In the past, I’ve used the term narcissist very loosely…basically to describe anyone who was a bit egotistical with an inflated sense of how they look. Using this definition, I could probably have been put in this category myself at times!
But to be a narcissist…a person that has Narcissistic Personality disorder, there is sooooooooooo much more. There is no doubt in my mind that Sarge has this. In fact, he has called himself a sociopath, a psychopath, and a narcissist himself at various times during our relationship. I think these labels are all true (no matter what you label it, a lack of conscience is just that), but I think he was testing me to see if I’d agree to them…challenge them…or coddle him back into thinking he was just a misunderstood soul who really had so much to give down deep. (And…that’s what I told him…again and again).
So what is a true narcissist? Using the DSM 5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association), a person with true Narcissistic Personality Disorder has these following characteristics:
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance and exaggerating your achievements and talents: – Everything that Sarge did was extra important and if something wasn’t, he would make it up! His Linked-In profile shows that he graduated from college. In fact, he has taken 6 classes, and only passed 2. He also speaks of his entry level job as being crucial for the running of the military. In reality, he works on spreadsheets everyday. But, according to him, he is one important man!
- Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it – when Sarge would tell me about his job, I would be expected to ooooooo and ahhhhhh over it. I’m only a ‘teacher’ (actually, professor) while he works for the government. Wow!
- Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate – Sarge knew he’d get promotions…make more money…have more power in the government…and eventually live a life to be envied by all. But, right now, he’s living in his grandmother’s moldy basement. Hmmmmm.
- Requiring constant admiration – I felt like I was often a compliment machine. And, when things were tense (I got to the point where I felt I was always walking on eggs and had a knot in my stomach), I’d spew them out…to build him up…to calm him down. And by the way, the compliments were never returned. Never.
- Having a sense of entitlement and taking advantage of others to get what you want – to be honest, I have no idea how much money I spent/gave Sarge during our time together. I paid a $1000 insurance deductible and paid insurance premiums for him; bought gas for him monthly ($40 a shot); paid for every meal/outing including paying for his children or any other of his family members that were with us; signed for a NEW motorcycle that I’m now stuck with and will take a large loss on IF I can sell it; bought him clothes, art supplies, military paraphernalia, books, shoes/boots, and anything else his heart desired. Why did I do this?? Because I thought that each purchase would show him my goodness…and might bring out the goodness in him. In fact, the worse he was with me, the more I got him. AND…this is just in terms of money and things. This also entails all the other things I gave him…my love, my loyalty, my heart, my spirit, my whole self. I think that drained me the most. I can make back my money. I’m wondering if I can get back my whole self again. Or if a piece of it will always be gone.
And finally…the biggie…
- Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others – in other words, no empathy. Nada. None. Zippo. And because of this one diagnostic criteria, Sarge felt he could manipulate me, use me, hurt me, cheat on me, and treat me like I was nothing at all. Because to him, I was nothing at all. True narcissists don’t have the capability of feeling love. Of being able to feel remorse or guilt. Of being able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and feel their pain. And because of this lack of conscience, they CAN and WILL do anything…ANYTHING…they want for whatever reason they know will benefit them. They are leeches…they take what they need…hurt you in the process and it stings like hell when you finally try to peel them off.
So that’s it. The ‘clinical’ narcissist. And the REALLY scary part is that statistics show a 6% rate of NPD in Americans. That means that you have a 1:16 chance of encountering a true narcissist. And it’s my hope, that through this blog and it’s info, you won’t fall for this cunning individual like I did.
This is what I know: some people have a TRUE mental disorder with the core symptom being a lack of conscience. They aren’t like you and me. They can’t love. They can’t give. They can’t feel. But what they can do is fake it. And they do that well.