Why Narcissists Hurt Their Loved Ones

Dealing with a narcissist can be a really difficult thing to do, especially when it is someone you are close to. Many times, you don’t realize that you have gotten yourself into a relationship with a narcissist until much later as things continue to get worse and worse, and they begin abusing you. In fact, they might not even act narcissistic at the beginning of the relationship.

Narcissists are predictable people, as they usually follow the same patterns of behavior. There are three stages of a relationship with a narcissist:

  1. Falling head over heels for you – In the beginning, the narcissist will want to do everything in their power to try to win you over because they want you. They believe you are the best thing to ever happen to them, and there’s no way you could ever let them down. You are the perfect person for them, and they want to show you by showering you with affection and gifts.
  2. Trying to fix you – Unfortunately though, the head over heels phase won’t last, and they’ll soon find flaws in you. They’ll start pointing them out and insist that you start changing them in order to make them satisfied. No matter how much you do to try to please them, it seems like it’s just never enough.
  3. Pure abuse – Soon, you’ll find yourself in the pure abuse phase, where life for you is miserable. The narcissist never has anything nice to say about you, and not only will they criticize you, but they will do it in public and around friends and family.

So why do narcissists always end up turning their relationships into nightmares this way? Wouldn’t they eventually learn that everyone has certain flaws that should be expected and accepted? Wouldn’t they soon be able to figure out that criticizing and putting their partner down is not a constructive way of handling conflicts?

As it turns out, there are two big character traits that those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder carry and these traits are responsible for the narcissist’s way of acting.

  1. Narcissists have no emotional empathy. Empathy allows us to feel and understand what another person is feeling. It is the thing that helps up to hold out tongues and think before speaking because we know that what we’re about to say could hurt them. We know this because we can imagine what it’s like to be in the other person’s shoes, then picture how we would feel if the same thing were said to us. Narcissists can’t and won’t do this. Even if a narcissist is able to intellectually understand that they might be hurting the other person, they don’t care because they are not personally hurt by it.
  2. Narcissists don’t have “whole object relations” or “emotional constancy”. This means that they think in extremes in terms of whether a person is good or bad. This is why at the beginning of relationships, a narcissist falls so hard and genuinely believes that person is perfection, but soon turns on them once they realize they have normal human flaws. Then, they can only think of them in horrible ways and are unable to see the good in them. This is where “emotional constancy” comes in, and it is when the narcissist is unable to maintain an emotional connection or good feelings about their partner when they fight or get upset with them.

The behaviors of a narcissist can sometimes seem like they don’t make sense and are completely unpredictable. But when you look at the bigger picture, you’ll find that there is usually a reason behind it all, and narcissists repeat patterns of behavior.

 

Your PTSD Might Be More “Complex” Than You Thought…

Do you feel like you might be suffering from PTSD, but the events that have caused it still aren’t over? Are you still having to face the issue that is making your mental health decline? If so, you might have what is called Complex PTSD. Complex PTSD is what happens when a person can get no escape from whatever is causing their trauma. If you think this is you, then read more below to find out if you fit the symptoms.

 

Feeling Alone

Those that suffer from C-PTSD can have a really hard time trusting other people, and not being able to trust means not letting anyone in, and never actually being able to connect with others. This can also be fed by the victim feeling outcast for their differences. They can feel broken and useless, making them shy away from others and leading to aloneness.

 

Having Emotional Flashbacks

There are different kinds of flashbacks that people with PTSD can suffer from. One of them is emotional flashbacks, and this is where emotions from the past are triggered by something more minor. You might find yourself getting intensely emotional and overwhelmed for irrational reasons, and you can blame this on emotional flashbacks. This kind is the least understood of all flashbacks but is pretty common among those with C-PTSD.

 

Being hypervigilant

Hypervigilance is when you are extra aware of things and people. Many tend to scan a room upon entering it or sit with their backs against a wall. For those with C-PTSD, they can be hypervigilant about people. You might find yourself watching people for signs of lying or hurting you, such as watching their body language and movements, and their tone of voice.

