Author: mileskrane

The Pawn and the King



Oh what dangerous words,

As I write this social persuasion,

The obligation that shall result,

The true nature of the chess board.

Or is it just imagination?


To dream is mad they shall whisper.

Instead, focus on the morality within you,

That I, your ruler shall attempt to control,

With my rational social persuasion.

In my battlefield, let the pawns congregate,

And let the war begin.


Unraveling The Chess Board Mind Of The Narcissistic Abuser


For many years I have tried to understand the mind of the narcissistic abuser.

I admit…their ability to genuinely believe their own lies, to this day, fascinates me.

For do they have insight into the fact that they lied? Certainly, they can remember the events that occurred that favor them, so surely their ability to selectively remember information requires a degree of awareness as to which of their actions would be considered, at least by others, to be immoral?

If they do not have insight and are unaware that they have lied, can they be blamed for lying?

At this point, I stop.

For it is beyond our need to understand whether the abuser should be pardoned for his or her wrong, immoral, hurtful and deceitful actions that have no doubt occurred.

Dwelling down this path may lead the “other” to excuse the abuser’s actions, not because of genuine forgiveness, but rather in desperation to not have to face the painful reality of the abuse that occurred and instead to remain unaware. Such reflection on forgiving the abuser may occur later, only when the “other” has freed his or her enmeshed mind completely from the abuser and regained his or her own self.

Until that time, attempting to explore the abuser’s mind should be solely to help us become aware of the power dynamic for the interests of ourselves, the children and any-one else involved. We must try to understand the part we play in the narcissist’s world to help us to separate fantasy from reality.

We can use the analogy of the chess board and try to understand the mind in three main ways:

Step 1: Identify the fantasy

The narcissistic abuser’s grandiose fantasy of him or herself is the source of all the pain and suffering that the narcissist inflicts on others. It is the “reflection in the mirror”. It is the ego that the narcissist has created and that he or she must defend at all costs to avoid identifying with his or her true self.

It is therefore imperative to question what is the narcissist’s fantasy of him or herself that he or she is so desperate to protect.

It may be higher level of intelligence, wealth, health, beauty, morality, righteousness, leadership within the community, culture or religion. It may be the better ability to father, to mother or to educate others. The fantasy can incorporate a number of different areas.

Interestingly, the grandiose fantasy may even be a lack of a skill, but in comparison to his or her perceived greatness at another skill.

For example:

  • She may express her lack of dress sense in terms of the morality of not being superficial or vein.
  • He may express his lack of availability for his children in terms of his impeccable work ethic which has resulted in a comfortable existence for the family due to his hard work and the sacrifices he as made.
  • She may express her inability to provide for her children in terms of being above materialistic possessions or being some-one of simple means.
  • He may express his lack of friends in terms of being some-one of high morality, intelligence or table manners that others can not match in conversation.

Within the chess board, the King is the narcissist’s grandiose fantasy which the other pieces lay their lives down to defend, often unaware of what they are actually defending.

Note that there can only be one King on the chess board. This is as the nature of the grandiose fantasy means that the Narcissist must be the expert in that field compared to all other pieces on the board. Any-one who comes close to the Narcissist in terms of their chosen area of expertise will, if possible, be devalued, rejected and as a last consequence, thrown off the chess board. The other option would be to take credit for the achievements and skills of others, for example, stating that it was only due to the Narcissist’s teachings that the other has become successful.

Step 2: Identify the Ideology

The core central aim of the narcissist is to keep his or her grandiose fantasy alive. The King on the chess board must survive and the other pieces are there to defend the King’s ego.

But how is the narcissist going to get other people to shield and protect the King’s ego, whilst the narcissist is abusive to those very same people?

One method, as discussed in my previous post, is through psychological manipulation to diminish the person’s self esteem and convert them into the “other”, so that they can only see the world through the eyes of the abuser.

The other method used is in terms of the imposition of an ideology.

