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Until about a year ago, I was totally uninterested in politics – those subjects were my absolute least favorite in school. So, I am surprised that today I watch the news on almost a daily basis. I don’t know what changed. Maybe it’s all the chaos surrounding this administration. But, at age 51, I am finally paying close attention to what is happening in the United States…and I don’t like it one bit.
When Obamacare was passed, I was concerned. At the time, I only watched Fox News and I was a Republican, so you can imagine what I thought at the time. Fox News did bring up many concerns regarding Obamacare …and those concerns were justified as there are serious problems with it that need to be addressed.
When Trump became President, I wasn’t happy at all even though I was a Republican. I lived in a highly narcissistic environment for about twenty years, and I saw the exact behaviors in this man that I saw personally in my own situation. This concerned me greatly. I tried to warn people about this man, but I was attacked on social media for daring to question Trump’s behavior. Since that time, I have watched on a daily basis the chaos in this administration, mostly a direct result of his narcissism. I shake my head in frustration all the time, and I am disgusted with Washington in general. During this time, I contacted my senator, Mark Warner, and my Congresswoman, Barbara Comstock, on several occasions about my concerns. I never thought I would contact a Democrat, but I am so glad I did. Mr. Warner responded every single time I contacted him. I never heard from Barbara Comstock (she is a Republican). That speaks volumes.
A few months ago, I decided to become an Independent. The Republican party as I knew it years ago has changed. This party no longer represents my beliefs as I don’t condone the behavior that I have witnessed in this administration. I have watched Mark Warner as he drilled members of the current administration about possible Russia collusion. I am very impressed with Mr. Warner, and he will always have my vote in the future because I believe that he truly wants the best for this country.
Now to healthcare. John McCain is my personal hero. Although I do have issues with Obamacare, the “skinny bill” was a “disaster”, as Lindsay Graham put it in his speech before the vote. It would have left 16 million without insurance if it was passed into law. It also would have hiked insurance premiums 20%!! If that doesn’t anger every single American out there, I don’t know what will! Thank you so much, Mr. McCain, for voting your conscience. You have no idea how many Americans consider you their hero today.
Here’s the way I see it – if you want to bring down the cost of healthcare, lower the cost of prescription drugs, medical supplies and insurance. DO NOT take it from people who barely have anything (Medicaid)! Specifically, I would love to see caps put on the salaries of the CEOs and other senior management of pharmaceutical and insurance companies.
I used to work for a pharmaceutical company, so I have an idea of how much money these companies pull in and how many “perks” employees receive. I also worked in the medical field as a laboratory technologist. We used to joke about how aluminum foil in a medical supplies catalog cost something like $50 per roll when you could go to Food Lion and get the same thing for $2…I’m not kidding!
The following is a list of the highest earning CEOs in the pharmaceutical industry (per research done by Tracy Stanton of FiercePharma.com) :
- Len Schliefer – CEO of Regeneron, $41.97 million
- Jeffery Leiden – CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, $36.64 million
- Brent Saunders – CEO of Allergan, $36.61 million
- Martine Rothblatt – CEO of United Therapeutics, $33.21 million
- Lamberto Andreotti – CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb, $27.06 million
- Heather Bresch – CEO of Mylan, $25.82 million
- Kenneth Frazier – CEO of Merck, $25.03 million
- Alex Gorsky – CEO of Johnson & Johnson, $24.99 million
- Robert Hugin – CEO of Celegene, $24.24 million
- Ian Read – Pfizer, $23.28 million
That is just the top ten!
These salaries are ridiculous. No one needs to make this kind of salary when we have American citizens out there that are struggling to make ends meet every single month. Personally, I am on disability because I have had three back surgeries and live in constant pain. I also have fibromyalgia, and just in the past month, I learned that my right knee has almost no cartilage behind the knee cap (due to 25+ years of ballet, jazz and hip hop dancing). I am in physical therapy and have received an injection, but it is highly probable that I will need knee replacement surgery in the near future.
I have Medicare parts A and B. I also bought extra coverage through United Healthcare to help pay the 20% that Medicare doesn’t cover. I am on Savella and Lyrica for pain/fibromyalgia. Six months into this year, I received a notice from United Healthcare that I was in the coverage gap for these medications which means more out-of-pocket costs for me. Well, the cost was too high for me, so I had to drop my Lyrica to one-half of what I was taking during the first part of the year. I now live with increased pain and will have to deal with this until the end of the year.
It angers me that Mitch McConnell and most Republicans put forth a bill to make drastic cuts to Medicaid while doing nothing to reduce the costs of health insurance and pharmaceuticals. There are millions of Americans who are suffering and are barely able to make it month to month while these CEOs are pulling in a salary of $20 to $30 million per year! This has to stop!
