Whilst browsing my Facebook this morning, an article about narcissism popped up.
I found this very interesting indeed.
I have dated a narcissist, and now I realise the whole time I was embroiled in a mentally abusive relationship. Each one of the traits accurately describes them. Things would go wrong, it was always my fault. I’d try to distance myself, but they wouldn’t allow it. It was ok for them to make fun of me, but god forbid the joke be on them.
But lets not forget here, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental illness in itself.
The Mayo Clinic describes Narcissistic Personality Disorder as –
If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.
At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.
I could always see the depression in them, but I always felt like I was treading on eggshells. I had no idea what might set them off, and I altered my behaviour accordingly. A real sign of an abuser/victim relationship.
Another trait of the narcissist is lack of empathy. I saw this frequently. It was ok for them to be self absorbed, but if I needed help, no way! And that would result in me being put down.
The Mayo Clinic article goes on to describe key features of the disorder;
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
- Exaggerating your achievements and talents
- Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
- Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
- Requiring constant admiration
- Having a sense of entitlement
- Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
- Taking advantage of others to get what you want
- Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
- Being envious of others and believing others envy you
- Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
I find it worrying that almost all of these traits were displayed by the person I was in the relationship with. I can even go so far as to say I recognise all of these traits in certain people I know.
So should we feel sorry for the narcissist? I mean, after all, it’s a mental illness, right?
The best thing I did was distance myself from this person. They ‘lovebombed’ me. They couldn’t be without me. The missed me. But ultimately, they had issues they needed to deal with, and I couldn’t put myself through the turmoil, and ultimately detrimental effect this relationship was having on my own mental health.
The narcissist needs help, but as with all mental illnesses, they need to make the decision to get that help themselves. They can be very damaging for people that come into contact with them, but that doesn’t matter. As I learned, it is always someone elses fault.
Don’t treat them with kid gloves. Don’t fall for their demanding and manipulative ways. Stay strong, and hopefully, at some point, they will realise they need help and seek it out for themselves.
Your health is what matters.