Relationships with Narcissists: When the Empathy Well Runs Dry

April 5, 2018 Leave a comment

65558326 - old water well at thailand.For those of you reading this who are parents, imagine caring for a child who stays 3-years old or 13-years old forever. How draining would that be? Twenty years of tantrums and bad attitudes. Fifteen years of, “I know you are, but what am I!” Ten years of, “I hate you! You’re ruining my life! I don’t need you! I should just kill myself! Nobody in this family cares about me!”

Maybe some parents find these childhood developmental stages rewarding. If you’re like me, you’d rather have a root canal sans Novocaine or pick your form of torture. Many parents don’t especially enjoy these childhood stages, despite the sweet, funny and adorable moments. Good enough mothers and fathers soldier through the trying phases trusting that, with parental guidance, their kids will mature and become responsible, decent human beings. That’s not to say parents get it right all the time, but often enough so that their kids feel loved and secure, even when being disciplined.

Typically, personality disordered individuals, like narcissists, borderlines, histrionics and psychopaths, don’t grow up (even with treatment). They remain emotionally and psychologically arrested somewhere between the Terrible Two’s and the Troubled Teens. Codependent people have difficulty growing up, too, but in a different way. Codependents frequently have extreme difficulty letting go of the wish that mommy and daddy will miraculously change and care for and love them in healthier ways. This is the juncture where the childhood wounds of narcissists and non-disordered codependents dovetail. Ultimately, the goal for codependents is to recognize the childhood wish is futile, set it aside and begin the work of loving and caring for themselves. Essentially, you become your own parent as an adult and do the work for yourself that your actual parents weren’t capable of doing for you in childhood.

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Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_02Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of abusive relationships, coping with the stress of abusive relationships or healing from abusive relationships. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.

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Why Do Narcissists Enjoy Conflict and Drama?

March 29, 2018 2 comments

Mother cleaning up after baby throwing food on floor. Image shot 2013. Exact date unknown.Why can’t she just stop? Why does he keep doing this? I don’t even know what the arguments are about half the time anymore. We keep going around and around in circles. Just as things seem to be calming down and we’re getting to a good place, she or he starts back up again. I’m just so damned sick and tired of this.

I’ll bet your tired. Being in a relationship with an emotional toddler, which is how many adult narcissists, borderlines, histrionics and psychopaths behave, is exhausting. You’re in High-Conflict Hell. That’s where narcissists, borderlines, histrionics, psychopaths and other toxic, emotionally immature and unstable personalities never seem to tire of pointless arguments, tantrums and the weekly Dramapalooza. Do you know why you’re tired?

If you’ve ever spent time with babies and toddlers, you’re sure to have played the isn’t-it-so-much-fun-for-toddler-to-throw-their-toys-spoon-food-or-plate-on-the-floor-and-watch-grown-ups-scamper-on-the-floor-pick-it-up-and-give-it-back-so-toddler-can-throw-it-on-the-floor-again-until-the-grown-ups-decide-that’s-enough-of-that-game. It’s so much fun! Well, it’s fun if you’re 29-months old. It’s not so much fun if you’re an adult. Sure, it’s fun to watch the child’s excitement as they learn about cause and effect. Baby throws spoon to the floor; mom picks up spoon. Toddler throws food on the floor; dad cleans up the mess and gives toddler more food. Baby throws toys out of the pram; Auntie T-T says, “Hey [insert friend’s name], it’s time for you to take your kid back!”

Kids of a certain age don’t tire of this game. Typically, they’ll keep it going until the adult stops handing the toy back or decides baby is done eating and out of the highchair they go. Nevertheless, it’s fun for baby each and every time. Most adults, on the other hand, get tired of the drop it-pick it up-drop it game fairly quickly. Why do babies and toddlers get a thrill out of this? One, it’s a form of interaction and engagement. Your eyes are on them and you’re giving them your attention. Two, they’re experiencing cause and effect. “I do this and it makes the big person crouch down and pick up my toy, so I can throw it again.” Wheeeeeee! This is one of the first ways kids are able to exert power and control, that is, when the adults participate in it. Some toddlers, once mom or dad (or Auntie T-T) decide they’ve had enough, may become pouty, angry or cry.

