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Confronting Narcissism: Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

July 25, 2011 2 comments

Book suggestion: Dr. Karyl McBride, author of Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. Her web site – click here

I just picked up this book after visiting Dr. McBrides web site and taking her survey.To say the least, my mom scored very high.

Even after writing my own book (It Has A Name) on unhealthy narcissism, I still struggle with being the daughter of a narcissistic mother. My mom, age 85, is in a nursing home these days. She is nearly deaf, suffers from some dementia, congestive heart failure and diabetes. I have the greatest empathy for her condition, but I have slowed my visits down to seeing her every two weeks. This is for a couple reasons. First, she cannot hear very well and on the days where her dementia is flaring and she is agitated, she is very difficult to be around. Communication is non-productive and frustrating for both of us. The second is, she has retained her narcissistic personality and still is very controlling, critical, lacking in empathy, and downright mean at times.

As an adult, I have chosen to stand up for myself and not allow others to unfairly criticize me, but when it comes to my mom, I tend to fall right back into the role nearly 80% of the time. These encounters bring up all sorts of old hurts which were developed in my childhood. There are times when I am quite strong, feeling myself, and simply cut the visit short. I try to part without any anger directed at her. But, too often after the visit I breakdown and cry. I feel I am working through the anger and hurt in as healthy a way as I know how. There is anger, hurt, and now facing the final abandonment – death. There is the difficult reality of knowing there will never be a resolution to our dysfunctional relationship.

I find when I am getting ready for a visit, I start to get a GERD pain in my upper gut. It is an internalized reaction to knowing I will be dealing with my mom, an abuser. First and foremost, we must understand that in dealing with unhealthy narcissists, they are not only controlling, but abusive. The anticipation I experience is a conditioned response from years of abuse. The abuse for many children is not always physical, but it is powerfully emotional and psychological. This creates all types of stressors that can lead to more negative behavior for the abused child, like drug abuse to manage emotional pain, overeating to have some sense of satiation, over working to prove our worth, co-dependency (over pleasing). These all are related to the damage inflicted on one’s psyche which negatively affects our self-esteem, self-image, and self-respect.

The key to combating and achieving your own truly authentic self, independent of, and free from the narcissistic parent, is rooted in establishing one’s own healthy set of values (including healthy boundaries), which essentially is re-parenting oneself. Once we establish our own healthy set of values, this leads to helping our true authentic self emerge, the self that was inhibited from expressing itself in its full dimension because of the roll the narcissistic parent projected onto us… the good daughter, the perfect daughter, the high achieving daughter, etc.

The one thing that is helpful for children of narcissistic parents to hear is for someone to give them permission to be themselves. I give this permission to you and to my readers. It is ok to live your own life as you see fit, in a healthy way free from criticism, manipulation, intimidation, bullying, authoritarian abuse, domination, and pathological pattern behavior.

My book, It Has A Name, addresses my own journey to self-realization. It identifies the root of unhealthy narcissism, the dynamic, how to recognize it in others, how to make the necessary changes to free ourselves from the pattern behavior that ensnares us and keeps us from experiencing our true authentic self.

Both my book and Dr. Karyl McBride’s book are available on Amazon.com. The link for my book in hard copy is to the right on this page. It will take you to the Create Space Amazon purchase page.

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Marlo Thomas: Free to Be… Not Anymore

May 25, 2011 Comments off

Take a stroll on over to the Huffington Post and read Marlo Thomas’s, Free to Be… Not Anymore. The problem of bullying is the topic and one in which I am all too familiar. My late father was a bully and my mother suffers from passive-aggressive controlling. My book, It Has A Name! starts on the subject of bullying and ends on the death of a student who in 2010 was bullied to the point where she committed suicide.

Here is the link to Free to Be… Not Anymore, click here

If you would like to know more about the often underlying unhealthy narcissism of bullies and controlling personalities, please buy my book available at Amazon.com.

Bullying In the Workplace

December 28, 2010 Comments off

“Bullying by the boss is common but hard to fix”. Not true. The fix, is to stand up for yourself, and/or get another job — even in a tough job market like we are experiencing now, your self-esteem, self-respect, and self-worth are more important. You must not subordinate yourself to bullies. My book, It Has A Name!, begins and ends on the subject of bullying. Many bullies are unhealthy narcissists. They will not change, apologize, or own up to their behavior. The advice of most experts and what I say in my book is, Get away and stay away because you do not know the level of their dysfunction or the depth of their narcissism. Move on. Space and distance is your ally.

USA Today reports: Bullying by the boss is common but hard to fix

One in three adults has experienced workplace bullying, according to surveys conducted earlier this year by research firm Zogby International for the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI). Nearly three-fourths of bullying is from the top down, according to a 2007 study.

