When The Narcissist Makes You Out To Be The Crazy One

When The Narcissist Makes You Out To Be The Crazy One


If you’ve been in a narcissistic relationship it’s very likely you’ve heard the following words…

Look at you, you are crazy!’

You need professional help!

Everyone else can see it but you!

The thing is, when you a wrapped up in a toxic relationship you are LOSING your mind. You do feel despair, rage, confusion and panic … regularly.

You are triggered into feelings and reactions that you didn’t even know you were capable of.

And … it passes through your head, Maybe he or she is right. Maybe it is me after all.

Today, I really want to reach out to those of you who are deeply in the fog and don’t know how to find a way out and I wanted to give you clarity and hope.

I want to inspire you that these feelings – that you’re losing your mind and there’s something wrong with you, and with which you are being accused of and even diagnosed with – does not have to be your life sentence going forward.

In this Thriver TV episode, we look at exactly what is really taking place when the narcissist makes you out to be crazy one, and I want to inspire you with the solution of how to release yourself out of this, as well as personal stories that I hope can help you.



Episode Transcript

This topic is a very serious one and its one that virtually everyone who has ever been narcissistically abused has suffered from – being told you are the crazy one.

The reason I am doing this Thriver TV episode today is because I really want to reach out to those of you who are deeply in the fog and don’t know how to find a way out.

Those of you who are feeling damaged, defective and still reliant on the narcissist in some way – because this is a deadly trap that you need help to get out of.

Also, those of you starting to experience the narcissist’s mask falling and the insanity escalating – look out – because this is a very real and probable manifestation of what will happen when the abuse gets worse and you get more broken up by it.

In today’s episode, I want to give you clarity and hope – actually more than hope. And I want to inspire you that these feelings – that you are losing your mind and that there is something wrong with you, and with which you are being accused of and even diagnosed with – does not have to be your life sentence going forward.

In this episode, we are going to look at exactly what is really taking place when the narcissist makes you out to be crazy one, and I want to inspire you with the solution of how to release yourself out of this, as well as personal stories that I hope can inspire you.

Okay so let’s get going … when we are continually being told that we are the crazy one, we can be forgiven for believing it, because after all, we feel crazy! We feel deranged, sick and twisted into knots.

And, when we watch the narcissist carrying on as per normal (whatever their version of normal is) and not seeming to be falling down the steep decline that we are into unwellness and losing our sanity piece by piece – it looks like the narcissist is functioning and we are not.

I remember seeing this myself and thinking ‘He gets up and goes to work every day, whereas I can barely get out of bed. It MUST be me who has mental problems.’ And of course we get this thrown in our face constantly, ‘Look at you, you’re a mess. You seriously need help!’

We may not have realised that dysfunction, stress, mayhem and drama is the narcissist’s normal. They actually thrive off it, because it keeps them alive and able to avoid their inner empty chasm.

With outer distractions, the narcissist is pulled into another universe where they are the feared, the brilliant, the desired, the one who’s right, the one who has to suffer a crazy person – in some way they are the significant one. They get to live out whatever fictional character they are making up for themselves at the time. Yet, we are not used to operating within this much drama.

I know for myself as a previous co-dependent doing life the hard way without adequate boundaries or knowing how to align in true self – trying to fix situations and people in order to be approved of and safe – I absolutely had struggles, but not the massive onslaughts that come with narcissistic abuse.

Like myself, you may recognise ‘issues’ going to a whole new level on the stress radar, as narcissists bring our greatest fears from the depths of our subconscious vaults, to life.  We find ourselves being dragged into a world of drama, confusion, and insanity that make our previous issues seem benign. And, we are being blamed for these problems, whilst trying to mop up the messes that the narcissist is refusing to take responsibility for, and then being accused of everything the narcissist is doing.

If all of that isn’t bad enough, to add insult to injury, the more we try to fight for justice, understanding, support, and cooperation from the narcissist, then more we get emptied out of energy and receive more traumatisation. We find that if we leave them to the issues they create, we are attacked for being uncaring, and if we try to sort them out we are meddling.

We are resilient absolutely and we proved to be in our former life, but now we are breaking under the strain. The truth is when you hang out with and are attached to very sick people – which narcissists are – you get very sick.

What we may not have realised, at the time, is that the narcissist is a master of projection, yet it’s not like they have taken classes to learn how to be. The ability and need to project and avoid responsibility becomes a tactic necessity for anyone who has succumbed to a life of a fragile False Self who in no way can be wrong, held accountable or questioned.

This is how it goes: the False Self is the omnipotent character that fiercely guards the entrance to the shrivelled up True Self.  No one is allowed to go there, discover the narcissist’s inner disorders and traumas and expose that their behaviour is due to being psychologically ill, damaged and disordered.  If someone did it would threaten the entire ego structure of the narcissist which is their house of cards – the only front they have to gain the necessary narcissistic supply that a narcissist needs to survive.

Most of this is unconscious. Think of the False Self, as an egoic entity that has virtually engulfed the narcissist and taken over. It is this entity that is responsible for the narcissist’s inner reality of ‘he or she did it’, ‘he or she is out to get me’ ‘he or she is not to be trusted’ ‘he or she is the reason why I had no option but to do what I did in my own defence.’

The truth is everyone, given their model of the world (which really means their perceived reality as per their level of consciousness) does what they do because they feel justified to do it. Otherwise, they wouldn’t do it.

After my own two narcissistic abuse experiences and working in this community for over a decade, I am convinced that narcissists firmly do believe you are the disordered one. They believe not only are you psychologically unwell, but also that you are the reason for the issues in the relationship as well as everything that goes wrong for the narcissist.

It is only in times of absolute severe Narcissistic Injury – when the narcissist suffers a terrible blow and his or her ego structure (False Self) is temporarily shocked out of operation – that the narcissist has any grasp on what is really real or not. False Selves make up stories to maintain their existence. It not just make-believe; to the narcissist its real.

Narcissists have a very maddening habit of saying ‘you are acting like a crazy person’, yet they don’t have the insight and peripheral to understand, ‘because of my behaviour you have been driven crazy’ … that simply does not factor for them.

In relation to the projection that the narcissist organically does, there is an even greater reason psychologically why they project their sickness onto you, ranging all the way from the accusations of you needing psychological help to being a narcissist yourself.

This is the reason: the narcissist has disowned their inner damaged True Self. It has been divorced, discarded and buried and replaced by the False Self, the fictitious character that the narcissist uses to ‘work’ life through.

But there is no avoiding ourselves, and ourself is the True Self, and anyone’s composition of their True Self is how they truly feel about themselves. The narcissist’s False Self is his or her self-medication to avoid the True Self. It is a buffer to drown it out, which the narcissist succeeds in doing when he or she is high on narcissistic supply. But this is a precarious existence which doesn’t work 24/7, and the narcissist regularly experiences narcissistic injury when something or someone does not appease the narcissist’s False Self in the conditional way it demands to be fed. Or the narcissist may not be able to source narcissistic supply adequately when in need.

It’s then that the narcissist has only one option when these feelings of being engulfed by the True Self hit. He or she despises these inner parts steeped in fear, vulnerability, brokenness, dishevelment, traumatisation and despair.

