Narcissists demand constant attention and admiration; after all they are the Great & Powerful. They are by definition self-referential. Everything starts and ends with them. Because of this they are usually poor at empathy–a relationship skill that is absolutely necessary for a successful relationship. If you cannot see it from your partner’s point of view, you can never really see your partner. You only see the partner you want them to be and you get offended every time your partner ends up being someone else.
I’ve worked with couples for over 30 years and the single most important thing that I found to a success of a couple is the ability of each partner to admit to their own defects and vulnerabilities. Narcissist hate vulnerability, they see it as weakness and there is nothing worse than weakness to a narcissist. Weakness means that they are human –and being human is something they never learned when they were children and therefore a child –i.e. immature– they will be. And don’t be fooled. Narcissists are not truly confident. If they were truly confident they would not have to protect themselves so much and they would have a lot of room for other people–especially their partner.
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Notice that I have not up to this point identified the narcissist as a male. The reason for this is simple; there are female narcissists as well and equally as hazardous to your (mental) health. I recent had a couple in my office for the first time. They were in deep pain. I asked each to account for the part they played in their pain. Every time that I asked the wife, what part of the problem she could own, she would seamlessly turn it back onto her husband. I tried it several times and every time she would wave her wand and it would magically become entirely his problem … again.
So what should you do if you are dating (married to) someone like this? Run for the hills? Not necessarily, especially if you love this person. You can do what Glinda did … test the narcissistic and find out if they are capable of being mature. Glinda, the Good Witch, knew that he was a fraud from the beginning. It is our responsibility not to be fooled by a narcissist. If a narcissist fools you then they are either really good or more likely, you want to be fooled because you are looking for a wizard (see Relationship Wrecker article).
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The movie ends with the statement that is unmistakably the main theme throughout the movie: “It is better to be Good rather than Great.” When tested, James Franco’s Oz eventually decided to be Good rather than Great. He eventually was able to feel empathy for the people of Oz, he was vulnerable and no longer had to hide behind his mask. He became real. Test you partners by being real, vulnerable and candid yourself, if the are able to turn around and be grown-up, then you have something to work with in your relationship. And if they are not able to change … say goodbye or Good Luck.