Love yourself / but don’t be conceited. Take care of yourself / but put others first. Stay focused on your goals / but don’t crow about your accomplishments. Survival of the fittest / or love your neighbour as yourself?
With all this contradictory ‘wisdom’ on offer, is it any wonder couples are confused and having trouble getting along?
What is Narcissism?
Frankly, I am tired of people saying ‘a little bit of narcissism is healthy’ when the truth is healthy and unhealthy narcissism are two completely different outlooks on life.
Can your husband loving you or loving someone else be considered the same thing? No of course it can’t and it’s not!
In just the same way healthy narcissism is about loving and caring for yourself, while unhealthy narcissism is about loving and caring for a fantasy idea of yourself you have created in your own mind.
A person caught in unhealthy narcissism has so little love for themselves that they have invented a pretend self in order to hide from their own insecurity and shame. So in reality healthy and unhealthy narcissism are opposite extremes.
Can you look at your own weaknesses and faults? Or do you hide behind a perfect image that you promote while blaming your shame on someone else?
- Greets people (including close family and friends) confidently and warmly (by name) looking them in the face and smiling
- Can be objective about their own faults and weaknesses
- Can be objective about their own talents and skills
- Relaxed and comfortable around people of all ages and not afraid to hear what other people think
- Puts their point of view across without putting anyone else down
- Is compassionate
- Is patient
- Feels relaxed and comfortable in their own skin
- Wins friends easily with interesting people
- Maintains healthy and close personal relationships with their family including their spouse and kids
- Enjoys life even when things are not going to plan
- Is naturally influential
- Is their own best friend
- Lives with ease and peace within themselves
- Enjoys intimate and gratifying sex
- Jealous and unhappy with their lot in life
- Competitive and obsessed with being the centre of attention
- Charming in public (and when they want something) but critical, rude and sarcastic to their close friends and family in private
- Talk badly about people (including their friends and family behind their back)
- Only comfortable relating to a small group of peers
- Multiple relationship breakdowns
- Damage to business and reputation
- Wrongly accuses and punishes others
- Child neglect and abuse
- Puts their own need for love and attention before their own and their families well being and best interests
- Can’t genuinely admit they are wrong
- Feels superior but alone
- Feels trapped in a bubble that separates them from others
- Impersonal and/or unsatisfying sex
- Nervous breakdown
- Marriage breakdown
- Increased risk of having violence directed towards them
The false shell of unhealthy narcissism is as constraining to live inside as an 18th century corset and as painful to live with as a tyrant or drunk (as many unhealthy narcissists are). Still, most people with narcissistic tendencies protect this false image of themselves at all costs. Most feel far too vulnerable to let the pretence down and feel the trade-off far better than facing their own shame.
You are best not to hold a mirror to this person’s bad behaviour or you might find yourself rejected or dealing with an open (or covert) assault.
What to do?
Please Continue Reading here . . .
Narcissism does not need to be a death sentence for your marriage – but it won’t get better by itself!