25 Spot-On Quotations About Narcissism

Are you struggling with a narcissist in your life? You are not alone. Writers, poets, researchers, therapists, philosophers and others have weighed in on narcissism since early human history.

Here are some of their best quotations on narcissism and narcissists.

“Narcissism has more in common with self-hatred than with self-admiration.”
— Christopher Lasch, author

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. . . .They justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”
— T.S. Elliott, writer

“Withhold admiration from a narcissist and be disliked. Give it and be treated with indifference.”
— Mason Cooley, essayist

“Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life in his own terms.”
— Elizabeth Bowen, writer

“Underneath the so-called narcissistic personality is definitely shame and the paralyzing fear of being ordinary.”
— Brené Brown, researcher

“There is simply no winning with a narcissist. He will treat you so horribly that you will become withdrawn and depressed and then he will turn around and say, ‘You’re no fun anymore, you’re always so depressed. I need to be with someone more positive.’”
— Susan Williams, writer

“Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders . . . but by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless.”
— Jeffrey Kluger, writer

“When people are driving themselves crazy, they have neuroses or psychoses. When they drive other people crazy, they have personality disorders.”
— Albert J. Bernstein, psychologist

“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego.”
— Amanda Torroni, writer

“Narcissism is voluntary blindness, an agreement not to look beneath the surface.”
— Sam Keen, author

“Because narcissistic parents are experts at making everything look good, the child of the narcissist may not know anything was wrong. A common response in therapy is ‘I had a great childhood with caring parents. I should be happy.’”
— Heather Sheafer, writer

“If you want to go from being adored to devalued in the blink of an eye, simply insult the narcissist.”
— Tigress Luv, blogger

“Parents are supposed to give the child back to herself with love. If they’ve got duct tape over their eyes because of narcissism, it doesn’t happen.”
— Jane Fonda, actor

“When narcissists behave in an exhibitionistic manner, they are seeking the same sort of admiration as toddlers, and for the same reasons. They want attention. Some examples include inappropriate dress, talking too loudly, or gesturing in expansive and space-intruding ways.”
— Mark Ettensohn, therapist

“Over and over again, I have learned how damaging, how unrelenting, the aftermath is from these pathological, quietly undermining relationships.”
— Sandra Brown, therapist

 

“You might as well bang your head into a brick wall if you expect the narcissist to be reasonable, empathetic or human in any way. If you sense or witness any of these traits, there is an ulterior motive. When the narcissist is being nice, it’s because they have something to gain.”
— Tina Swithin, writer

“I know now that one of the characteristics of evil is its desire to confuse.”
— M. Scott Peck, writer

“No matter how socially skilled an extreme narcissist is, he has a major attachment dysfunction. The extreme narcissist is frozen in childhood.”
— Samuel Lopez de Victoria, therapist

“The narcissist would love nothing more than to know you are eating uncooked Top Ramen out of a dumpster for dinner tonight while wearing yesterday’s underwear.”
— Tina Swithin, writer

“I have a very simple question to people . . . who seem to suffer from excessive narcissism: Please name three other persons who are smarter and more capable than you, in the field you work in. In most cases they are utterly unable to answer that question honestly.”
— Ingo Molnar, computer hacker

“Narcissus does not fall in love with his reflection because it is beautiful, but because it is his. If it were his beauty that enthralled him, he would be set free in a few years by its fading.”
— W.H. Auden, poet

“The best way to upset a narcissist is by ignoring him.”
— J.B. Snow, writer

“Narcissists install a mental filter in our heads a little bit at a time. . . . ‘Will he get upset if I do/say/think this? Will he approve/disapprove? Will he feel hurt by this?’ Until we can uninstall the narcissist-filter, our actions are controlled by narcissists to some degree.”
— Sam Vaknin, writer

“There’s a reason narcissists don’t learn from mistakes and that’s because they never get past the first step which is admitting that they made one.”
— Jeffrey Kluger, writer

“He was like the cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow.”
— George Eliot, writer

Photo of Numero Uno man by Ron Leishman

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12 Classic Propaganda Techniques Narcissists Use to Manipulate You

Propaganda is powerful. It can start wars and end governments.

Strikingly, in their personal lives narcissists routinely use classic propaganda techniques — similar to the techniques used by repressive regimes throughout history — to control, confuse and manipulate you and others.

Propagandists use words and ideas in a misleading or biased fashion to persuade others to think, feel or act in certain ways.

As long as there has been propaganda, there have been efforts to see through it. Some 2,500 years ago Socrates developed critical thinking skills to debunk fallacious arguments. Critical thinking skills are widely taught in schools today.

Following are 12 widely-researched propaganda techniques. As you read these you may wish to note any which parallel how the narcissists in your life try to influence or exploit you and others.

One way to do this is to recall a conversation with a narcissist or refer to a letter, email or voicemail from a narcissist, and identify instances of propaganda-like tactics from the list below. Each technique listed has an example of phrases used. If you hear such phrases from a narcissist, these are red flags signaling possible coercion, deception or manipulation.

1) Ad Hominem:  From the Latin meaning “towards the man,” an attempt to shift the conversation by getting personal.

If you bring up a topic that threatens a narcissist’s ego, he may resort to name-calling, questioning your intelligence or attacking your character. This technique is designed to distract from the topic at hand and make you feel you have to defend yourself.

Example:  When you voice an opinion opposite of what a narcissist believes, the narcissist may say, “You’re delusional. You’re clueless, as usual.

2) Glittering Generalities:  Using glowing words and statements to describe ones self, ideas, or behaviors without providing evidence.

Narcissists are in love with their words just as they are in love with everything about themselves. They think superlatives make them look good.

Example:  A narcissistic husband tells his spouse:  “I’m the most amazing husband ever. I’m super-thoughtful, smart and always available. I provide a world-class lifestyle for you.”

3) The Big Lie:  Spinning a lie so outrageous that others are at a loss where to even begin to refute it.

Narcissists are convinced that whatever they say in the moment is 100 percent true just because they are saying it. Lying often comes naturally. They know that the bigger the lie, the more it may overwhelm others’ critical faculties.

Example:  A narcissist when confronted with a credit-card bill evidence of an extra-marital affair:  “I’ve never been to that hotel in my life. That hotel is notorious for making up fake check-in records and then blackmailing innocent people like me. There was a big article online about that a while back. You probably saw it. I might even have an email from the hotel trying to blackmail me in my inbox right now. I will fight this slander all the way to the Supreme Court. They will be sorry they ever made up this lie about me.”

4) Intentional Vagueness:  Saying something so vague as to be meaningless or open to multiple interpretations.

This can leave others stymied, trying to figure out what was meant. In so doing, the vagueness distracts attention from legitimate concerns or questions.

Example:  A narcissist when asked why he did something:  “I did what had to be done. I always do what needs to be done. It’s obvious.”

5) Exaggerating:  Stretching the truth to extremes to get credit, eliminate doubt, or coerce someone.

Narcissists have grandiose personas. Exaggerating is second nature to them.

Example:  Reaction from a narcissist when a friend suggests theirs is a one-sided relationship:  “I’m the best and most generous friend you’ve ever had. I’ve done more for you than anybody in history has done for another.”

6) Minimizing:  The opposite of exaggeration, minimizing denies or downplays anything that doesn’t fit with a propagandist’s goals.

Narcissists are desperately image conscious so they frequently minimize the negative consequences of their actions. They also discount others’ feelings and needs, which narcissists tend to see as nuisances.

Example:  A narcissistic parent’s response to adult child who wants to discuss the parent’s past neglect or abuse:  “What are you talking about, you had a great childhood. Yes I was strict but all parents were in those days. You have nothing to complain about.”

7) False Equivalence:  Attempting to equate vastly different situations to one’s advantage.

Narcissists use false equivalencies to justify their unreasonable views and grandiose needs as well as to avoid responsibility for their destructive behaviors.

Example:  Reaction from a narcissistic parent after raiding an adult child’s bank account:  “Yes, I emptied your account. But don’t forget, you once stole a dollar from your younger brother when you were six.”

8) Gish Gallop:  A rapid-fire series of assertions, questions and accusations launched at another without giving a chance to respond.

Named after the 20th century creationist Duane Gish, this technique attempts to convince or overwhelm others by listing many shorthand arguments, any one of which could be easily refuted, but the collective weight of which seem convincing and would take time and effort to refute.

Narcissists love the feeling of power and dominance that comes from spitting out multiple statements that make others appear foolish or ignorant.

Example:  A narcissistic partner when criticized:  “How dare you question me? I’ve given you everything you have. Do you think you could have survived without my help? I’ve accomplished more in the last week than you have in a year. Who would you be without me? You think your friends would lift a finger if you really needed it? You’re often so wrong you don’t even realize it. I’m surprised you’ve managed to survive this long.”

9) Lesser of Two Evils:  Giving someone only two undesirable options of which one is far more catastrophic.

Narcissists use this to justify or excuse control, abuse, or other excesses.

Example:  A narcissistic parent to an adult child:  “Yes, you were hit you as a child when you misbehaved. Would you rather have been sexually abused? Count your blessings.”

10) Repetition / Ad Nauseam:  Repeating a word or phrase endlessly to sidetrack discussion.

The goal is that if something is said often enough, others may start to believe it. It also is a way of dismissing what another is saying my simply talking over them, repeating a stock phrase or being unresponsive to further discussion.

Example:  A narcissistic boss to employee:  “I’ve made up my mind. That’s all there is to it. My mind is made up. When I make up my mind, my mind is made up. Period.”

11) Scapegoating:  Falsely blaming one individual for a group’s problems.

