Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
[compilation by Liane Sebastian from many sources, 2012]
CHARACTERISTICS OF A NARCISSIST—and how to spot one.
• Self-absorbed—acts like everything is about him. He is selfish, egotistical, deceptive, and think the world turns on its axis for him alone. He is the center of his own universe.
Entitled—makes the rules and breaks the rules. He feels entitled to whatever he can take. He expects privileges and indulgences, and feels entitled to exploit others without any reciprocation. Entitled to favorable treatment and unquestioning compliance with his hopes and expectations, others are supposed to acquiesce to his wishes. Other people exist only to make him feel important.
• Demeaning—puts you down, is a bully; critical versus compassionate; you are never quite good enough. You become the victim of character assassination, betrayals, lies and manipulations. He will often make you feel like nothing you ever do is right. He makes you feel defensive because you never know when you’re going to be attacked. He often picks out the sensitive person to blame and criticize. He is often highly regarded within society and others don’t see why you have problems getting along with him.
• Demanding—of whatever he wants. He takes advantage of other people to achieve his own ends. He may come across as haughty, arrogant, and contemptuous of others, and may be envious of what others have or believe that other people must be envious of him. People are things to be used.
• Distrustful—suspicious of your motives
Perfectionist—rigidly high standards. Puts on a conspicuous display of goodness and kindness.
• Snobbish—believes he is superior to you and others; gets bored easily
• Approval-seeking—craves constant praise and recognition; he has to be center of attention and admired. He craves compliments, deference, and expressions of envy all the time, and to be told that everything he does is better than what others can do. Sincerity is not a huge issue for him, all that matters is the sheer amount of butt-kissing. He has a hostile reaction to attention and credit given others.
• Unempathetic—he is uninterested in understanding your inner experience or unable to do so. He shows little or no empathy or concern for the problems, difficulties, or the interests, of other people. Lacking empathy is a profound disturbance to the narcissist’s thinking (cognitive deficiency) and feeling (affectivity). He can pay attention only to stuff that has him in it or that affects him personally. However, since he doesn’t know what other people are doing, the narcissist can’t judge what will affect him personally and seem never to learn that when he causes trouble he will get trouble back. He won’t take other people’s feelings into consideration and so he overlooks the fact that other people will react with feeling when abused or exploited. Probably the biggest symptom of NPD is the lack of concern for anyone else…their feelings…even their health and safety. Your love is a tool he will use to drain you of your life and happiness.
• Unremorseful—he is unable to offer a genuine apology. He is never wrong, blames others, and is never at fault. There is no point in telling a narcissist how to help himself because he believes he doesn’t need help.
• Compulsive—he gets overly consumed with details and minutiae, using to deflect attention.
Addictive—he can’t let go of bad habits and uses to self-soothe
• Controlling–his way or no way; he does not compromise. He is a control freak, trampling privacy and boundaries.
• Know it all—His delusions of grandeur make him believe he is always right and you’re the one who is wrong. He is too good to have to improve. Normal people, no matter how difficult, you can get some improvements, at least temporarily, by saying, essentially, “Please have a heart.” This doesn’t work with a narcissist; in fact, it usually makes things worse.
• Manipulative—he pins people against each other; divisive; tells what others think of you and gossips to his own benefit. He damages the images of others.
• Lack of planning—so that others have to adjust to their last-minute needs.
• Superior. Conceited. He embraces an exaggerated sense of self-importance. He overrates the significance of his achievements and talents. And he expects to receive accolades for what he believes are outstanding personal attributes and accomplishments. NPD is not considered a true personality disorder because the pain suffered is not debilitating. In fact, the nature of the disorder often causes the narcissist to outperform others to show his superiority. Many are in leadership, performing arts, and political positions because of the need to have the spotlight.
