Working with Your Most Challenging Couples: Anger, Narcissism and Countertransference met today. Wendy Behary, LCSW, the Author of “Disarming the Narcissist… Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed” gave a fascinating presentation about how narcissists have a hard time maintaining intimacy because they choose a partner who makes them look good, or who mirrors their need for approval. But when they are confronted with the need for true emotional intimacy, they shut down. Unless their partner makes them feel good, they may withdraw into their core of shame and will do anything to avoid feeling their own inadequacy and defectiveness. In their sex lives, performance becomes a way to head off real intimacy and connection, and a way to avoid being seen. Sex is a platform for showing off prowess and can be used to disappear emotionally.
Wendy also talked about how narcissists can get overly involved in pornography, because it is quick, fast and they don’t have to feel empathy to use it. I added that in my experience working with narcissistic clients, porn can lead to real time affairs, where entitlement and a dismissiveness for the partners feelings can make couples therapy difficult, and affair recovery even harder. An attitude of “I deserved this” or this is “your fault” can contaminate the treatment.
Wendy has some great interventions for working with Narcissists in treatment, and for dealing with our own countertransference as well. Send in your questions and cases, and get all the downloadable recordings and handouts when you sign up now. To learn more about this series, and other Teleseminars with Dr Tammy Nelson, click here.