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Donald Trump and Narcissism: Disorder or Politics as Usual?



The Mental Health Controversy Over Donald Trump that’s Dividing the Country–and How to Fix it
www.drcraigmalkin.com/the-book

“Dr. Leslie Carr interviews Dr. Craig Malkin, a licensed clinical psychologist and author of the book Rethinking Narcissism: The Secret to Recognizing and Coping with Narcissists. They talk about the different kinds of narcissism and whether they could possibly apply to Donald Trump, the difficulty of diagnosing a person you haven’t directly treated (and why mental health professionals aren’t supposed to do it), the connection between “fake news” and authoritarian leadership, how to heal the “split” in the American electorate, and much more.” –Dr. Leslie Carr lesliecarr.com

To learn more about recovery and more easily spot even subtle narcissism at the start of a relationship, read my internationally acclaimed book, Rethinking Narcissism. tinyurl.com/j4t7hmh

AMAZON: www.amazon.com/dp/0062348116/keywords=psychology%20books?tag=imprintweb-20
ITUNES/APPLE: books.apple.com/br/book/rethinking-narcissism/id929341420?l=en
BARNES & NOBLE: www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults/9780062348104
INDIEBOUND: www.indiebound.org/book/9780062348111
BOOKS-A-MILLION: www.booksamillion.com/p/Rethinking-Narcissism/Craig-Malkin/9780062348111?id=8510117162309
HARPERCOLLINS: www.harpercollins.com/products/rethinking-narcissism-dr-craig-malkin?variant=32132801200162

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Malignant Narcissism: What It Is & 3 Ways to Cope



Malignant Narcissism: What It is & 3 Ways to Cope
www.drcraigmalkin.com/the-book

Malignant narcissism has been a popular subject recently, with the term being tossed about almost as much as the word narcissism itself, *especially* in the political arena www.change.org/p/trump-is-mentally-ill-and-must-be-removed. But few people understand what it really means, its relationship to official mental health diagnoses (ie, the DSM’s narcissistic personality disorder), the true signs of danger, or what steps they can take when they suspect a partner or friend displays such perniciously narcissistic traits.

To clear up some of the massive confusion, in this video, I bust some widespread myths, provide a simple definition of malignant narcissism, and describe three important steps you can take when you see it.

To learn more about recovery and more easily spot even subtle narcissism at the start of a relationship, read my internationally acclaimed book, Rethinking Narcissism. tinyurl.com/j4t7hmh

AMAZON: www.amazon.com/dp/0062348116/keywords=psychology%20books?tag=imprintweb-20
ITUNES/APPLE: books.apple.com/br/book/rethinking-narcissism/id929341420?l=en
BARNES & NOBLE: www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults/9780062348104
INDIEBOUND: www.indiebound.org/book/9780062348111
BOOKS-A-MILLION: www.booksamillion.com/p/Rethinking-Narcissism/Craig-Malkin/9780062348111?id=8510117162309
HARPERCOLLINS: www.harpercollins.com/products/rethinking-narcissism-dr-craig-malkin?variant=32132801200162

www.drcraigmalkin.com

**note: Otto Kernberg elaborated on Malignant Narcissism but it’s Eric Fromm who coined the term**

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What’s the single greatest danger of covert narcissism?



What’s the single greatest danger of covert narcissism?
www.drcraigmalkin.com/the-book

Calling someone a covert narcissist doesn’t—or at least *shouldn’t*— imply that they’re any sneakier or more manipulative than the average narcissist. It also doesn’t have anything to do with hiding abusive behaviors (another widespread myth). There’s no evidence of any such pattern in clinical research (reports from mental health professionals) or social psychological research (the study of traits and personalities).

The term, *covert narcissism* (aka hypersensitive or vulnerable), was coined to capture the pattern in narcissists who aren’t loud, vain, chest-thumping braggarts but—as their partners discover soon enough—are just as arrogant and argumentative as people with the prouder, more outgoing brand of *extraverted* narcissism (aka overt or grandiose).

