Last night I found myself asking the question: Is there any situation that’s more eye opening and reality revealing than being in a relationship or close interaction with a Narcissist? I’m not talking about someone who’s narcissistic, but rather someone who’s been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In my opinion, the answer just might be a big no. The only thing that I could think of that even comes remotely close is that of being in a drug addiction. Both scenarios force you to take a long hard look at yourself and ultimately address any core issues and dysfunctions that are unhealed that are at the heart of the toxic chaos you allow into your life. One uses a tangible tool that has the capacity to destroy your body physically and mentally. The other requires a living being to be the tool or messenger if you will, that most always deeply affects your mental, emotional and potentially physical condition. Regardless of which scenerio you find yourself in or if unlucky, you find yourself in both, one happening as a byproduct of the other, but the starting point always being the same: those parts of you that have always told you that you’re not good enough or you’re not worthy or that you have to compare and compete in order to stay in the game and HOPE to be noticed. Those parts that yell so loudly over and over and over “pick me! choose me! let who I am be enough to not be swayed to leave me! love me – flaws and all!”.
We hear a lot about the negative aspects of Narcissists and the devastating effects their actions have on the people that get involved with them. I myself am no stranger to it all. I was involved with a Narcissist for 27 years and a few years ago is when I went through the peak of his narcisstic abuse and saw what he was really made of for a concentrated 10 months. Of course, for the couple years following the 10 months, it was the after shocks of the abuse that lead me to start on a journey of healing childhood trauma and old wounds. Given all that, although I didn’t like all the pain and hurt I suffered those months, nor did I like having to acknowledge the reality of what was going on with me, with him and with us as a unit, I must say that I AM grateful that it happened because of what it forced me to face about my own self.
Narcissists do a lot of damage. Narcissists are very damaged people themselves. Their seems to be a common theme among the information that’s out on these type of people: they’re rotten to the core, there’s no hope for change and we need to just flee at first red flag. The majority of things that you read about these people are how they operate, signs to look for and the life altering negative impact they have on someone who is involved with them. I get all that and yes, we need to know these things but I also would like to propose that another aspect of narcissism be taken into consideration and placed wherever it may be the most helpful in your life. I propose that we somewhere remember that no matter how devious, calculating, manipulative, uncaring, selfish and devaluing they are or can be, among other things, a Narcissist didn’t just wake up one day and decide to become just that!
A Narcissist becomes a Narcissist because of trauma or negative influences in their own life at an early stage. True, their may be some biological factors involved but even on that level, can we not say that the individual with this personality disorder is just like the other people who suffer different kinds of personality disorders who have it come full circle given the right stressors and environment, possibly because of predisposure? I guess in summmary, all I’m saying is that we focus mainly on how bad these people are, and rightly so in order to help victims of narcisstic abuse heal but I also have come to believe that understanding that most of these people have suffered their own kind of abuse at an early stage that has caused them to feel the need to create this false persona and uphold it at any cost. I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this that you, like myself, know that the core being of a Narcissist is filled with shame, low self esteem and a few other negative feelings and the fact that they can’t bring themselves to accept responsibility for their actions let alone see the cause and effect of them, just makes them look even worse in society’s eyes.
We focus on the damage they do, the lives they ruin, how void of genuiness and true self they are but as I eluded to earlier, if we remember that something bad happened to THEM at some early point in time that had a profound impact on molding he or she into the sociopath they are today, maybe that can open up some kind of compassion in us that can make healing just slightly more bearable.
Compassion. Not for the Narcissist, but for you.