Karen Nimmo is a clinical psychologist
ADVICE: The label narcissist inspires fear, images of self-importance, total self-absorption, complete lack of empathy, someone to avoid at all costs.
Clinically, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition characterized by an extreme self-focus coupled with an inability to consider the feelings of others. Although the term is widely touted, it is relatively rare for someone to have all the traits in their most extreme form.
If you’ve connected with a narcissist at work or at home, you’ll understand the psychological legacy well. But as you work to break free, it can help to remember the fears they have at their core. Here are my top 10.
1. The emptiness of who they really are.
Narcissists are experts at presenting the face they want the world to see. They don’t want you to see who they are deep down. They don’t want to go there themselves. Because when they look down into the deep well of their own humanity, there is nothing there. Scary, if you think about it.
2. People who see behind their mask.
I once helped a client escape the clutches of his egotistical, toxic boss. I remember the day my client and I met with her and quietly outlined her toxic behavior, with supporting evidence. I have never felt so hated by someone I just met. When you discover the truth behind the narcissistic mask, beware.
3. To be criticized or spoken of.
Narcissists are entitled to adoration, praise, money, gifts, best of all. Any criticism, even mild and reasonable, flies in the face of it. They will fire back how dare you! a sign of anger, or they will look for a way to blame you, but it is a cover for their fear. Any criticism is a threat to topple the House of Cards they have so carefully built.
4. Being seen as average.
No no no! In their minds they are special, even extraordinary. Reducing them to normal will cause rage. Narcissists should be admired and constantly affirmed. They strive to be the most attractive, popular, cool, charismatic, charming, witty (or mysterious) person in the room. Choose. Just not average. They will do ANYTHING to avoid it.
5. Feeling invisible, dying.
A woman diagnosed as a narcissist explained what seemed to me to be an exaggerated fear of death: That means I’m leaving. I will be nothing. Without a solid core, narcissists are constantly trying to prove that they are here and that they are valuable. When you have such a fragile foothold in the world, the fear of losing it completely always hovers. Death is the ultimate loss of self.
6. Anything that causes shame.
Despite their brashness and outward display of self-confidence, narcissists don’t like who they are, they’re ashamed of themselves. This can often (but not always) be traced back to childhood where they experienced being defective or unlovable. As they mature, they learn to cover this up with bluster, but it is feeble, often compounded by humiliating others.
Any action that causes the shame they felt as children will cause intense reactions, but underneath they fear that it means they are really bad and unworthy. That they will never be good enough even for themselves.
7. Your (or any other) emotion.
Narcissists can be extremely emotional, but their ability to control it is childlike. So when someone else is hurt, they don’t know how to act. It may seem cold, but they are also lost in the emotions of others and frightened by it.
8. Loss of control over the narrative
A narcissistic superpower is to control the narrative to manipulate it to suit them and their goals. This means they can present themselves as the hero or the victim, whichever will get them what they want the fastest. When they lose control, they will do anything to get it back.
9. Being left before they can leave.
If they get the slightest hint that you want them to, they will walk away, play along, or threaten. Rejection reinforces their deep self-dislike, so if anyone leaves, it has to be them. If you try to leave, they will do everything they can to make you stay. Then, cold, he will walk. Their choice, not yours.
10. Your indifference.
This is why no contact is the advice often given to people who get out of these relationships. Long after the relationship has ended (often years), the narcissist will want to know that he can provoke an emotional reaction from you, even a negative one, because that means he can still get under your skin. That they are still important to you. Your indifference will make them feel like they don’t exist, which is their enemy, the worst thing of all.
#Terrify #Narcissists #Dont #Show
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