Narcissism, manipulation in relationshipsYou might wonder what Picasso, Ben Roethlisberger and Mel Gibson have in common? They are all men who ended up with power, fame and a reputation for abuse in relationships. Narcissism means other people are merely the audience. This is not about a diagnosis of narcissism, it is about the huge degree of narcissism that is rampant in our culture.

Picasso didn’t repair his relationships with women. Mel Gibson doesn’t appear to be doing much better. As a Pittsburgher I will hold out hope for Big Ben to find his way out of the narcissistic trap that defines casual relationships with women, as solely for his pleasure.

When someone is full of narcissism it means they take up all the space in the room, in the conversation and in the choices. The other person is replaceable. The “other” believes that the opportunity to be around the star is the reward that makes up for the selfishness. The “star” expects to be adored and too easily forgiven. Those in the audience often decieve themselves that the mistreatment is acceptable because they focus on the charisma and intensity of power.

The problems in the relationship are about both people and blaming only one person is unfair. Both people are trying to solve their insecurities in vastly different ways that work together to create ugliness. The abuser has a greater percentage of responsibility.

Ugliness favors the power role of Persecutor & the one who puts up with too much favors the Rescuer roles in the Karpman Drama Triangle (described in a previous post). Men and women with narcissism are comfortable in the “Top Dog” position which helps hold them together. The Rescuer role helps hold together those in the audience.

People who hang out with these narcissistic guys allow themselves to be manipulated.

It would not have been enough for Picasso to recognize he manipulates. It would be just as important for Olga, Eva, Gaby, Ferdinand etc. to recognize that they had a part in what happened, they allowed themselves to be manipulated. Picasso said that “women are machines for suffering.” Run from someone who believes that, instead of fooling yourself that you will be the special one that won’t happen to. If you want to understand more about Mel Gibson; try this post by a colleague who also blogs:

Don’t pay the price of being around someone who sucks all the air out of the room. It’s your job to make sure some is left for you.

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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