Scapegoating is one of narcissists’ favorite tactics because it can accomplish many things at once: making others feel inferior; getting other people to go along with the narcissist in ostracizing someone; gaining a feeling of power at orchestrating a group action; hiding or distracting from anything that would make the narcissist look bad; and evading the narcissist’s responsibility for creating part of the problem.

Example:  A meddling narcissistic relative:  “You’re the reason this entire family is a mess.”

12) Tu Quoque:  From the Latin for “You too,” answering a criticism by asserting the other person is guilty as well.

The implication is that a questioner or accuser is hypocritical. The goal is to have a stalemate and put others on the defensive while sidestepping the original complaint.

Example:  Response from a narcissist when told he is being selfish:  “How dare you accuse me of being selfish. You’re just trying to make yourself look good by making me look bad. It doesn’t get any more selfish than that.”

Bottom line:  Propaganda relies on distortions. Narcissistic Personality Disorder, like all personality disorders, is characterized by distortions of normal, healthy thinking and behavior. By spotting how narcissists distort facts, language, feelings and ideas to coerce, diminish and take advantage of others, you can gain a healthy distance that makes it easier to set healthy boundaries against destructive narcissists.

Read additional propaganda tactics used be narcissists here:  14 Thought-Control Tactics Narcissists Use to Confuse and Dominate You

Sources and Resources

yourlogicalfallacyis.com
Bernays, E.L. (1928). Propaganda. New York: Horace Liveright, Inc.
Lasswell, H.D. (1938). Propaganda technique in the world war. New York: Peter Smith.
Lippmann, W. (1922). Public opinion. New York: The Free Press.

Photo credits:
Propaganda/Truth signs by M-Sur
Pinocchio man by Poosan
False equivalence by Stacey Lynn Payne
Woman with megaphone by Pathdoc

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parental alienation

Attachment Based Approach To Parental Alienation

A distraught divorced mother reports that when her formerly loving daughter returns from contact with her father, the child treats her with disrespect and hostility. 
 
A divorced father of a 12-year-old boy (who lives primarily with his mother) says that his son insists that he does not want any contact with his father: “If I have to see him even in a therapy session I will hurt myself!” 
 
Parental alienation may seem obvious in these cases. Yet many experts will confirm that recognising potential alienation, correctly diagnosing it, and providing treatment for this phenomenon can prove challenging to the point that many if not most professionals get it wrong.
 
Recognised earlier but first given a name in the 1980s by child psychiatrist Dr. Richard A. Gardner, parental alienation occurs when an alienating parent turns a child against a targeted (alienated) parent via deprecating innuendos (often based on projection), name-calling (“he’s a nitwit”), exaggeratedly negative reports of minor mishaps, and false accusations.
 
Alienated children parrot the alienating parent’s excessively negative views of the targeted parent, expressing these as their own much as cult followers parrot the beliefs of a cult leader. 
 
Gardner detailed 8 characteristics of an alienated child, plus criteria for distinguishing between mild, moderate, and severe presentations. The result is a child’s unwarranted hostility (mild alienation), resistance to parenting time (moderate alienation), and/or severance of contact (severe alienation) with the targeted parent.   Amy Baker explains these three levels further as follows:
 
Mild Parental Alienation: Refers to cases in which the child objects to and criticizes the targeted parent, but yet enjoys the presence of the targeted parent once time passes or when the location is no longer in close proximity to the alienating parent.
 
Moderate Parental Alienation: Refers to cases in which all eight primary manifestations of PA are likely to be present and each is more advanced than in mild cases, but less pervasive than in severe cases. Children will usually go with the targeted parent after expressing and demonstrating significant reluctance. Also, moderately alienated children will express consistent negative feelings toward the targeted parent whether or not the alienating parent is present. Although these children may enjoy the time they spend with the targeted parent, they will not admit this in the presence of the alienating parent.
 
Severe Parental Alienation: Severe cases of alienation are differentiated from mild and moderate cases by the extent of the child’s rejection and degree of negativity in the attitudes and behavior toward the targeted parent. Severely alienated children have little if anything positive to say about the targeted parent and often rewrite the history of their relationship with the targeted parent. They seem content to avoid all contact with the targeted parent, may reject an entire branch of their extended family, and often threaten to defy court-ordered parenting plans that schedule them to be under the care of the targeted parent
 
Attachment Based Approach
 
Whilst I appreciate the work of Dr Baker and use her guidelines myself, in terms of the mechanisms of what is referred to as Parental Alienation, I prefer the work of Dr Craig Childress, an American Psychiatrist.
 
He uses an attachment based model to diagnose and treat the symptoms, which he has also redefined.
 
His approach fitted perfectly with my own experience and the second I started reading “Foundations” it explained everything we had experienced.  I have since used his model to train my own team as well as other mental health professionals as it uses recognisable theories and established models.

parental alienation

Parental Alienation Schematic (Childress 2013)
 
The alienating parent’s disorganised preoccupied attachment coalesced during childhood into narcissistic and borderline personality disorder traits that are reactivated during the divorce.  The alienating parent’s activated personality disorder dynamics then produce distorted relationship and communication processes with the child that induce the suppression of the child’s attachment bonding motivations toward the targeted parent.
 
