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Curing narcissism
January 3, 2006
6:05 pm
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Matteo
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Worried Dad,

All right, let’s build the bridges. I have quite a bit of both personal and professional experience in regards with various forms of abuse and oppression, and as you see I am still learning.

I was under the impression that we are talking here about Narcissists in general, not only about those who commit various forms of crime, including physical assault.
Probably there are many N who are physically abusive towards their wives (or husbands) and children, but there are many who are not, whose abuse is much more sophisticated than physical violence and terror resulting from it.

On the other side of the coin, there are some abusers who are Narcissists, but there are many who are not. Physically abusive husband and N is not the same, although sometimes might be.

Therefore saying that all abusers are narcissists, or that all narcissists are “wife beaters” (- sorry I cannot get over this term – can we agree on something different? I just immediately imagine a hairy, muscular, screaming and raging guy in a white tank top – we know that often that’s not the case) that one equals another, is not true.

What you’ve said, the people who get diagnosed with these disorders are mainly people who have been ordered by a court to submit to psychiatric analysis and diagnosis just supports my argument, that there is a lot to learn for professionals in regards with N like those we hear about on these threads, who are quite well functioning in the society and are nicely blending among mentally healthy people, who are, just like their victims, not recognized nor diagnosed. Therefore an input of people like Vaknin, and others who are telling their stories of being N, living with N or treating Ns is priceless, and by no means should be ignored or dismissed.

What is your book about?

January 3, 2006
7:04 pm
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free spirit
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Hi everyone,

I am going to post on a few threads and then go do something productive - going to work-out and sit in the hot tub as a reward.

Hopefully, this will renew my strength, I feel so low about all this today. How is it when I feel I am doing so good, the pain sneaks up and zaps you just like you said Matteo.

I am so angry today about all his bad behavior and can't shake it. I usually do not stay angry though, don't know if that's good or not.

I am so glad to have this site to vent on, really don't know what I would be doing without it!! Thanks all you guys for listening and reading.

I go around and around with this if I don't put a stop to it - it's so hard to accept that his feelings were not real, the problems is that mine where/are. That damn SOB - all the crap, all the lies, all the pain.

I fell head over heels for this man and he broke my heart - how long does it take to feel better? It is gloomy and gray here today and life feels so empty.

Please, tell me it gets better. I know you said it does Whidbey, I'm counting on it. So tired of feeling sad and crying. I don't know why I'm feeling this way today. I feel like my friends have been very patient and kind, but I might wear them out.

I re-read all the info on recovery and printed this entire thread today. I am going to take my own advice and do something that makes me feel strong.

Snow - I did mean to tell you that you are coming to an important place by learning about his behavior. Whidbey is right, you are processing quickly. You will no longer be able to be a source of NS if you cannot reflect back admiration and adoration. I think that's why my guy has went away, I haven't been able to reflect anything back because of all the lies and BS I know about at this point.

Matteo and Garfield - I can so relate to your growing up story, mine is very similiar - unavailable and cold mom(although not N)and unconditional dad. I cut off contact with my mom in May 2005 after some heavy, heavy shit. It was very difficult and I still struggle a great deal with all of it.

Whidbey - I'm sorry about your small setback, but your story gives me hope that there is life after N

Thanks everyone for sharing your stories from the bottom of my heart. I'm so trying to be in a good place with this and so failing today so much.

Peace,

free spirit

January 3, 2006
7:59 pm
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whidbey
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Hey Free, mamma said there would be days like these.... It's dark and gloomy here too, and that surely doesn't help, does it? Yes, my setback was small, but if I had been on this site a month ago, I would have been right where you are now. Well, I WAS right where you are now. Just keep telling youself you are too good for that kind of treatment. At some point, you will actually begin to believe it. At some point, you will let go of the anger. That's when you will get small twinges, kind of like I did yesterday, but it will be a very small twinge, just here and there, not the constant, all-pervading heaviness that you are experiencing right now. I'm now to the point of looking at this as a major life lesson for me, not excusing his behavior, just trying to glean what I can from the experience. This is so tied in with my father's death, who, may I add, was another classic N. I feel the timing was Providence, as I know I wouldn't have known how to grieve my father's death and would have actually fought AGAINST grieving what could have and should have been with him. That is a healthy kind of grief. Almost to his dying breath, he tried to minimialize his abuse of me to my brother, who, in turn told me what was said. I was so grateful to my brother for having told me. I would have hated it if I had stood by my father's death bed thinking that he was truly sorry, when, in fact, he wasn't. Just sorry he got caught.

