Narcissism – Are The Parents Always To Blame?

Narcissism – Are The Parents Always To Blame?

Is toxic narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder always caused by bad parenting? Is it possible that a person raised by healthy, loving parents in a good, decent home could become a narcissist? Could someone turn into a narcissist as an adult? I’ll answer all of your questions in this video.

If you are in any way related to or otherwise involved with a narcissist, you’ve probably asked yourself at one time or another how they got that way, right? What made them a narcissist? How did they GET LIKE THIS?

And, if you’re like me, you needed to know in order to heal. So, you did your research and you found out that in most cases, it is related to their parents – and sadly, most often, to their mothers or primary caregivers and their attachment styles. That’s why, when you think of any narcissist, the first thing that likely goes through your mind is how badly their parents messed them up.

Because of the fact that most narcissists seem to stop developing emotionally when they are toddlers or middle schoolers at best, and because most research points to the fact that their parents did not give them the love and attention they needed in order to evolve, which led to their emotional immaturity, it’s easy to blame their mothers or parents in general.

But if you’re the parent or sibling of someone who might be a narcissist, and you know for sure that these issues don’t apply to them, you might doubt this theory and find yourself digging for an alternative possibility. And what about those families that have more than one child, and only one turned out to be a toxic narcissist? Or what about people who had good families and didn’t suffer any trauma in childhood?

You want to know if it’s ALWAYS the fault of the parents, right? Well, let’s talk about it.

Are parents always at fault when someone develops narcissistic traits?

Even though more often than not narcissism is the result of the fact that those who turned out that way were neglected or abused by their parents, that is not always the case.

Published research studies tell us that the area of the brain that controls emotional empathy and compassion is thinner in those who have NPD than in those who don’t. So, neurology as well as genetic predisposition will have an effect on how a person’s personality turns out.

And then you have situations where their parents who really did their absolute best to raise their children right, but due to their jobs or other responsibilities, might inadvertently neglect their emotional needs, which leads to their child developing a narcissistic personality.  They may be clothed and fed well and taken care of when they are sick, and they may have all of the material things in the world – but the parents may not have given them the love and attention they felt they needed.

In these cases, the parents were clearly not in any way abusive. It may have been due to the fact that they had other kids, or they had a sick parent to take care of, or they had a demanding job that was necessary to support the family.

Of course, there are also times when narcissists end up becoming that way because of parents who were, believe it or not, overly validating (such as praising a child when the child may not have deserved it) and overly permissive. These parents may have not provided enough limits or discipline for their kids. And while some kids will sort of naturally self-limit, others won’t, and in some cases, they may become narcissists themselves as a result.

Research on How People Who Weren’t Abused or Neglected by Parents Can Become Narcissists

A 2015 study points to the fact that some parents might have overly praised their kids when they might not deserve it, or have always focused on how much “better” their kids were than other kids. And in some cases, they might have simply given too much attention and indulgence and not enough discipline.

“Loving your child is healthy and good,” as one of the study authors, Brad Bushman, a psychology professor at Ohio State University points out, “but thinking your child is better than other children can lead to narcissism, and there is nothing healthy about narcissism.”

In these situations, kids will often develop an overblown sense of entitlement, which they carry into adulthood. In many cases, they were also not required to show any empathy, nor were they asked to check their egos at the door.

This can happen in a number of situations, for example, being overly permissive with and over-praising children are often reported with only children. Please note that this isn’t always the case and that in fact, it is relatively rare. In some cases, though definitely not all, it can be a bigger issue when parents have struggled to get pregnant or when they’re adopted after a long struggle with infertility, or when they are born prematurely or with other issues that caused their parents to fear for their lives .among others.

And of course, in both the case of the adopted child who is older than newborn at the time of adoption and in the case of the premature or otherwise sick child who spends weeks or months in the hospital after birth, their attachment styles can be affected. That’s because parents aren’t able to connect on the same level as they would normally, so they develop a less healthy attachment style, which goes back to the original theory of the attachment style predicting narcissism.

Sometimes, people become narcissistic that has nothing to do with the parents at all. For example, if a child was ruthlessly bullied at school, or if someone else in their lives caused trauma in any way for them. In these cases, while their parents could have been loving and caring, the trauma they experienced at the hands of bullies or other outsiders could certainly have also been a risk factor for them becoming narcissistic.

And then there are those who end up with something we call acquired situational narcissism.

What Is Acquired Situational Narcissism?

So, we know that it might be possible that someone who was raised in a relatively healthy home by decent parents, but who had other traumas and issues, to become a narcissist. But what other situations could lead to toxic narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder?

And if so, what other types of situations and factors can play into it? Let’s talk about it.

