Saturday, April 6, 2013

Narcissism = lack of self awareness

From The Mirror Effect by Drs. Drew Pinsky and S. Mark Young:
The key to understanding the narcissism myth is not that he fell in love with himself, but that he failed to recognize himself in his own reflection. In other words, true narcissists are not self-aware.

A real narcissist is dissociated from his or her true self; he feels haunted by chronic feelings of loneliness, emptiness, and self-loathing and seeks to replace that disconnection with a sense of worth and importance fueled by others.

Narcissism is also marked by a profound lack of empathy, a fundamental inability to understand and connect with the feelings of others. Taken together, these are the traits psychologists measure in diagnosing what's known as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

72 comments:

  1. that's not a bad description.

    the ones i've known saw themselves, and have described themselves, as very empathic, feeling individuals, frustrated that they are misunderstood by everyone.

    they have difficulty operating in "real time". it's like they're locked in their own private world. when empathy is called for they behave resentfully, as if they're being invaded. then when it's not called for they're inexplicably dishing it out.

    they're like snow globe people, locked in their own little worlds. they don't have relationships with the real people around them, but with their images (which they construct). and they just hate it when forced to deal with the real person rather than the image. when their idea of who you are is challenged, i guess it undermines their reality and ultimately their own identity.

    the biggest difference, to me, between a sociopath and narcissist is the narcissist can never be everything you want or need them to be. a sociopath plays you you, but you have to play to the narcissist.

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    1. Oh Goodness...this is so so whack reading all of this!

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    2. A Narc is so comsumed being a Narc they can't be anything or anyone else. Its all A-type personality All the time. They feel so small inside. They are needy people, needing to be the centre of attention. "Look at my ego, aren't I the best!" FIGJAM. (Fuck I'm Good Just Ask Me!)
      A Sociopath is way more discrete and cunning. If need be, he/she can hide in the shadows, down play a personality and watch ... or when needed step up and be a classic A type. A socio will always come in quitely and sus out the dynamic of a group before they play. A Narc will step through a door with no regard for a dynamic except how everyone should bow to how awesome they are. A Narc believes they are who they are. A socio understands this is bulshit and the truth is ... there is no Self apart from that which we create. We are a blank canvas and can project whatever self we wish to be, ... with flexable moral compass included.
      The Ego of a Narc is like Glass. Solid, defineable , transparent and can shatter.
      The Ego of a Socio is like Water, Sand or Smoke. Apparent but slightly intangle. It takes the form of whatever vessel it holds, yet has no clear shape.

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  2. are npd and aspd unrelated dirorders or are they somehow tied to one another? anyone know?

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  3. Blu, if you're looking for experts, you're not going to find any here. Most of the people here make their assumptions based on a behaviouralist/functionalist perspective of people with NPD/ASPD, which is markedly different from actually knowing what it is like to be either psychologically.

    You're not going to learn much about me from a manic depressive, nor can you trust that anything I or anyone else tells you is the truth.

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  4. you can learn from lies too.

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  5. Great point, Zoe!
    Zan

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  6. thank you Zan. i think it's safe to say that not everything we read here is a lie, but what people do lie about is always revealing.


    nor can you trust that anything I or anyone else tells you is the truth.

    are you telling me the truth now Ishtar? :)

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  7. Now why would I ever lie? ;)

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  8. Right on the money Zoe. I am a so-called narcissist in recovery (can a narcissist ever be reformed?), and everything said here is eerily true about myself.

    What I've learned from my own experience is that narcissists are blind to their own blindness. Overcoming that blindness is an insurmountable task because they're operating within a system that constantly confirms their views and opinions.

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    1. Everything I've read about narcissism says leave them alone...I was physically abused as a child and had a series of crises (death of the parent who abused me, failed relationships etc)

      Now I can remember how I slowly died and became an unfeeling shell.

      For 20 years of my life I lived the life of a narcissist..compartmentalised life..using and abusing everyone and everything..A part of me knew it was wrong but it was a very small part of me..For the most part there was an unfeeling emptiness that I hid very well.

      I got married and had 2 children..compartmentalising allowed me to have something that remotely resembled a marriage on the surface.
      But nothing filled the hole till I decided to try spiritual practise...even that was narcissistic in its nature..I felt that I was better and knew more than anyone.

