Re: Cheating/Infidelity ( 14:57:41 SunJul 6 2003 ) |
To say that all narcissists cheat on their spouses would be making an absolute statement about many people that I don't even know, and I am unable to do that. Logic would dictate that in the diversity of human beings suffering from narcissism there are those who have never cheated on their spouses. I have no idea of the percentages. That said, though, it is my personal belief that anyone who suffers from an identity disturbance is at risk for infidelity because many of us tend to define ourselves by how we are perceived in the eyes of others. Not just NPD, but in any disorder where there is a deficient self image.
I've only had a few sexually active relationships in my life, including a marriage. I never cheated on any of them outwardly, but did have private fantasies concerning other women from time to time. I felt dirty about those fantasies I had, and out of control. I feel like I could have crossed the line with my wife and actually cheated on her with another, yet that never happened. I've wondered if my shyness and lack of social abilities are all that kept me from cheating. The truth is, I don't know. I know I do have a sense of right and wrong, a conscience, and wanted to keep my sexuality "between the lines". However, I can relate to the tendency to lose oneself in the eyes of an admiring other.
Narcissism tends to be looked at in absolute, black and white terms, which leads to stereotypes, missing the human complexity and diversity that exists within the various people who suffer from it. Most of these questions, I can't answer. The answers would depend on the person, the severity of their disorder, the details of the situation itself, etc. All of us have developed a defensive "false self" to compensate for the true self, which was for one reason or another, shamed into hiding long ago. The ways used to buttress this false self are many, and a little different with each individual. We defend whenever the false front is threatened, because we fear the alternative of not having it.
Maybe others can shed more light from their experiences, if they so choose.
Thanks for writing...