Narcissism is actually a mental health condition called ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’. It’s been very interesting learning about this disorder. It has given me clarity and understanding, so I thought I’d share. Hopefully my article will give someone else the same. Once you are aware, a narcissist is so easy to pick.
A narcissist has an over inflated sense of self-importance. Admiration is highly craved, however they lack empathy for others. Despite their outwardly over-confident appearances, narcissists have very low self esteem and are extremely sensitive to any criticism. It’s sadly a personality disorder that starts in childhood or the adolescent years. The cause isn’t exactly known, but it is thought to be complex, as with any personality disorder. Narcissism is believed to be related to a mismatch in the parent/child relationship – excessive spoiling or excessive criticism. It is also considered likely to be linked to the connection between the brain and behaviour and thinking.
The narcissistic personality experiences problems in all areas of life due to their desire for, and expectation of, admiration. Their lack of empathy and deliberately argumentative attitude can make them very challenging to be around. In saying that, they are the loveliest people while you are providing the attention they require. As soon as that ends, or they perceive it has, they can become very cruel, derogatory and spiteful. Narcissists are incapable of love, but desperately need to be loved.
They cannot cope with partners who think independently of them. They will abuse and try to extinguish their partner’s sense of self in an attempt to take back control. Without control, they themselves feel out of control, but narcissists will destroy then blame without a second thought. The insanity of their condition is that they need love, but they despise you for being stupid enough to love them. However, they desperately need you to feed their egos. They will always have others groomed to take your place, as they are terrified of being alone.
To fit the diagnostic criteria for personality disorders, the following areas must be affected by problematic behaviours:
• perception and interpretation of self and others
• intensity and duration of feelings and their appropriateness to situations
• relationships with others
• ability to control impulses
There are 9 traits listed under the DSM-IV (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition). 5 or more need to be satisfied to distinguish Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g. exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognised
as superior without reasonable achievement.)
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love.
3. believes that he/she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other
special or high-status people (or institutions).
4. requires excessive admiration.
5. has a sense of entitlement i.e unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic
compliance with his or her expectations.
6. is interpersonally exploitative i.e. takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognise or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. shows arrogant and haughty behaviours or attitudes.
Narcissism was a term I knew but I didn’t fully understand it’s meaning until recently. I have a friend who’s husband was a narcissist. As such, he left her while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Consequently I knew narcissism involved personality traits of self-centredness and complete lack of empathy. Apart from that, I wasn’t familiar myself with narcissism until recently. Or if I had been subjected to it before, I wasn’t really aware. And I certainly didn’t know it was a personality disorder and mental illness.
Jane Darling, who works with personality disorders, has given me so much insight. Looking back the signs were there right from the start with my ex. And with each of her articles I relate. The understanding really makes me so glad I have stood my ground and gotten away from somebody so cruel and heartless.
I have been called a ‘retard’, told I’m ‘crazy af’. After hating on me and saying some really nasty, derogatory things, told me he didn’t want to say goodbye. Insanity! But that is the brain of a narcissist. They will accuse you of doing exactly what they are doing to you to deflect and confuse.
I’ve copied this article but also provided the link. Jane sums up the narcissistic personality perfectly – Can a Narcissist Fall In Love? – Jane Darling
“Pathological narcissists love ‘falling in love’. They need the chemical arousal , a constant source of validation is secured.
They lack any capacity to love. The creative emotions are missing which is why so many enjoy cheating, something they do readily. Poor impulse control and shallow affect are real. This is a person with no empathy so doesn’t care.
They are never loyal, caring or imaginative. Relationships are carefully managed down. You will in time bore a narcissist, you are a pretty plaything to exploit. Emotions are always exploited.
They feel claustrophobic in committed relationships, which tend to be on/off until you escape.
As predators, relationships with partners, children and friends are based on dominance. Love is about power. They bring you into a game, the prize is compliance. The ever moving goal posts keeps others confused, playing the game is ‘love’.
Narcissists won’t end the relationship unless a new opportunity has arrived. They’ll discard you by text, although they will attempt to keep you in their harem. They can’t risk being alone so letting you move on won’t happen.
They are leading double lives, online dating and porn sites are their addictions. Throughout relationships they are predating online, at work etc.
Being two dimensional, paper thin, and without a conscience, their partner won’t know about any of this activity. They can pass a polygraph test and enjoy their duplicitous behaviours. ‘Dupers delight’.
Whilst hoovering ex partners & potential leads all in tandem provides the ‘risk’ excitement they crave to quench their inner void of not feeling anything other than lust, your fear, they are flattened.
Their needs are insatiable, never satisfied long term.
When a narcissist withdraws it indicates they are being flattered elsewhere. A silent treatment is passive aggressive punishment, it’s part of your devaluation and conditioning, it serves 2 needs.
They are pathological and lying is their pleasure. All live in plain sight and are very convincing.
They compartmentalize, disassociate, use hints, jokes, or are busy with work. They’ll let you know about themselves in ways to confuse you rather than an honest conversation. They will say ‘I love you’, this is the greatest lie of all. They can’t and they know they can’t. This lie causes further hurt down the line when they reveal callous disregard for your emotions.
If you stay with a narcissist you can expect the famous rage, some cheating, and plenty of lies. They lack morals. You’ll be destroyed deliberately in a cruel manoeuvre which they’ll deny and blame you for should you protest.
Narcissists victimise deliberately, they feel entitled to be cruel. They’ll do it prove superiority and mitigate their crazy behaviours & explain cheating. They never apologise, have no remorse and reframe their behaviour as the conclusion to somebody else’s actions. i.e. ‘You were late’, ‘you wore the same dress’, ‘you shouldn’t have said that last month’.
Narcissists are insane, unstable, unreliable. It’s only possible to predict them when you recognise the disorder. Then they are predictable and you can protect yourself from further abuse by not reacting or engaging. Most victims cannot fathom what just happened after time spent in their world. (Yep!)
No, they cannot love, they can own and control. We are extras in their production, they wrote the script. When you deviate, get a line wrong, they will plan a horrific revenge. It’s not headed, it’s emotional rape which is unique to narcissistic or psychopathic abuse.
Let a narcissist be the one who ends the relationship, it’s much safer.
Avoid being sucked back in. Never believe a single word from their lips however much you want to. Remind yourself it’s fake and you are being manipulated.”
Everyone in their life is specifically placed, all chosen to fulfill the narcissist’s own selfish needs. Their false self is the caring, affectionate and warm persona. Their true self is self serving, cold and calculating. They are dangerous people, as anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of being with one knows only too well.
Psychotherapy (talking) is the usual treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Medication can be prescribed in conjunction if deemed necessary by the treating therapist. But how would you get a narcissist to admit to their condition and get help? Their arrogance and ego wouldn’t allow them to admit the truth – even though they are completely aware of what they are doing.
I would like to extend my thanks to Jane Darling for her permission to share her informative articles.
Because the narcissistic personality can be so deliberately nasty and has no care for what they do to you, I have provided the number for Lifeline. They provide crisis support and suicide prevention. Please call them if you are struggling to deal with the consequences of a narcissist.
Lifeline: 13 11 14