I know several people who have trained for and run marathons. This is a tough, disciplined process that takes many hours and hard grinding work. The goal is incredible–over 26 miles of running–one footfall after another. I have seen great runners reach the wall and writhe in agony.
Narcissists are very cruel beings. I am discovering endless varieties of their horrid treacheries all the time. It is incredible that they continue to wreck havoc in the lives that they touch and in some cases, destroy. Their projections are meant to be mortal, kicking the air out of your spirit, making you doubt yourself or psychologically throwing you into deep humiliation.
Narcissists are masters of total control over others at all times. Whether they are in the preliminary stages and intoxicating you with their magnetism or intimidating you with their veiled threats or disposing of you when you are at your lowest ebb, the narcissistic personality is a highly predictable human. You are his/her possession. He will manipulate and mold you into the perfect replica of a living narcissistic supply who will be a perpetual source of adulation, praise, even worship.
Narcissists hurt us deeply when we are unable to identify them and psychologically fuse with them. Some of those who become involved with narcissists continue to return for more punishment, thinking that they can change these individuals or believing that they are the ones to blame for the relationship not working. Over and over again their victims blame themselves and return–each time becoming more distressed and feeling lost, confused and depleted.
Once you know that you are dealing with a narcissist—spouse, mother, father, sibling, etc., do your research and learn everything you can about this personality disorder that is growing exponentially within our population.
Be kind to yourself about your self blame, your returning for more pain, your thinking that there is something the matter with you. Let go of any guilt that you are carrying. You will find your burden lifting.
Begin to take good care of yourself: physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. Sleep, rest, enjoy your own company and that of friends who are empathic and understanding and who know how to listen and to give and receive.
Think about your many gifts–those that you know about and others that have remained in the background while the narcissist took center stage and stood in your light.
Feel your individual power—your healthy narcissism—a deep respect for yourself. Be grateful for the life that you have and the one that is ahead of you. Cry when you need to–without shame or holding back. Sing when you feel the tunes coming through you–write freely without editing—go inside the music that you love and sing tunes that you create on the spot. Do this and so much more–Use your imagination–let it fly!
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Narcissists are parasitic. Using this word makes be feel nauseated but it aptly describes their process of feeding off of your life. When we live with a narcissist–mother, father, spouse, sibling or are involved with them, our psychological energy is continually sapped. Some victims of narcissists describe this process as trying to destroy and annihilate them, taking what is most precious inside away with their cruelties, chronic deceptions, hidden agendas, humiliations, threats and ambushes.
The narcissist steals your creative ideas and spins them into his own. He or she gains power over you psychologically by hitting you below the belt on the issues where you are most vulnerable. This is especially destructive if you are a highly sensitive individual by nature. Although the narcissist has no true insight, he/she is exceedingly cunning and knows just how to make you feel hopeless and helpless. Narcissists are bottom feeders.
They play dirty and catch you by surprise, using the shock factor. They initiate contact that appears to be friendly and innocuous. This is the opposite of their intent. Their “communications” are designed to show their superiority over you, to make you feel like a failure who is seriously flawed. All the while they are innocent and pretend like they didn’t lay a hand on your psyche. That’s how dirty and nasty they play it. They spread lies about you to your family and friends, pointing out that you are unstable, that you have a defective character, selecting lies that will harm you the most. This is despicable behavior but narcissists can be very convincing to others who remain ignorant of their true natures.
Study and learn to identify the narcissistic personality. It is worth doing the research on this character disorder. The woods are crawling with them. Once you have made the identification, spend as little time or no time with them if that is possible. If you have to interact, make it brief and do not engage them in a personal manner. I recommend that you try not to be alone with a narcissist since these are the occasions when they project forcefully on to you or other victims of their wrath.
Practice self care with guided meditation, getting the sleep that you need, doing practices like gentle hatha yoga, tai chi and activities that activate the calming part of the nervous system. Learn how to set boundaries with these individuals and stick to them. You can never please them so don’t make a fruitless effort. Remember, the narcissist is constantly projecting his unconscious rage on to others.Deep down he/she feels psychologically empty and worthless.
Get in touch with your creative gifts and learn to appreciate yourself as a unique individual who is capable of empathy, compassion, emotional intimacy and authenticity.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
I am frequently reminded that narcissists are projecting their psychological venom on to others all the time. This kind of behavior cannot be overstated. Deep down in the unconscious, the narcissist is filled with self loathing and an intolerable emptiness.
Churning with self hatred, he or she ejects it out on to others, especially those close to him–spouses, children, siblings, co-workers, acquaintances. A projection is a defense mechanism, an unconscious process that the narcissist uses to instantaneously get rid of aggressive, intolerable and threatening feelings and impulses on to another person.
This incoming fire can be completely unexpected and that is a vital part of why the power punch can lay you flat. There are times when you know that the narcissist is in a particular mood and know to steer clear. Or you have intuitive messages to keep your distance. But are other times, when there is no warning and these are the toughest to take.
Not long ago I was the recipient of a psychological punch (a primitive projection) to the gut from an acquaintance. The sky was blue and clear in my world with this person at the time. We were conversing and I felt that it was going well. Someone else was wanting his attention. I made mental notes of this a couple of times but waved it off. That was my oversight. Suddenly—incoming fire hell missiles. He delivered verbal mortal blows designed to knock me out and put me away. I was shocked and at first had to review his primitive message which translated was: “I hate you. Get the hell out of my life now! ” His seething rage and annihilating intent shot into me so fast that I spun inside. I made a quick appraisal and decided that making any kind of retort was useless. For my welfare I left the scene. I think this was a good self care move as I look back. This guy would never understand my point of view. He had a perspective ally beside him. The best action was immediately gaining Distance Away from the Toxicity. I was still reeling. I got into my car and felt like hell but began to think about what had just happened and what it meant.
This event and there have been many by others, gives me the opportunity to acknowledge again the horror that you go through with narcissistic spouses, what you have experienced and still do with narcissistic mothers, fathers and siblings.
Learn all that you can about the true nature of the narcissistic personality–the character disorder of our time.
Take good care of yourself. When you are ensnared by one of these horrid projections, give yourself credit for identifying what it is–it is not coming from you–do not blame yourself–this is the putrid message coming from the unconscious of a narcissistic personality. Celebrate your victories. Keep your psychological, emotional and physical distance from these individuals when and if you possibly can. Maintain good boundaries from this venom machine.
Spend time with people who are more self aware, are not as subject to projections and who admit when they have done this and take them back. Recognize that you are growing, a wonderful living work in progress. Pay close attention to your intuition. Seek your dreams and know that you can fulfill them.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Whether it is your narcissistic mother, narcissistic father, narcissistic spouse, narcissistic sister or narcissistic brother or an entire narcissistic family, you have been through Hell with this dreadful life experience. As a young child you endured too much and too little at the same time. There was no emotional and psychological nurturing, no one to wipe your tears so you learned not to cry or laugh or even feel. You internalized what was real and alive inside of you so that you would not be punished and shamed and humiliated even more.
You are still licking your wounds and finding other crevices of open sore memory traces of emotional and psychological pain.
There are times now after your hard fought inner work on your psyche and soul when you perceive and appreciate what you survived. Be kind to that small child inside of you. Give him or her comfort and reassurance and validation. What an individual you are! Healing ourselves is a life process.
Practice self care–You deserve to sleep quietly at night, rest when you are weary, write without editing, freely using your unconscious without effort but ease, digest your dreams from the unconscious, meditate or pray, use your creative juices and let them flow with interruption, feel the cool air coming through your nostrils on the inhalation and the warmed air from you body at the exhalation–notice that you feel calmer.
You deserve to lead life in the full color spectrum of your psyche and soul. With Love to You.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
All of your life, your older, younger or twin sister has been putting you through hell–The reason—She is a Narcissistic Personality and in some family constellations, she was chosen to represent its sterling image. You felt psychologically dispossessed, a stranger in your own house that was not a home to you. In every way your narcissistic sister undermined you. When she wasn’t doing that, she was scaring you, intimidating you, demeaning you, humiliating you, threatening you. She was going to get you into trouble with mom and dad no matter what. Not by telling the truth but by her very convincing lies. Narcissists lie about everything in order to get exactly what they want. This is easy for them since they do not have a conscience. And—They Get Away With It!
Now that you are an adult, your narcissistic sister has continued her Weird Sister act and she is never going to stop. The NPD is a fixed personality disorder that does not change.
It is time to stand up for yourself by focusing on taking very good care of yourself. I mean that you decide on the best program that helps you to heal from your narcissistic sister’s ongoing abuse over a long period.
Spend time in a quiet way with yourself. Listen to music that you love and has meaning to you. Get the sleep that you need and deserve. Sleep puts us into the quieting mode of the nervous system and is essential to healing on every level. Let your creativity flow. Write spontaneously every day or when you can, the thoughts and feelings that come through your mind without editing. Do exercise that you enjoy or at least can tolerate. Think of other ways that you relax–Cooking, Gardening, Sewing, Reading, etc. Spend time with individuals whom you trust and that contribute to your healing. Go with the givers and cross out the takers.
This is the beginning of a new life cycle for you.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
T.S. Eliot, the great prescient poet wrote in “The Hollow Men”: We are the hollow men, We are the stuffed men, leaning together…Our dried voices, when we whisper together are…meaningless…”
Eliot intuited the ascendance of the narcissistic personality in our society. That time is now and has been coming, growing to epidemic proportions.
I am in communication with many individuals who are suffering from the rampaging of narcissistic personalities in their lives: daughters and sons of narcissistic mothers and narcissistic fathers, narcissistic siblings, those married to narcissistic spouses. Their pain is deep and continuous as long as they are in contact with and part of the narcissist’s life. They are living too close to an individual who is empty and “hollow” inside and who lives in a way that has no meaning, warmth, empathy or truth.
Narcissists trample on our feelings. They make every effort to destroy what is deep inside of us and gives us meaning. They have overwhelming personalities that are forceful, manipulative and cruel. They constantly lie and exploit those closest to them.
Being the child of a narcissistic mother or father is one of the most painful fates. The narcissistic mother hates genuine feelings, even in her infant. When the child cries she ignores her/him, makes the little one feel ashamed, screams and threatens the child if he does not “shut up.”
Those married to narcissists are continuously gaslighted–told that they are crazy, especially if they express deep feelings of sadness, fear, joy, anger, etc. No feelings are allowed in this household–except for the narcissist who bubbles with constant fire hot rage. Day after day–rage after rage—the spouse takes this abuse and feels herself getting weaker. She tells herself that she needs to be more understanding, that she is the one at fault, that there is something intrinsically the matter with her. NO! That is not the case if you are married to a narcissistic personality. Yes, you are imperfect. You are the frequent recipient of the narcissist’s insidious projections that wound deeply and leave scars.
Your narcissistic sibling is the king or queen of the family–the special one chosen. There are no rules for this child from the beginning. You are treated by your parent(s) with strictness. You are often criticized and demeaned but the chosen, budding narcissist can treat you like dirt and the parent will not defend you.
God help you if you cry–that is a serious sin in this kind of family. Often the mother or father in this constellation is a narcissist. You become the scapegoat, the one everyone targets for cruel comments especially when you show feelings.
Expressing feelings –all of them is part of being an authentic human being. I don’t trust anyone who is incapable of expressing feeling–genuine ones. I know that many are taught very early that showing feelings is a sign of weakness. The opposite is true. Being comfortable with our feelings is essential to evolving and growing as an individual. This doesn’t mean we make out of control public displays. We learn to have good manners and to be considerate of others.
Remember that the narcissist is a Hollow Man, a dry, empty, personless being who can neither give nor receive love, compassion or empathy. This personality disorder is fixed and does not change. Hollow men are made of stone. I always look and feel into the eyes of others. I know them by the expression in their eyes and the energy that I feel from them. When we look deeply into the eyes of a narcissist we experience what Eliot saw in The Hollow Men: “The eyes are not here, There are no eyes here in this valley of dying stars….”
Feel your authenticity, celebrate the real self within you that continues to evolve, learn, create and, always, Feel.
Do not be surprised or angry with yourself if you have been fooled by a Covert Narcissist. They are among the most clever of beasts. Their image is impeccable. They can be charming in an arresting manner, unlike the grandiose narcissist who is over the top with his/her delusional visions, bombast and extreme demands of self entitlement. No, these Coverts are so slick they suck us in quietly with their pseudo authenticity. They have been practicing this and perfecting it all of their lives. This is how they survived— by being fake but very believable. They are convinced of being genuine with their pseudo humility, truthfulness and fake empathy that feels so real.
I have found that it can take some time to identify Coverts. I have been fooled by them. I was shocked later when I realized their true natures. One man, an acquaintance, struck me as very talented, truly magnetic, even spiritual. He was very handsome to boot. He looked you straight in the eyes and you began to immediately feel that he cared deeply about you as an individual. I have had only a few direct interchanges with him. I came away at first very impressed with his “character” and “empathy.” Had I been in contact with him more often, it is likely I would have seen through him sooner. I made an inquiry about finding a referral to help me with a project. He was very enthusiastic and signaled affirmatively. A bit later he adroitly pulled himself out of the matter. I registered this shift but let it go. The clincher for me came later when I discovered that he revealed his true nature. As part of an investment negotiation the CN cleverly and ruthlessly strong armed the other person involved and threatened to expose some of his personal secrets if he didn’t go along with the Covert’s agenda. The other person was sufficiently terrified and capitulated to this Covert’s treachery.
