Narcissism, Pathological Narcissism, The Narcissistic Personality
Disorder (NPD), the Narcissist,
Relationships with Abusive Narcissists and Psychopaths
Dr. Sam Vaknin
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Q&A about Abusive Relationships
To victims of abuse, my advice is unequivocal:
LEAVE NOW. Leave
before the effects of
abuse - including PTSD
(Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) - become entrenched. Leave before
your children begin to pay
the price as well.
But, if you insist
on staying (always against the best interests of yourself and your nearest
and dearest) - here is a survival manual:
FIVE DON'T DO'S
How to Avoid the Wrath of the Narcissist
- Never disagree with the narcissist or
- Never offer him any intimacy;
- Look awed by whatever attribute matters to
him (for instance: by his professional achievements or by
his good looks, or by his success with women and so on);
- Never remind him of life out there and if
you do, connect it somehow to his sense of grandiosity;
- Do not make any comment, which might
directly or indirectly impinge on his self-image,
omnipotence, judgment, omniscience, skills, capabilities,
professional record, or even omnipresence. Bad sentences
start with: "I think you overlooked ... made a
mistake here ... you don't know ... do you know ... you
were not here yesterday so ... you cannot ... you should
... (perceived as rude imposition, narcissists react very
badly to restrictions placed on their freedom) ... I (never
mention the fact that you are a separate, independent
entity, narcissists regard others as extensions of their
selves, their internalization processes were screwed up
and they did not differentiate properly) ..." You
get the gist of it.
The TEN DO'S
How to Make your Narcissist Dependent on You
If you INSIST on Staying with Him
- Listen attentively to everything the
narcissist says and agree with it all. Don't believe a
word of it but let it slide as if everything is just fine,
business as usual.
- Personally offer something absolutely
unique to the narcissist which they cannot obtain
anywhere else. Also be prepared to line up future sources
of primary NS for your narcissist because you will not be
IT for very long, if at all. If you take over the procuring function for the narcissist, they
become that much more dependent on you which makes it a
bit tougher for them to pull their
haughty stuff - an inevitability, in any case.
- Be endlessly patient and go way out of
your way to be accommodating, thus keeping the
narcissistic supply flowing liberally, and keeping the
peace (relatively speaking).
- Be endlessly giving. This one may not be
attractive to you, but it is a take it or leave it
- Be absolutely emotionally and financially
independent of the narcissist. Take what you need: the
excitement and engulfment and refuse to get upset or hurt
when the narcissist does or says something dumb, rude, or
insensitive. Yelling back works really well but should be
reserved for special occasions when you fear your
narcissist may be on the verge of leaving you; the silent
treatment is better as an ordinary response, but it must
be carried out without any emotional content, more with
the air of boredom and "I'll talk to you later, when
I am good and ready, and when you are behaving in a more
- If your narcissist is cerebral and NOT
interested in having much sex - then give yourself ample
permission to have "hidden" sex with other
people. Your cerebral narcissist will not be indifferent
to infidelity so discretion and secrecy is of paramount
- If your narcissist is somatic and you don't
mind, join in on endlessly interesting group sex
encounters but make sure that you choose properly for
your narcissist. They are heedless and very
undiscriminating in respect of sexual partners and that
can get very problematic (STDs and
blackmail come to mind).
- If you are a "fixer", then focus
on fixing situations, preferably before they become
"situations". Don't for one moment delude
yourself that you can FIX the narcissist - it simply will
not happen. Not because they are being stubborn - they
just simply can't be fixed.
- If there is any fixing that can be done,
it is to help your narcissist become aware of their
condition, and this is VERY IMPORTANT, with no negative
implications or accusations in the process at all. It is
like living with a physically handicapped person and
being able to discuss, calmly, unemotionally, what the
limitations and benefits of the handicap are and how the
two of you can work with these factors, rather than
trying to change them.
- FINALLY, and most important of all: KNOW
What are you getting from the relationship?
Are you actually a masochist? A codependent perhaps? Why
is this relationship attractive and interesting?
Define for yourself what good and
beneficial things you believe you are receiving in this
Define the things that you find harmful TO
YOU. Develop strategies to minimize the harm to yourself.
Don't expect that you will cognitively be able to reason
with the narcissist to change who they are. You may have
some limited success in getting your narcissist to tone
down on the really harmful behaviours THAT AFFECT YOU
which emanate from the unchangeable WHAT the narcissist
is. This can only be accomplished
in a very trusting, frank and open relationship.
The Inverted Narcissist
The Mate / Spouse / Partner of the
Cope with Your Abuser
Coping with Various Types of
Divorcing the Narcissist and the
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Narcissism at a Glance
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from the Archive of the Narcissism List
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Disorder on Suite101
and Verbal Abuse on Suite101
After the Rain - How the West Lost the East
Personality Disorder - Suite101
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