Research on Acquired Situational Narcissism

Research published back in 1996 points to a condition that is referred to as transient, temporary, or short-term narcissism.  And even before 1996, psychologists often recognized something they called “reactive narcissistic regression,” which meant that when someone was dealing with a big life crisis, they might end up going through a sort of temporary narcissistic phase where they’d behave like a toxic narcissist until the crisis was over.

And, according to what I’ve found in this and other published research papers, these types of temporary narcissism can also be triggered by medical conditions and even injuries. For example, traumatic brain injury (TBI) has often been linked to narcissistic behaviors and antisocial traits in people who had not previously displayed them.

How to Identify Acquired Situational Narcissism

So what does acquired situational narcissism (ASN) look like in real life? Well, do you know someone who is normally quite humble, but who ended up getting a high-end job and makes a lot of money, or who suddenly ranks high socially, or who ends up gaining celebrity status out of the blue? In these situations, many people are able to keep their heads on straight, but others will seem to sort of lose their humility.

In fact, according to Robert B. Millman, a professor of psychiatry at Cornell Medical School, this is what acquired situational narcissism looks like. He points to known narcissists who are among the billionaires, people who become suddenly famous or who manage to rise to aspirational levels in their careers who develop narcissism in adulthood.

Millman adds that celebrities and other suddenly wealthy people will often have lives that are outside of what we’d consider typical. Plus, they might be surrounded by “yes men,” who will ensure that they are given filtered feedback, excessive admiration and are never told “no” for any reason. Plus, anytime someone is a celebrity or a CEO or otherwise wealthy, they might be sought after in ways that will cause them to feel more important or better than others. All of this is like narcissistic supply on steroids if you think about it.

And, let’s not forget celebrities and other public figures might feel a certain amount of pressure from the public – fans and haters alike – to present a certain image and to live a certain lifestyle.

An Example of Acquired Situational Narcissism

A good example of this is the guy you grew up with who was considered a nerd and who was often picked on, but who grew up and invented some big app, or he created a YouTube channel that somehow got a bazillion subscribers and brought him fame, or he became an actor or singer – or who otherwise found himself a celebrity. In any case, this formerly geeky guy managed to attain success to the point he began to be recognized in public, or he suddenly became a member of the social elite for whatever reason.

As soon as he found himself outgrowing that geeky, quiet image, he suddenly felt like a whole new person. Maybe he went a little overboard and started to focus too much on his self-image, and on his own needs and wants. This, along with the fact that his life is very different from the average person’s (as the lives of all public figures will be), might cause him to lose any sense of compassion and emotional empathy he once had. That might lead to him being unconcerned with the “little people” to the point that he would end up inadvertently or directly abusing the people closest to him without remorse. So, while his transition wouldn’t happen as a child, he still would essentially have developed his narcissism the same way that any other narcissist did – just not in childhood.

But why does this happen to some people and not others?

Well, according to Millman, while it is possible to develop narcissism in adulthood for these reasons, among others, acquired situational narcissism is most likely to happen when there were already some pre-existing factors that would have led to narcissism under the right circumstances. All of this means that, at least in some cases, narcissism can be developed by people who had good, healthy upbringings – and that it isn’t, in fact, always the fault of the parents.

Question of the Day: What do you think about this? Do you know someone with acquired situational narcissism? Share your thoughts, share your ideas and share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it.

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158 Signs You’re the Victim of Narcissistic Abuse

158 Signs You’re the Victim of Narcissistic Abuse

Could you be the victim of narcissistic abuse? If so, what can you do and how can you tell? Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today  – signs that you’re the victim of narcissistic abuse (see video on YouTube).



 

What is narcissistic abuse?

Let’s begin today by briefly defining narcissistic abuse. In a nutshell, narcissistic abuse is officially defined as the intentional construction of a false perception of someone else’s reality by an abuser for the purposes of controlling them. It involves a sort of constructed reality in which the narcissist manipulates you emotionally and psychologically over a long period of time.

It can be difficult to figure out that you’re dealing with narcissistic abuse because it can be very subtle and pervasive. It took me personally 35 years to recognize it. So how do you know if it’s happening to you? Well, I’m here to help you with that. Please grab a pen and a piece of paper, or open up a note on your phone. As you read through the signs that you’re a victim of narcissistic abuse, go ahead and make a tick mark for each one that resonates with you.

Signs You’re Dealing with Narcissistic Abuse

Find out if you are being emotionally abused by a narcissist by asking yourself the following questions.