Why won’t Congress address the gross mishandling of funds in these industries? How can these executives rake in this kind of money, knowing that there are people out there who are struggling, and sleep at night? Come on, congressmen and women!! Someone get a backbone and take up this issue. John McCain stood up last night, and it was great…will he or someone else have the balls to finally take on these companies?? Mark Warner, will you take the lead on this?
My suggestion for the American people is to vote out those senators and representatives that are on the extreme left and the extreme right. Get moderates in Congress on both sides so they can sit down TOGETHER and hammer out a COMPROMISE (not doing things in secret behind closed doors). I also urge Congress to come up with some kind of law that puts a cap on the salaries of pharmaceutical, insurance and medical supplies executives. Putting this cap in place should redirect the money back to the consumers and drive down these ridiculously high prices. There is no need…EVER…for someone to have a salary of $20 to $30 million PER YEAR when other people are struggling to survive.
A copy of this blog will be sent to my senator and representative. Please feel free to send a copy to your senator and representative as well.
It has been quite a while since I have written a blog post. I just haven’t felt like writing because I have quite honestly been quite depressed lately.
I have been struggling so hard to not write about politics. I have some really close friends that are Trump supporters, and I don’t want to offend them. In January, I decided to write some posts on my facebook page about narcissism and how it relates to Trump. Wow, did I ever get hammered by Trump supporters. They did not like the posts at all, and I was called all kinds of names. After that, I decided to not post about politics…well, that didn’t even last a couple of weeks.
Although I don’t want to offend anyone that I deeply care about, there is just something in me that feels that if we don’t speak up, we are doomed to repeat history. Keeping quiet in this tumultuous time may actually be the wrong thing to do. I struggle with this war in my mind almost every day. Well, I have decided to address some things that are really bothering me. I apologize in advance to any of my close friends who don’t agree with what I am about to write, but I feel it is the right thing to do. I hope you understand.
I am disgusted by what I am seeing in Washington. I am particularly sick of seeing all of Trump’s comments on the “fake news”. This is deeply disturbing to me, and this morning on Meet the Press, John McCain so eloquently stated these same concerns to Chuck Todd. He said that the first thing that dictators do is to shut down the press. This week, Trump actually sent out a tweet saying the media is “the enemy of the American people.” I know, I know….Trump isn’t a dictator…yet, anyway. But, as John McCain said, we should learn from history.
It is well-known how Hitler and Stalin controlled the media during their time in power. Stalin allowed citizens to read, listen, and see only what he approved. During Hitler’s reign, the Editor’s Law was enacted in October, 1933, and paragraph 14 stated, “Editors must omit information calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home.”
Here are some other facts about oppressive regimes, both past and present:
- In North Korea, all media is controlled by the government.
- During the military control of Burma, the media was not allowed to report any opinions that were anti-government.
- In Turkmenistan, Niyazov’s administration controlled and censored media content.
- In Equatorial Guinea, criticism of Obiang’s regime is not tolerated.
- In Libya, no negative reports of Qaddafi were allowed during his time in power. It was the most tightly controlled media in the Arab world at the time.
Clearly, freedom of the press is of utmost importance in upholding democracy. Again, to repeat what John McCain said this morning, we should learn from history!
Now, yes, there is some fake news out there, and that is not OK. But it seems to me that Trump wants to claim that all news that is critical of him is fake, and this is simply not true. According to his own tweet,
“The FAKE NEWS media (failing nytimes, NBCNews, ABC, CBS, CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
What stuns me is that some people out there are so quick to say that all news that criticizes Trump is fake, and they seem to believe everything that Trump says is the absolute truth. Let’s look at this a little more in-depth. According to PolitiFact, a Pulitzer Prize winning political fact-checking organization, Trump makes false statements more than truthful ones. Here is the breakdown:
Politifact scorecard of Trump’s statements (www.politifact.com):
12% mostly true
20% mostly false
17% “Pants on fire”
Here are a few specific examples according to PolitiFact:
- Trump stated that Ford Motor Company was staying in the U.S. because of his actions. FALSE: Decision was made four years ago. Actual statement from Ford: “We decided to move the F-650 and F-750 medium duty trucks to Ohio Assembly in 2011, long before any candidates announced their intention to run for U.S. President.”
- “The media has a lower approval rate than Congress.” MOSTLY FALSE: Congress hits the bottom quite often.
- “The murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.” FALSE.
- “Terrorism and terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe have gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported.” “PANTS ON FIRE”: Heavy coverage across the globe.
- “109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers were affected by the immigration executive order.” FALSE: Actually more than 60,000
- “Here in Philadelphia murder has been steady – I mean – just terribly increasing.” FALSE: third lowest since 1990.
- “We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College.” FALSE: Historically it’s in the bottom quarter.
