Amelia Gillis, LMHC
UNDERSTANDING THE PERSONALITY
The essential feature of narcissistic personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts. Individuals with this disorder have a grand sense of self-importance. The routinely overestimate their abilities and inflate their accomplishments, often appearing boastful and pretentious. They believe that he or she is "special" and should only be understood by, and associate with other special or high-status people. They require excessive admiration. They have a sense of entitlement. They are often preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. They lack empathy. Shows arrogant, haughty, behaviors or attitudes and can be interpersonally exploitative. (DSM-V)
Have you came across someone that fits the criteria above? An experience with them, can be summed up to one sentence "IT'S ALL ABOUT THEM". That statement wasn't it's all about you or "us" collectively. If there is nothing else you remember, remember that it's all about them.
THE CONFUSING CHANGES
Relationships with narcissists can be painful, complicated, and frustrating. It can be confusing because one moment they are charming and loving and the next they are hateful and demeaning the next. Relationships with narcissists starts to progress very quickly and within a few days or weeks, you are deeply in love. You can feel like you are in the perfect relationship. Almost instantly, your partner becomes controlling, selfish, angry, blaming, and self-justifying. You feel as though you have done something wrong. You may attempt to express your needs only to be met with contempt. You continue to hope for something different and give the relationship your all. Only to be left feeling more drained, hurt, and disappointed. This becomes a constant rollercoaster of emotions.
WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?
A narcissist needs someone who will take care of them. They are attracted to someone with caretaking characteristics. Someone who is super-empathetic, generous, giving, agreeable, easygoing, and likes to please others. The narcissist use those strengths to get what they want. The narcissist demands that they are catered to or they will make life miserable. The focus becomes more on them and less on you.
This type of relationship is unhealthy and doomed. Narcissism is a serious personality disorder. It runs in families. There lack of empathy, defensiveness and self-protection, lack of caring, and unwilling to share will not change. While there is hope for many disorders, this one is hard because most narcissists don't seek help. They are the least likely group to seek help. It is easier to keep their false self intact than to show that they have a problem. This can be problematic if you believe you can change them or stick around hoping they would change. Staying in these relationships will leave you feeling overwhelmed because you will never meet their expectations.
Once you identify these patterns it's important that you let go of the relationship. Healing will look differently for everyone. However, the key ideas in this process includes healing your self-esteem, rebuild your self-confidence, build resilience, and love yourself. Remember that you won't be able to please everyone and that's ok. Remember that you are important even if the narcissist made you feel otherwise. Stop caring about other's opinions and quit giving in to make other people happy. It's important that you start living for you.