This is an excerpt from an article by David Brooks of the New York Times, a link is provided below.
Let us enter, you and I, into the moral universe of the modern narcissist.
The narcissistic person is marked by a grandiose self-image, a constant need for admiration, and a general lack of empathy for others. He is the keeper of a sacred flame, which is the flame he holds to celebrate himself.
His self-love is his most precious possession. It is the holy center of all that is sacred and right. He is hypersensitive about anybody who might splatter or disregard his greatness. If someone treats him slightingly, he perceives that as a deliberate and heinous attack. If someone threatens his reputation, he regards this as an act of blasphemy. He feels justified in punishing the attacker for this moral outrage.
And because he plays by different rules, and because so much is at stake, he can be uninhibited in response. Everyone gets angry when they feel their self-worth is threatened, but for the narcissist, revenge is a holy cause and a moral obligation, demanding overwhelming force.
If you have been used or abused by someone who shows no empathy or remorse, you have seen a modern narcissist close up. And if you dared stand up to him, or worse yet, expose him, without a doubt you experienced another classic personality trait - his quest for revenge.
First the person that has convinced you to believe in and trust him, betrays you and every moment, experience, and word he uttered, for years. He sabotages, manipulates, and psychologically and emotionally abuses you - and then, after your life and your reality have been destroyed, he continues his abuse and attacks and demeans you. It is the only way that a narcissist can live with himself and continue his life of deception.
Over time I watched my abuser blame, demean, sabotage and retaliate against people he believed had wronged or slighted him in any way, or that he was jealous of, which included just about everyone at one time or other. It was all completely fabricated in his mind and just his feeling inferior and jealous - of someone else's job, money, success, wife or happiness. He was especially critical of anyone who had children his son's age.
He was a covert abuser and his methods were stealthy and insidious. He took great joy in finding new ways to taunt and frustrate co workers and even members of his own family, and even admitted it was done for pure entertainment.
But when it came to work or someone he thought had failed to promote, reward or recognize his superior abilities, he went on a vendetta. He accused who ever it was as hating him and being out to get him. He declared them incompetent and unfair. Fairness was a big one for him, everyone and everything was unfair.
So what did he do? He found ways to undermine and slight them when ever he could. He very methodically called anyone who might be in contact with or know that person. He dug for any dirt or negative information he could use to bolster his position and he withheld and or manipulated facts. And when I say called, I mean he called. He got on the phone and went down the list of contacts, day after day, instigating what ever he could.
It took a while before I saw these things, the more time we spent together the more disturbing it became. I called him out on this behavior, at first very gently and lovingly as he convinced me he wanted to change and be a different kind of man. But it was all just more of the mania that was his life and there was no changing. And then of course it all unraveled when I saw who he really was and he methodically and maliciously turned on me.