Happy New Year 2019!
Wishing you all healing, and abundance in every way you desire. ~Randi
Happy New Year 2019!
Wishing you all healing, and abundance in every way you desire. ~Randi
Isolation, Loneliness, and Disconnection in the Aftermath of Narcissistic Abuse
Written by Randi G. Fine, Author of Close Encounters of the Worst Kind
Every survivor of narcissistic abuse experiences feelings of isolation, loneliness, and disconnection in the beginning stages of the healing process. This is perfectly “normal” and to be expected. If you are feeling this way and concerned about it, it may help to know that you have a lot of company. Nearly everyone recovering from narcissistic abuse feels exactly as you do.
After coming out of a war zone, shell shocked, disoriented, and confused, it is only natural to seek comfort, support, and validation from friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. It is painfully disappointing to discover that those you counted on for support have turned their backs to you when you need them the most. One or two people may stick by your side. Most will minimize the severity of the experiences you claim and impatiently tell you to “just get over it.”
You wonder how people who claimed to care about you can act this way; if the situation were reversed you would never turn away from them. And so, after reaching out to people for support and being rejected, shamed, and blamed every time you do, you are driven into solitude and silence.
The people who have let you down may seem heartless, but often their reaction is based on ignorance. They have no reference point in regard to the traumatic effects of narcissistic abuse. Having never witnessed your abuse or seen your abuser’s true nature, it is nearly impossible for them to believe the outrageous stories you are telling them. Should the situation have been reversed, and without having personally experienced this bizarre behavior, your reaction may have been the same. Nothing about narcissistic abuse makes sense to the logical mind.
It is generally believed that it takes two to make or break a relationship; a legitimate belief in regard to legitimate relationships. This is the standard you are unfortunately being held to. But there is nothing legitimate about a relationship with a narcissist. Though it may appear to be a typical relationship, it is not. It is a predator/victim situation.
The victim enters into what he or she thinks is an honest relationship with a sincere person. Had the victim known that the person was an imposter/actor/con, he or she would never have not gotten involved or allowed themselves to be brainwashed and manipulated. Once sucked in, the campaign of abuse begun, they are trapped.
Once victims muster up enough courage to leave their abusers (or they are thrown away) they are further punished through the narcissist’s smear campaign. Flying monkeys are rounded up, lies are spread. They are falsely blamed for the distress their abusers allege to be suffering from by people both familiar and unfamiliar. This assault campaign makes it nearly impossible for them to go about their normal daily routine without someone sneering at them and making comments to or about them. Furthermore they feel triggered by everything and everyone. Isolation seems to be the only option.
Other factors contribute to the isolation of a survivor. Those with empathic sensitivity find the energy overload of the outside world impossible to bear, especially while trying to heal from their trauma. It is much easier to be alone.
Empath or not, the emotional safety survivors feel when they are alone and unchallenged is a welcomed relief. While the rest of the world seems frightening and dangerous, home/solitude feels safe and secure.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling safe in solitude. The first stage of healing from narcissistic abuse can only occur in a bubble of protection; no threats, no triggers. In this way solitude serves an important purpose.
Allow the peace and calm of your solitude without concern of what everyone else is doing. For now you are exactly where you need to be. The time will come when you will feel ready to integrate yourself back in society. You don’t have to force interactions with others until it feels natural to do so. Ignore the pressure people put on you. You have spent enough time succumbing to the requirements of others. Now you get to decide what is right or wrong for you.
Healing from the trauma of narcissistic abuse is your primary concern now. Love yourself. Respect yourself. Trust your intuition. The world will just have to wait. You are in recovery.
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder by the following nine traits. To be diagnosed as having this disorder a person must have at least five of these traits.
Recognizing the Red Flags
Article Written by Randi G. Fine
Narcissists are everywhere. These predators covertly walk among us in droves. Adept at changing their personalities in pursuit of their life-blood, narcissistic supply, and presenting with a human appearance, they are virtually unrecognizable. This reality is terrifying to anyone who has ever been unwittingly targeted and trapped in their webs of deceit.