 

Feeling Hopeless, Ashamed, and Depressed

When things seem like they’re never going to get better, it can bring on lots of feelings of hopelessness. Many even lose faith in their religious and spiritual beliefs. For physical and sexual abuse victims, they can be made to feel ashamed of who they are. They might feel dirty, disgusting, and worthless for how they’ve been treated. These kinds of thoughts can lead to depression and even suicidal tendencies if they continue.

 

Trying to Lean on Someone Else

When so much keeps going wrong, those with C-PTSD try to find relief by searching out someone to lean on. This desperations usually results in being in another toxic relationship that will cause even more trauma in the long run. For those that dealt with childhood trauma, they can have a hurt inner child, and this could mean seeking out a parent figure to take care of them.

 

Dissociating

When we are faced with never-ending trauma, sometimes the only way to be able to escape and cope with it all is to completely dissociate. A certain level of this is normal, and can even be healthy. But there comes a point when it can become very unhealthy and even turn into Dissociative Identity Disorder.

 

Staying Tense

Many people carry stress in their shoulders and necks, but for those dealing with C-PTSD, they carry it in their entire body. They can tense up and stay that way for long periods of time without even realizing it, waiting for the next attack to hit. This can cause unexplained muscle soreness.

 

There are a lot of symptoms that those with C-PTSD must face and deal with every day. Remember, there is hope for those that suffer, but it takes strength to get through. If you haven’t reached your happy ending, then it’s not the end yet.

5 Types of People who can Ruin your Life

In these blogs, we usually talk about PTSD and narcissistic abuse. But narcissists aren’t the only kind of people that you might run into problems with. There are lots of other mental and personality disorders that can affect your relationship with that person.

Here are 5 Types of people that can ruin your life:

  1. Borderline – Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is one of the most common mental disorders. Symptoms include emotional instability, a history of unstable relationships, and impulsive behavior. These kinds of people can cause lots of drama and instability in your life.
  2. Narcissistic – If you know a narcissist, you know they only care about themselves, and this kind of thinking leads to them using and abusing you.
  3. Paranoid – People with Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) are always on edge and suspicious of things, leading to trust and commitment issues in a relationship.
  4. Antisocial – Antisocial Disorder is also called sociopathy, and people with this disorder tend to feel less. They might feel no guilt for anything at all, so they have no problems, lying, cheating, stealing, and even getting violent.
  5. Histrionic – People with histrionic personality disorder tend to be very self-centered and manipulative. They will make everything about them and use you to always get their way.

Dealing with those that have mental and personality disorders can prove to be quite a challenge. Luckily, Bill Eddy wrote 5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life, and in his book, he’ll teach you how you can avoid these people and break free from toxic relationships. Eddy is a therapist and law professor with lots of experience, and this book can really help you out.

Dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder Abuse

As I talked about in the blog on Parental Alienation, people who are willing to use their children as pawns to get what they want are more likely to suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD is a disorder that causes people to lack empathy, be impulsive, take unnecessary risks, and engage in self harm. It can be hard to live with someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. It can be even harder to deal with them when a relationship is dissolving. Here are some tips on how to face the lies and attacks you are likely to suffer if you are in a fight with someone with BPD.

 

People with BPD want to make you feel helpless. They will work hard to make sure that nothing you do works. If you are in the middle of a divorce, this may happen by them making insincere overtures of being willing to work together to divide property or the custody of your children.  Then when you try to make an offer, it is immediately rejected. Don’t let this throw you off guard. They aren’t looking for a better offer, they want to make you feel helpless and remind you that they are in control and have the power. Don’t let yourself get caught up in these games. Work sincerely, but hold your ground and don’t try to negotiate a compromise.

 

They also like to make you feel guilty. They may try to gaslight you into believing you did something wrong. Or they may make you feel like you didn’t do enough, or that you should stand by them because of their mental illness. Don’t fall for it. It’s not your fault and nothing you do can fix them.

