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Understanding Today's Narcissist

Understanding Today's Narcissist is a podcast dedicated to separating fact from fiction when it comes to dealing with a narcissist in your life. Your host is Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC, a licensed psychotherapist, speaker and author. For more information, visit www.growwithchristine.com Looking for help with dealing with the narcissist in your life? Visit http://growwithchristine.com/narcissism/ to sign up for online support!
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Dec 7, 2018

Megan and Ryan decided to go to marriage counseling after their last fight resulted in the police being called. After being married for 7 years, the marriage was falling apart, and Ryan now had a police record for domestic violence as a result.

The conflict did not start with Ryan hitting his wife, as the arrest record portrayed. Rather Megan was aggressive towards him – throwing things, hitting him, and physically blocking his only exit.  In an effort to defended himself and get away from her, he shoved her. But when the police arrived they saw a 6’ tall man, Ryan, and a 5’ tall woman, Megan, so he was arrested.

Desperate to make his marriage work, Ryan reached out for help from a therapist. Megan was more than happy to go to a therapist now that Ryan had a police record as she believed that inoculated her from any wrongdoing. But it wasn’t too long into the session that the therapist identified Megan as a narcissist and Ryan as a co-dependent.

Narcissists and people pleasers are strangely drawn towards each other. While opposites do attract, the bond between these personalities is strong as each unknowingly meets the dysfunctional needs of the other. Here is how:

Distorted perception. Narcissists think of themselves first and very little of others while people pleasers think of others and very little of themselves. Both, however, believe that their way of perceiving is correct. It is not. The neglect of others (narcissism) is selfish and causes unnecessary distance, confrontation and lack of intimacy. The neglect of self (people pleasing) creates unwanted exhaustion, increased anxiety and contributes to a lack of intimacy. Without a balance of self and others, a person cannot be fully intimate.

Driven to rescue. Narcissists and people pleasers love to rescue others however, they do it for very different reasons. Narcissists gain a sense of superiority from saving others because they were able to solve something the other person could not do on their own. In exchange for the help, narcissists demand unending loyalty. People pleasers gain a natural high from the same act as they love to feel needed. This strokes their ego and impression of self as a selfless person. In exchange, people pleasers expect friendship.

Craving admiration. This is the key to both personalities: the need to be admired by others. Narcissists believe they should be adored because of their expertise, superiority, beauty, intelligence, or accomplishments. It does not matter if they have achieved anything special, narcissists believe they are above others and deserve constant admiration. The term “people pleasers” defines the essential need for satisfying others and seeking their approval. Without admiration, people pleasers and narcissists become starved usually resulting in an emotional explosion.

Misguided affection. Affection is not intimacy. Sex is not intimacy. Affection is not sex. However, narcissists and people pleasers are unable to make these distinctions. They see all three as the same thing. Affection is showing tenderness, kindness, and gentleness towards another person. Sex is a physical act which is designed to bring pleasure to both parties. Intimacy is a deep connection between two people where they are equally transparent with one another. Narcissists and people pleasers crave affection but are frequently willing to settle for sex. Often the sex is one way: narcissists seek to satisfy themselves and aren’t concerned with pleasing others. People pleasers want to satisfy the other person and sacrifice themselves. Neither are comfortable being transparent with another person.

Need for control. Both parties have control issues. Narcissists control through demands, manipulation, and abuse. They are often very aggressive about insisting on their own way and expecting others to fall in line because they said so. Controlling others feeds their self-righteous ego. Because people pleasers cannot be seen as aggressive or assertive, they often use others to control through guilt trips, excessive kindness or passive-aggressive behavior. They are masters at concealing the need to control through niceness. They must control others to feed the desire to be liked by everyone.

A pattern of unforgiveness. Narcissists won’t ask for forgiveness instead they expect others to make excuses for their poor behavior. They also don’t grant forgiveness to others, even for the same offense, and instead, tend to be very vindictive. People pleasers grant forgiveness without being asked and ask for forgiveness even when it is not their fault. However, they are unwilling to forgive themselves for similar offenses. This unequal scale for both the narcissist and people pleaser stem from a belief that they are different than everyone else. The narcissist believes they are better and the people pleaser believes they not worthy.

