Does a Narcissist Think they are Superior?

It’s hard to understand how a narcissist thinks and feels, and why they act the way they do. Narcissists don’t interact the same way as others, as most of their actions are influenced by their own desires and personal gain. They can come across as normal at first, but once you develop a closer relationship with them, you begin to see their true colors.

 

One of the things that are easy to notice about a narcissist is that they project an image of superiority. They act as though they are better than you and everyone else, and they want you to know it. They want you to be beholden to them, to follow their orders, and to let them be in charge of everything.

 

But while a narcissist might act like they are bigger than they really are, it might just be that all that acting is the result of an internal wound. Narcissists feel as though they need to be in control because they are insecure about themselves. Because of this, they end up putting on a mask and acting superior to you. They try to gain back control in their lives and make themselves feel better by taking it all out on you.

 

Don’t let them take advantage and walk all over you. Stand up for yourself and put an end to the abuse. It’s hard dealing with a narcissist, but once you can begin to understand them, it can make healing much easier for the both of you.

Alaska Earthquakes Shook More than the Earth

On November 30th, many of the residents of Alaska were struck by something so devastating that it will likely haunt them for the rest of their lives. Many of them were probably just on their way to work or enjoying their morning, expecting nothing unusual to happen. But you don’t receive warnings before a traumatic event.

 

At 8:29 am, an earthquake hit just 7 miles north of the city of Anchorage. But this wasn’t just any earthquake. It had a magnitude of 7.0 with a depth of 27 miles. And as if that weren’t bad enough, there have been over 1,400 recorded aftershocks so far, 17 which have had a magnitude greater than 4. Just like with life, it seems as though the trouble is never ending. Just when you think all the pain and struggling is over, something else hits, and it’s all you can do to not let it take you down. But there is hope as long as you keep holding on and moving forward.

 

There has been so much damage caused by all of these earthquakes. Roads and buildings have been destroyed, ruining Anchorage and devastating so many lives. It’s going to take a lot of time, effort, and help in order to restore the city and bring it back to its original grandeur.

 

But the damage done to the city is nothing compared to the damage done to the people who were involved. Many will go on to suffer from PTSD.

 

The survivors of the earthquakes have lost so much – some have lost their homes, their jobs, their possessions, and possibly even the lives of others. Those that survived or got out without injuries can begin to feel guilty when there are others that didn’t. That guilt can be a hard thing to live with.

 

In these places where earthquake aftershocks continue to hit like they are, it’s easy for people to find themselves constantly living in fear. They can’t seem to get a break and be able to catch a breath, and when they do, it’s taken away by yet another aftershock that they have to deal with. The ground has literally been taken out from under them in some places, making it difficult for them to stand up tall once again. With this fear and instability comes panic, setting them up for a lifetime of dealing with PTSD if they don’t get the help that they need.

 

Natural disasters can cause disasters in people’s well being, which is why it is our job to lend a hand and help in any way that we can. PTSD is a serious matter, and those that experience or are exposed to natural disasters are more likely to be affected. Getting professional help and learning healthy coping mechanisms can make a big difference when it comes to preventing and dealing with PTSD. If you know someone who was affected by the awful earthquakes in Alaska, give them all of your support and encourage them to seek help.

Why Narcissists Recycle Their Partners

As we’ve discussed before in another blog, narcissists are individuals who lack empathy and who think that the world should and does revolve around them.  So when you find yourself involved in a relationship with a narcissist, you can be sure that you will end up having to deal with very selfish treatment.

 

One common way narcissists act to feed their own self-centered needs is through partner recycling. You may have already experienced this behavior – the narcissist, who needs attention and excitement, decides that you aren’t good enough anymore, so they leave and find someone new. But then after a period of time, they become bored with their new partner so they begin calling you and wanting to make things work again. This recycling of old partners is something that many narcissists do, and for good reason.

 

Narcissists need everything to be about them and they lack even basic empathy and understanding of other people’s feelings.  Yet, even though narcissists believe they are the center of the universe and deserve only the best, they are also very insecure and afraid that they will fail and not be given the attention they need.

 

When these elements come together –  no empathy or concern about other people and personal insecurity – it creates a situation where the narcissist may cope by building a safety net. They are able to get the newness, excitement, and attention of beginning a new relationship, but they also have a person or people that they know are waiting on them and will feed their ego when they need it.  Out of this, many narcissists create a stable of lovers that they rotate through, recycling relationships as they become bored or need more attention.

 

If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist and find them coming back again, the best thing you can do is refuse them.  They haven’t “come to their senses” and realized how amazing you are. They are feeding their own ego by seeing how badly they can treat you and still have you there ready to forgive them and take them back.  Don’t let yourself get stuck in this unhealthy cycle. Set good boundaries and don’t be afraid to walk away.

Are you Facing a Flying Monkey?

You’ve finally managed to get out of a bad relationship with a narcissist. You’re finally starting to feel better and can actually work on boosting your self-esteem again. All the hard times are over now – or so it seems. As if dealing with a narcissist wasn’t bad enough, now you have to face their flying monkeys.