The child’s symptomatic rejection-abandonment of the targeted parent serves to protectively displace the alienating parent’s own fears of inadequacy and abandonment onto the targeted parent.
 
The child’s symptomatic rejection-abandonment of the targeted parent automatically define the targeted parent as the fundamentally inadequate and entirely abandoned parent, as opposed to the definition of the alienating personality disordered parent created by the child’s symptomatic expressions of hyper-bonding as representing the ideal, perfect and never to be abandoned parent.
 
(Childress 2013)
 
The Nurturing Coach works with parents affected by alienation fitting this description.  We understand the schematic and we also understand that parents with NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) and BPD (borderline personality disorder) are highly manipulative and convincing.  They present with:
 
  • delusional false beliefs
  • absence of empathy
  • grandiose presentation
  • disregard of court orders
  • antisocial features including a pattern of violating the rights of others
  • borderline features of splitting into all-good and all-bad
  • borderline features of emotional instability and behavioural impulsivity
 
We also understand that children will present with:
 
  • severely disrupted attachment bonding or inauthentic attachment presentation involving the selective rejection-abandonment of the “normal-range” parent while remainder of attachment presentation is normal range
  • evidence of the splitting dynamic expressed through the child’s differential relationship with parents involving an excessive idealisation of the pathogenic parent and excessive rejection-abandonment of “normal-range” parent
  • evidence of shared delusional processes involving the child’s expression of false persecutory belief’s about the “normal-range” parent
  • evidence in the child’s symptom display of the transmission of personality disorder features from the pathogenic parent possibly including:narcissistic/antisocial absence of empathy
  • narcissistic sense of entitlement
  • narcissistic grandiosity expressed as the child’s expectation and assertion of an elevated status in the family authority hierarchy above the “normal-range” parent
  • borderline episodic emotional instability and volatility involving intense and inappropriate anger
  • antisocial conduct disorder features possibly involving runaway behaviour and defiance of court orders
 
 
The importance of having someone who understands
 
Parental alienation and personality disorders are a complex field and one in which many people, who mean well, can end up making things worse.  Amy Baker says:
 
The field is counter-intuitive because the human brain is hard-wired to commit certain types of systematic cognitive errors that are particularly common in parental alienation cases
 
The first error professionals make is taking first impressions as being personality traits rather than situational responses to trauma (both of this situation and the abusive relationship).  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is common amongst targeted parents and the symptoms can present as very chaotic, aggressive, unstable and highly anxious or even paranoid.  So many times I speak to parents who are in a state of heightened anxiety and I have to be honest with them about how they are coming across.  Our programme Get Court Ready will help you to prepare yourself to overcome this initial hurdle and make a true and accurate first impression which will reduce the likelihood of bias at this stage.
 
The second mistake is that an enmeshed parent-child relationship can look, to someone who doesn’t understand the dynamics, like a very healthy parent-child bond.  I have read many reports from Cafcass commenting on the “close bond” between parent and child when in fact it was indicative of a very harmful psychological condition where the personal boundaries of the child have been completely overridden by the parent to the point where they become co-narcissistic.  This can be extremely hard for the targeted parent to explain to professionals without sounding like they are paranoid.  Our Get Court Ready programme can help you to use the correct terminology and present it in the language the court is used to in order for it to be understood and acknowledged.  As an ex child protection social worker I can help you navigate this.
 
The third main error is the explanation given by the alienating parent, that you were abusive and so the child is afraid of you, sounds so plausible that they believe it.  And having witnessed alienating children’s behaviour first hand, I can testify that it looks very real too.  That can be really hard for professionals, who have child protection as their sole responsibility, to overlook.  However, the facts are that abused children do the opposite of what would be “expected”.  They align with their abuser due to a biological need to attach themselves to their caregiver.  To not form that attachment would be suicide to them.  This is a biological mechanism which has existed since the dawn of humans.  Small humans needed to attach to another human in order to survive.  Despite all of our evolutionary breakthrough’s in other areas, this safety feature survived and so any situation where a child is rejecting a parent indicates a suppression of that attachment system and needs expert intervention to address. It is why I always recommend a psychological evaluation is carried out as soon as this symptom is identified in the child’s behaviour.  If you are still in contact with your child I recommend our parenting book “Help! My child is being used as a weapon”.
 
I want you to see from reading this page that you are not alone, we do understand and we are here to help.  If you would like to discuss anything you have read or book in for a free consultation, click the button below.

Support Services

Parental Alienation

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Emotional Support

Parental Alienation is soul destroying, confusing and emotionally overwhelming.  In order to stay strong for yourself and the children, you need to take care of your mental well-being.  This is where our therapists can help:

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Strategy Guidance

Legal advice can only get you so far with alienation cases, you need someone who understands the tactics alienators use so that you can avoid falling into their traps and curate your evidence to reveal the true abuser.  Strategy calls will help you:

The post Attachment Based Approach To Parental Alienation appeared first on The Nurturing Coach.

