February 01, 2010

Self-Help Narcissists



Narcissists appropriate self-help to serve themselves.


Without an emotional bond or valuing of community, they twist well-meaning advice to the narcissist’s advantage. Distort it. Re-interpret it from a self-centered perspective that confuses people who are not pathological narcissists.

You Create Your Own Reality

For instance, cognitive therapy. The suggestion that the thoughts in our heads can be managed is an important part of 'healing'. Paying attention to the messages we are telling ourselves interrupts unhealthy thoughts diminishing the quality of our lives. How often do we ‘catch’ fleeting criticisms before reacting emotionally to the thought? Or perhaps, define ourselves by negative thoughts that have nothing to do with reality? Like the day I noticed a recurrent thought drifting from one ear and out the other: “You are so incompetent”. This thought was the culprit to feeling powerless, hopeless, and despairing. The funny thing is, I didn’t even realize this thought was running rip-shod through my brain triggering emotions that were then interpreted as verification of the thought I never realized preceded a mild depression.

If you’ve never struggled with feeling good about yourself, you may not understand what I just described. For those who were raised by or lived with narcissists who maintain their high self-esteem by lowering the self-esteem of others, we pick up on their criticisms without realizing it. Pretty soon, we are obsessing on a ‘thought’, such as this backhanded compliment:

“I really value what you’re doing with your life,” the narcissist will say and then add the insult: “Even if other people don’t.”

And we think to ourselves, “I am so incompetent!”

Learning how to interrupt self-destructive loops was a profound lesson for me. It was like being gifted with a road map to reality including signposts at every fork in the road. I started following the path that led to an integrated woman, not a woman without limits, nor a woman who was perfect; but a woman whose self-perceptions aligned with her behavior: one whose perception of self and actual capabilities were in sync. The challenge was coordinating true capabilities with my perceptions by paying attention to any thoughts contradicting what was true about myself. If you love community and have close relationships with people, they will tell you who you are---or at least reflect what is true about yourself.

If you are in relationship with a narcissist, it’s imperative that you create relationships with people who are NOT narcissists.

Incompetent is what I feared to be true but incompetent I am not. That thought first needed recognition and then it needed challenging. Thank you, Dr. Beck. I created my own reality by changing negative thoughts that restricted the development of a healthy self-esteem.

Keep the Focus on Yourself

Then I attended Alanon to help me cope with familial problems demanding parenting skills far beyond my parent’s examples. Alanon taught me a simple phrase that turned my head around and got my life in order again: “Keep the focus on yourself.”

That’s all they had to say and everything fell into place. It was as if a street lamp had automatically turned on in my brain. My parenting skills improved, my despair diminished, and my self-efficacy increased because keeping the focus on myself empowered me to let people make their own choices. Even a good mother can’t control children into better behavior. They have to do that for themselves.

“Keep the focus on yourself” was my guiding light. But “Keeping the focus on myself” did not become the path to justified self-centeredness. That’s because I am not a pathological narcissist. Empathy, emotional bonds, values, principles, respect for community and my role as a parent balanced the suggestion to focus on myself. Teaching an empathic person to ‘focus on him or herself’ is a gentle reminder to be responsible for your impact on other people. It is a gentle path towards ending inappropriate enmeshment.

Telling a narcissist to ‘focus on him or herself’ justifies self-centeredness and selfishness as the Right Path---even the path to enlightenment. But of course, we know narcissists distort reality, pervert values and principles to suit themselves, lack emotional bonding to others, and perceive themselves as superior beings. So if they begin focusing on themselves even more than they already do, it won’t be long before they disregard the harm they’re causing others and calling it what it ain’t: self-actualization.

They say, “I am ONLY focusing on myself! Isn’t that what YOU do?”

Telling a narcissist to pay attention to the thoughts in his or her head and change them to a more positive message is all they need to inflate their superiority. Which narcissists do quite naturally, you know. “I am the best and smartest person in the world. I should be President of the Universe.” Well, they are keeping the focus on themselves, aren’t they? And they are changing any thoughts they have about incompetence into a more positive perspective, right?

If you have dealt with a narcissist, then you already know how confusing it can be when the narcissist takes “OUR” medicine, too.

Keeping the focus on myself was like swallowing an antibiotic for a contagious illness. Changing the thoughts in my head was like an inoculation preventing me from breaking out in depression and low self-esteem. However, I already had the ability to bond, empathize, see myself as fairly average, and was blessed with a good-enough conscience. (even my ‘conscience’ needed tweaking after a fairly restrictive childhood, though). What I did not have was pathological narcissism twisting reality to fit egotistical desires alleviating me of responsibility for my impact on others. What I did not have was a disconnect from society and from my True Self.

I bring this up because of a current trend in our society that concerns me. It’s the idea that we create our own reality and I can’t help but wonder if this distortion of cognitive therapy has occurred because, as usual, silver-tongued narcissists are turning it into a narcissistic melody and an enviable income. Their tempting song, just like the one the Pied Piper used to lure people off a cliff, leads otherwise normal people into destructive and selfish behavior. They will suffer. The Pied Pier won't.

False Assumptions

The mistake we make (or I made) is the assumption that all human beings are emotionally connected, that all human beings value family, respect the roles they strive to live up to, that they live by communal principals and a code of ethics limiting the harm they do to others in service of the ‘self’; and the assumption that all people respected one another’s freedom to live in a safe society protecting us from one another’s selfishness.

I assumed, in other words, that deeply embedded values and principles were the platform from which everyone defined their individuality while at the same time, respecting our inextricable connection to one another. This is not the case of course but without knowledge about human pathology, my assumptions were never questioned.

So when a narcissist insists he or she is only focusing on themselves, it’s easy to be misled into believing they are replicating what we are striving to learn.

It is easy to make the mistake of perceiving narcissist’s behavior as ‘normal’ because we do not understand that narcissists are incapable of thinking of others at the same time they are thinking of themselves.

Narcissists do not value community.

Narcissists lack empathy. Or better yet, "Narcissists use empathy in service of the self."

Narcissists esteem themselves as superior to others, entitled to serve themselves at anyone’s expense.

Narcissists are exploitative. People are the means to their ends. We are disposable, replaceable and objectified. Our suffering is dismissed as irrelevant---a mere stepping stone to the narcissist's goal of self-actualization. We should be so grateful to be of service in the narcissist's Quest for Self.

This is unfathomable to the empathic person who struggles to balance self and other.

Keeping the focus on myself did not justify narcissism. What it did was counter unrealistic expectations that I bear responsibility for other people’s decisions. What it did was stop me from projecting, criticizing, controlling, and blaming other people because they weren’t acting the way I wanted them to act in order to feel good about myself as a mother. Keeping the focus on myself was gifting my children with the right to live their lives according to their own values, not mine.

What happened of course is that they began focusing on themselves and changing retaliatory self-destructive behavior. They were freed to make their own life decisions because they were responsible for their own lives (and consequences). When Mom was no longer there take the blame, they could only blame themselves. And voila, they got their lives in order. But they are not pathological narcissists.

Narcissism Steroids

These two ideas: “keeping the focus on yourself” and “creating your own reality” are like handing out selfishness steroids to narcissists.

The problem in our guru-led society today is that narcissists appropriate other people’s truth and manipulate it to a pathological distortion of reality. They appear to be the epitome of perfection. They appear to emulate values and principles most people ‘feel’ in their hearts but can’t articulate in words. Narcissists use language to their advantage--building on our false assumption that all human beings are invested in community and personal responsibility. That all human beings believe in the principle of doing no harm to others.

We may not know that an idealized guru is nothing but a common selfish bastard. When they ‘out’ themselves with irresponsible behavior that is touted to be self-actualization or ‘enlightenment’, we are susceptible to defending our perceptions of the guru. We rationalize and minimize their behavior. We deny that their behavior is indication of sociopathy: using other people to sustain their need to control and dominate reality, validating callous exploitation.

We might even be vulnerable enough to emulate their behavior as the path to our enlightenment, too. In a tragic and short-sighted manner, we normalize pathological behavior.

What we are reluctant to do is challenge the narcissist for having misled us. For having appropriated our truth and perverted it through a self-centered and pathological filter. We trust the guru beyond all reasonable doubt because nobody likes admitting they were duped, abused, disrespected, manipulated, or conned.

We give narcissistic gurus the benefit of our doubt and believe me, they are banking on it.

Remember, it is not what narcissists say that matters, it’s what they DO.

It is not who narcissists tell us they are, it is what they DO that defines their character.

If their heart's desire is control and domination, they will eventually manifest their grandiose destiny. Believe what you see and trust what you know in your heart is the antithesis of self-actualization or enlightenment.

It is not what narcissists say, it’s what they DO.

Hugs,
CZ

Resources

Whirled Musings, "D/s, I Love you", published January 21, 2010. A special thank you to my favorite Cyber Snark, Cosmic Connie.





23 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post! I have a hard time calling what I am doing is "keeping the focus on myself" because my whole life I've heard my NM preach the same mantra. And when she did, she neglected everyone around her to do what she pleased. When I stood up to her and it was clear I wasn't going to back down, her response is "I'm going to focus on me now"

    So admitting that I am focusing on me is tough because the last thing I want to do is to turn into her.

    Your distinction between narcissitic and empathatic self focus was very enlightening. The transformation I am going through does not make me feel more entitled than anyone else. In fact, it has been a humbling experience letting go of what I can't control and letting go of unreasonable expections. It is very different than the "its all about me" transformation I've watched NM go through the past 15 or so years.

    ReplyDelete
  2. “The transformation I am going through does not make me feel more entitled than anyone else. In fact, it has been a humbling experience letting go of what I can't control and letting go of unreasonable expectations. It is very different than the "its all about me" transformation I've watched NM go through the past 15 or so years.” ~OAD

    Ignorant of pathological narcissism, I passed on advice from self-help groups and therapy. Assuming of course, that the same advice would help everyone. What a shock it when a N turned the advice around backwards and used it to reinforce self-admiring, self-centered, and selfish narcissism! So yes, I can relate to what you've gone through, OAD.

    I remember a particular neighbor who spouted self-help advice (he did not actively participate in groups, though).

    “Keep the focus on yourself” meant disinheriting his son and cutting him out of his life with no more suffering on his part than throwing out an old toaster. That was weird to me. I couldn’t understand it. Instead of suffering a father's grief and pain over a son in trouble, he eliminated the object of his disaffection instead.

    “I am keeping the focus on myself,” he said, “and that kid makes me FEEL lousy.” The only thing that mattered was how Bob felt, you see.

    Pathological people need professional support---not self-help.

    The thing is, narcissists are so self-sufficient that they assume they can do everything themselves and they never question their perceptions. They are so certain of their interpretations that they make the rest of us doubt our own!

    What’s worse, what really makes us half-nutz, is when we try to HELP a narcissist. So Don’t Do It. Tell them to get professional help because you are focusing on your sanity.

    By the way ‘focusing on myself’ led me INTO therapy. For the narcissist, it was all he needed to justify his narcissism and no, he never stepped foot in a therapist’s office. As long as he didn’t feel guilty about acting on his narcissism and could justify it by saying “I am focusing on myself’, why did he need a shrink to question his behaviors?

    Hugs,
    CZ

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd love to hear what you think about the recent self-help magical thinking trend, aka The Secret (the universe gives you what you think about: if you think about happiness and love your life will be a banquet of joy and serendipity; if you think about obesity, cancer and death you'll get fat, your moles will turn to melanoma and you'll die). IT strikes me as quasi-narcissistic (how can the universe possibly care enough about what I'm thinking to mete me out my own personal thoughts in the form of concrete things?) having read your post but I'd love to read your take.

    I am absolutely certain that my mother has never and will never take the first interest in anything self-help related, since that would mean admitting that she is already less than perfect, but I do see what you mean: it would be a potent weapon in the hands of a narcissist.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Okay, Maeve.

    I'm more than happy to tell you what I think about "The Secret." Unfortunately, my thoughts aren't very positive. ;)

    Give me a couple of days...it would be a perfect follow-up to this post! But you have to promise to tell me what YOU think, too. Deal?


    Hugs,
    CZ

    ReplyDelete
  5. Male privilege is a feminist myth.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well, anyone can have an opinion though it's usually more persuasive to have an informed opinion.

    You may be interested in furthering your gender studies by reading academic research. I've linked an informative website, including books and discussions that might be of interest while you educate yourself.

    This link has the added plus of being written by a man. ;) Unfortunately though, I do believe he considers himself 'a feminist'.

    http://www.agjohnson.us/

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'd be intereseted in seeing a follow up post on "The Secret". I'm all for positive thoughts since they do seem to have a positive effect on the individual thinking them. But as far as that affecting the universe... I tend to agree that maybe the universe has bigger fish to fry. Positive thoughts followed by positive actions and a foothold in reality seems like the better route to me.
    NM likes the idea of "positive thoughts" because then she doesn't have to give reality any mind. I once asked her about her plans for saving for retirement. She became extremely aggitated and told me "Everyday I live will be a good day."

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi - I came across your page because I was worried I was a closet narcissist - I can be very selfish - and hellishly grumpy when I don't get my own way - making other ppls' lives a misery in the process but..I hate myself every minute for it knowing that this is just what my parents did to me and I struggle constantly with depression, anger and feeling inadequate as a father, employee and son. Does the narcissistic element of my behaviour come from my poor self esteem, or, am I really one of them? :s I guess I will just have to keep pondering :( thank you for your blog though and I hope things continue to work out with the sproggles and you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I find it a fascinating topic and also loved reading the comments.I did a test for narcissiwm but cam our so low I think I need to be more selfish!But seriously,it's good to think about this part of life.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What if the narcissistic in your life is your therapist who taught you about narcissistic personality disorder and how to avoid people with those traits? He was a great therapist who had alot of empathy for me and significantly helped me become a more assertive, less depressed person. He helped me save my marriage and take responsibility for my bad behavior with my husband. He inspired me to go to grad school and become a therapist myself. The list goes on and on.

    The first red flag happened several years ago. I was having a hard time and wanted to make an appt. to see him. But for two weeks he didn't return my calls. When he finally called, I confronted him and in response he simply said, "that's not my strength." Very dismissive. When I wrote him a kind but assertive letter about it, he didn't respond until I called him to change my appointment. He thanked me for the letter but said nothing more. I rambled a little about my reasons for writing it. He still said nothing. I then asked him,"Usually, people who feel like they made a mistake, apologize." He apologized meekly, "I'm sorry" and changed the subject quickly, almost embarrassed, like I was shaming him.

    Now, a client who had been seeing me for a while, unbeknownst to me, was hired by him a couple of years ago to be his assistant.My first instinct was to refer her to another therapist, but I continued to see her because it seemed that they both liked one another and she really respected him. At one point he even said that she was the best assistant he's ever had (has gone through 5 -6 before). Bought her an expensive gift for her for her birthday,etc. Things were good for about a year and a half. Then, after a long absence, she came back to see me to discuss her boss' (my therapist's) abusive behavior. In January, she lost her temper with his exacting demands (when she made minor errors, he "joked" about her mistakes and the trouble it caused him), and she blew up at him. He seemed surprised but not angry. But that was the beginning of the end. After that, he avoided her, was getting more sarcastic, and refused her numerous request to meet to talk about their issues. When he finally did, he screamed at her for 45 minutes, poking her in the chest,saying "Its all your fucking fault. You fucked up, etc. etc." The other therapist could hear him in the other room. He sent her emails while on vacation, detailing how she lost him money doing this and that and failed to take responsibility. Later she found out that he lied about not getting reimbursed for something she sent back on his behalf. He texted her at 3 am and denied it later saying it was the cell phone glitch. He implied that like his dog, she was too sensitive.

    This is a man who passionately talked about being "real" about your own mistakes and taking responsibility for them, about living up to your values in how you interact with people. He taught me how to avoid people with narcissistic traits and to not personalize them! He occasionally referred to his own mistakes, such as losing his temper with his daughter and later apologizing. He complained about his own narcissistic father's behavior including his father's refusal to say he's sorry.

    His empathic ability as a therapist doesn't seem to jive completely with narcissistic behavior. I'm having trouble reconciling this Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde and I'm really sad to learn that my mentor can be so awful and hurtful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I missed reading your comment, Anonymous. I hope you're still around.

      It's a normal assumption to assume a therapist has worked through his/her narcissism. Especially if the therapist was insightful and helpful. As long as he was in the Authority position perhaps, he was able to identify your struggles and help you work through them.

      Pay attention to narcissist's thin-skin though. Like when he made a mistake and you called him on it. You were nice enough, I'm sure. Still, he couldn't handle it which is most definitely a Red Flag. Narcissists lose their cool when someone dares call them on their behavior!

      The next incident with his assistant is beyond reason! I think you've got his number. Implying she was too sensitive, like his dog was a low-blow, the likes of which narcissists are infamous.

      Covert narcissists are drawn to the helping professions, or so I've read. They appear to be altruistic, compassionate, kind, even humble but Woe Be the person who dares assume they are equal! The covert narcissist's grandiosity is there---it's just masked more carefully than the overt narcissist.

      Covert narcissists are extremely disorienting because of the switch from Mr. Nice to Mr.Cruel. You can't even make sense of it at the time.

      Hugs,
      CZ

      Delete
  11. Oh my goodness what a wonderful post! I know I'm a few years late here but I just had to tell you how much I loved it. I feel like you must have gotten inside my head when I wasn't looking and wrote about my experiences w/narcissists.

    Also would like to say that one of the people in my past--a therapist, but not MY therapist--talked incessantly about the evils of narcissism and turned out to be one of the most narcissistic people I knew. He was also helpful and encouraging and willing to help me with just about any problem I had (and he was very good at it). The only problems came when I expected to be treated as an equal--huh? Oh, the confusion and years it took to sort it all out. You are right on w/thoughts on "covert narcissists", CZ. Thanks.

    Kitty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kitty!

      Our message board is down, so I'm catching up on my blog. What a treat to hear from you!

      One thing I can add about narcissists, especially the "helpers" is this: as long as they are helping, their narcissism functions well and they feel good about themselves (which is all that matters).

      They can maintain decent relationship with the person they are helping because that person is in a one-down position. The helper being in a one-up position.

      (This would be a great post if I could remember to write about it, ha!)

      As you probably caught on with narcissists, helping people does not come from altruism and equality. It comes from the illusion of superiority over that person. There is always a power imbalance when someone needs help. Which is why narcissists refuse help (such as therapy). It attacks their much-needed perception of self-sufficiency.

      And if a narcissist is so desperate as to rely on someone else for support, they will PUNISH that person for "seeing" their vulnerability once they are back on their feet.

      Covert narcissists, in my lay opinion, are much more dangerous than overt narcissists who are easy to spot, easy to flatter, braggarts enough to tell you exactly what they think and what they're doing.

      Covert narcissists plot their revenge.

      And it's important to add, lest anyone reading this assume narcissists are neatly categorized into overt OR covert behaviors, they aren't. It's a mix. And it depends very much on the situation. However, psychologists suggest that there's a preference. Underneath the 'false humility' or the 'braggadocio' are the same basic elements of narcissism: grandiosity; lack of empathy; high on agency and low on communal traits and values; extreme reactions to criticism and failure; inability to maintain long term relationships. (to name a few things off the top of my head).

      Thanks for reading and replying, Kitty!

      Hugs,
      CZ

      Delete
    2. "(This would be a great post if I could remember to write about it, ha!)"

      I hope you do remember to write about it, it is a great topic for a post.

      Talk about plotting revenge: this same covert narcissist I wrote about did just that. When Jim and I got together, he did everything in his considerable power to poison Jim's mind against me. He and Jim were also friends, and the 3 of us were really close. But once Jim and I took our rel. to a different level, he felt left out, and demonized me for it. I was absolutely shocked by his vicious turn against me and his attempts to make Jim "dump me," in his words. He had been so helpful and important in my life, I couldn't wrap my head around what he was doing. Like I said, it took years to unravel it all. Of course there's lots more to it, layers and layers of multi-faceted craziness, but I'm sure it's stuff you've heard before. It fits your defn of covert narcissism to a "T."

      Anyway, you are so right on with this, and even after all these years I'm finding it very validating to read. There's always that nagging doubt saying it's all me, you know? So thanks for that.

      And yes, narcissism isn't as simple as either/or, as with most human behavior. This is what can make it all so difficult to sort out, right? To put it in your eloquent words, it's a continuum...

      Thanks again!

      Kitty

      Delete
  12. Wow. This post really speaks to me. I too would love some pointers to "true" self-help for my narcissistic tendencies.

    For the past couple of years I've been going through this awakening that's caused me to pull myself out of a deep depression, and prepare myself for healthier emotional relationships. I am kicking myself for the damage I've caused to my marriage over the years, and now feel like I can only blame my selfishness. Introspection about the depths of ME ME terrifies me. What if I'm one of these covert narcissists? I do seem to rate highly on the self diagnostics I can discover. Pulling myself out of my skin and looking upon myself it both disgusts and fascinates me. What narcissist isn't proud of themselves while wallowing in shame?

    I'll admit it--I want to manage this because I want more out of life. I do feel empathy--I think that's genuine (as far as I can tell). But I'm convinced that narcissism will always hold me back in my relationships. And life's too dang short to not realize the potential of the relationships I have or can have.

    I'm discouraged by statements that say narcissism can't be cured, and self-help for narcissism is an oxymoron. I feel like the proverbial man in a coma who is 'awake' the whole time. Unable to communicate, yet trapped in his own mind. It's torture.

    I'm begging for strategies known to help manage this stuff.

    Thanks for the blog, there's a lot of stuff for me to ponder in here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello anonymous!

      Right now, we're struggling for a common language concerning narcissism. You will find articles and opinions ranging from 'narcissism can't be cured' to 'narcissism can be cured' to 'narcissism is evil' to 'everyone is narcissistic'. It can leave people scratching their heads wondering if anybody has any idea what narcissism even is!

      The issue is that narcissism can be measured as a dimensional trait in every human being. It can also be diagnosed as a clinical pathology. The cross-over is still being researched and yes, it is confusing to most people!

      On my blog, I write about both. Clinical narcissism which is the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (very hard to cure, if its even possible); and narcissism as a personality trait.

      This means everyone is narcissistic more or less and the NPI (Narcissistic Personality Inventory) is a test anyone can take to better understand themselves. If someone gets a higher-than-normal score for Narcissism, then they can take steps to moderate their narcissism. Why?

      Because narcissism is a real problem in ALL relationships---at home, at work, in the neighborhood.

      Since our society is becoming increasingly narcissistic (Twenge and Campbell), we might not even notice that narcissism is at the root of our relational problems.

      "What do ya mean I can't do what I want? I WANNA do what I want!"

      If I'm writing about clinical narcissism, self-help is an oxymoron. People with pathological narcissism cannot do this work by themselves. THEY MUST have therapeutic and social support that calls them on their bullshit lies to themselves.

      For other people with narcissistic traits, self-help is thoroughly adequate in countering and modifying dysfunctional traits.

      I will be more precise in my writing from here-on-out because it IS very confusing to most people!

      I appreciate your comment, anon. I wish every person could tolerate the idea that they just might have narcissistic traits that interfered with their lives and 'Hurt" other people.

      Don't hesitate asking questions of offering critique...

      Hugs,
      CZ

      Delete
  13. To follow up from my last comment, I just found this:
    http://n-continuum.blogspot.com/2010/03/help-im-narcissist.html

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. CZ, thanks for your quick reply. I don't fear NPD just because I don't think I'd be here, or have the guilt, concern, and empathy for those I've hurt or might hurt.

    I simply want to improve to give to others (especially my wife and kids), and get more (guilt free goodness) out of those relationships for myself. Like you said in another comment somewhere, narcissists have trouble with all relationships. That feels like my ultimate judge.

    If I let my anxieties run free I can view this as a crisis. Then again in talking to my wife about it, she says she knew she married a narcissist, and that I should just practice some self acceptance. Personally I feel like I'm looking at myself and wondering if that's really how I want to be..

    Took the inventory and scored a 25. I guess I've got my work cut out for me..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since you're able to tolerate the idea that you might be 'a narcissist', you have a decent chance of recovery. It won't be easy. If it's easy, you're not making progress. ha!

      I've been involved in recovery work for decades now. I confront my unhealthy narcissism, too and am utterly grateful that recognizing my narcissistic traits doesn't push me over the edge into denial.

      BUT, I sure didn't score 25 on the NPI! I will be your biggest cheerleader if you're willing to work on your "concerning traits". I read your comment on the NPI post. And, the two biggest culprits are entitlement and exploitativeness. A terrible combo and one that could ruin your life. (and other people's lives, too).

      Our society grooms us to be entitled and 'have things our way" so your work is definitely cut out for you.

      Are you interested in therapy at all? Or are you mostly interested in self-help? I can offer some resources that might be useful.

      Hugs,
      CZ

      Delete
  15. CZ, thanks. Yes, I am interested in therapy.

    I was in individual counseling with a certified marriage and family therapist. But her style was more of "if you're doing okay, you're cured."

    Of course, I'm eager to be "doing okay" because that's proof I'm awesome. :)

    I've been in therapy in the past (15-20 years ago) but mostly to manage anxiety--no real focus on anything specific like this (as far as I know).

    But given that my issues all seemed to orbit out things affect ME, I'm feeling like I'm not "cured" now matter how awesome I am or convince others I am.

    Any good sources for addressing these concerning traits? And yes, therapy as well..

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you for this blog, it's been so helpful. The minute I started focusing on myself I feel like falling back into place everyday just a little. My daily mantra consists of saying to myself:
    I don't have to be special, I'm good enough. The most important thing is that I enjoy myself doing my work. It does not matter if it is good or not good. Just enjoy yourself. I can enjoy myself and show that I'm happy when I'm around others and when I'm alone. I don't have to do anything special or say anything special. I'm fine. It's okay to express myself. I'm ok.
    This is all a bit new to me, talking to myself like this but it's is soothing and relaxing. It feels like I'm creating this emotional space where there is room for my family and friends. Without feeling drained or occupied.
    I strongly feel when I think about the narcs that have been in my life, I start leaking energy. I get worked up, anxious. And the last year and especially the last 3 months I have been obsessing about it. Because of this website I've come to understand my wounds, the co-dependancy problem. I'm happy there is a word for it and sticking to myself makes me feel more safe around others, instead of being afraid of rejection or feeling not good enough.

    Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello M! I've struggled valiantly with the Perfection Devil and at some point, surrendered being perfect to being perfectly fallible. ha! The inner critic eroding our self-confidence is a formidable foe and even years later, we'll catch ourselves falling into the Perfect Trap! Once we find out we are lovable, exactly the way we are, people have less power to trigger us, hurt us, undermine our confidence...It's always comforting for me to hear that other people have dealt with similar problems as myself! You are good enough; I am good enough; let's have tea and laugh at our inner critics. ha!

      Thank you so much for reading...I haven't been very active posting new entries this past year but have a series of articles in mind for 2016. Be sure to come back---I'd love to hear from you and celebrate your good-enoughness!

      Hugs,
      CZ

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...