Cheers – Alcohol and the Narcissist

 cheers

Alcohol is a pervasive drug. A Bloody Mary prior to lunch, a liquid lunch to conduct business, afternoon drinks because it feels like skipping school, drinks straight from work which turn into a session, celebratory drinks for a birthday, a deal done well, an anniversary or just because it is Friday. Drinks at the golf club, prior to the big game, at the BBQ, at the funeral wake, a night cap, a toast, a cheeky snifter before heading home, one for the road, a hair of the dog to shift the hangover. Drink is everywhere and is deemed socially acceptable despite the misery that its excessive consumption causes.

What part does alcohol play in the narcissist dynamic? I do not mean the occasional drink with an excellent meal or the social beers in a bar with friends, the regulated and moderate drinking which does not bring with it problems. I am referring to alcoholism, where there is a reliance and a dependence on alcohol. How does that factor into the narcissistic dynamic?

At the outset it is necessary to distinguish between the alcoholic who is a not a narcissist and the narcissist who is an alcoholic. This is important because narcissism and alcoholism actually share similar traits.

–         There is the deceit that is involved in engaging in excessive drinking and engaging in narcissistic behaviour;

–         Both have sufferers who lack any insight that they have a problem;

–         Both require the manipulation of other people to achieve their aim. The narcissist manipulates to gain fuel, the alcoholic manipulates to drink.

–         Both engage in telling lies on a repeated basis about what they have been doing, where they have been, how much they have had to drink, whether they have had a drink;

–         Both result in selfish behaviour;

–         Other people find themselves being put second on a repeated basis to the needs of either the narcissist or the alcoholic;

–         Both engage in switching behaviour, being pleasant and likeable one moment and then suddenly abusive; and

–         The pursuit of the end game (fuel/drink) becomes the sole concern of the relevant individual

Accordingly, the behaviours of the narcissist and the alcoholic appear most similar. The alcoholic may present with narcissistic traits (as described above) but a sober alcoholic will see those narcissistic traits fall away to reveal that he or she is an alcoholic but not a narcissist. The addition of alcohol to this individual causes them to become narcissistic but they are not a narcissist.

The narcissist however who is also an alcoholic may stop drinking but the narcissism will remain. Indeed, there are many occasions where a victim will realise that they are involved with an alcoholic but they will not realise that this person is actually a narcissist who is also an alcoholic since alcoholism is far more readily identifiable than narcissism.

Narcissism leads to alcoholism. Not in every instance. I am not an alcoholic. I like to drink, in fact I enjoy it very much and I can consume significant amounts but I do not become blind drunk because I do not want to lose control. I have seen the narcissist who is an alcoholic and that is my Uncle Robert. His aged frame and bitterness are a clear testament to the aging that comes with a lifetime of downing his first gin and tonic at 11am and not stopping until the stupor arrives sometime after 9pm. Watching him as I was younger, observing his behaviours arising from his drinking (and later understanding that this was a layer upon his rampant narcissism) this served as a useful warning to me to ensure that I used drink for my purposes and did not allow it to consume me. I am fortunate I have that self-control and discipline, since many of our kind do not.

Alcoholism is a symptom of a certain mind set and narcissism is a mindset which lends itself to alcoholism occurring. Narcissists are creatures of addiction. We are addicted primarily to fuel. This is our drug, but being this way also means that we have a susceptibility to other addictive behaviours. This is why we engage in taking recreational drugs, shop with complete disregard for the financial repercussions, engage in workaholism, gamble and drive like maniacs. Not all will be present but there is a propensity for our kind to engage in these kind of behaviour because of our vulnerability to addiction.

The traits of our narcissism lend themselves to fostering alcoholism. Not only are we prone to addictive behaviour per se, the existence of these traits means that we become even more vulnerable to alcoholism occurring.

