Profile of a Narcissist from the novel:’The Life Coach Less Travelled’

“I think I can remember a time when I was happy, before my sister was born. My clearest memory of her is when I was five, going on six.

My saliva was dribbling onto the skin which tickled my lip gently, just at the moment I breathed in fiercely, then sandwiched a chunk of forearm flesh between my teeth, gripping hard, counting one, two, three. I howled protractedly before deciding to lie down and writhe on the rug, rewarded by the sound of the legs of kitchen chairs scraping the parquet and startled, questioning voices already approaching. Lucia, who had been chattering incoherently, insouciantly and clumsily building bright colourful towers and knocking them down to build higher or more interesting ones, jumped at the noise. Instantly she amplified it with her own shocked and frightened wailing, her huge, brown eyes like rain-washed, precious stones.”

The first chapter is the only time the reader hears the voice of Susanna Litigio, the villainess, as she sets out as a young girl on her dark trajectory. She cannot be trusted to tell her own story in an authentic voice, so the narrative unfolds through the eyes of those she impacts.

Like all narcissists she has grandiose ideas about herself and her abilities, enjoys power and craves adulation. She feels entitled and resentful of those who have what she wants, exploits others for her own purposes, and while she is careful to cultivate a caring image, underneath there is a deficit of true empathy and a dangerously fragile self-esteem.

In short, Su Litigio is a narcissistic schemer, set on sabotaging the happiness of those close to her. She is a bitch. But then, isn’t Karma one too?