If you need a definition of narcissism go here.
There are abusive people and maybe they all have a little bit of narcissism, but an abusive person who has true Narcissistic Personality Disorder will act this way with everyone, not just in their intimate relationship. They generally are loved by everyone, very generous, outgoing, feed off the energy and adoration of others or sometimes on the negative chaos they create with partners. They have a grandiose view of themselves and their role in the world and no empathy for others.
I’m writing this on the basis of knowing if the abusing man has NPD and what that is. Because the question for me is What kind of therapist does an NPD abuser need in order to get better?
I am not one who thinks that any abusive man can get better. I think once you cross the line to abuse it’s really hard to make that line for yourself again. Perhaps some get better. I don’t care to know.
Therapists who work with batterers say that the first step is to have them admit what they did. Admission of guilt seems to be sometimes the only step. But what if he does admit it, to his family, to her, to the police? And then he walks into a therapist’s office and then admits to physical violence? Any good therapist will sit back and think about what the manipulation is. They’ll staff this with colleagues. Do some journal reading.
Let’s just throw in a twist on this one. In order to be a therapist, a student has to complete a master’s degree, pass one of more national exams, and find a job with supervision. These are all academic things to finish and do not PROVE that a person is healthy or not mentally ill themselves. There are some therapists who can be just as ill as their clients. Or narcissistic. What can feed a narcissist better than telling other people what to do and be considered the expert because of a degree and a sign above their door?
So if the narcissistic batterer goes to the wrong therapist and admits his crime it’s like the old PONG computer game with one feeding off the other and then back and forth. I make you feel like a great therapist because I admit my crime. You make me feel validated in beating her because I tell you she doesn’t support me emotionally and you tell me that’s true. I make you feel like you got somewhere because I allow you to DIG up this deep dark secret about my trust issues. You make me feel like the smartest person in the world because you just bought what I said and agree it’s a bit her fault for not working on my trust issues with me. Back and forth. Back and forth. You think I’m such a good guy and I think you’re such a good therapist.
Meanwhile, it’s now two narcissists against one battered women who will no doubt be told by one or both that this is somehow her fault for not listening, supporting, or being trustworthy. And she doesn’t know this is about to happen and is not prepared.
Is it true then that you can’t cure a narcissist, you can only feed the monster? That you can’t stop the abuse, you can only teach him to manipulate better? That therapy is sometimes dangerous?