The ideology is what the narcissist expresses other’s should do to try and better themselves so that they can try to achieve the grandiose skills or achievements that he or she has.

The ideology is what the narcissist will use to defend morally why the abuse that he or she inflicts was acceptable and appropriate.

The imposition of ideology becomes the mask of abuse.

For example:

  • The narcissist’s fantasy is that he is highly educated. The ideology is that his children should also be educated, to try to better themselves. The defense for abusing children is that it is done to discipline the children to become educated.
  • The narcissist’s fantasy is that she is a slim, beautiful woman who is an excellent mother. Her ideology is that her daughter should control her weight so that she doesn’t impact the beauty that her genetics provided her, to enable her, for her own best interests, to gain a husband. The defense for repeatedly insulting her daughters weight at dinner is to help make her skinnier as the benefit of the child’s future is the good mother’s concern.
  • The narcissist’s fantasy is that he is a man who has slogged hard to earn an income, without the help of his own father. The ideology is that the children should become more independent, like him. The defense for neglecting children or being emotionally or physically abusive is to “toughen them up”.

It is vital to identify the fantasy, the ideology and the defense that the narcissist has created in order to become aware of how abuse is subsequently rationalized and ignored.

Step 3: Identify Your Role

If you are in an abusive relationship with a narcissist, the narcissist will manipulate you to become the “Queen” on the narcissist’s chess board.

Your role will be to shield the narcissist’s fantasy and ideology, at all costs, including the well being of yourself and your children.

Note that the Queen can be the most powerful piece on the chess board, when used effectively. Whilst the King can only move one piece at a time, the Queen can move several.

Yet, the Queen remains loyal to the King.

The Queen is an extremely useful ally for the Narcissistic King. The King will use you as his or her shield in his or her final method of avoiding any blame or responsibility for the abuse that he or she has inflicted upon others.

For example:

  1. The narcissistic father who has a fantasy that he has worked hard his whole life will blame the mother for spoiling the children, and that, to save the mother from abuse from the spoilt children, he was forced get angry and subsequently had to hit the children.
  2. The narcissistic mother who has a fantasy that she is a good mother will tell her children that it is their father’s fault for not being there for her that resulted in her becoming addicted to alcohol and it was the subsequent alcohol that caused her to be abusive.
  3. The narcissistic wife will blame her husband’s perceived lack of education, organisational skills and health issues as to why she was unaware of the various family events that she was neglectfully unable to attend.
  4. The narcissistic father will express to the child that it is the mother that is the liar, the manipulator, the abuser and the cause of all the pain and suffering that the child has been through.

In this way, armed with his or her ability to distort the truth and pretend events never happened, surrounded by perceived inferior others and morality shielded by a manipulated loyal Queen and the imposition of ideology, the King is free to play and live on a fairy tale chess cardboard, never having to accept responsibility for his or her actions.

Whilst it can be extremely painful, by attempting to understand the Narcissistic abuser’s mind we may become more aware of the skewed power dynamic and the role we play on the Narcissistic chess board.

Unawareness in a Narcissistic Personality Disorder Abusive Relationship


The Importance of Awareness

The problem with a lot of abusive relationships is that the “abused” becomes unaware that he or she is in an abusive relationship. They become completely unaware of the power dynamic within the relationship and how it is being used to control them.

Without awareness of the power dynamic, one can not change the power equilibrium for the better.

Where abuse is physical or sexual, awareness is more likely.

Emotional abuse, however, can be extremely difficult to detect. This is usually for two reasons:

  1. Emotional abuse works by affecting the abused’s self esteem. Once the self esteem is significantly affected, the abused begins to believe that he or she deserves the abuse, that it is their fault and doubts their own understanding of the power dynamic within the relationship.
  2. Emotional abuse can be masked by cultural ideology or the concept of romance within relationships.

I would like to point out two further important points with regards to emotional abuse.

