I have had a bunch of folks write to me privately and ask many questions on this subject. So here is the post that answers many of those questions:
- Didn’t you know that you had a narcissist in your life?
- What are some specific types of things did “your narcissist” do?
- Why did you put up it?
- Do you have contact with that person now?
- How long did it take you to “recover”?
- How do you feel about that person now?
I have clearly expressed that my life with the narcissist was a roller coaster ride. Everyday I would walk on eggshells and know that at any time, the switch could be flipped and rage and violence could erupt over really rather trivial things. The narcissist that I knew was actually very honest with me, on our very first date he proclaimed that “everything was about him”. At the time I was not aware how true that was. I thought he was being funny.
The narcissist is a master of disguise. They actually appear VERY charming and when it suites them, they can really sweep a girl off their feet with romance and candles etc. But the charm is fleeting and will be turned back off as soon as they have what they want from you. Actually, they are incapable of any genuine emotion towards anyone else except anger, rage etc. They are not capable of love and anything truly sacrificial. They will put on a good act from time to time but time will always show that it really is not in their repertoire. They will have a life landscape littered with drama and broken relationships. They do not have the emotional wherewithal to sustain a relationship with anyone long-term. They will lie about the failure of the relationships around them because the truth is not very attractive. When I met “my narcissist” he was at the end of a horrible divorce situation, his ex-wife was “crazy” and stalking him. In retrospect, I now see this was again lies to make me feel sorry for him and because the truth was ugly. The fact is, I never saw his EX wife, she apparently made a new life for herself and moved on. She remarried and left the area.
I have heard from others that the same story is being said about me. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am incredibly happy with my post cancer life and have focused on getting well and putting all the drama behind me. I would not go back to that crazy drama filled existence for a million + dollars. The life I have today is positive, sweet and peaceful. I am sure there is some other poor soul who is enduring the roller coaster now.
Remember, the narcissist will never see themselves as any part of the problem. The narcissist will constantly accuse you of things that you have not done, and have you defending yourself against the indefensible. My grandmother always said that people will accuse you of what they are actually capable of. All the accusations are actually them projecting onto you what they are doing or capable of.
And that brings me to the next question. Why do any of us put up with the narcissist? First of all, the narcissist will look for someone who is weak or has recently experienced some type of loss. When I met the narcissist, I had just gone through the loss of a 22 year marriage. I was alone in Florida and felt very off-balance with my new life. So, the narcissist is attracted to and finds the emotionally vulnerable. Also, they will look for the emotionally damaged. I was definitely damaged and had a diminished self-worth at the time that I met him. Then, he worked on me and continued to break me down until I really thought I was lost without him. He isolated me by constantly accusing me of different things so that I would not go out, for fear that it would cause an argument. I danced and placated but all to no avail, nothing was EVER good enough.
No, I do not have contact with this person now. From the day I was threatened and walked out the door, I made the decision to fight cancer, not him The very best decision I have ever made was to focus on my health and nothing else. I saw him over the summer once, I waved just to acknowledge him and he flipped me the bird. I then saw, he has not moved one inch from where we parted ways. He is still angry and ugly for no real reason………getting sick was apparently something he did not know how to deal with.
It took me a full year of being very private and focused on my health, for me to get well. I went to a counselor and she helped me put everything in the right perspective, to talk about all of this and to help me to heal from the trauma of being deserted after my cancer diagnosis. But remember, it was this crucial betrayal that made me realize, I had a really serious core issue with my self-worth.
How do I feel about this person today……….I forgive them. I actually pray for him quite regularly. I know God has a purpose and plan for each and every one of us, including the narcissist. God loves them just as much as he loves me. Now all that being said, I do not want this person in my life in any way, shape or form. My life is GOOD 🙂 I am in a great place. I am HEALTHY……….I am LOVED………..I am WORTHY……………I am SUCCESSFUL………..I am ENOUGH and at peace.
This is the premise of a lecture I gave this month at FIT in a Communication class for Business Executives. I really enjoyed speaking in an academic environment, definitely a first and a thrill for me.
I work at SCB Marketing and I am in the impression business. My company is in the business of impressing different audiences in Brevard County. Our clients and advertisers count on us and our ability to make impressions for them each and everyday. The entire advertising industry relies on the fact that what we see and what impresses us, influences behavior. When we keep our clients “top of mind”, they will be the ones who get your business, when you have a need that they can fulfill.
