Can Narcissists Change?

October 3, 2017 9 comments

25863412 - saber-toothed tiger isolated on whiteA frequent question in my counseling practice and from website subscribers is “Do narcissists and borderlines get better with age?” Another common question is, “What happens when they get old and are no longer attractive?” These are understandable questions.

People don’t grow out of personality disorders. If that was going to happen, it would’ve happened at the developmentally appropriate time — during childhood and adolescence. As for getting better with age, that depends upon how one defines better.

First, narcissists, borderlines, histrionics and psychopaths don’t get better without psychological treatment. Second, therapy doesn’t cure a personality disorder. The best you can hope for is that the disordered individual will take some accountability for their destructive and pathological behavior and manage the worst of it. Even then, therapy doesn’t guarantee that.

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Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides services to help individuals work through their relationship issues via telephone or Skype, particularly men and women who trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.

Calling your Ex Crazy

October 2, 2017 1 comment

36434194 - heap of different kinds of nuts in shellMen’s Divorce website recently published an article, Stop Calling your Ex Crazy, admonishing men who describe their ex as crazy. In many divorces, even divorces with non-personality disordered individuals, emotions can run high. Oftentimes, there’s anger, sadness, disappointment, resentment, bitterness and a desire to hurt one’s former “soul mate.” It’s to be expected, at least initially.

People who aren’t crazy eventually regain control of their emotions and consciously decide not to piss away their money on attorney’s fees and dial down the animosity for the sake of the children. In my work, the exes who are labeled crazy usually exhibit personality disorder characteristics (e.g., narcissists, borderlines, psychopaths, histrionics, dependents and paranoiacs). These are also the personality types that are commonly the driving force in high-conflict divorces.

High-conflict personality disordered people don’t regain control of their emotions. They go on a scorched earth campaign and deliberately try to inflict as much pain and damage as possible. They’re not just angry with their exes. They want to annihilate their exes.

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Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides services to help individuals work through their relationship issues via telephone or Skype, particularly men and women who trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.

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Allowing the Narcissist to Determine your Worth: Don’t Do It

August 8, 2017 2 comments

Shrink4Men_Narcissistic behavior says more about the narcissist than their targetsRemember the childhood adage that was supposed to make us feel better when we were bullied? Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Our parents tell us that when we’re kids, but it’s cold comfort at the time. Name-calling hurts when you’re a kid. It can also hurt as an adult.

There’s another childhood adage meant to make us feel better about being bullied, but directed at our tormentor. I’m rubber. You’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. I don’t know about you, but it didn’t have much effect on the bullies in my childhood. Nevertheless, I carried it with me like a paper shield.

If we said either of these expressions now to a nasty colleague or an abusive narcissistic, psychopathic or borderline spouse or ex, they’d most likely think we’re our rocker. Even so, there’s wisdom in these simple, sing song childhood talismans. Sticks and Stones encourages emotional detachment from those who would hurt us. Rubber and Glue is a basic primer for returning cruel projections back to their rightful owner.

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Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides services to help individuals work through their relationship issues via telephone or Skype, particularly men and women who trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.

How to Know When a Narcissist is Lying

August 8, 2017 1 comment

Shrink4Men_Narcissists_Words are noises they make with their mouthsWhen their lips are moving! Har-dee-har-har!

A Shrink4Men forum member once shared an explanation about narcissists, psychopaths and borderlines’ propensity for dishonesty and the confusion it creates in their victims. It’s stayed with me ever since, one, because it’s funny and, two, because it’s true. When it comes to narcissists and other abusive personalities:

Words are just noises they make with their mouth.

On Monday she said she loved me and couldn’t imagine being with another man. On Thursday she was posting Facebook pictures of herself with her new soulmate, our neighbor from three doors down. Why? Who does that? Have you ever heard of something like that? How could she change so quickly?

