Sanctuary for the Abused
Monday, March 15, 2021
Emotionally Abusive Mothers
One day I heard a mother hurling imperatives at the family dog. "Get back here! Get over here! Get inside the house!" A few moments later her teenage daughter came outside and the mother began ordering her around in exactly the same tone of voice she had just used on the dog.
EQ for Everybody, S. Hein, p 125
- Making the child/teen feel responsible for the mother's feelings.
- Threatening them in general.
- Threatening them specifically with rejection or abandonment.
- Threatening them with vague, unstated consequences.
- Using force upon them.
- Invalidating their feelings.
- Laying undeserved guilt on them.
- Placing undeserved blame on them.
- Dominating the conversations.
- Refusing to apologize.
- Always needing to have the last word.
- Judging or rejecting their friends.
- Sending them to their rooms for crying.
- Locking them out of the house.
- Using punishments and rewards to manipulate and control them.
- Invading their privacy.
- Under-estimating them.
- Failing to show trust in them.
- Labeling them.
- Criticizing them.
- Giving them the silent treatment.
- Failing to give them real explanations.
- Giving non-explanations such as "because it is wrong" or "because it is inappropriate" or "because it is a sin"
- Slapping (see below)
"Sally" told me her mother slapped her around age 17. They were arguing about religion. "Sally" was questioning things too strongly and her mother could no longer give answers, so she slapped "Sally" in order to stop the pain of her questions. Perhaps the pain came from the fear that the her whole belief system might be based on myths and lies rather than science and truth. Whatever the case, "Sally"s mother did not want "Sally" to continue using her mind to question things and to search for real answers.
"Sally" is an intelligent woman and has a large need for understanding and to have her own voice and opinions heard. The mother, though, was too insecure with her belief system to help "Sally" fill those needs. Had the mother been more secure, she could have listened to "Sally" without feeling threatened. More than that, she could have helped her in her search for understanding. She also could have helped fill her needs to feel admired and approved of with a simple statement such as, "I don't know the answers to your questions. And honestly, I feel a little threatened by them and a little defensive. But they are good questions and I admire you for asking them. Keep asking questions, honey. It is the best way to learn, and to find out who feels secure enough to either give you real answers or admit that they don't know."
When we are insecure we feel a need to be in control. "Sally"'s mother felt out of control. She wanted the questions to stop. She needed them to stop. She felt desperate that they stop. And they did... once she slapped her daughter across the face. Clearly, it was her needs, not "Sally"'s, that took priority.
In this incident, we see how the mother's need to feel in control (and safe in terms of her religious beliefs) was not yet filled. The mother was using "Sally" to try to fill her own unmet childhood/adolescent emotional needs at the expense of her "Sally"'s need for understanding and need to be heard. This is what makes this slap in the face emotional abuse.
"Sally" is a pseudonym
She seemed to see my point, but said "I suppose you think it is never necessary to slap a child." I said, "I don't know. I don't have children myself." She then said, "Well, you have to teach them right from wrong."
Facebook group for Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers who are total No Contact
Monday, March 01, 2021
Phrases Abusers Love to Use
Bullies all seem to have read the same phrase book. Compare notes with other victims of other bullies and abusers and you will think they're describing your life and the things that you get to hear on a regular basis.
"You make me feel …."
I can not make you feel anything, nor am I responsible for anything that you may be feeling. If I am doing something specific that bothers you, then be specific and we'll discuss what I am doing and why you respond with those feelings.
If you want me to make you happy, forget it. It is way beyond my capabilities to orchestrate your emotions.
"You never .."
Never is a big word. Do you mean that out of the 7354 mornings we have woken up together I have not once made you a cup of coffee? Do you mean that out of the 7475 days that we have been married I have not once listened to anything that you have said to me? No? Then please define "never".
"You always .."
This is just as bad as "never". Both are absolutes that are impossible to address in any realistic way. It is also a highly offensive exaggeration that is designed to put you on the defensive.
"You don't understand me"
For a bully this is a classic cop-out that is part of the "blame shifting" package. For a narcissist it is a deeply held belief.
Let's start with the common bully. By telling you that you don't understand him it implies that you are not performing up to scratch. First of all there is the underlying demand that you must understand him fully and secondly there is the silent accusation that you are failing and need to try harder. The onus has shifted from him squarely onto you.
I don't know about you, but I have a hard enough time fully understanding myself sometimes. It is unrealistic to expect someone else to always understand you. They are not in your head. They are not in your heart. They have not lived through and assimilated your lifetime's junk.
If someone doesn't understand me it is either because they simply cannot relate to my experiences and inner processes, or it is because I am doing a lousy job explaining. One is the result of their own life experiences and the other is the result of my ineptitude. Neither gives me cause to hold them responsible.
