This is part 1 of a series.
Disclaimers: I am not a mental health professional. Everything here is just my opinion, based on my experiences so far.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a completely misunderstood mental illness.
This is something I believe to be true. By comparison to other personality disorders, there is very little empirical data on NPD or those with pathological narcissism. Indeed, most of the scientific literature tends to be focused on breaking down traits and trying to come up with categorization models and treatment plans that have almost no therapeutic value! What little there is does not include the voice of a narc within it, just the observations and assumptions of researchers.
Books and materials available on the subject of narcissism are usually written by therapists and academics – who again, get it all wrong time and time again. Only a tiny handful of resources have actually been written by true narcissists. Unfortunately, because of the nature of narcissm, the books written by narcissists aren’t usually all that helpful. They mostly represent a continued outward expression of their delusion. Not to say that these works aren’t heartfelt – but I am suggesting that the narcissistic voice is still in control of their writing (and mine).
The largest body of work on narcissism ISN’T about narcissists, it’s all focused on treating the victims of narcissists that have been emotionally or physically abused, and are generally struggling with difficult codependency issues. This is a wonderful and amazing body of work – and there are so many fantastic support mechanisms out there for victims to find solace and healing. But where does a narcissist go if he or she REALLY WANTS TO STOP THE CYCLE OF ABUSE?
Here’s a BIG RED FLAG WARNING for NONs:
Narcissists lie and manipulate. It is a core feature of our character. It MUST be understood by victims of narcissists that YOUR NARCISSIST IS PROBABLY LYING if he or she says they are ‘fixed’ or are working to heal.
Bottom line DEMAND EVIDENCE AT EVERY STEP – AND DO YOUR OWN CONFIRMATION OF THE STORIES BEING TOLD!!! Make sure you have a therapist of your own – and BE PREPARED to run or kick the narc out and throw up a wall of no contact AT A MOMENTS NOTICE!
Always remember – ONLY THE NARCISSIST CAN WAKE HIM OR HER SELF UP! YOU CAN’T DO IT FOR THEM!!! YOU ARE YOUR FIRST PRIORITY!!! TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST and FOREMOST!!!
The absolute importance of these warnings and suggestions cannot be overstated!!!
Again – I am not a mental health professional and I have absolutely NO REAL BASIS FOR ANYTHING I SAY HERE other than my own personal experience. However, I have been on this path now for about 2 to 3 weeks, and I already feel like a new man on so many levels it’s incredible (and quite unsettling sometimes). By no means am I suggesting that if you take this path, you’ll find peace – BUT, trial and error is pretty much all that we have within the narc community. My story isn’t over yet either, it’s just begun. Things may change along the way – I actually expect them to.
There’s a common approach to weight training that can be similarly applied here. It is called ‘periodization training’. The basic idea is that your muscles grow and take shape in accordance with the manner in which you use them. At a certain point though, the muscles adapt and the value of the routine slowly begins to drop. Eventually no further gains are made. Instead, you need to continually change up the routine, at specific intervals, that are consistent with the needs of your muscles and your overall goals. By breaking up the routine, and challenging the muscles in new and interesting ways, new rounds of growth will occur. A weight training regimen based on periodization principles is usually VERY successful! This is one of the most commonly agreed upon methods of making muscle gains today!!!
This same approach, I believe, is necessary in order to shift our entire mental state from one of unbalanced pathological narcissism, to a degree of balanced narcissism that is held there by the growth of NEW MIND MUSCLES! This ties into the field of research known as neuroplasticity – which I have familiarity with, but will not pretend to understand. What I will say though is – your brain works just like your muscles! Challenging your brain in new and interesting ways will strengthen and reshape your mind!!! It’s not EASY, but it’s POSSIBLE!!! Most importantly – SCIENCE HAS PROVEN THIS TO BE TRUE BEYOND THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT!!!