1. When you are seeing a partner who has NPD you likely suffer from relational abuse. What does this mean? A continuous neglect of your needs (physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual), while you are being gaslighted or praised into not needing these “needs”.
Like: “I just can’t do without 10 hours of sleep. I can’t wake up at night to take care of the baby AND cannot get up early in the morning. Your body is just better suited to do this”
You will end up being exhausted. With little time to meet friends. When you’re not trying to just “be ok” considering the circumstances, you will likely be trying to find out what is happening in your household.
2. When you do open up to people, chances are they will minimize your story.
a) After all, very few of us can imagine that it is actually possible for someone not to feel basic emotions like guilt or that there are people who can go into such extremes denying the subjectivity or even fundamental needs and rights of another human being.
Being confronted with such disbelief can be discouraging.
In the early stages of waking up to there being an NPD problem in your family, it can be destabilizing: when you have done the research, you may still start to doubt yourself again after talking to friends. “Oh, he just doesn’t do that much in the house – don’t all men?” You’ll hear minimizations of the problem; you’ll hear excuses. You’ll hear people want to make normal (i.e. in accordance with societal standards) that which isn’t “normal” behavior.
b) People will also minimize your story for yet another reason. People with NPD have established a lifelong practice of mimicking emotions. It takes even the most seasoned friend a long time to separate what’s “real” and what’s not. Often people with NPD show either way more emotion than is warranted by a situation – it’ll occur at odd timings, or it will somehow feel “empty”. It will still take anyone a long time to come to understand the hollowness that’s behind this immaculate display of emotions.
3. Because of the above, the person with NPD can come across as “having it all together”. Actually people with NPD are PER DEFINITION charming on the outside. They thrive in public space. They are leaders. They are often adored in social space.
Very few know this. We expect NPD to be visible on the outside. Well… It often is not.
So when we don’t immediately see anything, we think the coast is clear… Think again…
NPD tends to show up in private relationships (especially relationships that have a certain trait of dependence) – close bonds: parent-child, partners, brother-sister etc. Even so, research shows that most relationships with a person with NPD change abruptly when a child is born. After all, (s)he is no longer the center of attention – and much hatred may be harbored against you just for “leaving” him this way. (S)he will just look away to another place to be in the spotlight and you will at best be left alone, at worst you will receive angry outbursts and other forms of violence.
4. People who have been in a relationship with a person with NPD often come across as emotionally unstable, losing it all the time – the continuous stress has had an impact on their nervous system. Because the person with NPD basically doesn’t care they always show up strong. They can shake off all this abuse in seconds.