When it comes to the narcissist, the same rules apply - you cannot understand anyone 100%. However, the dynamic is a little different. The narcissist believes that he is so unique and special that nobody can possibly understand him. He believes that this is a large part of all his life's problems. He is surrounded by inferior beings and it gets really tiring to have to constantly stoop to such a low level just to maintain a source of supply. However, he is such a magnanimous superior being that he exercises immense tolerance and patience, despite the perpetual frustration and despair it causes him.
Finally, when he is saying, "you don't understand me" what he is really saying is that you are not allowing him to get away with something, he is feeling cornered and he just wants you to shut up and let it go now.
"You don't care"
This obviously also includes, "you don't love me" or "you don't love me as much as I love you" and a host of other phrases that are designed to make you jump to assure him that he is wrong.
Pure emotional blackmail and a really nifty catch-22 for you. Unless you now go out of your way to try to disprove the statement, you will in fact have proved it. It is a real "damned if you do and damned if you don't" set up.
Even if you give it your very best but slip up on the smallest thing, you have proved him right. You can't win, so why twist yourself in knots in the first place?
Love is an emotion or choice for the giver and an act of faith for the recipient. How does anyone prove an emotion? - This is exactly what they want you to realise, because then you will also have to conclude that the only way to prove it is by your actions - lots of them - all the time - to perfection. Exactly what they want.
"You provoked me" along with "you made me …"
The saddest thing about this is how often it works. The victim gets turned into the abuser and the abuser gets off without an ounce of accountability. The victim even ends up apologising for causing the abuser such agony that he was forced to abuse her in the first place.
- "Oh honey, I'm so sorry that I made you hit me".
- "Oh daddy, I'm sorry that I made you so mad that you hurt your hand on me".
- "Oh darling, I'm so sorry I hurt you so much you went and had an affair"
"I have the right "
I know that there are female bullies and female narcissists as well, but this particular stock phrase seems to be more pronounced in the male persuasion, mainly because they have the odds on their side before they even begin.
We live in a male dominated world and although it is slowly changing, the attitude is deeply ingrained. As men, they automatically believe that they have certain irrefutable rights, like the right of ownership and dominance over women and children. Unfortunately many religions support and encourage this view, or are interpreted to support it by the very same males who stand behind the pulpits. - One of their rights being to interpret and enforce religious precepts and principles.
So having this "God-given" right to total control, it is no wonder that they believe they have the right to say what they want, demand what they want and do what they want.
While bullies may still have some hope, the narcissist is way beyond it. If he is religious, then he honestly believes that he holds a favoured position with God and that when he speaks, it is as good as God Himself speaking.
The main purpose of invoking these different rights is very simply to strip you of all yours, or at least to convince you that you had none in the first place. He now has absolute power to control you and you can do nothing - because it is his divine right. Are you going to argue with God?
If you are living with this particular dynamic, please google "christians and abuse." It may salvage both your sanity and your faith.
Tied in with this absolute right, it would follow then that phrases like, "you're lying" or "you will" and "you won't" come so naturally to them. Right along with these come all the religious scriptures that they have at the ready, all bringing you instruction directly from God himself that you are to submit to, obey and all but worship the man in your life, whether dad, husband or boyfriend. I have even seen brothers using this against their sisters.
I am not anti religion. I am however anti abuse and exploitation in any shape or form.
These claims to rights are no more than base-level manipulation, blackmail and the abuse of power in order to exercise dominance and control over the life of another.
I have focused on men here and therefore need to reiterate that they are not the only guilty ones. I have in fact seen women come into power and become more abusive than any male I have ever encountered. I have also seen abusive mothers and abusive wives, so I am certainly not excluding the female gender from this evil.
Abuse is not gender specific, it is power driven. The thing that makes it worse with men is purely these supposedly inbuilt rights that they believe are genetically encoded and therefore absolute. The structure of most societies sadly supports this as well, making men far more prone to being abusers than women.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Will Never Get Better
These include: depression, manic depression, or menopause disorders, post traumatic stress and anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive or post-traumatic stress disorder. (Include narcissism, psychopathy, sociopathy or borderline personality in the personality disorders category)
Post traumatic Stress is often a result of abusive, neglectful or violent experiences in childhood. These can experiences can profoundly affect how someone later experiences issues of trust and conflict in current relationships. If symptoms from any of these illnesses are present and the person is unwilling to get treatment for it then there is a much reduced prospect for significant change in the relationship. First things first.
Toxic hope is waiting for someone to change when there is no realistic reason to believe that it will happen. Battered women, or men, who keep hoping something will change, perhaps even when their partner has never even admitted that they have a control problem; are in toxic hope. Even though there is a fair effort made; the frequency and magnitude of the continuing offenses are severe enough that the other partner does not feel safe enough to continue within the relationship.
