Hello everyone, thank you for joining me today. As we grapple with the reality of a relationship with a narcissist (narc), someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and all that encompasses, or even someone with very high tendencies in narcissism, we MUST understand some basic truths about this disorder and where it comes from within the individual. How the disorder manifests in ADULT men and women create relationships wrought with extreme difficulty, and over time that difficulty takes a significant toll on victims. This of course, is stating the obvious. On our side, we WANT to understand this difficulty of course, and often our drive for understanding leads to the desire to ‘help’ and support someone who is so obviously ‘different’ than we are, seems to have such difficulty ‘with us’, and it is just those drives that will be the end of our own mental and emotional safety and health. The end of peace as we have known it. The end of our confidence that we felt we once had. The end of our ability to think clearly, concentrate, and go about our daily lives in a state that is relatively ‘normal’ and ‘carefree’. Remember those days? Remember those days BEFORE your relationship with the narcissist? If not – think back. REALLY – think back to those days. We need to make a connection between ‘how we were’ prior to the relationship and ‘how we are’ now. Chances are, there are very great differences between who we were back then, and ‘who’ we have become trying to make a narcissistic relationship work. Additionally, we need to take a very close look at how this disorder manifests itself, a close look at the UNDERLYING DRIVES (conscious and subconscious) and how that TRANSLATES into the expectations of the narcissist. Because of the many and varied reasons, combined together to create the ‘perfect storm’ of inter- and intra- personal difficulties, 100 % PERFECTION would STILL not be enough to satisfy the narcissist. Even if things seem to ‘get better’ for a time, even if you are able to share some good times and good feelings in the relationship – THEY NEVER LAST. If you have been in a relationship with a narc, you ALREADY know how difficult it is, and have likely been exposed to mental, emotional, and possibly even physical abuse. Isn’t it so ironic that the HARDER we try to MAKE the relationship work, often, the worse it gets? We often wonder WHY things ALWAYS go back to the abuse. There are some very important reasons for this.
“It is SUPREMELY important to understand that the difficulty in the relationship with a narcissist is because at the ROOT, at the VERY FOUNDATION of the narcissist, is a person WHO NEVER DEVELOPED beyond the emotional state of a young child. A narcissist – NO MATTER the outward accomplishments and standing – is nothing more than a child, driven by immature needs and insecurities and jealousies; a child in a grown person’s body. This MUST be accepted. The emotional development (in general terms) of a narcissist STOPS in the early childhood age; between 3 and 6 years of age. Many experts state that emotional development STOPS at the age when the narcissist first experienced emotional / mental / physical trauma in the home.” L.A. GILLIAM
Okay. So, let’s take a look at how the behaviors manifest within the narcissist, and further, analyze WHY this translates into A NO – WIN situation for US. Keep in mind through your reading the title of this article: “Why 100% PERFECTION Would Not Be Enough for a Narcissist”. I’m hoping as you read, things will start to ‘click’, you will have some a-ha moments as the pieces of this difficult puzzle fall into place. You must remember that even with ‘perfection’ (or NEAR perfection), while the narc may be TEMPORARILY happy ‘with you’, it will NOT last. Trying to live up to the narc’s unreasonable demands, standards, and never-ending expectations is unhealthy, frustrating, hurtful, harmful, and affects victims deeply. Let’s take a look:
- Impulsivity. A narcissist is driven by IMPULSE, both in their professional and personal life, but this will be particularly noticeable in their inter-personal relationships. JUST LIKE A CHILD, a narc sees something, wants that something, and will do anything to get that ‘something’. There is very little CONSTRAINT with a narcissist; you will likely see OVER-spending, addiction to substances, pornography, needing to be busy ALL the time (or conversely, extreme laziness and apathy), and other IMPULSE-related behaviors. A narc is like a CHILD in this way; often rational thought and reasonable perceptions are NON-existent. What the narc wants, the narc gets. He or she will make sure of it. It is not uncommon for a narcissist to make a large purchase, unknown to anyone, until AFTER the fact. If the narcissist is denied whatever they have their eye on, as in if WE try to speak rationally about why ‘such and such’ might not be such a great idea, WE then become the OBSTACLE to the narc getting what he or she wants, and punishment (in some form or fashion) will follow. A narcissist denied what they want in that VERY moment, will turn into a POUTING petulant child, who will then take out their negative feelings ON US, at having been denied. It is important to note here that neuro-psychological studies in narcissists, sociopaths, and those with anti-social personality disorder show ABNORMALITIES in the pre-frontal cortex, limbic system, and the amygdala; all centers in our brains that control emotional response, rational thought, and the ‘tempering’ of impulses. Even if you were 100% perfect at all times, it would make no difference to the narcissist. The narc must have what the narc wants (even OTHER side ‘partners’, affairs, other men and women) no matter the ‘cost’ to others. Even if you were 100% perfect, the narc’s unreasonable WANTS AND NEEDS would override your perfection. They are NEVER satisfied with the normal, every day life most of us lead.