Okay, didn't mean to write another book. I realize, even as I encourage all of you, that it is still a process for me. I hope that's okay. You all have been very patient so far.

Soooooo, all that to say, yet again, to all of you: Hang in there. Minute by minute, hour by hour, and soon, day by day, and you will wake up one day without the N being your first thought of the day. I can't begin to tell you all how much this site has meant to me in dealing with my experience. It has truly been an emotional life-saver for me.

Just think, Free and Snow, some day, very soon, you will be helping someone else on this site with your experiences of processing. Heck, you already have! Hugs to ALL of us!!!

January 3, 2006
10:54 pm
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Matteo
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Garfield,

Sorry, I just can't resist bringing the rest of your post here:

Grieving a Narcissist by NickySkye

"If a relationship with a N is life in the Twilight Zone, then healing from a pattern of relationships with Ns is the Dawn Zone. When N-Codependents despise the Ns in their life for the abuse enough to want it to stop, really and truly stop, the beginning of freedom has begun. Leaving any N has more layers than a Napoleon pastry, each one painful in a different way." member NickySkye

Dear Recovery Friends:

Grieving the loss of a relationship with a Narcissist has many layers. They are not the usual layers of grieving a healthy person. The problem is that some of the layers ARE the same as grieving a healthy person but then there are layers reserved only for the loss of an N relationship, which are not understood by the 'civilian' population and can ONLY be understood by those who have survived a significant relationship with a Narcissist or Psychopath.

In a healthy relationship break-up one grieves:

The dream of love not continuing. The break in the continuity of the familiar. The pain of saying goodbye. The sadness of the exchange of ill will in the parting. A sense of loss. Living with the nostalgia of things one used to do together, broken memories of past pleasures. Hope interrupted. Well wishing put aside for self-survival.

Those are typical feelings that can come up after a break-up of a healthy relationship.But grieving an N there are other ingredients, not available to the public understanding, such as:

The nightmare of going from being idealized to being devalued.

Discovering the web of lies on many levels.

Coming to terms with the terrible, terrible understanding that one was not an object of love but a source of Narcissistic Supply. That in itself is so painful that it has many stages of comprehension The dawning of understanding that one's nostalgia and tender memories of affection for the N were corrupted by the N's agenda.

Not being believed by people about some of the weird things the N did and feeling isolated in one's grief more than in grieving a healthy break-up.

Discovering with some horror, mingled with relief of a strange kind, that the person one loved was not the person one thought one loved. Everything about the relationship shifts into the garish clinical light of the DSMlV. One's object of former love is now something of a lab specimen, "a typical N".

Not being able to let go with love but having to let go only with understanding. The closure itself has the sadness of knowing the ex is disfigured, deformed but always dangerous.

When one hears one's healthy ex is having sex with a new person, married, or has gone on in their life, there is a sting of sadness, the nostalgia for 'what could have been'. That itself, the astringency becomes part of the detaching. And as time goes by that sting becomes a well wishing, including the ex in one's loving prayers. The ex gets woven into the fabric of one's fond memories.

But with an xN, news of their present life always bring chills of fear and twinges of unresolved grieving. Who are they hurting now? Will they ever come into my life again? Was I not important to them, was all that for nothing?

Knowing about the N's need for Narcissistic Supply one cannot help thinking will they come back for my NS? Was *my* NS something they treasured and miss? But in the light of day, understanding the N means that one is not valued for who one IS but only as a commodity, for NS, empty, meaningless NS.

After the detachment is physically complete with an N there is the nagging abyss of was that all for nothing? It's a terrible loss and there is nowhere to go with that loss. It's static. It doesn't evolve into lost love. It just remains as a loss. Grieving a N is a burden, it's a hole in one's life.

Love, NickySkye

January 3, 2006
10:57 pm
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Matteo
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And this one - especially this is so helpful to me! Thanks, Garfield!

garfield9547
30-Dec-05

And here comes the 7 stages from Sam Vaknin's site
The Seven Stages of Recovery from Narcissist-Inflicted Trauma courtesy Still Smilin

1) The Roadkill Stage This is when you finally hit bottom due to the experience with a Narcissist.

2) The Realization Stage. This is when the answers to the questions that have been plaguing you begin to get answered and you now know what it is you have been dealing with all this time. You begin to research everything you can find on Narcissism. You usually feel better that you know, but the sense of betrayal begins to hit you like a Mack truck. Unfortunately, you start to feel angry at yourself for letting it go on for so long.

3) The Anger Stage This is when the full impact of what you went through hits home and all hell breaks loose! Anger is uncomfortable, but I think it is a necessary step towards healing. At first, it is like an erupting volcano, then it usually evolves in focusing on how to get through. If you don't let as much of the anger out at this stage, you will stay stuck for a longer period of time. (I did this).

