ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

When The Narcissist is Nice

Updated on February 15, 2018
SinDelle profile image

The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & specialist in cluster B personality disorders, with a popular YouTube show and clients worldwide.

Sometimes after people have been in a devalue or discard phase for a while, they can forget that narcissists are not always cruel and horrible. If they were, they would never get anybody to stay around. For most people, the times when the narcissist is nice are what keep them hanging on. There is no one more charming and sincere than a narcissist when things are going their way. The problem is that it doesn't last.

Is their good behavior sincere? That's a hard one. In a way, all of their emotions are equally sincere, which means they are also all equally insincere. Their love is as sincere as their hate, and since both are actually projections of their feelings for or about themselves and since both change with their mood - which turns on a dime, you can draw your own conclusions about that. True love or true hate does not change when your mood changes. Most people don't stop loving someone just because they are angry at that person. If they did, we would say that probably they did not really love the person at all then.

But if their feelings are so shallow and insincere, and if they change so much, why are there some pathological narcissists that are nice to certain people all the time? Narcissists are fragmented, shattered people walking around trying to imagine a life for themselves where that isn't true. They can only bring themselves to be kind to those who do not threaten this illusion. People who do not challenge or threaten the narcissist might never see the narcissist's bad side because there is no reason they would have to. The bad guy only shows up when there is a threat to the narcissist's illusions. And just to clarify, the word illusion is used here because a delusion is something a person believes is real, but an illusion is something a person has created that they know is false. Narcissists know who and what they are pretending to be is not real. It's not a delusion. That's why they get so angry at perceived challenges to their narrative, and why they will treat people nicely who cannot do so.

For example, we will often hear about people who present as extremely narcissistic in most areas of their lives, yet they may treat their young children with kindness and positive regard. This is because young children cannot expose the narcissist, challenge their authority or dismantle the narcissist's illusions. They are no threat and they love the narcissist unconditionally. They believe whatever the narcissist says and accept what the narcissist is presenting without question. When they get older, this can and often does change as children grow and assert their independence from the narcissist, but when they are young, it is not possible. It is often the same with co-workers or other people who are not in a position to know about the narcissist's private life. They don't necessarily love the narcissist, but they often have positive feelings for the narcissist. They cannot expose them, challenge their authority or dismantle their illusions. It is easy for narcissists to be kind and have positive feelings for people who have positive feelings for them, who do not challenge them and who cannot expose them. They are living in a feedback loop, remember. They don't see other people, just their own selves reflected back to them.

The problem is that it will not remain positive forever because the facade is thin and very fragile. People who enter into a more intimate relationship with the pathological narcissist - even superficially - will find themselves in a difficult situation, because as they are privy to more and more of the narcissist's life, the narcissist fears exposure more and more. Their behavior becomes abusive because of this fear and because their illusions are being challenged, so the person's positive regard for the narcissist changes to a more and more negative opinion, and what is reflected back to the narcissist about themselves becomes more and more damaging. Oblivious to the fact that they are causing this themselves because of the way they treat other people, the narcissist simply feels that the other person has turned on them and is now untrustworthy, malicious and evil. They are hurt by this, they are afraid, they feel betrayed and they are angry. They become perpetually defensive and offended. They feel threatened and attacked.

The list of things a narcissist can feel threatened or attacked by is very long; essentially, everything is on it. When they fear that you have seen through them, everything is seen as a threat because you have learned their secret, and they will do anything to keep from having to face that. They are like The Wizard of Oz turning knobs, pushing levers to keep his terrifying, powerful facade intact and frantically screaming, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" What has been seen cannot be unseen and the narcissist knows it. This is one of the biggest reasons they discard people. The person has seen the truth and the narcissist believes it is now only a matter of time before they will be discarded themselves. Once you've seen the truth of what they are, they believe it's so awful, so repulsive and so horrific that you will hate them as much as they hate themselves and they project that self-hatred onto you. As I've stated before in other episodes of the show, once this has happened, the relationship is essentially over. It may continue but it has changed irrevocably. You have seen through them. You have challenged their narrative just by being an individual human being with needs and they will never forgive you for it.

This is not to say pathologically narcissistic people can never be nice again. They can and often are, especially when they want something. This is the candy trap that many people find themselves stuck in. They choose to believe this is who the narcissist really is, and to write the abusive monster or hysterical child off as an aberration. This is not the case. The nice one is not who they really are. Contrary to what many believe, the abusive one isn't either. There is no "who they really are." Narcissists are shattered personas walking around trying to fake it in a world that is constantly endeavoring to expose them. None of the faces they show you are real. They are true nobodies, with no identity and they know it. Everything they do is an exercise in hiding that fact.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      6 months ago

      I have dealt with a narcissistic family member. They started therapy at a young age. Don’t ever confuse human kindness for narcissism. Someone with Narcissistic personality disorder ... my personal name I’ve chosen for my family member afflicted ... since there is a huge difference with narcissistic behavior. People who are of no threat will never see the actual behavior of a narcissist. But if someone unknowingly and or innocently crosses them, it’s a different story. There will be shocking moments of unexpected and unrecognized behaviors. There will be no doubt about that person’s intentional behavior and threats. Heed their negativity as a warning sign to distance yourself from them. If’s a family member just be aware of their behavior and heed the warnings and act appropriately. Never allow them to catch you alone or out of earshot of others. Stay centered and calm but in close range of others.

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      I have a question, you say its easy for narcissists to be nice to somebody who is nice to them. But doesn't that apply to everybody? I mean who wants to be nice to someone who is not nice back.


    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)