I theorize that we are far more impressionable than we realize. I theorize that EVERYTHING that we come in contact with, makes an impression upon us, influences us and ultimately takes us places. From the time we are small children, we are constantly assimilating different stimuli and experiences and formulating our values, ideas and aspirations. So, from what we eat, see, think, listen to, associate with……..our parents, friends, work associates. What we read, watch on TV, play on our ipods……..impresses us in some form or fashion.
The degree that we are impressed depends on 2 things: How malleable we are at the time and how much force or impact the stimuli has. So, when we are young, we are very malleable and easily impressed. As we mature, we become less impressionable but still remain more impressionable than we think or care to admit.
Let’s do a small exercise……think about the 3 most painful or difficult things that were ever said to you. Most of us can think of those things rather quickly. Now name the 3 best compliments you have ever received. I guarantee that it will be more difficult for you to come up with the compliments then the slights. We are much more easily impressed by the negative, rather than the positive. Also, we read and assimilate the sub text easily. For instance, your Mom/Dad tell you verbally that they love you but do not come to your school performances or games. The actions of your parents completely belie their words and you will most likely get the impression that you are not loved/ worthy of their time. When the truth is probably that your parents are self absorbed and critically damaged themselves.
My cancer experience was that profound experienced that made me realize, I had the wrong impression about myself. If you look at your actions, who you surround yourself with and your self talk. If it is all negative, you have gotten the wrong impression about you along the way.
So, when do people change? People change when the pain of remaining the same exceeds the pain of change. That is the place I got to shortly after my cancer diagnosis. I was greatly impressed by my losses and the deep impact I felt on every possible level. I knew that, if I did not change things within myself, I was a goner. I would not survive cancer and I would be lost.
Daily focus on healing, correcting negative self talk, surrounding myself with love and support are what pulled me through. I allowed myself to be cared for and blessed by others. That was very difficult for this independent soul, who’s first full sentence was “I’ll do it myself” at age 2. It took multiple levels of programming to give you the wrong impression of yourself, it will take the same to de-program you and learn how to love yourself in a healthy way.
Some practical things to do……….
- get a white board and write positive and affirming things to say to yourself when the negative voices speak.
- Say I am statements daily and repeatedly: I am HEALTHY, I am LOVED, I am WORTHY!!
- Take a personal inventory and list all your positive attributes!
- Ask God to show you how HE sees you!
- Get negative and non affirming people OUT of your life!!
- Do nice things for yourself. Treat yourself as you would your beloved child.
- Nurture your interests and talents. Do things that are good for your soul and make you smile.
- Help someone else overcome an obstacle.
Every person on God’s green earth is loved by GOD! He loved each of us so much that he chose to send his very own Son to atone for when we fall short. God will forgive you of any and all of our shortcomings if we just ask him to. His word should impress you with his love and how he thinks about you!!
New King James Version (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
New International Version (NIV)
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4”
- Are you in a tumultuous relationship/ marriage that is like riding a roller coaster daily?
- Does your partner fail to even consider your wants/needs?
- Is your partner overly concerned about their appearance, prestige or power?
- Are they constantly critical of you but SUPER sensitive to ANYTHING that is critical of them?
- Is it impossible to get them to admit that they have done anything wrong, ever? Is an apology from them an impossible fantasy?
- Does your partner have a pattern of broken relationships and friendships?
- Do they have anger and rage problems when challenged about anything?
- Is EVERYTHING about them?
- Are they impossible to please consistently?
- Do they negate all that you do for them, regardless of how much time or energy you donate to their cause?
If any or all of this sounds familiar, you may be dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Wikipedia has this to say about the disorder……..
Narcissistic personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. Narcissistic personality disorder is closely linked to egocentrism.
- 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 unrealistic goals
- Wants “the best” of everything
- Appears as tough-minded or unemotional 
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. 
The cause of this disorder is unknown, according to Groopman and Cooper. However, they list the following factors identified by various researchers as possibilities:
- An oversensitive temperament at birth is the main symptomatic chronic form
- Being praised for perceived exceptional looks or abilities by adults
- Excessive admiration that is never balanced with realistic feedback
- Excessive praise for good behaviors or excessive criticism for bad behaviors in childhood
- Overindulgence and overvaluation by parents
- Severe emotional abuse in childhood
- Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving from parents
- Valued by parents as a means to regulate their own self-esteem
Some narcissistic traits are common and a normal developmental phase. When these traits are compounded by a failure of the interpersonal environment and continue into adulthood, they may intensify to the point where NPD is diagnosed. Some psychotherapists believe that the etiology of the disorder is, in Freudian terms, the result of fixation to early childhood development.
