“I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.” ~Marla Gibbs
It’s because of you. YOU, my reader, are the reason I do what I do. And today, I learned I’m on the right track – so today, I want to say thank you, honestly.
A new reader reached out to me personally today to tell me how she felt about reading one of my books on narcissism, and all I can be is grateful. It seems that I have done what I set out to do.
I am humbled and honored. Thanks to this wonderful and thoughtful reader, I’ve learned that my books are making a difference. My heart is full, and I am inspired to continue my work.
Here’s what happened.
So, if you’ve been reading my work long, you know that I write about narcissism in relationships pretty often, including three books on the subject (and a new one, coming soonish).
Today, I am humbled. Because this is exactly what some readers are saying they’re getting out of my books.
I have been blessed to have many readers reach out to me personally, whether through my blog comments section, through email or through various social media channels, they are telling me that they found something in my books, something that helped them or gave them some insight.
While I can’t always publish the comments that are made during these private conversations, due to their personal nature, every now and again, I ask permission to publish a reader’s thoughts.
I received a message on Facebook today that completely warmed my heart and made me feel like I was doing something right. She had just purchased my book and wanted to let me know what she thought personally.
I was so honored by her insightful and genuine thoughts that I asked for permission to remove any personal information and publish it for you to read, in the hope that if you need the kind of help I have to offer, this will inspire you to get it.
As I was reading it, it was like I could feel my mind ‘clicking’ as things resonated with me. I began journaling a couple of years ago, and I am also aware of some of your other tips, but it was a good reminder to read them again.
There were also some new (to me) ideas that I haven’t seen or tried before. It’s a terrific resource for me in this journey of healing that I’m on, and I’m keeping it close to re-read it as needed.
Honestly, I wish they educated kids about these things when they are still in school. They should have a required class on this stuff, and they should use your book to do it! I can’t thank you enough for writing it. Thank you so, so much!”
All I can feel is grateful, and all I can say is WOW! To my reader, thank you, thank you, thank you!
What This Reader Taught Me Today
If you can learn from your struggles and use this information to teach others how to identify and successfully navigate their own, then your struggles turn out to be blessings in disguise.
This is me, signing off for today in gratitude and love.
Gaslighting is such a devastating and overwhelming form of psychological abuse in part because it’s so pervasive and underhanded – and therefore, easy for even the most enlightened person to miss. That’s why I am sharing this example of gaslighting to help you get an idea of what it looks like.
An Example of Gaslighting in a Friendship
Imagine this: You’re having a discussion with a friend. Let’s call him Ben. You’re upset with Ben because he invited you to spend the weekend at his condo on the beach, but while you were en route from three states away, he met a new friend and invited him to stay at the condo too.
This bothers you because Ben gave the new friend your room. And now you’ve either got to bunk on the couch or pay for a hotel – and neither is a good option.
When you arrive and hear the news, Ben tells you that he did it because he did not want to make his new friend think he didn’t care about the friend’s comfort.
You feel upset by this because, as Ben’s oldest friend, you feel that his concern and loyalty should lie with you first – especially given that you had a pre-existing invitation to use the room.
When you express your feelings to Ben, he acts shocked and recoils, telling you to stop acting so crazy – and to settle down, quit overreacting. Before you know it, you’re apologizing and begging to sleep on Ben’s lumpy couch – and he’s too angry to even look at you because you “just totally went off on him” for “no reason” and he was “just trying to help you out, man.”
Later, you find out that he’s been telling everyone how “crazy” and “out of control” you got. You’re dumbfounded, crushed. Hurt. Confused.
The next day, you question yourself. Maybe you DID overreact. Maybe Ben had a point…maybe you were a little out of control. Does this situation sound familiar?
Ben makes a promise to you – that you can stay in his guest room on the beach for a weekend.
After you commit and are on your way to visit, Ben invites a perfect stranger to take the room and puts you in an uncomfortable position by not even asking if it would bother you.
When you “confront” him with your feelings, no matter how carefully, he twists your words and gets upset.
You, naturally, find yourself getting emotional – first because you’re shocked that he’s being so rude and disrespectful, and second, because you’re hurt and angry that he can’t see why he’s wrong.
Ben turns it around on you and brushes aside his disrespect and blatant disregard for you, and he focuses on the fact that “you yelled at him” when you responded to his abusive treatment. In reality, you started feeling (righteously) offended and you started talking faster than usual.
You end up apologizing and feeling guilty somehow, even though you know that he is the one who caused the problem.
Ben spreads lies about you in order to reinforce his attempt to control and manipulate you. Other people start giving you funny looks and whispering.
You begin to doubt yourself, and start to think maybe you’re the crazy one.
You have just been successfully gaslighted by a very toxic narcissist.
She added, “This went on for an entire month. At the time, he pretended to be so sympathetic towards me. Yet, later when his abuse escalated, he would stop speaking to me, sometimes for up to a month at a time! He used the knowledge of one of the most painful times of my life to abuse me.”
If you are personally or professionally involved with a narcissist in a toxic relationship and due to the circumstances, you aren’t able to take the most effective action for dealing with it (going no contact), you might find yourself struggling to have a reasonable conversation with him or her. This is because, by nature, the narcissist is wired to instigate drama, manipulate, and they generally do their best to make it all about them. This can be both exhausting and frustrating for anyone trying to deal with a narcissist in a toxic relationship.
So, how do you go about communicating with a narcissist effectively? You start by learning how their mind works. And then you follow this one rule.
The One Rule You Need to Use to Effectively Communicate With a Narcissist
What do I mean by this? It’s simple: keep emotion out of it. When the narcissist tries to manipulate and provoke you, which he or she inevitably will, you have to maintain an air of professional-type detachment. Try to see the narcissist as almost a stranger and communicate with him on that level.
The Gray Rock Rule
Some people refer to this rule as the “gray rock” rule of communication. Basically, you deal with the narcissist if you have to, but you only give boring, monotonous responses. This way, the narcissist can’t get the narcissistic supply they seek from you during gaslighting and manipulation – and they must seek it elsewhere.
The gray rock rule is a technique that was named and first published by a writer called Skylar, who advises that you act boring and don’t react to the narcissist’s attempts to engage you in drama. The tactic is not only highly effective for use in disarming the narcissist and shutting down their gaslighting, but it is also incredibly infuriating for narcissists to experience.
Please note: While some people might want to get revenge on the narcissist, I recommend that you’re very careful here – and definitely avoid use (or at least use with caution) if you are dealing with any physical abuse as the narcissist may not react well. If you are dealing with physical abuse of any type, you should not use any tactic except those which keep you safe, and you should do everything in your power to find a way out. Start with this domestic violence resources page.
By sticking to the gray rock rule, you can bet that your narcissist will lose interest quickly. That’s because it’ll retrain his brain to consider you “boring” and essentially, you’ll no longer be an effective source of narcissistic supply. This will cause the narcissist to move on and find someone else to torture if all goes as expected – and with a narcissist, it generally does – they’re not especially unpredictable, believe it or not.
You might think that your feelings and thoughts aren’t genuine or relevant to the world, and you might even feel like a big fake when you do try to follow your dreams, simply because you’ve heard for so long that you’re not worthy, whether directly or indirectly.
When I was in my own toxic family situation, I struggled with feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and more. I felt like nothing I did or said was genuine or worth knowing about, like I had to hide who I was in order to conform to the expectations of my toxic family member.
But I learned some important lessons as I began the healing process, and I want to share them with you. If you’re currently in this situation, you may have never heard these things–and when you first read them, you probably won’t even believe them. But these are truths–and you keep reading them until you get it.
Changing your mind will help you to change your life. I’m living proof it works.
Top 10 Things You Need to Know if You’re in a Toxic Relationship with a Narcissist or Sociopath
You get to choose my own identity every day. You decide who you are and how far you go.
You can compromise for someone you love to a certain point when it’s time to choose your priorities and choose a path. But compromise means that both parties bend and both parties are satisfied with the outcome. It’s not compromising to give up what you truly want in order to make someone else happy or to keep them from getting angry at you.
If you were to walk away from the toxic relationship, the world would not end. But it will be very difficult, and you’ll have a lot of soul-searching to do. Personally, I had to reexamine everything I understood to be true.
About the book: Do you find yourself giving all you’ve got and people still want more? Do you sometimes do without what you want or need in order to keep the people around you happy? Are you afraid to deal with confrontation and do you often find it easier to just go with the flow in order to keep the peace?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be a people pleaser. Many people pleasers are also very empathic people, who are especially attractive to toxic types who love to take advantage every chance they get.
In this book, you’ll learn how to stop feeling the need to make everyone else happy and start figuring out what makes you happy, personally, and really – not someone else’s idea of what’s supposed to make you happy,