Think Like a Scientist, Reduce Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Timeline

Think Like a Scientist, Reduce Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Timeline

“To be rendered powerless doesn’t destroy your humanity. Your resilience is your humanity. The only people who lose their humanity are those who believe they have the right to render another human being powerless. They are the weak. To yield and not break, that is incredible strength.”
~​Hannah Gadsby

See video on YouTube.

Have you lost yourself during an abusive, toxic relationship with a narcissist?

Going through a toxic relationship with a narcissist can tear you apart and make you feel so beaten down that it feels impossible to recover. At a minimum, you are left feeling devastated, frustrated, headachy, jittery, drained, straight-up exhausted…the list goes on. The pain can seem so bad that you feel cursed. And who could blame you?

It’s awful how someone you loved so deeply could walk away from you without so much as a backward glance. And as they rush around scooping up everything they own maybe including the clothes off your back, it’s almost like they are abusing you all over again! But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are techniques, tactics, coping mechanisms that allow you to feel in control again–to feel hopeful that maybe next time around

How do you recover from narcissistic abuse?

Once you’ve figured it all out, you’re in shock and disbelief for awhile before anything else. The heartbreak will either feel immediately unbearable or, if you’re like I was, you might go into some sort of suspended state of animation – going through the motions of life, feeling numb and not present. That is, of course, until you start learning about the mind games and manipulation the narcissist used to control you.

That’s about the time you’ll want to know how to recognize the narcissist’s abusive personal attacks, and how to defend yourself.

You finally understand that these were textbook narcissistic abuse methods! You also learn how to recover from a narcissist because whether or not it’s a conscious and intentional choice or a cluster B personality disorder causing trouble in your life and your relationship, the narcissist is focused on hurting you.

How do you get over the narcissist with the least amount of emotional pain?

When you step back and take a look at all of the things you need to do for narcissistic abuse recovery, it can be distressing to think about how long it will take. However, recovering from narcissistic abuse is not impossible! I believe that with the right mindset and the right tools, you can speed up your recovery time.

What’s the most important thing that you have to do AFTER your break up with the narcissist? There is no instant, painless quick-fix for narcissistic abuse. There is no magical undo button that will erase the effects of psychological manipulation and abuse, nor there is such a thing as an “easy way out” or a fast recovery time.

One of the (many) downfalls of relationships with narcissists is that they keep us hooked with intermittent reinforcement, which, combined with long-game gaslighting and manipulation of our realities, makes it extremely difficult to realize the severity of a situation and deny a painful reality.

Even though there is no magic pill to relieve ourselves of the after-effects of narcissistic abuse, and even though we can’t just snap our fingers and get recovery over with right away, it doesn’t mean we can’t make things better in the process.

The narcissist has hurt you deeply, carved out huge chunks of your soul, and left you absolutely spinning. You don’t even know who you are anymore. You want to scream out loud “Why ME?!”  You start to feel like you’re cursed. The pain is unbelievable, excruciating…and it lasts for months upon months. It’s like having shards of glass in your heart…

The only thing standing between you and the healthier, happier future you desire is the narcissist. So where do you begin?

Well, let’s get started by establishing where you are today, and then we can begin to figure out exactly what it will take for you to move forward. Take this test to find out where you are in the narcissistic abuse recovery process. 

First, take the time to mourn the relationship.

I’ve always felt that the best way to get through narcissistic abuse recovery begins with some time for a mourning period, with an end date in mind. Depending on the length and nature of your relationship, you may need a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months. If possible, take a little time off work to “launch” your period of mourning, and then maybe a few days at the end of your chosen mourning period.

Then, think like a scientist: research and notice the patterns.

I’ve often mentioned that you need to look at a situation logically before you can understand the emotions that go along with it. What I mean is that to really push through the most painful parts, you can sort of look at the details like a scientist. Think about the psychology of the narcissist, just a bit. Look at and notice the pattern in their behavior, and d some research. You’ll find that what they’re doing might look a lot like a playbook. And then you’re going to want to look at yourself and your own psychology in the same way. Figure out what led you to be vulnerable to the narcissist in your life and notice the patterns that allowed you to stick around as long as you did. Chances are that it might have begun in childhood.

Next, identify and name the narcissist’s behaviors.

For me, being able to identify and name the narcissist’s manipulation tactics sort of took the sting out of the situation a bit, on some level. When I was able to understand the psychology of a  toxic relationship, and to sort of look at it “like a scientist” – logically, as opposed to emotionally – I could connect my emotions to the facts.

Then, connect your past to your present.