• Exhibits pervasive grandiosity — sometimes through behavior, sometimes in fantasy. Image is everything. It’s all he is. He lives in an artificial self invented fantasy of absolute or perfect power, genius, and beauty. He acts like he is in love with himself. And he is in love with an ideal image of himself — or he wants you to be in love with his pretend self. His exaggerated sense of self-importance is not equal to actual achievements. If a world champion boxer brags about being the best in the world, that is not being grandiose because the boxer has actually achieved that status. If an average boxer does it, then it would be an inflated self image because his achievements do not match the title. That’s grandiosity.
• Believes he is special; as a result, he believes he can only be understood and appreciated by people who are — or organizations that are — also special. Anyone who is not special and superior is worthless.
Cannot love. He loves only to be loved back. Loving someone is not dependent upon emotional reciprocity.
• Sensitive to criticism and very critical of other people. He must be seen as perfect or superior or infallible, anything less would make him worthless. In fact, if you say, “Please don’t do that again — it hurts,” he will turn around and do it again harder to prove that he was right the first time; his reasoning seems to be something like “I am a good person and can do no wrong; therefore, I didn’t hurt you and you are lying about it now…” [you deserve all the bad you get and he deserves all the good he gets].
• Reactive. No matter how gently you suggest that he might do better to change his ways or get some help, he will react in one of two equally horrible ways: he will attack or he will withdraw. He will say anything and will trash anyone in his own self-justification. Then he will expect the immediate restoration of the status quo. He will attack you and spew a load of bile, insult, abuse, contempt, threats, and then — well, it’s kind of like he had indigestion and the vicious tirade worked like a burp: “There. Now I feel better. Where were we?” He feels better, so he expects you to feel better, too. This is a narcissistic rage. It’s not anger, because anger has a protective purpose and a rational direction: to stop whatever is causing injury. Rage has no target, it is irrational, and it can only be destructive. Sometimes you might catch a narcissist having a meltdown when he doesn’t get his way. It looks a lot like a four-year old throwing a tantrum, but all the more disturbing because you’re watching a grown up exhibit four-year old behavior.
• Creates atmosphere of negativity. If you find yourself feeling an “ick” factor of insecurity, shame, or embarrassment after speaking to someone you suspect is narcissistic, they probably are. The main indicator is that you come away feeling bad about yourself. Shame and fear are the feelings that narcissists cannot tolerate, so they find creative ways to disown them, by shedding them onto the people who threaten their carefully constructed image.
• May be a workaholic. Why would he work long hours if he is living in a fantasy world where he is already the star? A narcissist may, in fact, hold himself to a grinding work schedule that gives him something like an addict. Usually, this excessive busyness is an attempt to distract himself from unpleasant or inconvenient feelings. Here is the narcissists big secret, and one he has not yet discovered herself: inside, he is filled with depression. To slow down for even one minute means he might have to spend some time with himself and look at who he really is.
• Tends to eventually cut others off and becomes emotionally isolated. He has a history of past upheavals. He is hated for mysterious reasons by people close to him. It’s easiest to recognize a NPD sufferer not from his pain but from the pain of everyone around him. A reliable symptom of NPD is, nobody likes the SOB that has it…at least no one who has been around him very long. The narcissist is usually functional, so the real sufferers are those around him, often in treatment trying to learn how to deal with the him.
WAYS TO RESIST:
• Don’t be a victim. When one is in a “victim state,” one sees the oppressor as the enemy, as the one with the power, and as a result, the victim is easily manipulated into frustration and anger. The narcissist will utilize this dynamic to incite people into emotional states which can be exploited into distractions from the core issues.
• Practice self-control. It is essential not to react. This means that reactions of fear, impatience, or anger are not practical. Use patience and curiosity. The narcissist sees the world in a much different way than you do. It’s his view of the world though, not yours. It helps once you understand what type of personality you’re dealing with and you learn that it’s not you, it’s the relationship that’s wrong. Then, you can focus on building up your self esteem again.
• Set emotional boundaries to prevent the narcissist from throwing an you off balance. Emotional boundaries are helpful to not take the narcissism’s actions or positions personally. Do not fall into his world. His actions are indiscriminate. They are directed toward any object, person or group that threatens his control, domination or grandiosity.
