Why Narcissists Hurt Their Loved Ones

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

 

PTSD In Partnerships

Dealing with PTSD can be really difficult, but not just for the one with the diagnosis. If one person has it, it can cause friends and family to struggle too – just in a different way. If you are dating someone who has PTSD, you know that it can cause some tension in the relationship. This is especially true for people who suffer from Complex PTSD.

 

Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)  is very similar to normal PTSD, except the victim is unable to escape the stressful environment that is causing it. With time, people that suffer from normal PTSD can learn to cope with the event in the past and overcome the fears that arose from it. But with C-PTSD, there is no break from the event to give the sufferer any relief or time to heal.

 

Your partner having PTSD could be something you’re just now finding out about as you go further into the relationship. This can be upsetting and hard to deal with, especially if you feel that it is something that they have tried to keep from you. But remember that them admitting their weaknesses to you is a big sign of trust from them, regardless of how long it took them to come to you about it. For those that suffer from PTSD, problems like trust issues, anxiety, and paranoia are all part of the disorder, so the thing that they need most from you is your loving support and understanding.

 

The PTSD diagnosis could have also been given to your significant other during your relationship. If this is the case, remember that this is all scary, if not scarier, news for the sufferer than it is for you. Go to them with open arms, but also remember to give them the space they need too.

 

PTSD can be the root cause of many relationship problems, as it can make the sufferer feel less understood, which can fuel unnecessary arguments. Many PTSD sufferers also experience emotional outbursts, as they are unable to keep their emotions in check. Sometimes, these bursts are taken out on the person nearest to them. That person tends to be their significant other, which can cause even more fights. More fights can mean more time apart and even isolation from each other, causing a downfall in the relationship.

 

At least with normal PTSD, there is some hope that by getting proper treatment, the relationship can be restored and the two of you can go back to being normal and happy again. But when your partner suffers from C-PTSD, it can feel as though there isn’t an end in sight. Your partner likely feels hopeless and worthless, and understanding this can go a long way in keeping a relationship alive. Try to practice open communication, and always be there to offer support and motivation. Encourage them to seek help, and maybe even try couple’s therapy if you feel that things are just getting to be too much. Remind them that the pain is only temporary, and whatever is causing their C-PTSD is bound to be put to an end eventually.