One of the things that is most devastating to people who are in relationships with people with narcissism disorder has to do with what is called “secondary traumatization”. It is very common that the external environment is unaware of the issues in the household and will not believe there is a situation of narcism.
We often expect people with narcism disorder to overtly look crazy, or act in inappropriate ways. Again and again, however, we see that people with narcism disorder are charming, well-spoken and take up roles in leadership. In fact, it is a common pattern for people who deal with a person with narcism to be thought of as “fragile” or “crazy”. Because of the long-term and often – to the external world – invisible abuse they may appear angry, as “not having it together”. This expression is exacerbated when there is no external figure to believe the person dealing with the narcissist.
How is this possible? That a person with NPD can be so charming on the outside and have little moral compass to deal with in-the-home-issues?
People with narcissism disorder are often charming – as long as the persons with whom they interact are interesting to them. That means that they can be very charming to people who will help them succeed in their business while the cleaning lady is not even worth a glance or a glimpse of attention. People with NPD see people as instruments to their goals. This also means that when someone has “completed their function”, the person with NPD will lose interest and take off the mask of care.