A restraining order (also called a “protective order”) is a court order that can protect someone from being physically or sexually abused, threatened, stalked, or harassed. Restraining orders aim to keep aggressors away from their victims or would-be victims.
Generally speaking, narcissists won’t obey a restraining order. Their lack of empathy, grandiose sense of self-importance, belief that they’re special and unique, sense of entitlement, and excessive need for admiration, cause them to blatantly disregard any firm boundaries such as restraining orders.
In this article we are going to unpack the core personality traits of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and explain how each one could cause a narcissist to disobey a restraining order.
A Narcissist’s Personality Traits Cause Them to Disobey Restraining Orders
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), narcissistic personality disorder is defined as the following:
A Grandiose Sense of Self-Importance
The term “grandiose” means impressive and imposing in appearance or style, especially pretentiously so. The term “sense of self-importance” means an exaggerated estimate of one’s own importance.
A grandiose sense of self-importance refers to a narcissist’s unrealistic sense of superiority.
They full heartedly believe that they are better than others and spend every waking moment of their lives trying to prove it. This is often done through the exaggeration of achievements and talents, degrading others around them, invalidating/devaluing the achievements of others, etc.
A narcissist’s sense of superiority, self-centeredness, and arrogance cause them to feel like rules don’t apply to them. We will speak more about this in the upcoming sections but this could drive a narcissist to disobey a restraining order simply because they believe that the rules don’t apply to them. For narcissists, it is all about them getting what they want, when they want it.
A Preoccupation With Fantasies of Unlimited Success, Power, Brilliance, Beauty, or Ideal Love
One of the ways that narcissists maintain their grandiose sense of self-importance is by upholding wildly unrealistic fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
We suggest that you read more about this in our article How Are Narcissists Made, but narcissists have many painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions buried within themselves that they are too emotionally incompetent to manage through healthy forms of emotional regulation.
By living in a fantasy world where they are superior, desirable, unique, special, etc., they are able to suppress their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions and protect themselves from reality that deep down they feel insecure, unlovable, unwanted, worthless, weak, and inadequate.
When a narcissist receives information that contradicts their core beliefs, such as a restraining order, they consider it to be a threat to the fantasy world that they’ve created. This could cause them to fly into a narcissistic rage and break the restraining order, or at the very least, ignore and dismiss the restraining order.
A Belief That He or She Is Special and Unique and Can Only Be Understood By, or Should Associate With, Other Special or High-Status People or Institutions
If you are interested in learning more about a narcissist’s belief that he or she can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions, we’ve created a short video (see below) that quickly covers that.
The rest of this section is going to focus on their belief that they are special and unique as it has more to do with their willingness to disobey a restraining order.
A Short Video about a Narcissist’s Belief That He or She Can Only Be Understood By, or Should Associate With, Other Special or High-Status People or Institutions
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A narcissist’s sense of specialness and uniqueness drives them to believe that they should not be held to the same standard that others are. The mere concept of boundaries, rules, or laws, such as a restraining order, are offensive to them.
Another side of this is that the combination of a narcissist’s grandiose sense of self-importance, belief that they are special and unique, and belief that they are superior, causes them to feel entitled to controlling the thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs, wishes, goals and desires of others.
When it comes to a restraining order, their delusional perception of themselves and their surrounding environment could cause them to honestly believe that they know what you really want, which is always them and their interests, and dismiss the restraining order as just a “misunderstanding”.
A Need for Excessive Admiration
The term “admiration” is defined as respect and warm approval and/or something regarded as impressive or worthy of respect. A narcissist’s excessive need for admiration is just another trait that they use to maintain their grandiose sense of self-importance and superiority, but it is also part of something much bigger than that.
The more narcissistic supply they have, the further they can suppress their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This need for narcissistic supply drives narcissists to do some of the most abusive, malicious, manipulative, disrespectful, arrogant, and/or cruel things imaginable.
Unfortunately, a narcissist’s biggest source of narcissistic supply is the people that they abuse.
