I am the daughter of a narcissist. Narcissists are not just unpleasant. There are a lot of those around. And some of them are really clever at hiding how unpleasant they are. When they want to make a good impression, they put on a mask, which they take off when it is safe to be their true unpleasant self.
This is one of the traits of someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, like my mother.
I had no idea what a narcissist was.
I thought it was normal to adore your mum, do exactly as she said and make everything you do about her.
I thought it was normal that you didn’t confront her with her mistakes or wrongdoings.
I thought it was normal that I was part of the ‘best family ever’ in the universe. Until I left that best family and started to see how other families operated. Very, very different.
I struggled with being told time and again what a horrible and bad person I was. I didn’t get it. Knowing that I did things with a good intention, how could it be I was so bad?
I was used to hearing and telling her how wonderful she was, what a great cook and interesting person.
And I was always hearing about how terrible other people were, how I couldn’t trust my friends, how unsafe the world was.
It is not surprising that I was a nervous wreck. Always walking on eggshells, because upsetting my mother wouldn’t do me any good. I had the classical response to being controlled and developed an eating disorder.
The freedom from my narcissistic mother
40 years after I left home to go to university, at the age of 58, I cut my mother out of my life. I now understand what a narcissist is and how they operate. How they destroy other people, their children, spouse and others. How you can never trust them. How they lie and twist. How they thrive on control, bad events happening to others and have a total lack of empathy.
I wrote my book. The manuscript is finished, the editor is going through it and soon it will be published and widely available to anyone who wants to know more.
The 5 main traits of a narcissist:
- A grandiose view of themselves. They are convinced that they are fabulous, interesting, top-dog and the centre of not just their universe but also everybody else’s. They will make that clear at any time. Center stage is where they belong.
- Lack of empathy and emotional awareness. They have no idea what other people might feel, what they struggle with or what they need support with. And…. they are not interested. It makes them very cold and it allows them to do incredible cruel things to others, without being bothered.
- They will take control of situations and people, to get their needs met, being admiration and conformation. They can’t get enough of the Narcissistic Supply. It follows a similar pattern as addiction and they need it in order to function and have a sense of value.
- They are extremely manipulative and ensure that people around them will think and act the way they want. They don’t see the damage they are doing, they are only focused on what they get out of it.
- They are always right and can’t handle criticism. Any form of negative feedback will infuriate the narcissist and spark nasty behaviour. This makes it impossible to discuss situations and events in an honest and open manner as it is always the fault of others and never theirs. It is also the reason that there is limited scientific research on NPD, as a narcissist is convinced that if someone is wrong, it is the fault of someone else and they don’t apply introspection and self-examination.
The underlying insecurity of the narcissist is responsible for this. Their ego is fragile and they usually have a strong negative attachment issue. They are convinced nobody can be trusted. To keep themselves safe they can’t be seen in their vulnerability and they work constantly to hide their real self. Their biggest fear is to be seen for who they are….
If someone shows all five of these characteristics, then they are most likely suffering from NPD: Narcissistic Personality Disorder. They will cause harm and pain to others and are addicted to the Narcissistic Supply.
If only I had known what was going on with my mother, my life would have been different. And that is one of the reasons I wrote my book. To help others to recognize what is going on in their life and how to deal with that. To educate people who have no idea how narcissists operate, so they can support the victims of narcissism.
A few weeks ago I started a Facebook group for victims of narcissism. It is free and you can join by clicking here.
How to deal with a narcissist?
- When you know you are dealing with one, move away as far as you can.
- If you can’t move away, emotionally detach yourself.
- Manage your expectation; it will never get any better, no matter how hard you try.
The positive message in this article is that there is hope for any victim. There are ways of dealing with narcissism that keep you safe and sane. I got away after 40 years. It wasn’t and still isn’t easy, but I have created my freedom and independence. And everyone else can do that as well.
If you want to check out if you have a narcissist in your life, book a slot for a free phone call and I will take you through my 50 point checklist, which is part of my, soon to be published book.