Does someone in your life:

  1. Act like you don’t matter to them?
  2. Act like you’re faking it if you’re sick, or even say it out loud?
  3. Act really jealous and possessive sometimes?
  4. Always expect you to take care of their feelings, but never concern themselves with yours?
  5. Always heart or love photos and videos of people of the same or opposite sex (whatever they’re into) on social media?
  6. Always hide their phone from you?
  7. Always make you wonder if you’re crazy?
  8. Always push and cross your boundaries?
  9. Always seem to kick you when you’re down?
  10. Always threaten to end your relationship?
  11. Become angry or sullen if you don’t go along with their demands?
  12. Become excessively pushy or forceful about sex, or even hurt you during sex?
  13. Become overly critical of everything about you when you don’t do what they want?
  14. Behave in ways that cause you to make excuses to others for them?
  15. Belittle your accomplishments?
  16. Blatantly lie to you about yourself and expect you to go along with it?
  17. Call you lazy when you’re not feeling well and can’t keep up with your usual schedule?
  18. Cause damage and/or give away/steal your personal property?
  19. Cause you to apologize for things you shouldn’t apologize for?
  20. Cause you to become anxious about confronting them about literally anything?
  21. Cause you to lose interest in life?
  22. Cause you to not want to do things you used to enjoy?
  23. Compare you to others?
  24. Compete with you over silly things?
  25. Completely ignore you when it’s convenient for them?
  26. Consider themselves the “boss” and insist on making all the decisions in your relationship/family/life?
  27. Constantly threaten to abandon you?
  28. Disappear for hours, days or longer without explaining why?
  29. Dismiss your pain if you’re hurting (emotional or physical)?
  30. Do things they know make you uncomfortable?
  31. Drink excessively or take drugs, and then blame their awful behavior on alcohol, drugs or their own history of abuse or tragedy earlier in their life?
  32. Embarrass you in front of friends or extended family?
  33. Expect more of people than is appropriate? (For example, getting upset if the mailman forgets their birthday?)
  34. Expect you to ask for permission to do stuff, as though you’re a child?
  35. Expect you to get over it when any tragedy happens in your life?
  36. Feel entitled to spending your money?
  37. Feel entitled to your attention and UNCONDITIONAL respect, regardless of how they treat you?
  38. Feel like they have the right to control your money?
  39. Forbid you from doing things?
  40. Force you to account for your time when apart from them?
  41. Get angry at you for things you can’t control, such as someone liking your photo on social media?
  42. Get excessively angry without warning or over tiny things?
  43. Get upset if you need to spend money on things for yourself, your kids or the house when they want to spend it on themselves or their own needs?
  44. Ghost you sometimes?
  45. Give you the “silent treatment” when you don’t do what they want?
  46. Go “dark” and not answer you or return your texts when they’re away from home?
  47. Go into your social media accounts and question everything?
  48. Go through your mail, hack your email or Facebook account or go through your personal belongings?
  49. Harass you when you’re away from them because you have to be somewhere (such as work or school)?
  50. Have a lot of so-called friends on social media they seem to flirt with?
  51. Have rules that you’re required to follow, even though they never told you this and you’re an adult?
  52. Have secret dating profiles or social media profiles you’re not supposed to know about?
  53. Have the whole “Jekyll and Hyde” deal happening – where one side of them seems charming or even sweet and loving, while the other is mean, spiteful and downright hurtful?
  54. Have weird sexual issues?
  55. Humiliate you in public or in groups of people?
  56. Isolate you and prevent you from spending time with friends or family members?
  57. Leave you hanging when you’re counting on them?
  58. Lie about you to others?
  59. Look through your phone at will?
  60. Make a point of telling you how unattractive you are or of pointing out your flaws?
  61. Make everything “all about them?”
  62. Make excessive and unreasonable demands for your attention, even to the detriment of your other responsibilities?
  63. Make threats about how they will “ruin you” or otherwise cause trouble for you at work, to your family or to others?
  64. Make you afraid or unwilling to talk about yourself?
  65. Make you afraid to make a decision without getting their approval?
  66. Make you afraid to tell them your feelings, or to express your feelings at all?
  67. Make you do things that you feel are unethical or morally wrong?
  68. Make you do things you don’t want to do?
  69. Make you doubt your sanity?
  70. Make you dread spending time with them?
  71. Make you feel completely worthless?
  72. Make you feel guilty for anything and everything?
  73. Make you feel jealous by complimenting and flirting with others in front of you?
  74. Make you feel like hurting yourself sometimes?
