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The Bottom Line With A Narcissist

Are you afraid of your partner?  Does he or she force you to agree with them? Still feeling the sting from a parent’s words? Always being manipulated? The bottom line with a narcissist can be extremely painful, it is important to understand:

  • You are not to blame
  • Narcissists ensnare everyone
  • Learning how to leave is important
  • Rebuilding a life takes courage but you can do it
  • There are plenty of people to help you, but it may not be your family or friends
  • Information can be your ally to learn you are not alone
  • It will take time to heal

SELF TALK and the Narcissist – HELP YOURSELF  Back to Normal

It isn’t easy being with a narcissistic partner.

The bottom line with a narcissist is that they change the dynamic of our lives.

You might be unsure of yourself if you are with an abuser because they can so easily turn on the charm or say, “C’mon, aren’t you being too sensitive? What’s the matter with you?”  And there you are again, back in the cycle of abuse.

You might be questioning yourself and asking, “Why can’t I make him happy? What am I doing wrong?”

It isn’t easy being you when he says, “You make me be this way.”

And it isn’t easy being you when you wonder if you’ve wasted your whole life and if it has any meaning. And it isn’t easy when you think about leaving and get scared because you don’t know any other life.

It isn’t easy being you whether the abuse is overt or not.  Your abuser doesn’t have to yell at you –  he or she can be condescending, make jokes at your expense, can find ways to slight you in so many different ways.

So there you are, confused, or maybe not – perhaps you are sure at this point that you are with a narcissist.  You may be trying to figure out what to do and how to proceed.  You are scared, anxious, maybe feeling sorry for yourself, and probably angry.

Doing Nothing

Now is the time to do….nothing.  Counterintuitive as this may seem, it is the best thing you can do. Acting from anger of neediness can lead to some really bad decisions.  You may walk out, threaten divorce, or some other act and all of a sudden you are in a major war with no resources.

You’ve spent so many years feeling down, maybe feeling worthless, and now you want to take action. That’s good – but it has to be done with your strengths and not from your weaknesses.

And most important it has to be done from a calm mind – one that is not blaming or angry. If you think of your emotions like a 5000 lb elephant (thanks to the psych professor and author  who came up with this idea) and you are the rider, you must always keep the emotions under control. Let them go, just a bit and you can be in for a dangerous ride.

The Bottom Line With A Narcissist: Getting Over The Narcissist in Your Life

Life is short, your time is precious. Think about what it is you need to know to feel better. You are worth it. Click the link to the left to see if this might help you, right now, right away to begin to heal your wounds.

Tired of the status quo? You can do something about it. Many, many people have been helped by this wonderful little piece written by someone who found out how to move on and shares the techniques. If you want this for yourself please take a look at:

Getting Over And Moving On

A Door

Positive self talk is one relatively quick intervention that can allow you to get in control to make decisions.  Take the concept of what you say to yourself.  Think: ABC. A is the adversity in your life, B is the belief about that adversity and C is the consequence.  B is also known as self talk.  How you describe the adversity determines the consequences.  If, instead of saying, “this is the worst thing that can happen to me”, you say, “This is not a good situation, but there is a way out.  It may be difficult but I can find it.” the  consequence is that instead of becoming entrenched in the belief you are doomed, you begin to train yourself to look for answers and possibilities.  Do this enough and you are training your brain for optimism instead of pessimism.  Optimistic people feel in control.

This is not “The Secret”, It is Based on Science

Positive psychology is not positive affirmations and visualization.  It is an empirically based method that makes lasting changes in people and enables them to respond to difficult situations in a manner in which they can feel control.  It is based on the original work of Martin Seligman on learned helplessness.  He found that dogs could be trained to “unlearn” helplessness and so could people, and when they did their depression was gone.

Depression is not anger turned inward. This Freudian concept is no longer accepted as being correct.  Depression is loss of feeling in control, which leads to sadness.  The bottom line with a narcissist or a sociopath is that being the victim is a fast track to depression.  Being able to control your emotional response to a situation is the beginning of taking back control.

Positive psychology never disputes reality, it makes reality easier to handle. 

The feeling of having some control is the difference between continuing to feel traumatized or not. No matter how controlling or abusive your partner, and no matter how long the ‘learned helplessness’ it has been proven that beginning to exert control jumpstarts the process of “relearning” and loss of control feelings diminish.

