If one lives together with an extreme narcissistic person, life is not easy in general. However, when such a period of time comes, when you are spending a lot of time, even several days continuously with this given person, it can be especially burdensome for the “suffering” one.
This time of the year comes now, due to the year-end holidays. No matter if it is our partner or a family member, who the narcissistic person is in our life, it is worth preparing ourselves consciously. It is worth understanding what their driving forces are, what situations they can cause and what are the background reasons due which they behave this way. After all, awareness is already half of the battle – as I always say. It is also very important to think in advance about how we can keep ourselves in our center in the midst of the negative situations that might occur.
What is the driving force of an extreme narcissistic person?
One of the main reasons of their behavior is that they want the attention to themselves. So that they never feel alone. So that they always have the control in their hands. So that they can feel in each and every situation that they have the “power”. So that everything can be about them. So that they do not have to deal with other people or other people’s emotions – as the extreme narcissistic people are not able to do that.
So that others always admire, glorify them and believe that they are perfect. So that everything can happen according to their own value system – given, that only those things are good, that they consider good. So that they are always the ones “on the top”, in all situations – this way trying to avoid any situation where it might turn out that they are “less” than others. So that they can keep other people around dependent of them. So that only they can be important and others do not “harass” them with their own needs, but instead the narcissist’s needs are fulfilled by everyone else.
What is the root cause of this extreme narcissistic behavior?
If we go one level deeper in why’s, it can be said that it all stems from a very deep-rooted lack of self-confidence, lack of stability and lack of love. Which, as in most cases, has its origins in their childhood.
Here comes now a very important point. I am not writing the followings with the intention of urging the “suffering” people with the extreme narcissistic partner/family member to start to try to save them. If someone is not a professionally trained helper, cannot really help a person who doesn’t have the so-called problem-consciousness – meaning that they don’t have it on the conscious level what their behavior generates for their own selves and for others around them. And in case of an extreme narcissistic person, they are very-very far from being conscious about their behavior and its effects.
The reason why it is worth for the “suffering” people knowing the background reasons is the understanding. If we get to understand where the extreme narcissistic person’s behavior comes from, we have a lot better chance to separate it from ourselves.
If we know that what they do or say are actually not about us, even if our name is in the sentences, it is a lot easier to keep ourselves in our center, to keep our balance.
What negative situations can occur during the holidays?
So, let’s take a look at some of the situations that can occur when we spend the holidays with an extreme narcissistic person.
1. Control and monitor everything and everyone
The majority of the extreme narcissistic people are also overly controlling, the core of their existence being the micro-management, having a say in everything and instructing everyone around them.
The base of their belief system is that only they know how to do things right and no one else is capable of doing things as perfectly as themselves. And if someone still dares to do something, then comes the criticism-wave.
“It’s bad like this, it shouldn’t have been done this way, it should have been done another way anyway, you can’t do anything right, you see I said you are not even able to do that…” and so on. In the meanwhile, they constantly use the energies of others, of course. They might even ask others to bring them things that are only arm-length away from them – due to which we can rightly feel that they are continuously making people do what they want. And for helping them, you cannot expect any gratefulness of course, as it is the baseline that everyone around them acts as they tell them to – without any questions or oppositions.
2. Freaking out, quarrelling, hysteria
The root cause of an extreme narcissist’s tantrum maybe cannot even be understood at first sight. Generally, however, on the one hand it is in connection with the control.
This means that if things are not going as they want, they freak out. The freaking out itself can already be very extreme, starting with shouting, breaking plates and ending in even physical abuse. And what happens during this whole time in parallel, is the blaming of the “suffering” person. This is when the extreme narcissistic person wants to push over the responsibility of their own reactions to someone else. “You see, what you made me do again??”, “It is your fault that we cannot have this holiday without a fight again!” – they might say… But it is almost needless to say, that all these are everything but true…
On the other hand, the trigger of the tantrum/hysteria can also be their inability of having a real emotional bond with others and openness towards them.
As an extreme narcissistic person is not aware of or conscious about their own emotions – let alone that of others -, from this perspective they find it really difficult to spend many days closely and continuously together with their family. They spend a lot of time together, there is no excuse to leave home for work for example, which could save them from these uncomfortable emotional situations (uncomfortable for them, I mean). During these several-day-holidays it surfaces even more visibly, how much they are unable to take other people into consideration, these people’s feelings and needs. They might even try for some time, however, when they get fed up with it (they cannot bare (pretending) it any more), they explode. Freaking out, quarrelling, hysteria, tantrum, anger outburst. This is how their helplessness manifests.
3. Emotional draining of others
Extreme narcissistic people often live like leeches from the emotional energy of others. They require other people to turn their full attention to them all the time, they talk to them non-stop, they keep using the people around them for their own recharge. And if they feel that a particular person hasn’t provided it for them lately (because, let’s say, they were physically away), they see it as a great opportunity to “make up” for it during the holidays. That is, they want to make up for any missed out draining of this person’s energy.
We can already guess what the result of this will be for the “suffering” party: his/her energy will be drained, he/she will be completely ignored, as everything has to be about the emotional energy recharge of the extreme narcissistic person. And if the “suffering” person dares to turn their attention and emotional energy to others, the extreme narcissistic family member could use the freaking out/quarrelling/hysteria combo here as well.
The only difference here is that the accompanying sentences in these cases try to attack your conscience: “You are selfish my son, that you don’t care even this much with me in one year!”, “That’s all I mean for you?”, “How much have I done for you in your life and you don’t even do this for me? ” and so on…
4. Now I will tell you how you should live your life
Extreme narcissistic people always know better. What do they know better? Well, everything – at least in their opinion. Therefore, when they finally spend several days with their family members during the holidays, they feel that this is a great opportunity for them to tell everyone how they should live their lives.
This is especially true when it comes to extreme narcissistic parents. They then also explain even to their already grown-up children, how badly they are actually living their lives and how they should live it instead (in a way, that the extreme narcissistic parents think it is good, of course). “I just want the best for you,” these parents say. Well-well, the road to hell is paved with good intentions too…
And what is explicitly missing from such “advices” and also makes them very destructive for the “suffering” party is the complete disregard for the needs of others.
The extreme narcissistic parent wants their adult child to do what the parent would do – but the child is not an extension of the parent. This adult child is a separate individual, with separate thoughts, separate views, separate opinions, separate needs. However, most extreme narcissistic parents cannot and do not want to take this into consideration.
You can read the next part of the article on 23rd December, continuing with the hints and tips on how to protect yourself in such adverse situations.