And it goes on and on. I encourage you to read up on Trump’s statements…there are 27 pages on PolitiFacts website (www.politifact.com). And let’s not forget the false statements by his administration – the Bowling Green massacre that never happened, “alternative facts” about election numbers, Spicer saying that it was the biggest election win, period! etc. etc. And one of my favorites from Trump – “The leaks are real, but the news is fake”. Really? How exactly does that work? Well, it doesn’t because that’s not possible.
Fake news? How about Fake Trump!
So how is it that some are quick to point to the news as the source of the problem, but somehow seem to overlook all the untruths that Trump and his administration put out there? Hypocrisy? YES!
I have seen so much hypocrisy since this man took office. This is one of the big, big lessons that I learned in dealing with a narcissistic family – they expect everyone else to follow the rules while they break those rules themselves and attempt to justify their actions. Here are just a couple of the many disturbing examples that I have seen in the administration and in my discussions with other people (and to be VERY clear, I am not justifying the actions of Clinton, Obama, radical Islam, etc. – this is simply meant to show hypocrisy, that’s all):
- Bill O’Reilly of Fox News asked Trump about Putin, saying that Putin is a killer. Trump tried to justify his relationship with Putin by saying that there are killers in the United States. Hypocrisy? Yes! Trump then turns around and talks about how radical Islam is killing people, how Mexico has “bad hombres”, how he is deporting all the murderers….but Putin? Well, he can somehow justify that….(sarcasm).
- For years we heard all about how awful Bill Clinton was for having the affair with Monica Lewinsky. I was one of the ones who spoke out loudly about that affair – I was disgusted by his behavior. But then when I call out Trump for his remarks about women on the bus – grabbing the *****, some of those same people who spoke out about Clinton are now trying to justify Trump’s statements. Hypocrisy? Yes! One of the justifications I heard recently was that it was OK because men think about sex about every 2 minutes. Another popular justification is that “all men do this”. If it had been Clinton on that bus, I can assure you that the “all men do this” excuse would never fly!!
- The e-mail scandal involving Hillary Clinton – all last year, we heard “lock her up!!” over and over again. Then Flynn is caught talking sanctions with Russia and lying to Pence, and Trump continues to talk about how Flynn is a great man. Then Trump turns it onto the media saying that Flynn was treated very unfairly. Hypocrisy? Yes! Another example – Trump talks openly at Mar-a-Lago while dining after learning about the missle launch in Russia. Again, hypocrisy? Yes! Attack Clinton relentlessly, but when he does it…well, that’s OK (again, sarcasm).
- How many times did we hear complaints about Obama’s vacations? Yet Trump has been to Mar-a-Lago three times and has been in office for less than a month. Hypocrisy? Yes!
- How many times have you heard Trump say that polls are rigged? But then he posts a poll on twitter showing that his immigration ban was “one of his most popular so far”. Then he says that all negative polls about him are fake. Do you see the hypocrisy here?
So, in conclusion, Trump is not the awesome person that he portrays. This administration is full of hypocrisy and untruths. Yes, there is some fake news, but most is reliable if you watch the mainstream media. They may be biased, but in general, CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS…these are all reliable sources that will correct mistakes rather quickly once caught.
One of the news outlets suggested that Trump and his administration may be using psychological warfare. The definition, according to Dictionary.com, is “the use of propaganda, threats, and other psychological techniques to MISLEAD, intimidate, demoralize, or otherwise INFLUENCE the thinking or behavior of an opponent.” Is Trump and his administration actually doing this? I will leave that to you, the reader, to decide after reading this post.
A few days ago, I managed to find the time to watch Scientology and the Aftermath on A&E. Leah Remini, well-known for her role as Carrie on The King of Queens, hosts this amazing and enlightening show. I have never been in Scientology, but I had heard about it as many celebrities belong to this “church”. I was shocked and dismayed at the abuses that are going on in Scientology, and I would like to thank Leah from the bottom of my heart for exposing these abuses. It will not only help to shine a light on this group, but it may, as in my case, help people to understand how mental abuse occurs.
Let me explain further. Leah explains on the show that the “church” believes if anything bad happens in your life, it is your own fault. When she made this statement, it caught my attention. I turned off my computer and phone and began to pay attention. Why? Because there was someone who had been in my life who made this exact same comment to me many times. This person was a member of a narcissistic group of individuals, and those relationships ended years ago.
I was glued to the television from this point until the end (three hours of reruns of previously aired shows). Leah went on to explain that if a person says anything critical about the “church”, they are considered a suppressive person, or SP, and are considered an enemy of Scientology. At this point, the concept of “Fair Game” comes into play in which a scientologist may lie, destroy, sue, or trick the suppressive person in order to discredit them. Even though the “church” says that they canceled Fair Game years ago, Leah has shown on this show that it still exists.
