If you’re reading this post, you may be seeking to understand and heal yourself from a present or past experience with a narcissist.**
You should know, the biggest hurdle you face in restoring your sense of self and sanity, may lie in not wanting to let go of certain disbeliefs and fantasies you were socialized to hold dear as a woman.
The narcissist consistently tells you who he is at heart, however. His heartless actions and treatment of you overall — and not his words — speak the truth regarding his aims, and his views of you, himself and your relationship.
He hides in plain sight. Why? Mostly because certain fantasies, you learned to believe and value, make it “easy” for him to hide, and predispose you to excuse his wrongs, minimize the abuse and refrain from holding him responsible for his own arrested emotional development. Fantasies are lies, and in this case, these treacherous “feel-good” illusions make it easier for narcissists and psychopaths to gaslight the vulnerable — and unaware — into blaming themselves for the actions of an abuser.
To disentangle yourself from a narcissist’s traps, a key first step is to identify the fantasies that helped him get into your mind.
Where do these fantasies come from? They come from gendered socialization of women to codependency, an out of balance pleasing, giving, empathizing with others, that stunts women’s growth, but even more so men’s.
It’s impossible, in my opinion, to understand narcissism, psychopathology, domestic violence, unless we see their roots in highly valued social ideals for “masculinity” and how, in certain early childhood contexts, they foster “toxic masculinity” for men, and women who are socialized at best to, wittingly or unwittingly, collude or serve as accomplices.
The values for toxic masculinity fit like a glove with the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), and even more so with its more extreme manifestation, antisocial personality disorder (APD, also known as socio- or psycho-pathology).
These socialized fantasies are a serious social problem, at root of all violence in our society, waiting to be solved, one child, parent, couple and family at a time.