According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual-5 (DSM-V), criteria for narcissism includes: A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts as indicated by five or more of the following:1) A grandiose sense of self-importance (exaggerates achievements and talents) 2) Preoccupied with fantasies of power, success, brilliance, ideal love 3) Believes he/she is special; can only associate with other special people 4) Requires excessive admiration (or in some cases can get abusive) 5) Has a sense of entitlement 6) Exploits relationship; takes advantage of others for own benefit 7) Lacks empathy
Characteristics of an abusive narcissist may entail: 1) Lacks Remorse 2) Controlling 3) Lies 4) Blames You For Their Lies 5) Arrogant 6) Cruel 7) Secretive 8) Selfish 9) Manipulative
Often, addicts (any kind of addict) embody characteristics of narcissism. However, some may not really be narcissistic,they may just present with similar attributes in their addiction.
Once they enter recovery, if they are not truly narcissistic, they will develop and demonstrate empathy, compassion, and a sense of humility across settings.
For partners of true narcissists, life can be extremely challenging. These life challenges are usually exacerbated by the narcissistic's addictive behaviors.
For instance, addicts lie. But for a narcissist who is an addict; they will lie, believe their lie, and blame their partner for the behavior that led them to lie. And, they will do so in an arrogant and entitled way.
According to the narcissist, "Everything is YOUR fault!"
For partners of narcissists, arguments result in being told the following:
"You're over-reacting" "I didn't say that" "Stop blowing it out of proportion" "You took it wrong" "Why do you argue about everything?"
Partners often feel desperate, constantly thinking and obsessing about the relationship, all the while trying to find ways to make their narcissistic partner see them as worthy or good enough. Often, they are left feeling and at times acting crazy, neurotic, irrational, and irritable; all the while becoming an expert detective.
Women and men who have experienced the wrath of a true narcissist describe having symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among other things: depression, anxiety, chronic shame, and intense low self worth.
Partners have reported that it was when they finally escaped the grips of their narcissistic partner and ended their relationship that they were able to truly heal form the trauma they endured.
For partners in a relationship with a narcissist, help is here. Here are some tips for coping with a narcissist:
Get help! Talk to a trained therapist who specializes in treating partners of narcissists as well as has expertise in treating addiction. Have safe people who you trust and can talk to honestly about your relationship. Be open to their feedback; they care about you!
Educate Yourself: Knowledge is empowering and gives us choice. Recommended book: Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self Absorbed by Wendy Terrie Behary, LCSW
Work on Your Self Esteem: This can be empowering but also can create challenges in the relationship with the narcissist, as they like to feel superior in the relationship and keep their partner feeling weak and questioning (for power/control).
Set Boundaries and Stick to Them: This is hard, but it is the best thing that you can do for yourself and your children (if you have them). Be prepared for the narcissist (and addict if you are dealing with both) to rage, be hateful, abusive and threatening at times. Therefore,
Safety Plan: Create a safety plan with your therapist or a safe person and do not tell your narcissistic partner. This can be challenging (you may want to share it with your partner out of fear, low self worth, or a desire to be loved and approved). It is essential to keep yourself (and your children) safe from harm, especially if you are dealing with an abusive narcissist.
Leave: The reality of being with a narcissist is that you may have to leave. This may be your best and healthiest choice, especially if you have children. It is important to remember that the two most important people in our world as children and where we learn about relationships is from our mother and father. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, your children are watching, sensing, hearing and feeling what you are experiencing, even if you think they are too young or not paying attention.
Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be extremely challenging, emotionally taxing, and physically exhausting. Learning ways to cope in a healthy way can improve your sense of self but also give you the strength to make healthy decisions for yourself and your future.
Please know you are WORTH IT~
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