Exposing these areas for Megan and Ryan took considerable time and effort. Both were highly resistant at first because at some level, their dysfunctional relationship worked for both of them. But to achieve the level of healing that they desired in their marriage, this dysfunction needed to be revealed, processed, and eliminated. Once it was done, they discovered a new functional attraction to one another that was far healthier than the trauma bond of before.

www.growwithchristine.com

Dec 7, 2018

There is hardly a day that doesn’t go by in my counseling practice where someone brings up the concept of parental alienation. The problem is that the term is frequently misused. For some, it is a catch phrase used to describe any and all poor parent/child relationships. After all, it is far easier to blame the ex-spouse for the child’s poor behavior than it is to look at one’s self. This article is an attempt to clear up some confusion and answer some basic questions about alienation.

What is parental alienation? Parental alienation occurs when one parent encourages their child to unfairly reject the other parent. The child might display signs of unwarranted fear, hostility, and/or disrespect toward one parent while displaying signs of loyalty, unconditional trust, and/or empathy towards the other. The contrast in behavior, emotional responses, and thoughts towards each parent are dichotomous. The child may or may not be able to communicate logical reasoning for the difference.

What are the variations of alienation? There are three primary ways alienation occurs from the parent’s perspective: naively, actively, and obsessively.

  • Naively. The naïve parent is not trying to alienate the child from the other parent. Instead, they may do so with passive-aggressive comments such as, “Your mom makes more money than me, so she can pay for that.” These statements are not meant to cause a rift between the child and the other parent, however, the child might hold onto these statements and connect them with other similar comments resulting in them naturally pulling away from the other parent.
  • Actively. The active parent tries to generate feelings of loyalty in the child at the expense of the other parent. “If you tell your dad about my promotion, he might try to reduce my child support.” By asking the child to maintain a secret from the other parent, there is a private bond from which the child learns to withhold parts of their life from the other parent. Over a long period of time, this can result in a more distant relationship.
  • Obsessively. The obsessed parent is intentionally manipulative in aggressively seeking out opportunities to alienate the child from the other parent. “When your mom gets mad, I don’t know what she will do to you and I’m afraid for your safety.” The obsessed parent is deliberately poisoning the relationship between the child and the other parent. This is a consistent and persistent action usually done without any parental remorse for any harm that might come to the child because of it.

What about the child? Children who are the innocent victims of parental alienation fall into two categories: oblivious and hostage. The oblivious child is unaware of the alienation efforts by the one parent and even when it is brought to light, still defends the parent. However, the hostage child is more aware of the deception but feels powerless to do anything about it. Even when confronted, the child defends the parent, although it is not a believable defense. The hostage child also shows other behavioral problems which often manifest at a school where the child feels freer to release some of the pressure of home.

What parental alienation is not. Having looked at the definition of parental alienation and the different types of parents and children involved, there are some occasions which may appear to be parental alienation, but they are not. The two categories discussed below are child-induced alienation and reverse parental alienation.

What is child-induced alienation? In this case, the child feels unsafe around one parent due to something they have witnessed or experienced. This is usually a traumatic event, abuse (physical, mental, emotional, verbal, sexual, spiritual, or financial), neglect, abandonment, and/or substance usage. The child makes a conscious choice to avoid said parent due to some dysfunctional action on the parent’s part. Even when the “safe parent” encourages the child to engage with the other parent, the child refuses. The child wants no part of the unsafe parent and refuses all efforts to bond or attach to the parent.

What is reverse parental alienation? The parent in an effort to enact revenge on the other parent tries to convince the child of the other parent’s incompetence while also treating the child poorly either through neglect, over-parenting, unfair punishment, and/or abusive behavior. In this case, the parent intends to alienate the other parent. However, it backfires, and they are alienated by the child instead. The child becomes wise to the parent’s methods and often mimics the very same tactics with the parent. This quickly escalates into a hostile home environment in which the child is frequently solely blamed, only reinforcing the child’s growing hatred for the parent. Meanwhile, the other parent doesn’t have to say or do anything because their ex is doing all of the work unproductively.

