“The mind in conflict with itself is dangerous to itself, and of course, by extension, to everyone else in all dimensions. Therefore, indeed, beloved friends, beware of those that come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Beware of the viciousness of the ego within your own mind.” (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Lesson 22, Page 266)
Ah, those sheep. They are so handsome, so sexy, or even when they are not, there is something about their character that draws you in like Little Red Riding Hood thinking it is Grandma. In psychotherapy, we talk about countertransference and transference issues. This is when a characteristic of the other person, makes us think of someone else and we transfer those thoughts onto that person. For example, Little Red Riding Hood is so focused on her ego telling her “This is Grandma’s house, so the person answering the door MUST be Grandma.” Her gut feelings told her that she had “Big Eyes,” today and “Big Ears,” and “Big Hands,” but little red’s ego kept insuring her, in compliance with the wolf, that he was in fact her Grandma.
I was reminded by one of the bloggers I follow “Miracles Each Day” by Celia Hales about the quote above, which also comes from the Bible:
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.Matthew 7:15 (NIV)
As soon as I saw this quote, I immediately thought of the covert narcissist and their need to be a martyr. The poor lost sheep/soul. They sound like someone who is being taken advantage of. They tell you their woe’s which are subtle ways of manipulating you. Their stance may be “all women are out to get me,” or what ever other story they go with, is designed to pull you in emotionally. And just like little red, your ego is saying “It must be Grandma.” Or, in an adult version, those women really must have been bad people. I am not bad, I would never hurt this guy, who I love and feel an affection for. He looks like a good guy, he sounds like a good guy, he must be a good guy. But, he is not. Soon, six months to a year, the gig is up and the wolf will reveal his true colors. Only, by this time, he may have conned you into marrying him, may have moved into YOUR home, or oops, I didn’t use birth control and what a surprise, I am pregnant.
The viciousness of our our ego within our mind, as it states above, is that we go into a romantic delusion as little red did because she wanted so much for the wolf to be grandma and we want so much for him to finally be “the right guy.” We are tired of meeting the wrong guy and so we focus on convincing ourselves, too quickly, that he must be right. The covert narcissist works tirelessly for those six months to a year, to manipulate us with sex talk, manners, gifts, wining and dining, getting to know your family, and all the while, he is inserting himself (the real self) very delicately and stealthily along the way. It is those moments where you shake your head and say “Wait a minute, that didn’t sound/look/feel right,” but you let it go.
Read my last blog post completely (or watch the video), to be clear how you can be sure you are in a Healthy Relationship, vs. a narcissist. The signs you seek are Empathy, Respect for you and your Boundaries (and others), Self-Awareness (and this doesn’t mean they go to church or read the Bible – it could mean but this isn’t fool proof), Holding themselves Accountable for past actions. Look for all these things to make sure you are not dating a narcissist.
Remember Overt vs. Covert: Overt is obvious, ostentatious, the opposite of the signs in this last paragraph. Covert is the stealth lover. The shy introvert. The “poor me” guy that you seek to protect. Both are narcissists, but in this blog post, I am focusing on the covert, the one who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The overt, is not so hidden, though we go into a romantic delusion about them nonetheless. And, focus on my last blog post to learn more about the signs for either overt or covert.
Patience is a virtue. Experienced women and your elders understand this for a reason. They have been there. They know a wolf when they see one.
Little Red’s gut warns her one last final time when she says “Oh, but grandmother, what big teeth you have” and the wolf cries “The better to eat you with my dear,” and in one fell swoop, he does. Trust your intuition, pheromones are not intuition, they are feelings/energy. Our ego often misleads us through our pheromones, which lead us into the romantic delusion of lust not love. A sheep in a wolf’s clothing. Don’t get eaten by the wolf.
*The photo credits go to christiancounseling.com which I am not affiliated with. I just liked the photo.