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.

In an article titled “7 Signs You’re Dealing With a Passive-Aggressive Person” Jeffrey Kluger explains several common traits and actions of passive-aggressive people (including as disguised insults and non-compliments) and how we can successfully recognize and combat them. Kluger writes:

“…Passive-aggression is there but it’s not, you see it and you don’t. It’s aggression as steam — hard to frame, impossible grasp. You see it in the competitive colleague who would never confront you directly but accidentally leaves your name off an email about an important meeting. It’s the spouse who’s usually punctual but takes forever to get out of the house when it’s your turn to choose the movie. Sometimes there’s an innocent explanation, but often there’s not — and the passive-aggressors themselves might not even know which is which…passive-aggression is more than just the nettlesome habit of a few maddeningly indirect people. Clinicians …agree on the symptoms: deliberate inefficiency, an avoidance of responsibility, a refusal to state needs or concerns directly.”

Read the entire article here

 

An article featured in the New York Post by Becky Pemberton chronicles “Love Bombing,” a manipulative dating trend. Pemberton defines this as:

“…a seductive tactic, where a manipulative person tries to control another individual with “bombs,” brimming from day one.”

Pemberton includes insights from psychologist Dale Archer who says:

“The important thing to remember about love bombing is that it is psychological partner abuse, period. When one person intentionally manipulates and exploits another’s weakness or insecurity, there’s no other word for it.”

Read the rest of the article about “Love Bombing” here

“…By saying, “No thank you” you are actually rescuing yourself. When we focus on the other person, we lose track of what we actually do or say. You may see that what you are feeling bad about having done or said is not actually something you did or say, but rather something that the narcissist did or said.” from When Your Parent Is a Narcissist

Setting boundaries and learning to say “no” are crucial steps when it comes to detaching from a narcissist. In this blog post titled “3 Ways to Set Boundaries and Learn to Say ‘No'” from Psychology Today, Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C explains how to healthily create boundaries in relationships. Rollin writes:

“Setting boundaries can be difficult, but is such an important part of having healthy relationships and establishing an overall sense of well-being. It’s helpful to remember that when you say “no” to things, it frees up your time to focus on the pursuits that truly energize and excite you. Having good boundaries also enables you to experience less stress and to follow your life’s passion and purpose.”

Read the entire post here

Until we gain perspective, the pain of dealing with a narcissist can slice deep. But what should we do if we are scared or we are not ready for big changes? Although seeking help from a licensed therapist can help, here are a few things to try:

Abstain from reacting and simply notice what the n does

Narcissists don’t know they are wounded, so they go around wounding everyone else. In an attempt to protect their fragile sense of self, the n will blame others for hurting them. Disengaging is one way to step back. When we stop feeding the union, the n will typically find someone else.

Remember why n’s act the way they do

They hurt themselves because they never fully grow up. They hurt others as a result of their emotional stuntedness and immaturity.  See the n’s wrath for what it is: a desperate attempt to keep you engaged. Recognize that the wrath is a way the n tries to rope you back in.

See the illusion―rather, delusion―of grandeur

Being nothing, a shell where only the insides matter (but the insides are missing) is the core fear of the narcissist. They know they are deficient, so they react in desperation. They need another person to prove they exist. You are that person, whether they are elevating you or knocking you down. They only exist if the light is shining on them. Whether the n has labeled you good or bad, they have made you that light.

Don’t take the bait

There will always be bait. Part of what makes the n tick is bait—having it, flaunting it, using it. Bait is an outside manifestation of inside emptiness and loneliness. Be aware. You contribute to bait and all its reverberations when you react to it.

Stop offering an opinion, even when asked

This takes you out of the cycle and allows the n the opportunity to feel what it’s like to figure things out on their own—not as a punishment, but a gift.

Adapted from NARCISSISM: SURVIVING THE SELF-INVOLVED

To say that parents are the soil in which children grow is a good metaphor for looking at the parent-child relationship.

With a healthy parent-child relationship, the baby feeds, internalizes and synthesizes the parent’s nutrients, and neutralizes the toxins and contaminants. However, the baby with a narcissistic parent accommodates the toxins and contaminants and toxicity becomes the norm. This sets the child up to repeat the pattern that has wounded them, to unconsciously seek partners and friends who hurt them all over again.

People are like plants in that we are living entities. People, however, can and do attach meaning to the soil from which they grew. Prolonged exposure to a narcissistic parent before verbal skills develop means synthesis of the destructive dynamic—without the child’s ability to reason their way out of it.

Once you understand how you replay these patterns and unconsciously build your relationships around them, you can begin to reexamine your self-view, and change it. This is a key to healing.

Adapted from When Your Parent Is A Narcissist

“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

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