The “covert” in covert narcissism refers to the grandiosity inherent to all narcissists. Covert narcissists may be quiet or shy (and often are) but inside—in other words, *covertly*—they still harbor overblown visions of themselves and their future: dreams, for example, of one day being discovered for their remarkable creativity or intelligence or insight. What’s different about covert narcissists is that because they’re introverted, they don’t advertise their inflated egos. They agree with statements like *I feel I’m temperamentally different from most people *and *Even when I’m in a group of friends, I often feel very alone and uneasy*.

Many researchers have complained that covert is a misleading label, and I agree. Narcissists can be open or quiet about their grandiosity and often vacillate between feeling happily inflated and abjectly deflated; covert and overt traits coexist in all narcissists to one degree or another.

For that reason, in* **Rethinking Narcissism,* (www.drcraigmalkin.com/the-book) I introduced the term *introverted narcissist* instead. Covert narcissism is just another way of describing introverted, vulnerable, or hypersensitive narcissists.
To add to the confusion, neither ‘narcissism’ nor ‘narcissist’ are diagnoses or disorders. Narcissism is a trait; narcissists are people who score well above average on measures of that trait. They may or may not be disordered.

The easiest way to understand all narcissism is to think of it as *the drive to feel special*, or stand out from the other 7 billion people on the planet in some way. Narcissists, then, are people so addicted to feeling special that they become more and more willing (the higher they are in the trait) to do whatever it takes to get their “high,” including lie, steal and cheat (just like any severe substance abuser).

This rethink helps explain the variety of narcissists, too.
Since there are many ways to feel special, narcissism comes in a multitude of forms. People can feel special by believing themselves to be the most intelligent or beautiful person in the room (extroverted), the most misunderstood or emotionally sensitive (introverted), or even the most helpful or caring person in the room (a new type, called *communal narcissism*).

The more addicted any narcissist is to feeling special, the more likely they are to become disordered, displaying the core of pathological narcissism, or **Triple E**, as I call it: *exploitation*—doing whatever it takes to feel special, regardless of the cost to those around them; *entitlement*—acting as if the world owes them and should bend to their will; and *empathy impairments*—becoming so fixated on the need to feel special that other people’s feelings cease to matter. At this end of the spectrum, we find narcissistic personality disorder (or NPD).

And herein lies the answer to the question. Built into the definition of NPD is *manipulation *(exploitation). The more severe the disorder, the more likely that exploitative style is to become abusive. That means *anyone* with NPD can become abusive over time. And abuse is dangerous.

Disordered narcissists (those with NPD) can be calculating about hiding their abusive side, whether they’re extraverted, introverted, or communal because *all disordered narcissists *are by definition manipulative. Here’s the followup video where I describe what covert abuse is youtu.be/AqA8o7F0U98

AMAZON: www.amazon.com/dp/0062348116/keywords=psychology%20books?tag=imprintweb-20
ITUNES/APPLE: books.apple.com/br/book/rethinking-narcissism/id929341420?l=en
BARNES & NOBLE: www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults/9780062348104
INDIEBOUND: www.indiebound.org/book/9780062348111
BOOKS-A-MILLION: www.booksamillion.com/p/Rethinking-Narcissism/Craig-Malkin/9780062348111?id=8510117162309
HARPERCOLLINS: www.harpercollins.com/products/rethinking-narcissism-dr-craig-malkin?variant=32132801200162

www.drcraigmalkin.com

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How to Spot Covert Abusers



The Truth About Covert Narcissism: How to Spot Covert Abusers
www.drcraigmalkin.com/the-book

Many people commented or messaged me with concerns, after my previous video, “What’s the Single Greatest Danger of Covert Narcissism,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxcYfSrv_TY that I was suggesting there’s no such thing as covert abuse (where the abuse is carefully hidden, disguised by a clever mask of generosity or caring or sensitivity).

That’s not what I said–or at least, not what I *meant* to say.

Covert abuse is horrifyingly real, and there are clear traits that reliably predict it–namely, the Dark Tetrad:

Sadism–hurting others for pleasure.

