Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

2573762303_365ac020f8_bRich and Sharon have constant fights, and the fights take on a common pattern. Sharon is dating a narcissist.

The key traits of a narcissist are to be self-centered, need to be admired, be right, not admit fault and feel superior. All of those traits describe Rich, who is becoming more difficult whenever there is a disagreement. Sharon isn’t sure marrying him is a good idea.

Whenever Sharon disagrees with Rich, he becomes very upset. The other night at a party, he accused Sharon of flirting. When Sharon insisted he was overreacting, he continued to accuse her. Rich felt threatened-the usual trigger that starts their conflict. No matter how many times Sharon tried to calm him down, he continued to escalate.

The escalation led to verbal abuse in which Rich continued to make accusations, accusing Sharon of not loving him, being uncommitted to the relationship, having eyes for other men and so forth. This lasted for hours until Sharon finally gave up! Defending herself goes no where, as Rich is relentless with his accusations when he believes he is right.

When Sharon gave up, Rich became the victim! Sharon’s silence was interpreted as evidence that she was guilty. Rich told Sharon that her inability to defend herself supported his claim of  jealousy. Sharon felt guilty and allowed his twisted logic to make her feel bad. Somehow Rich became the victim of the fight he actually started. But Sharon also felt relief that his relentless accusations stopped.

Rich felt empowered. In his mind, he justified his accusations and felt superior. However,  the feeling of having the upper hand will only last until he feels threatened by something again.

Sharon has been with Rich a year and feels exhausted by this relationship. She realizes that conflict with a narcissist will be on-going unless he gets help. Since Rich refuses to acknowledge a need for help, she makes the decision to walk away from the relationship. Of course Rich believes it was all Sharon’s fault.

 

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