Some tyrannical managers scream and send out scathing e-mails. But often, an oppressor uses a more subtle — and easily covered — collection of behaviors. These actions could include purposely leaving a worker out of communications so they can’t do their job well, mocking someone during meetings and spreading malicious gossip about their target, says Catherine Mattice, a workplace consultant who specializes in this issue.

The acts may seem trivial, but as they build up over time, the ramifications can be monumental.

Bullied workers often feel anxious and depressed, can’t sleep and are at increased risk for ailments such as hypertension. Some employees feel so overwhelmed, they just can’t see a way out. “Sometimes, unfortunately, suicide is the result,” Mattice says.

Who gets picked on by whom

Workplace bullying can take many forms. While it’s often a boss targeting employees, workers have picked on peers — and even their supervisors.

Slightly more than 60% of bullies are men, and 58% of targets are women, according to WBI. When a woman is the aggressor, she often picks on her own gender: Women target other women in 80% of cases. Men are more apt to target men.

Read entire article, click here

DSM to Omit Narcissism in Newest Edition

December 15, 2010 Comments off

DSM to Omit Narcissism in Newest Edition. I read this awhile back on a mental health site and it is worth commenting: this is a major faux pas by the DSM…….being that this is my area of expertise, I am none too pleased as we just saw Elizabeth Smarts kidnapper convicted last week and he had been declared a malignant narcissist. We are talking sociopathology, malignant narcissism, NPD narcissistic personality disorder, and more. To say the least, it is troubling to see this decision.

The NY Times reports:

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (due out in 2013, and known as DSM-5) has eliminated five of the 10 personality disorders that are listed in the current edition.

Narcissistic personality disorder is the most well-known of the five, and its absence has caused the most stir in professional circles.

Entire article, click here

Cyberbullying Run Amok

December 5, 2010 Comments off

Excellent New York Times article today on Cyberbullying:

One afternoon last spring, Parry Aftab, a lawyer and expert on cyberbullying, addressed seventh graders at George Washington Middle School in Ridgewood, N.J.

“How many of you have ever been cyberbullied?” she asked.

The hands crept up, first a scattering, then a thicket. Of 150 students, 68 raised their hands. They came forward to offer rough tales from social networking sites, instant messaging and texting. Ms. Aftab stopped them at the 20th example.

Then she asked: How many of your parents know how to help you?

A scant three or four hands went up.

Cyberbullying is often legally defined as repeated harassment online, although in popular use, it can describe even a sharp-elbowed, gratuitous swipe. Cyberbullies themselves resist easy categorization: the anonymity of the Internet gives cover not only to schoolyard-bully types but to victims themselves, who feel they can retaliate without getting caught.

But online bullying can be more psychologically savage than schoolyard bullying. The Internet erases inhibitions, with adolescents often going further with slights online than in person.

Cyberbullying requires the same intervention of a ‘game changer’ as face-to-face bullying. The game changer is someone in authority who can change the dynamics of the game the bully is playing – for it is indeed, a game. The goal of the bully is to establish dominance, not simply to be a winner. To establish dominance, the bully targets weaker individuals. In cyberbullying it is much easier to be bold and more aggressive than in face-to-face encounters. I can only encourage adults to step in and change the dynamics of the game. Take action — get an attorney, consult with other parents or school authorities, remove your child from school or the place in which the bullying is happening — if that is Facebook, take control of that situation. If you are not tech savvy, consult with someone at your place of work, the tech-admin person would be a good resource to show you how to manage social networks. Create rules and boundaries for your child — and support your child. Bullying affects self-esteem, self-respect, and self-worth. Demand that the school have a zero-tolerance policy on bullying.

10 Privacy Settings for Facebook
http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-privacy-2009-02

BS Alert: Being Bullied Could Be Genetic

November 30, 2010 Comments off

One study…. on Marmosets. Comments of could be, and may be, and small but intriguing…

Is this the best we can do on this hot button topic and very important subject? I am more than a little disturbed by this recent report about bullying behavior. The UCLA study on the social behavior of marmosets in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was reported on Discovery Channel.com. It indicates there may be a genetic influence that makes one more prone to attracting bullying…..”a small but intriguing genetic influence. ”

This is what this blog is all about, sorting out truth from fiction, theories from facts, known quantities from unknown and all the gray in between. In my book, It Has A Name! I begin the book on the subject of bullying as portrayed in Hermann Hesse’s book, Demian, and end my book on the real life 2009 death of a student due to repeat bullying. Bullying is a predatory behavior often initiated by a person with unhealthy narcissism who feels entitled to harrass and taunt and beat up others. They have little empathy, a grandiose false-self, are arrogant, self-serving and unrepentant of their bad behavior due to their feelings of entitlement.

Finding a genetic influence on being the recipient in negative interactions may reflect an overlooked aspect of a valuable social trait, Daniel Blumstein says. Marmots that are in the middle of things socially appear to thrive, but plentiful social interactions mean more bumps and grumps. “If you want to be in a group, you have to take the nasty stuff,” Daniel Blumstein co-author of the study says. Being able to tolerate that abuse instead of shying away from interactions that might end unfortunately could indeed be a trait favored by evolutionary forces.

Here are my comments on the Discovery Channel post:

This is the kind of irresponsible rhetoric that excuses unhealthy bullying behavior. People will read into this that bullying victims are genetically weak, perhaps drawing the conclusion that they are deserving of this behavior, and worse, that unhealthy narcissists are excused from their pathological behavior of bullying, taunting, and harrassment. Thumbs down for stating one study on Marmosets and comments like, can be, may be, and small but intriguing….. as something worth reporting. The psychological aspect of bullying can be measured and evaluated in humans. Pathological personalities are often bullies who pick fights out of nowhere and often select perceived weaker persons as targets. And while many victims are women and children of lesser stature it is due to predatory targeting and not some yellow belly of the victim. I wrote a book this year called, It Has A Name! and clearly most bullying is due to personality problems. Sorry, but i have to reject your hypothesis.

http://news.discovery.com/animals/marmots-bullying-genes.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1

Self-talk: Undoing Verbal Abuse

November 26, 2010 Comments off

Verbal abuse can be overt – in your face, or covert – subtle, like slights. Quite often this abuse is employed by unhealthy narcissists who abuse their children to make themselves feel better. Children who are victims of abusive parents who use either method often carry the remnants of this verbal abuse in the form of something called, self-talk.

Self-talk is the script that runs through the mind of an abused victim. Being that most abused children suffer from repeat episodes of verbal abuse, the results are the abused child has been programmed to think of themselves as worthless, inadequate, weak, inept, stupid, never good enough or not measuring up . The last two are very damaging as the bar for ‘measuring up’ is some illusive mark that can never be achieved. The abuser does this to keep the child in a subordinate position. The child then becomes more focused on getting approval from the abusive parent rather than developing their own unique authentic self. Life becomes performance over real engagement.

Overt verbal abuse may be insults, put downs, and bullying remarks: you’ll never amount to anything, you’re a failure, can’t you do anything right, you don’t know what you’re talking about, can’t you do better, shape up, etc.

Covert verbal abuse are slights, insinuations, negative comparisons, and digs: that dress is nice but you need to lose a little weight, I was hoping you would get an ‘A’ on that test (and then no praise for the ‘B’), you know your friend Johnny is so smart, or, I’m busy, we’ll talk about it later (later never comes).

Slights can be very damaging as they are full of disdain – unworthy of notice – a powerful emotion aimed at denying the child’s value as a person. It implies, ‘you’re unimportant’. Narcissists need to feel superior and so often they will throw out disdainful remarks. They just roll off their tongue with no regard for the other person’s feelings. Slights undermine the targeted person’s self-worth impacting their self-esteem and this has long term effects.

To undo the script, I suggest in my book to take on new ways of living, thinking, feeling, behaving and being – effectively reparenting oneself. One aspect is to become aware of the script that is running in one’s head. Reject the negative thougts and accentuate the positive ones. Realization that one was a target of an unhealthy person’s personality problem helps to relieve the burden of feeling one deserved the abuse – a common feeling by many abused children. No one deserves to be abused. Abusing children is particularly a heinous act for the child looks to the parent as a primary source of love and affection; they naturally trust the parent and is vulnerable to whatever they say and how they say it.

To tackle the problem of undoing verbal abuse I suggest starting small. Starting small means to simply say to oneself, I am good enough and always have been. I am a good person. I love myself. You can say it over and over again, or upon waking up in the morning, or in your car, or during meditation. Then begin to introduce self-reinforcing positive thoughts. Surround yourself with friends who are happy and positive. Read books on philosophy and psychology. Try to set aside old habits that may be linked to old behaviors learned in your childhood. Do not obsess over the past — we cannot change the past. We can learn from it though and change ourselves. I suggest in the very beginning of my book to forgive others for this clears the path to allow you to move on and make forward progress from the negative place the unhealthy narcissist placed you. Forgiveness will help you to the next stage – awareness and mindfulness. And from there, healing, recovering your dignity, and regaining your self-worth.

My book, It Has A Name!, is available in softcover at CreateSpace or at Amazon, Kindle books, Smashwords, and Scribd.com. The links are under the Asheham bookstore link above. The Kindle version can be purchased by clicking on the upper right hand image of my book.

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