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Narcissistic Artists: Should They Get a Free Pass to Abuse Others? (Pt 2 of 2)

In this article, we’re discussing how narcissists use excuses like “artist” and “genius” to rationalize outrageous abuse. Please click here to read Part 1.

Step 4: Having tested their victim with ever more shocking and egregious types of abuse, they proved their victim will take anything. The riff-raff, those with good boundaries and proper expectations for good behavior who won’t tolerate abuse, were weeded out long ago. Probably not sacked; probably driven out by the most extreme abuse and humiliation. Those who are left can take any and all abuse silently, going in easy stages from tears to shaking, from shaking to insomnia, from insomnia to vomiting, from vomiting to ulcers, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and finally, suicide.

Now, having carefully created a cult-like lair peopled with sycophants, all rules of proper behavior have been indefinitely suspended. The “great artist” may now behave in any way he or she chooses. Anything goes. There are no rules anymore. It’s exactly what they wanted.

But why!?! Why do the victims stay and stay, even return for a second round after leaving!? Why did Chef Ramsay return to Marco’s restaurant, Harvey’s, after escaping? Why did Chef Ripert return to Jamin to work for Chef Joël Robuchon again after escaping to serve in the Army? It doesn’t make sense!

Here’s how they explain it. Gordon Ramsay writes, “The trouble was that Marco made you feel as though there was nothing outside of Harvey’s, that nowhere else mattered.”

Here’s how Eric Ripert describes his return to Robuchon: “I couldn’t go back. There was no way. If I had to go back, I would die. Or kill someone. Or at least have a nervous breakdown….If I learned fish and sauce from Robuchon, I would be able to do pretty much anything I wanted after that. Robuchon was impossible, but he was an impossible genius and I wanted — needed — to learn from the best. …Life at Jamin would continue to be a living hell, but I would learn — a lot.”

They both went back. Gordon went back to Marco. Ripert went back to Robuchon. Victims (almost) always go back to their abuser or another abuser just like them. After leaving Harvey’s,  Gordon went to work at Jamin. “Robuchon got hold of the plate, and threw it at me. It hit the side of my face. My ear was blocked with hot food, my face was burnt, and there was ravioli all over the place. I apologised and started [plating] all over again.” Did you catch it!?! The victim apologized to the abuser!!!

Because they’re an artist! They’re a genius! The rules don’t apply to them. If you were as good as they are, they wouldn’t have abused you. See? You have so much left to learn. You’re just lucky they allow you hang around, to learn from their genius, to bask in their art. You loser! No one would take you except them. But somehow they tolerate you, despite your glaring faults.

See how it works!?

But circling back to my original question: Is it right? Do different rules apply to artists and geniuses?

No, of course it’s not right. Great art, great paintings, great movies, great food can all be created without the artist abusing those around them. Their lack-of-rules doesn’t stem from them being a great artist. It has nothing to do with their art, one way or the other.

They abuse because they want to abuse. They’d do it regardless of their career. They’d abuse if they were a ditch digger! Playing the “great artist” card is merely brainwashing to convince tolerant victims that they’re “more equal” and deserve to be given a free pass to behave anyway and anyhow they please.

But it doesn’t.

They’re not “more equal” than the rest of us. No one is. For every great artist who uses “art” and “genius” as an excuse to abuse, there’s an equally great artist who is one heck of a nice guy or gal, putting paid to the whole artists/genius/different rules thing. Like Gandalf said to Frodo, “There are other forces at work in this world besides the will of evil … and that is an encouraging thought.”

Narcissistic Artists: Should They Get a Free Pass to Abuse Others? (Pt 2 of 2)

Lenora Thompson

Lenora Thompson is a syndicated Huffington Post freelance writer and food blogger. Her readers call her the "Edward Snowden" and "Wikileaks" of narcissism because of her no-holds-barred-take-no-prisoners approach to writing about narcissism. “Narcissism Meets Normalcy” is the real-life, ongoing story of her healing journey from being held “hostage” by a multi-generational, cult-like narcissistic family. It's gritty and real, bloody and bruised, humorous and sarcastic. Lenora Thompson considers herself a “whistleblower,” shining a spotlight on narcissistic abuse so others can also claim their freedom and experience healing. To learn more about Lenora, her husband Michael's heroic battle with Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis and to read her writings about food, please visit Thank you!

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APA Reference
Thompson, L. (2018). Narcissistic Artists: Should They Get a Free Pass to Abuse Others? (Pt 2 of 2). Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Dec 2018
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