My books have helped thousands to step back, and away, from the damaging effects of a narcissistic person, whether it’s a present-day relationship or one that has haunted them from the past. Now, they may help you, too.

Narcissist ruining your life?

Maybe you love one. Or work for one. Maybe you’re related to one. Or were raised by one. Whatever the relationship, you’ve likely been hurt by the narcissist in your life.

“Manipulations come in a variety of packages; we often know in our hearts when we’re being played, but might not pay attention to the voice within that is telling us to steer clear…the narcissist is the one who seems too good to be true.” from Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved

In a blog post on Psychologytoday.com titled “Are You Being Manipulated?,” Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT chronicles common manipulation tactics and how we can recognize and ultimately detach from them in our lives.

“…Manipulation is a way to covertly influence someone with indirect, deceptive, or abusive tactics. Manipulation may seem benign or even friendly or flattering, as if the person has your highest concern in mind, but in reality it’s to achieve an ulterior motive. Other times, it’s veiled hostility, and when abusive methods are used, the objective is merely power. You may not realize that you’re being intimidated….On the surface the manipulator may use words that are pleasant, ingratiating, reasonable, or …so you override your instincts and don’t know what to say.”

Read the blog post here

I’m growing more interested in the subtle cues that present themselves…I’m beginning to understand that this is my intuition, which I can also think of as my heart and mind working in union. The more I practice paying attention to the cues my intuition gives…the more I reinforce its power, and the stronger my ability to…follow my intuition becomes. I listen to the spaces between words. Surviving The Narcissist: 30 Days of Recovery

Listening to the voices that guide us is an important step in cultivating self-awareness. But how do we do this? In an article on mashable.com titled “I’ve got a gut feeling: Harnessing the power of intuition,” writer John Rampton explains the benefits of becoming more intuitive. From analyzing our dreams to practicing mindfulness to journaling, Rampton describes several ways we can strengthen our intuitive abilities. Rampton writes:

“Make no mistake about it. Intuition is a powerful part of our intelligence that can assist us in making better decisions.”

Read the article here

A recent New York Times column titled “A Former ‘Yes’ Addict Confronts The Pains Of Recovery” features an interesting excerpt from Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed’s advice podcast, “Dear Sugars.” They discuss the importance of setting boundaries, saying “no” and answer a question from someone struggling with the emotions that have surfaced once they began saying “no” to toxic family members. Strayed responds:

“Even when you know you’ve done the right thing, it’s hard to not feel devastated. The negative consequence of your very healthy decision is that people you love shut you out. That hurts, but it’s incredibly common. When we say no, we’re setting a boundary, and people who have trouble with boundaries almost always have an adverse response when others assert their own. But please remember this: It’s far more painful to continue in relationships that have become toxic to us than it is to have them end because others refused to respect us…”

Read the column here which includes a link to the full podcast. The episode also features an enlightening conversation with Oprah Winfrey.

When we are hyper-focused on our self-perceived flaws (an unflattering new haircut or a coffee stained shirt, for example), we believe that other people will notice them too. However, research shows that this is not the case. Others do not notice these details as much as we think they do. However, at the same time, we underestimate the amount of attention we receive in general.

In an article from The New York Times titled “You’re Too Focused on What You’re Focused On” Erica J. Boothby explains:

“…The problem, in both cases, is that we project the focus of our attention onto others. Because we’re fixated on our coffee stain (or whatever we happen to be self-conscious about), we assume others must be, too. But when nothing in particular draws our attention to ourselves, we neglect the fact that we may nevertheless be an object of other people’s interest.”

Additionally, when we assume that other people are focused on the same things we are, miscommunication frequently occurs.

“…Employees pull their hair out in frustration while bosses obliviously believe their instructions are simple and straightforward. Spouses feel misunderstood because their partners fail to notice that they cleaned the house. Activists preoccupied with the issue of health care assume others are uncaring because they can’t recall what a single-payer system is…We all have a tendency to egocentrically ascribe our own perspective to others. That doesn’t make us selfish or bad. But it’s worth keeping in mind that everyone’s attention illuminates the world in a particular way, and what gets spotlighted differs from person to person.”