My heart sunk. Not only is this just sickening for a so-called church to allow this kind of behavior, but I realized that is what I went through in dealing with narcissists in my past. I tried to address certain issues involving narcissistic people in my past, but each time I suggested they needed to take responsibility for some of their bad actions, I was blamed for causing all the problems. I was not allowed to say anything that could be viewed as critical of this group of people. When the relationships ended, I was lied to repeatedly. A friend actually told me that one of them said I was “crazy”. Sounds similar to what Leah had described. Even though I have been through counseling and knew that I was the victim, it really helped to hear it on this show. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I actually started to think that this narcissistic group might actually make good scientologists!
After watching the shows, I looked up some more information on Scientology in preparation for writing this blog. I learned that scientologists hate the psychiatry profession. This brings back memories of how Tom Cruise insulted Brooke Shields for having post-partum depression. Again, this made me think about my own past. With all of my health problems, I was told over and over again that I wouldn’t have these health issues if I just exercised. Again, I was made to feel that my health issues were my own fault which is entirely not true. Although some health issues (such as obesity) might be helped with exercise, mine were not (endometriosis and a broken back). I was also told that “counseling doesn’t work”. Eerily similar to Scientology.
Leah made one remark during the show that really hit me hard. She made it clear that if someone is a victim of Scientology or any other cult, know that YOU ARE A VICTIM. Bad things aren’t happening to you because it’s your fault. YOU ARE A VICTIM! This is soooo true! Thank you, Leah! This is going to help so many people, and you are reaching people who are not just a part of Scientology, but all those who have suffered from some form of mental abuse.
As I was doing research for this blog, I learned some of the basic beliefs in this “church”. I was raised as a Christian, and I am still a Christian. I will always be a Christian. I was stunned that there are some in Scientology that also claim to be a Christian. Let me be clear – Scientology flies in the face of Christianity. The two are diametrically opposed. Two opposite ends of the spectrum.
According to Hank Hanegraaff in The Bible Answer Book for Students, The Church of Scientology claims to be compatible with Christianity. He states that this is not true, and I completely agree. The concept of Fair Game is just one example. To teach that lying, destroying, tricking, etc. anyone who is critical of Scientology is opposite of Christianity. We are not allowed to lie, period, as is stated in one of the Ten Commandments. We are taught to “love your neighbor as yourself”, no matter who your neighbor is….scientologist or otherwise. Scientology pushes disconnection from anyone they consider a “suppressive person.” Basically, this teaches intolerance. Christianity teaches compassion.
As far as the belief that whatever happens to you is your own fault: Let’s think about this. Someone is born with a birth defect – is this their own fault? How is that possible? What about someone who loses their husband in a terrible car accident and finds herself unemployed with three children to support? What about a child that loses both parents in a plane crash? Is that child to blame?
Here are a few BIBLICAL verses that dispute that belief:
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh…But He [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”…That is why, for Christs’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10.
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” John 9:1-3
So, according to the Holy Bible, difficulties in this life are not necessarily the result of sin. Opposite than the teaching in Scientology.
I strongly believe that the evil in this world comes about through cunning deceit. Many times, these people/organizations attempt to fool people by appearing as though they are “good” people/organizations when behind the scenes they are planning their attack. Remember this biblical verse:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in SHEEP’S CLOTHING, but inwardly are ravening wolves. Matthew 7:15.
For scientologists and anyone else who may be subject of mental abuse, remember this biblical verse:
For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of PEACE, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Corinthians 14:33
For those who have been deceived by these individuals, don’t beat yourself up. Just acknowledge it and move forward on the right path away from this evil behavior. Remember this biblical verse:
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24
I hope and pray that all those who have suffered through disconnection or other abuses of Scientology and anyone else who have endured mental abuse find comfort and peace. And again, thank you to Leah for bringing this issue to light!
**Bible verses taken from the King James Version.
I recently came across an excellent article by Kim Saeed titled “Why Narcissists Discard You at the Worst Possible Times”. This is one of the most accurate articles that I have ever read on this aspect of narcissism. I shared this on my Facebook page, and several people commented on how true the article was, so I thought it would be a good idea to do an actual blog post on this topic. The link to Kim’s article on her website is at the end of this blog post, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has or is currently dealing with a narcissist.
In her article, Kim talks about how a narcissist will discard a victim at a stressful time in his/her life in order lure the sufferer into triangulation or trauma bonding. In my case, I believe triangulation played a role, but trauma bonding not so much because I didn’t play by the “narcissist’s playbook”. My ex decided to ask me for a divorce at the absolute lowest point in my life – I had two failed lower back surgeries, just had a brain aneurysm, and my father was sick with cancer. I could no longer work due to my back issues. He asked for the divorce just when I was cleared for my third back surgery after recovering from my brain aneurysm. I was shocked as I never saw it coming. He said that we “needed some time apart” and I agreed to that (not knowing that this is all part of the narcissist’s plan). I went to my parent’s house for four days, and when I came home, he had divided up all our assets and told me what I would be getting and what he would take. I was so confused, so I asked him what had happened – why did he do this when we were just supposedly “taking some time apart to think about things”? He just brushed me off, and I knew at that moment that he never had any intention of working toward saving our marriage. The next week, I found hidden e-mails – he had been having an affair. Kim describes this actual type of event in her article below.
