13 Apr Living With Someone Who Has Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Posted at 7:00 am in Couples Therapy, Group Therapy, Individual Therapy by jlbworks
It can be tempting to attempt to tough it out in a difficult relationship. There might be many reasons to leave, but just as many reasons to stay. So how do you navigate a situation like this? How do you learn to live with someone who suffers from a condition like narcissistic personality disorder?
Here’s what you need to know.
What Is It?
Personality disorders are mental disorders that result in unhealthy and rigid patterns of thought and behavior.
There are multiple variations of which are separated into three different clusters of disorders.
Cluster A: Odd or eccentric thoughts and behavior
Cluster B: Overly emotional, dramatic, or unpredictable thoughts and behavior
Cluster C: Anxious or fearful thoughts and behavior
There are multiple types included in each of these clusters, but they relate to each other by the broad characteristics described above.
Narcissistic personality disorder is included in Cluster B. The symptoms are:
- Exaggeration of talents and achievements
- Inability to recognize the needs and feelings of others
- Exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Fantasies regarding success, attractiveness, and power
- Takes advantage of others
- Unreasonable expectations of favors
- Insistence on only having top-quality items
Criticism often makes someone with narcissistic personality disorder angry, as they see themselves as either the best at everything or a complete failure. They try to make up for this by belittling others. A difficulty in regulating emotions can lead to significant interpersonal problems. Any failure to meet perfection can result in depressed or moody behavior.
A person with narcissistic personality disorder will often be unable to recognize their problem. This means they rarely seek help for their disorder. However, problems with drugs, alcohol, or depression can occasionally lead someone to seek help in another form.
How Can I Cope With It?
Living with a person with narcissistic personality disorder can be extremely challenging. Many people find it impossible. However, there are situations where a person can find it incredibly difficult to simply walk away. Marriages are difficult to dissolve, especially when children are involved.
So what is the best way to attempt to deal with the situation? Is it possible to live a happy life with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder?
The first thing you should do is recognize the limitations of a person with this disorder. Their brains simply work a little differently than the rest of us. Knowing what to expect can help dampen the effects of their negative responses.
Physical and emotional abuse is possible. Choosing to remain in a relationship with this person will come with this risk. As we said earlier, narcissists are unable to process the feelings of other people. And at the same time, they lash out when they are made to feel inept. Even lightly scolding the person can result in an explosion of emotion.
Arguments and fights are going to be a frequent aspect of the relationship. They will react unreasonably to many situations. Any attempt to correct their behavior will likely be met with anger. This can lead to embarrassing interactions, even in public.
But knowing all of this beforehand can help you predict its inevitably, and attempt to mitigate the result.
You need to set personal boundaries and stick to them throughout all of this. There needs to be lines that can not be crossed. And once they are, you need to be prepared to leave. The person might test these boundaries but you need to remain firm.
Living in such a circumstance is possible, but you need to be prepared to stand up for yourself should things go too far.
Is There Help?
Many mental health patients will undergo a combination of medication and therapy. Personality disorders, however, do not respond to medication. This is why different versions of therapy are utilized in order to treat the patient.
Group, family, and individual therapy will move slowly and gradually so they don’t push the patient too far too fast. This would be met with hostility and defense. This gradual nature of the treatment means it won’t be a quick fix. Long-term treatments are the only possibility of seeing any improvements in the behavior of the patient.
It is essential that judgmental attitudes are not present throughout the sessions of therapy. A positive relationship between doctor and patient builds trust. This increases the likelihood of productive discussions.
Attitudes and behaviors that create stress and conflict will eventually be recognized. They will be linked to negative aspects within the patient’s life, which shows the patient what would be gained by changing their behavior.
Call Dr. Phil Chanin in Nashville, TN
Dr. Phil Chanin is a licensed clinical psychologist in Nashville, TN. He has years of experience with individual therapy, group therapy, and couples therapy. He can sit down with someone with narcissistic personality disorder and work to get to the bottom of the problem.