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.

For Psychology Today I wrote a post called Caring the the Parent Who Doesn’t Care for You.

As I am in the middle of writing the third of my ebooks about narcissism and coping with its effects—this one about narcissistic parents—I find myself thinking of the years I worked with older adults and their adult children. As I wrote in that piece I’ve linked above, this remains true:

“A parent’s illness signals a reminder that we are not children anymore—that the wounds we got as kids—inflicted by parents, sometimes intentionally, oftentimes not—are still with us and feel like they define us without our even realizing it.”

I’m working on a third book about narcissism, this one about narcissistic parents.

But recently, a friend shared this article with me: How to Not Raise a Narcissist. It’s from PBS NewsHour, written by Rebecca Jacobson. It’s about little kids and what parents do to make them narcissists. And it got me thinking about the environmental factors that contribute to creating children with pronounced narcissistic traits. How does overindulgence play a role? How about wounding? The article addresses these juxtaposed causes:

“But why do kids grow up to be narcissists? There are two prevailing — and contradictory — theories, Twenge [prominent researcher/author in the field of study]  from  said. Some say parents who overpraise and emphasize a child’s specialness raise narcissists. Others say it stems from the opposite: kids who are undervalued and treated harshly.”

It’s a fascinating read from the perspective of understanding what can contribute to creating a individual with pronounced narcissism. It also makes me think about what happens as these children grow up and have children of their own. Will they become the parent who wounds their child emotionally, thus creating narcissism of a different etiology from which their own was created?

The end of the article also answers the question: So how do you raise kids with high self-esteem who aren’t narcissists?

A long and detailed article called I heart me: Our extreme 24/7 cult of the self in the Mail&Guardian (Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved is mentioned) focuses on how social media has fueled a new level of “me-ness.”

From the article:

“It’s all about Me, where we’ve come to believe everything we say, do and think is fascinating and must be shared.”

And:

“The post-2004 internet with its spike in user-focused sites has created a perfect storm for an I-based culture, one in which instant fame is almost within our reach and how we look and what we present to the world trumps who we really are.”

And:

Narcissists are aggressive when they have been insulted or threatened, says Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and lead author of a report titled Egos Inflating over Time.

Read the whole article: I heart me: Our extreme 24/7 cult of the self

I’m more and more of the opinion that people have gotten so “skilled” at projecting a certain image of how they want to see themselves to the public via the web and social media that when it comes down to really doing the work or being who they really are they are often at a loss for how to conduct themselves. This used to happen, publicly anyway, mostly only to celebrities. But now it’s more mainstream and common. What does the anonymity of a computer screen do to the person who feels like a black hole inside? Perhaps gives them another place to project the image they thing the world wants. From there they are unable to keep up that image because it is not real. Like everything else, it’s a projection.

 

 

 

Texas journalist Ruth Pennebaker, creator of the award-winning Fabulous Geezer Sisters blog about, in part, living a life void of game playing and false pretenses. She interviewed me about the first 30 days of recovery.

About Surviving the Narcissist; 30 Days of Recovery she writes:

“…it’s a deceptively simple book on taking care of yourself — wise, understated, and calm, like a good friend. It’s about taking your life back after you’ve been blindsided by trouble. And the trouble, I kept thinking, didn’t necessarily have to be a narcissist.”

Read 30 Days to Something Better here.

Award-winning blogger and New York Times best-selling author and journalist Alisa Bowman interviews me about relationships in her post How To Stay Married to a Narcissist on the site Project: Happily Ever After.

Her questions include:

Assuming you are married to a narcissist, is divorce the only option?

and

How does someone live with a narcissist and still find personal happiness? Can you offer readers three ways of extricating themselves from the suffering, but without actually ending the relationship?

As Alisa writes in her introduction:

You already knew – from experience  – that narcissists make poor life mates. Yet, you were not interested in divorce. You wanted solutions. Maybe you didn’t expect a Cinderella fairy tale, but you did, at the very least, want to know how to get along.

Click here to get to Project: Happily Ever After.

Surviving the Narcissist: 30 Days of Recovery–Whether You’re Loving, Leaving, or Living With One is on sale.

My newest book includes 30 days of guided meditations to help get you through the crucial first thirty days of recovery from the narcissist. Here is an excerpt from the section titled:surviving-final-300

A Meditation on Recovery From the Effects of Narcissism

“Tell yourself this: For the next thirty days, I will take small steps to educate myself about narcissism. To try to be objective about what I learn. I will give myself time to absorb what’s new and I will not rush to act. My goal will not be changing the entire world, or even changing my relationship. Rather, I will commit to changing myself.”

Buy the new ebook here, and check back for more thoughts on surviving the narcissist as well what’s next in the “Surviving Narcissism Series.”

 

The term narcissist has become somewhat diluted. We call people narcissists who are rude or pushy, and those who blather on about themselves without asking about anyone else. Sure, they might ultimately be “narcissists” but true narcissistic personality disorder is rare. What’s not rare, however, is the manifestation of narcissistic traits.

A critical mass of these narcissistic traits adds up to full-blown narcissistic personality disorder. However, these narcissistic traits, when taken individually, can (and do) wreak havoc. What’s more, a little of these traits goes a long way in causing pain and suffering to people unlucky enough to be at the receiving end of the narcissist’s wrath.I recently found this website in which the author, the late Joanna Ashmun, beautifully parses the meaning (and the corresponding) behaviors of the term narcissist. So helpful and so well done.

Read the post here: http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/dsm-iv.html

I read the story. I shook my head. Then I nodded. Then I shook my head again.

If you ask, will a narcissist tell you he or she is a narcissist?

According to a new article in the journal PLOS ONE titled Development and Validation of the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS) that is comprised of eleven studies, the authors conclude that narcissists, when specifically asked the question, “Are you a narcissist” will tell you they are narcissists. However, the researchers also conclude that:

“A number of longer measures currently exist to assess narcissism, and many of them are have high reliability and validity.Thus, we believe that this single item measure should only be used when it would be difficult or impossible to include a longer narcissism scale.”

The researchers do say that there were limitations to the study.

“We note, however, that our scale is more face valid than longer narcissism scales, and therefore, impression management concerns could potentially play a larger role. Indeed, we found that people who score high in social desirability have lower scores on the SINS, suggesting that those who worry about pleasing others are less likely to agree that they are narcissistic.”

That last sentence, to me (bold type) says a lot. Image control is a huge part of the narcissistic personality matrix. In which case, a narcissist might reveal they are a narcissist if they sense they will receive approval. Perhaps if they don’t sense the possibility for approval, the answer might be otherwise. And what about shy narcissists? It’s hard to image them bragging about being narcissists.

And as the researchers conclude:

“Researchers who are interested in detecting fine differences in narcissism levels should also use a longer measure.”

 

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