Life Awakening

AWAKEN FROM LIFE is about discovering who you are and about defining your true self so you can seize the helm of your life! This book is changing lives. Let it change yours!

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Story of Hope Love Destiny

If you like inspirational memoirs about the power of hope, or just want to read a candid expose of my previously misaligned life, FINE…LY: My Story of Hope, Love, and Destiny is the book for you!! It’s a page turner!!

Available in Paperback or as an E-Book

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This memoir written by a woman author tells a compelling, impactful true life story about hope and love, and how she found her destiny. An excellent book for women!



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Inspiring Authors Message

Author, Randi G. Fine 

Living Life to the Fullest

Inspirational Author’s Message

The most difficult people in our lives end up being our greatest teachers.   The hurdles they place before us and the challenges they present to us are only lessons that we must learn for our greater good.   Think of the oyster…without the irritating grain of sand there would be no pearl. ~ Randi G. Fine

We all experience times of joy and times of suffering as we move through our lives. Life is a breeze during the happy times; we get to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. But we must ask ourselves how good joy would feel if we had no adversity to contrast it? The phrase, “nobody said life was easy,” was coined with good reason. The truth is, life is hard work…but the beauty of life is that it has many facets.  We are constantly challenged to learn and grow.  And as we rise to those challenges we become stronger, wiser and better human beings. The universe holds all the answers we will ever need. It’s all there for the taking if we watch, listen, and trust our intuition. I invite you to follow me on my journey as I explore the many paths to happiness, and the many avenues that will lead us to living life to the fullest. I wish you serenity and joy in your life. ~ Randi


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Understanding and Healing From Complex PTSD

complex PTSDA major factor that makes recovery from narcissistic abuse so difficult is Complex PTSD. All survivors of this horrendous emotional abuse suffer CPSD to some degree. Dr. Mary Wingo explains this in a way that makes it easy to understand and also talks about how to overcome it. You can hear her brief interview with Randi Fine by going to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/randi-fine/2016/08/23/human-stress-in-the-modern-world-with-dr-mary-wingo

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How to Save Your Marriage in Three Easy Steps

This marriage was in jeopardy and the husband saved it. So simple yet so profound. A great lesson for all of us – a must watch.

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Time to Heal


This is the new song I am using for my podcast, A Fine Time for Healing. The new show intro will premiere August 19, 2016. I hope you will tune in and listen.

The song is called Time to Heal. Talented singer/song writer Jonny Zywiciel wrote this song as a fundraiser for the Amy Winehouse Foundation. He has a beautiful message for you and I would like you to hear this amazing, uplifting and inspirational song in its entirely.

Enjoy!

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Five Gaslighting Techniques Used by Narcissists

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Gaslighting/Ambient Abuse

Excerpt from Randi Fine’s Upcoming Book, Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivors Guide to Healing

Gaslighting is one of the most insidious forms of psychological abuse used by narcissists. The term comes from the 1944 Hollywood classic film Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman. The story is about a woman who is slowly manipulated by her husband to believe she is losing her mind.

Gaslighting is a guileful and devious tactic, so effective that intelligence operations use it to interrogate prisoners of war. Make no mistake, gaslighting is psychological warfare.

All narcissists, whether they are parents, partners, siblings, friends or co-workers, use this method of psychological control. The tactic is used to confuse victims to the point of not trusting their own memory, judgment or perception.

So subtle and sneaky are narcissists with their cruelty that those on the receiving end find themselves questioning their own reality. Narcissists reinforce the confusion by telling victims that they are insane for believing what they believe to be true, or for not believing what the narcissist claims is true. They tell their victims that they didn’t hear what they thought they heard or see what they thought they saw, that they are imagining things, crazy, losing their minds, or over sensitive. Narcissists even remove or relocate things to confuse their victims and then deny the item was ever there or that they ever saw it.

