If the narcissist in your life is a family member, partner, friend or even someone you work with, it can be an immensely negative, daunting, confusing and painful experience. Leaving us drained, confused and full of self-doubts.
How can someone who claims to love you so much treat you so wrong? How can we love and want to help someone so much who hits us with our biggest fears to hurt us so much time and time again?
The narcissist personality disorder is a disorder, and it’s on a spectrum; it’s who they are. They can not change if they want to, they could learn coping strategies to manage the disorder, yet as most don’t want to look too deeply into who they are and are very quick to blame others, this will most likely not happen.
Yes, those who have been abused or been through trauma didn’t deserve the abuse or trauma. Yes, it can be a reason behind the disorder. However, it’s not an excuse. No one deserves to be abused; however, for those who have, it is our responsibility to heal and not harm. They didn’t choose to be abused. They decide to hurt others, as they’re very quick to act nice if they’ve got an audience watching or might face the consequences for their actions.
Can someone with the narcissistic personality disorder love you? I believe, yes, that is my own personal beliefs. Others believe no. There is many points of view.
You can not give what you do not have. I believe in their own way at times. Yes, they love you in their own conditional way, just not in the way we love someone, in that moment when we are meeting all their wants and needs, they love what we are providing for them, they love the attention they are getting, they love that we are making them feel special, they love that we care for them, they love that we are showering them with affection, they love the praise they get when they treat us well, at that moment in time, they care that we are making them feel good at that moment in time, and while we stay in that place of serving their every need everything will be alright. Yet it’s not alright as we are slowly losing who we are, losing our boundaries, our beliefs, our self-worth, our dignity, our happiness, our values, and as soon as we stand up for ourselves, they wreak havoc within our lives, nobody wants to destroy you more than a narcissist who sees you’re moving on, they no longer love and care for us at that moment, they seek to destroy us, to take everything from us, to hurt us more than they already have. They are no longer interested in us, as we are no longer meeting their needs. They are only interested in loving and caring for us in their own unique way when it suits them when it no longer meets their requirements; they just cut it off.
So some people can be so full of anger and resentment towards someone they can learn to switch off any feeling they had for them at that moment. People on the narcissistic personality disorder spectrum are lacking a few things, so they can just stop loving and caring.
They don’t have an attachment to others. An attachment system is usually formed in early childhood with a baby and its primary caregiver. Either this never happens, or something happens to a narcissist in childhood that they turn them to the fight survival mode to protect themselves, cutting off their attachment, cutting off their positive emotions like joy, happiness and love to protect themselves, meaning on a deep level they can never truly connect with others.
Empathy is the humans’ ability to identify with how another person might be feeling to respond appropriately. Empathy is when you can think about how you would feel if something bad happened to someone. A narcissistic person most often can simply just not have the emotional empathy to see what another person is feeling. They just don’t understand it. They can not relate, put themselves in another’s shoes to genuinely care. Some have cognitive empathy. This is to think emphatically and is used negatively. They only see how they can use our empathy for their advantage, to guilt-trip us, place fear in us, and not how they can help others.
Narcissists have little to no guilt or remorse. Without their lack of empathy, they don’t feel bad when they hurt someone. They can see how others would perceive them, so they do carry shame. However, they quickly remove this shame by blame-shifting it onto others, projecting their own thoughts and feelings into others, and then telling stories to those who empathise with how badly they were treated as they’ve learned this gets them attention. Often believe their own stories as reality.
They lack a conscience, meaning they are unaware within themselves of the true differences between right and wrong, they believe they are special and superior, and rules don’t apply to them.
They lack object consistency. This is usually formed around the age of 2-3, meaning they develop aside to caring for others even if they are not around that person at that time. Those of us who have this mean, even when someone hurts us, we can still care about them. A narcissist, at any moment, can just stop caring if their needs are not being met.
They lack whole object relations. They are unable to see that others have good and bad qualities and that humans are not perfect and come with flaws. So once they realise they don’t like something about someone else, instead of seeing them as perfectly imperfect, with different thoughts and feelings, who make mistakes, they see them as damaged and hurtful and just don’t care enough or have the ability to understand and find a middle ground.
They lack cognitive reflections. Therefore they can not reflect on how their own personal behaviour has caused an issue. They believe it’s your fault for any problems they are having. They blame all others for their own failing, rarely to never reflecting on their own behaviour, mistakes or errors in judgment.
Those on the disorder will never listen to reason or your point of view, so learning how to handle your own emotions and your own responses around them, I do recommend no contact as the best approach.
Someone not on the spectrum of the disorder, you can learn to build awareness and understanding of each other. Find a way to communicate.
Love and connection and Tony Robbins, six human needs.
Subconsciously whatever we do in life is driven by fulfilling or unfulfilling these six human needs. If any one thing that we do fills three of these needs at a conscious lever or an unconscious level, it becomes highly addictive.
Fundamentally human needs are shelter, food, water, and air.
The six human needs are.