      I had an experience..I guess you could call it a spiritual experience..After the experience I slowly started feeling again..It's taken 7 years so far..I ve learnt to take leaps of faith..and I've taken many..Every leap revealed something about myself to me..my marriage began to crumble..and I recently took another leap because I could not deal with it..Nothing helped...and something snapped in my head..The pain was gone..All of a sudden..I'm ok on my own...my wife is a person my children are their own beings...I don't know if this is just a phase..We put labels on things we don't understand thinking the labels are reality..forgetting that we've just collected a set of traits...grouped them together and put a label on the group.

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  9. Check said: Narcissists are....
    "blind to their own blindness."
    I'm also a male N, 61 years old and frustrated as hell that there is no way to overcome this curse.
    It has destroyed my marriage after 32 years, It has destroyed my successful commercial real estate enterprises over the past ten years and I am now significantly wounded by this fatal flaw as to finally be self aware, but it is too late. I will not be able to recover and there is little therapy can do for me and other N's. No one can understand how depressing this has all become. To think I have come through life knowing I was a little different, but finally understanding why,after multiple life crises is devastating. I have concluded I have no hope and no future.

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    1. Wow? Seriously? Lmfao! I haven't met any narcs except for my brother, he's 21 years old, and he's the most optimistic, empathic person I've ever been around... You're telling me you reached 61, still in a phase he grew out of in highschool?? Lmao that's just sad...

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    2. What's sad is you trying to mock someone who posted in 2010 hahaha

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    3. is mocking a sociopath thing?

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    4. It's a very narcissist thing, that's for sure!

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    5. *narcissistic

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  10. While there is breath, there is hope.

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  11. Anonymous-I am so impressed that you are a recovering N! I should say that that in itself should give you hope! You can only move forward from here. My mother-in-law is a severe Narccisist and I constantly wonder whether she will ever become self-aware. She has alienated herself from her entire family by her behavior. May I ask how you came to be on this journey? (Does not have to include details! I am just so excited to read that people CAN recover from NPD or being an N! And I am in no way trying to criticize you-I have my own "slough" of problems...depression, panic disorder, and ADHD to name a few! None of us are perfect! ;) thanks so much! erikaj@aol.com. Please email if interested!

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  12. (different Anonymous writing here)
    I'm what's known as a covert narcissist, and only recently have come to terms with this to a greater or lesser degree. Discovering that everything about my appearance or attitude is fraudulent, an act, is a tough pill to swallow.

    Zoe said Ns have difficulty operating in real time; this makes sense to me as I repeat (possible) scenarios from the past or future over and over in different iterations as to prepare myself to the possible outcomes. (Unrealistic/heroic possibilities for my amusement are latched on)
    When I encounter something that hasn't been evaluated beforehand I have to fall back on my (more?) true self of someone who is a much more fragile person, open to attacks -real or perceived, or retreat from the situation if possible. When this happens, the mind goes into overdrive afterwards to ascertain what the hell went wrong with the 'script'.

    Check mentioned Ns being blind to their own blindness. The scary part of this is: after having become (somewhat) aware, when you _do_ try to confront yourself one day, the defense mechanism quickly activates and tries to rationalize and split off, all the textbook techniques to keep the 'ego' in tact. "Why feel bad when you can delude yourself with distortions so you can feel better?" goes the insidious subconscious mantra. Another 'awesome' one: "It's not me, it's them!"

    What Anon/61 said about awareness, I myself have also* wondered if I would've been better off just being blissfully unaware going through life (sorry if I misinterpreted*) but that's no longer a luxury I can permit. It feels like having walked the wrong way for the last 30 years only to hear the way to Rome isn't north but south and I have to backtrack all the way, the best accomplishment being able to manage this.

    Within me there is a desire to belong, to just get along and stop being a right-fighter/imposing my black & white logic onto others. I can only imagine what a tremendous load off my shoulders that would be, no longer having to pretend or fish for what is called narcissistic supply, and just be 'me'.

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    1. Anonymous & Different Anonymous, thank you for sharing your recovery experiences. I've only just read about NPD and realised it applies to a person I always saw as 'wounded child with cruel walls.' All the NPD articles I've read so far tell me to stay well away, but it's a tough call for me to abandon a wounded child. You give me hope for him.

