[Note: In this article, I speak as a masculine man in relationship to feminine women. Please adjust the gender terms to suit your relationship life.]
In previous articles, I described narcissism as an extreme form of selfishness. But narcissism goes beyond mere self-interest. It’s more akin to egotism — an excessive or exaggerated sense of self-importance. In the extreme, a narcissist exists alone at the center of his (or her) known universe. Other people appear as instruments that serve a purpose: to satisfy the narcissist’s needs, wants and desires. If they don’t, they are considered useless (or worse) and can be easily discarded.
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If that’s the extreme, where are you on the scale of narcissism? I have always considered myself an evolving “conscious male,” so my own narcissism was submerged, hidden in the subconscious shadows. I couldn’t see it — but the women in my life could.
Here’s how it looked in my earlier days: As long as I was getting what I wanted from the woman in my life, I was happy. I felt good about my relationship. I was cooperative, kind, and loving. But if I didn’t get what I wanted, if she wasn’t showing up consistently as the perfect Love Goddess I expected, I began to shut down, withdrawing my energy and attention. I frequently became resentful. I stopped caring about her as much as I had initially. I got snappy, overly irritable, and reactive. I would hit an internal limit, then started looking for an exit, or someone else who would be more pleasing, and less of a problem.
Looking back, I can see that this was a narcissistic demand that my woman satisfy all of my needs and appetites. If she couldn’t do so (and of course, no one could), my dissatisfaction grew. If she didn’t meet my expectations, there was clearly something wrong with her. I couldn’t see my own role in the dynamic.
This type of narcissism has destroyed many good relationships.
Eventually, my girlfriend would mention my withdrawal, or my lack of care or attention. Or she pointed out my rude behavior. I didn’t want to hear it. I pointed back to her, informing her that the problem was how she was reacting. I said things like: “You’re too sensitive. You’re not taking responsibility for your stuff. The way you’re delivering the message isn’t clean. If you used different words, or a different tone, I might be able to hear you.”
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This blame-the-victim tactic drives women bat-shit crazy — and for good reason. When your behavior has a negative impact on her, and she responds or reacts to it, and you then make her the problem, you’re doubling down on narcissism. You avoid responsibility for hurting her, and blame her for responding to the problem. It’s cruel.
This kind of narcissism tears relationships apart.