Being in a relationship with a narcissist can become a very frustrating and stressful one. In their craving for control and admiration, narcissistic people can manipulate and exploit others, damaging their self-esteem and even changing the way the victims perceive the world. Arguing with a narcissist about their way of treating others is a useless task because they will not be aware of the damage they cause.
Therefore, one of the best solutions is to set limits and emotionally distance yourself from this type of person. We must recognize that we cannot always control our feelings about a person, but we can control how we respond to their behaviour. Many people choose to cut the ties that bind them to a narcissistic partner, a narcissistic family member, or a narcissistic boss. However, in the long term, it is best to do everything possible to get these people to go to therapy.
This psychopathology causes the person with the disorder to have conflicts in their interpersonal relationships, especially because of the markedly narcissistic person’s lack of empathy. It also manifests itself in the form of antagonism, motivated by the need to be the centre of attention. If someone says one thing, the narcissistic person has a great need to say just the opposite and emphasize that whoever said that thing is wrong, even if it is almost common sense that it is the narcissist who is wrong.
As pathological narcissism is part of personality disorders, its symptoms are present in practically all areas of a person’s life, being “fused” with their way of being in all kinds of situations. That is why the psychological treatment of this disorder is complicated, especially considering that those who develop pathological narcissism do not usually welcome the idea of going to mental health professionals.
The truth is that both perspectives are partly right: narcissism can be an element of personality, or it can be a type of personality disorder. The important thing is to be clear that there is a clear difference between both meanings and that it is convenient not to mix both meanings.
That is why today we are going to talk about what narcissism is in psychology, addressing both the trait at normal levels and when healthy limits are exceeded and a narcissistic personality disorder, or pathological narcissism, is fully involved.