Find the connection between your past trauma to your present circumstances. That was a big part of stopping the pain and the addiction to the narcissist for me, and I’ve found that my clients usually find it most effective to follow a similar path along their healing journies. It also helped me to learn everything I could about my own psychology (and about codependency, C-PTSD, and the related side-effects) and then to uncover and understand exactly which parts of my life were among the most traumatic and life-changing. Then, I needed to understand exactly how those events and circumstances might have led to my current understanding of both myself and my life. This helped me to work on understanding and learning how to have healthier self-esteem and to recognize that I deserve at least basic respect and that I could choose to set boundaries that make me feel comfortable and safe.

Narcissistic abuse is a difficult thing to endure, but you’re not cursed. You’re a strong survivor and it won’t be long before the best parts of yourself emerge from the fog of manipulation and control. The pain will lessen with time…even if it feels like it will never end. But don’t give up – the journey to feeling whole again is more than worth the effort, I promise you. You can get help from a therapist or a coach, or you can join one of many online support groups for narcissistic abuse recovery.

Question of the Day: What have been your biggest hurdles in narcissistic abuse recovery, and how did you overcome them? Or, if you’re currently struggling, what’s slowing you down? Let me know – maybe I can help! Share your thoughts, share your ideas and your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it. 

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.

Dealing with relationship trauma

Dealing with relationship trauma

Are you dealing with relationship trauma?

The bad news? The second you fall in love with someone, the likelihood that you’ll be dealing with relationship trauma increases exponentially. The good news is that you don’t have to suffer in silence – and there are things you can do to begin to heal and resolve relationship trauma and move forward.

What is relationship trauma?

Relationship trauma is a term used by psychologists and other mental health professionals to identify the condition people suffer after having been subjected to relationship abuse (emotional, physical, and otherwise). Many victims were also exposed to prolonged and/or extreme forms of abuse/neglect during childhood. This can predispose them to end up in toxic relationships as an adult, which cause them to be retraumatized in adulthood.

What are the signs of relationship trauma?

The signs of relationship trauma can be as subtle as they are obvious. If you’re dealing with it, you’re far from alone. In fact, according to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, nearly 10% of couples experience relationship abuse. Other research shows that as many as 40% of women and 25% of men have experienced some form of domestic violence in their lifetime; 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men report having been sexually or physically assaulted by a partner at some point in their life.

Common signs of abuse include:

  • Fear for your safety
  • Feeling trapped and/or controlled
  • Being isolated from friends and family
  • Losing self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling like you can’t trust anyone else (including yourself)

See more signs of relationship trauma and narcissistic abuse here.

Are there different types of relationship trauma?

There are three main forms of relationship trauma: Acute, Chronic, and Complex, according to MedicineNet.com.

Acute Trauma

Acute trauma is the result of a single incident that traumatized the victim. This could be something like a car accident, having your home broken into, being raped or assaulted, or even a natural disaster. In any case, the event is extreme enough to cause you to doubt your physical security.

Chronic Trauma

Chronic trauma happens through prolonged trauma that happens over the course of time. According to MedicineNet, it “may result from a long-term serious illness, sexual abuse, domestic violence, bullying, and exposure to extreme situations, such as a war.”

Complex Trauma

Complex trauma means that you’ve dealt with a variety of traumatic events, to put it mildly.

“The events are generally within the context of an interpersonal (between people) relationship,”  writes Shaziya Allarakha, MD.“It may give the person a feeling of being trapped. Complex trauma often has a severe impact on the person’s mind. It may be seen in individuals who have been victims of childhood abuse, neglect, domestic violence, family disputes, and other repetitive situations, such as civil unrest.”

What does relationship trauma look like?

Relationship trauma can profoundly affect your entire adult life, including your present-day relationships, career, family life (including communication with your own children).

People develop different types of relationship trauma that can change the way they relate to others. Some people become addicted to relationships that are too good to be true. Others fear intimacy and can’t get close enough to their partners. They’re afraid of being entrapped by someone they love, and this fear may keep them stuck in unhealthy relationships. Some psychologists suggest that this could also be related to attachment styles developed early in childhood.

What are the long-term effects of relationship trauma?

The long-term effects of relationship trauma are varied and depend on both the person and the traumas they’ve suffered. Some examples include the following.

Parental rejection leads to toxic people pleasing

Valuing yourself highly and feeling safe and secure is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for those who’ve suffered from parental rejection. At the root of this is the belief that your value is based on what you do, not who you are. This leads people to put their own needs aside, putting themselves at risk for burnout and breakdown.

Sexual shame leads to extremely low self-worth and intimacy issues

Trauma tends to make us think we’re broken — we may come to believe that we’re “damaged goods” or “damaged goods who can’t be fixed.” If this is our experience with sex, it makes sense that some people would have a hard time enjoying sex or being interested in sex. In some cases, it’s been hard for these people to see themselves as sexual beings at all.

