Category Archives: Effect Of Narcissistic Parents Articles

Narcissistic Parents? The Possible Adverse Effects.

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Possible Effects Of Narcissistic Parents :

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 parents 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 narcissistic parents’ 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 narcissistic parents were 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.

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

7) PROBLEMS WITH TRUST : if we found we were unable to rely upon our narcissistic parents, it is probable we will generalize these feelings of distrust onto other people we interact with in our adult 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 narcissistic parent 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 narcissistic parents’ approval and love. Such individuals may become obsessive workaholics.

12) EXISTENTIAL LONELINESS : rejection by our narcissistic parents 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 narcissistic parents 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 devastating effect of having an narcissistic parents.

The narcissistic parent, 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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Narcissism : The Sub-types.

 

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I have already written several articles on the possible adverse effects of having been brought up by a narcissistic parent, including the fact that this may lead us ourselves to develop narcissistic tendencies. In this article, I want to look at narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) in rather more detail by examining its subtypes.

 

1) ACQUIRED SITUATIONAL NARCISSISM – this type of narcissism can develop as a result of an individual acquiring great wealth , celebrity and/or status.

In the case of celebrities, for example, their narcissistic tendencies may be encouraged due to the adoring, sometimes worshipful, behaviour of fans, attention from the media, the sycophantic manner in which they are treated by deferential and submissive assistants, and the obsequiousness of general hangers- on and ‘Yes-men.’

If the person had incipient narcissistic traits prior to achieving celebrity status, these may become exacerbated by his/her new station in life leading to the development of full- blown narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

2) AGGRESSIVE NARCISSISM – a person with this type of narcissism has a grandiose view of him/herself, is prone to pathological lying, lacks empathy, lacks the ability to feel remorse, is cunning and manipulative and, not uncommonly, will display a superficial charm (it overlaps – ie. has features in common with – antisocial personality disorder.

3) CODEPENDENT/INVERTED NARCISSISM – the individual who suffers from this psychological condition is drawn towards/attracted to classical narcissists, feeding their emotional needs and becoming codependent upon them

4) COLLECTIVE/GROUP NARCISSISM – this syndrome entails an individual developing a grandiose, highly superior and elevated view of both him/herself and the group to which s/he belongs.

When all group members view themselves and their group in this elitist manner the group itself may morph into a narcissistic entity.

Ethnocentrism is an example of this; it involves a whole culture or ethnic group regarding itself as far superior to others, rather like many of those who oversaw the building of the British Empire.

5) CONVERSATIONAL NARCISSISM – in the case of this form of narcissism the individual has a great need to talk about him/herself and, if the conversation diverts from this topic, s/he is likely to make efforts to revert it back to being about him/herself.

6) CORPORATE NARCISSISM – this refers to an individual who runs a corporation and is obsessed with profits to the extent of being prepared to act morally unscrupulously and even criminally.  S/he is not adverse to exploiting those who can help him/her achieve this goal (eg. employees).

Whilst such a strategy can be effective in the short-term, in the long term it tends to alienate employees and the general public.

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Mr Burns : The ultimate corporate narcissist. Excellent.

7) CROSS-CULTURAL NARCISSISM – this refers to individuals who are immigrants but are also fiercely and aggressively of the view that the original culture from which they came is vastly superior to the new culture which imbues his/her new geographically location.

8) MALIGNANT NARCISSISM – the malignant narcissist can be regarded as a hybrid of a classical narcissist and someone suffering from antisocial personality disorder. Additionally, s/he frequently displays paranoid traits.

Such individuals often go to extreme lengths to gain, and hold onto, power over, and control of, others.

They are likely, too, to despise, ridicule and display general contempt and disdain for anyone who has authority over them.

If it comes to the choice between another person liking them or being afraid of them, they will tend to prefer the latter scenario.

Their lust for power and success leads them to becoming trapped on a treadmill, forever chasing more of these things and never being satisfied with the extent to which they already have them.

Because of the obsessive nature of the condition, and the individual’s inability to ever feel satisfied, it often leads to psychological breakdown and illness, hence its name: malignant narcissism.

9) MEDICAL NARCISSISM – this refers to people in the medical profession, such as surgeons, who have an unhealthy, powerful drive to appear utterly competent and infallible at all times; it is unhealthy as it can lead such individuals to hide and cover up their errors so that their patients and colleagues are not made aware of them. This is a form of negligence which may, of course, lead to suboptimal treatment of patients, or, in extreme cases, serious harm to them.

Those who suffer from this syndrome are sometimes referred to as having a ‘god-complex’.

10) PHALLIC NARCISSISM – those who suffer from this hold themselves in extremely high regard, tend to have great social aspirations (a desperate desire to ascend the ‘social ladder’), are desperate to obtain the admiration of others, are self-promoting, prone to boastfulness, vain and highly sensitive in relation to how they are perceived by others. They are, too, often reckless.

Whilst determined to achieve their goals and outwardly self-assured, their condition arises from a drive to overcompensate for inner feelings of deep, personal inadequacy.

11) SEXUAL NARCISSISM – individuals with this condition perceive themselves as having great sexual prowess and also have a strong sense of entitlement regarding having sex with others, as if it were their natural right and due. This can lead to sexually predatory behaviour.

Again, this type of narcissism is a form of overcompensation for having low self-esteem and those afflicted by it usually have problems with experiencing emotional and psychological closeness/intimacy with others.

12) SPIRITUAL NARCISSISM – people with this condition are of the view that their religious/spiritual beliefs make them superior (especially morally) to others. Essentially, their religious beliefs feed their ego (and, again, this is likely to be a compensatory measure caused by an inner sense of inadequacy).

13) UNPRINCIPLED NARCISSISM – people with this condition have very little or no conscience, are unempathetic and uninterested in the feelings and needs of others, are duplicitous, devious, dishonest, unscrupulous, amoral, interpersonally exploitative and regard life as a game that must be won at almost any cost. Highly competitive, the quote ( I forget from whom):

‘It is not enough for me to succeed, my friends must fail’

is, perhaps, a not altogether inaccurate summation of their attitude to life.

14) AMOUROUS NARCISSIST – individuals with this type of narcissism view themselves as highly sexually desirable and use their sexuality to manipulate and control others. Seduction, for them, is a game and they need to make sexual conquests to give themselves a sense of self-worth.

They tend to exploit their partners and can often be what are colloquially referred to as ‘heartbreakers’.

15) FANATIC NARCISSISM – individuals of this type have low self-esteem which is usually due to having experienced significant childhood trauma. They compensate for lack of success in their lives through living a rich fantasy life in which they may imagine achieving great things and gaining unlimited social admiration. They also tend to have paranoid traits.

16) COMPENSATORY NARCISSISM – this type overlaps with/underpins many of the above types of narcissism. Those suffering from the condition have feelings of inadequacy stemming from traumatic childhood experiences and retreat into a fantasy world in which they can compensate for their failure in real life by being a great success in their internal, imaginative worlds.

They are often passive a aggressive and, because they are very concerned about what others think ofthem, are prone to experiencing high levels of social anxiety.

17) CEREBRAL NARCISSISM – with this type, the person holds themselves in excessively high regard, and views him/herself as superior to others, for the intellectual abilities of which s/he perceives him/herself to be in possession.

18) SOMATIC NARCISSISM – a person with this condition is besotted by his/her own body/body image and highly physically self-admiring. S/he regards his/her deeply attractive body ( according to his/her own estimations) as bestowing upon him/herself superior status compared to those cruelly devoid of similar physical attributes.

Resources:

Hypnotherapy MP3/Instant download. DEALING WITH NARCISSISTS : click here.

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

 

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The Narcissistic Defence (And Why It Is Self-Defeating).

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If we frequently felt threatened when we were growing up, it is likely we have developed a dysfunctional response to perceived danger, threat and stress now that we are adults. Many of us may find we react in a more volatile way to such experiences compared to the average person (all else being equal).

This is likely to be because our childhood experiences have caused us to have difficulty regulating (controlling) our emotions ( in some cases this can be because our childhood experiences have adversely affected the development of a brain region involved in the processing of our emotions ; this brain region is called the AMYGDALA – click here to read my article on this).

In relation to this, not untypically, we may find we have an exaggerated and augmented fight response  to perceived danger (both physical and psychological). If this is the case, it is possible, too, that we have developed commensurate narcissistic traits as a psychological defence mechanism : the narcissistic defence.