 

You might be wondering what in the world I’m talking about. Think of the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz. Instead of directly doing everything herself, the witch would send out flying monkeys to do all of her dirty work for her. Now the term “flying monkeys” has been picked up by psychologists and is what they call those who basically do all the deeds of the narcissist for them.

 

But why would someone want to act as a minion for a narcissist? Narcissists are very manipulative and good at turning things around to make them seem like the victim. The flying monkey might not even realize what they are doing at the time. They might be tricked into believing that they are simply helping a friend out. Just like the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz, they probably wish to be freed too, once they realize what is happening. So don’t blame the person acting as the flying monkey, blame the narcissist that is controlling them.

 

Flying monkeys can be manipulated into doing a variety of things to harm you. This includes spying, gossiping, and even coming at you directly. If you think you have a person or people acting as a flying monkey towards you, there are a few things that you can do.

 

If you believe that the person that is acting as a flying monkey is being controlled and manipulated, you can try simply talking to them. Explain the situation of how you were being abused by the narcissist, and that they don’t have to be controlled by them either. Let your voice be heard too, and let them hear both sides of the situation. Don’t get upset though if they get defensive. Chances are, they just aren’t ready to get help yet. Realizing that they are now being abused is something that they will have to come to on their own in order to receive help.

 

If you know you have flying monkeys spying and stalking your social media accounts, simply make your accounts private. If they are actively coming after you with messages, posts, or anything else, report it and block them for your own sake.

 

If you know people are gossiping about you, the best thing that you can do is keep your head up and don’t let it get to you. Dispel rumors that do come your way, but don’t make things worse by spreading some of your own about the other person.

 

Dealing with a narcissist is hard work, and it doesn’t help when it seems like the trouble just never goes away. But keep moving forward and don’t give up, because it all gets better in the long run.

Could Substance Abuse be Causing PTSD?

It is a well known fact that those that suffer from PTSD are at a much higher risk for falling into substance abuse. Many people with PTSD often find themselves going for the bottle or something else harmful to help quickly find relief from their pain. But could early substance abuse actually lead to PTSD?

 

It turns out that there is a link between teens and young adults that abuse substances and later develop PTSD. So why is this?

 

The brains of teens and young adults are still developing, which is why alcohol and other substances are so dangerous for them. In the moment, downing a few shots might seem like a quick and easy solution for a teenager that is under a lot of stress. This is because they lack the ability to make rational and well-informed decisions, and instead act in the moment based on what seems the most rewarding.

 

But turning to unhealthy solutions can have a lot of consequences later on down the road. Alcohol and other drugs can have a negative effect on a brain that is still developing. It can inhibit growth, preventing the young person from ever being able to learn how to make better decisions or cope with things in a healthy way.

 

Facing the stresses of everyday life is enough for one person to have to deal with. But it’s even harder when you don’t have the mental capabilities to figure out how exactly you should deal with them. For someone who abused substances as a teen or young adult, it’s even harder because their brains were never able to develop and grow like they were supposed to. Smaller stresses are much bigger for these people, making it easier for them to develop life-altering PTSD.

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with a stressful situation, know that it does get better, and substance abuse is NOT the way to go. This is especially true for teens and young adults who still have developing brains. Abusing alcohol and drugs will only make things worse. It won’t make the stressful situation go away, and it will leave lasting effects on not only your physical body but also your mind. Clear thinking is essential for maintaining good mental health, and you just can’t do that if your head is fogged by toxic substances. The more you use these substances, the more likely it is that they will leave permanent effects on your mind and body.

 

Long lasting effects of alcohol aren’t the only thing to worry about though. When people are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, they are more likely to do things they will regret, or even put themselves in danger. Finding themselves in a bad situation because they decided to drink irresponsibly can be enough in itself to cause PTSD in someone.

 

Instead, consider practicing some healthier coping mechanisms, and maybe even start seeing a therapist. It could help you get through things, and even prevent you from developing PTSD later on down the road.

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.

Struggling with Suicidal Thoughts During the Holidays

The holidays are here! Thanksgiving is behind us and now we get to spend the next month or more listening to Christmas carols and hearing about how great humanity is and how happy everyone should be.

 

Unfortunately, not everyone can feel so bright and bubbly. For many of us, this marks another special day alone. Another memory missed with our children or loved ones. The days are getting shorter, the nights longer, and we sit here thinking about all that we’ve lost – all that’s been taken from us. The happy music and promises of peace feel like a slap in the face when you’re dealing with abuse and alienation.  

 

For some of us, this will mean more days of sadness, depression, and anxiety. But for some, it can mean something even darker. It can be difficult to find a reason to go on. Suicide can sound like an easy way to end the pain.  

 

Crisis workers report that they see a dramatic increase in depression rates and people reaching out for help during the holidays, because of all the stress and loneliness. Those who are already prone to depression and suicidal thoughts – people like those who suffer from PTSD – are at an even higher risk.