The narcissist’s goal with this twisted, crazy-making tactic is to erode his victim’s mental stability by systematically chipping away at her self-confidence. By challenging the victim’s perceptions to the degree that she no longer trusts her own memory or judgment, he eventually renders her helpless, insecure, and unable to independently function. His narcissistic supply is secured.

There are five gaslighting techniques used by narcissists:

  1. Withholding:

The abuser acts confused, pretends he doesn’t understand what the victim is telling him, and withholds feelings. He will say things such as:

  • “Why are you trying to confuse me?”
  • “You’re not making any sense.”
  • “I’m not listening to you.”
  • “How can I possibly remember that?”
  • “You know I have a lot on my mind. Stop bothering me.”
  • “I’ve already heard this.”
  • “You know I don’t like to talk about that.”
  • “I don’t have answers for you.”
  • “I have no idea what you want me to say.”
  • “How would I know?
  1. Countering:

The abuser questions the memory and thoughts of the victim, and then supports the accusation with previous examples:

  • “You never remember things correctly.”
  • “You always exaggerate things.”
  • “You have a very active imagination.”
  • “Get your facts straight.”
  •  “You have no faith in me.”
  • “You are always jumping to conclusions.”
  • “You heard incorrectly.”
  • “You know I never said that.”
  • “Remember how wrong you were last time?”
  1. Blocking/Diverting:

The abuser refuses to answer or comment, changes the subject, faults the victim for accusing or blaming him, or faults the victim for reacting the way she did:

  • “I’m not going through this again.”
  • “We already talked about this”
  • “You are always looking for trouble/picking fights.”
  • “I don’t get where you are going with this.”
  • “You have to always be right.”
  • “Just shut up already.”
  • “Where did you get such an idiotic idea?”
  • “That’s just nonsense.”
  • “You are always complaining about something.”
  • “Why can’t you leave well enough alone?”
  1. Trivializing:

The abuser makes the thoughts and needs of the victim seem unimportant:

  • “That is hardly important.”
  • “Why let something so stupid come between us?”
  • “You’re just too sensitive.”
  • “That has nothing to do with us.”
  • “Get your priorities straight.”
  • “Why do you let everything bother you?”
  • “Stop analyzing everything.”
  • “Why are you wasting my time with this?”
  • “You always blow things out of proportion.”
  • “Let it go already.”
  1. Forgetting/Denial:

The abuser denies that things ever happened or denies promises he made to the victim to prevent her from getting a resolution:

  • “I never did/said that.”
  • “That never happened.”
  • “I have never been there before.”
  • “I never saw/moved/took that.”
  • “You’re confusing me with someone else.”
  • “You are making that up.”
  • “You are delusional.”
  • “You never told me that.”
  • “I never promised you.”
  • “There is nothing wrong with my

By creating confusion and anxiety, narcissists throw off their victim’s equilibrium. As a gaslighting victim you may experience any or all of the following:

  • You wonder if you are the crazy one.
  • You feel depressed, anxious, and hopeless.
  • You don’t trust your perceptions, beliefs or judgments.
  • You find it hard to make decisions.
  • You are always apologizing for things you didn’t do.
  • You cannot figure out why you are so unhappy.
  • You lie to protect yourself and others.
  • You don’t know who you are anymore.
  • You have memory issues.
  • You have lost your personal power.
  • You give in instead of fighting for what you believe in.
  • You get confused, disoriented or paranoid.
  • You think you are too sensitive or over reactive.
  • You don’t know what is “normal” anymore.
  • You are the first to take the blame.
  • You never feel worthy or good enough.
  • You always feel guilty about something.
  • You are exhausted and drained.
  • You make excuses for your abuser’s behavior.
  • You are fearful of your abuser.
  • You have shut down your feelings and emotions.

Gaslighting can occur in any type of relationship to even the most discerning, insightful people. Intelligent people believe they are immune to this type of brainwashing, but they are no match for the calculating narcissist. Beware.

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Are People With NPD Mentally Ill

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Can We Hold  Narcissists Responsible for Their Behavior?

