How Can I Be Sure He’s a Narcissist?

 

Girl in Thought

So you’ve read every online article you can find on Narcissism/Sociopathy/Anti-social Disorder.  You’ve printed them out and made your own Binder Bible, complete with chapters and subtitles.  You know so much about the disorder, you could probably pass the GRE.

All the quizzes, checklists, and worksheets you’ve completed indicate he’s a Narcissist.  Your therapist says he’s a Narcissist.  Your instinct tells you he’s a Narcissist.  Yet, you are not fully convinced.   Maybe, in spite of his horrible childhood and sadistic mistreatment by all seventeen of his Exes, you can love him enough to help him.  Maybe, just maybe, he will soon realize the error of his ways, see how much he loves you, and vow to spend the rest of his life making up for the pain he’s caused you.

Add to that the fact that he has cheated on you numerous times, is gone for long stretches with no explanation, calls you names and refuses to acknowledge how much of a jerk he is.  Or worse, he’s found a new girlfriend, yet keeps you on the side for the occasional romp in the sack.

Is he a Narcissist?  Probably.  Can he change?  Almost certainly not.  At this point, should it really matter if he’s a Narcissist?  No.  What really matters is that, in spite of the incriminating, mounting evidence, you don’t want to let go.  Despite all he’s done to desecrate the relationship you have with him, you still hold out hope.

It doesn’t matter if he’s a Narcissist or not.  What matters is that it’s likely that you are highly codependent.

Why Does it Matter if I’m Codependent?

Most people with codependent traits can get by in life somewhat well and are often very successful.  However, if not treated, it gets worse over time.  It causes perpetual feelings of sadness that never quite go away, with most sufferers living in quiet desperation without ever really knowing why.

Curiously, many codependents aren’t aware of having these traits, often believing themselves to be strong-willed, independent, ambitious, and unwilling to take anyone’s crap.  On the surface, it may not look like codependency, but if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship (such as the one described above), and feel a confusing compulsion to remain in said relationship, it’s likely you are codependent.

According to Robert Burney, author of The Dance of the Wounded Souls:

Codependence is a deadly and fatal disease because of emotional dishonesty and suppression. It breaks our hearts, scrambles our minds, and eventually kills our physical body vehicles because of the Spiritual dis-ease, because of our wounded souls.

The key to healing our wounded souls is to get clear and honest in our emotional process. Until we can get clear and honest with our human emotional responses – until we change the twisted, distorted, negative perspectives and reactions to our human emotions that are a result of having been born into, and grown up in, a dysfunctional, emotionally repressive, Spiritually hostile environment – we cannot get clearly in touch with the level of emotional energy that is Truth. We cannot get clearly in touch with and reconnected to our Spiritual Self.”

It Doesn’t Matter Whether or Not He’s a Narcissist

What matters is that you are not being treated the way you deserve.  What matters is that your love and patience will never be appreciated…but exploited repeatedly.  He will never regret what he’s done, nor will he ever make good on it.  In fact, he will continue to blame you for all of his indiscretions and rage attacks, making you feel even worse about yourself, and turning your codependency into a sickness that will eventually ruin you (and your children, if any are involved).

Stop holding out hope.  Stop researching his disorder in hopes of finding some loophole that points to his possible recovery.  Stop forgiving the unforgiveable.

Go No Contact.  If you share children, start planning your escape and visit a divorce attorney.  And whatever you do, don’t agree to remain “friends”.  That’s Narc-speak for keeping you in his queue of bedroom buddies.

Your new life is waiting for you.  All it takes is the decision to honor your right to happiness.

**I use the pronoun “he” for ease of reading.  However, female Narcissists can be every bit as sadistic as the male ones, and look prettier doing it.  

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INNER CHILD THERAPY: TAKE YOURSELF IN YOUR ARMS!

by Dr. Nicholas Jenner

The powerful experience that is inner child therapy often opens doors that have been closed for many years. This process brings understanding of what was, bringing clarity to what is and can be. Being in contact with our inner child who has been abused is especially hard due mainly to the coping mechanisms and survival tactics that were put in place. However, working through this can be an exhilarating experience.