We emphasize 'progress, not perfection' so the issue isn't that slips or mistakes are made. The important thing is does the person eventually recognize his or her responsibility in the conflict and can the person show some concern for how that affects you. Or, if one person is unable to reasonably follow the guidelines and is not willing to seek further help.
Using the help of others could mean going to a professional therapist who specializes in the area that needs work or it can mean going to a self -help group for that particular problem. If physical violence is the problem then my recommendation is to attend a professionally led anger management or domestic violence group. Having worked for ten years in these groups I can say that the men are pleasantly surprised that they can learn useful methods that benefit their relationships. For most of the men it is the first time that they are exposed to the principle that being vulnerable will not result in being hurt.
If violence is occuring in your home then break the isolation. And for the person whose anger is out of control, please seek the competent help of anger management specialists. Why wait for a neighbor's phone call to initiate your criminal record? Do something courageous and positive NOW! Seek the help of professionals who can help you. Stop saying "I'm sorry." and take some real steps toward repeating what probably happened in the family you grew up in.
- Does this person have all the signs of having a personality disorder (they can not be fixed or cured)?
PACIFIC SKILLS TRAINING CO.
Marc Sadoff, MSW, BCD
Sunday, January 17, 2021
How They Exploit Others
by Jennifer Copley
Psychopaths, also known as sociopaths, comprise 20-25% of the prison population, but 50% of those who have committed serious crimes. However, the majority of psychopaths are not violent — most are users, scam artists and shady businesspeople. There is some evidence that psychopaths may be overrepresented in the fields of business, politics and entertainment.
Targeting the Vulnerable
Psychopaths are good at spotting exploitable vulnerabilities in others. Many psychopathic scam artists seek lonely individuals and promise them a lifetime of love and partnership. Others target the grief-stricken or those who have suffered a recent setback or breakup and are therefore less apt to look closely at what appears to be a compassionate helping hand.
Alternatively, psychopaths may exploit someone’s need to be needed, finding a motherly or fatherly soul that they can milk for sympathy and cash. They are also inclined to marry people with low self-esteem and convince them that they are somehow to blame for any abuse they suffer in the marriage.
The Sympathy Ploy
Psychopaths usually play on the sympathies of others. When people’s empathic responses are aroused, they are less inclined to scrutinize an individual’s behaviour, or they will attribute bad behaviour to an abusive childhood or other trauma. This provokes the sort of nurturing response that enables the psychopath to manipulate and extract what he wants from others.
While often appearing cold and deadpan, when they are trying to manipulate others, psychopaths often engage in dramatic, short-lived emotional displays designed to provoke sympathy or guilt, or even cause people to believe that they must be crazy for questioning the psychopath’s motives.
Psychopaths say whatever will get people to give them what they want. Many work hard to give the impression that all of their problems stem from cruel treatment at the hands of others, and that they could change for the better if only some kindly soul would take an interest in them and support them.
They usually reward these people by breaking their hearts and cleaning out their bank accounts, as well as ...abusing them ...
The Dynamic Persona
The psychopath can be an exciting companion at first because he takes risks that others wouldn’t take and thus can appear courageous and impressive. Psychopaths often pose as brilliant eccentrics, misunderstood geniuses or difficult artistic types, and so people are inclined to attribute bad behaviour to a creative temperament.
Self-assured, cool under pressure and socially adept, they may appear larger than life. Their tendency to maintain intensive eye contact and move into the personal space of others enhances the image of forcefulness and confidence.
Because many psychopaths have a surplus of charm and the gift of gab, they are able to dazzle their audiences and con them into believing all sorts of outrageous stories. Excellent self-promoters and fast talkers, they boast and dazzle their targets with a variety of grandiose plans.
The target usually experiences a wild ride and is left disappointed, financially poorer and wondering how everything the psychopath said could have seemed so plausible at the time.
In The Miser, Moliere noted that “People can be induced to swallow anything, provided it is sufficiently seasoned with praise.” A common tool of the psychopath is excessive flattery. Most people enjoy receiving compliments, and those who suffer from either low self-esteem ...can be particularly vulnerable to this sort of approach.
Beware of those who tell you everything you want to hear all the time. A compliment or two is nice, but someone who continually peppers the conversation with flattery should be suspect.
Excuses and Empty Promises
A psychopath does not keep his commitments or obligations. He breaks his word, stands people up, abandons those who care about him at critical times in their lives, cheats with impunity, and makes promises he has no intention of delivering on to get what he wants.