4) Taking Affirmative Action Stage This is when you begin to learn to effectively focus your new-found knowledge into making life decisions. This is also the period where you begin to learn and practice techniques on how to protect yourself from the Narcissist. This is the stage where some decide on divorce, relocating, changing jobs, and lifestyle changes. This is also a time of great upheaval, because the Narcissist usually knows that the "gig is up" The Narcissist will fight you tooth and nail to win. This is a crucial stage in healing, because it is at this stage that the Narcissist will also try to "put on the charm" to return you to status quo. The Narcissist can be very vicious at this stage. It is usually best to have as little contact as possible with the Narcissist. It is also the time to continue to learn about how to continue to protect yourself and continue to focus on you and your healing.

5) The Fall-Out Stage This is when you become more comfortable in your knowledge of how to deal with the Narcissist, where you begin to forgive yourself, where you begin to feel better about yourself and your abilities. You are actively planning your future, getting to know yourself again, and you notice how much better physically and emotionally you feel out of the presence of the Narcissist. The fog of Narcissism has lifted somewhat and you begin to get your confidence back. While this is happening, you are still experiencing the waves of the past stages, it seems to come in cycles that diminish in intesity over time.

6) The Mirroring Stage Not everyone goes through this stage, it is a personal decision. This is when you mirror the Narcissists behavior back at them, effectively scaring them off! I was particularily fond of this stage, because it allowed me to siphon off the anger and project it back to the person who caused it. It is effective in scaring off the Narcissist, but sometimes it takes many sessions of "mirroring" before the stubborn Narcissist finally "gets it". Unfortunately for many victims, many Narcissists aren't willing to accept that it is OVER and continually try to get back under the victims skin using guilt, fear, pity, threats, violence and financial abuse. Many Narcissists keep "coming back for more NS."

Depending on how you handle the Narcissist in this stage, it will depend on how long this stage lasts. If you, even for a moment give the Narcissist ANY NS at all, show any vulnerability, sympathy, fear, or confusion, it will put you back a few stages and you will have to work your way through again. This cycle can happen many times.

7) Realization and Apathy Once you effectively block all means of communication with the Narcissist as efficiently as possible, protect yourself from them as much as you can, gain knowledge and confidence in yourself, you reach a stage of realization that there was nothing you could have done to help or prevent the nightmare that you just lived through. You start looking for effective ways to manage your life, work towards your new future and close the door in the face of the Narcissist. The most effective way that I have found to do this is with APATHY. Apathy works. It requires very little work on your part. You display no outward emotions towards the Narcissist, who seems to forever be trying to re-enter your life for the coveted NS, you yawn frequently whenever they have something to say, you outright IGNORE their existence as if they died.

Eventually, in a sense they do die, because without your attention, without your sympathy, without your guilt, without your adoration, without your anger, and without your fear, they do wither away and die. If there is nothing for them to affirm their existence through you, and they cannot exist around you. It is not to say that they won't try. They want to be able to evoke an emotional response in you. If you don't give them any, then eventually, like Pavlov's dog they figure out the bowl is empty and move on to the next victim. This stage can take some time, because as we know, the Narcissist does not give up on precious supply sources easily. Hugs from Still Smilin

January 3, 2006
11:11 pm
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Matteo
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Worried Dad,

Would you mind sharing about some of your experience of recovery?

Your words gave me an impression that it happened to you long time ago, but you still have a lot of anger. Is that true?

I was grieving over him once already; strange, but I had this feeling of loss, this huge hole in my heart, not knowing that he is N yet...Maybe it was some unspecified, non verbalized gut feeling, because he walked away from that kind of love - in my perception...

According to what the above post says, it will take me long time, because for some reason I cannot generate any anger towrds him, no matter what it is just not there. Or can I skip it?

Worried Dad, guys - any thoughts and experience about grieving?

January 3, 2006
11:33 pm
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free spirit
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Thanks Widbey - you're so right, I was deep on my pity pot for awhile today. The workout tonight helped some and soon I'll be to tired to worry about it and tomorrow will be a new day!!! I so hate this crappy feeling!!

It is definitely not like any other break-up I've had. My divorce was actually healthy and healing - long story but I learned to respect my ex husband again before we divorced which is needed because we co-parent two children!!

Matteo - thanks for your posts on recovery again - sorry for posting the wrong one earlier 🙂 One step at a time, I guess. I just want to rush it, be over it already.

It was so easy the first week because I was almost afraid he would contact and so strong about not getting sucked back into it.

