If you’ve ever been abused, no matter the kind, there is a good possibility you have or are currently dealing with someone that has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The stigma on the word Narcissist is thrown around lightly by those not understanding the weight it can have on survivors. (Such as Netflix well done, catchy musical The Prom. OUCH!)
What’s the difference?
The general definition of narcissist is: a person who has excessive interest in or admiration of themselves.
This general definition can be stages in ones life from early childhood to adult. It can also be considered healthy, a person that appreciates and loves themselves… However, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is anything but healthy. It’s something much darker.
Ally, a family support worker in Children Protection Services and survivor herself has an important goal and motivation to raise awareness. She has started a movement to encourage further education in community, law enforcement, mental health teams, lawyers, therapists, judges and children protection services. She is hoping to bring worldwide spotlight on this toxicity that is affecting millions of people.
“This is not about me,” she explains, “It’s for all those who have been affected in some way, either through a parent, a spouse or on a professional level.”
With more books such as Rethinking Narcissism: The Secret to Recognizing and Coping with Narcissists by Dr. Craig Malkin and a doctor and lawyer combo Dr. Supriya McKenna and Karin Walker co-writing a set of books for release soon called Divorcing a Narcissist and Narcissism and Family Law along with their educational podcast, Tracy Malone’s podcast (Narcissist Abuse Survivor And Coach) and a hefty number of YouTube videos (see resource section below) you’d wonder why anyone wouldn’t know and understand what Narcissistic Abuse is.
There, friends, is the problem.
How is one to understand where to search for help to escape abuse if they don’t understand it? How are you to know terms like gaslighting, grooming, love bombing, smear campaigns and flying monkeys? What would ever make you think that you are in a relationship with a narcissist (rather it be parent, spouse, child, co-worker, or friend) if you don’t know what red flags to look for? Unless and until you really start digging you will never come to the conclusion. You might always feel something is off about them, not right, wrong but chances are they are very good at convincing you it’s not them at all. It’s you. They might use terms like, “You’re crazy” and “You make me out to be a monster.” They will constantly undermine you to keep you right where they want you. If in an abusive relationship with a person like this, understanding you are dealing with NPD can save your life. Figuratively and literally, depending on what type of NPD you are dealing with.
So, what are some other signs that you are dealing with a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Here are a few examples but you can get a full list by visiting this Mindbodygreen article written by Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D.
- Superiority and Entitlement: Narcissists have to be right, the best, do everything their way and control everyone. They will demand apologies but never apologize and feel validated for hurting you because they do not take responsibility for doing “wrong.”
- Exaggerated need for attention and validation: Narcissist will constantly do or say something to grab your attention. Validation for them only comes from others. “A narcissist’s need for validation is like a funnel. You pour positive, supportive words, and they flow out the other end and are gone.” Narcissists actually are very insecure but no amount of praise can inflate their fragile ego.
- Need for control: Constant demand for control of life, people, pets, weather, traffic… their sense of entitlement makes it feel logical to them that they should be in control of everything. If you don’t behave as expected they become very upset and unsettled. They are ticking time bombs waiting to explode and you will always feel like you are “walking on egg shells” around them.
- Blaming and Deflecting: Narcissists don’t take responsibility for their actions or words. Everything that happens negatively or doesn’t go as planned is your or someone’s else’s fault. They will even generalize the blame as long as they are not made to look responsible. If you are closest to the narc in your life, be aware because you will be the main target of these blame games.
- Lack empathy: Narcissists are incapable of feeling empathy, guilt or remorse. Sometimes they will try to mirror others but can’t actually feel the emotions a healthy person does. If you have a loved one that passes away a narcissist might tell you they are sorry for your loss but then become annoyed and irritable if your grief becomes an inconvenience to them. If a child is upset about flunking a test they might say, “You will do better next time,” in an attempt to show sympathy but then if the child cries they might become angered and say things like, “Stop being a baby, it’s only a test.” Narcissists are great at emotional abuse for this reason and some NPD take it to the next level of physical and sexual abuse. If you are incapable of feeling remorse or guilt the possibilities are limitless, really.
There are fifteen total traits listed on the site link above and if 55% percent of the behaviors are patterned then you have “official diagnosis” of an NPD case on your hands.
