I was sceptical when a friend, who recently died from breast cancer, described someone who had broken her heart as having suffered from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

A B grade celebrity she was coaching developed a deeper relationship with her, then just as her cancer diagnosis came in, threatened to sue her if she didn’t remove some music of his from her website. NPD is attributed to conscienceless emotionless people who are also highly charismatic.

I was sceptical because she had fallen out with so many people due to her intensity. She had also developed such a paranoia about the medical profession, which led her to seek only alternative therapies for her cancer, that she lost credibility in my  eyes.

The husband of the friend who hit on me in front of her this week, showed similar tendencies. I suggested it to her too and she eagerly researched it but decided that he only showed some of the tendencies, but that there were related syndromes which were all about individuals who demonstrated a high degree of egotism.

Contrary to my earlier thoughts about her complete acceptance of the situation, it transpires that she would like to separate from him but with her living in his world, unable to sell their joint business she is momentarily stuck. I believe she will extricate herself over time. 

Interestingly, the rot set in when he had an affair which she put a stop to. She cannot forget it and her diagnosis of MY situation is that it is only a matter of time before that marriage implodes – that his wife  will be unable to stop herself destroying it through the doubts which will lodge themselves permanently in her mind. 

Her heart hardened when she had to stop the affair and every time he has shown a lack of consideration subsequently, it has hardened further until she is no longer attracted to him at all. 

What’s interesting for me is that she like my other aforementioned friends, cannot see a way forward in which they can or could contribute positively to the situation. That the fault resides firmly on the side of the “other” and that there is some  relief to be  able to attribute the fault to a syndrome – then no one is responsible. 

I’m not saying they are wrong by the way, not at all and I’m more convinced that such syndromes exist, merely that with responsibility comes some power in the situation. What they have chosen, however is how they can react. They have found powerful ways to “be” in difficult  circumstances. For me that is the lesson. Sometimes there is nothing to be done. Merely a choice over how you react.

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