The good new is that, though you must be extremely cautious, there are clear warning signs to watch for and dating protocols to diligently follow that will help to protect you.
Charismatic or Pitiful Individuals
Narcissists are notorious for their charismatic personalities. This ability is crucial in capturing narcissistic supply and when recognized should be avoided. But they can also present as people who are down on their luck: their ex left them, parents were abusive, they’re financially struggling, no place to live, etc. If they size you up as compassionate, forgiving, generous, and/or someone with undefined boundaries they may use this tactic to make you feel sorry for them. Warning: Both could be traps.
Life Story or Situation Closely Matches Yours
Narcissists want to bring your guard down. One way to accomplish that is to point out the commonalities that exist between you. They may relate similar stories to yours, share similar backgrounds, enjoy the same things you do (sports, music, hobbies, food, etc.), or express similar life goals. If you say you are considering relocating to a specific area they may say they’ve always thought about moving there. Warning: If things seem too perfect right out of the gate they probably are not.
Narcissists interview potential victims in the dating and honeymoon stage of the “relationship” so they will eventually know exactly how to hurt them. They pretend to be totally interested in what you have to say and encourage you to share your goals, hopes, dreams for the future.. They also encourage you to reveal the details of people, events, or traumas that have caused you pain. This tactic makes you feel as if you have finally found a best friend; one who is is interested in what you have to say, is easy to talk to, and “gets” you. Warning: Everything you say can and will be used against you. The purpose of the interview is to get you to reveal all your emotional buttons. You can be certain they will eventually push every one of them. Don’t share any personal information until you know exactly who you are sharing it with.
Too Much Chemistry
Narcissists get the endorphins firing in your brain to create an addiction to them and blind you to the truth of who they really are. Many women tell me that they would not have normally been attracted to the narcissistic men but there was “just something about them” they couldn’t resist. Men usually tell me that the narcissistic women are irresistibly beautiful. These statements are general. Sometimes the men are good looking and the women physically unattractive. What’s important to know is that if physical intimacy enters the picture too soon you can easily be trapped. When allowed to be expressed, chemistry with a narcissist is usually intense. To avoid the temptation, only date in neutral places; never at either of your homes. Warning: Beware of fiery beginnings. Take it slow.
Leave the Caretaker in You Home
Narcissists will test you to see how generous, understanding, and flexible you are. If you show that side to them they will know you are an easy mark. Let them pamper you for awhile. Resist the temptation to offer up any of your money. Do not feel as if you have to reciprocate any of their gestures or expenditures. Once they’ve been carefully vetted you can loosen that up a bit. Warning: Don’t be a rescuer or look to be rescued. Healthy relationships take two whole, mentally healthy people who have resolved their own issues and are invested in each other one hundred percent. If you have the tendency to give too much, work on your boundary system before you begin dating.
Verify, Verify, Verify
Narcissists lie about everything so take nothing they say at face value, no matter how sincerely it seems to be said. Assume, until proven otherwise, that nothing said to you is true. Verify everything you’ve been told; who they are, where they live, where they work, who their family is, how much money they have or make, etc. If the information cannot be verified it is likely to be false. Warning: You may be dating an imposter.
Narcissists notoriously smear peoples’ names for revenge purposes. Beware of anyone who talks trash about her/his exes. Their exes are probably very nice people, just as you are, who were victimized and then either thrown away or wised up. Warning: You could be next.
A person with good intentions should pass this test with flying colors. When in doubt, trust your instincts. They never lie. If something feels “off” then it is. Yes, you are over-cautious because you’ve been badly burned, but anyone truly interested in you will allow you to set the rules and the pace. Do not be pressured.
The highlights discussed in this video are:
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:
Reread the above list and highlight all the limiting beliefs that currently apply to you. Explore each one by asking yourself the following questions:
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:
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.
The experience I have with sons of narcissistic mothers was gained through my counseling work with them. I can assure you that the extent to which they can be broken and confused are equal to that of women—sometimes even worse.