I wrote a post in Instagram about this – the meme is called ‘Remember You, Unlike The Narcissist, Have the Ability to Fully Come Home To Yourself’ because it is true no matter how much sickness the narcissist projects onto us, we can heal, but they choose not to.

So, the narcissist rather than wanting to go to his or her inner traumas and hold and heal them back to wholeness – which would be the only salvation for the narcissist – instead seeks to destroy these parts of him or herself that threaten the very fabric of the fictitious False Self.

What better way to do that, then to project these parts onto another person and then seek to destroy them instead?

And this is the thing, the False Self only wants perfection. It wants its ‘perfect’ ideal of what is worthy of its attention and what is going to generate more of its egoic significant self. The narcissist when he or she had you on a pedestal decided you were A-grade narcissistic supply – you had the best hair, body, personality, contacts, resources or something that fed the False Self significantly, or you were the slave that the narcissist selfishly used to improve their own life with.  And now that you are defective and problematic, you are in fact replaceable, a nuisance, and insignificant because you are unavailable to grant the narcissist what you were in place for beforehand.

Now that you are not a trophy or slave to feed the False Self, you are a target for the narcissist’s wrath. You were always a pawn, but the urgency for the narcissist may now be to discredit and discard you as soon as possible. I can’t tell you how many people this happens to, when they finally ‘break’ and are not the shiny awesome narcissistic supply that the narcissist once believed they were.

For the longer term relationships where the narcissist stays, telling you that you are the crazy one, to add terrible insult to injury the narcissist may convince you that you need medication, psychiatric treatment or even institutionalisation. This provides the perfect scapegoat for him or her to say to all and sundry, ‘Poor me, I am trying to live with a disordered individual who is sick.’

All is not lost for the narcissist as there is a great deal of narcissistic supply to be gained from this – people commiserating, supporting and siding with him or her. And the narcissist gets to play out the illusion to everyone of being the kind and caring person when of course the reality behind walls is exactly the opposite of what people are told.

Maybe you are with an Altruistic Narcissistic who in-between terribly cruel, conscienceless acts toward you couldn’t be a more doting and caring nurse for you.  It’s still a sick game because this narcissist gains narcissistic supply by controlling through giving and creating dependencies, whereby he or she has the victim well and truly hooked.

Either way its a spiral down into a terrible state, you being labelled as the sick one. It means you are either incapacitated, and / or have had all your rights taken off you. Then the narcissist’s False Self continues on with all the exploits that hurt you – affairs, stealing your resources and setting him or herself up to be the beneficiary of your money in any way he or she can.  And 100% these people have every justification in their disordered heads for doing what they are doing.

People who are healthy may not see it coming, when you are downtrodden enough to believe that there is something wrong with you, you may miss it even more. It is also likely that your body is breaking down too, with a host of other health issues that you are dealing with, such as nervous system disorders like PTSD, fibromyalgia or other serious medical issues. These are all symptoms of you breaking down. And emotionally it is likely you are regularly devastated by how uncaring, inconsiderate and abusive the narcissist is toward you.

Or, in the case of the Altruistic Narcissist, he or she is caring for you unrelentingly in ways that keep you powerless and ill.

The truth is this: because you have been broken down into your powerless inner self, you feel like a child dependent on the narcissist. You don’t know yet that when you pull away and heal, and become your own True Power Source, that there will be no dependency, longing or need from the narcissist whatsoever.

It is a terrible and abusive situation to be stuck in, and so many people in this Community have been there, or still are and this is why I want to shine such a bright light of truth on this today.

With both narcissists absolutely I went through the horrible situation of succumbing to believing that I was the unstable one; that I had issues and that I needed help. I knew they both had issues, but I believed 100% that if I could take responsibility for mine that I could fix the relationship. With narcissist number 1, I went on anti-depressants whilst still in the relationship with him because he said I was unstable, had mood swings and anger issues (Gee I wonder why!) In no way were the issues sorted out by anti-depressants, my life breaking down just got worse and worse.

With narcissist number 2, after he hoovered me back, he altruistically offered to do anything to support my anxiety that had surfaced, yet his double life of other women continued. And I became incredibly needy, hooked and dependant on him. It was terrible.

What happened happens with all narcissists – unless there is enough payoff of narcissistic supply, then there is nothing in it for the narcissist, and if you aren’t providing enough in your unwell state then someone else will.

The narcissist is all out for themselves, and is sourcing new sources and planning their future life without you because you simply aren’t providing what the False Self needs anymore. Or if the benefits of your resources are still enough, the narcissist may toggle an existence with you whilst having their double life.

The biggest danger you can get stuck in – and I didn’t go nearly to the depths of this that so many people have – is that you feel so sick that you believe you need the narcissist for your everyday existence, maybe to even survive in the world because you can’t work.

Yet, this is the very person who projected onto you and got you to this level anyway. This person is not going to help you get well, rather they will break you all the way to your demise if you don’t do what is so hard yet essential to do – pull away, start releasing your trauma and heal to the level where you are a source to yourself.

In this community, there are people from the absolute depths of despair who had no choice but to go to a refuge after being abused by a narcissist. At this level of options, it is usually not just financial abuse that has been suffered. Generally, mental, emotional and physical health has been gutted also. Many of these people now, beautifully, as a result of choosing to honour and heal their inner being are now rebuilding or genuinely Thriving, generating their own lives with healthy boundaries, no longer absorbing other people’s sicknesses or being scapegoated for them.

There are people in the depths of diagnosis, disorders, and illnesses mental and physical who narcissist cruelly discard. I know that seems the most heartless thing, but I promise you that these people who get out, are fortunate to be expelled, because they possibly wouldn’t have left on their own accord.

This is what Marcia said:  “When the narcissist discarded me I was on anti-depressants for 12 months during the relationship, having been diagnosed with Histrionic Personality Disorder. I was not able to work. I thought I was defective, useless, unlovable and I wanted to die, but then after finding your work I decided I had already lost everything, and there was nothing to lose by doing the Quantum inner work.

Today, 18 months later, I have absolutely no symptoms, and I am completely medication free. I am happier, more confident and empowered than I’ve ever been.  I now have a wonderful new partner who is genuine, loving and supportive. But I didn’t want to meet him straight away. I gave myself time to heal my wounds that the narcissist unearthed for me, and I became a solid sane, healthy, happy source to myself, because no way, ever, was I going to be susceptible to being in a relationship of abuse and projection again.

Of course in the relationship I was histrionic. It was full of gaslighting, pathological lying and other hidden women. Because I was trapped in there, trauma-bonded to him because of my unresolved childhood wounds about my father’s treatment of my mother, of course, I went bat-shit crazy! Thank god he threw me aside and I found the way to heal these wounds once and for all. I would never tolerate a relationship like that again. I feel better than I ever have after surviving and then thriving from this.”

Then there are the people who the narcissist keeps on and doesn’t discard when their sanity and health breaks them down. This is for selfish purposes – connections, money, resources, possible property acquisition, and/or the power of being able to control this person. Of course, this makes it hard to get away – incredibly hard – yet sometimes something clicks and people do. I have seen it happen many times, where people awaken, no matter what their circumstances and know that their only salvation is to get out and heal.

