This topic can’t be covered in one essay, so this is the first of several installments concerning relationships and personal security. A person’s safety and security are enhanced by quality relationships with quality partners. Partners who share the responsibilities of safety and security double the effectiveness of any formal or informal program in the home or when traveling through the jungle. However, the partner, who does not care; will not adhere to the principals of good home or personal security, will increase the vulnerabilities of everyone else in the relationship. A woman should not look to a man for protection. A man should not solely assume the role of protector. Just as a fortress requires an overlapping series of defenses, partners in a relationship where the responsibility for the safety and security of the unit is shared and sustained, present a stronger defense against the unforeseen circumstances that can befall the unit.
But what if you have no current relationship? What if either you or one or more of you children are currently dating and exploring relationships outside the home? What does this mean to your security and theirs? Believe it or not, Prince Charming can turn into the Prince of Darkness, and Rapunzel can become something repelling before your very eyes. Almost everyone who has gone through an extended period of trying to find the perfect mate has stories of those “Dates from Hell.” In ninety-nine percent of those cases, the relationship probably ended without prolonged misery, but occasionally, one might encounter the person for whom the word “no,” simply does not apply.
There have been narcissistic personalities for a lot longer than there has been a name for them. I have recently begun to consider that we may be producing more of them now than at any time in the past. Many psychologists are beginning to suspect the “bad psychology” of an overly broad promotion of the idea of personal self esteem is leading to a myriad of personality deficiencies.
Of course self esteem is important. But artificially elevated self esteem built on a foundation of never actually losing; never being told “no” does more harm than good. Common sense tells me that the child who goes through their formative years with constant reinforcement of how special and unique they are may have a difficult time adjusting emotionally when they receive the news that there isn’t anything special or unique about their paper, their drawing, their test scores, their resume or their sex appeal. When people like this finally start to date and they discover the sting of rejection for the first time they may accept it and move on, or they may become persistent in a very unhealthy way.
I know, as a parent, it’s important to tell our children how much they mean to us; how special they are to us; how important they are to us, but they will eventually learn that these things don’t apply to the rest of society. We all know parents who shield their children from the pain of loss or embarrassment and we all know people who hold a higher attitude of self-importance than their accomplishments would sustain. Some of these people are harmless. There are; however, a special few who have an unhealthy belief in their position of privilege and may treat other people in destructive ways.
So, what has this to do with safety and security? As I alluded to in my opening paragraph, healthy relationships enhance safety and security of the whole unit. Humans are relationship driven. The search for the perfect partner can be wonderfully exciting. It can also be fraught with danger. So, in this installment, I’m about to touch on the subject of date rape. I’ve already described the type of individual who most often commits this crime. I don’t want to suggest that date rape is a national epidemic! It is however, a problem to be considered among both children and adults who are dating.
A boy or man who will commit date rape is for the most part narcissistic. They can’t envision a woman who would not appreciate their advances. Nor can they accept – after the fact – that what they have done is wrong. I won’t go into the pathology of narcissism, but I want to offer some advice concerning the personality as it relates to you or the ones you love.
If you encounter a person who shows signs of being totally self-absorbed, listen to your inner voice. No matter what else they have going for them, no matter how much you value their friendship or how lucky you feel that they are attending to you, you risk both your physical and emotional health if you continue on this path. I can’t help your emotional health, but I can address the physical risks you face. A narcissist can be dangerous to you and your family! They will not easily allow you to forsake their attentions. It can and often has gotten tragically ugly.
Our system of justice is not technically designed to protect those innocents who are most in need of society’s protection. Often, the legal protections are flimsy and the methodology based on archaic designs and failed policies. The absolute best protection the potential victim of such domestic violence and abuse has is to not become a victim in the first place. I’m all about prevention, in case you haven’t already noticed. While there are thousands of reasons women and girls remain in abusive relationships, there are no “good” ones. There is only fear. As I said before, fear should not be that which prevents us from acting, but rather that which prompts us to act!
The narcissistic personality “WILL” become abusive, either emotionally, verbally or physically. You don’t need to subject yourself to this eventuality, and doing so can become emotionally destructive or worse, physically dangerous! If you encounter the narcisist, run, don’t walk right out of their life before either of you have invested any emotional currency. After that, keep your eyes open for a long time afterward, to make sure they received the message loud and clear, that you are not one of their possessions.