  75. Make you feel like you need to always prioritize them above yourself?
  76. Make you feel like you need to earn their love or loyalty?
  77. Make you feel like your opinions are not worth hearing or expressing?
  78. Make you feel like your reality is twisted?
  79. Make you feel like you’re always sort of “on guard” and hypervigilant of their moods?
  80. Make you feel like you’re constantly on edge?
  81. Make you feel like you’re living in limbo?
  82. Make you feel like you’re not allowed to say no?
  83. Make you feel terrible every time you spend time together?
  84. Make you feel ugly, stupid, or otherwise unsavory?
  85. Make you feel uncomfortable about spending time with friends, other family members or anyone else?
  86. Make you feel unheard?
  87. Make you forget who you are?
  88. Make you go without things you actually need, like food and personal care items?
  89. Make you hate going on vacation?
  90. Make you regret your accomplishments instead of lifting you up when you do something good?
  91. Make you responsible for maintaining the relationship while also making it feel impossible?
  92. Make you the scapegoat for all the arguments or problems in the relationship?
  93. Make you wish you were dead?
  94. Make you wonder if you’re even a real person?
  95. Make you feel like you’re always “walking on eggshells” or living with constant stress, anxiety or generally in fear?
  96. Manipulate you with the constant threat of mood changes and impending rage?
  97. Minimize your feelings or act like your feelings aren’t important or don’t matter?
  98. Never apologize to you unless they’re trying to get something from you?
  99. Not concern themselves with your needs, ever?
  100. Pick you apart?
  101. Play games with your head? Tell lies in order to confuse you or blame you for something you didn’t do?
  102. Play the “poor me” game anytime they don’t get what they want?
  103. Pressure you to use alcohol or other drugs, even when you say no?
  104. Refuse to admit wrongdoing, or if they do, it’s only if they can blame it on someone else?
  105. Refuse to allow any privacy?
  106. Refuse to allow you to access your money or family money?
  107. Refuse to allow you to work, if you want to?
  108. Refuse to be nice to you?
  109. Refuse to get a job and require you to pay for everything while they do nothing?
  110. Refuse to make plans with you or if they do, cancel them at the last minute?
  111. Refuse to post photos of you together on social media?
  112. Require you to do things for them, such as housework, laundry or other kinds of support without reciprocation of any kind?
  113. Ruin all the holidays for you?
  114. Ruin your birthday every year?
  115. Ruin your day when they’ve had a negative experience outside of you?
  116. Ruin your plans every time?
  117. Say overly critical things about your body and appearance?
  118. Say really mean things to you and when you get upset, claim they were joking?
  119. Say they know what you’re thinking, even when they clearly do not?
  120. Say things that don’t make sense and get angry when you point this out?
  121. Say things to intentionally confuse you?
  122. Say you’re mad at them when you’ve shown no indication of this and then get mad at you for not admitting you’re mad?
  123. Seem to find reasons to rage at you even when you do everything right?
  124. Seem to have double standards – as in, they’re allowed to do what they want, but you aren’t allowed to do what you want?
  125. Start arguments with you and others in your life through gossip or other forms of manipulation?
  126. Steal or hide money from you and/or your family accounts?
  127. Take control of everything in your life?
  128. Take credit for anything you do that’s good or that’s recognized by someone else?
  129. Take out their anger about other things on you?
  130. Take your paycheck?
  131. Tear down your friends?
  132. Tell or imply to others that they are interested in them when they are in a relationship with you?
  133. Tell or imply to others that they are sexy or otherwise attractive?
  134. Tell you how to dress, directly or indirectly?
  135. Tell you no one else will love you or that you’re unlovable?
  136. Tell you that you’d be nothing without them?
  137. Tell you they know you better than you know yourself?
  138. Tell you you’re too sensitive all the time?
  139. Threaten to hurt themselves or YOU if you threaten to leave?
  140. Threaten to hurt themselves when they don’t get their way?
  141. Threaten to take your children away from you, if you have them?
  142. Threaten you with physical harm or make you feel afraid of how they will react when you speak or act in general?
  143. Triangulate you with other people in your life, pitting you against one another?
  144. Try to control every second of your day?
  145. Try to get revenge on you if you make them angry?
  146. Try to pit your kids or other family members against you or each other?
  147. Try to steal your thunder (as in steal your spotlight anytime the attention is on you)?
  148. Use religion to belittle and/or control you?
  149. Use your insecurities against you?
  150. Withhold affection in order to punish you?