      In gratitude, I hope I can give something to you. You both sound like you might be depressed (a predictible side effect of recovery from narcissism, I'd imagine). I've had serious battles with depression myself and can tell you part of recovery (using CBT) is learning to replace unhelpful thoughts with helpful ones - and "helpful" thoughts happen to be pretty much the same as your "narcissistic" ones.
      You're not broken all the way through, you just took a healthy something to extremes. Don't be throwing the baby out with the bathwater now.
      All the best,
      Roni

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  13. Narc, You keep telling me to open my eyes and see what’s around me, but you need to open yours. I’m not seeing you tonight because I don’t want you here and I don’t want to be around you.

    I get tense every time you come over knowing that you’re going start your hypercritical haranguing at everything I do or say. I’d be surprised if we exchange five sentences a day. I hate to drive with you as a passenger because you scream and yell so much. You're the one who had the accident, not me.

    I’m sick of a predictable sex life limited to 20 minutes between 6:30 and 7:00 AM a couple mornings a week. Quite a change from the dude I met a year ago. I’m sick of you turning up the TV so loud that it physically hurts my ears and downs out any possibility of conversation. I’m sick of you walking away after dinner to escape to cable TV. I ask for a minute to show you something on the PC, you begrudging grant me “ONE MINUTE”, then I look up and you’re staring at the TV. I ask if there’s room in your bed and you say, “There WAS” and begrudgingly move over. I tell you something and you ask why you needed to hear it. When you stuff yourself at night so much that you can’t make love, you’re cheating on me with food. You’re shutting me out with food and TV.

    You gorge on the dinners I fix, you fix breakfast from my fridge, you pack lunch from my fridge, you drive my car, you use me as your ATM, you use my laundry and supplies, you use my guest bedroom as your warehouse, you give away the gifts I give you so you can look good.

    You cut me off when I tell you something about me so that you can tell me something about yourself. You come over for the weekend, then run errands the whole time so that you’re out and about instead of doing something with me. You invite me out to dinner and then remember you spent all your money on your ex-girl friend and daughter and expect us to go out on my dime. I used to be gorgeous and now at my best I’m only looking “pretty good”. The instant I fall asleep in your bed (you want your own bed) you wake me up. The instant I pretend to fall asleep you wake me up and tell me I’m snoring, when I know I wasn’t even sleeping. Yes, you accuse me of snoring when I’m not even asleep.

    You do absolutely nothing around here, just create messes. Heaven forbid that you do a as clean-up after a meal.

    I’m tired of you trying to maintain control by keeping your plans SECRET. When are you getting into your rental house? How much will he be charging you? Are you going to get your clothes out of here? Turn back the house key? Turn over the car key? Are you dating your ex-girlfriend now? Are you dating both of us? Not for long.

    You think my short term memory is bad. My memory is excellent. Maybe I’ve just shut down on you.

    People, how the f can anyone have no self-awareness of such profound self-centeredness?

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    1. You mention self awareness.
      ...It made me laugh and of course you are too blind to see the irony.

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  14. no narc feels as good as a sociopath

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    1. ^vague fishing bait^

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    2. narcs are assholes
      sociopaths are charming (covert) assholes

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    3. no one has ever called me an asshole but myself. I must be a covert asshole. But i am also afraid what people think way deep inside, and nobody thinks that about me either. ( no one but people here) so that makes me a covert asshole AND a covert narcissist.

      I am so charming, people tell me and like to bring me to impress their guests. I make them look good and the Narcissists llloooooove to put me as their own and show me to their friends in real life. I am a magnet lol.

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    4. but charm only get you temporary things. It is nice to stop it and see what happens. when nothing happens. you feel like you have nothing in you to propel you. This is a very empty feeling. It is narcissism i think. You want to always fill void with something, anything. anything to keep silence of your mind at bay. Because if you feel the silence, all you do is cry. It is horrible and any aware narcissist will tell you so.


      I have stopped taking my ssri antidepressants and i am feeling feelings.

