Personality Disorders Community

Surviving the Narcissist

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Question:

Is there a point in waiting for the narcissist to heal? Can it ever be better?

Answer:

The victims of the narcissist's abusive conduct resort to fantasies and self-delusions to salve their pain.

Rescue Fantasies

"It is true that he is a chauvinistic narcissist and that his behaviour is unacceptable and repulsive. But all he needs is a little love and he will be straightened out. I will rescue him from his misery and misfortune. I will give him the love that he lacked as a child. Then his narcissism will vanish and we will live happily ever after."

Loving a Narcissist

I believe in the possibility of loving narcissists if one accepts them unconditionally, in a disillusioned and expectation-free manner.

Narcissists are narcissists. Take them or leave them. Some of them are lovable. Most of them are highly charming and intelligent. The source of the misery of the victims of the narcissist is their disappointment, their disillusionment, their abrupt and tearing and tearful realisation that they fell in love with an ideal of their own making, a phantasm, an illusion, a fata morgana. This "waking up" is traumatic. The narcissist always remains the same. It is the victim who changes.

It is true that narcissists present a luring facade in order to captivate Sources of Narcissistic Supply. But this facade is easy to penetrate because it is inconsistent and too perfect. The cracks are evident from day one but often ignored. Then there are those who KNOWINGLY and WILLINGLY commit their emotional wings to the burning narcissistic candle.

This is the catch-22. To try to communicate emotions to a narcissist is like discussing atheism with a religious fundamentalist.

Narcissists have emotions, very strong ones, so terrifyingly overpowering and negative that they hide them, repress, block and transmute them. They employ a myriad of defence mechanisms to cope with their repressed emotions: projective identification, splitting, projection, intellectualisation, rationalisation.

Any effort to relate to the narcissist emotionally is doomed to failure, alienation and rage. Any attempt to "understand" (in retrospect or prospectively) narcissistic behaviour patterns, reactions, or his inner world in emotional terms - is equally hopeless. Narcissists should be regarded as a force of nature or an accident waiting to happen.

The Universe has no master-plot or mega-plan to deprive anyone of happiness. Being born to narcissistic parents, for instance, is not the result of a conspiracy. It is a tragic event, for sure. But it cannot be dealt with emotionally, without professional help, or haphazardly. Stay away from narcissists, or face them aided by your own self-discovery through therapy. It can be done.

Narcissists have no interest in emotional or even intellectual stimulation by significant others. Such feedback is perceived as a threat. Significant others in the narcissist's life have very clear roles: the accumulation and dispensation of past Primary Narcissistic Supply in order to regulate current Narcissistic Supply. Nothing less but definitely nothing more. Proximity and intimacy breed contempt. A process of devaluation is in full operation throughout the life of the relationship.

A passive witness to the narcissist's past accomplishments, a dispenser of accumulated Narcissistic Supply, a punching bag for his rages, a co-dependent, a possession (though not prized but taken for granted) and nothing much more. This is the ungrateful, FULL TIME, draining job of being the narcissist's significant other.

But humans are not instruments. To regard them as such is to devalue them, to reduce them, to restrict them, to prevent them from realising their potential. Inevitably, narcissists lose interest in their instruments, these truncated versions of full-fledged humans, once they cease to serve them in their pursuit of glory and fame.

Consider "friendship" with a narcissist as an example of such thwarted relationships. One cannot really get to know a narcissist "friend". One cannot be friends with a narcissist and one cannot love a narcissist. Narcissists are addicts. They are no different to drug addicts. They are in pursuit of gratification through the drug known as Narcissistic Supply. Everything and EVERYONE around them is an object, a potential source (to be idealised) or not (and, then to be cruelly discarded).