Years ago a girlfriend of mine who was heavily medicated, believing she had psychological issues, contracted breast cancer. In hospital realising that she would now have to fight for her life from an aggressive cancer and a double mastectomy, woke up knowing that her husband had driven her to deep depression and a life and death brink. For herself and her two boys, she never went back to him. Today, she is fully in remission, has a beautiful husband, a new daughter and is incredibly happy.

Here it is our conclusion to this – believing that you are the sick one is a one-way ticket to your demise. Because it means that you will stay, you will hand over power, and the narcissist gets exonerated to keep treating you in the soul-sucking way that he or she is doing.

Yes, you are sick because this person has made you sick. You have stayed on and this has made you sicker. The only way to get well is to get away and heal the deep inner reasons why this terrible disease, Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome, has been able to wrap its deadly tentacles around you.

Let go and get away and truly heal is exactly what I did and countless other Thrivers before you have done also. People just like you who went through the most unimaginable traumas, horrors, and powerlessness.

That is what this Thriver Community is all about, a supportive tribe of people who know exactly what you are going through because they have made it through out to the other side themselves. The way we achieved this was with the deep inner healing of Quanta Freedom Healing, the main component of the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program (NARP).

It allowed us to achieve the return of our power and sanity and the ability to totally disconnect and get free from the narcissist with eventually no emotional tries.

If this episode spoke to you and you know you need to do something to save your life, sanity, and soul, I’d love to offer you my life raft – my free 16 day recovery course, which includes an invitation to a healing workshop with me, a set of eBooks and lots more.

So until next time … keep smiling, keep healing and keep thriving because there’s nothing else to do

And please leave your comments and questions below – I love responding to them.




Why you're still obsessed with the narcissist

How many times have you asked yourself “why am I still obsessed with the narcissist?”  If you’re anything like me, probably on a daily basis. One of the hardest parts about recovering from close encounter with a narcissist is the fact that you can’t seem to get them out of your head!


But why?  How is it that this person, who you really don’t want to spend another second thinking about, has burrowed their way into your brain and set up camp?  And more importantly, how do you evict them?


One of the main reasons is that you simply can’t make sense of what has happened and your brain can’t accept that.  It needs an answer, an explanation.  But you will never get one from the narcissist so you attempt to come up with your own.  This however creates something called cognitive dissonance.


Cognitive Dissonance


This is a psychological term for when you hold two or more conflicting beliefs, attitudes or behaviour at the same time.  It makes you feel uncomfortable and so you alter your behaviour to try to restore the balance.  However things aren’t that easy when you’ve been involved with a narcissist.


Their entire existence is fabricated around dissonance.  They say one thing, do another.  And so you can’t restore the balance.  You loved them but now you hate what they did to you.  You trusted them but know you can’t believe a word they say.


Your brain is always trying to make you feel better so is constantly offering up solutions to try and relieve this discomfort.  Therefore keeping them at the centre of your thoughts.


3 Ways To Reduce Cognitive Dissonance

  1. Change one or more of the attitudes, behaviour, beliefs, etc., to make the relationship between the two elements a consonant one.
  2. Acquire new information that outweighs the dissonant beliefs.
  3. Reduce the importance of the cognitions (i.e., beliefs, attitudes).

TIP:  Share your story with others.  Realising you are not alone and gaining some understanding about their behaviour will help to reduce the dissonance.


In my video 3 Reasons You Are Still Obsessed With The Narcissist I look at two other aspects which impact why you are struggling to get them out of your head.  It would really help me out if you could subscribe to the channel whilst you are there 🙂


What has helped you to get over the narcissist?  Or are you still stuck at this stage?  Do get involved and comment below, it helps me with creating more content to suit you better.


If you require any support with narcissistic abuse or parental alienation please do get in touch at enquiries@thenurturingcoach.co.uk



Pedestal or Pit? The extremes of narcissistic parents


Children of narcissists often experience extremes in the behaviour of the narcissist both towards themselves and others.  In fact there is often confusion over the diagnosis of bi-polar and narcissism due to the manic behaviours associated with both (Federman 2013).


These extremes can be experienced by the same child within the same hour, leaving children of narcissists extremely confused and insecurely attached (which we will look at later).


Children often find that they are either the Golden Child or the Scapegoat.  So let’s look in more detail about what these terms mean.


Golden Child


On the surface the child appears to be able to do no wrong.  They are the perfect child of the perfect parent (the narcissists twisted view of their reality).  They parade them around like a trophy.  Initially this may sound like positive parenting, being supportive and encouraging, but when you look a little deeper, you start to see the unrealistic and unhealthy parenting traits.


The narcissist will push the child to be the best.  They will coach them tirelessly.  Whatever skill the child has will be utilised to the extreme.  If they are academic, they may push them to read endless books, one after the other, until the child cries for a break and even then it will be “don’t you want to be the best?”.  If they are athletic, they will be up at the crack of dawn doing a punishing training schedule.  Again, whilst you may be reading this and thinking “that’s how champion’s are made” let’s look at the impact on the child in this situation.


The child may enjoy reading or running but they may also enjoy sitting eating pizza with their friends.  But the narcissist won’t allow that.  The narcissist is focused on ensuring the child becomes the best.  Because to them, that will mean that THEY are the best.  Narcissistic parents can see their children as extensions of themselves.  When their child gets praise, they believe it is them who is being shown adoration.  Every success is THEIR success.  And the narcissistic parent is desperate for people to see how clever/beautiful/skillful/powerful and ultimately BETTER they are.  And their children are the fast track to that.


So the child is placed on the pedestal (with the narcissist parent closely by their side) for all to worship.


But what about the child who isn’t naturally gifted?  How do they fit in?




This child is the epitome of all that is wrong within the narcissist.  The narcissistic parent will seemingly hate this child because they also see them as an extension of themselves.  But the parts the narcissist doesn’t want anyone else to see.  The child can do no right.  Everything is their fault.  Think Cinderella’s evil step mom but on steroids!


To the narcissistic parent, the scapegoat is their true self.  The parts of themselves they detest.  When they look at this child it is like looking in the mirror.  They see all their own failings in this child and can’t help but point them all out.  When they criticise the scapegoat, they are in fact criticising themselves.


I think it is important to point out at this point that gender is not an issue here.  Golden child or scapegoat can be either son or daughter.  Extensions of self are not about physical appearance (although any compliments paid to the child – “he/she is really cute”- will be absorbed by the narcissist).  They are extensions of their soul, their inner self, their subconscious.


Also, a child can be BOTH golden child and scapegoat and often within the same day.  One minute they can be on the pedestal, the next they are languishing in the pit of despair as they have caused narcissistic injury to their parent (although they may not know why).  The narcissistic parent has a very fragile sense of self, fleeting between self love and self hate with great intensity.  And the more stressed the parent, the more intense, extreme and regular those fluctuations occur.  This can be very confusing for a child who is never quite sure whether they are loved or loathed.


Impact on attachment and personality development


Our attachment style is a direct indication of how we were parented and so this element in the narcissist’s psychology is two fold when they become parents.


Firstly, they are usually unable to form secure attachments to their children because of their own internal battle between love and hate.  A child, who they co-created and is therefore part of them, represents the physical embodiment of all the parents’ hopes and fears (this is normal and natural).  To a narcissist, they see themselves in this little person and often feel terrified.  Terrified that they will turn out just like them.  So they may pull away.  Leaving the child feeling rejected and unsafe with the narcissistic parent who in turn will pull away leaving the parent feeling rejected and insecure.