Excerpt from Randi Fine’s Upcoming Book, Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivors Guide to Healing

People often ask me if pathological narcissism is a mental illness. The answer is yes. It is categorized that way by mental health professionals.

Their follow-up response is usually, “Well, if these people are mentally ill, how can we hold them responsible for their behavior.”

To be mentally ill is to have a disturbed mind. The minds of pathological narcissists are no doubt disturbed. But it is the degree of disturbance that determines what they can and cannot control. Those who are able to control their behavior are accountable for it.

Though narcissists are mentally unwell, they are not insane. It often does not appear so, but narcissists have full control of their faculties and are deliberate in their actions. To be classified as insane, a person must not be able to distinguish fantasy from reality. Narcissists’ realities are skewed, but these people are fully engaged and present in the real world.

Those who are insane cannot control their urges. Narcissists can and do control their urges, though it often does not seem so. They know when and where to exhibit their abusive behaviors. Those who are insane cannot conduct their basic everyday affairs. Narcissists get along swimmingly in life. They can be very successful people.

As survivors of NPD abuse, many of us suffer mild degrees of mental illness as well. That does not excuse us from being responsible for our actions. We do not have a “Get out of Jail Free” card, and neither do narcissists.

When we think of “mental illness” we imagine it at its most severe. But mental illness exists on a continuum. It is a broad category that encompasses many disorders and levels of debilitation.

Mental illness is clinically defined in the fifth and latest addition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as, “A syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotional regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning.”

Mental illness is a very real, ongoing condition that impairs one’s ability to function for its duration.  It is a disease that disturbs the person’s behaviors and thoughts, causing the ordinary demands of everyday living to feel overwhelming. The symptoms that accompany a mental disorder can range from very mild to severe.

Mental illness is not a rare occurrence. These types of disorders affect people of all ages and from all walks of life. According to the National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI), approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (43.7 million) experiences mental illness in a given year.

More than 200 forms of mental illness have been classified by the American Psychiatric Association. Most of us are only familiar with a few; the ones we hear a lot about such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder. This book will specifically focus on narcissistic personality disorder, not often discussed or commonly understood.

One in eleven people meet the diagnostic criteria for having a personality disorder. Personality disorders are grouped in the DSM-5 in three clusters; cluster A, cluster B and cluster C. Narcissistic personality disorder is a cluster B disorder, also referred to as “the dramatic, emotional, and erratic cluster,” along with antisocial personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

Personality disorders are extreme manifestations of common behaviors that significantly impair a person’s ability to behaviorally respond to life in an acceptable way, and create difficulty in the person’s interactions with others. They are sets of chronic, inflexible personality traits, or patterns of deviant or abnormal behavior that those who have them will not change, even when their behavior troubles everyone around them and negatively impacts all their relationships.

Personality disorders are not limited to episodic mental illness, are not caused by illness or injury, and aren’t an effect of substance abuse.

There is a great deal of controversy among mental health professionals over how personality disorders are clinically defined, because people with the signs and symptoms of one personality disorder often exhibit symptoms of one or more other disorders. This overlapping often results in multiple diagnoses, putting the validity of each individual qualification in question.

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Moving Past a Relationship with the Narcissistic Personality Disordered

Beyond the BasicsI was recently a guest on Dr. Meaghan Kirschling’s show, Beyond the Basics. We discussed moving past relationships with people who have narcissist personality disorder. It is a great interview, definitely worth listening to. To hear it, please go to:

http://beyondthebasicshealthacademy.libsyn.com/podcast-154-narcissistic-personality-disorder-with-randi-fine

*After going to the above link, the player to listen to the show is right below the Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest icons

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Healing From Narcissistic Abuse Requires Changing Your Inner Dialogue

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Changing the Way You Talk to Yourself

Excerpt from Randi Fine’s Upcoming Book, Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivors Guide to Healing

Each of us has a subconscious inner voice, called an “inner dialogue,” that strongly influences our life.  Since it has always been such a consistent part of our waking lives, most of us do not even realize it is there.

