In some circles “narcissistic sex addict” has become redundant. It almost sounds like a double put-down, and yet many sex addicts exhibit narcissistic personality traits. Often they are self-centered, ignore others’ needs and feel they should have special privileges.
Narcissism is on a continuum
At the mild end, there are narcissistic personality traits, the folks who seem a little overly impressed with themselves and who like being the center of attention. At the extreme end, “narcissistic personality disorder” borders on the sociopathic. These are the folks who barely know anyone else exists and couldn’t care less. Somewhere in between are the people with what I call a “narcissistic defense system,” who are using a façade of power and self-importance to cover up deeper feelings of insecurity and low self worth.
Narcissism and sex addiction
A narcissistic defense is a brittle façade which covers feelings of being unlovable and unworthy. This narcissistic “false self” is so common in sex addicts because they feel so deeply inadequate that they have a long-standing habit of avoiding intimacy. Instead of getting close and trusting someone, the sex addict is essentially emotionally alone, choosing non-intimate sexual encounters instead. Many sex addicts become progressively more isolated as their addiction progresses in what is called “relational regression,” even as they present a false picture of their own power and competence to the outside world.
Will Sex Addiction Treatment Cure Narcissism?
To a great extent, yes. Sex addiction treatment involves a great deal of self-examination with an emphasis on learning honesty, integrity and the capacity to trust both self and others. The same skills that help the addict recover from addiction are the skills that allow the addict to begin to behave in a more authentic and vulnerable way. These newly learned abilities go a long way toward eliminating the need to put up a narcissistic defense. As the sex addict gains an ability to see and accept him/herself more realistically, they will in turn be able to behave in a more trustworthy way and to connect on a deeper level with their fellow human beings.