Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illumines it -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Little Voices

Copyright © 2009 by Richard A. Grossman, Ph.D. • All Rights reserved • E-Mail: ragrossman@voicelessness.com
If parents do not enter a young child's world, but instead require him or her to enter theirs to make contact, the resulting damage can last a lifetime. In "Voicelessness: Narcissism," I presented one way adults react having experienced this scenario in childhood: they constantly try to re-inflate their leaky "self." However, different temperaments spawn different adjustments: some children, by their very nature, are incapable of aggressively seeking attention. If no one is entering their world, they unconsciously employ a different strategy. They diminish their voice, make as few demands as possible, and bend themselves like a pretzel to fit their parents world.

To secure their place in the family, these children often become expert in intuiting their parents' feelings and moods and automatically responding in ways they deem helpful. In effect, they become good parents to their own parents.

What happens when these children enter adulthood? Depending on personality and history, there are different possibilities. Here are two:

Some become gentle, sensitive, and non-assuming adults. They are also generous and caring, often volunteering for charitable organizations, animal shelters, and the like. Frequently they feel other people's pain as if it were their own, and are racked by guilt if they cannot somehow relieve this distress. Many seem to tiptoe in and out of rooms. Unfortunately these qualities also allow them to be used and abused by other people, for they are unable to stop giving without feeling they are bad or unworthy. Having a secure "place" and providing for others' emotional needs are inextricably woven together. If they are not providing, they feel they are no longer part of anyone's world, and they have no value to anyone. Their self-esteem is completely dependent upon responding to others needs. In extreme cases, their "voicelessness" is so complete, so consuming, these "little voices" literally are silent for long periods of time. This is not a form of passive aggressive behavior (as has often been suggested) or even a retreat from relationships. Unless asked direct questions, they simply can't think of anything to say. "What do you want?" (now, this week, this year, during your lifetime) is impossible for them to answer. Early in their childhood they stopped wanting because no one paid any attention to their wishes. Their place in life was to know what everyone else wanted--this is the only place they felt comfortable and unthreatened.

Other "little voices" ultimately become aware that they have sacrificed their independence, their "voice," in bending around others, and become negative and bitter. They are exceptionally sensitive to what they perceive as the non-responsiveness of people around them--precisely because they compare their own generous nature to the words and actions of others. Almost everyone comes up short. As a result, they are viewed by others as "critical" and difficult to get along with. They are easily slighted and prone to angry outbursts. The theme of their anger is often: look what I've done for you, and look what I get back. And yet they are trapped, because if they stop anticipating everyone's needs they feel invisible. Sometimes, these "little voices" live with (or close to) their demanding and unappreciative parents until the parents die; they deeply resent siblings who managed to escape.

Copyright permission obtained by Dr. Grossman via email July 2009


Why do Some People have One Bad Relationship after Another?

Copyright permission obtained by Dr. Grossman via email July 2009

Some people unwittingly choose destructive relationships over and over again. The consequences of their choices are painful and emotionally damaging, yet those that engage in this repetitive behavior never seem to learn from their experience. Instead they go from one bad partner to the next, much to the chagrin of those closest to them (including therapists) who pull their hair out trying to stop them. Why does this happen?

Traditional psychoanalytic theory offered an intriguing, yet seemingly unlikely explanation for such self-destructive relationship choices. People who choose such partners must derive pleasure from being mistreated. Simply stated, the choosers are masochistic. If the "pleasure principle" drives people, as analysts argued, certainly this behavior follows the same rules. The therapist's task was to make the unconscious pleasure known to the patient--and then they would be free to choose a more appropriate partner.

Yet, in my years of doing therapy, I never found any client who received any pleasure at all, conscious or unconscious, from the abuse and neglect heaped on them by narcissistic or otherwise destructive partners. Rather, my clients were simply hurt over and over again. Still, the "repetition compulsion" was true enough: no sooner had a client ended with one particularly hurtful person then they found another wolf in sheep's clothing. There had to be a good reason. Here's what my clients have taught me over the years.

People who have not been given "voice" in childhood have the lifelong task of repairing the "self." This is an endless construction project with major cost overruns (much like the "Big Dig" in Boston). Much of this repair work involves getting people to "hear" and experience them, for only then do they have value, "place," and a sense of importance. However, not just any audience will do. The observer and critic must be important and powerful, or else they will hold no sway in the world. Who are the most important and powerful people to a child? Parents. Who must a person pick as audience to help rebuild the self? People as powerful as parents. Who, typically, is more than willing to play the role of power broker in a relationship, doling out "voice" only insofar as it suits him/her? A narcissist, "voice hog," or otherwise oblivious and neglectful person.

And so it goes. The person goes in the relationship with the hope or dream of establishing their place with a narcissistic partner, only to find themselves emotionally battered once again. These are not "oedipal" choices--people are not choosing their father or mother. They are picking people they perceive powerful enough to validate their existence.

