Two things concern me here: first, that Narcissism is the result of trauma, not a choice that is made by the person, and second, that everyone seems to be in agreement that the way to deal with a Narcissist is to run from them.
I for one would not recommend leaving someone simply because they exhibit some narcissistic traits. I definitely would not recommend running from someone with severe and incurable narcissistic qualities; it’s better to back away carefully.
People on the Narcissism spectrum comprise a significant percentage of the population. Should they be treated like lepers? Is there no hope for them? In most cases they are the way they are due to child abuse.
I agree that severe narcissistic traits are the result of child abuse, which is a massive trauma. Yet you’re concerned about people believing this?
I don’t recommend treating anyone like a leper. I recommend avoiding being abused and if you cannot seem to avoid being abused then go to therapy and work through that.
There is no hope for someone who will not take responsibility for their behavior. People who will not take responsibility for their behavior are common but I would not say that they are a “significant percentage of the population.” It’s between 1% and 10% of the population.
Is abandonment the only way to deal with them? Is that not just a continuation of the abuse?
It’s never abusive for an adult to leave another adult who they are in relationship with. If you are being abused then I recommend that you stop the abuse by leaving. If someone sees leaving a relationship as abusive then it’s a massive red flag in my book: there is probably a lot of narcissism at play in that system.
No, you don’t have to be a victim. In my experience a little patience and the perspective to see through the bad behaviors might just be enough to help a person with the debilitating malady of Narcissism. People should not be discarded just because they are ill. I, for one, am not so fragile. For now, I will not run. I will love.
Compassion means seeing things as they are and taking appropriate action. If you’re enabling (perpetuating) the narcissism and abuse by staying, then it’s recommended to leave. Otherwise, do as you wish.
However, it’s worth noting that inverse narcissists have an uncontrollable urge, driven by trauma (usually from child abuse), to stick around, take the abuse, and make excuses for the narcissist. These people don’t really have a choice, just as the narcissist does not have a choice. They’re simply acting out trauma unconsciously. At some point, more options get added to their menu, via therapy or by reading an article, and they start to see that life is more abundant than they previously allowed themselves to know.