      I just looked at dr drew and dr oz on tv in a recent show "the myth of antidepressants." Drugs fuck with your feelings so bad, that when you get off them you feel everything at once and everything makes you cry. Looking at roses make you cry. They are the most beautiful sight.

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    5. and yes, it feed my ego to tell this. I am proud of myself for the first time for something real.. Dont take this real pride away from us. We are people.

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  15. I am narcissistic, but not a Mal Narc and maybe not NPD. I don't know, exactly, but not having an identifiable, stable self which one can look within and call one's own is what I would identify as my problem. That paragraph nailed it for me.

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  16. http://www.realwomenreallove.com/?hop=agurin
    all they need a is a good sociopath
    a really good one

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    1. but then they would get burned again, silly.

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    2. Monica, are you going to leave here soon?

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  17. yes, I agree w/ that earlier post ; sociopaths can be loveable but narcissists ; no way . They are an empty shell ; will the real narcissists by any name please stand up? there is no one to stand . They aren't even aware their name was called ; no innards.

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    1. i'm verry narc but my supply is diferend prais or critisism don't do nothing for me
      it's all about the game not about the win or price

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    2. THat isn't true 849. I am a narcissist type and i am very lovable. Maybe not here, but in real life, yes, very much.

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  18. "the ones i've known saw themselves, and have described themselves, as very empathic, feeling individuals, frustrated that they are misunderstood by everyone."

    If this is the case than they don't see themselves....

    I searched for "David Lee Roth" plus "narcissism" and found a very god article that pointed out laughing at one owns jokes as the best indicator of narc. Probably very true.

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    1. i have a mentor type friend i keep my distance from. she laughs at all her jokes. she has a lot of respect but blames all things that happen to her and her narc hubby on everyone else around her. she always talk about her diplomacy skills and how she gives and gives and gives and gets hurt when she gets used. Then she degrades the users and talks about them behind their back and never ever takes responsibility for her part in any matter. People around them want to take them and tell them they are assholes, but they would extricate you from their lives if you did.


      It is sad because they are really sweet and vulnerable, but difficult and you have to tip toe around because they are moody and willl cut you down to size if you dare insult them. I find it very annoying to be around them socially. it is a lot of work.

      I wonder since i am here if i am like them. They never sought therapy or anything bec obv. nothing is wrong with them. They laugh at their own jokes all the time,.

      I never thought about that!

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  19. true narcissists are not self-aware
    oh great another "expert"
    join the ranks of sam vaknin lol

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    1. 118, that quote is either bait or from someone who doesn't know aware narcissists. They cannot fathom something they haven't seen with their own eyes. < Idk what that malady is. Do you?

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  20. Do adult children of narcissists ever recover from the experience - and if so, what kind of therapy is required? My narc mother has mellowed with age but still has zero empathy. You could lose your arm and the first thing she'd say is: you, yourself, are to blame. It seems to be her favourite phrase. My sisters don't bother to tell her when something bad happens in their lives, eg miscarriage.

    I feel lonely, empty as I try to escape the clutches of a psychopath ex and rebuild my life. It all gets so tiring that I wonder is real change and recovery (from the original injury) possible?

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    1. I am really down today. I feel hopeless. Get this? I am a counselor and a client told me that she wanted to tell me something about myself. She said, "You are off".

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    2. she wanted to tell you something about YOU that she thought was off?

      Or as your client, she wanted to tell you something that you thought about HER was off?

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    3. adult child of narcApril 7, 2013 at 10:29 PM

      that sucks, anonymous. My mom would probably say that that woman should have been resting better or something, too.

      I dont know. I certainly do not want to go through my life like my dad, whining i am a helpless victim of childhood.

      My therapist would always just ask me so what are you doing about it (my moods) He would tell me i get my good feelings from these things i did, and that i should keep doing, doing, doing them. My dad's therapist says the same to him.

      I have a deprssd associate who has a sign on her mirror which says "keep going and don't stop" or something like that.

      I was reading about happiness and saw this article

      http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/theres-more-to-life-than-being-happy/266805/

      one thing it says is that evolutioary speaking, happiness is about drive reduction. if you have a need, satisfy it.


      it says that people who are "selfish" and takers are happier than people who search for meaning in life .

      Isn't that a bitch?

