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 know of a number of cases, especially during custody disputes when the narcissistic husband (or wife) turns sadistic and gains pleasure and narcissistic supplies by threatening to take your children away from you. In some instances he/she succeeds because he/she has the financial resources and the charm and raw confidence to persuade mediators and judges that he is the better parent. This man or woman doesn’t give a damn about the welfare of your children. He is out for revenge because he gets pleasure from watching you suffer. The narcissist builds a strong case in the role of the “good mother” or “good father.”” He/she spreads lies about you and may even turn your family members against you.
Arm yourself with as much in-depth information as you can about the narcissistic personality. Make sure that you have a very savvy attorney who specializes in family law and is unintimidated going up against the narcissist. He or she will have hired a barracuda of a lawyer who is out to win despite any human cost.
Go into battle fully armed with knowledge about the narcissistic personality. You need to know this person a whole lot better than they know themselves. Take good care of yourself during this process and beyond it. Keep your eye on the prize—getting your life back after the narcissist. Lead the life that you have always deserved—filled with warmth, authenticity, the full use of your creative gifts and the freeing of your spontaneous spirit.
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.
The covert narcissist is the trickiest and most subtle individual to identify as a personality disorder. He or she appears to be impeccable in facade, character, integrity, professional status, values, morals–the list is a long one. You have met many covert narcissists without knowing this. Don’t blame yourself or expect that you would recognize these individuals. It takes a lot of research and deep observation to identify one of these hidden in plain sight toxic people. Many of them wear the robes of holiness and goodness. They are beyond reproach. Often they hold unquestioned authority as members in high standing of spiritual movements or religious organizations. This makes it very difficult to question the true content of their characters. Those who are very powerful and influential covert narcissists in the world are also viewed as “heroes” in many people’s eyes. Don’t be fooled by the titles, degrees, professional training, adulation, prizes, medals, public praise that others receive. For the covert narcissist this is a perfect setting for him or her to get the ego supplies that are so desperately needed to fulfill an extreme sense of self entitlement.
Being married to a covert narcissist the spouse is continually subjected to injected feelings of shame. They might even use the old phrase: “You should be ashamed of yourself.” You say to yourself–”For what?” But beneath the surface you feel on a visceral level that you are wrong and that there is something intrinsically the matter with you. This is a horrible trap. You have no reason to feel shame and to be emotionally burdened by a dreadful lie. The narcissist is bullying you with this powerful cruel projection to control you and make your life a living hell. Those who have a conscience feel shame from time to time. The narcissist does not have a conscience and is shameless. How absurd when you look at this rationally and understand that you have been terribly wronged and treated with complete disrespect.
There is a time of decision when being married to a covert narcissist is no longer an option. The loud siren is going off. “Leave, let go and lead your own life!” Study the narcissistic personality in-depth so that you understand their true nature, including that one who is hiding behind “goodness and “perfection”–the covert lying in the weeds ready to ambush you. Learn to appreciate your true nature, to become more entitled to true respect, to recognize your many creative gifts, to become more acquainted and comfortable with your true self–the authenticity of you as an individual.
“In narcissistic personalities the experience of emptiness is most intense and almost constant…” (Otto Kernberg, Md. clinical expert on the narcissistic personality). “The narcissist’s experience of emotional emptiness is beyond sadness. It is a severe and intractable wounding, a pain…savage and deep. The psychological (inner) landscape of the narcissist is bleak.” (From: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life). This is the narcissist’s unconscious experience of himself. (I use the male pronoun “he” in this post to represent male and female narcissists). As a result the narcissist is a very restless human being, always surveying his external environment for narcissistic supplies: adulation, praise, self indulgence, the company of highly attractive men and women, sexual escapes, the pursuit of material possessions, seeking raw power to control others, manipulation of those whom they experience as competitors.
“The successful narcissist creates an intricate system of positive feedback in the form of friends, associates, partners, spouses—who perpetually fulfill his endless needs.” (From Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life) The narcissist is incapable of having a real relationship with another person. He doesn’t have a relationship with himself. Everything in his life is externalized and the most prized possession of all is the elaborate golden image that he creates and perpetuates all of his life.
Beneath the surface, in the unconscious, molten rage is bubbling. This fury is projected on to others, especially spouses, children, siblings, business associates, etc. The narcissist cannot perceive that this rage is completely inappropriate and harmful to others. He simply spits it out or vomits it forth in a projectile that is highly disturbing and hurtful to its recipients. This is the narcissist’s extreme self loathing in action. The narcissist cannot own any of these unconscious feelings and therefore they are ejected out on to his victims.
When you learn about the dynamics of the narcissistic personality, you have gained knowledge and power. Now you understand what makes them tick, why they react with such venom and why they are constantly searching for narcissistic supplies to fill up the bottomless pit of their psychological emptiness. Learn to detach from the narcissist. Keep your physical distance (if possible since they are very unpleasant to say the least) and maintain your psychological boundaries. You are entitled to respect. You are a separate human being who has intrinsic value, integrity and dignity.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Narcissists are always on the hunt for supply—gratifications of their egos for applause, adulation, worldly power, gorgeous willing, adoring, malleable partners.
If you have been married to a narcissist for decades or a very short time, remember that your “relationship” with this person is up for grabs–expendable. Narcissists are not loyal to anyone but themselves. They are ruthlessly wanton and careless about the feelings of others, even their own children. Children are often used as attractive props that enhance the narcissist’s image and status. After all, if your child is very attractive and has a myriad of talents and capacities, the narcissistic mother or father will have endless bragging rights. This person is incapable of actually loving his/her child. Authentic feelings are not part of the narcissist’s life vocabulary. They tell great stories about their devotion to their spouse and children but this makes for great drama and image enhancement.
Spouses who get out of line by psychologically working to become individuals and separate from the narcissist become the enemy. After all, they are no longer servile–the one who gives the king or queen his crown and scepter.
Even before the divorce it not unlikely that the narcissistic spouse has found your replacement. He or she has already drifted to new sources of psychological supply that will keep his ego fully inflated. There is no sadness or regret about all of those years together. You gave your life to this person. You are shocked and grieving the loss. The narcissist pivots quickly to his next human supply. One partner or spouse is interchangeable with the next. Forget the years, the life experiences, the children you share—None of this matters to the narcissist. He or she may play the part of being upset but that is for the performance in the divorce court to get the best settlement possible for him. It’s a well rehearsed polished act. After all, the narcissist is an excellent actor who fools most people. He has been doing this all of his life.
Protect yourself from your narcissistic spouse by researching this personality structure. Understand their strategies, the way they think–about themselves only–, their ruthlessness and horrendous lack of empathy, chronic lying, duplicity, manipulations, empty promises.
Pay attention to your needs and wishes. Never blame yourself for becoming involved in a marriage with a narcissist. They fool most people all the time–even therapists.
Focus on your life, your talents, your well being and sense of peace. You have been carrying a great burden with this marriage. Now you will live lighter, simpler and discover that you are an incredible individual–so wonderful just as you are.
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.
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.