“It’s hard to tell who has your back, from who has it long enough just to stab you in it….” Nicole Richie
Very often, doctors have to treat patients who, although they complain about all kinds of aches, do not have a condition. There is nothing appearing in the X-rays, nothing in their blood tests… so what?
In 2003, my back started to ache. As I was working with small children and had a young child at home, I concluded that this affected my back and I consulted a specialist. He sent me to a physiotherapist. After five months, the specialist said that she could not help me. When she touched my foot, I screamed from pain, when she asked me to fold my elbow, I screamed again, my knees were hurting, my neck was an agony, my shoulders… there was not a bone or an articulation that did not make me shiver in pain.
The physiotherapist was at a loss. She folded her arms:
-” Are you ok?” she asked, and with that, I started to cry.
I had no idea why I was crying. I was also fed up with all the pain, but the realization that nothing medical could explain my health issues forced me to face my doubts: something was wrong in my life… definitely wrong.
I found out later on that I suffered from the Narcissistic Victim Syndrom. Basically this means beside the “acceptable” stress of every day life, I had an enormous amount of stress resulting from my daily interacting with a partner with NPD.
If I had known about the existence of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NDP) at the time, I would have known that I was fine, medically speaking. I only displayed all the symptoms of a person under influence.
There are talks returning the mirror onto the victims of people with NPD. Some therapists ask you to look at the narcissist within you and inspect the reasons why you admired the reflection of yourself you saw in that person’s eyes.
Even though I can relate to some of this, as most people would, because, as humans, we are all narcissists (see Freud, On Narcissism, an Introduction, 1914), we need a small (tiny) dose of that to deal with rejection (and as a writer, I know I need it!), and failure in general. We strive to build a strong ego during our early childhood because it is a useful life skill. Still, I find it unfair to blame the victims. Instead, let’s give them tools to recognize a potential abuser and weapons to chase them away.
I was married to a sheath narcissist sometimes, one who did not send me to the hospital every other week, but used words or insinuations to control and destroy me, and at other times, I was married to a violent abuser, who barked insults at me in the intimacy of the home or in public in the streets, and threw punches and slaps, always as reactions to my actions as he called it.
If you fear you are in a relationship with a person with NPD, then be informed that 1% of the population displays this disorder with more or less degree of intensity, and that the majority of these abusers are male. So, be aware and put your partner through some test, to evaluate exactly how deep he or she is affected.