Chat with a handful of domestic violence survivors about the treatment they endured, and you are almost guaranteed to hear similarities in their stories. But why is this?
You may have heard this term before as more and more people are becoming aware of it.
Maybe you've heard about someone's narcissistic boss? Or mother? Or partner?
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition characterised by an over-inflated sense of entitlement and importance, a deep need for validation and adoration, and a complete lack of any empathy.
People with NPD often have extremely troubled relationships.
Like many diagnosable conditions, people with NPD display behaviours that fall on a rather wide spectrum.
Some behaviours are 'annoying' more than an anything else and others, in the case of domestic violence, can be fatal.
In the context of domestic violence, these behaviours can include;
- Attempts to control all aspects of a person's life (personal, financial, etc)
- Emotional and physical abuse
- Socially isolating someone from their supports (family, friends etc)
- Stalking and other controlling, coercive behaviour
- Making threats or actually harming someone
Narcissism is more common in males* and therefore it is no coincidence that males are far more likely to be perpetrators of domestic violence*.
Are all perpetrators narcissists? Absolutely not.
Many are sociopaths and many more are just angry and unhealthy with minimal interpersonal skills.
People with NPD fundamentally believe there is nothing wrong with them which means many cases go undiagnosed.
Sadly, there is no cure for narcissism and no way to 'love someone' out of their mental health condition. A narcissist has to want to change, for themselves.
If you need support with narcissistic abuse, help is available.
It is best to find a therapist who has specific knowledge of, and a keen interest in, the condition.
Erica is a Women's Health Counsellor in private practice in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. You can read more about her work at www.shecounselling.com.au. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, on 0412 707 242 or via socials @shecounselling.
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