Beyoncé’s new album “Lemonade” has the rumor mill in full swing about her marriage. So many have been desperately waiting to confirm that her and Jay Z’s relationship is a sham and their happiness is a lie. I have to wonder whether the belief and hope for the destruction of their relationship is mostly because human nature has to normalize what, unfortunately, so many people regularly experience in relationships… repeated infidelity. Whether you’re the cheater or the person doing the cheating, it validates what so many already believe to be true… that most men cheat. It makes me consider the individuals that are in relationships with cheaters (men and women). The act of cheating is but one aspect of a person’s overall self-centered personality, and the cheating stars as the huge dancing elephant in the room. So the cheating gets the most attention, and all of the little mice scurry about in the walls while the elephant dances. So as we fully acknowledge all of the other behaviors we start to make better sense of the cheater’s personality structure.
Just How Selfish Are You
Is your partner a person who believes they are better than others or that they’re so amazing that they deserve special treatment? As you start to reflect on your partner’s character, do you start to notice how arrogant, exhibitionistic, vain, manipulative, and greedy for admiration they can be? Does your partner seem to not have any regard for your emotional experience while at the same time they have a strong sense of self-importance? Do they commonly take no blame or accountability for any wrongdoing or shortcoming, but instead find a way to blame you? Does your partner they think rules don’t apply to them and will often cheat when they think they can get away with it? Are they all about “I,” “me,” and “my” when they’re talking, never taking into consideration your needs? If you’re nodding your head and your brow is furrowed, you may be dealing with a narcissist or someone with many narcissistic traits. Individuals with these narcissistic behaviors can be so challenging to deal with and can make you feel like you’re losing your mind.
Healthy Versus Pathological
So what qualifies as healthy narcissism and destructive narcissism? Well in reality, narcissism occurs on a continuum of severity and can manifest at sub-clinical levels. Does your partner have high outward self- confidence, which can be incredibly attractive and magnetic, or is your partner grandiose? Does your partner seem to display ambition and enjoy power, or does your partner pursue power and control at all costs with little regard of those they hurt to achieve their goals? Is your partner able to show a real concern for others and their ideas, or does your partner devalue or exploit others with little to no remorse? Narcissists are incapable of putting another person’s needs before their own. They process information in terms of its relevance to their own needs. They react to negative feedback with anger because they are likely to feel shame, while they avoid blame by any means necessary. Some overt ways they display their narcissism is through character assassination, projection, and enraged reactions to perceived threats to their self-worth. More subtle displays are denying any remorse or gratitude and blaming others. Their entitlement and lack of empathy explains why they constantly interrupt you while you’re speaking and disregard your thoughts and ideas because what you say has very little significance. They keep you guessing and doubting yourself. Beyoncé asks “What’s worse, lookin’ jealous or crazy?” and then responds with, “I’d rather be crazy.” These options sound so hopeless, bleak, and defeated from the possibility of long-term relationship satisfaction. In Part II, 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.
If you are finding it difficult to deal with your lover’s selfish and confusing behaviors, please give us a call.