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DivorcedMoms Top 10 Articles From 2019

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Articles From 2019

 

We’ve rounded up DivorcedMoms top 10 divorce articles from the year, with expert advice on narcissism, psychological abuse, divorce and teens, the family court system and more.

What kind of divorce resources are you interested in? If we’ve not covered it here, leave a comment and let us know.

DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019

1. What can you expect from a narcissist during a relationship?

A lot of heartache! In other words, if it ‘s respect, consideration for your feelings and needs you desire, it’s best to keep your expectations low.

“While you may not be physically hit or physically abused in a relationship with a narcissist, your heart will be broken 10,000 times. Even if you think you are a “strong” person and can handle it; your strength is not really strength, but rather, denial.

“The following list is not exhaustive, but it is informative. If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist you’ll recognize them all. If you’re presently in a relationship with a narcissist, buckle up because you’ll eventually experience them all.”

Read the full article here and dive deeper into our resources on narcissism and personality disorders here.

2. Teens often refuse to visit a father during visitation, what should you do?

There are many teens who have difficult relationships with a father. There are also teens who have friends, an active social life and better things to do than hang with parents. If you’re faced with a teen who doesn’t want to spend time with their father, what you do would be based on the situation.

“Michael and Jennifer have been amicably divorced for six years. They have three children ages 6-14. As outlined in their final decree of divorce they split custody of the children on a 60/40 basis. The children are with Jennifer 60% of the time, with Michael, 40% of the time.

“Until recently this arrangement worked well for both the parents and children. Jennifer worked weekends as a Registered Nurse and felt secure knowing her children were with their father and well cared for.

“Michael traveled with his job during the week and worried less about his children knowing they were safe and sound with their mother. The children benefited from the quantity and quality of time with both parents.

“Problems started when their oldest child became a teenager. Craig turned 14 and became less and less interested in spending Friday through Sunday night with his father.”

Read the full article here and the rest of our resources on teens and divorce here.

3. Family courts are ill equipped to protect women during and after a high conflict divorce.

Not only women but women’s children. Women deal with lawyers, judges, therapists, and court-appointed experts who are less than knowledgeable when it comes to the damage an ex with a personality disorder can cause.

“My divorce was tame compared to some. There were no domestic abuse issues, no custody battle issues; we went our separate ways with no physical harm done. I can’t say the same about emotional harm but, as I learned the Family Court System is ill-equipped to handle the conflict created when a man has a personality disorder or is hell-bent on using the system to punish their ex.

“As a matter of fact, it is my opinion the Family Court System is ill-equipped to protect anyone whose divorce is high conflict. Judges, Attorneys, Psychologists, and other court-appointed personnel EXPECT divorce to be one size fits all and when it isn’t lack the skills to support civility. What you get are platitudes and an attitude that if you are engaged with an ex who creates conflict you must be playing a role in the conflict also.”

Read the full article here and check out our resources on high conflict divorce here.

4. If you’re divorcing a narcissist, you’ll want to get ready for the reality of co-parenting with a narcissist.

Narcissists don’t’ co-parent, they counter-parent. Even if it’s in the best interest of their children, they will thwart your desires every step of the way.

“Co-parenting with a narcissist is like being the tin man from the wizard of oz, having motion sickness, on the downward spiral of a roller coaster, with a loose harness, after eating ice cream and 5 corn dogs – doing the tango with a peg leg and an eye patch all the while sewing back together and re-stuffing down feathered pillows your dog chewed up and scattered throughout the back forty – it’s freaking difficult!!”

Read the full article here and other resources about children and co-parenting here.

5. Fathers have a right to equal parenting time. The problem is most don’t follow through with their desire for equal parenting time.

We all hear about how the courts are biased against fathers when it comes to child custody. Men, especially hear such nonsense from men’s rights groups. When you go into court believing the deck is stacked against you, you’re less likely to fight for what you want.

“Before and during the divorce process each parent has the same legal right to custody of a child. Mothers and fathers are on legal standing until one or the other gives up or is denied full custody rights.

“What does this mean? It is complicated! Even more complicated if you don’t know your state’s child custody laws. Bottom line, until you have signed a custody agreement or a judge has handed down a custody opinion, each parent has the same legal rights when it comes to where a child lives, who the child lives with and anything regarding the child.

“I’ve found that most fathers do not have a clear understanding of their legal divorce rights where the children are involved. “

Read the full article here and check out our resources on child custody here.

6. What does more damage to relationships than codependency? Not much. Here’s our tongue-in-cheek look at codependency.

I’m codependent no more! You’re codependent no more! Oh wait, I see some drama over there that requires my attention.

“According to Melody Beattie, author of Codependent No More, “As professionals began to understand codependency better, more groups of people seem to have it. Adult children of alcoholics, people in relationships with emotionally disturbed people, people in relationships with irresponsible people and people in relationships with abusive people.”

