Anyone who has done research on malignant narcissistic personality disorder understands the narcissist’s main drug of choice is attention or the narcissistic supply, but is narcissist’s prone to other addictions? The answer appears to be yes, and that both the addiction and the narcissism combined can make the nightmare for others around the narcissist even worse.
The narcissistic supply is attention. Everyone seeks positive cues from other people; the narcissist however, does this by whatever means possible to preserve their grandiose false self image. The attention can be positive or negative as long as it is attention in some form. The narcissist soon learns triggers to use to get their “victims” to rise to the bait and give the attention the narcissist seeks. In other words, the narcissists derive pleasure from the suffering they inflict on others, because it gives the attention the crave (Vaknin, n.d.).
For example, character assassination, lying, manipulation, demands and lack of respect are all tools the narcissist will employ when needed. “The narcissist place’s himself above the laws and pressures of the mundane and away from the humiliating and sobering demands of reality. They render him the centre of attention – but also place him in “splendid isolation” from the madding and inferior crowd” (Vaknin, n.d.).
Due to the narcissist’s unrealistic view of the world and their place in it other addictions and reckless behaviors are not uncommon. The narcissist refuses to realize they are addicted and instead really believe they control the addicition. For example, despite the narcissist mother in my life having COPD, which makes it hard to breathe or walk further than a few steps without being winded, she refuses any attempts to give up cigarettes. Her reasoning is “she enjoys smoking and simply does not want to quit”. Of course due to the doctors telling her to stop or die soon very painfully, she uses it as a tool against family members to get them to do her bidding. “When caught red handed, the narcissist underestimates, rationalizes, or intellectualizes his addictive and reckless behaviors – converting them into an integral part of his grandiose and fantastic False Self” (Vaknin, n.d.).
My research has found the treating a narcissist’s addition to other substances is pointless, since the underlying narcissism is the root cause. Since most narcissists will never admit to having the disorder, treating addictions to other substances will more than likely fail. Even when faced with the consequences of the addictions to not only themselves but others, the narcissist will not admit the addiction is bad. In the case of my mother, the doctors are all lying and she is somehow above the dangerous affects of smoking, and caffeine especially for one suffering from COPD and uncontrollable high blood pressure.
So, why do narcissists’s often become addicted to other things or engage in reckless behaviors? The answer is lengthy but very informative.
The addiction allows the narcissist to
· self medicate and avoid unpleasant emotions
· it can act as a rebellion against other’s control or influence (that one would be the narcissistic mother in my life)
· assists them in the theory they will do as they please regardless of what others like or don’t like
· illustrates their disregard for normal social expectation and allows the narcissist to feel superior to others
· gives them an excuse or justification for bad behaviour so they can avoid responsibility for it.
· soothes them when they are not feeling “special”.
· satisfies a need for stimulation.
· helps them avoid awareness of their limitations, failures, and ordinariness.
· consoles them when they don’t get what they want.
· relieves boredom and helps fill an inner emptiness.
· makes them feel good (and what narcissist can say no to pleasure?).
· helps them escape into a worry, thought, and trouble free state.
· gives them the illusion of control.
· lets them withdraw from the stresses and demands of reality.
· makes them feel strong and powerful (Ultimate-self.com , 2007).
To try and change narcissist’s behaviors or treat an addition is pointless. “Any effort to emotionally relate to a narcissist is doomed to failure, alienation and rage” (Vaknin, n.d.).
And there it is, the rage I feel. In some part of my mind I must have at one point attempted to relate to the narcissistic mother and due to that being impossible I a now full of rage. After all who can understand a person not caring if their behavior risks that life of an innocent baby. To a narcissist the baby is unimportant, only their own self is what matters. To those of us with normal mind sets this is unbelievable, cruel and heartless and beyond comprehension.
The narcissist mother in my life is beyond understanding, and is not really worth my effort. However, in order to heal, I find I have to explore the avenues and damage she has done, but I also have to stop trying to understand her heartless behaviors and accept the NPD is the root of her evil. She will never change, never accept responsibility for her actions and never give a damn about anyone but herself. This I can do, I just have to explore more and separate from her as much as possible to ensure she does not continue to hold reign over my life and peace of mind.