Psychopaths may disappear and reappear in the lives of friends and family, causing worry and heartbreak, without ever adequately explaining what they’ve been up to. However, they always have excuses, and it is always someone else’s fault.
Psychopaths abandon their partners, spouses and children without the slightest concern. And while many don’t commit crimes for which they can be convicted, they often live what could be termed as a sub-criminal existence, engaging in a variety of secretive and shady dealings.
When they do achieve success, it is usually through causing harm to others. Their lack of commitment to anything is evident in the many contradictory and hollow statements they make.
However, they hang onto the people in their lives by promising to change, or even changing, briefly, only to revert back to their old ways in time.
(personal thanks to Jennifer Copley!)
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Will the Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath Treat the New Victim Better?
Yes, at first he will.
But keep in mind that when a Narcissist is securing new supply, he will love-bomb her; just as he did you in the beginning. For those of you who are just learning about Narcissism, “love-bombing” is the constant bombardment of flirting and flattery from the Narcissist. This includes actions that are over-the-top after you’ve just started dating, such as:
• Splashing your social media with flirty messages, though you’ve only just met
• Sending numerous texts throughout the day
• Calling more than what’s considered normal
• Pretending to miss you when you go out with friends
• If you work in the public eye, showing up at your place of employment
• Sending flowers and gifts, after only one date
• Leaving multiple voice mails
• Offering to take you on vacation
• Pushing for physical intimacy too soon
• Spending hours on the phone with you
Just as we have four seasons, the Narcissist will use these tactics to secure new supply. That’s why he seems so happy with his new partner; you see him doing the above things with her.
Frankly, it coincides rather conveniently with his discarding of you. Since love-bombing is time-consuming, grueling, and involves spending money, the Narcissist is depleted. On the inside, he is feeling grouchy due to all of this exertion. Therefore, his efforts may as well fulfill two purposes:
1) secure the new supply,
2) fulfill his discarding of you.
Hence, you’ll likely get “heartfelt confessions” that he loves this new girl and they’re a match made in Heaven. She understands him like you never could. She accepts him for who he is. She does everything for him… sound familiar?
Although he and his new supply look as if they’re walking on sunshine, you can bet he is making little jabs here and there. And while you are left feeling that his new partner is much better than you, the truth of the matter is the Narcissist simply wants shelter, food, money, and freedom to do as he pleases. He may feel a temporary giddiness that the new girlfriend doesn’t know him for what he is because he’s extracting copious amounts of adoration from her.
Consider how one typically feels before and during a job interview. There’s a lot at stake so we go out and buy an expensive suit, use our best manners,and tell the interviewer what they want to hear. In essence, we sell ourselves. That’s what the Narc does when he is in pursuit of a new source of livelihood. However, he soon turns into a bad employee who shows up for the paycheck, but doesn’t really do any work.
Reasons Not to Die When the Narcissist Looks Happy with New Supply
1. It’s highly likely that while he is out on the town with a pretty new girl on his arm, he has others who are waiting for his phone call. Why? Just in case. The worst situation for the Narcissist is to be left alone with no supply…which means no one to house him, no one to feed him, no one to make all of his appointments, take care of paperwork, apply for employment of his behalf (assuming he decides to work), etc. Most Narcissists, especially the overt ones, are the equivalent of 7-yr olds running around in adult bodies. They literally cannot fulfill adult responsibilities on their own.
2. Without someone to reflect a positive image back to him, the Narcissist feels worthless. His new girlfriend doesn’t know him like you do, so naturally she is feeding his ego to the nth degree. But rest assured that it will only be a matter of time before she starts noticing the cracks, probably when it’s too late and she’s lost all sense of direction. Everything he did to you will also happen to her.
3. Narcissists are attracted to attractive people, but not for the same reasons we are. Beautiful people make them look good by association.
Besides, because she’s pretty doesn’t mean you’re not…
4. The new girl is not only a new source of supply, she’s a matter of revenge. Since you attempted to establish a boundary, ask for respect and/or fidelity, requested him to find employment, or otherwise pointed out any flaws in him, he has a burning need to show you he can find someone who will accept him as he is. And while he may already have a new partner swooning over his very existence, it won’t last. She doesn’t know he’s an abuser, irresponsible, cruel, or sociopathic. All she knows is what he’s told her, along with the false illusion that he’s a hopeless romantic.
No matter what it looks like, the Narcissist’s “happiness” is a facade. What he’s most happy about is that he’s locked down a new place to live with someone who will cook for him, wash his clothes, and pay for everything. Don’t eat the soup he tries to feed you about how great she is. She may very well be a nice person, but the Narcissist doesn’t appreciate her personality past how it benefits him. Once you understand these dynamics, all that’s left to do is feel sorry for his new girlfriend. She doesn’t deserve what’s coming any more than you did.