“Basically, a codependent is a person who gives more in a relationship than they get and holds onto the hope that their partner will change. Codependents enable, make excuses and make the relationship problems worse due to their inability to care more for themselves than they do their relationship partner or, the relationship.”

Read the full article here and take a look at our other resources on codependency here.

7. Defiance of court orders by men; it happens often but what’s done about it?

My ex defied every aspect of our final divorce decree. EVERY ASPECT. It’s common practice for some men to be defiant and not believe orders handed down by the court apply to them. So, what happens to them? In my case, nothing. He got away with it over and over again.

“Over the years, I’ve spoken to many women whose ex-husbands were defying divorce court orders to pay child support. What most of them have learned when they take their ex back to court for contempt is that judges rarely throw a deadbeat in jail. They threaten to do so, but in my opinion, it isn’t often that a judge will follow through on a threat.

“Not enforcing a court order undermines a woman’s ability to care for her children. For some reason though, a judge seems more concerned with how being jailed will negatively affect a deadbeat father. It isn’t only child support orders that aren’t enforced — in the Family Court System, it’s any order.”

Read the full article here and our resources on divorce and an irrational ex here.

8. Narcissists are emotional and psychologically abusive. If married and divorced one, you’ll spend time wondering why.

Why do they do the damaging things they do? That’s what I wondered and spent time researching when my ex and I went through a divorce. All we want is understanding but, does understanding help?

“If we’ve been hurt by someone we love it’s only natural to want to find understanding in what happened. We believe that if we can only understand our pain will lessen.

“So, whether you’re a therapist, researcher or victim, there is an interest in knowing why the narcissist emotionally and psychologically abuses.

“There are many theories. Probably as many theories about why the narcissist is narcissistic as there are people wondering why.”

Read the full article here and our resources on healing from narcissistic abuse here.

9. Psychologically abusive relationships rob you of your ability to trust in yourself to make proper choices and have faith in yourself.

Gaslighting, belittling, demeaning, undermining are just a few tactics used by a psychological abuser. When you’ve been on the receiving end of those tactics for years it only makes sense that you’ll lose faith in your ability to make choices that are in your best interest.

“Many assume it is simply the idea of breaking up a family that keeps us in the cycle of abuse. But I am here to say … no… that is not what made me stay.

“Forgive me as my ability to express myself in writing has never been my strong suit… but here goes.

“We stay because we have been controlled and manipulated to believe that we have no other viable options. There are often elements of financial control among a lot of other seemingly simple reasons that keep us in “it”. But they are not simple…not simple at all.

“I can only speak on my own behalf here, but I suspect that others will be able to relate on some level.”

Read the full article here and learn more from our resources on psychological and emotional abuse here.

10. Everyone’s story is different but when dealing with a narcissist, you can bet they all include damage done to children.

Narcissistic fathers discount the damage they do to their children during and after divorce. They view their children, not as an extension of themselves but as pawns to be used in their fight for control over a woman they feel stands in their way of having total control. If you’ve divorced a narcissist, you’re familiar with the damage they do to children.

“There is nothing more heart wrenching than having no recourse against someone who is doing grave emotional harm to your children. If a stranger had done what their father did, I would have had recourse. But, since it was their father, the family court system turned a blind eye to his behavior.

“It started from the beginning, the very beginning before I even knew there would be a divorce.

“I’m sharing this information in bullet points in order to keep my thoughts straight and not running together. We’ve been divorced for nearly 2 decades, there is no way I can share the entire story but, these are issues I remember as being the most damaging.”

Read the full article here and more about Maddie Grace here.

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Narcissistic Traits Create Complications During Divorce

How Narcissistic Traits Create Complications During Divorce

Narcissistic Traits Create Complications During Divorce

 

Many women who are married to narcissistic husbands become fed up with the situation and decide to get a divorce. While separating and filing for divorce might bring an immediate sense of relief from the challenges of living with a narcissist, the challenges might very well continue throughout the divorce process.

Divorce is difficult enough without the complications that a spouse with a narcissistic personality disorder can bring to the table. You might face unexpected and unnecessary conflict throughout the legal process, as your spouse might repeatedly attempt to make the divorce as trying as possible for you. Even if you have been dealing with their behavior for years, it can be challenging to stand your ground and ensure that you fight for your rights in the divorce.

How Narcissistic Traits Can Create Complications

In many divorces, both spouses will recognize that – despite their differences – compromise and cooperation will save them money, time, and stress.

However, narcissistic personality traits can make it nearly impossible for your spouse to agree to compromise. Some common personality traits of narcissistic people can include:

  • Unjustified sense of entitlement
  • Inflated superiority and self-importance
  • Putting down those they believe to be inferior to them
  • Expecting constant admiration or recognition
  • Expecting others to comply with their wishes without question
  • Being unable to realize the needs or feelings of others
  • Inability to calmly handle stressful situations
  • Difficulty adapting to change
  • Constantly changing their wants and desires
  • Reacting with angry outbursts or even vengeance if they believe they are not getting what they want at the moment

Because they believe they are superior and in the right, narcissists tend to think that everyone else is in the wrong. Even if your spouse caused most of your marital problems and conflict, expect to be blamed and for them to present themselves as the victim in the situation.

