Tips for Online Dating and Screening for Personality Disorders

Courtesy Wikipedia

Courtesy Wikipedia

The world of internet romance is a playground for the personality disordered.  You do not know who is really behind a profile.  The narcissist, antisocial, and/or sociopath (mostly males) are particularly good at pretending to be someone else to have fun.  The personality disordered has never had an easier time preying on gullible or desperate people.  For the online predator sexual relations are thrilling conquests and nothing more.  Charming and resourceful they are incapable of sincere emotion, shame, guilt, or love.  The narcissist, sociopath, and antisocial person crave stimulation and excitement, live in the present moment unconcerned with the consequences of their behavior.   All personality disordered individuals have character traits that are ingrained, enduring patterns of thinking, feeling, behaving, and perceiving. These enduring patterns are life-long, chronic, and highly incurable.

The female personality disordered tends to be histrionic, dependent, or borderline with smaller percentages who are narcissists.  The histrionic is overly dramatic (extreme drama queen), lively, seductive, and always calling attention to themselves.  They quickly become bored with normal routines and display irrational outbursts or temper tantrums.  They initially come across as charming and outgoing.  Once a relationship is established they become controlling, demanding, and inconsiderate.  The borderline is tricky to spot at first because they present much better than they are but underneath the façade are chronic feelings of emptiness, problems with being alone, emotional instability, intense anger, and identity confusion.  They display impulsivity, self-destructive acts, and suicidal gestures like cutting.  The essential features of dependent personality disorder are a constant demand for attention, lack of self-confidence or the ability to function independently.  The dependent personality dreads making decisions, acting autonomously, and lacks follow through on goals.   They look to others for an identity.  The dependent will do anything to avoid responsibility for his or her self.

With a radar for people’s vulnerability’s the personality disordered can easily manipulate, exploit, control and deceive.  Unfortunately the desperate or naive person’s online profile is easy for them to spot.   A perpetrator can guess a lot about a person’s character through written words and even photographs.   The personality disordered person is superficially charming, likable, and good at starting a relationship.  They have no capacity for empathy and never develop the caring part of a healthy partnership.  In other words, he or she has no real feelings other than rage.  When you ask a tough question, they will change the subject or give a vague response.

Keep in mind that we all share some neuroses.  People can have self-involved narcissistic personality features or a highly dramatic presentation.  The difference is that the person is capable of feeling remorse for being insensitive or mean.  The behavior is uncharacteristic and different from their usual self.  In contrast, the pathological behavior in people with personality disorders is in character and routine for them.  Neuroses may develop at any time; personality disorders are life-long.

If you have decided to give online dating a try it is wise to be aware of your vulnerabilities and appropriate boundaries.  Educating yourself about red flags avoids potential hardship and damage to well-being. You must carefully protect your identity and not disclose personal information quickly.  If you have a history of picking abusive partners it is necessary to ask questions and listen for emotional problems.

Codependents are particularly vulnerable to the breath taking pursuit and initial charm of the pathological.  What is a codependent?  Codependents are people who attempt to keep balance in an abusive relationship and will distort reality in response to the mistreatment.  They try endlessly to please an abusive person.  Codependents deny feelings, dismiss intuition, and feel responsible for other people’s actions.  For example, “If only I had been better sexually, he or she would not have to cheat.  They distort reality to preserve the relationship and avoid the emotional pain admitting the truth would bring.  The high tolerance for inappropriate behavior is often established in childhood with caregivers that are emotionally unavailable and/or abusive.  A typical approach of the pathological is to overwhelm a codependent date with intensity and attention, so the person ignores red flags.  Remember if someone appears too good to be true, your observation is probably right.  A match with genuine intent and healthy boundaries knows true love takes time to discover.

People coming out of a relationship can be vulnerable to the pathological because they need to heal.  It takes time to get over someone you truly love.  Bypassing the grief process stops discovery of the core issues that inhibited a satisfying partnership.  Focusing on a new relationship avoids painful feelings of loss.  It can also make you vulnerable to jump into a new relationship that feels wrong to end loneliness.   Happy long-term relationships are formed by people who are already happy.  Hooking up with the pathological will cause more pain and problems.

So how do you protect yourself from poor choices?  First, know what qualities you are looking for in a partner.  Make a list of these qualities and look at it when considering a meet-up.  You must take your time screening a potential match before jumping into a relationship.  Do not be desperate; stop yourself from acting impulsively.  Temper your longing for emotional fulfillment and love.  If you are using a dating site that offers get to know you questions take advantage of them.  Especially questions about family and past relationships.  See if a potential match answers your questions directly and with some detail.  Have they taken the time to read your profile?  When you receive communication evaluate the persons profile carefully for values and character.  If you are interested, have someone you trust give their opinion of the person.  Is the profile grandiose or shallow?  Is the profile self-serving and irrelevant? Do they describe realistic character traits about themselves and those they want in a partner?   What is important to them in a relationship?  What does their picture(s) say about them?  Are there an excessive amount of vain pictures?  Is there a picture to go along with the person’s profile?

