If you have ever suspected you are dealing with a narcissist in your life… you might have googled the term. Most definitions of a narcissist describe someone who has an exaggerated need for admiration, need for attention, who is self-obsessed, who boasts about themselves, and is prone to grandiosity in every meaning of the word.
The first thing you need to know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is that it’s a spectrum disorder. This means it has a wide, and I mean wide, variety of manifestations. Not all people suffering from NPD display the same behaviours. Some are full of themselves, while others take the role of a constant victim. Some may be full-blown narcissists, while others might have narcissistic tendencies. Not all boastful individuals are narcissists, and not all people with a victim mentality are included. There truly is a wide variety of possibilities and nuances to this disorder and it is not gender specific.
While there are several types of narcissists, what they all have in common is “self-enhancement”. Their thoughts, behaviours, and statements set them apart from others, and this feeling of distinction soothes them. Otherwise, they struggle with an unstable sense of self, as they find it difficult to manage their emotions.
Narcissism is a curse both to the narcissist and to many of the people around them. It is a curse to be full of the latent insecurities that causes them to feel the way they do. It prevents them from being able to fully accept and enjoy other people. Instead, they are always busy finding perceived faults with others to make themselves feel superior.
The narcissist can be a tragic figure, who has usually experienced some defining emotional experience at a young age. If you are a kind and compassionate person, then it is natural to feel empathy for others who suffer, including narcissists. Fundamentally, narcissists are trapped emotionally at the approximate developmental stage level of a three-year-old. As a result, they lack the most basic ability to care about the feelings, necessities, and perspectives of others. However, as adults, they easily manipulate people, whether its by making people feel pity for them, devaluing others or simply rejecting them. They desire to control others, particularly those close to them, as they always know best and want to prevent themselves from feeling threatened in any way.
Narcissists have an almost unlimited arsenal for protecting themselves, asserting their dominance and manipulating those around them. One of their most destructive and commonly used tools is gaslighting. This is a form of psychological abuse, in which the narcissist systematically undermines another person’s mental state by leading them to question their perceptions of reality. It is like having someone photoshop all your memories until you can’t trust what you’ve actually experienced. It’s definitely a mind-warp that leaves the victim questioning what their eyes have seen and their ears have heard. The narcissist uses lies and false information to erode the victim’s belief in their own judgment and, ultimately, their sanity.
After an abusive incident, the narcissist refuses to take responsibility, blames you, or outright denies that the abuse took place. He/she may say things like, “That’s not what happened. You’re crazy. You made me do it.” It is a concerted effort for the narcissist to make the victim dependent on them for knowing and understanding the truth of what is happening.
They consistently assert a self that is greater, entitled, and above reproach and believe they deserve special treatment. Sometimes, they seem generous, however, only to get back from others. I have been around several narcissists; with whom I have had some degree of relationship. It has been an important learning and sometimes painful experience for me.
There is something all narcissists are addicted to – their narcissistic supply. Narcissistic supply, in a nutshell, is a supply from which they feed from their outer layer. For some, it will be boasting and putting others down, while for others it can be victimizing themselves. In any case, they need other people who will provide them with enough drama to keep their engine going.
Don’t succumb to the need to be that person for them anymore. Detect what the narcissist in your life feeds off, and inconspicuously cut the supply. Narcissists love to prey on those who deem vulnerable, it is not about you, it is only about their need for control. Don’t let them dim the light within you. Become dull and they will find another victim to feed off. Yes, there will be another victim, because a narcissist relies on his narcissistic supply to be able to function.
The Curse of Narcissism is real and it is present. If you have not experienced it, consider yourself very fortunate. But, be aware, as you can never predict when or from whom it might come. Remember, most people who interact with a narcissist never realize it, as they are master puppeteers and rulers of deceit and leaders of manipulation.