Read the article here

In an article from The Washington Post titled “From ‘Nut job’ to ‘Wacko,’ Trump’s history of using insulting words mocks mental health,” Amy B Wang chronicles Donald Trump’s penchant for using labels that denote mental illness as insults. Wang explains how this stigmatizes mental illness and negatively shapes cultural perception.

“…Trump’s flippant usage of such insults reflected a broader, often dismissive attitude about mental health in society. People are so inured to such disparaging remarks insults that they often don’t immediately associate them with mental health at all — and even if they do, they don’t think twice about it.”

Read the article here

As a result of an entanglement with a narcissist, we may feel:

{exploited} the result of feeling used for another’s needs.

{left out} if you’ve worked hard to make the narcissist feel comfortable, they may have no use for you now.

{ridiculed, and then humiliated} it is typical for a narcissist to put down someone they sense as a threat.

{deceived} why didn’t we see the problem? How could someone use us for their own gratification?

{ostracized} part of what allows the narcissist to feel in control lies in the ability to push all negative feelings onto another person.

{criticized} negative remarks aimed toward someone else relieve the negative impulses and feelings that live inside the narcissist.

{confused+dumbfounded+baffled} coldness, contempt and odd reactions seem to come out of nowhere.

{desperate, beyond desperate to please} this may be caused by our own fear of loss, to avoid confrontation or even mild disagreement.

{less than+demoted} like their life is better/more interesting/valuable/meaningful than ours.

{at fault} we may find ourselves thinking that we could have controlled the situation if we’d acted differently.

{anxious+panic} being attacked verbally can have this affect.

{feeling impotent} unable to muster any sense of being able to care for the self.

{hurt} encounters with a person who lacks empathy for us is painful.

{sad} we so very much wanted the relationship to work.

From: Narcissism: Surviving The Self-Involved

Some signs of narcissism can be more subtle. If we are open to the signs, we can better recognize narcissistic behavior.

Here are some narcissistic characteristics we often “accept”:

The narcissist tends to:
Take ideas—as in steal your ideas, jokes, stories, as well as credit for a job well done. They might even tell you, and be proud of it.
Snag an identity—as in yours. If you are a writer, for example, they will feel envy and want to be a writer. They may claim that you got your inspiration to write from them. If you have signed up for a class, they will sign up for two classes. Or three.
Project—if a feeling is unpleasant to them, the narcissist will unconsciously assign it to someone else. If the person feels enraged or angry, they will state that you are the one with all the rage.

By learning to pay attention, we have a greater chance of sidestepping drama.

From Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved

With the narcissist, it’s often the unspoken words that carry the crucial part of the message. Notice the underlying meanings and [unspoken words].

    • If you stay, I’ll help you fix everything you need to fix [for me].
    • If you leave, you’re a quitter [and we* don’t accept quitters].
      *the narcissist doesn’t speak for the self but rather uses the collective “we” for power
    • Letting go means you’ve given up [on me].
    • If you let go [of me] it means you haven’t practiced hard enough, haven’t been dedicated long enough, and haven’t wanted it enough.
    • You’re my everything, you’re my world—you hold all the power [which is what I say to you to keep you coming back to me].

From When Your Parent Is a Narcissist

“…Vulnerability allows me to examine my past behaviors… I’ll refrain from putting myself down, from berating myself, and even from trying to “improve” myself if I use these attempts to improve as excuses to shame myself. I need not judge my feelings, only notice them…Vulnerability is a gift. Today, I’m learning to be vulnerable with myself…” Surviving The Narcissist: 30 Days of Recovery

In this article from Inc.com titled “Why Embracing Vulnerability Is Crucial to Workplace Success,” Jacob Morgan explains how expressing vulnerability can be an asset in the workplace. Morgan explains:

“Everyone has vulnerabilities, emotions, and personality components for good or bad. By hiding those vulnerabilities, employees and managers are essentially denying a major part of their personalities. Vulnerability allows people to connect on a different level, which can lead to increased collaboration, productivity, and cohesiveness. Being vulnerable means taking a risk, which can be daunting for one employee to do, but when all employees feel comfortable taking the vulnerability plunge, everyone can benefit.”

Read the article here

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