By clinical definition narcissism is “an excessive need for admiration, disregard for others’ feelings, an inability to handle any criticism, and a sense of entitlement”. (Source: Mayo Clinic) What mental health professionals describe in textbooks and articles was my actual living nightmare. I want to start off this blog by describing some of the traits of these toxic people as I know them through my own personal experiences.
First know that narcissism is a personality disorder that can not be cured. This person will not change. They will not suddenly see the error of their ways. They do not feel remorse or guilt for their actions. Not all people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are physically abusive -as there are varying degrees and types of narcissists- but they are most definitely abusive in one way or another. They mistreat, misuse, manipulate, and exploit. Their needs come before all others. Their inflated view of themselves prevents them from acknowledging any faults. They are both the hero and the victim; whichever one makes them the star of their own narrative. You need to know that they will come to you as charming, loving individuals. The wolf in sheep’s clothing. They will seem kind and generous. Until suddenly they are not. When their kind words turn to scathing critiques, you will be made to believe it is your fault. Their lack of empathy and indifference will not care for your tears. You are always wrong. They are always right. You are to blame even for their own failures. This is part of the gaslighting. They will flip your reality. You will question everything you know to be true.
A “toxic narcissist” like my ex-husband has one objective: dominate their victim until they make them feel worthless. That feeling of worthlessness is what keeps a person in an abusive relationship. Distance yourself from these poisonous people. If it’s a parent or other family member that you can’t avoid, set firm boundaries. Do not engage. Do not allow them to bait you. If you know someone that is in one of these relationships, do not judge them. Support them. Help them if you can.