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Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_02Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.

Say Goodbye to CrazyWant to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

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Narcissist Dictionary: Friend

March 22, 2018 Leave a comment

Shrink4Men_Narcissist Dictionary_FriendAs discussed in Translating Crazy: Narcissist and Borderline Buzz Words and Phrases, even though narcissists, borderlines and other toxic personalities speak the same language and use the same words as you, they often mean something quite different to the narcissist. If you operate under the belief that narcissists and other abusers use language as defined by most reasonable people and the Merriam Webster Dictionary, you’re setting yourself up for misunderstanding and hurt. It’s generally a mistake to assume good will or intention to a narcissist’s words, promises and declarations.

Words are typically a smokescreen the narcissist employs to confuse and deceive. Narcissists study and observe their prey. They know your hopes, dreams, fears and sources of shame. They know what you want to hear and, when in seduction mode (love bombing), they’ll shamelessly play to that. They’re often such masterful liars, how can you know what’s fact and what’s fiction?

#narcissistdictionary

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  Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_02Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.

Say Goodbye to CrazyWant to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

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How a Relationship with a Narcissist Ends

March 20, 2018 2 comments

Businessman with trash can on headHow does  a relationship with a narcissist end? How does the once Disney fairy tale romance that’s gone Grimm conclude? How does a relationship with a person who’s chronically emotionally immature and unstable, self-absorbed, entitled and integrity-challenged play out?

Generally, not good.

These relationships start with a love bomb and end with a bang. As in, you bang your head against the wall of their pathology. You bang your head against the wall of your denial and cognitive dissonance. The narcissist or borderline bangs the door shut in your face. They cheat or have serial affairs. Or, a blood vessel bursts in your brain and bang you drop dead of a stroke. Sometimes they end with a disappearing act. The narcissist or borderline disappears. Your money disappears. Your dog disappears. Even children you share with the narcissist may disappear.

Like I said, not good.

Once you understand how narcissists work, their seemingly unpredictable behaviors become predictable. Ending a relationship with a narcissist or other toxic personality also follows some predictable patterns. As painful and crazy-making as the relationship was during the beginning and middle stages, the break-up often mirrors and intensifies their behaviors, emotions and attitudes.

And remember, they supposedly loved you during the marriage. Once you file for divorce or separate, you officially become the enemy. In reality, the narcissist has been your enemy throughout the relationship. It’s just more obvious once everything implodes as you’re vilified and smeared. After a Wagnerian soap opera of low notes, it’s extremely rare for these relationships to end on a high note. If you’re very lucky, it may end quickly if the narcissist or borderline has locked and loaded on their next victim and wants to legally secure the new relationship through marriage. Otherwise, a long, drawn out high-conflict battle that hemorrhages legal fees typically ensues.

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  Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_02Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.

Say Goodbye to CrazyWant to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

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Narcissist Fight Club Rule 5: Don’t JADE (Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain)

March 7, 2018 Leave a comment

Shrink4Men_Narcissist Club Rule 5_Don't JADE argue justify defend explain narcissists borderlines psychopaths histrionicsArguing with narcissists, borderlines, psychopaths and other emotionally immature and unstable personalities is typically a pointless exercise for many reasons. Narcissists aren’t interested in equitable solutions. They want to “win.” They especially want to win when they’re objectively wrong. Many of these individuals taker perverse pleasure in getting others to admit that up is down and day is night. Winning is about being in control and wielding power. The big thrill isn’t persuasion, but coercion. Although, they typically experience duping delight when people believe their lies.