Overcoming pain is not an easy thing for men to do. They have more difficulty than women do when it comes to expressing their feelings, and they are much harder on themselves, more self-censoring. Men tend to be less tolerant of their weaknesses and less patient of the healing process as well.
Maternal narcissist abuse runs very deeply in men. Without help, they suffer a lifetime of devastating emotional pain.
Sons of narcissistic mothers have a void inside that their mother’s love, encouragement, recognition, and validation should have filled. They lack the triumphant feeling and confidence in the success that Freud spoke of when he said, “If a man has been his mother’s undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it.”
As adults, these men strive for success and stability, but without the foundation of their mother’s love, nothing they achieve ever feels satisfying.
Narcissistic mothers assign childhood roles to their sons just as they do their daughters. All three roles are equally abusive but in different ways.
There is always a golden child, scapegoat child, and sometimes an invisible child. If there is only one child he may play a variety of roles. Roles can be switched, but there can be only one golden child at a time.
The Golden Son
A son chosen for the golden child role is revered like a god. He is the mother’s ideal in every way. As a reflection of her perfect self, she values his superficial qualities such as appearance, academic or athletic performance, and talent. The person he is inside is never nurtured.
To retain the favor of the golden child status the son must submit to total enmeshment with his mother. Constant praise and adulation is his reward. It is constantly reinforced to him how perfect, handsome and charming he is. No one will ever make the golden child feel as entitled and superior as his mother does. Still, he is not immune to her head games.
Always worried about her supply getting cut off, the narcissistic mother must prevent him from getting too full of himself. By alternating between ego boosting and figurative emasculation she keeps him off balance and therefore dependent on her.
Narcissistic mothers employ the usual dependency tactics with their sons; gaslighting, infantilization, and triangulation. But there is an additional abuse tactic sometimes used with golden sons known as “Emotional Incest.”
Emotional incest is not incest of a sexual nature. It is a pathological form of emotional seduction initiated by parents with their children. Mothers turn their golden sons into psychological surrogate partners and expect them to meet all their adult emotional needs.
Using emotional incest, the golden son becomes her little man. If she has a male partner he will take a back seat to this child. Nearly every boundary that should exist between mother and son is crossed in her seduction. She flirts with him, hugs him, kisses him and touches him far more often than what is normal.
That is particularly violating during adolescence—a stage when boys typically reject mostly all physical contact with their mothers. But having not been permitted to go through the natural stages of maturity, golden sons may not see anything wrong with their mother’s over-affectionate behavior. Catering to their mother’s every need becomes their way of life. The message subliminally reinforced in them is that they’ll only be liked or loved if subordinate.
Instead of developing a rich inner self, golden sons are likely to develop the “doormat syndrome.” People will use and abuse them. As adults, their worth will hinge entirely on others’ opinions of them. They will forever struggle with self-respect.
Men who are psychologically possessed by narcissistic mothers have great difficulty with emotional intimacies. Their relationships are likely to be shallow and perfunctory. On a subconscious level, they always belong to their mothers.
Narcissistic mothers resent and reject every woman their golden sons date. Believing their property is being stolen from them, all out wars will be waged. Women who stick around are subject to a cruel and endless battle.
Golden sons experience tremendous emotional conflict. Repressed anger lies just below the surface of these men. While they are completely devoted to their mothers, they harbor terrible resentments against them for destroying their lives and relationships.
Since they cannot lash out at their mothers, other women become targets of their aggression. Many golden sons grow up to be womanizers.
The scenario is very different for golden sons who seek autonomy. Their mothers are greatly offended by their efforts toward independence. They take it as the ultimate betrayal.
These sons face a difficult battle with mothers who are dead set on punishing them. Their mother’s campaign of revenge will be spiteful, relentless and cruel. For boys who cannot yet leave home, this can be particularly trying.
There are no limits to the antics revengeful narcissistic mothers will pull. They will repeatedly woo their sons back in, only to retaliate again and again. Sons continue to take the bait because they want to believe their mother has changed.