When we think about child abuse, our thoughts often stop at sexual abuse of minors. However, the term child abuse, often replaced by child maltreatment, has a broad spectrum of definition. The WHO defines it as follows :

“Child maltreatment, sometimes referred to as child abuse and neglect, includes all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development or dignity. Within this broad definition, five subtypes can be distinguished – physical abuse; sexual abuse; neglect and negligent treatment; emotional abuse; and exploitation”.

Reliable statistics on global child abuse are difficult to come by but most reports highlight an increase in the last 25 years, especially in developed countries. Anyone who has been through and survived child abuse will identify with the emotional scars that are etched on the personality of the resulting adult, causing pain and turmoil and making relationships and intimacy difficult.

One of the unfortunate consequences of child abuse is alienation from the „child within”. That is the normal development of a child, emotionally and physically. This alienated child is subdued by constantly being told that it is unlovable and unworthy. Many survivors of child abuse tell of a feeling of disbelief that anyone could possibly love them and mistrusted their own feelings, unable to come to terms with them. Linda Sanford in her inspiring book “Strong at Broken Places”  gives us a relevant example in the story of George who was abused constantly by his drunken mother for what were essentially normal childhood activities.

George also provides evidence that the “child within” can be replaced by the „parent within”. This term describes a situation where the child, despite chronic physical, sexual and emotional abuse takes on a parenting role for the parent, nursing and looking after them in the way it should be done in reverse. These parents generally show a hatred for the inner child of their offspring and consolidated by their behavior, try to subdue it for their own purposes. This is the point where the “child within” with all the characteristics of normal development is replaced by the responsible “parent within”.  The author describes this change as “putting on a winter coat” to protect themselves from abuse, this coat no longer fitting in adulthood. This is often the case with parents who were alcoholics or addicted to drugs and other substances.  .

According to Sanford’s research, this process appeared to be consciously initiated by the children with the thought in mind that if I look after my abusive parent, they will come to need me and love me and the abuse will stop. Unfortunately, this was not the case and in most of the stories cited, the abuse continued or got worse.  Sandford says that such children often gain respect as adults for worthy and successful careers without themselves really knowing why or accepting that it could be anything to do with their own abilities. The child within can, however never be really totally subdued and can resurface at any time, often in adulthood in specific behavior and by complicating relationships. When a child becomes the “parent”, he or she sacrifices part of themselves to please the abusive parent. It is often the positive characteristics of the child that the abusive parents resent the most, such as intelligence and special skills. Seeing the child, reminds them of their own inadequacies. These positive characteristics are often used to get on in life, find a good job and be successful but the emotional side of the ‘child within” remains underdeveloped.

Sanford quotes Tom Robbins in her book when she says “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood”. Many of the survivors have realized that  they must be reunited with their “child within” if they are to rectify the past. Some find it hard to “parent” the child within with the same effectiveness that they “parented “their parents. While some used this “lack of a child within” to justify irrational behavior, others have gone on to become “good enough” parents to themselves by opening themselves up to others who then cater for the needs of the adult and the “child within” replacing some of the things lost in childhood. Sanford says that a healing process must take place, similar to recovery from grief. On one level, this would mean coming to terms with what happened followed by a deeper, more meaningful realization of how awful the trauma was, a process of mourning. Through this, the body can be “reawakened” and the “child within” reunited with the parent within. Survivors who had been through this process talked of a “life change“, bringing new spontaneity and excitement into their life.  As Sanford says at the end of her book, we often look for hope and intimacy outside ourselves without ever “taking ourselves in our own arms”.

Dr. JennerDr. Nicholas Jenner is a counseling psychologist in private practice working with individuals, couples, groups and companies. Apart from seeing clients face-to-face, Dr Jenner also runs a thriving online therapy business bringing help to those who are housebound or located in rural locations where therapy is difficult to find.  To book an appointment with Dr. Jenner, click here.

Why is No Contact So Hard?

Talk to the Hand

Everyone who has been involved with a Narcissist experiences this contradiction of logic.  Severing the relationship with a disordered personality should be a no-brainer, right?  Yet it seems no matter how much our cognitive brain understands the benefit of leaving such a person, we participate in a metaphorical self-flagellation, allowing the abuser back into our lives over and over again, creating even deeper wounds to our psyche due to the sadistic nature of being intimately involved with an emotional abuser.