Question of the Day: How many of these signs resonated for you? What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts, share your ideas and share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it. 

More Resources for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse

 

Identifying Toxic Narcissist Friends, Plus How to Deal

Identifying Toxic Narcissist Friends, Plus How to Deal

Have you ever been friends with someone who made you feel terrible after spending time with them? Have you found yourself wondering if they were toxic, or whether they might be a narcissist? Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today: narcissistic and toxic friends – how to identify them and what to do if you have one. (See video on YouTube)

A few months after I left my ex-husband and became a single mom, I got a job working in healthcare billing. The hours were good for a single mom, I got health insurance for my son and me, and the pay was better than I could do elsewhere at that time. After a couple of weeks on the job, I met a fellow single mom working in my department. Let’s call her Brenda.

I was so happy to meet Brenda because I really didn’t know anyone in the area (because my narcissist ex had isolated me quite thoroughly, and because I’d moved to be closer to my family when I left him). Plus, our kids were similar ages and we could hang out and have playdates outside of work. It seemed perfect.

At work, we started having lunch together every day. I was thrilled to have someone to hang out with and fully embraced the friendship. But after a few months, I noticed that every time I spent time with Brenda, I felt super-stressed and like I needed to calm down. I couldn’t figure out why at first, which I know sounds odd, but I wasn’t as self-aware back then as I am now.

I wrote about it in my journal a few times, and I realized that I must be missing something. There didn’t seem to be a logical reason that I’d feel the way I did – Brenda was a good friend, right?

Well, after that, I started to watch our conversations a little closer, and pretty soon, I realized that Brenda was a very negative person. If I had an idea or talked about trying something new, she’d instantly go into all the reasons I shouldn’t bother doing it, or why it wouldn’t work. If I bought my lunch, she’d make subtle jabs at me for not being more frugal – and if I brought my lunch, she’d pick it apart for any given reason. If I talked about a guy I was interested in, she’d do everything in her power to tear him down and divert my attention. And she NEVER liked it if I tried to bring another friend along to hang out – she’d tear that person apart verbally and refuse to participate in whatever we were doing.

She was SO negative! In fact, I struggled to find a time where she said anything positive. But when we’d first met, I had taken her negativity as sort of commiseration between two single moms – you know how it is.

Once I realized what was going on, I wondered if I should end the friendship. I mean, it wasn’t like I had a million friends at that point in my life, but should I really maintain a relationship with someone who was bringing me down so much?

After a few days, I realized that I wanted to still be her friend, and so I started trying to subtly turn our conversations toward the positive. I’d counter all of her negativity with phrases like “but on the plus side” and “now here’s the silver lining…”

But Brenda didn’t respond much to those things – except to occasionally roll her eyes and continue with her negativity.

Then, one day, I got moved to a new team within the department, and they all invited me to lunch. Brenda was annoyed when I invited her to go along. She refused and told me she’d rather eat lunch in her car than to put up with those people, and that we’d just resume our lunches the following day.

After spending my lunch break with this group, I felt a bit of an uplift in my spirits. And the next day, they invited me to join them again. Once again, I invited Brenda, and this time, she begrudgingly accepted. With all of these more positive people around, I felt better. Brenda’s negativity couldn’t quite infect me the way it usually did, and it was harder for her to dominate the conversation with so many of us at the table, But after a few days, she told me she was done with them. It was too much for her. And she gave me an ultimatum: her or the group.

Whether it was right or wrong, I chose the group. And while I told Brenda that it didn’t need to be this way, that we could all be friends – or at least that I could be friends with them and her as well, she disagreed and she gave me the silent treatment for the remainder of the time we worked together. I felt really bad about it, but I knew I’d made the right choice. Negativity is so difficult to deal with – and Brenda’s especially toxic version of it was infecting me like a disease. I knew that if I wanted to feel better, I had to move on.

Now, I can’t say for sure if Brenda was a narcissist or just a very broken woman. But either way, she had become toxic for me. So let me ask you – does any of this sound familiar to you?

Have you ever had an experience like that?

Have you had a toxic friend?

Before we dig into our discussion on narcissists and toxic people as friends, let’s talk about true friends. What is a true friend, in your opinion?

Everyone has a slightly different definition–but bottom line, a true friend is someone who is there for you when you need him or her, someone you trust, someone who makes you feel good.

Probably you have great conversations, share interests, and support one another in your every day lives. You help each other out. You have each other’s backs. You know.

But what happens when a friend turns out to be “not so good” for you – if the friendship becomes toxic? Worse, what if your friend is a toxic narcissist?

What is a toxic narcissist?

In case you’re new around here, let me quickly define the term “toxic narcissist.” Officially, this refers to a toxic, verbally abusive person who may have narcissistic personality disorder.

To avoid the whole “pop psychology” thing, let’s just put it this way. If we’re talking about a toxic narcissist, on the most basic level, we’re talking about someone who lacks empathy and who acts from that perspective. It’s someone who demonstrates toxic narcissism – as opposed to healthy narcissism, this is excessive self-focus that involves a marked lack of empathy for others.

So what does a toxic or narcissist friend look like?

In layman’s terms, that means someone who, after spending time with them, makes you feel bad about yourself instead of good. This person might have a tendency to be critical of you — sometimes subtly, and other times, not so subtly. They may also make you feel drained – emotionally, financially, and/or mentally. Ultimately, this is someone who you might recognize as not very good for you.

How do you truly identify a toxic friendship?

It can be difficult, especially if you have been close to a friend for a long time. If you suspect that a friend is (or has become) toxic, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do you feel after spending time with or speaking to this person? Do you feel good and positive (for the most part) or do you find yourself worrying, stressing or obsessing about some aspect of the visit or call?
  • Are you afraid to tell your friend about some aspect of your life for fear of how they’ll react or fear of being judged harshly?
  • Do you sometimes find yourself avoiding contact with the person or ignoring their calls?
  • Does your friend consistently “forget” about your plans or cancel at the last minute?
  • Does your friend actively insult or offend you on a consistent basis?
  • Do you find yourself feeling uncomfortable or bothered by your friend’s life choices, behavior or moral conduct?
  • Do you feel comfortable bringing up concerns about your friendship with this friend?
  • Does this friendship benefit you?
  • Do you trust this friend, really trust him or her?

These are just a few questions to get you started. In general, your friends should be an asset to your life, not a detriment.

How do you deal with a toxic friendship?

Does someone in your life seem to be more of a hindrance than a help in your life? If so, it may be time to reevaluate your choices. So, once we’ve figured out that a friend IS toxic, what can we do about it? How do we deal with a toxic friendship?

1. Recognize the Problem

When we start feeling bad about spending time with or talking to our friends, it’s time to take a look at the relationship. Identifying the friendship as a toxic one is the first step to dealing with the problem.

2. Own Up to It, People Pleaser

Friends of toxic types often have something in common. According to Charles Figley, a spokesman for the American Psychological Association, “It’s a pleaser personality — you want people to like you, you want to get along, and it’s hard to say no. But you can pay the price in one way by having toxic friends.”

The fact is that, whether you can see it or not, you’ve got some responsibility in this relationship too. Maybe you’ve allowed your friend to treat you negatively or to make you feel bad about yourself because you want them to like you, or because you don’t like confrontation.

3. Develop Strong Boundaries

Often, people pleasers aren’t good at setting boundaries. When your friendships become toxic, it’s time to stand up for yourself and let friends know what isn’t acceptable.

For example, I used to have a close friend in college who always did the “one-up” thing when I’d tell her about my problems or my accomplishments.

For example, when I told her about a promotion I had received at work, and she was like ‘oh yeah, I heard I might be getting a promotion at my job, too.’ Then she went on to tell me how much better her promotion would be than mine, and how much more money she’d be making than me. Another time, I told her about a problem I was having with a guy I was dating, and wouldn’t you know it? She launched into a big monologue about her problem with her boyfriend, which was, of course, far more serious and difficult than mine.

So, in that case, I could’ve set boundaries by explaining my concerns to my friend and asking her to avoid the “one-up-manship.” I never did, unfortunately. But hindsight is always 2020, right? Anyhoo…

4. Talk It Out

Talk to a trusted (non-toxic) friend or family member about your concerns if you can. Many times, it’s easier to figure out the problem when you’re “outside looking in”–that is, when you’re not the one with the problem, the solution to it can seem crystal clear.

If you can’t find an “objective” third party, it’s a good idea to seek outside counseling. By employing the skills of a trained coach or therapist, not only do you get the objectivity you need, but you may also get answers or learn coping techniques you wouldn’t on your own. If not, talk to a support group like my SPANily group on Facebook.

You could also journal or blog about the problem. Personally, I have worked through almost literally every problem in my life this way – including toxic friendships. Sometimes, just putting our thoughts into words and getting them out of our heads can be enough to help us figure out our issues.

5. If All Else Fails, Walk Away and Go No Contact

If you’ve tried setting boundaries and discussing the problem with your toxic friend and have not been able to resolve the issues, it may be time to consider limiting contact or ending the friendship. It’s not an easy choice and certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly, but when it comes down to it, your sanity and mental health are more important than any toxic friendship. Take care of yourself first, and then you can take care of others. People pleasers often forget this little piece of wisdom.

  • There are many ways you can do this: email, phone call – you can just stop talking to the person. But in an ideal world, you’d do it in person. Maybe you’d invite the person to coffee or lunch. Before meeting them think about why it is you don’t want them in your life anymore and figure out how to phrase it in non-judgmental ways.
  • Try using “I Statements” – meaning, make an assertive statement without putting your friend on the defensive.
  • Explain clearly (but kindly) how their behavior makes you feel. Say something like ‘Brenda, I feel upset when you ask me for advice and then tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about.’ Or “Brenda, I feel stressed out after having lunch with you each day because it feels like you rarely have anything positive to say.”
  • Be clear and assertive. Let your friend know that you do care about them; but that you don’t feel like you can be involved in a friendship with them any longer. Give the person a chance to respond, they may not even be aware of their behavior and the idea of losing a friend might give them a good reason to think about their own behavior. If the conversation turns towards the negative, you can just end it there and walk away.

