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Why is it that partner seeks to prolong her pain? What is source and purpose of this masochistic streak? Upon break-up of relationship, partner (but not narcissist, who usually refuses to provide closure) engage in a tortuous and drawn out post mortem.
But question who did what to whom (and even why) is irrelevant. What is relevant is to stop mourning oneself, start smiling again and love in a less subservient, hopeless, and pain-inflicting manner.
Abuse is an integral, inseparable part of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
The narcissist idealises and then DEVALUES and discards object of his initial idealisation. This abrupt, heartless devaluation IS abuse. ALL narcissists idealise and then devalue. This is THE core narcissistic behaviour. The narcissist exploits, lies, insults, demeans, ignores (the "silent treatment"), manipulates, controls. All these are forms of abuse.
There are a million ways to abuse. To love too much is to abuse. It is tantamount to treating someone as one's extension, an object, or an instrument of gratification. To be over-protective, not to respect privacy, to be brutally honest, with a morbid sense of humour, or consistently tactless – is to abuse. To expect too much, to denigrate, to ignore – are all modes of abuse. There is physical abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse. The list is long.
Narcissists are masters of abusing surreptitiously ("ambient abuse"). They are "stealth abusers". You have to actually live with one in order to witness abuse.
There are three important categories of abuse:
Overt Abuse – The open and explicit abuse of another person. Threatening, coercing, battering, lying, berating, demeaning, chastising, insulting, humiliating, exploiting, ignoring ("silent treatment"), devaluing, unceremoniously discarding, verbal abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse are all forms of overt abuse. Covert or Controlling Abuse – Narcissism is almost entirely about control. It is a primitive and immature reaction to circumstances of a life in which narcissist (usually in his childhood) was rendered helpless. It is about re-asserting one's identity, re-establishing predictability, mastering environment – human and physical. The bulk of narcissistic behaviours can be traced to this panicky reaction to potential for loss of control. Narcissists are hypochondriacs (and difficult patients) because they are afraid to lose control over their body, its looks and its proper functioning. They are obsessive-compulsive in their efforts to subdue their physical habitat and render it foreseeable. They stalk people and harass them as a means of "being in touch" – another form of narcissistic control. But why panic?
The narcissist is a solipsist. To him, nothing exists except himself. Meaningful others are his extensions, assimilated by him, they are internal objects – not external ones. Thus, losing control of a significant other – is equivalent to losing use of a limb, or of one's brain. It is terrifying.
Independent or disobedient people evoke in narcissist realisation that something is wrong with his worldview, that he is not centre of world or its cause and that he cannot control what, to him, are internal representations.
To narcissist, losing control means going insane. Because other people are mere elements in narcissist's mind – being unable to manipulate them literally means losing it (his mind). Imagine, if you suddenly were to find out that you cannot manipulate your memories or control your thoughts… Nightmarish!
Moreover, it is often only through manipulation and extortion that narcissist can secure his Narcissistic Supply (NS). Controlling his Sources of Narcissistic Supply is a (mental) life or death question for narcissist. The narcissist is a drug addict (his drug being NS) and he would go to any length to obtain next dose.
In his frantic efforts to maintain control or re-assert it, narcissist resorts to a myriad of fiendishly inventive stratagems and mechanisms. Here is a partial list:
The narcissist acts unpredictably, capriciously, inconsistently and irrationally. This serves to demolish in others their carefully crafted worldview. They become dependent upon next twist and turn of narcissist, his inexplicable whims, his outbursts, denial, or smiles.
In other words: narcissist makes sure that HE is only stable entity in lives of others – by shattering rest of their world through his seemingly insane behaviour. He guarantees his presence in their lives – by destabilising them.
In absence of a self, there are no likes or dislikes, preferences, predictable behaviour or characteristics. It is not possible to know narcissist. There is no one there.
The narcissist was conditioned – from an early age of abuse and trauma – to expect unexpected. His was a world in which (sometimes sadistic) capricious caretakers and peers often behaved arbitrarily. He was trained to deny his True Self and nurture a False one.
Having invented himself, narcissist sees no problem in re-inventing that which he designed in first place. The narcissist is his own creator.
Hence his grandiosity.
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and searcheurope.com.
Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com