Narcissism explained in a fairy tale: ‘The throne, the queen and the polishers’
Once upon a time, there was a girl who thought she was the one who deserved the best. Always. She also decided to make it her life purpose to get the best, even if it was at the expense of others.
The little girl grew up and developed the skill of obtaining the best, thinking she was the best: the prettiest in her family, clever at school and the teacher’s pet. She turned into a very powerful adult, very skilful at disguising her real nature. She presented herself as beautiful, loving, caring and fun. In reality, she was nasty, selfish, cold and manipulative.
She was like a powerful, iron-fisted queen.
A queen should sit on a throne, and she designed a beautiful throne for herself. It was gold and shiny and placed on a stepped square platform. From her high position, she could control anyone and everything that went on beneath her.
Then she met her prince. He couldn’t become a king, as this would mean he’d sit at her level and he might overshadow her, which would be unacceptable. The prince she chose was a soft-hearted, kind man. He was quite insecure, didn’t have a lot of experience with women and thought the queen was the bee’s knees. Just what she loved.
The Prince adored her and couldn’t see or find fault.
Life was good for the queen and prince, as they both had everything. She felt admired and put on a pedestal (where she was convinced, she belonged) and he couldn’t believe that someone like her had fallen in love with someone like him. The couple soon became a family when baby number one arrived. A little prince. Two little princesses followed, and the family was then complete.
The queen was comfortable, she felt in control and knew her position was grand. Her throne was in a steady position and her prince and babies formed a team of four who continuously polished her beautiful throne. As each of them was responsible for one side of the square platform, they were not able to really see each other and communicate. Everything was overseen and controlled by the queen. If someone didn’t perform up to her standards, she let them know. Her sharp voice, harsh words and punishments were painful and all four of the polishers tried to avoid upsetting her.
Sometimes they felt like rebelling, but as they couldn’t reach the other members of the team, it felt too dangerous to do it by themselves.
The queen had no idea what was going on in the heads and hearts of the team members and she really didn’t care. As long as she was on a shiny throne, she was happy.
The husband prince loved polishing and admired the queen so much that he started to copy her behaviour. He became her biggest ally on the lower level and supported her requirements towards the children. When she overlooked something, he would address it.
It was as if all of them were cursed by the queen. They were under her spell and there was no way out. The best survival mechanism seemed to be to accommodate her.
They didn’t even allow the thought of running away and leaving. They just kept their heads down.
After a few years, the older princess started to protest. It didn’t feel good to surrender to fate and she started to stand up to the queen. To no avail. When she spoke up, she was not listened to but put down.
‘What a ridiculous remark and how dare you to speak like that.’
Punishment would follow: the silent dismissive treatment from the queen and the sad disappointment of the big prince. The princess felt awful and her confidence crumbled.
She didn’t give up. She tried to discuss her feelings, she wanted so desperately to connect with both the prince and the queen. But whatever she tried, it seemed that she couldn’t reach either; they didn’t understand and told her she was hysterical and mad.
After a few years of trying, the princess closed down inside.
She stopped thinking as there was no point, and she stopped feeling as it was too painful, filling the void that this created with food. She developed a serious eating disorder that kept her mind away from the painful experiences under the throne.
When she got older, the princess left the throne and moved somewhere else. But emotionally, she was still very much connected to it and continued to hope to connect to the queen. When she wasn’t successful, she started to talk to professionals, had therapy, read books and put in endless effort to create a connection.
Finally, after 40 years of trying, at the age of 58, she called it a day.
She surrendered and gave up hope. There would never be a loving and healthy relationship with the queen. The princess stepped away from the throne. Never to return. It was a painful process but at last, she was free. She had the mental space to become herself and surround herself with positive people and experiences. At last, she could live an authentic life and be of service to others, instead of servicing the queen.
The courageous princess didn’t keep her experiences to herself and started to share them with other people. She discovered that there were so many other queens and kings who demanded polishing from their family and friends. She had discovered how to break the spell, and she now helped others to break free in less time than it took her. The princess lived a fulfilling life, happy ever after.
In conclusion, the queen stayed on her throne. She became the only ‘occupant’ as the little prince, the youngest princess and her husband prince had all passed away within a few years of each other. With no one around to do the polishing, the throne became dull, unimpressive and started to crumble.
Narcissism explained: Chapter in From Victim to Victor
I wrote a book about narcissism from the perspective of the victim. It offers a lot of information, but specifically, the checklist with 50 traits of a narcissist helps the reader to identify the narcissists in their lives. And how to deal with them. The book shot into a bestseller within two weeks with over 1500 copies sold and downloaded.
The queen is my mother. A woman cursed with a cold heart and a narcissistic personality. Only a few years ago, I discovered more about narcissism. It helped me to understand what was going on, to manage my hopes and expectations, and I was able to fully process the intense hurt and pain that she caused me.
Narcissists are toxic. They have the skill to make other people feel inferior – being in the lower position of the throne, they are clever and make others work for them – the constant polishing. They are manipulative and embrace the ‘divide and rule’ philosophy – hence the separate position of all polishers. There is no chance of ganging up or direct communication.
This story has a happy ending and everything I experienced and learned on the way is shared in my book ‘From Victim to Victor’. I hope you can recognise your queen or king and are able to break free.
Sooner rather than later.
Mariette is a life coach in Surrey, offering online and face to face coaching. Book a FREE coaching session to find out more about your narcissist.