Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Have you been in a relationship with a narcissist?

I came across the above article on people having narcissistic partners which I really enjoyed.  I really liked the idea of the 'word salad' and loved the bullshit bullshit bullshit picture.  I didn't like the overuse of 'he' and 'him' without explanation.  It seems likely the author had been in an abusive relationship with a male Narcissist herself.  Most diagnosed narcissists are also male although I often wonder how due to gender stereotyping it more just happens to come up this way.  Women are more often diagnosed as Borderline, Histrionic.  I think the article should've explained why she used 'he' constantly.

I really liked how it also referred to the victim mentality of the narcissist.  I feel from research though this plays out a little differently in males and females.  Both are the same in seeing themselves as the centre of the world and they are never at fault (the reason why they are rarely if ever in therapy discussing what they have done and feeling bad about it).  However, the helpless victim mentality and martyr is often more related to the female narcissist.  This is where the genders seem to play out differently.  The male narcissist is domineering, a control often through more overt abuse often as well as gaslighting etc etc although more covert abuse forms are used to.  I feel this is why a male is more likely to be diagnosed as a narcissist and also that it kind of plays along with male stereotypes.  Narcissism can be seen as kind of dysfunctional alpha male.  All about the centre of attention and demeaning those around him.

The female narcissist has a similar alpha kind of mentality underneath but the abuse will typically be more covert.  Emotional manipulation tactics to seek power and control to dehumanise the victim are more common.  Both genders however put their victim on an emotional rollercoaster and are left wondering what happened.  The cycle of idealisation then devaluing and discarding fit in with both types as they toy with their victims.

It is victims of narcissists that are most often in therapy rather than narcissists themselves.  The victim will typically have some level of codependence and some self esteem lacking which lead to their vulnerability to be 'sucked in' to the narcissists game.

Amanda Ferguson on her page gives strategies for dealing with narcissists and an overview of what it takes to define a narcissist and a good while simple idea of wondering whether someone makes you feel 'not right' a lot of the time.  This is a good start to see if you may be in a relationships with a narcissist.

Narcissists strive merely to get narcissistic supply and can be very charismatic and ultimately thrive on emotion and basically making your life hell.  Julia Cameron in 'The artists way' gives a great discussion of involvement with 'crazy makers' who can be seen the same as Narcissists and how our involvement with them traps our own creative energy and shows our fear to reclaim our creative selves.  I have linked here with my post about the exercise of doing morning pages to reclaim our creative selves more by carrying out this exercise.

There are some helpful books for dealing and ridding oneself of the narcissist.  The ones clients have recommended most to me and which I enjoyed are How to do no contact like a boss which discusses how life begins after no contact and a no contact rule.  I found this particularly resonating from the article above and the whole bullshit salad it speaks.  It is our natural desire as humans to want closure, to want to talk etc and to understand.  When dealing with a narcissist though there needs to be the ability to make the diagnosis then to be able to walk away and step off the rollercoaster and to realise that there will never be closure in that sense as the person you cared for so much was never that person originally.  See my other blog post about finding closure.

There are other books referring to both male and female narcissism separately which are useful also.  It's all about him  for relationship with the male narcissist and It's all about her for relations with the female narcissist.

In my research around this topic and recovery I have really enjoyed the concepts of 'fighting for your happiness' which I blogged about also here.  Also I like the idea once you are building your esteem to be aware that relationships should always be adding something.

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