To make matters worse, once your spouse starts blaming you, they will likely be unwavering in this position. They will likely start to believe this narrative themselves.

Expecting Too Much

Because your spouse might believe they are the victim of the divorce, and they might already have an inflated sense of entitlement, they likely will feel entitled to much more than their share in the outcome of your case. They might refuse to agree to a reasonable division of property, custody arrangement, or financial support order.

This might also be the case if your spouse is feeling vengeful and trying to “get back” at you by trying to take everything away from you. This fight to “get everything” can cause serious complications in your legal case.

First, divorce is always simpler and faster when spouses can reach their own agreement. Whether you can agree on the major issues on your own or through mediation, presenting the court with an agreement upfront can save the time and expense of litigation. You should not have to give up more than necessary, however, just because your spouse demands it.

If your spouse is making unreasonable demands that deprive you of property or custody rights under the law, you should stand your ground, no matter how difficult that might seem.

How the Right Divorce Lawyer Can Help in this Situation

Narcissists know how to manipulate a situation to get what they want, so it is important that you have the right divorce attorney on your side from the start of the process. An attorney can look at the situation objectively and keep reminding you of your rights and what you deserve in the divorce outcome.

An experienced lawyer will not take your spouse’s actions and words personally and can help you stay the course until your divorce is final with a fair outcome for you.

In many cases, having an attorney act as an intermediary between your soon-to-be-ex and you can give you the time and space you need to see your situation clearly. In addition, not communicating with your husband directly can prevent you from falling into the unhealthy patterns of communication that likely played a role in the demise of your marriage.

This can often facilitate reaching an out-of-court agreement, which will almost certainly save you a significant amount of time and money.

In some cases, it may be a good idea to ask your spouse to agree to a psychiatric evaluation in order to establish evidence regarding his personality disorder. This is particularly true in cases where you believe your children may be put in danger of emotional or physical harm due to his issues. An official recent diagnosis could be used as evidence in your favor when it comes to the determination of child custody.

Just because your spouse has narcissistic personality traits does not mean you should give up your rights in your divorce case. When you meet with your lawyer initially, be honest about your spouse’s personality, so your lawyer knows what they will be dealing with right from the start. They can then plan a strategy to help you obtain a successful outcome as efficiently as possible.

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why we can love someone abusive

Why We Can Love Someone Abusive And Why We Stay

why we can love someone abusive

 

Falling in love happens to us; usually, before we really know our partner; It happens to us because we’re at the mercy of unconscious forces, commonly referred to as “chemistry.”

Don’t judge yourself for loving someone who doesn’t treat you with care and respect, because by the time the relationship turns abusive, you’re attached and want to maintain your connection and love. There may have been hints of abuse at the beginning that were overlooked because abusers are good at seduction and wait until they know we’re hooked before showing their true colors.

By then, our love is cemented and doesn’t die easily. It’s possible and even probable to know we’re unsafe and still love an abuser. Research shows that even victims of violence on average experience seven incidents before permanently leaving their abusive partner.

It can feel humiliating to stay in an abusive relationship. Those who don’t understand ask why we love someone abusive and why we stay. We don’t have good answers. But there are valid reasons. Our motivations are outside our awareness and control because we’re wired to attach for survival. These instincts control our feelings and behavior.

Why We Love Someone Abusive

Denial of Abuse to Survive

If we weren’t treated with respect in our family and have low self-esteem, we will tend to deny the abuse. We won’t expect to be treated better than how were controlled, demeaned, or punished by a parent. Denial doesn’t mean we don’t know what’s happening. Instead, we minimize or rationalize it and/or its impact.

We may not realize it’s actually abuse. Research shows we deny for survival to stay attached and procreate for survival of the species. Facts and feelings that would normally undermine love are minimized or twisted so that we overlook them or blame ourselves in order to keep loving. By appeasing our partner and connecting to love, we stop hurting. Love is rekindled and we feel safe again.

Projection, Idealization, and Repetition Compulsion

When we fall in love, if we haven’t worked through trauma from our childhood, we’re more susceptible to idealizing our partner when dating. It’s likely that we will seek out someone who reminds us of a parent with whom we have unfinished business, not necessary of our opposite-sex parent.

We might be attracted to someone who has aspects of both parents. Our unconscious is trying to mend our past by reliving it in the hopes that we’ll master the situation and receive the love we didn’t get as a child. This helps us overlook signs that would be predictive of trouble.

