What I know about Narcissism

Narcissism is a common term used today to describe a person’s selfishness, self-centered, and ego-driven behaviors.  Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental condition that exhibits an excessive need for admiration, heightened sense of importance, disregard for others’ feelings, an inability to accept any criticism, arrogance, and a sense of superiority.  And when beneficial, a narcissist can feign love, humility, compassion, and vulnerability to manipulate and create confusion for their victim.  

I know about narcissism as a result of my twenty-three year relationship with my ex-husband.  I understand the confusing interactions, the inevitable isolation, and desperate need to make sense of life with a narcissist.  Their expert manipulations are kind and most loving when they want something from their victim.  And then they are cruel and punishing when the victim confronts, criticizes, disagrees, does not comply with their wants  or challenge their expressed thoughts.  A narcissist can be a mother, father, sibling, child, employer, partner, or spouse.  

Collectively, the following questions may help you to determine if you are being controlled by a narcissist.

  • Do you feel confused by their behavior?
  • Do you think that the problems that exist are your fault because they blame you for them?
  • Are they loving and kind and then extremely cruel?
  • Do they often criticize what you say or do, leaving you feeling like you are not good enough?
  • Do they create circumstances to elicit certain feelings and then criticize you for having them?
  • Do they minimize what is important to you leaving you feeling insecure and unaccomplished?
  • Do they diminish your achievements and discourage friendships?
  • Do you consider their wants, needs and desires before your own? 

It takes courage, determination and discipline to cut away the many attachments to a narcissist and, even more, the willingness to accept the truth and release the illusion of who you want the narcissist to be in your life.  No contact or minimal contact with strong boundaries is required to free yourself from their cruelty, disrespect, and constant manipulations.  

No matter the circumstances, there are no reasons to stay in an abusive, diminishing, and unfulfilling relationship.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” — Maya Angelou