• Detach and HYPERLINK “http://www.ehow.com/how_2113015_deal-narcissist-life.html?ref=fuel&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=ssp&utm_campaign=yssp_art#”relax. One of the most important things you’ll need to learn is emotional detaching. You hear the words he says yet you don’t let them hurt you. Learn to almost have a shield around you whenever you deal with this person.
• Don’t try to change him. Stand up and walk fast. He cannot be helped or dealt with effectively because he will not change. You can try to cope with him, but you will never win.
Stand up to him. “When dealing with a bully, recognize that you are now in the company of someone who has a rigid mistrust of people and their motives. He is fearful that others will try to control him, make a tool of him, or take advantage of him. Look him in the eye and carefully proceed to let him know how his words and actions make you feel.”
Shut him out, and make it okay for him to be angry. Detach from his feelings. Accept what he is feeling and then just let it go.
• Make your plans first, then tell him about those plans. If he doesn’t like it he will not be included.
• Never feel guilty. It will get you nowhere except hurting yourself.
• Decide not to care about his opinions of how you are doing. By allowing yourself to be the target, you are avoiding the real issues of the relationship.
• Never listen to what he tells you about other people. His opinions will always be self-reinforcing.
• Stay in good touch with your other friends and family members, otherwise the narcissist will see the opportunity to create drama and get attention from that drama. Pitting people against each other is a common preoccupation.
• Vent, but not too much. If you’re annoyed, get it out of your system. But if you talk about him too much, he might as well be around. Don’t let him become the center of your life by letting him be the center of your thoughts and conversations.
• Never tell a narcissist that you think he is a narcissist. This will create untold drama for years to come.
• Look at what you want out of the engagement. If you are looking for equal treatment, acknowledgement, recognition, or significance in his eyes, you are well advised to simply move on. Chances are very good that you will invest excessive amounts of energy, time, and perhaps money, in striving to get what you want. In reality, the possibility that you will succeed is minimal.
If you’re near him, you’re the mirror if you give him the slightest attention to reflect back an image he has just created of himself. Don’t reflect back this image by ignoring him and not giving him attention.
• Mirror the narcissists actions and repeat his words. If he threatens – threaten back and credibly try to use the same language and content. If he leaves the house – leave it as well, disappear on him. If he is suspicious – act suspicious. Be critical, denigrating, humiliating, go down to his level – because that is where he permanently is. Faced with his mirror image – the narcissist will always recoil.
• Steer clear of the narcissist. The best way to handle a narcissist is to get as far away as possible from him. Barring that, you need to realize that he will only be happy if he gets his way. Always make everything about him. Nothing else will suit him.
• Cut him off. The best suggestion of all: ignore him. Narcissists require a steady supply of positive feedback and attention. The only people he includes in his life are the ones who provide this “mirroring” of himself. To get him to leave you alone, you should ignore him. Avoid their phone calls. Change your phone number. Without feedback and attention, the narcissist is weak and afraid and will seek a new source of supply. Get as far away from him as you can. The hardcore narcissist is impossible to deal with. He brings nothing but bad news and bad karma into whatever lives he touches. Be strong, stand tall, and run as fast as you can. There is no dealing with a narcissist. Get out of Dodge while you still can.
Have no contact with the narcissist. Fierce adherence to the “no contact” rule will provide you with security and a return to sanity. It will force him to seek greener pastures. Allowing him to remain in control is destructive.
• Abandon him or threaten to abandon him. The threat to abandon need not be explicit or conditional (“If you don’t do or if you do something – I will desert you”). It is sufficient to confront him, to insist, to shout back. The narcissist is tamed by the very same weapons that he employs to subjugate others. The specter of being abandoned looms large over everything else. Every discordant note assumes the monstrous proportions of solitude, abandonment, and the resulting confrontation with his Self. The other way is to abandon him and go about reconstructing your life.
• Have a safe haven, a place to avoid the abuse, and maintain control of your own person and your own life. Don’t let him drive you down with his unrealistic fantasies and how you need to adjust to make him happy. Make yourself happy and be happy with you, you don’t owe someone a life or to make someone else happy
• Be centered within yourself. Simply let his words go and not let them affect you.