Saturday, December 19, 2020
NO CONTACT 101
No Contact Means:
NO Talking To Them No Matter What Happens And No Matter What You Hear
NO Letting Them Talk To You, NO Listening To Anything They Say, NO “Hearing Them Out.”
NO Letting Them In Your House And NO Going To Their House. If It Is Possible To Move, Then Move, Get A P.O. Box, And Don't Let Them Know When Or Where You're Going. DO NOT leave a forwarding address at the post office- after the forwarding period is up, any card or letter your abuser sends you will get returned to him with your forwarding address on it; instead contact each of your creditors, friends, and anyone you want to keep in touch with individually and advise them of your new address. Never use your street address. Use your P.O. box as your address on everything - including your driver’s license, car registration, credit cards, deliveries, bills, etc. This will buy you a couple of years, until they find you online. The best move is more than a day’s drive away. In fact, the further, the better.
NO Phone Calls and NO Returning Voicemail Messages. Change Your Number To Unlisted and Unpublished, And Do Not Give It To Anyone You Can't Trust Not To Give It To Your Abuser. NEVER pick up the phone. Screen Your Calls. Use Caller ID Or Let Your Machine Pick Up. If you get any strange messages from people you barely know or whom you haven’t heard from in years, do not return their calls unless they told you why they wanted to talk to you when they left their message. Be very wary of anyone who just leaves his name and number and says something along the lines of, “I need to talk to you.” There’s a very high probability he’s a Silent Partner, sicced on you by your estranged abuser.
NO Sending Or Responding To E-Mails. Block Their E-Mails, IMs, And Ability To See When You Are Online. Block them from viewing your page on any social networking sites you are on. Make sure you use a different, unidentifiable name and e-mail address on any forums or chat groups you belong to.
NO Meetings to "Talk Things Over" Or "Work Things Out".
NO Communication At All Except Through Attorneys. NOT THERAPISTS- Attorneys. If you go to counseling with a psychopath, I guarantee you'll regret it. If you are Co-Parenting seriously consider limiting ALL contact to email only and using software such as OurFamilyWizard to keep records. Apply the GREY ROCK METHOD.
NO Cards or Letters and NO Responding to Cards or Letters. NO Birthday Cards. NO Christmas Cards. NO Mother's Day or Father's Day Cards. Return ALL mail from them UNOPENED with "DELIVERY REFUSED" written clearly on the front. This includes mail or cards to your Spouse or Children. Returning mail is NOT CONTACT. If you throw the mail out, to An Abuser, that Is A Response - It Means You Are Still Emotionally Connected To Them, You Still Care, and they ASSUME you read the card/letter/etc. They assume if They Keep Trying They Can Wear You Down. RETURN ALL MAIL, GIFTS "DELIVERY REFUSED."
NO Gifts and NO Accepting Gifts. If A Gift Is Sent To You, NO Acknowledging It And NO Responding. NO Reciprocal Gifts, Cards, or Letters. To An Abuser, That Is A Response - It Means You Are Still Emotionally Connected To Them, You Still Care, And If They Keep Trying They Can Wear You Down. Ignore, Ignore, Ignore.
NO Exceptions For Holidays, Birthdays, or Anniversaries
NO Visits, Including Hospital Visits
NO Letting Them Near Your Kids. If They're Too Toxic For You To Be Around, Then They're Too Toxic For Your Children To Be Around. Warn Your Children To Stay Away From Them. Notify Your Children's School To Call The Police If They Show Up.
NO Public Pleasantries. If You Run Into Them In a Public Place, Ignore Them, Turn Your Back, And Walk Away. If They Approach You, Say In A Loud Voice, "Leave Me Alone!" And "Do Not Talk To Me". If They Persist Or You Believe You Are Being Stalked, Call The Police. Get a paper trail started. Make a police report and get a case number so that in the future you can file charges for stalking, aggravated harassment, and any other crimes that the police or your lawyer can think of.
NO Discussing Them With Anybody Who Has Contact With Them.
NO Speaking At All To Anyone Who Might Be Pumping You For Information Or Spying On You, And Reporting Back To Them. Cut Off Anyone Who Is Not 110% Loyal To You.
NO Listening to Any News About Them. If you’re absolutely DYING of curiosity, listen but do not show undue interest, do not respond, and do not give any information in return.
NO Giving Other People Information About You Or Your Family That They Could Carry Back To Your Abuser
NO Invitations to Your Big Events and NO Responding to Invitations They Send You. Return Invites "DELIVERY REFUSED."