After reading this article, I realized that this was triangulation. He attempted to stay a part of my life for the first few months, even insisting on visiting me in the hospital after my third surgery. I refused. He had a plan as to how the entire separation/divorce would play out, but I didn’t play his game. Instead, I retained an attorney. Everything he had planned to do (division of assets for example) did not happen as he wished. He became a person that I did not recognize. He yelled, insisted that I get rid of my attorney, demanded the return of the e-mails to him, etc. etc. I didn’t give in. I wanted out. Now, I have to say that I did at one point ask him to go to counseling and asked for a try at reconciliation, but I really didn’t want to do this. I did it because the Divorce Care class at my church taught our group that we should always try for reconciliation before moving to divorce. I gave it a weak try, but I really wanted out. So, the trauma bonding really didn’t happen in my case. I shut the door and didn’t re-open it, and this certainly made him very angry. The anger that he exhibited during that time is also known as narcissistic rage. His behavior was all textbook.
Please read Kim’s article below – you’ll be so glad you did. I was!!
Lack of empathy is one of the hallmark signs of many personality disorders, one of which is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Dealing with this kind of behavior without understanding the “why” behind it was frustrating, depressing, infuriating, and confusing. That is why I feel the need to address this issue in-depth in this blog.
I can’t even begin to count the number of occasions that I witnessed lack of empathy in dealing with the narcissistic family in my past. As you probably know from my previous blogs, I had adenomyosis (a painful and debilitating uterine disorder) for seventeen years. During that time, I went through most of my attacks on my own without any help from the narcissistic individuals at that time. I had nights where I thought my abdomen was going to explode (literally!), and there were narcissists in the other room who never checked up on me even though they knew I was sick. I could have been dead in the other room, and they never would have known. I went through many years of this disorder on my own with very little support, and this is one of the main reasons I am so vocal about this disorder. Not only have I been through all of the physical pain, but I have also been down the road of emotional and mental neglect involved in this disorder. There was only one time that a narcissist showed any emotion over my condition, and this is when I actually received the diagnosis of adenomyosis. However, this display of emotion occurred in front of other family members. I now know that this display was for show only. Narcissists like to “appear” like they care, but they really don’t.
There were times when I desperately needed to go to the hospital due to abdominal pain from adenomyosis, and a narcissist actually argued with me about having to go there because they just didn’t want to go. It was too much trouble for them. This happened at another time when I had severe back pain due to a herniated disc and broken vertebrae. Even though this person was seen at the hospital with me, it usually was preceded by a lot of complaining before we arrived.
I witnessed one of the narcissists telling a family member to “get up and go get me some face cream” when that person had been up all night vomiting.
One of the narcissists wanted to go on vacation so badly that she made her sick husband drive over twenty hours, and when they arrived, we noticed that he had red streaks running up his leg. He had cellulitis, and we had to take him straight to the doctor for immediate treatment. They knew he was sick before he left on the trip, but the narcissist insisted that they go anyway.
One narcissist was sick with a head cold, and we were scheduled to go to visit them. We wanted to wait until she was better, but she insisted that we come, saying that “she needed to see us”. While I was there, I came down with a serious head infection. In fact, when we arrived home, my doctor told me that my ears were on the verge of rupturing due to the infection. The narcissist insisted that she didn’t get me sick, saying “It must have come from the plane”.
One day, we received a call about my dad who was in the hospital. The doctors told my mom that she needed to call in the family because he had taken a turn for the worse. The narcissist who drove me to the hospital complained the entire time, asking me if I knew for sure the end was near. This narcissist did not want to go. I cried almost all the way there, but he showed no emotion. He just complained.
Do you see what was going on here? These are all perfect examples of a lack of empathy on the part of the narcissists. They don’t care at all about any discomfort that others are in – they only care about their own needs and wants. During these years, I started to question myself. Did I just complain too much? Shouldn’t I just be a stronger person and deal with these health issues better? Did that infection actually come from the plane? I actually began to feel like I had to “prove” that I had these health problems. One narcissist insisted that I would feel better if I just went to the gym. This shows the ignorance in the knowledge of adenomyosis. Exercise in itself will not heal adenomyosis. Neither will it heal a herniated disc and broken vertebrae. In fact, it may actually worsen the back condition!
