HINTS ON HOW TO SPOT “THEM”

Narcissists have a way of playing the pity card better than anyone. But, if you are aware, there are some clues READ:  RED FLAGS that you can use as an indicator that perhaps your Romeo may one day leave you bleeding.

1. The old adage: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” OWN IT! If there is dysfunction in the narc’s immediate family, more than likely there is dysfunction within the narc. I heard a story once where a little boy was brought up by a pack of wolves…it was later made into a wonderful film “Jungle Book” created by the genius of spin Walt Disney – master of fairy tales. This is the same dude who brainwashed us on other classics like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. If he were still alive, I believe I’d have cause to bring him up on charges for crimes against female humanity. While miracles do exist from time to time, the reality is that if an individual is brought up in sickness, abuse and chaos, that is “normal” to them, those are the values they internalize. While many of us have issues, there is the normal “dysfunction” then there is the real dark disordered dysfunction and you need to pay careful attention to the cues, the body language and the discussions that are had early on and scope out what the deal is before you fall in too deep. Remember, when you marry, you’re not only marrying your intended but his whole family, warts and all. Your children will also share in that gene pool. Tread carefully.

2. If your “Romeo” has labeled everyone psycho and crazy, the only assumption you can make is he made them that way…ask yourself: WHO is the common denominator in all these relationships?

3. If for some reason your new beau, has no contact with his family, don’t assume it’s because he’s decided to cut the strings. It could very well be he was told: “Don’t show your face here again.” Ask yourself: WHY? AND in the event you conclude it’s because his family is disordered…see #1 above.

4. If relationships with grown children have been severed, listen carefully to what the narc says. There could always be one “bad seed” although I don’t believe bad seeds are born but made. Frequently there are a few “bad seeds” floating around, might even be ONE that he claims one of those “CRAZY WOMEN” tricked him into claiming as his own…all of them nonetheless with different “baby mammas” who have all been labeled “bi-polar” by the narc…again…it’s like math…FIND THE COMMON DENOMINATOR

5. If there is a history of a string of lost jobs, and in every job he was “fired” but it was “wrongful” termination – while it is common knowledge that psychopaths are everywhere…how many jobs can someone cycle through? Moreover, by 40 you’d think someone would have found a career…look for the holes in the Swiss cheese so to speak…usually the answer is somewhere in there.

6. If he’s in a rush to get the relationship moving, as in immediately…if he pressures you to move in, just can’t get enough of you…that’s called DESPERATION…he needs a pacifier, not a partner…while they both start with the letter “P” they are two completely different things…ONE is an OBJECT…

7. Understand that “Flattery” is for fools – if the key to your heart, lies in all the compliments and charm he’s using…RUN! When you get to slow down to catch your breath, check yourself and make sure you don’t need anyone’s validation to feel good about yourself. This will keep you safe. A very wise woman once said to me: “Whenever someone flatters me, I tell them “Keep stepping” I asked her why and she explained whenever someone uses flattery – they want something from you.”  It’s a true sign of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

8. If they have no savings by middle age, and come with a collection of divorce certificates, child support decrees, and a bankruptcy…contact your nearest mental health professional to discover why you believe it is your duty and calling to rescue someone who has done and will continue to do a fine job of burying themselves alive. It is said that teenagers do dumb things because their brains are not fully developed until the age of 21; however, this is not appropriate behavior for a middle-aged man.

9. If you still use a dustpan and broom and the dustpan is missing…you’ve just been gaslighted. Find his favorite pair of boxers, usually the pair with the holes in them and hide them in the cat litter box. Start making plans for your escape.

10. Finally, if this individual seems dark, if you have a bad gut feeling or something does not sit right with you early on…rely on your intuition…your gut rarely steers you wrong. No one is perfect, but in hindsight there hasn’t been one victim I’ve met that hasn’t said their gut wasn’t screaming. Our creator doesn’t use faxes, email or text messaging, but “it” gave us very a very good “radar” system. Learn to use it.

~Betty LaLuna

RUMINATION

Rumination according to Wiki:

Is defined as a way of responding to distress that involves repetitively (and passively) focusing on the symptoms of distress, and on its possible causes and consequences.[1] Rumination is more common in people who are pessimistic, neurotic, and who have negative attributional styles. The tendency to ruminate is a stable constant over time and serves as a significant risk factor for clinical depression. Not only are habitual ruminators more likely to become depressed, but experimental studies have demonstrated that people who are induced to ruminate experience greater depressed mood.[2] There is also evidence that rumination is linked to general anxiety, post traumatic stress, binge drinking, eating disorders, and self-injurious behavior.[3] Rumination was originally believed to predict the duration of depressive symptoms. In other words, ruminating about problems was presumed to be a form of memory rehearsal which was believed to actually lengthen the experience of depression. The evidence now suggests that although rumination contributes to depression, it is not necessarily correlated with the duration of symptoms.[4] Rumination is similar to worry except rumination focuses on bad feelings and experiences from the past, whereas worry is concerned over potential bad events in the future. Both rumination and worry are associated with anxiety and other negative emotional states.