Very few people deserve the kind of investment that is an absolute prerequisite to living with a narcissist. To cope with one is a full time, energy and emotion-draining job, which reduces the persons around the narcissist to insecure nervous wrecks. Who deserves such a sacrifice?
Assess the suspected narcissist’s behavior based on certain well-defined criteria. He will put his needs before yours, expect you to satisfy all his needs, and constantly manipulate you to attain his own ends.
Reframe, renew, exit learned helplessness. Begin to pick up the pieces for renewal, hope, optimism, and a future orientation.
WAYS TO GET ALONG:
Interacting with a narcissist may not be comfortable, but it doesn’t always have to be a total loss.)
• Demand little. Expect little. Your role is one of support, acknowledgement, and recognition. The narcissist may see you as a kind of gopher or aide-de-camp. If that is acceptable to you, you should have little difficulty.
• Be willing to listen a lot and listen carefully. On an interpersonal level, responses and questions like, “that’s interesting; could you explain that?; or, “I am not clear about that; would you please clarify (or elaborate)?; or, “it seems like there is a contradiction in your logic.” Communicate “you are not so powerful that you can manipulate me, or us, and distract us from the issue. It is also done through the questions which communicate, “I/we are not afraid of you; we are not leaving the space/situation to your control alone; we will challenge you if necessary; you cannot win through intimidation or disinformation.”
• Find ways to provide positive recognition frequently. Check the narcissist’s reaction to be sure you have understood what positive recognition he wants. Butter him up. Nothing works like flattery, a time honored way to manipulate a narcissist. And lots of “you poor thang.” “You’re just too wonderful for words.” “Without you, we’re lost.” Of course, you’ll have to stomach your own servility.
Let him be the center of attention. The narcissist’s self-confidence has no basis in reality. In fact, one study showed that coworkers generally rate the narcissist as a below-average performer. However, he does tend to do well when all eyes are on him, and the opportunity to look like a star is ripe. His immunity to self doubt means that unlike most of the rest of us, he isn’t afraid to be the center of attention. It has to be glory, though. He is not a team player. Give him the chance to excel—-and to be admired—-and then get the hell out of the his way!
• If it is at all possible to do so, be honest and sincere in your acknowledgement, praise, and recognition. Identify and note any and all of the narcissist’s endeavors or achievements you genuinely admire. Use them to provide recognition and acknowledgement. The more credible you can be, the better.
Be clear on the quid pro quo. When a narcissist is in charge, he’ll feel no compunction asking for a lot and providing very little in return. He’ll be totally focused on his vision for the project, cuz, well, it’s all about him. Make clear the project is all about him. Make clear the rules of the game, because he’s not going to play fair.
• Don’t worry about making the narcissist become more self- centered — he became that way at a fairly early age and can’t now stop.
• Avoid challenging the narcissist’s wishes or desires. He has a low tolerance for frustration or interference. Don’t cross him. If you’re fool enough to disagree with just how “special” a narcissist is or if he feels he isn’t getting enough respect, you MUST do it gently and be prepared for him to pull his horse out of the race. In the lab, he is willing to punish other experimental subjects when he thinks he’s not getting that “special” treatment he so richly deserves. He is also not above playing the victim if it will garner him attention.
• Smile a lot and keep quiet. To avoid the risk of attack and stay in the picture after others falter, fail, or flee. Keep a sense of humor. One upside: Narcissists can be entertaining, if you keep a sense of perspective.
• Patience will enable you to hang in when others may drop out.
• Forbearance will enable you to overlook the narcissist’s boorishness, selfishness, self-centeredness, and arrogance.
• Focus will enable you to keep in mind both what the narcissist wants from moment to moment and what your objectives are in associating with him.
• Be precise in what you want. (This is a good idea in all situations, but it is essential in dealing with a narcissist.)
• Know what the narcissist wants. (This is also a good idea in all situations.)