NO Responding To News That They or You Are Getting Married, Having A Baby, Getting A New Job, Retiring, Moving, Taking A Trip, Sick, Dying, Or Dead
NO Big Announcements or Telling Them Anything About Your Life- NO Letting Them Know You're Getting Married, Moving, Or Having A Baby. NO Letting Them Know When Your Children Get Married, Where They Live, Work, or Go To School, Or When Your Grandkids Are Born.
Print Out E-Mails and Keep a notation about All Cards, Letters and Other Communication In A File For Future Harassment Or Stalking Charges, But Do Not Respond.
No Contact means NO CONTACT. Nothing, Nada, Zilch, Zip, Zero. As if they were total strangers who also happen to be dangerous, deranged, psychopathic stalkers. Which they pretty much are. So why would you not protect yourself and your family from them?
You need to do ALL the things on the above list, not just the ones you're comfortable with. Print this out and post copies around the house or keep them with you for reference.
Narcissists do not understand limits, maintaining a comfortable distance, taking it slow, or being cordial while still keeping someone at arm’s length. They only deal in extremes, and must be totally enmeshed with you, with no boundaries or restrictions. It’s all or nothing with them. Because of this, it’s important to accept that it is NOT possible to have “limited” or “occasional” contact- for instance, only when there is a big event like a wedding or funeral. This only sends a mixed message to your abuser, who will interpret ANY willingness at all on your part to communicate with him as a sign that all is forgiven, you’ve gotten over your little snit, and everything can now go back to normal, without him ever having to apologize or stop abusing you.
No Contact is THE END. You have already wasted your entire life trying everything possible to have a nice peaceful relationship, and nothing worked. That's why you reached this crossroads. There is nothing left to try. It’s OVER. It's time to put a period on it, walk away, and never look back. Time to finally live your life. Time to do what you must to protect yourself and your loved ones from evil people who would do you harm. If you break No Contact, you will only be sucked back in. If you keep No Contact, you will live your life in peace, freedom, and safety. And after it's all over, I leave it up to you whether you go to the funeral or not. If you have moved on with your life and left the past in the past, you won't feel the need to.
CLICK HERE FOR WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN TOGETHER
Saturday, August 22, 2020
Misdiagnosing Narcissism (BiPolar I)
Bipolar patients in the manic phase exhibit many of the signs and symptoms of pathological narcissism - hyperactivity, self-centeredness, lack of empathy, and control freakery. During this recurring chapter of the disease, the patient is euphoric, has grandiose fantasies, spins unrealistic schemes, and has frequent rage attacks (is irritable) if her or his wishes and plans are (inevitably) frustrated.
The manic phases of the Bipolar Disorder, however, are limited in time - NPD is not. Furthermore, the mania is followed by - usually protracted - depressive episodes. The narcissist is also frequently dysphoric. But whereas the Bipolar sinks into deep self-deprecation, self-devaluation, unbounded pessimism, all-pervasive guilt and anhedonia - the narcissist, even when depressed, never forgoes his narcissism: his grandiosity, sense of entitlement, haughtiness, and lack of empathy.
Narcissistic dysphorias are much shorter and reactive - they constitute a response to the grandiosity gap. In plain words, the narcissist is dejected when confronted with the abyss between his inflated self-image and grandiose fantasies - and the drab reality of his life: his failures, lack of accomplishments, disintegrating interpersonal relationships, and low status. Yet, one dose of narcissistic supply is enough to elevate the narcissists from the depth of misery to the heights of manic euphoria.
Not so with the Bipolar. The source of her or his mood swings is assumed to be brain biochemistry - not the availability of narcissistic supply. Whereas the narcissist is in full control of his faculties, even when maximally agitated, the Bipolar often feels that s/he has lost control of his/her brain ("flight of ideas"), his/her speech, his/her attention span (distractibility), and his/her motor functions.
The Bipolar is prone to reckless behaviors and substance abuse only during the manic phase. The narcissist does drugs, drinks, gambles, shops on credit, indulges in unsafe sex or in other compulsive behaviors both when elated and when deflated.
As a rule, the Bipolar's manic phase interferes with his/her social and occupational functioning. Many narcissists, in contrast, reach the highest rungs of their community, church, firm, or voluntary organization. Most of the time, they function flawlessly - though the inevitable blowups and the grating extortion of narcissistic supply usually put an end to the narcissist's career and social liaisons.
The manic phase of Bipolar sometimes requires hospitalization and - more frequently than admitted - involves psychotic features. Narcissists are never hospitalized as the risk for self-harm is minute. Moreover, psychotic microepisodes in narcissism are decompensatory in nature and appear only under unendurable stress (e.g., in intensive therapy).
