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.

From the narcissistic parent’s point of view, the child is a vehicle to temper their own intense fears. This can manifest in the following ways:

Withholding: The narcissist parent may withhold communication, love, and attention

Blaming: Going on the offensive by publicly telling everyone (sometimes telling you, sometimes not) how wrong you are and how all the problems are your fault.

Lying: To himself and to you about just about anything.

Projecting: Claiming they do not understand why you are behaving this way or that way, when in fact you are not behaving in such a manner―but they are.

False/faux apologizing: The words sound so sincere, too, and so do the tears and the declarations of love. But then come the subtle clues: the self-focus, the self-pity, the tiny joke about: “Sorry, I don’t mean to keep bringing it back to me!” or the not-so-subtle joke: “Didn’t you know―it’s always all about me!”

Shaming: The parent may try to make the child feel less than for not wanting what they want. They might put a judgment on it―the child is low class, ignorant, an embarrassment to the family.

From When Your Parent Is a Narcissist

An article from BusinessInsider.com titled “What Happens When You Break-Up With A Narcissist?” by Lindsey Dodgson offers tips on how to handle a break-up with a narcissist. Dodgson writes:

One minute you may feel like everything your partner has ever wanted, and the next you’re left wondering what on Earth went wrong. This is because narcissists are great at playing a part while they’re getting something from their source. But when they’re done using you, they have no difficulty in casting you aside like a used tissue..”

Click here to read the article

An insightful article from The Washington Post titled “What Happens When Narcissists Become Parents” by Jody Allard discusses how narcissistic parenting impacts children when they reach adulthood. Allard explains:

Children aren’t equipped to handle that disconnection from their primary caregivers. They need parents who are consistent, available and unconditionally approving to form secure attachments. As adults, we rely on these secure attachments formed in childhood to dictate how we relate to others, view ourselves, and even cope with stress. When the formation of that secure attachment is disrupted, the impacts can last a lifetime.”

Read the rest of this article here

In healthy development, the parent “exists” for the sake of the child. With the narcissistic parent, the child “exists” for the sake of the parent. You may be the child of a narcissist if you’ve been:

-Blamed for causing their discomfort

-Accused of doing what the narcissist is doing (and denying)―being cold, selfish, manipulative, and so on

-Compared to someone else who always does everything perfectly

-Attacked about something that the parent knows you are sensitive about

-Caught off guard, even though these things have happened before

-Confused and wounded after being reprimanded for doing something you were told to do, but -then the parent did the bait and switch and you were blamed for how they felt

-Told to stop causing drama, that the parent hates drama, and that you don’t understand how much relationships mean to him or her

From When Your Parent Is a Narcissist

In his blog post on PsychologyToday.com titled “Narcissist or Just Self-Centered? 4 Ways to Tell,” Robert Taibbi, L.C.S.W lists the similarities and key differences between narcissistic traits and changeable self-centered behaviors. Taibbi writes:

The fine line here is the degree to which narcissists seek not only attention but also don’t listen to others or only listen to pounce on opportunities to turn the conversation toward themselves and their accomplishments. Where self-centered people essentially say, ‘Notice me!’ narcissists say, “Notice how special and wonderful I am—and you’re not!”

Click here to read the rest of the blog post.

Typically, you will see groupings of the following traits in the n. Does the person you’re thinking of show several of these traits, or rather, a pattern of these traits?

{Unpredictable way of relating} warm, but then goes cold; pouts for attention; cuts others off emotionally; won’t talk or look at them, but will be sweet to the person standing at their side

{Withholding} affection, attention, acknowledgement

{Lacks empathy} teases, taunts, and berates another; gets irate and calls you sensitive when you tell them how it affects you

{Critical} judges others openly, taunts, compares and ridicules and is relentless about it, but then can turn around as say, “Just kidding!” and “Boy, are you sensitive!”

{Envious} cannot tolerate another person having what they feel they are lacking; could be anything from self-acceptance to friends to money to good looks to attention—and more

{Entitlement issues} feels deserving of good that others have; is never genuinely happy for another

{Shallow} lacks depth, as well as the ability to understand the complexity of what others say

{Sadistic} yes, they do inflict pain, often the emotional kind, and will find it very difficult to apologize (nor will they understand why they should)

{Rigid} there is no room for negotiation or compromise, as the n will feel like they are losing (which means, to an n, that they, themselves, are slipping away…), and this can feel, to the n, akin to death. They will not see it as such, but if we can, we can better understand how fragile the n is.

Not every person who has pronounced traits as named above will be diagnosed with NPD; only a trained psychotherapist or psychiatrist can make a definitive diagnosis. However, these traits—in varying degrees, with various embellishments, and in different ways depending on the person—provide excellent clues that alert to the possibility that someone may be more narcissistic than not, and coupled with our reaction to them, can help us be more aware in order to take care of ourselves.

From Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved

…If I feel anxious, I will find a way to manage my anxiety…One way to manage my anxiety is to breathe in, focus, and remind myself that engaging the narcissist will not simplify my life…” Surviving The Narcissist: 30 Days of Recovery

In an article titled “How to Improve Your Health Through Breath” from U.S. News & World Report, Ronit Fallek, MPA, describes the numerous benefits of deep breathing. Fallek, who is the Director of the Healing Arts Program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, writes:

The best part is that breathing is something you do naturally every day and requires no additional supplies or equipment. With a few simple guidelines, your own breath can become a source of deep relaxation.”

Click here to read the article which includes instructions for a simple breathing exercise and relaxation technique.

When a parent or other person of influence in your life tries to teach you “how to be a better you” by saying: “This is how _____ does it” …keep this in mind, especially when it’s done with an accusatory air, with judgment, or as a confrontation that actually says you did something wrong to them:

It’s likely that the exchange is not about the current-day situation between the two of you

It’s likely the person is playing out the dynamic with you that he or she had with their own parent or significant caretaker

It’s likely that the words the person is saying to you and are feelings about her his/her own actions that have been transmuted into words that seemingly have to do with you. This is a complex, completely unconscious process but one that makes total sense if we examine it objectively.

For more help with navigating the emotional and fraught road of having a narcissistic parent, please see: When Your Parent Is a Narcissist

Each and every day, there are new opportunities to take steps to grow and to learn and to discover freedom. How can we gain perspective once recovery has begun?

Here are a few things to try:

—Seek the support of a licensed therapist who understands the dynamics of narcissism

—Assess the situation daily and take action accordingly

—Notice your feelings, but resist the temptation to act on them

—Recognize the control you do have, take stock in what you depend on yourself for

—Surround yourself with supportive, understanding people

—Create a daily plan for how you will address the unexpected

—Be willing to ask for and accept help

—Observe your part in the dynamic and understand this is not about blaming yourself, but about seeing what you can change to make the situation better for you

—Read about narcissism, and notice it in the news, on TV and radio—seeing narcissism “out there” and how it affects others can be helpful in recognizing the subtle signs of it in our own lives

From Surviving the Narcissist: 30 Days of Recovery

From Surviving the Narcissist: 30 Days of Recovery

Perhaps it is simply not healthy for me to see them.

It is a resolution I only tell myself.

It is not something I announce.

What good would it do?

I’m angry:

At the time I’ve lost

Because I’m not through it yet

Because I’ve lived like I don’t exist in order to make them happy

Because I’ve been used

Because I’ve participated

Because I’ve worked so hard not to see reality—but the reality I think they wanted me to see…that I was damaged (not them)

That they didn’t want me just for me

That they used me

And I looked up to them

They fed off of me and acted like I was using them

And I still looked up to them

Brainwashed

I’m sick and bored of putting so much effort into being fake

This is the part I can claim—my awareness—and put it to good use to help me recover, accept responsibility for my part, and begin to heal.

It doesn’t have to take forever, but it is a process. The moment I take the first step, change—a return to sanity—becomes reality.

I start.

—Meredith Resnick

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