Winning helps the narcissist protect their false self. The narcissist’s false self masks their core wound of feeling unloved and inferior. Borderlines typically create conflict and drama to ward off fears of abandonment. If you’re engaged and fighting then you’re still in the relationship. Sometimes these individuals create conflict because they simply enjoy it, or to alleviate boredom.

Conflict, chaos and drama is also a good source of attention. Attention is attention is attention. Good attention, bad attention — it makes no difference. Actually, now that I think about it, when we’re children we receive more attention from our parents when we behave well, do our chores, do our homework, share with siblings, etc. Good enough parents praise and encourage young children, so that they’ll internalize a sense of pride in being model junior citizens, which in turn becomes its own reward. In other words, as we grow and mature into adolescence and adults, we shouldn’t require gold stars for making our beds, washing the dishes, being honest and doing our own work. These are things mature, responsible adults just do. We get attention or praise when we go above and beyond, but not for the mundane activities of daily life. For adult narcissists and borderlines, it’s easier to get attention for acting out than for acting right. Or, for prodigiously posting selfies on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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 Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_02Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.

Say Goodbye to CrazyWant to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

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Translating Crazy

March 6, 2018 1 comment

translating crazy-narcissists-borderlines-inigo-montoya-what-you-think-it-means-memeHave you ever felt like you and your narcissistic or borderline spouse are speaking two different languages? If so, it’s probably because you are. To quote Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride, 1987): “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Part of my clinical work involves reviewing client emails and texts from their narcissistic and borderline wives, girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends and exes. There are certain words and phrases these individuals tend to consistently and emphatically use to manipulate, distort and create false narratives. It almost seems like these words and phrases hold magical powers for narcissists and borderlines. As if the mere act of uttering or typing of them instantly and indisputably proves their point or wins their argument. At first glance, these words are innocuous and noninflammatory. When read in the context of an abusive relationship with a high-conflict personality disordered individual, they take on new meaning.

That being said, please allow me to rephrase Inigo Montoya’s meme-worthy words: They keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

And that’s a significant part of the problem. These seemingly anodyne buzz words and phrases as used by abusive personality types typically don’t mean what their audience thinks they mean. Their audience can include spouses, exes, children, family members, attorneys, custody evaluators, mediators and judges. See the potential problem? When communicating with or trying to mediate a dispute with a narcissist or borderline, it’s vitally important to understand what the words they’re using mean to them versus how they’re defined by Merriam-Webster.

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Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_02Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.

Say Goodbye to CrazyWant to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

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Why Do Narcissists Cheat?

February 24, 2018 2 comments

why do narcissists cheat?Narcissists cheat. Yes, they cheat on their husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, but it goes way beyond that. It’s been said that narcissists and other Cluster B disordered individuals lie, consciously and unconsciously, to survive. For many narcissists, cheating isn’t a one time aberrant behavior; it’s a way of life.

Narcissists cheat on their taxes. They cheat on school exams. They plagiarize other people’s work. They persuade or bully their girlfriends or boyfriends to write their term papers for them. They cheat their neighbors (e.g., planting trees 6-inches over the property line.) They cheat their way out of obligations (e.g., getting out of military service by using well-placed connections or bogus medical excuses; remaining unemployed or underemployed to pay less child support or get more child or spousal support).

Narcissists cheat their business partners, scheming to get a bigger piece of the pie or by taking credit they’re not due. Narcissists cheat strangers by jumping the queue at a concert or Starbuck’s. Why should they have to wait like everyone else? My narcissistic ex used to wear a knee brace from a years old surgery in order to board planes before the elderly, young children and military service people. This is a man who always flew business class, by the way. They cheat systems by leap frogging steps or rules us ordinary folk follow. They skip classes, prerequisite qualifications and look for other short cuts to the brass ring or monetary rewards.

These are the introductory paragraphs to a longer and complete article. To read this article in its entirety click on WWW.SHRINK4MEN.COM.

Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_02Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.

Say Goodbye to CrazyWant to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

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