Tag Archive | Narcissism

The Child of the Narcissist

(Originally published May 2011)

Sometimes I get ideas in my head and know that I must get up and type; otherwise I will never get to sleep.  Having been one of these children and having recently had very moving conversations with another person who also felt this dread, I knew I must write about it.  As a therapist, I feel responsible for airing out all those things which give us torment, so that we have a place to share, cry, and be heard.  For having a parent who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you do not get the chance to do so.

A child who grows up with a parent who has NPD, has no parent at all.  In fact, they have no self as well.  The child’s life is consumed with pleasing the parent in a way that no other child, not sharing the same type of parent, can understand.  Your childhood revolves around this parent.  The opposite parent must revolve around the NPD spouse.  Your needs and wants must be that of the parent with NPD.

If there is more than one child, one will inevitably be the scapegoat.  You know who you are.  The one who takes the blame for everything because the NPD parent will not.  Someone must be at fault for ruining their life.  Another child will invariably be the rescuer for this parent and they are the prodigal child.  This is the one who does all that was intended, perfectly and in the order presented by this parent.  There can also be a child who will have dependent personality disorder.   This is the one who will need the parent for anything and everything because they are so challenged by life and the NPD parent will gladly be needed for their mercy.  Someone who needs the Narcissist to be at their beck and call, is exactly what they want.  The NPD imagines in their head that their brood should be around them at all times, because you are incapable of living your life without them.  This is the bird that does not kick the chicks out of the nest because it does not want them to fly.

Thus, if the child of the NPD is capable of getting away and growing up once and for all, they are the enemy to this parent.  No one is allowed to leave the NPD’s kingdom unless it is to do their bidding.  Most survivors whom I have known are those who have had to push away this parent.  Yet even still they live with the lifelong feelings of insecurity and the threat of a phone call which could come at any time – lest you forget the NPD parent is still alive.  A call which will put all your time in therapy to shame, as you are ridiculed and punished once more for anything that they happen to make up.

Unfortunately, I do not know of any Narcissistic parent who was capable of going into therapy and there is no medication for this mental illness.  Why should they go to therapy when it is your fault after all?  At the same time, therapists couches are filled with the children of the Narcissist; most especially the scapegoats.  Children who cling to the hope that their problems will be cured so that for once in their life, the NPD parent will love, respect and be able to have a conversation with them.  The bottom line that we all must realize is that the NPD parent will never change.  Only you can and then you have to figure out how to be in the same room with this person, with your head held high.  It is a lesson in reclaiming your power, even though the abuser will never leave your life.

Tips (for the Scapegoat): Find what works for you.  The answer is not the same for everyone.

1. Tell this person not to talk to you unless they can say something nice.  Be strong when setting this boundary.  Don’t get caught up in their sarcastic or overly dramatic response.  They have loose boundaries, so you must set high standards to preserve your own.

2. Don’t expect to talk for more than 5 minute sound bites, because they aren’t listening to you anyway.

3. Try to stay out of their way – if you can, don’t attend functions where they are present (unless you absolutely have to).  You don’t want to boycott your whole family either.

4. Forget trying to discuss your therapy sessions and what you’ve learned.  Remember, they aren’t listening anyway.  Don’t bring up the past, it is pointless because it had nothing to do with them.  They were there as an innocent bystander.

5.  Whenever you start thinking about them in your head, start whistling a happy tune.  If you think, you will begin punishing yourself as you remember all the “bad” things they said you did.  You will take yourself down and beat yourself up emotionally.  If you can whistle, you switch focus in your mind and soon forget what you were thinking. If meditating and their voice comes in, tap your feet, put on music, do something to re-focus and think of something else.  It takes time to re-program your mind.

6. Do get into therapy, tell your therapist about your NPD parent.  Learn to meditate, take exercise classes, eat healthy, drink plenty of water. Pamper yourself with massage and other holistic treatments.  Get so focused on yourself that you look and feel good, which will make you strong.

7. If you fail to do at least #6 let me give you a warning – you will end up finding yourself in abusive relationships whether at the office, the home, or amongst the people who surround you.  You have to reclaim your power or be a doormat, or punching bag forever.

8. For young people and adults – it can be helpful to get to know older people who are in your life and whom you can talk to.  This is like creating a surrogate parent.  Everyone does need a parent.  Young people can talk to guidance counselors, grandparents, aunts/uncles, friends of family, whomever seems to take a healthy interest in you.  Adults you can do the same – get to know those people in the family who might have been staying away from the same person you are having problems with.