I have permanently crossed him off my list. No avenging angel will swoop down and deliver him a mortal blow. It is very likely that he will go about unscathed—manipulating most people with his arsenal of magnetism, brightness and irresistible charm.
Those who are closely involved with covert narcissists have a very difficult time. I understand and I am sorry about the pain that you have and do endure. Never blame yourself for not recognizing the true nature of these individuals sooner. When you do, pay very close attention to what your intuitions and observations are telling you. Remember—self care is essential.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
There are excellent, dedicated physicians who work hard to keep their patients well. They are your partner in health. When a patient becomes ill, fine physicians go the distance to help you get well. I am not talking about most of our doctors in this article.
I am addressing narcissistic doctors who purposely go into specialties where they can gain the most prestige and make the most money. I hear from my readers about some of these individuals and the stories are disturbing. Some doctors over test patients and run up the bill on purpose. There are unnecessary medical procedures performed by narcissistic physicians that cost tremendous amounts of money and don’t result in helping the patient to heal. Most people are still afraid to question a physician. They see him or her as the ultimate authority. My experience and that of others is that a fine doctor welcomes intelligent questions on the part of the patient. Becoming healthy again and staying healthy is a collaborative experience between doctor and patient. It is essential that the individual stays informed about his/her health matters.
Narcissistic doctors are going through the motions. They are completely self absorbed like all narcissists. Many of them are very smooth, highly confident, attractive and know how to win over their patients and maintain their trust. Some patients view doctors like mini gods. We can be grateful and very impressed by the skill and knowledge and training of a physician. The good and great ones deserve our respect and confidence in them.
Know what to watch for in narcissistic doctors:
Do you sense that the doctor has a money motive?
Is the physician disrespectful (putting you down, criticizing you) as a patient?
Is the physician forceful and do you get a sense that he/she is insisting on procedures that will not be helpful and could be harmful to you?
Does the physician invade your personal boundaries with intimate questions and sexual innuendos?
Does the doctor become highly defensive, angry even enraged when you ask him/her questions?
Does the physician talk about himself incessantly and his importance, prestige, life style, etc. instead of focusing on you and your medical issues?
Does the doctor make disparaging, cruel remarks about your appearance?
Does the doctor have an abrasive, rude, sadistic bedside manner. For example, I know of a hospital patient who was unceremoniously awakened in the middle of the night and told: “You have had a stroke” and then had the nerve to ask the patient how he was feeling. The narcissistic doctor’s manner was brusque and cold. It frightened the patient and caused needless fear and distress.
There are excellent physicians who are not narcissists. Do your research and find doctors who are highly trained, professionally excellent, patient oriented and empathic.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
One of the most painful familial situations is to be the brother or sister of a narcissistic sibling. From the beginning they “have it in” for you as the old saying goes. I have heard from so many of their victims. The stories told are hair raising. Even in early childhood there are memories of being pinched, squeezed, shamelessly slapped. All of this is perpetrated with impunity. The parent(s) of the victimized child is often a narcissist and gives the special , golden holy terror free reign in the household. There are no rules for this brat turned tyrant. The embattled child is always in fight or flight mode. There is no letting down, no relaxing of hypervigilence, no rest or freedom to express oneself authentically in this family constellation.
In some instances in adulthood the narcissistic sibling far in advance plots how he or she will deceive the parent (s) and gain full control over the family finances or trusts. This is shocking but it happens more often than one would think.
There are cases in which the golden narcissistic sibling intimidates brothers and sisters into taking his/her side against the scapegoated children. These battles become very ugly and can eventually rip families apart.
Rather than live in these dreadful circumstances many siblings break completely from their family of origin and move into a no contact mode. This is often painful since it is difficult for some to believe that a sibling with whom we share our DNA could be so treacherous. Coming to terms with this reality is essential to the healing process.
Learning about the psychological core and dynamics of the narcissistic personality recognizing their specific traits and the naked truth about them is the beginning of healing.
Acknowledging and appreciating your authenticity, the fact that you survived this series of hells is a huge step toward becoming whole. You went through these wars since childhood and have survived into adulthood. You deserve tremendous credit and acknowledgement for this achievement. So many of these survivors are among the kindest, most empathic and intuitive individuals I have every known. Here is to your continuing healing, your triumph as an individual and the unbounded use of all of your creative gifts.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.