 Many professionals state ruminating is unhealthy:

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/01/20/why-ruminating-is-unhealthy-and-how-to-stop/

When it comes to victims of Narcissistic Personality Disorder Abuse, I can’t help but disagree.  In order to heal, we have to “Process” what we’ve just experienced having been trapped in the web of a Narcissist. 

In the early stages of recovery, as victims we experience what is known in most NPD Abuse recovery circles as Cognitive Dissonance. 

Cognitive dissonance according to Wiki is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions.[2] Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. The phrase was coined by Leon Festinger in his 1956 book When Prophecy Fails, which chronicled the followers of a UFO cult as reality clashed with their fervent beliefs[3][4]It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology. A closely related term, cognitive disequilibrium, was coined by Jean Piaget to refer to the experience of a discrepancy between something new and something already known or believed.

In layman’s terms, Cognitive Dissonance is metaphorically speaking, the brain’s short circuiting as it tries to make sense of two opposing thoughts that no amount of reasoning can ever fit together.  It is the side effect of the mind attempting to create “logic” from the insane and irrational (that would be all the crap from the Narc).  It is the equivalent of attempting to make 2+2=5…it can’t be done.

When we discover we have been victimized by an NPD disordered individual, we experience Cognitive Dissonance.  We are struggling to come to terms with the fact that the Narc FAKED AN ENTIRE RELATIONSHIP, sometimes living a very disordered and potentially harmful second life… while we were living in the illusion we were in a relationship with a partner for life.  Under such circumstances, it is natural to ruminate as we are trying to process and compare the new information we’ve learned about NPD and determine whether or not it applies.  The only way we can make a determination is by replaying the “old tapes” and connecting the dots….we RUMINATE…

It is important during this time to find support systems and engage with others who share in this experience, as those who have never been a victim of NPD abuse really don’t understand why we are so traumatized.  The abuse was stealth, and in most cases undetected by us the victims until the mask came off.  Up until that point, the Narc appeared to others, charming and affable and even had us convinced we were temperamental and over sensitive with their conning little ways.  Due to the Narc’s expert ability to CON,  we are doubted when we cry abuse.  Don’t be fooled, this is ABUSE.  The abuse was covert, psychological and a direct result of the brainwashing.  Under such conditions, it is only normal to become unraveled, we began to display signs of PTSD or C-PTSD (which can mimic symptoms of Bi-Polar) except we didn’t know what it was, we could not articulate what was ailing us due to lack of awareness, we just knew we were going through incredible mood swings, that the narc blamed on hormones or our being too sensitive and perhaps our therapists not knowing our baseline, also chalked it up so a problem with US. 

The truth is, the narc was slowly pushing buttons and projecting their insanity onto us, using tactics such as intermittent reinforcement, gaslighting, manipulation, passive aggression and power plays until we didn’t know which way was up.  The Narcs created chaos, smoke mirrors, illusions and delusions, until we ended up depleted with nothing left to give…then they brought out the trump card…triangulation by sucking in their next victim where they began their sick song and dance of victimization all over again, labeling you the crazy one and spotlighted themselves as the VICTIM.  This is called “The Pity Play.”  Unfortunately, it works for a Narc MOST of the time.  During my OWN dance with rumination I remembered the Narc sat at my table and said:  “I am a Master Manipulator”…this went RIGHT over my head…hindsight is 20/20 and we end up amazed at how PERFECT our vision is in HINDSIGHT…nonetheless, this experience is not in vain, if you do the work, you CAN HAVE THE LAST LAUGH…

Many do not believe us when we share we’ve been victims of abuse because while simultaneously  abusing you and breaking you down, the narc maintained ITS (that’s right, only humans get proper pronouns) facade to the public, engaged in campaigns of “Pre-emptive” damage control by initiating a campaign of defamation against you.  IT called you crazy, and cried to all ITS friends, your friends and your family and perhaps even the family dog, just how ‘undone’ you were becoming and also used this to lure ITS next victim…the classic:  “She’s crazy and doesn’t understand me, and I tried soooo hard”…YEA…okayee…IT acted like IT had no idea what caused you to act out this way…except the Narc engaged in psychopathic behaviour and you were lucky to get out alive…many that are traumatized to this degree have attempted suicide.  The professionals don’t get this either most of the time.   While the victim is locked up in the psych ward, the Narc is laying in bed with ITS next victim – male, female or goat – this is one “Cassanova” or “Casanovette” that does not discriminate!  These individuals are just that “sensitive, caring, loving and attached.”

