Category Archives: Narcissism Articles

Effect Of Parents With Low Empathy For Others’ Feelings

Parents with low empathy typically show little or no regret, remorse or guilt when they behave in ways that hurt and harm their children and children of such parents are therefore at particularly high risk of experiencing abuse.

At the extreme end of the scale, those with very low empathy are termed by psychologists as sociopaths or as suffering from anti-social personality disorder (however, this does not mean they will necessarily have been diagnosed or have broken the law – many such individuals can function well on a superficial level, seem charming on the surface and have cultivated a public persona that very effectively disguises their disorder; they may even strike the outside world as ‘model citizens’).

Other personality traits (on top of lack of feelings of guilt and superficial charm referred to above) of the sociopath include the following:

  • egocentricity
  • unreliability
  • dishonesty
  • an inability to form long-lasting relationships
  • superficial emotions
  • lack of awareness/concern regarding the harmful effects of their behaviour on others
  • poor ability to make long-term plans
  • experiences abnormally low levels of anxiety (so can be good at jobs that require a strong nerve such as surgery)

People with very low empathy, such as sociopaths, tend not to be easy to change ; they are also, as implied above, often very hard to detect – this makes them all the more potentially dangerous.

POSSIBLE BRAIN DIFFERENCES :

One of the possible reasons why sociopaths may find it difficult to change is that research suggests they may be suffering from brain abnormalities (specifically, in the region of the brain responsible for giving rise to feelings of empathy for others, as, indeed, one may expect). However, much more research still needs to be conducted before a full picture can be built up of both biological and environmental causes (and, indeed, of how these two categories of causes interact, of course).

LATEST RESEARCH :

It is worth noting, however, that (at the time of writing), the latest research suggests that sociopaths may not so much lack empathy as have an abnormal ability to suppress it (Keysers et al. 2012).

HOW THE SOCIOPATH CAN BECOME AGGRESSIVE TOWARDS THE EMPATH :

First, an EMPATH  can be defined as a particularly sensitive and perceptive individual who is often the first to intuit that there is something ‘wrong’ with the sociopath. Such individuals can represent a threat to the sociopath as they have the potential to expose him/her (the sociopath) and challenge his/her manipulative behavior.

Frequently, due to this threat, the sociopath turns on/ becomes aggressive towards / attacks / tries to discredit the empath in an attempt to stop him/her (the empath) exposing him/her (the sociopath) and speaking the truth about his/her (the sociopath’s) behaviour.

HOW THE SOCIOPATH ENLISTS THE SUPPORT OF THE APATH :

In order to try to defeat, or, even, psychologically destroy the empath, the sociopath will often enlist the support of the apath (or the support of several apaths).

An apath is someone who lacks the judgment or insight to perceive the sociopath’s malevolent manipulative behaviour, or someone who is too apathetic and morally cowardly to care about it or do anything about it. If, on top of this, the apath bears the empath a grudge, the perverse collusion between the sociopath and apath may prove particularly devastating.

The psychological theorists, McGregor and McGregor, who originally formulated the above theory, termed this dynamic the sociopath-empath-apath triad. By way of illustration, the concept could apply to a family in the following manner :

  • mother = sociopath
  • youngest son = empath
  • oldest son = apath
  • father = apath

In the above example, there are two apaths; however, in other situations there may be just one or three or more.

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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

 

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Physical Differences In Narcissists’ Brains

brain differences in narcissists

I have written elsewhere on this site articles about how being brought up by a narcissistic parent can be extremely traumatic for a child and can have life-long adverse effects on his/her emotional and behavioural functioning in the absence of effective therapeutic intervention.

I will quickly recap the list of the main symptoms of the disorder below :

 THE SYMPTOMS OF NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER :

– expect to be recognized as superior (even without any achievements to warrant this)

– exaggerated sense of own importance

– a tendency to exaggerate their achievements and talents

– belief of only being able to be understood by equally special people

– obsessed by fantasies of power/success/brilliance

– strong need to be constantly admired by others

– constant sense of entitlement

– expectation to be granted special favors

– expectations to always have wishes complied with by others

– exploitation of others for own ends

– unable or unwilling to acknowledge the needs of others / the feelings of others (lack of empathy)

– frequent envy of others

– frequent beliefs of being envied by others

– behaving in a high-handed, superior, arrogant and haughty manner

(Above list of symptoms adapted from the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, otherwise known as DSM -V).

 

WHAT ARE THE PHYSICAL BRAIN DIFFERENCES IN THOSE SUFFERING FROM NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER?

 

A study conducted by Ropke et al examined 34 individuals, 17 of whom had an official diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder; these 17 individuals had also, through testing, been found to be deficient in feelings of empathy (a main symptom of narcissistic personality disorder – see list of symptoms above).

Using a brain scanning technique known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) it was found that the 17 individuals who had been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder had differences in the structure of a region of the brain called the cerebral cortex compared to the individuals in the control group (i.e. the individuals in the study who had NOT been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder).

The Cerebral Cortex :

 

WHAT WERE THE SPECIFIC BRAIN DIFFERENCES FOUND BY THE STUDY?

Specifically, the MRI scan revealed that those who had been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder had cerebral cortices (plural of cortex) that were thinner in the region responsible for producing feelings of compassion for others (known as the insular region) than the cerebral cortices of those in the control group.

This finding emphasizes the fact that those with narcissistic personality disorder require treatment rather than moral judgment.

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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Self-Defeating Personality? Its Link To Childhood Trauma.

Stop_self_sabotage STOP SELF SABOTAGE

I have written elsewhere on this site about how my illness caused me to behave in ways that were self-sabotaging in the extreme.

Some psychoanalysts refer to people who are, to put it informally, their own worst enemy, as having a self-defeating personality disorder; below, I briefly explain how this disorder, according to psychodynamic theory, can be strongly connected to traumatic childhood experiences.

Stop_being_own_worst_enemy

Self-Defeating Behaviour And Its Relationship To Childhood Trauma:

Self-defeating and self-sabotaging behaviour in adulthood, with its roots in adverse childhood experiences, often lies at the heart of addictions (such as drugs and alcohol), compulsions (such as gambling) obsessions (e.g. in connection to romantic relationships), depression, low confidence, pride and poor self-esteem.

However, most people are unaware that the source of their problematic behaviours lies in their difficult early life.

This lack of awareness of what really lies behind our self-destructive inclinations is due to the fact (according to psychodynamic theory) that we repress (banish to the unconscious) the true cause (our painful childhood) as to be conscious of it would be too distressing. This is known as a psychological defense mechanism.

Psychodynamic theory also postulates that it is necessary to break through our psychological defense to bring into consciousness understanding and insight into these clandestine, dark and dysfunctional motivational forces.

Only then can we turn our behaviour around so that it helps, rather than hinders (putting it very mildly in many cases, including my own) us.

Essentially, then, to cure ourselves we need to resolve our, thus far, unresolved childhood emotional conflicts; these may include, for example:

– having been rejected or abandoned by our parents

– having been unloved by our parents

– having been emotionally deprived by our parents

– having been excessively controlled and manipulated by our parents

If we do not resolve these issues (again, according to psychodynamic theory) we will continue to be unconsciously driven to put ourselves in situations that cause us to re-experience the highly distressing emotions originally generated by our traumatic childhood experiences.

BUT WHY ON EARTH WOULD WE BE UNCONSCIOUSLY DRIVEN TO RE-EXPERIENCE THESE DISTRESSING EMOTIONS TIME AND TIME AGAIN?

Well, according to Sigmund Freud, the answer is that this repetition compulsion (as he phrased it) represents our inwardly driven frantic and desperate attempts to gain mastery over the original trauma and its associated negative emotions, something we (inevitably, because we were powerless) failed to do in childhood.


Example:

A woman rejected in childhood by her parents may be unconsciously driven to try to form relationships with utterly unsuitable men who are bound to reject her.


Yes, incredible as it may sound, according to psychodynamic theory, her unconscious mind compels  her to form relationships that are doomed to failure (some go as far as to say all our behaviours are, in the final analysis, unconsciously driven and our sense of control over our own fates is a foolish fantasy; but we are submerging ourselves in murky and hazardous philosophical waters here).

Finally, it is also theorised that we will also interprete events negatively, when it is not objectively justified, in an attempt to recreate our adverse childhood experiences and the negative emotions which pertained to them at the time.

So, following on from the example above, if we were rejected by our parents as children, we may constantly believe others are rejecting us when this is, in fact, NOT the case.

Resource:

Stop_self_sabotage STOP SELF SABOTAGE

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Shame Caused By Childhood Trauma And How We Try To Repress It.

 

We have seen in other articles published on this site that if we have experienced significant childhood trauma we may, as adults, develop profound feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, self-hatred, rock-bottom self-esteem, feelings of being ‘innately bad’ and irrational self-blame for what we experienced. This pernicious brew of feelings about the self can devastate every area of our lives and cause us to live with a deep, abiding sense of shame.

Because feelings of such shame are so psychologically painful to live with, some individuals may develop certain psychological defense mechanisms (the cause of which is generally unconscious) in order to banish them from conscious awareness into the dark recesses of the unconscious where they simmer and fester.

According to the psychoanalyst, Joseph Burgo, PhD., the three main types of defense mechanisms we may unconsciously be driven to employ in a desperate attempt to avoid feeling this shame are as follows:

narcissism

– blame

– contempt

Let’s look at each of these defense mechanisms in turn.

NARCISSISM:

Narcissists have a relentless and desperate need to prove to both themselves and others that they are superior. They crave admiration from others and aspire to make themselves the object of great envy.

They feel that they must perpetually be the centre of attention and may be driven to achieve, or attempt to achieve, high social status (including ‘social climbing’), earning a high salary, and seeking positions of power.

Or they may always try to appear cleverer, wittier or more interesting than those around them (although these attempts, especially if perceived as desperate, generally serve only to annoy, irritate and alienate others, as opposed to enthralling them).

narcissistic defense

They tend, too, to treat others as if they are beneath them. However, their view of themselves as superior beings is often strongly out of kilter with reality – in other words, they may suffer something approaching delusions of grandeur. Indeed, they may provoke comments from others such as the following (overused) one: Who does she think she is? The Queen of Sheeba?’ Or others may regard them as a prima donna.

To reiterate, this constant need to view themselves as superior is a desperate attempt to avoid coming face-to-face with who they (deep down) believe they really are, as fully experiencing such a deep sense of worthlessness and shame is psychologically intolerable to them.

BLAME:

Because acceptance of failure would cause the individual who feels worthless and inadequate in the core of his/her being, and who needs to keep these feelings repressed, s/he cannot tolerate criticism and will shift the blame onto others when things go wrong. Such individuals may also be perfectionists.

CONTEMPT:

Another defense mechanism an individual may utilize in an attempt to keep feelings of shame buried in the unconscious is to ‘look down’ on others and to see them as inferior beings to be mocked or pitied. Such individuals may relish the humiliation of others and delight in their failures. The more s/he can view others as beneath him/her, the more effectively s/he can keep his/her own profound feelings of inferiority and shame at bay.

The Role Of Therapy:

Psychoanalysis can help the individual realize that his/her core feelings of inadequacy and shame, hitherto largely unconscious, were caused by his/her childhood trauma that the trauma was not his/her fault and by absolutely no means means s/he is inferior, worthless, or, in any way whatsoever, needs to feel ashamed. Under the supervision of a skilled therapist, this can cause the individual’s dysfunctional defense mechanisms to start to melt away so that s/he may start to live an altogether more authentic life.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Is Your Mother Narcissistic?

I have already published several articles on the effects on us of being brought up by a narcissistic parent. In this article, I intend to focus upon the main characteristics that are frequently found in narcissistic mothers. These characteristics are as follows:

1) Self-absorption : she regards her own needs as absolutely paramount which completely take precedence over the needs of her children. Indeed, she fails to properly recognise her own children as distinct and separate individuals with their own unique needs; if their needs get in the way of her own, she is likely to bitterly resent the fact. She is selfish and has a strong need to be admired by others and to be the centre of attention. For example, she may expect her own birthdays to be treated as a cause for international celebration, dancing in the street, ticker- tape parades and a twenty-one gun salute whilst resenting the birthdays of her children for deflecting attention from herself (as I have written elsewhere, my own mother utterly ignored me on the morning of my thirteenth birthday due to my having incurred her displeasure for some minor infraction the previous day).

2) Lack of empathy : this is one of the main hallmarks of the narcissist. She does not only lack empathy for her own children, but for other people in general. In this way, she invalidates the importance of her children’s own feelings, worries, concerns and problems by dismissing, ignoring or minimising them.

3) Warped relationship with her children: she may exploit and ‘parentify’ her child (click here to read my article on ‘parentification’), expecting him/her to cater for her emotional needs rather than the other way around. She may, too, scapegoat one child – often the most sensitive and vulnerable child (click here to read my article about how children may be ‘scapegoated’) whilst favouring another child (perhaps treating this other child as a ‘golden child’).

Often, too, any attempt children make to demonstrate affection for the narcissistic mother may be coldly rebuffed. As regards any loving, affectionate behaviour flowing from the mother to the children, this is likely to be extremely minimal or utterly non-existent.

The narcissistic mother may relate to a child in a strangely intense and possessive manner as a means to manipulating and controlling the child.

Also, she is only interested in her children doing well so that it will reflect well on her and enable her to ‘bathe in reflected glory.’ What the child him/herself derives from his/her success is largely immaterial to the narcissistic. Indeed. If she herself does not gain psychologically from her children’s success she is liable to resent it.

download

4) Makes sure her child’s appearance is always immaculate in order to give the outward display to others that she is a ‘good and caring’ mother. She may, too, be extremely dictatorial about what the child wears, how s/he has his/her hair cut etc… Again, this is because she is only concerned that the child’s appearance reflects well upon her. She is unlikely to care, or take any notice of, what the child would like to wear / how s/he would like his/her hair cut.

 

5) Uninterested in your hobbies/interests but expects you to be fascinated by her own. Eg Never coming to watch you play a sport you excel in or even ask you about it whilst expecting you come to watch every performance of an Amateur Dramatics production in which she is performing and subsequently to express your ‘limitless admiration’ for her ‘supreme, Oscar-deserving, acting abilities’.

6) Prone to outbursts of extreme outbursts of narcissist rage/hysteria often over very petty issues and refuses to be pacified

7) Can psychologically terrorize her children

8) Lacks maternal instinct – does not derive pleasure from her children and frequently resents them as a burden and great inconvenience

9) If challenged denies her behaviour harms her children and may lie to cover up her treatment of them. She is highly sensitive to criticism in general and extremely defensive.

10) Projects her own faults onto others, particularly her selfishness.

11) Her moods pervade and dominate the home.

12) Can be sulky and petulant in a childish way and employ passive-aggressive strategies to emotionally punish her children such as the ‘silent treatment’ (click here to read my article on the ‘silent treatment’).

13) Vengeful and spiteful – driven to ‘get even’ with those whom she perceives to have ‘crossed her’.

14) If her child is suffering a crisis, she may actually derive pleasure and excitement from the drama of it

15) She does not experience shame in connection with her behaviour.

 

Resources:

.     Dealing With Narcissistic Behaviour (instantly downloadable hypnotherapy audio). Click here for further details.

 

David Hosier BSc; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Effects Of The Sadistic-Narcissistic Parent

The sadistic-narcissist needs to feel superior to others and maintain power and control over them.

In order to achieve this end, s/he is willing to inflict pain upon others, most frequently emotional and psychological pain, but sometimes physical pain too.

The parent who is a sadistic-narcissist will frequently be prepared to inflict such pain on his/her own children in order to maintain power and control over them. This sometimes involves scapegoating one child (usually the most sensitive and vulnerable) whilst largely sparing the more favoured/psychologically tougher child. This more favoured child may sometimes join with the sadistic-narcissistic parent in scapegoating the more vulnerable child.

Indeed, it was my own misfortune to experience such a malignant and poisonous alliance between my own mother and older brother, which I have referred to elsewhere so will not repeat here (to read my article on how the child can become the family scapegoat, click here).

The infliction of psychological and emotional pain upon the child by the sadistic-narcissistic parent may include:

– humiliating him/her (eg cruel and derogatory name-calling, palpably motivated by spite)

– threats of abandonment and total rejection

– ignoring him/her in a vindictive manner for protracted periods of time in order to intensify the child’s feelings of insecurity and of being unwanted

– saying to the child ‘I wish you’d never been born’

 

At the risk of sounding self-indulgent, all of the above were frequent occurrences in my own childhood, it feels me with pain to report.

The sadistic-narcissistic parent is able to behave in this extraordinary and shocking manner as s/he feels no empathy with his/her children and is sadly devoid of, or severely deficient in, feelings of normal parental protectiveness, love and affection.

Furthermore, after behaving towards his/her children in such a way, the sadistic-narcissistic parent will feel little or no genuine remorse, but, instead, justify and rationalise his/her behaviour by telling him/ herself, as well as others, that the child ‘deserved’ it and ‘brought it upon themselves’. And, whilst it may sound like parody, s/he may actually blame the child for ‘making [him/her] behave that way.’

The psychologist, Vaknin, an expert in this field, has put forward the theory that the sadistic-narcissistic parent behaves in this way to gain ‘narcisstic supply’ ( the word ‘supply’ here refers to the feeding of the sadistic-narcissistic parent’s ferocious and insatiable hunger for power and control) or to punish those who have previously provided him/her with such narcisstic supply but have stopped being sufficiently ( in the view of the sadistic-narcissistic parent) compliant, respectful, obedient and admiring of him/her.

Resources:

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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

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Characteristics Of Narcissistic Mothers

I have already published several articles about narcissism on this site (see MAIN MENU) but, in this post, want to look at some of the characteristics a narcissistic mother is likely to possess:

She only appreciates her children for the benefit she can derive from them. For example, she may push them to succeed in areas of their lives (such as playing a musical instrument to reflect well on her. Or she may discipline them in damaging ways to ensure they never show her up in public. Similarly, she may ensure they are always immaculately dressed. She does not care how such things affect her children, but only that they reflect well on her and make her look like a good mother to outsiders.

She does not take pleasure in her children enjoying themselves and may resent it.

She seems devoid of any maternal instinct and is unable to feel true, selfless, unconditional love for her children nor does she empathise with them – their happiness does not make her feel happy, just as their sadness does not make her sad

If the child tries to show her affection, she is likely to reject the offer or even mock it. Once, for example, when I was extremely I’ll with depression, I tried to hold my mother’s hand which reciprocated no reassuring squeeze or pressure but sat in mine an inert a lifeless thing, like a cold, dead fish.

She is likely to be very prone to outbursts of utterly disproportionate and entirely unprovoked outbursts of extreme rage over the most trivial things and at such times is likely to become verbally and emotionally abusive.

However inappropriate and outrageous her behaviour she does not experience shame afterwards but will always rationalise it and justify herself ( eg she will often claim her behaviour was entirely the fault of others for ‘driving [her] to it’ and ‘provoking’ her

She may cruelly tease the child and then, when s/he becomes upset, may berate the child by saying s/he can’t take a ‘joke’, is ‘oversensitive’ or claim that the teasing was ‘meant affectionately.’

She exploits her children and may parentify them. For example. my own mother used me as her own personal counsellor, starting before I was even in my teens, going as far as to refer to me as her ‘Little Psychiatrist’ despite the fact I was already developing symptoms of profound emotional disturbance myself.

Often projects (a psychological defence mechanism) her own failings onto others which leads her to constantly criticising them for possessing the very same faults she has, whether, in reality, they do actually have these faults or not, laying herself wide open to charges of hypocrisy.

She resents the time her children take up and any effort she has to make on their behalf as this interferes with her pursuing her own goals and interests which, of course, take precedence over those of her children

She is utterly intolerant and dismissive of any criticisms against her and is exceptionally defensive in relation to this

She self-absorbed. obsessed with her self-image and likely to be exceedingly vain

If her child complains about how his/her mother behaves towards him/her, she (the mother) is likely to undermine and invalidate this complaint aggressively and with alacrity.

NB It is important to keep in mind that only an appropriately qualified and experienced professional can diagnose Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

 

Resources:

Dealing With Narcissistic Behaviour Hypnotherapy MP3 : Click here.

 

Ebook:

 

 

Above ebook available for immediate download on Amazon. Click here for details.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

 

 

 

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Brought Up by A Narcissist? The Myriad Possible Adverse Effects.

effects_of_being_brought_up_by_a_narcissist

 

I have already posted many articles on this site on the subject of narcissism (see NARCISSISM ARTICLES in the main menu or in CATEGORIES in the right hand sidebar) and in this article I want to look at the many ways that having been brought up by a narcissist may have negatively impacted our childhood experience and adversely affected our psychological development. These possible effects are as follows:

1) SENSE OF BEING INTRINSICALLY BAD: If our narcissistic parent (henceforth referred to as NP) did not love us we are likely to feel that there is something INTRINSICALLY BAD about us and that the profound essence of who we are is somehow repellent to others no matter what our superficial behaviour. In my own case, I certainly felt this; if people were nice to me I assumed it was due to pity or politeness. Because, as children, we are genetically programmed to believe and learn from parents, we feel our NP’s constant negative appraisal of us must be correct, and, as a result, we carry around with us a deep sense of personal shame.

2) PERFECTIONISM: if our NP was constantly highly critical of us when we were children we may have believed that if only we could stop making the ‘mistakes’ that seemed to displease the NP we could finally win his/her approval (a vain hope, sadly, as nothing would ever have been enough for the NP).

We may, therefore, have developed an obsession with ‘getting everything right’ or perfectionism; this is often likely represent a subconscious drive to finally win love from our NP.

This can lead to high levels of anxiety, so we need to realise that our NP’s expectations of us were not only utterly unreasonable but also completely unobtainable.

Only then can we get off the treadmill, accept we are human and inevitably prone to making human errors just like everyone else.

3) LOW SELF-ESTEEM: if, pretty much from birth, we were treated as unimportant and not mattering very much, shown little interest oraffection and not listened to, it is easy to see that we are likely to become adults with serious self-esteem problems.

Linked to this, we are likely to have low confidence and difficulties with asserting ourselves.

4) PROBLEMS WITH OUR RELATIONSHIPS: many people who are abused by their parents are, as Sigmund Freud pointed out, likely to have an unconscious drive to repeat similar abusive experiences as adults, perhaps by always forming relationships with abusive partners.

Freud referred to this as a REPETITION COMPULSION and it is based on the theory we are unconsciously driven to keep repeating our abusive experiences so that we can, eventually, ‘master’ them.

5) ADDICTIONS : we are more likely to develop addictions than the average person to help numb the intensity of our emotional pain, or, to use a technical term, to dissociate.

effects_of_narcissistic_mother

6) PERPETUAL, UNFULFILLED HOPE: we may constantly hope that we will finally be able to resolve our problems with our NP but find that a permanent rapproachment remains stubbornly elusive.

7) PROBLEMS WITH TRUST : if we found we were unable to rely upon our NP, it is probable we will generalize these feelings of distrust onto other people we interact with in our ault lives.

8) PRONENESS TO SELF-HARM : physically self-harming (such as self-burning, self-cutting etc) detracts our attention from unbearable psychological pain and also floods the brain with endorphins (these are chemicals produced in the brain which have a soothing effect upon us; we use self-harm to induce this as it is probable, due to our childhoods, we have never learned more helpful self-soothing techniques).

9) PRONENESS TO SELF-NEGLECT – if we have learned from our NP to believe we are worthless, we may stop bothering to look after ourselves (it sounds disgusting, but when my illness was at its worse I went three months without properly washing or changing my clothes – my socks became all but welded to my feet).

10) PRONE TO UNDERACHIEVEMENT: we may, unconsciously, be driven to underachieve as, deep down, our NP has made us feel we are not worthy of success. Indeed, if we had success in childhood, our NP may have resented this, as it detracted attention from him/herself.

11)PRONE TO OVERACHIEVEMENT: alternatively, we may be strongly driven to overachieve due to an unconscious overwhelming need to finally win our NP’s approval and love. Such individuals may become obsessive workaholics.

12) EXISTENTIAL LONELINESS : rejection by our NP can lead to a deep sense of painful, existential loneliness in our adulthood.

13) SOCIAL ANXIETY : due to the fact we feel intrinsically unlikeable, we are likely, as adults, to find it difficult to interact confidently with others.

Unfortunately, believing this can become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy – our lack of confidence and subsequent awkwardness may be sensed by others and make them feel uncomfortable, leading them to withdraw from us.

We are then likely to (falsely) interpret this as evidence we are intrinsically unlikeable.

14) DISLIKE CELEBRATIONS : our NP may have resented our celebrations when we were young as it would detract attention from him/her.

I remember, due, apparently, to a minor argument with her the night before, my single mother completely ignored me on my 13th birthday, not even acknowledging me when I got up in the morning and went downstairs to the room in which she was sitting.

However, she made as much out of her own birthdays as possible, excitedly talking about what presents I might like to buy her days, even weeks, in advance.

Such experiences can lead to us being uncertain how to deal with celebrations that centre on us as adults. In my own case, for example, I did not attend any of the three graduation celebrations I was entitled to attend to receive my degrees/diplomas.

15) PRONENESS TO QUESTION OUR OWN PERCEPTION OF REALITY: this is a particularly devasting effect of having an NP.

The NP, with his/her pathological need to protect his/her self-image, will deny and invalidate our perception of our own childhoods using every available tactic – evasiveness, dissembling, outright denial, minimization etc.

Research suggests that such invalidation of our adverse childhood experiences is especially psychologically harmful and can prove a significant obstacle to recovery.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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