He looked into my eyes and said he’d never met anyone as amazing as me. He said he’d call and that we’d go out over the weekend and then I never heard from him again. Why? Who does that? Have you ever heard of something like that? How could he change so quickly?

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Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides services to help individuals work through their relationship issues via telephone or Skype, particularly men and women who trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.

Having Healthy Boundaries Ends the Relationship with a Narcissist or Borderline

August 1, 2017 1 comment

CrazyBusters_Narcissist CodependentWhy do victims of narcissists, borderlines, histrionics and psychopaths stay in abusive, toxic relationships well past the point of expiration? Even when they’re checked out, shell-shocked and empty? My clients often say they feel trapped in the relationship. Sometimes it has to do with children, and children do create logistical, albeit not insurmountable issues. So what’s the real trap?

You’d like to have boundaries and a healthier relationship, but here’s the rub. You can’t have a healthy relationship with someone who is personality disordered. That’s like trying to get sober while chugging Jack Daniels. If you decide to work on your codependency and become healthier, the narcissist or borderline’s dysfunction will seem more extreme.

This is due to the contrast between health and pathology. It’s also due to actual decompensation and escalation triggered by the borderline or narcissist’s perceived loss of control. The healthier you become, the less tolerable the narcissist and the relationship will become. In other words, you getting healthy most likely means the end of the relationship, which causes FOG — feelings of fear, obligation and guilt.

Fear. You’re afraid to be alone. You’re afraid you’ll never meet someone else, or that you’ll meet someone far worse. You’re afraid you won’t feel that same ZING! with emotionally stable women and men. If healthy, stable adults seem boring to you, that means you need to do some work on yourself. This is entirely within your power to do.

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Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides services to help individuals work through their relationship issues via telephone or Skype, particularly men and women who trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.

 

 

 

 

Should You Trust an Apology from a Narcissist or Borderline?

August 1, 2017 2 comments

Narcissist or borderline apologizes should you break no contactThe first thing that comes to mind is Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!”

The second thing that comes to mind is the expression, “A day late and a dollar short.” Or a pound short, a euro short, a franc short, a drachma short, a doubloon short — you get the idea.

But wait! narcissists, borderlines, psychopaths and other abusers don’t apologize, right? Yes and no.

Admitting wrong doing definitely isn’t the norm, but sometimes they mouth the words, “I’m sorry.” However, that doesn’t mean the narcissist is genuinely remorseful. Truly being sorry means the person who has harmed you:

1) Recognizes what they’ve done that is hurtful. For example, lying to you, cheating on you, ridiculing you, etc.

2) Understands why it’s hurtful.

3) Feels bad about hurting you (this isn’t the same as feeling bad about being held accountable and experiencing consequences for being a shit).

4) Makes a conscious good faith effort not to hurt you in that way again.

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Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides services to help individuals work through their relationship issues via telephone or Skype, particularly men and women who trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.

 

Narcissist Math: 2 + 2 = Screw You!

August 1, 2017 Leave a comment

CrazyBusters_Narcissist Math_v02People who chronically abuse others usually have some kind of personality disorder — e.g., narcissists, borderlines, psychopaths and histrionics. Typically, these individuals live on one-way streets paved with double standards, with one set of rules and expectations for themselves and another for you. In other words, they’re great big hypocrites. Narcissists and their ilk also have peculiar definitions of concepts such as fair, equal and compromise.

Fair means, “I get everything I want when I want.” Equal means, “I get everything I want when I want.” And compromise means, “I get everything I want when I want.” Notice the theme? Narcissists are simply too self-absorbed to give a flying fudge about anyone else’s wants, needs and feelings, but their own. These ultimate navel gazers will accuse you of being selfish and mean if you’re not as focused on their belly buttons as they are.

But what about mutuality, reciprocity and good old-fashioned give and take? Sssssspppppppllllllllffffffftttttttt!!!!!!!!

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

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD provides services to help individuals work through their relationship issues via telephone or Skype, particularly men and women who trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.