Narcissism 101

Narcissism is a term I first came across when I was studying A-level psychology. The second time was whilst I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Behaviorial Science. Back then it was just theory.

Echo, a nymph (Greek female deity) was attracted to Narcissus a handsome young man who was the son of two Greek gods. When she did muster the courage to show her affections to him, he scorned her. Echo never recovered from his rejection. She pined away until she withered and died. Some time after whilst he was on a hunting trip, Narcissus became thirsty and stopped at a pool to drink some water. He was captivated by the reflection. In vain he tried to reach out to it. He was so mesmerized that he remained at the pool consistently trying to make contact with the elusive character. In the end he was so self absorbed, Narcissus died by the water.

The narcissistic personality disorder was born of Narcissus.

Narcissistic personality disorder — one of several types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.

The Mayo Clinic

Psychology Today describes it as

Narcissism is characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, a need for excessive admiration, and the belief that one is unique and deserving of special treatment. If you encounter someone who consistently exhibits these behaviors, you may be dealing with a highly narcissistic individual.

Psychology Today

So how did I know my ex-husband was a narcissist? Yes I’d come across it as a student but I didn’t immediately make the connection. I noticed a reoccurring pattern of behaviours in my marriage; it would start with a peaceful phase which would be interrupted by a volatile argument instigated by him over some very trivial arbitrary matter. This was sometimes but not always followed by profuse apologies and then the cycle would repeat itself. Around the same time, a particular post kept showing in my facebook feed, ‘Life after the narcissist’. To this day I’m unsure which contact was responsible for these posts. It was one day on my lunch break that I finally took notice. I clicked and began to read. It felt as if whoever was writing these posts was spying on me. It was uncanny.

I started researching narcissism. The more I clicked the more fascinated I became. I wasn’t crazy, I wasn’t imagining that there was something wrong in my marriage. I didn’t have to try harder and I wasn’t being unreasonable. There was something wrong with him. It had a name, a label. He was a narcissist! Now I have no medical training or even psychological, but the characteristics fit him to the ‘t’. I pored through copious amounts of accounts of people living with such toxicity, it mirrored my life. The devastating thing was that there didn’t seem to be any hope, all the narratives said that they didn’t, couldn’t change. The victims only refined strategies to deal with their behaviour.

I printed off some pages to give to Mr Impatient. I placed it on the dinning room table so that he would see it and read. I prepared his supper when he arrived and put it on the table. I could see that he’d noticed the document but he was resisting picking it up. Eventually he asked about it. I told him that I had found out what was wrong with our marriage.

“Is it about me or us and is there help available here?”

“It’s about you and I’m not sure if there is help available”.

“Ok”. I stood waiting, but he continued eating and made no attempt to pick it up. I turned and left. In short, I never witnessed him read those pages but he was uncharacteristically quiet for a number of days. The cycle resumed shortly after.

My research into narcissism taught me a few prompt lessons. I could let myself of the hook for supposedly not trying hard enough because nothing done for a narc is ever enough. I was never going to have any of my needs met because narcs are inherently egotistic. My marriage was going to be an everlasting rollercoaster ride.

Narcissism is the antithesis of everything Godly. God loved us so much that He sacrificed His only Son to redeem us. The narcissist makes no sacrifice for anyone but would readily sacrifice anything if they were to get great personal gain. Ironically, Mr Impatient was always reminding me of his sacrificial love for me 🤔. The narcissist is always moving the goalpost, but God’s principles for our lives have been so well thought of from the beginning that He doesn’t have to ever change them. After all, He is omniscient! God’s love for humanity is everlasting, eternal and unconditional. Hallelujah!

God’s love is meteoric,
    his loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic,
    his verdicts oceanic.
Yet in his largeness
    nothing gets lost;
Not a man, not a mouse,
    slips through the cracks.

How exquisite your love, O God!
    How eager we are to run under your wings, Psalms 36: 5-7 The Message Bible,lack%20of%20empathy%20for%20others.

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