Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode 5 · 2 years ago

Am I Becoming a Narcissist?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Alice woke up crying. The reality of a previous night of fighting, slamming doors, and breaking plates came into full view. The house was a mess, her husband of eight years was gone, and she felt as broken as the plates. She could hardly recognize herself anymore. In the middle of the screaming last night,… (more…)

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...to grow with Christine dotcom forward slash narcissism. That's grow with Christine dot com, forward slash narcissism. This master class will change your life again. That's grow with Christine Dot Com. Forward Slash Narcissism. This is understanding today's narcissist, brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom and now here's your host, Christine Hammond. I want to thank all of you for sending me comments and ideas for future podcast that you would like to listen to. This is one of those. And so one of our listeners said wanted to know if they...

...could become a narcissist by hanging around a narcissist or being in a relationship with one. So we're going to use the example of Alice and I'm going to talk a little bit about her and then I'm going to answer the questions for you. So let's talk about Alice. Alice woke up one morning crying. The reality of her previous night of fighting, slamming doors and breaking plates all of a sudden started to come into full view. Her house was a mess, husband of eight years was gone and she felt as broken as the plates on the floor. She could hardly recognize herself anymore. In the middle of the screaming last night, amidst the vulgar names that her husband had called her, he said that she was a narcissist. Could that be true? Could he be right? Let's look at that. Alice grew up quickly. She was the eldest of seven children and her mother frequently leaned on her tow up with her siblings, preparing meals and cleaning the house. It was a miracle that she found time for her studies, but when she did, she excelled.

However, the pressures at home frequently sank her into depression, anxiety and perfectionism. So when she met her husband, she seized the opportunity to escape. Their relationship was an instant attraction and connection. She was enamored by his good looks, charming personality, ambition, drive and influence, so much so that she overlooked his raging temper. At first he only seemed to rage against other people, like his mother, but after the marriage his rage turned towards her. During his episodes, she would remain calm, not react quickly, talk softly and set boundaries, but with every explosion she retreated further and further into herself. Then last night happened. He started reaching at her over some misperceived embarrassment. Instead of being calm, alice exploded. She completely lost it...

...on him. She matched his name calling with name calling and his paranoia with paranoia. He threw a plate at her, she threw one back at him. Before it was over, there were broken dishes everywhere as he stormed out of the house, calling her a narcissist. Several years into their marriage, Alice went to a counselor for help and discovered that her husband was a narcissist. She learned how to manage her expectations of him and not take on responsibility, but that was difficult for her given her past, because she had taken on so much responsibility as a child. So when he called her a narcissist, she stopped and took note. Could it be true? So that's the question that we're going to answer today. Could it be true that Alice was a narcissist? So here's the next question. Can a person develop narcissism over...

...time? Unfortunately, this is a both a yes and a no answer. Narcissistic personality disorder is inherit and it's pervasive. A person is born with the tendency and then the trauma activates the disorder and eventually the person accepts this distorted way of perceiving the world. Remember, anybody with the personality disorder has a distorted image of how they perceive things. Their perception of reality is not accurate. Now, usually all of this happens prior to the age of eighteen years old, but it does last a lifetime. However, traumatic brain injuries, strokes, addiction and or dementia can change the way of brain functions. So a person can develop it jury in late adulthood. So that's the part of it where they can develop later on, but that doesn't necessarily mean that that's what was happening to Alice. So can a person develop narcissism over time?...

Yes, they can develop a bit, but it requires something to have happened to the brain. No, a lot of it is already fixed and formulated by the time a person turns eighteen. Next question. Can I get it by being married to a narcissist? So, can I get narcissism by being married to a narcissist? No, you cannot. However, what you can do is you can learn to mimic narcissistic behaviors, such as not apologizing, not showing empathy and acting superior to the point that you actually look narcissistic. But that does not mean you have the disorder, just the tendencies towards it. In order to have the disorder, a person needs to be evaluated by a professional who is trained and working with this personality type. So can you get narcissism by being married to a narcissist? No, you can't, but...

...you can mimic some of their very unhealthy behaviors and thus making you look like something that you really aren't. Next question. So why do I act like the narcissist? Well, think of it this way. Misery loves company. A narcissist in courages narcissistic behavior by responding positively to other narcissists and looking down on those that do not have the same characteristics. Often, when a person is trying to deal with a narcissist, kindness, empathy and understanding do not work, so they default to acting just like the narcissist in order to get their attention. So sometimes we act like the narcissists because we find that that's the most effective way in order to get the narcissist attention. But that doesn't mean that you are a narcissist. Next question. Why do I become so abusive, so alice was asking this question. Why do I become so abusive?...

Sometimes, in order to be heard, you might resort to abusive behavior. This is usually very out of character, which is what happened with Alice, and it's shocking when it does happen. But the narcissist wants you to be just as abusive as them, because when they are abusive they don't stop until you are equally as abusive. Then the narcissists will back off and become the victim. This switch then removes responsibility in the eyes of the narcissist and plays it solely on you. So the answer to why you become so abusive is because it seems to work. It seems to quiet them down. But when that happens, be warned, they will flip it back on you and now they will become the victim and you will be the aggressor. So that answers the question. Why do you become so abusive? Next question, what can I do to stop the key to stopping narcissistic tendencies that are absorbed by...

...being in a relationship with a narcissist is to know yourself, not just knowing who you are, but knowing who you want to be, what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are. narcissist feed off of people who are insecure and unaware of their gifts and talents. Let me say that again. NARCISSISTS feed off of people who are insecure and unaware of their own gifts and talents. They like this type of person because the narcissist can then mold them into the person the narcissist wants them to be. A strong sense of self and confidence is actually the best weapon against any narcissist. So what you can do to stop is to have a strong sense of who you are, a strong confidence in your abilities, in in just how you exist. That is the...

...best weapon against a narcissist. So let's go back to Alice for a second. Alice returned to therapy after that night of the breaking of the plates and she worked on restoring who she was herself. It took a few months to rediscover her personality, but once she got it back, she was then unwilling to let it go and she no longer fell for his abusive trappings. So are you becoming a narcissist? Well, the answer to the question is you have to look at yourself and you can't develop and get narcissistic personality disorder unless there's some type of brain function that has gone wrong. Other than that, your behavior is most likely because you're mimicking the narcissist behavior for a variety of reasons that we just discussed. So if you find that you're acting like the narcissist that you don't like, please go seek some help, find out who...

...you are and restore your sense of self and confidence, because that is the best weapon in the end. Thanks for listening to understanding. Today's narcissist with Christine Hammond brought to you in part by Psych Central dotcom. For more information, visit grow with christinecom.

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