illusion of the narcissist

Vanilla Sky – Unreality with the Narcissist

You’ve come to realize the Illusion of the Narcissist…

…that your relationship with the Narcissist was a reality warp.

No matter how many times you replay history in your mind, you can’t make sense of it or come to grips with what you now know was an illusion.

Hyperreality:  the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality; a condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins.   Individuals may find themselves for different reasons, more in tune or involved with the hyperreal world and less with the physical real world.

This hyperreal world is the one we live in with the Narcissist.  Nothing can be taken at face value.  We take on the Narcissist’s version of reality  – the illusion of the narcissist – and apply it as our own.  Like Tom Cruise’s character in Vanilla Sky, we exist in a continuous lucid dream state, hoping against all hope that the false reality is real, in spite of the frequent implications otherwise. 

Carrie Reimer, author of the blog Lady With a Truck, writes about this reality warp with keen insight in her article, Sick Narcissistic S.O.B.’s.  Although she’d begun to pick up on reality towards the end of her abusive relationship, her article demonstrates how easy it is to assume the Narcissist’s attempts at being nice are sincere; although his “being a gentleman” can point dangerously to the opposite.

Reality Warp:  Imagine yourself in the setting she describes, entering the home of the Narcissist where he has your favorite drink ready for you.  He’s dressed nicely and has cleaned his home.  He invites you to take a shower and you accept.  As you cross his bedroom towards the shower, you notice a robe on the bed.  You believe he laid it out for you.  You take your shower, exit and put on the robe, go back to the kitchen and take a sip from your drink.  The Narcissist is playing the guitar and you think you’re being romanced.

Reality:  All of the provisions you’ve just taken part in were actually meant for another lover.  She may have left moments before you arrived, or perhaps is expected to arrive soon.

To the Narcissist, all lovers are one in the same person, in spite of how unique they claim we are in the beginning of the relationship.  (It’s important to remember that you ARE unique, only that the Narcissist is unable to see you that way).


The irony of hyperreality with the Narcissist is that our version of reality seems so real to us because we love and we want to believe.  And, to our detriment, the Narcissist produces symbols which represent things that do not actually exist.  These inauthentic symbols often manifest in the form of:

Hoovering – Creating the false illusion that he/she is sorry for their cruelty. 

Reality – They don’t love you; they only need you for supply and domination.

Dangling Carrots – Taking you to look at cars and shopping for homes or engagement rings.

Reality – They have no intention of following through on these things.  It’s simply a trick to keep you hopeful and hooked.

Torn Between Two Lovers – During one of their Silent Treatments, you implemented No Contact, and they put on a show of having been forced into the arms of another lover. 

Reality – They’ve been grooming new supply for some time now and your attempt at No Contact was the perfect opportunity for them to begin triangulating.

Escape From Plato’s Cave

One of the earliest indications of the awareness of hyperreality can be found in Plato’s Republic, specifically, in the Allegory of the Cave.   Socrates describes a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall, and begin to ascribe meanings to these shadows.

According to Socrates, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality.

And thus is life with the Narcissist.  The whole relationship is based on shadows.  They are the lie, from hello to goodbye…

Just as Plato’s prisoner is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not constitutive of reality at all, Tom Cruise’s character decides to wake up and conquer his fears by leaping from a rooftop.

Your awakening needn’t be so dramatic.  All you need to do is go No Contact in order to stop living in shadows and illusions.

I wanna wake up! Tech support! It’s a nightmare! Tech support! Tech support!” ~ David, Cruise’s character in Vanilla Sky

Forget everything you know about life, and just open your eyes…

This is a revolution of the mind

When did the dream become a nightmare?

Open your eyes.


Download the free questionnaire below and find out how going No Contact could change your life!

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  1. venbaxter

    I opened this article in a new tab on the day that you posted it and I tried to read it. After Two paragraphs, I had to stop. My brain wasn’t comprehending it, wasn’t able to digest it.

    I was too deep in hyperreality myself, too busy tracing the seamless seam separating fact from fiction. Too much energy was tied up in holding the line, sticking to boundaries, not letting the seam melt back into seamlessness.

    In the parlance of Dianetics, I didn’t have enough “attention units” free to give to reading on the subject. But today, with the seam clearly visible, the line secure, the boundaries in place, and the “attention units” freed (and the toddler napping), I finally got to read it from start to finish.

    Brilliant article, Kim! Now I’ll go read the one that inspired it. And maybe watch Vanilla Sky again soon. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Breaking Up with a Narcissist | Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed

  3. Pingback: Narcissistic Supply, Bad Faith, and Insurance Against Loneliness | Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed

  4. TY Kim – as always, I humbly and wholly appreciate the thoroughness of your work and I do truly appreciate as best I can what recovery may require as I read here and blogs by many that I follow – that teach us about the haunting sufferings. This truly is a blessing for me in my mission.
    Peace, love and joy for you I pray;
    ~ Eric

  5. Pingback: Vanilla Sky – Unreality with the Narcissist | My Blog

  6. Maria

    Narcissists actually have the ability to fully believe the warped reality they are simulating (which is unimaginable to normal people). That’s why they come off as so damn genuine.. in their mind, at that very moment, they are..

  7. aveline07

    Yes yes yes yes yes…no contact is so important in order to see things with clarity and begin to separate, live one’s own life. I can see this as I look back at my own writing and healing process even in just a few short months…that shift that has happened, and continues to happen in spades. Thanks for continuing to push the ‘no contact’ Kim with your readers, it is so important. No amount of therapy or other self-care is as important as the ‘no contact’.

  8. Reblogged this on thephoenixagain and commented:
    I remember when I realized it was all a lie. The whole relationshit from start to finish was one big act on his part. It was the only thing that finally made sense in all the craziness. So glad to be out of that living nightmare.

  9. Nikita

    It’s amazing how seamlessly the narcs blend reality and their pretend self. It’s what keeps us running in circles, trying to figure out what’s going on. They are calculating and very aware of what they do – unlike us, their victims!!

    1. Kim Saeed

      Indeed, Nikita! Thank goodness I found my way out of the cave <3

  10. lyn

    Ahh, yes, the dangling carrots! Cant even count how many houses we looked at! (although it involved me and my daughter moving an hour away from her Dad, school and grandparents and my job). Funny though, because he never once kept followed thorough on any action for either me or himself!

  11. Carrie Reimer

    Thank you for the plug Kim 🙂 Your article complimented and clarified mine perfectly.

    1. Kim Saeed

      🙂 And thank you! Your article gave me some food for thought as I’ve been tossing this article around for several days <3

  12. Tothineownselfbetrue

    This website is the best – I love the articles and it helps me every time I start to doubt myself!!! Thank you!!

    1. Kim Saeed

      Thank you for sharing that! It means I’m helping 🙂

      1. Anonymous

        Thank you so much for education on this epidemic. So grateful for your passion. The articles have kept me from having any regrets or second guessing myself.

        1. Kim Saeed

          Anon, thank you for letting me know that my articles have helped you. I sincerely hope I can continue to write healing and motivational articles that will change peoples’ lives <3

    2. Princess

      I feel the same way too. I started to doubt myself after almost 18 months of NC. Then I opened FB and saw this article. It quickly put me back on the right path. Thanks Kim.

      1. Kim Saeed

        Thank you, Princess. I’m so glad to know my article helped you stay the course <3

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