Narcissism* seems to be a widely discussed topic these days. Both in the mainstream and on alternative platforms the term ‘narcissism’ is frequently mentioned and talked about. Our society is becoming increasingly narcissistic in the sense that narcissistic traits are being encouraged and engineered in people – traits such as attention and validation seeking, being disconnected from ones own psyche, instant gratification, projecting one’s personal issues onto certain groups of people in society, blaming and shaming, distorting reality, etc. Just to name a few.
It needs to be talked about, that’s for sure. We need to talk about the problems before we can find solutions. Narcissistic behaviour is certainly becoming more of a problem in our society and it needs to be called out in a constructive manner. The issue I have, however, is that there is so much focus on narcissistic traits in the whole of society while very little attention is given to the real issue that pathological narcissism is, the threat that individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) impose on us – something very different to what the media portrays as ‘narcissism’, something far more serious and dangerous.
Every person has narcissistic traits to some extent, that’s healthy and natural and can be beneficial if you ‘own’ them and don’t use them to harm others but to do good. But that doesn’t mean everyone who has narcissistic traits is a narcissist. If you are dealing with someone with NPD you are dealing with far more than just an attention-seeking arrogant twat who thinks they are superior to everyone else. You are dealing with a predator who will destroy you psychologically and in many cases also physically and sexually.
Pathological narcissists are very abusive and destructive. They destroy the lives and psyches of those who live closely with them, in particular their children and spouses. They would do anything to get their narcissistic supply, which is basically the life force energy (or emotional energy) of another person. Nothing is too fucked up and horrible for them, since they have no empathy, guilt and remorse. If getting their narcissistic supply means to sexually abuse a child, they will do it. If it means to physically attack their partner and threaten to do more harm to them if they spoke out about it, they will do it. If it means to ruthlessly lie and deceive their families, have double lives that they keep secret and make everyone feel as if they are totally insane for questioning them and getting outraged about their behaviour, they will do it. The list of horrible things they would do to people, it goes on forever.
I see much talk out there by people who have been cheated on by their exes or have been disrespected in any way, labelling their exes ‘narcissists’ or ‘sociopaths’. It has become very common. But that doesn’t mean that their exes actually have NPD or anything along the lines. We’ve got to be careful when using these terms. Abusive and destructive relationships can happen with people who don’t have NPD. There are many troubled and messed up people out there, many who have never learnt how to respect others and how to have healthy relationships. There are many ego driven people out there, we live in a society where such behaviour is heavily promoted after all. It’s concerning, but we need to draw the line. The way a narcissist destroys you is something beyond the average ‘unhappy and problematic’ relationship.
It’s not just in the mainstream where the label ‘narcissism’ is misused. One group that heavily misuses it is the New Age/spiritual community. The misuse of this label in the New Age movement is particularly concerning, as actual survivors of narcissistic abuse frequently turn to such spiritual groups with the intent of healing themselves. In many cases this attempt to heal trauma turns out to be a method of escapism, which can be very dangerous for the survivor of any kind of abuse.
In many spiritual communities they have been sold a similarly watered down and seemingly harmless version of the narcissist that is now popular in the mainstream and makes people take this issue very lightly– that a narcissist is just someone who needs a lot of validation and is a bit manipulative and arrogant, but hey, it’s no big deal. In the New Age community they’ll tell you stuff like “narcissists just need love” and “narcissists are just lost souls who need healing” without having a clue what they are even on about.
Those who need healing tend to use avoidance as an unhealthy coping mechanism. The New Age and the avoidant escapist nonsense it sells to vulnerable people offers them exactly that. It keeps people on the surface of their issues, avoidant of the real dark stuff they need to face in order to heal. It gives them a false sense of salvation, selling them the illusion that any problem can be solved with ‘love and light’, leading to a further destruction of their already weakened personal boundaries. “Be grateful for all your experiences” and “just send love to those who harm you” are some more wishy washy set phrases placed into the minds of these people, along with the preaching of forgiveness, empathy and compassion for everyone.
People who get out of relationships with a pathological narcissist will never say stuff like “I’m grateful for this experience, it has taught me so much and made me grow”, at least not without mentioning just how much it has drained and destroyed them, how they felt like their souls were completely crushed, that they were a mental and emotional wreck for years and that it took them much hard work to recover from it. Although the experience can lead to much empowerment and growth once you’ve recovered and healed from the trauma, yet no one who has been there would come with such whacky New Age phrases without substance. If they do tell you stuff like that they either haven’t been with a narcissist or they are in complete denial, which is sometimes a ‘coping mechanism’ for people who have experienced heavy trauma and don’t want to face it. It’s not a healthy coping mechanism at all and nothing to be encouraged.
If you think that anything you got off the narcissist was ‘love’ or that anything you felt in them was a ‘soul’ then the person you are dealing with is either not a narcissist or you have fallen for their bullshit. The concept of love has absolutely no space when it comes to dealing with a narcissist. This is something that’s hard to take in for some but it is not possible for them to truly love you. Anything they do is to feed their own ego. ANYTHING. Whether they give you a gift, help you or tell you they love you and care about you, it’s never about you. They only do it because it feeds their ego in some way. They are so ego driven, there is no heart and soul. There is no depth, no natural human emotion.