For a child to develop a secure attachment, they need to have faith in their parent that they will be there for them when they cry, feed them and keep them safe (Bowlby 1969) but a narcissistic parent lacks empathy (the ability to read other people’s emotions) and so would not be able to respond naturally and instinctively to a baby’s needs.  This can lead to anger from both child and parent as they are “out of sync” and can cause long term damage to the attachment as they become detached from one another and eventually avoidant (Ainsworth 1970).


Added to that, a narcissist has an idealised view of love and has to be centre of attention.  A baby can take the other parent’s attention away from the narcissist which destroys their sense of importance.  They quickly become jealous of the child and “punish” both parent and child by withdrawing even further and reinforcing the avoidant attachment.


As the child grows up and may begin displaying some talents which the narcissistic parent feels they can use, the narcissist may try to get involved again.  The child, who has always craved the attention of the narcissistic parent, relishes this new interest and will “perform” as requested to ensure they remain involved (conditioning).  But as discussed above, the narcissist parent will prone to “push-pull” parenting and therefore the child is left feeling confused, rejected and often angry.  They struggle to trust and can self loath.  Thus repeating the cycle within their own adult relationships.


What can you do if you are a child of a narcissistic parent?


The most important thing you can do is to practice self love.  Work on your self esteem and change how you view yourself.

According to Bowlby (1969), early attachments act as a prototype for future relationships via the internal working model.

There are three main features of the internal working model: (1) a model of others as being trustworthy, (2) a model of the self as valuable, and (3) a model of the self as effective when interacting with others.

Start working on these three elements by surrounding yourself with trustworthy people, identify your value to others and society, and recognise the quality relationships which you have with those around you.  Daily affirmations to confirm these beliefs can help to re programme your internal working model and therefore improve your future relationships.


If you are struggling with dealing with a narcissist and would like some support please do get in touch:


Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/thenurturingcoach/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/sasquires3006

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/thenurturingcoach/

Email:  enquires@thenurturingcoach.co.uk

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZPt2njTcKTmJWAyBsfZcDA?




Ainsworth, M. D. S., & Bell, S. M. (1970). Attachment, exploration, and separation: Illustrated by the behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. Child Development, 41, 49-67.

Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment. Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Loss. New York: Basic Books.

Federman, R (2013) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/bipolar-you/201310/the-relationship-between-narcissism-and-bipolar-disorder



Smear Campaigns and Flying Monkeys.png

Smear Campaigns and Flying Monkeys – The Truth About Parental Alienation

Trigger Warning: Some of the topics covered may trigger painful memories, please ensure you have support in place.Smear Campaigns and Flying Monkeys.png

You’ve ended the relationship and think that the abuse is over. But the truth is you are witnessing a whole new level of evil you never knew existed.

The first point about smear campaigns is that they probably started long before the relationship ended. They would have made subtle comments to friends, relatives, the children and even professionals (such as GP’s and teachers) belittling your parenting skills or implying you had some sort of issue (mental health, a temper, alcohol/drug). Even if there is an element of truth they make the statements to apportion any blame for the children’s behaviour or arguments directly onto you. Essentially they are offering a hypothesis for everyone around them to find evidence of. They are forming their army of Flying Monkey’s in secret.

(Check out my video about Smear Campaigns and Flying Monkeys https://youtu.be/-qmDn_TFtaM)

Trouble is you don’t know they have this opinion of you and so you act normally but they interpret it through this filter. For example, narcissist tells school that you have mental health problems. You turn up to pick them up one day looking a bit disheveled (as we all do from time to time) and because they have the “mental health” filter on, they jump to the conclusion that you are ill again. They may even record it in their own records. Therefore when the relationship eventually does end, it only takes a little push and everyone is falling over themselves to blame you. And all the while, you are oblivious to their actions and how opinions have been influenced so your normal and emotional responses to the pain and anger at all the conflict, adds more weight to the hypothesis and your character is darkened further and further. It is a very clever but evil tactic which you would never for one second be aware was happening.

Secondly, the smear campaign is a projection of all their own bad behaviour. Everything they accuse you of is exactly what they are doing themselves. It’s all part of the smoke and mirrors. They deflect everyone’s attention onto you so that they don’t look at them. The closer people get to the truth, the more outrageous the allegations they will make to keep diverting attention.

Thirdly, it’s all to discredit you and make sure they come out looking like the victim for putting up with you and the hero for “rescuing” the children. The Flying Monkey’s will scurry around offering sympathy and support, which the narcissists love and feeds off. Anyone who questions them will be ejected from the “inner circle” and equally discredited. The narcissists keeps feeding them tales of your devilry and the drama takes on a life of it’s own.

Those who stay within the “inner circle” will remain because they are in fear of the consequences of disagreeing with them. The narcissist will use anything at their disposal to ensure their obedience, including access to your children. People will go along with the alienation, because they know if they don’t it will be them who is alienated. The narcissist makes it a dog eat dog world.

At this point the narcissist is thriving on the attention but will go too far. Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves. Their tales will become taller and more unbelievable. People will begin to question them and the narcissist will begin to unravel. At this point they will ramp up their hatred of you and could even turn violent. It’s essential you keep yourself safe if you recognise the signs that they are unravelling.

If you need any help, advice or support in dealing with parental alienation and narcissistic abuse, please do get in touch at enquiries@thenurturingcoach.co.uk


How the narcissist can fool even an _expert_ (1).png

How the narcissist can fool even an "expert"

How the narcissist can fool even an _expert_ (1).png


Firstly I put “expert” in inverted comas because my understanding is due to personal experience and research, I don’t have a psychologist or psychiatrist qualification.  However I do know a lot about narcissistic behaviours and felt I should have known better.


So how did it start?


Well over on Twitter I was tagged in a post which in a nutshell stated that Parental Alienation was made up by men to further abuse women.  I must admit that triggered me.  From experience, women are just as capable as men of alienating the other parent and I know how devastating that can be so I replied to the post saying that PA is a very real issue and both men and women can experience it.  I said I felt it was unwise to make it about gender.


They retaliated with lots of claims about how women are abused by everyone when they make claims of domestic or child abuse.  Again I reiterated that it wasn’t a gender issue.


I am not denying that there is inconsistency in handling abuse but men can be equally badly treated. The issue here is not gender though, that is my point. Statements like yours imply all men are abusers are all women victim but that is far from true and unhelpful”   The Nurturing Coach

This carried on for a few days and I began to see that they were no interested in a healthy debate, they simply wanted to win (which I pointed out to them).  Now at this point my advice to clients is always ignore and go grey rock, don’t feed them.


But I didn’t.


I kept responding to their more and more outrageous claims – at one point they actually used the phrase “men are physically stronger” to support their argument that all men are abusers and all women are victims.  I attempted to reason with them that gender stereotyping is dangerous but they kept coming back with two tweets at a time.


And I kept taking the bait.  Until they accused me of gaslighting.  That was my jolt that I needed to step away and cut contact.  Which is exactly what I did, asking them not to contact me again to which they responded with some more insults and now they have blocked me (they still follow me though).