• Persuade the narcissist that he will derive something significant from doing what you want.
• Determine where his narcissism is primarily invested. Begin your request by finding a way to validate the narcissist. Admire his appearance, use of brain power, display of strength or control, or the adherence to principle. Make sure he has heard and accepted the compliment before proceeding. Link what you want to the narcissist’s preferred attribute.
• Make everything about him. “I think getting this would benefit you in ….” Make your desires seem like they will benefit him. This is a hard way to live, but it is better than never getting what you want.
Recognize your own narcissistic tendencies. When your feeling of self-worth is dependant on what others think or feel about you, you are vulnerable to the narcissist’s trap. He will make you feel so special for deserving his attention. Recognize your true value as an individual. Get lots of support from friends and/or a good counsellor. Be strong and don’t take any abuse. It’s better to be alone than to be trapped in someone else’s delusions of grandeur. Yes, he will find some other weak person to feed his insatiable appetite for recognition, admiration and approval. Yes, it is painful to realize that that is all you ever were to him. But at least you can free yourself and your energies can go to self-healing and REAL relationships. Real relationships involve a balance of give and take. In real adult relationships, people are able to speak openly about all their feelings and give each other comfort.
• Choose timing carefully. Listen quietly while he gets on his soapbox, then later when he has cooled down, talk with him calmly about what you agree/disagree with. The second way is standing firm, particularly when it’s something you feel very strongly about. He may get upset, but he always thinks about it.
It is possible to live with and deal with narcissists on a daily basis, but you may need the help of grounding influences like a good social support structure, personal therapy, or reading. Remember to determine your own self worth, and not to allow the narcissist in your life to dictate who you are and how you feel about yourself.
The stages of feeling victims experience.
1) The Roadkill Stage: This is when you finally hit bottom due to the experience with a Narcissist.
2) The Realization Stage: This is when the answers to the questions that have been plaguing you begin to get answered and you now know what it is you have been dealing with all this time. You begin to research everything you can find on narcissism. Unfortunately, you start to feel angry at yourself for letting it go on for so long.
3) The Anger Stage: This is when the full impact of what you went through hits home and all hell breaks loose! Anger is uncomfortable, but it is a necessary step towards healing. At first, it is like an erupting volcano, then it usually evolves in focusing on how to get through. If you don’t let as much of the anger out at this stage, you will stay stuck for a longer period of time.
4) Taking Affirmative Action Stage: This is when you begin to learn to effectively focus your new-found knowledge into making life decisions. This is also the period where you begin to learn and practice techniques on how to protect yourself from the narcissist. This is the stage where some decide on lifestyle changes. This is also a time of great upheaval, because the narcissist will fight you tooth and nail to win. He can be very vicious. It is usually best to have as little contact as possible with the narcissist. It is also the time to to focus on you and your healing.
5) The Fall-Out Stage: This is when you become more comfortable in your knowledge of how to deal with the narcissist, where you begin to forgive yourself, where you begin to feel better about yourself and your abilities. You are actively planning your future, getting to know yourself again, and you notice how much better physically and emotionally you feel out of the presence of the narcissist.
6) The Mirroring Stage: This is when you mirror the narcissist’s behavior back at him, effectively scaring him off! Unfortunately for many victims, many narcissists aren’t willing to accept that it is OVER and continually try to get back under the victims skin using guilt, fear, pity, threats, violence and financial abuse. Depending on how you handle the narcissist in this stage, it will depend on how long this stage lasts. If you, even for a moment, show any vulnerability, sympathy, fear, or confusion, it will put you back a few stages and you will have to work your way through again. This cycle can happen many times.
