By Emsie Martin
The guy is jovial and everybody likes him, but behind that mask hides a person who thinks and believes he is the most important person in the world. His people at home, however, do not experience the same jovial, helpful person. Nothing is ever his fault and he never says sorry. It won’t help to talk to people about it because they won’t believe you.
So what is a narcissist?
The general characteristics of a narcissistic personality disorder is an obsession with self-image, power and pomp.
People who has NPD apparently have such a grand idea of their self-worth that they regard themselves as better and more important than others. However, they have a characteristic low self-image and have a problem handling criticism, which regularly makes them want to compensate by belittling other people.
Experts say narcissists are characterised by self-interest and a lack of empathy with others, but to my mind narcissism and emotional abuse are one and the same thing. These people can drain you emotionally. A narcissist wants to be the centre of attention and must be admired in every conversation.
How does one recognise these people?
- Narcissists have an insatiable need for admiration and acknowledgement for what they do and want to be praised for it.
- They really believe that the world centres on them and their needs.
- Narcissists know how to receive but not how to give of themselves.
- Characteristics include tantrums, addictive habits and infidelity.
- Narcissists cannot show empathy and don’t have the ability to sense and acknowledge other people’s needs and feelings.
- They keep other people at a distance emotionally, except when they want something from them.
- They believe that they are entitled to special attention and always want to be attended to immediately.
- They have no emotional warmth and are not capable of lasting intimate relationships.
- You, the spouse, are always wrong. Harsh words can also end in assault.
- Narcissists enjoy seeing their victims suffer, as if they have achieved something.
- Other people are always to blame for their mistakes, failed projects or when they lose their jobs.
- Narcissists do not behave the same with you as when they are with other people.
- They lie all the time, hide things and twist facts to justify their own agendas.
- They are excessively selfish and show little sensitivity towards loved ones.
- They have little emotional warmth; their only purpose is to benefit themselves.
- They usually spoil family get-togethers.
- They have a morbid self-obsession, which could make them believe that life owes them.
- Narcissists do not really want partners, but obedient admirers who flatter and pamper their insatiable egos.
Dr ST Potgieter, a psychologist from Bellville, says there is a difference between healthy narcissism and pathological narcissism. “Healthy narcissism (self-love) means that you love yourself, but also have love and understanding for your fellow man. With pathological narcissism it is a case of “I love myself and that’s that”.
What do I do?
Being married to a narcissist can lead to loneliness and sadness owing to poor communication, unwillingness to work at the marriage and a lack of respect. Narcissists usually make you withdraw from social activities because loneliness is more bearable than the embarrassment when he insults you in front of others and passes humiliating remarks in front of friends, family and colleagues. Learn to handle these people because they have no insight into their problem and they will not simply change. In their minds they think “How can I apologise if I’m always right?”
How do I handle my narcissistic husband?
- Downscale your expectations because he is not capable of understanding your emotions.
- Realise that you are not the one with the problem.
- Do not take his actions personally or allow him to make you feel inferior.
- Flatter his ego, but be sincere. This is tiring, but remember that he has a very poor self-image.
- Don’t walk on eggs around him all the time because you and the children are afraid that dad could perhaps get angry.
- Look at his behaviour and tantrums in another way. It is a sign of insecurity, rather say nothing and walk away.
- Don’t get hysterical when he insults you.
- Talk about your feelings even if he criticises you or makes you feel guilty.
- Narcissists fear rejection. He could change when he realises that all his relationships go wrong.
- Make sure that you have a support network. Make time for yourself, get financially independent, start a hobby so that you too can get some positive feedback. Then you can tackle the power balance in your marriage
Solidarity understands that labour-relations specialists, office practitioners, health practitioners and even people in other occupations face unique challenges, for instance working under a lot of pressure and having to have a wide range of information, knowledge and skills and even having to work with people with unique health issues and even narcissists and therefore Solidarity Occupational Guilds is offering you an opportunity to join any of its guilds. Do visit the link https://gildes.solidariteit.co.za/ for more information.