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Seeing Through the Fog of a Narcissist’s Masks, Traps, Illusions

beauty and beast photo

I now see  beneath the masks he wore.
I’d seen glimpses before,
Each time a mask slipped off,
Yet I handed it back,
Often propping it up for him,
Focused on what I saw as
His neediness
Instead of my own common sense.
Telling myself he meant well.
I saw him as fragile as a child;
He cannot help it, can he?
He desperately needs my love
To rescue him, doesn’t he?
If I can only make him happy,
Prove my loyalty,
Earn his trust, surely then,
I’d get back the man
He’d promised to be, for me, the start, wouldn’t I?
It was all up to me to change what I must, not to fail;
Or so I thought.
I want to see clearly now,
To identify what is true, from what is illusion.
Too long, a heavy fog made me overlook
The emotional cruelty, the lies,
The playing with my mind,
The gaslighting.
Too long, I wasted energy
Trying to get him to understand,
How he was hurting me, and us.
Too long, I took the blame.
I was seduced by the fantasy that:
If I figure out how
To make him feel secure in my love, and
Gain his trust, prove my loyalty,
Get him to understand
How his actions leave me
Hurt and confused,
Then … he’d stop hurting me, and us,
He’d change; it was all up to me;
To get him to understand.
Or so I thought.
 I see more clearly as the fog lifts,
My own desperate actions to be
The woman that would crack the code
To his heart.
Where his love surely
Lay waiting for me, right?
Ahh … the fairy tales
Women are told,
Duping us into these fixes,
Making it easy for a Weinstein to exploit a woman as easy prey,
So that they feel like “real” men?
(Is this power, no! It is his sickness,
His fear of powerlessness.)
If the Beast depends on Beauty’s kindness
To transform to knowing how to love;
To no longer be a threat to himself and others,
Then, who is incomparably,
the strongest, bravest, healthiest?
This duping of our men from boyhood,
To associate strength and masculinity
With what dehumanizes them,
Is known as narcissistic personality disorder.
Or in extreme cases,
Antisocial personality disorder.
It is wrong to condition our men from boyhood,
To shame, and detach from emotions of compassion,
To lust instead for the power to hate and be hated,
The power to take lives,
In domestic violence or mass shootings,
To lust to demoralize, yet feel no remorse, is a sickness,
Not a strength.
Or so now I know.
I want to see, and think, clearly from now on.
From the start, the game was rigged
For men to win; and women to fail.
But these were illusions of winning or failing.
To set up another to fail, is not a win;
It is an admission of failure!
In contrast, yearning to love never fail, it is a win.
The biology of being human explains why:
To the extent we esteem others, we esteem self.
And vice versa.
It’s why letting go or forgiving
We do, not for the other, but for our own wellbeing.
And it is why,
No one feels more miserable, powerless, inadequate,
Desperate or emotionally fragile —
Than a narcissist or psychopath.
Human relations are not a competition,
But a lifelong haven,
Where personal, relational growth happens.
     Now, I choose to be aware, to consciously think.

Photo by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer

Seeing Through the Fog of a Narcissist’s Masks, Traps, Illusions

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik

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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2017). Seeing Through the Fog of a Narcissist’s Masks, Traps, Illusions. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 22 Dec 2017
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