However, the residual effects of any abuse can be devastating when most people think of abuse, be it spousal, parental, etc. – They tend to focus on physical abuse. Mental and emotional abuse can be as if not more harmful, especially when the abuser is someone close to the abused.
Perhaps the worst type of abuse comes at the hands of those who are so self-conscious that they do not see or care about the results of their actions. This type of narcissistic abuse can be found in many different types of relationships, including parents and children, spouse / partner, and even friendships. Emotional abuse by a narcissistic parent can be especially insidious, as it can damage the child’s ability to form stable relationships in the future. It has been proposed that due to the lack of an appropriate healthy relationship model, those who suffered emotional abuse as children tend to end up in abusive relationships similar to those of adults.
In the United States, the 1980s were viewed as a time when self-centeredness and self-centeredness were not only acceptable, but expected. The “me generation” had created new extremes of narcissism. Many were willing to ignore the welfare of others for their own sake.
Despite this inner focus, most of the people we think of when we think of this period in time were not true narcissists in the strictest sense. The term narcissism is derived from the Greek story of a Naissus, a hunter who was the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. He possessed such beauty that even he himself could not shake off the attraction. The god Nemesis tricked him into looking into a pond, after which he saw and fell in love with his own reflection, only to die there gazing at his own beautiful features.
Narcissism is defined as “excessive fascination for oneself; excessive self-esteem; vanity” or in psychoanalytic terms as “erotic gratification derived from the admiration of one’s physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of development personality”. This term is used to refer to common self-absorption. In 1968, an extreme form was added to the psychological literature as a definable diagnosis.
The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V) of the American Psychiatric Association defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning in early adulthood and occurring in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Has a grand sense of self-importance (eg, exaggerates accomplishments and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate accomplishments).
2. You are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believe that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should be associated with, other special or high status people (or institutions).
4. Requires excessive admiration.
5. You have a sense of entitlement, that is, unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment or automatic fulfillment of your expectations.
6. He is exploitative interpersonally, that is, he takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends.
7. Lacks empathy: not willing to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
8. Often envious of others or believes that others envy him or her.
9. Shows arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes.
In addition, the following criteria must be met to justify a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
Significant deficiencies in the functioning of the personality that are manifested by:
1. Deficiencies in self-functioning (a or b):
to. Identity: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and regulation of self-esteem; exaggerated self-assessment may be inflated or deflated, or waver between extremes; Emotional regulation reflects fluctuations in self-esteem.
B. Self Direction: Goal setting is based on getting the approval of others; personal standards are unreasonably high to view oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; they are often unaware of their own motivations.
2. Deficiencies in interpersonal functioning (a or b):
to. Empathy: poor ability to recognize or identify with the
feelings and needs of others; excessively tuned in to the reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to oneself; overestimate or underestimate one’s effect on others.
B. Intimacy: Relationships are largely superficial and exist to serve the regulation of self-esteem; reciprocity limited by little genuine interest in the experiences of others and a predominance of a need for personal gain
Pathological personality traits in the following domain:
1. Antagonism, characterized by:
to. Grandiosity: feelings of entitlement, whether overt or covert;
egocentrism; clinging firmly to the belief that you are better than others; condescending towards others.
B. Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the center of attention of others; search for admiration.
vs. The deficiencies in the functioning of the personality and the expression of the personality traits of the individual are relatively stable over time and consistent in all situations.
D. Deficiencies in the individual’s personality functioning and expression of personality traits are not better understood as normative for the individual’s stage of development or sociocultural environment.
me. Impairments in the individual’s personality functioning and expression of the personality trait are not solely due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (eg, a drug of abuse, medication) or a general medical condition (eg. Eg, severe head injury).
While all of this may seem overwhelming, by focusing on a few key parts of the diagnosis, we can see how a relationship with someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder could easily turn into a living hell. As indicated on the first date, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder felt that they are more important than other people. They don’t just stand on a pedestal, they think others do the same. A healthy relationship is not one in which one person dominates the other, but these narcissists cannot form healthy relationships.
As we see in the second date, there is an inability to form proper bonds due to a lack of empathy for others or to form intimate relationships. The fact that it is especially revealing “Relationships [are] largely superficial and exist to serve the regulation of self-esteem “(emphasis added).
A relationship with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a one-way street. All attention and emotional support flow from the individual to the narcissist. These relationships are characterized by verbal and mental abuse, belittling, complaints, and even physical abuse. Narcissists believe that they cannot do anything wrong, so any problems with the relationship, and even problems that arise in daily life, are the fault of the other partner. If a mistake is made, the partner is somehow to blame.
Narcissists’ need for attention and admiration leads them to constantly seek out those who reinforce their inflated sense of self-worth. This results in a series of brief relationships and a long series of discarded partners. If the narcissist is married, there is a high probability that he is not faithful. Naturally, if the infidelity is discovered, the partner will be to blame for not being pretty enough, worried, etc.
Victims of a narcissistic abuser often display similar characteristics. The most common is a poor sense of self-worth, often accompanied by an inability to make decisions for themselves. Years go by when they are told they are not good enough, not smart enough, not something good enough. Over time they come to internalize these negative statements. They doubt their own abilities. This makes them more dependent on the narcissistic abuser, creating a cycle of codependency.
This is one of the most concerning aspects of narcissistic abuse in terms of parental care. When children are constantly looked down upon, they grow up believing that they are not capable. When they finally get out of the control of their narcissistic father, they lack the coping skills necessary to survive on their own. Doubting their own decision-making abilities and crippled by low self-esteem, they gravitate toward someone who will accept them despite their self-perceived flaws and make decisions for them. In short, they enter into relationships with narcissistic abusers. They leave their parents alone to end up with someone exactly like the same people who abused them in the first place.
Those who have suffered at the hands of a narcissist can display a number of emotional and physical symptoms that can be difficult to attribute to the relationship as they are the result of the stress they face on a daily basis. These include confusion, dissociation, poor eating and sleeping habits, and even signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It is especially difficult for those in a relationship with a narcissist to get help, as they have been conditioned to look at their abuser for most, if not all, decision-making activities. Their low sense of self-worth makes it easy for them to ignore the idea that they deserve better. Obviously, in their minds, no one else would have them. They must be happy with the relationship they have, even though they are unhappy. This is a theme that the abuser will also reinforce.
While difficult, it is possible to escape the cycle of narcissistic abuse. The first step should be to accept that no one deserves the constant humiliation and demands of the narcissist. As the self-image is restored to a healthy level, it becomes easier to make decisions without the involvement of the abuser. Naturally, this is an extremely difficult process that may require the help of outsiders, including professionals. Unfortunately, it is common for narcissistic abusers to restrict their partners’ access to others, especially those who would express opinions contrary to their grand sense of self.