      I have to resort to being more of a taker and demand a seat when i feel like it, that's a start. I need to stop apologizing for being in the room and that is a good start, i guess.


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    4. Monica please do not be hopeless. You are a healer and you are loved.

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    5. Monica do you think it is sick to identify with one's abusers? Because a lot of victims do it, myself included. it is a force.

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    6. "Can someone tell me how you get an empath to fall in love with you quickly? Maybe a brief overview? Is it just charm, flattery, praise?"

      no. suffer.

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  21. How to get an empath to fall in love with you?

    Mirror them so they fall in love with themselves. See, I have been around here long enough to know :D

    @Anon 10:30
    Thank you. My client gave me more truth than my ego could take but today I see that she did me a great favor and I am appreciative. Truth is really love. The people who care for you will risk telling you the truth. They risk your anger and displeasure at them but it is for your good and so very unselfish on their part. She really showed me that I was compartmentalizing those parts me I found unacceptable and it showed. I thought I could get away with it lol but no one really does. You are really fooling yourself to think you can.Moreover, you are really hurting yourself by trying to. Thanks for your kind words, Anon!

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  23. @Anon 10:38

    Alice Miller says that you will never have your own power as long as you feel sorry for your abusers and not yourself and what you endured. Your empathy must switch from the abuser to yourself. This is a very hard shift to make when you have been abused. You had to feel sorry for the abuser to survive as a child. You had little choice as abuse makes you warp and distort your thinking.

    Alice Miller says that you must feel the huge rage you have against the abuser. I have really just started to feel it. I have talked about it a lot but it was intellectual more than actual feeling in my gut. Now, I am safe enough to feel it. Depression is when you turn this rage inward. Self hate is the same.

    This is my current journey and I am doing it slowly. This process is very, very slow. That can be discouraging but one's defenses were built up for survival so are strong.
    I am always here if you want to talk, Anon <3

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    1. I understand, Monica.

      Whn i rage it is crying hard and feeling sorryf or me, and it feels like i am hurting myself.

      I know those who mirror you like to hurt, and i dont want so much hurting. bec when i look at myself in their eyes it does get worse and worse.

      i see unlovable in the mirror, not lovable. people say i am lovable but i dont see it. i see snippets but really, the more i look, the more behaviour I watch in myself, the more i talk, the more i open my eyes in the mornng and listen to my own thoughts, the more i do not love myself.

      if i feel bad for myself and cry to myself, this does not feel like love. this feels like wallowing like my dad. he is old. i do not want to go out like that, sad and helpless. My tears dont stop.

      and the ones who mirror me are not my friend. they just abusers again.

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    2. it is not raging in my opinion. i have raged enough in my life. i have been violent, i have screamed till vocal chords bleed in my life, i have broken many things, with more rage than a person can see without thinking i am dangerous.

      But most of this crying and looking in the mirror feels like i am laying there and hurting like a dying horse who cant get up. i want to run, not lie down and die another half a lifetime.

      I want to never give up and settle comfortably in this dead like position. I have depression on top of healing process and it is too much. I am afraid the ends wont justify the means.

      what do you think?

      i try to think about jesus or someone shining a light, or treating myself, but it doesn't last. Do you feel the ones who do the mirroring will really want me to commit suicide?.because that is what it feels like they want to do to me.

      THis is stupid. It isn't magic, its an experiment short term that gives relief like you take an aspirin but the pain never goes away. it is just reopening bad wounds over and over. and it is lovely for the sadist mirrorers

      i mean , sure i am masochistic. but i m not a fucking idiot.


      i know i am looking at glass half full. i know i have negative thinking, i used to argue with my therapist, i am not any good, too. <Its horrible to keep this mentality. it is beyond whining.


      dont i, at some point, need to accept it that i will never love myself? or else am i chasing something i cannot catch?

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  24. @Anon 9:48
    It is conditioning but it feels totally real. I want to slap people in the face who give us platitudes. For me, I am a Born Again Christian and I have been forcing myself to listen to Bible teaching all day from my favorite Bible teacher, Andrew Wommack. Now, I want to listen and don't have to force myself, anymore.He is not a fake and he talks about his life in a real way, so he is interesting and funny too.

