They may may shame or guilt others into giving them what they want by wallowing on their “hurt” feelings, how they’ve been wronged, what they “need” to be happy (regardless that what they “want” may be harmful to both or their relationship, such as some risky sexual behavior, or making a large purchase when in debt, etc.) This is what psychologist Alfred Adler referred to “neurotic power” or using punitive tactics to subvert another’s will.
A person with a narcissistic personality disorder often initially shows great interest and appreciation for another, and can be charming and charismatic, however, they are experts at manipulating others in order to draw them in, lavishing them with praise and perhaps (strategically) comparing them favorably to others.
It is perhaps no surprise that the codependent and narcissist often find themselves in an irresistible yet toxic dance together in life.
Whereas the codependent enters a relationship with a disowned and neglected sense of self, the narcissist counts on this to satisfy cravings for absorbing most or all attention to their needs for comfort and pleasure.
The Mayo Clinic lists the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder as follows (and comments are added in parentheses to emphasize distinct difference in what drives or motivates narcissistic behaviors): Again, the disorder is not diagnosed unless the symptoms limit or impair functioning in one or more key areas of life, and this is especially important when considering certain symptoms that a not key identifiers.
In case you’re wondering, a “personality disorder” is a term used by clinicians to refer to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), more specifically, to several problematic patterns of behavior that are reported to impair or limit, to some degree, the ability of the person to function in one or more key areas of life, i.e., family relationships, work, school, socially, and so on.
It is this belief that keeps them dependent on others to prop them up, bolster their ego, and makes them vulnerable to any criticism, and keeps their “self-esteem” fragile.
It makes sense that they perceive any request for change as a threat or “criticism” as their mission is to find others who recognize their top-dog status.
This makes it impossible for those in a relationship with them to express their feelings or yearnings and to be heard.
A narcissist is adept at quickly and methodically discounting another’s wants or feelings, and even making them feel bad or doubting themselves for doing “such” a thing.
They know how to make others “feel good” but their aim (pleasure) is to get others to surrender to their charm and agenda.