Narcissists Psychologically Feed Off of Your Life–Protect Yourself!

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.

Living with a Narcissistic Spouse Eclipses Your Life

Like an eclipse of the sun at mid-day when the earth is darkened, your life married to a narcissist diminishes your creativity, your physical health, your peace of mind, your dreams, your sense of hope. Maybe you think that you are compromising with this spouse of yours but that is never the case with a narcissistic personality. When the marriage gets ugly and the word divorce  is floating through the atmosphere, you suggest marital counseling. This can be helpful to many couples but with narcissists the process is different. Narcissists are great actors. They can easily pretend that they are cooperating as clients. Sometimes, they win over the therapist who then finds that you are the one at fault.

Some of those married to narcissists don’t feel sufficiently entitled to lead the life that they deserve. As children they didn’t feel good enough or smart enough or equal to a brother or sister who was “golden.” Parents were highly critical and demanding and often one of them was narcissistic. One would think that if you were raised by a narcissistic mother you would not seek out a man or woman who was a narcissist. But there is a tendency to repeat painful behavioral and psychological patterns that hurt us the most in childhood with our relationships as adults.

As the years being married to a narcissist create a profound burden on you and eclipse the core of your individual life, a reckoning has come. Learn everything you can about the true nature of the narcissistic personality. This is empowering and will enlighten your perceptions of your spouse. No longer will you be able to make excuses for this person who is making your life a living hell and thwarting your opportunities to use all of your talents and energies, to feel free to express yourself authentically.

You will learn to feel entitled to a full life, a free one that is deep, meaningful, spontaneous, filled with some special people who love you and you, them. Explore your creative gifts and discover your unique talents. Spend time in peace and solitude for the first time in your life. Sleep more deeply and dream in every color of the rainbow. Access the healing power of the parasympathetic nervous system which is like moving along the gentle waves of an endless sea of peace.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

 

Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers–Treasure Your Intuitive Gifts

Intuition is a knowing of the truth that strikes faster than the speed of light. It comes through us automatically like the exhalation of a breath or the blowing of the wind or the crack of a branch of a tree in the forest. Intuition is part of our human nature although most people are unaware or not in touch with their intuition. Some individuals receive intuitive messages but discard them as irrational or strange.

I have known many daughters of narcissistic mothers who, despite all of the painful psychological and emotional issues associated with being the child of a narcissist, have access and use their intuitive gifts. For many it is what allowed them to survive a childhood of maternal deprivation and verbal abuse. Deep inside this small child knew that something was very wrong with her mother’s lack of feeling, cold non connection and cruel behaviors. Some of these daughters blame themselves and believe they are lacking when the psychopathology lies with the narcissistic mother.

Using one’s intuition is a gift that deepens and strengthens throughout life. Intuition communicates in a special form to each individual. Some of us get a gut feeling and know we have hit upon the truth. Others hear a voice that gives them messages of truth, warning, inspiration, creativity. Intuition can be activated by someone with whom we are strongly connected. Intuitions come through when we are in a peaceful state of relaxation, meditation or involved in a creative project. Intuitions are always coming through. They never stop making attempts to get our attention.

Intuition warns us about the narcissist we have just met. We sense this person and know instantly that he or she is not right for us. We feel the powerful sway of the narcissist’s irresistability like an errant tide that is pulling us out to sea. Yet there is a voice (nor our own) that is saying: “Stay away from this person. He/she will cause you pain and trouble. Step away now.”

Use your intuition to heal from your narcissistic mother. Intuition provides us with many ways of separating and individuating from the narcissistic non mother. Ask for healing and listen to the messages that lead you along a different path where you will find your true self more and more each day and through it deep inner peace and the use of your creative and spiritual gifts.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers–Be Compassionate with Yourself

I have had conversations spoken and written with a number of daughters of narcissistic mothers. It has been eye-opening to meet so many women “raised” by exc narcissistic “mothers’ who are highly empathic.

They suffered so much growing up with a mother who was cold, distant, often emotionally abusive and for some, physically cruel. Often the narcissistic mother was extremely jealous of her daughter and created psychological ambushes for her child. Constant criticisms and humiliations were part of the daily fare for  these daughters. Many of them grew up thinking that there was something fundamentally wrong with them, even that they were intrinsically bad human beings. Time after time they were blamed for simply being born and making an effort to be an individual. What the narcissistic mother demanded could never be achieved because it was always a set-up, a trap, a road to nowhere.

