relationship. They have very low emotional intelligence and never learned to validate themselves. Narcissists are so insecure that they constantly need praise and admiration from others. They seek it from others and sometimes, even from themselves. The reason is that they want to be superior to all and this is the only way they know how to make themselves feel better.

Their image helps them feel appreciated, recognized, valued, relevant and envied. They need it to boost their low self-esteem. Their self-worth is completely based on how others perceive them.

Why do narcissists want you to think they are generous & caring?

When they have their mask on, narcissists are known as generous, giving, wonderful people who help their community.

Among the most important reasons narcissists must appear like they are caring and compassionate:

1. They are looking for some sense of fame (recognition)

2. They desire superiority (power & control)

3. They need to keep others in their debt

My father’s image was paramount to him

At one point, in the longest period of one of his Silent Treatments, he hadn’t spoken to either of his grandchildren for 3 years, or me. He had walked out of our lives for the third time in 14 months. This time the Silent Treatment had gone on for 3 years. He had no desire to speak with his grandchildren in private. He hadn’t made an effort to contact them, not even once. He’d chosen to miss birthdays, recitals, and games. But at a public event, where people will see him, he is instantly in the role of grandfather. I’m sure someone in our community asked him if he’d be attending the high school band concert and he felt like he had to say yes. My oldest daughter was a senior and in the band. He needed to show everyone that he was a proud grandfather regardless of the fact that he hadn’t seen or spoken to his granddaughter in 3 years. His image was more important.

Image Over Everything & Everyone

Their image is always more important than any other person and how their actions affect someone. I wrote about this in my book Wrecking Ball Relationships: How to Identify, Live With or Leave the Narcissist in Your Life.”

“Narcissists like to isolate you from your people. They don’t want you telling anyone about their abusive ways. They need to control the narrative, so their image remains untarnished.”

In a previous blog, "when your narcissist is charismatic and known to wear a mask, that is behave differently in public than behind closed doors, as mine was, it makes it all the more difficult to come forward. People only knew him as this great community leader. People have no idea what happens at home, behind closed doors.”

After I suffered narcissistic abuse, I dug deep into the research and interviewed many different people who’d suffered in different ways. Then I wrote a guidebook. Since then, I’ve been coaching people 1:1 and am launching another group program in July.

If you’ve suffered this type of relationship, it helps enormously to talk to someone. When you're in a toxic relationship, you need to talk to someone about your emotions and your trauma. I’m a survivor of narcissistic abuse and now I coach people on their healing journey. I give people clarity, validation & comfort.

Learn more about me here:

Let’s talk. Click here to book a free session with me. We’ll figure out if we work well together.

You can find my book “Wrecking Ball Relationships” on Amazon and

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