Our inner dialogue controls everything we do. It shapes our perception, makes decisions for us, cautions us, forms our values and opinions, tells us who we are and what we like, monitors our behavior, evaluates situations, and makes judgments.

When our inner dialogue is positive, it empowers us. When our inner dialogue is negative it discourages us. Negative dialogue forms limiting beliefs.

Limiting beliefs can come from powerful outside influences such as parents, religions, families, educators, culture, media, and society. They can also develop on their own after repeated exposure to stimuli, or as a result of trauma or abuse.

Limiting beliefs sabotage our lives. They tell us untruths and lies, make us feel bad about ourselves, impede our success, and cause us to repeat unhealthy patterns. They even govern our moods and reactions.

Years of degradation, manipulation and brainwashing by your narcissistic abuser has infused your mind with many limiting beliefs. You will be surprised at how many of the following you can claim as your own:

  • I do not deserve: happiness, success, love, recognition, success, money, relationships, friendships with quality people
  • I do not: trust myself, know what I want, feel worthy, have self-control, like or love myself, matter
  • I am not: good enough, smart enough, worthy enough, thoughtful enough, motivated enough, competent enough, rich enough, outgoing enough, thin enough, pretty enough, skilled enough, important enough
  • I cannot: do it as well as others can, reach goals, make money, survive on my own, start a business, get a degree, change who I am, change how I think
  • I should not: think of myself first, love or like myself, feel good about myself, feel angry, ask for what I want, expect others to come through for me, trust anyone, let my guard down
  • I should be: more successful than I am, farther along in life than I am, more educated, more social, a better person
  • Nobody: listens to me, cares about me, wants me, believes in me, likes me, accepts me
  • No one will like or love me if: I am not perfect, I am not successful, I am not a pleaser, they get to know me, I speak honestly, I am not beautiful, I don’t earn their approval
  • Everyone else: judges me, is better than me, rejects me, hates me, thinks I am stupid
  • I always: make mistakes, procrastinate, say stupid things, anger people, quit things, frustrate people, feel guilty, look foolish
  • I am: a quitter, a weirdo, lazy, an unlovable person, an unlikable person, a failure, responsible for others’ happiness
  • It is my job to: smooth things over, make others happy, make others feel better, apologize, keep the peace
  • There’s no point in: getting my hopes up, trying at all, trying again, being honest, having goals, asking for what I want, showing people who I really am
  • Happiness is: a myth, unattainable, for others
  • I must suffer to: show how much I care, get attention, make up for bad things I’ve done, prove my point
  • I must be fearful of: other people, life, relationships, men, women

Reread the above list and highlight all the limiting beliefs that apply to you. Explore each one by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Why do I have the limiting belief?
  2. Is the belief true or false?
  3. Is the belief relevant to my life now?
  4. Am I willing to let the belief go?

Before you can change your subconscious inner dialogue you must bring it to your conscious mind and then challenge it. That involves monitoring your thoughts, emotions, actions and reactions to see what triggers you and what non-productive patterns you are stuck in.

Limiting beliefs change when they are replaced by positive dialogue. You can reprogram your mind through the use of positive affirmations such as:

  • I deserve to love and be loved
  • I love and accept myself totally and completely
  • I choose happiness and peace in my life
  • I am whole, healthy and complete
  • I am worthy of success
  • I deserve to live a life of abundance
  • I am the only one in charge of my life
  • I am a beautiful person inside and out
  • I am a survivor
  • I am worthy of all the good things in life
  • I can face any challenge

These are just suggestions. You can create your own affirmations or find other ones that resonate with you.

Repeat your affirmations often. Say them to yourself in the mirror. Post them in places where you spend a lot of time. Especially use them whenever you catch yourself having limiting beliefs. The more often and regularly you repeat your affirmations, the faster your inner dialogue will change and the better you will feel about yourself.

