Narcissism – what is it?

Narcissist is a buzzword and up until recently i thought it so much psychobabble. Until i had a breakthrough around my own life choices and experiences.

It’s hard to spot this kind of person upfront because they hide their true nature – and pretend to be everything you want. You are a ‘supply’ of whatever they need – money, emotional/ego support, sex, image etc etc etc . . . and they will do whatever they have to to secure their ‘supply’. But once secured – when they believe you are ‘in love’ or even worse, married and have their kids – buyer beware . . .

The only way to protect yourself from a future repeat is to be aware of your own ‘stuff’ – ie that you are attracted to this type and why (very often we are seeking validation or ego-stroking by taking on rescue cases – instead of seeking stable, conscious, high-EQ/well-adjusted SOs . .. or it could just be a type of person who is familiar – maybe Dad or Mom was also a narcisisst)
– and to be aware of the red flags so that you can head it off before it even begins.

Red flags you can look out for from the start include:

1. Fragmented family history – history of abuse/neglect etc – although many of us have experienced some unhappiness or hardship – this together with the other factors is a BIG red flag.

2. Emotion-phobia – they often change the subject when feelings come up, especially their own, and as quick as they might be to anger, it’s often like pulling teeth to get them to admit that they’ve reached the boiling point — even when they’re in the midst of the most terrifying tirade.

3. They never, ever, ever say “I’m sorry” – their image is ALL – they have to maintain this image of perfection because underneath they are so terribly insecure and scared. By criticising them or saying they are wrong it feels like an attack on their deepest self and safety. They WILL hit back hard and do things like gaslighting etc to distract you. Fear drives them . ..

4. A high need for control – For the same reason narcissists often loathe the subject of feelings, they can’t stand to be at the mercy of other people’s preferences; it reminds them that they aren’t invulnerable or completely independent — that, in fact, they might have to ask for what they want — and even worse, people may not feel like meeting the request. In the extreme form, this can manifest as abusive, controlling behaviors. But as with most of these red flags, the efforts at control are often far subtler than outright abuse. Be on the look out for anyone who leaves you feeling nervous about approaching certain topics or sharing your own preferences.

5. Emotional retardation – the behaviour will be very similar to a young child’s – tantrums when they don’t get their own way, obvious (and not so obvious) lying, sulks, etc . . . in the beginning you won’t see this much – but no-one can keep up a perfect act – you will see a slip here and there. Be on the look out!

6. Lack of empathy – while they can pretend empathy they truly cannot put themselves in other people’s shoes. They are not at a level of emotional maturity where this is possible. If you tell them a sad story about someone else or yourself – see how they turn it back to themselves or express very limited, judgemental opinions . . .

So these things on their own may be just ‘normal’ bad behaviour – but when you see 2 or 3 together you should sit up and take notice.

We are probably all on a ‘spectrum’ – after all are we not all selfish to some degree? But true NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is another kettle of fish.

Far-end spectrum narcissists (NPD) are not imaginary – they are real, very damaged people – they have never really matured emotionally beyond the point when they were damaged as children – and can be stuck at that developmental level very often. It is VERY sad – and one’s inclination may be to try help but rather leave it to the professionals – if the narcissist ever gets to the very unlikely point they get themselves into therapy. . . . many studies show that it is HIGHLY unlikely that they will ever grow, change etc – don’t try to fix – you will end up broken . .. get out and save yourself.

ps: We’re all a little crazy – but it should be a life goal to spend time and energy in a safer space – with people who if not perfect are working on themselves, have self-awareness etc. Unstable and dangerous should NOT be a drawcard on tinder . . .

All rights reserved © 2018 Melanie Harvard – the uncommon coach TM