“Pathological mind games. Covert and overt put-downs. Triangulation. Gaslighting. Projection. These are the manipulative tactics survivors of malignant narcissists are unfortunately all too familiar with. As victims of silent crimes where the perpetrators are rarely held accountable, survivors of narcissistic abuse have lived in a war zone of epic proportions, enduring an abuse cycle of love-bombing and devaluation—psychological violence on steroids.” Shahida Arabi, Power: Surviving and Thriving after Narcissistic Abuse
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a serious condition characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others. It is an extreme self-interest with zero real concern for anyone else.
This self-centeredness results from the total failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is an inability to distinguish the self from external objects (lack of whole-object relations), and a lack of understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, touched, or sensed in some way (lack of object constancy). This results in a psychological defence known as “splitting” (black or white thinking, all good or all bad), a term used in psychiatry to describe the inability to hold opposing thoughts, feelings, or beliefs.
NPD is generally considered to be the result of trauma in early childhood (abuse), although genetics may also play a role. Persons with the disorder (or a likely overlap of other personality disorders including sociopathy and psychopathy) are rarely professionally diagnosed, as they don’t see the lack of moral conscience as an issue and are able to justify their actions as a necessary defence.
NPD Abuse (Narcissistic Abuse) is what a person in a relationship with someone that meets the criteria for narcissistic (NPD) or antisocial (APD) personality disorder experiences. The potentially crippling, life long effects of narcissistic abuse on a partner’s mental health form a cluster of symptoms, not yet included in the DSM, known as Narcissistic Victim Syndrome.
"Appearances are all there is with narcissists -- and their self-hatred knows no bounds. The most dramatic example I can think of is from John Cheever's journals. Throughout his life he had pursued surreptitious homosexual activities, being transiently infatuated with young men who reminded him of himself in his youth, while also living in a superficially settled way as a married family man, a respected writer with an enviable suburban life, breeding pedigreed dogs and serving on the vestry of the Episcopal church. When his secret life (going to New York City for a few days every now and then to pick up sailors and other beautiful boys for brief flings) came to scandalous light, his family sought to reassure him by telling him that they'd known about his homosexual activities for years. Now, a normal person would be ashamed and embarrassed but also relieved and grateful that scandal, not to mention chronic emotional and marital infidelity, had not caused his wife and children to reject and abandon him -- but not the narcissist! Oh, no, Cheever was enraged that they would ever have thought such a thing of him -- if they really loved him, they'd have bought his artificial "country squire" persona: they would have seen him as he wished to be seen: they would have believed his lies without question or doubt."