 

Finally, they like to show their control by making you mad. Anyone in a relationship learns their partner’s buttons. But someone with BPD likes to push them just to show they can. They win when you react. Learn to let it go and walk away. You’ll be happier and healthier when you put them and their behaviors behind you.

Dealing with Narcissistic Abuse

In a recent blog, I talked about what it was like to live with a narcissist and how to identify narcissistic abuse.  But how do you deal with that abuse once you realize that you’re living with a narcissist? Here are 4 ways to survive narcissistic abuse.

 

  1. Speak up.

Abuse can only continue when there is silence.  Abusers rely on shame and fear to keep you from speaking out.  Once you stand your ground and start to talk openly about the abuse you’re suffering, they can’t keep getting away with it.

 

2. Set boundaries.

People can only treat you the way you allow them to.  If you want the abuse to stop, you need to make it very clear that you will not accept being treated in certain ways.  When you set clear boundaries, you establish rules for what you will allow into your life. Clear boundaries can make a major difference in your life and how you are treated, but only if you do Number 3…

 

3. Follow through.

It’s great to set a boundary and say what you are and what you are not willing to put up with.  But the truth is that boundaries are meaningless unless you follow through with them. If you allow your boundaries to be broken and still remain in your relationship, then nothing is going to change.  You’ll need to follow through on your boundaries and let them know that if they’re broken, there are going to have to be real consequences. 

 

4. Get help.

If you feel like you are being abused by a narcissist, you need to get help.  Turn to a therapist or counselor to help you figure out how to deal with the situation.  You don’t have to do it alone. In fact, you shouldn’t do it alone.

The Dangers of Parental Alienation

Anytime a couple is going through a divorce, things can get nasty. This is even more true when there are children involved and both parents want custody.  Custody battles are hard on everyone involved and can cause lasting stress and emotional scars. But it can also turn abusive.

 

Parental alienation syndrome is a form of manipulation and abuse of the child or children in order to turn them against the other parent. It attacks the children mentally and emotionally, often using false allegations, blame, and negative comments in order to cause an estrangement between the child and the other parent.  It is a poisoning of a child’s natural and healthy attachment to their parents in order to gain emotional control over the child and to punish the other parent.

 

Edward Kurk, PhD put it clearly:  

 

For the child, the biopsychosocial-spiritual effects of parental alienation are devastating. For both the alienated parent and child, the removal and denial of contact in the absence of neglect or abuse constitute cruel and unusual treatment. … . As a form of child maltreatment, parental alienation is a serious child protection matter as it undermines a basic principle of social justice for children: the right to know and be cared for by both of one’s parents.

 

It is difficult to imagine how a parent who claims to love their children can do something so abusive and damaging to them. It’s important to realize that a parent who does this usually shows signs of other disorders – especially narcissism and borderline personality disorder.

 

Narcissism means that a person sees themselves as the center and the most important person in the world. They cannot understand or do not care about other perspectives or the feelings of other people. They will use any weapon they can, including their children, to hurt the other parent.

 

People with borderline personality disorder have difficulty dealing with their emotions. They are emotionally hyper-reactive and cannot process their emotions. They tend to blame others for anything bad in their lives and see themselves as victims.  This often turns into them victimizing others with the justification that since they were hurt, they can hurt others. They will twist reality, make up false allegations, and try to turn friends and love ones against their target. They can be dangerous and lash out, even trumping up criminal charges in order to punish their ex-spouse.

 

Parental alienation is intentional manipulation and abuse. It harms the long term mental and emotional well-being of the children and the targeted parent. It is an indication of serious pathological mental illness in the alienating parent.

 

If you are experiencing parental alienation, you need to make your voice heard. This serious issue is not well understood in our courts and many victims of parental alienation struggle to find justice. One of the best resources for parental alienation victims is the National Association of Parental Alienation Specialists. It is an organization made up of legal and mental health professionals who specialize in parental alienation. They have many great resources and may be able to help you too.

