Narcissistic personality disorder

One of the most destructive types of personality disorder that science can readily identify has to be narcissistic personality disorder, otherwise referred to as NPD. This personality instils in other individuals not necessarily by choice, but it has been programmed into the individual in their life that being a ‘taker’, and showing a need for absolute power and control over another individual, is the only way to maintain their lifestyle.

They have a deadly combination of selfishness, charisma, and a total lack of empathy for any other person. They also have particular methods that are used to instil the one goal every narcissistic personality wants, which is to have them at the forefront of your mind. If you have that narcissistic individual at the forefront of your mind, you’re thinking about them and their needs, and as a consequence the tighter they can instil their subservience upon another person. To achieve this, they have several techniques:

Reflecting anger: to maintain control to prevent an emotion responsible for identifying unfairness and promoting a change from taking hold and removing the narcissist from their victim. A narcissistic individual will place all that anger back upon their victim. E.g. having an argument and having one individual place all the blame constantly on the other person and doing this repeatedly.

Hot and cold behaviours: being immensely warm, charismatic or intensely angry one moment and then distant the next. E.g. one day they're thrilled to be around you, friendly and charming; next day no talking to you, nor text messaging... nothing.

Money: the use of money as a way of buying favours or controlling influence. E.g. I have loaned that £1000, therefore, I have an entitlement to whatever I please, for example seeing you more or calling in unreasonable favour.

I am the boss and thou shall have no bosses before me: an immediate demand to be recognised as superior because of rank or the occasion demands it. “It’s my wedding, and you will do as I say, or else”.

The guilt card: taking someone on an unfair guilt trip as a method of promoting toxic shame. E.g. “I never had a good birthday party because you never showed up due to your dad being ill”.

The sympathy card: playing the victim or weakened rules to encourage others to focus their attention upon them because of sympathetic purposes and triggering an empathy trap. E.g. “Ever since you left me my health has gone downhill and I want you here so you can help me”.

Picking at insecurities: a deliberate attempt to pick at someone’s insecurity to ensure that they stay subservient. E.g. “You're fat /ugly”, “No one will find you attractive”, “You’re not talented enough to do that job”.

Divide and conquer: a deliberate attempt to put friends, family or other people into conflict to promote chaos and to isolate someone. E.g. “Well now I’m his wife, he doesn’t need his mother”, “Don’t you spend too much time with X, why don’t you spend more time with me, after all, I am your partner”.

One thing that can help you when you deal with the narcissist is to understand the very simplistic, yet emotionally evocative mind games they play to belittle and control. Fundamentally, a narcissistic relationship with someone is an abusive relationship with someone. As you may agree, having read the tactics used by these individuals you note that they are not healthy and can be easily interpreted as abuse. When a person who is healthy is constantly bombarded by such abusive practices, this can cause an increase in anxiety, depression and other behaviours such as suicidal thoughts or even attempting to take their lives.

The first step in helping yourself heal from an abusive relationship is to understand the person behind the abuse and why they do what they do. You can then take that and work with an independent person to help you through your feelings and emotions to create better boundaries making your life abuse free.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Normanton, West Yorkshire, WF6 2DB
Written by Brian Turner, BA (Hons.) MNCS Snr Accred / Supervisor. (Prof. Dip PsyC)
Normanton, West Yorkshire, WF6 2DB

I am a psychotherapist that uses a diverse and wide spectrum of techniques to ensure that my clients feel empowered and confident, so they are able to achieve what they wish to achieve when presenting with a broad range of issues.

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