There’s a saying that “people don’t do things to hurt us, they just do things.” One of the big debates out there is the question “Do Narcissists Mean to Hurt Their Partners?” and whether people with narcissistic tendencies are aware of the destruction and harm they cause to their mate and the relationship.
While there is no simple answer to this complex topic, Dr. David Hawkins gives some insight into whether people with narcissistic tendencies have malicious intentions, or are simply acting out of their insecurities. Most people likely are somewhere on the spectrum of having some awareness to having little to no awareness.
Do Narcissists Mean to Hurt Their Partners?
Narcissism is a term that has become more prominent in recent years, as people are starting to understand the psychological dynamics at play in many dysfunctional relationships. It’s not uncommon for individuals in such relationships to wonder if their partners intentionally seek to hurt them. In this article, we will delve into this complex issue, drawing insights from Dr. David Hawkins’ perspective on narcissism and emotional abuse.
The Complexity of Human Behavior
People don’t do things to hurt us; they just do things. This is a statement that might initially sound perplexing, especially when it comes to emotional abuse, but let’s explore the meaning behind this assertion. Dr. David Hawkins, the director of the Marriage Recovery Center, specializes in helping individuals navigate narcissistic and emotionally abusive relationships.
The idea that individuals don’t do things to hurt us is not about excusing or condoning harmful behavior; rather, it’s about understanding the intricate web of motives and emotions that drive people’s actions.
Narcissists Have Bad Patterns
When dealing with narcissists or emotional abusers, it’s essential to recognize that they are often driven by deeply ingrained patterns of behavior and thinking. These patterns are far from healthy and can cause them to engage in actions that harm their partners.
- Faulty Thinking Patterns: Narcissists often possess distorted perceptions of the world. Their thoughts can be riddled with inaccuracies, leading them to misinterpret situations and people’s intentions.
- Faulty Action Patterns: These individuals have a knack for engaging in behaviors that can be destructive. Their actions often stem from their warped thinking patterns.
- Faulty Beliefs: Narcissists hold beliefs that are detrimental not only to their partners but to themselves as well. These beliefs can include a sense of entitlement, superiority, and grandiosity.
Is It All Intentional?
It’s crucial to understand that rarely is it all intentional. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Narcissistic behavior is typically not the result of a conscious effort to inflict harm. Instead, it’s a manifestation of their deeply rooted issues, cognitive distortions, and emotional baggage.
For those in relationships with narcissists, it can be bewildering to see their partners causing pain and distress without an apparent motive. However, it’s essential to remember that the intentions behind these actions are complex and often deeply ingrained.
Narcissists are trapped in a web of faulty thinking patterns and behaviors that cause harm to those around them. Their sense of entitlement, superiority, and grandiosity exacerbates the problems, leaving their partners to grapple with the emotional fallout.
The Impact on You
Understanding that narcissists do not necessarily intend to hurt their partners doesn’t negate the very real pain and damage that their actions can cause. It’s important to acknowledge the personal impact of their behavior.
When dealing with a narcissistic partner, you may find yourself experiencing a wide range of emotions, such as hurt, anger, frustration, and more. These feelings are entirely valid, and it’s crucial to give yourself permission to feel and process them.
Self-Validation: Acknowledging Your Feelings
Dr. David Hawkins recommends practicing self-validation, a process that involves acknowledging and validating your own feelings and experiences. This doesn’t mean trying to manage or change your partner’s behavior; it means recognizing and giving weight to your own emotional responses.
Here’s how self-validation works:
- Observe and Identify Your Emotions: When you feel hurt, angry, or frustrated because of your partner’s actions, acknowledge these feelings. Recognize that they are a natural response to the situation.
- State Your Feelings Clearly: Communicate your emotions to your partner without attempting to control or manipulate them. For example, you might say, “I feel hurt when you call me names, and I don’t like it.”
- Set Boundaries: After stating your feelings, you can express your boundaries. For instance, “I’m asking you not to call me names.”
- Stay Clear and Succinct: Avoid adding unnecessary information or drama. Be clear and concise about your feelings and boundaries.
The Potential Impact on Your Partner
While practicing self-validation, there’s a possibility that your words may have an impact on your partner. Over time, consistent communication about your feelings and boundaries can influence their behavior.
It’s crucial to approach this practice not as a means to change your partner but as a way to assert your feelings and boundaries. In some cases, your partner may become more aware of the impact of their actions, leading to changes in their behavior.
Applying Self-Validation in Every Relationship
Self-validation isn’t limited to romantic relationships with narcissistic partners. You can apply this practice in various aspects of your life:
- With Your Children: Teach your children to express their feelings and set boundaries, fostering healthy communication.
- With Friends: Open and honest communication can strengthen your friendships and lead to more meaningful connections.
- Everywhere: Self-validation is a powerful tool for navigating any relationship. It allows you to witness your inner experiences and communicate your feelings effectively.
In conclusion, the question of whether narcissists intend to hurt their partners is a complex one. While it may seem like they intentionally inflict pain, it’s crucial to recognize that their actions are often rooted in deep-seated issues, cognitive distortions, and emotional baggage.
Understanding this can help you navigate such relationships with more empathy and self-compassion. By practicing self-validation and effectively communicating your feelings and boundaries, you can find ways to protect your emotional well-being and, in some cases, even influence positive changes in your partner’s behavior.
Remember, people don’t necessarily do things to hurt us; they just do things. Understanding this concept can be a pivotal step toward healing and growth in the context of narcissistic relationships.
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.