Psychopathy–a pattern of remorseless lies and deceit.

Narcissism–an addictive drive to feel special or unique

Machiavellianism–a cold calculating, chess-playing approach to life (and love).

Of all the Dark Tetrad traits, Machiavellianism and Psychopathy appear to be linked most strongly to covert abuse. Which isn’t surprising since both traits are all about careful, cold, predatory behaviors.

Combined with the more recently researched, fourth trait of the Dark Tetrad, Sadism, these three traits blend with narcissism to shape a personality prone to gaslighting and trickery.

It is the Dark Tetrad narcissist, then, who commits covert abuse.

Covert narcissism, best thought of as a trait where someone presents as fragile (sort of…more on that later) on the outside and grandiose on the inside, is no more likely to predict covert abuse than overt narcissism, in which the fragility is hidden and grandiosity is worn like a badge of honor.

To see the most accurate predictors of covert abuse, look for the Dark Tetrad cluster of traits, especially Machiavellianism.

Covert and overt narcissists may or may not possess the other Dark Tetrad traits, which means they may or may not perpetrate covert abuse.

Of course, as you’ve probably learned from my work if you’ve followed it, your greatest protection against any form of abuse is to look for signs your partner is capable of attachment security. Securely attached people don’t perpetrate abuse. Ever.

For more on this topic www.psychologytoday.com/blog/romance-redux/201802/how-spot-covert-abusers

AMAZON: www.amazon.com/dp/0062348116/keywords=psychology%20books?tag=imprintweb-20
ITUNES/APPLE: books.apple.com/br/book/rethinking-narcissism/id929341420?l=en
BARNES & NOBLE: www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults/9780062348104
INDIEBOUND: www.indiebound.org/book/9780062348111
BOOKS-A-MILLION: www.booksamillion.com/p/Rethinking-Narcissism/Craig-Malkin/9780062348111?id=8510117162309
HARPERCOLLINS: www.harpercollins.com/products/rethinking-narcissism-dr-craig-malkin?variant=32132801200162

www.drcraigmalkin.com

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Are You an Echoist?



Are you An Echoist?
Take the test to find out! www.drcraigmalkin.com/the-narcissism-test
Recently, I’ve been inundated with requests from journalists to discuss “echoism,” a term I introduced in my book, Rethinking Narcissism. Articles on the subject are trending, and a new book, Echoism, even devotes itself to understanding the topic in depth. Echoism support groups, therapists, and workshops are springing up, and demand for information appears to be growing. But what does the word mean? 

I’ve compiled my answers to nine of the most frequently asked questions about echoism. 

1. What is echoism? Echoism is a trait that my colleagues and I have begun measuring, and like all traits, it exists to a greater or lesser degree in everyone. People who score well above average in echoism qualify as echoists, and their defining characteristic is a fear of seeming narcissistic in any way. Of all the people we measured, echoists were the most “warm-hearted,” but they were also afraid of becoming a burden, felt unsettled by attention, especially praise, and agreed with statements like, “When people ask me my preferences, I’m often at a loss.” Where narcissists are addicted to feeling special, echoists are afraid of it. In the myth of Narcissus, Echo, the nymph who eventually falls madly in love with Narcissus, has been cursed to repeat back the last few words she hears. Like their namesake, echoists definitely struggle to have a voice of their own. 

2. Can echoism exist without narcissism? Regardless of how it begins — and there are many childhood causes — echoism, like any trait, persists regardless of whom people spend their time with. Still, echoists are often drawn to narcissists precisely because they’re so afraid of burdening others or seeming “needy” that to have someone who relishes taking up all the room, as narcissists often do, comes as something of a relief; but it’s a high price to pay for a respite from their anxieties. When narcissists become abusive, echoists sometimes blame themselves for their mistreatment (“I expect too much”; “I’m being overly sensitive”; “I shouldn’t have gone back”; etc.). No one deserves to be abused, whether they stay in a relationship or not — abuse is 100 percent the responsibility of the abuser — but echoists can mire themselves in abusive relationships, because they feel responsible for their mistreatment. 