  1. It is important to note, that Narcissistic Personality Disorder and abusive relationships are NOT gender specific. Men can be emotionally abusive, women can be emotionally abusive. There are emotionally abusive mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, girlfriends and boyfriends.
  2. A man or woman does not need a formal diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder/ Antisocial Personality Disorder or any other ICD-10/DSM diagnosis to be abusive.
  3. Mental disorder or a history of abuse does NOT under any circumstances legitimize further abuse.

Now that I’ve got the important print out of the way, let me focus, within this post, on the progression from the beginning of the relationship, where the “abused” is a person (some possible awareness), to the end, where the abused becomes the “other” (no awareness).

The “other” is some-one who has no thoughts, values or aspirations of their own. The “other” sees their life and their self image through the eyes of the abuser. As their minds have become enmeshed with their partner, they can not understand that they are abused. They are unaware.

Progression of An Abusive Relationship

At first, the abusive partner is seductive, charming, confident. He or she will seduce the other with money, sex or affection. A common term for this technique is described as “love bombing”. The victim-to-be will feel that he or she has met the person of her dreams, and this may literally be the case, for the abusive partner has recognised his or her fantasy and played it out accordingly. The relationship will happen fast and progress to commitment and later stages of the relationship quickly.

Once the “other” has become emotionally attached to the partner and has invested emotionally into the relationship, the abusive partner will begin to emotionally manipulate the “other”. He or she will use guilt and later fear as methods of manipulation.

The abuser will work on isolating the “other” from social support by devaluing and criticizing aspects of his or her family and friends or directly causing conflict with their relationships with others. The abuser will commence a campaign against the family, possibly stating inherited traits through genetic or environmental factors that are in place amongst the abused’s family.

The abusive partner will use methods such as the “silent treatment”, withholding affection and love for periods until the other learns to accept blame. One of the most dangerous methods is that of “gaslighting” a term used to describe relationships within which the abuser attempts to distort the truth, with the aim of making the other doubt his or her own memory or sanity, effectively rendering the other to believe that she or he is the defect and is the cause of the problems within the relationship.

“If only I can become better, everything will be OK.”

The other will begin to lose faith in his or her own ability, and, now isolated from his or her own social support network, will start to become more and more emotionally dependant on his or her partner. The abusive partner will incorporate waves of love and affection, followed by projected hatred and blame towards the other. The abusive partner will blame the other for this, further lowering the self esteem of the other.

Abusive relationships will make the abused feel that they are the abuser. The other, blaming himself or herself for the emotional pain within the relationship, will try to change him or herself to become better for the abuser. This will create the well known feeling of “walking on eggshells”. This system of conditional love will create a sense of conditional learning whereby behavior will be rewarded or punished in accordance with the abusers desires and wishes.

As time threads on, self esteem wears thin and blame and guilt is accepted by the other, the “other” begins to recognise his or her own sense of identity or self as unworthy, wrong, immoral and disgusting. He or she no longer trusts his or her own judgement or memory. His or her sense of enjoyment and happiness becomes fully associated with her partner.

The abused’s mind becomes synonymous with the mind of the abuser and his or her thoughts about the world becomes identical to that of the abuser. He or she disregards her own view, devaluing them just as the abuser has and leaning on the abuser to help her see the world as he or she sees it.

The other submits willingly to her abusive partner, believing unconsciously in the hope that he or she will make the abuser happy and they can then live happily ever after. He or she holds the abused as his or her savior from her previous ill mind, the voice of reason, the judger and the moral compass of righteousness. The other has left his or her previous identity and become a voiceless, unheard object, ready and willing to serve the glorified master within the relationship.

Who is the abuser?