The Bipolar's mania provokes discomfort in both strangers and in the patient's nearest and dearest. His/her constant cheer and compulsive insistence on interpersonal, sexual, and occupational, or professional interactions engenders unease and repulsion. Her/his lability of mood - rapid shifts between uncontrollable rage and unnatural good spirits - is downright intimidating. The narcissist's gregariousness, by comparison, is calculated, "cold", controlled, and goal-orientated (the extraction of narcissistic supply). His cycles of mood and affect are far less pronounced and less rapid.
The Bipolar's swollen self-esteem, overstated self-confidence, obvious grandiosity, and delusional fantasies are akin to the narcissist's and are the source of the diagnostic confusion. Both types of patients purport to give advice, carry out an assignment, accomplish a mission, or embark on an enterprise for which they are uniquely unqualified and lack the talents, skills, knowledge, or experience required.
But the Bipolar's bombast is far more delusional than the narcissist's. Ideas of reference and magical thinking are common and, in this sense, the Bipolar is closer to the Schizotypal than to the Narcissistic.
There are other differentiating symptoms:
Sleep disorders - notably acute insomnia - are common in the manic phase of Bipolar and uncommon in narcissism. So is "Manic speech" - pressured, uninterruptible, loud, rapid, dramatic (includes singing and humorous asides), sometimes incomprehensible, incoherent, chaotic, and lasts for hours. It reflects the Bipolar's inner turmoil and his/her inability to control his/her racing and kaleidoscopic thoughts.
As opposed to narcissists, Bipolar in the manic phase are often distracted by the slightest stimuli, are unable to focus on relevant data, or to maintain the thread of conversation. They are "all over the place" - simultaneously initiating numerous business ventures, joining a myriad organization, writing umpteen letters, contacting hundreds of friends and perfect strangers, acting in a domineering, demanding, and intrusive manner, totally disregarding the needs and emotions of the unfortunate recipients of their unwanted attentions. They rarely follow up on their projects.
The transformation is so marked that the Bipolar is often described by his/her closest as "not himself/herself". Indeed, some Bipolars relocate, change name and appearance, and lose contact with their "former life". Antisocial or even criminal behavior is not uncommon and aggression is marked, directed at both others (assault) and oneself (suicide). Some Bipolars describe an acuteness of the senses, akin to experiences recounted by drug users: smells, sounds, and sights are accentuated and attain an unearthly quality.
As opposed to narcissists, Bipolars regret their misdeeds following the manic phase and try to atone for their actions. They realize and accept that "something is wrong with them" and seek help. During the depressive phase they are ego-dystonic and their defenses are autoplastic (they blame themselves for their defeats, failures, and mishaps).
Finally, pathological narcissism is already discernible in early adolescence. The full-fledged Bipolar Disorder - including a manic phase - rarely occurs before the age of 20. The narcissist is consistent in his pathology - not so the Bipolar. The onset of the manic episode is fast and furious and results in a conspicuous metamorphosis of the patient.
More about this topic here:
Stormberg, D., Roningstam, E., Gunderson, J., & Tohen, M. (1998) Pathological Narcissism in Bipolar Disorder Patients. Journal of Personality Disorders, 12, 179-185
Roningstam, E. (1996), Pathological Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Axis I Disorders. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 3, 326-340
Thursday, August 20, 2020
The Most Dangerous Emotion After a Break-Up
Saturday, August 01, 2020
WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG TO GET OVER A PATHOLOGICAL PARTNER?
Relationships with psychopaths take an unusually long time to recover from. Survivors often find themselves frustrated because they haven't healed as fast as they'd like. They also end up dealing with friends & therapists who give them judgmental advice about how it's "time to move on".
Whether you were in a long-term marriage or a quick summer fling, the recovery process will be the same when it comes to a psychopathic encounter. It takes at least 18-24 months to get your heart back in a good place, and even after that, you might have tough days. I certainly do!
The important thing here is to stop blaming yourself. Stop wishing it would go faster. Stop thinking that the psychopath somehow "wins" if you're still hurting. They are out of the picture now. This journey is about you. If you come to peace with the extended timeline, you'll find this experience a lot more pleasant. You can settle in, make some friends, and get cozy with this whole recovery thing.
So why is it taking so long?
You were in love
Yes, it was manufactured love. Yes, your personality was mirrored and your dreams manipulated. But you were in love. It's the strongest human emotion & bond in the world, and you felt it with all your heart. It is always painful to lose someone you loved - someone you planned to be with for the rest of your life.
The human spirit must heal from these love losses. Regardless of your abuser's intentions, your love was still very real. It will take a great deal of time and hope to pull yourself out of the standard post-breakup depression.
You were in desperate love
Here's where we branch off from regular breakups. Psychopaths manufacture desperation & desire. You probably worked harder for this relationship than any other, right? You put more time, energy, and thought into it than ever before. And in turn, you were rewarded with the nastiest, most painful experience of your life.
