• Heather Swift

In Defence of the Narcissist

Updated: May 31, 2019

I’m tired of all the attacks, advice about dealing with a narcissist, it seems everybody around them has a narcissist to “deal” with. Living languages evolve and change, so why is this word so prominent? The use over the last 5-10 years has rocketed, more awareness yes, but is it useful? Is it so we can carry on looking at the external instead of working on the internal? Labelling someone will not change their behaviour, it’s likely to become ingrained into their personality. Narcissists are proud for being manipulative and cunning, charming and inspiring, they are vain and egotistical in a world where the ego is the enemy. No wonder there's so much repressed anger and rage around us. However if we know the labels we have a better understanding of how we operate. If we dare to look at ourselves instead of others can we recognise the traits in ourselves?

Ask yourself why do I attract these type of people into my life? It might be a boss or a lover, more than likely a sales person or a figure of the community sat on the green seats in London. More importantly before we look at them we should look at our own behaviour, perhaps we aren’t as nice as we think we are. We need to work on ourselves. We can’t fix other people, and we can’t fix ourselves whilst focusing on somebody else.

Narcissism is a mask we adopt as a child coping with chronic terror and aloneness, we needed safety and connection but the environment we found ourselves in was dysfunctional and had little consciousness. When our needs are not met we learn to fit into our environment. Having unmet needs can be wrongly interpreted as I don’t deserve love, perhaps this is why we find ourselves in dysfunctional relationships. No matter how hard we try we still end up in the same patterns. Until we learn to change the inner dialogue we will continue making poor life choices. The masks are so familiar to us we don’t usually notice when we are wearing them, we heal we need to make the subconscious conscious.

We are operating from the fear of terror or aloneness, we use Isolation, fantasising, omnipotence, aggression, acting out, distortion, delusion and projection to stop us feeling terrified and alone. When we experience anger, rage, addiction, self-destructive behaviours, sadomasochism, low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness our narcissist is out of balance. These roles protected and helped us cope as a child, trapped with no control in the dysfunction around us. They worked so well we continue to use them as adults. We need to learn to love ourselves, to do this we have to remove the masks.

When feeling terror we have a number of coping mechanisms that enable us to play different character roles: the lost child, the daddy’s girl, the surrogate spouse to a parent/care giver, the star, the hero and/or the rebel.

In the attempt not to feel terror the lost child and daddy’s girl use isolation to separate from feelings. The daddy’s girl and surrogate spouse use fantasising and go into other people’s worlds. The surrogate spouse and the star use omnipotence, they are all powerful and have no weakness. The star and the hero use aggression to defend attacks. The rebel uses acting out and turns the fear into behaviour.

The tyrant and scape goat have a fear of aloneness. The tyrant uses distortion and delusion, whilst the scape goat uses projection.

The lost child, daddy’s girl and surrogate spouse use sublimation to disguise unacceptable impulses into something socially acceptable, the surrogate spouse, the star, the hero and the rebel use humour, using jokes to deflect. The rebel and tyrant use individualism by prioritising their personal goals for those of the group or society. The tyrant and the scape goat use power to defend themselves.

We need to become more emotionally literate to unearth what we are feeling, how long we have been feeling and reliving the same emotions. The truth now, as it was as a child is that nobody is coming to save you! We have to remove the masks to find self-love.

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