If you are reading this and you are still a young person, you have my sympathies.  Do the best you can to follow the tips above and remember – it isn’t you, you are not a bad person.  You may make mistakes – all kids do. If you are reading this and you are an adult, remember that – you are an adult and you are free to make choices in your life.  Don’t let them control you and tell you what to do.  You are not an adult child and you must take responsibility for your life.  Of course whatever you do will be wrong (to them), but you must keep in mind that what you are doing is for you, it is your life and you can’t blame anyone for your adult choices but yourself.  Let them go, move forward and keep your distance.

Over time, you will begin to heal and make a life for yourself.  There will be setbacks now and then when you have to be in their life.  You have a mentally unhealthy parent and this comes with the territory.  The only person you can change is yourself and if you are strong and set your boundaries – you won’t get a parent but they will leave you in peace.

Now you can read Part Two of The Child of the Narcissist

And purchase the CD: The Child of the Narcissist: Guided Meditations for Healing

Now Available on Download too!

CD Cover

Addition 7/28/12: I found a good book that I want to add to this article. “Will I Ever be Good Enough” by Dr. Karyl McBride. Lots of good case studies to think about.

He Never Says He is Sorry, an article I wrote later about being in a relationship with a Narcissist.

Angry Daughter, Narcissistic Mother written on 1/11/14, is a review of the movie August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.

Advertisements

Signs of Collective Narcissism

This is a really good article about collective narcissism and something we all need to be conscious of – that it exists. I believe this is the reason a lot of young women (and older women) are turned off by the term feminists. It is why so many people feel it is difficult to stand behind any party. It is very funny because you have to be careful who you are calling a “Narcissist.”

MakeItUltra™

By Eric C., MA., PhD-c | Clinical Psychology

Audio version available | Click here


“In the final analysis I believe in man in spite of men.” ~Elie Wiesel

I recall as a young boy thinking of girls as alien beings inhabiting the same planet but playing by a whole different set of rules. They were seen as the enemy and I was convinced that boys were superior to girls. I recall my sister arguing that boys had cooties and that girls rule. I believe she won that argument. Without awareness, we were taking part in collective narcissism. Collective narcissism, also known as group narcissism, is a type of narcissism where an individual has an inflated self-love for their in-group. The individual will see his or her group as superior to all other groups and it may function as a narcissistic entity. At that point of my young life, my sister…

View original post 755 more words

The Girl on the Train or The Wife of the Narcissist

“I am not the girl I used to be,” the beginning and the ending of the movie, somewhat like a poem. In between is the passion, frustration, and anger; all building toward self-awareness.

The Girl on the Train is about the lives of three women who are joined together directly and indirectly through one man. They are all involved with a narcissist. What is clever about this movie is that the director takes you on a long journey; giving you a chance to get to know these women but only their interpretations of what they believe is the truth. When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you are made to believe that you are the one causing all the problems. The narcissist causes you to feel as if you are walking on eggshells, that you are going crazy. Your reality becomes distorted as a result. In this movie, the woman is an alcoholic so this of course makes it very easy to assume she is the bad person.

Naturally the movie shows us a bad therapist, which is sad, but in this case it is just continuing to lead us down a tunnel of wrong turns. In fact, two of the three men in the movie are false assumptions and the guilty party seems like a good guy at first. That is the makings of a good suspense. In reality though, the narcissistic man often seems like the good guy. He comes across as very appealing, sexy, responsible, a good provider. So in a sense the director was doing his/her job of turning the audience into a victim of the movie. When they finally present the truth, it is done through a scene where the alcoholic has the courage to humble herself in front of another. Meeting up with a woman on the train whose party she had attended, blacked out and created a scene. After making amends, the woman is able to tell her what really happened and suddenly she is able to wake up and trust her instincts (not her perceived reality) for the first time.