These daughters grew up, often raising themselves and helping with their younger siblings. Another source of psychological pain was the brother or sister who was “golden”, chosen by the narcissistic mother as the absolute favorite who would fulfill mother’s need to have a  living facsimile of her “perfection.”

Growing up with a narcissistic mother and golden narcissistic sibling is exceeding difficult and that is an understatement.

Some narcissistic daughters report that they learned to keep their heads down from oncoming fire meted out by the cruelties and deprivations projected on to them. Some of these women describe creating entire worlds of the imagination in which they lived. Some escaped into books. Many hid in plain sight and became very quiet to hide and deflect from the frequent bursts of psychological venom projected by mother on to

For many of these daughters there comes a time of reckoning, of knowing that they can and will no longer take the maternal narcissistic abuse. They decide that they must be free to lead their own lives. This can involve a complete no contact break with the narcissistic mother. Other family members who have no understanding of the cruelties sustained by these daughters will often interfere and criticize them for their decision to separate from mother and become free to lead life on their terms. Relatives of this kind will never comprehend what these daughters have decided to do to reclaim their lives and this is none of their business and they deserve no explanation. Besides many of these relatives are incapable of seeing through the delusion, the false mask of their narcissistic relative.

As you experience the breath of freedom and feel your nervous system quieting for the first time, think about what you have done. You have survived despite all of the pain and  deprivation, as a unique bright talented kind and compassionate individual. This is huge! Now move forward with self care and compassion directed to yourself. Love that little child within you that kept faith with herself. Talk to her and cherish her loveliness and beauty. Take time to be with yourself  each day to quiet the mind in any way that works for you. It can be prayer, guided meditation, going into Nature. Follow your intuition as you allow yourself downtime, sleep, food that nourishes you and that you can savor, being around people that appreciate you and where there is a genuine exchange and warmth. Your creative gifts will move within and you will be surprised by their abundance. Feel the ease and grace within you and the inward smile that warms your lovely heart.

Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers—Stop Feeling Guilty–It Wasn’t Your Fault

I hear and read many life stories of adult daughters of narcissistic mothers who suffered horrible psychological deprivation and verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of their exceedingly cruel narcissistic mothers. They were as the great psychoanalyst Alice Miller said: “Prisoners of Childhood”. That is a profound phrase that sums up the horrific experience of life with a narcissistic mother. This woman never wanted you and if she did it was her plan that you reflected her perfection. She needed to mold you into a mini-me child. When you objected to that, she punished you with terror, threats, violent rages and betrayals. She went down the list of her children until she found the one who was most like her and whom she could mold. Very likely that child became a narcissist and was the bane of your existence. No only did you have mother breathing down your neck you had to be wary of your sibling at all times. The other children cowered in the presence of these two and became shadows and echoes of mom. You were the stand out child–the one who knew that there was something very wrong and dark in the family.

Along the way you carried a lot of guilt about not loving your narcissistic mother. That’s the rub. Now that you are well into adulthood, ask yourself: How is it possible to blame myself and feel guilty over something I could never control? I was a small child and had to survive. She was the one who punished me constantly, terrorized me within an inch of my life, had night raids when the greatest punishments even tortures took place.

Take a long look at yourself and your life. I know those who hold on the guilt and they are still suffering. You can and will let go of this haunting from the past. You deserve so much more. Believe this with all of your heart. I know that you can heal. You have so much of yourself to activate. Learn self care–yes for the first time in your life–put yourself first. Rest, sleep, enjoy your spontaneous self, become immersed in what you love to do, learn to laugh out loud–even if people are looking at you funny. That’s the best of all. Not giving a damn about what others think!!! Go for it all the way. Feel the joy of letting loose like a child dancing wildly to a great tune. Flow with your creativity–Feel your lovely heart open. Fly, Soar, Transcend!

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

BooK: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life

From Budding Narcissist to Full Blown Pathological Narcissism

There is a young woman whom I have known as an acquaintance for the past ten years. I  met her when she was ten years old. This was in the context of a neighborhood party. Her mother is a fully developed narcissistic personality. Exceedingly self entitled, expecting perfection of others, physically vane to a fault, highly manipulative of her husband, friends, etc. this lady demands having her way and gets it. Her husband is a weak man who gives into her constantly. She is the ruler of the household and has complete control over her very naive spouse.

