I went to see the new Disney movie, Oz the Great and Powerful, as soon as it came out. I wanted to see it for all the reasons that the millions of people – who paid over $80 million the opening weekend – wanted to see it. But I wanted to see it for personal reasons as well. I wrote a book on the Wizard of Oz (entitled Follow the Yellow Brick Road: How to Change for the Better When Life Gives You Its Worst) and I wanted to see how the Wizard that I wrote about compared to Wizard in the movie … and I did (See Article entitled, Oz the Great and Powerful Relationship Wrecker). What surprised me, however, was how well the movie portrayed the narcissist. Having taught graduate courses on narcissism and worked as a marriage therapist for over 30 years, I knew the hazards of dating (and especially marrying) a narcissist!
Although narcissists deep down inside already know that they are a fraud and a con artist, their mission is to fool everyone else into believing that that are Great and Powerful–beyond repute and always right. (They even fool themselves.) This was not-so-subtly portrayed throughout the entire movie. When we first meet Oz (played by James Franco), he is fulfilling his role as a magician and con artist. He not only performs his “magic” on the stage but also off-stage trying to seduce a young assistant, charming her with a music box. Narcissists are almost always trying to charm someone. He is slippery in all his ways, avoiding the challenge to truly heal a young girl. And when avoiding the Muscle Man who had it in for him, he escapes in a balloon –as narcissist often do when confronted– only to get transported in the truly magical Land of Oz. It is here that he pulls out all his tricks of deception to foster the people’s coronation of him as the Great and Powerful Wizard. Mission Accomplished! There is nothing more important to a narcissist than to be coroneted –with all the gold in the Kingdom that comes with it. For much of the rest of the movie he uses his trickery to not be discovered for who he really is, an ordinary imperfect human being.
“So what is the problem with dating or even marrying a narcissist … no one is perfect after all?” If you have to ask this question then consider yourself fortunate. It means that you never dated a narcissistic. If you did you would know. At all costs, the narcissist has to protect the secret that they are just a human being with faults and vulnerabilities. Because of this, they are experts at deception and slight of hand. For example, when you confront a narcissistic with an issue that concerns you in the relationship, it will only be minutes–seconds–before they turn the issue back on to you. All of a sudden you are defending yourself instead. Narcissists do not take criticism well; in fact they do not take criticism at all. And if a couple cannot have a candid discussion about offenses endured or what they need, they cannot have a real and growing relationships.