Therapists are increasingly encountering clients in their practices who have experienced narcissistic abuse by a family member or intimate partner. This type of psychological abuse is complex, insidious, and requires a unique therapeutic approach. I am offering consultation for therapists who want to improve their ability to understand and identify narcissism, and better assist their clients with the emotional healing that needs to take place. Please contact me if you would like additional information.
Narcissism is a spectrum of character traits. Narcissists have difficulty with empathy, they fail to appreciate that other people may have perspectives that differ from their own, and they struggle significantly with taking accountability for their own behavior. Essentially, it is all about them and their needs.
Healthy relationships may sometimes be hard, but they’re not all that complicated. It’s a fundamental distinction that is easy to miss. Hard implies the necessity of effort, which positive and sustainable relationships unquestionably require, but “complicated” essentially means that the relationship is difficult to understand. That’s another notion entirely.
The term “flying monkey” is widely used by mental health professionals to describe individuals who enable the narcissist and do their bidding. Sometimes this person has no idea that they are being manipulated by the narcissist. Because narcissists always view themselves as the victim, they are highly adept at convincing enablers that they aren’t at fault for the situation in which they have found themselves.
Healthy relationships require the well-developed ability to be accountable for your own behavior. Accountable people readily recognize that their actions impact other people, they care if that effect is a negative one, and they feel a sense of responsibility in ensuring that they appropriately meet the needs and expectations of others. Accountability necessitates the practice of empathy, a willingness to consider different perspectives, and the ability to accept criticism and admit fault. Narcissists have extreme difficulty with this due to their emotional immaturity, complete self-absorption, and fear of vulnerability and loss of control.