Armed with that small dose of reality, she begins to re-build her sense of self. She revisits other scenes from her life and is able to remember what actually happened, not what she was made to believe happened. Stupidly, but then we all are, she confronts her emotional tormentor with the truth. A narcissist confronted is a very dangerous thing to do because they are unable to confront the truth. Naturally, victims often believe that they are doing the right thing by standing up for themselves and trying to make sense of things with the abuser. This is the nice person wanting to give the bad person a chance to apologize, to come clean and admit to the truth. Make sense of your reality on your own, you can’t try to get them to make sense of things because their life is pathological. They get rid of what is in the way; they detach themselves so far from reality that they are incapable of self-awareness. Instead of trying to make sense of why they do the things they do, learn from the experience and become a stronger person. However, The Girl on the Train is a movie, not real life. As it is not a nice new age storyline, with Louise Hay giving us an affirmation at the end and everyone doing yoga, it has to end with something violent and more to the point.

It has to end with women cheering in the audience. The bad guy has been assaulted and we can all go home feeling relieved that justice was served. Of course, in real life, this doesn’t happen. In real life I doubt that the other woman would have stood up for her either but it is possible. I think what might have really happened is that the wife would have defended her husband. In reality, the alcoholic finally made peace with herself. The other woman was just beginning.

The ending of this film shows the alcoholic probably in recovery; for real this time. She has symbolically moved to the other side of the train because she is ready to move past her trauma and move forward in her life. We look at the ending but don’t realize that the truth is so easy. Taking that step forward by sitting in a different chair, looking out a different window, getting a new job and just letting go, which is what everyone wants us to do. It is simple for someone who is facing a small problem. When the victims psyche has been wounded at a depth such as this, they become glued to the chair and cannot get up. Thus they force themselves to try and make sense of reality because their instincts are telling them there is just something not right about what they assume is the truth. Trusting your instincts can become a task when you have begun to give your power to someone else.

Emotional abuse is ABUSE. Living in a nice neighborhood and being married to a man with money, does not make it okay to be emotionally abused. Emotional abuse is Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence does not mean you have to ALSO be physically or sexually attacked for it to be named as such. So many women are victims of emotional abuse alone and are surprised to hear they are living in a domestic violence type relationship. They often feel unworthy because they have not been hit. Unfortunately, the physical abuse can happen, the longer you stay and where there is emotional abuse, often there is sexual abuse as well. If you are being pushed into acts of sex that are unwelcome, uncomfortable, unwanted, than this would be sexual abuse.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.

Libs vs. Cons and Social Media

Our society has continued to go on a downward spiral as a result of Social Media. For all it is worth, it is mainly used to take advantage and destroy others. This is because anyone and everyone can make their opinions known and you can’t do anything about it. As a result of this groups of people are gaining more and more power and are using it to destroy rather than to help other people. Both the Liberals and Conservatives take this to mean that they can use Social Media as they wish. Whoever gets the most likes wins!

Sadly this has destroyed our country and no doubt has destroyed other countries as well. Instead of having intellectual discussions on the Internet, which it could certainly be used for one can be attacked for saying the nicest of things. Steve Martin, a comedian, known for making people laugh was destroyed by Social Media because he made a nice comment in regards to the memory of Carrie Fisher. When comedian Robin Williams died, his family was attacked because of their outrage over his choice of exit.

The Liberals are now on the attack, because a Republican is in the White House and this makes people feel threatened from all walks of life. If you don’t think like they think you are bad and should be shunned. Recently the Mexican-Americans decided to do a standoff, to show their outrage to President Trump in regard to his views about illegal immigration and the “Wall” on their border. Naturally they have a right to be scared and concerned about some of their fellow people. However they forced other Mexicans to close their restaurants whether they wanted to or not and this is gang mentality (I have also heard of this tactic used in communist countries). It is not an encouraging or empowering way to think. It certainly does not have anything to do with Freedom of Speech or living in a democracy and having the right to your opinion. Having been a patron to several local establishments, I learned that restaurants were being attacked on Facebook. The attackers went in search of establishments, taking photos of those who chose to remain open and then blacklisting them online and telling people not to eat at their restaurants. The people I spoke to said they felt afraid as did some of their compadres locally that they spoke to. They closed because they were forced to, not because they wanted to.

The fashion industry mavens now think they have a right to pull Trump clothing lines and avoid his daughter at a fashion show. Who listens to the fashion industry for political advice? When I look at Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, I am looking at clothing and how to wear my scarf or part my hair. I am certainly not buying these magazines to challenge any philosophical views as they are about dressing women and men, that is all. The fashion industry has never really been about politics. They use the current events to determine fashion trends and how they will design clothing but not to tell people how to think outside of buttoning your coat. As my first degree is from FIDM, (aka The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) I never once studied anything about politics during my term there in Los Angeles. I did study current events though and how this effected change in fashion over the years.

