What is NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming)?

What is NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming)?

If you’re struggling to recover from narcissistic abuse, you might be interested in learning about Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP. 

It’s a surprisingly simple yet highly effective treatment for symptoms of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) related to narcissistic abuse.

Even better, you can implement the strategies at home, on your own – and it’ll help your healing in ways you might not expect. 

On a very basic level, NLP is just a way to manage your head – it helps with communication, processes, and procedures to help improve your life. Here’s what it is and how it works.

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)?

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a practical and effective way to create change by modeling successful people’s language structure and behavior. NLP can help you change your behavior, way of thinking, and communication with yourself and others. NLP has also been used to treat various problems—from phobias to schizophrenia.

And, of course, survivors of narcissistic abuse can use it to recalibrate after abuse and change their lives for the better.

Basic NLP Principles

The two biggest principles of NLP are that the map is not the territory and that life and mind are systemic processes. Any technique you learn in NLP is built on these principles, which allow us to understand better how the brain works—and thus change undesirable behaviors into more desirable ones.

1. The map is not the territory.

  • The map-territory metaphor illustrates how our mental constructs differ from the reality they attempt to describe.
  • For a map to be useful, it must contain enough detail that we can use it even when traveling through unfamiliar territory.
  • This means that, as people, we have no way to understand reality. Instead, we understand our perceptions of that reality, and those perceptions may be flawed.
  • We use our senses to map what we believe is there.
  • These maps are what determine our behavior, not reality itself.
  • So, if your map is skewed, you’ll behave in kind.

2. Life and mind are systemic processes.

  • This means that the things going on inside your mind and body, and between you and your environment, are connected and can’t be isolated. Trying to do so won’t result in success.
  • In other words, your mind and life are interconnected, so you can’t separate the mental from the physical, social, or emotional aspects. How people treat you and your environment influences your feelings about a situation.

How does NLP work for a survivor of narcissistic abuse?

  • As a survivor of narcissistic abuse, NLP can help you change your life and offers highly effective personal development and growth tools.
  • It’s also highly effective for survivors of narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships during their healing and beyond.
  • NLP techniques focus on feelings and emotions, which are core aspects of narcissistic abuse. This is why NLP works so well for survivors of such relationships—its emphasis on these concepts makes dealing with trauma possible.
  • NLP applies to all aspects of life, from representing information and making decisions to interacting with others.

Why should you try NLP in narcissistic abuse recovery?

Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s best for us when we can’t see a way out. It may seem impossible to get away from the toxic person, but you can use NLP to change your life. (And then plan your escape!)

NLP offers healing for the trauma of narcissistic abuse in a way that can help you move forward with your life with confidence and clarity.

It can give you insight into your unconscious mind and tap into your deep-seated emotions, which can help you develop the power, confidence, and self-esteem narcissists often damage in their partners.

So, by using an anchoring technique to set off powerful feelings in yourself when you think about past experiences with your abuser, you can learn to control your reactions—and stop yourself from feeling bad about what happened.

Basic NLP Technique for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Anchoring

By applying an anchoring technique, you can learn to set off positive feelings in yourself and others at will—and eliminate negative emotions associated with past experiences.

Anchoring allows you to associate a feeling with a device, an object, a certain color, or even a specific type of music. When you experience the object again, it triggers the same feelings.

This can be helpful for survivors of narcissistic abuse because it allows them to create positive associations in their minds around the things they love and eliminate negative feelings associated with past experiences.

How to Quickly Create an NLP Anchor in 4 Easy Steps

1. Choose a goal.

  • Decide what problem you want to solve. For example, maybe you want to feel more confident to set better boundaries with the toxic people in your life.
  • Imagine how it will feel to achieve the goal you have set for yourself. (So, maybe you’ll feel stronger, happier, more sure of yourself, and more confident overall.)
  • Remember when you felt close to how you want to feel when you achieve that goal. It might just be an ordinary moment when you felt good about yourself or a more significant moment in your life.

3. Choose and configure your anchor device.

  • For instance, you can touch your thumb and forefinger together or make a fist to help keep yourself in the present.
  • Put yourself back in that moment. Take all the time you need to remember all the details of what you saw, heard, smelled, and felt when it happened.
  • Allow yourself to relive the experience as if you were there—don’t think about it objectively. You won’t feel better if you ignore your feelings.
  • Repeat the memory until you can vividly recall it.

4. Activate your anchor.

  • In this step, you link your anchor from Step 3 with the feeling created here to make a new association as strong and vivid as possible.
  • For example, touch your thumb and forefinger together as the confident feeling increases.
  • Release your thumb and forefinger when the feeling begins to subside.
  • If you’ve done this well, the anchor has been activated, and you’re ready for the next step.

