How a Relationship with a Narcissist Ends

March 20, 2018 3 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Spotting Red Flags vs. Determining What’s Important in a Relationship Partner

February 21, 2018 6 comments

toxic relationship red flags narcissists borderlines psychopaths abusive womenSometimes in life and relationships, it’s just as important to know what you don’t want as it is to know what you do want. Sometimes, we’re only able figure out what we want after figuring out what we don’t want. Sometimes, it’s a painful matter of trial and error. Not the poisonous berries this time, please.

Sometimes, and this is a really bizarre thing many human beings do, we see the danger signs or red flags and proceed full steam ahead anyway. Instead of heeding the warning signs, we want to determine if the red flags really are that red. Maybe they’re crimson, scarlet, ruby, rose, brick, madder or maroon. Call these hues whatever you like, they’re are all shades of red. We tell ourselves we’re doing due diligence and want to be sure, but is that really the reason? Or, are we still hoping we can enjoy the love bombing and avoid the nuclear fallout?

Poison is poison. Identifying the type of poison is only important if you swallow it and then require an antidote. Or, you can bypass the whole becoming violently ill and needing an antidote thing by accepting that the bottle with the Mr. Yuk sticker is indeed hazardous to your health. For those of you who don’t remember, Mr. Yuk was a public safety program that began in 1971 to educate and decrease incidences of children being poisoned by ingesting household chemicals. Windex isn’t blueberry juice.

Recently on the Shrink4Men Forum, a new member asked if his girlfriend’s behaviors are red flags and, if so, what he should do.

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Counseling 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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Lies Codependents Tell Themselves to Stay with an Abusive Wife or Husband

February 16, 2018 2 comments

Shrink4Men_Codependents keep trying and only make themselves better targets for narcissists and borderlines Codependents are people who enable and care take others (in ways that are often harmful to themselves) in the hopes of receiving love for their efforts, sacrifices and willingness to tolerate abuse. These counterproductive beliefs and behaviors are usually learned in the codependent’s dysfunctional family of origin. If you identify as codependent, perhaps one or both of your parents are personality disordered (narcissists, borderlines, histrionics and psychopaths), mentally ill (schizophrenic, bipolar, chronically depressed), codependents and/or alcoholics or addicts. If so, you may have grown up believing abuse and other dysfunctional behaviors like enabling, lying, avoidance, making excuses for others, etc., are acceptable or normal.

These behaviors and beliefs are neither normal nor acceptable. They’re defense mechanisms you developed in childhood that helped you to cope, to avoid or minimize abuse and helped you to get some of your needs met — albeit in unhealthy and indirect ways. If you want healthier relationships as an adult, you’ll need to identify these old beliefs and defense mechanisms that no longer serve you. They no longer serve you because they contribute to keeping you stuck in a pattern of unhealthy and abusive relationships.

In order to be in a relationship with a partner who’s similar to a narcissistic, borderline or alcoholic parent(s) or other family member, you need to continue to believe that their toxic and abusive behaviors are normal, justifiable or that you’re responsible for them in some way. In other words, you need to keep avoiding, rationalizing and tolerating abuse. As a child, you couldn’t choose your parents. Children don’t have the power or resources to say, “Screw this noise! I’m getting outta this loony bin!” Kids are utterly dependent on their parents, even if they’re unstable and abusive. So kids adapt to, compensate for and accommodate their parents’ pathology. As an adult, you have resources and agency you didn’t have as a child. You don’t have to do this anymore. You can choose health. You can choose healthier partners. You don’t have to adapt to, compensate for or accommodate another adult’s crazy anymore.

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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. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.

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Narcissist Club Rule #4: Facts Are Meaningless

February 7, 2018 3 comments

Shrink4Men_Narcissists borderlines psychopaths are liarsIf you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist, borderline, psychopath or histrionic, you’ll understand why these personalities are also referred to as high-conflict. It’s because there’s generally an over abundance of conflict, chaos and drama manufactured by these individuals. The arguments and conflicts are typically pointless, circular, mushrooming and unresolved. Old unresolved grievances are then recycled and rehashed with each new conflict.

Conflicts with narcissists and borderlines adhere to certain rules. Narc Club Rules. Narc Club Rules are the opposite of fighting fair. The narcissist dictates the rules and gets to fight dirty. Their opponents do not. You’re expected to take it, fall on your sword, apologize and then pretend like it never happened. Or, you can try to discuss what happened after things calm down, but then you risk going back down to Crazytown and the only one who enjoys that is the narcissist because they have home court advantage. Unlike healthy conflict, which focuses on resolution and compromise, unhealthy conflict is about winning and keeping you engaged.

NARC CLUB RULE #4

When fighting with a narcissist, borderline, histrionic, psychopath or other abuser, facts are meaningless. Logic is incendiary. Emotional reasoning trumps critical thinking. Reality is determined by the narcissist (image management) or borderline (maintaining victim status) and is subject to endless, self-serving revisions. Pointing out their contradictions elicits accusations of not being able to let go of the past, even when the past was 10 minutes ago. More like they’re angry you’re accurately remembering what they’ve said or done. When they demand you tell them the truth, if it isn’t the truth they’ve predetermined they accuse you of lying. Thus, demanding that you accept their lies as truth and reality. It’s crazy-making.

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Dr Tara J Palmatier_Shrink4Men_02Counseling, Consulting and Coaching 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. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.

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

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