If you feel that you are always walking on eggshells, fearful of being chastised, or on the receiving end of ongoing criticism, you may be in a relationship with a narcissist.
Narcissism is a term that refers to a type of survival personality style and is often a response to childhood trauma, abuse and neglect.
Narcissism is a spectrum disorder. Anyone can experience different degrees of narcissism on a continuum from mild to severely pathological. Many of us have narcissistic aspects to our personalities; it is not necessarily destructive, healthy narcissism can help to develop positive self-image and confidence.
However, when narcissistic tendencies are severe, the clinical diagnosis is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If you are sharing your life with a narcissist, it can be very challenging to navigate a peaceful, happy relationship and life.
Are you in a relationship with a Narcissist?
Walking on Eggshells
Those in a relationship with narcissists feel like they are walking on eggshells. There can often be a feeling that at any time you may be summoned to discuss how you have not met their needs or have disappointed them in some way. Narcissistic communication styles can include aggression to anger and rage, which can lead to physical abuse.
Narcissists have a distorted sense of self; everything outside of themselves including others are objects to serve their needs and meet their expectations. As soon as the narcissist is disappointed, they criticise and point the blame outside of themselves.
The narcissistic ego is too fragile to take personal responsibility for actions. It is very rare for a narcissist to apologise, apologies are often used only to manipulate. Use of manipulation leads the partner of the narcissist to be on tenterhooks and often feel powerless waiting for the next confrontation or outburst.
The narcissist often sees it necessary to control situations and outcomes to their advantage. They hold a grandiose view of themselves and therefore expect to be able to have people respond as they see fit.
Often, in social situations they will have a distinct, pre-determined idea of what they want to have happen. If the social situation deviates from their plan they will often react with anger and blame. Losing control is a terrifying thought for a narcissist. They will do all they can, including the use of emotional manipulation, to ensure this does not happen.
Manipulation can show up in something as small as the guests at a party not responding in the way the narcissist expects, or even with you arriving late a function hosted by your partner. While these might be events you or I might not notice, the narcissist may experience this as a loss of control and take it as a personal affront.
This controlling may also show up in your finances. If your partner insists on controlling finances, making it diffcult for you to access funds, this is cause for concern. It is also considered a form of domestic abuse.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to get support in your relationship.