What is NPD and why you may be feeling that your relationship is "different"
NPD or Narcissistic Personality Disorder has descended into the psychoanalytical world from the famous character of Greek mythology, Narcissus. He received constant attention from the nymph Echo, but turned her down, ultimately falling in love with his own reflection. Self-obsessed and self-centered, Narcissus lost touch with his surroundings and eventually turned into a flower bearing his name, the narcissus.
And so… seeking to always be the center of their partner’s attention and repaying little in return OR (as the other side of the same coin) becoming controlling and/or manipulating them into changing their schedules, behaviors, and, often, beliefs and values to suit their own agenda is a very distinctive trait of a “narcissist”, or a person with NPD.
However, the idea of that people with this disorder have an inflated sense of ‘self’ – which, by the way – dominates mainstream psychology is erroneous. Yes, narcissists always prioritize themselves in any situation and expect their partners to adore them and look up to them for everything, even at the cost of their sense of self-respect. However, the situation here is a lot more complex than simply a fixation with oneself and the mania to control others. As it is becoming evident, with research and statistics, “narcissists” are the people who have grown up with a lot of child neglect or even abuse or have suffered from a significant emotional trauma. Their insatiable desire for love and attention come NOT from over-exaggerated self-esteem, but rather from the lack of it, hyper-sensitivity and the feeling of inferiority that they feel they need to cover up in order to survive and “not be eaten alive” by the perceived hostile elements around them. They crave love because they feel deprivation and hunger for it, basically – not because they are so much into themselves.
Now I am going to make a statement that has not been evaluated by the FDA, so to say: there is overwhelming evidence that Narcissism can be cured. Since mainstream psychology has the skin-deep insight into the issue of narcissism, it believes and teaches that this condition cannot be fixed. In a sense, this stands to reason: if someone is too much into themselves, there is not much you can do about that, really. However, the more in-depth studies show that what is termed “narcissism” in, in fact, a developmental disorder and a trauma response – and yes, it can be fixed to a significant extent by filling in the developmental gaps and coaching the right behaviors.
With that said, everything the mainstream says about the dangers of an NPD relationship is absolutely true. This is, indeed, a situation that involves a risk of domestic violence and the potential ugly consequences of emotional abuse.
If you choose to stay in this relationship, you absolutely MUST realize that you are, indeed, in a relationship with someone who has NPD, and treat your relationship accordingly. Remember: yes, things can become “normal” someday – and has, for many women and men in the same situation, who followed through the right steps. But it is NOT normal now, if your partner is showing the signs of NPD. It’s just like any other illness: heart disease, diabetes, strep throat: if you treat it correctly, you can live with it or even overcome it. If you ignore it, and act like it does not exist, it will kill you. IT WILL KILL YOU. Take this seriously.
The first step is to recognize the signs of NPD in your partner.
THE TWO FACES OF NPD
Depending on the type of narcissist and how they exhibit certain traits, NPD often reveals itself in two ways which are commonly known as the two faces of narcissism.
Grandiose Narcissism or Overt Narcissism is when the narcissist is extremely expressive about his exaggerated sense of self: they are very personable, charming, and friendly. They give extravagant gifts, shower you with compliments and are the life of the party. This kind of narcissist wants everything and everyone to be in his control, and always seeks adoration from others. The overt narcissist tends to overestimate himself and his potential by underestimating and diminishing others’ abilities and input.
Vulnerable Narcissism or Covert Narcissism is when narcissist loves to play the victim and encourages others to “understand him better”, be more considerate to his feelings, to “not be so selfish”, etc, - by constantly underestimating himself (in words only). This type of narcissist is always fishing for compliments and exhibits hypersensitivity, anxiety, and negativity in order to get attention.
HOW TO IDENTIFY NPD
While almost all of us can act narcissistic at certain times, when the red flag traits show on a regular basis and not randomly, but as a group, this is usually a sure sign of NPD. As the saying goes, if it walks like a duck… maybe there is hope that this can still be a coincidence. But when it also starts quacking like a duck… do not be in denial!
Below are some of the key signs that you will see in a person suffering from NPD. If you find these in your partner, please look further into the situation.
- Enhanced sense of ‘self’
- Always looking for attention
- Nothing is ever his/her fault
- Always putting the blame on you or circumstances
- He always fails to be there for you
- Any criticism is responded to with anger, resentment, and counter attacks
- He bullies you via gaslighting (i.e. reminding you of your flaws and mistakes)
- Hot and cold or mean and sweet swings for no apparent reason or provocation
- Shows you a lot of love today, and a lot of neglect tomorrow
- Regular silent treatments and attitudes
- Never apologizes OR dramatically begs for forgiveness and then repeats the same behavior very shortly
- You are starting to feel like you’re losing your mind, or your memory is getting worse
- You’re starting to have financial problems
- He/she feels too free to help themselves to your personal things
Remember, it is never too late to start improving your life and relationship! But you need to know your enemy before you can successfully battle them. Do your research.
There is an ocean of materials on narcissism on the web. However, remember: 99% of these materials are written by the mainstream psychologists, who will insist that you MUST leave your relationship upon detecting NPD. They do not offer any ways of fixing an NPD relationship – in fact, you if suggest you want to do so, you will be “going against the medical advice”. Although they can offer you useful tools for leaving such a relationship if you feel trapped and unable to do so at the moment, this is about where their help ends. If this is what you need, you are in good, professional hands.