It doesn’t help that the Narcissist repeatedly shows up via phone, email, or in person… dressed as Mr. or Ms. Nice Guy, future faking and giving you the impression that they have long-term plans for the relationship, all while squeezing out a crocodile tear.  Then, if we attempt to stay strong, we are criticized and condemned, accused of being selfish, and subjected to guilt trips that would make a Viking warrior surrender. This is the blue-print of the relationship between a Narcissist and a Codependent.

(If you’ve implemented NC in its true form, you wouldn’t have to deal with the Narcissists occasional trick-or-treat excursions).

Codependents spend their days trying to get from morning to evening with as little drama as possible.  They minimize the abuse, hang onto magical thinking, and come to depend on the Narcissist for their confidence and self-esteem.  They are unable to end the relationship because they want to hear the Narcissist say, “I didn’t really mean those things I said.  I know I told you that you are unattractive, worthless, trashy, and that no one could possibly love you.  But, none of those things are true.  You’re smart, attractive, and successful.  Anyone would be lucky to have you.”

Codependents crave closure and without it, they stay stuck in the moment, ruminating on their abuser’s accusations; letting the Narcissist return repeatedly, hoping to get their approval.  Any decent human being would feel some element of remorse and apologize, right?  Maybe even admit they said those things in a moment of anger and didn’t mean them?  The Narcissist will not only re-emphasize that they meant it, but that those things still hold true, widening the void that is the Codependent’s lack of self-love and self-esteem.

This is one’s Inner Child resurfacing, desperately seeking love and acceptance.  Codependents are caught in a cycle of re-creating their childhood patterns in an effort to resolve the memory of not feeling loved; aching for their abuser to wrap their arms around them and tell them they are precious.  Searching for gentle, nurturing words to make the pain go away (the pain the abuser caused)… so that they can go back into the world feeling safe and confident.  They try to reclaim the innocent, trusting person they were before they met the Narcissist.

If this sounds like you, watch the video below to see if you have any of the signs of being codependent.

Codependency Test:  Are You a Codependent?

Keep in mind that many people are codependents and don’t realize it.Some believe their childhood was okay because their parents provided food and shelter and didn’t use physical abuse.  But those are not the only indicators of a painful childhood.  Perhaps your father is a Doctor or CEO who provided all the trimmings, but was always absent in your life, or maybe nothing you did was ever good enough.  Perhaps you had a teacher who made you feel inferior, below-average in intelligence, and perhaps ridiculed you in front of your classmates.  Maybe your primary caregiver was in the military and you had to stay with a family member who had their own children and you always came last when attention was being rationed out.  Any of these events can result in childhood wounds that may cause an individual to develop codependent traits.

The reason No Contact is so hard is because it’s essentially the first attempt at recovering from codependency.  It involves establishing boundaries, accepting there will be backlash from the Narcissist (guilt trips, shaming and blaming, character attacks, etc.), physical and emotional cravings, and accepting that other relationships may possibly be lost.  It’s not only the severing of a toxic relationship, but the start of a new lifestyle.

Did you discover you were a codependent and have a success story to share?  Please do so in the comment box below!

Looming Over Me: Control Games

~by Verity~

You stand, cup of coffee in hand, towering over me, refusing to sit down, too close, your face set in the familiar jaw-jutting meanness.

I try to keep calm – although you are bigger and stronger than I, and I DO feel frozen with fear – because I don’t want this to flare into nastiness.

But when I suggest you might sit down, you glare at me and say, ‘I don’t WANT to…’

Of course you don’t: You have very quickly established your physical superiority over me, and would not wish to forego that big advantage.

But stand up to you, or back down, nothing I do makes any difference.

You say what you say, spite oozing through the thin hole you will allow others to see in your perfect reflection.

It is, you claim, ABOUT MONEY – but I know, for it is obvious, that the usual seething anger is at work here, and that I am being punished, controlled, for something else.

You quiz me on recent purchases, and then, when I do not answer you speedily enough, copy them out on a sheet of paper and present it to me, expecting, I suspect, an apology.

It deteriorates from there, with you suggesting a formal split up of our finances – and making poisonous little cracks about all manner of things.

Shaken to the core, and so scared I can barely breathe, I skip rehearsal and drive, drive, drive, beneath a beautiful half-moon, near to places which soothe, feeling a safety in the inky blackness of narrow country lanes which is absent from home.

I come to rest in a lay-by. Hemmed in between giant resting lorries and couples courting in Cortinas, mediaeval music on the radio, I bend my head forward over the steering wheel and give way to tears.

I do not know what to do. Then or now.

The friend who makes contact stems the blood of wounded panic, and gives me the respite plaster of laughter and care.

I flag the conversation up today – because, for all the controlling games, you have brought up a subject of mutual concern, and it is, after all, only decent, to honour that uneasy thread, to try to give some kind of an answer. We DO spend too much money. That is a fair comment. But the malice and emotional blackmail behind your approach is NOT fair.

You play games from the start: Wanting, initially, to talk to me from the next room (shout, more like, since you have hearing problems), you then come in, sullenly, and stand once more, leaning over me.

When I express my concern about this, you grab a chair higher than mine, with angry bad grace, and position it so that you are far too close for comfort – and are, once again, in the dominant position.

I am so afraid I can hardly breathe; so afraid, in fact, that I become light-headed. I feel tiny and threatened. I want to cry more than you will ever know, more than I can risk telling you.

I cry now because it is so sad that even my tears are used against me. That they become a pawn in the sick chess game of our marriage.

I cry because you know exactly how to frighten me – and have no compunction about using those specialised ‘skills‘ in order to subdue me.

When I tell you that I feel intimidated, you say, ‘So you say,’ and then, ‘As usual…’ – and refuse to back off.

You, as ever, misinterpret my fear for defiance and ask, nastily, ‘What’s with the Death Stare?’

You behave like an angry ten-year old. As always. Once I had compassion for that stuck, hurt little boy, bereft of a parent at age ten – but you will not seek any kind of help, nor will you admit that your behaviour has a serious effect upon others.

But you are NOT ten; you are over sixty, and big and frightening. You are a fully grown man, not a little boy – and your need to emotionally blackmail and terrify, bully and intimidate me is, at times, out of control. Perhaps because you fear – rightly – that I could slip out of your control after all these decades.

You project it all on to me, the way you always have, slipping nasty little hints into the conversation, accusing me of wanting everything my own way; accusing me of living life in a constant state of ‘Fuck you!‘ directed at you and the children. You tacitly accuse me of neglecting them, of being completely selfish.

And, when I point out that you do your own things too – and that I think this is about more than just money – you get sarcastic and childish and walk out, terminating the conversation.

As usual.

And I, despite knowing that I AM safe to seek sanctuary with friends, am too afraid to leave my room – because, if I do, you will use it against me, throw the accusatory rocks at me once more, involve the youngsters one way or another.

As usual.

Or you will bank your rage, try to cover it all over with specious charm – and then go for the jugular at a later date.

He is the Lie…From Hello to Goodbye

He is the lie, from hello to good-bye.

I love you to I hate you. You’re beautiful to you’re ugly.

It was all a lie.

And I have no room in my life today for lies.

When friends or my family ask, but what about this, or what about that, I tell them. It was all a lie. There was no truth in him.

If I spend my time trying to figure out fact from fiction, all I am doing is trying to prove — I wasn’t so stupid. See, this was true. That’s why I fell in love with him.

Truth is. I fell in love with him because I believed his lie.

When I discovered the truth, I was so enmeshed in his lie, I couldn’t find the truth in me. And so I sank.

He did a lot of horrible, terrorizing things to ensure I stayed hooked into his lies.

In accepting the truth, that what he did was based on lies, I am able to accept that the hooks are also lies — and in that truth comes the power to let them go.

Every so often he’ll sneak up into the back pockets of my mind and settle in for a little visit.

That’s when I have to turn up for me and say, go away. There is nothing in you I believe in. Everything in me I do.

And when the tears and fears and sorrow become too great, I simply breathe, look up into the sky and see once again the limitless possibilities of my life today.