In the idealization phase, they showered you with attention, gifts, letters, and compliments. Unlike most honeymoon phases, they actually pretended to be exactly like you in every way. Everything you did was perfect to them. This put you on Cloud 9, preparing you for the identity erosion.
You began to pick up on all sorts of hints that you might be replaced at any time. This encouraged your racing thoughts, ensuring that this person was on your mind every second of the day. This unhinged, unpredictable lifestyle is what psychopaths hope to create with their lies, gas-lighting, and triangulation.
By keeping them on your mind at all times, you fall into a state of desperate love. This is unhealthy, and not a sign that the person you feel so strongly about is actually worthy of your love. Your mind convinces you that if you feel so powerfully, then they must be the only person who will ever make you feel that way. And when you lose that person, your world completely falls apart. You enter a state of panic & devastation.
The Chemical Reaction
Psychopaths have an intense emotional & sexual bond over their victims. This is due to their sexual magnetism, and the way they train your mind to become reliant upon their approval.
By first adoring you in every way, you let down your guard and began to place your self worth in this person. Your happiness started to rely on this person's opinion on you. Happiness is a chemical reaction going off in your brain - dopamine and receptors firing off to make you feel good.
Like a drug, the psychopath offers you this feeling in full force to begin with. But once you become reliant on it, they begin to pull back. Slowly, you need more and more to feel that same high. You do everything you can to hang onto it, while they are doing everything in their power to keep you just barely starved.
There are thousands of support groups for survivors of infidelity. It leaves long-lasting insecurities and feelings of never being good enough. It leaves you constantly comparing yourself to others. That pain alone takes many people out there years to recover from.
Now compare that to the psychopath's triangulation. Not only do they cheat on you - they happily wave it in your face. They brag about it, trying to prove how happy they are with your replacement. They carry none of the usual shame & guilt that comes with cheating. They are thrilled to be posting pictures and telling their friends how happy they are.
I cannot even begin to explain how emotionally damaging this is after once being the target of their idealization. The triangulation alone will take so much time to heal from.
You have encountered pure evil
Everything you once understood about people did not apply to this person. During the relationship, you tried to be compassionate, easy-going, and forgiving. You never could have known that the person you loved was actively using these things against you. It just doesn't make any sense. No typical person is ready to expect that, and so we spend our time projecting a normal human conscience onto them, trying to explain away their inexplicable behavior.
But once we discover psychopathy, sociopathy, or narcissism, that's when everything starts to change. We begin to feel disgusted - horrified that we let this darkness into our lives. Everything clicks and falls into place. All of the "accidental" or "insensitive" behavior finally makes sense.
You try to explain this to friends and family members - no one really seems to get it. This is why validation matters. When you come together with others who have experienced the same thing as you, you discover you were not crazy. You were not alone in this inhuman experience.
It takes a great deal of time to come to terms with this personality disorder. You end up having to let go of your past understanding of human nature, and building it back up from scratch. You realize that people are not always inherently good. You begin to feel paranoid, hyper-vigialant, and anxious. The healing process is about learning to balance this new state of awareness with your once trusting spirit.
Your spirit is deeply wounded
After the eventual abandonment, most survivors end up feeling a kind of emptiness that cannot even be described as depression. It's like your spirit has completely gone away. You feel numb to everything and everyone around you. The things that once made you happy now make you feel absolutely nothing at all. You worry that your encounter with this monster has destroyed your ability to empathize, feel and care.
I believe this is what takes the longest time to recover from. It feels hopeless at first, but your spirit is always with you. Damaged, for sure, but never gone. As you begin to discover self-respect & boundaries, it slowly starts to find its voice again. It feels safe opening up, peeking out randomly to say hello. You will find yourself grateful to be crying again, happy that your emotions seem to be returning. This is great, and it will start to become more and more consistent.
Ultimately, you will leave this experience with an unexpected wisdom about the people around you. Your spirit will return stronger than ever before, refusing to be treated that way again. You may encounter toxic people throughout your life, but you won't let them stay for very long. You don't have time for mind games & manipulation. You seek out kind, honest, and compassionate individuals. You know you deserve nothing less.
This new found strength is the greatest gift of the psychopathic experience. And it is worth every second of the recovery process, because it will serve you for the rest of your life.
If you're worried that your recovery process is taking too long, please stop worrying. You've been through hell and back - there is no quick fix for that. And what's more, when all is said and done, these few years will be some of the most important years of your life.
from this fantastic site
Labels: bad relationship, cruel, damaged, devalue, discard, get over it, healing, idealize, move on, narcissism, narcissist, no empathy, pathological, psychopath, psychopathy, ptsd, recovery, sociopath, sociopathy