The individual who uses the narcissistic defence is, usually on an unconscious level, using power and control to prevent abandonment and secure love; s/he is responding to the threat of abandonment with anger. As already stated, this can be as a result of having felt frequently threatened as a child, but, also, especially, if too, we were spoiled and given insufficient limits during our childhood or were allowed to imitate an aggressive, narcissistic parent.

Individuals using the narcissistic defence may frequently display contempt for others, intimidating them for the purposes of their own psychological needs. They may, too, see others less as individuals in their own right and more as extensions of themselves.

Often, too, they will form relationships with subservient and submissive types in order to more easily dominate and control them. As a result, the dominated party may lose all sense of his/her identity and lose touch with his/her own needs, preoccupied as s/he is in catering to the endless psychological demands and needs of the narcissistic partner.

However, such individuals who have developed this narcissistic defence are frequently not true, full-blown, card carrying narcissists (ie. they would not meet the diagnostic threshold to be diagnosed as suffering from narcissistic personality disorder).

Whilst full-blown narcissists are very hard to treat, the type described above is amenable to therapeutic intervention. They can be helped to understand that their criticisms, intimidation of, and contempt for others alienates potential intimates.

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Their demanding, over-cotrolling behaviour leads to a vicious cycle: feelings of abandonment leads them to making excessive use of power tactics and controlling behaviour; this,  in turn, causes the person so treated to be scared away and to, in effect, emotionally withdraw; this then leads to feelings of even greater abandonment leading to even more extreme controlling behaviour and so on as infinitum…

THERAPY :

The individual who uses the narcissistic defence needs to redirect hishis/her anger, which s/he displaces on to undeserving others, onto how his/her childhood was managed resulting in his/her intimacy-destroying behaviour. His/her misdirected anger is an acting out of his/her sadness and hurt in relation to his/her childhood. Such individuals need to allow themselves to be sad about their childhood. It may also be necessary for them to work at developing their empathetic skills.

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

 

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Are You A Narcissist?

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Are You A Narcissist?

If we were brought up by a narcissistic parent, it is possible that we ourselves have developed narcissistic traits by the processes of modelling and learning.

If you want to get an indication of whether this may be true of you, read through the following statements. The statements do NOT make up a diagnostic tool, but narcissists tend to answer AGREE with the following statements:

‘ARE YOU A NARCISSIST?’ TEST :

1)  I regard myself as an extraordinary person

2) I can easily make people believe anything I say

3) I like to be complimented

4) People are always interested in my stories

5) I like to show off

6) It’s important to me that I amount to something in the eyes of the world

7) I regard myself as having very good leadership potential

8) I like to look at/show off my body.

9) I regard myself as a special person

10) I am extremely concerned that others perceive me as a great success

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Above – The Ancient Greek Mythological Youth – Narcissus

11) I am very concerned that I achieve worldly success

12) I know that I’m destined to be successful

13) If someone dares me to do something, it’s very likely that I’ll do it

14) If I get into trouble I can almost always talk my way out of it

15) I enjoy being the center of attention

16) If I ruled the world, I’d be able to make it a better place for people to live in

17) I enjoy being in authority over others

18) I am a good manipulator and am capable of manipulating others when necessary

19) Respect from others is my due and I insist upon getting it

20) I must get all I deserve and will not rest until I get it

21) I very much desire to be a powerful person

22) I believe that I am a natural leader and very much wish to be one

23) It is my right to live my life precisely as I choose

24) I think I would make an excellent subject for a biography and would like it if, one day, someone wrote it.

25) When I am in public I like to be the centre of attention and resent it if people fail to notice me

26) I am a far more capable person than average.

 

THE ACTUAL DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER, FROM THE DSM V (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V) ARE AS FOLLOWS:

– grandiose sense of self-importance

– expects to be seen as superior (though lacks commensurate achievements)

– preoccupied with fantasies of enormous success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love

– sees self as ‘special’ and as someone who should only associate with other special/high status individuals

– has a strong sense of ‘entitlement’/expects others to treat him/her especially favourably

– interpersonally exploitative

– lacks empathy (does not identify with/recognize needs/feelings of others)

– frequently envies others but also imagines others envy him/her

– frequently displays arrogant behavior

Above adapted from DSM V.

