The Many Facets of Narcissistic Abuse
Randi Fine’s November 17, 2017 interview about narcissistic abuse on Mental Health News Radio with fabulous show host Kristin Sunanta Walker.
Randi Fine’s November 17, 2017 interview about narcissistic abuse on Mental Health News Radio with fabulous show host Kristin Sunanta Walker.
Most of us have been, victimized many ways in our lives; emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, spiritually. Our response to what happens to us is voluntary.
Narcissistic abuse is sheer victimization. But there is a huge difference between being victimized against our will, and choosing to respond to the victimization by living the rest of our lives with a victim mentality. When hardship strikes it is entirely optional whether to proceed as thriving survivors or miserable martyrs. One empowers us, the other dis-empowers us.
To be empowered is to be hopeful, progressive, transformative, resilient, solution oriented, and happy. To be dis-empowered is to be hopeless, stagnant, disengaged, weak, needy, and unhappy. Those who choose dis-empowerment have no one to blame for their undesirable status except themselves.
I do not mean to suggest that it is easy to rise above adversity, setbacks, tragedy. Only that the efforts put toward it are worth it. And once we rise above our pain, our life becomes easier. Contrarily, succumbing to the negative outcome of whatever happens to us may be easy at first, but highly destructive in the long run. We can either choose to reap the benefits of our undertaking or be handicapped by our neglect.
Often, after tragedy strikes, we find ourselves stuck in a bewildered, stagnant emotional state. The amount of time we remain in this state of mind is not set; it is different for each of us. Before deciding how to move forward we need time to process our shock and grieve our losses. Once done we are faced with choices on how to deal with residual feelings. Sometimes we need professional help, sometimes we don’t. If you have been narcissistically abused, you definitely do.
Sometimes the pain in our lives is so deep and has been there so long, we don’t know where to begin. We feel emotionally paralyzed. Choosing our position as victor or victim from a healthy minded standpoint may be impossible. That inability to make clear, healthy choices for ourselves signals the need for the compassionate intervention of a mental health professional, trusted clergy, or legitimate spiritual healer.
Ultimately we “volunteer” or choose whether to rise above our problems, or wallow in the misery of them. We choose whether to take responsibility for our lives or blame others. We decide if we want to be characterized by our fortitude or by our weakness.
There is no clear-cut path through life. Whatever our destiny we all have free-will. Life is all about making personal choices. Choose wisely.
Groundbreaking new book for narcissistic abuse survivor’s
Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing and Recovery
It never fails to amaze me that when learning of my professional platform, one out of every three people I talk to report having either suffered narcissistic abuse or knowing someone who has.
Narcissistic abuse has reached epidemic proportions. Awareness of it has skyrocketed in the last ten years. Those who have suffered the enduring effects of it for years, now have a wealth of resources to identify the source of their pain. Sadly the mental health community at large has yet to acknowledge that this problem even exists.
As an NPD abuse counselor worldwide I modestly estimate that hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) have had their lives destroyed by the narcissistic personality disordered. Children all over the world are consistently targeted by predatory parents who use and abuse them. They are deprived of their right to thrive.
Narcissists are everywhere. They run rampant in families, romantic relationships, friendships, workplaces, the corporate world, the entertainment industry, and the government. Covert narcissists, of which there are many, operate just below the radar, therefore are not easily recognized. That makes them extremely dangerous. Overt narcissists, much more obvious in their predatory behaviors, are more likely to be exposed. These are the actors, politicians, and government officials we frequently hear about in the news; now more than ever.
One would wonder why nothing is being done to stop these masses of soul sucking criminals. The answer is three-fold. Narcissists are masters of disguise, licensed mental health professionals have little experience working with them, and the criminal justice system is easily manipulated by them.
Those with narcissistic personality disorder are mentally ill but not insane. They are fully present in the real world and cognizant of everything they do. Narcissists are masterful manipulators who employ brainwashing tactics and psychological warfare to control their victims. They brilliantly mastermind covert plans that the non-pathological mind could never even conceive, knowing that their victims will never catch on. They believe they are smarter, better, more perfect, and more deserving than everyone else is. The problem is that they do not know anything is wrong with them.
Due to the nature of the NPD disorder, those who have it cannot recognize they do. Their pathology blinds them to the reality of who they are. Even a subtle mention that something about them needs improving incites a terrifying rage. So, though it is possible for those with narcissistic personality disorder to get better, they never will.
Narcissists rarely seek out the guidance of licensed mental health professionals because they don’t think anything is wrong with them. If they are coerced into treatment they will either manipulate the therapists or doctor into believing there is nothing wrong with them, or they will call them quacks and never go back.
Licensed mental health professionals cannot legally diagnose a disorder without having first done a complete mental health evaluation. No matter how obvious the person’s pathology is they will rarely call it by name without doing one.
Knowing there is no true data on the prevalence of NPD, I was shocked and appalled to see the Mayo Clinic publicly classifying the disorder as “rare.” Statistics on the prevalence of NPD are highly inaccurate because they are based on reporting and studies. Reporting cannot possibly reflect an accurate count, nor can studies.
I and many other pioneers work tirelessly to bring awareness to the global prevalence of NPD and the abuse caused by it. That irresponsible reporting coming from a highly respected, highly regarded institution such as the Mayo Clinic is hugely disappointing. Understanding as I do the vast ignorance that exists among many professionals on this topic, I should not have been so surprised. Still I gasped when I searched NPD and saw this report plastered on the entire right side of a Google page.
I promise to passionately fight to bring awareness to this suffering until it exists no more. You have my word. I will not be deterred.
In interacting with narcissists you may notice that their methods of communication are peculiar.
