In the "Psychology Today" article, "The Narcissist," psychiatrist Mark Banschick describes the typical characteristics of narcissism. Narcissistic individuals need attention, lack empathy and believe they deserve special treatment. They exploit others for their own gain and exaggerate their positive attributes. These individuals are in constant search of narcissistic supply, which is the admiration, attention or fear of others, and they can react with rage if they feel slighted, insulted or criticized. Their reaction to a narcissistic injury is out of proportion to the situation. If you are involved with an angry narcissist and wish to get out of that situation -- you need to be careful.
Once you have decided to separate yourself from the narcissist, it is important not to look back. Linda Martinez-Lewi, author of "Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life," asserts that the narcissist will not change, no matter how much he may try to convince you otherwise. Don't try to explain your position or argue with the narcissist -- he will twist your words and make you doubt your choice. Consider obtaining support from a professional counselor, if you are emotionally distraught. If you cannot remove the narcissist from your life because of family ties, keep communication to a minimum and via third parties, whenever possible. If the narcissist is a spouse, you will need to separate all legal and financial details of your household.
After you initiate no contact with the narcissist, he may become frantic. Banschick notes that narcissists have a need to be in control and have the admiration and adulation of others -- their "narcissistic supply." He may look for someone else to replace that supply or try to win you -- and your validation, back. He may fake tears and emotions, hoping to get a reaction from you, but don't fall for this. Once he realizes that you have figured out his game, he will be less likely to continue initiating contact, and more likely to move on.
An angry narcissist may become enraged by your initiation of no contact and refusal to give in. Be prepared for vicious verbal attacks. Banschick admonishes that "people with narcissistic personality disorder can be vicious when frustrated." The narcissist needs to be the one steering the ship and look like the hero -- his only goal is to regain control of you. Be prepared for all manner of outrageous behaviors. Do not answer the door, answer your phone, open his emails, or respond to his texts. He may even threaten to harm himself if you do not return, but do not fall prey to these manipulations.
If you feel you are in imminent danger, seek help through the police or a domestic violence organization such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence safety plan outlines steps to take to protect yourself. In extreme situations you may need to take drastic measures such as changing your phone number, keeping records of all contact, changing locks, and ensuring that your safety is not compromised by traveling with a companion. If you must have meetings with the narcissist, always do so in a public place in the company of others.
When the angry narcissist is finally out of your life, start to rebuild yourself and your life, advocates Martinez-Lewi. You may have self-esteem issues to work on and you may even be mourning the loss of the relationship -- as bad as it was, at the time. Seek therapy or join a support group with other individuals who have experienced similar circumstances. Although it can be a long road to recovery after dealing with a narcissist, you will eventually find the peace and tranquility that was sorely lacking for a long time.
- Psychology Today: Narcissism Examined
- Psychology Today: The Narcissist
- Freeing Yourself From the Narcissist in Your Life; Linda Martinez-Lewi
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Safety Plan for Leaving an Abusive Relationship
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