  1. Our magical thinking, our sense of superiority and omnipotence means that we believe that we can deal with alcohol better than the “little people”. We can drink more, we can handle that drink better and we can drink all manner of different types.
  2. The broad range of types of alcohol, the rich and varied culture that accompanies appeals to us as we show off our knowledge about it. The Cerebral Narcissist can boast about his extensive knowledge about particular wines or whiskies. The Somatic can brag about how much he has spent on a magnum of champagne and the Elite will do both.
  3. Our hunting grounds for our victims invariably involve the consumption of alcohol. The Somatic Narcissist who find his prey in the night club and amidst the chrome and neon lights of upmarket bars is going to be exposed to alcohol repeatedly.
  4. Our lack of accountability means that we can drink when we want, with who we want, where we want and we do not suffer the consequences. We can drink at lunchtime before making a presentation and believe we are immune to any such repercussion. We will take the wheel of a car having consumed alcohol because the laws are not applicable to us. We will not suffer any downside from drinking, we are a super man and able to cope with the toxins we are pouring into our throats.
  5. The desire to be centre stage. The provision of alcohol acts (at first) as an accelerant to our grandiose behaviour, our sense of showing off and performance and therefore slugging it down as we hold court in a bar, show off with our dancing and engage in our flirtations all assist ensuring that we are at centre stage and remain there.
  6. Blame-Shifting One. You make us drink. If you did as we wanted you to, then we would not be forced to have to drink to numb ourselves from the tedium that you cause. If you loved us properly we would not embrace the bottle. It is your fault that we drink so much.
  7. Blame-Shifting Two. The repercussions and consequences of drinking are your fault as well. If you had not made me leave the car after I had been drinking, it would not have a got a ticket. The final warning, I received because I was drunk on the job was down to you making me go into work because we need the money (even though you begged me to stay at home). Our abusive behaviour to people when drunk is down to you making us that way. You should have stopped us.
  8. Refuge. The consumption of alcohol by our kind allows us to take refuge. The Mid-Ranger who is innocuous turns into a raging Elvis impersonator as his grandiosity soars through the repeated application of drink. Drinking allows our kind to become ebullient, impressive and charismatic as it bridges the gap between what we really are and what we want the world to see. Alcohol removes the shackles which this cruel world seeks to impose on us and allows us to be who we want to be and who we want the world to see. We are freed of the terror of rejection since nobody can resist us when we are buoyed by this alcoholic uplift. The whisperings of the Creature are silenced by the pouring of another glass. How marvellous alcohol is to allow us to be what we want to be and to take away all the other concerns, limitations and problems that plague us.
  9. Removal of the mask. The lower functioning of our kind find a sense of relief in no longing needing to adopt a mask but rather allow the mask of alcohol and drunkenness to enable them to show what they are really like without fearing for the repercussions of rejection and criticism.
  10. Alcohol is a fuel enabler. It allows our kind to become better and more brilliant and in turn gather the fuel with greater ease, whether this is through impressing someone with confident conversation, sparkling wit and repartee orthe descent into abusive behaviour as time wears on and the drink mounts up.

The fact that so many traits of ours are geared towards the consumption of alcohol and the fact that this consumption enables us to achieve our goals with greater apparent ease added to the fact that we have an inherent susceptibility towards addiction for the reason explained above, means that this cocktail increases considerably the risk that a narcissist will be an alcoholic.

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31 thoughts on “Cheers – Alcohol and the Narcissist”

  1. This is where I am the Dirty Empath. I am very much an Empath, and I work hard… but it is not unusual for me to indulge in a bottle of champagne and hopped up on something else over the weekend. This of course, is always exploited during the smear campaigns.

  2. True to the black/white, push/pull thinking that pervades my ex’s existence,so too was his relationship with alcohol.
    If he started drinking it would go on excessively for a few weeks.
    He only drank the finest whiskey, beer and wine. He had an allergy to alcohol and it would really sort him out but he drank it anyway. He wanted to “practice drinking like a man”.
    He used it to self medicate after work as well as a threat/ punishment to me i.e. He’d get blind drunk and collapse, he knew it upset me. He’d snore so badly after alcohol and I had to sleep on the sofa. It didn’t bother him- “I like snoring, it’s my right to snore”
    I made him dinner -Irish Stew – and used 1/2 a can from a beer six pack for the cooking – instead of thanking me for the special dinner I’d made, he went berserk that Id taken some beer.
    He took me on holiday then he spent the first 4 days blind drunk in the hotel…

    Then he’d stop, cold turkey. Not touch a drop. There was no moderation. All or nothing. We couldn’t enjoy a glass of wine together occasionally with a nice meal because it would open up Pandora’s box again.