3. Are some people more apt to become extreme echoists? Echoists appear to be born with more emotional sensitivity than most of us — they feel deeply — and when that temperament is exposed to a parent who shames or punishes them for having any needs at all, they’re apt to grow up high in echoism. A client of mine had a narcissistic father who grew enraged whenever people didn’t do exactly what he wanted — a misplaced dish was enough to set him off — and as a result of his lessons (my way or the highway), she wasn’t just afraid to say what she needed or wanted. She didn’t even know what that was. This is typical with extreme echoists — they’re so afraid expressing their needs will cost them love that they lose touch with their own desires. 

continue with article www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/romance-redux/201809/9-things-everyone-should-know-about-echoists

For more on echoism, see:
www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-support/201810/unloved-daughters-why-the-term-echoism-may-help-you-heal
blogs.psychcentral.com/knotted/2018/11/when-youre-not-narcissistic-enough-meet-the-echoist/
tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/mby3pv/echoists-are-basically-the-opposite-of-narcissists?fbclid=IwAR0czRJEb30wRRq-0sXhKWc2u1aMgOgzf5I5CRKEWAXG-oU6PvMRKq8wLM4

AMAZON: www.amazon.com/dp/0062348116/keywords=psychology%20books?tag=imprintweb-20
ITUNES/APPLE: books.apple.com/br/book/rethinking-narcissism/id929341420?l=en
BARNES & NOBLE: www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults/9780062348104
INDIEBOUND: www.indiebound.org/book/9780062348111
BOOKS-A-MILLION: www.booksamillion.com/p/Rethinking-Narcissism/Craig-Malkin/9780062348111?id=8510117162309
HARPERCOLLINS: www.harpercollins.com/products/rethinking-narcissism-dr-craig-malkin?variant=32132801200162

www.drcraigmalkin.com

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How to Overcome Echoism: Healthy Anger



00:00 How to Overcome Echoism: Healthy Anger
1:58 What is Primary Healthy Anger?
6:35 Experience vs Expression of Anger
8:50 How Healthy Anger Empowers Echoists

Are you An Echoist?
Take the test to find out! www.drcraigmalkin.com/#narcissismtest

Recently, I’ve been inundated with requests from journalists to discuss “echoism,” a term I introduced in my book, Rethinking Narcissism. Articles on the subject are trending, and a new book, Echoism, even devotes itself to understanding the topic in depth. Echoism support groups, therapists, and workshops are springing up, and demand for information appears to be growing. But what does the word mean?

I’ve compiled my answers to nine of the most frequently asked questions about echoism.

1. What is echoism? Echoism is a trait that my colleagues and I have begun measuring, and like all traits, it exists to a greater or lesser degree in everyone. People who score well above average in echoism qualify as echoists, and their defining characteristic is a fear of seeming narcissistic in any way. Of all the people we measured, echoists were the most “warm-hearted,” but they were also afraid of becoming a burden, felt unsettled by attention, especially praise, and agreed with statements like, “When people ask me my preferences, I’m often at a loss.” Where narcissists are addicted to feeling special, echoists are afraid of it. In the myth of Narcissus, Echo, the nymph who eventually falls madly in love with Narcissus, has been cursed to repeat back the last few words she hears. Like their namesake, echoists definitely struggle to have a voice of their own.

2. Can echoism exist without narcissism? Regardless of how it begins — and there are many childhood causes — echoism, like any trait, persists regardless of whom people spend their time with. Still, echoists are often drawn to narcissists precisely because they’re so afraid of burdening others or seeming “needy” that to have someone who relishes taking up all the room, as narcissists often do, comes as something of a relief; but it’s a high price to pay for a respite from their anxieties. When narcissists become abusive, echoists sometimes blame themselves for their mistreatment (“I expect too much”; “I’m being overly sensitive”; “I shouldn’t have gone back”; etc.). No one deserves to be abused, whether they stay in a relationship or not — abuse is 100 percent the responsibility of the abuser — but echoists can mire themselves in abusive relationships, because they feel responsible for their mistreatment.