Others have trouble understanding what sex has to do with their value as a person. Or they’ve had parts of them broken so long that they don’t think they have a right to enjoy sex or be sexual at all. All of this can lead to chronic sexual shame and a need for constant reassurance of the kind “I’m good enough” or “I’m lovable.”

Risk avoidance leads to isolation and chronic fear

If you’ve had a lot of parental rejection or sexual shame or both, one thing may become clear: You don’t feel good about yourself most of the time. You may grow up thinking that if you’re not perfect, then you’re worthless. That can lead you to avoid situations where things might go wrong, which often means avoiding new experiences altogether or limiting your experiences to those that feel safer to you.

You may feel unable to trust anyone ever again. You might not want to believe that another person could do this to you again. But the truth is, it’s not rational for you to have total trust in anyone else from here on out. You can learn to trust selectively and build a bond of mutual respect again with a partner who has betrayed you in some way.

Why do we stay with partners who traumatize us?

You can’t change the past, but you can move forward. If you find yourself with an abusive partner, you might be afraid to leave, or you might even wish you could go back once the relationship ends. This is likely a result of trauma bonding and C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder).

What is trauma bonding?

Similar to Stockholm Syndrome, this is a condition that causes abuse victims to develop a psychological dependence on the narcissist as a survival strategy during abuse. Trauma bonding also makes recovering from a toxic relationship significantly more difficult.

What is C-PTSD (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)?

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a serious mental health condition affecting a large percentage of victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse. This disorder can take years to treat and many professionals aren’t familiar with its symptoms or misdiagnose it.

Some therapists and other mental health professionals may even victim-blame if they aren’t familiar with the subtle tricks of a narcissist. Unfortunately, it can be a lifelong condition, but it can be managed with mindfulness and behavior modification, among other therapies and modalities.

If you are affected by C-PTSD, you may wish to supplement your therapeutic treatment with narcissistic abuse recovery coaching. Or at the very least we recommend that you find a therapist who understands your unique situation. Check out this guide on how to find a therapist who understands narcissistic abuse and recovery.

How do you end the cycle and recover from relationship trauma?

Relationship trauma is what happens when a relationship ends and one or both parties have difficulty processing that experience. You can experience relationship trauma in a variety of ways, but, in general, the process involves the following steps:

  • Recognizing that you’ve dealt with traumatic abuse in a toxic relationship
  • Acknowledging the impact the relationship had on you
  • Coming to grips with your feelings about the relationship and how it ended
  • Deciding what to do next with your feelings and your life
  • Moving forward with your life without the toxic person in it.

The DUO Method was designed to help survivors of narcissistic abuse take back their lives. The good news is that you don’t need to do this all by yourself. It is possible to overcome the pain and move on, especially if you’ve learned from the situation. Start here if you’d like to start your recovery right now.

Here are a few pieces of advice for moving forward.

1. Ask for help.

There’s no shame in asking friends and family to help you through a difficult time because they know what you’re going through better than anyone else. They might be able to offer insight into the hurt you’re experiencing or help you regain perspective on your situation. You can also reach out to a coach or therapist, who can help guide you through this process and give you support as you work toward recovery. Online support groups can also be very helpful for survivors of narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.

2. Remember that recovery is a process, not a destination.

You can’t just snap your fingers and expect yourself to be instantly healed. Narcissistic abuse recovery takes time and effort, so don’t expect everything to turn around immediately. Too many of us have been hurt in relationships that came to a bad end, and we’ve been left to pick up the pieces. It’s a difficult thing to do, but there are some things you can do to help yourself heal.

3. Release the need to hold the narcissist accountable. 

Obviously, forgiveness isn’t really an easy thing when it comes to recovering from relationship trauma. But you don’t have to traditionally forgive the narcissist. Rather, you need to release the need to hold them accountable and release the need to remain connected to them.

4. Be honest with yourself about what happened.

When a toxic person hurts you, you’re not wrong to blame them for your pain, but staying stuck in victimhood will prevent you from recovering. Instead, it can be more productive to look at the situation objectively and consider how you found yourself in this relationship in the first place and how you could have handled the situation differently. While the narcissist will never be able to do the work to figure out why they hurt you or what it really means, you can certainly recognize what happened by learning to understand the dynamics of toxic relationships. Thoroughly understanding why you found yourself there and what made you stay can also help you avoid future toxic relationships.