 

On Dealing With A Narcissist

Abusers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be men or women, gay or straight, young or old. But one thing that many abusers share is that they are narcissists.

 

Narcissism is a psychological disorder that shows itself through extreme selfishness, cravings for admiration, and a grandiose view of oneself and one’s talents. It arises from a self-centeredness that comes from a failure to distinguish yourself from external objects. Narcissists see everything revolving around themselves. They believe they are more important than anything or anyone else and that they should be idealized.  

 

Most narcissists know that they can’t be quite as special as they believe.  In fact, they can hide a deep shame. They know they don’t live up to the idealized image they have of themselves. It’s this shame and the destructive coping mechanisms they use to cover it, that make narcissists so abusive.

 

So how do you know if you’re being abused by a narcissist? The following are 10 signs that your abuser is narcissist.

 

  1. Manipulation – Manipulation is controlling someone in an indirect way. It could be through something negative, like guilt, or it could even be through something positive, like a compliment. Either way, manipulation leaves you with a feeling of hostile intent or being degraded.
  2. Lying – Narcissists are great liars. They believe that they are the most important person in the world, so if they want something, they think they have the right to lie to get it.
  3. Verbal abuse – Narcissists don’t always become physically violent.  They like to use verbal abuse like belittling, shaming, blaming, and threatening to get their way. And they do it a lot.
  4. Gaslighting – Gaslighting is when someone intentionally tries to make you question your grasp on reality.  Narcissists like to use this to make you doubt your perception of reality or even make you think you’re mentally ill. It allows them to control you and deny their own behaviors that you’ve experience first hand.
  5. Sabotage – Narcissists will work hard to sabotage your success and happiness, even if it has nothing to do with them. This is because they have to feel like they are the best and most important. If you have some success and happiness in your life, they can perceive it as a threat. Rather than work harder on their own life, they tear you down.
  6. Withholding – Because narcissists need to feel important, they like to remind you of how much you need them. They often do this through withholding – they may withhold sex or money or attention or affection. The point is to make you feel like you need them.
  7. No privacy – If they are the center of the universe, a narcissist can’t accept that you may have boundaries or parts of your life that are not about them.  So they do not want you to have any privacy. They may expect you to share passwords and even GPS locations at all times with them.
  8. Competition – While competition can be fun and bring people together, narcissists use it to establish their own importance and dominance. They have to compete all the time, on big things and small. And they are willing to cheat to always win.
  9. Slander – Narcissists aren’t afraid of spreading nasty rumors or tearing other people down to make themselves seem important.
  10. Isolation – Narcissists want you to give them all of your attention.  You can’t do that if you have other friends and family taking up your time. So narcissists want to isolate you and keep you all to themselves.

 

Dealing with abuse at the hands of a narcissist can be traumatic.  If you think this may be you, reach out and get help so you can end the abuse and begin healing.

Self Talk – Learning to Cope with PTSD

PTSD often leads to a cycle of flashbacks and hard to process memories. When the trauma that led to it comes from abuse, that cycle often includes a type of negative self talk that reinforces the belittling and destructive attacks that you have suffered.  

 

Your abuser did not just hurt your body. When they hit you, gaslighted you, and called you names, they damaged your mind and took away your self worth. The bruises heal quickly – it’s the mental and emotional scars that stay with you.  

 

In order to start healing from those, you have to start by interrupting the pattern of thoughts that are reinforcing your abuse. One of the ways you can do this is by beginning a practice of positive self talk.

 

Self talk may sound a bit strange, but it can be very effective – and we all do it anyway. The key is learning to take control of your self talk so that you can use it to heal, rather than allowing it to happen unconsciously in a way that hurts you.

 

For example, If  you feel yourself starting to become anxious, your natural self talk may be to say, “I can’t breathe, I can’t do this!” Stop, take a breath and instead say, “I am OK. I am feeling anxious, but I am strong and I have done amazing things and overcome incredible challenges.  I can handle this.”

 

This technique may seem simple, but it can have a huge effect on how you see yourself and how you deal with your anxiety and negative feelings.