What can be done? As soon as any of these behaviors are detected in a child, they should be seen by a therapist who understands parental alienation and is comfortable working with both parents in the process. Parental alienation in the obsessive sense is harmful to the child in a long-term situation because it causes the child to trust only the perception of the one parent and not trust the other parent – or worse yet, not trust themselves. This is very damaging to a child who will eventually need to be able to rely on their own instincts in dangerous and fearful situations.

I hope that this article clears up some confusion while generating enough concern that a parent seeks out a neutral party such as a therapist to evaluate the child. Ultimately, it is all about the child and their health and helping to create and maintain the most nurturing environment possible.

 

www.growwithchristine.com

Nov 7, 2018

As the holidays approached, Heather began to worry about the next encounter with her in-laws. Last Thanksgiving was a complete disaster. After spending days getting their new house ready for the visit, her narcissistic mother-in-law walked in the house and announced, “It’s not that bad.” Heather tried to brush it off, but the comments kept coming.

“Let me help you fix the table,” she said next. Then she proceeded to reorganize the silverware, napkins, and other accessories.  She grabbed the flower arrangement that was carefully done and took it apart, changing the vase and rearranging the flowers. “You aren’t going to do the gravy that way, are you?” was the next attack.

Heather tried to swallow the comments but eventually, her mother-in-law wore her down. Finding peace felt impossible. Another couple of comments later, Heather exploded. Now her mother-in-law turned the tables on her and played the victim blaming Heather for ruining the dinner. The rest of the family chimed in until Heather retreated to her room.

Even her husband wasn’t helpful either. His mother had done the comments outside of his ear so when he confronted his mom, she lied about it. Once again, Heather felt alone and isolated during a family holiday. Ironically, this is precisely what her mother-in-law wanted. For her to remain the center of attention, she felt the need to take Heather down and take over control. All the more reason why Heather wanted to do something different this year.

Here are five suggestions for surviving the next family event:

  1. Do pre-planning. Every winning team knows that one of the key ingredients to being successful is to understand your opponent. Families, both functional and dysfunctional, have a rhythm. Take a moment to step outside of a past gathering and make observations about how the family makes decisions, talks and treats each other and outsiders, has fun, negotiates, and determines who is in charge. What is essential to the family: values, morality, religion, logic, feelings, or connection? This is not about finger pointing or trying to alienate one person or idea regardless of the dysfunction. Instead, it is about information gathering.
  2. Form a strategy. Timing is everything. Just because a strategy did not work in the past, it does not mean that it won’t work in the future. Be open to all strategies and carefully select the best one depending on the nature of the event and the participants. For instance, in a large family gathering when the conversation gets dicey, ask the narcissist a question about themselves. This simple redirection will keep the person asking the question in good graces and redirect any unwanted negative attention. By doing so some reading on narcissism and understanding what makes them tick, several strategies can be formulated.
  3. Gather the team. The team might be a spouse, kids, or other safe relatives that see the narcissism for what it is. Don’t bother trying to enlighten the non-believers, for now, family gatherings are not the place for indoctrination. Rather be intentional in the strategy phase to formulate a plan which gently exposes the narcissism. This is planting a seed for the future upon which more information will be layered for the non-believers. With the team, devise a boundary that can be easily agreed upon and reinforced when overstepped. Then logically share this boundary with the non-believer before the event. Everyone is on the same page in advance will increase the chances of success.
  4. Work the plan. It might be necessary during the function to remind the team of the plan. In the case of a boundary being set, one person will have to courageously confront the narcissist when it is violated. Always do this in private first; embarrassing the narcissist in front of others will result in an immediate attack. Before the confrontation, inform the team that the boundary has been exceeded so they are ready to provide support after the altercation. This removes the narcissist’s ability to gather support afterward. Be prepared for a bit of sulking from the narcissist when they realize that others are supporting the boundary and offer a compliment as an olive branch. This will endear the team towards the boundary setting mentality even more and reduce any level of discomfort.
  5. Evaluate the situation. Immediately following the event, review what worked and what didn’t before small bits of valuable information are lost. These nuggets include observations of body language, any eye rolling, withdrawing of a family member, negative self-talk, blatant lies, manipulative behavior, or multiple references to feeling guilty. It might be easier to select one family member at a time and review their spoken and unspoken behavior. This information can be used for recruiting more team members or placing them clearly in the narcissistic camp. Remember this is not about conversion; everyone must come into realization in their own time. Being patient with other’s timing demonstrates love.

