ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Narcissist: Shattered Persona, Split Personality

Updated on January 18, 2019

In previous articles, we've noted a few similarities between narcissism and Multiple Personality Disorder, which we now call Dissociative Identity Disorder. Most of us know what DID is. It's where a person has more than one personality living in the same body. These are true personalities in every sense of the word, most of the time. They have their own features, hobbies, likes, dislikes, memories... everything. It would be kind of like if you and your best friend shared the same body. Your mind would not be their mind. You could not speak for them. You would not share memories.

This is how multiple personalities work. It is even reported sometimes by clinicians and doctors assessing multiple personalities that, depending on which personality was standing "at the front," so to speak, the patient would actually look different or take on different characteristics, as if it really were another person speaking. That makes sense. So much of what we look like and how we present ourselves is due to our personalities.

Multiple personalities are created by trauma. The way this happens is a very complicated and complex process, but as a very basic explanation, we could say that abusing a child is like hitting a mirror with a hammer. The harder you hit it, the worse it breaks. The reflection you see is still the same person, but it is fractured and no longer whole. The trauma that creates narcissism works much the same way. The breaks may not be as severe as what creates actual multiple personalities, but these breaks are very much there. Narcissists, like people with multiple personalities, are different personas stemming from a fractured identity. They are a dysfunctional piecing-together of what was once - or could once have been - the original expression of the true identity. In a very real way, they have a "split personality." That's what creates the Jekyll/Hyde dynamic we often see.

In the narcissist there is usually at least a vulnerable self and a protective self, though there may be other sides as well. Depending on the person, you may never see the vulnerable self because the protective self, which usually holds all the more overtly narcissistic qualities, is standing in front of the vulnerable one all the time, protecting it. Narcissism as a whole is a defense mechanism. Everything the narcissist does is a means to that end. Either they are trying to defend themselves, or sustain themselves. Always.

Contrary to what people may believe, the vulnerable self is no less narcissistic than the protective self. It simply reacts to things differently. Even though the execution is different than the protective self, their goals are basically the same: advancement and protection of self. Therefore, the vulnerable self is just as narcissistic. This is the side you may see more of in covert narcissists, especially Borderline Personality Disordered narcissists. The vulnerable self is an immature victim. Everything is an emergency to the vulnerable self. Everything is a catastrophe, everything is painful. This self usually holds the pain and sadness for the narcissist, and there is a lot of it. The protective self is not burdened by these qualities, because being so overtly narcissistic, it has no feelings. That's why it's a good protector. It has no regret, no conscience, no remorse and no mercy. We will often see these types of "protector selves" in multiple personality structures as well. The vulnerable self wants to love and be loved but has no actual capacity for either, no understanding of these things and is pathologically terrified of intimacy besides. Anytime these intimate feelings are felt too strongly, this inevitably triggers a fear response which brings the protective self to the forefront. Every time the vulnerable self becomes too upset or afraid, the protective self will take over in reaction, and for some narcissists, the vulnerable self is so damaged and traumatized, it is afraid all the time.

When you deal with a pathologically narcissistic person, you are dealing with at least these two masks or false personas - all the time. You are not dealing with the true self of the narcissist. Many people make the mistake of believing the vulnerable self is the true self. This is not so. The true self of most narcissists is not accessible, even to the narcissist. For all intents and purposes, it does not exist. The personality has fractured because the identity was shattered and broken before it had a chance to develop fully and there is no way to fix that. That is why we say narcissists cannot be treated or healed. The personality cannot be put back together again, because it has grown into its dysfunction and established itself. What we are left with are the pieces of this original identity walking around trying to cope with life and feeling very unable to do so.

As the personality is not integrated or whole, it cannot process past traumas, nor can it grow or heal. It is simply stuck in a time warp of emotion where it feels the trauma and pain of the past, every day as if it were happening now. These false selves were created as a way to cope with that. Unfortunately, that is all they are really able to do. They cannot relate to other people. They cannot grow or move on. There is no room in there. There is no room for anything but the self.

Narcissist: Shattered Persona, Split Personality


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)