7) Realization and Apathy: Once you effectively block all means of communication with the narcissist as efficiently as possible, protect yourself from him as much as you can, gain knowledge and confidence in yourself, you reach a stage of realization that there was nothing you could have done to help or prevent the nightmare that you just lived through. You start looking for effective ways to manage your life, work towards your new future and close the door in the face of the narcissist. The most effective way is with APATHY. It requires very little work on your part. You display no outward emotions towards the narcissist, who seems to forever be trying to re-enter your life for the coveted NS, you yawn frequently whenever he has something to say, you outright IGNORE his existence as if he died. Eventually, in a sense he does die, because without your attention, without your sympathy, without your guilt, without your adoration, without your anger, and without your fear, he withers away and dies. If there is nothing for him to affirm his existence through you, and he cannot exist around you. It is not to say that he won’t try. He wants to be able to evoke an emotional response in you. If you don’t give him any, he eventually, like Pavlov’s dog, he figures out the bowl is empty and moves on to the next victim. This stage can take some time because the narcissist does not give up on precious supply sources easily.
WHAT CREATES THE NARCISSIST
Imagine an NPD person as a black hole in space, having nothing of its own, it literally sucks everything around it into its blackness. The only thing you can do about a black hole is stay away from it. Until the Narcissist finally sees there is no one around and is forced to look inside and seek professional help, there is nothing other humans can do to help, except stay away.
The narcissist was irreparably traumatized by the behavior of the most important adults in his life: his parents. By being capricious, arbitrary, sadistically judgmental – they molded him into an adult, who fervently and obsessively tries to recreate the trauma (repetition complex). Thus, on the one hand, the narcissist feels that his liberation depends upon re-living these experiences. On the other hand, he is terrified by this prospect. Realizing that he is doomed to go through the same harrowing experience, the narcissist distances himself from the scene of his own pending emotional catastrophe. He does this by using his aggression to alienate, to humiliate and in general, to be emotionally absent. This behavior brings about the very consequences that the narcissist so derides. This way, at least, the narcissist can tell himself (and others) that HE was the one who controlled the events, that it was truly fully his choice. Of course, governed by his internal demons, the narcissist has no choice to talk about. He is, therefore, a binary human being: the carrot is the stick in his case. If he gets too close to someone emotionally, he fears ultimate and inevitable abandonment. He, thus, distances himself, acts cruelly and brings about the very abandonment that he feared in the first place. In this paradox lies the key to coping with the narcissist: If he has a rage attack – rage back.This will provoke in him fears of being abandoned and the resulting calm will be so total that it might seem unbelievable. Narcissists are known for these tectonic shifts in mood and in behavior patterns. The Narcissist does all these things to foster and encourage abandonment. Reflected at him, the he will see the imminent, impending abandonment, which is the inevitable result of his actions and words. This sight will so terrify him – that it will induce an incredible alteration of his behavior. He will instantly succumb and try to make amends, moving from one (cold and bitter, cynical and misanthropic, cruel and sadistic) pole to another (warm, even loving, the sort of fuzzy, engulfing emotion that we feel on a particularly good or successful day).
It usually starts with a significant emotional wound or a series of them culminating in a major trauma of separation/attachment. No matter how socially skilled an extreme narcissist is, he has a major attachment dysfunction. The extreme narcissist is frozen in childhood. He became emotionally stuck at the time of his major trauma of separation/attachment. His emotional age and maturity corresponds to the age he experienced his major trauma. This trauma was devastating to the point it almost killed him emotionally. The pain never was totally gone and the bleeding was continuous. In order to survive, this child had to construct a protective barrier that insulates him from the external world of people. He generalized that all people are harmful and cannot be trusted. The protective insulation barrier he constructed is called a false persona. He created a false identity. This identity is not the true person inside. Some narcissists may have the ability to change into a variety of identities according to the situation. The wounded child inside may choose to present a front as a “bad ass” and tough individual. He may look, by appearance, intimidating and scary to the average person. He could also play the “nice guy/person” whom everyone likes. A corporate type version can be one that is diplomatic, proper, and appearing to care but in reality does not. Another very likeable extreme narcissist can be the one that chooses the comedian role. He is the life of the party and has everyone in stitches, making them laugh constantly. Everyone wants to include this person because they are a lot of fun. Try to get close or ask personal questions as to how he is internally doing and feeling and you will find is that he will quickly distract you. He will sidestep the question with another joke, making you suddenly forget what you were asking. Narcissists can be very skilled at dodging and ducking personal questions. If you press him, he will then slot you as “unsafe” and will begin to avoid you and exclude you from his life. There is also the success-oriented narcissist. He will be your friend and keep you close to him as long as you are useful. Once you do not have anything more to offer and he has taken all he wanted from you, you are history. You are no longer desired, wanted, or sought.