5. Go no contact if possible.

In order to work through a relationship trauma, you also need time and space away from the person who hurt you. This isn’t just about getting away from them — it’s about regrouping and getting a new perspective on what happened. You must understand that your experience was real and valid, despite the fact that your abuser likely gaslighted you and made you doubt yourself and your reality. This takes time and requires healing. If you can, go no contact (or low contact, if you have children under 18 with this person).

6. Be prepared to find your own closure. 

As much as you deserve it, your abuser will absolutely not willingly give you the closure you so desperately want and need. So, you’ll need to prepare yourself to find and create your own form of closure after the end of a toxic relationship.

7. Move forward and create the life you want and deserve.

In the end, you can intentionally choose to heal and then create the life you want and deserve. It’s a sort of personal evolution that can often be the silver lining to this otherwise miserable situation.

When dealing with relationship trauma, focus on finding healthy outlets for your feelings so you can move forward with life. Find a therapist or psychologist who is an expert in dealing with these kinds of issues. Spend time with people who can give you feedback on how your actions have affected them or others around them; seek support groups; make healthy choices, and take good care of yourself while healing.

Do you think you’re dealing with the effects of relationship trauma? Take this relationship trauma test and find out.

Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support

Why are narcissists and codependents attracted to one another? Here’s the TRUTH from Ross Rosenberg

Why are narcissists and codependents attracted to one another? Here’s the TRUTH from Ross Rosenberg

This is part two of my interview with Ross Rosenberg. Today we’re talking about how attachment theory and Human Magnet Syndrome go hand in hand, as well as how Rosenberg has redefined codependency and developed a process to help codependents, or SLDs, to heal and resolve their codependency (or self-love deficiency disorder), so they can go on and live the lives they want. See part one here.

See part 2 of the Ross Rosenberg interview on YouTube.

Why are narcissists and codependents attracted to one another?

There IS a toxic and magnetic attraction between narcissists and codependents – but WHY? Ross Rosenberg, the author of The Human Magnet Syndrome, explains the truth about why narcissists and codependents are so attracted to each other and why, if you don’t take the time to heal before getting into another relationship, you’ll end up with another narcissist.

Plus, we’ll talk about the chemical attraction between SLDs and narcissists and why we are so likely to want to stick around, as well as why the words codependent and empath are not synonymous.

How does attachment theory relate to the Human Magnet Syndrome?

Rosenberg said he has an intense fascination with attachment theory and that he uses it to explain why children grow up to become adult codependents, or SLDs, or pathological narcissists.

“I rely on attachment theory in order to explain the process,” he said. “(To put it) simply, attachment theory explains that our psychological health or ill health is caused by the manner in which we were loved, respected, and cared for during our critical ages of development, between birth and up to eight years old.”

“And if we endure psychological harm. abuse, neglect, mental manipulation – or we are deprived or neglected or abandoned, we don’t get to attach to a nurturing parent figure,” Rosenberg continued. “Without that attachment, we don’t develop the potential to be healthy high functioning adults. So if you were raised by a narcissist and loved conditionally and had to mold yourself into the type of trophy the narcissist needed in order to get anything, you will not have experienced positive and nurturing attachment.”

That, he said, will impact your psychological health, while your adulthood experiences would also have an impact on your adult relationship choices.

“So attachment theory explains through my Human Magnet Syndrome book why SLDs or codependents always choose narcissists – because they only experience that type of love,” Rosenberg said, adding that SLDs or codependents tend to respond to and are attracted to people that fit what he calls the relationship template that they experience in their childhood.

“That’s how chemistry is,” he said. “If a child who was brought up by the pathological narcissist and who did not attach in a way that would be healthy is going to find the narcissist as familiar and paradoxically safe because they know and have experienced their whole life living with that person and they know what to do.”

Why did Ross Rosenberg create the term human magnet syndrome?

The book cover on Rosenberg’s The Human Magnet Syndrome is symbolic, he told me, as it features hearts coming together and trapped within barbed wire.

“I came up with the term to explain why codependents or SLDs predictably reflexively fall in love with narcissists,” he said. “Talking about attachment, there it is the matching of relationship templates.”

What is the narcissist/codependent relationship template?

Rosenberg explained that most codependents or SLDs would have an intrinsic understanding that to love someone and to be loved, “you have to be silent, acquiescent, constantly vulnerable, and moldable.”

“You also need to be constantly interested in a person who’s not interested in you,” he said. “That’s just the way you understand relationships.”

“And then a narcissist understands relationships (will believe that) that people want to hear what they have to say. (People want) to enjoy their accomplishments; that they want to be told how great a person is – which of course is not true – but that’s what narcissists think.”

