Narcissists Feel Great–They make Others Feel Miserable

Getting too close to a narcissist, particularly if you marry one or are one of his/her children, can cause you to become ill—psychologically, emotionally or physically. It could take some time but eventually your life will be turned upside down and your stress levels will increase and your life will become more difficult. There are exceptions—those who buy in to the narcissist’s delusions and become true believers. Many of these individuals are narcissistic themselves or hangers on who are too impressed with the narcissist’s power to manipulate and overwhelm people to get what they want. They believe in trickle-down–that some of that over-confidence and extreme self entitlement will rub off on them. Those who live with the narcissist who are on the receiving end of the harshest of treatments. They survive behind the gates of a harsh ruler. They may be leading a decent lifestyle on the surface but there is no comfort, empathy, kindness or understanding from this dictator. Some narcissists buy off their marital partners so that their image is protected. I know of several narcissists who have given their wives “shut up” money after they have been exposed of infidelities. These women go along with this program because they are terrified that if they leave or are shut out they will be living in more reduced circumstances. They have gone down the road with the narcissist too long to pull away now. These spouses pay a very high price for their decision. They are not free to lead their own lives. Their thinking is constrained –they are constantly at the call of the outrageous demands of the narcissistic spouse—day and night. When they comply, it is not good enough. Even if they are very ill, this is no excuse for the narcissist. He demeans them, calls them weak and worthless. Some spouses force themselves, regardless of their emotional, psychological or physical state, to be ever-ready for the phone call, the scream, the threat that will come at any minute. They must be ready at all times to serve this tyrannical person. These ugly scenarios occur all of the time–they just aren’t public. Some women are physically hit by their narcissistic spouses time after time. The feeling of threat throughout the household is palpable at all times. This is a toxic atmosphere for raising children. Their father is a cruel patriarch who is only interested in how perfectly they produce perfect school grades, how well they perform athletically, if they have music talents or dramatic talents that can be exploited as narcissistic supplies to the father. How much is misery worth? Are you willing to exchange your peace of mind and well being and that of your children, for the lifestyle. When will the time come when you have had enough. Will it take getting physically ill to make the decision? Will it involve your child’s stress level becoming so high that he/she can no longer function at school? Are you willing to exchange your identity, inner self, peace of mind, the opportunity to express and be your true self and use all of your creative gifts for the outer trappings of the narcissistic lifestyle. What we know for sure is that these individuals do not change——ever! This is a life sentence for you and you never know when you will be discarded and/or replaced with someone else who is younger, prettier, more compliant, a better puppet. Take a long view of your life. You have much to contribute. You deserve to express your ideas, feelings and to use all of your creative gifts in freedom. Think about the lives of your children. They know that you love them and will protect them. For you, this can be the time of reckoning–changing your life, separating yourself from the narcissist to reclaim you own identity.

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Narcissists are Shameful but Shameless

Shame is an uncomfortable emotion most of us experience. When we are shamed, we feel like we want to disappear, to become invisible. Shame is an intolerable feeling. We are humiliated and feel very small, even non-existent. Children who have been shamed by their parent (s) often carry these feelings into adulthood. Deeply ingrained shame can lead to a sense of inadequacy, unworthiness and not having a solid resilient sense of self.

The narcissistic personality is the opposite. (This post refers to male and female narcissists.) He or she can commit the cruelest acts and say the meanest words to another with the intention of hurting them and feel absolutely no shame or guilt as a result. A narcissist can watch the withering blows that his raging has on his victim and not even blink. He views this person as weak and insignificant, someone who is worthless. Narcissists have no sense of limits. They lead their lives without the borders of decency, compassion or conscience. Their speed on life’s highway is always full throttle even when their malicious and careless behaviors psychological, financially and emotionally harm the lives of others, even their own families. Narcissists go to any lengths to get what they want. If a sibling is in the way of their collecting on a parent’s will, they will make sure that they become very cozy with their elderly relative, spread convincing lies about the brother or sister and successfully pressure the aging parent to let them take charge of all of their financial matters. This happens all the time.

