You don’t even have to manipulate a narcissist to keep them off your trail. You’re giving them too much credit. I guarantee your narcissist rarely gives a shit about what you are doing, where you are doing it, or who you are doing it with. The only thing your narcissist cares about is whether or not your actions are affecting him. Rest assured, you are very rarely crossing his mind unless he needs you for something, needs something from you, or needs to get away with doing something to you. As long as you continuously forgive your narc’s indiscretions, pretend the lies are truth, question nothing, make sex and money readily available, and always look at him with that adoring sparkle in your eye – he will never wonder what else you have going on. He simply doesn’t care.
You are asking two completely different questions here:
1) Are narcissists bad people?
2) Are narcissists incredibly insecure?
I don’t think one influences the other. There are both good and bad people who are insecure, and there are bad people who are not insecure at all.
Now let’s explore what you are asking. Are people with NPD incredibly insecure? You bet! They are constantly guarding their shaky self-esteem, and will often take drastic measures to avoid their deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy.
Are they bad people? This is very subjective, but there are likely some universal traits held by those that would socially be considered “good people”. These traits might include such things as accepting moral responsibility, an ability to weigh the well-being of others when making choices, the willingness to sacrifice for others, having a respect for others’ boundaries, and wanting to feel like what they do is making a difference in the world. Are these traits ever possessed by someone with narcissistic personality disorder? Not any Narc that I have met.
What traits might distinguish someone considered a “bad person”?
You will almost always find answers from someone who says there are no bad people, only people who do bad things. I have to question, how many bad things does a person have to do before being considered a bad person? How would you describe the things done by a bad person? I would think these people would be described as selfish, those who choose friends based on the benefit they get from them, those who bend their moral values based on the situation, those whose actions constantly hurt others, those who are purposefully dishonest, those who manipulate without any considerations for the feelings of others, those who lack empathy, those who use underhanded insults to make others feel bad about themselves, or those who feel no remorse about their actions.
Do good people hurt others? Yes. But unintentionally, and they care about being aware of how their actions are effecting those around them, to avoid these situations when possible. And when they do hurt people, they feel bad about it. They acknowledge their mistakes and they attempt to learn from them so they will not be repeated. All people can do bad things. If I had to describe a “bad person”, it would be the person who never unselfishly does any “good” things.
*insecurity is not an excuse to hurt others.
Not necessarily, but you do need an outlet of some kind.
As a counselor who provides coaching to survivors of narcissistic abuse, I can tell you A LOT of people NEED to talk about things. Some just need to say them out loud to sort them out, some need help understanding what has happened, some just need to be validated at a time they are starting to feel crazy and unsure. There are many, many reasons they seek out a coach for advice and understanding. This route is very useful for those who are just starting the process of figuring out what is happening, understanding the memories overtaking their minds, or finding the strength to break free.
For me, I first started writing my experiences down. I kept a blog and eventually wrote a book, and it was very cathartic for me. Once I was clear of mind and ready to move forward with my life, I sought out a counselor to speak to in order to start to heal my soul and rebuild my life. I was careful to find a counselor/psychologist who was not only skilled in narcissistic abuse, but who had also experienced it. This was very important to me. I caution against seeing only a psychiatrist, as they are most likely not at all familiar with personality disorders and will likely not spend much time with you. They are there to prescribe medications for your outward symptoms only.
Psychologists, however, will go more in depth with you, but are not all knowledgeable about personality disorders, and you may need to ask what their credentials are as far as personality disorders go. Visiting the wrong professional can add more trauma to that which you have already experienced.
If you have a strong support system of people who will repeatedly listen to your story and validate it, you are lucky, and can use this. If you are not ready to visit a professional, you can continue reading online posts, blogs, and support group stories…just remind yourself that they are only opinions and stories of peoples’ experiences which may be different than your own. If you can separate what is useful and what is garbage, it can be very useful in the healing process.
Why did the narcissist target me?
This may be an unpopular answer to many, but I do not believe narcissists target their “victims” at all. It may appear that way…narcissists are in relationships with good-hearted people, therefore they must be out seeking to grab a hold of the most good-hearted people…but there are too many variables in play here, and too much credit given to those narcissists.
Narcissists are often lazy, they lack patience, and they are impulsive. None of these qualities are held by those who “target” someone. Targeting someone would also take time and planning, and way too much effort on the part of the narcissist. Narcs generally do not like to spend much time between supply sources, in fact, they are usually consistently compiling a list of supplies to fall back on in an emergency. In my experience, narcissists do not find attraction in the same qualities that others do when seeking potential mates. They may seek a specific physical characteristic, but this would likely be due to the people they are trying to impress, or one that fits in best with the public persona they have crafted. Other than that, they can find a source of supply in almost anyone, whether it be sex, money, status, attention etc. Nearly anyone would work.
