Pathological narcissism is an addiction to Narcissistic Provide, the narcissist's drug of selection. It is, thus, not surprising that other addictive and reckless behaviours – workaholism, alcoholism, drug abuse, pathological gambling, compulsory purchasing, or reckless driving – piggyback on this main dependence.
The narcissist – like other kinds of addicts – derives pleasure from these exploits. But they also sustain and improve his grandiose fantasies as “distinctive”, “superior”, “entitled”, and “selected”. They location him above the laws and pressures of the mundane and away from the humiliating and sobering demands of reality. They render him the centre of focus – but also location him in “splendid isolation” from the madding and inferior crowd.
Such compulsory and wild pursuits offer a psychological exoskeleton. They are a substitute to quotidian existence. They afford the narcissist with an agenda, with timetables, ambitions, and faux achievements. The narcissist – the adrenaline junkie – feels that he is in manage, alert, excited, and crucial. He does not regard his situation as dependence. The narcissist firmly believes that he is in charge of his addiction, that he can quit at will and on quick notice.
The narcissist denies his cravings for worry of “losing face” and subverting the flawless, fantastic, immaculate, and omnipotent image he projects. When caught red handed, the narcissist underestimates, rationalises, or intellectualises his addictive and reckless behaviours – converting them into an integral aspect of his grandiose and amazing False Self.
As a result, a drug abusing narcissist may well claim to be conducting 1st hand analysis for the advantage of humanity – or that his substance abuse benefits in enhanced creativity and productivity. The dependence of some narcissists becomes a way of life: busy corporate executives, race automobile drivers, or expert gamblers come to thoughts.
The narcissist's addictive behaviours take his thoughts off his inherent limitations, inevitable failures, painful and significantly-feared rejections, and the Grandiosity Gap – the abyss among the image he projects (the False Self) and the injurious truth. They relieve his anxiousness and resolve the tension among his unrealistic expectations and inflated self-image – and his incommensurate achievements, position, status, recognition, intelligence, wealth, and physique.
As a result, there is no point in treating the dependence and recklessness of the narcissist with no 1st treating the underlying character disorder. The narcissist's addictions serve deeply ingrained emotional wants. They intermesh seamlessly with the pathological structure of his disorganised character, with his character faults, and primitive defence mechanisms.
Strategies such as “12 measures” may well prove much more efficacious in treating the narcissist's grandiosity, rigidity, sense of entitlement, exploitativeness, and lack of empathy. This is mainly because – as opposed to classic remedy modalities – the emphasis is on tackling the narcissist's psychological makeup, rather than on behaviour modification.
The narcissist's overwhelming will need to really feel omnipotent and superior can be co-opted in the therapeutic procedure. Overcoming an addictive behaviour can be – truthfully – presented by the therapist as a uncommon and impressive feat, worthy of the narcissist's distinctive mettle.
Narcissists fall for these transparent pitches surprisingly generally. But this method can backfire. Need to the narcissist relapse – an just about particular occurrence – he will really feel ashamed to admit his fallibility, will need for emotional sustenance, and impotence. He is probably to stay away from remedy altogether and convince himself that now, obtaining succeeded as soon as to get rid of his addiction, he is self-adequate and omniscient.