Narcissistic mothers on the warpath are known to “accidentally” destroy things their sons love. When their sons make plans, they make every effort to sabotage them. Any opportunity to minimize or ridicule their sons’ achievements and successes is capitalized. To humiliate their sons they deliberately embarrass them in front of their friends.
It is impossible for a son to redeem himself. If he offers to help his mother out she agrees and then gives him slavish or arduous chores. Any act of kindness the son shows her is blatantly disregarded. Former golden sons do not understand why their mother’s treatment so drastically changed. They used to be adored. Now it seems their mother despises them. It does not make sense. They are just acting the way other males their age act, but everything they do or say is met with hostility.
Trying to get back in their mother’s good graces (while also trying to forge their own identities) they continue doing nice things for her, but everything they do is criticized.
If narcissistic mothers cannot have full compliance from their golden sons, they want no part of them at all. There is no middle ground. So resentful of their sons taking away their supply, there will be no end to their cruel crusade of vengeance.
The former golden son must continue pandering to his mother if he wants any relationship with her at all. This becomes his modus operandi in every other adult relationship.
As the giver, pleaser, and fixer in all his relationships, he will find being on the receiving end of others’ favor uncomfortable. He is not familiar with playing that role. Codependency issues born from childhood emotional abuse leave him vulnerable to people who only want to use him. All his relationships will be unbalanced and frustrating until he recognizes the part he plays in all the dysfunction.
Unlike the golden son who was held in high esteem for at least a decade or more, the scapegoat son will never be valued.
The Scapegoat Son
The scapegoat son sees how well his golden child sibling is treated and cannot understand why he is deprived of the same. It seems the golden child can do no wrong and he can do no right.
The scapegoat son cannot seem to please his mother. He tries everything he can think of to get her attention. It does not matter if the attention is positive or negative; he is willing to accept either.
His mother criticizes everything he does. She pummels him with insults, tells him he is stupid and worthless and calls him derogatory names. She insults his masculinity and makes snide remarks about his appearance.
Nothing she does dissuades him from trying to get her recognition. The worse she treats him, the harder he tries. Knowing how desperately he wants her favor, she will throw him an occasional bone. She does this to string him along, to give him glimmers of hope that she will treat him better, but things never change.
The scapegoat son does not like his mother but he does want her love. Those driblets keep him coming back for more. Whether or not he recognizes the manipulation does not matter. He will take anything she is willing to give.
He only wants to make his mother proud, but she never applauds him. Instead, she tells him that he is incapable of success; that he will never amount to anything and has only himself to blame.
Some boys respond to their mother’s degradation by acting out at school or in the community. Some run away from home. They are likely to get involved with other troubled kids. Many become substance abusers. The message that they are failures becomes a truth they live down to.
As an adult, the scapegoat son may chase success to prove his mother wrong, but he is unlikely to ever achieve it. Every defeat further reinforces what his mother told him about himself—that he is a loser, always was and will always be.
When scapegoat sons begin dating, their mother takes great pleasure in sabotaging their success. Narcissistic mothers have been known to make derogatory remarks about their sons to their prospective girlfriends such as, “Be very careful, he has anger issues,” or “If I were you I’d stay far away from him. He can be very violent.” Some mothers point out their sons’ defects, weaknesses or mistakes to make them appear less attractive.
Narcissistic mothers may pull out photos of their son with his previous girlfriends and show them to new prospects, or make a point of asking their son, in front of the girl he likes, how his previous girlfriends are doing or if they still keep in touch.
If these romantic relationships are ever to stand a chance, they must be conducted outside the narcissistic mother’s range of scrutiny. The odds that these relationships will succeed are slim anyway. Scapegoat sons are not equipped with the tools required for healthy relationships.
The scapegoat son is likely to choose a partner who manipulates and abuses him since that is the only kind of attention he knows. If he is lucky he will be taken under the wings of a nurturing partner who shows him the love, attention, validation, and recognition his mother deprived him of. In either case, these men will always feel unworthy of their partners or their love.
The impact maternal narcissism has on each son may vary based on the role they are assigned, but abuse is abuse. Scapegoat sons think that golden sons have it better than they do, but that is an illusion. They suffer just as much.
The Invisible Son
The invisible son is not given good attention by his mother nor is he given bad attention. He is given no attention at all. The narcissistic mother puts on no false pretenses, tosses no crumbs his way.
From her selfish viewpoint, his very existence interferes with her daily agenda. She has no tolerance for his childhood neediness. If she has to tend to his needs for any reason, he will somehow be made to suffer for the inconvenience.
From very young ages, mothers hold these boys responsible for feeding and dressing themselves. They are forced to grow up far too early.
Neglect is the hallmark of the invisible son, but there are extreme cases of total abandonment where these boys are deserted, given to someone else to take care of, or put in foster care.
Invisible sons who are lucky will end up in better homes with families who care about them, but there is no guarantee of that. They can just as easily end up in more abusive situations.
Whether neglected, rejected or discarded, the invisible son feels abandoned. Logic tells him that he must be an unlovable person or that he must have done some reprehensible, unforgivable act to make his mother despise him. The responsibility and guilt he feels for causing his mother’s rejection never goes away.
No form of surrogate nurturing will ever make up for the loss of his mother—the one person in the world who is supposed to love him. The pain of maternal neglect leaves an indelible mark on him. The emotional wounds fester for a lifetime. Many invisible sons self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to block the painful memories that haunt them.
Maternal narcissistic abuse is severely damaging no matter which role sons are assigned. The repercussions of it last a lifetime.
Narcissistic mothers never allow their sons to earn anything in their own right. They don’t like to be shown up by their children. If they can somehow take credit for their sons’ achievements, they will. If they cannot, they will devalue or ignore what they do. Should their sons fail at something, they will relish in it.
The only efforts narcissistic mothers support are the ones they initiate or those that make them look good.
Image is everything to the narcissistic mother. She uses her sons to replicate her perfect image—the self she wants the world to see.
Narcissistic mothers are very controlling, especially over their sons’ career choices. They do not care what their sons want to do with their lives. There is always a self-centered agenda.
If you are a son of a narcissistic mother it is important to know that what happened to you was not your fault. You have the right to feel hurt and the right to be angry about what your mother did to you. You may not have been physically abused but you were severely abused emotionally. That can be harder to overcome.
Please stop beating yourself up for things you had no control over. Do not give your mother one more second of your power. She has already taken enough from you. Allow yourself to heal.
Healing from maternal abuse requires that years of emotional pain be chipped away. That is something that takes time and patience. I urge you to seek counseling. You will not be able to do this alone.
If you really want to blow your narcissistic abuser’s mind, use the same deceptive tactics he uses on you. Gaslight him. Insist that you didn’t see what he said you saw, hear what he said you heard, or experience what he said you experienced. Don’t argue or defend. Deny, deny, deny.
Learn your abuser’s methods and use them to throw him (her) off balance. Take your power back!
On this Thanksgiving holiday 2018 I am so very grateful for the faith, love, trust, and support you give me every day. Thank you for allowing me a platform on which I can share my experience, knowledge, and perspective. It is hard to express how much that means to me. When I share with you I affirm the truths that I know, but from time to time may need reminders of. I am also afforded a place to share new truths, inspirations, and information as they unfold before me.
This has not been an easy year for many of us, myself included, but this is the time to remember everything we have to be thankful for–and there is plenty. From this day forward start each day with a grateful heart. Take moments out of your day to express your gratitude for the small things that you may take for granted but would find difficult to live without. Say thank you when things go your way or ease finds its way into your life, no matter how brief.
Focus on the positive side of every situation you find yourself in. You may have to soul search, but in doing so will come to realize that there is always at least one.
For the last two weeks I have scoured the internet searching for the most beautiful, inspiring gratitude message to share with you in honor of Thanksgiving 2018. Today I found this video and it resonated deeply with me. I hope it does for you too.
I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving. It does not matter where you are; who you are with or not with. Make it a day of gratitude.
And always remember, I am here to support you in any way I can. All you have to do is reach out.
Enjoy this magnificent video.