~  M.L. Gallagher – Author of The Dandelion Spirit

Retribution Through Desecration of Your Spirit is not Your Destiny

 

holy-spirit-dove

I’ve read countless testimonies of narcissistic abuse victims indicating their belief that their situation is retribution for past sins.  This false belief can occur during any and all stages of abuse.  It happens because their abuser tells them so, because of the abuser’s subtle suggestions, and/or because the victim’s low self-esteem creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Many victims stay in their abusive environment believing they are somehow gaining salvation through “deserved” punishment.

Your abuse and suffering is not God’s will – but due to someone else’s sin.  God does not want this and He suffers with you. He has wept with you and for you. In the case of marriage, some individuals take verses of the Bible out of context (i.e., (John 13:34, Ephesians 5:21), believing that they have to submit themselves blindly to their spouse in order to receive God’s grace and love, even in cases of abuse.  This is simply not God’s will, and if the abuse continues without signs of stopping, God will understand your wish for a divorce.

Religion aside, many victims autonomously believe they deserve their punishment, aware of mistakes they committed in the past, and stay in an abusive relationship as a form of self-retribution.

If you’re reading this now, and you are keeping yourself in an abusive relationship because you believe you deserve it, you are mistaken.  I don’t know what your past consists of or why you might believe you deserve to be abused, but if this resonates with you, you need to forgive yourself.  You may feel unloved by people in your life, but that doesn’t mean you, as a person, are unlovable.  People act the way they do because of how they feel about themselves, not because of who you are.  You need to start loving yourself the way you deserve to be loved. We may make mistakes, but that doesn’t make us bad people.  There are only bad choices…ones that can usually be rectified.

Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around.  Stop regretting your past and do something to change in this moment.  This priceless moment in which you are living and breathing.  Retribution can be achieved through love…beginning with accepting and loving yourself.

every-passing-minute

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Practice Mindfulness – “Waves Hitting Canoe” Sound Therapy Meditation

 

The power to heal – Benefits of Sound Therapy

Just as experiencing stress can have harmful effects on the body, relieving stress can produce beneficial ones. Research has shown a strong link between the relaxation response—which is activated when the mind enters a meditative state—and actual physiological changes associated with sound physical and emotional health. The deeper the state of meditation, the more profound the healing.

 

 

Narcissistic Ex Loves New Wife More

black-woman-confused1

One of the biggest struggles when detaching from an abusive relationship with a Narcissist is the perception that he or she loves their new partner more.  In fact, it enhances feelings of low self-esteem in the former victim so drastically, that many never fully recover, regardless of how much therapy they receive.

Why?  Because of erroneous thinking that originated during childhood and escalated with the Narcissist’s insidious conditioning which began right after the love-bombing stage and grew increasingly worse during the devalue and discard stages.

What do you mean by erroneous thinking? 

When you first met the Narcissist, he or she spent a great deal of time observing you and your thoughts, doubts, insecurities, and weaknesses.  They may have mirrored those feelings in an attempt to give you a feeling of closeness and comradery.  You finally felt accepted, believing you’d found a partner who would love you unconditionally, until…

Once they determined you were in love with them the novelty wore off and they became bored.  This boredom caused them to begin looking for so-called flaws in you.  Since none were readily apparent, they fell back to the struggles you shared with them during moments of “intimacy and kindredness”.  This often happens after you begin to notice inconsistencies in their behavior, which forces them to attack you, taking the focus off of them and their inability to keep up the charade.

Narcissists don’t know love, so your attempt at trying to solve problems in the relationship comes across to them as a personal attack.  They resolve to beat you to the punch.  Thus begins the devalue stage, and is usually when they begin searching for a new target.  However, accepting a grain of accountability would throw off their false persona, so the new driving force in their life is to make YOU believe you’re the reason for their withdrawing their love and affection.  Enter your previous confessions of insecurity and feeling betrayed in the past by friends, family, and/or ex-lovers.

