But as you've hopefully been learning over the last few posts, there's actually very little you can do with 'talk therapy' alone to heal Cluster 'B' personality disorders, as a defining trait of most Cluster 'B' people, including narcissists, is that they can never admit to being wrong.
Now, that doesn't mean that Cluster 'B' never go for therapy, because some actually do (usually, as the result of an ultimatum from an exasperated relative to GET HELP, or else…)
But traditional talk therapy rarely helps, for the following reasons:
1. Often, the therapist doesn't realize that their client has a personality disorder. This is particularly true of narcissism, which doesn't have the outward signs of self-harm and black-and-white attitudes that are associated with Borderline Personality Disorder, or the general 'getting in trouble' aspects of Anti-Social Behaviour Disorder.
2. Many narcissists excel at being charming, personable and friendly, at least superficially - and they can string unwary therapists along for years, playing the victim and saying all the right things, without anything 'real' actually ever changing in their true outlook, beliefs or behaviour.
3. When many therapists do actually discover what they're dealing with, they often decide either to walk away, or to effectively give up on their client. This is a sore point for many therapists (and maybe also a key reason why narcissism is so often swept under the carpet, even in therapy circles) but as soon as many therapists realize they are dealing with a 'Cluster B' person, they effectively give up.
Therapists are also people with feelings, and it takes a strong therapist indeed to risk triggering off wave after wave of narcissistic rage, by encouraging their client to recognise their faults and be willing to change. Many (I won't say most…) prefer to either end their therapy sessions with such difficult, unrewarding clients, or to keep taking the clients' money, but to stop challenging them on any real issues.
When even people like Jeffrey Young, PhD, the founder of the International Society for Schema Therapy and a faculty member of Columbia University's Psych Department states: "There are no simple answers or techniques when it comes to changing narcissism," it behoves us to pay attention.
So if you can't get the 'Cluster B' person to change (and believe me you can't, or at least, not via the straight therapy route) - then what other options are open to you, at the emotional and mental level?
It's like this: you can't change them, but you CAN change you, and how you respond to their behaviour.
To put it another way, the more effort you put into developing and strengthening your own emotional health, the easier it gets to handle the 'Cluster B' people in your life. The more you learn how to set and police healthy boundaries, the more you learn about - and come to expect - healthy accountability, the more you work on developing balanced compassion, the more 'healthy' the whole environment will become.
So much of the behaviour we've come to accept as 'normal' in 2015 is actually emotionally-unbalanced. When more people start to recognise, challenge and reject manipulative, controlling tactics; or come to expect sincere apologies and recognition of wrong-doing; or refuse to be guilted-into doing things that are not in their true best interests, the worst emotional affects of hanging out with people with personality disorders will disappear by themselves.
The first place to start is the 'Talk to God and Fix Your Health' free online course (click here to get to it), which devotes 3 whole modules to defining true emotional health, and sets out concrete, practical steps you can take to achieve it.
So that's your part of the emotional / mental aspects of dealing with personality disorders hopefully well on the way to getting sorted.
But what about the personality disorder-ed people themselves? Can nothing be done, specifically, to help them?
BH, I'll tackle that topic next.