“You are accusing me of gaslighting simply because I think your inaccurate claims are dangerous. Which is projection and i refuse to engage with you as you do not want a balanced discussion, you want to win”  The Nurturing Coach


I am not qualified to diagnose narcissism but this person, who was fighting for the rights of mothers to essentially alienate the ex, displayed characteristics which I recognise as narcissistic (from DSM-5)

  • (1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements) – they shared with me their “research” which was just a google doc they had prepared
  • (4) requires excessive admiration – kept engaging with me even when I asked them not to
  • (5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations – was only interested in getting my agreement, not is having a healthy discussion
  • (6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends – tagged 6 people in the post and attacked one of them who asked to be removed from the conversation
  • (7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others – was totally unwilling to consider that parental alienation is an issue for both sexes
  • (9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes – basically attacks anyone who disagrees with them


I share this not to name and shame but just to highlight how easily I was drawn into their supply.  Their comments triggered me and before I knew it I was down the rabbit hole!  I recognised their behaviours but still engaged, fuelled by my passion to try and help them see how dangerous their statements were.  If they had presented their cause in a less alienating, controlling and aggressive way, I would have enjoyed listening to their perspectives.  But instead I was left feeling like I had let myself down by engaging with them.


So if you are struggling with enforcing those boundaries, I understand.  It happens so easily that you don’t even know what is going on until it is too late.  So don’t beat yourself up.  Remember that they are very clever at knowing which buttons to press and how to engage you.  And if you do find yourself embroiled, get out as soon as you recognise what is going on.  It’s never too late to go grey rock.


If you’d like any help in dealing with narcissistic abuse or parental alienation, please do get in touch at enquiries@thenurturingcoach.co.uk or join our Facebook Group.


12 Ways to Cope With Narcissists at the Holidays

12 Ways to Cope With Narcissists at the Holidays

If you have narcissistic family members, holiday visits can be full of emotional land mines. As you think about spending holidays with family, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you feel tense when thinking about family holiday visits?
  2. Do you find yourself thinking more about how to avoid problems than how to enjoy the time?
  3. Do you anticipate not feeling free to be yourself around family members during this holiday?
  4. Are you visiting family members more out of obligation than choice?

If you answered yes to two or more questions, here are 12 things you can do to have a more nurturing holiday.

1) Know your path

Being around narcissists can feel like an endless series of battles. One effective way to sidestep skirmishes is to declare that you are on a path to whatever you value most. Perhaps it is healing, growth, learning, love, peace, self-confidence or being the best version of you.

If your number one priority around a narcissist is surviving emotionally, you’ll be focused on survival. If your number one priority is not being controlled, you will focus on avoiding control. Focusing on surviving or avoiding control can make you feel small.

On the other hand, if your number one priority is growth, learning, or being the best you can be, that will be your focus. When something upsetting comes along you can ask yourself, “How can I incorporate this into my path?” “How can this help me learn?” Doing so allows you to make use of anything that happens, no matter how upsetting in the moment.

2) Share judiciously

Narcissists often use personal information you share against you. Be judicious in sharing sensitive information especially about loaded topics such as your love life, finances, diet, politics, religion, lifestyle, goals, feelings, health and work. With extreme narcissists, that may not leave much to talk about! But better to reserve those topics for safer, more trusted people in your life.

When confronted with intrusive questions, borrow a page from political spin doctors. Instead of answering the question you were asked, answer with a topic you want to talk about. For example, if an intrusive family member asks whether you are sticking to your budget or diet, you could talk about how great your job is or how much your nieces and nephews have grown. Or you could simply ask the narcissistic person about something you know they would love to talk about.

Who cares if you change the subject. You do not have to answer questions that make you uncomfortable.

thanksgiving turkey photo

3) Have realistic expectations

Holidays can be wonderful but stressful. Many of us tend to regress to earlier family roles or mood states. It is okay to have conflicting feelings. You may feel bored, frustrated, angry, sad, anxious, happy and more. These feelings will pass.

Don’t expect to put a year’s worth of catching up or saying all you have to say in a holiday visit. Holidays should be about relaxing and celebrating, not working.

4) Take care of yourself

Especially during the holidays, maintain helpful routines that support you in your daily life. Pay attention to eating, exercise and sleep habits. Take time to yourself, even if to go for a short walk. Take a nap, read or do other self-care behaviors. You don’t need permission.

One useful technique is “Nine at Nine.” This means that at 9 pm, look back at the day and list nine things you have done or experienced that day about which you feel positive. You can list anything: doing good things for yourself like flossing, accomplishing some small task you’ve been meaning to do, doing something thoughtful for another, sitting for a few moments taking in the beauty around you, trying some new experience, or earning a paycheck.

There is nothing magical about 9 pm or the number nine. Pick any time that you are likely to have a few minutes free to do this. Studies have shown that taking a few moments a day to note things that you feel good about can increase your mood, confidence and optimism.

5) Be a cultural anthropologist

In tense or anxiety-producing situations, sometimes the best course is simply to observe. Try this experiment: Approach a family holiday visit like an anthropologist.

From the moment you arrive, make mental notices of what you notice. How do people say hello or greet others? How do people express their needs or feelings? What are the norms and apparent expectations? What seems to be discouraged or forbidden and how are those things communicated?

In quiet moments to yourself during the visit, you can think about what you have observed. You can write in a journal or email or call a friend. What do you make about this particular “culture” you are visiting? What is healthy and unhealthy?

Notice, too, how the environment affects you, the observer. Especially notice thoughts with black-and-white thinking, self-criticism or negative labels about yourself. Would you let anyone else say such negative things to you? Then don’t say them to yourself.

The great thing about research projects such as this is that nothing can go wrong. Anything that happens is data from which you can learn. This can take the pressure and attention off yourself.

6) Have an exit plan

You have the right to take time to yourself or remove yourself from a conversation at any time for any reason. Though narcissists may approach it this way, your holiday is not a command performance for somebody else.

You can always look at your phone and say, “Excuse me, I have a work call I must take.” Or text, email, or call a friend or therapist.

You nearly always have more than one option when dealing with a narcissist, even if it may not initially feel like it. In the face of a narcissist’s demands, put downs or attempts to manipulate you, you can say no, excuse yourself, or say you have to think about it.

7) Know where to draw the line

In dealing with narcissists you may have to choose among imperfect choices. To help you make the best choices, think ahead of time about what you will tolerate and what you won’t. Know where you will draw the line. A key question to ask yourself is “At what cost?” How much is too much to pay or give up? Once you know that, it is easier to know when to set boundaries, speak up, let it pass, or walk away.

8) Agree to disagree

If things get heated, declare a holiday truce. Tell a family member, “Let’s just agree to disagree.” Find distractions as needed, like a game or movie.

9) Don’t lose your voice

Being around narcissistic family members can be tough. If you notice yourself feeling small or as if you have no voice, take a few moments and answer these questions:

  • “What is best way to take care of me and meet my needs in this situation?”
  • “Is this how I want to treat myself or others?”
  • “How do I want to be in the world right now?”

10) Use mistakes to learn

If you say or do things you regret, instead of berating yourself or feeling like you failed, ask yourself:  What might I have said or done if I had not gotten triggered? What would I like to do or say next time if a similar situation comes along?

