Many times I have encountered clients who describe initially meeting their marriage partner and being attracted to the amazing confidence, charm, persuasion and control displayed by that person. Over time, the clients describe coming to know someone who is preoccupied with fantasies of power and success, possessing an inflated sense of entitlement, often envious of others and requiring constant admiration. Someone who takes advantage of others to achieve their own goals.
Often, these persons are accomplished professionals who excel in a niche area of business. They can be extremely focused on goals, especially those that result in a celebration of their own individual contribution. Or, in contrast, they may be individuals who embellish the stories of their professional life with experiences they never had. They may often have trouble maintaining business relationships or positions in business due to a lack of empathy towards others.
Do you know someone who seems to never see another person’s point of view? Does that person usually fail to recognize your needs or those of others? Do you find yourself avoiding any conversation involving constructive criticism because the other person ‘just can’t handle it’? And how about exhibiting a neediness for constant compliments and admiration? Do they seem to always expect praise but rarely, if ever, give it?
Overly confident people who have a knack for taking advantage of others to get what they want may be exhibiting the characteristics of a diagnosed ‘narcissist’. According to the American Psychiatric Association, people who have narcissistic personality disorder may be chronically depressed and have unrealistic perceptions involving criticisms and rejections. They may be hiding a deep sense of low self-esteem and have a superficial opinion of themselves as above the reproach of others.
Sometimes, these are the people who frequently put down others, seemingly as a way to make themselves look better. They may have relationship problems growing up and fall into abusing drugs or alcohol. They may suffer from thoughts of suicide. In the workplace, they can be successful leaders, laser-focused on achieving a goal like bottom-line profits or reaching a production deadline. Underneath the accomplishments, they may be a self-absorbed personality, believing primarily in their own grandiosity and having little regard for those that fail to serve them.
If your partner always seems to turn the tables on any situation placing you in the ‘wrong’ or ‘in need of changing’ to affect a better outcome, while they are above any blame, you may be living with a narcissist.
If you have children, be aware that someone with extreme narcissistic tendencies, may be an indulgent parent who constantly praises and encourages self-entitlement behavior. A parenting style of permissive yet authoritative psychological control may influence negative narcissist behaviors in children. This is a parent who uses guilt, withdrawal of love, expressions of disappointment or shame in a child to serve their own psychological needs. They may use harshness to push a child towards achieving goals because they regard the child as ‘gifted’ or ’special’. At the same time, this behavior is really about the narcissistic parents own failed ambitions.
At The Law Office of Jeanne Coleman, we have known couples who are struggling with mild to challenging personality traits of one or both spouses. Managing a case where one side is prone to irrational and unreasonable thinking means you need experienced legal guidance. The reactions of someone with little to no empathy in a divorce scenario can be unsettling. Most narcissists are tough to deal with when they are not in control of a situation or when their spouse is no longer catering to their neediness. Jeanne Coleman has the ability to put on the ‘steel gloves’ and take the necessary, calm steps to effectively manage the divorce process.
As the person divorcing a narcissist, you may find yourself needing to recover and process the whole life experience you just had. Talking with a psychotherapist may be helpful. There are many local therapists in Tampa.
For guidance concerning family law matters, contact us today at 813-253-2820.