I can’t prove that the head infection came from the narcissist, but chances are pretty high. Other than that, the answers to these questions are an emphatic “NO!” The problem is with them, not me. Adenomyosis is a serious uterine disorder that significantly disrupts a woman’s life! If my ears were on the verge of rupturing with that head infection, I had one serious infection! There was no apology – just another incidence of trying to put the blame on someone on the plane. If they can’t understand that – don’t have the ability to empathize – that is their problem – their own personality disorder that THEY need to deal with. I have learned that there is nothing wrong with me. The problem is narcissism and their lack of understanding that they need help.
I now am surrounded by people who actually empathize/sympathize with my health conditions. I have to say that it catches me by surprise when someone is actually sympathetic or empathetic. I’m not used to it. But I can tell you this – I couldn’t be happier that these narcissists are gone and that I actually now have people around me who really care about my well-being. It is refreshing…so refreshing…to have empathetic/sympathetic people in my life who truly want to help me get through the rough times.
If you feel like the people in your life are not empathetic in rough times, I strongly urge you to re-evaluate those relationships and get out of them if possible. Lack of empathy is one of the hallmark signs of many personality disorders, and if they can’t empathize/sympathize, that is a HUGE warning sign that you are not in a healthy relationship. I would advise to get counseling as soon as possible, but don’t expect a change in the narcissist. They rarely admit to having a problem. You may just have to end the relationship.
Hope this information helps. Have a great day, everyone!
This is going to be a hard topic to write about because I struggled with it for so many years during the time in my life that I dealt with narcissists, and I don’t want to sound selfish. I was raised by my parents to always appreciate everything that was given to me, and I tried to do just that. However, at times, I found it very difficult to be truly thankful when receiving gifts from narcissists. Let me explain.
During holidays, I was asked by many people to let them know what I wanted as a gift. This happened most often at Christmas. My mom was wonderful when it came to this – she never, ever questioned my list. I tried to ask for things that I needed but weren’t that expensive – towels, wash cloths, dish rags, a pot, sheets for the bed, etc. She always bought the things on the list, and I was so thankful for that.
However, the narcissists that I dealt with were truly the worst gift-givers. I truly appreciate any gift that is given to me, but dealing with gift-giving with this group was a nightmare. One of them would ask for a list, and I would give one to her just like I did with my mom. She would look at the list and get a funny look on her face. Then she would say “I don’t want to get this kind of stuff. I want to get you something fun!” To try to keep the peace, I would tell her to just get me whatever she wanted, and that made her happy. There were times that she even gave the list back to me. The presents that I received from this person almost never went along with my tastes; regardless, I always thanked them and told them that I appreciated the gifts. Most of the time, the gifts would end up in a cabinet or a closet and would stay there for years. I ended up donating quite a few of these gifts to a thrift store.
Narcissists will give gifts that they want to give according to their own tastes. They don’t consider the recipient’s tastes because narcissists are the center of their own world. According to Susan Krauss Whitbourne, PhD. in an article in Psychology today:
“To put it in psychological terms, the poorest gift-givers are likely to be the highest in the personality quality of narcissism, particularly the component of narcissism having to do with empathy.”
She goes on to say that in its extreme form, narcissists will go “off-list” which is exactly what happened in my case. Narcissists are out to please themselves – they don’t care if they please the recipient. Again, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate all gifts…but it can get difficult when gifts are given to feed a narcissist’s ego rather than just given out of love for the other person.
I look back now and feel like these narcissists were trying to change me into what they wanted me to be. Even the gifts that were given to me were things that they liked, not things that I liked. This ties into one of my previous blogs on the “false-self”. I unknowingly was being molded into someone that they wanted – they were not willing to accept me just as I am. It has been a true blessing to be separated from this family as it has allowed me to progress to self-awareness. I have learned to love my true self, and I have found peace at last!
Lack of empathy is another distinctive feature of someone with narcissistic personality disorder, and that will be discussed in-depth in my next blog.
Happy Memorial Day, everyone!
Whitbourne, Susan K. (2015). The narcissist’s guide to gift-giving. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201512/the-narcissist-s-guide-gift-giving
I’m quite sure you have heard of how our mental health influences our physical health. This can clearly happen in individuals who have dealt with narcissistic abuse. I know because it happened to me.
I first learned about the mind/body connection when I was in college. I had stomach trouble in the second half of my sophomore year in college, and I thought it was just stress. However, it turned out to be acute appendicitis, and it wasn’t diagnosed until I became violently ill during my summer vacation (thank goodness I was at home with my family at the time).
I woke up one morning around 4 a.m. to excruciating abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. This went on for hours. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t sleep, and the thought of food was revolting. Later that day, my mom suggested that we go to the hospital since I wasn’t getting any better, but I refused. I assumed I had food poisoning and thought I just had to wait it out. However, I didn’t improve. Later that night, my mom insisted that we go to the hospital. At this point, I don’t remember much. I think I was blacking out for chunks of time because I can only recall certain things. In fact, I was told that I walked into the ER with my mom, but I don’t remember doing it.