Speak on the telephone before you meet and be discerning, you can tell a lot from hearing someone speak.  Chatting with a potential match is wise and a good safety measure.  If you feel uncomfortable or get a bad vibe just hang up.  Once you know the person’s name, and before you meet, complete an online search.  Verify as much as you can about their integrity.  Be cautious and open minded.  Find out where they work and look at the company’s website to see if they are listed.   Remember to always meet in a public place, drive yourself, and let someone know where you’re going.  Tell a friend or family member who you are meeting, when you plan to return, and the person’s phone number.  If something feels wrong, trust your instincts, and get out.

Screening Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Does he or she blame their mistakes or failures on others or the world at large?  Listen closely to their relationship, family and work history.
  2. Do they acknowledge their part in the ending of past relationships or problems with their partners, children, siblings, or parents?
  3. Do they push for intimacy, start making future plans, and immediately place you in the role of the love of their life? Run….
  4. Do they talk endlessly about themselves
  5. Have they had police contact/arrests for domestic violence, fighting, or criminal behavior?
  6. Do they look for reasons to be insulted?  Do they rant excessively?
  7. Are they easily insulted by people when you are out in public?
  8. Do they express negative or aggressive statements about friends, poor people, and the mentally challenged, needy or loving person?
  9. Are they verbally violent in their communication with putdowns, brutal honesty, threats, or hostility?
  10. Is the person overly dramatic, and always calling attention to themselves?
  11. Do they quickly become bored with normal routines?
  12. Do they use their physical appearance to draw attention to self?
  13. Are they arrogant or superior in behaviors and attitudes?
  14. Do they disregard or diminish your feelings?
  15. Does he or she call or text you constantly?
  16. Are they demanding, but don’t come through for you in return?

*********************************************************************

Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create a decent relationship.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Advertisements

Time to get Angry: Ending the Narcissistic Relationship

Raiva-Ager-IconRelationships with narcissists are about blame: “I feel bad, and it’s your fault.”  What is a narcissist?  Narcissistic partners are self-centered with an excessive need for attention and admiration. They control with anger, violence, criticism, irritation, righteousness, invasive energy, and emotional drama. They use both blatant and concealed control to get the attention he or she wants and hold others responsible for their feelings of pain and joy.  It is your job to make sure that their needs are met.  All forms of narcissistic abuse results from failure to feel compassion.  They don’t care about how you feel.  Failure of compassion is abuse.  Trying to prevent outbursts, the victims of narcissists “walk on egg shells” to keep the peace.

You might be asking yourself, “How could someone who felt so right in the beginning of the relationship be a total mistake?”  After the discovery of your partner’s true character, emotions are usually intense.  The hurt, bewilderment, and numbing shock are overwhelming.  Acceptance of anger is not pleasant, but it is necessary for ending the abuse.  Anger will guide you to decisions that are important to make.  You will find it difficult if not impossible to leave and get better until you get mad.  Denying anger eats away at your innermost spirit and feeds depression.   Hidden anger does not go away; it sits waiting for you to become strong enough to deal with the mistreatment.  It is very important to acknowledge the anger that you feel or you will continue to accept behaviors that hurt you.  Staying in denial, it is likely you will suffer from fear, emotional pain, or shame.  It is far more effective to assert yourself with anger to motivate an escape from purgatory.  By repressing emotions and disregarding needs you stay victimized and become stuck in the nightmare.  Some victims of narcissists stay in quiet desperation for years, secretly wanting out and then they die.  Their emotional work is left to their children to complete.  You have the right and responsibility to feel and learn from your anger.

It is important to understand that not all anger is unhealthy.  Anger can be used constructively or destructively.  It can be a warning signal to protect ourselves from being dominated or manipulated by others.  It’s a defense mechanism that protects.  Anger can give us strength and courage to stop abuse done against us or to others we
love.  However, when anger is unexpressed it becomes destructive taking control over the mind, body, and spirit.  Most people under the control of a narcissist cannot clearly comprehend the abuse or make good decisions.  The person acting codependently is unable to think rationally and emotions take control of their actions.  They make excuses for the abusers behavior, feel trapped and uncertain how to take care of themselves or their children.  Anger may be denied because the person feels too guilty about it or are afraid of it.  You may speak of being disappointed, frustrated, or let down, unaware that these expressions may indicate repressed anger.  Becoming angry at the abuse is an effective means of utilizing the emotion in overcoming fear.  Constructively used, anger can give strength both mentally and emotionally.  The open expression of anger towards the narcissist will not solve the problem and could be dangerous.  Anger and threats usually provoke further hostility and rage.  If you fear for your safety, please click the following link: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Safety Plan for Leaving an Abusive Relationship http://www.ncadv.org/protectyourself/SafetyPlan.php

What do I do about feeling my anger?   Recognize that you are angry and admit it to yourself.  Awareness is much less harmful than unrecognized or unadmitted anger.  It is essential that you uncover the feelings first.  If you are feeling depressed, ask yourself what you might be angry about.  Are you afraid to face the situation?  Are you afraid to face your anger?  Understand why you are angry so you will figure out ways to handle it.  When you recognize the destructive behaviors of the narcissist, your frustration and discouragement, you will find the source of anger and what to do about it.  Dealing with anger is easy to describe, but less easy to carry out.  Life is complex.  Once you leave you must make a personal search to discover interests and what can be done to express them in your new life.  Remember you have to make changes because you are the one who has been made sick by the relationship.  If you don’t make changes you are likely to continue to be frustrated and depressed.

