The “narcissistic personality disorder effect”

That don’t impress me much!

“Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a complex personality disorder often detected with other affective and personality disorders”. (National Library of Medecine – Last update: March 13, 2023).


I am going to tell you a story, a true story. I am going to tell you something that happened to me.

Before even starting, I would like to inform you that this is not going to be a psychiatric dissertation. The content of this article has the only aim to discuss about something that can happen when women find themselves in the middle of a toxic relation and how music can help to be more resilient and empower them.

If this will not happen, you can read this article simply as a guide to some empowering songs written or performed by some amazing female artists.

But first, let’s go back to my story, On October 27, 2022, I was on flight back to Italy from Luxembourg where I had just finished my last job interview. After boarding the plane and taking my seat I saw a guy approaching and I thought that he was very cute. After a couple of minutes, I found out that he had the seat right next to mine.

There was something about him that attracted me but, at the same time, my inner conscience was telling me to stay put and mind my own business.

On the contrary, I started talking to him and the conversation went on, and on until we landed in Milan. He was charming. We talked about the reason why I was in Luxembourg and about the fact that he had been living there for almost 10 years. He gave me his business card, telling me to write to him if I need any information.

After arriving in Milan, we said goodbye and I went home, almost forgetting about him and his business card.

The day after, I checked LinkedIn and I found out that he was asking me to connect. The strange thing was – and I didn’t realize that at the time – that I had never told him my last name.

I accepted and we started chatting. I told him that the company for which I did my interview confirmed me that I was hired and that I would soon relocate to Luxembourg. We decided to exchange our phone numbers so that we could meet when I would come back to Luxembourg to find an apartment.

In November, when I came back, we met for a drink. He spent the whole evening telling me about his ex-girlfriends, and at the end he told me that he was in the middle of a “complicated relationship” and therefore I shouldn’t get in touch with him ever again.

And I did it!

In January 2023 I started my new job in Luxembourg: new life, new people, new friends, and I was not even thinking about him. However, in June, before boarding a flight from Malpensa to Luxembourg, I heard someone saying my name and there he was, standing right in front of me.

Another strange thing happened: We had seats one next to the other (again!)

I didn’t want to talk to him, but he told me that now he was single and that he would really like to see me again.

I accepted to go out for a drink. That was the beginning of a nightmare which ended last September.

Why? Because this guy is a narcissist. And why do I know that? Because I have been studied his behavior for months.

Here you are some hints:

  1. How to identify a narcissist

I am going to give you some scientific background and then I will go back to my story.

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and with lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood, as indicated by at least five of the following:

  • Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements, expects to be recognized as superior without actually completing the achievements)
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty, or perfect love.
  • Believes that they are “special” and can only be understood by or should only associate with other special people (or institutions).
  • Requires excessive admiration.
  • Has a sense of entitlement, such as an unreasonable expectation of favorable treatment or compliance with his or her expectations).
  • Is exploitative and takes advantage of others to achieve their own ends.
  • Lacks empathy and is unwilling to identify with the needs of others.
  • Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of them.
  • Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors and attitudes.

This guy perfectly matches all the above characteristics. He always asked me if I found him in good shape, if I liked his car, if I liked his house, his clothes etc. He completely lacked empathy (for example, when my parents got robbed while they were at home and I called him for comfort, he told me to take a chamomile and go to bed). He was also envious of my own achievements when I tried to share them with him.

And, above all, he was always telling me that he didn’t want a relationship because, after ending his long relationship, he wanted to “have fun”.

“A narcissist is often a master flirt and might be cheating on you. Narcissists are very charming and know how to sweep people off their feet. You may find yourself constantly questioning if your partner is being faithful because of their flirting. They might have cheated multiple times, so nothing will stop them from doing it again.”

He was always making me feel like I was wrong and that some things I said or did have never happened.

From June to September, we saw each other a few times and, during these months, I had told myself that it was time to stop seeing him a thousand times, but I couldn’t. Until that day, when he “gently” suggested me to take a chamomile or the day after, when he told me that it would have been better to not see each other anymore but to remain “friends”. Of course, all of the above was my fault. I told him to go to hell and to find someone else.

A narcissist does not listen to you. He only listens to himself. He makes you lose your confidence, and you start apologizing even for things you have never done.

  • Are narcissists strong?

