9 May 2010


Most narcissistic see themselves as being great and for that want to be admired and to be the center of attention at all times. They have no ability to empathize with others, once this requires the ability to focus on the other instead of focusing on themselves. They tend to be arrogant with feelings of superiority, but can also be very charming at a first impression - though their relationships are usually short term because they cannot maintain them. They usually have this double standard with envy: many times they envy those around, and use them, but always believing that it is the other way around – others envy them because they are so great. When it comes to criticism or frustration they lack ability to deal with it and react with rage, humiliation, indifference or even pessimism.
For a wife/husband that is trying to share a life with such a person it can become unbearable, as everything is left for the other part to do - as for example house chores – because small and insignificant things are not for them to waste time, they are to superior for it! And one by one all is left for others to do, and without any comprehension of the unfairness and damage that it is causing to the partner. Many wife/husband portrayed their narcissistic partners as wanting a “mother/father” and a maid.
The search for the day and moment when the other will finally realize their value and that they are having too much on their laps can be too long and painful and probably that day never comes. And then we ask: what am I doing with such a person? But it is not easy. Sometimes in adolescents you also feel those characteristics, but most of the times it does not mean they have this personality disorder, it’s just a phase…

Personality disorder

In a simplified way we call “personality” to the long-term pattern of predictable and consistent reactions. If we are “healthy” that pattern has a natural flexibility to adjust those reactions while learning with experiences, understanding that sometimes we shouldn’t react this or that way in specific contexts. But when this flexibility does not exist we can be facing a personality disorder. And there are a few of them. They usually are behaviors that are not socially expected in a certain context, and that repeat themselves over the years causing suffering for the one who has it and often to those around. Many times the person who has the personality disorder doesn’t realize and doesn’t recognize their rigid thinking and behavior, being very difficult to treat.
We all can recognize in ourselves some of the characteristics of those disorders, but it is only a disorder when very rigidly, and when it becomes distressful and maladaptatives. There are a few of them… paranoid, schizoid, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive… And there are also a few controversies about calling them disorders, about the distinction between them, once some share traits. But for us here what matters is to think a little bit about the behaviors and characteristics, other than to consider a “diagnosis”.


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