The term Narcissism caught many eyes in the world of psychology from the 1800s. This trait runs down deep in Greek Mythology. A man named Narcissus fell in love with his own handsome face and kept admiring his image on a river. He couldn’t part with his image and, therefore, drowned in it.
For a Narcissist, ‘Me, Myself and I’ is a favourite phrase.
Let us do a detailed study of a Narcissistic person:
Narcissism is a personality pattern found in humans which consists of elevated and sometimes detrimental self-involvement. That means they feel that they are better looking and more intelligent than others, and they deserve the best all the time.
There is a constant demand for validation by Narcissists. They look grand and happy on a good day, but on their bad days, the façade trembles and breaks down to imbalanced rage, shame and vindictiveness. They constantly feel empty and are unstable. Insecurity is their second-best friend in life. It’s a way of relating to the world. Just the way we describe a stubborn or an extrovert, Narcissism is also a way of describing a person.
In society, some of these values are appreciated, and some are looked down upon.
Narcissism has different aspects supporting it like :
- lack of empathy,
- grandiosity, entitlement,
- appreciation seeking,
- wrath and
- a tendency to manipulate and exploit people.
Narcissism and relationships :
Narcissists tend to be cold and distant. Often, they are emotionally unavailable. They have hair-triggered temper blasts easily whenever their ego is hurt or challenged. Everyone in their life has stumbled upon a narcissist at some stage of life. They can be lovers, partners, bosses, celebrities, or even parents to start with. The relationship is unkind, insane, and all over the place. It lacks stability in all forms. Most of the time, the Narcissist will blame their partner for everything. The relationship lacks the importance of apology and empathy. This behavior continues to grow, and there is no stopping. The more the problem is addressed, the more it keeps growing.
Digging deep into the personality trait, we have the following observations about the effects narcissism has on relationships:
- There is always some kind of immaturity in the relationship. A Narcissist expects preferential treatment and feels that he/she is entitled to the luxuries and appreciation in life. Therefore, they never are the first to apologise. Instead, they might terrorise their partners to leave the relationship and force them to comply with their rules. The abusee will then try to adjust to the situation.
- Sometimes a peaceful conversation with a narcissist can be difficult because they bring out the negative aspect of their partner’s nature. In addition, they might manipulate to bring their ideas and terms into the spotlight. As a result, the other person might feel drained out after the conversation.
- There is a constant demand for the other party to prove themselves as the Narcissist has no empathy for them. They hardly have any love, integrity and compassion for their partners. Hence the partners find themselves a step lower than the Narsaccist partner.
- In a relationship with the Narcissist, the partner will keep cleaning up the mess made. They lack accountability for what they say or do. E.g., watering the arid land where it’s impossible to grow a plant.
- The Narcissists never understand personal boundaries. It becomes challenging to speak up in front of them. They shadow their partner’s personality and make them feel worthless. All these can lead to criticism and emotional or physical punishment.
- Since the Narcissists are natural charmers, attractive, and so full of themselves, the partner might feel hooked on them, and it becomes difficult to break the bond with them. Sometimes, they might be trading partners, cheat and exhibit their achievements online. A narcissist can lure their partners by promising them a perfect fairy tale life, but that hardly happens. In short, they hover around their partners even after exiting the relationship.
However, there are secure ways to cut off that bond. Gaslighting, manipulation and trauma can come to an end by just neglecting them. Partners need to understand that it is never their fault. They need to acknowledge that they have sustained the abuse. It is always better to talk about it to someone.
Sometimes an abusee can recall a certain memory and understand the manipulation used on them much more explicitly. He/She needs to remember who they were before the relationship. It will take a lot of time to heal from the abuse. A guide, mentor, or therapist can help them out of this mess. They need to reclaim their life back and remember that they are enough. There is no need to ask anyone for validation. Before they know it, their decisions will become better day by day. Henceforth a good and happy life will await them.