“Narcissists are people who never learned to make it on their own. Except for their fantasies of perfection, envy of others who have what they lack, and unacknowledged fears of humiliation, they are empty on the inside. They have no real Self to bring to a relationship with another person, but they desperately need someone else to join them in their emptiness and help them maintain emotional equilibrium. The ideal candidate is someone willing to become an extension of the Narcissist's fragile ego, to serve as an object of admiration, contempt, or often enough both."
Many of you have been in a relationship or been a friend with someone who was a narcissist. But… Narcissist are experts at hiding their true identities.
“ A covert narcissist generally possesses the same traits as an overt narcissist these are not commonly expressed in overt behavior making covert or stealth narcissists much more difficult to recognize. Some people go decades before recognizing the narcissist in their life. Covert narcissists are too afraid to exhibit their accomplishments to others and commonly underestimate their own capabilities. The most damaging aspect of covert narcissism is the controlling and manipulative behaviour they impose on people closest to them. Undoubtedly the most damaging form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is covert narcissism.”
Narcissism is far more complex than simple Self-centeredness. Being a narcissist is much more than that. Being a narcissist involves living in a distorted reality where the rules of "normal" do not apply. They effectively live in a bubble where true communication and intimacy is futile. The true narcissist was created in childhood. There was a type of child abuse that impeded healthy bonding. In childhood the narcissist was either the answer to a mother's emotional hunger, and over-indulged by being treated as mother's little prince, or the child was neglected and severely criticized for not living up to the parent's expectations. Either extreme, will cause a child to not feel safe to transition out of the self-centered stage of about 7 years old.
“The narcissist is an actor in a monodrama, yet he is forced to remain behind the scenes.The scenes take centre stage, instead. The Narcissist does not cater at all to his own needs. Contrary to his reputation, the Narcissist does not "love" himself in any true sense of this loaded word. The narcissist feeds off other people who hurl back at him an image that he projects to them. This is their sole function in his world : to reflect his False Self, to admire him, to applaud his actions, even to detest and fear him - in a word, to assure him that he exists by giving him constant attention. Otherwise, the narcissist feels that they have no right to tax his time, energy, or emotions.” (Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited By: Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.)
They love the image of themselves. Narcissists have learnt through their parents and others that they can only be respected, admired or "loved" if they put on an image of perfection. They invest in their image at the expense of their Self. They don't want others to see their defects because if they are pointed out it casts doubt on the grandiose image they have of themselves. Hence the development of a false Self that they and others can respect, admire and "love".
A person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder has an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for attention and admiration, and a strong sense of entitlement. They make you feel special not for who you are but because they see you as an extension of themselves. This view of you is known as "Inflation".
They believe they are superior and have little regard for the feelings of others. Narcissists need constant admiration, attention and compliments. They live with the illusion that they are perfectionists and that people revere them. They don’t grow up just because they are “perfect”. That makes them dependent on other people to keep their self-esteem high. Therefore, any challenge, mildly negative remark, or disagreement from another person is considered criticism, rejection and even mockery.
Malignant narcissism needs – above all else – control. Narcissists are driven by their own needs and desires. Hunger for power and control. Narcissists are cruel because their world revolves around themselves. Narcissists are by nature - emotional manipulators - to get what they want. Because they become masters at manipulation to get what they want, they can be the most charming people you've ever met.
Narcissists can be experts in manipulation and seduction of the opposite sex. “narcissists are the sort of people who have multiple partners, secret affairs (sometimes within the family) or even a complete secret life with someone else. Covert narcissists use cleverly hidden emotional blackmail, mental abuse and manipulative linguistic patterns to force their partner to question their own sanity, behaviors which people that know them would never ever dream of them even being capable of.”
Sex is just one of the ways in which narcissists seek to establish power. "Narcissists use sex as a substitute for love and intimacy". Researchers argue that narcissists see a sexual partner as an object, not a person. Their sexual partner isn’t really there, for the narcissist. There is no connection. There is just a body. To them it is a mechanical act; it doesn't really require true intimacy just physical closeness. Usually in order for a partner to experience "mind blowing" orgasms they need to feel connected to their lovers own sexual excitement and feelings of love. Narcissist's don't have these passionate feelings they've spent so much effort repressing them. A Narcissists orgasms are not intense as a result. Some even prefer pornography and masturbation to sex.
The Narcissist isn't going to be spending time worrying about how you're feeling or analysing their part in what went wrong in your "relationship". This is because they won't think they've done anything wrong and they don't like to dwell on any negative emotions.
“The narcissist “dancer”, like the codependent, is attracted to a partner who feels perfect to them: Someone who lets them lead the dance while making them feel powerful, competent and appreciated. In other words, the narcissist feels most comfortable with a dancing companion who matches up with their self-absorbed and boldly selfish dance style. Narcissist dancers are able to maintain the direction of the dance because they always find partners who lack self-worth, confidence and who have low self-esteem – codependents. With such a well-matched companion, they are able to control both the dancer and the dance.”- Ross Rosenberg
It’s important to understand that the narcissist is also a sufferer. Although on some level they must be conscious of their abuse, mind-games and manipulation or they wouldn’t hide it from everyone, it has become their way of getting through life and is deep-routed in their subconscious. However, they still know the difference between right and wrong and good and evil but deep down inside they just don’t care – protecting their true (and self-denied) emotions is more important. The narcissist will make it clear to the person closest to them that they understand they have a problem, that they simply don’t care and are not willing to do anything about it even if that means losing the people closest to them in their life. Narcissists have no empathy. They are aware of their cruelty, and it is entirely deliberate. This is because their needs and their desire for control come above all other things.
But ….what feelings do they have? In fact:
Shame - for their weaknesses. When their weaknesses are brought to their attention it shatters their grand illusions of themselves.
Envy - for others who have what they don't, who are skilled at what they are not, who can feel what they don't, who are happy just being themselves.
Entitlement - to special treatment and having all their needs and wants met at the instant they need them to be met.
Fear - of being unworthy, being humiliated, being rejected and or abandoned.
Any good feelings they have are linked to how others perceive them. Without an audience to play to they can become bored and despondent. It's almost as if they cannot bear to spend time on their own for fear of their own thoughts betraying their omnipotence.
Victims of long-term narcissistic abuse need validation and education about what has happened to them. They need information about the medical condition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and its toxicity in relationships. They need education about how they have contributed to their situation through co-dependence. They need therapy to deal with symptoms.
Source: narcissismfree.com, examiner.com, .echo.me.uk