When your relationship is so toxic that it is damaging your health your psyche and your soul.
image by David Watkis
Over recent times searches for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) have more than doubled in figures displayed by Google (2017). This may be an indication that this condition is becoming far more prevalent in our society today. NPD is characterised by a disturbance in the individual’s personality. The personality has been subjected to splitting due to the lack of positive early life experiences and the lack of emotion regulation.
Hallmarks of NPD are grandiosity, lack of empathy, a need for attention and admiration.
Narcissists have a tendency to exaggerate their achievements and pathologically lie to disillusion. In a sense it is a type of brainwashing and control that Narcissists inflict upon others.
So when individuals are in a relationships with a Narcissist they are in for the ride of their life, not meaning that to be a positive experience. Don't get me wrong, there will be some ‘amazing’ times within this relationship, they will be specific to the Narcissists agenda and they will be controlled. However, the victim will believe them to be ‘amazing’ and fulfilling, and that’s the problem.
When a someone enters into a relationship with a Narcissist they genuinely enter and invest emotionally into the union. The narcissist has another agenda, they enter into this relationship to get their supply met: financial gain, emotional gain, attention and admiration.
The narcissist knows the difference between right and wrong, but lacks empathy and so detaches themselves from this feeling and instead feels a sense of entitlement. The person is then unknowingly is caught in a web of deceit and lies.
When the target becomes aware of this song and dance that the narcissists performs, it is often too late, the damage has been done.
The Narcissist uses various techniques to ‘trap’ their victim into their hell. Using
techniques such as brain washing, triangulation, jealousy, pathological lying and even violence to get the desired affect from their target: control.
Narcissist’s will stop at nothing to achieve what they want. All the while the target is unaware of the abuse taking place. The trauma that the target endures is not like any other, its a trauma on their very identity, belief systems and soul, in many cases the victims report PTSD and cognitive dissonance, along with the emotional trauma. The trauma is very real and delibitating. The victim tends to shut down and isolate themselves because it is a closing down of many belief systems and they tend not to trust their own thoughts. This is the crux of narcissistic abuse.
A narcissist cannot live or survive on their own, they are constantly looking for fresh supply, they need people. The narcissist steals a lot from their prey, locking them into a mirage bordering on fake fantasy and believe me they are very good at what they do. They are masters of their own facade. They have to keep up this facade because if you were to know what is really happening deep down inside of them them you would run, I mean run! It’s dark, depressive, painful and disabling. Narcissists will never disclose this to the outside world because they believe that they are damaged and would be rejected if anyone knew the truth. The fake self is a clever construct of protection.
What the narcissist puts inside their targets head can be desensitised and the target can recover but this will take time and a lot of work on building the victims belief systems, self esteem and in most cases their soul. Narcissist’s are emotional vampires that prey on the innocent and good, and once they have them and abuse them, they discard them onto a heap of the many relationships they have already damaged.
There is NO happy ending with a narcissist, there is only pain and despair. Working with clients who have been affected by narcissistic abuse is challenging and they are left in a fragile state.
The work will ultimately be about developing the self and allowing them to process the maladaptive thought processes that have been brainwashed into them. The break up from a narcissist is not like any ‘normal’ break-up, the victim will be suffering hugely from trauma, immense emotional pain and confusion. Therefore, as therapists it is up to us to educate and release their pain through knowledge and understanding of these textbook behaviours.
The victim may understand what has happened and why they have been targeted and therefore release their pain enabling them to move on. In ALL cases I would suggest that the victim exercises no contact with the narcissist as this will give them their power to move forward.
Narcissists are therapy aversive because of their thought make-up they do not believe that they need to change or that they have done anything wrong. They lack empathy and insight which makes therapy almost impossible to conduct. Personally I believe it would be pointless to spend any energy conducting therapy to someone who does not know themselves and who are not willing to either. If you are working with a narcissist, I advise to tread carefully, to protect yourself psychically and emotionally as they will also use your energy as their supply. Whether its negative or positive they will feed.
Anoushka is a trainee psychologist in the final stages of her doctorate at The New School Of Psychotherapy & Counselling. She has her own private practise called Balance Psychologies which is located in Leamington Spa. Anoushka has a Youtube channel that is raising the profile of her work on Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
"I have been subjected to narcissistic abuse myself and I know the effects this can cause. Because of my background and knowledge on the subject, I believe that if the victim is armed with information they will be able to move forward and heal from the disastrous affects the abuse causes. I specialise in narcissistic, psychopath and sociopath relationships and I am conducting research into this area" - Anoushka
If you are working with a Narcissist abuse victim and would like further information on how to work with them in therapy you can contact Anoushka via email