Among the basic behaviors, there are different types of NPD such as covert passive aggressive whom usually targets those they live with, spouse and children. Covert passive aggressive NPD is great at treating you nicely in front of the world but shows the true self behind closed doors leaving the family to question and suffer in silence. Grandiose NPD openly seek appraise and attention from all and act as though they are above anyone else. It is easy for them to drift from relationships and seek new supply based on looks, money, and connections. Then there is the most dangerous type, Malignant NPD which holds psychopaths’ tendency. They find pleasure in torturing their victims physically. People such as Ted Bundy was considered Malignant.
NPD is one of four cluster B personality disorders and can harbor the other three alongside of it, sometimes creating more problems of an accurate diagnosis of NPD. Please understand that it is normal that other cluster B personalities can coincide with NPD. This information is helpful to anyone who crosses paths with a narcissists.
Though NPD has popped up throughout history in people like Hitler and Stalin it continues to float about today, almost ghostly. Actress Evan Rachel Woods stands up against her abuse to Marilyn Manson, who is text book definition of NPD, but the wind carried away the words of narcissistic abuse. The general definition doesn’t give it the importance it deserves. If children and teens are taught about narcissistic behaviors the way they are sexual, physical and emotional abuse they might have the opportunity to protect themselves against NPD parents, predators, bullies, siblings, co-workers and future lovers. If court systems, law enforcements and therapist were well educated on this disorder they would be aware of the flying flags to protect the NPD’s victims and themselves from manipulation.
If you have been lucky to escape the wrath of NPD in your family and love life it doesn’t mean a co-worker, boss, neighbor, customer or client won’t pop up in your life one day. Knowing how to engage and disengage with a narcissists is crucial because if you don’t understand what you’re dealing with it’s easy to bring yourself down to their level and become their new supply. They cause stressful and emotional situations spiking cortisol levels in the brain which sends you into fight or flight mode. If you understand the type of person you are dealing with it’s easier to take calming breaths and talk yourself logically on how to handle the situation the narcissist created. Usually, the best thing you can do, when possible, is walk away. If they speed after you, go in a safe room and lock the door until they leave.
“They have a pathological disorder that makes them different from neurotypical people. For the non disorder it is extremely difficult to comprehend the narcissist mindset. They are riddled with hypocrisy and contradiction that makes no sense to those emotionally stable.”(Julie L. Hall’s 2019 book The Narcissist in Your Life: Recognizing the Patterns and Learn)
Ally’s movement is to expose men and women of NPD and have it legally added to the list of abuse in the court systems along with physical, sexual, emotional and financial. This could better help children end up with a parent or relative that is healthy and NPD free.
“It’s simple: There are not two sides to the story. There is the truth.Twitter @SuzannaQuintana
The current irony is narcissists need to be diagnosed in order to use the term NPD during any court proceedings. However, due to their practiced manipulations, if it’s not a well trained therapist or doctor that fully understands NPD, the professionals in the field quickly becomes the next victim without even knowing it. In family court and other areas there have been judges, law enforcement and lawyers who also become groomed and gaslighted under a narcissist without realizing it.
The truth of the matter is the person or people living daily with the narcissist are going to witness the traits before anyone on the outside. Narcissists like to keep their mask on but if you catch them without it, it’s important to know how to protect yourself. They feed off of confrontation and drama and will take pleasure in smearing your name… or worse.
Ally’s movement is to help spread the word, listen to your gut and intuition, don’t ignore red flags, question what ‘doesn’t add up’ and never think you can ‘help’ a narcissist because this is an untreatable disorder that only experienced professionals should handle.
If you’re ready to raise a hand, share your story, educate yourself, free yourself from entrapment and manipulation, support all those who are dealing with and have survived narcissistic abuse then post your empowering pictures and stories with the #DoneLivingInFear on your favorite social media accounts. Let us unite as one voice to protect all against NPD.
“Awareness is your best defense.”Julie Hall, Author
“I am done living in fear.”~Evan Rachel Wood
In addition: I am an amazon affiliate but am not connecting any links in this blog to which I benefit financially to this story. If it is not safe in your home to buy any books listed, many of them come on audio that you can purchase or check out free through library apps. If you are a current victim please reach out to a professional that can specialize in this type of abuse. Try to find a local center who supports abuse victims, online or meetup support groups. I understand abuse victims are usually withheld from money and/or work but please don’t stop trying to find a support system that understands what you are going through. #DoneLivingInFear
Helpful Resources to further educate yourself, heal and rise above the abuse; Don’t forget to Google more (if you are a creator of information and education on NPD and healing please send me an email and I will link your information in the resource section):
- The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist: Recognizing the Traits and Finding Healing After Hidden Emotional and Psychological Abuse by Debbie Mirza
- Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself by Shahida Arabi