But why doesn't a person leave when they realize they are in yet another self-destructive relationship? Unfortunately, on occasion things go well with a narcissistic partner--particularly after a blowout fight. A narcissist is often expert in yielding just enough "voice" to keep his or her victim from leaving. They grant a place in their world, if only for a day or two. The wish that this change is permanent sustains the voiceless person until the relationship regresses back to its usual pattern.

Giving up a destructive relationship is difficult. The brief moments of validation are cherished, and the person who finally leaves must relinquish the hope of "earning" more. When the person finally breaks free they are faced with an immediate and lasting feeling of emptiness and self-blame that makes them question their decision.

“If only I had been different or better--then I would have been valued," is the usual refrain. Once the old relationship is sufficiently grieved, the person immediately resumes their search for another partner/lover with the qualifications and authority to again secure him or her a "place" in the world.

Ironically, this "repetition compulsion" is hardly masochistic. Instead, it represents an ongoing attempt to heal the self, albeit one with disastrous results. The cycle repeats itself because the person knows no other way of preventing themselves from feeling tiny or immaterial.

This is exactly where therapy comes into play. The analysts were correct in at least one important matter. This repetitive behavior has its roots in childhood, the time in which "voice" and self are established. People are often aware that they are struggling to be heard, to have a sense of agency, and to be valued in a relationship, but they are unaware that this is usually the very same struggle they had with one or both parents. A good therapist reveals this by closely examining their personal history.

And so the presenting problem is redefined and broadened to a life issue--and the work begins. A therapist bears down with all the resources available to him or her. Insight is certainly one--for, as suggested above, there is much the client does not know about the depth and breadth of the problem. Just as important is the relationship between therapist and client. Simply put, the relationship must be real, meaningful, and deep. The client must learn to establish voice, and it must be appreciated by the therapist in a genuine way. For the therapy to be effective, the relationship will likely be different from every other one the client has had. Advice and encouragement, often seen as hallmarks of good therapy, are by themselves insufficient. To make headway, the therapist must partially fill the same void that the client was unconsciously hoping their lover would. The client must feel: "My therapist is someone who hears me, values me, and gives me a 'place' where I feel real and significant."

Once the client feels certain of this, they can begin looking for partners using more realistic, adult criteria. And they can finally free themselves from people who chronically hurt them. In this way, the self-destructive, repetitive cycle is broken.

Accessed Tuesday, July 14, 2009

For the past 25 years, Dr. Richard Grossman has maintained a psychotherapy practice specializing in the treatment of adult children of narcissistic parents and people with narcissistic spouses or partners. Prior to entering private practice, he taught and supervised in the internship and postdoctoral psychotherapy programs at Massachusetts General Hospital/ Harvard Medical School where he was on staff.

Dr. Grossman started the Voicelessness and Emotional Survival web site in 1999. The essays on this site--on narcissism, relationship issues, adult children of narcissistic parents, depression, parenting, and therapy--have drawn hundreds of thousands of readers, and the Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board has over a hundred thousand posts from people sharing (often for the first time) their personal experience with these topics.

Featured in New England Psychologist, Dr. Grossman's work has also appeared in Boston Magazine, The Boston Globe, Cosmopolitan (UK), The Brookline Tab, and other magazines, books, and web sites.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Straight Talk about Narcs

Understanding the problem
So, what exactly IS a narcissist? In short, a narcissist is someone (usually a man, but not always) who is totally self-absorbed to the point where there is no room for anyone else. There is no other point of view, no other needs, wants, or desires. This person will be arrogant, haughty, and superior. If the person is good-looking, they will use that to their advantage. They use people to get what they want. They crave admiration, even demand it, whithout necessarily earning it.

Before the chains of bondage can be broken, you have to gain a clear understanding of what you are dealing with.

You are probably stone cold nuts by now, particularly if you are subject to them in some way, i.e., they are your spouse, boyfriend, or fiance, your boss, your parent, your son or daughter, your doctor, your priest, minister, or rabbi, your best friend, your teacher, your neighbor, you co-worker..........

They are everywhere and they can be just about anyone in your life.

Sometimes they come and go, and sometimes they stay and stay and stay -- and you're stuck with them.

They demean you.

They are mean to you.

They point out your problems to you.

They make you feel guilty.

You find yourself constantly apologizing to them.

They are sucking you dry mentally, emotionally, spiritually,
physically, financially, and they are at the center of your universe - but you are not at the center of theirs. The only person at the center of their universe is THEM.

They are bigger than life.

And you are nothing.

You've given up your freedom to be their abject slave.

You have no hope of escape.


What do you have to lose?
Some time in the past, you got in their cross-hairs and became a target: It may have been so long ago you may not even remember a happier, more care-free time.

They had their radar up and operating when you came within their sights to become a narcissistic source they could milk dry.

They may still seem to be bigger than life, a hero type, the knight in tarnished armor fighting your battles, an apostle to lead you into the Kingdom, or a diamond in the rough who just needs a little care and compassion to bring out the best in him.