While it may seem like this is a lot of work, and it is in the beginning, in the end, it is worth the effort. Thinking long-term commitment rather than short-term alliance maintains a healthy perspective and a hopeful outcome.

 

www.growwithchristine.com

Oct 31, 2018

As a science teacher in a public high school, Amanda was well liked by her students. Not only was she young, beautiful, and a good communicator, but she also had a way of interacting with the students that was a bit different yet very effective. Everyone loved her – teachers, administrators, students, and parents – which, in many ways, made her feel like she was above following the rules.

Then one day, when a parent accused her of improper texting with their teen son, some of her comments were found to be sexually suggestive in nature. Even though Amanda was able to explain communicating with the student through a text to administration (she lied and said it was part of the curriculum), which somewhat satisfied the concerned parent, still Amanda was out for blood. Behind the scenes, she went after the administrator that confronted her by spreading untrue gossip just to watch him squirm. And as for the parents, she intentionally engaged in an improper relationship with their son just to get back at them.

What on earth would make someone do this or participate in other, similar behaviors? Ever wonder how a person was able to earn trust so quickly and then exploit it for their own benefit? Perhaps they were someone who stole money, took over a business, or openly violated ethical conduct codes. One day they were considered as a best friend and now for no apparent reason, they purposefully go out of their way make themselves your enemy. And even after the betrayal, it is hard to imagine that this person is anything less than what they initially presented. How were they able to be so deceptive?

Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD) is the technical definition for sociopathic and psychopathic behavior. Imagine ASPD as a spectrum where there is evidence of subtle to extreme versions of the behavioral dysfunction. Sociopaths are generally thought of as a milder type than psychopaths. This makes them harder to recognize in the average work environment. So how do they do it?

  1. Survey– Sociopaths begin their deception by carefully observing their new environment. Since most sociopaths burn through relationships fast, they are frequently forced into new surroundings to survive. They look for potential targets: those with money, power, position or anything the other person has that the sociopath wants. Sociopaths scrutinize the target’s friends, work habits, routines, family, strengths, weaknesses, and social affairs. Basically, they are stalking their prey.
  2. Scoping – After choosing the target, sociopaths scope out an informant. This person usually has the dirt on everyone, likes to gossip, and puts themselves in the middle of things. The sociopath will quickly become best buddies with this person in an effort to glean as much information as possible. In the future, they will use this relationship to disseminate bad intelligence about others.
  3. Chameleon– Sociopaths transform themselves into the most attractive version of self for their target and the informant. For instance, if their prey likes to rescue people, the sociopath will need to be rescued. If their victim likes independent gregarious people, they will become that. The interesting part is that sociopaths can be two completely different personalities within the same environment.
  4. Seducing– Once the sociopath feels they understand their target, they begin a seduction. It usually starts with making small talk about a hobby or other interest. Then they use that incident to initiate further contact alternating between praising the target and asking for their advice. Shortly after that, the sociopath shares some made-up secret personal fear or anxiety to draw the target further in. If the victim responds with any degree of kindness, they proceed to the next step. If the prey repels the sociopath, one of two things happens: either the sociopath will move on or they will refine and intensify their approach.
  5. Courting– This is a one-way dance where the sociopath does all of the work. They magically appear where the victim is, they seem to be friends with the same people, and they often invite themselves to meetings, projects, and events. The sociopath escalates the praise to a level of adoration which draws in the target even more. Their charm is enticing and disarming so the prey begins to feel at ease with the sociopath.
  6. Isolating – The sociopath begins to use the data gathered from the informant to isolate the target from friends or co-workers who may try to protect them one day. These are subtle non-flattering comments made about the friends or co-workers which are easily countered if confronted. The intent is for the victim to feel betrayed by their friends while learning to solely rely on the false loyalty of the sociopath.
  7. Vengeance– Anyone who tries to stop the sociopath along the way will be met with swift and severe revenge, threats, or punishment. They will use tactics such as inappropriate rage, the silent treatment, intimidating stares, twisting the truth, and playing the victim card to manipulate others into compliance. By this point, the sociopath has too much invested in the deception to walk away. So instead, they push away protectors while pulling in the target.
  8. Projection – Here is where things become tricky. The sociopath now secretly turns on the victim to the victim’s friends and co-workers by projecting the sociopath’s selfish motives onto the victim. This completes the betrayal cycle. When the sociopath removes themselves from the environment, everyone’s fingers will be pointed at each other with none pointed at the sociopath. This sets the stage for the final act.
  9. Deceit– Now the sociopath is free to embezzle, exploit, take over a business, and/or commit acts of fraud or felony because all eyes will be on the fight between each other and not on the sociopath. By the time the dust has settled, the sociopath will be long gone with whatever money, power, position, or prestige they desired.

