It starts out deliciously.
You are certain that the universe put this person on this planet just for you. This is the one. The one you have been waiting for forever. And then it starts to hurt. It starts to hurt like you can’t believe. Like it’s never going to stop. And it’s not just you. It happens to many, too many people – maybe 158 million Americans – so it matters.
Of course, even good people do bad things to one another from time to time, so these occurrences are not what we are talking about here.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
When we talk about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) we are talking about specific patterns of repetitive behaviors, destructive to the well being of others. The Mayo Clinic defines NPD this way.
Narcissistic personality disorder — one of several types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.
But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
With incredible charm, the Narcissist lures and lands the giver of narcissistic supplies.
Narcissistic supplies can include attention, admiration, approval, adoration, and other forms of sustenance essential for the NPD to stabilize the fragile self and fill up the emptiness inside.
As Narcissism appears to be on the rise, there are now plenty of very good Internet articles to read on the subject of Narcissistic Abuse, numbers of them right here on marriage.com.
Here is what I want you to know, some do’s and don’ts
Do not play with fire and expect to not get burnt
No matter how strong, competent, and downright amazing you are in other areas of your life; you are no match for the NPD, ever. It is like wrestling with the devil and expecting to win. Do not go there.
Do not unmask the false self
Even though most of us want to be loved and appreciated for the imperfect beings that we are, there may be nothing worse than exposing the weaknesses beneath the NPDs mask.
Do not expect to be thanked for loving the NPD, warts and all. Punishment, possibly severe punishment, is more likely.
Do run for the hills and go ‘no contact’ if you can
Not everyone can, particularly where there are children involved. Either way, with educational awareness and practice, anyone can learn how to disengage emotionally.
No matter what ridiculousness is hurled your way, from you to the NPD: “I accept that you feel that way.” Period. Done.
Do accept whatever unwelcomed feelings may emerge inside of you along the way of your healing. Same thing. From you to you: “I accept that you feel that way.” What we resist persists. Let it come. Let it go. Like clouds in the sky. Practice, practice, practice ‘til it doesn’t come anymore.
Do be flattered. Surprised? That’s right, flattered
The charming NPD doesn’t target just anyone.
Typically, you have to be pretty amazing in some way that the NPD is not. Even the most dazzling among them are inner ashamed of themselves, so it serves them to be and be seen with someone like you.
Doesn’t mean there might not be some work for you to do on why you may have gotten in so deep, maybe stayed too long. Fine, do that work. Just remember, good chance, when he picked you, he picked you for all that you are!
Do pamper yourself
Do spend time in good company and pamper yourself (e.g., massage) as much as you can afford to as you are healing – including but not limited to possibly asking for help from an NPD savvy practitioner to move things along.
Unlike physical injuries, narcissistic abuse injuries are invisible to people who do not know much or enough about them.
Treat yourself to working with someone who does.
Do know this
Narcissistic Abuse becomes a physiological peptide addiction, an addiction that must be broken. Do that. Break the addiction in whatever way it works best for you. Your relief and happiness are waiting for you on the other side.