Of course, this is always much easier said than done. But I promise you, when you have the weight of a toxic friend lifted off your shoulders, you’ll feel so much better and be able to heal that much faster.

Question of the Day

Have you ever had a toxic friend, and if so, how’d you deal with it? Share your thoughts, ideas and experiences in the comments section, below this video.

Are Narcissists Insecure?

Are Narcissists Insecure?


(Watch video on YouTube)
When I was just getting started in my business, I decided I needed to do some local networking. I’d heard it would be good for the business, so I did some digging and started looking at small business groups on meetup.com.

I felt so lucky when I quickly found a local small business meetup that was happening just a short distance from my house.

At the first meeting, we were each invited to briefly introduce ourselves and explain our business. When it was my turn, one woman looked up sharply like she’d been stung by a bee as I started to talk about my business. She caught my eye and I smiled at her. At first, she just stared, but then I saw a small smile form on her face. I felt relieved and went on.

After the introductions, we had lunch. I went over to say hello to the woman, and she seemed really friendly. She was a gorgeous, charming and seemingly very successful woman. She seemed to be someone I could really learn a lot from. She said she’d been in business for years (though in hindsight, I realize that she didn’t really explain her business when given the chance and was pretty vague about it). Still, she seemed quite successful. She talked the big talk. And as far as I could tell, she was walking the big walk. She drove an expensive car, had an expensive bag, and had those expensive shoes with the red soles. You know the ones I mean. And her jewelry! I could tell it was all real – a stark contrast to my costume knockoffs.

Well, I was on the hunt for a mentor, and she seemed like a perfect fit! She was confident, attractive and seemed quite intelligent. She asked me a lot of questions about my business and offered little snippets of advice that seemed legit. At the end of the meeting, she invited me to meet her for lunch the following week.

The day we met for lunch, she asked for more details about my business, which I happily shared. Then, much to my delight, she was telling me all about her upcoming executive board meeting. She said they were considering investing in other local small businesses, and that if I played my cards right, they might invest in mine.

Of course, I was over the moon! I practically worshipped her – I wanted to BE her! And since the lady promised to bring me up at this upcoming meeting, I started to pull together all sorts of documentation and information about my business.

The next day, I emailed the information as she had asked, and I waited for her to get back to me after her meeting. But then she went silent. I was a little sad, but figured maybe my business just wasn’t up to snuff for this executive board.

I understood – after all, I had just started my business and wasn’t super successful yet. And there was a stark contrast between my business and hers – she, at that time, was clearly well beyond me, it seemed. I counted myself lucky for the time we had spent together and moved on. I mean, she had an EXECUTIVE BOARD. All I had at the time was me.

But a couple of months later, I noticed that she’d created a brand new Facebook page. She had just launched a new business it seemed – and when I started looking into it, it turned out that her business was eerily familiar. In fact, it was like she literally copied the business plan and structure that I had outlined for her months ago.

I was shocked and angry. I was confused. I reached out to her and asked what she was doing. She told me that I was mistaken, that it had been her idea the whole time. She said that the business plan I had submitted to her was a joke, and THAT was why she’d gone silent. She subtly tore me down, implying that I was stupid to think that someone like HER could possibly take an idea from someone as small-potatoes as ME.

Of course, when I pointed out that she had literally done everything I’d put in the business plan, she got offended and screamed at me, telling me she was tired of people always accusing her of stuff like this. She called me jealous and immediately blocked me. Then, from what I heard, she started talking to our few mutual connections about how I thought I owned my niche and how she practically invented me anyway. It went on from there.

What I missed was that her apparent confidence was more like grandiosity. I missed that she had used me to get an idea for a short-lived business. I missed that this was a pattern with her. I missed that she only liked me while I was actively worshipping her, and I didn’t expect her to attack me the way she did. I missed all the red flags.

Later, I would learn that I wasn’t the only person she had done this to – apparently, several people who had been part of the group at different times had experienced the same thing. I learned that her fancy bag, car and shoes were thanks to her wealthy husband. And that she was a bored stay-at-home wife  (no kids) who had too much time on her hands. And as for her stealing all of my business? I admit I worried for a minute. After all, she had a lot more money than I did and as far as I could tell, would be far more successful than I could. But I didn’t have to worry for long because after failing to become immediately successful, she moved on to someone else’s idea. (Plus, if we’re being honest, she was trying to be someone she just wasn’t.)

Was she a narcissist? I don’t know. But she certainly behaved like one in certain ways. Let me explain what I mean.

When you think of a narcissist, you don’t think of someone who is insecure. In fact, they often seem to be exactly the opposite of insecure. After all, narcissists are known for being vain and self-centered. They often demand your attention. They want to be admired and they feel the need to monitor the amount of respect you give them. They exaggerate their achievements and they seem like they only care about themselves. And we all know they manipulate people to get what they want.

