Alcoholics are not diagnosably narcissistic. Narcissists are not always alcoholics. However, there are many correlations between the two, which are most often displayed by alcoholics.
- They deny the truth about themselves and their problems: Denial is a common behavioral defect in alcoholics. Almost everyone who develops a problem with alcohol will be in denial about that problem with alcohol until they are ready to admit the truth. Once they admit they have a problem with alcohol, there are many other areas of their lives which they have to confront, away from denial. As a narcissistic personality trait, denial is a way to avoid facing the truth which could indicate that there is a truth other than the image which has been self-created- most often in denial of the true parts. Behavioral and character defects are not the definition of the whole identity, but just parts.
- They struggle to take responsibility for their actions and behaviors: Part of denial is avoiding taking responsibility. Taking responsibility for actions and behaviors would mean moving out of denial and not only having to admit the truth, but becoming fully responsible for it. For alcoholics, this threatens the ability to drink. If they fully acknowledge their drinking problem they know they can no longer justify their drinking.
- They cling to entitlements: Entitlement is a key narcissistic trait and for alcoholics as well. There are many an alcoholic who are entitled to drink. Their pasts, their futures, their mood, their day, their whim, their desire- anything entitles them to drink. Entitlement is a way to justify not just drinking but also feeling, which can fuel not taking responsibility or coming out of denial.
- They act in spite of others: Alcoholism is often described as a self-centered disease because it can cause people to act very selfishly. Often, the behavioral defects which encourage self-centered thinking are there before the alcoholism begins, even if it isn’t obvious. Acting despite negative consequence, including hurting others, is common, out of behavioral habit but also due to the way alcoholism alters brain chemistry.
- They can be manipulative: Self-centeredness often leads to acting manipulatively toward others. Instead of being honest and willing to accept what may or may not happen, alcoholics will use manipulation to get what they want, like money, alcohol, or something they need.
- They’re are generally insecure and have low self-esteem: At the core of most narcissistic personality traits and traits of alcoholism is a deep insecurity and low self-esteem that drives their self-destructive behaviors. Convinced of their low self-worth, they act out instead of create healthy relationships with themselves and with others.
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