“One narcissist in particular avoids me like the plague because he knows that I do not ultimately plan my life around whether people like me or not. Hence my behavior cannot be controlled by him. He is threatened by my self-assuredness. I’m not safe to him. It does not matter that I have helped him in critical moments of his life. When he realized that he could not control me to make him look good when I was with him, he dropped me like a heavy weight. I received no more phone calls and was taken off his radar screen. Another extreme narcissist stopped calling me when I got my Ph.D. I believe that, in his insecurity, he could no longer look “better” than me and be the focal person. As a result, he felt threatened that I had a more powerful image than he did. I think it is silly because I do not care about whether people have degrees to validate their intrinsic value as a human being.
In my ministerial past, I have had several colleagues that I considered to be like blood brothers. We had sworn honesty and loyalty to each other. Once I opened up my weaknesses to them and then asked them to reciprocate, they looked for excuses to label me and reject me. The more I pressed them about their lack of being forthcoming and failing at their own promise of commitment to the friendship, the more vehement they became at avoiding disclosure of their warts to me. Of course, I already knew many of their flaws and already had no problem accepting them. Now it was their turn and they shut down and put up the thick wall. This is what genuine narcissists do. This is sad but it happens all the time with individuals that are scared to go down the road to becoming whole and healthy. It is like going under the knife of a surgeon. When there is a legitimate organic threat as with a malignant tumor, it can be hard to submit to the truth and then the treatment. This, however, is a door to a better life.
Is there hope for an extreme narcissist living in an emotional and relational sort of isolation. Is a narcissist able to have a healthy life? Definitely! I’ve seen many extreme narcissists become extremely healthy in their emotional and relational life. The first step is to find competent and safe help that knows how to heal emotional traumas. Because extreme narcissists tend to have an early history of emotional wounds they are full of distrust. If they can get past this hurdle then they can begin to find help to heal. Second, extreme narcissists have to be willing to enter the realm of their feelings again. They have been the masters of covering and hiding, even to themselves. They now have to start uncovering painful wounds. They have taught themselves to stuff and disconnect their own feelings for years. Because of this, they tend to live inside their heads, in the realm of so called reason. They are likely to live in the world of rational principles, laws, rules, which are all linear. This domain is a realm they feel they can control. It is devoid of feelings. The realm of the heart or feelings is very intimidating and unsafe to them because it is non-linear and there is very little control of the outcomes. If extreme narcissists can overcome these two hurdles then there is much hope for them.” HYPERLINK “http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/08/04/how-to-spot-a-narcissist/” http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/08/04/how-to-spot-a-narcissist/
How To Cope With A Narcissist
by HYPERLINK “http://www.planetpsych.com/zPsychology_101/narcissism.htm#Author”Sam Vaknin
“No one, to my mind, not even the most brilliant, charming, breathtaking, suave Narcissist, is worth being close to. The glamour and trickery wear thin and underneath them a monster lurks which sucks the affect, distorts the cognition and irreversibly influences the lives of those around it to the worse.
Both philosophically and pragmatically, we cannot and should not assume responsibility for other people and their lives. Narcissists are incorrigibly and notoriously difficult to change. Trying to change them is a wrong strategy. The two viable strategies are either accepting them as they are or avoiding them altogether. If one accepts a narcissist as he is – one should cater to his needs. His needs are part of what he is. The narcissist is an emotional invalid. He needs constant adulation. He cannot help it. So, if one chooses to accept him – it is a package deal, all his needs included.
Compiled from books and websites by Liane Sebastian.
Please also see my updated article about the danger of narcissists in today’s political environment: “The Control of the Narcissist”
Comments invited to share experiences and other helpful sources!