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Have you ever dealt with someone who says they want advice to solve a problem, but when you give them that advice, they either come up with a slew of excuses or they just get angry? Do any of these statements sound familiar?
“I’ve already tried that.”
“He/she won’t listen. I can’t talk to them.”
“Counseling doesn’t work.”
“He/she will get mad at me if I say that.”
These are just a few examples. People who vent all their problems to you but aren’t willing to take any positive steps to correct those problems are “dumping” their problems onto you. I learned all about psychological “dumping” after going through it for close to twenty years. I was literally to the point of banging my head against the wall in my attempts to deal with this behavior. Little did I know at the time that I was powerless to change it.
For pretty much the entire length of my marriage, some of my ex-husband’s family members would vent to us about issues within the family and asked for advice on how to deal with those issues. Each time I offered advice, I was met with resistance – either a non-stop flow of excuses or an outburst of anger or resentment. Even though it was a constant struggle, I offered my advice each time I was asked, hoping the reception to my comments would change. But it never did. I became more and more frustrated until finally, I did the right thing – I made the decision to stop listening and to stop giving advice. When I made this decision, my father had just been diagnosed with cancer, and I was dealing with my own health issues. I didn’t have the time or energy to ride on this non-stop merry-go-round that went nowhere. I didn’t realize until later (after years of counseling) that this was probably the healthiest thing I ever did regarding their “dumping” behavior. However, after this decision, the relationships spiraled downward until divorce was inevitable. Actually, the divorce was the result of an affair, but it also became clear through counseling that the above dysfunctional behavior also played a major role. I learned all about narcissism (I had been in a very narcissistic environment) and realized that the lack of attention as a result of my decision was more than likely taken as an insult even though it was healthy for me.
I am so thankful that I was able to get out of this relationship as I realized that I was in a very unhealthy and narcissistic environment. I learned that those who vent but get upset or come up with non-stop excuses when confronted with sound advice are not emotionally healthy. They are in denial. They are only interested in surrounding themselves with others who will unconditionally approve of everything that they do even if the behavior is not in their best interest. They don’t want to fix the problem – they only want to hear that everything they are doing is good and right. They want constant sympathy, and they don’t want to take any hard or challenging steps to correct any problems that may be the result of their own behavior. Because of this, their problems will never go away. Only when they face the fact that they may have to take a good hard look at their own behavior and make changes will the problems improve.
I have since encountered some others with this same type of behavior. Instead of banging my head against the wall like I did in my marriage, I just walked away. I didn’t want the headache. For me, I want to nurture healthy relationships, and although I do care about these individuals, I can’t solve their problems. They have to make the decision to take the necessary steps to improve their own lives. Although this was my way of dealing with it, walking away is only one option in dealing with people who “dump” on others.
Another option, according to Psychology Today, is to respond to the person from an emotional stance. A response such as “I’m really sorry you are going through that” without accompanying advice on how to fix it is advised. Offering advice on how to fix it will just lead to headaches and frustration on your end, and it will feed into their dysfunction. For more information, see the article listed at the bottom of this blog.
Remember, if someone isn’t willing to look at themselves and are insistent in staying in a state of denial, there is absolutely nothing you can do to change it. Change has to come from them, and until that day comes, nothing is going to change no matter what you do. Change will only happen when THEY decide to take a good look at themselves and take positive steps to make a difference.
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!!
Are you interested in learning more about Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Are you looking for ways to effectively deal with a narcissistic individual in your life while enjoying a fictional story? My new book, Blinded by Deception: Life With a Narcissist might be just what you are looking for. This books delves into the life of Nikki Redding and her struggle to survive for twenty eight years in a narcissistic environment. It describes the life events that cause so much confusion and frustration for Nikki early in her life. Once she hits rock bottom, she begins to learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD, and begins her long healing process. Through the support of her friends, both individual and group counseling, and her faith in God, she is able to pull herself out of the depths of distress and into a life full of love, hope, and joy. You will be cheering Nikki on as she travels this long road to her eventual healing! The book is available on Amazon and is available in print and on Kindle. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope that it will bring healing to others who read it!
Click on the link below to go directly to the book on Amazon:
This morning, I read a very interesting article that was published in the Los Angeles Times. A study, done by some researchers at Ohio State University, has shown that parents who overly value their child run the risk of that child becoming narcissistic later in life.
This intrigued me since I have noticed this same issue in several people who I have come across in my lifetime. I have suspected that the development of narcissism may be more likely to develop in children who are overly pampered or in those who are expected to meet extremely high expectations. I was not only amazed but also happy that this study, the first one of its kind, was able to show the link between overvaluation and narcissism.
Here is the link to the actual article. I encourage you to read it:
I will also be publishing a new book, Blinded By Deception, in the next few months. This fiction book delves into life within a narcissistic family, and interestingly enough, the family is one that overly pampers their own family members. I hope that this book will give further insight and understanding on how narcissistic personality develops and how the victim can identify and deal with it.