Narcissists Do Not Have An Authentic Sense of Self
Conversing with a narcissist is like an amusement park ride without the fun and endorphins. Your brain feels scrambled, you feel a little woozy, and at the end of the day, you realize it’s just not worth it. But, this is what it is to “communicate” with a narcissist. You try to use all your conversational skills that you developed over a lifetime of awareness and understanding and they all fall flat. Every time you seek to engage, to relate, the narcissist does mental acrobatics, leaps and jumps, and lands in a completely different conversation than what originally started.
Living with or being involved with a narcissist can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Some basic facts about Narcissists.
It can feel like you have to perform “mental gymnastics” from dealing with the lying (even when confronted with undeniable proof ), the gaslighting, the triangulation, the projection, the constant contradictions, the manipulation, blame-shifting, the charm they lay on, the inflated sense of self – even subtle forms of torture, such as sleep deprivation, these people inflict on their victims – appears to be conscious and calculated to push the target of their “affections” past their limits, into surrender – and ultimately into total compliance – as a source of Narcissistic Supply.
Children, spouses, friends, lovers – those closest to the Narcissist – are not considered individuals in their own right by the Narcissist – but rather extensions or, in the worst cases, the property of the Narcissist.
Even after finding out that you are dealing with a mental disorder, if you don’t protect or remove yourself from the situation, you may find yourself entering into a state of mind where you instinctively try to fix or fight the narcissist’s illogical attitudes and behaviors.
You may find yourself becoming hyper-vigilant, trying to second guess them, trip them up, lay down ultimatums, call them on their lies, or constantly trying to stay one-step ahead of their ever-changing rule-book. You may even find yourself trying to mirror their behaviors to some extent in order to manipulate them, as they have manipulated you. This can be both futile and attractive to the narcissist, as they often relish the challenge.
If you ever do manage to get “one-up” on a narcissist, it is likely to be a hollow “victory” at best. They may rage, play the victim, or disappear. None of these outcomes gives the victim any true satisfaction.
More than any other disorder on the PD spectrum, narcissists are like psychological vampires, attaching themselves to you in a way that drains you of your resources (emotional, mental and financial) and leaves you questioning your own worth and sanity.
Often, narcissists are able to imitate or approximate caring about others when it is convenient for them to do so. However, they typically do not perceive that anything outside of their own sphere of wants and needs matters. It simply doesn’t occur to them to consider the needs of anyone else, or the long-term consequences of their own behaviors.
Narcissists can be highly intelligent, witty, talented, likable, and fun to be around. They can also elicit sympathy like nobody’s business.
Narcissists are opportunistic. They can make a show of being “generous” but their generosity usually has strings attached.
They tend to isolate their victims, sucking up their time and energy, many times robbing their own families, spouses and partners of an external support system.
Narcissists are excellent liars and many prefer to lie even when telling the truth would be more beneficial to them; which suggests that lying is a hallmark of this pathology.
They are often highly competitive and argumentative. They lash out when presented with opinions that contradict their own or when confronted with their own lies or bad behaviors.
They can be calculating and extremely persuasive and susceptible to erratic thinking and impulsive decision making .
Narcissists can be self-destructive as often as they are destructive to others. They have a great deal of trouble accepting responsibility for their own actions, under any circumstance.
Narcissists are addictive personalities and narcissism is commonly co-morbid with addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex, food, spending and gambling.
Narcissists are rarely alone. They like to feed on the energy of others, and to have an audience to reflect back to them the person they want to see themselves as.
Narcissists are good at pretending, but typically do not feel compassion or empathy or consider the feelings or well-being of others. They tend to be singularly focused on getting their own needs met, at the expense of the needs of others.
While narcissists generally portray a lack of conscience, they typically have an intellectual awareness of what they are doing and how they hurt others. They simply do not care.
Being kind to a Narcissist in the face of their maltreatment is a common approach of family members and partners. However, this can result in further frustration as it is rarely reciprocated and tends to feed their sense of entitlement, opening the door for more abuse.