I’ve been putting off writing about narcissism for months now. Having navigated the world of narcissism my entire life due to the nature of my family, it’s taken me 45 years to shake the feeling that narcissism is home or how love feels. As sad as this is, I’m grateful that now I feel in every cell of my body the presence of a narcissist. It no longer feels like home.
It feels like my heart closing, an energetic shield going up, and the need to be fully present in order to protect myself from damage or harm. I immediately become hyper aware, the ease and grace I usually live with is put on hold as I navigate the predator at hand and my fight or flight response. The truth is, we are all unknowingly responding this way. Another word for this invisible, internal, survival mechanism is anxiety.
According to Karla McClaren, the author of The Language of Emotions, anxiety is caused by being around incongruent people. A narcissist is nothing if not incongruent. Their main subconscious focus is to maintain their image at all costs.
So what is the clinical description of narcissistic personality disorder? According to Google Health:
Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which there is an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with one's self.
A person with narcissistic personality disorder:
Psychotherapy may help the affected person relate to others in a more positive and compassionate manner.
The cause of this disorder is unknown. Narcissistic personality disorder usually begins by early adulthood.
Tests & diagnosis
Personality disorders are diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation and the history and severity of the symptoms.
The outcome varies with the severity of the disorder.
We live in a world of narcissists and therefore a world of anxiety but instead of building a bridge back to a more conscious connection to self and crossing it, we drink, shop, live in denial, have affairs, watch television, take prescription drugs, isolate or become content with the malaise or unease we’ve come to know as life.
So what is a spiritual narcissist? According to author Jorge Ferrer, “Spiritual narcissism believes that one deserves love and respect or is better than another because one has accumulated spiritual training instead of the belief that accumulating training will bring an end to suffering.”
I take what I do very seriously and am always on the look out for my own narcissistic tendencies. I have learned that my calling often attracts spiritual narcissists. It’s been eye opening going to different workshops to realize the facilitator is a narcissist. I watched one coach, tell a client (without getting to the core of her problem), “If you weren’t already signed up for my program, I’d know how to get you there.” Yikes! He was such a narcissist that he had no idea he’d just told a room of people that he’s a master manipulator. The worse part is the client and most of the room didn’t realize he was either. Why? Narcissism feels like home and a lot of those in the room (I’d soon discover) were narcissists. Like attracts like.
The trickiest part of getting healthy and away from narcissists is knowing when you are in the presence of one. Getting to the point where it no longer feels like home. A simple rule is this, whenever you feel unease or anxiety after being around someone or in conversation with them, most likely they have some narcissistic tendencies if not a full blown narcissist.
I’ve spent the past year learning to navigate clients that are narcissists, most go away because we are not a fit. I won’t uphold, take a stand for, or “give permission” to their egomaniacal wants and their egos don’t like it so they run. At first I was so triggered by them, I quietly fell apart inside and didn’t know what to do. Now that I’ve practiced standing still, staying present, and not becoming my six year old self, I am learning how to work with narcissists but for a recovering co-dependent empath this was no easy task but definitely part of my journey.
I truly believe if anyone comes to me there is a reason and with my new found strength and know how, I might be able to help. It’s a different language, a different way of working through the thick veneer of protection but I truly believe all things are possible. Through my own healing, I no longer feel the need to fight or flee. I can hold a space of divine love and begin the process of integrating the psychology, spirituality, and body, if they are willing.
For more information about me and the work I do, got to www.staceyjwarner.com