Narcissists talk at people, not to them. They go on and on about what is happening in their lives, though to truly know them is to not believe any of it. If you try to share what is important to you with a narcissist he will diminish the importance of it and steer the conversation right back to him.
If it ever appears that they care about what you are saying, I can assure you they do not. They will allow you to elaborate, only to scrutinize your words for future ammunition.
Narcissists never truly listen, because in their grandiose opinion of themselves, what others have to say is largely a waste of their time, unless it includes words of adoration and admiration. Other than that, the only thing that matters to narcissists is what they have to say. While we talk, they cleverly formulate their responses and the tone of their delivery. All responses are strategically geared to fend off attacks, avoid the truth, and evade accountability.
One form of “Narc Speak” is the frequent use of “always” and “never” statements. Narcissists use these condemning, gross exaggerations of partial truths to defend their position by deflecting or projecting blame back onto their victims.
Without saying it directly, the narcissist insinuates that the victim is selfish, thoughtless, inadequate, or inept. These are statements designed to induce sympathy or obligation. For example: “You always think you are right,” “You never loved me,” “You always forget to…” “You never do what you say.”
Narc Speak is ambiguous and non-committal. They never say what they mean or mean what they say and can never be held accountable. Harsh criticisms are heavily cloaked in consideration and concern. Words are meant to manipulate and disorient us.
Many wonder if there is a “narcissistic speak manual” and if all narcissists have read it. It is uncanny how similar the phrases they all use are. My mother has used these phrases for years, and I hear them over and over from the people I counsel. It never fails to amaze me.
These expressions must always be interpreted because what narcissists say and what they mean are very different. Not only are the phrases meant to clue us in, but the inflections and tones are as well. The better you know your narcissist the more easily you can interpret what he says. His phrases are lost on strangers or those who have yet to catch on to his pathology.
Following are some common examples:
If you have ever wondered why your energy feels drained after conversing with a narcissist, now you know. Constantly having to read between the lines of what he says is exhausting.
If you have to talk to the narcissist in your life, keep the conversation short and the subject matter neutral. Avoid frustration by ignoring his manipulative statements. You will never win a verbal battle with him so don’t even try.
Children in families with narcissistic parents understand that their family operates by a set of unspoken rules—rules that feel confusing and painful. The only stability these children know comes from adhering to the agenda of their narcissistic parent. The feelings of the children are never recognized. It is demonstrated over and over by the narcissistic parents that their children’s feelings do not matter.
The fact that the parent can sometimes be nice is a primary source of confusion for the children. Wanting to believe they are loved, children deny what is actually happening to them. This causes them to buy into the deception over and over. The truth is far too painful to accept.
The children spend a lifetime desperately trying to get attention. If they receive any favor from their parents, it will only be scraps. Even so, they never stop trying.
Children with narcissistic parents do learn that any kindness shown to them comes with strings attached. Niceness or generosity from the parent is a debt the child must repay. Children are forever beholden to the parent. Any love received has conditions. They are never loved for who they are, only for how well they please.
Even though this dynamic becomes obvious, the children do not know how to be loved any other way. Though it is painful, it seems the norm. Conditional love is the only love they have ever known. Love will continue being associated with pain and conditions until it negatively impacts their adult relationships in ways that eventually cause them to evaluate their patterns.
Children are deliberately broken by their narcissistic parents to remain dependent. They are given no tools for living and are deprived of a self. Their identity is merged with their parent’s identity to such a degree that children do not know where they let off and their parents begin.
Narcissistic parents do not want boundaries between themselves and their children. Boundaries, which allow a self that is separate and independent from the parents, sabotage the control they work relentlessly to maintain. With no boundaries between the children and their parents and no acknowledgment of their feelings, children do not learn healthy ways to process their emotional experiences.
The assertion of feelings, rights, or thoughts can lead to much bigger problems for the children—rejection, isolation, anger, and violence—so they learn to repress these things to keep peace in the home.
Children internalize and absorb whatever their parents tell them. If they are told that they are at fault, they believe that they are at fault. If they constantly receive messages that they are not good enough, that they are stupid, or that they are bad, these things become their truths and define them.
Narcissistic parents are mostly controlling and angry, though they occasionally throw in some kindness and generosity. Alternating between the two, often in rapid fashion, they keep children emotionally off balance. This is a form of mind control well known by survivors of POW camps.
Children in these families never know where they stand with unpredictable, unaccountable, and inconsistent parents. Never having healthy coping skills taught to them or modeled for them, they do not know how to emotionally process their turbulent home environment.
Children cannot emotionally exist in this climate of instability and erratic surprise attacks without going insane. Since they do not have healthy coping mechanisms in place on a conscious level, their subconscious must step in to protect them. Where boundaries should exist to define what is and what is not acceptable, walls are built.
Walls provide internal places to hide. Over time these walls become fortresses. Trapped behind these fortresses are feelings that have never been dealt with. Until addressed, these buried emotions will remain there for a lifetime, wreaking havoc.
Close Encounters is a comprehensive, compassionate and supportive guide to understanding the unique and complex nature of narcissistic abuse and the emotionally crippling syndrome that results from it. This groundbreaking book gives narcissistic abuse survivors the most complete and trustworthy road map to guide them through the healing process, into recovery, and ultimately to the freedom and happiness they deserve.
Narcissistic abuse survivors, concerned supporters, and helping professionals will find the most up-to-date information on the psychological, emotional and physical effects of NPD abuse. Readers also learn how narcissistic abuse infiltrates various settings including work, family-of-origin, friendships and romantic relationships.
Written in a non-labeling, non-judgmental style, survivors will find this book highly educating and empowering.
To those people in your life who cannot possibly understand what you have endured, you no longer have to explain. Just hand them this book.
You have suffered enough. Now it is time to heal.
Lots of fabulous new shows with exciting guests scheduled in the coming months.
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