Whatever the adverse experience you have been subjected to at the hands of another human, the chances are that pathological narcissism rests at the core. Normal range people capable of feeling empathy and compassion just don’t treat others appallingly. Tangling with a pathological narcissist, ie someone who qualifies as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder (which is itself at the root of Psychopaths and Sociopaths) invariably leaves victims devastated, with their lives and careers in tatters.
Significant others are invariably the narcissist’s chief provider of what is termed Narcissistic Supply, and prime target of their campaigns of psychological abuse. Often highly enmeshed emotionally and financially, these end up as the narcissist’s most devastated and debilitated victims. Whether battling an intense trauma bond, struggling with a crisis of identity, dealing with debilitating dysphoria, watching aghast as your life shatters into a thousand pieces and/or contending with debilitating physical health issues, the damage and chaos can quickly feel limitless.
Children of Narcissists
Children of narcissists have to navigate very difficult childhoods in which it is very difficult to establish the foundations for a happy and fulfilling life in adulthood. I find that many think that they too have inherited narcissism, but just asking oneself this question is a reasonably indicator that you’re not. With the right insight, support and guidance it is entirely realistic and achievable to learn how to dial down the narcissistic traits learnt in childhood, and dial up the empathy, compassion, self-confidence and mindfulness to transform into a wonderful human being full of abundance. This in turn supports deeply loving and affectionate relationships with friends and family, as well as improving performance and success with careers.
Time and time again I see friends and family offer well-intentioned advice – but that does tremendous harm. This is because traditional wisdom does not apply to the counter-intuitive mindfuck that is the NPD mindset – it is damaging because it confuses the victim, inappropriately teaching them “classic” when in reality they need to be learning “alternative”. Increasingly I am being asked to guide a victim’s support group understand NPD and help them establish better ways of assisting their loved one. This has the added benefit of maintaining cohesion in the victim’s family and network, to the detriment of the narc who is working to isolate the victim and shatter their support base.
Narcissists are motivated by success and acclaim – in fact they desperately need it for their psychological survival. As a result they are drawn to business where they will seek to climb the greasy pole of success with an unparalleled sense of determination and selfishness. They feel extremely threatened by competing talent and will do anything to mitigate the risk posed by fellow work colleagues. As such they can do untold damage in the workplace, including hampering your work prospects and undermining team morale. Identifying narcissists early, and managing the relationship carefully is key to keeping on the right side of them, thereby mitigating adverse effects. Conversely, a policy of complete avoidance may suit better. Whichever the strategy, insight, validation and strategic guidance will be invaluable.
The Wake of Devastation
It is very often the case that it is not just the relationship with the narcissist that is affected – like a rabid disease, the blight seems to pervade so many wider relationships including close friends and family, professional careers, and team or entire communities. If you are a stakeholder of a victim (family member, friend, work colleague or teammate), then you too may be a target as the narcissist seeks to isolate their victim for you – doing irreparable damage to your circle (family, workplace, community, team etc). You would be well-advised to learn the signs, the tactics and the aims of the narcissist so that you can best protect yourself and the victim.
Whatever the situation and context, there is a solution that invariably requires swift and decisive intervention. That’s where I can help, bringing to bear a deep understanding of the counter-intuitive mindset of the narcissist, extensive experience supporting the victims of narcissistic abuse, strategic thought and an empathic style.
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