If you found this article, you have probably searched in Google or youtube for help about “how to deal with a narcissist”. Today, narcissism seems to be a worldwide epidemic. Many of us have dealt with narcissists or have become one. Unfortunately, as most of us lack emotional mastery, we get caught in behavioral patterns that are in detriment with our well being.
The people who attract narcissists to their lives are possibly individuals who have not been able to satisfy emotional needs as children. Some of us get used to love according to certain conditions and to restrict certain aspects of our being to be accepted to feel loved. As adults, we believe it is normal to be in relationships where:
- we need to be loved by someone who rejects us
- we need to be nurtured by someone who does not fulfill our needs
- we have to subordinate one’s own needs for the sake of the happiness of the other
- we search for the acceptance and affection of people who do not accept who we are
- we have to control ourselves to ensure harmony
- we lie to ourselves to preserve the image of the loved one
- we “suspect” that we are loved even when facts do not match our perception
These traits are generally associated with codependency.
We have developed these behaviors to preserve feeling safe in our environment. The mind needs emotional security. When this security does not exist, our survival instinct creates the “fantasy of being loved”. Our subconscious mind is wise. This fantasy helps us avoid feeling emotional stress. In some cases, the emotional pressure is so intense that empathy (the ability to feel the feelings of another living being) is nullified as a defense mechanism. The emotion can be so heartbreaking that we dissociate ourselves from it.
Narcissists present the following traits:
- Selfishness – one-way relationship
- Lack with empathy
- Sadism (emotional and/or physical abuse, silent treatment, etc.)
- Emotionally aloofness
- Too concerned with exteriors
- Pretending to be more important than they actually are
- Attention seekers
- Dr. Jeckill and Mr. Hide attitude
- Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
- No remorse or gratitude
Like it or not, we will find that -for certain people- we are narcissists, for others, we are codependents. Even in one single relationship, we can develop both behaviors, depending on the situation.
In general, we are attracted to people with whom we feel emotionally “familiar”. If our emotional needs have not been met in our childhood, we can form relationships later in life with people who do not satisfy our needs because, for us, that is normal.
What is the solution?
Narcissism and codependency are the results of anger and repression of our basic needs. A narcissistic-codependent relationship is a one-way relationship: someone “loves” and someone is “loved”. The roles can be exchangeable but there is no awareness of what is going on. We think we are being mistreated by someone we cannot stop loving. And all this happens to help us understand our relationship dynamics and re-educate ourselves. Until we have not understood that we are in an unsatisfactory situation, we will repeat this pattern with every person we relate intimately with.
Relationships are a mirror of our first relationship with the opposite sex (maternal and paternal figures). We do not need to repeat them. Once we realize that we are using emotional language learned in childhood, we can start to make consciousness updates.