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Accepting not Expecting Picture Quote

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Accepting Not Expecting Picture Quote

We cannot turn a blind eye to the true colors of others and then complain when the picture they paint does not meet our expectations. ~Randi G. Fine

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Positive Perspective Picture Quote

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Positive Perspective Quote

The future may be fearful or alluring. It is all in the perspective you choose. Do not let the hurdles in your life extinguish the flames of you passions, dreams, and heart’s desires. ~Randi G. Fine

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Roles of Children in Narcissistic Families

npd childrenRoles of Children in Narcissistic Families

Excerpt from Randi Fine’s Upcoming Book, Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivors Guide to Healing

When there is more than one child in a family, narcissistic parents assign each of them roles. Only one child can be favored at a time, but the roles can be reassigned or switched at the parent’s will. If there is only one child in the family, she may have to play more than one role.

The three roles given in narcissistic families are: “golden child,” “scapegoat” and “lost/invisible child.”

The Golden Child

Initially one child is given the role of golden child. She is the parent’s “chosen one.” The golden child is seen as an extension of the narcissistic parent. He lives vicariously through her.

This child represents the parent’s perfect image of himself. She is either physically beautiful or has a talent that the parent finds impressive; something that gives him bragging rights. This child is chosen specifically for exploitation.

The golden child can do no wrong. If the parent finds fault with the child, a perfect reflection of his own self-image, that would have to mean that something is wrong with him. So he elevates this perfect specimen that he created to a level of omnipotence higher than his own. He idolizes her as if she were god-like. But unlike an omnipotent god or goddess who reigns free and unencumbered, this child is his possession.

The narcissistic parent tries to engulf and enmesh with the golden child as if the two of them were one. No boundaries between parent and child are established. This makes it very difficult for the child to separate or form her own identity.

The expectations placed on the golden child are lofty. Whether through physical appearance, social graces or performance, one of her primary jobs is to always make the parent look good. Her other primary responsibility is to keep the parent happy.

When the golden child does not live up to her responsibilities, her parent turns on her. Fearing that if she does not play her role perfectly she could easily become the scapegoat child (which, after watching the implications of this role, is not something she wants to be) she quickly snaps back into her assigned role.

The golden child learns from a very early age that her superficial qualities of pleasing and looking good, not her inner qualities, are what make her likeable and lovable. This handicap follows her wherever she goes, permeating every facet of her childhood, adolescence and adult life.

The Scapegoat Child

Life is very different for the scapegoat child. Where the golden child can do no wrong, the scapegoat can do no right. And though only one child at a time can be the golden child, some families have more than one scapegoat child. As I said, these roles can shift.

The scapegoat child is considered a “bad seed.” She is seen as an inferior person. Her primary job is to carry the shame and anger of the narcissistic parent on her shoulders. She is blamed for everything that goes wrong in the family.

The narcissistic parent is unrelentingly critical, cruel, and abusive to this child. Not only is she unappreciated, she is humiliated in front of other family members, often called crazy, and made to feel unaccepted.

Since the scapegoat child is the most truthful, well-meaning, personally sacrificing member of the family she is constantly getting hurt. She remains authentic no matter how many times she is used and abused by her parent.

The narcissistic parent sees the scapegoat child as having no needs of her own, though she is expected to do all the caring. Her entire childhood is spent trying to live up to the expectations of the parent. That proves futile every time. No matter what she does she is never good enough.

Many of her ideas and achievements are worthy of praise but the parent never gives her the accolades she deserves. Her successes are either attributed to someone else or given no worth at all.

The scapegoat child is the most honest member of the family. Unable to repress the injustices placed upon her, she is the one most likely to argue, act out or rebel. Since she is labeled a troublemaker whether her behavior is good or bad, she has little to risk. This child seeks attention. Whether negative or positive it is still attention.

Preferring that the attention be positive, the scapegoat child is tenacious in her efforts to gain admiration from her narcissistic parent. Sadly she never succeeds. She is forever deemed an underachiever or loser. The scapegoat child actualizes these self-destructive labels and the defining mindset follows her throughout life.

