Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde – The Two Faces of Narcissism
The narcissist has the unique ability to introduce two completely different characters to different segments of people with whom he interacts and get away with this “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydean” pattern of behavior.
When he’s in his Dr. Jekyll mode, he’s charming, seemingly thoughtful, and downright charismatic. This mode is introduced to the general public and the people you are courting, whether the courtship is personal and even sexual or purely business or even political. A “good” narcissist can often be successful as a professional actor and, in fact, performs effectively on the “life stage.”
The Mr. Hyde mode emerges when the narcissist finds himself in what he perceives as a safe haven where he can get away with outrageous and abusive behavior. Safe havens include the privacy of your home and your own business environment, where you have real or perceived power to control other people without fear of exposure.
Another form of the two faces of narcissism is in the financial arena. Narcissistic businessmen often get away with simultaneously “hardening” many creditors while actually collecting money from others. This is done through the ingenious structuring of separate legal entities that can range from local limited liability companies to offshore companies. At any given time, there is a favorite offshore exotic “location of the day”, be it the Cayman Islands or, more recently, the Isle of Man.
Whether in personal or professional life, it is important for victims of these two-faced narcissists to recognize these behavior patterns to better protect themselves.