When you place a restraining order on a narcissist, it takes away all of the narcissistic supply that they were getting from you, and prevents them from suppressing their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This alone could drive a narcissist to disobey a restraining order just so they could regain control of the narcissistic supply.
A Sense of Entitlement
Entitlement is another key characteristic of a narcissistic person. It is the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. These privileges and special treatment that narcissists feel like they deserve must be visible.
A narcissist’s sense of entitlement drives them to believe that they deserve to have exactly what they want, when they want it. If you were to place a restraining order on a narcissist, they could disobey it because they feel entitled to dictating what happens in your life. They feel entitled to remaining in a position of power in your life, despite the boundaries you attempt to set.
Interpersonally Exploitative Behavior
The term “interpersonally exploitative behavior” means to take advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends. The most common manifestation of this in a narcissistic environment is manipulation.
Manipulation is the action of manipulating someone in a clever or unscrupulous (having or showing no moral principles; not honest or fair) way. Narcissists use manipulation to portray others in a negative light, victimize themselves, evade healthy boundaries, bend the rules and twist reality to get what they want, and to oppress others.
Since you are the narcissist’s biggest source of narcissistic supply, they could very well feel entitled to manipulate their way past the restraining order to regain control of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs, wishes, goals, and aspirations. Having this power allows them to turn you back into a reliable source of supply and suppress their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
A Lack of Empathy
When someone lacks empathy, they don’t have the ability to understand and share the feelings of another and they can’t self-reflect on the impact that they have on other people.
When you set a restraining order against someone, they clearly make you feel unsafe. An emotionally competent person can acknowledge when their behavior makes others feel unsafe and change their behavior. The emotional incompetence and lack of empathy of a narcissist’s prevents this from happening.
So, they could very well disobey a restraining order simply because they are incapable of self-reflecting on the impact that they have on other people. Again, they can’t connect to other people’s circumstances because they struggle to view others as people with thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs, wishes, goals, and aspirations of their own.
A Short Video From Our Interview With Therapist & Professional Counsellor Nicki Paull About a Narcissist’s Lack of Empathy!
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Envy of Others or a Belief That Others Are Envious of Him or Her
The term “envy” means a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck. Envy is often interchanged with jealousy, but the term “jealousy” means feeling or showing an envious resentment of someone or their achievements, possessions, or perceived advantages.
Envy requires two people. When someone is envious, they lack something that they think someone else has. Jealousy requires three people. When someone is jealous, they feel like something they already have is being threatened by another person.
For the rest of this section, we are going to focus on jealousy as it plays a bigger role in a narcissist’s willingness to disobey restraining orders.
Narcissists have several traits that have been linked with jealousy such as low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and possessiveness, an unhealthy dependence on the people they form relationships with, anxious attachment styles, and high levels of neuroticism.
Our article “Why Do Narcissists Get Jealous?“ has a lot of helpful information about narcissism and jealousy if you are interested in learning more about it!
We all get jealous from time to time, but the jealousy that narcissists have is extremely unhealthy and often leads to many manipulative and controlling behaviors, such as disobeying a restraining order!
A Demonstration of Arrogant and Haughty Behaviors or Attitudes
Arrogance is having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities. Someone who is haughty is arrogant and full of pride. Individuals who are haughty typically have big attitudes and act like they are better than everyone else. They act superior and look down on others.
Narcissists use arrogance and haughty behaviors to boost their own ego and ensure that others are kept in their place. When you set a restraining order against a narcissist, it contradicts their sense of perception of themselves and their surrounding environment.
On top of all the other personality traits that we’ve covered today, a narcissist’s arrogant and haughty behaviors/attitude could drive them to disobey a restraining order to regain power and control over their self-perception and surrounding environment.
What Should You Take Away From This Article?
If you are currently dealing with a narcissist who is disobeying a restraining order, please call the police, gather proof of the violation of the order, ask the police and your district attorney (“DA”) to press (file) charges against the restrained person, and file a civil contempt action.
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