The scapegoat child ultimately has more freedom than the golden child does, so in that aspect she fares a little better in life. Because of her lack of enmeshment with the parent, she has a better chance of physically getting away from him and developing a sense of self. The problem is the sense of self she manages to develop will not be a positive one. Deep within, she will always feel like an unlovable loser.

Invisible/Lost Child

The invisible or lost child does not receive praise or blame from her parent. This child is treated as if she does not exist. She is the forgotten one, the neglected one, the unrecognized one. The narcissistic parent is not the least bit interested or aware of this child’s needs. He has absolutely no use for her.

The basic needs of the invisible child are ignored to varying degrees. She may be sent to school with old, dirty, outdated or mismatched clothes. Her hair may be unkempt. The parent may fail to teach her proper hygiene. She may not receive adequate medical or dental care. Narcissistic parents who want to conceal the abuse may provide just enough care to keep others from noticing the neglect.

Because the invisible child is treated as if she is a “nobody,” she expects nothing nor asks for anything. She is the quietest sibling in the family because no one is listening anyway. The golden child gets what she wants without trying, the scapegoat child is busy saying “look at me,” but the invisible child’s voice is lost to the parent’s other focuses.

For self-preservation this child withdraws into herself, isolates. She shuts down as if she is hiding from the world, escaping into her own mind. Her withdrawal causes her to miss out on healthy social interactions. Her friendships are few if any. She never feels as if she fits in with any groups.

Invisible children find it difficult to let others into their private world. They do not develop a healthy connectedness to other people or society. Never having anyone to rely on except themselves, these children become very independent—lonely and isolated, but usually self-sufficient.

Never feeling valuable as a child, she will live life feeling invisible, unlovable and unworthy. Prone to severe depression, the invisible child may easily fall prey to substance abuse, eating disorders and other addictive behaviors.

The three roles—golden child, scapegoat child, and invisible child are given by narcissistic parents for self-serving needs. They are not meant to benefit the children in any way. But these roles are not the only roles children in narcissistic families play. As a way to bring some semblance of order to their chaotic world and ease their pain, children in these families adopt roles of their own.

The four additional roles adopted by children in narcissistic homes are: “hero/responsible child,” “caretaker/ placater,” “mascot/clown,” and “mastermind/manipulator.” Children may adopt one or more of these roles. “Only children” usually take on a variety of roles for emotional adaptation.

The Hero/Responsible Child

The hero/responsible child is often, but not always, the oldest sibling. This child becomes overly conscientious and independent. She assumes the role of responsible parent at an inappropriately young age.

With a perfectionist nature, the hero child strives to achieve the highest level of success recognized as impressive by her family. She is the perfect student, best athlete, or most talented. A shining example of what outsiders assume could only be attributed to perfect parenting, her job is to mask the true dysfunction of her family to the outside world.

Since the hero child relies on outside approval as her compass for success, and her worth is always defined by others, nothing she accomplishes ever feels good enough. Nothing others do is good enough either. She does not like to engage the help of others and tends to be controlling, because she believes no one can complete a task as well as she can.

Proficient at all she undertakes, the hero child suppresses her emotions to a degree that she can no longer feel them. Deep inside, she secretly harbors feelings of insecurity and adequacy. Fearing her true self will be exposed as defective and incapable, she compensates by compulsively driving herself. Never feeling good enough within, true success can never be attained. When one goal is reached, she must strive for another.

Due to her perfectionist nature she tends to be judgmental and critical, both about others and herself. With her primary defense mechanism being denial, she does not take criticism from others well. It exposes parts of her she does not like, therefore is difficult to accept.

As an adult, the hero is likely to continue being successful in all she does, though that success will never make her happy.

The Caretaker/Placater Child

The caretaker/placater child is the family’s emotional rescuer. She manages the ever-changing, explosive moods of her family. Her talents are listening, supporting, nurturing, and counseling.