    God does not think we are unlovable worthless pieces of garbage. I am trying to get God's idea of me and not my malignant Narc mother's idea. It is working. I have been doing it for a month and I do feel better. It is all about changing the voices in our heads. That is the key but the doing of it is very, very hard.

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  25. @adult child of narc

    Thanks for your reply, it really helped :)

    @ Monica

    I've read all of Alice Miller's books but don't remember her saying that. Where did you read it?

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  26. Alice Miller has certain key tenets. She was rejected by her fellow shrinks for being so out of the box. One is "Fear of the Parent". This is what makes people bow to authority, any authority. It is inbred in people.

    The other is that the abuse child MUST regain his anger at the abusive parent and that rage is what will heal the child. Society, the abusive parent and many shrinks tell the abused person to "understand" the abused parent and feel sorry for them. Alice says that the child must 'feel empathy" for himself and rage against the parent.

    Did you read most of Alice's books, Anon?

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  27. @Anon
    The role of rage by Alice Miller is in most of her books and on her website. It is one of her themes. I have not read any of her books in several years but I remember some of her key tenets.

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  28. Thanks Monica, yes I read all her books about five years ago, but I've obviously forgotten some of what I read. How long does a person have to hold onto this rage, I wonder?

    I used to feel rage at my mother but I moved on to feeling that she really couldn't help herself, that she was probably doing her best because she was born that way, same as her mother was born that way. I still think she's grotesque at times but I have made peace with it. Is that holding me back somehow? In my romantic life, it's one psychopath after another...

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  29. @Anon 12:20
    You sound like you have moved through the rage to the acceptance which Miller says you have to do. I am doing the same. However, the abused child is programmed to associate love with pain and rejection. I think that a deep, spiritual change can alter this programming. I don't think that any kind of intellectual understanding will do it because the programming is at a very core, unconscious level.
    I have not healed enough to talk from personal experience about what that kind of deep, spiritual healing would feel like or produce because I am trying to get it, but am very much still in the process <3

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    1. It's even more complicated than that Monica. On the one occasion I found myself in a decent relationship, I completely lost myself. I was so in love I never wanted to say No, no matter what the cost to my wellbeing - and that is not sustainable in the long term. I became engulfed and had to escape to survive. Painful all round.

      I supposed I am wondering what is the next step for me as I've been going around in circles for so long. What kind of therapist have you been seeing? I don't have a lot of faith in therapy (having come across too many Woody Allens) but I haven't tried it so maybe I should.

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    2. Aww about the engulfment. T-H-E-R-A-P-Y? You must have not seen me around too much. I think it is the study of the id by the odd.
      I made up my own system of therapy. Sometimes, I feel it works. Sometime, I want to put a paper bag over my head and never get out of bed ~

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    3. LOL! I thought I read in one of your posts that you are a counsellor - and I assumed all counsellors go for therapy. But hey, I got that from the Sopranos and In Treatment :) Physician heal thyself, bring on the paper bags.

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    4. I have a masters in counseling but I got interested in holistic health after I graduated and worked in that field, mostly.

      I was in therapy since I was 12. My mother is a shrink. You know what therapy did to me? It made me worse and worse until if I didn't jump ship, I would have had no self left.

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    5. You are inspirational, Monica.

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    6. Thank you Anon. That is so sweet xx

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  30. Anon 1:05
    It was weird when you said inspirational because that was the one thing my mother never wanted me to be. She wanted me to be small, stepped on and never be anything more than the lowest. I realized that when I read your comment and I realized that I can step on her whole concept of me and move on. Thank you Anon <3

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  31. Wow Monica, a mother who is a shrink with a personality disorder! You did well to survive it.

    Do you have any views on EMDR? http://emdr.com/ I've seen it recommended on a few other forums as benefiting those who have been in abusive relationships.

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  32. Thank you Anon. I became numb and now am trying to come out of it. I tried EMDR for several months. It was super expensive per session and I did not feel any real change. If I had felt real change, I would have kept up with it. I wonder if anyone else on here has tried it.

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    1. I came across EMDR on http://psychopathfree.com/ A few people there mentioned that they had found it useful. I'm inclined to agree with your approach, without having gone through the therapy, that it's up to each individual to figure out how to heal. There are no shortcuts unfortunately. It could take a lifetime.

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