Beware the Narcissistic Client
INSIDE THE RESTORATION SUPPORT GROUP
IS YOUR CLIENT A NARCISSISTIC VAMPIRE?
The term narcissism means love of oneself, and refers to the set of character traits concerned with self-admiration, self-centeredness and self-regard. The name was chosen by Sigmund Freud, from the Greek myth of Narcissus, who was doomed to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.
While almost everyone is narcissistic to some degree, certain forms of narcissism can be highly dysfunctional.
In his book and website, ALBERT J. BERNSTEIN, Ph.D. discusses Emotional Vampires,
Not just annoying people, but darkly seductive. Emotional Vampires draw you in with charm, beauty, talent and pulse pounding excitement. Then they drain you ‚ not of blood but of every last drop of emotional energy.
You know them — Sexy, but unreliable lovers, drama queens who use emotions like Afghan Rebels use Kalishnikovs, jealous spouses, demanding parents, manipulative coworkers, and bosses with gigantic egos, who are so small everywhere else.
It’s almost supernatural how quickly “Emotional Vampires” can get you to trust them, then, just as quickly, get under your skin and drain you dry. It’s downright scary how quickly they can trick you into letting them come back and do it again.
Psychologists would diagnose Emotional Vampires with Personality Disorders, those strange mental illnesses drive other people crazy. To protect yourself from children of the night, you must understand what personality disorders are, and how they operate.
The Narcissistic Vampire Checklist
THE SMARTEST, MOST TALENTED, ALL-AROUND BEST PERSON IN THE WORLD TEST:
True or false? Score one point for each true answer. When you are faced with such a client, you can use this test to see how they compare.
1. THIS PERSON HAS ACHIEVED MORE THAN MOST PEOPLE HIS OR HER AGE.
2. THIS PERSON IS FIRMLY CONVINCED THAT HE OR SHE IS BETTER, SMARTER, OR MORE TALENTED THAN OTHER PEOPLE.
3. THIS PERSON LOVES COMPETITION, BUT IS A POOR LOSER.
4. THIS PERSON HAS FANTASIES OF DOING SOMETHING GREAT OR BEING FAMOUS, AND OFTEN EXPECTS TO BE TREATED AS IF THESE FANTASIES HAD ALREADY COME TRUE.
5. THIS PERSON HAS VERY LITTLE INTEREST IN WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE THINKING OR FEELING, UNLESS HE OR SHE WANTS SOMETHING FROM THEM.
6. THIS PERSON IS A NAME DROPPER.
7. TO THIS PERSON IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO LIVE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AND ASSOCIATE WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
8. THIS PERSON TAKES ADVANTAGE OF OTHER PEOPLE TO ACHIEVE HIS OR HER OWN GOALS.
9. THIS PERSON USUALLY MANAGES TO BE IN A CATEGORY BY HIM OR HERSELF.
10. THIS PERSON OFTEN FEELS PUT UPON WHEN ASKED TO TAKE CARE OF HIS OR HER RESPONSIBILITIES TO FAMILY, FRIENDS, OR WORK GROUP.
11. THIS PERSON REGULARLY DISREGARDS RULES OR EXPECTS THEM TO BE CHANGED BECAUSE HE OR SHE IS IN SOME WAY SPECIAL.
12. THIS PERSON BECOMES IRRITATED WHEN OTHER PEOPLE DON’T AUTOMATICALLY DO WHAT HE OR SHE WANTS THEM TO DO, EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE A GOOD REASON FOR NOT COMPLYING.
13. THIS PERSON REVIEWS SPORTS, ART, AND LITERATURE BY TELLING YOU WHAT HE OR SHE WOULD HAVE DONE INSTEAD.
14. THIS PERSON THINKS MOST CRITICISMS OF HIM OR HER ARE MOTIVATED BY JEALOUSY.
15. THIS PERSON REGARDS ANYTHING SHORT OF WORSHIP TO BE REJECTION.
16. THIS PERSON SUFFERS FROM A CONGENITAL INABILITY TO RECOGNIZE HIS OR HER OWN MISTAKES. ON THE RARE OCCASIONS THAT THIS PERSON DOES RECOGNIZE A MISTAKE, EVEN THE SLIGHTEST ERROR CAN PRECIPITATE A MAJOR DEPRESSION.
