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Living with Narcissism

Living with Narcissism, Co-dependency, Dependent Personality Disorder
or Low Self Esteem

These personality traits are all typical of a person who has experienced pain in their childhood
(abandonment, emotional or physical abuse, loss, made to think they were never good enough, emotional detachment or alcoholic parents)

… and as a result have developed a subconscious protection mechanism.

Generally they will also be in total denial about their unreasonable behaviours – which is the subconscious protecting them from further pain.

Behaviours may include:
controlling, guilt producing, manipulative, confusing, contradictory, selfishness, silence, withdrawal, unreasonableness, focus on self, no acknowledgment of partner’s needs …

As a partner you have three choices:

1. Accept

  • Totally focus on what is good and remove all self talk re negative behaviours
  • Do not try to change them
  • Do not try to influence them
  • Do not try to get them to gain awareness of self
  • Do not try to get them to be more empathetic towards you
  • Set you own boundaries
  • Develop own level of narcissism

This solution may be unacceptable as the emotional pain you are experiencing could be causing you to be extremely stressed, sick, anxious and deeply unhappy.

2. Partly Accept

  • Similar to above but you can try to get them to gain some awareness of themselves or to show some consideration towards yourself.
  • Be aware that without them having self awareness, you cannot change or influence them.

This can however leave you frustrated as well as in pain, as you live in hope, always wishing that they will show some changes while finding it hard to understand why they don’t show some understanding …  but often nothing happens.

3. Leave

  • If you cannot live with them, often your only choice is to leave
  • However - accept that you may be punished for a long time in doing this
  • Ensure you leave without complications – i.e. a 3rd person involved
  • If children are involved, accept that you may have limited access and that they could be poisoned towards you for a long while
  • Speak positively about the other person to the children REGARDLESS

Be aware that it is often generational, and your children can end up with the same traits.

Sometimes leaving triggers your partner to accentuate these traits in your children.

And finally - take a really hard look at your own responses – is your reaction or defensiveness or desire for them to change causing them to exhibit these traits even more strongly?