Keywords: Narcissistic personality disorder, narcissist, domestic violence, Nigeria.

Introduction.

Dealing with a Narcissistic Individual – Nigeria. What are the aftermaths of living with a narcissist? Does the person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) become better or worse with age? What can the partner do?  Are there treatment options?

The partners of those with NPD are usually at the cross road in their marriages. Many do not know what to do, especially where children are involved. A lot of the women may continue to stay in the marriage suffering a lot of physical and psychological trauma. It is not only the partner that suffers, the children also suffer. And eventually, the individual may fall into the hands of the Law. This is the reason for this topic of dealing with a narcissistic individual in Nigeria.

There are some options for the partner to take when living with such an individual for her psychological wellbeing. And treatment is possible for the individual with NPD and the partner.

The aftermath of living with, and as a narcissist.

1. Psychological aftermaths:  

Dealing with a narcissistic individual in Nigeria can affect both the partner and the individual in many ways.

a. For the partner in the relationship –

There could be loss of self esteem, hopelessness and helplessness. The loss of self esteem occurs because the partner is often blamed for the individual’s inadequacies. The partner can equally suffer from the same mood disorders as the individual. The issue of substances abuse and suicidality, can be observed in the partner.

b. The individual –

For the individual who has a NPD, he or she can feel shame, and hopelessness. There could be mood disorders such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorders, as well as transient psychosis. There is easy anger which could be directed to him\herself or to the partner. The person is usually impulsive, speaking or acting without thinking. He can also be at risk of having low self esteem. The individual can also become dependent or addicted to substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis, cocaine, etc. He uses these substances to self medicate the inner tension that he feels. Such a person is prone to suicidal thoughts and attempts as well as completed suicide.

Physical aftermaths:

There are physical complications that can emanate from the disorder, affecting both the individual and the partner.

The mood disorders are risk factors for hypertension, heart diseases like myocardial infarctions, diabetes, etc. There are also risk factors for gastrointestinal diseases.

 Due to sexual escapades, the individual can have the risks for contacting sexually transmitted diseases. This can be transmitted to the partner.

 Death can ensue from road traffic accidents, from excessive speeding perpetrated by the individual suffering from NPD.

3. Social aftermaths:

a. Domestic violence –

This can take place in the family, comprising of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV.), child abuse and neglect. Child abuse and neglect, as well as IPV, can be physical, psychological, sexual. Any of these can predispose to permanently maiming or causing the death of the family member. He can never apologize unless he has something to gain. Thus predisposing to relationship issues, leading to separation and divorce.

b. Violence in public –

The history of violence does not end in the family the individual can also be violent at work. This is due to anger issues. Thus causing pain, suffering, and even loss of man hour. Even at school, they are bullies, causing, both physical and psychological pain to their fellow students. Those with NPD are also more likely to engage in sexual assaults.

c. Incarceration –

 Those with NPD easily get into trouble with the law and may suffer imprisonment. This could come from problems with anger and lying issues. Due to the adulterous nature of the individual, there is a high risk for murder. The fear of divorce from the partner is also a risk factor for murder. So those with NPD are prone to violent crimes like, homicide, sexual crimes, robbery/ theft, embezzlement, arson, etc. They often resist arrest and can become quite violent. In one Nigerian prison, 4.6% of inmates have NPD.

d. Corruption issues –

Those with NPD are more politically active and more likely to engage in corrupt practices. Corruption in Nigerian politics can be traced to the politicians and leaders having personality disorders, like NPD. Among civil servants in Ogun state, narcissism has been associated with corruption among employees. If those with NPD join the police force, they are more likely to engage in police misconduct.

e. Excessive selfies –

Those with NPD have been found to engage more in pathological selfies and posting on social media. This is to make their ex-partners or current partners, jealous. This was documented in a research carried out in a Nigerian university. It also helps them make themselves more desirable to potential partners.

f. The positive aspects of NPD –

There are positive aspects of the NPD. Due to their outgoing in nature, they may not suffer from loneliness in old age. Because of their self confidence, they can easily secure jobs. They can also do well in leadership positions. They enjoy exercise, even in old age, and this can become compulsive in nature. When given a project, the person will ensure that it succeeds. Because of their superficial charms, they are easily liked by others and have many friends.