This is rehearsing, not rehashing. It takes you from regret to action.

11) Remember your rights

You can disagree, say no, or take time to think about requests or comments before responding.

Narcissists assume they know you but in truth you know yourself far better than they do. You know what is good for you. You are the best judge of that, not the narcissist.

12) It’s your choice

Christmas photo

It may be worth having an honest conversation with yourself or a trusted friend, partner or therapist about whether you really want to be with family for the holidays.

You may want to list the pros and cons. Ask yourself: What is the worst case scenario if I go or don’t go? You may wish to shorten or adjust a planned trip or forego visiting altogether.

If you want less contact or a different kind of contact, you have the absolute right to seek that. Others may be upset, but that is not your problem. Remind yourself that you are not doing this to hurt anybody. Rather, you are choosing what will take care of you. That’s your right and that’s your job.

Holidays can be a time for connection and renewal. Thinking ahead and making sure to take care of yourself can help you connect and renew rather than disconnect and regress.


Photo Credits:
Gingerbread family by iofoto / Shutterstock
Turkey by Clickr-free Vector Images / Pixabay
Anthropologist by blambca / Shutterstock
Fighting Santas by mikeledray / Shutterstock
Tree ornaments by rawpixel / Pixabay



Impact ofParental Alienation_On the alienating parent.png

The Impact Of Parental Alienation On The Alienating Parent

Impact ofParental Alienation_On the alienating parent.png


Whilst I do not want to give any time or credit to someone who believes alienating their children from a parent is appropriate I do think it is important we understand the motivation behind the behaviour and the impact it has on them.

Firstly nothing you did made them chose this path.  No matter what they tell you.  This was always in their game plan, you just weren’t looking for the clues.  They will tell you that it’s because you did x,y or z but the reality is that it’s part of their character and would have come out sooner or later anyway.

(Stage one and two of this process are talking about women alienators only, simply because of the subject matter.  Stage three onwards is gender neutral.  This is all based on real life case studies which i have undertaken with both men and women)

So many alienated parents are crippled with guilt over something they did and believe that if they had done things differently, they would be reasonable and the kids would not be suffering .  NEWSFLASH.  It is the alienating parent who is at fault NOT YOU.  Please believe that.

Many alienators have this as their game plan all along.  They decided when they met you that they needed you because you met their needs – you gave them status or you were easy to manipulate or both.  But deep down they knew that you were “out of their league” so they concluded that whilst you may not love them and therefore leave them, you would love your child and be very reluctant to leave them especially if the threat of losing them should you ever dare to leave was planted in your head.


Things would have moved really quickly.  Moving in, getting pregnant etc.  Often without much agreement from the yout.   You may even have been breaking up when they got pregnant.  You could even have been raped (men and women).  However it happened this was stage one of their plan.  Keep you in a relationship with them by giving you a relationship with the child.  At this point some of their plan will have been revealed if you knew what you were looking for.  They perhaps would have spoken about how they would graciously “allow” you to see your child as often as you like.  You are the father.  It’s not about allowing.  It’s about being right and necessary for the child.  But by using the term “allow” they are revealing their view on the power differential and already acting as a gatekeeper.

The attachment is insecure and based on fear.  Their subsequent behaviour will come from this place.


Once pregnant the boundaries you tried to put in place were torn down, always with the veiled threat of not seeing your unborn child.  At this point they will have you running around after them, almost slave like, as they relished their now guaranteed power over you.  At this point they may have raised marriage and moving in together (if you didn’t already) or some other way to really seal the deal.

Psychologically at this point they are getting a huge amount of positive reinforcement that they made the right choice.  You are attentive (of the child not her but in her eyes it’s the same thing) and the arguments have stopped (because you don’t want to cause stress to your unborn child but she takes it that you love her more now) and she keeps pushing, knowing you won’t go anywhere.  They learning that they can get away with pretty much anything as long as they use the child as an excuse.

They is also developing the sense that her and the child are one and the same.  You love the child therefore must love her.  You want to be with the child therefore you want to be with her.  This will be reinforced more once the child has arrived where the child will become a mini-me.  Everything they wanted for themselves, they push their child to do.  If it’s a girl, they dress them the same and model them on themselves.  If it’s a boy, they will view them as a mini-me of you. This can lead to very poor boundaries and inappropriate behaviours as the children grow up. But whilst the child is small, they get lots of praise for “how gorgeous” the baby is (which the alienating parent takes to mean “I am gorgeous”) so they become tied to this tiny symbol of themselves because the attention they get makes them feel good.

As they grow up and the attention dwindles, the alienating parent may develop fabricated illness syndrome as a way to get more attention or push the child to perform so that they get lots of praise, which the alienating parent takes as being praise for themselves.  Parent’s evening can reveal a lot of this behaviour.


Obviously though the relationship becomes more strained again as old feelings of unhappiness rear their head and you contemplate the future of the relationship.  At this point, picking up on your withdrawal, you may find another pregnancy take you by surprise. This is their “insurance”.

They will start to belittle your parenting skills and begin a secret smear campaign.  They will be telling others that you have “issues” and may even succeed in getting you diagnosed with a mental health problem.  This is ammunition for their ultimate game plan should the relationship end.

During arguments they will use the children to “control” you and win the fight.  They may even attempt to goad you into attacking them (which is wrong and is not condoned – I am simply explaining the process).  This will give them more ammunition should you leave.

You won’t have any say in the parenting.  They will make all decisions.  They will plant the seeds of the “consequences” of you leaving them – “you’ll never see your kids again”.  Your confidence will be in tatters and you will feel trapped.

Paradoxically they will feel incredibly powerful and almost god-like.  They will present to everyone else as the “perfect” parent, all the while putting you down, and are keen for everyone to think you have a perfect family life and they are the perfect wife/mother.  They have exactly the status they desire.


As the arguments increase or the alienated parent becomes so depressed everyone starts to notice, they may decide that you can no longer meet their needs and provide them with the status they desire so they could discard you.  Equally you may decide that you are so unhappy and it isn’t fair on the kids to witness the animosity that you want to leave.  Either way the break-up will not be easy.  It will all be your fault and even if they left you, they will tell everyone how awful you were to live with and that they had no choice.  They will not accept responsibility for their actions and this will all contribute to the smear campaign they are ramping up.

At this point they will begin with their attempts to alienate you.  Usually starting with gatekeeping.  Telling you exactly when and where you are “allowed” to see the children and if you step out of line your privileges will be revoked.  They will attempt to make the children choose at every opportunity and overshare with them about the details of your break up.  There will be no emotional boundaries in place.

The alienating parent at this point is in full on survival mode and will attack to protect their status (not their children).  False allegations are likely to be made and believed.

All of this feeds their view of themselves as invincible and omnipotent.  They are lavished with attention whilst they play the victim and this is more positive reinforcement for them to continue with their behaviour.


You and the truth are a real threat to their status and so you must be removed.  They will stop you and anyone associated with you from seeing the children. They do all of this under the guise of “protecting the children”.  The smear campaign which they started whilst you were still in the relationship now appears to back-up their claims and no-one believes the alienated parent.  This fuels their power trip and their behaviour becomes more and more outrageous.  Phoning the police for every little thing.  Making repeated false allegations which are quickly dismissed.  Threatening you, projecting and gaslighting you with “evidence” of your abuse.