3. Are some people more apt to become extreme echoists? Echoists appear to be born with more emotional sensitivity than most of us — they feel deeply — and when that temperament is exposed to a parent who shames or punishes them for having any needs at all, they’re apt to grow up high in echoism. A client of mine had a narcissistic father who grew enraged whenever people didn’t do exactly what he wanted — a misplaced dish was enough to set him off — and as a result of his lessons (my way or the highway), she wasn’t just afraid to say what she needed or wanted. She didn’t even know what that was. This is typical with extreme echoists — they’re so afraid expressing their needs will cost them love that they lose touch with their own desires.

continue with article www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/romance-redux/201809/9-things-everyone-should-know-about-echoists

For more on echoism, see:
www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-support/201810/unloved-daughters-why-the-term-echoism-may-help-you-heal
blogs.psychcentral.com/knotted/2018/11/when-youre-not-narcissistic-enough-meet-the-echoist/
tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/mby3pv/echoists-are-basically-the-opposite-of-narcissists?fbclid=IwAR0czRJEb30wRRq-0sXhKWc2u1aMgOgzf5I5CRKEWAXG-oU6PvMRKq8wLM4

AMAZON: www.amazon.com/dp/0062348116/keywords=psychology%20books?tag=imprintweb-20
ITUNES/APPLE: books.apple.com/br/book/rethinking-narcissism/id929341420?l=en
BARNES & NOBLE: www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults/9780062348104
INDIEBOUND: www.indiebound.org/book/9780062348111
BOOKS-A-MILLION: www.booksamillion.com/p/Rethinking-Narcissism/Craig-Malkin/9780062348111?id=8510117162309
HARPERCOLLINS: www.harpercollins.com/products/rethinking-narcissism-dr-craig-malkin?variant=32132801200162

www.drcraigmalkin.com

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Stop Doing This if You’re with a Narcissist



00:00 Stop Doing This if You’re with a Narcissist
00:40 Defining Echoism (Take the test!)
01:47 Don’t do this with a Narcissist!
03:27 Where You Learned the “Figuring Out” Strategy
04:39 Seeing the Problem More Clearly
06:52 Do this Instead 🙂

One trap for #echoists when it comes to leaving bad (narcissistic) relationships is a species of self-blame: the figuring out response. “I wonder if s/he meant it? Does s/he have NPD? Was that real?” The reality is that echoists learned this strategy in their family of origin. Rather than being encouraged to trust their gut, they’re often pushed to try to think about what their narcissistic caregiver is thinking or doing or feeling–in other words what makes them tick. But in healthy loving relationships, if someone does something upsetting or disappointing, we’re not expected to think about why or try to prevent future hurts by understanding the psychology of the person we’re close to. Healthy intimacy involves saying “ouch” when hurt.

If your son or daughter was hurt by a friend, you likely wouldn’t ask them “Why do you think they did that? or What do you think they were thinking? Or do you think they did it on purpose?” You’d say, I’m so sorry. That must have really hurt.” And comfort them. But #echoists had to survive experiences by hoping that if they figured out their narcissistic caregivers they, themselves, could prevent being hurt. And as adults they often do the same with their partners. I

It’s not your job to figure anyone out but yourself. And doing so is often a well-cultivated habit, to protect yourself from attack after simply saying ouch–and protect narcissistic friends and partners from feeling hurt simply because you dare to say “I didn’t like that.”

Recognize the *figuring out* response as what it is– and always was: yet another way of shouldering responsibility for someone else’s bad behaviors.