Pathological narcissism occurs in a spectrum of severity. In its more extreme forms, it is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NPD is considered to result from a person’s belief that they are flawed in a way that makes them fundamentally unacceptable to others. This belief is held below the person’s conscious awareness; such a person would, if questioned, typically deny thinking such a thing. In order to protect themselves against the intolerably painful rejection and isolation that (they imagine) would follow if others recognised their (perceived) defective nature, such people make strong attempts to control others’ views of them and behavior towards them.
Pathological narcissism can develop from an impairment in the quality of the person’s relationship with their primary caregivers, usually their parents, in that the parents were unable to form a healthy and empathic attachment to them. This results in the child’s perception of himself/herself as unimportant and unconnected to others. The child typically comes to believe they have some personality defect that makes them not valued and unwanted.
To the extent that people are pathologically narcissistic, they can be controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ views, unaware of others’ needs and of the effects of their behavior on others, and insistent that others see them as they wish to be seen.
People who are overly narcissistic commonly feel rejected, humiliated and threatened when criticised. To protect themselves from these dangers, they often react with disdain, rage, and/or defiance to any slight criticism, real or imagined. To avoid such situations, some narcissistic people withdraw socially and may feign modesty or humility. In cases where the narcissistic personality-disordered individual feels a lack of admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation, he/she may also manifest a desire to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).
Although individuals with NPD are often ambitious and capable, the inability to tolerate setbacks, disagreements or criticism, along with lack of empathy, make it difficult for such individuals to work cooperatively with others or to maintain long-term professional achievements. With narcissistic personality disorder, the individual’s self-perceived fantastic grandiosity, often coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically not commensurate with his or her real accomplishments.
People who are diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder use splitting as a central defense mechanism. According to psychoanalyst Kernberg, “the normal tension between actual self on the one hand, and ideal self and ideal object on the other, is eliminated by the building up of an inflated self concept within which the actual self and the ideal self and ideal object are confused. At the same time, the remnants of the unacceptable images are repressed and projected onto external objects, which are devalued.” The merging of the “inflated self concept” and the “actual self” is seen in the inherent grandiosity of narcissistic personality disorder. Also inherent in this process are the defense mechanisms of devaluation, idealizationand denial. Other people are either manipulated as an extension of one’s own self, who serve the sole role of giving “admiration and approval” or they are seen as worthless (because they are unable to collude with the narcissist’s grandiosity).
If you are in this type of relationship…………put as much distance as possible between you and them. If it is your Mom or Dad, put some boundaries in place and stick to them. If the person can not respect your boundaries, find an exit door. The narcissist is almost always a lost cause. It is a nearly impossible to cure, and always must begin with the narcissist admitting that they have a problem. That by the way would violate everything that they want to believe about themselves……….thus why it is a difficult personality disorder to cure.
If you think, like I did…….that the individual just needed LOVE and ACCEPTANCE and they would be better. You are sadly mistaken to think as a non professional, you can help this person. This person has to first admit that THEY HAVE A PROBLEM, which is highly unlikely. From their broken perspective, all the broken relationships that litter their landscape was 100% the fault of the other person. They will even weave a web of lies to convince themselves and others of that fact. They need professional help. Even if they go to a counselor, it will be difficult for them to be honest. You need a very skilled professional to help guide this person to reality and to let go of the fantasy world that they have created to hide their true damage.
The real question for you is not whether your partner can be “fixed”. It is WHY did you pick a person like this for a partner to begin with? What do you believe about yourself? Now THAT is something you can work on and figure out. Once you do…..you are on your way to better things, relationships and outcomes. So here is a list of questions for you to consider?
- Do you believe in yourself?
- Do you feel you are worthy of good things? relationships?
- Do you surround yourself with people who respect you and your needs?
- Do you surround yourself with people who support what you want/need?
- Do you love yourself?
- Like yourself?
- Involve yourself in things that are good for you and others?
These are serious things to look at and think about if you have a narcissist in your life.
