Archive for the ‘Narcissism’ Category

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 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.


Narcissism and Voicelessness

March 14, 2011 Comments off

Here is a rewind from a post I did last October 2010.

Voicelessness is when we have been deprived of our right to express ourselves by controlling and oftentimes, narcissistic parents. This pattern behavior carries over into adulthood through relationships with persons like our parents: our boss, our mate, co-workers, or even people we think are friends. We are trained by the narcissistic parent to be subservient. This sets us up to be attracted to people who are like our archetypical parent – controllers and other people who suffer from unhealthy narcissism. By identifying our own pattern of behavior we can break the cycle. Part of it starts with establishing good boundaries and speaking up for ourselves. Find out more in my book, It Has A Name! available through Amazon Kindle and Amazon Create Space (print version).

Dr. Richard Grossman, Articles on Parenting, Voicelessness, Relationships, Narcissism, Depression, Psychotherapy, and other topics in Mental Health

Quote from Voicelessness: Narcissism:

Many people spend a lifetime aggressively trying to protect an injured or vulnerable “self.” Traditionally, psychologists have termed such people “narcissists,” but this is a misnomer. To the outside world it appears that these people love themselves. Yet, at their core they don’t love themselves–in fact their self barely exists, and what part does exist is deemed worthless. All energy is devoted to inflating the self, like a persistent child trying to blow up a balloon with a hole. – click here

Psychological License Key to Loughner

January 10, 2011 2 comments

I have written in my book, It Has A Name! and on this blog recently about Logic versus Rationality. Many unhealthy narcissists are very logical thinkers, but not rational in their behavior. In reviewing recent information on accused murderer, Jared Loughner, I read a piece this morning in the UK Mail Online that covered his suspected YouTube posts. The video was laid out in a fashion that used a primitive logical argument structure to express his world viewpoint. In doing so, this self-reinforcing expression gave him psychological license to act upon his argument, essentially giving himself permission to act in a way that was irrational. The self-referencing as ‘terrorist’, implies the correlating and consequential actions of a terrorist. The trigger event is being discussed widely by various reporters, but it would seem he had targeted the congresswoman as far back as 2007. And of course with all murderers all they need is motive, means, and opportunity. He had the motive as far back as 2007. He bought the murder weapon this last November. It was then a matter of opportunity. Saturday’s event was all it took to complete the plan.

Here is the transcript of the online video:

If you call me a terrorist then the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem.

‘You call me a terrorist.

‘Thus, the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem.’

‘The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar,’ the person wrote in one of the videos, which contain music and white text on a black background.

‘No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver. No, I won’t trust in God.’

The videos, which are set to music, mostly consist of text flashing up on screen. Some contain diagrams.

Loughner appears to be attempting to use the basic rules of logic to frame his bizarre, paranoid philosophy.

Read more:

Clarification of Narcissism, Response to LA Times Daum Op-Ed

January 6, 2011 Comments off

I read LA Times columnist Megham Duam’s OP-ED piece this morning, “Narcissist – give it a rest”, and was struck by how general her comments were and how defensive. Let’s take a look at what she says and then actually explain narcissism.

Ms. Daum expresses her annoyance that ” a whole lot of people are accusing a whole lot of other people of being narcissists.” However, she never explains narcissistic behavior, NPD (full blown narcissistic personality disorder), socially reinforced narcissism, collective cultural narcissism, or malignant narcissism (typically found in sociopaths) – so there is no clear cut point of reference. In an op-ed where a person is making a point, it helps one’s position to state the referencing factors to support their opinion. Instead, she simply goes on and on venting her annoyance at this trend. She comments, ” any behavior you don’t like can be dismissed as abrasively, idiotically, dangerously self-centered.” She goes on to then state, “The term has been misused so flagrantly that it’s now all but meaningless.” She ends her article by saying, “After all, we’re not a nation of narcissists. We’re a nation of jerks. Which happens to be easier to spell.”

I will make a little bit of a leap here. It’s possible Ms Daum’s annoyance comes after psychoanalyst, Bethany Marshall appearing this week on the Joy Behar Show stated that Brett Farve, a well known, admired NFL quarterback, may be a narcissist. She said there is such a thing as socially reinforced narcissism and this propels people to behave in narcissistic ways. In the NFL such an environment would not be hard to imagine where football players are adulated, receive high quality focused attention, arrogance and swagger is admired and encouraged, and many players act as if they are special and above others. Ms. Marshall did briefly explain the nature of narcissism. With Farve’s recent problems of being sued by two former NFL female employees for sexual harassment, Ms Marshall stated she thought Farve was craving attention by soliciting a three-way sexual tryst with the women. When they refused they found themselves unemployed shortly thereafter. A sexual harassment lawsuit has been filed against Farve.

To Ms. Daum’s comment about ‘ANY behavior being called self-centered’, i.e. narcissistic, it is quite the opposite. Narcissism is something very specific with specific traits and accompanying behavior. I explain in my book that unhealthy narcissists (a person with a fragmented, disordered personality who has specific set of traits and is known by a persistent pattern of behavior), are driven by two main things: (i) high quality focused attention; (ii) the need to be dominant, or to dominate. Many narcissists show up in professions where they can have both. Typical professions would be acting, attorneys, doctors, politics, psychologists, ministry, and celebrity-oriented professions, like professional sports. The classic narcissist is highly competitive as they strive to be dominant (this makes them feel secure), and place themselves in situation to receive attention (this helps support the grandiose-false self). In all actuality, narcissists are not so much self-centered as they are focused on managing their self-image, one that is a projection of their grandiose false-self. Much of their behavior is unconsciously driven.

The term ‘narcissism’ unfortunately is thrown around loosely and used in a perjorative way, but I would say, it may be warranted to some degree as we do live in a society where people like Farve are idolized; we have a show called American Idol; the long running show Survivor basically shows that it is ok to backstab your teammates to get what you want (the prize money); celebrities like Lindsey Lohan, Michael Jackson, and Brittany Spears are showing up on the nightly news regularly because of their narcissistic behavior; politics is rife with arrogance, back stabbing, and rule-breaking; in the documentary, Inside Job, a psychologist said the Wall Street culture was very narcissistic and the gross entitlement behavior was instrumental in the collapse of the markets. Where do you want me stop?

There are many aspects of common American life where socially reinforced narcissism exists. These behaviors are not happening in a void. They are socially reinforced by the people who admire these narcissists, who see their arrogance and swagger mistakenly as confident and self-assuredness – which is a very common misperception of narcissists. The narcissist insistence on having their way is also seen as a ‘knowing’ trait. People are attracted to confident, knowing, strong personalities. Many narcissists are charming, but their charm is a control tactic, used to bring people into their orbit. This is exactly how many people get involved with narcissists. Then down the line the narcissist will cease being charming and start being manipulative, aggressive, oppressive, and abusive. They become accusatory using sarcasm, put downs, slights, insults, and insinuation.

As to Ms. Daum’s last comment…. we’re a nation of jerks, this I find somewhat disturbing. To categorize all people as jerks is overstating anyone’s position. She also says earlier in a vein of sarcasm, I am afterall, a you-know-what. Why would anyone even humorously reference themselves as a narcissist? My own analysis here is not to psychoanalyze Ms. Daum though, but to clarify narcissism for what it is and how the behavior of narcissists destroys families and ruins lives — and particularly the life of the narcissist.

To peel away the layers of what makes narcissists who they are would take a whole book to explain. I did just that when I came to realize both my parents exhibited narcissistic behavior. I spent one year of intense research studying everyday and another two years to write and publish my book. I am working on a second book about collective cultural narcissism to be published later this year.

Want to know more about narcissism? You can buy my book, It Has a Name! and you can also click the Narcissism category for related posts.

Hypocrisy and Unhealthy Narcissism

January 4, 2011 Comments off

Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have beliefs, opinions, virtues, feelings, qualities, or standards that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie.

Hypocrisy is not simply failing to practice those virtues that one preaches. Samuel Johnson made this point when he wrote about the misuse of the charge of “hypocrisy” in Rambler No. 14:

Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory, as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage, or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others, those attempts which he neglects himself.

As I stated in my book on unhealthy narcissists,: Do not believe what they say, believe what they do. Unhealthy narcissists will say whatever is necessary to gain what they want, and what they want is always self-serving. They behave in two identifiable ways: (i) they behave in ways to garner high quality attention; (ii) they are driven by a need to be dominant.

They will lie, tell half-lies, cajole, charm, exploit, manipulate, use overt or covert control tactics to achieve their aims, and otherwise deceive others (see my post on the Art of Deception). They are controllers, arrogant in their stance, oftentimes attaching themselves to a noble cause to embellish their grandiose false-self, are performers by nature, insistent on their way, unapologetic for their bad behavior, and will act in contrary ways as a means to keep others off balance. Unhealthy narcissism is not one thing, it is a group of personality traits and is evident in a persistent pattern of behavior.

Find out more in my book, It Has A Name! available through Amazon, Kindle, Sony Smashwords, and hard copies through Create Space through links on this web site.

Source: Wikipedia

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

60% of American Adults Had Difficult Childhoods

December 20, 2010 Comments off

A new report from the CDC tells us a troubling story. This was my story and the reason I wrote my book, It Has A Name!, which describes the unhealthy narcissism behind much abuse.

Almost 60% of American adults say they had difficult childhoods featuring abusive or troubled family members or parents who were absent due to separation or divorce, federal health officials report.

In fact, nearly 9% said that while growing up they underwent five or more “adverse childhood experiences” ranging from verbal, physical or sexual abuse to family dysfunction such as domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, or the absence of a parent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Adverse childhood experiences are common,” said study coauthor Valerie J. Edwards, team lead for the Adverse Childhood Experiences Team at CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “We need to do a lot more to protect children and help families,” she said.

About a quarter of the more than 26,000 adults surveyed reported experiencing verbal abuse as children, nearly 15% had been physical abused, and more than 12% — more than one in 10 — had been sexually abused as a child.

Since the data are self-reported, Edwards believes that the real extent of child abuse may be still greater. “There is a tendency to under-report rather than over-report,” she said.

The findings are published in the Dec. 17 issue of the CDC’s journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Adverse childhood experiences included in the report included verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, incarceration of a family member, family mental illness, family substance abuse, domestic violence and divorce.

According to the report, about 7.2% had had a family member in prison during their childhood and 16.3% had witnessed domestic violence in the family home. In addition, about 29% grew up in a home where someone abused alcohol or drugs. “These cases occur across all racial groups and ethnicities,” Edwards noted.

Almost one in five respondents (19.4 percent) had lived as a child with someone who was depressed, mentally ill or suicidal, the report noted.

“These interventions are important not just because abuse is so common, but because of the lifelong health implications,” Sanders said. “There is a connection of these events to lifelong implications, not just for mental health for adults, but also for physical health.”

For example, a person who has several of these events is more likely to get cancer and heart disease, Edwards said. “This is serious and it’s not just a quirk of statistics. It’s a real relationship.”

Entire article, click here

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