In Greek mythology, Narcissus is the son of a god and a nymph who was renowned for his beauty, and who had disdain for any who loved him. Nemesis (yep, real name of the Greek spirit of retribution against those who succumb to arrogance before the gods) attracted him to a reflecting pool where he fell in love with his reflection and drowned. Narcissism is named for this character, and like any disorder it falls along a spectrum. Maybe you’re full of yourself, but when does it cross into being a disorder? When you begin to hurt those around you to satisfy your own ego, it crosses into narcissistic personality disorder.
If you have malignant narcissistic personality disorder, you are manipulative, self-centered, and demanding. You may become aggressive when called on your bad behavior, twisting the words of the spouse, friend, or child so everything sounds like it’s that other person’s fault when in fact it’s yours. You could become vindictive and play passive-aggressive “tit-for-tat” games totally out of proportion of any perceived slight. You might become jealous, accusing your spouse or lover of cheating where no real evidence exists. You could end up pursuing your own goals at the expense of your spouse and children, and you’ll constantly rewrite history to make people around you question themselves! https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder
Narcissists can initially be charming – you’ll morph yourself into whatever you think the other person wants. But real emotions will frighten you. You can only pretend to have real emotions long enough to achieve your goal, but once attained the mask comes off. Your true cruelty and lack of empathy will come through. You’ll love projecting your own faults on to those around you – including spouse and children – sabotaging them so that no one’s more successful than you. The disorder is closely related to psychopathy, with irrational and magic thinking, and the need to degrade and harm the very people who love you! https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201110/i-deserve-the-best-entitlement-in-narcissists
If you have malignant narcissistic personality disorder, you’ll look for one of two types of relationships: someone with borderline personality disorder (which ensures a drama filled nightmare of a relationship where both of you compete to be the victim) or a basic, nice person – someone you can easily manipulate. If they’re also a little insecure, so much the better! Your spouse or loved one will ask for marital counseling and you will refuse to go. That is, until the spouse or loved one starts to leave! Then you will go until the counselor starts calling out your responsibility for problems in the relationship. At that point, you will storm out of therapy, or insist that it isn’t working and refuse to do the homework. You will convince your partner to also stop therapy because “it’s not working!” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201110/pay-attention-me-when-is-it-borderline-disorder
If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you’ll be verbally (and maybe physically) abusive. You will seek to isolate your victim from their family and friends. You will accuse them of disloyalty to you and set up “me or them” scenarios. You will humiliate them in public at every opportunity and make everything wrong in your life somehow their fault. You will devalue them, belittle them and undermine them, twisting everything you’ve done to appear they somehow deserved it. Then you will suddenly be nice right when they’ve had enough and are on their way out the door. Your abused friends and family need to trust your actions, not your words! https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201110/feelings-emptiness-not-just-borderline-trait-anymore
They’ve recognized they are in a massively unhealthy relationship. Your loved ones have tried to get out several times. The malignant narcissist in you cries and promises to stop treating them badly and you do … for a time. They feel depleted emotionally and are questioning their own sanity and sense of self. You persist in trying to make them insecure in an effort to keep them afraid to leave. What do they do? How can they extract themselves from this toxic person you’ve become without feeling the sting of guilt you throw at them every time they try to leave? https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201110/what-borderlines-and-narcissists-fear-most-part Wait, let’s flip the script here.
This story has been about your spouse, partner, parent, or friend – not you! You’re the one being abused, not the abuser. What can you do? Recommended reading to start your journey away from the abusive person is Rokelle Lerner’s “The Object of My Affection is My Reflection: Coping with a Narcissist”. Recommended listening is Richard Grannon’s SpartanLifeCoach.com YouTube videos discussing how to get out of a toxic narcissistic relationship! https://www.youtube.com/user/SPARTANLIFECOACH
This Saturday, we traverse space and time (like that New Horizons spacecraft that flew past Pluto) and bring The Spartan Life Coach, Richard Grannon, into our studio all the way from England! Join us, because we want to hear your thoughts on dealing with an abusive narcissistic relationship!