The ER doctor thought at first that I had food poisoning and put me on IV fluids since I was dehydrated. However, just before discharging me, he went on his gut instinct and decided to examine me again. Thank goodness he did because it was during this second exam that he decided to order blood work which showed an extremely high white blood cell count. His exam and the blood work confirmed that I had appendicitis. My uncle, who was a surgeon, was called in, and they took me to surgery shortly thereafter. He told my mom that a routine appendectomy usually takes about forty-five minutes.
Four hours later (yes, four!), my uncle came out of surgery and talked to my mom and aunt. I had a ruptured appendix that was also gangrenous (dead tissue). He was certain that I would have peritonitis (a dangerous abdominal infection), and he was also certain that I would be sick for months and would not be able to return to college in the fall. He told my mom that I wouldn’t have made it through the night if she hadn’t brought me into the hospital. The day after surgery, the pathologist even came up to my room to see “the girl who actually walked in this hospital with THAT appendix!”
Well, I proved my uncle wrong! At the time that this happened, I was having the time of my life in college and at work. I absolutely loved college and my work, and I was determined to return to school in the fall. In fact, when I woke up from surgery, my first question was “When can I go back to work?”
I returned to work three weeks after surgery, and I returned to college that fall. My uncle told my mom that the reason I recovered so quickly was because of my attitude. I learned through this experience that your mental and emotional health have a huge impact on your physical health and your ability to heal.
This lesson recently became apparent to me once again. As I’ve written in previous blogs, I was a victim of narcissistic abuse for many years. During those years, I was always sick with some kind of head infection or stomach virus. I tried my best to take care of myself, and I am known to be a “clean freak”, but I still seemed to pick up every bug out there. This always baffled me.
This confusion all became clear when I cut contact with this narcissistic group. It has been over four years since I dealt with this family, and unbelievably, I haven’t had a major head infection or stomach virus since the relationship with this family ended! Sure, I’ve had the occasional headache or sniffle, but I’ve not had a major infection that has kept me in bed for days for over four years! I finally came to the realization that the reason I was constantly sick while dealing with this family was because I was not self-aware, not happy, full of self-doubt, and under tremendous stress. My body didn’t like it.
If you are living in an emotionally or mentally abusive situation and find yourself constantly ill, remember that there is a mind/body connection when it comes to physical health. Your body might be trying to tell you something. Listen to it!
Today I would like to discuss the topic of self-awareness. I love this topic as becoming self-aware has made a huge difference in my life. I realized during counseling that I had no sense of self-awareness during those years when I dealt with narcissistic individuals. As previously stated in my blog on the “false-self”, I actually wore a “mask” at this point in my life. It was during that time that I was not true to my own self.
Self-awareness refers to the ability to clearly perceive your own thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. It gives you the ability to understand your own needs, feelings, habits, talents, and even shortcomings. I think of it as a way to learn to love yourself for who you truly are, accepting both your strengths and your weaknesses. By becoming more self-aware, you can change how you interpret the actions of other people, and this can change your emotions toward them.
During my pre-counseling years, I allowed narcissistic individuals to “mold” me into a person that they wanted me to be. I was given family furniture and was told to never give it away, and I was given decorations for my home that I hated. I was told how to landscape my yard. I was told over and over again to go to the gym. I played sports that I hated because that’s what they wanted to do. Vacations were spent in places where they wanted to go. The food that I cooked had to be what they liked, and they were extremely picky eaters. I was even told how to vote! I gave in to all their wishes as I was a people-pleaser. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time. I knew I was unhappy, but I didn’t know why.
During counseling, I realized that I had been wearing a “mask”. One of my biggest loves in life is dancing, but I rarely did that during those years because that’s not what they liked to do. I love to cook and try out new dishes, but I was very limited on my ability to do that because of their demands. I was a choreographer for years when I was younger and have a very creative side; however, I couldn’t express that side of me during the years I dealt with narcissism (house decorating, landscaping). In fact, I will never forget saying to my counselor, “I’ve lost my creative side.” Her response to me made such a huge difference: “You haven’t lost it. It was just stifled.” I learned that the “mask” that I had been presenting to everyone was that of my false self. I wasn’t self-aware.
Since becoming self-aware, I am so much more at peace with myself. I have learned to love myself for who I truly am – both strengths and weaknesses. I am unable to dance like I used to because of a back injury, but I love to watch dance shows. I decorate my home now according to my tastes, not someone else’s, and I get complimented on it all the time. In fact, I have been told that I should have been an interior decorator! As far as cooking, I have joined Blue Apron which is a company that delivers food with directions on how to cook the meals. Since joining, I have eaten all kinds of food that I’ve never even heard of, and I am loving it! I now make my own decisions, and I am true to my own beliefs and values.
