Taking care of others can be deeply rewarding, but it comes with risks and the need for firm boundaries. For professionals attempting to treat Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), the results are limited at best. For those living with NPD in partners or parents, day-to-day life can be painfully challenging, with no solutions in sight.
The Narcissist as Tragic Figure
The Pathology of Narcissism: Overt and Covert
Narcissist Abuse Tactics
- violates boundaries
- plays the victim
Reforming the Narcissist?
Have a narcissist parent, spouse, lover, or friend? Forget right now about reforming them. It may sound unbearably harsh, but reforming a hardcore narcissist is a debilitating delusion. Look online at major narcissist abuse recovery websites and social media forums, and you will discover a galaxy of hurt.
And the hurt doesn’t end with break up. For those who share children, the harm continues, even escalates, through custody battles and coparenting nightmares.
Do Not Feed the Narcissist
Narcissists are masterful at hooking people, dangling their finest bait to attract their next blood meal. The bait is typically intense idealization: excessive attentiveness and flattery; abrupt expressions of intimacy; and sudden, premature declarations of love and commitment. For the noncommittal narcissist, devaluation follows the idealization phase. As quickly as s/he exalted you, s/he launches a litany of criticisms, complaints, and “rational” reasons for rage.
But even as the narcissist’s cast off, you are likely to find that the hook in your mouth lodges deeper the more you try to free yourself.
Why You Should Not Feel Sorry for the Narcissist
If it is not already screamingly evident, feeling sorry for the narcissist is an invitation to being abused and victimized—idealized, devalued, and rejected; or, worse, agonizingly anchored. Go ahead and feel sympathy from a distance and empathy from another continent, but do not tell yourself that you are “the one” to heal the narcissist.
The narcissist cannot and will never love you as you need and deserve to be loved. S/he will harm your children and larger family. In short, s/he will become your biggest regret.