On one occasion I went over to their home to return some mail that had been sent to the incorrect address. After the preliminary greetings, the daughter who was ten years old at the time, suddenly asked me in a stark cruel tone: “What’s wrong with your eye?” I was shocked by this personal question. I wondered for a moment if she could tell that I was wearing contact lenses. Many scenarios passed through my mind as I felt anger, outrage and shock run through my nervous system. My eye was healing from a  minor infection. Silence reigned. The mother didn’t say a word, look at her daughter, apologize to me, tell her child not to invade some one’s privacy and cause them emotional hurt and pain. I stepped into the breach and said: ” There are personal questions you never ask another individual. This is impolite, disrespectful and inconsiderate.” My words hung in the air. The girl sat defiantly in her chair, staring me down, daring me to speak further. Mother didn’t react at all–not one eyelash quivered. In fact narcissistic mother appeared to be bored and restless and needing to “move on” from the entire incident. It was over for her before it began because it wasn’t about her and how perfect she was. Her daughter was becoming a narcissistic Mini Me.  In addition her father was and is a fool about his little girl. She got away with whatever she wanted with him. I left this scene, knowing that there was a process in motion that would result in a full blown narcissistic disorder.

Recently, I spoke with the daughter in the company of her mother and got a more narcissistic vib from her. She is now a college student so full of herself she can hardly stand still. This young woman shows no interest, concern, understanding or care for others unless she is narcissistic supplies –praise, adoration, favors, accolades, intros into social circles, etc. from them. Her friends are Yes Sayers to her, small echoes of her highness. They laugh at those whom they see as inferior—meaning people who are not exactly like them.

This daughter will go through the rest of her life as a narcissistic personality, hurting everyone in her reach. She will make the lives of others pure misery unless they learn about the complex in-depth facets and many faces of the Narcissistic Personality.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Stop Cycling Back to the Narcissist for More Torture

I frequently–more times than I can count–hear from men and women who are trapped in a severely painful pattern of returning to their narcissistic spouse or narcissistic parent. Each time they go back they believe that life with the NPD is going to be different. This is not true. With very rare exception –Once A Narcissist Always A Narcissist! If you are involved with a narcissist it may help you to repeat these words to yourself and recognize that you can no longer tolerate sharing your life with this highly pathological person.

I use the word “torture” (“the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain”) in the title to emphasize how impossible narcissists make our lives with their multiple cruelties. Sadistic, cold, controlling, treacherous–they gain pleasure from weakening us, to have ultimate control over our being and in some cases to destroy us.

You don’t deserve this. You didn’t when you first became involved with this person. If you are the child of a narcissistic parent, you happened to be born by fate into a highly pathological family. First, know that this is not your fault. You are not to blame.

Some children grow up only knowing cruelty and torture. This is how their identities are shaped. The idea of being loved, feeling peace, protection or freedom is not part of their psychological repertoire. They have a prisoner of the gulag mentality and that is not surprising. We tend to repeat what we have experienced early in our lives. Some children have a sense that their narcissistic family members or their narcissistic spouses are very disturbed and they make a break for it early.

Being a child of a  narcissist lingers in the psyche, mind and heart. This innocent person did not get the bonding, loving touch and kind words of affirmation that he absolutely needed. He was criticized, thrown away, discounted and in severe cases—tortured.

Why would anyone return to this horrid scene of psychological massacre that almost killed our souls. Because human beings tend to repeat what they know, what is familiar. A child raised by a narcissist who feels undeserving and worthless and un-entitled will be drawn to partners who have a similar personality structure and will abuse them.

Over and over again the victim returns for more abuse, then leaves, then comes back and on it goes. In some cases the victim is broken and this is tragic.

Don’t wait any longer. Understand who your narcissistic torturer is–through and through. Then make a decision that you will sever this non-relationship. Do the work of healing yourself through the methods that work best for you–excellent psychotherapy (Be careful–don’t choose a narcissistic therapist), yoga practice that is gentle with emphasis on the breathing that quiets the nervous system, getting the sleep that you need and deserve, discovering and using your creative gifts, finding and nurturing loving and caring relationships.

