Addiction and the Narcissist
Narcissists are addicts to feeding their fragile egos, whether it be through negative or positive reinforcements. It is euphoric for them to be told they “out-did” a fellow competitor. Competing is something that many narcissists are actually good at. They usually are very intelligent and have an over-abundance of logic at hand. While some narcissists will shy away from competing due to the fear of outward failures, many will participate in a competition with a plan B in action if they do happen to lose. They can blame the other players, accuse someone of cheating or cheat to stay on top.
They will always be on the look-out to build the ego, and in a big way. It is similar for the way a person who is addicted to drugs looks for his next high. When the addict is out of the drugs, they look for ways to buy more. When we look at a narcissist, we have to understand that we are looking at an addict. Stroking the ego is the drug of choice.
When a narcissist refuses to face himself head on, or is threatened with the possibility of his ego crumbling in some way, he is prone to look for substances to dull the natural emotions that arise. This can lead them to use recreational drugs and alcohol. Numbing the senses is very common in personality disorders because the substance not only numbs the natural emotion, but it may help them to feel as if they are on top of world, building the ego once more.
Why Control is at the Forefront of Addiction to the Ego
I have already touched a great deal on why a person with NPD so desperately seeks to control those around him. It is all to maintain the delicate balance of ego and narcissistic supply. They are always constructing ways to maintain their fragile egos which is through other people. Narcissistic people have already devised a hefty arsenal of “controlling methods” to keep people under their thumbs.
A person who attempts to control someone else will say things like “Oh, you are not hurt, you are fine” to a crying child who fell and skinned his knees. Their main goal is to distort reality for the person who they are aiming to control. They will say that a favored television show is dumb, especially one where a lot of feeling is involved, because they are seeking to maintain the balance of control and ego. They will never say “in my opinion, this television show looks stupid,” it will always be stated as a fact because it will seem that they are right and the rest of the world is wrong.
Not all controllers have narcissism, but many narcissists are controllers. They control with fear being the underlining reason behind their actions.
The way that they control are:
-To keep you submitted into believing they are wonderful
-To control the way others see you and your family (If they are threatened by you, then this could be to diminish your reputation and credibility).
-To make you believe that their advice and opinions are paramount above all others.
- To make sure you believe their deceits and lies at any cost.
If you stop allowing them to control you, they will pine for a new way to do it, usually in an act of desperation. If they realize they have lost the power to control you, they will attempt to skew and distort the way that others see you because now you are perceived as a threat.
Narcissists are like an onion with several different layers of lies and arsenal to keep you from reaching the "core" of who they really are. When they keep the ego built firmly, they feel as if they have more power over everyone around them. It becomes somewhat of am exhausting game to keep up with, but they have made an art out of doing it. As long as a narcissist has a scapegoat and codependent they are actively feeding that addiction to the ego.
They aim to control the very way that people see them so that they will be treated in a superior way. As long as they can control the way that people see them, they never need fear narcissistic injury.
Narcissists always have Enablers (Scapegoats)
Building upon the idea that all narcissists are addicts (to filling their egos), they always have an active enabler to their lifestyles. This is a person that makes it possible for them to build their narcissistic supply regularly and takes on an immense amount of blame by them. The narcissist is artful in the effort to make sure they are found guiltless in the eyes of everyone who surrounds him. He even has tried extremely hard to make himself believe that he is above laws and emotions so that he is found blameless.
His chosen enabler is generally someone very driven by guilt and has acquired a sense of duty to help others. We can call this person a codependent, scapegoat or empath. Many fit the bill of all three labels.
Codependent- A codependent person is generally an enabler of a person’s ongoing problem, whether it be mental health, drug, lifestyle or food related. In a relationship with a narcissist, the codependent will not actually have a borderline personality disorder but will submit and even protect their partner. The codependent will be seen as someone that has aligned their life in an unhealthy manner with the narcissist and would be completely devastated to lose the narcissist in their life.
Codependents are also driven by control too. They submit in this role to keep the narcissist happy and in their mind this offers them more control over the situation which will keep security and comfort. There is a large lack of autonomy in codependent people, who are known to give too much of themselves away for those that they love. These people generally were involved in unstable homes with an abusive parent who placed unrealistic demands on them.
The codependent will often seek to escape the relationship, but feel like they cannot move on or that they should learn to live with the toxic relationship and justify that everyone has problems; lying to themselves about how bad the relationship is, failing to see the actual damage it is causing. Codependents will often conform to the other person or attempt to change them.
Scapegoat- Is a person who is unjustly blamed for the acts of another in a continuous manner. In a narcissistic relationship this is a vital piece to the homeostasis of the ego. Because the Narcissist cannot handle accountability, they will regularly divert blame in an artful way. The scapegoat is normally a parent or spouse who has been shamed and accustomed to taking on the guilt of another’s actions. Scapegoats do not always agree with being blamed and can often become exhausted and emotionally spent with trying to decipher reality from fiction in regards to their narc partner. They feel guilt for even the smallest things because their narc partner has displaced so much responsibility on their shoulders.
A great example of a codependent/scapegoat is*Ally’s situation. She has been married to her narc husband *Thomas for almost a decade and he just got into a business deal with his father against her better judgment in buying a car from him. The conditions are that he must make $300 payments monthly plus an added $60 a month for the insurance by the 15th of the month. One afternoon as Ally is getting to the dentist’s office with her children, Thomas calls her in a panic, asking her to please just make the insurance payment to his father and that he was sorry he forgot. Ally feels annoyed because she herself is busy, overwhelmed and has a lot to do today but feels pressure by Thomas to pay the debt because the money will be taken out of his father’s account and maybe overdraw if she won’t pay.
Codependent Response and action: Even though Thomas had the opportunity to go to his father’s the day before that, he chose not to. Ally meets her father in law, paying him for Thomas, getting Thomas off the hook. Depending on what type of codependent Ally is, she may lecture Thomas afterward, attempting to show him he needs to be more responsible with his money and shaming him for her selfless act to pay his father for him.
Scapegoat Response and Action- Let’s say that Ally couldn’t meet his father in law to pay him due to being too busy. Suddenly, in Thomas’ mind, he now puts the sole responsibility of the payment on Ally because she has money and is able to do it in his mind. If the father is a narcissist, he too can use Ally as a scapegoat instead of holding his son accountable because of course Ally can meet and pay him. The responsibility of not paying him when he could have is now completely diverted to Ally who now can pay “but won’t.” If the bill is not paid and the account is overdrawn it is her fault, not his.
Empath- Is a person who by nature feels empathy at strong levels for others. They have a keen ability to see all sides of a situation and find compassion even for the hardest of people. They are very emotionally intelligent even to a fault and find that people often tell them that they are too nice, helpful and generous.