The Narcissist’s Mind: Understanding the Psychology of Narcissism

man standing in roadNarcissism is a personality disorder characterised by an excessive need for admiration, attention, and validation from others. It is often accompanied by emotional abuse and manipulation tactics. If you have ever experienced the psychological effects of interacting with a narcissist, you know how damaging a relationship with a narcissist can be and the trauma it can cause. For someone who is not familiar with the inner workings of narcissism it is important to understand the psychology of narcissism in order to gain a better understanding of the the narcissist’s mind and how they operate.

The Three Pillars of Narcissism

Narcissism is a complex and often misunderstood personality disorder. It is rooted in a person’s early life experiences, trauma, and psychological abuse, and can manifest in a range of behaviours that can be harmful to themselves and others. To better understand the psychology of narcissism, it’s important to look at the three pillars that form the basis of this disorder.

The first pillar of narcissism is the False Self. This is the mask the narcissist wears in order to protect themselves from criticism and shame. It is composed of grandiose fantasies and beliefs about themselves, and they project this false self onto the world around them. The narcissist’s false self gives them an inflated sense of importance and power, which helps them to cope with feelings of inferiority and insecurity.

The second pillar of narcissism is how the narcissist views others. Narcissists often view other people as either objects or tools to be used for their own gain. They tend to lack empathy and objectify others, believing they are better or more important than everyone else.

The third pillar of narcissism is how the narcissist views themselves. Narcissists view themselves as perfect or special in some way, believing that they are better than anyone else and should receive special treatment. This leads to feelings of entitlement and a belief that they are above criticism or consequences for their actions.

By understanding these three pillars of narcissism, we can gain a better insight into the psychology of this disorder, and how it affects people who come into contact with a narcissist.

The False Self

Narcissism is based on a false sense of self-importance and entitlement. This “false self” is an adaptation the narcissist has developed over the years in order to cope with deep-seated feelings of inferiority. It is a way of masking their true, vulnerable selves, which they view as inadequate and unworthy. The narcissist’s false self is made up of grandiose fantasies and boasts of superiority. This can be seen in the way they present themselves to others and through the type of relationships they form.

The false self serves many purposes for the narcissist. It allows them to deflect any criticism that may come their way, as well as give them an inflated sense of self-importance. This can lead to psychological abuse as they seek to control those around them. They may also use manipulation tactics such as gaslighting in order to keep their control over another person and to make themselves feel even more important.

The damaging effects narcissists have on those around them cannot be understated. Their need for control and lack of empathy makes it difficult to build healthy relationships. Friends and family may find themselves walking on eggshells in order to please them, or they may be subjected to psychological abuse. They may even start to question their own sanity, especially when the relationship with the narcissist is a romantic one. In some cases, those closest to the narcissist may feel trapped and will have difficulty escaping the situation. For a victim of narcissism, this can cause a lot of trauma with lasting effects on their mental health.

How the Narcissist Sees Others

When it comes to how the narcissist sees others, they often view them as extensions of themselves and their own desires. They may treat people as if they are objects that can be manipulated and controlled. This damaging view of those around them often leads to psychological abuse, as the narcissist will use tactics such as guilt-tripping, belittling, and bullying to control those in their lives.

The narcissist may also struggle to recognise boundaries and the individual wants and needs of those around them. As a result, their attempts at manipulation can often leave the other person feeling drained and taken advantage of. These feelings of powerlessness can further damage the mental health of those who are being subjected to this type of behaviour.

If you suspect that you have a narcissistic person in your life, it is important to reach out for professional help. Counselling can provide a safe space for you to process the trauma of narcissistic abuse and begin to heal from its damaging effects. Counselling can also provide an opportunity to better understand yourself and your needs, which can help in developing healthier relationships with those around you.

How the Narcissist Treats Others

When it comes to their interactions with others, narcissists typically use a range of tactics to manipulate and control their victims. These tactics often involve emotional and psychological abuse, which can have damaging effects on the mental health of those around them. Examples of psychological abuse used by narcissists include control, gaslighting, withholding love or affection, invalidating the experiences of others, isolating those they are in a relationship with from others and even outright verbal or physical abuse.

In addition to psychological abuse, narcissists may also engage in emotional blackmail, attempting to leverage guilt or fear in order to get what they want from someone. They may also use charm and flattery as well as love bombing to manipulate those around them into doing what they want.

The biggest issue with narcissistic behaviour is that it often leads to a cycle of co-dependence, in which the victim is constantly seeking validation from the narcissist, despite the abusive treatment they’re receiving. This cycle can be difficult to break and can lead to long-term emotional trauma for the victim. Survivors of narcissism often struggle with a number of mental health issues such as low self-esteem or self-worth, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, people pleasing, PTSD, and OCD.

How the Narcissist Views Themselves

Narcissists view themselves as superior and special. They often have an inflated sense of self-importance and are preoccupied with fantasies of power, beauty, brilliance, and success. Narcissists may engage in grandiose behaviours and think they deserve special treatment. They expect to be praised and admired for their perceived greatness without having to earn it.

The way a narcissist views themselves has damaging effects on those around them. Narcissists often lack empathy and show no regard for the feelings or needs of others. This can lead to psychological abuse, which can cause significant mental health issues for those who are in relationships with them.

Narcissists will use manipulation, gaslighting, and other tactics to keep their victims feeling powerless and at their mercy. The constant cycle of abuse and invalidation can leave their victims feeling scared, confused, and isolated.

How to Deal With a Narcissist

When dealing with a narcissist, it is important to remember that they do not have the same ability to empathise or show compassion as non-narcissists. This means that any psychological abuse or mental health damage they cause should not be taken personally. In order to protect yourself from their manipulation and control tactics, it is essential to recognise their behaviour for what it is – an attempt to make you believe that their point of view is the only one that matters.

The best way to deal with a narcissist is to set firm boundaries in order to protect your emotional wellbeing. This means establishing rules and expectations for how the narcissist should interact with you and communicate with you. Setting clear boundaries and sticking to them is very important. Be clear about what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable, and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself if the narcissist tries to push the boundaries. Additionally, it is important to maintain healthy relationships with other people in your life so that you can find support and validation outside of the narcissistic relationship.

It is also helpful to learn more about narcissism so that you can better understand the motivations behind their behaviour. Having a better understanding of why narcissists behave the way they do can help you to stay emotionally detached and be more equipped to handle any confrontations that may arise.

Finally, if you are in an abusive situation with a narcissist, it is important to seek help from a professional. A trained mental health professional can provide you with resources and strategies for how to safely navigate the situation and provide support as you rebuild your life without the toxic influence of the narcissist.

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