Narcissist

Narcissism Is a Serious Word

If you’ve loved one you understand the desperation and disorder

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Photo by Slava on Unsplash

Recently someone left a comment after reading one of my pieces, “I Fell In Love With a Narcissist.”

He felt narcissism is a ‘characteristic’ and not a ‘disorder.’ A lot of people display narcissistic tendencies and it’s not fair to label it a disorder. And then, he politely said he felt it was mean to write about an ex-spouse.

Initially, I couldn’t bring myself to say the ugly word.

Not even after a psychologist marriage counselor diagnosed my ex-husband. I exchanged those ten undesirable characters with a phrase, “he’s a good guy in a bad place.” It worked for me.

I am a writer. A freelance journalist and former business columnist with a marketing and PR background. I now write a national column about relationships and divorce.

I made a conscious decision to write about love.

Because there’s another ugly word called divorce, though I prefer the nicer word — breakup.

It’s lonely, painful, and misunderstood. Writing about it licked my sensitive wounds. It also provided emotional triage to other barely beating hearts.

I lived with a narcissist and I was leaving one. Yet I rejected writing about it. I was willing to be a beacon in divorce but not the poster girl for Narcissism.

But he wouldn’t let me go. Unless I left with absolutely nothing and financially that wasn’t possible.

I was two-and-a-half years into my divorce when I finally spoke my narcissistic truth.

I won’t lie.

It was both emancipating and scary to write that column. To call out the bully with no adult on the playground.

I prayed a lot before I wrote that first piece.

I told God I didn’t want any part of my purpose to be tied to this frightening disorder.

I prayed for a resolution. For my husband to stop the games. To stop the emotional and financial abuse and finally divorce me.

But he didn’t stop.

And I finally embraced my path.

An unnecessarily long and brutal five-year divorce caused by an individual who suffered from a narcissistic personality disorder. A parent who would hurt his own children to assure their mother was left with nothing.

There I was.

The woman who didn’t want to be the poster girl for narcissism.

Caught between the desperation and the disorder.

I wasn’t a bitter ex-spouse. Counseling had beaten that out of me. It had turned the temporary victim mentality back into an empowered individual. One who made the choice to stay in an unhealthy relationship far too long. My husband was who he was yet I had tolerated the intolerable.

Without financial independence nor my parents alive, I was trapped. In what was the fight of my life to protect my children. At the same time, my once strong demeanor became dehumanized, demoralized, and drained. At a time, when my children needed their enduring and mighty mother.

Narcissism is a spectrum.

For this reason, I believe anyone who writes about narcissism bears significant responsibility.

Going to counseling alone and conveying relationship details is not enough.

In this scenario, it may be hypothesized the ‘other’ individual suffered from a narcissistic personality disorder. But it is not a situation where the actual person has been seen and diagnosed.

By nature of the disorder, narcissists do not have self-reflective tendencies. Therefore, they are often diagnosed when treated for another issue, addiction, marriage counseling, etc.

This in no way means narcissists are also addicts. What it means is because a narcissist will not seek treatment for narcissism, some are inadvertently diagnosed when other issues in their lives arise. In other words, someone who is abusing alcohol may seek treatment and a counselor may determine they also suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder.

When readers email me, I tell them this.

If you identify with the words you are reading and believe you may be involved with an individual with a narcissistic personality disorder — it is best to seek a qualified psychologist or specialized Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) because they will be able to provide you the proper counseling.

It is something an individual with a narcissistic personality disorder lacks.

The other day, I was speaking with someone who referred to an individual as a narcissist. In this particular situation, this person could not be labeled a narcissist. Yes, they were self-infatuated. But they also possessed deep empathy.

Narcissism is a serious word.

I didn’t want to write about narcissism.

But there were other barely beating hearts out there.

Ones just like me.

Written by

National Relationship Columnist, Freelance Journalist & Former Business Columnist. All Shapes of Love — #WomanResurrected colleen.sheehy.orme@gmail.com

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