“So when the two people meet their opposites, one gives away love, respect, and caring. And (the other) one needs all the love, respect, and caring, these two opposites, through this unconscious process – chemistry – come together almost all the time,” Rosenberg said.

Codependents, Pathological Narcissists and Chemistry

“Codependents, SLDs, will almost always be attracted to through chemistry to a narcissist and narcissist to a codependent,” Rosenberg explained.

“That pull is the attraction process of two people feeling so comfortable,” he said. “Like a dance partnership, the leader needs a follower, the follower needs a leader, and the recognition of that on unconscious levels brings them together like two magnets.”

Rosenberg explained that he chose to reconceptualize and then rename codependency in a way that actually makes sense to people who are suffering from it. He wanted to identify the problem (of codependency) so that people could intuitively connect with and understand and offer them direction on what to do to deal with it.

Are codependents (SLDs) blameless victims of pathological narcissists?

“One of the things that sets me apart from most of my contemporaries talking about the subject is (that) I hold SLDs or codependents responsible,” Rosenberg, a former SLD himself, explained, adding that, “You cannot solve a problem if you share the responsibility, don’t know it or are in denial about it, and want to just blame the perpetrator.”

He said that focusing on being a victim is not helpful in recovery, so taking responsibility for your part in the relationship is key.

Are all codependents empaths?

Rosenberg strongly stated that not all codependents are empaths. And that, in fact, there’s no true connection between the two. So to understand the difference between empaths and codependents; first, we need to define empathy and codependency.

What is empathy?

There are three different types of empathy: cognitive, emotional, and compassionate. Emotional and compassionate empathy seem to be intrinsic for most people, and anyone can learn cognitive empathy. So an adult empath would be able to logically understand what a person feels and be emotionally affected by what they feel. That person’s emotions would also move them to take action to help them deal with what they feel.

What is codependency?

Codependency is when you are dependent on another person in unhealthy ways. In most cases, it seems to be affected by some form of trauma that often occurred in childhood; it is considered a behavioral condition as it inhibits your ability to have a healthy and mutually satisfying relationship. A good synonym for codependency might actually be relationship addiction because codependents tend to be perpetually involved in one-sided, emotionally destructive, and/or abusive relationships.

Rosenberg on Codependency vs. Empathy

“I completely do not support the term empaths (in relation to codependency) because it’s a candy-coated term that makes the SLD or codependent feel good about themselves, when in fact SLDs have significant psychological problems. Significant!” Rosenberg said. “Without the resolution of that. they will always choose the narcissist – and they will over and over again.”

“They will almost always stay with the narcissist despite the fact that they’re not happy and they’re being hurt,” he said. “And then if they should leave or should be left, they will then choose another narcissist,” he said.

This is why it is so important to understand that self-love deficit disorder or codependency is a psychological disorder that is motivated through volition, he explained, adding that while there’s absolutely no excuse for abuse, as long as people play the victim card and look to books and videos that focus on demonizing narcissists and glorifying “the sacrificing poor SLD or codependent, no one gets better.”

That’s why people so many people say they find Rosenberg’s material so helpful.

“It holds them accountable in a non-judgmental empathetic, and compassionate way,” he said. “In my book, I explained this is why you are an SLD or codependent. You were hurt badly, and until you saw that trauma that happened when you were a child, you’re going to play out that script for the rest of your life.”

How can you learn more about healing after narcissistic abuse from Ross Rosenberg?

If you’re interested in hearing more about what Ross Rosenberg has to say about healing after narcissistic abuse, please subscribe to this channel and stay tuned for the rest of this series. Of course, you can also visit the Self-Love Institute, get his book, The Human Magnet Syndrome, on Amazon, and attend his upcoming 50 Shades of Pathological Narcissism event.

Question of the Day

Do you see the connection between how you were raised and nurtured as a child and how your adult relationships developed? Please share your thoughts share your ideas, share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it. 

Get help with narcissistic abuse recovery right now.

 

Narcissistic Mother Syndrome

Narcissistic Mother Syndrome

While most therapists, coaches, and creators in the narcissistic abuse recovery community mean well, they don’t always do their research before creating content. That’s why there are so many “pseudo-diagnoses” running through the community. One such pseudo-diagnosis is the recently dubbed “narcissistic mother syndrome.” Unfortunately, it has copycat bloggers and creators spreading false, though still potentially useful, information.

One of the members of our SPANily support groups asked me to look into this, so I did some digging. After a lot of research, I couldn’t find a legitimate diagnosis called “narcissistic mother syndrome,” so I checked in with my content partner and clinical advisor, Dr. Robin Bryman, a psychologist who specializes in narcissistic abuse recovery, to double-check the facts.

What is Narcissistic Mother Syndrome?