4. Love and connection.
You can meet love and connection in positive ways, giving love and receiving love, helping others, give and take, looking after a pet dog that loves to see you etc., in a neutral way, neither going back nor stepping forward or a negative way, by destroying someone else, you feel connected to them as they’ll be responding to you. So when narcissistic people provoke you, and you react, you are fulfilling the narcissist’s need for connection to others, negativity, and often negativity affecting you.
Most people end up settling for connection, either because they’ve loved hard and they don’t want to feel that pain of loss again, or because they are with someone who’s not showing love, yet they feel connected to them, thinking it’s love.
Often most of us use problems as our reason to stay in situations we shouldn’t be in. Rather than finding solutions, or we find problems within the solution when it’s actually our human needs that keep us hooked on things. Problems, however, mask and don’t fulfil your deepest needs. Often causing more problems. We make up excuses of why we can not do something, and these excuses are valid within our minds. Worse, we make excuses up of why we should do things that, in reality, we shouldn’t be doing them.
When we live in panic and fear, sometimes we don’t think all that rationally, as our minds are hardwired into survival. We can respond negatively to negative people by being quick to judge, especially when emotions are running on a high, just to get that connection, which hurts us more as it’s a negative connection.
Any time something fills three of our human needs, it becomes addictive. Any time by believing something, doing something or feeling something, and it meets three of the human needs, we become addicted to it. If it’s through a feeling, an emotion or an action, if it’s meeting any three of the above need, you will become addicted.
Subconsciously an abusive relationship will meet all six of your human needs on a level making it highly addictive and extremely hard to break free from. Why the average time it takes to get out is seven times, then with the added fact you’ve been manipulated To thinking it’s all your fault, fear of leaving, fear of what they may do, guilt and all the doubts they’ve fed you, it’s not just hard to get out it’s painfully hard.
The narcissist also can become addicted to you, often why most if they are not getting their needs met elsewhere will come for the hoover on you. Also, why do most seem to be able to just move on without any heartache as they are getting their human needs met elsewhere?
How does an abusive relationship meet all your needs?
1. Love and connection, if they are love bombing you, you feel love and connection. If they are strangling you, it’s negative. Still, you will be feeling a connection to them at that moment, you’ll also feel the negative side of insignificant, and you’ll feel uncertain as to what they may do next. The narcissist will be filling their need of significance. Either way, if they are love bombing you, you’ll be full of positive love towards them. If they are in your face, shouting, spitting, strangling, they are going to feel significance over you, connection to you in a negative way. They are going to feel certain they are in control over you.
2. Uncertainty/ variety. As you never know what they are up to, where they are, which person you’re going to get when they walk through the door, or how they will be when they wake up. The narcissist’s uncertainty is fulfilled by keeping you walking on eggshells, keeping you guessing and often having more than one partner, although not all narcissists cheat.
3. The certainty that you have someone, you are not alone even though you feel alone, that fear of uncertainty of being alone keeps us with them for longer than we should stay, we can also be certain they will change, we’ve seen the good side, we know it exists. The narcissist feels certain they have someone, and if they fear they might not, they’ll make sure they have someone else lined up ready to replace you.
4. Significance, in a positive way that affects us negatively, we feel significant that we are in a relationship, that we help them, provide for them, loan them money. The narcissist feels significant that we will keep giving, and they can keep taking.
5. Growth, you believe you were growing as you adapt and change so often to meet their needs, so you don’t get a reaction. The narcissist will most often step up the games to fill their need for growth. Yet, they never last, so they move on to another target. Again novelty wears off for them. It never lasts, they never grow, familiarity comes into play, they get bored and search for a new target to fill that need that they can not meet, making them deeply unhappy.
6. Contribution, we believe we are contributing towards them, cooking teas, washing clothes, buying them cars, helping them out etc. Most narcissists never truly meet their need for contribution; they are only ever willing to give to receive, so they are always looking for more and never satisfied or happy deep within themselves.
When getting out of an Abusive relationship or once out, you need to focus on meeting love and contribution elsewhere, either by focusing more on your children than you already do, giving your time to charity, getting a dog if you love dogs, helping other get through it etc., we all fill love and contribution needs in different ways, so it’s working out the best way to fill it for you.
You can meet your need for love and connection by loving and connecting with yourself, by having a pet, especially dogs, helping the community, connecting with people online, by dressing how you want and feeling good within yourself, love and connection with friends, family, your children. We have the internet’s power, connecting in comments, the community’s in Facebook groups, FaceTiming that loved one, imagination is a powerful thing, use it to create positive ways.
Just take a side step from the negative comments, we don’t have to change others’ opinions, and we don’t have to get involved with every argument. If we feel like we need to say something, say something in a thoughtful way, or nothing at all.
These uncertain times easily bring out the best and the worst in people, educating the worst with actions of walking with the best. Be your personal best, whatever that personal best is to you. Remember, you can not help everyone, and it’s not selfish to help yourself. First, you have to be at your best, take care of your mental and physical health before you can give to others.
Keep your boundaries high, so others don’t take advantage.
Keep working on yourself and filling your human needs up in other ways, leaving the narcissist to it and filling your own life back up. You will get through this.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.