In ignorance, we had no idea of the slow poison They exposed us to.  Narcs can be deadly…the fact we’re here is testament to the fact that we are strong and we will overcome…pray for their future victims.  They know not what train wreck is on it’s way to hit them…

It is unfortunate that so many therapists are un-skilled in helping victims of NPD Abuse.  Nonetheless, it is recommended that you seek professional help during this time of crisis.  My personal recommendation, learn all you can about NPD Abuse so that you are able to articulate when seeking help and will know whether or not the therapist is on the mark.  There is a ton of information on NPD Abuse out there, it is easy to find.  It is the understanding and support that is rare.

As a result of my being a victim of NPD abuse, I am committed to raising awareness and helping bring knowledge and support to any and all victims of this stealth form of abuse. 

Keep in mind, while it is important to think positive thoughts and not get stuck in the past…if you wish to heal, despite the NARC’S favorite slogan:  “Forget about the past” in this case, if you wish to heal, a certain amount of RUMINATION will be necessary in order for you to process. 

Tantamount to healing is educating yourself on NPD; however I do caution, try not to become obsessed with your education.  Learn enough to understand what it is, process it, then begin the journey of healing.  It is okay to be a victim for a period of time, it is okay to feel sad, angry, enraged…it’s okay to lick your wounds and let it all hang out…but there is also a time to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and begin the work of recovery.

Ballpark estimate, 18 months – this is not a hop skip and a jump; however, having gone through the process, I can say that if you approach the work in earnest, planting seeds along the way, the harvest will be plentiful…

-Betty LaLuna….

Learning About Narcissistic Personality Disorder Abuse

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental  Disorders (DSM) as an Axis II Cluster B Disorder.  As of this writing, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is about to modify the DSM and the methods by which individuals are diagnosed with NPD.  Previously, the DSM simply defined NPD as: A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts,” and further offered in its definition that in order for one to be diagnosed with NPD an individual must meet at minimum 5 of the following 9 criteria:

(1)  has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

(2)  is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

(3)  believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

(4)  requires excessive admiration

(5)  has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

(6)  is inter personally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

(7)  lacks empathy:  is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

(8)  is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

(9)  shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

According to Wikipedia, symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder include but are not limited to:

  • Reacts to criticism with anger, shame, or humiliation
  • May take advantage of others to reach his or her own goal
  • Tends to exaggerate their own importance, achievements, and talents
  • Imagines unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance
  • Requires constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
  • Easily becomes jealous
  • Lacks empathy and disregards the feelings of others
  • Obsessed with oneself
  • Mainly pursues selfish goals
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Is easily hurt and rejected
  • Sets unreal goals
  • Wants “the best” of everything
  • Appears as tough-minded or unemotional [3]

Narcissists also tend to be physically attractive on first impression, giving them advantages when first meeting people. [4]

The symptoms of Narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence, differentiation occurs when the underlying psychological structures of these traits are considered pathological. Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others. Yet, they have a fragile self-esteem and cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. It is this sadistic tendency that is characteristic of narcissism as opposed to other psychological conditions affecting level of self-worth.

On the European side, there is a manual known as the ICD 10 which is connected to the World Health Organization (WHO).  On the European side, the ICD 10 (2010) codes Narcissistic Personality Disorder under F60.8 “Other Specific Personality Disorders” and groups it with the other following ‘disorders’ based on their system:

  • eccentric
  • “haltlose” type
  • immature
  • narcissistic
  • passive-aggressive
  • psychoneurotic

For general informational purposes regarding the World Health Organization and the role they play in global health issues, including mental health click HERE

You can access the ICD-10 directly by clicking HERE

Additionally, Wiki provides a very general overview; as well as, a massive list of citations at the end of their entry which one may wish to investigate further.  The Wiki article on Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be accessed by clicking HERE

Now that you’ve had a general primer on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, “What now?” You might ask.  If you are searching for information and support, more than likely, you are emotionally in a very fragile state.  It is important to know the distinction between someone who is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the wound to the victim that it creates, versus being victimized by a “Jerk.” While breaking up with a jerk is hurtful, most instances do not result in the victim struggling with symptoms that if are not Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, something very close to it.  It is important to understand the dynamics involved as when dealing with NPD Abuse, recovery takes time, this is not your typical break up and there will be many stages of grief and processing to go through if you are going to survive and return to whole.  While no one takes kindly to a break up and break ups are painful, a breakup with a Narcissist leaves a wound that is very devastating to the victim.