So, if you give them up you would be losing... what? A portion of your life? your battles? the Kingdom? knowledge? justice? bread? money?

At the time you recognize that he is doing you such damage that you are totally spent, without any energy, love, or hope, you have to ask yourself the question, "Is this truly worth it?"!

It isn't, of course, but fear may drive you into a paralyzing

The way out is to begin to recognize that if you reject the narcissist, you are not losing anything; you are GAINING you sanity!

Taking the risk
Risk assessment is very important: You need to determine the course of action you will take when YOU DUMP the narcissist.

This can be very dangerous, depending upon your situation.

If you are going to get a divorce, what are the options to support yourself and your children and stay away from the abuse?

If it's your boss, how are you going to manage a potential job loss?

If it's your minister, how will you manage the potential damage he could do to your reputation?

If it's your teacher in school, how will you finish your education?

The problem is not just that they are everywhere, but they become master manipulators, making you look like the bad guy while enlisting the aid of powerful allies.

You must prepare carefully to avoid as much risk as possible.

Women who have gotten a divorce have told of getting a judgment against their abusers for both alimony and child support only to have to find a way to support themselves because their ex defied the courts and have paid nothing.

Sometimes the narcissist goes after their departed source with a vengeance and may even attempt murder -- it's certainly not unheard of. Even those you'd swear would never do that!

The problem is that if you stay with them, the risk is no less, and you may only be postponing the vicious attacks of which, you have come to understand, the narcissist so capable.

Remember though, the narcissist is used to inflicting pain; it is what he does; it is who he is.

One of the most amazing things about abusive people is that they have no idea they are abusive: They are so focused on themselves that they neither care NOR do they understand they are abusing others.

Concerning reputation: Narcissists are really good at ruining someone else's reputation -- all they have to do is say something that sounds credible that you know is a lie, and everyone will abandon you before you can collect and show the facts of the matter.

Narcissists are great at blaming the victim.

Not only that, but they will find (or plant) something somewhere to "prove" that you lied in the past and ruin your credibility.

Narcissists also like to take the objective and turn it into what seems to be a personal attack on them -- thus, again, making you look like the bad guy, e.g., making everyone feel sorry for HIM.

They have the majority on their side, because they tell people what they want to hear, and most of the time, the truth is the last thing people want to hear.


They need you.

Narcissism is a mental disorder which is defined by a lack of
empathy as well as a peculiar non-existence: That is to say, the narcissist needs others to reflect back to them what they appear to be in order to define themselves; without this feedback, they don't exist.

And the worst thing you could ever do, from their point of view, is to COMPLETELY ignore them.

To ignore them is to snuff them out.

Narcissists become very angry when you ignore them!

To question that they are the center of the Universe is anathema to them -- pure heresy.

They are the greatest of their kind of all time.

And when you question their importance, you become a "lying betrayer."

They are so confident of their greatness, that anyone questioning it is not just their enemy, to be fought tooth and nail, they are deceivers, cheating others of the truth.

Hopefully, you recognize the baloney of the narcissist for what it is, but often they have such forcefulness, they can bully their way past the obvious baloney.

Though they seem confident of their position in the Universe -- at the center of it -- and believe that the Universe would cease to exist without them, they hold the secret fear that the Universe might just be able to do without them without much notice, if any at all, and it creates a tremendous fear within them.

They need you to validate them.

You need them to leave you alone.

Avoiding the more obvious traps
You can make the choice to dump the narcissist when you recognize him for who and what he is -- nothing at all; useless, worthless, pretty much a fool.

Or he can dump you.

Either way, you have cause for rejoicing, even if you feel great pain.

The narcissist is quite addictive to his source and when he
withdraws, people often have withdrawal symptoms.

Like any addiction, this must be faced and overcome.

There are two main problems:

1 There may a great temptation to crawl back to the narcissist to beg his forgiveness and try to allow to come back to him;

2 You may seek another narcissist to fill the void.

Either way, you are going to regret it: It doesn't really lessen the pain, you simply keep up the cycle.

Now, it's really easy to get caught up in the illusion that your narcissist is bigger than life and provides you with something; the reality is something else: He is not the one giving--you are; you are the one providing him with everything (or at least a portion) of what he needs.

It's a sick relationship.

In order for your own healing, you must get away from the patient; sever all ties; become independent. No Contact.

It is insanity to remain subject to them.

Here is another trap:
You feel sorry for him.

That is the absolute worst thing you could do

Don't feel sorry for him. Do Not.

He doesn't feel sorry for himself: He's just fine with the way he is and sees no need to change.

And since the narcissist, by definition, is totally incapable of empathy, he doesn't feel sorry for you or anybody else; again, he's just fine, and, except for some righteous indignation because he believes he has been wronged because someone doesn't see the truth that he is the center of the Universe, his life will go on and he WILL find some other first-class sucker to feel sorry for him.

Remember this:

The narcissist won't change, is incapable of it, and furthermore is perfectly satisfied to wallow in the cesspool of his own misery.

How to free yourself from his clutches once and for all:

All narcissists are monsters at the core: they are abusive; the only real difference is the scope of their abuse, limited only by the resources and sphere of influence available to them.

They seem impressive because they are great at manipulating perceptions: They are always a triumph of image over substance.

When the chips are down, though, they fold and take the gold with them, leaving you in a lurch.

You don't count.


Do you feel sorry for them?

Do they seem bigger than life?

Do they break the rules and take shortcuts?

Do they break their promises?

Do they lie to you?

Will they discount the lies they tell you and gloss over them when they come to light?

Do they constantly complain about how stupid people are, how bad service is, etc?

Do they discount your achievements?

Do they want you to solve their problems for them, when it is their responsibility to take care of their OWN problems?

Do you find yourself apologizing to them, particularly when you haven't done anything wrong?

Are they constantly critical of others?

Are they abusing you either with assault or neglect?

Do they expect you to be there for them constantly, on a moment's notice?

Are you finding that they are resource intensive?

Do you have to keep giving them "feedback", particularly on how valuable, smart and / or good looking they are?

Are they abusive toward other people?

Do they seem devoid of empathy towards others and just don't care?

Are they smart alecks? Sarcastic?

Do they constantly want your attention?

And finally,

Do you just plain feel miserable and uncomfortable around them?

If any of these are true, then run, don't walk, for the nearest exit from the relationship.

And don't look back.

from: Night-Vision for Women

Free articles & information for abuse victims: http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.com


Everyone fights sometimes. No relationship — whether between couples, family members, officemates, schoolmates, whomever — is completely without conflict. In fact, a relationship that avoids conflict may very well be in some ways unhealthy.
The key to a healthy relationship isn't avoiding conflict, but making sure that you and your partner can clear the air productively — without hurt feelings or worse.
Below are fourteen rules for fighting fair that many couples I work with have found successful. You and your partner may have thought of others.
1. Take Responsibility. It may take two to tangle, but it only takes one to end a conflict. Even if your partner doesn't agree to fight fair, you can make a commitment to never intentionally harm your partner's feelings. Commit to using the rules below. Then, if despite your best efforts, you find the fight getting out of control, walk away, using the suggestions in rule #4.
2. Don't escalate. When someone hurts us, it's human nature to want to hurt them back. But this starts an endless cycle of escalation as each person tries to hurt the other because they were hurt. The most important commitment you can make to fair fighting is to avoid escalating when your feelings are hurt. If either party continues to speak or act hurtfully, choose to walk away — don't lash out.
3. Use "I" speech. When we use "you" speech — such as "You do this" or "You do that" — the other person naturally feels accused and goes on the defensive. This usually leads to escalation. Instead talk about your own feelings: "I feel hurt when you talk that way to me." This avoids defensiveness because it's hard to argue with your self-report of how you feel. It avoids mistakes of understanding, too. There's a good chance that you won't understand your partner's feelings in the midst of a heated argument. If you try to tell your partner what he or she feels, means, or is doing, pretty soon your argument will be side-tracked into who is right, rather than talking about the real issue. But you will always be an expert on how you feel. So stick with your own feelings.
4. Learn when to walk away — productively. If despite your best efforts hurtful speech or actions continue by either party, call a time out. There are three elements to a successful time out. First, use "I" speech to take responsibility. Say something like: "I'm afraid of losing control." Second, tell your partner what you are going to do: "I'm going to take a walk to clear my head." Finally, set a time limit: "I'll be back in 15 minutes and we can talk about this then." Using these three steps — especially setting a time limit — will keep your partner from feeling abandoned or out of control. You are making a commitment to talking about the issue — so your partner won't feel you are avoiding the conversation. But you are clearly saying that you need a brief break. If you still don't feel safe to continue the discussion after your break, make sure you tell your partner — and set a new time limit.
5. Avoid — and defend against — hurtful speech. This includes name calling, swearing, hurtful sarcasm, raising the voice, and other forms of verbal hostility or intimidation. When either party says something hurtful, agree with your partner to use a key phrase that indicates the partner has hurt your feelings, such as "That's below the belt!" If your partner continues despite your warning, it may be time to walk away.
6. Stay calm. Try not to overreact. Especially avoid exaggerating. That way your partner is more likely to consider your viewpoint.
7. Use words, not actions. When feelings are running high, even innocent actions can be misinterpreted. Stick with using "I" speech to explain your feelings, rather than gesturing, menacing, or touching/hitting.
8. Be as specific as possible — with examples. Don't make vague complaints. Try to give concrete examples — who, what, when, and where — of what you object to.
9. Argue about only one issue at a time. Don't start new topics until the first one is fully discussed. Too many couples do what's called "kitchen sinking": They store up a number of hurts and bring them up all in one grand, confusing fight. If you find yourself saying, "And another thing...," you're probably "kitchen sinking."
10. Don't generalize. Avoid words like "never" or "always." Generalizations are usually inaccurate. They will only make things tenser. Stick with specific examples.
11. Avoid "make believe." Exaggerating or inventing a complaint — even to make an innocent example — just stops you from talking about the real issue. Stick with the facts and your honest feelings.
12. Don't wait. Try to deal with problems as they arise — before hurt feelings have a chance to grow.
13. Don't clam up. When one person becomes silent and stops responding to the other, frustration and anger can build. Positive results can only be attained with two-way communication.
14. Agree to ground rules. The rules above are just suggestions — although they have worked for many couples I've counseled. But they'll only be maximally effective if you and your partner agree to them. Consider printing out this page and discussing these rules with your partner. You may find that he or she may disagree with some, but want to add others. When you do agree to common ground rules, resolving your conflicts will be much more likely.


Turn Up Your Gaslight Radar. Check for These Twenty Telltale Signs

Gaslighting may not involve all of these experiences or feelings, but if you recognize yourself in any of them, give it extra attention.

1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself.

2. You ask yourself, "Am I too sensitive?" a dozen times a day.

3. You often feel confused and even crazy at work.

4. You're always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend, boss.

5. You wonder frequently if you are a "good enough" girlfriend/wife/employee/friend/daughter.

6. You can't understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren't happier.

7. You buy clothes for yourself, furnishings for your apartment, or other personal purchases with your partner in mind, thinking about what he would like instead of what would make you feel great.

8. You frequently make excuses for your partner's behavior to friends and family.

9. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses.

10. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.

11. You start lying to avoid the put-downs and reality twists.

12. You have trouble making simple decisions.

13. You think twice before bringing up certain seemingly innocent topics of conversation.

14. Before your partner comes home, you run through a checklist in your head to anticipate anything you might have done wrong that day.

15. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person - more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.

16. You start speaking to your husband through his secretary so you don't have to tell him things you're afraid might upset him.

17. You feel as though you can't do anything right.

18. Your kids begin trying to protect you from your partner.

19. You find yourself furious with people you've always gotten along with before.

20. You feel hopeless and joyless.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Narcissism is All About Him

Narcissism is All About Him

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Abusers/emotional manipulators/narcissists/psychopaths can be masters of disguise and covert operations.

Abusers/emotional manipulators/narcissists/psychopaths can be masters of disguise and covert operations. He or She hones their skills to expert precision, lest people see through the mask to the ruthless ambition and envy beneath. Above all, the abuser seeks to keep that mask firmly in place so as not to lose the support of those who've been fooled by the outer facade.
This list of characteristics describes abusers and gives an awareness of the techniques used by * Chameleons * who may be male or female.
1. Charming in public - exuding warmth and charm, an abuser smiles and tells jokes, praises and flatters you, outwardly supports you with a show of approval and reassurance, makes you feel valuable and appears to be attentive to your needs.
2. Rumor-monger in private - criticizing you behind your back, he may suggest that you have personal or emotional problems, carefully building a case against you via calculated misinformation passed on to others behind the scenes. He manipulates others into criticizing you and then rewards them for their participation in his plot to undermine your image in every way.
3. Two-faced - He pretends to support you while planning to destroy you; then when you challenge him, he suddenly transforms from supportive to bullying. His soft-spoken manner hides his destructive intentions, his flattering words hide his desire to control you, and his seemingly warm personality hides his take-no-prisoners attitude.
4. Distorts truth and reality - He misleads people by omitting key facts. He's extremely concerned to preserve an appearance of integrity, all the while withholding significant information. He misleads people by omitting key facts; he quotes hearsay as important and authoritative, then, justifies his opinion by falsely claiming others think the same way.
Master of the half-truth, he miss-states and belittles your viewpoint, asks questions that demean you, then interrupts before you can fully respond, he changes the subject before you can correct his miss-statements, then he adds new false accusations faster than you can respond to the old ones.
5. Hypocritical - His spoken philosophy and behavior don't match, his words creating a positive image which does not match his actions. He describes his mistakes as minor, but your mistakes as serious, or ignores his own mistakes while always highlighting yours. - He calmly demeans you, but is angry because you don't respect him. Not respecting him = pointing out the incongruities and inconsistencies between who he claims to be and what he actually does and says.
6. Evasive - He acts confused by any complaint about his behavior and always shifts the focus to others. He acts like he is the one who is being victimized. He tries to make you feel guilty for hurting him, accusing you of behavior that was far worse than his and asserting that you are the cause of his bad behavior (if he ever does admit to behaving badly).

7. Pompous - He acts like a know-it-all and never apologizes, unless to prove how rarely he makes a mistake. He's a prima donna ... condescending in words, tone of voice and mannerisms. Every issue which affects him is high drama and he'll try to demolish the opposition in every discussion to keep the focus on him.
8. Self-righteous - In order to disguise his corrupt character, he always claims the moral and ethical high ground. He brags about the goodness of his own character while suggesting that others have dubious motives. He frequently talks of his superior ethical standards, implying that others don't have his high standards and using distorted examples to prove that others are not nearly as superior as he.
9. Obsessed with image - He believes that his image is more important than reality, so he disguises his true emotions and desires. When you see beneath his persona, he will suggest that your actions have hurt his image. Alternatively, he says that your proposed actions (i.e., exposing him) will hurt your own image.
10. Passive-aggressive behavior: (Anger Expressed Inappropriately)
* Put-downs
* Sarcasm
* Insults
* Rudeness
* Sabotage
* Intimidation
* Belittling Remarks
11. Pretends to care - While pretending to care about others, he is at his most manipulative and dangerous. Most people are taken in by his apparently positive energy, enthusiasm and charisma, but in reality, they are naively being fooled by an attractive personality which hides a morally and ethically corrupt abuser who is coldly and ruthlessly pursuing his own selfish ends.
His expression of affection is tainted with possessiveness and he compliments you only because it serves his purpose. He has a look of concern, but he doesn't truly respect you.
He pretends to be your friend while tearing you down, destroying your reputation, weakening your position, and exaggerating the importance of your mistakes.
12. He plays the victim - He exaggerates his pain and suffering, trying to make you feel guilty for causing his pain and claiming that you don't appreciate him.
He becomes angry and indignant when you try to reason with him, and then says he is tired of doing all the compromising.

Narcissists Feel No Love in Any Relationship

Narcissists Feel No Love in Any Relationship

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Accept Me

Accept Me
By David W. Edgerly, Ph.D.
Copyright Celeritous Dancer, Chtd. and Best Selling Authors, LLC, 2000
This article may not be reproduced in part or whole without express written permission.
Most people want to be accepted, at least by those they care about. In many marriages this notion of acceptance becomes one of "accept me as I am". More powerfully stated it becomes "If you loved me, really loved me, you'd accept me as I am".
This nonsensical notion stems from some gross misconceptions about something popularly called "Unconditional Love" or "Unconditional Acceptance". I used to take the position, that perhaps with the exception of a parent to a young child, there was no such thing as unconditional love. After much discussion with people I now believe there may be such a thing as unconditional love between adults.
However, unconditional love is not relational love. It, if it exists, sits separate from relating. There is no such thing as unconditional relating. All relating is conditional, therefore all marriages are conditional and all marital acceptance is conditional.
To explain this I'd use an example many people turn to as an example or model or unconditional love: their dog or cat. Oddly, the reality is this is the perfect model of conditional love, or relating, at it's best.
Assuming you have a dog or cat with which you have a great "love" relationship I'd challenge you to run an experiment. In two simple steps stop feeding your pet and stop paying any positive attention to it. In a very brief time your "friend" will begin behaving differently toward you. If you want to speed up this experiment simply throw your dog or cat into the wall twice a day.
The reason the animal's behavior will change is the way you and your pet relate is built on a smoothly functioning set of conditions. You feed and attend to your pet in warm kind ways and it will, in turn, respond by attending to you, with affection, work, entertainment, or whatever it is you get from your animal.
The reverse of this experiment would also work. If every time you got home your cat clawed through your skin, or your dog punctured your leg with a bite, it won't take long for your behavior, and probably even your feelings toward the animal to change. Maybe you'll still love your animal, unconditionally, as you take it to the humane society and get rid of it. Or, out of some bizarre sense of obligation and/or guilt, you'll keep it around as some sort of perpetual nuisance in your home.
Let's put the notion of unconditional acceptance into human terms. One of the concepts people seem to like to draw on is "it's just the way I am". How absurd. Would you accept your child stealing money from you, or cheating on exams? Would it work if they said, "it's just who I am, a thief and a cheat"? Maybe your neighbor sets fire to your house and explains "it's just who I am, an arson". If it doesn't count for other people than it doesn't count for you.
Unconditional love or acceptance has nothing to do with relating. Again, all relating is conditional. So, if you've craved some sort of unconditional acceptance as part of relating to your spouse, you really do need to live on Mars or Venus…maybe it exists there. In this world relating is conditional.
This means, if you want your partner's acceptance and love you have to behave in ways which elicit it. Likewise, in turn, if they want your love and acceptance they must elicit that.
One of the common phenomenon which exist in relationships is the use of coercion to elicit behavior. For some this coercion comes in the form of intimidation (usually in the form of intensity). For others it comes in the form of the use of guilt. Some even bring "god" into the picture as the source of coercion. Partners attempt to elicit specific behaviors through these techniques. Sadly, in the short run the techniques often work. That is, the coercion elicits a very specific and limited piece of behavior from their partner. However, the ramification of coercion is alienation.
What these people don't understand is relating, whether with a dog, or a partner, is conditional. If they wanted certain things, like warmth or affection or fun, then they need to behave in ways that elicit these rather than coerce them. It is necessary for them to change their behavior and attitudes and then those in their life will respond in kind.
As a young man I was hostile and angry. Oddly, so was the world. This reaction from the people around me was used to continue to justify my hostility. And people continued to treat me accordingly. Today, almost everyone I meet is nice to me. It seems so simple now, but it really was an "ah ha" experience when I realized I was eliciting exactly what I got, and didn't want, from people.
Most of us crave acceptance from someone. If you do, then behave acceptably.

By David W. Edgerly, Ph.D.
Copyright Celeritous Dancer, Chtd. and Best Selling Authors, LLC, 2000

Do You Enable?

We all have behaviors, tendencies, patterns, and the keen ability to recognize any and all of them. However, when we become so accustomed and engrossed in them, how do we know we are enabling someone else's negative behaviors?

It can be sometimes difficult to come to this realization, because it is has been such a seemingly normal way of life for a designated period of time.

Characteristics that you accept and are willing to ignore in your interpersonal relationships that yield dark consequences, somehow put the offender you enable high upon a pedestal, while you struggle to remain vertical.


You will surrender your values when you enable someone else to practice their ill-fated behaviors, because you fear some form of backlash, whether it be distance, abuse, living up to their great expectations, or upsetting their seedy addictions.

Your future is tied directly to theirs, your self-progression is like shadows that block the sun, yet you seem to continually turn your face to reality, only to enable another day.

You are not worthy!

Much of our lives we are consciously or sub-consciously injected via family, friends, society, or self, that we are simply not equal to others and consequently not worth as much as others are.

This false assumption is reinforced by the behaviors we enable and allow. Therefore, the cycle comes full circle constantly until it is broken....and you are the only one who can break it!


One day in the future, you receive a magical key that unlocks the doors and the cuffs that bind your hands together. The sun beams effortlessly across an icy blue sky, the birds are more audible, your purpose and focus suddenly have more clarity then ever before. You have reached your personal nirvana!

That place in the future is not that far off and that key resides inside you!

This is especially true, as long as you can understand that not condoning their behaviors is the only way out.

This means that their next drinking binge and you calling their work the following morning, only to lie about their inability to show up, or defending your kids' actions when they are obviously wrong, has to stop!

You are worthy and your self respect will generate inner strength to confront this and any other demons that cast long shadows onto your life.

Asking yourself in your most logical voice if it is a healthy behavior you are allowing, will bring you the answers you seek. Subsequently, understanding that you as the enabler is as unhealthy as the enablee is an excellent place to start a discontinuation of enabling. Although what do you do with the person you are enabling after you realize this?


You do have them, and exercising them would be your immanent next step. You can express you displeasure that these behaviors have gone unnoticed for too long and that it is detrimentally affecting the relationship, so it therefore must stop!

Moreover, you can verbalize this in a heart to heart discussion, and in understanding the need for your personal mental health, give them an overdue ultimatum.

Separating yourself from this environment should be indicated if: You receive a flat-out no in your attempts to let them know that the enabling is going to discontinue and their behavior is, also. If they refuse to receive any type of treatment for their problems or addictions. If the effect of their negative behavior is obviously polluting any children.

Note: When children are in the picture, normal and unaffected, much thought must be given before breaking up their home and often should be put off until they leave the comforts of home.

This may sound like living in an internal prison, however, the health of any child must be paramount! A sacrifice for the betterment of any children cannot be overstated.

In addition, it would inevitably yield the relationship more time to mend, as you continue your attempts to work on eliminating your enabling, and assisting your partner's
problematic behaviors to discontinue.

The main point to understand is that enabling someone to cyclically delve into their poor behaviors and addictions must be recognized with your own clarity and logic; then immediately discontinued in order for you and your relationship to maintain it's health.

So ask yourself, is enabling worth it?....Undoubtedly you will come to the realization, it is most definitely not.

Brian Maloney - http://ValuePrep.com

It's Not Whether You Fight or Argue -- It's HOW You Fight

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Learn To Fight Fair Helpcard teaches you how. Follow the rules, share with loved ones and stop the hurt. Free preview. Click here for more information about learning to fight fair..
Do You Enable? (Expert Advice) (23 June 2009)

Don't Let Conflict Control You. Take Control of Conflict

Using Your Head To Manage Conflict will teach you to match different conflict management techniques to different conflict situations. Start choosing, instead of reacting. Try before you buy. Volume pricing available.

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Do You Enable? (Expert Advice) (23 June 2009)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Eight Ways to Spot Emotional Manipulation

1) There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You make a statement and it will be turned around.

Example: I am really angry that you forgot my birthday. Response - "It makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday, I should have told you of the great personal stress I am facing at the moment - but you see I didn’t want to trouble you. You are right I should have put all this pain (don’t be surprised to see real tears at this point) aside and focused on your birthday. Sorry." Even as you are hearing the words you get the creeped out sensation that they really do NOT mean they are sorry at all - but since they’ve said the words you’re pretty much left with nothing more to say. Either that or you suddenly find yourself babysitting their angst!! Under all circumstances if you feel this angle is being played - don’t capitulate! Do not care take - do not accept an apology that feels like baloney. If it feels like baloney - it probably is.

Rule number one - if dealing with an emotional blackmailer TRUST your gut. TRUST your senses. Once an emotional manipulator finds a successful maneuver - it’s added to their hit list and you’ll be fed a steady diet of this baloney.

2) An emotional manipulator is the picture of a willing helper.

If you ask them to do something they will almost always agree - that is IF they didn’t volunteer to do it first. Then when you say, "ok thanks" - they make a bunch of heavy sighs, or other non verbal signs that let you know they don’t really want to do whatever said thing happens to be. When you tell them it doesn’t seem like they want to do whatever - they will turn it around and try to make it seem like OF COURSE they wanted to and how unreasonable you are.

This is a form of crazy making - which is something emotional manipulators are very good at.

Rule number two - If an emotional manipulator said YES - make them accountable for it. Do NOT buy into the sighs and subtleties - if they don’t want to do it - make them tell you it up front - or just put on the walk-man headphones and run a bath and leave them to their theater.

3) Crazy making - saying one thing and later assuring you they did not say it.

If you find yourself in a relationship where you figure you should start keeping a log of what’s been said because you are beginning to question your own sanity --You are experiencing emotional manipulation. An emotional manipulator is an expert in turning things around, rationalizing, justifying and explaining things away. They can lie so smoothly that you can sit looking at black and they’ll call it white - and argue so persuasively that you begin to doubt your very senses. Over a period of time this is so insidious and eroding it can literally alter your sense of reality.

WARNING: Emotional Manipulation is VERY Dangerous! It is very disconcerting for an emotional manipulator if you begin carrying a pad of paper and a pen and making notations during conversations. Feel free to let them know you just are feeling so "forgetful" these days that you want to record their words for posterity’s sake.

The damndest thing about this is that having to do such a thing is a clear example for why you should be seriously thinking about removing yourself from range in the first place. If you’re toting a notebook to safeguard yourself - that ol’ baloney meter should be flashing steady by now!

4) Guilt. Emotional manipulators are excellent guilt mongers.

They can make you feel guilty for speaking up or not speaking up, for being emotional or not being emotional enough, for giving and caring, or for not giving and caring enough.

Any thing is fair game and open to guilt with an emotional manipulator. Emotional manipulators seldom express their needs or desires openly - they get what they want through emotional manipulation. Guilt is not the only form of this but it is a potent one. Most of us are pretty conditioned to do whatever is necessary to reduce our feelings of guilt. Another powerful emotion that is used is sympathy. An emotional manipulator is a great victim. They inspire a profound sense of needing to support, care for and nurture. Emotional Manipulators seldom fight their own fights or do their own dirty work. The crazy thing is that when you do it for them (which they will never ask directly for), they may just turn around and say they certainly didn’t want or expect you to do anything!

Try to make a point of not fighting other people’s battles, or doing their dirty work for them. A great line is "I have every confidence in your ability to work this out on your own" - check out the response and note the baloney meter once again.

5) Emotional manipulators fight dirty. They don’t deal with things directly.

They will talk around behind your back and eventually put others in the position of telling you what they would not say themselves. They are passive aggressive, meaning they find subtle ways of letting you know they are not happy little campers. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear and then do a bunch of baloney to undermine it. Example: "Of course I want you to go back to school honey and you know I’ll support you." Then exam night you are sitting at the table and poker buddies show up, the kids are crying the t.v. blasting and the dog needs walking - all the while "Sweetie" is sitting on their ass looking at you blankly. Dare you call them on such behavior you are likely to hear, "well you can’t expect life to just stop because you have an exam can you honey?" Cry, scream or choke ‘em - only the last will have any long-term benefits and it’ll probably wind up in jail.

6) If you have a headache an emotional manipulator will have a brain tumor! No matter what your situation is the emotional manipulator has probably been there or is there now - but only ten times worse. It’s hard after a period of time to feel emotionally connected to an emotional manipulator because they have a way of de-railing conversations and putting the spotlight back on themselves. If you call them on this behavior they will likely become deeply wounded or very petulant and call you selfish -- or claim that it is you who are always in the spotlight!

The thing is that even though you know this is not the case you are left with the impossible task of proving it. Don’t bother - TRUST your gut and walk away!

7) Emotional manipulators somehow have the ability to impact the emotional climate of those around them.

When an emotional manipulator is sad or angry the very room thrums with it - it brings a deep instinctual response to find someway to equalize the emotional climate and the quickest route is by making the emotional manipulator feel better - fixing whatever is broken for them. Stick with this type of loser for too long and you will be so enmeshed and co-dependent you will forget you even have needs - let alone that you have just as much right to have your needs met.

8 ) Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior - it is always about what everyone else has "done to them".

One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the "hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me" variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. Believe me when I say that an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome.

"... a list adapted from an article by Fiona McColl"