I was looking forward to and dreading writing this blog all at the same time. What I have been discovering about narcissistic personal disorder (NPD) has astounded, scared, confused, and made me mad all at the same time. As most of you know I was married before I married my current husband and I really believe that my ex-husband suffered from NPD all the things I’ve read and talked to folks who know about NPD are pointing to him suffering from it. NPD is what they call a borderline personality disorder, it’s not like sociopathy which is antisocial behavior, it’s a lesser degree of it almost. The thing to know about being involved in a love relationship with these folks is that not all emotional abusers are NPDs but all NPDs are emotional abusers it’s how they keep going and functioning. Anyone can be a narcissist we’ve all shown narcissistic tendencies in our life but that thing that makes NPDs different is that they are consistent and clear. You can have a NPD mother, father, co-worker or boss, in fact I know someone dealing with NPD boss right now and that ain’t easy. In the scheme of things NPDs are majority men, 70 percent of NPDs are men. How do NPDs work, how did they get that way, what do they do? Well I’m about to share the things that I’ve learned and that if I had known I would have recognized in my ex-husband. As usual unless you know the signs they aren’t easy to spot, but once you do you’ll be able to spot them like nothing. I am convinced that many of the black males that come on BWE/BWIR blogs to troll are NPDs or sociopaths. Those are people it’s hard to avoid but you can certainly avoid getting into a romantic relationship with these people. I don’t want to scare women but I want women to forewarned to be forearmed. Just because the man you love does something narcissistic every once in awhile is no big deal, you do that too but when it becomes habit, clear and consistent you may have issues.
How do NPDs become this way as with most things surrounding mental issues it begins in childhood, during a particular stage of childhood personality development the child is either loved too much or not enough attention is given and they learn to ‘love themselves’ or ‘depend only on themselves’ as a means to self-preserve. With men it begins with the mother, I must say a pretty good signal is a strained mother/son relationship. The man either being way too close to his mother or extremely annoyed with her ‘she gets on his nerves’ can be indicators of a man who has some emotional development issues as most NPDs. Many black men who have been raised in single parent homes may have these issues, many times I have seen it with my own two eyes black mothers are often resentful of the children they have been burdened with after the bad relationship choices or they are so dependent on the child to make them feel better about themselves they do what is called emotional sexual abuse when a parent creates an inappropriate bond with their child or uses their child to meet their own emotional needs, the relationship can easily become romanticized and sexualized. I know the story of a black mother who started to date and she wanted the guy she was dating to spend the night, the guy literally had to fight her 13 year old son to get him out of his mother’s bed because he had been sleeping with her all these years. I’m a personal believer that children at a certain age should not be sleeping with parents especially as teenagers. It’s not appropriate. As you can see from what I said above it can cause mental issues for the child, that kid is screwed for life. I never slept with my parents as a child if I showed up and crawled into bed after a bad dream, as soon as I feel asleep I was carried back to my own bed. Once my mother became a widow, she wasn’t trying use any of us as a crutch. We all slept in our beds, those kinds of boundaries are good for healthy parent/child relationships. What the NPD is doing when they get into love relationships is trying to re-live whatever went wrong at a particular time in their personality development. They’re looking to their new love to ‘make it right’ to fill in the missing piece. That’s why when you start to date a NPD they’re so thrilled, they cover you with compliments, ‘you’re the best’, ‘I have never had a relationship this special,’ ‘I cannot believe how much we share’ and ‘You’re a perfect fit…’ One of the reasons people feel so good about these is because the NPD usually relishes them with stories of a previous partner who have been negative and demeaning. As many people would do, you feel sorry for them and sympathetic towards their plight. But you also feel special that you can help them, what caring person wouldn’t.
NPDs also frequently jump from relationship to relationship rather quickly because they are looking for an end to their emotional pain and that’s all that matters, they don’t recover from relationships they just move on, once again in search of the ‘ideal love’. Narcissist are what people ‘need’ for them to be. At the important stage of their childhood emotional development they had to be something to someone significant other than who they actually were so they feel they need to be different in order to be loved and accepted. They change into whoever they need to be gain that acceptance. They are masters of the change-up. So as they become who they need to be in order to be accepted, they make those around them who they need for them to be. To an NPD you are an object, something they possess like a car or a home. That’s why they have issues with personal boundaries so NPDs usually come into your space and make it their own, it’s not to feel close to you it’s to make you their own. Usually the things that NPDs want to possess or ‘merge’ with are people with traits and characteristics they wished they possessed. You are a reflection of your NPD, they want to see themselves in you and you are also their narcissistic supply (gives them what they need to keep their false sense of self alive). They spend so much time creating their ‘false’ selves that if anything interferes with that they are again injured emotionally and psychologically much like they were as children when the first narcissistic injury occurred. So when their false self is hurt or injured, they start to devalue other people, in a romantic relationship that’s usually the partner. They need to build up their false selves again, so they insult and make people feel badly about themselves to keep their false self alive and functioning. That’s where the emotional abuse, we’ve spoken about in previous weeks comes about. This gives the NPD a feeling of superiority and control over the other person, remember they want to possess you. I know it may seem complicated, it was a tad overwhelming for me when I first read it but this how it happens, exactly how it happens. At the beginning of the relationship NPD are drawn to partners for their special strengths and characteristics, they compliment their partners on those in the beginning frequently, they need those to be a part of their false self. They admire those qualities in their partner and they mirror them, because that is better than the way they truly feel about themselves. They will take parts of their partners personality, they’ll mimic their partner in word and deed. They merge so closely with their partner that they don’t really possess a personality of their own. To NPDs people in their love and other relationships are mere objects, they are tools for the narcissistic supply that NPDs need to function. As long as you give them narcissistic supply, you are considered useful to a NPD when you stop or when the narcissistic supply loses it’s potency, because to NPDs it’s like a drug, they need to move on, they need new narcissistic supply. When you challenge their false self, they then become threatened and will start to devalue their partner. Once they start to devalue you, in the eyes of NPD you’re seen as ‘damaged goods’ the more you try to love or understand them the more they will devalue you and think of you as weak and useless. So what normal people would do in a relationship, showing more care, concern and compassion to a partner a NPD finds useless and weak. Believe me when I say you cannot fix a NPD, don’t waste your concern or pity on them because they are not pitying or concerned about you. There is no cure for NPD but it can be treated if the person wants to get treated but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting.
If you figure you’re dating a NPD stop where you are and leave the relationship, you are only exposing yourself to terrible heartbreak if you stay as NPDs don’t believe anything is wrong with them. They want your admiration, respect, fear or they want power over you, they are incapable of loving people because to them people are objects. Do you really want your car to love you? That’s how NPDs feel about their romantic partners and any other people in their lives. I do not feel bad or guilty for what happened between my ex-husband and myself, I am not a bad person nor am I stupid. I loved him, that’s not a bad thing in general, it was just that I didn’t know what he was had I known I probably would not have wasted my time. But I’m glad I know now. Be glad that you know too. We’ll discussing NPDs as I continue this series.
Information used in this blog is from Zayn, Cynthia and Dibble M.S., Kevin, Narcissitic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover, and Move On, New Jersey: New Horizon Press, 2007.
Engel, Beverly, The Emotionally Abusive Relationship, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002. Get them at Amazon.com.