And, as I’m sure you are well-aware, narcissists are boastful and they exaggerate their self-importance. They also don’t acknowledge that anyone else has needs and wants, and feelings, thanks to their extreme lack of empathy. They seem to literally believe they are the center of the universe. Sound familiar?

And the other thing that narcissists refuse to do is to be reflective and dig within to become self-reflective. In fact, they are threatened by that idea and will avoid it at all costs. God forbid they should catch a glimpse of their true selves! It would destroy them.

Are narcissists insecure?

So you may be asking yourself whether narcissists are insecure. The short answer to that is, yes, they are very insecure – even though it often seems otherwise. (To be fair, covert narcissists often seem a little – or a lot – insecure. But most narcissists seem to carry around some level of insecurity with them.) Let’s break it down further as to how they are insecure.

The Narcissist’s Need To Boast Is What Makes Them Insecure

Someone who is secure will not have a need to brag about their accomplishments. Those who are sure of themselves are modest and really don’t like to show off. However, as you see the narcissist must make it known that they have the best car on the block, or the biggest house on the block, or the fanciest clothing and so on. While it might seem that it’s all about showing off, the sad truth is that they do this in order to validate their struggling self-worth.

Narcissists Put Others Down Intentionally

Anyone who is secure will always treat others with respect, and if they don’t like someone, they will just not associate with them in any way at all – or keep it at a polite minimum at the very least. However, as you know the narcissist is known to brag and boast in addition to putting you down. They want to make you feel inferior and that they are “better” than you. They need to make you feel inferior because it helps them to feel better about themselves. This is another indication of insecurity – after all, people with a relatively healthy self-image don’t need to stand on the pain of others in order to feel good about who they are.

Narcissists Don’t Care About The Wants And Needs Of Others

Narcissists don’t care if you are missing out on something or not getting what you need. This is due to their extreme lack of empathy. However, they care VERY MUCH about their own wants and needs. In fact, they seem to ONLY care about themselves getting what they need. If you think about it, you can probably think of a time where an adult behaved like a child when they didn’t get what they wanted – maybe more often than not, if you were dealing with a narcissist. This also shows some deep insecurity within them because they fear they will miss out on what they want and need. And this is why they do not hesitate at making sure they don’t miss out at the expense of others.

Their Need To Control Others Is A Sign Of Insecurity

It is a known fact that narcissists are controlling and that is why they utilize manipulation tactics such as gaslighting and other forms of abuse. Anyone who is secure within themselves will never resort to manipulation with the exception in rare cases where they feel they had been wronged and need to be compensated for understandable reasons. Psychologists tell us that they feel the need to control people around them as well as their environments because they often feel like they have no control over other parts of their lives. They become master manipulators as a result, and that all stems from insecurity.

Narcissists Cannot Handle Criticism

No one loves to be criticized. However, if the criticism is constructive, then you accept it gracefully even if you don’t put what is suggested to use. However, narcissists fly off the handle when they are criticized and this is due to the fact that their fragile self-esteem is threatened when that happens. That’s because narcissists tend to be triggered anytime they feel their vulnerabilities have been exposed. They will react in an angry fashion, often clapping back to the person giving them criticism with a passive-aggressive response, or even by mocking them. This humiliates the one giving the criticism and they feel rejected. The narcissist does this to take the heat off themselves and to attempt to “level the playing field,” as in, protect their fragile ego by putting the focus back on the person who dares to criticize them.

Bottom line? High self-esteem and narcissism are not the same thing. True confidence in oneself is not narcissistic. The biggest difference is that when you have actual self-esteem, you are more likely to focus on things like healthy relationships and being happy, while narcissists fail to do this because they genuinely do not care how others feel. Rather, they want to know what people can do for them. Plus, they’re always trying to validate their self-worth – and when you have actual self-esteem, you don’t need to do that all the time.

Are you dealing with a toxic narcissist?

Find out when you take this quick narcissism test, or get some help from one of our coaches. We also have narcissistic abuse recovery support groups and tons of helpful freebies to help in your narcissistic abuse recovery.

Polyamory and the Narcissist

Polyamory and the Narcissist

Are there more narcissists in a polyamorous community? Signs of narcissism and how to stay safe within an open relationship so you steer clear of narcissists. Have you experienced a narcissist who is in an open relationship? Thoughts or comments?

For information about Lise Colucci and how to schedule coaching, group coaching or to call in as a survivor on a future you can find her here https://queenbeeing.com/lise/

Let’s connect: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lise.colucci… Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisecolucci… Twitter: https://twitter.com/lise_coach

For group peer support, join SPAN (Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships) – AKA “The SPANily” – at https://queenbeeing.com/span

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