According to Dr. Bryman, the term refers to a mother who has narcissistic personality disorder, briefly defined as a pattern of empathy-deficient, self-centered, egocentric behavior that causes problems in many areas of a person’s life.

Is narcissistic mother syndrome a recognized diagnosis in the psychological community?

Is narcissistic mother syndrome a “real” diagnosis? While psychologists realize that a mother or any person can be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, and while certain qualities are shared by people who happen to be mothers who have this personality disorder, according to Dr. Bryman, isn’t listed in the DSM-V. She adds that narcissistic mother syndrome is a “fall-out of other diagnoses.” In other words, it is not an officially recognized diagnosis.

What is narcissistic personality disorder? 

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), in general, is a personality disorder that manifests in an inflated sense of importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. Learn more about NPD.

How are narcissistic mothers different from other pathological narcissists?

Narcissistic mothers, like most other pathological narcissists, share a single narcissist playbook. While you can’t necessarily pick them out in a crowd, there are certain shared qualities among narcissistic females, and some of these qualities are even specific to narcissistic mothers. For example:

  • Narcissistic mothers seem to have an inability to treat their child as a “whole person,” and instead see them as an extension of themselves.
  • Their inflated sense of entitlement and their exaggerated sense of self-importance can lead to irrational and abusive behavior when these so-called extensions don’t become whatever the narcissistic mother has decided they should be.
  • Narcissistic mothers tend to have a naturally controlling parenting style that is, to put it mildly, stifling to both children and adult children.
  • Narcissistic moms are also known to sometimes lack the ability to separate in a healthy way from their children as they become adults.
  • They have an exaggerated need for attention and praise.
  • A narcissistic mother may feel entitled or self-important, including her role in her children’s lives. For example, they may make their child’s wedding day all about them – or make their child miserable for expecting anything else.
  • She will seek admiration from others and feel dejected and offended if she doesn’t get it.
  • She is likely to believe she is above others and that her opinion is a fact. And if her children disagree with her, she will demonstrate narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury, or she will act as though they are just stupid or have inaccurate opinions.
  • She might appear to be a caregiver-type, allowing her to fly under the radar – but she would use her caregiving as a way to control and manipulate her children. This toxic mother embraces teaching her children to be helpless by not teaching them the basic life skills they need to function. She might also use her “concern” as a way to control her childrens’ every move (feigning worry and upset when she cannot reach them by phone, for example, or stopping by their homes unannounced because they didn’t pick up.)
  • Whether or not she is a caregiver type, a narcissistic mother will lack empathy, even and especially with her children.
  • She has no problem exploiting her children to her advantage (this exploitation will vary in nature and severity depending on how toxic the mother is or where she falls on the “spectrum” of narcissism.
  • Narcissistic mothers often put others down, including and sometimes especially their children.
  • She will be hypersensitive to any form of criticism, even when delivered kindly and constructively.
  • She will believe she deserves special treatment from everyone in her life, often including service people and law enforcement officials.
  • She also might have no idea that she’s causing any damage and might genuinely believe she’s only doing all of this “because she loves you.” For example, one narcissistic mother I knew severely beat her child and claimed it was due to her love for that child. She claimed that if she didn’t care, she wouldn’t want the child to “be better.”

Do you think your mother might be a narcissist? 

If you’re concerned that your mother might be a narcissist, I have a resource for you that can offer some clarity: try this Toxic Mother self-assessment.

Is it dangerous to spread incorrect information to narcissistic abuse survivors? 

I don’t believe that most coaches and creators are trying to hurt anyone by repeating whatever they hear or read around the internet. Still, as a former journalist, I like to share the facts as accurately as possible.

Some of the inaccuracies are simply due to creators making assumptions about terms they hear without researching. For instance, I recently saw someone define narcissistic injury as something a narcissist does to injure another person physically. But in reality, the term refers to a type of behavior a narcissist uses to manipulate their victims. You might know it as the “poor me” act.

Many survivors who start blogs and YouTube channels or Tiktok accounts are still in abusive relationships with narcissists – or just recently out of one. They are still very raw and still learning. As they do, they share their journey. This is great and it can help a survivor feel less alone. The problem is that it is during this time that they’re still trying to figure things out. They have just learned that they might have been dealing with a narcissist, and they’re reading and watching a lot of related content. But since they sound passionate and knowledgeable, new subscribers may not understand that they’re not an authority on the topic – so they may assume that their theories and feelings are facts.

However, while it can be harmless in many cases, false information can be hazardous for vulnerable survivors of narcissistic abuse.

For example:

  • A TikTok creator swears that you can have a successful, healthy relationship with a narcissist if you keep trying.
  • A YouTuber claimed that  narcissistic abuse isn’t “real.”
  • There’s one doctor who “treats” narcissists, but his results are questionable at best – and to maintain them, his patients must stick with him for life.

These statements could be dangerous because they might push a narcissistic abuse victim to stay with their abuser.  But, in general, most narcissistic abuse recovery coaches and creators do mean well.

For example, another pseudo-diagnosis spread like wildfire recently when someone coined the term “narcissistic abuse syndrome,” which refers to C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder). In other words, in most cases, the information that these creators are repeating might be helpful for survivors, and they might just be making it easier to find it by changing the names of these diagnoses.

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

More Free, Helpful Information & Resources to Help 

8 Questions a Narcissist Absolutely Cannot Answer – Plus, What They’d Say If They Could

8 Questions a Narcissist Absolutely Cannot Answer – Plus, What They’d Say If They Could


(See video)

If you’ve ever met a narcissist, you’ll know that not only do they have a ridiculously overinflated sense of self, but they also tend to be unable to see things from a perspective other than their own. You cannot expect to have a genuinely open and honest relationship with a malignant narcissist. The narcissist’s lack of self-awareness compounds the issue significantly. That’s why, when asked certain questions, a narcissist is more likely to deflect them or walk away than to actually engage.

What are the questions that a narcissist can’t answer?

What does the narcissist have to avoid answering and why? Ask a narcissist any of the following questions, and prepare to be met with silence or some other seriously evasive response.

What is love?

Since narcissists love people in the same way that most people love their smartphones, they really don’t “get it.” In other worse, they don’t understand the concept of real love, so they can’t answer this question. They don’t know what love is, and they don’t know what it’s supposed to feel like either.

What makes you happy?

Narcissists can’t define happiness for themselves, let alone for someone else.

How do you feel about me?

If you ask the narcissist how they feel about you, you’ll get one of a few answers. These boil down to either a flurry of idealized qualities that you may or may not actually have, the runaround or they’ll give you a whole laundry list of things they think are wrong with you – depending on which phase of the toxic relationship cycle you happen to be dealing with in the moment. If you ask them what they love, they’ll say something you do for them – the way you rub their back or the fact that you pay all the bills – whatever it happens to be. The truth is that the narcissist doesn’t tell you exactly how they feel about you because they’re not even fully aware of who you are; instead, they care about what you do for them and how much narcissistic supply you can provide for them. So, when you’re away, they miss your acts of service, your money, your attention – not the things that make you yourself.

Who hurt you?

More often than you might expect, narcissists report that they’ve had the same kinds of childhood trauma and experiences that their victims share. They’ve just manifested their trauma differently. And, while a lot of narcissists tell sob stories to gain narcissistic supply from the people around them, they can’t always see the forest for the trees. What I mean is that by nature, narcissists avoid introspection. They hate having to deal with themselves, and even if they do share genuine stories about how people hurt them in their lives, they can’t usually admit the issues that surround their pain. If they could, they wouldn’t be likely to fall into the narcissist category – they might actually resolve their core wounds.

Why won’t you ever admit you’re wrong?

Why do you blame others for your actions and decisions? Narcissists don’t take responsibility for their mistakes, ever. They will, at every opportunity, either completely deny the things they’ve done wrong, or shift the blame to someone else. And if they are caught in the act of making a mistake, they’ll blame you for being the reason they did what they did – somehow you’ve caused it, they’ll swear.

Why do you care more about what strangers think than the people you claim to love?

Narcissists see strangers as potential new sources of supply, and they are happy to reel them into their trap. Think back before you knew your ex narcissistic partner. They were impressive to you, too, right? But they care less about what you or anyone else who is close to them thinks – they’re already thoroughly enmeshed and feel they’ve learned everything there is to know. So like any object, sometimes the narcissist puts you in the closet until they want to play with you again.

Why does it bother you so much when we don’t like the same things? 

Ever notice how narcissists tend to get upset if you don’t like the same restaurants, television shows, or books that they like? It seems ridiculous when you think bout it. But narcissists cannot put into words why they find your differences so threatening. They will easily skirt away from the question and tell you that you are ridiculous for thinking that way. The truth is, they do find your differences threatening because they lack empathy. They cannot understand how you would not like the same things they do or have different beliefs. Therefore, this threatens them.

What do you need to change about yourself or your life? 

If you ask a narcissist this question, they will either tell you there’s nothing they need to change, or they’ll give you answers such as they need to make more money, or they need to get a better car or move into a larger home. They will never acknowledge that there is room for improvement within. They stay away from self-reflection of any kind, so the answers they give you to this question are faithful to them. If you asked anyone else this question, they would tell you that they could eat better, exercise more, meditate more, and create a gratitude journal, be better organized, and so on.