I also read both of Stanley Marcus’s memoirs, the son of the founder of Neiman-Marcus and went on to head this elegant family business before selling out to Carter-Hawley Hale in the 80’s. Mr. Marcus (A Jewish businessman), was a huge fan of Coco Chanel because he knew that her clothing lines were going to be legendary and he had an eye for quality and taste. Perhaps he was disturbed to hear that she was known to collaborate with the Nazis, during WWII. I am sure he was also disturbed to hear that she underbid a Jewish businessman trying to flee the country, who had to take what he got for his building and store. Yet Mr. Marcus did not get his political feelings in the way of selling products in his store. He knew this was not good business sense. Just like you have separation of church and country, you also have to separate personal feelings from running a business. Otherwise, open a non-profit that is based on making change in the country. Unfortunately, Nordstrom and Burlington have decided that they should share their political views with the world and have pulled the Ivanka Trump lines. This shows that they are not about business; they have decided to put their own political views as the headliner to their store. Who made this decision? Did all executives and employees agree with this? It is a corporation not a one man show. Will they next tell employees how they should vote in an election or they will be fired?

My stepfather lived in a communist country and it is the reason he left in 1956. You can read many historical novels that talk about life in these countries and how people are treated. I saw a documentary about China once where there were “grandmothers” assigned to report people who had a second pregnancy (in their one child only policy), they were then forced to have abortions. My cousin fled Hungary in 1987 (via Germany) because he was tired of dealing with the communist regime and fighting for his rights to have a home and other essentials. He told me that life in a communist country means you have to hide behind closed doors to talk to one another and be very, very, careful whom you talk with. In Russia, people go to Siberia for speaking out openly, or they disappear. 

This is what we are turning into.

What is rather strange to me, more than anything is all this talk of moving to Canada, the same bark that was heard when President George W. Bush won the election in 2001. Moving to Canada is hardly the easiest place to “move to.” I myself looked into this years ago because I thought about living there. I was fascinated with the idea of living in another country and chose Canada or England. Both were extremely difficult places to just get up and move to and friends talked me out of it for various reasons. Yet, this seems to be the liberal motto whenever a Republican wins as president. It is hard to take it seriously when I have heard this before and they are still here. However, young people are ignorant of the past and become scared when they hear people say they are fleeing the country.

It is also very strange to hear that President Trump is a “narcissist” as if this is unusual for a CEO or a President or anyone in power at whatever type of organization or government agency. Someone asked me on Twitter if I was afraid of this. I asked him if he was afraid of people with Asperger’s. I explained that the boy who killed children at an elementary school in Newtown, CT had Asperger’s. People who have clinical depression are known to be more apt to do a death by suicide but this does not mean we should lock everyone up with this diagnosis because they might harm themselves.

Actually, if President  Trump were a narcissist than I ask myself why are they pandering to his ego by behaving so violently and antagonistically? This only makes a narcissist feel that they are justified in their beliefs and creates more self-righteousness. Narcissists never do anything wrong, it is always someone elses fault, so why have liberals decided to be the scapegoat? If I were wanting to get the attention of a narcissist, I would placate them and allow them to respect me first so that I could sit down to the table with them and talk. Having received this respect, I would then talk to them in a diplomatic way about my ideas and help them to see it is their idea too. This would be the clever tactic to choose. But this also takes a level of maturity and dignity. I can see that this is the way most political dignitaries are choosing to behave on their visits to the White House. It appears they are succeeding to create a partnership with our country, based on whatever it is they are coming here for. Of course who really is the narcissist here; the president or the liberals out on the streets? He actually has the power to run the country. He is doing exactly what he said he was going to do. Like it or not, he is in charge. The people on the streets are being disrespectful Americans and are pushing the limits of what is legal and ethical. They are expecting people to think like them or you are wrong and this is the definition of a narcissist. Should we all just sign a waiver saying the liberals are right and I pledge to follow behind whatever they say or do? It is calling a spade a spade, or the phrase “It takes one to no one.”

Some conservatives have gone against their own political ally publically and this is very interesting too. I firmly believe this has a lot to do with the fact that President Trump won and this destroyed the political system. It means that it is possible for anyone in this country to be a government official and this creates a challenge for the “career politician.” This has never been President Trump’s career. So even though what President Trump is saying would have been favored by many Republicans in our history because he is speaking like a conservative, their egos have been bruised. It is no different than hiring a manager from outside of the company and then employees hate this person because he/she has no experience and because they didn’t get the job.

The media has fallen by the wayside for many decades now. They have chosen to compete with the National Enquirers and People magazine types and have sensationalized their stories that are being eaten up by the masses of liberals. They pander to the liberals which is causing this faction to believe they have more power and pushes them to be more and more aggressive. I find it extremely difficult to find out what is going on at the White House because instead of behaving like Walter Cronkite and reporting the facts on national television, they are stating their opinions which often seem to be aggressive hateful headlines. I have been following Ivanka Trump on Twitter and have been impressed with how she handles herself publically by not talking about the negative publicity from Nordstrom and Burlington, instead focusing on the positive. She is continuing to work toward being an advocate of women and children and is highlighting women business owners, attending meetings with Canada in regard to women in the workplace and raising children at the same time.

The way I was raised is that you should have respect for your country. Even when Presidents have won that I have not liked, I had respect for them anyway. I do not vote Republican or Democrat, I vote for whom I think is the right choice for right now.  Locally, I have had concerns about term limits for mayors in this state but my plan is to go forward and talk to people about this and will be doing so very soon at the state level. This is a more intelligent way to get people to listen. Will I change the state? I have no idea because I don’t know if anyone else cares about this. I am standing up for my beliefs in a tactful way and realizing if I don’t “win” than I must accept this and keep trying again when I have the opportunity. I would never distance myself from my friends because they think differently than I do – unless I find them to be rude and disrespectful to me. It would never be because they are one political side or another or one religion or another. I have had friends who have distanced themselves from me for my political views because they apparently only liked me because I was thinking along the same lines as them. It showed me that they were never my friend in the first place because they were judging me for my thoughts, not loving me for my kindness and concern for them.

The buzzword of the day is to be “Mindful” of… This does not support antagonism, violence, or disturbing the peace. It is about being mindful of your actions and the effect they have on self and others. Whatever your political opinion, you have a right to this thought process because we live in a free country. Freedom of Speech does not mean forcing someone to think like you do. Our ancestors created this amendment to separate us from other countries that did not allow people the right to an opinion. The reason that we have liberals and conservatives is so that we may have a balanced system in politics. As we have two different ways of thinking; this gives way to ideas that are sometimes challenging our own thought processes. Whatever a president chooses to sign or whichever change he wishes to invoke, this cannot happen by him alone. It is the reason we have the House of Representatives and The Senate. We live in a democracy not a dictatorship and no President can become a dictator unless this is approved by the House and Senate.

For those wishing to make change in the world, this is wonderful. But first learn how politics work and educate yourself on getting laws passed and speaking in front of Congress, etc… Then get out there and become a politician on the local level so that you can impact the government in some way. Or, start a non-profit or get involved in a position with a company that will enable your vision. Getting on Social Media and forcing others to be like you is not creating healthy change in this world. It is actually making our country a very dangerous place to live. Take responsibility for your actions instead of placing the blame on someone else.

Going Low Contact & No Contact Is Much More Difficult in a Culture Emphasizing Filial Piety

This is a great article from a woman in the Taiwanese culture. I think it gives a much different perspective than what I have tried to talk about here. She has a group on Facebook called ACoNs (Adult Children of Narcissists).

An adult daughter's struggle to recover from narcissistic parents

sad factGiven the cultural gap, it’s difficult for westerners to understand filial piety. Urgh….this is when I feel I was born to the wrong culture, & obviously the wrong parents.  I’m a westernized person trapped in a traditional Asian society that emphasizes filial piety to parents.

Yea, (unfortunately), filial piety is a HUGE part of Taiwanese culture, since we’re deeply influenced by traditional Chinese culture. We learn this — more like, are brainwashed by this– very early on in school– respect & abide by your parents no matter what, re-pay what they do for you by taking care of them when they grow elderly & frail, filial piety is the biggest virtue everyone must strive to achieve … Blah, blah, blah… Dang, it’s all from the thousands of years of influence from Confucianism. In my high school, we even had to memorize the whole book Confucius wrote & took test on…

View original post 424 more words