Narcissists are particularly shameful when it comes to personal, intimate relationships, including marriage. To most narcissists, marriage is not a true union—it is a one sided business deal. Narcissists write their own marriage vows–“I will do what works for me. When you (my spouse) no longer fulfill my needs or desires or my narcissistic supplies, I will discard you without notice.” This is the unstated but true marriage deal that one makes with a narcissist. Even if a marriage lasts for several decades you can be sure that the narcissistic partner is doing a lot of “sexual free-lancing” on the side. Narcissists are highly skilled at juggling women. If the narcissistic partner is exposed, he tells an easy lie and moves on.

Narcissists are not good parents. They are too self absorbed, greedy and self entitled to give their attention and care to a small child. They will make sure that the family photos are seen by all of those who count. This is part of their elaborate image that must be perpetuated. They are not hands on parents. Children of narcissistic parents often speak of how they were abandoned, forgotten or never remembered. Mother or father was too busy working and having a good time to be with kids. Some narcissistic parents buy their kids off, offering them gifts rather than affection, attention or empathy. The narcissistic parent believes that he is a good human being and has done everything possible for his children.

In some instances the narcissistic mother or father chooses one child who is a standout–pretty, handsome, very bright, talented–to be the perfect reflection of themselves. They mold this child in their likeness and believe that he or she can do no wrong and is superior to the other children. Unfortunately, some of these children become narcissists who grow up to be shameful and shameless, cruel and duplicitous like their parent (s).

Become knowledgeable about the narcissistic personality. Appreciate who you are as an individual. Draw clear psychological boundaries, especially with narcissistic personalities. Take very good care of yourself. Use your creative gifts. You will find and nourish relationships of genuine caring and trust.

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Sociopathic Narcissists–More Dangerous Than You Think

The narcissistic style has been co-opted by a growing part of the American population. The media and entertainment business, the powerful influence of peers on growing children and the lack of true quality time given to their children by narcissistic parents are all part of this equation.

There is a collective self absorption and selfishness that has become the norm in many circles. There is an absence of sensitivity to the needs and suffering of others, especially those who are judged as not fitting in to an elite group. Their differentness is derided and scorned through gossip and shunning.

There is a deep fissure, a social and psychological divide that is growing exponentially. If you are materially successful, have all the right contacts, and present an image of external perfection, you are preferred even chosen. If you don’t have the impeccable image, the high professional status, you don’t make the cut. Large swaths of today’s society have been taken over by narcissists and their deluded followers.

Grandiosity, lack of conscience, ruthlessness, lack of empathy, deception and manipulation have become tools rather than bad character traits. This is especially the case with sociopathic narcissists–those individuals who have the narcissistic personality structure and also share many characteristics of the sociopath. These traits include a careless disregard for other human beings, including chronic extreme verbal abuse and stress perpetrated upon spouses and children. Sociopathic narcissists purposely seek out ways to delude and control those who will profit them materially, socially and professionally. They are gifted at leaving others “holding the bag” while they abscond with the profits of some else’s labors. Leaving another person’s life in shambles or even their entire family is of no concern or interest to the sociopathic narcissist who has adroitly moved ahead to his/her next cycle of acquisition and control.

I am in communication with a number of victims of narcissistic abuse. There is a callousness in sociopathic narcissists that overrides any authentic humanfeeling. In fact if you get in their way, don’t pay attention to the cues that are speaking to you clearly, they will cut you down professionally and emotionally. Sociopathic narcissists are rarely brought to justice. They surround themselves with covens of cunning attorneys who do their bidding around the clock.

Human nature is both dark and sublime. There are individuals alive today who are giving, selfless, warm, empathic and such a joy that they bring a great light into our lives. We are psychologically held by their deep authenticity and boundless personal generosity.

 

 

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Stop the Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse and Win

Narcissistic abuse is often generational. It is not genetic. Studies have not shown that there is a genetic marker for this severe personality disorder. However, with many individuals there is a destructive cycle of repetition that occurs. From narcissistic mother to narcissistic husband–from narcissistic parents to narcissistic wife–from narcissistic siblings to narcissistic spouse. There are many other combinations and permutations of these painful psychological patterns.