I re-read the all the recovery posts again, at least two or three times today now. I definitely could not concentrate on work at all - have to do that soon!!

WD - your comment is funny, yes I guess it does seem to take forever. Maybe we can learn from your experience as well?

I think I've been reflecting back his behavior toward him for awhile now - we've had a lot of difficulty over the past 6 months prior to my decision to end it. Always before he would suck me back in by offering the smallest crumb, a text or voice mail etc. Not now.

This site is a lifeline for me right now - it helps so much to see the strength of others.

Sorry to be so gloomy guys 🙁

January 4, 2006
2:25 am
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Lass
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Gosh, Thanks you guys for looking for that for me. This thread was instrumental in my shift that took place in the wee hours of last night. SD... I believe that was it. Just acknowledging that this is an especially difficult kind of walking away. I have gotten so much affirmation from this thread to explain to my heart why this has been so excrutiatingly painful. I mean, awful. I was married to an abuser whom I barely had to grieve to leave. And he was the father of my son. But this one was not just relationship addiction either, which i have also known to be painful. This was full bore loss, worse almost than the death of a loved one.

Good news, I am on the road of trusting my HP and off the victim road. It was just an act of grace and self/ other understanding that broke things for me. It is as though I forget that he has gamed me. I forget that I have been conditioned to believe his excuses over my own thinking. I choose to trust my own thinking!

Also, interestingly, getting grateful for my own life was really helpful. Really small choices can add up to big behavior changes. I choose to not be victimized again, that way lies insanity and death. I really got a good gander at that, inside me, and was willing to do anything to fix rather than go there. I think self-preservation kicked in, along with willingness to go to any lengths, and I let go. No man is worth dying over. Going actually nuts over. Nuhuh. Nope. No way.

My friends really helped. I believe finding a community of support, a circle of some kind, is really vital. We need to see we have the option of a healthy person. Just having a healthier person find me attractive and get my attention actually helped. To see that life always has a plan B. And now I don't need to act on that fix, either.

LL

January 4, 2006
2:26 am
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Lass
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Oh.. a little further down.. Matteo has it!

January 4, 2006
2:33 am
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Lass
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OMG Whidbey~

I just now made the connection that you did. My Mom was an N and so was my exbf. My Mom died the same day the exbf left me, and the two have been grieved together these past three months. And both were N's, so no wonder. I had luckily processed so much with my Mom because of AA that I was ready and accepting of her. Plus, she really wasn't a full bore disorder, and had softened rather than hardened over the years.

January 4, 2006
3:16 am
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Lass
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I am so glad we are all in the same head space together. The anger, I now believe, is a brief yet vital stage. When you realize the violation of your heart and soul, that N would treat you like fishbait to get his needs met, it makes you mad. You then use the mad to power your release/ exit. Just enough fuel to get away and see more clearly. I got really mad the first time I discovered the N stuff. Just like a volcano, like it said in the post. I confronted him. This time, it was harder to get a head of anger, having time pass. It wasn't totally anger either, it was more really getting who he is. Cold enough to hurt me terribly. Open at least enough to know that I am hurting terribly, that he could help, and not helping, not caring. That realization did it. Plus, realizing that he was actually impotent and ashamed to be around me again without being able to perform. It wasn't even really a rejection of me, it was his pride and ego. This had to be explained to me by another man.

January 4, 2006
5:57 am
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It was good to reread over the 7 stages again. Makes me feel like Im healing normally or something. I raged a LOT at him yesterday. Email war. I just couldnt hold in anymore all the lies I found out over the weekend. of course he denied everything. Told me to "get over it, stop telling him what to do" and then had the NERVE to explain why it was MY fault it happened in the first place!!!!! Oh my God, I wanted to kill him. That usually worked on me in the past, but it didnt this time. All it did was make me more pissed and lash out more.

Someone tell me if this is healthy though. It doesnt seem like it can really be productive to be throwing all this anger at him. I mean, it makes me feel a little better to NOT be backing down to him for the first time in 20 years, but Ive always thought anger was sort of a wasted emotion I guess, and only hurts people.

Something else I noticed this morning too. I dont think Ive cried in almost a week now. That is soooo not normal for me. I know the hurt is there, but the tears arent coming for him anymore, at least not right now. I always cry when there is turmoil with him, so this is sort of strange for me.

Pink, Whidbey, Lass, Free.......I feel like were sisters or something thru this. Like we know each other so well, understand how were feeling and are bonded. Just knowing youre out there, and you understand makes this so much easier for me. I really dont think I could do this alone. Im so grateful for all of you here. There are so many insightful people here that inspire me daily. And Worried Dad, your input on this is of much interest to me. Its nice to hear from a male perspective on all of this, and your knowledge is very helpful.

