It may be written by a pro and it seems to have loads of information and takes a very neutral stance.
Q.Do Narcissists only love themselves?
A. Narcissists cannot love in a healthy or traditional way. They profess love only in order to be loved back - this is narcissistic love. In a healthy relationship, loving someone is not dependent upon emotional reciprocity. If your child stops loving you - you do not stop loving him. You simply cannot not love him. For the Narcissist, when the admiration from the other person stops, their "love" for that person stops. Narcissists love the reflection of themselves. In other words, they cannot formulate self love solely on who they are (because inside they feel worth-less), so they project an image of themselves for others to see (i.e. someone very intelligent, rich, accomplished etc.). Then when people around them buy into that projected image, and begin to reflect it back to the narcissist (through admiration, awe, or clinging behavior), the narcissist is able to love that reflected image of himself (i.e. "everyone can see how wonderful I am so I must be wonderful").
Q. Can the Narcissist live a normal life?
A. What's normal? If you mean like most people, then the answer is no. Instead of realistic goals, the Narcissist has a grandiose fantasy. The fantasy cannot be effectively pursued because it is an elusive, ever receding target.
To the Narcissist, life is too difficult. The Narcissist does have achievements which might be judged as being very good, but he has to "minimise" them as having been "too easy" to achieve. The Narcissist cannot admit that he has worked hard to achieve something – this will shatter his fantasy of being grandiose or better than everyone else. He must outwardly belittle every achievement of his and make it sound uneventful, nothing special, quite routine. This enables him to support the dreamland quality of his fragmented personality. But it also prevents him from feeling accomplished by having reached a goal: he side steps the opportunity to get social support for his achievement which would help develop his sense of self-confidence,and strengthening his sense of self-worth. When he does achieve something – he degrades it to enhance his own sense of omnipotence (to keep from facing reality).
Q. What kind of parent does the Narcissist make?
A. Narcissism tends to breed Narcissism. The Narcissistic parent regards his or her child as a multifaceted source of Narcissistic supply. The child is considered and treated as an extension of the Narcissist's personality. It is through the child that the Narcissist seeks to settle "open accounts" with the world. The child is supposed to materialize the unfulfilled Narcissistic dreams and fantasies of the Narcissistic parent.
This "Life by Proxy" can develop in two possible ways: the Narcissist can either merge with his child or be ambivalent towards him. The ambivalence is the result of a conflict between the attainment of Narcissistic goals and pathological (destructive) envy. To ameliorate the unease bred by emotional ambivalence, the Narcissist resorts to a myriad of control mechanisms. The latter can be grouped into: guilt-driven ("I sacrificed my life for you…"), dependence-driven ("I need you, I cannot cope without you…"), goal-driven ("We have a common goal which we must achieve") and explicit ("If you do not adhere to my principles, beliefs, ideology, religion or any other set of values – sanctions will be imposed").
Q.What kind of person is attracted to a narcissistic partner?
A. The narcissist's partner must have a distorted grasp of himself and of reality. Otherwise, he (or she) is bound to abandon the narcissist early on. The tendency is for the narcissist to belittle and demean the partner – while aggrandizing and adoring himself. The partner is, thus, placing himself in the position of the eternal victim: undeserving, punishable, a scapegoat. Sometimes, it is very important to the partner to appear moral, sacrificial and victimized. At other times, he is not even aware of his predicament.
The Narcissist is perceived by the partner to be superior in many ways (intellectually, emotionally, morally, financially). The status of professional victim sits well with the partner's tendency to punish himself. The partner, by playing the role of dependent/victimb encourages certain traits and behaviors, which are at the very core of Narcissism. A Narcissist is never whole without an adoring, submissive, available, self-denigrating partner. His very sense of superiority, indeed his false self, depends on it. He needs a source of continual validation that he is superior.
It is through self-denial that the partner survives. He denies his wishes, hopes, dreams, aspirations, sexual needs, psychological needs, material needs, everything, which might engender the wrath of the Narcissist Godlike supreme figure. The Narcissist is rendered even more superior through and because of this self-denial.
Q.Can the Narcissist ever get better?
A. A Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an all-pervasive condition. It is an inseparable part of the personality, a recurrent set of behavior patterns. Recent research shows that there is a condition which might be called "Transient or Temporary or Short Term Narcissism" as opposed to Narcissistic Personality Disorder, (NPD)". The phenomenon of "Reactive Narcissistic Regression" is well known: people regress to a temporary narcissistic phase in reaction to a major life crisis which threatens their mental composure. There are Narcissistic traits in every personality and in this sense, all of us are Narcissists to this or to that extent. However the person with NPD lives his life entrenched with the extreme symptoms of the disorder. No one knows why, but as with age (in one's late forties) the Disorder seems to decrease in intensity and levels off to a lesser degree of intensity. This does not universally occur, though.
Q.Can the Narcissist feel empathy for others?
A. The Narcissist always feels bad. He experiences all manner of depressive episodes and lesser dysphoric moods. He goes through a full panoply of mood disorders and anxiety disorders. He experiences panic from time to time. It is not pleasant to be a Narcissist. But he has a diminished ability to empathize, so he rarely feels sorry for what he has done. He almost never puts himself in the shoes of his "victims". Sure, he feels distressed because he is intelligent enough to realize that something is wrong with him in a major way. He compares himself to others and the outcome is never favorable. His grandiosity is one of the defense mechanisms that he uses to cover up for this disagreeable state of things. However this is his darkest secret. He doesn't want others to see his inner feelings of inferiority. The Narcissist is immersed in self-loathing and self pity. He is under duress and distress most of his waking life. When others around him are in pain he will use even this to aggrandize himself: "poor things, if they had just listened to me," or "they are so inferior. It is no wonder that they are so depressed." With the narcissist everything is me me me. The narcissist will listen to a friend's troubles by topping their story with one of his own, rather than offer comfort. The only way a Narcissist can train himself to feel something close to empathy is to imagine that the story is about him. His responce might be "That happened to me once and it was awful."
Q.What causes Narcissism to develop?
A. Narcissism is thought to develop in young children who are not given the nurturing and admiration they need from their caregivers. While the young child's personality is developing they internalize their experience with emotional neglect as inadequacy in themselves. They get the message that they are undeserving of love and attention and learn to defend their ego by puffing themselves up with their peers. Children who continually lie about their life by creating fantastic stories representing their inflated sense of power or importance are exhibiting narcissistic traits. They feel so unimportant that they fear what others' would think of them if they found out how dull and painful their life really was. As they grow into adulthood, this tendency to lie about their life often develops into an intense need to identify themselves in some way with people they see as important or superior. For instance, after seeing an actor in an airport, they might begin to tell stories about their friendship with the actor in an attempt to place themselves on the actors perceived status level in the eyes of others. They might join organizations or elite clubs in an attempt to make connections with important people. However their circle of peers will be composed of people whom the narcissist looks down on, people who look up to him as they listen to his stories of grandiosity. All the while, the narcissist is desperately trying to create what was missing in childhood.