I know that you will end this cycle of abuse and torture. I have faith in your decision and action to change your life along the pathway of healing and wholeness and yes, peace.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Narcissistic Mother Creates Her Masterpiece–A Narcissistic Daughter Who Fulfills Her Dreams

“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.” (Michelangelo) One of the greatest sculptors who ever lived created unsurpassed masterpieces—The Pieta, David, Moses among many others. He was the master at taking a block of inanimate material and bringing it to life.

I was thinking about this great work and something popped into my mind about the narcissistic mother who endeavors with all of her force and perseverance to create the perfect child—her golden one. I have personally watched this happen and have had many of you comment about the golden child in their family. Some were chosen to play this role. Others were not. But many a narcissistic parent has become obsessed with molding a tiny baby into a perfect living breathing vision. This works beautifully with art using clay, marble, alabaster and gold but it is a disaster with little children.

Were you the chosen one, the one who was ignored, the golden child dethroned, the child who was hidden in the bunch, the child who got into a lot of trouble with mom because you insisted on being yourself? There are innumerable patterns in these narcissistic highly dysfunctional families.

Some children respond positively to the prodding of their highly ambitious narcissistic mothers. These mothers are restless creatures. Just the right child has been chosen. The mother is relentlessly at her work. Day and night she is plotting and thinking about the magnificence of the end product when the curtain will part and her living creation is at center stage. She sacrifices everything including any real marriage to focus on the pathways this child will have to take to reach the very top. This means professionally, socially, financially, etc. If the girl doesn’t look perfect she makes sure there are braces at just the right time. Even some plastic surgery at adolescence to mold the nose or remove tiny shadow under the eyes into a Botticelli beauty. She is constantly after her daughter about her figure. Making sure that she looks perfect at all times, mother is always watching. Every day mother’s wings are flapping around her emerging masterpiece. Of course her daughter must go to the right schools, meet the A list people and become part of their special group. Narcissistic mothers of this variety will mortgage their homes to the hilt to remodel their daughters to suit their delusional grandiosity.

If one daughter does not go along with the transformation project, she will discard her and pick another child. The discarded daughter usually has a hard time because she has lost her mother’s attention and is no longer in a psychological state of her mother’s grace. But those who tough it out can be blessed because they bucked the force of their narcissistic mother’s brainwashing to be forced to be someone else–her mother’s disturbed contorted vision—a series of living masks, not a real person.

When the mission is complete mother engineers a mate for her darling. The right guy must be chosen. This man is the entree for her and her daughter to swim in the precious waters of the elite, to be fully accepted at the highest social levels that hold all of the golden connections. Narcissistic mother is often successful in achieving this. She steers ND in just the right directions. NM goes to the very top—Who is the one who will give mom and daughter a free glorious ride for the rest of their lives? The narcissistic daughter automatically knows how to pursue the partner in waiting and puts him under her control with her womanly powers, her study of this man and his family, her ability to laser focus on him only and her extraordinary guile that have become a finely tuned instrument which she can play anyway she wants. All might appear to be glorious but this is the exterior–a series of highly believable beautiful masks. Beneath them is the highly damaged, psychologically empty real self that has neither voice nor life. This self is unknown to the ND but the projections of rage, extreme entitlement, grandiosity, cruelty, coldness, lack of empathy are always there to psychologically injure others, especially those who dare or are duped into getting close to them.

Narcissistic mothers will always be with us as will narcissistic daughters. Our work is to learn to recognize them in our families, to mourn for the mother we didn’t have, to work through the process of realizing who we really are and to embrace our uniqueness, authenticity, our creative gifts and our capacity for compassion and love.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Freeing Yourself From the Narcissist in Your Lifewill be published in a paperback edition on August 15, 2013.

Narcissistic Parents Raising Over Entitled, Self Absorbed Children

I find it shocking that there are so many narcissistic parents “raising” their children to be discourteous, cruel, self-absorbed brats. I see and hear them in markets, restaurants, libraries, shopping malls in public and private. .

Too many parents are so “busy” creating and maintaining their images of  perfect selves and model families that they are incapable of going deeper within, of introspection, empathy, self psychological regulation and kindness to others. The narcissistic parent is always seizing opportunities to enhance his/her image, to be the winner—regardless of the ruthless manipulations he/she engages in to destroy the opportunities of others in the workplace or within the family. There is a crude greediness that drives so many of these individuals.  They must have the best of every material possession that intrigues them. Their children are not given any real attention or nurturing. They are groomed to be as obnoxious and mindless as their parents. The concept of manners and courtesy and the general consideration that other people actually exist went out the window long ago. Children of these parents are taught to be so competitive that stepping over others to get what you want is perfectly acceptable. Being kind, considerate or empathic is weak, backward and foolish.

Some children of narcissists reject the programing of their narcissistic parents. They know there is something terribly wrong with their mother or father. These children are often the discarded ones, the scapegoats who don’t pass the narcissistic perfection test. They are horribly victimized and humiliated. They are forced to play the role of servant to the family golden child.  Many of these abused children make themselves invisible. They hide whenever they can. They escape into the world of books, become very adept at computers, study their areas of interest and try to keep their lives as private from their parents as possible. They are often derided by the narcissistic parent and the golden child/children. These children are super survivors. They have suffered so horribly under the reign of terror of the narcissistic parent. They are scrappers and make it through with the use of their imaginations, special friends, discovering the mysteries of the world in which they live, immersing themselves in the magic of art and dance.

There are some exceptions to the current narcissistic child rearing trend. Some parents actually take time with their kids, listen to their problems, fears and nightmares, teach them to be considerate of other human beings who don’t point out the flaws of strangers, friends or relatives as many rude kids do today without one blink from the parent who is sitting right beside you. Maybe these people they meet aren’t beautiful or handsome or highly self confident.That is not what is important, their parents tell them. Value the individual for his essence, his true self–that is the message they are given.

When children are cruel or rude to others or to me and their parents don’t register or blink, I point it out succinctly in that moment. The parent sits there mentally absent like an inanimate object. I have repeated my comment to the child and had the parent actually mumble: “Things happen…” What does that mean? Absolutely nothing other than they will not teach their children to be considerate, civil or empathic. I find this lack of sensitivity outrageous and an essential feature of the narcissistic style.

So many of you have chosen to take the more difficult path. Your life has been tough from the beginning. I respect a human being who has been through the mill and returned to tell the tale. I love those who are transparent to themselves and others—They are Genuine.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Freeing Yourself From the Narcissist in Your Life will be published in a paperback edition on August 15, 2013.

Surrounded by Narcissistic Family Members–Finding Your Way

I have had many communications with individuals who grew up encircled by narcissistic family members. Not just mom or dad or sister or brother but the whole bunch. Their life stories of survival under these circumstances are amazing. Many of these survivors didn’t realize until they were much older that their family suffered from this severe personality disorder. They remember being victimized and humiliated and treated like dirt but since they knew nothing else they thought it was normal and to be expected.

Some victims of narcissistic abuse become perfect pleasers. They can and do anticipate exactly what the narcissistic mom or dad wants. If there are narcissistic siblings, they become their servants out of fear and not knowing there are any alternatives than taking this lowly role.  In telling their stories the theme that emerges is that they were always wrong, at fault, criticized constantly and treated without respect or dignity. These children smell psychological danger. They are in a state of apprehension, always waiting for something very bad to happen to them. They  live day and night in a fight or flight mode. They are always on edge. Many become hyper vigilant–metaphorically or literally sleeping with one eye open each night–always on guard duty.

For many members of narcissistic families, it takes a while for the healing to begin. Some marry narcissistic spouses and repeat the destructive cycle that they experienced growing up. Fortunately, they recognize this ongoing destructive pattern of allowing others to control and define them and get off of the narcissistic merry go round that has made them dizzy and kept them from knowing and appreciating their original selves.

After divorcing a narcissist or finally recognizing that several family members are narcissists, there is a time of reckoning when the individual who has been holding the truth and suffered under this psychopathology for many years, begins to speak up for himself and recognize that he/she has value as a separate unique valuable individual.  No longer will he or she be defined by a narcissistic family or narcissistic spouse.

The way of healing and transformations for all of us is lifelong. Once you are on the pathway of discovering your real self, your creative gifts, your deep capacity to love, your invaluable sense of humor, the depths of your experience of beauty in Nature, writing, music, art–wherever you find your joy–keep going there. Hold yourself close and thank the little child inside who has been waiting all of this time for you to recognize, embrace and love him. Trust the great seer of your intuition to guide your journey. Wishing you deep peace and a vital sense of wholeness.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.