Having a narcissistic parent is one of the most difficulty psychological legacy you can have. You grew up without a parent who was capable of love, who blamed you for everything that went wrong (according to them) who undermined your taking initiative for yourself, who dismissed your feelings, even made fun of them and told you that you were weak and even crazy. You had a brother or sister who was venerated and adored because he or she was being groomed to be the family star–the chosen one–a young lord or lady of the manor. You were not even second best. In some cases when the narcissistic rage went out of control you were a punching bag–in some instances, literally.

After leaving this house of desolation you found someone you loved. You were swept up by the charm, the energy, the attention you were getting from this special man. It was like a fantasy that had come true. He was too good to be true but you were going for it. Sometimes early–for others late–into the marriage you recognized that you were married to a narcissistic personality. After years of suffering under his bubbling rage, outrageous demands and threats, lies and multiple cruelties, you divorce the guy. He doesn’t make it easy but you walk away to re-establish your life. Some of those who leave the narcissist benefit from excellent psychotherapy. If you decide to take this route be sure to do all of your homework. There are a some narcissistic psychotherapists who are out there for the money, even individuals who collect retainers in advance. Working with a strong therapeutic alliance with a gifted therapist can help you through the transition to becoming a person on your own again. Even if you have had a solid career throughout the marriage, there are adjustments to be made in your new role of running your own life completely without the narcissistic baggage. Give yourself credit for stopping the cycle of narcissistic abuse you have endured all of your life starting with the narcissistic parent. When past memories come to the surface especially those from childhood , be kind to yourself and recognize there and then that you are not to blame for having a narcissistic parent and that you were ripe to marry a narcissist. Let go of this past—do not let it hinder you.

Energize yourself in the new life you have chosen. No one can ever tell you how to lead your life again. You have won. Now use all of your creative gifts to the max and beyond. You will find friends and a support group of those who are not living in delusion like the narcissists. When you meet a narcissist you will recognize him/her immediately. Keep your distance—you know what they are all about–Using you to get what they want. Your life is different now. Some of those who prevail send out the message to others that they too can be free without excuses or guilt. Rev up your intellectual and creative engines. You are rediscovering your real self.

 

 

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Narcissist’s Secret Envy

Narcissists, especially those who are highly successful, appear to glide smoothly through life, taking everything they can. They cheat people and get away with it, lie at every turn, manipulate everyone in their circle, especially family members, psychologically harm the most vulnerable around them and still are not brought to judgment. If they are very high level narcissists most of those who venerate these highly entitled individuals give them a pass despite all of the pain they cause others. With all of their professional triumphs, constant adulation and financial success, narcissists secretly envy what they perceive they cannot have. Envy is a feeling of unease that becomes an obsession of coveting another’s success, possessions, public image and importance. People keep their envies secret. Narcissists would never share these feelings with anyone. We see this envy in their blood thirsty competitiveness. If they are worth hundreds of millions, they seek billionaire status like their brothers and sisters in this special enclave. Many narcissists are all about money. I have had the displeasure of sitting next to a high level narcissist at a dinner event. Besides a running litany of self, he spent most of the evening talking about money—his status and power, how clever he had been at acquiring money and his grandiose vision for accumulating larger sums and multitudes of material possessions. Conversations with narcissists are always one way streets—they do all of the talking and bragging. You cannot get in a word without being rude. If you manage a half sentence, they will interrupt you and move back to their favorite topic—themselves. Narcissists secretly envy what they cannot have. On an unconscious level they know that they cannot ever have an authentic relationship with anyone, even their own children. This obsessive need is played out in their chronic restlessness and frenetic acrobatics from one relationship to another. Narcissists crowd their lives with constant activity that will bring them an abundance of narcissistic supplies, particularly praise and adulation. Envy fuels the narcissist’s rage. If he loses an important contract that is feeding his narcissism or is overlooked for a power position he has prized, the narcissist flies into a fury. He despises and envies the individual who bettered him. The narcissist doesn’t have any real relationships. Empty, shallow and alone, he leads a counterfeit life, unable to create a warm meaningful connection with anyone. Having people in our lives whom we can count on and care about us deeply, have our welfare uppermost in their minds and are supportive of our growth as individuals is invaluable—worth more than every possession, material acquisition and accolade that the narcissist ever received. His/her world is delusional and inauthentic. Your daily life is a testimony to your personal healing and growth, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually in the way that you define this. As you leave the narcissist behind feel your heart open, sense your creative juices flowing and be grateful to yourself for all of your hard work done with great integrity.