17. THIS PERSON OFTEN EXPLAINS WHY PEOPLE WHO ARE BETTER KNOWN THAN HE OR SHE IS NOT REALLY ALL THAT GREAT.
18. THIS PERSON OFTEN COMPLAINS OF BEING MISTREATED OR MISUNDERSTOOD.
19. PEOPLE EITHER LOVE OR HATE THIS PERSON.
20. DESPITE THIS PERSON’S OVERLY HIGH OPINION OF HIM OR HERSELF, HE OR SHE IS REALLY QUITE INTELLIGENT AND TALENTED.
Scoring: Five or more true answers qualifies the person as a Narcissistic Emotional Vampire, though not necessarily for a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality. If the person scores higher than ten, watch out.
By ALBERT J. BERNSTEIN, Ph.D.
The DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder are:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of the following:
1. a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes
One Psychologist writes about her own experience.
She terms it “malignant narcissism”. www.angelfire.com/zine2/narcissism/malignant_narcissism.html
Imagine, as an abuse survivor of someone with malignant narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder, giving your life over to a psychopath, and doing it with trust and a firm belief in his authority. What if said psychopathic conman, was advising victims? It seems absurd, that an abuser would advise the abused. It seems even more absurd, that the abused would take the advice to heart. Yet it happened to me, till I got wise to it and learned more about this disorder, and its largely superficial resemblance to narcissistic personality disorder, or garden variety “narcissism”.
Psychopaths are known to be grandiose, to distort reality, to be contemptuous of human beings, and to be completely without conscience . To ask such a malignant narcissist for advice is to suffer life consequences. Are his words really full of “truth” and “insight” and “care” for the victims?
What does this mean to my support group?
When you see a narcissistic personality in your support group, be aware of the threat this type of personality has to others in the group.
Learn to identify its symptomology and charactaristics.
Know who you can refer to for such a specific disorder. They are toxic to a small support group.
Learn more about NARCISSISM. Though I find most psycho-babble boring, this next video shares a fair description through reviewing the movie “Social Network.”
(*Source: Dr. Joseph Burgo Youtube www.youtube.com/embed/PuB_ng5uVaI)
Here’s three common characteristic explanations to help you watch out for them:
Histrionic Emotional Vampires
Histrionic means dramatic. With these emotional vampires everything is a show, and what you see is seldom what you get. They crave attention and approval and will do anything to get them, except making good on their promises.
live to put on a show. If you don’t pay enough attention they’ll, they’ll just shrivel up and die. It will be your fault.
LOOK FOR: Sexual stereotypes, and highly noticeable looks that can change overnight according to whim, or remain the same for years through the magic of cosmetic surgery. Histrionics have big hair, big muscles, big emotions and not the tiniest clue of who they really are.
DRAW YOU IN WITH: Charm, beauty, talent, the promise of sex (often unfulfilled), or whatever else it takes to get noticed, except for substance.
DRAIN YOU BY: Needing more maintenance than a classic car or a rare orchid, but having almost nothing to give back save an occasional great performance.
THE ONES YOU SEE EVERY DAY: Celebrity wannabes and drama queens (and kings) whose emotions are a mile wide and an inch deep.
DEFENSIVE STRATEGY: Histrionic lives are soap operas. Watch, but don’t join the cast!
long for approval so much that they hide any part of themselves that anyone would disapprove of, especially anger and sexuality.
LOOK FOR: Bright smiles, blatant denial, and more than a passing resemblance to Barbie or Ken
DRAW YOU IN WITH: Being nice, friendly, cheerful, enthusiastic, brave, clean, and reverent.
DRAIN YOU BY: Attacks that everyone else sees, but they never acknowledge, or by simply being too forgetful to give you what they promise. Or maybe they’re sick with some vague and undiagnosible illness.
THE ONES YOU SEE EVERY DAY: People who never get angry themselves, but seem to make everybody else angry. Unintentional‚sexual harassers, Church Ladies who cast stones, pure and perfect anorexics, or anyone else who would never think of doing anything unacceptable.
DEFENSIVE STRATEGY: First and foremost, never try to get Passive-Aggressives to admit to their own motivation; you will only get a headache. Remember that they hunger for approval. Tell them explicitly what it takes to please you and praise them profusely when they do it. The strategy is simple and almost foolproof, but it is seldom employed because it’s hard to praise somebody who gives you headaches. Hard as it is, it’s far easier than the alternative.
Move to the next page to gain insight to a very deep problem that also shows up inside support groups: