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 “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

The number of resentments individuals have with a narcissist typically correlates to how invested they are in their narcissist’s life. Often, this investment in the narcissist surpasses the interest in their own life.

Think of anger as an emotion that arises from a single incident. The incident will typically make us feel out of control, wounded, slighted, used, or taken advantage of―all things that breed profusely in the petri dish of narcissism. Resentment is what happens when you take anger and nurse it.

Ask yourself what you’re upset with today. Is it old or new? Is it anger or resentment? You have control over whether or not to let resentments go. Many people hold onto resentment because a part of them believes letting go of resentments means letting go of their power―the power to fix the relationship with the narcissist, or to teach the narcissist a lesson. But holding resentments eats up your personal power.

Know how to take back your power? Stop throwing energy at your resentment.

Making a decision to do nothing (aka letting go, letting it be, wait and see, etc) is actually making a decision to do something.

From Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved

A narcissistic parent will often subjugate a child’s simple need for attention. As a result of this dynamic the child may:

-Perceive himself as an appendage of the parent, with traits that must be routinely and often haphazardly approved of by the parent in order to keep from being amputated and discarded

-Perceive himself as an already amputated part of the parent and carrier of the parents’ disowned bad traits (which the child believes belong to them)

-Perceive himself as less than the parent or not good enough to be the parent’s child

-Perceive himself as better than the parent and try extraordinarily hard to subvert this feeling

Most notable about this list is what is not included―the child feeling a level of comfort. It’s only with that comfort that the child can show the world who they really truly are.

From When Your Parent Is a Narcissist

In her essay titled “Experts in the Field” author Bonnie Nadzam opens up about her experience with an exploitative, abusive teacher and the impact it has had on her life. She writes:

I continue to witness their success and public adoration and the celebration of not only their work, but also of them personally. I see so many writers―male and female, including many I respect and look up to―pictured with these men on social media, these men who travel around the country―and even the world, now―teaching the rest of us how we should tell our stories. (Think about that for a moment). Indeed, I know they are among many of your favorite authors and teachers. Why would anyone believe me? Who am I? What do I matter, in comparison with them? Isn’t that assumption―about my relative lack of value, as a person, compared with them―what allowed their behavior to begin and persist in the first place?”


Read the entire essay on Tin House here

Sadly, Nadzam’s story is not uncommon. As a response to the powerful essay, several other writers shared their own experiences of abuse, harassment and manipulation by mentors, professors and other high-powered men in the literary world.

Ramona Ausubel writes:

Whether it’s physically or by strongly directing her work―the party in power says, Hey, you’re talented and I’d really like to open this door for you. Let’s get to work making you into something I can own. It’s difficult because mentors do open doors and they should, and teachers must offer their honest eyes and writers must revise their stories and we are all full of innocent mistakes. I want to commit and recommit to being a teacher who listens hard and invests fully but keeps my own hands off the doorknobs―those are opened by the writer’s work, whatever she wants that to be.”

Read the rest on Lithub here

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.

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