  3. The only one Narc, who had some problems with alcohol was my first husband. My other Narcs know how to drink without degrading themselves.

    My first husband’s “alcohol adventutes” really deserve to be written as a “comedy” book. Lol.

    I remember as he once proudly said to his friends “My wife never berates me for drinking! Never!”. They all turned their heads to me with numerous questions in their eyes and I said “Nothing mysterious. It is absolutely meanigless to do it when he is drunk and it is too late to do it at morning”. His “romance” with alcohol wasn’t malignant, but I know many people, who really have the horrible experience living with a malignant “narcoholics”.

  4. When i knew my N he was alcoholic..i didnt knew also N too…one year later(we where living in diferents country..not too much time together) we left ouer relation..i felt sad and happy at the same time..4 years later hr came back…not more alcohol thats true..i was very happy..never forget him..i still loving him..i didnt know him yet..his reality of N.
    now 2 years later..i escaped 2 times..now 3 and i have enough ..i know who he is..a N..i dont care if lesser medium or greatest..only i know he is the evil under angel mask.
    So sad about him..abot me i was sad too but know i feel lucky..i like read and learn about N because i dont want forget that people are near me..may be cause my personality.
    Even i think my father was N..my ex husben was a N and my 2 lovers after divorce too. so……
    I dont drink..i dont go out to clubs i dont look for any man..but they are there..

  5. HG – one of my friends (who is only 29) has over 15 speeding tickets and of course it’s never his fault. Is this a sign of possible narcissism? I am not sure if that would be more borderline or narcissism. It’s not normal that’s for sure.

    1. It is indicative, but not determinative. This behave may well indicate

      a. Borderline
      b. Narcissist.
      c. Person with poor time-management skills therefore always rushing; or
      d. Person who needs new glasses as he cannot see the speed limit signs correctly.

  6. Ex is a alcoholic. I always wondered if part of it was to handle his negative thoughts, and his anger. His life resolves around it one way or another. In golf, bowling, party’s, the game’s on. From 11am until? A cooler full as he heads to work. No repercussions there, he owns the company. Thanks for clearing that up, not that i give a s***, anymore. Just happy to be done with it!

  7. My MMRN swiped the microphone from the wedding singer and proceeded to sing wildly to everyone at the party and then went outside later on and hurled repeatedly on the lawn. Another time he was so drunk that he passed out on the bathroom floor at his mother’s house during a cookout wihile all the guests were there. Last but not least, he got so drunk once that he pissed himself and blamed me for it later. What a fucking loser.

      1. Hi K…..we have more in common than you know……I lived with an alcoholic for 10 years…..he didn’t appear to be one before he met me…..I often wonder if I drove him to it!!!!!……he is now deceased so I can’t ask the question……Diva

      2. Diva
        I remember when I was 16 right after I got engaged, I had dinner at my future inlaws. They were telling stories about my then sober future FIL’s drinking days. My future MIL said, “yes, statistically one out of every five children of an alcoholic is an alcoholic themselves. Every time I see all 5 of you kids sitting here together, I wonder which one of you all it will be.” I was horrified and turned to look at my fiancé – he just looked at me and grinned!
        That was one disturbing meal in many ways!

        Turned out her family beat the odds. Two of her 5 kids are alcoholics (3 are narcs).

    1. K
      I burst out laughing at “he pissed himself and blamed me “. Never their fault, even when its their piss and their organ. I suppose you made him fuck other women with it too. Youre powerful!

      1. NarcAngel
        It was hilarious! I was trying so hard NOT to laugh at the piss stain on his pants that I couldn’t get angry about the whole thing. It was so funny. Yup, my power was so great that I made him cheat and drink!

