In recent years, the term narcissism (or narcissistic personality disorder) has become increasingly well known. Among therapists,  many people request treatment because of narcissistic abuse , and this number is increasing. In the meantime, a narcissism ‘insider scene’ has emerged, in which the relatives of those affected exchange information and strengthen each other. This makes it easier for therapists to work and for sufferers to heal, because many other co-dependents still don’t know what and who they are dealing with. They doubt their sanity, and feel lonely and misunderstood. Due to the narcissist’s skillful perpetrator-victim reversal to the outside world, the victims are blamed or laughed at by those around them (Flying Monkeys). The resulting consequences are staggering: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, somatoform disorders, PTSD, and k-PTBS.

For psychiatrists, narcissistic personality disorder is an interesting yet largely unexplored mental disorder. A cure is not yet in sight, because most narcissists lack insight into their own impairment. They themselves do not recognize their own problems, but think that their environment is at fault.

How does NPS develop, and why does the narcissist do what he does?

According to Sigmund Freud, the emergence of NPS is due to a fixation of the baby in the oral phase, that is, at the age of 0-2 years. At this stage of life, children develop their primordial trust of the world. If a bond with the mother is missing here, or if the baby’s needs are not met, fixation can occur, preventing the development of primal trust. As a result, the child must learn to get its need for love and affection in a different way.

Researchers in the field assume that emotional coldness from parents and a lack of love and affection promotes excessive self-expression. Children who get little or no recognition try to get this through their own self-developed character.

Another cause is a parenting style that does not set limits for the child, or when the child is put on a pedestal. As with other personality disorders, it is important to emphasize that this is ego-syntonic. The affected person sees the environment through their own eyes, which destroy reality and self-perception. On an emotional level, the narcissist gets stuck at the age of 6 and will never surpass it. They just want to play and have a limited awareness of the damage they are  doing to others. So whether you consider them a victim, a perpetrator, or both depends on the way in which you view the situation.

NPS characteristics:

There are different subtypes of the disorder, which can also merge into each other. There are the grandiose/malignant, fragile/covert and exhibitionist/feminine types.

The general characteristics of narcissism include:

  • Exaggerated sense of one’s own importance, success, beauty.
  • Lack of empathy, cognitive empathy
  • Easily offended
  • Expecting constant admiration
  • Exploitative behavior in interpersonal contacts

What is not visible to others:

  • Inner emptiness
  • Self-doubt
  • Constant craving
  • Narcissistic crisis- easily confused with depression

It is the enormous craving for attention that makes it so destructive to others, especially partners and children. The narcissist’s chameleon-like abilities make diagnosis difficult or impossible for outsiders.

Specific behaviors of the narcissist include:

  • Manipulation
  • Gaslighting
  • Silent treatment
  • Abrupt love withdrawal
  • Pathological lying
  • Devaluation
  • Tests (what are you able to endure for me)
  • Passive-aggressive behavior
  • Victim role
  • Control
  • Stalking
  • Use of Flying Monkeys

Narcissistic cycle in the relationship

Narcissistic parents

Even if the narcissist takes care of their child, care is usually limited to pragmatically arranging the child’s life and problems. They merely provide for the material needs and organize the daily routine. However, the child senses that this is not done for their sake.

Narcissistic fathers consider their children as property and expect 100 percent obedience. They mold them to their own needs and expect to be treated as heroes. At the same time, however, narcissists like to put their child in situations where they are  made to look ridiculous. Successes of the child are suppressed, made small or claimed for themselves.

Narcissistic mothers, on the other hand, see themselves as the center of the family; the others are only extras and there for their needs. They often compete with their own daughters and want to be more beautiful and more desirable than their offspring. As a result, the children are humiliated, with no understanding of how they feel. A narcissistic mother also puts on a show , appearing caring and loving, but at home she will constantly criticize her children.

Why co-dependency?

There are several factors that can lead to narcissism co-dependency.Circumstances in the family of origin play a major role here. Many partners of narcissists have experienced toxic circumstances in the parental home or have narcissistic parents themselves. This can also be one of the reasons co-dependents are often highly sensitive (HSP) and feel the need to save the narcissist with love. This may be to  compensate for a parent who has fallen into alcohol addiction, for example.

Furthermore, the partners of narcissists develop trauma when bonding with the selfish person due to the constant ups and downs of the relationship. In addition to this, the less understanding and helpful environment drives the partner deeper into emotional dependency. The victim begins to doubt and blame themselves for the narcissist’s behavior.

As the toxic relationship progresses, the victim’s own emotional outbursts are blamed for misery in the relationship. The victim becomes isolated and is thus completely at the mercy of the narcissist. Ex-partners who have children with the NPS sufferer have a particularly difficult time. The custody process can take an interminable amount of time, causing the victim to feel no relief despite the separation.


Depending on the type and severity of the disorder, as well as the individual’s own readiness to be treated, there are two possible options:

  • No Contact – radical break of contact, Grey Stone method.
  • Play the Game – stay in the relationship and become a play partner. There is a skillful feeding-needing exchange.

Regardless of the method chosen, in most cases it is necessary to be accompanied by a therapist specialized in the field. With the help of hypnosis, NLP, EMDR or resource-oriented psychotherapy, it is possible to get out of the cycle.

In conclusion.

When in contact with a narcissist, the following tips are recommended:

1. Educating yourself – the more you learn about the disorder, the better you can deal with it. This facilitates communication and contributes to harmony.

2. Maintain independence, for example, by having your own hobbies, jobs and friends.

3. Increase self-worth – often, narcissist co-dependents have had similar experiences in their family. These must be processed and treated.

4. Attention, Flying Monkeys – do not talk about your own situation with people who are ignorant of it, as this can additionally lead to psychological defeat. There are enough self-help groups and forums through which understanding and the necessary exchange are given. Likewise, narcissism specialized therapists are helpful for processing negative experiences.

5. Reframing – look at the narcissist differently to before, e.g., as a coach who trains your nerves. When their games are no longer triggers, it prevents them from taking control.

6. Use the positive qualities of the narcissist – quite often narcissists are attractive and successful personalities, as a result of which “normal neurotic persons” seem boring and uninteresting after a relationship with a narcissist. The positive characteristics of the narcissist include courage, high motivation, charisma, humor and commitment.

Therapie und Anwendungsgebiete bei Narzismus - Priya Wadhwa Hypnose