Dr. Sheri Keffer and Chris Williams discuss the traits of narcissism that show up when a person is stuck in an addiction. They clarify that these traits do not make the person a Narcissist they are just using narcissistic traits to protect the addiction.
EVERYONE want to be seen, to be understood and to be heard. This desire for connection is inside all of us.
When a person has an addiction to alcohol, drugs or pornography the addiction takes over that person’s life and becomes the all important driving force on their actions. An addict is enslaved to the next high.
Addicts feel unsafe and disconnected. The high is the only place where an addict feels a sense of safety, connection and peace. This then creates the obsession for the high.
People then either become “avenues” or “barriers” to getting their high:
- Avenues can be used and then thrown away.
- Avenues can be hoarded – held very close not given freedom.
- Barriers are considered enemies. Addicts view people who get between them and the addiction as threatening to their life. The addiction becomes the life force.
Narcissistic traits- or symptoms:
- Lack of empathy
- Disregard for others
- Obsession with self
- Prevent a false front to those in their life
As long as the addictions are the focus the narcissistic traits will not go away.
CS Lewis “I don’t think less of myself, I just think of myself less.”
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Narcissistic traits are mechanisms we use to keep pain from the world away from us. (Self-protection) Everyone to some degree can be narcissistic. All people use narcissistic defenses from time to time.
Most addicts feel: shame, disgust at themselves, and unlovable. This is what kicks in the need for the false narcissistic persona.
Most addicts even though they portray narcissistic traits are not narcissistic once the addiction is dealt with. It is the addiction that is causing the behavior modification.
The antidote to narcissism is empathy!
There is HOPE! People stuck in an addiction can move from a life of disconnection to a life of connection. Healing can happen. Addicts can return to reality, to see theirsleves and others in a real and honest way.
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