It’s important to understand the distinction between a relationship with someone who suffers from NPD vs. a jerk because you will need a very strong support system to get you through this. Due to the fact that for the most part, the general populations is unaware of this particular type of Personality Disorder or has misconceptions of what it entails, it will be difficult for friends, family and sometimes even therapists to fully understand exactly the source and the depth of the pain, emotional and mental distress you are experiencing.  In some cases, there was no physical harm or blatant forms of verbal abuse…this was a covert attack although there are cases where physical and overt verbal abuse were also involved.  Sometimes the covert actions are what ultimately led to the overt actions.  The first thing you must own if you believe you have been involved with a Narcissist is:  You are NOT crazy…although the experience will leave you feeling like you’re teetering on the edge.  Actually, you might be in a state of temporary insanity…that is the mark of the wound…the narcissist projected and engaged in various techniques to break you down.

Many of these techniques were subtle and stealth and therefore difficult to pin point.  By the time we are aware that such an attack has taken place, the damage has been done, and it tends to feel as if the ‘trauma’ hits us all at once like a ton of bricks.  Many victims report having felt this building up for some time but because the tactics of abuse were hard to pin point, we felt something was ‘wrong’ or ‘off’ but we dismissed it…slowly it was chipping away at our psyches and this ‘blow’ to the mind is the final result.  We feel extreme sadness, pain, fear, anger, rage and shock all at once, and because we cannot articulate what exactly has happened, we feel even more trapped within ourselves.  I liken it to almost feeling as if one is mute, having a desperate need to want to express one’s feelings but having no means to do so, surrounded by people who don’t know sign language and the victim is left without a voice or any other means for anyone to understand what the victim is trying to communicate. That is more or less how the experience feels initially.  We are isolated in our own lack of knowledge or means of articulation for what has just transpired.  Your feelings and your reactions are very normal given the ABnormal situation you’ve just survived.  The journey is not for the faint of heart; however, there is no other way to survive this but to walk through this storm…giving  up is not an option.  If you feel suicidal, get help immediately.  Call your emergency services unit – there is hope and there is healing and certainly, it is understandable given the stress you are under to feel this magnitude of distress but the narcissist or anyone else for that matter is not worth your taking your life over.  As a survivor, I can tell you – I promise you…there is a light at the end of this tunnel.  This distress and the magnitude of it will not last forever.  YOU WILL SURVIVE – even thrive, but first you have to wade through some of the dark stuff to get to the end.  It is hard work, but it is so worth it.  I promise…

Hold on tight as you are in for the ride of your life; however, you are not alone and there are resources and support out there to get you through…it is important to read and research so that you can understand what this is, so that you don’t own blame for what has happened.  This was not your fault and I repeat:  You ARE NOT crazy.

The following video explains some of the tactics a Narcissist uses to destroy his victims.  Take a moment to read carefully and pause where necessary in order to learn more about this stealth form of abuse…

If you have a history of childhood abuse or other traumas it is possible that this wound is not Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) and this particular event may find you experiencing more intense reactions to the abuse because not only are the recent events qualified to cause PTSD, but in addition it re-introduces previous issues that are triggering for you.  Again, while this may be a very scary time for you – the thought of possibly having lost your mind can be a very scary thing…Reach out for professional help, educate yourself so that you can articulate, and read up on the various methods of healing trauma, abuse, as well as getting a grasp on NPD.  Doing so will help you take an active role in healing along with your therapist as rather than he/she sitting there making assumptions, you will be able to better advocate and collaborate in your healing plan rather than sitting there and possibly being misdiagnosed.  There are other conditions that may be pre-existing – some victims suffer from bi-polar disorder, depression, or other forms of mental illness and that is nothing to be ashamed of; however, when PTSD is inadequately treated, victims cannot heal and that causes additional problems that can have lifelong and possibly fatal consequences; therefore it is imperative that although struggling emotionally and psychologically at this time…you FIGHT to hold on, and you stop at nothing to educate yourself as right now at this very moment for some it may very well be on the cusp of:  “Your life is in your hands.”

BUT, never fear…you CAN and WILL recover…;)

~Betty