A Controversial Approach to Narcissism and Attachment Styles: You've Never Heard This Before
If you have ever struggled in a relationship where you felt like you were being emotionally manipulated, “gaslighted”, invalidated, criticized, dismissed, unacknowledged, blamed for things beyond your control, made to feel guilty, or felt as if you were walking on eggshells, then it’s likely you have been around someone who exhibits some narcissistic traits.
Because insecure attachment styles are often the result of unresolved trauma, individuals with personality disorders almost always have insecure attachment.
However, not everyone with an insecure attachment style will necessarily meet the criteria for a “disorder.” And we cannot lump any particular disorder so neatly into the category of any particular attachment style.
I often receive comments on my social media forums declaring the deactivating strategies of the Rolling Stone (avoidant individual) as clearly defining them as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)… but we cannot make such sweeping statements.
All insecure attachment styles, at their basis, are narcissistic wounds.
Healthy narcissism is when you have a healthy sense of self and agency. Without it, no one would muster up the nerve to run for president, go on a job interview, or cross the room and ask someone out on a date.
Unhealthy narcissism is when you source your sense of self and esteem so much from the outside, you feel as if you only exist as a reflection in the affirmative mirrors of those around you (hence the term “Narcissist”, derived from the greek myth of Narcissus, who wasted his life away staring at his own reflection in the water).
While the "overt" narcissists tended to be aggressive, self-aggrandizing, exploitative, and have extreme delusions of grandeur and a need for attention, "covert" narcissists are more prone to feelings of neglect or belittlement, hypersensitivity, anxiety, and delusions of persecution.
If we look at the essential fears of insecurely attached individuals, they all reflect a fear of not being worthy, and being mentally and emotionally annihilated, either through abandonment, or an engulfing enmeshment.
I will say it again, so it REALLY sinks in, all insecure individuals have narcissistic wounds, and this is likely the reason they are magnetized to one another in the anxious-avoidant trap, (or in what is popularly described as a narcissistic/codependent dynamic).
To learn more about this rather controversial position, I invite you to check out this 10-minute video.
I realize a lot of people won’t like this idea. But still, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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In love and abundance,
Briana MacWilliam ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed and Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist
Author, Educator and Reiki Practitioner