NARCISSISTIC ABUSE & NARCISSISM
Narcissistic Abuse Counselling | London | W1
NARCISSISTIC ABUSE & NARCISSISM
Narcissism is a personality characteristic reflective of extreme selfishness and self-seeking intentions and behaviours. Narcissists, male or female, have a deep need for admiration from others, usually in order to feel good about themselves. This deep-seated need for admiration tends to compensate and stem from deep unconscious insecurities. They have a distinct sense of entitlement and grandiosity, regard themselves as special or different and exaggerate or fantasise about capabilities or achievements. Narcissists also lack the ability to self-reflect or be aware of how they impact others - often blaming others for any interpersonal issues.
Narcissists usually come across as confident, charming and caring. They can be sweet, showering others with gifts and compliments, which although may appear genuine, is usually really only aimed at seducing others into reinforcing and providing the attention and admiration - the narcissistic supply - they need in order to have a sense of self worth.
Many narcissists have issues with addiction of one form or another; alcohol, drugs, sex, love, fitness or image-related fixations. As is often seen in families and relationship dynamics in addiction, they are usually drawn to caring, kind, generous and considerate people, and very much those with codependent traits or delayed stress syndrome.
Narcissism is a powerful force to be around, and can hugely affect those around, be it partners, family or colleagues.
Narcissistic abuse in relationships is more common than once believed, however it is one that is often misunderstood by many health professionals. Many people seeking help for stress, anxiety, depression or addictions can be wrongly diagnosed, as this unique and often subtle kind of abuse is missed.
Typically, those with strong narcissistic traits are highly successful, charismatic and exciting to be around - so it's very easy to get swept up in the romance in the early days.
Some signs you may be involved with or around a narcissist include:
Constant drama. A narcissist needs to be needed and seek chaos and conflict. Being in a relationship with a narcissist usually involves dramatic break-ups and make-ups. It's like being on an emotional roller coaster.
Chaos and drama can also include argumentativeness, dangerous activities such as sports interests, dangerous driving, drug taking, high-risk sexual interests, cheating, lying, and so on…
Being around a narcissist feels exciting and ultimately draining. There are almost always constant ups and downs.
They may appear very genuine, forgiving, emotionally available, sensitive and caring at times, however you may notice that they never really take full responsibility for their own behaviours. They never apologise - genuinely.
A narcissistic partner or family member are likely to say things like “If you cared for me better, then I wouldn't need to drink” or “If you didn’t do X then I wouldn’t have had to cheat”.
They rarely, if ever, apologise for their behaviour. If they do, it's done with manipulation for their own gains.
Ultimately they manipulate and exploit others for their own selfish gains.
For anybody with codependent, empathic traits, being in a relationship with a narcissist can be extremely dangerous and damaging for both physical and mental health. The dynamic and the adrenalin of the ups and downs can become highly addictive, exhausting and many victims of narcissistic abuse end up struggling with trauma, anxiety, panic, depression, stress and burn-out.
Recognising these kinds of traits or relationships patterns is an important first step in recovering and healing from this kind of abuse before learning how to, and developing healthier relationships with both yourself and others.
Dr. Sarah Davies is highly experienced in helping support people to learn to recognise these traits, and also to understand the origins of why they may be strongly drawn to narcissists in the first place. More importantly, she supports individuals to develop the awareness, the self-love, care, sense of worth and self-esteem and to develop stronger and healthier boundaries in order to recover and heal from narcissistic abuse.
She is author of How to Leave a Narcissist... For Good.
Published 2023. A revised version of the previously published Never Again - moving on from narcissistic abuse and toxic relationships.
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