A revolving door is designed for a specific purpose, to increase and ease the flow of people. The term “revolving door” also refers to a type of situation in which the same events or problems recur in a continuous cycle. Additionally, a “revolving door” can also mean a place or organization that people tend to enter and leave very quickly. Lastly, Wikipedia states that this type of door allows people to pass both in and out at the same time with no possibility of bumping into one another. I think that a revolving door is an excellent depiction of a narcissistically disordered person’s life. Even more elaborate than one revolving door, is the reality that narcissists have many revolving doors in which people come and go, at the same time, without ever knowing about or seeing the others. I did have my own revolving door with a narcissist, so I have at least an idea how it might work.
The Narcissist’s revolving door is slightly different than the type described above because the narcissist’s revolving doors are only reserved for him/her to use. The Narc is the only one that comes and goes quickly without being seen by the others. Her family, intimate partners, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances, all have their own door. What goes on behind each revolving door is only known by the Narcissist. She needs to slither in and out with ease and leaves no finger prints on the glass. She just keeps walking in and out of all the doors to get narcissistic supply. In one door she gets a compliment for what she is wearing. The second door are a bunch of girlfriends waiting to go to dinner to a fancy restaurant so she can parade her designer clothes and expensive purse. The third door is her occasional birthday lunch partner who also happens to be the PTO President and an ex-beauty queen. The fourth door is her husband, he provides her with a large home, nice car and a lavish lifestyle. The fifth door is the current target who is still in the love-bombing stage. Behind this door is where the Narcissist gives a compliment to the future side-kick. The sixth door are her children. They sit in a room filled with FOG (fear, obligation and guilt). The seventh door are her dogs who give her unconditional love. The eighth door is her exercise partner. The ninth door is her current victim. When the Narc comes through this door, she tells the victim that her hair is not combed properly and that her shoes don’t go with her outfit. In the tenth door are a group of the current victim’s and the Narc’s mutual friends. Behind this door a smear campaign is taking place. All of these doors are spinning constantly, as she feeds herself with narcissistic treats.
All of the people behind the various doors get a different version of the Narcissist though. The ones that compliment her on her clothing, see a fashionista. Someone hip on the latest designer trends. The people in the fancy restaurant see a confident, possibly striking individual who must be somebody well-known in the community. The PTO mom, ex-beauty queen sees her as wonderful mother and sacrificial volunteer. Her husband sees a woman who is talented in some areas, appears to care for her children, and has no idea what is said behind his back. The current target in door number five can’t wait to see the narcissist. They hug hello, go over the days events, make plans for future vacations, outings, and talk about how the previous friend is crazy and jealous. They even Face-time later because they just have so much to talk about. They tag each other on Facebook, like each others posts and have a non-stop, uninterrupted Snap Chat streak. In the sixth door , her children are waiting to be taken somewhere, but are sitting there feeling guilty that their mom has to take time out of her busy day to tend to their needs. Her dogs greet her at door #7, barking and wagging their tails. The narc hugs, kisses and feeds her dogs. Her exercise partner sees her as someone who watches what she eats, loves to workout and sweat, and has specific fitness goals. Door #9 is where the current victim sits still in the devaluation stage of the relationship. The target loves the narcissist and has loved her for many years. The target is curled up on the chair feeling anxious about the Narcissist’s return. The target makes sure that her hair is combed and sprayed. The target is unsure about the outfit she is wearing after ruminating for an hour on what to wear, so that the narc will not be displeased or embarrassed. The target must reflect back to the Narc and image of perfection. Keep in mind, that once the target gets discarded or leaves the narcissist, someone else will quickly get assigned to that door. The Narcissist will be manipulating and tending to these people every single day, his or her entire life.
Now we all know that revolving doors are transparent and that is so people can see each other, right? Well, none of the Narcissist’s revolving doors are transparent. Any transparency has been obstructed by both smoke and mirrors constructed by the Narc. For example, the exercise partner hears nothing of her lunch or dinners at fancy restaurants or that she smokes when with the quarterly dinner crowd. Her current victim, who she has been “best friends” with for years, has never even heard the name of the current target, and later finds out that they have been hanging out on a regular basis, for over a year, which totally explains her devaluation and eventual discard as soon as new supply was in place. The people going to the fancy restaurant have no idea that the “friend for years” (victim) is all curled up in a chair from emotional abuse by the Narc. Behind each of these doors, the Narc wears a different mask and facilitates a new persona. The people behind the doors can never be all together because the Narc can only wear one mask at a time. The people behind the doors must not compare notes.
From personal experience, I have witnessed the phenomenon of a new mask and persona. The Narc I knew for almost nine years became un-recognizable. I had to do a double take when I saw her and did think I was going crazy. “Was I this messed up that I am now imagining things?” Absolutely not! The Narc I knew changed her hair and style of clothing. I did a double take when I saw her walking just like her new “best friend” (at one point, I saw them together frequently). I kept shaking my head in disbelief. My assessment was validated when shockingly, my daughter noticed it too. The Narc’s daughter herself later confirmed it in a casual conversation (our daughters are best friends). What happened to my friend? The person I knew no longer existed.
So, in order to prevent being behind a revolving door, demand transparency in all intimate relationships. If there is no transparency between friends, partners, and/or co-workers, then someone is hiding something. Synonyms for transparent are obvious, evident, undisguised, clear, unambiguous, and apparent. Transparency leads to trust, which is the foundation of any relationship.
Image Credits: Valerie Everett via Foter.com.