- Immediacy. Immediacy goes hand in hand with impulsivity. Like a child, being patient, calm, cool, collected, and understanding when things ‘take time’ (longer than what the narc thinks is necessary, anyway) will likely cause the narc anxiety, outbursts, anger (if not out-and-out rage), disgust (usually at others as the narc sees them as causing the delay), and frustration at a level that is ABOVE what the situation would normally call for. Like above, not only does the narcissist want the item, thing, situation, or person they have their eye on, they want it NOW. This is one reason a narcissist will rush relationships; they know NO boundaries when it comes to such things. IMMEDIATE is better. IMMEDIATE makes the narcissist happy. Just like a child who cannot wait for their cookie or prize, who cannot understand that things don’t always happen at the snap of their fingers, a narcissist will again show the ‘petulant / pouting’ behavior if denied this immediate gratification. This is ridiculous of course, as we are ADULTS. Again as above, if WE are perceived as being the reason a narcissist is denied the satisfaction of their immediate demands, wants, and needs, WE will be subjected to some form of punishment for having denied the narc. Even if you were 100% perfect at all times, it would make no difference to the narcissist. The narc must have what the narc wants IMMEDIATELY. There is no room here for ‘human error’; there will be punishment meted out to anyone who DARE disappoint the narc. Even if you were 100% perfect, the narc’s unreasonable DEMANDS would override your perfection. You are a human being, not a robot.
- Jealousy and competition. Due to the narcissist’s under-developed positive sense of self, sense of internal worthiness, their reigning deep insecurity, and fracture / fragile self-view, ANYTHING is bound to cause jealousy. Jealousy may come out through overt OR covert behavior. Have you accomplished something only to have the narcissist STAY SILENT upon your sharing of the wonderful achievement? Have you shared good news relative to something important to you in YOUR life only to be met with a sneer, or snide comment? Have you ever said something like, “I don’t know why you can’t be happy for me; I thought you would share in my happiness!”? Ladies and gentlemen, a narcissist CANNOT be happy for others as OTHERS ARE COMPETITION – especially their TARGETED victim. In a narcissist’s view, anything WE achieve makes them ‘less than’. Any good news that WE have about something in our own lives will either be challenged, a remark made, a sneer, a jeer – SOMETHING that lets us know the narc is not happy about our good news. This likely stems from the very early childhood experiences and trauma that were instrumental in the faulty non-development of stable, secure, positive self-worth, and PREDICTABLE, reliable feelings about one’s self. These are by and large ABSENT in the childhood of a narcissist. There is nothing quite like NOT being ‘celebrated’ by your partner. There are few things that cut to the heart and soul of who we are, like sharing important, positive, and joyous news to then only be DENIED the sharing of our joy, by the person who should be our biggest CHEERLEADER. I’ve been there, and I will NEVER forget the feeling. Being 100% perfect here at all times – in the narcissist’s mind – would look like someone who NEVER has personal positive news to share, never accomplishes great things, never moves BEYOND the constraints and unreasonable subjugation the narcissist has in mind for you. You would NOT be allowed to celebrate that promotion, your great achievements or special news, as they have only negative connotations to the narc; even your worthy work for charity would be meaningless. The narcissist simply cannot bring themselves to FEEL HAPPINESS AND JOY FOR OTHERS; they see this as competition, internally making them LESS than their victim(s). Please note: they may be able to fake otherwise in front of others (depending on who their AUDIENCE is at the time), or FOR others, but inwardly, the narcissist is likely seething with jealousy, JUST like an immature child.
