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Narcissists Are High Conflict Personalities
Narcissistic people are often known as high conflict personalities, and it's one of the reasons dealing with them in any capacity is so difficult. So what are high conflict personalities?
High conflict personalities are people who are hostile, aggressive and overly-emotional. We could also call them high drama. They may be explosive, hysterical or even violent. They may be cold, arrogant or sarcastic. They may continuously provoke, attack or blame others and often create problems with other people. Dealing with them is exhausting and very often, it's pointless. Their goal often actually is creating turmoil and disruption in the lives of others. Generally, most people will only cause a fuss if they need to, so we often assume that if someone is causing a fuss or having a problem, there must actually be a problem. We look for ways to work it out so the problem can be resolved and things can get back to normal.
The problem is, with narcissistic people, this is their normal. Unfortunately, here is something that many people don't understand, or maybe just don't want to accept. There are many who are searching for ways to make dealing with their narcissistic loved one easier, or solve the narcissist's problems so the relationship can "get back to normal" and continue. The truth is, there is no way to do that. There is no immediate problem to solve. There is no way to get back to normal because that is their normal. Narcissists are extremely high conflict personalities with no insight or interest in how what they are doing makes other people feel. Dealing with them is difficult and stressful by default, and they strive to make it even more difficult if they can. This is how they live. This is what they do. They're the consummate victim-turned-abuser: miserable, trauma- and drama-addicted people who may only feel powerful and alive when they've created some awful situation that upsets and victimizes everybody else.
The goal of this show is to make sure that people really understand what they are dealing with so that they can make informed decisions. When information is incomplete, decision-making suffers. You wouldn't buy a used car if you knew there was something wrong with it. That's why people take them to mechanics first. You wouldn't buy a house if you knew it was infested with termites. That's why people have the inspector come out. It's an investment to make sure your decision is as informed as possible so that you are not proceeding in ignorance. This is the truest fraud of narcissistic relationships, in many ways. From the ground up, it's a bad investment but too many people just don't know that. They are fooled - either by the narcissist or by themselves - into believing their investment will pay off in the long run, or that the ends justify the means. It's just not true.
It's understandable that many people don't want to hear these things, but misrepresenting reality is only going to hurt people in the end - and it will hurt them more than the truth does now. If people know what they are dealing with, they can make an informed decision. If they choose to continue on in the relationship, that's up to them. But at least they will know what they're dealing with. That sometimes makes all the difference.
We often hear that narcissistic people - especially those suffering from personality disorders - are victims. They've had a traumatic childhood and they're just scared and broken. And it's true. However, virtually all abusers were victims at one point. That's how the abuse cycle works. It does not excuse their behavior. If there's one thing that needs a bigger platform, it's that: being a victim is not a license to become an abuser. We should not react to abuse with excuses. We should react to abuse with boundaries - strong ones. You don't have to allow someone to abuse you in order to have sympathy or understanding for their situation. To do so communicates to them loudly and clearly that their needs are more important than yours and that creates a mindset in people that you will never break. The narcissist will not reward you for your kindness and understanding. They will treat you exactly as you have demonstrated that they should: as if you don't matter.