  1. The abuser within these types of relationship may very well suffer from a personality disorder, an example of which may be narcissistic personality disorder.
  2. The abuser may have had an abusive past themselves, and underneath their false image may themselves have a low self esteem.
  3. They may need to be in a relationship within which they can control the other out of a hidden insecurity and fear that the other will leave them.
  4. They may be emotionally dependent on an object providing them with a constant amount of love and affection, but within this the object does not need to recognized as a person. In fact, recognizing the object as a person is dangerous to the abuser, for any criticism towards the abuser would then have to acknowledged. Instead, the abuser devalues and degrades the other, forming the other into an object who’s criticisms, opinions and emotions have no intrinsic value.
  5. The truly dangerous abuser will genuinely believe that the way that the abuser behaves towards the other is for the other’s own good, as a part of the other’s training to be better, to fix the inherited negative genetic traits and to eventually become like a person, for without him or her, the abuser sees the abused as less than an object, but rather, nothing.

Why does the abused defend the abuser’s actions?

One may wonder how or why the other remains in such a relationship and why he or she always defends the abusive partner when challenged. Why is it that he or she will defend the abuser towards any of his or her friends and family who express their concerns? This is likely due to the following:

  1. The abused believes unconsciously that it is her fault, just as a child often believes it is their fault when their parents argue. Due to the intense manipulation over the years, they blame themselves or their genetics or their own desires and wishes and will feel that by leaving the relationship, they will have failed their responsibilities and duties to their partner for their own perceived selfishness.
  2. It is likely that by this stage the abused will have sacrificed many years within the relationship and may also have children. It is extremely painful for the abused to acknowledge that they were never seen or loved as a person by their abuser, but only as an object. Denial for this reason is common.
  3. The abused has lost their own sense of identity, and they are now an extension of the abuser. Any attack on the abuser is felt as an attack on themselves.
  4. Having been manipulated to doubt their own judgement for many years, they will fear losing their abuser and facing the world on their own. They may also fear the abuser, for they have had a close insight to how he or she thinks towards others from the safety of his or her arms.

The effect of Abusive Relationships on Children

As time progresses within these relationships and as the abuser then begins to use the same manipulation tactics on the children, the abused may believe that that it is for their own good, for it is necessary due to the genetic faults that the abused has provided the child.

The child will grow up with an emotionally distant and neglectful father and a mother who will be deemed as having two sides to her personality- one when father is present and a more gentle, caring personality when father is not, or vice versa, depending on the gender of the abuser.

Only when the child becomes an adult will he or she realise the true nature of the parental relationship. Whilst he was younger, he may blame himself, or the “other”.

What About When The Adult Child Tries To Tell The “Other” The Truth?

The adult child after having realized the true nature of the abuser may then try to fix the relationship by challenging the other into also facing the true personality of the abuser. This will be difficult for the other to ignore, and, as much as he or she will devalue the adult child’s views as that of an irrational teenager, enough ammountable evidence against the abuser will lead the abused to a state of inner conflict, for it becomes more and more difficult to deny the objective reality.

Even at this stage, however, the abused will find it difficult to accept this and even if he or she were to agree on the nature of the abuser, he or she will deem it to be due to an underlying mental illness, which is of no fault of the abuser. “It is not his/her fault, that is just the way he/she is!”.

A Heavily Skewed Power Dynamic

This description indicates the extremes of abusive relationship, in which the power dynamic is skewed heavily to one side. My book “Whatever You Say Darling” explores power struggles and primarily provides advice for those relationships in which there is some power imbalance but not to the extent as is described above.

I must say at this point, that whilst my book may provide some education and insight into power dynamics, the advice within my book in terms of changing the power dynamic to a fairer equilibrium is primarily directed to those who have a polarized dynamic to a much smaller degree than depicted within this post.

Unfortunately, I believe that in extreme cases such as described here, the power dynamics are so deeply ridden within the relationship that restoration to a more fairer equilibrium is virtually impossible and fixing the relationship should not be the primary concern, but instead it should be the well being of the abused.

I would advise any-one reading this who feels that they are in an extreme power relationship to strongly consider leaving the relationship and seeking professional help and support. You deserve better.