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Registered: 10-2008
Posts: 2215
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The Mask: Little Red Riding Hood


Illustration by Paul Woofroffe

The Masked Man

By Lynn S.

Who was that masked man who offered relief?
I thought him a hero. He turned out a thief.
I gave him my heart. He took so much more.
He offered me hope, and then closed the door.

He made the right moves. He said the right things.
He said I could fly, and then clipped my wings.
I gave him my trust, and thought he was true.
The mask that he wore, I couldn't see through.

One night the mask slipped. I feared what I saw.
The evil beneath was naked and raw.
His eyes became black, his countenance cold,
Consumed by a rage, unyielding and old.

His cape covered secrets, he turned from the light.
His words became weapons, his arrows of might.
I changed in that moment. I just could not see
How I'd been so blind. Was it after all, me?

Had I been so wrong? Had nothing been real?
But I couldn't have known that he couldn't feel.
Who was that masked man who played on my need?
A liar, a robber, he's Lucifer's seed.

© 2003


I wrote this poem as a bit of a venting exercise in the throes of discussing on the MSN NPD board whether or not narcissists are indeed 'evil'. That discussion is a common one on survivor's boards. Of all the poems I have written, I think this one might be the one most often referenced and revisited by readers. I can only conclude that targets usually feel a connection to the sense of betrayal and bewilderment at the mask slipping that the poem conveys. That sense of betrayal is a devastating one.

You may note that I wrote a line in the poem which implies that narcissists don't feel. When someone completely ignores another due to lack of empathy it indeed seems that way. However, it's likely not true. I'm sure they do feel emotions like anger and fear at the very least. Beyond that, I suppose none of us will ever know how it feels to live inside the emotional world of a narcissist. I do think that they don't seem to feel in the same way a non-disordered person would. Targets being unable to understand their emotional landscape, while troubling and confusing, is truly a blessing.

Whether you see the Narcissist as wearing 'a mask', a Jekyll and Hyde, or a 'wolf in sheep's clothing', the moral of the story from Red Riding Hood as originally written by Charles Perrault still holds true:


"Children, especially attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a wolf. I say "wolf," but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves who are the most dangerous ones of all."--Charles Perrault

"The best way out is always through."--Robert Frost
Oct/26/2008, 7:24 pm Link to this post  

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