 

No matter how bad things seem, suicide is not the answer. If you are having suicidal thoughts or feelings, STOP.  Remember, feelings – even these horrible feelings you have now – are temporary. They will go away and it will get better.  

 

Here are some action steps if you have any suicidal thoughts or feelings.

 

  • Promise not to do anything right now. As bad as it is, realize that suicide is permanent. Give yourself time to let the feelings pass.  Even if you just promise yourself a day or a week – don’t act in the moment.
  • Remember that suicide doesn’t stop the pain – it just transfers it to someone else. You may feel like you’re alone and there’s no one who cares, but they do. If you kill yourself, the pain and anguish you feel are just put onto them. Don’t put your loved ones through that.
  • Give yourself a safe space. If you feel like you’re starting to struggle, get rid of anything that could make it easier to commit suicide. Remove medicines, knives, guns, and anything else that could be harmful. Or go somewhere else where you feel safer. Sometimes a change of scenery can help anyway.
  • Most importantly, talk to someone. If you have a therapist, call them. If not, turn to your friends or family, let them help you. You can also call or text with a crisis hotline where they will talk you through what to do and how to face those feelings. But whatever you do, don’t try to handle it by yourself.  

Suicidal thoughts and feelings are very serious. Don’t wait until you start to act before you take steps to deal with them.  For more help, go to http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to a crisis counselor today.

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 Devastation of Wildfires

Over the past week, the news media has been focused on one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the United States. The California wildfires have burned land, destroyed homes, and killed innumerable people. Rich and poor, the famous and the unknown – no one in the area has been spared from the devastation.

In the short time these fires have been burning, they have become the deadliest in the history of California. Already there have been 81 confirmed deaths and there are still almost 900 people missing and not accounted for. It’s likely that the death toll will continue to climb. That’s in addition to the 250,000 acres of land that have destroyed, including over 18,000 buildings, of which at least 13,000 are people’s personal homes.

The good news is that the fires are about 80% contained at this point and rain is on its way. That extra water should help to extinguish the flames.  But it is also expected that they will cause devastating mudslides that will only add to the damage and potentially the deaths that these people have had to suffer.  

The victims of this disaster range from those who have died and their immediate loved ones, those who were trapped and found a way out or were rescued, those who were able to get away but lost their homes and belongings, those who were in the path but somehow were spared the worst of the damage, those who rushed in to help fight the fires, those who came to help the people who were without homes or food because of the fires, and those who have witnessed the devastation from afar on television and other media reports.  

While it’s clear that the people in each of these groups have suffered very different degrees of trauma, the reality is that all of them could suffer long term effects and Post Traumatic Stress from their exposure to this natural disaster.

As I have discussed in my blog about mass shootings, whenever we face catastrophes and traumas, we can become affected by them whether we are physically present or not. Modern media gives us a constant source of graphic images and information.  Social media lets us see and hear the real time horror from cameras right in the middle of the devastation just like if we were really there. Our brains just can’t tell the difference. The repeated exposure can have lasting effects and leave us suffering from anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

For those hit personally, it is clear that the trauma is difficult to overstate. Everything they own, friends and loved ones are all gone, consumed by the fire’s blaze. The fear of being trapped, not being sure if they would make it out alive. The guilt of surviving when others didn’t.  These are all things that can only truly be understood by those who have been through something similar.

And, while we hold up the firefighters and humanitarian workers as heroes for stepping up and helping, we often forget that are affected too. These amazing people chose to run toward the danger and the chaos so that they could help save others. By putting themselves in harm’s way, they expose themselves to the same traumas and PTSD as those who are victims of the fires.

No matter how you may have been affected by the disaster – whether you were there or knew someone who was, if you ran to the fire as a rescuer or watched it on TV, if you’re feeling anxious or depressed, if you can’t sleep or stop thinking about the fires, it’s important that you reach out for help.  You can find resources and more information about the importance of therapy here.

How to Deal with Panic Attacks in Public

One of the many terrible side effects that come with dealing with PTSD is having to face panic attacks. If you have PTSD, you know how awful suffering through panic attacks can be, especially when they come on unexpectedly while you’re in public. The fear and embarrassment that comes with being hit by a panic attack in public can seem just as bad or even worse than the actual panic attack itself. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to help ease your trouble.

  • Control your breathing. Focusing on your breath can serve as a quick and easy distraction, and by controlling your breathing, it can help you feel more in control of yourself and the situation. Taking deep, slow breaths can also help your heart rate slow back down and bring you back to calmness.
  • Distract yourself. When in panic mode, it’s hard to focus on anything but the problem itself and the panic that you feel. But if you can manage to divert your attention to something else, it’ll help to lessen the panic. Try engaging in an in depth conversation, or maybe play a quick game on your phone.
  • Take a break. Sometimes social situations can just be too overwhelming. If you feel a panic attack coming on and you just can’t shake it, calmly excuse yourself for a few moments. Step outside and get some fresh air, or freshen up in the restroom. It’s okay to take a break every now and then.

PTSD and panic attacks are no fun, especially when there are others around. In fact, social situations can even make things worse. But you can get through it and you are not alone in this battle.