 

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Immunizing Yourself Against Narcissistic Abuse

Our physical immune systems are a wonder. If we maintain them, they are constantly fending off diseases and infections of all kinds. We are in charge of our immune health. We learn how to eat foods that will support the immune system and avoid others that will suppress our powerful defenses. Our daily habits strengthen the immune system. The exercise that we do on a regular basis boosts our immune systems. Making efforts to get quality sleep is another source of strengthening this  protective function that enhances our physical well being. I use this example to explain that we can develop an immunity to further narcissistic abuse. Of course if we don’t have a professional obligations to be around narcissists, we avoid them. They are a toxic presence. There are growing numbers of narcissists every day. We find them in our spouses, siblings, parents and with our bosses and co-workers. The narcissist has no incentive to change. At this time of growing acceptance of narcissists in our current society, we have to learn to deal with them. They are not going away and they have no reason to change. They experience themselves as perfect and others as inferior and defective.

We build psychological immunity by first understanding and appreciating who we are. It is not the sum of our accomplishments in the world. It is based on the strength and integrity of our character and our capacity to know and seek the truth. It is recognized in our efforts to move beyond the compelling narcissistic delusion that you can be ruthless, cruel, merciless, without conscience and destroy others as long as you win.

Don’t be surprised at the number of people who follow and are true believers of narcissists. They crave being a member of the inner circle even if they are infrequently thrown crumbs or are honored to kiss the ring of the anointed. They have thrown away their identities, strapped themselves to the narcissist for the E ticket ride. They will do anything to be identified with this person. They believe that he or she is a good human being because of outside trappings and the wielding of power over others.

The focus is on developing and evolving as an individual who is solid and strong. Some who have been victimized find that psychotherapy is helpful in building a therapeutic alliance with a professional and developing trust, being heard and understood. If you go in this direction, do you research and trust your observations and reactions to prospective therapists. Remember you are hiring them to help you with your life.

If you are verbally attacked by a narcissist who is a family member, an acquaintance, an ex-spouse, learn to detach from their inappropriate, incendiary comments and criticisms. First, you don’t have to respond to such cruelty in the first place. Some statements are so delusional that they do not deserve engagement —silence on your part can be golden, when the narcissist knows you mean it. There are times when you make the decision to defend yourself. There are many replies to toxic questions and queries and cruel statements. Make your statement clear and short. Do not re-engage the narcissist. That’s what he’s waiting for—to pull you back in. One good response to inappropriate queries is: ” I don’t respond to personal questions.”

One of the best ways to immunize yourself is to create an internal space inside that cannot be penetrated by the attacker. Develop habits and routines that you consistently use to quiet your body and mind. Regular exercise that works for you is one of them. Getting sufficient sleep and eating good foods strengthen the body, mind and psyche. Following your creative track is inspirational and empowering. It separates you further from the narcissist’s arrowed quiver of recriminations, manipulations, deceptions and blatant cruelties. Learn to go within, using a way of  stilling the mind that works for you. It can be a form of guided meditation, chanting, gentle yoga with emphasis on the breathing, keeping a private journal, etc. Develop a small but faithful support system. These are people you can count on when you are discouraged, worn out, burned out and when you feel alone. The listening ear of a supportive person is one of the most powerful forms of psychological immunization you can have.

Search for and follow your dreams. Allow you mind to move unchoreographed and free. You will be surprised at the results of this practice.

