Are You In Love with a Narcissist? Part 2
In Part I, I discussed how to identify a person displaying narcissistic traits and the impact it has on your relationship. Now I’ll discuss some common earlier life experiences of those that exhibit such narcissist traits and what you can do in response to these behaviors.
What Happened to Make You This Way
The history that a narcissist has with a primary caregiver will usually reveal hints of someone that provided selfless, non-contingent love and adoration, which lead the narcissist to have unrealistic, intensely warm and loving internalized feelings. They didn’t learn that others also have needs, views, and wants of their own. They became hooked on false glory and tend to feel empty without the familiar non-contingent praise. This explains the constant need for validation and stimulation that narcissists seek, such as having multiple partners or seeking social media likes or followers. Along with the praise and admiration comes an ever-present fear that the other shoe will drop and they will fall from grace. There’s a huge burden to be so extraordinary. The overindulging caregiver also feels this strain because the success of the narcissistic child is what they thrive on. When Beyoncé says “He only want me when I’m not there,” she speaks volumes of the narcissist’s vulnerability. The narcissist is extremely vulnerable to criticism or being ignored, combined with a strong wish for love, support, and admiring awe from others. That outward arrogance is really the bodyguard for their low self-esteem. When there is no one around, the narcissist feels quite lonely and empty, but they don’t allow their audience to see that vulnerability.
What You Can Do
It’s easy to feel sympathy for narcissists when their internalized, but unrealized or acknowledged pain is taken into account. Their accomplishments, talents, and skills are easy to admire. Their friendly, outgoing, and well-poised demeanor makes them appear charismatic and alluring. But it all starts to unravel once we experience the arrogance, emotional abuse, entitlement, vanity, and rage that they spew in romantic relationships. Their partner feels drained like lemons into lemonade. Unfortunately, narcissists often don’t get the help they so desperately need because they don’t usually seek support. Their fragile egos won’t be able to admit they need the help of another person. However, there are times when their failed relationships, and/or failure in school or work will cause them such distress that they seek out therapy. However, most often, therapists end up seeing the people in the narcissist’s lives because they are suffering from anxiety or depression in response to the treatment of the narcissist or simply trying to cope with their partner’s narcissistic behaviors. It is impossible to know whether Beyoncé is speaking of her own experience. Regardless, I think she’s sharing a story of the emotional turmoil that too many already know. So after taking the time to read this, please tell me, do you think you are in love with a narcissist? Have you ever? How did you recover? Did you learn how to see the signs?
If you are finding it difficult to deal with your lover’s selfish and confusing behaviors, please give us a call.