- Rage and Temper Tantrums. Again, as has been stated, we are dealing with a CHILD in an adult’s body. Emotional temperance, emotional constraint and control, are lacking with a narcissist. Often hostile and rageful, a narcissist thinks NOTHING of ‘going off’ on seemingly small issues, issues that WE do not process in the same way. Narcissists are not known for being able to hold their temper; often ‘narc rage’ is experienced at even slight upsets. During this rage, there is potential for violence against people and property (and animals and children). This is a no-win situation and will get WORSE over time. Remember the mention of the brain structures above? Those are likely instrumental in the inability for the narcissist to ‘react’ more normally to every day stressors. Often these rages are seen ONLY behind closed doors; it is not unusual for the targeted victim to be the ONLY one who sees this behavior. 100% perfection will not save you from narcissistic rage. The narcissist perceives, views, act, and reacts to the world ABNORMALLY, and the RULES AND DEMANDS MAY SWITCH at any moment. Even perfection would NOT be enough to shield you from this devastating behavior.
- Ownership and Servitude. Through normal and healthy childhood development, we learn that OTHERS are individual and separate WORTHY PEOPLE with feelings and RIGHTS; people who are to be treated with respect, people we are to give and receive equally among. Somewhere along the way, the narcissist does not progress through this normal developmental stage. Somewhere along the way, the narc develops the perception that other people are NOT individuals, that others are to be used as tools or as an EXTENSION of the narcissist themselves, that others are to SERVE the narc’s needs and wishes, and that others do NOT have rights individually. We experience this dysfunctional behavior in a multitude of ways, from demands on our time (which if we don’t comply may result in narc rage or a tantrum), to requirements of running errands or cleaning house (even if we have our own errands and tasks, there will be pressure to SERVE the narc in this way), to being isolated from friends and family (as they are often seen as ‘less than’ and unimportant to the narc; it matters NOT at all that these people are important to US) as a way to further narcissist power and control over their victims. In a narcissist’s view, we are NOT separate people ‘allowed’ to have our own lives, our own interests; if we do, then we are firmly placed back into the COMPETITION-mode of the narcissist, as they will interpret these things as NOT important and menial, things that take AWAY their attention (which needs to be nearly constant), take our time away from THEM. Can you see how simply twisted this world view is? If you WERE a robot, with zero needs, desires, wants, interests, opinions, views, LIFE, the narcissist would STILL find a way to be dissatisfied. A narcissist, by the very emptiness of which their soul resides, does NOT allow us to BE. We are only a tool to be used. Only an extension of the narcissist him- or herself. We are basically less than human.
Absolutely everything we are, everything we think, feel, know, perceive, etc. is driven by our INTERNAL SENSE OF SELF. Self worth. Self image. Self belief. How we see ourselves and what we believe ABOUT ourselves is the driving force behind all we do, think, perceive, believe and FEEL. With a narcissist, there is virtually NO valuable sense of self. There is virtually ZERO sense of internal worthiness – which explains why narcissists are SO INVESTED in the creation of their false personas they present to the world. Without feeling valuable in a normal and healthy sense, is it truly ANY wonder the narc lives how she or he does? Without the normal and healthy DEVELOPMENT of an internal sense of WORTH – the narcissist is in a perpetual state of EARLY CHILDHOOD, as seen by the very things listed in this article.
You know what is sad here? It is sad that I could KEEP GOING. I could keep writing for pages and pages listing ALL the ways the narcissist will continue to BE unhappy with their victim(s). I could keep illustrating all of the nefarious, negative, and devastating effects narcissistic views, perceptions, actions, and reactions have on their victims. It truly just goes on and on and on. I do hope however, that with these few things outlined, you are able to grasp the DEPTH of this disorder, the depth of NEED and dysfunction that rules the life of a narcissist. Your BEST will never be good enough; they are never satisfied. Your ALL will never be ‘up to par’; there will always be more to be done. Your EVERYTHING, even at 100% PERFECTION, will never COMPLETE the narcissist, as they are VOID of the very internal sense of self REQUIRED to be able to authentically love and accept other human beings. Can you see now that even with 100% perfection it would still NOT be enough? Please, please. If you are reading these, find support. Search for resources. Call local law enforcement for referrals for shelters, advocates, assistance, and help. HELP IS AVAILABLE, and your life can change with one phone call. Living a life with a narcissist is NO life at all. You are NOT a robot, and even if you were, that STILL wouldn’t be enough for a narcissist. Find a way, make a way – OUT of the relationship. Best, L.A.