Optimism is critical in abuse. It does NOT mean you do not see how bad things are. It means that optimists have better outcomes in negative situations and that is your goal. There are solid reasons why this is so and methods to obtain this outlook. This is not to be confused with Vaknin’s phrase “malignant optimism”.  By that he means an outlook based on unrealistic hopes and dreams of a better life, changing the abuser, and you the victim, learning to be a better person. These are indeed useless acts. You will not change the abuser.

Pessimists see the causes of failure as permanent (it’s going to last forever), pervasive (it’s going to ruin everything) and personal (it’s all my fault). Optimists dispute pessimistic thoughts: if this becomes a habit, this skill stays with you and the changes take place in physiological ways such as brain patterns letting you calm down enough to think more rationally and logically. It also allows you to become resilient. The next “bad thing” will depress you for a shorter period of time. You will think of options, you will bounce back quicker.  You will take risks, and by doing so, begin to take control.

Interview with Dr. Martin Seligman, University of Pennsylvania

the bottom line with a narcissistQ: In your work thus far, is there one piece of research that you would like to see on every bumper sticker, and chalkboard, and refrigerator door in the country?

Dr. Seligman: I think it’s basically that if you are a pessimist in the sense that when bad things happen you think they are going to last forever and undermine everything you do, then you are about eight times as likely to get depressed, you are less likely to succeed at work, your personal relationships  are more likely to break up, and you are likely to have a shorter and more illness-filled life. That’s the main discovery that I associate with my lifetime.

Q: People often ask how to start shifting from pessimism to optimism

Dr. Seligman: I think the way most people start is to find out the costs of being a pessimist.
As a pessimist, it’s always wet weather in the soul, they don’t do as well at work, and they get
colds that will last all winter. They find themselves  failing in crucial situations and their relationships go sour very easily. So when people have those kinds of hurts, if they can find that there is something useful in positive psychology, that’s where people start.

Ann Bradley

15 Comments

  1. This is true. I always say I realized I was in a real battle for my right to live my life happily and my sanity. Having an unbalanced chaotic life of constant up and downs, on and offs and hot and colds took its toll on me in every way and I realized somebody else was doing this to me, simply because they wanted to and I began to feel incensed at his audacity to play with my sense of well being and happiness. I started to do whatever was cheap or free that would bring me a glimmer of happiness in life. I would listen to music, buy magazines and look at clothes, shoes or handbags, I would look at beautiful homes online, I would order travel brochures and have them sent to my house, as I lived with him, but still maintained my parents house, and I found this started to make me think about a world outside of the world I was living. I found it to be a frivilous silly escape and that was ok and all that I needed. Once I left his house and moved back into my own, I really learned more about emotional abuse and narcissism and that too was invaluable and aided in my progress. One has to get back into the business of life and finding what brings them joy because you are stripped and robbed of joy in these relationships , so if looking at birds brings you joy, look at birds, give yourself a pedicure, do anything that lights a spark inside of you that is all yours and only for you.

    I truly believe once people in these relationships start to seek out some bit of joy and happiness, they will fall in love with that feeling and will no longer let some jerk jeopardize their ability to feel that joy. You will long for that feeling and will find a way to fight for it, perhaps it will be the catalyst to get you up and out of the relationship. I began to see the stark contrast of how I felt when I did these things for myself and how I felt when I was in this person’s presence, and I did not like it. I realized I could no longer spend anymore of my time and energy on or with him and need to give all of that time and energy to myself, not him, because I was the one who needed it the most since not only did he neglect me for years but I had neglected myself as well. I noticed a feeling of darkness and heaviness when I was with him because I felt suffocated and weighted down by his energy and feel happier, lighter and free when he is not around and I truly treasure each and every moment that I am not around him or hear his voice.

    • Thank you for sharing your story. You are so right about giving to one’s self the attention that used to be given to the narcissist and the necessity of taking action once it is realized how draining they are. Chaos is indeed an all too often result of living with or engaging with the personality disordered. No one can function to the best of their ability in such a life. Best to you, Ann

    • 29 years in with a narcissistic. Found the information in 09. I was somewhat relived to be somewhat reassured it wasn’t me (the kids, the dog, the house, the day!). I read all I could. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to find a niche in HIS universe. But I gave it a go. Nothing was good enough. My brain couldn’t take the daily assaults. My ego was non-existent. I was hopelessly GONE.