The Cycle of Abuse

After an abusive episode, often there’s a honeymoon period. This is part of the Cycle of Abuse. The abuser may seek connection and act romantic, apologetic, or remorseful. Regardless, we’re relieved that there’s peace for now. We believe promises that it will never happen again, because we want to and because we’re wired to attach. The breach of the emotional bond feels worse than the abuse. We yearn to feel connected again.

Often the abuser professes to love us. We want to believe it and feel reassured about the relationship, hopeful, and lovable. Our denial provides an illusion of safety. This is called the “Merry-Go-Round” of denial that happens in alcoholic relationships after a bout of drinking followed by promises of sobriety.

Low Self-Esteem

Due to low self-esteem, we believe the abuser’s belittling, blame, and criticisms, which further lessen our self-esteem and confidence in our own perceptions. They intentionally do this for power and control. We’re brainwashed into thinking we have to change in order to make the relationship work.

We blame ourselves and try harder to meet the abuser’s demands. We may interpret sexual overtures, crumbs of kindness, or just absence of abuse as signs of love or hope that the relationship will improve. Thus, as trust in ourselves declines, our idealization and love for an abuser remain intact. We may even doubt that we could find anything better.

Empathy for the Abuser

Many of us have empathy for the abuser, but not for ourselves. We are unaware of our needs and would feel ashamed asking for them. This makes us susceptible to manipulation if an abuser plays the victim, exaggerates guilt, shows remorse, blames us, or talks about a troubled past (they usually have one). Our empathy feeds our denial system by supplying justification, rationalization, and minimization of the pain we endure.

Most victims hide the abuse from friends and relatives to protect the abuser, both out of empathy and shame about being abused. Secrecy is a mistake and gives the abuser more power.

Positive Aspects

Undoubtedly the abuser and the relationship have positive aspects that we enjoy or miss, especially the early romance and good times. We recall or look forward to their recurrence if we stay. We imagine if only he or she would control his or her anger, or agree to get help, or just change one thing, everything would be better. This is our denial.

Often abusers are also good providers, offer a social life, or have special talents. Narcissists can be exceedingly interesting and charming.  Many spouses claim that they enjoy the narcissist’s company and lifestyle despite the abuse. People with a borderline personality can light up your life with excitement . . . when they’re in a good mood. Sociopaths can pretend to be whatever you want . . . for their own purposes. You won’t realize what they’re up to for some time.

Intermittent Reinforcement and Trauma Bonding

When we receive occasional and unpredictable positive and negative intermittent reinforcement, we keep looking for the positive. It keeps us addictively hooked. Partners may be emotionally unavailable or have an avoidant attachment style. They may periodically want closeness. After a wonderful, intimate evening, they pull away, shut down, or are abusive. When we don’t hear from the person, we become anxious and keep seeking closeness. We mislabel our pain and longing as love.

Especially people with a personality disorder might intentionally do this to manipulate and control us with rejection or withholding. Then they randomly fulfill our needs. We become addicted to seeking a positive response.

Over time, periods of withdrawal are longer, but we’re trained to stay, walk on eggshells, and wait and hope for connection. This is called “trauma bonding” due to repeated cycles of abuse in which the intermittent reinforcement of reward and punishment creates emotional bonds that resist change.

It explains why abusive relationships are the most difficult to leave, and we become codependent on the abuser. We may completely lose ourselves trying to please and not displease the abuser. Bits of kindness or closeness feel all the more poignant (like make-up sex) because we’re been starved and are relieved to feel loved. This feeds the Cycle of Abuse.

Abusers will turn on the charm if you threaten to leave, but it’s just another temporary ploy to reassert control. Expect to go through withdrawal after you leave. You may still miss and love the abuser.

When we feel completely under the control of the abuser and can’t escape from physical injury, we can develop “Stockholm Syndrome,” a term applied to captives. Any act of kindness or even absence of violence feels like a sign of friendship and being cared for. The abuser seems less threatening. We imagine we’re friends and can love the abuser, believing we’re in this together.

This occurs in intimate relationships that are less perilous due to the power of chemistry, physical attraction, and sexual bonding. We’re loyal to a fault. We want to protect the abuser whom we’re attached to rather than ourselves. We feel guilty talking to outsiders, leaving the relationship, or calling the police. Outsiders who try to help feel threatening.

For example, counselors and Twelve-Step Programs may be viewed as interlopers who “want to brainwash and separate us.” This reinforces the toxic bond and isolates us from help . . . what the abuser wants!

Steps You Can Take

If you feel trapped in a relationship or can’t get over your ex:

  • Seek support and professional help. Attend CoDA meetings.
  • Get information and challenge your denial.
  • Report violence and take steps to protect yourself from violence and emotional abuse.
  • When you miss the abuser or are longing for attention, in your mind substitute the parent whom you’re projecting on your partner. Write about and grieve that relationship.
  • Be more loving to yourself. Meet your needs.
  • Learn to set boundaries.

©Darlene Lancer 2019

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Parent-child relationship problems: Treatment tools for rectification counseling

Resources: Parent Alienation

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