For more on echoism, see:
www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-support/201810/unloved-daughters-why-the-term-echoism-may-help-you-heal
blogs.psychcentral.com/knotted/2018/11/when-youre-not-narcissistic-enough-meet-the-echoist/
tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/mby3pv/echoists-are-basically-the-opposite-of-narcissists?fbclid=IwAR0czRJEb30wRRq-0sXhKWc2u1aMgOgzf5I5CRKEWAXG-oU6PvMRKq8wLM4

AMAZON: www.amazon.com/dp/0062348116/keywords=psychology%20books?tag=imprintweb-20
ITUNES/APPLE: books.apple.com/br/book/rethinking-narcissism/id929341420?l=en
BARNES & NOBLE: www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults/9780062348104
INDIEBOUND: www.indiebound.org/book/9780062348111
BOOKS-A-MILLION: www.booksamillion.com/p/Rethinking-Narcissism/Craig-Malkin/9780062348111?id=8510117162309
HARPERCOLLINS: www.harpercollins.com/products/rethinking-narcissism-dr-craig-malkin?variant=32132801200162

www.drcraigmalkin.com

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Protecting Yourself from Covert Narcissism: What Science Says



00:00 How to Protect Yourself from the Trap of Covert Narcissism: The Science Might Surprise You!
00:25 Brief Overview of Covert vs Overt Narcissism
02:25 New Research on how Covert (Introverted) Narcissists Act in Relationships
06:25 Extraverted (Overt) Narcissism and the Dark Tetrad
08:40 Recognize “Apparent” Vulnerability (Emotionality)!

Covert narcissism and covert narcissists are particularly confusing for survivors because the *appear* to be vulnerable, even though they’re not. And that can be especially troublesome for echoists, as I discussed in the previous video, who may see such moments of apparent vulnerability as a bid for the very caretaking they tend to be good at.

Here I review the most recent hot-off-the-presses research on the difference between overt (extraverted) and covert (introverted) narcissism, with a special focus on the unique dangers each of them presents. Then I give you a way to see way a head of time any trouble the relationship might bring into your life.

For more on echoism, see:
www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-support/201810/unloved-daughters-why-the-term-echoism-may-help-you-heal

blogs.psychcentral.com/knotted/2018/11/when-youre-not-narcissistic-enough-meet-the-echoist/
tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/mby3pv/echoists-are-basically-the-opposite-of-narcissists?fbclid=IwAR0czRJEb30wRRq-0sXhKWc2u1aMgOgzf5I5CRKEWAXG-oU6PvMRKq8wLM4

AMAZON: www.amazon.com/dp/0062348116/keywords=psychology%20books?tag=imprintweb-20
ITUNES/APPLE: books.apple.com/br/book/rethinking-narcissism/id929341420?l=en
BARNES & NOBLE: www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults/9780062348104
INDIEBOUND: www.indiebound.org/book/9780062348111
BOOKS-A-MILLION: www.booksamillion.com/p/Rethinking-Narcissism/Craig-Malkin/9780062348111?id=8510117162309
HARPERCOLLINS: www.harpercollins.com/products/rethinking-narcissism-dr-craig-malkin?variant=32132801200162

www.drcraigmalkin.com

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Understanding Covert Narcissism: Real Emotion vs Emotionality



00:00 Understanding Covert Narcissism: Real Emotion vs Emotionality
01:49 Emotionality in Covert Narcissism
02:50 A Simple Way to Recognize Emotionality
04:00 Examples of Emotionality
05:00 Do This When You See Emotionality

Covert narcissism, which as I explain in Rethinking Narcissism and in my talks, is simply introverted narcissism. Survivors, especially echoists, who often instinctively rely on caretaking behaviors in their relationships, often confuse the apparent vulnerability or “emotionality” of introverted narcissists with emotion. In previous videos I’ve described this but many of you still had questions about how to tell the difference. Here, I tell you exactly how real emotions and emotionality can be easily distinguished from one another–and what to do to avoid being pulled into old habits when you see inauthentic emotion.

