How to Treat Narcissism in 3 Simple Steps
Dr. Hawkins lays out for you the first 3 steps of the treatment process. They are
1) Assessment of the problematic behaviors – yes, even covert abuse.
2) Ownership of the problematic behaviors – often the most difficult stage of treatment.
3) Cultivating emotional maturity – learning to deal with your emotions instead of defaulting to fight, flight or freeze.
Our treatment approach is the culmination of years of working with people with narcissistic tendencies and discovering the most effective ways of helping people break free of narcissistic behaviors and learn a healthier way of relating to themselves and to others. In addition to the three aspects mentioned, there are many other aspects involved of course, from dealing with past trauma to addictions, infidelity, etc. and we address all those issues. We come at this with a holistic approach and our goal is healthier individuals who can then have healthy functioning in their relationships.
How to Treat Narcissism in 3 Simple Steps
Is treatment of narcissism and emotional abuse even possible?
Well, I know there are a lot of differing opinions out there about this question, and it’s an important one. Is treatment even possible, or should we just say “no, no, game over, get out”? As Dr. David Hawkins from the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute, I have written and spoken extensively on this topic, and I have a few thoughts for you to consider.
Step 1: Honest Assessment and Evaluation
The first step in treating narcissism and emotional abuse is to conduct an honest assessment and evaluation. This is crucial because these behaviors are often hidden behind the scenes in a relationship. Covert emotional abuse, characterized by withholding affection, being passive-aggressive, sneering, being dismissive, name-calling, and alternating between being nice and friendly and mean and nasty, can be challenging to detect by others.
To facilitate this assessment, the Emotional Abuse Institute has created a test called the Narcissism and Emotional Abuse Inventory (NEAI), available on our website. While it’s not the be-all and end-all, it consists of 40 questions that address critical issues such as the person’s ability to receive critical feedback, willingness to hear differing opinions, and responsiveness to the need for change. Having individuals concerned about narcissism and emotional abuse fill out this test can provide valuable insights.
Step 2: Ongoing Ownership
The second step is to foster ongoing ownership. This is an ongoing process that requires accountability and oversight. It is important for individuals undergoing treatment to take ownership of their actions and behaviors. This means acknowledging their role and responsibilities instead of resorting to blame and projection.
Ownership is not a one-time event; it is a continuous development of self-awareness and self-improvement. Those receiving treatment should actively engage in their own growth and transformation, understanding that change is necessary and seeking help when needed.
Step 3: Treatment for Emotional Immaturity
The final step involves addressing emotional immaturity, which underlies narcissism and emotional abuse. Emotional immaturity is the root cause of these harmful behaviors. Treating narcissism requires developing emotional maturity, and this process can be summarized by the acronym “CREATE”:
- Cultivate self-awareness: Encourage individuals to become aware of their emotions, motivations, and thought patterns.
- Recognize triggers: Help individuals identify the events or situations that trigger their unhealthy behaviors and emotions.
- Explore emotions: Teach individuals how to express and regulate their emotions in healthy ways.
- Address childhood wounds: Assist individuals in resolving unresolved issues from their past that contribute to their emotional immaturity.
- Transform beliefs: Challenge and replace distorted beliefs and perceptions that fuel narcissistic tendencies.
- Empower relationships: Encourage individuals to develop healthy and empathetic connections with others.
Treating emotional immaturity and fostering emotional growth is a crucial step in overcoming narcissism and emotional abuse.
In conclusion, treating narcissism and emotional abuse is indeed possible, but it requires a comprehensive approach. By following these three simple steps of honest assessment and evaluation, ongoing ownership, and treatment for emotional immaturity, individuals can embark on a journey of self-improvement and transformation.
Remember, seeking professional help from therapists or counselors specializing in these areas can provide invaluable support throughout the treatment process.
Also read: What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
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.