There is no cure for them – giving them love, empathy and compassion is a waste. The narcissist is neither capable of giving nor of receiving love, they only feed off it, which is not the same as receiving and feeling love from another person in the way a sane person experiences it. If you give love to a sane person, that person will receive and feel that love and that makes you feel good in return, you don’t feel like you ‘lost’ anything. The narcissist can only drain your love and your life force energy out of you, they feed off your emotional energy and leave you feeling drained.
The romantic relationship with the narcissist is like an addiction. The narcissist has spotted your unconscious unfulfilled needs and will pretend to fulfil them for you in a way no one and nothing has before. You become easily addicted to that, believing what this person is giving you is love, when it’s in fact just a dopamine rush that wears off soon and leaves you desperate for more. This is just like a drug addiction with the narcissist being your dealer and you give them their narcissistic supply in return. Just like it’s the drug addict and not the dealer that gets destroyed by the drug, the one who gets destroyed in that relationship not the narcissist – it’s you.
I would only ever tell people who are being targeted by these types to completely switch off their emotions towards the narcissist – any kind of emotion – to stop giving them their narcissistic supply. And I would tell anyone to cut the contact if that’s possible. The best way to deal with them is not to deal with them at all.
Cutting a seemingly close person out of your life certainly isn’t easy, even in the case of that person being horrible and abusive. For some people it takes much time to take that step, but I can only say: The sooner the better. Narcissists target people who are very loving, caring, kind and empathic, people who just want peace with others and wouldn’t want to hurt another human being, people who are very concerned about the wellbeing of others but have poor boundaries. If you are that kind of person you wouldn’t normally cut someone out of your life just like that. A sane person that is close to you would be very hurt if you just cut the contact, so it’s not something you would do to them.
Narcissists, however, don’t get hurt if you do that like a ‘normal’ person would get hurt for losing a valuable person in their life. They don’t feel such emotions. The narcissist surely will be pissed off if you cut them off, but it’s not because they’re hurt because they’ve lost you as a person in their lives – it’s because they lost a source for narcissistic supply and can’t feed off you anymore. They don’t give a fuck about you as a human being, a partner, a child, a friend or family member – all you ever were to them was a ‘food source’, the food being your life force energy. Cutting them off is your ultimate win against the narcissist. Nothing else is as effective.
Even if you choose to empower yourself and keep the narcissist at a distance, they will try and bring you down even more because they hate when people see through their bullshit and step into their personal power. In some cases, unfortunately, cutting off the narcissist isn’t possible, like when you have children with them. In that case you can only keep them at a distance whilst being completely cold towards them.
I understand that for warm-hearted, empathic people it can be difficult to just be cold towards another person, but it is an essential tool to protect yourself from narcissists and anyone who tries to feed off you. You shouldn’t give them anything to feed on. They may attempt to trigger you in some way to cause an emotional reaction and it takes practice learning to brush it off and just approach them coldly. Once you are mastering this, you are capable of something very useful, something you need very much as an empathic person in a world like this one. It’s a weapon, a useful tool you can get out of the toolbox whenever you are dealing with narcissistic, energy-draining types.
Those ‘spiritual’ people who talk about having dealt with narcissists when they haven’t need to stop giving people who are targets for narcissistic abuse false hopes that the narcissist will heal at some point and that giving them love will help them in any way or from. It’s extremely disempowering to the victim and it makes them more of a target. It throws them off the true path of healing, it distracts them from the real work they need to do, the work that involves facing uncomfortable truths and repressed emotions.
It’s no coincidence that the New Age/spiritual community is infiltrated by narcissists who preach this kind of stuff. Unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness, empathy – without the healthy and strong boundaries. I can only urge you to approach such whacky oversimplified concepts with much caution and discernment.
The narcissist won’t heal, they are not able to look in their own mirror and see the monster they really are, they won’t introspect, they simply aren’t capable of it. They will never admit that something is wrong with them. They won’t see through their own bullshit, it would destroy their fragile little egos. But you can see through their bullshit and take appropriate action, that’s your power. We’ve been deceived by these individuals, all they ever presented to us was fake. Their personality was fake, they put on a false persona so they could target us easily. In a world that is so asleep to this issue of NPD and psychopathy, where most people don’t believe that something like that would actually happen, that some individuals are capable of putting an entire fake persona and get away with it. But it’s real and affects many people. We need to be real about it, swallow the harsh truths and take the best possible action for ourselves.
We’ve been conditioned with plenty of limiting beliefs on what relationships are, what love is, we’ve been made believe that all parents love their children and that someone can abuse another person while still loving them. If you’ve been targeted it is essential to become aware and question all of those beliefs that have been implanted into your subconscious, it’s a very important part of the process of healing.
To those who have fallen for the New Age bullshit version of what narcissists are and how to deal with them need to take off their rose tinted glasses and stop being naive. Those and anyone who has fallen for the mainstream definition of narcissism need to educate themselves on NPD and psychopathy and talk to people who have actually survived narcissistic/psychopathic abuse. Most of them probably never will, but those who really want to get an insight into what narcissism really is should listen to the stories of former partners and children of narcissists who have had to work really fucking hard to heal from that shit that was done to them and empower themselves.
Listening to those stories gives you a good reality check. The consequences of spreading misinformation on topics you know nothing about can be worse than you’d imagine. The issue of pathological narcissism and narcissistic abuse is nothing to be taken lightly.