This child has a sensitive, calm and understanding nature.  Her gentle soul cannot tolerate conflicts, discord, or pandemonium. When family upsets arise or she senses they are about to, she immediately jumps into pacifying mode.

The caretaker asks for no emotional support herself, though as a very sensitive child she needs it the most. She does not know how to get her own needs met so she avoids them and focuses on the needs of her family members instead.

This child is a “pleaser.” Her self-worth is defined by what she can do for others. She selflessly gives out love, but does not know how to receive it back. Loving gestures and positive attention directed at her feel uncomfortable, causing her to quickly reverse the roles. She is only comfortable being the giver, not the receiver.

The caretaker assumes the role of rescuer throughout life and into adulthood. Friendships and partnerships become projects. Whatever the nature of the relationship, her job is to fix people; to save them from themselves. These relationships are often one-sided, toxic and tend to become abusive.

As an adult, the caretaker is likely to choose a career in a helping or caring profession since this is where she is most practiced and comfortable. While others will greatly benefit from her compassionate nature, she will always find it difficult to accept and meet her own needs.  Easily taken advantage of, she is likely to suffer the “doormat” syndrome.

The Mascot/Clown Child

The mascot/clown is usually but not always the youngest child in the family. This child takes responsibility for the emotional well-being of the family, but in a very different way than the caretaker does. The mascot assumes the job of social director, constantly kidding and clowning around to divert the family’s attention away from its prevailing pain and anger. She is the one the family counts on to lighten the mood and make them feel better.

It appears by her happy-go-lucky attitude that problems just roll off her back, but her resiliency is only a defense mechanism. The mascot deflects the reality of her tragic circumstances and expresses her pain through comic relief. Masquerading as the cut-up at home and class clown at school, she ambiguously expresses her feelings of powerlessness, sadness, anger, and resentment.

She exemplifies herself as an object of ridicule through self-deprecating humor, ditsy behavior, or foolishness. Representing herself as a caricature of a human being, no one (including herself) takes her seriously.

As adults, proficient at mitigating suffering through humor, many mascots become entertainers. Sadly, they will never enjoy the happiness they give others. After a lifetime of repressing their own pain they are likely to suffer from chronic depression. Never having developed an authentic self they will always struggle with feelings of emptiness and loneliness.

The Mastermind/Manipulator Child

Unlike the other three roles, the mastermind/manipulator has no positive virtues. She is sinister, selfish and abusive.

The mastermind controls the family. She is cunning in her survival skills. She copes not through passivity or deflection, but through manipulation.

The mastermind’s manipulations are driven by haughty feelings of entitlement, quite like the narcissist himself. She is opportunistic, callous, and unrelenting when it comes to fulfilling her own needs, though shrewd enough to operate just below the radar.

Recognizing the dysfunction of her family, she uses it to her benefit. This child capitalizes on the weaknesses of her family members to get what she wants. In that pursuit she will lie in wait, create conflict among family members, or pour on insincere charm. She has an innate sense of how to manipulate others, especially those in charge, and get away with it. Family members do catch on to her ploys but are no match for her manipulative abilities.

The mastermind may also be a jokester just as is the mascot, but her humor is more sardonic and caustic than soothing. Her sugar-coated, backhanded insults serve to cover up her own feelings of insecurity, inadequacy and lack of emotional safety. Masterminds are well-known for saying, “What’s the matter with you? Can’t you take a joke?”

This is a role she will take with her into adulthood–once a manipulator, always a manipulator.

Unless identified, dealt with and modified, the hero, caretaker, mascot and mastermind roles assumed by children in emotionally abusive narcissistic homes will become lifelong mindsets. Relationships, friendships, parenting, scholastic endeavors and careers will all be impacted by these dysfunctional adaptations.

Children raised in families with narcissistic parents suffer tremendous emotional abuse. Healthy coping mechanisms are never taught, therefore never learned. In order to adapt and survive in this painful, hostile, confusing environment these children must find ways to cope. Unless addressed and altered, their childhood coping methods, always maladaptive, are the ones they will use for the rest of their lives.

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