My advice is to learn to love yourself for who you truly are. Don’t allow someone else to dictate how you will live your life or what you will believe. It’s not worth it. If someone truly loves you, he/she will accept and love you for you, not for what they can mold you into for their happiness. Be proud of who you are!
Have a great day, everyone!
Today I would like to discuss the concept of boundaries. I have to admit that during the years that I dealt with narcissistic individuals, I failed terribly at setting and enforcing boundaries, so I would like to share my experiences to help anyone else out there who might be dealing with this same issue.
As I have learned in counseling and through reading great books on the subject, boundaries are vitally important in maintaining one’s mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Basically, it is learning to say “no” when we need to say “no”. Think of it like your house – you know where your property lines begin and end. You are responsible for what is inside those boundaries. You are not responsible for your neighbor’s property, right? Well, it is just as important, if not more so, to set boundaries in our mental, emotional, and spiritual lives. By setting boundaries, we keep things that will benefit us near while keeping things that will hurt us out. A great book on this topic is “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I highly advise reading it to learn more about this concept.
Now, when I first heard this, I thought about all the things that I felt responsible for at the time. If I said “no” to anything at that time, I felt selfish. This was hard to comprehend since I was raised to always help others and to not think of myself. However, as I learned about boundaries, I realized that setting boundaries is not equivalent to “being selfish”. The Bible says to “guard your heart”. I realized that this means it is alright to set boundaries for our own protection. Also, I learned in counseling that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we aren’t going to be able to care for others. Self care is of utmost importance if we want to give our best, not only in our work, but also in our relationships.
The following example based on a true event. Names have been changed – I will use the same names in one of my previous narcissism blogs.
John and Kay were planning a trip to see John’s family, and Kay was quite stressed because of some recent upsetting events that occurred in the family. Kay’s friend, Sheena, gave her some advice.
Sheena: “If things start to get bad, just take a break.”
Kay: “What do you mean?”
Sheena: “Just leave the room. Go take a walk, or go to another room and watch T.V. You don’t have to stay there – no one can make you stay there.”
Kay: “Yeah, that’s a good idea. I’ll try that. I hope it works.”
Sheena: “What do you mean?”
Kay: “Not sure they’re gonna like it if I leave.”
So, John and Kay went on the trip. Sure enough, one evening during a family get-together, things just became too stressful for Kay, and she remembered Sheena’s advice. She decided to leave the room and rest in another room by herself. That lasted just a few minutes when Rhonda walked in and berated Kay for leaving the room.
Kay: “I just needed a little time to myself, that’s all.”
Rhonda: “I don’t care what you need. You get back out there and mingle with everyone.”
Rhonda: “I don’t want to hear it. Get back in there!”
Kay went back into the room, but she was fuming mad. She was super upset that Rhonda had demanded that she act a certain way. But she was also conflicted. Rhonda made her feel like she was so awful for leaving the room. Was she to blame? Did she just cause a scene just by leaving a room for a few minutes?
Okay, this is a perfect example of Kay setting a boundary but not enforcing it. She set a boundary by exiting the room. By leaving, she is basically saying that she no longer wants to be a part of the conversation and wants out of the situation. There is nothing wrong with that. We are all in control of what situations or conversations we will or will not partake. Rhonda is disrespecting Kay by violating her boundary while attempting to control Kay. That is not OK. Kay made the mistake when she allows Rhonda to manipulate her into returning to the room to be a part of the conversation. Kay does not enforce her boundary.
Should Kay take the blame? No. Did Kay cause a scene by leaving the room? No. This is Kay’s choice and right, and it should have been respected. However, Kay is dealing with a narcissistic individual. Narcissists notoriously disrespect boundaries, and Kay allows her to do just that. Instead of just complying with Rhonda’s wishes, Kay should enforce her boundaries, even if that means repeating herself many times. There is really no way that Rhonda could force Kay to return to the conversation in the other room unless she physically picks her up and carries her! Rhonda may not be happy with Kay enforcing her boundary and she may even become more angry. However, Kay would be more at peace with herself. Also, in the future, Rhonda may not be as inclined to violate Kay’s boundaries.
I have found that the reason I allowed people to violate my boundaries was because I hated confrontation, and I was a “people-pleaser”. I took on way too much responsibility for things that shouldn’t have been my problem, and I always looked for approval. I have found that enforcing boundaries means that there will be times when people will not be happy with me, and that’s OK. I now know what I will accept and what I won’t, and I’m at peace with that even if others don’t like it. By setting boundaries and enforcing them, I have discovered who I actually am…a process called self-awareness. I will discuss this in my next blog.
Have a great day!