Expectations of NPD in old age.

1. Behavioral reductions:

As they age, they seem to find out that they are less physically attractive. They also realize their lower intellectual level and lower health.These may reduce their self esteem.

Some may see themselves stripped of their charms, and manipulative control, etc. Thus they grow bitter, and blame others for their present circumstances.

Due to aging, they may rely more on family members for care. Having caused relationship strain with family members in their youth, they may now feel shame and loneliness.

As the person ages, he begins to have lessening of authority, responsibilities and independence. This may lead to crisis stage of isolation, depression and even suicide.

In order to maintain their ego, they may constantly remind their family members of their past achievements.  And for this, when the person with NPD do ask for help, they may do so in inappropriate ways.

2. Maintaining old behaviour:

Not everyone with NPD gets to the levels described above in old age.

For some, their lack of empathy and self centeredness will intensify with age.

Some will still maintain their inflated ego and authority. This is more likely, if they still have a job that still with leadership roles.

Others will refuse to allow the society reduce their self esteem. So they will live in denial and refuse to accept the aging process. They may even subject themselves to cosmetic surgeries to maintain their attractive looks. Some may use sex enhancing drugs to still remain hypersexual.

So as the person with NPD ages, he/she may become desperate, deluded, angry and abusive.

If the individual becomes ill with dementia, the behavior worsens.

Treatment for the individual and partner.       

Treatment is usually difficult because the individual with NPD, have no insight to his/her condition. Thus the individual will refuse treatment. If such a person does accept treatment, compliance becomes an issue. This is because the individual does not believe that a problem exists. So the partner should insist that the individual with NPD gets professional help. There are different modes of treatment.

1. Psychological treatment:

Dealing with a narcissistic individual in Nigeria involves treatment, both at home and with professionals.

a. Home management of the individual with NPD –

Let him know that his behavior towards you is not right, but do not expect that he will understand.

It is important that you set clear boundaries. Let him/her know that you cannot be bossed around all the time. He may react negatively, but stand your grounds, and do not be confrontational. Deliver the message calmly and respectfully. Remain calm if he/she reacts with anger, or walk away.

As the partner, know who you are exactly living with. Also know that you cannot change that personality on your own. So insist that he gets professional help.

b. Management for the partner at home –

Believe in yourself and have a strong sense of yourself. So do not live your life dependent on the individual who has NPD.

Having known that the individual you are living with has a NPD, you may need to accept minor faults. Do not fight at every provocation.

Never accept blames or feel guilty, when it is not your fault. Know that it is the gimmick that he will use to subdue you.

Learn to live a life of your own, so make friends, make money and keep yourself happy. Live an independent life. Get social support from family and friends. Get involved in hobbies and volunteering.

Read more about NPD to get more information. Information is power.

If you cannot continue living with the person who has NPD, then it is time to leave. The leaving must not be dramatic and if possible without pre-information. Pre-informing the individual, will make him/her do everything possible to stall your leaving. When you leave, cut all access to him or her. If there is a reason for both of you to meet, always go with a witness.

2. Professional psychological treatment:

These can occur as psychotherapy from a clinical psychologist. The individual is taught how to manage emotions, empathize, communicate and build strong relationships.

The partner is also treated via psychotherapy. So you also need to consult with a clinical psychologist.

3. Treatment with medication.

This is done by a psychiatrist. But there are no standard medicines for this disorder.

What is treated are the psychiatric complications of the disorder. Complications like, depression, anxiety, impulsivity, etc.

Also, the physician treats the medical complications, like hypertension, etc. And both the individual and the partner may require these treatments.

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