Narcissism and Relationships

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Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., writes how narcissism can damage relationships.  In fact, a narcissist may not even realize the damage that they are causing until it is too late and the relationship is over. Even then, they don’t understand how the role they are playing hinders their ability to have a meaningful relationship.

Whitbourne notes a 2016 study conducted by Gwendolyn Seidman of Albright College.  The study asked people to identify qualities in a relationship they valued most. The top answers were both warmth and loyalty. The problem for a narcissist is that these qualities are not as important to them as more superficial qualities such as how attractive their partner is or status.

Because they are focused on external qualities,  it’s harder for narcissists to form loving and long-lasting relationships. Instead of valuing their partner for who they are, a narcissist will try to change their partner and pressure them to fit their ideal vision. This causes stress on the relationship as it can be impossible to meet these, “ideal standards.”

Dr. Whitbourne describes five ways that narcissists destroy relationships. These include:

  1. Insisting partners meet a certain standard. This causes resentment with the other person and unhappiness.
  2. Inability to create a solid foundation of trust with their partners and instead focus on superficial issues.
  3. Focusing on external issues versus meaningful qualities.
  4. Valuing recognition over loyalty and trust.
  5. Being unable to recognize their own faults and weaknesses.

Since, narcissists don’t value the deep, meaningful qualities that help build a successful relationship, they wind up struggling to create healthy romantic and non-romantic relationships.  This means big problems in their personal lives as well as at work or school. It’s also a problem if you are the partner or co-worker of a narcissist.

Want to learn more about narcissism and relationships? You can read the full post by Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne here:  5 Ways to Ruin a Perfectly Good Relationship.

 

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