5. Test your anchor.

  • For example, touch your thumb and forefinger together as you did while activating your anchor.
  • This time, pay attention to how you feel.
  • You should notice a change in your feeling.
  • If you don’t, repeat the process until you do.
  • If you’ve been successful, it should feel like the anchor has been activated and is ready to use whenever necessary.

And, if you used the example I gave, you can now trigger your confidence by touching your thumb and forefinger together anytime you like.

Need help with narcissistic abuse recovery? 

 

Psychopathy Linked to Gambling Addiction – And It Only Gets Worse

Psychopathy Linked to Gambling Addiction – And It Only Gets Worse

Summary

Researchers say that people who lie, cheat and act without empathy are more likely to get into gambling problems. And because they also tend not to use strategies that would keep them safe from such problems, those issues are made worse.

All of that makes them more likely to ruin their own lives and the lives of anyone unfortunate enough to be close to them, including their closest sources of narcissistic supply

READ FULL ARTICLE. 

Points of Note

  • Psychological researchers have found a link between gambling and psychopathy.
  • The psychology of psychopaths is so complicated to understand that many scientists have made careers studying them.
  • Researchers have found that psychopaths process language differently from other people, likely due both to genetic factors and early exposure.
  • Problem gamblers tend to lack empathy for others and are more likely than other people to become untrustworthy.
  • The combination of these traits often leads narcissists to make choices that ruin their own lives and hurt those around them.

Resources for Psychopathic, Sociopathic & Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

How Psychopathic Gambling Addicts WILL Ruin Your Life

How Psychopathic Gambling Addicts WILL Ruin Your Life

Do you know a psychopath who has ruined their life and/or someone else’s life thanks to a serious gambling addiction? If so, you aren’t alone.

SHOCKING (?) Research Proves Psychopath Gambling Addicts Ruin Lives.

This isn’t shocking news if you’re a survivor of narcissistic abuse.

Apparently, not only are psychopaths and malignant narcissists the most likely people to develop a gambling problem, but they’re also more likely to take gambling to a dangerous, life-destroying level. 

Study links gambling addiction to psychopathy. 

In a recent study, researchers linked gambling addiction to psychopathy.

Study authors, including Matthew P. Kramer, Roselyn Peterson, Angelina V. Leary, Dexter D. Wilborn, Tatiana Magri, and Robert D. Dvorak, published their findings in their recent paper entitled Psychopathy and Occurrence of Gambling Problems: The Role of Gambling Protective Strategies and Urgency.

What makes psychopaths so different from other people?

The study suggests that psychopaths may process language differently from other people, likely due to both genetic factors and early exposure.

Psychopaths often have trouble understanding sarcasm and metaphors, which suggests that they may have difficulty with language processing.

The study authors point out previous research that leads them to believe this may explain why psychopaths differ from others. They also speculate that this could be a reason for the high number of psychopaths in prisons, where gambling games are common.

Psychopathic traits that lead to addiction to gambling

The traits most commonly associated with psychopathy that also lead to addiction to gambling include an inability to feel guilt or remorse and a tendency toward impulsive behavior.

The psychopath’s lack of empathy is confusing for many people since they can appear to understand how you feel.

But that’s because psychopaths experience only cognitive empathy, in which they can deduce logically what you might be feeling.

However, psychopaths do not have emotional or compassionate empathy like others do.

That means they can logically understand what you’re saying, but they don’t care and aren’t moved to help or stop hurting you. 

How are psychopathy and gambling addiction issues connected?

While we know that psychopathy has been linked to many negative outcomes, the authors say they’ve found a new direct link between psychopathy and pathological gambling.

Researchers examined the relationship between primary psychopathy, secondary psychopathy, and problem gambling.

Primary psychopathy vs. secondary psychopathy (FYI)

  • Primary psychopaths tend to be more socially adept, whereas secondary ones are usually aggressive and impulsive.
  • Psychopaths who were high in urgency also used fewer harm-reduction strategies.
  • Primary psychopathy is thought to result from genetics, while secondary psychopathy—which results from trauma and their environment—can appear to manifest as high anxiety, the study authors said. 

Study Conditions

  • In the study, college students who gambled were asked how they would deal with situations in which their gambling might cause problems and what protective behavior strategies they used to prevent such things from happening.
  • They also answered questions to detect whether they might be prone to psychopathic behavior.
  • The assessment included questions about financial problems for the household and mental health issues such as stress or anxiety caused by gambling.
  • Researchers considered whether a person suffered from gambling addiction and the extent of such addiction.

Study Findings: Psychopaths are more likely to ruin their lives with gambling addiction.

Ultimately, they determined that people more likely to gamble away their money also tended to score higher on a psychopathy test and were more likely than other gamblers to have financial problems for their household and mental health issues caused by gambling.

And people with higher levels of primary psychopathy are less likely to stop or protect themselves when gambling, making their addiction worse.

The Recent Increase in Psychopathy Research Leads to New Insights

Because psychopaths are so difficult to deal with and tend not to form meaningful relationships, we’ve always been fascinated by their behavior.  

But perhaps due to the increased awareness around psychopathic, sociopathic and narcissistic abuse, recent years have seen more and more research into cluster B personality disorders, which include psychopathy

This study sheds new light on the relationship between psychopathy and gambling addiction-related problems by identifying certain personality traits that may lead to addiction.

Takeaway: Psychopathy and Gambling Addiction

Simply put, people who lie, cheat and act without empathy are more likely to get into gambling problems. And because they also tend not to use strategies that would keep them safe from such problems, those issues are made worse.

All of that makes them more likely to ruin their own lives and the lives of anyone unfortunate enough to be close to them, including their closest sources of narcissistic supply

Do you know a psychpath with a gambling addiction? Here's how they will ruin your life, according to research.

Reference:

Kramer, M. P., Peterson, R., Leary, A. V., Wilborn, D. D., Magri, T., & Dvorak, R. D. (2021). Psychopathy and Occurrence of Gambling Problems: The Role of Gambling Protective Strategies and Urgency. Psychological Reports. https://doi.org/10.1177/00332941211022998

Related:

Video: Dark Core of Personality Defined: New Study Exposes the D Factor in Dark Triad Qualities – Psychologists define ‘the dark core of personality’ – D-FACTOR Egoism, Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, sadism, spitefulness, and others are among the traits that stand for the malevolent dark sides of human personality.

As results from a recently published German-Danish research project show, these traits share a common ‘dark core.’ So, if you have one of these tendencies, you are also likely to have one or more of the others. Read the full study.

Resources for Psychopathic, Sociopathic & Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Why Are Narcissists So Abusive and Why Do They Get Away With It?

Why Are Narcissists So Abusive and Why Do They Get Away With It?

Narcissists make you feel like you’re worthless and act like they’re better than you and everyone else. They emotionally and psychologically abuse you and then pretend you’re crazy when you react like a normal human. Sound familiar? 

If so, you’re not alone – narcissists have a way of keeping you around for decades and still abusing you. 

Consider the following facts about narcissists. 

  • Narcissists can be charming, but they hide a sadistic and aggressive nature.
  • They aren’t as confident as they seem.
  • Narcissistic personality disorder manifests in grandiosity, selfishness, and lack of empathy.
  • Narcissists are manipulative, egotistical, and often cruel. 
  • They get a feeling of superiority by making others feel inferior.

Why do narcissists often get away with their abuse?

Narcissists are experts at using emotional and psychological manipulation to get you to do what they want and to gain control over you. This makes them feel more secure, and when you become their primary source of narcissistic supply, it gives them a sort of emotional dumpster. 

When you consider the typical narcissistic abuse cycle, it’s laser-focused at getting you “addicted” through trauma bonding. 

Narcissists use cognitive empathy to make you feel special –  like you are the most important person in their world. But they don’t have any emotional or compassionate empathy, so they have no problem tearing you down. 

They also know how to make you feel unimportant – like you’re worthless, insignificant, and unimportant. 

Intermittent reinforcement leads to trauma bonding

They will alternate their “good” treatment with their “bad” treatment – and this leads to you constantly striving to get the “good” treatment. It becomes your primary focus in the relationship. 

So, the narcissist has your full attention, and anytime they’re bored, or you don’t do what they want, they attack you (the devalue phase) and often discard you repeatedly.

And the moment they think you’re about to give up on trying to get their “good” treatment, they will give you a little bit of validation to keep you hooked. 

You’re elated and committed to staying longer as a result.  This is called intermittent reinforcement – and it’s exactly why and how narcissists often get away with their abuse.

Sound like your life? Here’s help. 

Here’s Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery 

 

When You Feel Stuck in a Rut After Narcissistic Abuse

When You Feel Stuck in a Rut After Narcissistic Abuse

Ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut, or like you’re just spinning your wheels? I know the feeling – and so do most other survivors.

Sometimes, in narcissistic abuse recovery, we get stuck and feel frozen, like we can’t do anything. We might even have bouts of dissociation.

Watch this video for additional information.

The Painful Transition From Narcissistic Abuse to HAVING a Normal Life

After being involved with a narcissist, you may feel depressed and uncertain about your future.

That’s okay! You’ve done the hard part by recognizing that you need help getting out of the relationship and healing from it.

All that’s left is to figure out what support system and resources will work best for you.

What is dissociation as it relates to narcissistic abuse?

Dissociation is a process by which the individual disconnects from their body and feelings.

This can make it difficult to experience and remember the abuse and process and grieve the experience.

If you’re struggling with dissociation in your recovery from narcissistic abuse, this video is for you! We’ll discuss the symptoms and how to overcome them so you can start rebuilding your life.

Dissociation is a common symptom of narcissistic abuse. We’ll discuss its causes and effects and share tips on overcoming it in narcissistic abuse recovery.

This episode is for you if you’re struggling with dissociation in your recovery from narcissistic abuse. We’ll discuss the causes of dissociation, its effects on your life, and how to overcome it.

By the end of this video, you’ll know more about this common symptom of narcissistic abuse and how to overcome it!

The Key to Overcoming Feeling Stuck

Some of us struggle with clutter, so I will use this as an example of how we get stuck.

Clutter can be a highly stressful and destructive problem for some survivors because they feel stuck and unable to function.

Maybe you can relate? If so, you’re probably feeling many things: overwhelmed, confused, stressed, and embarrassed, not to mention depressed. 

And who could blame you for feeling this way? I’ve been there myself, and I’ve felt exactly like you do.

Read this next sentence carefully: It is NOT your fault. 

Clutter can literally be a symptom of your abuse. YES. 

If this sounds like something you struggle with, you might want to look at my free 30-day home makeover challenge

Coach Tip: One Thing

I came up with a little hack that has helped me whenever I felt stuck – and I still use it today.

It is so simple you probably won’t even believe me – but try to do one thing.

Yes, I know, it sounds like it’s TOO simple.

But hear me out. When I felt stuck over the years, I’d eventually permit myself to STAY stuck.

And then I’d tell myself I just had to do ONE thing – that if I wanted to, I’d be able to stop right after that one thing. (For example, if my house were messy, I’d make myself clean off just one table).

And even though I allowed myself to stop at that point, often, that was enough to keep me going – that feeling of accomplishment would push me forward to do the next task, and then the next, and so on.

How to Begin Healing After Narcissistic Abuse

It’s hard to ask for help when you’re feeling so lost and alone, but here are some steps to help you get the kind of narcissist abuse recovery support you need.

Step 1: Consider Your Support System

When you’re trying to recover from narcissistic abuse, it can feel like there’s a giant hole in your life where your support system used to be.

Now it’s time to look at the resources that are available to you right now.

  • Do you have friends or family who can support and encourage you?
  • Do they know about your experiences with the narcissist?
  • If not, do they want to know more?
  • If so, what would they most want to learn about?
  • What do they already know?
  • Is there anything else they need to understand?

Step 2: Ask Yourself

The second step is to talk through the following questions with someone who is safe and supportive and who will listen without judging or criticizing.

  • “What am I feeling right now?”
  • “How long have I been feeling this way?”
  • “What is contributing most strongly right now?”
  • “What do I need?”
  • “What would help me move forward?” 

Step 3: Skip the Sugar-Coating.

The next part is difficult: you’ll have to be brutally honest with yourself here.

This might be hard to swallow, but you’ll be lucky to have a good support system when you finally realize what you’re dealing with.

The truth is that you’ll be among the majority of survivors if your support system isn’t up to snuff.

Why? Because narcissists are good at isolating us during the abuse, which leaves many survivors with no one (or almost no one) to support them effectively when all is said and done. 

Don’t worry, though. I’ve been there, and because of that, I have done my best to make it possible for you to recover with the kind of support I WISH I’d have had back then. 

In other words, my team and I have you covered, no matter your budget.  The following list of free and lower-cost support options might help you as you embark on your narcissistic abuse recovery journey.

Here’s Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery 

7 Ways to Make Your Life Easier After Ending an Abusive Relationship

7 Ways to Make Your Life Easier After Ending an Abusive Relationship

One of the hardest things about recovery from abuse is that physical wounds heal faster than emotional ones. Abusive relationships can be physical and emotional, making it difficult to heal if you are experiencing a physical injury.

Regardless of the type of abuse you’ve endured, ending a toxic relationship can be difficult and affect your mental health. You may find it difficult to cope with day-to-day activities, and you’ll most likely suffer from mild depression.

But some solutions can help make your life easier after ending an abusive relationship. In this post, we’ve provided seven valuable tips to help get your life in order while healing from your breakup.

1.  Take Things Easy and Learn to Relax

After breaking up with your abusive partner, you may find that small tasks are difficult to do, especially if you’re suffering from depression. Something as simple as cooking a meal can be taxing. It’s important to take it easy and get the rest you deserve.

One of the ways you can relax is by allowing a company to make your meals for you. Read up on meal delivery service reviews to find a company that suits your needs. You can then spend more time getting the rest you need to heal from your breakup.

Furthermore, you can also find other ways to ease your stress, such as hiring someone to clean your home or getting a babysitter to help take care of your children for a few hours. You don’t have to take on life’s burdens alone. So get the right help so you can focus on moving forward.

2.  Spend More Time with Friends and Family

The worst thing you can do after a breakup is to isolate yourself from your (healthy) loved ones. If you spend too much time alone, your mind will constantly be reminded of the abuse you endured, and you might ruminate

If you’ve found yourself alone because the narcissist isolated you, then you might want to join a narcissistic abuse recovery support group

If you suffer from complex post-traumatic stress syndrome (C-PTSD) from an abusive relationship, you should spend more time around people who care about you. You’ll also feel safer being around people you trust.

Additionally, if you’ve filed a restraining order against an abusive ex, you should consider staying with friends or family until you feel safe. Ensure that you also have someone you trust on speed dial in case of an emergency. 

3.  Find Yourself Again

Sometimes after being in a toxic relationship for so long, you may not know how to cope on your own. You now have the freedom to enjoy life, but to find yourself again, you must:

One fun way to find yourself again is to revisit music or movies you used to love. Or finding your style and aesthetic that your ex-partner may not have approved of. Consider taking up a hobby as a healthy distraction and to keep your mind focused on something you enjoy.

4.  Go For Counselling Sessions

Sometimes, you need an outsider’s perspective to help you get over a toxic relationship. A trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coach, counselor, or therapist can help you identify situations and factors contributing to your difficulties. You’ll also learn to control your emotions and manage your mental health.

Some trauma counselors specialize in helping people who’ve come out of extremely abusive relationships. Counseling can improve your mood and boost your self-esteem. Furthermore, you’ll learn to live a normal and healthy life again with advice from a professional counselor.

5.  Consider Taking a Trip Away

After an abusive relationship, you may need a few days to clear your head and avoid unhealthy distractions. Consider taking time off so you can go on a short trip.

Maybe you can go camping for a weekend or stay in an Airbnb outside the city.

You may also feel safer being away from home because your ex-partner won’t know where you are. This gives you time to think about your future and how you will handle your breakup effectively.

6.  Cut All Ties From Your Abusive Ex

The worst thing you can do when breaking up with a toxic partner is to keep in contact with them. They may try to lure you back into the relationship or go as far as threatening you.

It’s best to cut all ties with your abusive ex-partner by:

  • Blocking their number
  • Deleting and blocking them on social media
  • Not accepting any messages from your ex’s friends or family
  • Blocking emails
  • Not answering phone calls

It can be difficult to get over a breakup if you’re still in contact with your ex. You’ll take longer to heal from the trauma, which isn’t good for your mental health. So don’t accept phone calls or messages after the breakup.

7.  Focus On Your Goals

The best way to get over a toxic breakup is to focus on your goals. Maybe you want to finish college or change career paths. You now have the freedom to do whatever you feel is good for your future without someone bringing you down. Use this time to focus on what you truly want out of life and go for it.

Final Thoughts

You can make your life easier after breaking up with an abusive ex. Use the tips in this article to help you through the process so you can take your life back!

Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored post. 

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

How to be Cool, Calm and Collected When Narcissists Push Your Buttons

How to be Cool, Calm and Collected When Narcissists Push Your Buttons

“You could be a really great and fabulous person, but if your method of communication with a woman doesn’t trigger her physical attraction by “pushing the right buttons,” you will only ever be “just a friend” in her eyes.” ~Sahara Sanders

If you have ever dealt with a malignant narcissist, whether diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder or not, you already know they’re especially skilled at pushing your so-called buttons.

Worse, since narcissistic abuse involves gaslighting, the narcissist often INSTALLED said buttons – or at least solidified them and rearranged them.

So, a narcissist who is your parent likely did the so-called installation of your buttons – also known as your triggers.

And if you’re dealing with a narcissistic partner or close friend, this person became aware of the “buttons” or the triggers you had initially and then exploited them.

By doing so, they also learned the “layout” of your buttons; by now, they can push them in their sleep. 

Why Narcissists Push Your Buttons

Narcissists become very knowledgeable about who we are and what makes us tick. They also know what to do when seeking a reaction from us – and perhaps more frustrating, they get narcissistic supply from driving you crazy. 

They NEED narcissistic supply to feel alive; they are emotional vampires

For the record, emotional vampires are incredibly toxic people who drain us of our energy. Not all emotional vampires are narcissists, but they’ll all leave you feeling empty and emotionally exhausted.

They are like parasites who intentionally provoke our emotional reactions, allowing themselves to feed off our emotions, energy, and resources.

So, until you can finally go no contact and end the relationship with the malignant narcissist in your life, you’ve got to learn some new techniques to deal with it.

What to Do When the Narcissist is Pushing Your Buttons

So, how does a person with a reasonable amount of emotional intelligence deal with a narcissist?

Start with these tips on what you can do to remain cool, calm, and collected when the narcissist pushes your buttons and is waiting for a reaction.

1. Try Ross Rosenberg’s Observe, Don’t Absorb technique.

Learn how to use the technique from Rosenberg himself in this video

2, Use the gray rock method. 

Maybe you already know how to use the gray rock method, but if you don’t, watch this video for tips, techniques, and best practices.

3. Treat Them Like a Toddler.

3, Treat them the same way you’d treat a toddler who needs a nap. Yeah, I’m serious. Narcissists tend to have the emotional capacity of a toddler, so treat them in kind. This video will explain exactly what I mean and how to deal with narcissists with toddler-level emotional intelligence

 Please note: These techniques are meant to be temporary measures to get along – and most survivors can only tolerate this behavior for so long before it causes longer-term damage.

On the plus side, when you regain control of your feelings, something else happens: you’re no longer being manipulated by the narcissist. Instead, it’s as if those buttons now activate themselves—you’ve re-wired them!

If you don’t have a plan to leave the narcissist, you might want to start thinking about it. Here’s a resource to help you start planning your escape

More Resources for Dealing with and Understanding a Narcissist

These resources might also interest you if you struggle with a difficult narcissist.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

The Scapegoat Awakening

The Scapegoat Awakening

Did you know that the scapegoat in the family is often the first to see the truth about what’s happening in the family? It’s true – and there are several reasons why. Before we discuss the reasons, let’s ensure we’re on the same page by defining a scapegoat.

What is a scapegoat in a toxic family?

When it comes to toxic families, the scapegoat is the person who is most often blamed for anything that goes wrong, even when they’re not directly involved. 

“Scapegoating involves when a group targets a person who dares to speak up a group issue, but not conveniently, into an issue about the speaker, rather than have it be addressed by the group,” says licensed marriage and family therapist Evaline Wu in her scapegoat series.
Other

How does it feel to be the scapegoat?

As a scapegoat in a family or social group, you may feel alone and isolated, like no one understands what you are going through.

Maybe everyone encourages you to get professional help, and you’ve tried – but the therapist focused on YOU and not the family around you, so you didn’t get any help at all. 

You may have been further traumatized by someone who couldn’t recognize your situation. 

Where did the term ‘scapegoat’ come from?

In the 16th century, the word scapegoat was used to describe ritual animals used by Jewish people to carry off their sins before Yom Kippur.

According to Laura Corbeth, the term is first seen in Leviticus 16 the Old Testament of the Bible.

Pointing out that this is a story about two goats, Corbeth adds, “One goat was mortally sacrificed, and another who was cast to the wilderness.”

“This “cast” goat was to carry all the sins of his tribe. The goat was chosen to carry away the “sins of man” so it would release all the tribe members of their guilt.”

Corbeth goes on to explain that this act would cause all of the members of the tribe to feel relieved since they’d cast their sins on to the poor animal, and adds that this made everyone happy.

Scapegoats are subjected to emotional and psychological abuse.

The scapegoated family member will be psychologically and emotionally abused, just like the rest of the family, when a narcissist is involved.

The scapegoat is blamed, shamed, smeared, and otherwise abused and manipulated, often without remorse or even concern from other family members or group members. 

The difference is that they are exposed to more of it than the other members of the toxic family.

And the worst part is that the abuse will come from other family or group members inadvertently.

Why do other family members take part in abusing the scapegoat?

It is not usually intentional; it’s just how the family avoids facing its own toxicity.

Like the original scapegoat (from the Bible and in Greek Mythology), the family lays its problems on the doorstep of the scapegoat and feels relieved when they do. 

“This process of projection, shaming, and blaming serves to divert attention away from the rest of the family’s mental and emotional problems via casting the targeted family member into the role of ‘scapegoat,’ psychotherapist Rebecca Mandeville, author of Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed: Help and Hope for Adults in the Family Scapegoat Role explains. “It is sometimes the case that families who scapegoat one of their own are oblivious to the fact that they are engaging in psycho-emotional abuse and will become highly defensive if this is pointed out.”

Because the scapegoated family member is portrayed as the “problem child,” the other family members, even those who would not otherwise be abusive, will take part in abusing the scapegoat.

And a lot of times, the scapegoat will find themselves falling into the role by doubting their own worthiness and beginning to believe that they really are intrinsically wrong.

What happens when the scapegoat tries to tell the rest of the family about their discovery?

In some cases, the other family members might be willing to acknowledge the issues.

But in most cases, they won’t admit what’s happening, either because they benefit from it or because they just can’t see it and are stuck in the narrative that the scapegoat is a walking problem.

The truth is that if the scapegoat’s abuse benefits them in some way, most family members don’t want to know, and they refuse to acknowledge the truth either because they are enablers or don’t want to deal with it the unpleasantness of it all.

An Example of the Scapegoat Archetype

One example of a scapegoat can be seen in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1852 novel The Scarlet Letter, in which Pearl Prynne is a perfect example of the scapegoat archetype.

In the novel, the townspeople see Pearl as an incarnation of Hester Prynne’s sin and punish her for it—even though she had nothing to do with her mother’s misdeeds.

What else would you expect? From very early in their lives, scapegoats are taught they’re worthless and cause all family problems. 

The bad news is that some scapegoats never realize the truth.

The good news? Many will experience the scapegoat awakening.

What is the Scapegoat Awakening?

While you might imagine something like an “awakening” would be a huge deal, and you’d come out of such a realization with some kind of new clarity, it’s not all that dramatic and profound.

It can be considered an awakening when you realize something isn’t what you thought.

So, when the scapegoat recognizes that they’re NOT the entire world’s biggest piece of poo, they have had their awakening.

But that’s not what matters here; what’s important is what they do next.

How does the scapegoat awakening happen? 

We know scapegoats are often the first family members to see something wrong.

This is partly because they’re often worn down from being scapegoated and made to feel like everything’s their fault.

It is so emotionally exhausting that many scapegoats actually start to believe that they are the problem.

This will often lead them to start researching – except they’re not researching what’s wrong with the family. 

That was true for me. 

If they’re anything like I was, the scapegoat begins by looking for answers to what is wrong with THEM, not the people doing the scapegoating. 

How does being the scapegoat affect you long term?

Any type of emotional abuse can cause psychological trauma, anxiety, and even PTSD-like symptoms such as depression, loneliness, and flashbacks.

The narcissist’s toxic family structure is typically characterized by chaos and dysfunction. The narcissist will use their partner or child as a scapegoat for the narcissist’s own feelings of inadequacy and lack of control.

All of this can lead to complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD).

This is confirmed by Mandeville, who explains that in her professional experience, “the rejecting, shaming, and otherwise non-nurturing, harmful, and abusive family environment my clients grew up in (and had no means of escaping from) has actually contributed to their experiencing symptoms of Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD – which is also known as complex trauma disorder) secondary to chronic parental / family psycho-emotional (and at times physical) abuse.”

You must remember that narcissists rely on their family members to meet their need for narcissistic supply – and before the “awakening,” a scapegoat will do anything to please the narcissist.

The Scapegoat Awakening – What Happens When the Scapegoat in a Toxic Family Realizes the Truth 

If you were your family’s scapegoat, you’ll be able to relate to this discussion, in which Lise Colucci and I talk about being the scapegoat and what happens when the scapegoat in a family situation recognizes that there’s a problem in the family.

  • This might involve a narcissistic parent and/or several other toxic elements.
  • Also discussed is how to recognize and acknowledge when there is a narcissist in a primary role and how the scapegoat interacts with the other roles (such as the golden one, the lost one, the invisible one, the funny one, etc.).
  • Plus: how siblings or other family members may react and choose to stick with the narcissist and their enablers and deny the reality the family is dealing with, including how they keep secrets from (and for) the toxic people and how the scapegoat is most commonly alienated and actively put down, among other things.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Intermittent Reinforcement: #1 Way Narcissists Control and Manipulate You

Intermittent Reinforcement: #1 Way Narcissists Control and Manipulate You

If you’re in a toxic relationship with a malignant narcissist, you probably feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster.

Do ever feel like you can’t control your emotions, or are you worried because your feelings have been all over the place for years?

You might be dealing with intermittent reinforcement as a form of manipulation from the narcissist in your life.

What is intermittent reinforcement?

Intermittent reinforcement is a pattern of callous treatment mixed in with random bursts of affection. This behavior may lead you to believe the narcissist loves you, but in reality, it’s just another way they manipulate you.

In other words, the narcissist (whether they’re a grandiose or a covert narcissist) gives you the illusion of being loved and cared for by behaving in a loving way between intermittent bursts of abuse.

Worse, intermittent reinforcement can leave you confused and disoriented since it’s unclear why the narcissist has “rewarded” you. This devastates your self-esteem as you realize that can never do or say enough to please the narcissist.

It’s part of the cycle of trauma bonding and why we get so stuck in toxic relationships. If someone in your life has NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) or at least recognizable traits, you might be used as narcissistic supply.

The narcissist might be generous with gifts, compliments, or praise to get their victims to trust and depend upon them.

Unpredictable and random acts of affection are followed by cruel behavior, but the cycle continues as though nothing has happened.

In this episode, Angie Atkinson will explain how to recognize signs of intermittent reinforcement in a toxic relationship with a narcissist and what you can do to deal with it.

Above all, remember this: We’re all humans. We all make mistakes, and we all hurt each other at times; it’s what makes us human, but that doesn’t excuse how someone treats you.!

If you find yourself in a cycle of abuse, do something about it. You don’t deserve to be treated like this!

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Narcissistic Abuse Causes You to Overthink Everything.

Narcissistic Abuse Causes You to Overthink Everything.

Recovery from narcissistic abuse is a long and complicated process, and there are so many factors at play. It’s also easy to focus too much on one thing—and ignore another important element of healing. And that often happens because we overthink things.

Feeling anxious and worried is pretty normal if you’re dealing with the most painful parts of narcissistic abuse recovery.

And, to be fair, “normal” thoughts, overthinking, and worry are difficult to distinguish in the beginning stages of recovery from narcissistic abuse.

If you find that your thoughts are stuck on one thing (or person) over and over again, however—especially if this feeling is accompanied by a racing heart rate or other physical symptoms like nausea—it may be time for some self-care.

What is the difference between “normal” worries and overthinking?

The difference between normal worry and overthinking is that normal worry is usually caused by a situation that is happening right now while overthinking is usually an issue that happened in the past or will happen in the future.

When does overthinking happen for narcisisstic abuse survivors?

Overthinking (also called rumination) occurs when we repeatedly worry and ruminate over the same thoughts.

Overthinking happens to everyone – but for narcissistic abuse surivors, it can really feel like it stops us from functioning.

When a situation, worry, thought, or idea about what we could’ve done differently or the depth of the abuse we experienced embeds itself in our brains, it can lead to thinking about it…too much.

This is mulitplied for so many of us when the narcisisst is involved – whether during the relationship or afterward. 

Does your personality type make you more likely to be an overthinker? 

We know that a lot of survivors of narcisisstic abuse are INFJs, and some studies suggest introverts lean towards overthinking more often than their extroverted counterparts.

Since introverts tend to be internal processors, they often spend more time in their heads, but no one is immune to the unrelenting impact overthinking can cause.

The other thing is that when you’ve dealt with narcissistic abuse for a long time, you might be affected by C-PTSD – and rumination is a common symptom of complex post-traumatic stress disorder

Worry is Normal; Overthinking is Not

Worry is a complex emotion that can serve an important purpose. It often alerts us that something isn’t right and helps us take action to fix it.

Still, overthinking rather than acting on what’s happening now becomes unproductive and burdensome if we get stuck in worry about the past or future.

Worry can be important. Our intuition often alerts us that something’s wrong, and worry can indicate that you need to pay closer attention to whatever is triggering it.

When worry crosses over into overthinking, it loses its benefits and creates a burden.  That’s because overthinking can lead to a number of complications such as the following. 

  • Being afraid to decide on anything without asking for advice
  • Distorted thinking and insecurity
  • Mental exhaustion
  • Physical health issues
  • Struggles with sleep
    and more!

Is overthinking stopping you from healing from narcissistic abuse? 

Overthinking can rob you of today, worrying about tomorrow. It can hold you back from fully recovering from narcissistic abuse – and actually, it can keep you stuck and unable to move forward. Here are some important signs overthinking may be holding you back.

You replay conversations and interactions over and over in your mind.

Self-assessment is important. It’s good to replay our interpersonal interactions over in our minds to be sure we are showing up in the best way possible. You may be at risk of overthinking if you tend to fixate on interactions long after they are over.

Additionally, if you spend time dissecting conversations and reading between the lines, you could be setting yourself up for overthinking. Overthinkers tend to dwell on situations with a critical lens which can trigger negative thoughts and feelings.

You jump to the worst-case scenario

We’ve all heard how failing to plan is planning to fail. It’s good to give some thought to what may happen in a given situation, but jumping to the worst-case scenario and spending too much time thinking about what could happen can cause overthinking.

Overthinkers tend to create anxiety by looking at every possible thing that could go wrong rather than what’s neutral or could go right.

Your sleep and eating habits are off

When we worry, we tend to experience disrupted sleep and eat too little or too much. Worrying in and of itself can contribute to sleep and eating disorders, and many people aren’t aware of the connection.

Rather than attribute their insomnia or appetite to their thoughts, which can be changed, they fail to realize worry triggers their health issues. Overthinkers often suffer from lack of sleep, digestive issues, and difficulty managing their weight.

You may recognize worry as part of your everyday life and wonder if overthinking has become an issue. If you are experiencing any or all of these signs, taking a deeper dive into the habit of overthinking may be important.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

 

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