Okay, but still waiting for the erroneous thinking part…

In the context of your believing the Narcissist has chosen a new lover because you’re not good enough, it’s important to rely on facts as opposed to what your abuser says.  He or she is simply exploiting your emotional wounds, most of which likely developed during childhood (which is often out of our conscious awareness) and/or as a result of an emotionally traumatizing event (such as previous emotional abuse).  These wounds typically manifest in the following ways:

  • Heightened fear of abandonment
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Inability to process strong emotions
  • Inability to trust other people
  • Perpetually being in “fight-or-flight” mode
  • Being triggered by random stimuli that you subconsciously associate with a traumatic memory

These symptoms are rooted in false beliefs one has about their worth based on past emotional trauma and are the reason you feel less-than.  These feelings are then intensified by the Narcissist’s cruel interjections that their new partner is better than you.  However, I like to point out that most everything the Narcissist says is a lie, including the comments they make during attacks on your character and appearance.  However, because we’ve internalized harmful messages about who we are from a young age, it’s easy to believe the Narcissist when they deal devastating verbal blows.

Part of healing from Narcissistic abuse includes reframing your beliefs based on reality rather than limiting beliefs you may hold based on how you’ve been treated.  Just because the Narcissist says you’re unattractive or unworthy of respect doesn’t make it true.  These are erroneous beliefs we hold due to negative conditioning, or our internalized story of self.

Erroneous thinking examined

I work with victims of Narcissistic abuse every day.  The things I’ve observed about them are in direct contrast to what they often believe about themselves.  People who reach out to me often feel unattractive, unsuccessful, and hopeless.  The fact of the matter is they’re all very attractive, successful, accomplished, outgoing individuals.  They simply have a faulty belief system.

Replacing old emotional habits with healthier ways of thinking, feeling, behaving, and relating to others begins with taking control of your emotional health.  A great way to start is by taking steps to heal your inner child, who has suffered greatly as a result of your relationship with the Narcissist.

Five-Step Program for Taming Overpowering Stress and Emotions

Psychological Self-Help – Recognize Unconscious Forces

In closing, your Ex doesn’t love the new girlfriend/fiancé more.  It’s important to understood that his leaving you was likely due to your discovery of his false image and not anything related to you.  Additionally, it’s important to remember that the new partner is being love-bombed by the Narcissist, otherwise she wouldn’t willingly enter into a relationship with them.  Moreover, you should acknowledge you are enough…just the way you are.  But, you have to believe it.

Let Me Reach – Group Coaching

 

Dear Readers and Followers,

“Group Coaching continues to increase in popularity for coaches and clients alike. Group coaching brings the coaching conversation into a small group context. It is an intimate conversation space, focused on goal setting, deepening awareness around key issues, taking action, and accountability.

Group coaching clients benefit from the peer learning with others, commonly referred to as the collective wisdom of the group. This peer learning is often as important as the interaction with the coach. Many clients find the process “less on the spot”, giving them more time to reflect and integrate their insights.” **

Let Me Reach will be implementing a group coaching program in order to offer alternate pricing options and to foster a community feel for those who may be uncomfortable with one-on-one coaching.  I am offering a poll to get ideas on timing.  If you are interested in group coaching, please participate in the poll and indicate which time frame would be convenient for you.

 

**thecoachingtoolscompany.com

A Matter of Love…or Cake?

foodsthatmakeyouhappy

I hear it all the time…

My Narcissist broke up with me two months (or two years) ago, but even though he/she has a new partner, they want to stay friends and see me on the down low”.

Yes, the Narcissist continues to see their break-up partner…in intimate ways.  Very, very intimate ways.  All under the guise of, “I know I have a new girlfriend/boyfriend/fiance/spouse, but I still love you”, or “Hey, let’s be friends”, or the all-time classic “Everybody cheats”.

This is really nothing more than a strategic move where the Narcissist paves the way for…

A renewed relationship?  No.

Second chances?  No.

Rekindling the love?  No.

The true answer?  “Friends” with benefits…with you, her, him, and them, ergo a lot of cake-eating.

Seriously, do any of your other friends tell you how worthless you are?  That no one would touch you with a ten-foot pole? Continuously cheat on you?  Would your friends take advantage of you financially or try their best to make you feel like dirt under their shoe…then take a big bite of cake, pretending that nothing dubious is going on?

No, that’s not what friends do.  Therefore, the process of elimination should establish that the Narcissist is not your friend.

They just really like cake.  All kinds of cake.  The best thing you can do?  Stop supplying cake…

ruined cake