At any point in the game, this can be stopped. But it usually takes an outsider looking in on the situation to bring about clarity. Sociopaths should be taken seriously and treated as potentially dangerous. If you believe you, or someone you’re close to, may be facing a situation with a sociopath similar to the one described, do not hesitate to seek help.

www.growwithchristine.com

Oct 17, 2018

What is Stockholm Syndrome? Usually the term is reserved for hostage situations referencing a bank robbery that occurred in 1973 in Stockholm Sweden. After spending 6 days in a bank vault, the four hostages refused to testify against their captors and instead raised money for their defense. The term refers to the trauma bond developed between the captor and the hostages in which the hostages feel positive feelings such as empathy for the person that is causing them harm. This allows the captor to not feel remorse for their actions as the hostages don’t hold them responsible.

What are some other examples? One of the most famous cases of Stockholm Syndrome is the kidnapping of Patty Hearst in 1974 who denounced her family name and sided with her kidnappers in assisting them to rob banks. She was given a prison sentence that was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton.  Another example is Jaycee Dugard who was kidnapped at age 11 in 1991 and held hostage for 18 years bearing 2 children by her abuser. In her book, she explains the syndrome and how she formed a bond with both of her captors over the years.

Are there fewer extreme examples? Absolutely. A person currently living in an abusive situation often has this condition. This is the reason why many people don’t leave their abuser but instead, continue to hold onto the relationship. In the case of Bailey, she wanted to believe that her father was telling the truth so much that she accepted his assessment of her mental well-being as being crazy when she was not. Her desire to have a relationship with her father meant that she was ignorant of the different types of abuse, justified his abuse in therapy as the result of his childhood abuse and minimized any impact. The result was she honestly believed that she was the problem and not him.

How do you recover? The recovery process requires identification and awareness. This is one of the few times when googling a disorder is helpful. Hearing and seeing examples of other victims brings awareness at another level. It is often easier to see the problem in someone else’s story before identifying it in yours. Once an understanding has been established, rewriting the abuse needs to occur. This is time-consuming and should be done under the guidance of a therapist. A person with Stockholm Syndrome already has a hard time perceiving things correctly and needs professional assistance until a new, more accurate perception is developed.

How do you help someone with this? It is essential to develop a bond of trust that is based on empathy and not judgment. Those looking at the scenario from the outside in are often highly judgmental and critical of the victim’s behavior. The victim is already overloaded with feelings of inadequacy, shame, and guilt that are disproportionately attributed to their actions and not the abusers. To overcome this, they need unconditional love and acceptance and a ton of patience.

After addressing the Stockholm syndrome, Bailey finally began to do better. She no longer allowed her father’s abuse to impact her. Moving out of the house helped and in a short period she was thriving. Without getting the proper help, she might have never been able to achieve this. Be sure that if you or anyone else is experiencing this syndrome or something like it they seek out professional assistance.

www.growwithchristine.com

Oct 10, 2018

The moment Brian first really understood the term Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a light bulb went off in his brain. He spent most of his life thinking he was crazy, lazy, and stupid – three words his father often said about him to other family members and friends. His father also severely and harshly disciplined him, set-up unnecessary competitions in which his dad was the winner, never apologized, showed no empathy even when Brian was hurt, and treated everyone like they were inferior.

For years, Brian struggle with insecurity, anxiety, depression, and feelings of inadequacy. After his business failed, Brain decided it was time to rethink his life, so he began therapy. It didn’t take too long before the therapist identified narcissistic characteristics in his father. Suddenly, everything became clear that the very issues he struggled to overcome were a direct result of having a narcissistic parent.

But knowing this information and healing from it are two different matters. The lack of self-esteem, obsessive thinking, minimization of abuse, excessive anxiety, fear-based reactions, and heightened survival instincts are common among adult children of narcissists. The distorted perception of reality a narcissistic parent imposes on a child has damaging consequences on the adult at work and home. By addressing the impact of narcissism, a person finds relief. Here are the seven steps:

  1. Recognize. The first step in the healing process is to admit that there is something wrong with a parent’s behavior. A person can’t recover from something they refuse to acknowledge. Most narcissistic parents pick a favorite child, the “golden child,” who is treated as if they walk on water, this was Brian’s older brother. In comparison, Brian was treated as inferior through belittlement, comparing, ignoring and even neglect. Occasionally, his father switched his favoritism depending on the performance of a child. When Brian received a football scholarship, his dad treated him like the golden child; but when he lost it due to an injury, he was inferior again. The key to remember is that narcissistic parents see the child as an extension of them so they take credit for the successes and reject the child who fails.
  2. Study. Once the narcissism is identified, it is essential to gain an education about the disorder and how it affects the entire family system. Narcissism is part biology (other family members likely have the disorder as well), part environment (trauma, abuse, shame, and neglect can draw narcissism out), and part choice (as a teen, a person chooses their identity and what is acceptable behavior). Since there might be other narcissists or personality disorders in a family, it is easy to trace the pattern. The environment and choice factors can further draw out the narcissism in a child which is cemented by age eighteen.
  3. Recount. This next step is comfortable in the beginning but becomes more difficult as the impact of the narcissism is realized. For each sign and symptom of narcissism, recall several examples in childhood and adulthood when the behavior is evident. It helps to write these down for reference later. The more time that is spent doing the step, the more significant the impact of the healing. Each of these memories needs rewriting with a new dialogue of, “My parent is narcissistic, and they are treating me this way because of that.” This is very different from the old internal dialogue of “I’m not good enough.”
  4. Identify. During the previous step, it is highly likely that some abusive, traumatic, and neglectful behavior on the part of the narcissistic parent becomes evident. Abuse for a child can be physical (restraint, aggression), mental (gaslighting, silent treatment), verbal (raging, interrogating), emotional (nitpicking, guilt-tripping), financial (neglect, excessive gifting), spiritual (dichotomous thinking, legalism), and sexual (molestation, humiliation). Not every event requires trauma therapy but some of them might, depending on the frequency and severity.
  5. Grieve. There are five stages to the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. Brian struggled to believe at first that his father’s narcissism impacted him – this is denial. Anger is a natural response after the dots have been connected and the abuse has been identified. It is hard to believe that a parent who should be loving and kind would do the things they have done – this is part of the bargaining process. Whatever glorified image a person had of their narcissistic parent is now wholly shattered – this is depression. Sometimes anger is projected on the other parent for not adequately protecting their child from the trauma. Or it is internalized for not realizing or confronting sooner. It is crucial to go through all of the stages of grief to reach acceptance.
  6. Grow. This is an excellent place to step back for a while to gain a better perspective. Begin by reflecting on how the narcissistic parent’s distorted image of the world and people shaped current beliefs. Then drill downwards towards the vows or promises that were made internally as a result. Counteract the distorted images, vows, or promises with a newly gained perspective of reality. Continue this process until a new perspective is fully formed and now is part of the inner dialogue going forward. This essential step frees a person from the narcissistic lies and false truths.
  7. Forgive. The past cannot be changed, only understood. When forgiveness is genuine, it has a powerful transformational effect. Remember, forgiveness is for the forgiver, not the offender. It is better to honestly forgive in small chunks at a time, rather than granting blanket forgiveness. This allows room for other future or past offenses to be realized and worked through thoroughly. Don’t force this step, do it a comfortable pace so the benefits will be life lasting.

After completing these steps, Brian found it easier to identify other narcissists at work, home, or in the community. No longer did the narcissistic behavior trigger Brian and escalate his anxiety, frustration, or depression unnecessarily. Instead, Brian was able to remain calm and as a result, the other narcissistic person was disarmed because their behavior no longer had an intimidating effect.

www.growwithchristine.com

Sep 20, 2018

Christine reviews the tips and techniques for coping with an adult narcissist child.

 

  • Live in the present. One of the biggest temptations is to look backwards and wonder, “what if,” or “if only”. Second to that is to look too far ahead and try to predict the action of the ANC. Neither of these is productive. Narcissism is part biology, environment, and choice, so as circumstances change, so can the shape of the narcissist. Living in the present requires a bit of disciple but it is worth it. Even when the ANC has chosen the silent treatment, that is likely to be modified when they find they need a different response.
    • Avoid over or under complimenting. As a general rule, parents like to praise their children. Normally narcissists love to admired but when the ANC receives compliments from their parent, it seems belittling to them. Rather, extend applause for only the things which the ANC brings to light. For instance, if shown a letter of recommendation, praise them for that. Just be careful not to take any credit for their accomplishments.
    • Love or respect. A wise counselor once told me that when it comes to narcissists, the choice is to have either their love or respect, but not both. However, knowing which is more significant, is an individual decision. To earn their love means the parent watches their ANC’s mistakes and does not highlight them. Winning their respect means the parent achieves something the narcissist values.
    • Patience is a virtue. Nagging the ANC does not work. It only frustrates them and causes unnecessary friction. In time, most ANC’s return to the nest especially when life has failed to glorify them and they need the unconditional support of their parent. Waiting them out with open arms is difficult and likely one of the toughest tasks of parenting yet. There is no guarantee reward at the end, but it is worth the effort.
    • Don’t expect remorse. Part of the definition of narcissistic personality disorder is the inability to demonstrate any real form of remorse, sorrow, or forgiveness. This is especially true when it comes to the relationship between the parent and the ANC. The ANC will not admit to wrongdoing, flawed thinking, an error in judgement, or poor decision. To expect such awareness is to not recognize the limitations of the disorder.
    • Be careful of significant others. When the ANC finds a mate, it is essential that the parent show happiness for them regardless of the quality of the decision. Any indication of disapproval will be met with swift isolation that could last for years. At all costs, this should be avoided.
Sep 20, 2018
  1. Understand what a scapegoat is. The purpose of a scapegoat is to pass responsibility onto someone else. Usually this person is unsuspecting at first and agrees because they are trying to get along with others. This technique of passing the buck is very common with narcissists, sociopaths, and addicts. Narcissists can’t allow their ego to be tarnished by an error. Sociopaths do it for the sport of it. And addicts do it because accepting fault in one area of their life means being accountable in another.
  2. Don’t accept liability. Looking back on the two events, Monica had an opportunity in both events to be honest with her level of responsibility. Instead, she chose to take on things that were not her fault. This did not improve her relationships as the two individuals just saw Monica as a pushover and someone they can continue to take advantage of in the future. Had she refused to be their scapegoat, a level of respect would be achieved instead of contempt.
  3. Review past experience. Her feelings of frustration over being a scapegoat ran deep. Upon further examination, Monica realized that her brother used to get her in trouble for his offenses all the time. Her parents, trying to be impartial, told the kids to “work it out.” Her brother’s idea of this was to threaten harm to her if she didn’t agree to take blame. As a demonstration of his determination, he even lit her stuffed animals on fire. Her willingness at work to make excuses for her boss and assistant was subconsciously rooted in the fear her brother instilled.
  4. Stop being the scapegoat. Once Monica separated out trauma from past events, she was able to set new boundaries. She began by issuing a written warning with her assistant about her late arrivals and notified Human Resources of her suspicious behavior. Then she researched narcissistic bosses and found other ways to feed his ego. This pacified her boss and neutralized her assistant. Despite a couple of attempts to thwart her boundaries, Monica remained firm.
  5. Expose the abuser. Monica knew that eventually she would need to expose the scapegoating technique to prevent other employees from damage. But doing this too soon would mean jeopardizing her job, so she waited and watched. When she saw another employee taking the fall for yet another blunder by her boss, Monica spoke to that person and advised them not to take on the blame. This frustrated her boss, but by then, Monica had established a good enough relationship with Human Resources that her job was secured. Once Human Resources caught on, it was only a matter of time before her boss was removed.
Aug 5, 2018

Christine introduces the concept of "NAG" with a story of her own client, Sam. She unpacks the symptoms and the 6 stages of NAG which all need to be faced and understood.

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Aug 3, 2018

Chistine makes suggestions -

What You Can Do If Your Teen Seems Narcissistic

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Jun 26, 2018

Christine talks about "shame-based" parenting.

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Jun 26, 2018

Christine explores the challenges facing parents of narcissistic children, and how to cope.

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Mar 28, 2018

On this edition, Christine unpacks the Passive-Aggressive Personality Traits - they are much like a personality disorder and often show up similar to narcissism

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Mar 15, 2018

Christine covers trauma bonds, what they are, how to identify them,  and how they can effect us in a relationship with a narcissist.

 

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Mar 7, 2018

Christine visits with her colleague Nate Webster to discuss dating apps and narcissists, the relationship between this social technology and the behavior of them, and what to watch out for if you are using these apps to find a mate.

 

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Mar 6, 2018

Narcissists use shame to control people around them. It is a very real form of emotional abuse. By recognizing these tactics (there are 11 different examples) you will be better equipped to manage through these tactics.

 

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Feb 27, 2018

How does a narcissist control you? Christine covers the 5 ways, the tactics they use in a relationship to smear you - understanding these tactics can help you out-maneuver the narcissist.

 

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Feb 20, 2018

Hidden shame can show up in the strangest ways, and at unexpected times in any relationship. Christine shares how an individual might lie to cover up their own hidden shame, bury the truth in an effort to protect themselves.

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Feb 8, 2018

In this ongoing series, Christine Hammond reveals the toxic ways that narcissists can be abusive in relationships and how you can protect yourself from these tactics.

www.growwithchristine.com

Feb 1, 2018

In this ongoing series, Christine Hammond reveals the toxic ways that narcissists can be abusive in relationships and how you can protect yourself from these tactics.

www.growwithchristine.com

Jan 25, 2018

In this ongoing series, Christine Hammond reveals the toxic ways that narcissists can be abusive in relationships and how you can protect yourself from these tactics.

www.growwithchristine.com

Jan 18, 2018

In this ongoing series, Christine Hammond reveals the toxic ways that narcissists can be abusive in relationships and how you can protect yourself from these tactics.

www.growwithchristine.com

Jan 6, 2018

In this ongoing series, Christine Hammond reveals the ways that narcissists can be abusive in relationships and how you can protect yourself from these tactics.

 

www.growwithchristine.com

Jan 6, 2018

In this ongoing series, Christine Hammond reveals the ways that narcissists can be abusive in relationships and how you can protect yourself from these tactics.

www.growwithchristine.com

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