Narcs do not need to seek out any specific characteristics in a mate. They simply throw their net into the pond and see who they catch. The one who sticks is the keeper….for now. As we know, partners are generally temporary, until their supply source has deteriorated. Which brings us to your next question.
2. Why did he ruin my life?
[Another unpopular answer I’m sure]…he didn’t. He created some turmoil. Why? You allowed him to. The only quality that narcissists need in a viable source of supply is weak boundaries. No matter how much you felt blind-sided by the sudden change in who your partner was appearing to be, if you think back to even the beginning of your relationship, there were instances when the Narc was testing your boundaries. Probably constantly. Narcissists are notorious boundary stompers.
If you fell prey to a pwNPD, you were likely in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you allowed someone to challenge your boundaries. I have been there. If you want to avoid this dynamic in the future, the best thing you can do for yourself is start to build strong boundaries, and work on your self-esteem, so that you have the ability to walk away from anyone who tests your boundaries. Your life is not ruined. You have learned a valuable lesson and you will get past this and be stronger because of it. Just ask the many, many survivors who write about their abuse, who have been right where you are.
What do you believe the core differences are between a narcissist who is an addict, vs one who does not have an addiction?
Not all addicts are narcissists, however, all narcissists are addicts. Therefore, the chances of finding an addict with a personality disorder is pretty good. In fact, 9 out of 10 hospitalized drug addicts qualify for a diagnosis of a personality disorder.
Narcissists are addicted to external validation and will do almost anything to feed that habit. As individuals with addictive personalities, they are more susceptible to other addictions, for many reasons, and can have gambling, sex, adrenaline-inducing activities, porn, social media, and many other types of addictions going on at any given time. These addictions fuel their need for attention, cover up their disordered behaviors while in crowds (I was just drunk), offer them a shared activity for developing superficial “friendships”, offer the illusion of being in control when they really feel out of control, and can help cover the emptiness that fills their sense of self. Addicts and Narcissists share many outward behaviors, so your confusion is understandable.
Narcissists are identifiable by their lack of empathy, inability to see people as realistic mixtures of good and bad, inability to remember positive feelings for you when you have slighted them, their transactional, shallow relationships, and their hierarchical thinking. Narcissists quickly identify all people by their place in the hierarchy – either below them, above them, or equal to them…and this will coincide with how those people are treated by the narcissist. These qualities exist for the narcissist at all times, with all people, and in all situations. When they are seeking their fulfillment of narcissistic fuel, they will lie, manipulate, deflect, and word salad you until you comply, or leave them alone. The smallest disagreements will be blown out of proportion, and their lack of object constancy will be noticeable during arguments. Remember, while upset with you, any positive feelings or memories disappear, so even if it is the first argument you have had all month, the narc may say things like, “all we do is fight”. Your narc may walk out during a major argument, only to come back acting as if nothing has happened, because he is no longer upset and no longer remembers feeling hate and aggravation toward you. They generally have a history of only the most shallow of relationships, after all, any friends who would actually take the time to get to know someone would surely notice the narcissist doesn’t actually exist. Narcissists engage in constant fantasy thinking. “I’m going to win the Olympics” “When I buy you a mansion in Paris” are not uncommon comments from a narc partner. Narcissists frequently take credit for things they did not do, and will rarely, if ever, take responsibility for something they did wrong. They are easily offended by criticism. Their history of romantic relationships will all follow the same pattern, idealize, devalue, discard. These characteristics do not turn on and off, and are present at all times.
On the contrary, while addicts might use similar deceit or manipulation tactics to get what they want, and may quickly fly into a rage when called out or when prevented from getting what they feel they need, their behaviors are usually for the purpose of scoring drugs, or for the purpose of hiding the fact that they are using or looking to score drugs. During periods of sobriety, these behaviors would dissipate.
Also, while an addict may or may not have a personality disorder, an addict can adopt enough narcissistic traits to make him toxic for a partner, and you cannot change your partner’s addiction, or narcissism. Only much, much hard work can tap into these issues enough to propose change. And if you don’t see a start to this work, it likely isn’t coming any time soon. I would say that no matter what the underlying issues are with your partner, you should feel no obligation to support him or to attempt to change him in order to get him to interact with you in a safe and reciprocal relationship. You deserve someone who is ready and willing to interact with you in this way. Start taking steps to remind yourself what you loved about yourself in the beginning, and think about why you aren’t loving yourself now. Build boundaries that put you, your safety, and your happiness first, and work on your self-esteem so that you will have the strength to walk away from any partner who stomps on these boundaries.