Is It Sex Addiction or Narcissism?
Many partners contact us wanting to know if their Betraying Partners have narcissism. Others ask if they have NPD, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
The reason for these questions is that partners of those engaged in deceptive sexual behavior see that their mates are acting unbelievably self-centered, beginning with the partner's discovering of the infidelity. Partners often notice that when they discover the infidelity and confront their mates, what comes back at them is so commonly denial, justification, minimization, rationalization and blame-shifting.
Empathy is almost never offered to the faithful partner who is experiencing utter devastation at the hands of someone else's behaviors. This is crazy-making and can set a partner up to spend years attempting to squeeze an honest moment's worth of remorse from her mate while she continues to be in shock over what has happened (and may still be happening).
Oftentimes years after Discovery, partners contact us to fill us in on how they are doing. Most partners tell us their mates never did offer them any empathy at all, not once in all these years.
This is what we hear whether the mate has been in rehab, two-three times a week therapy, 12-step meetings, or all of those. Sometimes the best a partner will receive from her cheating mate is, "I'm sorry you're hurting". Of course, this cheap sentiment completely removes him from the equation, in his effort to absolve himself from having to take responsibility that yes, he hurt her.
Obviously, partners have a difficult time staying connected to mates who cannot authentically experience and convey empathy when they have done so much damage to their partners.
When partners are unable to fathom how a supposedly committed partner can cheat on them for years and then how they concoct elaborate lies to cover up their secretive behavior, many partners research online for answers. Sooner or later, they start reading about how narcissism and cheating with impunity are frequently linked. Add in that empathy always appears to be the missing component in both, and it becomes easy to conclude that Betraying Partners are narcissistic.
However, it is important to be accurate with terminology here: Narcissism is a trait. When we say someone is behaving narcissistically, we mean they are acting selfishly, with no regard for anyone else and often without any empathy for the pain they may have caused.
When we say someone is a narcissist, we can mean they are incredibly self-centered, or we may be referring to them as having personality disorders, traits or features from the grouping known as Narcissism, under the DSM's Axis 2. However, one cannot definitively know if someone else has a full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) unless they have been tested via a full psychological evaluation, administered by a clinical psychologist trained in this type of testing.