I don’t think so. And psychology researchers, too.

In fact, a recent study from New York University’s Department of Psychology and Center for Data Science shows that “narcissism is driven by insecurity, and not an inflated sense of self”. “More specifically, the results suggest that narcissism is better understood as a compensatory adaptation to overcome and cover up low self-worth.”

  • How could you get rid of a narcissist?

Believe me. If you are having a toxic relationship with a narcissist, the only thing you can do is to get rid of him and the sooner the better.

The bad thing is that it is not that simple, because narcissists have a lot of power, and they know it.

However, as women we have our own superpowers, and we can overcome adversities. Saying “it’s over” to a narcissist will break your heart, but once the decision is made and the guy is gone for good, you will feel a sense of relief and a strength that you would have never expected to have.

A new world will open up in front of you but, first, you must accept to suffer.

  • Can music help you in this process?

This is the right question to ask yourself if you are a music lover or even if you are not. Because, as music lovers, we tend to think that music is the cure to basically everything.

Music is not a cure but, as other art forms, it can help.

In situations like this, when you have to deal with someone who is so weak to almost not being able to stay in a room full of people if he knows that there might be someone who could disagree with him, someone who pretends to be strong so that he can keep you in the palm of his hands, some songs can help you to rise and make your own choice.

Most of these songs have been written/performed by women for other women and their meaning is clear. Some of these songs describe situations, some others offer a “helping hand”.

Janis Joplin – Ball and Chain

This song, originally recorded by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, but mostly known thanks to Janis Joplin’s version, takes the image associated to prisoners to describe a man who is keeping his woman down. In her version, Janis was used to finish the song with a free form section singing, “Love is such a pain, love is such a pain”.

Yes, loving a narcissist is a real pain.

Alanis Morrissette – Woman Down

Alanis Morrissette sings about how women no longer have to deal with the misogyny of patriarchy. Oh yes, narcissists can also be misogynists. It seems they love women, but they hate them instead.

Britney Spears – Womanizer

It’s a song about guys cheating on girls. It’s a “girl anthem”. Does a narcissist cheat on his girlfriend? Of course, he does that, and he will never stop. Then, the excuse will be that it’s the girl’s fault. In fact, in this song, Britney sings: “You say I’m crazy, I got you crazy”. A narcissist will often tell you that you are crazy. Don’t believe him!

Paula Abdul – Cold Hearted

In this song, Paula Abdul warns another girl about a man, letting her know that he is a heartless snake.

There is not better way than spread the word and let your friends know about this guy. Tell them his name, where he lives, what he does, show them his pictures so that they will know in case they found him on their way.

Eurythmics – Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

Annie Lennox, Aretha Franklin and The Charles Williams Gospel Choir share the vocals on this modern feminist anthem that Lennox put together with help from her bandmate, Dave Stewart. “There is such a strong need of feminism” said Annie Lennox during an interview while receiving the 2006 ASCAP founders Award.

Shania Twain – That Don’t Impress Me Much

In this song Shania Twain sings about three guys who are very full of themselves: a “know-it-all” man, a man obsessed with his look and another one obsessed with his car. A narcissist is a mix of all this. This is exactly what he turns him into a nightmare for every woman.

Taylor Swift – AntiHero

The lyrics of this song have been analyzed to show how narcissists can affect people in relationships. For example:

  • Narcissists do not adapt to change: “I Have This Thing Where I Get Older, But Just Never Wiser”.
  • Narcissists will try to convince you that anything you do for yourself is narcissism: “Did You Hear My Covert Narcissism? I Might Disguise It As Altruism”.
  • The narcissist will blame you and make you at fault for everything: “One Day I’ll Watch As You’re Leaving Because You Got Tired Of My Scheming”.
  • The narcissist will find any way to disrupt the comfort that you find in life, just because they’re incapable of truly feeling it themselves: “I Should Not Be Left To My Own Devices, They Come With Prices And Vices”.
  • If you are the victim of a narcissist, you are going to feel like you are the problem: “I’m The Problem. It’s Me. At Teatime, Everybody Agrees”.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this is not a scientific article. I just wanted to share my story and show how music could be a guide to find a light at the end of the tunnel. At the end of the day, there is only one thing you can say to a narcissist, and it will make him crazy: “That don’t impress me much!”.

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