Tyler Perry can take credit for his telling depiction of a narcissist in his movie, “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor”. Spoiler Alert!! What I say will give the plot away, so if you plan to watch stop reading now. It is a good movie, so you might want to watch it first. In it, a young woman, Judith, who has loved the same man, Brice, for most of her life is pursued by a narcissist, Harley. All of the elements that you would expect are present.
Harley is successful, charming and arrogant enough to run with his shirt off. He is offering the world. You get the picture. He decides that his next target is another man’s wife, Judith. Harley explains to Judith how his last relationship ended by saying, ” I had no idea that she was unhappy.” This, as I’ve said before, is a ploy to gain pity. This poor guy was in love and his girlfriend left him with no warning. Boo Hoo.
In another part of the movie, we meet his ex-wife. She has had to quit jobs and relocate several times because he is so violent and he won’t leave her alone. This is in stark contrast to his story about his past relationship. His ex-wife is terrorised by her past relationship to the point that she has to check her apartment while carrying a baseball bat before she is able to relax.
We see Harley being solicitous, promising Judith the world; introducing her to exotic experiences and expensive indulgences. He seduces her on his private plane and the tables turn. The games begin. He starts to ignore her when he sees her. This suddenly puts her in the new position of being the one doing the pursuing. As he increasingly tries to control her, his violent tendencies begin to show. He makes statements like, “Who’s side are you on?” after he knocks her mother to the floor. This is all very typical. Not all narcissists are this violent as a means of control, but many are.
I won’t ruin the ending, but I do recommend this movie as an example of why so many of us were fooled by narcissists and why we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves.