Narcissistic Husband?

Narcissistic Husband?

Are you married to a narcissist husband?

If you’re married to a narcissistic husband, chances are that you’re well aware that he is different than other husbands in a lot of very clear ways.

To allow us to break through the barriers that arise when we are unable to understand our partner, here are a few truths about narcissistic husbands.

What is a narcissistic husband?

If your husband is a narcissist, you might not feel very good about yourself and your relationship. Because of this, you’re probably wondering if you’re identifying with this article or if you’re just as crazy as you’ve been told. If that resonates with you, stick with me and take a look at a few traits of a narcissistic husband.

  • A narcissistic husband might have narcissistic personality disorder if he’d actually allow himself to be diagnosed; or at least has narcissistic traits.
  • If your husband is a narcissist, chances are that he’s self-centered, lacks empathy, and has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
  • In general, narcissists tend to think they are superior or special and are extremely jealous of others.
  • A narcissistic husband desires admiration and is preoccupied with thoughts of unlimited success, power, brilliance, and beauty.
  • Narcissistic husbands are highly defensive with low self-esteem, though you might see them as strong and powerful. Underneath it all, he’s still just a scared little boy doing whatever he needs to do to get his narcissistic supply needs met. 

If you are still with me, the next thing you need to do is to educate yourself a little more on what kinds of behaviors and traits you can see in a narcissistic husband.

 

Identifying Narcissistic Behaviors

If you’re living with a narcissist and aren’t sure what to do about it, you’ll want to learn how to identify them. After all, identifying narcissistic behaviors can help you realize and fully accept that you are being abused by a narcissist.

Plus, it offers validation of your experience, which can help you to leave the “FOG” (fear, obligation, and guilt) in the past and clarify your future. And when you know better, you do better.

What Are Some Signs of a Narcissist Husband?

If you think your spouse is a narcissist, there are several behaviors you should watch for to help solidify your suspicion.

  • He may have an excessive interest in himself.
  • He is unconcerned with your feelings and you can tell because he says the most profoundly painful things you can imagine and often leaves you hanging when you really need him (at least emotionally).
  • He puts his own needs and even wants above you and everyone else, regardless of the level of severity in need.
  • He feels very entitled and expects special privileges. 
  • He might even think he’s above the law.
  • He cheats on you, or you suspect he would if given the opportunity.
  • He makes you feel more like an employee or servant than a wife. 
  • You walk on eggshells and base most of your decisions on whether or not he will be upset by your choice.
  • He wants to be seen as the best at everything, and even if he doesn’t really believe it, he expects you to believe and will demonstrate serious narcissistic injury and/or narcissistic rage if you do not support this delusion. 
  • Speaking of delusions, he probably has delusions of grandeur. 
  • If you have kids, he may act jealous of the attention you give them, or he may use them against you in other ways.

These are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, but they’re enough to feel concerned that you might be married to a narcissist.

Are narcissists capable of loving?

This is a hard pill to swallow because while narcissists can seem to love you in some ways, especially early in the relationship, they’re also very emotionally stunted; as in they have the emotional capacity of a toddler – or at best, a teenager.

The fact is that when a narcissist declares his love for you, he might really mean it in the moment. But he doesn’t fully “get” love. He sees you more as an object – sort of like how you see your smartphone

When you get a new smartphone, it’s powerful and amazing, packed with new features. It’s pretty and doesn’t have any scratches – and you love it for exactly what it is.

But after a while, you drop it a few times. It gets a little beat up, and before you know it, you hear about the latest and greatest NEW smartphone. 

Right around then, your current phone becomes a little less functional – it slows down and doesn’t quite run as smoothly as it once did.

And that’s right around the time you break down and get a new one. You don’t miss the old one, and you pretty much don’t think of it again. Because it’s a smartphone, not a person. 

But the narcissist sees you like a smartphone – disposable and dispensable. They love what you DO for them, but they’re not really capable of loving YOU as a person, at least not in the same way as you may have once loved THEM.

How long can a narcissist stay married?

Narcissists, both male, and female, sometimes stay married for decades. Many male narcissists won’t leave ever, at least not physically. Others will jump from relationship to relationship.

Those who cheat will often want to keep their wives around as their “mother figure,” if possible. Then they go out and do what they want with other women (and/or men), and they seem to really lean into the whole “Madonna/Whore” complex

Long story short, a narcissist can stay married for the rest of their lives, and many will unless their wives finally have enough and initiate the divorce themselves. Often, the narcissistic husband will repeat the whole cycle of abuse over and over in their marriages.

So you may never be permanently discarded, but you’ll be temporarily discarded repeatedly through painful manipulations like the silent treatment, for example.

Will a narcissist ever change?

The way I see it, it’s possible for a narcissist to change, but I’ve never seen or heard of it happening on a meaningful level.

In fact, if a narcissist husband were to successfully change, it would require him to engage in long-term therapy and to really do the work required – and it’d be no picnic.

  • He’d have to first discover and acknowledge his core wounds, those traumas that caused his personality to develop this way. ( He’d have to recognize that his core wounds probably began as early as birth, if you believe in attachment theory, which I do.)
  • Then, he’d need to accept and meaningful work through what happened to him and the fact that it caused his personality flaws (which, of course, must also be seen, acknowledged, and resolved).
  • Finally, he’d need to go to the next level and learn emotional and compassionate empathy. This would require the work of a skilled specialty psychologist/therapist and may even involve certain prescriptions and additional therapies, depending on his comorbid mental health issues. 

Bottom line, maybe it’s possible, but it doesn’t happen by the very nature of narcissistic personality disorder.

How do you deal with a narcissist in a relationship?

Once you identify the problem, it’s time to take action. You’ve got choices here – you can stay, or you can go.

If you stay, prepare yourself to continue to deal with emotional and psychological abuse for the rest of your life. It may never get better and if it does, it could be because you’ve resigned yourself to accepting the abuse. 

Of course, there are plenty of ways you can make the narcissist less difficult. You can even sort of train them to treat you with more respect.

But these tactics will only make your life more tolerable, and only if you’re willing to actively play the narcissist’s game. Trust me when I tell you that it’s only worth it if you’re also actively planning to get out of the relationship. 

That said, I know it isn’t always possible to leave right away, thanks to things like financial abuse and having kids.

In these cases, I’d recommend that you try my ethical method of making the narcissist be nice to you. It works, but it’s exhausting over a long period of time.

Otherwise, you’ll want to use the gray rock method when they try to gaslight and manipulate you, and you’ll want to get busy planning your exit. Even if it’s going to take a while, you’ll feel more empowered when you know you’re working toward your freedom.

You can get your free PLAN (Planning to Leave the Narcissist toolkit) right here.

Still not sure? Take our free Is my husband a narcissist? quiz to gain additional insight and to be given resources to help you recover from narcissistic abuse.

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Narcissists as Good Parents – Impossible? Maybe not, say psychologists.

Narcissists as Good Parents – Impossible? Maybe not, say psychologists.

Recently, someone asked me what I considered to be a sort of confusing question, but one that I think a lot of us have asked ourselves at one point or another. 

“Can a narcissist be a good parent who doesn’t cause any damage to their children?”

Is this even possible? I have to be honest with you. I have met a LOT of narcissists and even more victims of narcissists doing what I do.

However, I cannot say that I’ve ever met a malignant narcissist who didn’t directly or indirectly cause significant psychological harm to their children.

Often, the harm was also physical and emotional. Sometimes, it was direct and intentional. It was also just a lack of interest or presence or pure neglect.

Considering all of that, how could it be possible for a malignant narcissist or someone with narcissistic personality disorder to be a good parent to raise emotionally healthy, self-actualized, and well-rounded children who become adults without many trauma issues?

Can narcissists be good parents? 

While you might initially think it’s utterly impossible for a narcissist to be a good parent, there are a few particular circumstances under which it could theoretically happen.

Here, narcissistic abuse recovery experts Dr. Robin Bryman, Dr. Zamecia McCorvey, Dr. Judy Rosenberg, and yours honestly, Angie Atkinson, share our thoughts on what it would take for a narcissist to be a good parent.

My Theory: With a Little Friendly Competition, Maybe

Maybe we all have a little trauma in the cards. But I have not seen or heard about a narcissist who didn’t leave severe psychological scars on their children.

Minor traumas may be overblown, for sure. But just as often. the more significant, intense traumas – the kind that gives you that deep, dull ache in your heart when you recall them – are brushed under the rug like they’re nothing. 

From that perspective, it can be easy to miss the subtle, pervasive behaviors of a narcissistic abuser. But does the lack of blatant abuse mean that some malignant narcissists can raise healthy children who become healthy adults with firm boundaries and a strong sense of self

In general, my opinion has always been that it was, at best, highly unlikely that a narcissistic parent could do enough good in a child’s life to combat the bad.

And that, despite our best efforts, even some well-meaning parents cause some unintentional traumas along the way – or at least miss the opportunity to prevent them. 

Most narcissistic parents have a shining moment here and there – or at least a few not-terrible memories are made along the way. There may even be certain parts of parenting in which they shine naturally.

For example, a client recently shared with me that her narcissistic ex had one good point in this area: he was the “fun” parent, and while this also meant he dragged the kids into activities they would end up hating (due to his gung ho, never slow down attitude), it was something that can be healthy and positive in a child’s life. 

But, inevitably, such a parent will fail in other areas: genuine connection, structure, discipline, and proper attention, for example. So as sweet as the fun parent is, this is tempered with extreme emotions that can alienate the children and make them feel afraid, resentful, and unseen.

And that’s on the very mild end of the spectrum – it gets far worse.

So in the end, the best I believe it could get with a narcissist is not terrible, or tolerable. Their intermittent style of loving and validating alternating with ignoring, abusing, neglecting, and controlling their children simply doesn’t give their children a “normal” launch into life.

This is especially when that parent is controlling the other parent. You know, the one who should be the child’s advocate when the narcissist goes overboard.

The one who is most easily and often alienated by the narcissist? Yep.  

After I thought about it for a while, I concluded that there might be one way a narcissist could be the perfect parent.

They would need to be competing in a Who’s the Best, Healthiest, Least Damaging, Most Selflessly Loving Parent contest. That contest would have to have some rock-solid guidelines and would need to offer regularly scheduled praise and adoration that came at the perfect time

Plus, it would need to have plenty of accountability and unscheduled home visits with secret kid interviews and assessments, to ensure a way to measure and track their progress. And, it would need to go for the whole life of the child or parent, whoever happens to live the longest.

Finally, it might help to give the narcissist something that helps keep their ego in check, depending on what their doctors (or budtenders) have to offer. But we also have to remember that narcissistic personality disorder is not a mental health disease; it is a personality disorder.

Technically, narcissistic personality disorder with malignant traits.

You cannot treat NPD with medicine, but some doctors choose to treat narcissists for co-morbid issues or even side effects of the drugs or treatments. In those cases, treating symptoms could in theory, be possible, but I still do not believe we could ever undo or even permanently stall their behaviors with medicine. 

What Psychologists Say It Would Take to Make a Narcissist a Good Parent

The more I thought about it, I decided it would be a good idea to get the opinions of our team’s medical and educational psychologists, just to be safe and offer a full-spectrum answer. Here’s what they had to say when I asked them if there’s any chance that narcissists can be good parents. 

Dr. Robin Bryman: Under Specific Circumstances, Maybe

“I believe a narcissist can absolutely be a good parent if the moon and stars are aligned,” Dr. Robin Bryman said, smiling. 

“What I mean is that if the narcissist is intelligent, doesn’t have an addiction that impacts their lives, and they set their lives up in a way that their kids succeed, it is possible,” she added, noting that as long as the parent feels successful in their life, it’s not completely impossible.

“They’d need to have a beautiful, handsome, and/or successful spouse or partner, and they would have to be at the top of what they consider a successful life.”

“In this type of situation, the addiction, especially if it’s about control and power, can inadvertently allow a narcissist to effectively parent,” she said.

And since a narcissist often views their children as extensions of themselves, they will want that extension to be as well-adjusted as possible. 

Dr. Zamecia McCorvey: Maybe, for Devoted Golden Child

When I asked Dr. Zamecia McCorvey if she believed a narcissist could be a decent parent, she was immediately taken aback. 

“I automatically thought Hell No!,”  Dr. McCorvey Said, “Considering my life experience being raised by parents who I believe were narcissistic.”

She said that being raised this way has seriously impacted aspects of her life, both growing up and even now, well into adulthood.

“However, as I think past my experience and rely on my understanding of narcissism, I’d say it really depends,” she said.

“They can be a great parent, depending on what role their child plays within the family dynamic,” she continued. “If the child is the golden child and does not deviate from the narcissistic parent’s control are reign, they will experience a better parent than a child who is not easily controlled by the narcissistic parent, or is the scapegoat.”

Dr. Judy Rosenberg: Maybe Good, Definitely Not Great

Maybe, says Dr. Judy Rosenberg, but there’s a catch. We know that there are plenty of malignant, toxic narcissistic parents who completely neglect their kids’ needs, ignore them, control them, physically or sexually abuse them, or otherwise make them miserable. 

But there are also many narcissists who appear to be great parents. They take care of their kids’ physical needs and ensure they’ve got the latest and greatest in fashion, gadgets, and everything else. They have beautiful, expensive homes that are perfectly decorated and always spotless.

But even those who do take care of the physical needs may barely even know their children, and the rest are sort of like live-in bullies until the kids move out – and even then, often continue to abuse and control their adult children.

“A narcissist can be a good parent if they are ethical and moral and fulfill their obligations to their children,” Dr. Judy said. “But they will never be a great parent because they just don’t have the wherewithal to show empathy.”

That trademark lack of empathy would effectively leave the child feeling unseen, at the very least. If we were talking about a malignant narcissist, the effects on the child would be more profound.

But, Dr. Judy said, “If they choose an empathic partner it can buffer the effects.”

So, if a narcissist chose a good partner with decent empathy skills, any potential damage to the child’s psyche could be mitigated.

While Dr. Judy’s thoughts are clearly sound, I’d add that, since we know that narcissists are notorious for emotionally and psychologically abusing anyone who gets close enough to see behind their false self (the mask they show the world), we can safely assume that this abuse would also, directly or indirectly, affect the child. 

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

How to Identify a Narcissist in Collapse

How to Identify a Narcissist in Collapse

Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by a lack of empathy, combined with extreme self-centeredness and a need for constant attention. It’s a disorder that can have a profoundly negative effect on people, and it can be difficult to deal with someone who has it.

Today, we’ll dig into the collapsed narcissist and identify some of the red flags or signs that you might be dealing with a narcissist who might be what psychologists call a collapsed narcissist. 

What is Narcissistic Collapse?

When someone with NPD (or even toxic narcissist traits) loses the ability to get their unrealistic needs met through their usual methods of manipulation and deceitful behaviors, they will often begin to exhibit signs of collapse as they struggle to maintain control over the situation. A narcissist may also collapse if they’ve been confronted about their behavior and are forced to accept accountability for it.

Collapsing is a painful process for them since it’s often a point of extremely high stress and anxiety in their lives. In so many cases, the narcissist may have developed an entire persona around being superior to everyone else, but when this starts to break down, so does their false self.

While there are many signs to watch for, most are related to how a narcissist experiences a significant event or loss of supply; or in many cases, they just fail to maintain the normal amount of narcissistic supply.

Another form of narcissistic collapse occurs when a person becomes depressed without their narcissistic supply. This happens usually post-discard when the narcissist feels that he/she has lost control over someone’s admiration and adoration. 

This video goes into more detail on what a collapsed narcissist really is and how they got that way. 

What happens during a narcissistic collapse?

When someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or narcissistic traits can no longer uphold their grandiose, confident image, they feel profoundly threatened due to the lack of narcissistic supply – or even the potential of lack.

As a result, they tend to become enraged, resulting in impulsive behavior, intense lashing out, or hurting other people. 

In severe cases, a person with NPD or NPD traits may feel so wounded they become suicidal or homicidal. They may see suicide or murder as the only way to get back at a perceived slight. 

Narcissists who are in collapse also tend to become enraged, resulting in impulsive behavior, intense lashing out, or hurting other people. 

What does a collapsed narcissist look like? 

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this kind of narcissistic rage and have wondered what prompted it, then you’ve probably seen a collapsed narcissist in action.

This is especially true if you’re involved with a narcissist who has been removed from their primary sources of supply: family members who have wised up to their manipulation and gaslighting; former friends who have rejected their lies and abuse, or even employers that have caught on to their toxic ways.

They have become devastated, hollow versions of what they once were. You ALMOST feel sorry for them. Of course, the specific reaction will also depend on the type of narcissist they happen to be.

Two Main Types of Narcissists

There are two main types of narcissists: vulnerable and grandiose.

Vulnerable Narcissists

Vulnerable narcissists tend to be shy and self-effacing. They are also hypersensitive to how others perceive them, which means they are easily hurt and offended by criticism. They tend to be pessimistic, insecure, and fragile. A vulnerable narcissist will respond with shame or anger when their sense of superiority is threatened or injured by criticism or rejection.

Grandiose Narcissists

By contrast, grandiose narcissists are those most people think about when they hear the word “narcissist.” Grandiose narcissists are arrogant, indifferent to others’ feelings and needs, and expect special treatment. When criticized or challenged in any way, they lash out with contempt and rage.

Can a collapsed narcissist recover?

Sometimes we’ll see a narcissist who has “collapsed” or otherwise seems to be going through some kind of emotional upheaval and distress. This begs the question: Can a collapsed narcissist recover? 

Is it possible for a collapsed narcissist to become normal again?

Sadly, the answer is no. A collapsed narcissist is not able to recover and be normal, because they do not understand that they are a narcissist or why they have become a narcissist.

In other words, they almost completely lack self-awareness, at least when you compare them to non-narcissists.

This lack of self-awareness, combined with their natural sense of entitlement and other typical narcissistic traits makes it nearly impossible for a malignant narcissist to recover from collapse. 

In fact, most of them will never realize the truth about themselves, even if their life depended on it. It is difficult for anyone to admit that their entire life has been a lie and a waste of time and energy.

The narcissist, a highly disordered personality, is incapable of having a healthy relationship with anyone. Because of this, their relationships are toxic and riddled with abuse.

Perhaps even more confusing, narcissists can be incredibly charming and enticing when they want to be. They’re also extremely manipulative and adept at grooming you to meet their needs. They do whatever they can to suck you in and hold you tight, to use you up until there’s nothing left.

When they “move on” or the relationship ends, they will often discard you without another thought. This is because they have no empathy or regard for anyone but themselves. In fact, they’re quite pleased with themselves when they can leave you utterly shattered as if it were some kind of game to them.

What triggers narcissistic collapse?

In the end, the collapsed narcissist is someone that has had their self-image severely damaged so much by a particular experience or situation, that they’ve begun to lose all sense of who they are. This often leads them down a path of anxiety, depression, and an inflated sense of oppression when dealing with others.

Narcissistic collapse is often triggered by narcissistic injury – a perceived threat to their self-worth or self-esteem. When this happens, narcissists typically respond with rage and contempt and may engage in destructive or self-destructive behavior such as substance abuse, suicide threats or attempts, violent outbursts, or physical violence directed toward themselves or others.

The Empty Shell Person

The best way to gain a better understanding of what is going on with the collapsed narcissist is to use the term “empty shell.” That’s because the narcissist in collapse very much appears to be a hollow shell of what they once were.

Most people have a solid sense of who they are. An empty shell person has lost their sense of self.

Because they’re so afraid to let their facade down, it’s hard to understand what is really taking place because underneath.

After all, beneath the ego structure of most human beings lies a sensitive and vulnerable narcissistic child. This can be a very painful place to be, and if this child was neglected or abused enough, they may have collapsed into themselves in order to survive.

This means that a lot of the personality structure and defense mechanisms had to go away in order to just cope with life day by day.

This video goes into detail on how to identify a collapsed narcissist. 

Are you dealing with a collapsed narcissist in a toxic relationship? Get help now!

Dr. Judy Rosenberg on Healing Global Disconnect

Dr. Judy Rosenberg on Healing Global Disconnect

A STATEMENT FROM DR. JUDY ROSENBERG founder of the Psychological Healing Center & the Be The Cause system of healing human & global disconnect

Healing global disconnect is long overdue.

As a psychologist, I know that for us to be healthy on a global level, we need individual healing. As you can see our micro problems have gone full blow macro with a threat of global nuclear clash.

Although we are under the power and control of our leaders and are essentially in a hostage situation, we all have the power of choice.

As hard as that might be in some circumstances, the message I want to convey is that before we identify with our isms of race, politics, nationality, socioeconomic, or any other ism, we are first and foremost, human beings.

What is Global Disconnect?

Global Disconnect comes in many forms such as racism, sexism, politics, religion, etc. Sadly, when individuals become heavily defended because of fear of getting re-injured, there will be little vulnerability and connection.

This results in global breakdown and extreme darkness such as wars, hate groups, and anything that causes separation and fracturing of humanity.

 

The Pathway to a Healthier and More United Humanity

The Mind Map was originally intended to create a system of healing of the individual for the individual to then start helping heal outwardly on a global level. From a global perspective, we are interconnected and all one people.

It’s the fracturing and splintering of humanity that has disconnected us from creating unity. By healing human disconnect – the childhood and cultural wounds that affect and infect us both individually and as a human race, we can create a more sustainable and synergistic global system.

Via the Be The Cause Mind Map® System, we can Be The Cause® of creating a pathway to a healthier and more united humanity.

Power and Control vs. Love and Intimacy

I’ve done talks and episodes regarding power and control vs love and intimacy. Our current world is a representation of the former (power and control). Power and control are the way of narcissism.

Disconnected from the heart, the narcissist lacks empathy. One step further is the sociopath. Sociopathic way: demean, devalue, destroy discard without any regard to the destruction left in its wake.

What can we do as individuals?

Where does our power lie? Individual freedom of choice.

Starting with the basic concept that consciousness is causal, we can all choose our own version of intimacy and love as our pathway to healing individually and globally. This is also to recognize that sometimes taking the path of free choice is not always the safest way.

Case in point, the people of Ukraine and their leader, standing up and looking at death and destruction in the face. This is not an easy choice and certainly no shame in our human fragility and backing down.

After all, not everyone has the constitution to put their life on the line. I believe that by putting your consciousness in a state of interconnection to humanity, we can conquer the darkness of tyrannical systems.

There is power in global unity against these dark forces in whichever way you uniquely can express that. We all have our own unique light via our talents such as art, music, communication, or however your expression looks like.

I am inviting you to tap into your own unique love and vulnerability to be the cause of creating light during these very dark times.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

Why do narcissists downplay your worth?

Why do narcissists downplay your worth?

Have you ever wondered why narcissists have a way of minimizing everything you do, say, think, or feel?

Narcissists are never generous with praise unless they’re using it as a way to manipulate you. In general, once they get past the love-bombing phase of the relationship, narcissists have a way of never doing or saying anything to make you feel good about yourself. 

If you feel like you have to work a little harder to earn the praise of a narcissist, it’s not because they’re harder to please or discriminating in their approval. It’s because they have reached the “devalue” phase of the toxic relationship. 

What is the devalue phase of the toxic relationship?

Devaluation is what happens when a narcissist tears you down emotionally, insults you (outright or covertly), and makes you doubt yourself and your self-worth. This is done as part of the cycle of abuse and when effective, it can cause you to believe you don’t have a chance of finding someone better, or that you’re not worthy of love or consideration.

The narcissist will often use devaluation to keep you from leaving by implanting such ideas in your head. Alternatively, some narcissists don’t even recognize they’re doing it since it’s part of the standard cycle of abuse. It can happen to a “thing” just as easily as a person when a narcissist is involved.

Why does the narcissist downplay your worth?

Narcissists downplay your worth and highlight their own accomplishments, in part because they want to keep you feeling inferior, but it’s more complicated than this. In fact, narcissists use their “false selves” to mask their deeply profound insecurity and often use this tactic to sort of boost their own ego.

It’s all about making sure they have control over us and keeping us feeling less than them so they can get what they want out of life while using our goodwill as leverage against us when needed.

In other words, they need to feel that they are above you, that they are superior to you in every single way.

What does it mean when the narcissist compliments you?

Do you sometimes feel that when narcissists do compliment you or praise you it is not genuine? Well, you are right. It isn’t. As a matter of fact; narcissists downplay the worth of those with whom they wish to gain favor.

If we are on their good side (during the idealization or love-bombing phase), then we will get compliments from them about how wonderful we are doing at work or school or even in our personal relationships.

Sometimes when narcissists compliment us, it is done so in a way that makes us feel inferior or lesser than them – or it’s about impressing someone else who overhears the compliment. The other reason a narcissist might compliment you outside of the love-bombing phase is to take credit for your work or efforts in some way.

Explaining by Example: The Narcissist at Work

In order to understand this behavior better; let us consider an example of how someone with narcissistic personality disorder might behave in a work environment. The narcissist will often claim credit for various projects even if he or she had nothing to do with their completion or success.

They will brag about their accomplishments and compare them favorably to others’. At the same time, he or she will also put down coworkers and subordinates who may have made similar contributions but not received as much recognition as they did.

Narcissists like to make themselves seem better than everyone else around them, especially if these people have something that the narcissist does not have (money, power, fame).

So, when a narcissist compliments you, it is not because of your worth, beauty, or talents. It is to get you under their authority so that they can use your talents for their own good.

Learn more about narcissists and the devalue phase of the toxic relationship

In this video, I explain the devalue phase in detail and offer tips on how to deal with the narcissist who is actively downplaying your worth. 

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

 

 

How I Stopped Being Controlled by a Narcissist

How I Stopped Being Controlled by a Narcissist

Growing up, I was always “under my mother’s thumb,” as in, she was, as far as she was concerned, in control of every aspect of my life: my activities, thoughts, feelings, ideas – everything. And this didn’t end when I grew up and moved out. In fact, it continued until I was 35 years old.

The Day I Went No Contact

In fact, I was 35 the day I went no contact with my mother. Before that, for my entire life, I had felt this deep, profound sense of obligation to her. She made sure of it.

I learned that her feelings, thoughts, and ideas were more important and more “real” than mine. She taught me that I needed to keep her happy and that I wasn’t ever good enough because I couldn’t be, say or do whatever it was she thought I should. It never seemed to matter how hard I tried, either. Even as a dang adult.

But that day, everything changed. See, I had recognized that she had betrayed me, in an unforgivable way that I could never have imagined. It woke me up and fast.

Something Broke Inside Me

The very moment I realized what she had done, I almost physically felt something break inside of me – that seemingly indestructible cord of obligation that had always been there and had always caused me to bend to her will – it broke.

In one single moment, I lost the ability to care how she felt. And more than that, I lost the fear of her. She had always intimated that if I stopped doing what she wanted, or refused her too many times, she would abandon me, and then I’d have no one. I lived in that fear for 35 years.

I could never have imagined (nor would I have believed) that she would stoop so low to hurt me. I cannot even come up with the right words to describe the way I felt – it was almost like the time I was running in the dark as a kid and tripped over a branch, knocking the wind out of myself. I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me.

Soul-Twisting, Ugly Rage

But then, I got mad. Well, not just mad. After years of being a people-pleasing, self-hating codependent, I was filled with blistering, blinding rage.

You know, the kind of soul-twisting, screaming, ugly rage that comes up from deep inside and nearly forces you to take swift action. The kind that causes you to get crystal-clear on what you want and what you deserve real quick. I was filled with what I now know is justified rage. I was indignant. And in that very instant, I was done. I went no contact and I have not looked back.

But it wasn’t so simple. My mother wasn’t done yet. She had been in control for 35 years and she wasn’t about to give it up without a fight. First, she got very angry. Then, she told a lot of lies about me and spread malicious gossip to everyone in the extended family, as well as to some of her friends.

And later, she’d end up publishing my name in her little work newsletter, asking people to pray for me and my “mental health issues.” After that, I heard through the grapevine that she was playing the victim, telling everyone how she had absolutely no idea why I wasn’t talking to her “after all she had done for me.”

“She’s always looking for attention!”

She minimized and invalidated me and justified her feelings by saying things like, “She’s always looking for attention.”

In fact, I was doing the opposite: I was looking for peace. I wanted nothing else from her. But a few months after I went full no contact, I heard that she planned to send my brother over to my house during the holidays to straighten me out. The plan, according to the grapevine, was that he would just show up without calling. I nipped that one in the bud.

But why did she play all these little mind games? I suspect it was for one simple reason: because she was no longer able to control me. See, narcissists don’t like to lose control over any source of narcissistic supply. And when they do, they have some fairly predictable ways of reacting. Nearly every manipulative thing a narcissist does can be broken down into a pattern if you look for it.

Read more: How does a narcissist react when they can’t control you anymore?

Do you think your mother is a narcissist?

Take our free toxic mother self-assessment here to gain some insight.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support & Resources

If you feel you need additional help and support in your narcissistic abuse recovery, look for a trauma-informed professional trained in helping people who are dealing with overcoming narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships. Depending on your particular situation, you might benefit from Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching, or you might do better with a therapist.

You have to decide what to do from here – if you’re not sure, start with my free Narcissistic Abuse Recovery quiz. With your results will come recommended resources for your situation. It’s free. Are you looking for more personal support? You might like to join one of our private small-group coaching sessions, or you might prefer to check out our one-on-one narcissistic abuse recovery counseling and coaching sessions. 

Resources & Support for Adult Children of Narcissists

More on Narcissistic Mothers

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