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.

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

Despite being wrongly blamed for causing intimacy problems, family troubles, and miserable financial woes, many people, particularly women (and some men, too) stay too long in a relationship with a narcissist, sacrificing their sanity, reputation, dignity and more. Many of these men and women go to great lengths to work on the relationship without realizing relationships with narcissists are not like relationships with other people. That they are not really relationships at all.

Contact with a narcissist can be at once exhilarating and confusing, hurtful and seductive. At work, at home, on a date, in the bedroom, it can make you feel like you are losing your mind, yet without an understanding of why you feel that way.

Here are 5 tips for helping partners regain sanity and recover from a relationship with a narcissist.

1. Don’t take the blame. Where direct or subtle, a narcissist always blames others for his problems. Don’t accept the blame – and don’t apologize when something is not your fault.

2. Notice cracks in the armor. The narcissist, though polished on the outside, lacks self-esteem and therefore lacks a very basic sense that he belongs anywhere – and is desperate to avoid this feeling. Self-esteem is very different than confidence. While confidence is gained through experience, self-esteem is far more basic, a sense of knowing who we are and our place in the world. Does this sound like someone you can reason with?

3. Trust yourself, not the narcissist (aka: the parasite). Narcissists are parasites; they feed off a host (whomever that may be, depending on the moment). Ironically, they have the “host” believing that they, in fact, are feeding off of/using the narcissist. Narcissists often surround themselves with accomplished people, then little by little eat away at them. Not someone you can trust for intimacy.

4. Remind yourself that the narcissist suffers from a disease. Narcissists suffer from an disease experts refer to as a personality disorder. Experts agree there are no drugs to cure personality disorders. Personality disorders are very hard to change, though, with professional help, people can improve and relationships can sometimes be mended.

5. Remember, the narcissist is not in love with himself. Many people believe that the narcissist is deeply in love with himself or herself. If the narcissist is in love with anything, it’s the image of himself, an image he has crafted. Even the narcissist, on some level, knows this persona is only temporary, and this is what makes him more desperate. Try to remember this the next time the narcissist tries to blame you for making him look bad.

For more information, check out the titles here

In an article titled “Get Happy: Four Well-Being Workouts” from The New York Times, Julie Scelfo identifies four ways to cultivate happiness using tools from positive psychology. Scelfo quotes Martin E.P. Seligman, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania who says:

“‘Psychology is generally focused on how to relieve depression, anger and worry…Freud and Schopenhauer said the most you can ever hope for in life is not to suffer, not to be miserable, and I think that view is empirically false, morally insidious, and a political and educational dead-end.’”

Read the article here

…In these early days of my recovery, I am working on myself, developing new habits, healthier routines, and a more realistic outlook. I remind myself that everything new takes practice to feel natural. Self-care and self-focus, because I’m not used to them, can make me uncomfortable. That’s okay. The key is to be gentle with myself…There is no timetable for my recovery. The more I practice self-care, the more comfortable I’ll become with it.” Surviving the Narcissist: 30 Days of Recovery

In her blog post on Psychology Today titled “10 Smart Self-Care Tips to Avoid Stress and Increase Joy,” Linda Esposito, LCSW lists ways to get comfortable utilizing self-care. Esposito writes:

Many of us lead busy lives where we’re consumed with taking care of others and accustomed to putting their needs before ours. While compassion and caring are wonderful traits, too little self-care leaves us emotionally depleted, exhausted, and ultimately, not much good to anyone else ― especially ourselves.”

Read the post here

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