In a past post, I described the heartbreakingly naïve suggestions listed in some of the mainstream books available on the topic of Narcissism. One such book, Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed, claims to help the reader “find a way of communicating effectively with narcissists, getting your point across and meeting your needs while side-stepping unproductive power struggles and senseless arguments”.
A moment for that to sink in…
Now, if you’re just learning about Narcissism, you may have felt a little pang of hope. If you’ve been involved with one, you either felt insulted or had a good laugh. Victims of narcissistic abuse know from experience that there is no way of communicating effectively with a Narcissist, no way of getting your point across to them, nor having one’s needs met. From a victim’s standpoint, using the advice from this book is equivalent to going into battle with a toothpick.
Disarming the Narcissist’s claim to fame is schema therapy. Does schema therapy work with a Narcissist? I suppose it’s possible in the same way that we have a Blue Moon every three years. However, I submit that schema therapy would be a great form of healing for victims of narcissistic abuse.
There is mounting evidence that a large number of victims attract Narcissists into their lives due to faulty schema that developed during childhood in which they form the belief of being unlovable or unworthy of love. For that reason, they subconsciously attract partners who are overly critical because there is a need to reenact the events from childhood in an effort to gain the attention and recognition they never received as a child. It’s also another reason why it’s so hard to leave the toxic relationship, because the victim tries repeatedly to overcome their feelings of unworthiness and low self-esteem. These behaviors are the core of co-dependency (the general nature of the Narcissist’s spouse or partner). Even if you weren’t codependent to begin with, you will be after being involved with a disordered Narcissist.
In closing, I would suggest not trying to make a relationship work with a Narcissist and put all those efforts into healing yourself. If you are a victim of Narcissistic abuse, you will never be free until you overcome your limiting beliefs regarding your worth. If you need to know about Narcissism, by all means, educate yourself. However, if you are looking for tools to heal your pain, a different path is necessary.