Men & Mental HealthApr 15, 2019
Child Abuse & Its ConsequencesApr 15, 2019
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition marked by three hallmarks:
an inflated sense of self, a severe lack of empathy, and a deep need for attention. Because of this, narcissists are usually described as egotistical, arrogant, demanding, and manipulative. Setting in during early adulthood, NPD tends to affect men more than women and most often is first noticed in the contexts of work and personal relationships. This is because a narcissist thrives in these areas, with people and situations they can manipulate to continuously feed the misguided beliefs they have of themselves.
That said, beneath the ego and arrogance lies an extremely fragile self-esteem that doesn’t deal well with even the slightest criticism. In fact, the whole façade of NPD serves to hide intense feelings of insecurity, unhappiness, and shame. And what this ultimately leads to, is someone who is prone to anxiety and depression punctuated by emotional instability and mood swings.
Signs and Symptoms
Although the various symptoms of NPD and their severity may differ from one person to the next, there are signs to look out for. First and foremost, that inflated self-importance is ever- present. And it is most often accompanied by a sense of entitlement. The narcissist feels slighted when they are not seen as most special and most deserving of all the attention and admiration, all of the time.
This superiority is fueled by the desire to achieve, and sometimes these achievements will be exaggerated to make them look even better. What’s more, they can be spiteful and demeaning, breaking down the people around them to make themselves look good.
There are many runoff consequences that stem from NPD symptoms, like impatience, anger, depression, and anxiety. Combine this with a lack of empathy and irrational value of perfection, and you’ll understand why a relationship with a narcissist is almost always an abusive one. For example, it’s easy to hurt someone when they can’t imagine how that person feels.
They are shielded from all the hurt, while doing so serves to fuel their inflated sense of self in the process. The narcissist sees themselves as perfect and therefore, are more willing to emotionally attack their partner who is not.
The 3 stages of Narcissistic relationship abuse
Because there are only two types of people according to the narcissist – perfect and flawed – they find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships. More than this, their unrealistic expectations combined with their disorder leads to cycles of abuse.
These can be split into 3 stages:
Chasing the unicorn
When a narcissist sets their sights on someone, that person becomes just like the mythical creature – flawless, unattainable perfection. The narcissist works hard to win approval by showering the person with gifts and attention. However, once they get what they wanted, they lose interest and move on to the next unicorn.
If the narcissist decides to stay and pursue a relationship with their unicorn, they quickly come to realize that their partner isn’t perfect. This is when they begin making suggestions about things the person should change to be better. They will always be trying to change you, and they will always make it sound as if those changes will be for your benefit.
All compliments and positive comments stop, and are replaced with endless criticism. The narcissist doesn’t even bother to be polite about it either. They will be insulting without batting an eyelid, and won’t think twice about criticizing their partner in front of others.
Treatment for NPD is available, albeit challenging. Given the narcissist’s ego, it’s not easy to get them to acknowledge they have a problem. That said, if they are willing to recognize they might have a problem with NPD, psychotherapy has been known to help. Please contact us for more information about treatment and support for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.