Want more help with echoism? As to join my private support group. www.facebook.com/groups/echoism/

for more on echoism, see:
www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-support/201810/unloved-daughters-why-the-term-echoism-may-help-you-heal

blogs.psychcentral.com/knotted/2018/11/when-youre-not-narcissistic-enough-meet-the-echoist/
tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/mby3pv/echoists-are-basically-the-opposite-of-narcissists?fbclid=IwAR0czRJEb30wRRq-0sXhKWc2u1aMgOgzf5I5CRKEWAXG-oU6PvMRKq8wLM4

AMAZON: www.amazon.com/dp/0062348116/keywords=psychology%20books?tag=imprintweb-20
ITUNES/APPLE: books.apple.com/br/book/rethinking-narcissism/id929341420?l=en
BARNES & NOBLE: www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults/9780062348104
INDIEBOUND: www.indiebound.org/book/9780062348111
BOOKS-A-MILLION: www.booksamillion.com/p/Rethinking-Narcissism/Craig-Malkin/9780062348111?id=8510117162309
HARPERCOLLINS: www.harpercollins.com/products/rethinking-narcissism-dr-craig-malkin?variant=32132801200162

www.drcraigmalkin.com

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The Simplest Way to Reduce Anxiety & Trauma Symptoms: Part 3



0:00 The Simplest Way to Reduce Anxiety & Trauma Symptoms
1:38 Grounding defined–and Why it helps!
10:15 Some Variations of Grounding

(Don’t forget to watch the first video in this series!) NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT!

www.drcraigmalkin.com/the-book

One of the most powerful tools in battling anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder, drawn straight from science, is the knowledge of how trauma symptoms operate in our nervous system.

Here, in a three -part video, you’ll learn why PTSD develops, and how our bodies already have a built-in capacity to overcome it.

Posttraumatic stress disorder falls into 4 clusters of symptoms:

Reexperiencing (intrusion), which includes nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive memories, and even body memories (physical feelings associated with past trauma that occur in the present.)

Hyperarousal, which includes intense anxiety and feeling chronically or intermittently “keyed up or on edge,” often presenting as irritability and/or strong startle responses or jumpiness.

Avoidance of thoughts feelings and reminders of the traumatic experience, which often includes emotional “numbing”

Changes in mood and thinking, especially feelings of depression and an impulse to isolate (this latter cluster, not mentioned in my video, has only recently been added in the DSM V) .

The key to reducing any symptom of PTSD–or anxiety , itself, for that matter–is to remember the lesson from over half a century of research: *you can’t be relaxed and anxious at the same time* The fancy name for this well established phenomenon is “reciprocal inhibition.”

For some time now, we’ve known that there are two sides to the nervous system: the sympathetic (flight or flight) and parasympathetic (relaxation response). When one side of the nervous system switches on, the other begins switching off (or more accurately, as one becomes more active, the other becomes less active.)

This is far more than a fun research fact There’s tremendous power in this knowledge because *all the symptoms of PTSD ride on top of a fight or flight state.* All of them.

Without the sympathetic nervous system in full drive, we can’t have intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, jumpiness, or avoidance (which is s way of reducing anxiety in the short term). We have no need to isolate or shut down. We’re less likely to fly off the handle. Not because we’ve convinced ourselves we’re safe, but because our nervous system is no longer acting as though we’re always in a life and death situation.

In other words, the push-pull of these two sides of our nervous system means we have the capacity to self-manage trauma and anxiety symptoms; the more time we spend practicing known methods of activating a parasympathetic reaction–mediation, progressive muscle relaxation. yoga, diaphragmatic breathing, aerobic exercise (which trigger a calmness afterwards)–the more trauma symptoms begin to lose their hold on us. We remember the feeling of peace, more and more–and so does our nervous system. I call this lowering your idle.

Picture the idle on a car. It can be set higher or lower, depending on how the engine is tuned. If it starts lower, it can’t redline (over rev or overheat) as easily or quickly.

The same is true of our nervous system. Greater familiarity with (and time in) a parasympathetic state makes us less likely to “red line” (experience fight or flight spikes) because our sympathetic nervous system arousal is already at a lower state. And that means fewer trauma symptoms.

In this followup video, I demonstrate a simple combination of mindful breathing and grounding to practice activating a parasympathetic response while feeling *safely* present, which is key to reducing trauma symptoms without triggering dissociation.

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