QOTD: Does any of this sound familiar to you? What would you add to my list? Share your thoughts, experiences, and ideas in the comments section below this video.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Resources

How to Safely Leave the Narcissist: A Checklist of Things to Do

How to Safely Leave the Narcissist: A Checklist of Things to Do

Is there a way to create a safety plan when you are going to leave the narcissist? How can you get out of a controlling relationship safely and successfully? Here’s everything you need to know to start planning your escape from the narcissist in your life.

Are you planning to leave an abusive narcissist? 

Your narcissistic partner is abusing you, and you are finally ready to leave. But, unfortunately, it took you way too long to this point, and the idea of leaving the narcissist is quite scary. Not only do you have no idea what consequences you will face when the narcissist realizes you are trying to escape, but the idea of going it alone in the future could have you feeling stuck and alone. These are just a couple of the reasons that it’s so very essential to create a safety plan, and you have to make some considerations.

Your Guide to Leaving a Narcissist

When you are finally ready to leave the narcissist, there are several things you need to put in place before pulling the proverbial trigger. If you have kids, it’s even more complicated.

What’s the PLAN?

If you haven’t already, you might like to download my free PLAN (Planning to Leave a Narcissist) Toolkit to help you plan your escape. PLAN is a free, comprehensive toolkit designed specifically to help you safely leave a narcissistic abuse situation in an emotionally, physically, and/or psychologically abusive relationship, with or without kids involved.

Leaving a Narcissist is Harder Than People Think

In many cases, leaving the narcissist will be a tough decision for you. Even though you’ve heard people tell you to “just leave if it’s so bad,” way too often, you’re scared to leave. Maybe it isn’t THAT bad, you’ll reason. I am probably just overdramatizing it, you’ll tell yourself. But change is hard, even when it’s for the best.

And, assuming you’ve been codependent in the relationship and are struggling with trauma bonding (as most survivors of narcissistic abuse will), leaving the narcissist will be even more difficult. Plus, whether or not the narcissist can return your feelings, chances are you do or did love them with all of your heart. And that doesn’t make it easier.

In fact, leaving a relationship is not easy under any circumstances, and doing so can lead to a lot of pain, confusion, and suffering. But when a narcissistic person is involved, things are far more complicated.

You might be planning how to leave the narcissist already, so this article, along with your PLAN, will ensure that your plan is as effective as it can get. However, whether you decided that enough is enough or they have decided to leave you, it can be highly stressful and chaotic.

What do you need to consider when creating a safety plan to leave the narcissist? 

Get support where you can

When creating a safety plan to leave a narcissist, be aware that you may need outside help. Especially if you are enduring another episode of abuse and you want to leave, it can help to talk to a trusted neighbor or friend and tell them what you’re dealing with, the truth of it. And fill them in on your plan to leave.

Create a code word or a signal together that you can use to get help. For example, if you’re dealing with an episode of narcissistic abuse and you need the police, you could text your code word to the neighbor or put something in the window that faces their home. Or, if you’re planning to leave, you could have your go-bag at a friend’s house so you can get in the car and go when you have the opportunity.

Keep your car full of gas.

When you make your escape plan, you want to make sure that your car is fully fueled at all times so that you can go when the opportunity presents itself. You also want to keep your vehicle parked forward in the driveway or on the street and avoid keeping it in the garage. This way, the narcissist cannot block your way when you make your escape.

Keep an extra set of keys on you. 

Make a copy of your car and house keys so you can keep them in your pocket at all times, if possible.  The narcissist can quickly grab your car keys and keep them hidden from you, and they will absolutely do so if they think it’ll keep you around.

Plan for income

When you plan to leave the narcissist, you’re going to need to figure out how to survive, so try learning some skills by taking an online class. You can also apply to work part-time at a coffee shop or supermarket to start saving some extra cash. Finally, you will want to look into financial aid and other options to help until you get back on your feet.

Plan for a place to land

Tell your friends and trusted family members what you are enduring and your plan to leave the narcissist. Perhaps someone can give you and your kids, if you have any, a place to stay temporarily when you escape. Of course, you will want to look into shelters as well.

If 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. But, first, you have to decide what to do from here – if you’re unsure, start with my free Narcissistic Abuse Recovery quiz. With your results will come recommended resources for your situation.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

If you haven’t already picked it up, head over and download your free PLANning Tool Kit (Planning to Leave a Narcissist). Then, when you’re safe and ready to move forward, remember that online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

 

Pin It on Pinterest