I will conclude this discussion with a legend that I feel as though I lived……….. there is so much of this legend that I can relate to.
In Greek mythology Echo was a wood nymph who loved a youth by the name of Narcissus. He was a beautiful creature loved by many but Narcissus loved no one. He enjoyed attention, praise and envy. In Narcissus’ eyes nobody matched him and as such he considered none were worthy of him.
Echo’s passion for Narcissus was great and deep.
Echo often waited in the woods to see Narcissus hoping for a chance to be noticed. One day as she lingered in the bushes he heard her footsteps and called out “Who’s here?” Echo replied “Here!” Narcissus called again “Come”, Echo replied “Come!”. Narcissus called once more “Why do you shun me?… Let us join one another.” Echo was overjoyed that Narcissus had asked her to join him. She longed to tell him who she was and of all the love she had for him in her heart but she could not speak. She ran towards him and threw herself upon him.
Narcissus became angry “Hands off! I would rather die than you should have me!” and threw Echo to the ground. Echo left the woods a ruin, her heart-broken. Ashamed she ran away to live in the mountains yearning for a love that would never be returned. The grief killed her. Her body became one with the mountain stone. All that remained was her voice which replied in kind when others spoke.
Narcissus continued to attract many nymphs all of whom he briefly entertained before scorning and refusing them. The gods grew tired of his behaviour and cursed Narcissus. They wanted him to know what it felt like to love and never be loved. They made it so there was only one whom he would love, someone who was not real and could never love him back.
One day whilst out enjoying the sunshine Narcissus came upon a pool of water. As he gazed into it he caught a glimpse of what he thought was a beautiful water spirit. He did not recognise his own reflection and was immediately enamoured. Narcissus bent down his head to kiss the vision. As he did so the reflection mimicked his actions. Taking this as a sign of reciprocation Narcissus reached into the pool to draw the water spirit to him. The water displaced and the vision was gone. He panicked, where had his love gone? When the water became calm the water spirit returned. “Why, beautiful being, do you shun me? Surely my face is not one to repel you. The nymphs love me, and you yourself look not indifferent upon me. When I stretch forth my arms you do the same; and you smile upon me and answer my beckoning with the like.” Again he reached out and again his love disappeared. Frightened to touch the water Narcissus lay still by the pool gazing in to the eyes of his vision.
He cried in frustration. As he did so Echo also cried. He did not move, he did not eat or drink, he only suffered. As he pined he became gaunt loosing his beauty. The nymphs that loved him pleaded with him to come away from the pool. As they did so Echo also pleaded with him. He was transfixed; he wanted to stay there forever. Narcissus like Echo died with grief. His body disappeared and where his body once lay a flower grew in its place. The nymphs mourned his death and as they mourned Echo also mourned.
This echo (Dawn) has found her own voice and healthy love and belief in herself. How about you? Begin today to reinforce the wonderful creation that YOU ARE!! Get a glimpse of how GOD sees you……..and you will never see yourself the same again!! Let him be your reflecting pool, it will change your life!!
Let’s face it, we have all been intrigued by the cryptic TV commercials that have showed up on the landscape in the last month. I am the GOOGLE queen when it comes to any snippet of unknown material crosses my radar screen. I have GOOGLED this phrase every couple of days to see what I can uncover.
Being in the marketing and advertising business, I have to give the originator of this campaign kudos. While I find it annoying to not know what it is about, this campaign has me and countless others doing the same thing. From that perspective…….it is genius. Ask almost anyone not living under a rock, everyone is aware of these ads and have the same questions. Obviously, the ads have made an impression……..but of what?
It reminds me of a campaign of billboards outside of Phillie that read in very angry and bold font…….I HATE STEVEN SINGER. I thought for sure the billboards were the ploy of a scorned woman. They had a website on the billboard and nothing else. So, as soon as I was able, I GOOGLED and checked out the website that was on the billboard. It lead me to………a jewelry store. Yes, a jewelry store. I thought I was going to read a salacious story about some love gone wrong. I was very surprised at the content of the website in question. Again, a stroke of genius and a tongue in cheek…….”made you look” rang in my ears.
So……………..what is HELLO FRIEND?
1. A new dating site
2. A psychologist call in show about friendship
3. A political campaign ploy
4. _______________________you fill in the blank. What do you think? I’d love to hear what you think.
PS…….Update it is a BRIGHTHOUSE campaign. Go figure!!!