 

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Narcissistic Mothers–A Pain in the Pit of Your Stomach

Those who haven’t had narcissistic mothers cannot completely understand just how dreadful they are. Each narcissistic mother is ghastly in her own special way. Some are concealed and pretend to be good, even holy. They walk around with golden coronas circling their heads. The family members are often impressed with their piety and spiritual devotion. Then there are the flamboyant, grandiose types who are socially very skillful and charming. They are often the center of attention. They magnetize many people to them who believe that they are superior. Above all, despite the outward persona the narcissistic mother always has certain attributes. She lacks genuine empathy and is incapable of feeling and understanding or caring deeply about another person’s feelings, including her own children. What great performances these women play. In private they are holy terrors who cause fear, anxiety, panic and immobilize their children. The exception is the child chosen by the narcissistic mother as the perfect reflection of herself. This son or daughter (in some cases more than one child is picked) gets free reign of the house, never learns how to treat others with respect, has a superior attitude toward himself and overrides the psychological boundaries of other family members. The children who are not chosen are under the heel of the rampaging narcissistic mother. She is hell to live with. Often these women emasculate their husbands and dominate them completely so that they have no say about their own children.

Adult children often report that they suffered from anxiety,tension even pains in the pit of their stomachs when in the presence of narcissistic mom. You never knew when she would threaten you with punishment or take a swipe at you. Narcissistic mothers are tyrannical and get away with it. In the world they are often considered to be wonderful human beings who are considerate and caring and very charming. This is their great acting job at work. So many people are fooled by them. When you tell someone the truth about a narcissistic mother, they will look at you quizzically as if you are being cruel or simply have something wrong with your thinking processes.

If you are the adult child of a narcissistic mother it is past time for you to get rid of the metaphorical or real pain in the pit of your stomach. To lead your own life, it is often necessary to sever the “relationship” because it has become impossible and abusive. Some victims find that excellent psychotherapy helps them to heal. Be careful in picking a therapist. Make sure they understand this personality disorder very well and be sure that they are not narcissistic personalities themselves.

Celebrate your individuality, learn to quiet your mind through gentle yoga practice, meditation–sitting and walking, opening up to your special creativity, finding friends who care deeply about you and are capable of empathy.

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Divorcing A Narcissist–Plan Your Exit Strategy in Advance

In the emotional chaos of a marriage to a narcissist that has soured and become very ugly, it is difficult to think clearly about how to make an exit that will benefit you the most. First, pay close attention to the signals and red flags you have been getting all along that the person you married is a narcissist. He/she is self absorbed, selfish, given to rages, secretive, a chronic liar (who plays the part beautifully) manipulative, exploitive and completely lacks empathy. You have seen these behaviors throughout the years and they are escalating. If you have researched this personality disorder, you have all of the information you need to make your decision. You can stay with this person and talk yourself into believing that he is going to change at some time down the road or be convinced that you can alter him. This is never going to happen because this disorder is fixed. The false self of the narcissist develops very early and the defense mechanisms these individuals use are impervious to change. They believe that they are superior, perfect and over-entitled. They have no motivation to change.

If you decide to break up the relationship, do all of your homework in advance and detail. Interview several attorneys and choose one who has a lot of experience with divorce and has worked with clients who have this personality profile. Your attorney needs to be highly self confident, well trained, intuitive about human nature, have superior communication skills and an excellent legal temperament for times when the narcissist and his attorney come down very hard. This is the time of reckoning when your attorney is being tested and will either win with flying colors or fail to represent you properly. Get all of your financial records in order. Get your support group in place of friends you can completely trust–one is enough. Keep yourself in good physical condition. Do cardiovascular exercise like walking or going to the gym. Do not wear yourself out. Get quality sleep and make sure that you following an eating plans that provides your body with the nutrients it requires. Dial down the fight or flight syndrome with practices like gentle yoga poses, forms of meditation that work for you. Appreciate what you are doing. Don’t share your exit plan with anyone unless you are sure you can trust them completely. I know you can do this. You are beginning a new cycle of your life that is richer, deeper, more meaningful, creative and peaceful.

