Part 2: Jason
This is the second part of a 6-part series, told in fictional story format, charting the course of a narcissist and his target. If you missed the first part, please click here.
Jason entered college the way he entered most things, with an awkward demeanor that projected just the right amount of innocence. He was instantly popular in the way that someone with no real personality of his own can be. He mirrored behaviors that were inoffensive and had an innate sense for what people wanted from him.
There was an air of superiority about him that he couldn’t quite hide so he passed it off as introverted indifference and it worked.
‘He’s a nice guy’ was the most common thing said about him.
Jason was a watcher. At any party you’d find him standing with a group, but always just apart. He was learning his craft, watching how ‘normal’ behaved, seeing their mannerisms, how people reacted to what they said. He learned how to never be offensive.
He had no close friends. He didn’t want them. People were exhausting and having to be nice to people he had no use for irritated him, but in order to keep the mask intact he had to do it. Sports made it easier. He could be ‘one of the guys’ without having to engage. ‘Look normal’ was his mantra. He couldn’t hide in plain sight without it.
His girlfriend was the fun part. He spotted her the first day of school, in a meet and greet in their dorm building. The other girls around her were loud and boisterous, but Lisa sat there quiet, listening, a sweet smile on her face. Lisa knew how to let other people shine. Lisa was perfect.
Over the next few weeks he asked people about her. She was the middle child of three girls. Every report was that she was kind and sweet and conservative. She liked going to church and she volunteered to help at risk kids.
Jason signed up with the volunteer organization and that Sunday when he saw Lisa he said,
‘Hey, I think we might live in the same dorm.’ And from that moment forward she was his.
And she taught him something valuable. Being a volunteer was deceptive padding for the nice guy routine.
The first six weeks of the courtship were great practice for Jason. He thought of his skills as weaponized charm. To him that was the perfect definition. His charm was his greatest weapon. It allowed him to set the stage with Lisa and to learn what worked. Sure he’d been practicing his entire young life with teachers, his mom, his sisters, but Lisa was new.
Her middle sibling issues made it easier than it had been with others. Lisa was so used to being overlooked that his constant attention felt like the sun shining on her. The first silent treatment he gave her at 5 weeks, just a day, to test the waters, had her running to his dorm room, tears in her eyes, asking what she’d done wrong.
By the end of the semester she was doing whatever he wanted.
To everyone on the outside they were the perfect couple, but behind closed doors he was molding her into his perfect puppet.
Just as he had with his high school girlfriend, Jason isolated Lisa as much as possible. They spent most of their time together. He used her as an excuse when he couldn’t keep his mask on any longer with his ‘friends’. He made Lisa come to his room so he didn’t have to deal with her roommate. He never knew what Lisa said to her, so he had to be careful.
Lisa was boring, but she was necessary, another part of his ‘good guy’ mask. He cheated regularly. The popular girls were easy because they kept their mouths shut. They didn’t want to look bad because they’d helped him cheat. It was the lesser known girls who got him into trouble. They were dumb enough to believe his lies. He wasn’t going to leave Lisa. She did whatever he said, gave him sex when he wanted and made him look good. Eventually he’d find someone new to break down, but not yet, not while Lisa was still useful.
There were times when Lisa tried to stand up for herself. The semester she’d taken a Women’s Studies class had offered up some entertainment. She’d challenged something he’d said and he turned his back on her and walked out. He refused to speak to her for three days and then she apologized.
‘I’m sorry. I made you feel like I was attacking you. I didn’t mean it. You know how much I love you.’
She couldn’t know that she’d never beat him for one simple reason. He didn’t care about her. She was a convenience and she fit the criteria he needed in a partner. If he left her tomorrow he wouldn’t think about her again, She was really no different than the bowl he ate his cereal out of. If the bowl broke he’d just get another one.
Lisa was a fixer and he knew it. Whenever she started threatening to leave him he just brought up a childhood trauma. His dog died, or his sisters were more loved or his ex-girlfriend from high school broke his heart so he had difficulty with trust. And every time Lisa would ‘comfort’ him. It was all he could do not to laugh. It was so easy to manipulate her.
‘Why can’t you just let me love you?”
Jason loved when Lisa would say that because then it was off to the manipulation races. Which way could he make her dance? If he wanted her to ‘prove’ her love he would give her the sob story about being ignored by his mother. If he needed some space to hook up with another girl then he’d give her a silent treatment. He could be unreachable for days at a time with that one and when he came back she was so grateful he was speaking to her again that she’d stopped her nagging.
Most of the time he was bored, with Lisa, with his friends. God, they wanted so much from him. They expected him to be around and listen to them complain about school and their families and their girlfriends. He didn’t care about any of that. He just wanted to do what he wanted to do, but he’d learned that the mask had to stay in place at all times. It wasn’t because he thought no one would like him. It was because without the social mask he wouldn’t be able to stand any of them. Small talk bored him. He wanted to roll his eyes back in his head and scream at everyone to shut up, but instead he listened, always waiting for the opportune moment to turn the conversation interesting, towards something he wanted to talk about.
He liked tricking people. He mimicked their emotions with a smile or a frown. Even though he couldn’t form attachments he could read people’s emotions, and act the way they did. Manipulation was fun.
Flirting with pretty girls made him laugh. They were used to getting every guy. They thought they were so special and just as he had their attention he walked away, making them wonder why he’d lost interest. Then they’d call or ‘accidentally’ run into him at the library or gym. He’d learned the best way to get a girl’s clothes off was to ignore her.
And there was always Lisa waiting for him, running after him like a puppy. He loved using her to make other girls jealous. Everyone wanted him and he wanted none of them. They were all bowls and eventually they would all get broken because he’d get bored once again.
And then one day, five years later he met Caitlyn…
The narcissistic psychopath practices his skills on a daily basis. He’s always refining his weaponized charm. He has an innate sense of psychology, understanding that meeting the subconscious needs of others is the way to get what he wants. He watches and learns you just like a predator studying his prey.
When he is at rest there is a vacancy about him, as if all of the energy that lights up a normal person is lacking. He understands instinctively that people like other people like them. It’s why he makes such a good first impression. He likes all of the things you like and therefore you feel you are similar.And he does that with every person he meets because he changes his character for everyone. Ask five different people about him and they will all have a different description. And if he suddenly decides he wants something different from you then his personality will change accordingly. There is no stability in his character. He’s always in flux.
Next week you will learn aspects of Caitlyn’s character that make her particularly susceptible to someone like Jason.