Dealing with a narcissist can be a really difficult thing to do, especially when it is someone you are close to. Many times, you don’t realize that you have gotten yourself into a relationship with a narcissist until much later as things continue to get worse and worse, and they begin abusing you. In fact, they might not even act narcissistic at the beginning of the relationship.
Narcissists are predictable people, as they usually follow the same patterns of behavior. There are three stages of a relationship with a narcissist:
- Falling head over heels for you – In the beginning, the narcissist will want to do everything in their power to try to win you over because they want you. They believe you are the best thing to ever happen to them, and there’s no way you could ever let them down. You are the perfect person for them, and they want to show you by showering you with affection and gifts.
- Trying to fix you – Unfortunately though, the head over heels phase won’t last, and they’ll soon find flaws in you. They’ll start pointing them out and insist that you start changing them in order to make them satisfied. No matter how much you do to try to please them, it seems like it’s just never enough.
- Pure abuse – Soon, you’ll find yourself in the pure abuse phase, where life for you is miserable. The narcissist never has anything nice to say about you, and not only will they criticize you, but they will do it in public and around friends and family.
So why do narcissists always end up turning their relationships into nightmares this way? Wouldn’t they eventually learn that everyone has certain flaws that should be expected and accepted? Wouldn’t they soon be able to figure out that criticizing and putting their partner down is not a constructive way of handling conflicts?
As it turns out, there are two big character traits that those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder carry and these traits are responsible for the narcissist’s way of acting.
- Narcissists have no emotional empathy. Empathy allows us to feel and understand what another person is feeling. It is the thing that helps up to hold out tongues and think before speaking because we know that what we’re about to say could hurt them. We know this because we can imagine what it’s like to be in the other person’s shoes, then picture how we would feel if the same thing were said to us. Narcissists can’t and won’t do this. Even if a narcissist is able to intellectually understand that they might be hurting the other person, they don’t care because they are not personally hurt by it.
- Narcissists don’t have “whole object relations” or “emotional constancy”. This means that they think in extremes in terms of whether a person is good or bad. This is why at the beginning of relationships, a narcissist falls so hard and genuinely believes that person is perfection, but soon turns on them once they realize they have normal human flaws. Then, they can only think of them in horrible ways and are unable to see the good in them. This is where “emotional constancy” comes in, and it is when the narcissist is unable to maintain an emotional connection or good feelings about their partner when they fight or get upset with them.
The behaviors of a narcissist can sometimes seem like they don’t make sense and are completely unpredictable. But when you look at the bigger picture, you’ll find that there is usually a reason behind it all, and narcissists repeat patterns of behavior.