This describes very, very closely the pattern I experienced, too. My main character fault has been an overly reverential attitude to authority figures — which is understandable, I think, if you know that I come from a nation of heros. The strange thing is that the narcissists would not simply let me be that way, going around and overestimating everyone and everything. They were so hungry for a take-down that they would not simply let themselves be blindly revered, according to my existing propensities. I kept being attacked on precisely the points where my reverence was the highest. First, in relation to authority figures in the workplace (They attacked me, thus revealing their lack of worthiness for respect. They attacked demanding servility rather than respect.) Then it was my notion of male heroism, then it was the patriarchal structure, then it was academics. All of these people representing these ideals began revealing their insecurity by demanding servility from me, rather than my natural respect. By attacking me, they taught me everything I needed to know about them, and I stopped being so narrowly respectful and formulated my own ideals.