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Narcissistic Spouses Delude and Corrupt Their Partners

Those who are married to narcissistic personalities and continue to adore  and obey them  have put themselves in psychological danger. (This post refers to male and female narcissists)  When  the narcissist is a forceful personality in the marriage and has “successfully” deluded the spouse into believing that he is perfect and superior, the weaker partner capitulates to the narcissist’s outrageous demands and grandiose expectations. I have seen this happen in a number of marriages. The sensitive, often empathic individual is drawn to the physical attractiveness, blind ambition, intellectual brightness, social savvy and overriding confidence of the narcissist. He or she feels fulfilled  and completed by this person who is so sure of himself.

Rather than evolving as a separate individual the spouse psychologically fuses with the narcissistic  life agenda which often includes  an obsession with material wealth, the acquisition of possessions, the disparagement of those who have not obtained their high status, the restless search for continual leisure and pleasure and the worship of self in its endless varieties and permutations.

I use the word “corrupt” to describe the serious negative psychological changes that the narcissistic spouse has on the partner as a result of this dynamic of worship, emotional  fusion and dependence. The partner goes off track and does not evolve as a true self.  The need to continue this “worship” increases as the partner becomes more deeply deluded  and entrenched into the narcissistic life style.

(Not all narcissists seek wealth and the endless acquisitions of possessions. I am talking here about a subset of the narcissistic personality population.)

In some cases the partner “awakens” from the delusion and realizes that he or she has been the narcissist’s servant not a true spouse. He has given up years of his life to this person who only took, never gave and didn’t have an ounce of empathy for his genuine feelings. When this happens, there is a chance for the partner to extricate himself from this unhealthy fusion and to break free to be himself.

Study the narcissistic personality in-depth. This is the character disorder of our time and these pathologies are continuing to grow and are highly accepted as the norm throughout much of our society today.

Continue to evolve as an individual. Do the hard work of getting to know and appreciate yourself deep inside. Give yourself credit for surviving your previous life experience, especially if you are the child of a narcissist, been married to a narcissist or have cruel narcissistic siblings.

Trust yourself and your inner wisdom.

 

 

 

 

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Rising Strong and Steady after Divorcing Narcissist

Rising Strong and Steady after Divorcing Narcissist

You have spent years denying that you were married to a narcissistic personality. Don’t blame yourself. You couldn’t have known. You were serious about building and preserving your marital union. You tried so hard. It seemed to work for a while. Then the narcissist became “very difficult”–well, Impossible. and blamed you for everything that went wrong in his/her life. Narcissists only care about themselves. Everyone else including spouses and children are living narcissistic supplies that will get them to their goals of ultimate control and winning.

Now that you know that you were married to a narcissist and have gone through the painful divorce process, your life is beginning anew.

It is a very rough ride for many toward recovery. You are exhausted from the marriage wars and the divorce hand to hand combat that in some cases goes on for years. You feel beaten up but you have won back your life. Take time for yourself to rest and recover.

Don’t pay attention to anyone who is telling you to “Get over it.” Forget them. Pay attention to what your deep inner self is saying to you.  “Take it slowly. Be kind to yourself. Rest and repose and quiet. Enjoy those whom you can trust and with whom you feel the most authentic. They have your back.”

Develop routines that focus on your healing each day. Put yourself first!!!!!.  Don’t be judgmental.  Take time to be alone and quiet with yourself. You may want to meditate or write in a journal. Listening to soothing music lifts us out of obsessional thought and feeling patterns and brings us into a positive state where we can begin anew and feel refreshed. Find or create a small support group of people with whom you can share the truth and who care about you. Be appreciative of what you have been through. Work with your creative gifts which have been in cold storage during your marriage to the narcissist.

Do a form of cardiovascular exercise that works for you.This increases endorphins, boosts the immune system and helps you to sleep. Many find that gentle yoga is a source of calming, strengthening and healing the body/mind. Pay close attention to your intuition. It will speak to you and offer wise words or present you with pictures or ideas, indicating the way forward for you. You deserve deep inner peace—claim it! It’s yours.

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