At this point many alienated parents give up.  They are facing a barrage of accusations, no-one believes them and they are alienated from not only their children but also friends and society who believe the alienating parent.  Add to that the financial element and the emotional toll this takes on everyone including the children and it is understandable why a parent would walk away.  Of course this just proves to the alienating parent that they are all powerful and reinforces their behaviour.

The key is to fight.  The alienating parent WILL trip themselves up.  As their behaviour gets more outrageous, more and more people will start to question it and slowly but surely the truth begins to come out.  The children need you to fight as well because you are the only parent who is concerned with their welfare.  They are being abused and need you to protect them.

As the curtain finally starts to fall though, the alienating parent will panic and can become dangerous.  They refuse to let anyone see the truth and therefore those who are exposing them become a target.  Including the children.  Their psychological state has resorted to childhood and are in fight or flight.  Some will kill themselves at this point.  Some will kill their children.  Some will kill their ex.  All in with the aim of protecting their false self.

We at NAPARRC understand this process and the real risk involved.  We want to be YOUR army to fight them so come and join the Facebook group to access free support and guidance from specialists and peers www.facebook.com/groups/NAPARRC


My Own Sexual Harassment Hell

My own sexual harassment hell

My Own Sexual Harassment Hell

Obviously I can’t comment on what is going on in Hollywood right now with this case but I wanted to share my own personal experience of something similar to what the victims are claiming and what I learnt about abuse as a result of that experience. Part of that is to unburden myself but mainly to show that you don’t have to be a movie star or high powered executive to experience an abuse of power.

Back in 2007 I was in my second year of my Social Work course and on work placement. I had loved my assignment. My practice supervisor, who was the professional assigned to guide me through my placement and assess my capability to be a social worker, had been brilliant throughout. He had supported me and become a friend. I almost saw him in a father figure role. I trusted him with some personal things during the 10 weeks and he had shared the same. It had felt like a really great professional relationship with genuine care for one another.

A few other students had been in the same setting on placement but with other practice supervisors, and as a farewell, we all planned on going out for a meal and drinks together. There was a large group of us. My fellow students had told me they had bought “thank you” presents for their assessor so I took their advice and bought him an engraved pen. I took him to one side and gave it to him. He almost started crying which I felt was a bit odd but as we had worked together for a while, I just assumed he felt sad that it was coming to an end.

We all went off together, jolly and having fun. His wife had come along with us and everything seemed great. A few of us were dancing in one pub and my assessor came up and asked me to dance with him. His wife was stood close by so I wasn’t alerted to anything. Then he leaned in and told me he loved me. At first I thought he meant like a friend (I have told friends I love them after a few drinks plenty of times) so I naively said “love you too” back. It was then that he looked at me and said “you do? What do you want to do about it?” and looked at his wife. Suddenly I realised that he meant romantic love.

And I did a really cowardly thing and ran off. A few of the others followed me and I told them what had happened. They stayed with me to reassure me and calm me down and eventually came and told me he had left with his wife.

I couldn’t quite comprehend it all but over the next few days I began to feel really violated. Like he had taken advantage of me. I spoke to university who basically told me I should meet him (apparently he was devastated) and couldn’t understand that I no longer felt safe being around him on my own. He then sent me an email explaining why he loved me and how hurt he was now that I couldn’t talk to him. The office he worked at was opposite my flat at the time and I was terrified to leave the flat or answer the door in case it was him.

But no-one understood. People actually laughed when I told them. So then I started to think maybe I had over-reacted but my body was telling me differently. My body was telling me that this wasn’t right and that he had abused his position of power.

And I got my proof a few weeks later when he failed my placement. He took everything I had told him in confidence and used it to smear my name. He was trying to ensure I didn’t pass my course because I had rejected him. Luckily because I had told the uni what was happening they got another member of staff to assess me and they wrote me a glowing report.

It took me a long time to recover from that and if I’m honest I think I still have some wounds. I struggle with authority now and followed this experience up with an experience with a bullying female boss. As a result i have worked hard to build up my own business, to be by own boss and to distance myself from people in positions of power but that is changing. I am learning to trust MYSELF and that means trusting my instincts again. I’m not always right and probably act over cautiously, making sure I put very clear boundaries in place quickly, but I am no longer letting this experience dictate my professional life.

It has lead me into the field of Narcissistic Abuse and to help others who may have experienced similar and worse. So in the bigger scheme of things, it did me a huge favour but at the time it caused me a lot of pain and anguish.

That is why I have shared my story. To let anyone who is experiencing this know that they are not alone and that it can happen to anyone, you did nothing wrong. And to trust your instincts. If it feels like abuse then there’s a good chance that it is and there is no shame in that. If you need more one:one support or would like to chat, please do contact me at enquiries@thenurturingcoach.co.uk


The Painful Catch-22 of Caring About a Narcissist

The Painful Catch-22 of Caring About a Narcissist

This is the dilemma of caring about a narcissist:  If you are true to yourself, you lose a narcissist’s approval. If you are true to what the narcissist wants, you lose yourself.

Narcissists are desperate to see themselves reflected in those around them. If you aspire to goals narcissists hold dear, believe what they believe, and act in ways they think are right, they feel validated.

On the other hand, if you hold values or behave in ways opposite to what a narcissist wants, the narcissist feels invalidated and will often rage, sulk, belittle, withdraw or reject you.

Narcissists seek to cultivate sameness. Follow what a narcissist preaches and you are told you will be safe, protected and will avoid rejection and wrath. But if you honor your values and truth, you are often told you are bad, wrong, defiant or weak. Follow your own path, narcissists warn, and you will be abandoned and disliked.

If you uphold what the narcissist wants, you may be accepted, though that acceptance is generally conditional and temporary. And even when you are liked or loved by a narcissist, their love is not based on who you really are. It is based on what a narcissist chooses to see in you.

This dilemma is akin to the words above the entrance to Hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy:  “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here.”

With a narcissist the Catch-22 is:  “Abandon Yourself or Be Abandoned By Me.”

It’s a painful dilemma. If you care about someone with narcissism, it hurts to be repeatedly rejected and abandoned, especially when the rejection comes as a result of honoring yourself. It hurts to know that another person wants you to give up yourself to curry their favor. Being abandoned by a narcissist in ways large and small can bring a deep loneliness.

Yet while it hurts to disagree with a narcissist and have them accuse you of betraying them, it also hurts to betray your own values. That, too, brings a deep loneliness.

Only you can decide which path hurts more; which path has fewer costs and more benefits. That you have to make such a calculation in an important relationship is, in itself, testament to the dysfunctional dynamic inherent in knowing a narcissist.

If you do choose, as William Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true,” here are four steps you can take to being true to yourself in relationships with narcissists:

1) Create a greater context for your dealings with a narcissist

If you must have dealings with destructive narcissists, you don’t have to play their game or accept their rules. Rather than feeling you are battling for survival or just trying to get by, create a broader context for having them in your life.

For example, view dealing with a narcissist as an opportunity for personal growth or as training in how to hold on to yourself in difficult circumstances. Or see it as a learning opportunity to observe firsthand the kinds of behavior you want to avoid.

