Surviving Relationships With Self Absorbed People
Looking back on the last 41 years of providing treatment I realized that regardless of what the presenting problem is, about one third of my caseload have been partners, former partners, or adult children of self absorbed people, and another third have been those very same self absorbed people. An increasing amount of attention has been focused on this population and their problems, and I am increasingl focusing directly on the problems of people trying to recover from the emotional and psychological damage that being with those people can cause.
Diagnositically, self absorbed people can be described as people with Narcissistic, Borderline, or antisocial Personality Disorders or their traits, Sociopatic people or people with traits of that disorder, or any related group of traits. However, I prefer to not get involved in diagnosing someone I am not treating. Besides, the issue is the effect their self absorption has on you, not the cause
The adult children, partners, or former partners of self absorbed people are people of both sexes who come in for depression treatment, loss of sense of self, self-doubt, anxiety, indecisiveness, feeling overwhelmed, and stress-related disorders. It has frequently come to light that their symptoms are their way of dealing with being in a relationship with someone who is self-absorbed, demanding, belittling, unpredictable, and who is incapable of empathy or compassion. These relationships are inevitably a "relationship of one," in which my client is expected to simply be there as part of the drama of their partner and the reality of their lives, their needs and feelings, has been marginalized.
The treatment for each individual is designed to meet their own needs in light of the abuse and psychological negation they have experienced at the hands of a self absorbed person. But thbee goal is to reclaim their lives, feelings and identities from the prison of life with a self absorbed person.
There is a lot of good research and guidance available, such as:
• Stop Walking on Eggshells by Randi Kreger
• Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy Behary
• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder by Marcia Linehan
• Co-Narcissism: How We Accommodate Narcissistic Parents by Alan Rappoport