In response to an article about a psychologist accused of sexual misconduct, Felice J. Freyer of the Boston Globe writes that approximately 9-12% of mental health professionals admit to sexual misconduct and unlawful relationships with patients. Shockingly, these percentages may be underestimated. Andrea Celenza, a psychoanalyst who studies therapist-patient sexual misconduct says:
“…some are predators with a need to dominate and control, but about 60 percent merely fall prey to their own weaknesses.”
Read the article here
As a child, you likely did not understand the depth of your narcissistic parent’s illness. It’s often the adult child’s unhealed wound that makes one prone to clinging—and a target for clingers. As you release, your anxiety might surge (do not hesitate to seek the help of a qualified therapist). But if tolerated, it can become manageable. If you don’t disengage, you remain in the insanity and you prolong the anxiety of letting go. Once that happens, you’ve triggered the unhealthy dynamic again.
Too much focus on the “other”— in this case, the narcissist parent—takes away from one’s own healing. It does this by perpetuating the off-kilter belief in the adult child’s psyche that the parent is the center of everything. Rejection of the dynamic is in opposition to what the narcissist parent wants of you.
“Instead of trying to take control of the situation and get the n happy with us again, we can simply focus on ourselves―what we want, need, feel like doing… We have to move back into our own house, so to speak. At first the rooms are bare, cold, drafty. We need to spend time getting to know our own interior floor plan… and fill the space with love, acceptance and patience for ourselves.”
In an article featured in The Atlantic, Adam Grant writes about how humans often lack self-awareness. Numerous studies show that we often overestimate our levels of intelligence and generosity. Grant writes:
“…people spend a staggering amount of time making claims about themselves. It makes sense: You’re the only person on Earth who has direct knowledge of every thought, feeling, and experience you’ve ever had. Who could possibly know you better than you? But your backstage access to your own mind sometimes makes you the last person on Earth others should trust about it. Think of it like owning a car: Just because you’ve driven it for years doesn’t mean you can pinpoint when and why the engine broke down.”
Read “People Don’t Actually Know Themselves Very Well” here
“As we pull away from the emotional effects of the narcissist, we may feel lonely and sad. These feelings will ease as we heal and take care of ourselves.” – adapted from When Your Parent Is A Narcissist
In Cari Romm’s article on The Cut titled “7 Therapists on What to Do When You Feel Lonely” seven therapists offer practical advice on how to quell feelings of loneliness and isolation. Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW suggests:
“Get comfortable with your own company….Some good ways to start: meditation class, take yourself to a movie, reading, watch TED Talks or other things that will make you think, start a gratitude journal. Focusing on things to be grateful for rather than wishing for what you presently have is a great lesson in appreciation…”
Read the rest here
In a post on Psychology Today titled “Why Narcissists Thrive On Chaos” Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. chronicles a study conducted by Sindes Dawood and Aaron Pincus of Pennsylvania State University. The study determined a link between narcissism and frenzied behavior. Whitbourne writes:
“It might strike you that people who insist on coming across as unbelievably busy and harried actually enjoy this constant state of confused over-commitment. Sure, you think, they may indeed have important jobs or roles in life, but there must be a way they can be better organized and calmer. As it turns out their continually chaotic lives may be a function of a high degree of narcissism. They may not actually enjoy the state of frenzy, but instead are driven to give off this impression to cover up their own feelings of despair and lack of importance.”
Whitbourne explains the results:
“…people high in the pathological type of narcissism are likely to experience the extreme high of feeling that they rule the world, but when things don’t turn out as planned, become despondent and out of control. The disruption they cause in everyone else’s lives, according to this view, is part of the pattern of needing to fuel their sense of self-importance.”
Read the entire post here
When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, it is important to recognize the difference between power and control.
“I have lived in an illusion that I could control the outcome of the relationship, that if I wanted something bad enough in a relationship I valued, I should be able to make it work. While I do have power, I only have power over my own behavior, not the narcissist’s. It is not my place to try to elicit a certain response from the narcissist. When I try to do this, I am trying to control.”
Adapted from Surviving the Narcissist:
30 Days of Recovery
Using scientific facts, research, and data, Eric Barker’s article on The Ladders explains the “narcissism epidemic.” The article also offers five ways to deal with narcissists. Barker writes:
“Dealing with a narcissist regularly is like having a pet tiger: you always have to be careful that one day he’s gonna see you as dinner. But if you don’t have a choice, negotiate hard. This is nobody to be win-win with.”
Read “5 Scientific Secrets To Handling a Narcissist” here
“It’s important to understand that the narcissist parent cannot see what’s real—the real you or anyone else. There may be moments when the parent appears to connect. The closeness feels very personal and rich. You may not want to believe it is a manipulation. You may fiercely defend your parent. You may take on traits of the parent and unwittingly act them out with others, coming to the parent’s defense. Then you are blamed for it and you are hurt.
Your age doesn’t matter—you are the child and you want to be loved by your parents—and much of this is happening on an unconscious and, perhaps, energetic level.”
This excerpt from T.S. Eliot’s 1949 play “The Cocktail Party” encapsulates the narcissist experience.
“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”