NB. Proper diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder can ONLY be made by a suitably qualified professional. 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc: PGDE(FAHE)

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Emotional Incest

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Emotional Incest

Emotional incest, also sometimes referred to as covert incest or psychic incest, occurs when a parent expects/forces the child to take on the emotional role of an adult/spouse.

Although it does NOT involve sexual intimacy between the child and the parent, it does involve intense emotional intimacy which would far more usually be expected to take place between sexually involved, adult partners.

In my own case, my mother used me to act as her ‘counsellor’ from when I was very young (about 11 years old) and would reinforce this behaviour by referring to me as her ‘Little Psychiatrist.’

 

The child, then, is used to satisfy the parent’s needs. I provide examples of such needs below:

– advice

– companionship

– ego fulfillment (especially if the parent is narcissistic – click here to read my article about the effects of narcissistic parents on their children)

– counselling

– intimacy

– the need to have a confidante

– the need to have a ‘best friend’

– the need to have a substitute spouse

– the need to have a substitute parent (indeed, some parents ‘parentify’ their own children – click to read my article about this

– emotional support

Because the focus within the family dynamic is on the child meeting the needs of the parent, the child’s own needs are likely to be neglected. Examples of such neglected needs include:

– protection

– guidance

– nurturance

– affection

– affirmation

– discipline

– structure

Adverse Effects Of Emotional Incest :

THE ADVERSE EFFECTS ON CHILD OF BEING FORCED TO PARTICIPATE IN AN EMOTIONALLY INCESTUOUS RELATIONSHIP INCLUDE:

– crisis in identity – may vacillate between seeing self as talented and worthless/having high and low self-esteem

-isolation from peers – this can mean the child grows up without developing necessary social skills

– learns to repress/suppress own needs

– development of a compulsion to be ‘special’/excel – as it was learnt in childhood being ‘special’ was the only way to gain the parent’s approval

– become out of touch with own feelings

– personal boundaries fluctuate between being too strong and too weak

– a fear of intimacy and personal commitment (due to unconscious fear of being exploited in the same way as was exploited by the ‘needy’ parent or due to fear that any such relationship will become ‘suffocating’ like the childhood relationship with the parent

– a compulsion may develop to recreate another intense relationship in adulthood (repetition compulsion) or a relationship with a selfish/self-absorbed person (again, repetition compulsion)

– anger

– guilt

– addictions ( eg alcohol, drugs, gambling)

– problems with emotional intimacy

– problems with sexual intimacy

Parents At Risk Of Emotionally Enmeshing Children:

WHICH PARENTS ARE AT GREATEST RISK OF ENMESHING THEIR CHILD INTO AN EMOTIONALLY INCESTUOUS RELATIONSHIP?

– single parents

– divorced parents

– unhappily married parents

– isolated parents with little social support from other adults

– narcissistic parents ( click here to read my article on this)

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

 

 

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What Does ‘Gaslighting’ Mean?

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The term GASLIGHTING, whilst a colloquialism, is often used by psychologists to refer to a particular type of manipulative behaviour, and form of psychological abuse,which may be employed by narcissists (click here to read my article on the effects of narcissistic mothers on their children), sociopaths, or, indeed, narcissistic sociopaths (or should that be sociopathic narcissists?!).

Gaslighting involves the perpetrator of the psychological abuse systematically and deliberately undermining the victim’s memory, perceptions, judgements, self-esteem, self-confidence, sense of identity and their very sense of reality.

In extreme cases, it can leave the victim questioning their own sanity and becoming actively suicidal.

Gaslighting may involve both denying that certain events ever happened and claiming that other events did happen when, in reality, they did not. It can, then, almost be characterised as a kind of ‘brainwashing’ which is carried out in an insidious and subtle manner over a prolonged period.

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As well as the effects referred to above, the victim may also become depressed, highly anxious, find it increasingly difficult to make own decisions, confused and, paradoxically, increasingly dependent upon their psychological tormentor.

The strategy is used to gain control and power over the victim and may occur within a variety of relationship types, including :

– parent and child

– romantic relationships

– siblings

– ‘friends’

– work colleagues

I have already stated that gaslighting is a long-term strategy, and one of the reasons it can go on for so long is that, in many cases, the victim remains in a state of DENIAL, unable to accept that the other person could be so cruel, darkly calculating and coldly manipulative.

THE 3 STAGES OF RELATIONSHIPS INVOLVING GASLIGHTING:

Typically, relationships involving gaslighting entails 3 stages :

1) IDEALIZATION

2) DEVALUATION

3) DISCARDING

Let’s look at each of these in turn:

IDEALIZATION – in this first stage, the abuser presents the most positive image of themselves possible to entice the victim into a relationship. They may lavish the victim with love, affection and attention, be charming and charismatic, flirtatious, full of fun, energy, enthusiasm and a general joie de vie.

As a result, the victim becomes enamoured of them and imagines that these feelings are reciprocated. Whilst this is not the case, the abuser does obtain a psychological gain : the victim provides the abuser with what has been termed ‘narcissistic supply’ – this refers to the boost of ego derived from the victim’s ‘worshipful’ behaviour towards him/her.

Often, the victim becomes psychologically ‘hooked’, or ‘addicted’ to the abuser during this initial stage.

DEVALUATION – Once the IDEALIZATION stage has run its course, however, it is replaced by the devaluation stage.

In this stage, the abuser abruptly loses interest in the victim, becomes emotionally cold towards him/her and may treat him/her him with contempt and derision.

The victim may well try to win back the abuser (providing the abuser with further narcissistic supply) but to no avail. The abuser continues to treat the victim as worthless, inferior, pathetic and weak.

DISCARDING – finally, once the abuser has derived all the narcissistic supply s/he can from stage 2, s/he loses interest in the victim altogether and discards him/her as s/he might a disposable plastic razor.

 

RESOURCES:

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MP3:

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

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Narcissistic Rage

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I have already discussed the potentially devastating effects a narcissistic parent may have upon their child’s psychological development (eg click here). In this article, however, I wish to concentrate upon a particular symptom of narcissistic personality disorder, that of ‘NARCISSISTIC RAGE.’

The term ‘narcissistic rage’ was first coined by the psychologist Heinz Kohut in 1972. Kohut believed that it results from ‘narcissistic injury’. ‘Narcissistic injury’ can be defined as ‘A PERCEIVED THREAT TO (the narcissist’s) SELF-WORTH’.

Whilst, on the surface, a narcissist acts as if s/he is highly superior to others and has a greatly inflated, grandiose sense of self-worth, just beneath this superficial facade lies an extremely fragile, weak and vulnerable ego which the narcissist is desperate to protect from further damage.

It is because their ego, in reality, is so fragile and vulnerable, which the narcissist is desperate to protect at almost any cost, that even the slightest threat to their tenuous grip on their self-esteem, such as a very minor criticism, can trigger an outburst of extreme and disproportionate rage directed at the person who dared make the criticism.

 

In this way, extreme aggression becomes the narcissist’s form of defence.

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This self-protective narcissistic rage can take on two forms :

1) Explosive rage

2) Passive-aggressive rage

Explosive rage : this type of rage is self-explanatory. My own mother would hysterically yell that she felt she ‘could knife’ me / felt ‘murderous towards’ me / felt ‘evil towards’ me / rued the day I was born / would throw me out of the house (this last one a threat that she carried out when I was thirteen years old.

Passive- aggressive rage :  this type involves the narcissist becoming petulant, childishly sulky and, often’ giving the object of her wrath ‘the silent treatment’ (click here to read my article about what ‘ the silent treatment’ entails).

The rage that the narcissist expresses can be extremely vindictive and is often employed as a way of seeking revenge on the person who ( often inadvertantly) upset them. The narcissist may well want the person punished and psychologically hurt ( or, indeed, physically hurt, as some narcissists will use physical as well as verbal violence in their inexorable pursuit of vengeance).

 

Summary :

Narcissistic rage is a defense mechanism employed by the narcissist in a desperate attempt to preserve their extremely precarious and tenuous sense of self-confidence and self- esteem. They have an overwhelming need to maintain their false, superficial, grandiose view of themselves used to keep their deeper feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness at bay.

 

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

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Structural Abnormalities in the Brains of Narcissists

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I have already posted many articles about how being brought up by a parent with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) can be extremely traumatic and lead to the development of our own psychological conditions once we ourselves have become adults (eg click here).

However, in this post I want to look at how the structure of the narcissist’s brain differs from the brains of others.

With advances being made all the time in the field of neuroscience, and brain scanning techniques improving at a rapid pace, it is becoming increasingly clear that those with NPD frequently display STRUTURAL ABNORMALITIES in a region of the brain known as the CEREBRAL CORTEX (specifically, it has been found to be SIGNIFICANTLY THINNER than is normal).

This finding is of particular interest as the brain’s cerebral cortex is known to be involved in generating our feelings of COMPASSION for others, and, therefore, is closely linked to our capacity to EMPATHIZE (Stefan Ropke, School of Medicine, Berlin University). It is known that the narcissist’s capacity to feel empathy for those they interact with is SEVERELY COMPROMIZED.

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NARCISSISTS AND LACK OF EMPATHY :

One of the main hallmarks of NPD is a seriously impaired ability to EMPATHIZE with others. This means that they are able to emotionally hurt those around them (especially those close to them whom they may well treat worst of all) WITHOUT FEELING GUILT, SHAME OR REGRET FOR HAVING DONE SO.

Indeed, they may even relish the hurt they have caused and mock, deride or otherwise display contempt the person whose feelings they have damaged.

On a quick personal note, I remember when I was a child and my mother would reduce me to floods of tears she would respond in a ridiculing and contemptuous tone of voice : ‘Oh, turn off the bloody waterworks for Christ’s sake you little crybaby. I’ve no sympathy for you whatsoever. WHATSOEVER!’ (Or something similar along the same lines.)

Looking back on such treatment, it seems to me quite possible that my mother enjoyed my reaction as it provided her with a sense of POWER to compensate for her deep feelings of inadequacy.

However, it should also be noted that many narcissists can appear, SUPERFICIALLY, to be compassionate. This is often likely to be because they have learned (sometimes very convincingly) to mimic such pro-social behaviours in order to win social acceptance and approval. Thus, a person with NPD may APPEAR TO OUTSIDERS to be a perfectly reasonable, even caring, person whilst being highly unreasonable and uncaring BEHIND CLOSED DOORS in the home. Simply put, individuals with NPD can learn to put on a highly convincing SOCIAL MASK.

Finally, for those who have not read my other posts on NPD, I will end with a list of other common behaviours that sufferers of this disorder are likely to display:

– grandiosity

– entitlement/expects to be treated as ‘very special person’ at all times

– exploits others

– deep need to be admired

– prone to intense jealousy

– arrogant

– prone to fantasies involving great personal achievement and/or power

 

RESOURCE:

Hypnotherapy MP3/CD : Dealing with narcissistic behaviour CLICK HERE.

 

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

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Copyright 2015 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Unempathetic Mothers

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An UNEMPATHETIC MOTHER is one who is unable to take her child’s perspective and see things from his/her point of view. For example, if her child responds in a negative way towards her, she is unable to see how her own behaviour contributed to such a response, or to accept that the child’s response may be absolutely normal and understandable given the circumstances. Essentially, she is unable to appreciate how her own behaviour makes her child feel, and how it may negatively impact upon him/her.

 

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF AN UNEMPATHETIC MOTHER?

The psychologist and writer, Apter, suggests that unempathetic mothers frequently :

1) DEMAND RECOGNITION OF THEIR ‘SUPERIOR’ STATUS.

For example, she may say things like : ‘I am your mother so you must always show me the utmost respect and never defy me!’

2) CLAIM A KIND OF ‘OMNISCIENCE’

For example, she may say things like : ‘Just accept that I always know what’s best for you, so do what I say without questioning me.’

3) IGNORE THE CHILD’S POINT OF VIEW

For example, she may say things like : ‘Be quiet, you’re far too young to have an opinion on this; nobody’s remotely interested in anything you have to say.’

4) BLAME THE CHILD FOR HER OWN INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR

For example, she may say things like : ‘Don’t cry – you made me slap you by provoking me so much; you’d try the patience of a saint. I hope you’re happy now, making me do that!’

5) DECRY AND DEMEAN HER CHILD’S FEELINGS BY COMPARING THEM WITH HER OWN

For example, she may say things like : ‘Stop crying, you’ve no idea what it is to really suffer – you should try living my life for a day, having to cope with a little bastard like you!’

6) DEPLOY OVER-GENERAL, UNFAIR, HYPERBOLIC CRITICISM

For example, she may say things like : ‘You’re just a bad kid through and through’ or, even, ‘you’re utterly evil’

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Sound familiar?

7) CRITICIZE AND DRESS THE CRITICISM UP AS CARING

For example, she may say things like : ‘Have you managed to compose yourself now? – it must be awful for you, having such a destructive temper’

8)DISLAY BORED, UNINTERESTED, NON-ENGAGED COMMUNICATION WHEN CHILD TALKS ABOUT HIS/HER FEELINGS

For example, she may say things like : (delivered in bored tone) : ‘Yeah…right…uh-huh…uh-huh …’(yawns) ‘sorry, I slept vey badly last night…I’m utterly shattered…it’s not that you’re boring me…’ (yawns again, more ostentatiously this time)

9) MAKE USE OF VAGUE, GLIB AND EMPTY PROMISES

For example, she may say things like : ‘I promise I’ll be the world’s best mother from now on’

10) ISSUE FLAT DENIALS

For example, she may say things like : ‘I’ve never acted against your interests.’

11) DERIDE THE CHILD TO UNDERMINE HIS/HER CONFIDENCE IN OWN VIEWS/FEELINGS

For example, she may say things like : ‘Oh, you think you’re a big shot, do you? All Hail the big-shot! – don’t make me laugh. You’ll never amount to anything. You’re a complete embarrassment to me and to everybody else who’s ever had the misfortune to know you!’

A particular kind of mother who may be especially prone to behaving in ways suggested above is the NARCISSISTIC MOTHER (click here to read my article about the characteristics of such mothers).

 

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Above eBooks now available on Amazon. CLICK HERE to view.

 

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

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Copyright 2014 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

How Narcissistic Mothers Can Invalidate Us

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One of the most frustrating and upsetting things about how the narcissistic mother may respond to us is that if we try to explain how much we have been psychologically injured by her, she is very likely to respond by INVALIDATING this view as, essentially, she tends to view herself as someone who can do no wrong; by constantly and unwaveringly undermining our strongly held belief, she can lead us to question our perception of very reality.

Having our perception of reality unremittingly called into question in this insidious manner is known to be PARTICULARLY DAMAGING TO OUR MENTAL HEALTH, thus compounding, massively, the harm already down to us.

Indeed, in my own family, not only does my mother not acknowledge that I was damaged by my childhood, but so, too, do not (or have not) its other members. Their keeping up of this absurd pretence has, over the years, amounted to a highly corrosive and invidious ‘conspiracy of silence.’

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WHAT FORM DOES SUCH INVALIDATION TAKE?

This invalidation involves our thoughts, experiences and feelings being denied or, even, scorned and held in contempt ; it can, and, not infrequently does, amount to a kind of re-writing of history and brain-washing. We can be placed in an Orwellian hell in which we are forced to believe two and two really does make five, that black really is white.

Examples of things that might be said to us in an attempt to invalidate us :

– you’re over-sensitive

– for god’s sake stop harping on about that, it’s ancient history

– turn off the water-works, you’re getting upset over absolutely nothing

– I think you’re a very horrible person for bearing grudges

– Jesus told us to forgive, perhaps you should take a leaf out of his book

– you’re blowing all this massively out of proportion

– stop wallowing in this revolting self-pity

– you’re always whinging – get over yourself!

– oh, shut up – I do listen to you!

– I was just teasing you – can’t you take a joke, for god’s sake?!

– stop taking this ‘holier than thou’ attitude, you’re far too judgmental – don’t you think it’s time you climbed down from your high-horse?

– you’ve completely misinterpreted what I was saying

– stop criticizing me, I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong

– it’s your fault I did/said that – you drove me to it!

– I never did that

– I never said that

– that never happened

If you would like to read more about narcissistic mothers, click here to read another one of my articles.

To read about how narcissistic mothers can ‘PARENTIFY’ their children, CLICK HERE.

To view the ebooks I have written on the subject of childhood trauma CLICK HERE

To view a resource you may find helpful, click here (or visit the RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS section – see MAIN MENU – of this site).

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

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Copyright 2014 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery