Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) behave as they do as a result of the trauma of abandonment in childhood. But does that mean we should feel sorry for them and brush their shitty behavior aside because “they can’t help it?”
I say, “Absolutely not!” If anything, we should make them more accountable for their behavior and call them out immediately.
As a person who has suffered from the trauma of physical abuse and violence and intense emotional abuse, I hold no one to blame for my bad behavior or poor choices. It took me many, many years to come to terms with what happened to me at 18 at the hands of an abusive boyfriend and several months to deal with the emotional abuse I suffered at 38.
My early refusal to face the trauma and instead tuck it away resulted in a number of mistakes and self-harm over the years: bulimia, alcohol abuse, delayed education completion, career delays, family planning delays, marriage counseling and separation. I stunted my own growth in so many ways and caused pain for my family and friends. But I never blamed anyone except myself, and I actually forgave my abusers.
I struggled to understand what I must have done to cause someone to treat me so poorly. No matter how long I spent punishing myself for not doing X,Y, or Z, I never reached a place of healing. I never forgave myself for blaming myself.
Finally, I learned that the victim of intimate partner abuse should NEVER be blamed. EVER! Not even by ourselves. How can you blame yourself for being caught unsuspectingly in an ambush? You can’t. Domestic violence/intimate partner abuse is an ambush. It’s not a two-sided disagreement that goes wrong like so many believe. The abuse comes from no where except a dark and ugly place within the abusers twisted and delusional mind. Once we start believing and realizing this and stop blaming ourselves, the healing begins.
Back to the narcissist. Why blame him? After all, he was ambushed, too. He was abandoned, neglected, or in some way abused as a child. He can’t help himself, right? He needs guidance, right?
Wrong! Not everyone who is abused, neglected, or abandoned ends up being a narcissist who abuses and tortures others with actions, words, and deeds. “Suffering” as the narcissist does is a choice, just like my suffering was MY choice. However, unlike me, the narcissist refuses to acknowledge the damage done and continues to blame and shame everyone, including himself on a subconscious level. It’s a recipe for a sad existence and one that can’t be pitied. Otherwise, you will get sucked into the mess like I did and threaten your own sanity. (Trust me. You do not want to do that. No martyr can fix a narcissist.)
A person can only be guided and directed for so long. That person must choose to accept who he is and what happened to him in order to change. The narcissist refuses to acknowledge his past for what it was: shitty and out of his control.
Instead, he glorifies his childhood and distorts EVERYTHING! His true self is too ugly for him to face. His mind is so warped and focused on material and outward appearances and perceptions that his true self is lost in the abyss of the narcissist’s mind.
But what the narcissist fails to realize is that as he glorifies his existence through his storytelling and over-dramatic hand gestures, good people can see through his act. We see the sad, lonely boy who desperately wanted a normal childhood free from abuse and abandonment. We see a boy inside a man’s body begging for acceptance and love. In the end, unfortunately, due to his unbending control and abusive nature, we can do little else but walk away. We are added to his long list of people who chose to abandon him. According to the narcissist, we left because we can’t handle the truth. The reality is that we simply choose to love those worthy of our love, and the narcissist is truly unloveable.