      Until my adult daughter took the reins and got me involved again. To take my life–BACK. I filed for divorce in 2012. It will be a year August. He repeatedly would scream: “If you don’t like it, get a lawyer and divorce me.” Now, I have a little tidbit to throw back at HIM. He hoards money and I am to get 50%. He stopped paying bills at one time to continue saving for himself. Never spending. Always saving. I of course was blamed for the accounts in arrears. I could just get a job!! Well, when I did, the car I needed to drive – 15 years old and just ugly – was not allowed to be parked in the lot at work. AND, he could not be expected to stay and watch his daughter if there was a remote chance he could get side work. These things were not told to me BEFORE I accepted the position. I was to begin training for scheduling and accounts and he pulls this. Looking back – NO. I won’t look back any more. Just thought I would share a slice of my life with my narcissist.

      Now, the game of the longest divorce in history. I have him on a disk screaming he won’t stop until my attorney bill is at $60,000 (it is at $15,000, now). I have NO job. NO friends. NO references to put on a job application. No experience in my 57years. But I am close to freedom.

      Thank you for your sharing. I hope all is well for you. You give me hope.

  2. Please keep me informed of ” Nariccistic people, I have one in my life, I can use the ” Help”.
    Peace and God Send, Michele

  3. Thank you for all of the information… I was married over half my life to a man who i realize now was a narcissist. While we were married I became very ill and developed a weakened immune system. My exhusband has all of the traits of a narcissist. This was so eye opening. Thank you

    • Hi- Thanks for writing. I know well the weakened immune system result. Please do some research about low dose naltrexone – it normalizes the immune system. It made a huge difference in my sleeping patterns, thyroid, and other autoimmune problems. Try http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org/ to begin with but there is so much more. I love the videos on youtube about conferences at USC Med. LDN is also now in clinical trials all over for so much from breast cancer to fibromyalgia and NIH was so impressed with it on Crohn’s disease they are funding more. I hope you don’t need this information and have healed just being away from the narcissistic husband. I cannot stand that another human can make u so physically ill. Again, thank you for writing. Best, Ann

      • Great advice. So important. Now more than ever one should reduce gluten – increase organic fruits and veggies – blend them together in smoothies. ( Find out levels of Vit D3-iron & ferrittin, magnesium, selenium, non gmo vitamin c). Raw organic brazil nuts, almonds. Use stevia as a sweetener. Infrared saunas. Protect adrenals, too. Take walks. Rebound on a mini trampoline

        Herbal tinctures help me to sleep. Chamomile tea works. I drink two cups daily and within a week I can take his yelling in my ear four inches from my face, calling me a parasite, a two bit xhore, the Bitcx, and on and on. My ear thumped for two days after the last scream fest! And walk away with NO emotion. Just a raging ear ache.

        Now I am doing a little metabolic detox. Increasing my health state. I have removed all toxins in the home and in personal products. My daughter signed to buy a home! To get me OUT! I have nothing to help her with the down payment. Things are gonna be tight for a bit. But we will be away from the biggest toxin of all: THE NARCISSIST.

        Love to all. 🙂

  4. Hi!
    Have come somewhat on the way of healing but tends to fall back into doubts about what happened over the 12 years I was abused. Could do with more information and other victims exeperiences of covert abuse.

  5. I had a very short-lived (6 weeks), highly charged sexual relationship with a narcissistic woman.
    First, she threw herself at me – revealed tales of explicit sexual abuse at the hands of her father, told me that I was the sweetest kindest man she had ever met, evinced total fascination with my ideas and education, finally took off most of her clothes and then asked me to inspect her vulva for in-growing hairs.
    I was taken aback but, initially, resisted her advances.
    She kept coming round to my house, becoming more and more amorous until I eventually caved in and we had sex. She then redoubled her efforts to make me feel that I was the only man she had ever felt this good with – she told me that she was praising me to others – I later found out that she was sneering at me with them, behind my back.
    After the first heady few weeks of mind-blowing all-night sex, she announced that she was undergoing a recurrence of herpes and that we could not have sex! First I`d heard of it…
    Then, the criticism started: I was too serious about X and not serious enough about Y; I needed to see her homeopath to cure my ‘anger’ issues; I had a ‘split’ personality and was scaring her with my mood shifts; I should be treating her this way and not that way; I should be more interetsed in helping her get her business off the ground; how she was feeling ‘trapped’ by me. Etc.
    When I eventually arced-up, she became sweetness and light itself; and again, took me to bed. This would last for a couple of days, then the emotional abuse would begin again.
    After 6 weeks I ended the relationship ans she became very upset and begged me to remain ‘Friends With Benefits'(FWB) . This took place once, then a break again for ‘Herpes recovery’. Then, she rang me late one night and asked if she could come round for FWB. Foolishly I said yes, got out of bed, lit some candles, had a wash etc…. and she never came. I saw her the next day and with a smile on her face, she explained that she had instead spent the night with someone else.
    This was 3 months ago and she has continued to taunt me, harass me and spread rumours about me on the property where we both have units. When I fought back and told a few people what had in fact gone on, she has brought a case of bullying and harassment against me. She is so convincing and acts the injured party so well, that she has turned some people against me.
    I`m over the emotional hurt now, but am finding it difficult to let go of the psychological stuff because of her ongoing provocation. I just want to put it all behind me and get on with my life but her narcissistic agenda requires constant attention and she has found a way to get it.
    I would move house but I cannot afford to break the lease.

    • Thanks for sharing this tale. Difficult, difficult person she is. She actually sounds like she has borderline personality disorder. Take a look at that and see why she did the come hither/go away acts that she did. The abuse fits right in with it. Some disorders are over lapping, or the boundaries are not clear. I think if you look this one up and if it fits you will be able to give yourself a gift of some peace from this woman. These are very difficult people and I am glad you are feeling better. Best, Ann – and again, thanks much for sharing this.

      • Thank you Ann.
        You`ve hit the nail right on the head. A couple of weeks after she had deceived me with this other man (who she also concealed her herpes from), I woke in the middle of the night somehow fully aware of her Histrionic Personality Disorder. I consulted Wikipedia and found her behaviour described to a ‘T’: subtype ‘ Vivacious’. Lately, with no witnesses present, this woman told me that she had in fact been diagnosed with BPD and that was the cause of her attention seeking. She then went on in the next breath to deny it.
        Subsequently, she has begun the workplace harassment proceedings. It`s just all so wearing for me, but I know that she is so empty and devoid of any semblance of an experience of ‘self’ (as opposed to SELF) that she needs the drama and attention of conflict to avoid drowning in the despair of her original narcissistic wound.
        I spent 2 months in absolute anguish getting through the fallout from the emotional and psychological abuse through which she had put me. I lost 15kgs during this time. I also recognised that I was under psychic attack from her, even when she was not present – ‘Meditation’ Bush Flower remedy really helped with this, as well as dealing with the heart-broken, pining feelings for the loss of the love that never really existed.
        If it wasn`t all such a royal pain in the butt, I would feel sorry for her.
        I consider myself lucky that the affair only lasted a few weeks – I really feel for some of the other contributors to this site, who are in / have been in long term relationships.

        • Thanks so much for all the insight, not only into your reaction but into her dynamics. Damage to the core does explain a lot, indeed.

          Your story is valuable. People sharing their stories is the source of how we all learn the dynamics, good and bad of dealing with other people. There are no instruction booklets but when we get the good we don’t need them. A situation like yours, or others here, are not the easy ones. They are the “what the hell is going on” ones. And for that, we need each other for knowing how to deal with it but most of all I think to show there is a way out and there is life on the other side. I’m reminded of the saying, “Scars show us where we’ve been but they don’t have to be maps to where we are going.” You’ve got the scars and sounds like you have forged a pathway out. A borderline is insanely difficult to deal with – a window into so much damage. Glad you are on the other side! Life is so much sweeter now, I am sure. Best, Ann

  6. Hi” This is Patty, I am the one who wrote earlier today,7-18-14 about not being allowed to see or talk to my daughter, I need to clarify an issue! She was 16 when he had gotten custody, Now neither of us has custody due to her age. I will try for guardianship ,since he doesn’t have this either. He is able to pull this stunt off because he knows I have no money and credibility “at least that was the last thing he remembered in court in 2010.He has a state job, and his lies where believed. By the time I left the court room that day in 2010,I was homeless! I returned to my mother in Conn.I was beaten in every sense of the word, suicidal. My. youngest daughter who is 12 now was my only reason to go on. I just read about the same determination a little while ago by a woman who commented on your site! I do want to thank you for this site. I cant stop reading,learning.Everything these women and men write about is me, my life. Just recently I began to understand the concept of being calm. How much I have been able to take in and understand. My ex husband and some of my children called me names at least everyday. One of the words I was called was retard! My ex would call me by my handy-cap daughters name. Years of this makes a person feel or appear to be exactly that. So thank you again for your caring enough to help us with your columns and site, and experience. The. men and woman who share these statements have helped me more than they can possibly know. Thank you all ,sincerely Patty: PS I just learned how to use a computer after Christmas this past year. I cant get over the knowledge ,insight and wisdom, education I have been missing all these years,intimidation,and the fact I felt slow ,because I was called these names for so long.I am driven these days. Thank you!! Still seeking counsel or any suggestions any one might have or help me with.

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