Thank you....all of you. I miss Garfield. I know shes away on holiday, but I hope she comes back soon.

Snow

January 4, 2006
7:52 am
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whidbey
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Snow, we are the NA NA (narcissist abused) Sisterhood! lol I honestly think your anger is good right now. As said above, it is giving you the strength you need to move beyond his grasp and manipulative control. Now, SUSTAINED anger will eventually become unhealthy to you. It will no longer hurt him (actually, even now it doesn't hurt him per se, but makes him only more determined to control you and keep the supply). You will know when it is time for the anger to go; when it begins to control you and make YOUR life more misterable, after a certain period of time, is when you need to start releasing. This is when, I believe, forgiveness becomes essential. First and foremost, for ourselves, for having been a victim to one who is highly skilled in what they do. Secondly, yes, for them. However, that doesn't mean we welcome them back into our lives with open arms, or even at all, for that matter. It is simply a means of letting go in our own hearts and moving on. This is a point I finally reached with my father-N after years of therapy. It was for MY health that I forgave. What that meant was he no longer had the control to create upheaval in my life. I could look at him, shake my head in pity at such a poor specimen of a human being, and walk away. The chains around my heart which he held were broken and gone forever. I will admit there are probably still a few chains from my ex-N, but they are quickly disintegrating the more I learn about this disorder and see everything that happened in this past year for what it truly was. Instead of seeing that I was sucked into a vast hell, which, basically we all were, I also see that after 10 years of no relationship, I was able to open myself up to love again. Unfortunately, the wrong kind, as I had reverted back to my old ways. However, I see it now as a wake-up call that I still had that "stinkin' thinkin'" of what I thought I did and did not deserve in life. With the passing of father-N and also of this relationship with ex-N, I'm seeing this as the end to an unhealthy chapter in my life and will move ahead thinking and seeing more clearly than I ever did before. And THAT, my friends, is a GOOD thing... 🙂

January 4, 2006
12:16 pm
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Hi guys: I don't know if you've seen this before re: Children of N's. Garfield (bless her) posted this last summer when we were having discussions about strange gift giving/ witholding practices of N mothers.

So here it is:

garfield9547
17-Aug-05

The Children of Narcissists

Home Many say that narcissists' children are likely to marry narcissists. While I see where this idea comes from and have seen it happen myself, I have not observed any "co-dependence." That's a fancy word for being a glutton for punishment.
The truth is more complicated than that. Also, let us not forget that we are talking about normal people. Yes, they typically are meek, too patient, and have low self-esteem. But that does not make them sick in the head. They are also typically strong. Unlike the personality-disordered, they are not machines. They each respond to the influence of parental narcissism in his or her own way.
In fact, I bet research would find that the normal children of narcissists are more likely to never marry. This might depend on whether the narcissistic parent was father, mother, or both and on whether the child is a man or a woman.
I can hear those gears in your head grinding. Does this mean that they are likely to be homosexual? Considering all the Freudian permutations that could be at work, that doesn't seem far out to me. But I don't know of any homosexual children of narcissists. I know of one frigid narcissistic daughter of a narcissist, and I will bet the farm on another. But, I have seen nothing in the normal children of narcissists that hinted at anything but typical heterosexuality. Unless you subscribe to the bigoted myths that all married people are heterosexual, that all single people are frigid or homosexual, and that homosexuality is some mental disease.
There are, however, some other things it is pretty safe to say about the normal children of narcissists.
One is that they are likely to tolerate narcissists. When you grow up with things, you have no way of knowing that they are abnormal. You think that some people "are just like that." You're trained to tolerate it, because to do anything but is a sin. You're even brainwashed into thinking it's your fault. You have no way of knowing that everybody's home is not like yours, that you are growing up in a home headed by somebody who belongs in psyche ward.
If you are a Baby-Boomer, you didn't even get a clue from TV. You grew up watching Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver. Father's role reinforced your narcissistic father's superiority and infallibility by virtue of his age, size, and sex. But since TV fathers came from a different planet than yours, the threshold for suspension of your disbelief was much higher than for other people. Too high. So these shows were not at all realistic to you, and you were fully unaware that the family life portrayed on TV is pie-in-the-sky fiction, meant to idealize rather than portray family life. Therefore, even TV gave you no clue that other families were different, that your daddy sucked and that you had every right to what you craved. TV today is a little better at portraying normal family life, but not much.
Yet tolerance of narcissists is not knuckling under to them. Let's clear up the sloppy thinking that equates the two.
Nobody knows better than the normal children of narcissists that, to survive as a person, you must never let anyone own you. They protect their right to private ownership of themselves, because they know the consequences of letting others make their personal and private choices for them. Such as what to think, how to feel, what to say. They know that letting anybody treat your head as his property, to furnish as he pleases, is moral prostitution that destroys your integrity. They also know that, like any partier who takes over somebody else's house, he is probably going to trash it.
And so, though narcissists ballistically violate every right to privacy they see, thinking their own privacy extends to the outer limits of deep space, the normal children of narcissists are keenly aware of the borders of personal privacy and have fortified them. For example, one narcissist I know of ordered an employee to take the rest of the day off. This was a dirty trick that had successfully gotten other employees to falsely incriminate themselves by obeying the order. But when he tried to thus make up the mind of a narcissist's daughter, he hit a brick wall. She replied, "You can send me home if you want, and if you do I'll go. But you can't order me to take the day off. And I choose not to take the rest of the day off."
Note the willing obedience up to a sharply drawn line she would not let him cross. How do the children of narcissists get so clear about their boundaries and so solid in defense of them?
By surviving a childhood like the story of The Three Little Piggies and the Big Bad Wolf. Each little piggy's house is his person, the private property of his body and mind. Our deepest instincts compel us to not let the Big Bad Wolf just barge in as if he owns the place. Why? Because doing that to another's body is sexual rape, and doing that to another's mind is moral rape, and even little children feel violated by either act. But, unlike the other little piggies, the narcissist's child has learned that when you say no, the Big Bad Wolf huffs and puffs and tries to blow your little house down. So, this little piggy built his of brick.
Note that this is true strength, backbone, integrity, moral purity. It is not the phony strength people of swollen self-esteem think they have. To the contrary, you find it in the modest. Note also that this is responsibility for oneself claimed, not avoided. In other words, the normal children of narcissists are often more grown up than many other people are.
Another thing it is safe to say about the children of narcissists is that, from birth, they have had their self-esteem relentlessly assailed. Abused feelings are tender, sensitive feelings. As easily injured as burned skin. That is just a fact of life, not a moral fault.
So, the children of narcissists are quite sensitive to criticism. It causes them real pain, because it inflames old wounds. To avoid this pain, they are conscientious and try hard to be liked. Since they aim to please, so long as you respect their boundaries, you can easily get them to do anything they do not think is wrong or foolish. Yet they have been trained to feel that something's wrong with them if some intolerant person just can't stand them being the way they are, looking the way they look, feeling the way they feel, or thinking what they think. All this manifests itself as low self-esteem and marks them as sensitive.
Vicious attacks on sensitive feelings and low self-esteem draw far more blood than they would otherwise. So, the normal children of narcissists might as well go around wearing a target with the word VULNERABLE emblazoned on it. On seeing it, every bully in town thinks, "There is somebody I can really hurt" = "somebody I can be really powerful on."
Thus, narcissistic abuse in the home dooms them to life as a target for every bully they encounter. This is one reason why the children of narcissists do marry narcissists — not because they seek narcissistic mates, but because narcissists spot and target them as vulnerable prey. The wolf puts on sheep's clothing and sweeps her off her feet, idealizing her and showering her with affection. Till the honeymoon is over. Then Dr. Jekyll's mask comes off. She was no more likely to fall for this con artist than anybody else. Probably less likely, in fact. But narcissists target the kind of people the normal children of narcissists are.
Often a narcissistic parent targets one child, the most sensitive/vulnerable, to take the brunt of his vaunting abuse. Watching this puts the others through worse hell than his abuse of themselves does. It makes them hate bullying with such passion that they become protective. Hence, they often become altruists. They are unlikely to join everybody else in kissing up to a bully by sicking on whomever he is terrorizing them by making an example of. If the targeted child in their home takes it out on the rest of the world by becoming a narcissist himself, his brothers and sisters feel so sorry for him that they make excuses for him and take his abuse far too long.
Another thing it is safe to say about the children of narcissists is that they have a different view of marriage than other people. For example, the narcissistic son of a narcissistic mother may show no interest in marriage till she is about to die. Then he seeks a replacement for her. The narcissistic daughter of a narcissist may choose to remain single because she "wants no one to own her."
Of course, other factors that vary over time influence marital choices. For instance, half a century ago, being an "old maid" was almost unbearably shameful and made one a social outcast, excluded from social events and the community of friendships that married couples can take part in. It also meant that one would never make a decent living, achieve social stature, or own a home. Though equal rights and the high divorce rate has made society less hostile to the unmarried over time, to this day many employers don't want bachelors.
The normal children of narcissists are nonetheless more careful about marrying than other people are. They have seen nothing in marriage that anyone would want. They dream about "true love," and like most of us, find nothing that fits its description in the movies. They do very much want to avoid the suspicious and critical view society takes of the unmarried, and they want very much to fit in. They also want children. But, the daughters of a narcissistic father, for example, have seen nothing mirrored in their father's eyes for a man to love. So, they doubt professions of love and fear that a lover just wants a wife. They live in fear of a life like their mother's. This ambivalence and caution, through sheer lack of luck, sometimes lead to never finding somebody they trust enough to marry.
Sad? Yes, but not nearly as sad as women who need a man, who view themselves as worth only what they are worth to some man, and who surrender their self-respect to get one. The absence of cupidity is not a vice.
Yet another thing it is safe to say about the normal children of narcissists is that they have probably picked up bad habits in interacting with others. Outwardly, some of these bad habits appear narcissistic. Yet it is easy to tell the difference between a narcissist and a normal person. How? By simply asking him to stop it. The normal child of a narcissist will stop it. (A normal person who is not the child of a narcissist may not be so good about stopping it.) But a narcissist will do it all the more.
This section shows why you should not jump to conclusions about people. There are many more normal children of narcissists than narcissists. So, run that little test of asking him to stop it before you make any judgments.
These behaviors persist through young adulthood. They gradually disappear after the child leaves home, as he gets used to normal people and how things work in the real world.
For example, the child of a narcissist may impolitely enter a room talking to interrupt the extant conversation. He hasn't been taught that this is bad manners. To the contrary, his (dominant) narcissistic parent did that twenty times a day. Also, he has found it so hard to get attention that he feels he must hijack it.
The difference between him and a narcissist, however, is easily demonstrated. If you ask him to stop it, he takes the message deeply to heart. In fact, you will find yourself trying to make him feel less bad about it. His behavior will change. A narcissist's never does. To contrary, if you ask a narcissist to stop doing something, he does it all the more.
Again for example, the only humor he was exposed in his unhappy home was the unfunniness of sarcasm. Life with a narcissist left even his normal parent with nothing to laugh about, except — you guessed it — sarcasm. But again, if you ask him to stop it, he takes the message deeply to heart. Again you find yourself trying to make him feel less bad about it. Again his behavior changes. Whereas a narcissist's never does.
When the child of a narcissist leaves home, it takes a while for his own, natural sense of humor to germinate and grow in a new environment that is not hostile to it. The good news is that, by the time they reach their thirties, the normal children of narcissists often display a sense of humor more witty and charming than that of most other people. Perhaps because they themselves appreciate it so much.
Again for example, the child of a narcissist may not accept praise or compliments gracefully. He is unused to them! Like anything extraordinary in our world, this extraordinary event throws him off balance. He has never learned to simply say, "Thank you."
Like a narcissist, he may protest that he doesn't deserve it. But his reason for doing so is the opposite of a narcissist's. It's not because he feels it would humiliate him to say "Thank you." It's because this praise or compliment conflicts with a long history of judgments against him as being inadequate. He may suspect flattery. This goes with what I said above about the daughters of male narcissists doubting professions of love.
Here again, the difference between him and a narcissist is easily demonstrated. If the other party takes the bull by the horns in the direct approach and responds with, "Why don't you just say 'Thank you?'" or "I am not flattering you. I really mean it" the child of a narcissist ponders his behavior and changes it. A narcissist never does.
The normal parent can do much to ease her child's adaptation to the real world by watching for such behaviors and teaching him to cope with these situations in interactions with normal people. It is as easy as saying, "When somebody compliments you, just say 'Thank you.'"
Garfield - from http://www.operationdoubles.com

January 4, 2006
1:27 pm
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How did I come to be angry....

Well, I figured out that I was in an extremely abusive relationship, with a highly narcissistic person. I figured out that I was being massively decieved and manipulated. I figured out that my son was being abused.

Then my therapist facilitated the abduction of my son by my battering partner. I havent seen my son for years.

Then I figured out that I had been in an abusive relationship with a highly narcissistic therapist who, as a couples counselor, has a long hsitory of always taking the side of the abuser. Then I discovered that he had been sued four times for sexually abusing female clients.

Then I found out that he is not even a therapist, but has been impersonating one for all these years.

Then I figured out that I had been living in a psychotherapy cult.

Yep, I'm still angry.

January 4, 2006
5:46 pm
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Worried Dad,

I am speachless, I know that my I'm sorry for your pain won't do much. This is just surreal.

Why you never talk about it? Or did you before I was here?

I really want to scream for you.

What is psychoterapy cult?

January 4, 2006
7:45 pm
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snowlover
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Worried Dad,

Im just stunned, and Im so, so very sorry. The things Im dealing with seem so very trivial right now. I know theres nothing I can do or say, but please know that both you and your son will be in my prayers from this day forward.

Snow

January 4, 2006
7:49 pm
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free spirit
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Hi everyone,

((((WD))) I hope it's okay to give you a hug - guess I should ask first? I don't know what to say either except she will meet her maker one day and be accountable (what I tell myself to feel better about the worst situations). So sorry for you and everything you have went through. I have run into some crackpot therapists and they can do alot of damage. I too wonder what a psychotherapy cult is? Do you want to join the sisterhood? We'll have to rename it, of course, haha. The humankind hood Unite!!

In all seriousness, I think you have helped many people on this site with your kind, honest, thoughtful feedback - glad you are here. If I can do anything to help (hire a hit man, etc. joking, am I allowed to say that?)anyway, hope you know I'm sincere all joking aside.

I've been so wallowing around in my own pain, I forgot about the world - your post pulled me up short.

How is everyone else doing - I am so angry today I've had an incredibly difficult time not contacting(the worst yet) just to vent all this anger. Sigh, I thought I was over all that, guess I'm not done yet.

It sounds like your making some good progress Widbey - wow, I admire your growth and insight.

How is everyone else doing? I'll say it again, thank god for this thread.

free spirit

January 4, 2006
8:37 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Yikes, call me "venom boy."

Sorry if I was too intense there. It is very hard not to be angry.

Yes, God will sort this all out eventually.

The only "justice" I can ever hope for is equipping people with the armor and sword of knowledge.

I still have a mind and I still have integrity, purpose and the capacity to love. And I have regained some of my dignity. Nobody can take those away from me. I will live to tell my story and to hear the stories of others who have been through similar trials and I will validate their real feelings and accurate perceptions. That is my healing.

January 4, 2006
8:44 pm
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A psychotherapy cult is like any other cult, but there is an emphasis on psychology and psychotherapy, rather than religion or political ideals.

Al-Qaida is a political cult. The Unification Church is a "religious" cult.

Scientology and Re-evaluation Counseling are "psychotherapy" cults. Well, actually Scientology is also a religious cult.

A psychotherapy cult is basically a group of people who adore and idolize a person who acts as a "psychotherapist," to the extent that they are unable to recognize when that "therapist" doesn't know what he is talking about, makes insanely bad diagnoses, is employing useless or harmful "therapeutic" approaches, or is actually exploiting and abusing clients or patients. It can be as small as a single therapy group, or as large as the church of scientology.

To me, psychotherapy cults are the most horrible and dangerous type of cult because they prey on people's natural faith in science and medicine, to put their faith in "professionals." That's just me though.

January 4, 2006
8:48 pm
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The "cultic" part of psychotherapy cults is that social pressure and group pressure are employed to make a person accept irrational or destructive behavior by the "therapist." If you disagree with him, a group of people who you have bonded with jump on you and tell you that you are mentally ill.

January 4, 2006
9:03 pm
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Matteo
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Then I figured out that I had been living in a psychotherapy cult. What do you mean by "living in"?

January 4, 2006
9:20 pm
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Well, not actually living on a commune or something. The group describes itself as an "intentional, nonresidential community." Most of the activity revolves around studying psychology and enagaging in a variety of ediucational or "therapeutic" processes.

I started by attending their "school" every wednesday night for 3-4 hours a night for 4 years. I started doing group therapy with them. I joined the community counsel. I lead the scholoarship committee. I put in late hours aseembling workbooks for classes. I volunteered a lot of labor at "work parties" with proceeds going to the community. I became the resident singer and musician for the community. Pretty soon, all of my friends were from the group, and I had no life outside the group, and mental health and illness were all defined by the group.

So by "living in" I mean that it was a total immersion experience.

January 4, 2006
9:24 pm
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free spirit
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WD - that sounds very cultish indeed, was this with the crackpot therapist who didn't have his license?

I admire your strength,

free spirit

January 5, 2006
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WD:

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{ WD }}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}} May the ever-embracing arms of God hold onto you always.

I am so sorry for your losses. Of family, friends. How you managed to maintain faith is a great mystery and gift. How brave and true of you to find your way out and see it for what it is, and want to help others.

We here, especially on this particular thread, are honored to have you among us. You have a very stabilizing influence, did you know that? A maturity and presence. Glad to have your feedback and experience with your N....

LL

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