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Relationships With Abusive Narcissists

David: You mentioned earlier that victims of abusive narrcissists "deny reality." Here's a followup question:

Mari438: Please give me an example of being asked to deny reality.

Dr. Vaknin: The partner is asked to accept, unconditionally and uncritically that she is inferior to the narcissist, that he is superior to her and to all others, that he is accomplished (even when he is not), that he is victimized (if he is somewhat paranoid) and so on. The partner replaces her judgement and critical faculties with those of the narcissist. This is suspended individuality. The partner is further destablized by the narcissist's tendency to idealize and, very rapidly, devalue; to change his mind often; to act unpredictably and capriciously; to form and abandon plans and so on. This disorientation leads to an overpowering and surrealistic sense of unreality.

David: Here are some more audience comments on what's being said tonight:

estrella: I was able to dump my narcissist after I began to develop traits within myself that I thought he had and thought I lacked.

bboop13: I can so relate to suspended individuality. I am finally divorced and am back to myself.

kodibear: I know as a victim for many years, as a child, I denied reality because he made me believe it was what I wanted from him.

garwen2: It really helps to understand this "no conscience, no love". It lets you know where you stand and gives you the strength to break away.

Checky: I tried to get my husband to change the abuse but he decided to seduce another supply.

jlc7197: My NPD husband never apologized once in 25 years. Not once!

Mari438: My husband was the most sensitive caring, considerate man I ever met. Actually too sensitive. Almost seemed to be child-like.

bunnie-41: I was married to a narcissist for 4 years and as long as I gave him all my attention, told him everyday how wonderful and handsome he was, gave him every material thing he wanted, did everything he wanted to do, ask him no questions or confronted him about anything, he was happy. When I started saying "no" is when he would sulk and get upset. Then I found out that he was already married when he married me. I could write a book of the abuse I have experienced with him.

Zette: Are narcissits usually big liars?

Dr. Vaknin: Narcissists are pathological liars (except I...:o)) This means that they lie even when they do not have to, when they achieve nothing by lying and when telling the truth would have achieved the same (or better) result. Pathological narcissism is the development of a FALSE self based on fantasies, grandiosity, and deceit. So, the very foundation of the narcissist is falsehood. Narcissists lie for two reasons: Either to obtain narcissistic supply or secure it Or because they prefer fantasy (or eternal love, brilliance, wealth, might) to (drab and disappointing) reality. Their propensity to fantasize often deteriorates to outright lying.

bboop13: They are the biggest liars and sooo good at it.

Neevis: I can answer that they are the biggest and best liars.

David: Just so everyone knows, you can sign up for our mail list so you can be notified of other events going on at HealthyPlace.com. A few more audience comments:

femfree: May I suggest that some victims wish to be deluded because their reality is just "too hard."

marymia916: I just want to thank you for changing my life Dr. Vaknin.

KKQ: I can sniff out a narcissist a mile away and no longer will put myself in that kind of a sick role.

kodibear: Having PTSD because of this, I can tell you I have no desire to delude myself, just survive.

jlc7197: My children were damaged severely by his abuse.

David: Dr. Vaknin, we have a few similar audience questions of a personal nature referring to you being an admitted narcissist.

Dr. Vaknin: Yes?

Neevis: Dr. Vaknin, you know that you are a narcissist. Do most narcissists have the same self-realization or do they think that something is wrong with everyone else but themselves?

Dr. Vaknin: Exceedingly few narcissists are self-aware. Actually, you might say that self-awareness is the antonym of narcissism. Most narcissists go through life convinced that something is wrong with everyone; that they are victimized, misunderstood, underestimated by intellectual midgets, abused (yes, abused!) by envious others and so on. In essence, the narcissist projects his own emotional barren and vitriolic landscape onto his environment. He sometimes forces people around him to behave in a way that justifies his expectations of them. This is called Projective Identification.

merelybecky: You do not seem to be like any Narcissist I know.

Dr. Vaknin: I am not sure if that's a compliment (laughing).


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Last Updated: 11 April 2017
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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