When you have something at stake that matters to you it can give you a sense of purpose beyond just trying to survive around a narcissist.

2) Focus on process, not content

Narcissists distract and confuse others. When they are confronted or embarrassed they will act out, blame, belittle, bully or otherwise avoid responsibility.

Focus on what they do, not what they say. Their words are often attempts to make you question yourself. Their arguments are generally distractions. If you refute one argument, they will come up with another, and another, and another.

You don’t have to take the bait. When faced with a narcissist who starts ramping up his or her array of defensive and offensive tactics, remind yourself:  “They are most likely trying to evade responsibility.” This gives you the opportunity to keep your eye on bigger issues, such as taking a stand for what is right or for individual responsibility and accountability.

3) Make friends with your feelings and desires

Narcissists are often uncomfortable with others’ emotions. While they give themselves lots of permission to express and pursue their feelings, they tend to shame and block others from expressing emotions.

This unfair and destructive double standard isn’t healthy. Let yourself have all your feelings and desires.

Check in from time to time and notice what you might be feeling or desiring. Then tell yourself, “All my feelings belong. Feelings aren’t logical. I don’t need to justify my feelings with reasons. Feelings just are.”

Emotions are messages from different aspects of yourself. They just want to be heard. You don’t have to necessarily act on them.

4) Concentrate on intrinsic not extrinsic rewards

Narcissists fear looking inward so they focus on external rewards such as material possessions, status, attention, power and approval. While these have their place, our most authentic motivations tend to be intrinsic.

Intrinsic rewards and motivations include qualities such as self-awareness, self-acceptance, love, being who you really are, having a vision for your life, contributing to the greater good, spirituality and intimacy.

Narcissists may judge you only on how well you play their game of accumulating extrinsic rewards. Don’t do the same to yourself.

When you have a dilemma or feel stuck around a narcissist, ask yourself what your deepest internal motivations and values are, and proceed from there.


Photo Credits:

Swirling Illusion by Andrey Korshenkov
Abandon Hope marker by Zapomicron
Serpent Shadow by Chompoo


14 Thought-Control Tactics Narcissists Use to Confuse and Dominate You

14 Thought-Control Tactics Narcissists Use to Confuse and Dominate You

Narcissists’ lives are about winning, generally at others’ expense.

Many narcissists pursue a win-at-all-costs, anything-goes approach.

The casualties:  Honesty, empathy and reciprocity.

Narcissists distort the truth through disinformation, oversimplifying, ridiculing and sowing doubt. Narcissists can be incredibly skilled at using classic elements of thought-control and brainwashing.

To get free of narcissistic thought control it is essential to spot the distortions narcissists deliberately and instinctively practice. Applying critical thinking skills can inoculate you against their campaigns.

Here are 14 thought-control tactics narcissists frequently use:

1) Emotional Appeals:  Attempting to play on emotions such as fear, guilt and loyalty rather than using logic and reasoning.

Narcissists use emotional appeals to disguise false or outrageous claims. Since many narcissists tend to be Drama Kings or Queens, using over-the-top emotionality to control others comes naturally for them.

Example:  “How dare you question me! After all I’ve done for you.”

2) Bandwagon:  An attempt to pressure another to go along because “everybody is doing it.”

Narcissists know the power of numbers. They slavishly follow their “likes” on social media and other measures of attention. Having lots of followers reassures them of their worth. They use the power of group-think and peer pressure to play on others’ fears of missing out, being ostracized or being in the wrong.

Example:  “All your friends agree with me.”

3) Black-and-white / Either-or:  Pretending there are only two choices when there are several.

Narcissists view the world in either-or terms. Nuance is lost on them. They derive a feeling of power from this divide-and-conquer approach.

Example:  “You’re either with me or against me.”

4) Burden of Proof:  Asserting that the speaker does not need to prove his points but, rather, that the burden is on the listener to disprove them.

Such an entitled stance comes easily for narcissists. In addition, narcissists love to take credit but have little interest in taking responsibility. They hate to be wrong, so putting the burden on others is a stonewalling strategy that makes it especially difficult to disprove them.

Example:  “I know I am right. What I say stands until you can prove otherwise.”

5) False Flattery:  Buttering others up to make them more receptive to your arguments.

Narcissists rarely meet a compliment they don’t like. They think others are as susceptible to flattery as they are. They ply listeners with pseudo-compliments, hoping to get things in return.

Example:  “I couldn’t possibly be manipulating you, you’re way too smart for that.”

6) Incredulity:  Acting as though what someone said is unbelievable.

Narcissists often use this tactic when they don’t understand what another person is saying. Rather than admit they are confused, they pretend that what the other person is saying is beyond belief. This is an attempt to dismiss valid concerns.

Example:  “You seriously think there are other husbands who are better than me? You really think other wives get anywhere near what I have given you? You are not living in the real world.

7) Labeling:  Applying a negative phrase or attributing negative characteristics to a person or position.

Narcissists love labels. Having a single word to invalidate or humiliate another feels like an ultimate power for narcissists.

Example:  “You’re too needy. You’re a loser.”

8) False Compromise:  Offering to meet half way on matters in which there is clearly a fair and unfair choice.

If a narcissist has a choice to treat another person fairly or unfairly, a “compromise” that still treats the other unfairly is no compromise – it’s still wrong.

Example:  “Okay, you win, I’ll pay you back $50 of the $100 you gave me and we’ll call it even. Hey, it’s better than nothing.”

9) Empty Promises:  Promising to give others what they want without any plan or intention of fulfilling the promise.

Example:  “You’ll get your turn. I promise.”

10) Quoting out of Context:  Repeating only part of what another person said or using another’s words completely out of context.

Narcissists do this to discredit others and put them on the defensive.

Example:  “You always said people have to take responsibility for themselves so I didn’t think you needed my help when you had to go to the ER.”

11) Ridicule:  Mocking or humiliating another person or their requests or feelings.

Narcissists devalue others through dismissive remarks, sarcasm, or hostile humor instead of taking the other person seriously.

Example:  “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. You’re just embarrassing yourself.”

12) Slippery Slope:  An appeal to fear which takes a small problem and predicts that it will lead to an escalating series of worst-case scenarios.

The goal is to use an extreme hypothetical to distract from a reasonable complaint or argument.

Example:  “If I do this for you, you will think you can get whatever you want from me. I’ll become your slave and have no life.”

13) Dehumanizing:  Classifying others as inferior, dangerous or evil to justify oppressing or eliminating them.

This ends-justifies-the-means tactic is second nature for narcissists, who see most other people as inferior.

Example:  “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

14) Slogans:  A simplistic phrase that is a catch-all designed to shut down dissent.

Narcissists often have pat phrases they employ when they feel threatened.

Example:  “I’m your last best hope. I’m all you’ve got.”

Knowledge is power. Recognizing narcissists’ tactics is the first step in setting healthy boundaries against their manipulation. Read additional thought-control techniques used by narcissists in my blog 12 Classic Propaganda Techniques Narcissists Use to Manipulate You


Photo credits:

Myth/Facts puzzle by Rei and Motion Studio
Beware More Lies Exit Sign by  Northallertonman
Feeble excuses sign by Northallertonman