  8. Speaking as an alcoholic in recovery who dumped my ex narc when I became sober (for another alcoholic in recovery who is honest and caring) I often observed how similar our traits were – he has the ism without the alcohol. Both behaviours are equally self destructive and driven by addiction. I am grateful I wised up.
    Oddly he never criticised my drinking though it was clearly an issue. Made me easier to manipulate I suppose looking back.

  9. The Mid Range narc I knew did not drink a drop of alcohol……he said he wanted to try it but somehow knew that he would become addicted and wasn’t prepared to take the risk. The Greater narc hardly ever drank either….one at the most…..said he had seen first hand what alcohol had done to his father and grandfather and he did not want to go down the same path. He also said something like…..he didn’t want to miss a thing. Both of them always made a big deal about me having a drink……as if it were a bad thing and because they did not do it, they did not want me to either. Neither of them had any success there…..just having to put up with them would be enough to drive you to it……..that’s my excuse anyhow……Diva

  10. I knew he was a terrible Alcoholoc within 3 months. He would start at 6 a.m. I knew ultamatiums would do no good.I have never witnessed someone who drank so much, yet could still function. I knew there was something else about him that was not quite right.
    First I considered he was a” Dry Alcoholic”..
    Took me years to finally hit the Maglinant Narc
    sites..It took your site..to find the answers I have needed to fine tune the truth….
    I am 3 months plus no contact….I thought I would die and this week he finally started a Malign Hoover….Your right he’s pissed..Ha Ha.

  11. Your insight about NPD has been very helpful. It is appreciated. I wanted to hear your insight on the movie Mother with Jennifer Lawrence when you have the time.

  12. The whole time I blamed a lot of our issues on his alcoholism, when he was “trying” to be sober I blamed the withdrawal and of course myself for pressuring him and not understanding his anxiety/rage/depression cycle I didn’t realize until being out of it for a month that he was a narc, it’s funny to learn about “fuel” as I often told my best friend —the only one I spoke of any of his abuse of me to that the Alcohol “fueled” his dysfunction; for the longest time I thought if he was sober he wouldn’t be so hateful to me 😕
    The saddest part is that I started drinking almost daily to cope and of course he used that against me—I was the alcoholic, I wasn’t thinking clearly because I was drinking too much in addition to calling me crazy, etc.
    He would drink my liquor and tell me that I did it even after I started discreetly marking bottles before I went to bed. He had bottles hidden everywhere and when I would come across one of course I was told that I was snooping, that he was a grown man and I didn’t need to monitor his actions etc…then I would get the silent treatment Or he would “act” ashamed, came to me and said he knew his drinking was a problem but that I made him drink we didn’t know each other sober what if it didn’t work…all kinds of excuses and manipulating and I bought into it until close to the end I think the main catalyst was when I confronted him about it in combination with the pain pills he was taking I told him that as a Nurse and someone who loves him I could no longer sit back and watch him kill himself anymore. A few days later he went after my kids saying that 2/3 of them were no longer welcome in “his home” of course I tried to reason with him and he assaulted me but I’m not one to back down when I really feel strongly about something
    but this time I didn’t excuse it because of the drinking… he had finally crossed the line no one messes with my children—I am a mom first!!
    so I told him I was leaving, then he accused my son of being a drug addict accused me of being too drunk to notice and wrote a letter to my employer saying I was stealing drugs. Tried to prevent me from leaving, destroyed property etc all while intermittently telling me to “ just go, leave” what a loser I was and how lucky I was that he put up with “my mess” for so long that no one would ever want me etc..
    So after a week or so before I discovered what he was of course he blamed his actions on his being drunk and afraid to lose me. Now I know yes he may be an alcoholic but underneath that he is a narcissist sociopath so even if he stops drinking he will still be dangerous and just as dysfunctional

    1. In the rooms there is a saying – take the drink from a drunken horse thief and you still have a horse thief. It can mask all sorts of other issues that need to be addressed when sobriety is achieved

  13. Yeah. Alcoholism runs in my exhusband’s family along with narcissism. He is both. It adds an extra level of problems to the relationship, but also gives you a battery of support thru AlAnon.

    AA also helps make the alcoholic narcissist aware of his narcissism. Even when it still remains after sobriety, his awareness of it helps all concerned to better deal with it.

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