Ending a relationship with a narcissist means we need to make a choice to take care of ourselves even though we may fear in our ability to do so.  You cannot change a narcissist (anyone) or be responsible for their insatiable needs. It is time to feel your anger and release your partner to think, feel, solve problems, and take care of his or her self. Your work is to believe in the ability to competently deal with feelings, solve problems, and take responsibility for your life.

**************************************************************

Thank you for reading my post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to express needs and put an end to relationship abuse.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Codependents, Dating, Mating, Growing, and Assessing for Partner Abuse

heart-jg8nCodependents with a history of relationship abuse need to enter romantic relationships with awareness and respect for their neediness and unmet childhood dependency needs.   Codependents are some of the most loving people and find it difficult to leave abusive relationships.  They have a tough time accepting that abusive partners will not change over time no matter how much they want them to.  Learning to recognize personality disordered character traits is imperative in protecting your vulnerabilities as you complete your own emotional work.

Character traits are patterns of behaving, feeling, perceiving, and thinking, which are evident in our personal and social relationships.  Although our character can be changed, it typically remains the same and affects us all of our lives.  Personality traits turn into personality disorders when they become inflexible, do not adjust to relationship needs, and significantly damage social and job functioning or cause considerable misery.   Often, the people who live and work with the personality disordered are more distressed.  People with personality disorders often fail at work and love.

People who are acting neurotic see their behavior as uncharacteristic and different from their usual self.  In contrast, the pathological behavior in people with personality disorders is in character and routine for them.  Neuroses may develop at any time; personality disorders are life-long. Personality disorders first become evident during adolescence or earlier and are highly incurable.

Codependents need to spend more time building a new relationship and going slowly. Take the time to learn how conflicts were managed in a person’s family.  Find out how a new partner shows his or her love to others.   Be aware of what you want for yourself and what you want in a relationship.  Know how you need to be treated and listen closely for emotional issues.  We all have emotional challenges and need to assess if a person’s immaturity is likely to sabotage a healthy relationship.  Respect your vulnerabilities and don’t hook into a being a relationship martyr.  Remember your relationship history of choosing partners that end up resembling a caretaker.  You might have felt in the beginning of a past relationship that you knew your partner even though you had just met.  Chances are on an unconscious level they reminded you of a caretaker that this time was going to cherish you.  You felt your needs were going to be satisfied and you would no longer feel alone.  Denial is strongest at the beginning of romantic relationships.

Some questions to answer when assessing for problem behavior:

  1. Does he or she blame their mistakes or failures on others or the world at large?  Listen closely to their relationship, family and work history.
  2. Do they acknowledge their part in the ending of past relationships or problems with their partners, children, siblings, or parents?
  3. Have they had police contact/arrests for domestic violence, fighting, or criminal behavior?
  4. Do they look for reasons to be insulted?  Do they rant excessively? Are they easily insulted by people when you are out in public?
  5. Do they express negative or aggressive statements about friends, poor people, and the mentally challenged, needy or loving person?
  6. Are they verbally violent in their communication with put-downs, brutal honesty, threats, or hostility?
  7. Do they push for intimacy, start making future plans, and immediately place you in the role of the love of their life? Run….
  8. Does he or she call or text you constantly?
  9. Is the person overly dramatic, and always calling attention to themselves?
  10. Do they quickly become bored with normal routines?
  11. Do they use their physical appearance to draw attention to self?
  12. Are they arrogant or superior in behaviors and attitudes?

Evaluating character traits without illusion avoids the horrifying moment where you are shocked that your partner is not the person you thought they were.  You deceived yourself all along about his or her character.  The loneliness and sadness of childhood wounds ends up coming to the surface unhealed.  A codependent can become trapped, sticking it out beyond the anger stage and begin bargaining with despair.  Finding a way to resolve this problem and creating a satisfying relationship is not possible with the personality disordered person.  Owning your relationship history and denial will help you see emotional issues in others more clearly. You must invest in your self-acceptance, protection, and emotional growth.  Your investment in repairing the emotional damage of childhood is what allows you to become complete and attract a loving partner capable of nurturing you.

***********************************************************************

Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

 Roberta

Trusting Ourselves to Leave an Abusive Relationship

Broken Heart Courtesy Wikipedia

Broken Heart – Wikipedia

Trusting yourself is the key to living well and being capable of trusting others.  You learn to trust yourself to leave any abusive relationship by listening and following through on your inner wisdom.  This is the start of practicing self-care and self-respect by doing what is true and right and what is best for you.   Falling for partners who deceived, abused, manipulated, and otherwise exploited you is not trusting your instincts.  Chances are there was a small voice that said, “Something doesn’t feel right” or maybe you didn’t feel uncomfortable and are shocked about your choice.   How could someone who felt so right be a total mistake?  Belief in yourself may be shaken.  There are times when we are challenged with change in relationships and fear we can’t take care of ourselves.  Listening to self-talk that says I don’t deserve to love or be loved keeps you stuck.   Believing you deserve a manageable relationship and acting on your intuition ends the abuse.

We may have a partner that tells us we cannot believe in ourselves; we are off base and nuts.  They benefit from mistrust because it keeps the cycle of abuse going.  Fear, panic, and doubt are an enemy to leaving an abusive situation and feelings you do not want to entertain.  You can stand in your truth and trust your own gut.  Accepting your mistakes when you thought you were making a good decision and trusting yourself anyway is important.  The rigid rules and demands for perfect decision-making are self-punishing.  You have the power to make healthy choices.  Are you wondering how you can count on your relationship choices when things went so wrong?   Each person that comes into your life has unique lessons to teach you.  You have no control over anyone’s actions or emotions.  Protect yourself by listening to your heart and no longer placing faith in partners that are destructive.  As you attract healthy partners with your intimate self, you will trust your thoughts and your own emotions. Letting your past interfere with self-trust keeps you trapped in fear and abuse.  You can learn, grow, and improve from your mistakes.  You can make better choices and leave situations with abusive partners.  By accepting your mistakes and being grateful for the lessons, you don’t have to repeat them.   You can make decisions based on what you know now.  Trust your decision to leave and do the best you can.  From your past unwise relationship decisions you experience growth.  Feel good about your decision to change and about your mistakes. Acknowledge your newly acquired awareness and treat yourself kindly when you wonder how you could have been so naïve or blind.  Realize that you were not as aware then as you are now.  Accept your inner knowing and listen attentively.  Know you will survive the abuse, learn from the experience and have deeper self-knowledge.  Begin once more; it is never too late to begin again.  The way to heal a broken heart is to keep on loving.

***********************************************************************

Thank you for reading this post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

 Roberta

Energy Vampires: Emotional Sadism and the Narcissistic Relationship

master of mirrorsThe narcissist is clearly sadistic in his or her rejection of others and in feelings of superiority.  What is a narcissist? Narcissism is a condition in which a person feels pathological self-hatred and is preoccupied with projecting a lovable image.  They are obsessed with this false image and direct tremendous energy to other people’s impressions of them.  Because the projected image is so loveable they are effective in eliciting real love from others.  People’s impression of the false image feels like self-love to the narcissist.  They are incapable of loving themselves or others, but want to be loved.  The narcissist craves admiration and will manipulate the needs and wishes of everyone to obtain it.  When a partner falls for the “lovable” image the narcissist acquires a sense of self through the look of love reflected back in the eyes and actions of the person.  The narcissist needs for constant attention and caretaking takes center stage as desires of others are ignored and denied.  As a relationship progresses the narcissist will not celebrate a partner’s accomplishments, compliment them on anything, and will ignore you in social settings.  They genuinely don’t care about your needs and are experts at pretending they do until they have control. Than the self-involved energy vampire punishes you for having desires because they demand that all of your attention and energy be focused on them.  They suck the life force and joy out of everyone they can take hostage. They prefer your admiration and awe, but eventually their behavior destroys any feelings of love and they will then settle for negative attention. This makes the emotional sadist feel all-powerful and capable of any cruelty.

The narcissist slowly progresses from minimal emotional assaults to intentionally deliberate attacks.  Distancing and cold rejecting aloofness is a favorite weapon.  It doesn’t matter to him if you cry because he is not affected and doesn’t care.  He feels nothing and is not concerned about what you are feeling.  The energy vampire is not interested in your character.  The emotionally sadistic narcissist gets enjoyment from hurting someone.  They are experts at manipulating people’s emotions until they are hurt more than physical abuse.  He intimidates his partners to avoid expressing criticism and disapproval of his actions and decisions.  His partner or children learn that this triggers fits of temper and rage attacks and turns him into an argumentative and irritable person.  His extreme reactions are a punishment for perceived inconsiderateness and insensitivity of his true inner state.  The narcissist blames his partner for his behavior, accuses them of provoking his outbursts and believes that they should be punished for their misbehavior.  Apologies, unless accompanied by requests for forgiveness are not enough.  The fuel of the narcissist’s rage is expended mainly on bizarre verbal accusations directed at made-up and imaginary intentions of the victim.  If you question the appropriateness of the behavior, no longer mirroring admiration and submissiveness, this causes him or her to doubt their illusory self-esteem.  You are then subjected to a period of terror where they try to hurt you for not recognizing their entitlement to your unquestioned obedience.  You will be belittled and humiliated with displays of aggression and emotional violence in countless forms.  His or her behavior changes from putting you on a pedestal to a severe devaluing of you as a worthy person.  The narcissist is repulsed by people judged by him to be useless.  These extreme alterations between seeing you as flawless to complete unworthiness make long-term relationships with the narcissist all but impossible.  He will exploit you cruelly and severely.  He uses you to get confirmation of the accuracy of his superior false image.

The emotional sadist’s abuse is kept secret by conditioning his partners, children, and sometimes colleagues or employees to not tell.  People often find themselves involved emotionally in an intimate or employment relationship before they discover the narcissist true nature.  His victims typically come from family environments where there is abuse and a “don’t talk” rule.  This especially is the case in families with sexual abuse and alcoholism to hide.  So secrecy is a major weapon in keeping the mistreatment confidential.  They keep up a public façade appearing nonthreatening and even altruistic and in private are evil and aggressive.  The victims keep the secrets safe by constructing an explanation to make sense of the cruelty, “He just can’t deal with intimacy” or “She had a bad childhood.”  Some victims are raised to not “air dirty laundry” and keep silent about the abuse to family and friends. The victim is held in traumatic bondage by being convinced they are the problem and to be blamed for the misconduct.  By the time the victim discovers the truth they find it difficult to leave the relationship.  The emotional battering renders the wounded with feelings of helplessness and shame for not seeing through the angelic façade.

Dealing with a narcissists sadistic behavior is pretty dismal.  Their numbers in society are great and it is imperative that this personality disorder becomes readily recognizable.  I have worked with countless numbers of violent narcissistic men and women, many more I am sure that missed my clinical recognition.  If you have found yourself living in quiet desperation or working with an emotional and/or physically abusive narcissist, please educate yourself and others about the abuse.  I have written a post on “How Codependents Leave Abusive Narcissistic Relationships” and “How Codependents Leave Employment with Narcissistic Boss” that you might find helpful to read.

**************************************************************************

Thank you for reading this post.  I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to create healthy relationships.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Individuals Stuck in Abusive Relationships: Comments from Survivors of Post Traumatic Narcissism Syndrome

narcissism???

narcissism??? (Photo credit: kk+)

Individuals stuck in abusive narcissistic relationships typically have a long history of tolerating partner abuse.  No matter what abuse is inflicted, they stay in the relationship.  They feel sorry for their partners and believe they can fix them.  Excuses are made for the abusive behavior while blaming themselves.  Survivors must learn how to set boundaries for what they will accept and what they won’t accept or they will never get the love they need and deserve.  Symptoms of PostTraumatic Narcissism Syndrome (PTNS) are common reactions to the intense fear and the emotional battering experienced by survivors of narcissistic personality disordered partners.  PTNS IS AN EXPERIENCE, NOT A DIAGNOSIS.  Symptom indicators are listed below.   Further down are blog comments and my responses to survivors learning to heal from people who won’t or can’t love them.

Symptoms of Post Traumatic Narcissism Syndrome

● Flashbacks of the cruel behavior and trauma

Hyperarousal (i.e., extreme fear for personal safety)

Hypervigilance (i.e., scanning environs for constant threats, stalking, violence)

● Irritability

● Depression & Guilt

● Multiple physical complaints

● Numbing

● Impaired concentration and memory

● Disturbed sleep & distressing dreams

Comments, Questions, and Answers from Survivors of Posttraumatic Narcissism Syndrome

Roberta,

I am a man who has been sucked dry by a woman narcissist. It is just as torturous for men as for woman, if not more so, since you are raised in a society where you are expected to be a caregiver and supporter to the “weaker sex”.

Finally, when you accept the horrible truth that you gave all your heart, mind, body, spirit  and soul to a mere confabulation of a cruel deranged mind; one unable to and that never had any intention of giving in return, and all you were led to believing in doesn’t even exist, you stop. You have escaped, barley, with nothing but your life. No less than a prisoner liberated from the Nazi concentration camps. Frail, exhausted, and traumatized but finally free you stop. Stop living in fear. Stop allowing yourself to be screamed at, spit on, lied to , stolen from, smacked, ignored, degraded… flat-out abused in all ways. You thank God for spots like this on the internet so the truth of your experience hits home that it was real and you do survive and you STOP.

It was a point long ago when I stopped being a victim and became a volunteer. Now, since I have the testimonies of others and the truth is self-evident, I stop. I am no longer a volunteer; I breathe that sigh of relief and STOP.

Thanks for your support

**********************************************************************

Thank you for sharing the wreckage of living in purgatory with a narcissist.  My hope is that you use your intellect and the emotional pain to banish the trauma memories from your mind.  As I’ve said in other posts, “Renting space” in your head to the narcissist allows them to punish you conceivably for forever.  Recovering from the psychic damage is a process and it sounds like you are showing up for yourself.  More power to you!  Sending positive vibes for the immense relief that comes from taking your soul back.

**********************************************************************

Roberta,

As a child I was an older sibling to a younger child with a disability.  The family focus was on helping this other child.  As a young adult I dated guys who were unreliable, emotionally unavailable or needy. I was married to a narcissist for over 30 years.  I did not know that he was having affairs from the time our children were preschoolers.  I found out after our children were about grown up and decided to divorce him. I had the papers served without discussion.    We are divorced now for about a year or two.  We still have a house to sell and recently he left town without telling me or our realtor.  This leaves me with the homeowner chores of selling the house: mowing grass, paying utilities, freshening interior, sweeping porches etc.  When he is in town I am miserable.  When he leaves town I am miserable.  I don’t know what to do with myself.  I spent my life waiting to see what he wanted and doing that.   I don’t know what I want or what to do with the rest of my life.  I feel anxiety and for a long time low level depression.  My young adult sons do not respect me.  I feel very alone and in a lot of pain.  The adult sons will be with their Dad over the holidays & I will be alone at the holidays for the first time in my life.

*************************************************************************

My heart goes out to you.  The emotional and psychic repair from a narcissistic relationship is a process.  Learning about what happen to you and the dynamics of the narcissistic personality will give you a language that will help you heal.  Emotional self-care needs to be your priority and planning ahead of time for the upcoming holiday season is important. Please think about participating in activities or being with people that nurture you.   I believe there are times in our lives when we are challenged with change and fear we can’t take care of ourselves.  Listening to the voices in our head that tell us we don’t deserve to love or be loved keeps us stuck in familiar pain.   So does renting space in our heads to abusive people by replaying thoughts of their cruelty.  The narcissistic personality feeds on this emotional vulnerability to keep his victim trapped (forever).  You have the strength to change and love yourself or you wouldn’t have written to me.   I am wishing you the best.

**********************************************************************

Roberta,

I am struggling with a mother who is a passive aggressive narcissist in denial. My father is an alcoholic and a puppet that she controls (which most likely stimulates his drinking).   I am the age of 33 and have had unhealthy relationships my whole life, unknowingly attracted to narcissists. I have been through years of therapy and realized my role as a codependent in both my dysfunctional family and love relationships.  My awareness and perspective broadened and I found a man who compliments me, we married last year.

However, I still struggle with my mother as now that I am married feels neglected, as my time and attention to catering, pleasing and validating her self-worth has diminished. She plays the guilt trip with me, “I never want to bother you because you are always with your husband”, “I haven’t heard from you, and I would like to see my daughter once in a while.”

Also, she is always helping others, care taking and yet isn’t available to immediate family members that are in need. She enjoys feeling needed and being admired in the eyes of others. Everyone praising her how wonderful she is.

What do I do? How can I have a healthy daughter-mother relationship? How do I communicate myself so that she realizes the strain she has put on the relationship?

Any guidance is greatly appreciated!

********************************************************************

Thank you for writing to me. I feel for you in your life situation.  Giving ourselves permission to say “no” to what feels bad when it’s a parent is a sad situation to face.  Profound sadness begins early in children of alcoholics and narcissistic mothers.  Unresolved sadness from childhood can keep us stuck emotionally as adults.  Children of alcoholics/narcissist’s learn quickly to deny this sadness in order to survive.  This is how a high tolerance for emotional pain and inappropriate behavior begins to develop.  In adulthood the unresolved sadness can get expressed as clinical depression, compulsivity, or even physical violence. 

The rules in the alcoholic-narcissistic family systems typically are:  “Don’t talk,” “Don’t trust” and “Don’t feel” (John Bradshaw, 1988).   Don’t talk about the fact that you are scared, lonely, sad, angry, hurt and emotionally impoverished.  Don’t talk about dad’s alcoholism or mom’s cruelty.  Quite often these children grow up alone with the family secret while carrying the family pain.   Children learn early not to trust because the parent’s behavior is unpredictable and often combined with many broken promises.  To feel the profound sadness of abandonment is too much for a child to process.  The challenge as an adult is giving us permission to have our feelings, express them, and set boundaries.  The often unconscious buried fear of abandonment runs deep.  This is not a life sentence, you can learn new behaviors.  The healing from childhood wounds is a process and sometimes we need to take a break from our family of origin while we re-parent ourselves and learn entitlement to our feelings. 

It sounds like to be with your mom and dad you have to accept victimization.  You are probably the only one who can change and you deserve to be loved in a healthy way.  It starts with a commitment to be disciplined in your self-care.  Invest in yourself.  Learn a new language (read about alcoholic families and parents who try to get their unmet childhood dependency needs healed through their children) for what has happen to you, so you are clear on who is responsible for what and clear on what you are letting go.   This will allow you to release your resentments and be done with them.  Give yourself permission to learn what is right for you and develop endurance for sitting with the bad feelings that come up when you are breaking the family rules.   You might want to consider finding a mantra (i.e., “It’s not okay to hurt myself”) to repeat when the feelings of shame appear from setting a boundary.  Feelings of shame (Who I am is bad) for taking care of yourself are likely when you say “no more” to your mother or say, “Dad I will not be around you when you drink.”  I really believe that coming out of the family system you described requires mentors and people to support your courage to experience the love and life you deserve.  You will probably have to accept that your parents are incapable of loving you in a healthy way.  We are really not made to solve our life’s challenges alone.  As the saying goes, “It takes a village.”  Please leave yourself open to finding positive parent role models.  I am wishing you an abundance of love.

****************************************************************************

Thank you for reading this article. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to put an end to relationship abuse.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Roberta

Secrets of a Narcissist

Dissociated Personality States Courtesy Wikipedia

Dissociated Personality States Courtesy Wikipedia

Richard (not his real name) profiled me as his perfect victim on an online dating site rated as a top trusted relationship provider in the USA.  For many decades he had fooled friends, family, and colleagues while sexually abusing the clients that he was ethically bound to do no harm to.  Richard has a long trail of soul murdered women in his pursuit of ideal love and omnipotence.

He is a charming, seducing, angelic narcissist creating misery in his wake.  Narcissists tend to damage the lives of almost every person they encounter by lying, betraying, and manipulating.  For Richard’s ex-wives and child their life with him was purgatory.  For all he could keep hostage, it was misery, a nightmare.  For some partners it must have felt like evil.

According to the DSM-IV-TR, a patient must exhibit five or more of the following traits in order to be diagnosed with NPD:

● shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

● grandiose sense of self-importance

● preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

● belief 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)

● need for excessive admiration

● sense of entitlement

● takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

● lacks empathy

● often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

Narcissist are compulsive in their pursuit of narcissistic supply (awe, admiration, attention, even being feared) and projecting a loving image that is compatible with his or her false self-image.  A narcissist’s projected image tends to be lovable until he or she gets tired of being nice.  No longer able to manufacture adoration in their partner; being feared then becomes narcissistic supply.  A victim’s emotional pain and destroyed self-esteem feeds the fantasy of being all-powerful and capable of anything.

The start of our relationship was a whirlwind romance.  The chemistry appeared to be instant for both of us.  We met outside a bookstore.  I was sitting on a bench, when I locked eyes with him, the sexual tension was immediate.  My whole body was vibrating with aliveness.  He mistook my loving nativity and longing for being gullible.  He underestimated my integrity and commitment for doing no harm to others.  He was too good to be true and I didn’t understand that meant a nightmare.  He came across as a confident, charming, attentive, professional in my field.  Shortly after we were dating he started making plans and began to tell me he loved me. I was the ideal reflection of true love for his preoccupation with projecting a lovable image.    He had no intention of following through on the promises he made.  He had picked me to better his status and save him from financial disaster.  My life had been so extraordinary as a result of my personal adversities that I believed this miracle man was possible.  His insidious ability to mirror my wish-fulfillment (delusion) for a perfect man was award-winning as was the lovability of his projected image.  My emotions of awe, respect, admiration, and attention were food for his narcissistic supply.  He catered to my needs and wishes because he craved my reflected love and admiration.  It was through my reactions that he felt an illusionary sense of self.  Richard was sadly divorced from his true self and married to his image.  He was an empty soul forced to use me in order to feel his existence.  If I had not caught his written admission of the crimes he committed over several decades I might have become his mere instrument for gratification.  He was never bothered by his history of unscrupulous behavior and the constant exploitation of his victims.  Indifferent to the consequences of his actions, the damage and pain he inflicted on his partners, son, friends, clients or family.  The written admission of the crimes he committed came as a result of a major life crisis which directly threatened his projected and perceived image.  Life crises are typically the only times a narcissist may seek help.  A girlfriend he had lived with for 10 years ended their relationship and at the same time his 16-year-old son from a previous marriage got a restraining order put in place, stating to the judge, “My father is too immature to be a parent.”  In a moment of desperation, two years before we met, he wrote about his secrets in a journal.  In his disorganized character style he left the journal in his library bookshelf.

Early in our relationship, after declarations of love, and before his proposal, he left his email page open on his computer.  I noticed emails coming from our on-line dating site.  I mentioned this to him asking if he was still looking for a match.  I saw irritation cross his face as he told me he was off the dating site, but they kept sending him email.  I took him at his word and let it go.  Later, when he asked for my hand in marriage, I accepted.  Weeks after the engagement the manipulation began for me to pay his bills.  My financial solution was to sell my home and move in to his house.  I reasoned that moving in was the right action to take because we were lifetime partners.  I was very fortunate because the beginning of grace was being manifested.  I was settled in his home when my lap top stop working and he allowed me to use his computer.  Again, one evening when he was attending a men’s support group, he left his email page open.  I saw communications with women from several dating sites.  I did not open the messages.  I was shocked, devastated, and numb.  I told him what I had discovered when he came home.  He exploded accusing me of bizarre intentions and accusations.  We later explored the cognitive distortions that allowed him to verbally attack my character.  We are both in the mental health field and empathy would have been the emotionally appropriate reaction to my discovery, especially since he professed innocence.  My red flags went up.  Several days later I opened the “Windows Media Center” program on his lap top to look at some pictures we had taken and the program opened his email site.  There I saw several communications with women from various dating sites.  One of the emails was dated after he had asked me to marry him and I opened the communication.  The truth of his betrayal was revealed to me.  I was so upset that I left our bed that night to sleep on the couch in his library loft.  I looked through the multitude of self-help books in the shelves to see if I could find one on sexual addiction.  It was then that I found a brown journal outlining his sex crimes against clients and the history of abusive treatment with women he married and partnered.  After reading his disclosures I wasn’t sure what kind of person I was dealing with and feared I might be in personal danger.  I decided the best action was to go back to bed and pretend I was okay.  Fortunately, his place of work was at a great distance from home.  He had a routine of staying overnight with friends or at work on Monday and Tuesday nights, coming home on Wednesday nights and then he was off from work on Thursdays.  Monday morning I consulted with a colleague on the discovery of his crimes and then took the evidence to the police.  I arranged to move all my belongings out of his house and went into hiding as the FBI Sex Crime Unit and local police evaluated the evidence.  In the meantime, he didn’t know I had left until he came home on Wednesday night.  The phone calls and emails began immediately.  Richard did not know he was under police investigation.  I did not respond to his attempts to contact me and have not spoken to him since this happen several years ago.  No contact is the only way to deal with a sociopathic narcissist when you leave.

Following is one of his emails to me after I left his house and below are a few excerpts from his journal.

Hi Baby,

Please don’t believe your mind!  You know about negative fear based thinking.  What you saw is what you saw, but like looking at the glass you can see it as half-full or half empty.  Listen to my heart.  Carlos Constenada says in, The Teaching of Don Juan, “when you are at the crossroads and both roads go nowhere choose the one with HEART IN IT.”  Please listen to my heart.  We were beginning to plan our lives and our wedding.  I want to marry you.  I want to give you your ring back.  I am sorry.  I know I let you down.  I don’t want “the ring” it’s yours, let me give it back.  I have been hurt and confused by this too.  Forgive me, I was wrong.  I am sorry I was wrong in not protecting your mind from the painful thoughts that I betrayed you.  If I would had destroyed those emails this would never have happened.  I DID NOT BETRAY YOU AND NEVER WOULD.  I am sorry you read those emails.  I pissed you off.  If you need more proof that I can be trusted, than I will give it to you.  Help me help us so I can help you.  You punished me enough, but let US work it out.  I will go to therapy with you.  I will go to groups.  I want a life with you, whatever it takes.  I never had the opportunity to have my hearts dream with a woman.  We have the juice to have a real beautiful romantic life.  Let your anger go.  Let us have each other back.”

Excerpts from his journal:

I have used woman as objects and manipulated them for my own purposes.  I used Linda (not her real name) as a sexual object to clean house and serve my needs, so I could read and do for myself for self serving purposes.  I married Sally (not her real name) because I thought I could use her to provide for my security.  We were compatible.  She had more competence in business and with finances.  She wanted to have a child.  She was someone who would take risks.

**************************************

I have been willing to use anyone.  For years I would do the beach patrol and use women’s bodies to relieve my sexual narcissism.  I hurt people with sex.  I used clients for my needs.  I used clients and I used my sexual instinct.  I wanted so many women.  I had sex with many clients to meet my own needs.  I have used women as sexual objects to control for my own joy.

***************************

Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll.  I am a bad ass risk-taking tough guy.  I got my body in shape to protect myself.  I live in the basic instincts.  I have a persona of a hunk.  To be a man meant you could endure more pain and take more risk.  I was willing to challenge people and use force to get my way.

****************************

I have had a strong lust for the touch of attractive women in my life.  I was not much interested in her character.  I am a sex hound, a cheat, someone who has stolen when given a chance.  I have an interest only in what I can get and at times I am desperate and have had to settle.  I settled with Linda, Sally, Karen, and Joyce because of what they could do for me.  Diane was someone I could use and she had a house.

*******************************

I used my desires for sex, alcohol and pleasure to get my basic instincts met to dominate and control.  “Find, Feel, F…k, Forget.”

None of Richards’s victims have come forward.  Due to confidentiality laws, information could not be obtained from the clinics and hospitals he worked at over the years.  Written admission of crimes is not enough to press charges or hold muster in a court of law.  My hope is that this experience has stopped him from abusing anymore victims.  He has been a great teacher for me and a gift to my work with violent clients.

Thank you for reading this article. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to put an end to relationship abuse.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.

Does the Violent Sociopath, Narcissist, and the Emotionally Immature Male Change?

I have facilitated court mandated 52-week intervention groups for the male perpetrators of domestic violence for almost two decades and have become convinced that change happens only in an environment of love, where each group member has something to offer all the others. The violent person needs not only to receive love but also to give love in return.  The more lethal members have much to give; they can heal other members by sharing the severity of their violence.  As group cohesiveness develops, the truly violent member can reveal to the other group members his lethality without offense and without being shamed.  I have observed with my clients that through listening and sharing their stories they discover and learn a new way of viewing their problems and interacting with the world.  They start to feel safe and their life takes on a new meaning as they begin to own the stories they tell.

The abuser that accepts 100% responsibility for their own actions comes to view violence (emotional, verbal, physical, etc.) as never being an acceptable solution when solving problems.  These men come to see that their impulse control problem fueled by self-hatred is more powerful than they are.  Dealing with their anger problems alone is ineffective and not enough.  They need others to help them; and need others to give back what they have received.  In a group of fellow batterers they can face themselves, they hear their life story and experience the feeling of self-acceptance. This experience of being understood and fitting in involves honesty.  This happens by telling the truth about their violent behavior.  They also learn where they fit by listening to how others have handled or are attempting to handle similar situations.  By listening they discover a way of life that really works.  Listening and telling is how they participate and how they learn to stop violence.

The narcissist and sociopathic clients seem to not experience a need to belong.  I believe their profound self-hatred stops the development of real love for self and others. They are constitutionally incapable of empathizing with their victims and often inflict great (physical or emotional) pain on meaningful others while enjoying their writhing and suffering.  Some of these clients openly admit to the purgatory they put their partners through. The sociopath in particular does it for pure pleasure.  Impressing upon the personality disordered defendant that greater legal punishment will be the consequence if they get caught for continued violence appears to be the only effective tool for impulse control while they are in intervention.  These men are powerful teachers for group members.

As a professional working with violent men my duty is to be an instrument of change and putting the injured parts of my clients together into some kind of whole.  I do not abuse power or control and I model self-love and compassion.  The same assertive, trustworthy, and caring woman shows up each week to group.  I have found that many clients experience alienation and separation because the connection with something larger than oneself is missing.  Creating a non-shaming group environment is essential to the acceptance of outside help.

An argument for the principles that being good and fitting in involves honesty with self pervades all spiritual visions.  The act of confronting the truth of one’s own violence begins the development of empathy and the recognition that others weaknesses make them not different from, but like oneself.  Being an instrument in raising tolerance for differences, along with an understanding that we all struggle with the same demons, we all share the same fears and sorrows, we all do the best we can with what we have is the foundation for conflict resolution and self-responsibility.

******************************************************************

Thank you for reading this article.  I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience.  As a result, I’ve learned a lot about abusive relationships and what it takes to put an end to the violence.  And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.