Reblog: The Narcissistic Continuum: The Appropriation of “No Contact”: When Narcissists use “No Contact” against YOU

No Contact has grown centipede feet since its inception, running away from its original intention protecting victims. This is a predictable scenario since narcissists identify as victims. Perpetually. They may stalk, cheat, plagiarize, abuse and betray people, yet consider themselves to be victims, their victimizing behaviors justified. Perpetually. Well, what can you expect from a disorder preventing accurate self-appraisal, inhibiting the capacity for self-reflection? If someone is unable to introspect and own their aggression, they will view people’s defensive reactions as unpredictable and threatening. From the narcissist’s point of view, people are attacking without any provocation on the narcissist’s part. They believe they are defending themselves from aggressionSince pathological narcissism is defined by distorted perceptions, what narcissists see is not what is. Their provoking behavior is outside their awareness. This does not mean they aren’t consciously aware of their aggressive tactics. They believe their aggressive tactics are warranted.

…Being told a friend, family member or partner is using No Contact to protect themselves from YOU is confounding. Reality is turned upside-down when the narcissist refuses your phone calls, deletes your emails, bans you from their Facebook page. Through the grapevine, you’re told the narcissist avoids office luncheons because you’re there. She can’t be the bridesmaid if you’re the best man. He can’t go to the neighborhood picnic since you volunteered to flip the burgers. Your entire social circle from Earth to Jupiter has been informed of this tragic predicament and people wonder how YOU managed to make someone’s life so miserable they had to use No Contact (or take out a restraining order). You didn’t seem to be a dangerous person but who in the blue hell knows who anybody really is behind closed doors? You have now, my friend, entered the surrealistic world of DARVO: Defend, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender. DARVO is the terrain of the narcissistic personality which means the No Contact plan has switched from self-protection to the intention to harm.

Source: The Narcissistic Continuum: The Appropriation of “No Contact”: When Narcissists use “No Contact” against YOU

Reblog: The Narcissistic Continuum: A Traumatic Election: Emotional Overwhelm & Voice

Now that 45 is president, he oh-so-much reminds people of things we don’t want to remember so we numb ourselves. Any painful memory can be triggered by 45. Memories of trust betrayed; memories of scapegoating, chaos, and a distortion of truth so disorienting you can’t trust your own mind. Memories of being lied to and cheated on and hurt by someone you cared about but could not get away from. We can’t go No Contact with 45 any more than children can avoid an abusive parent. Instead, we look for ways to appease political tyrants—just like children appease tyrannical parents. That’s how the narcissistic relationship felt as a kid and that’s how it feels as an adult; however, our feelings aren’t facts we’re reminded; and we aren’t kids anymore, we tell ourselves. We need to find ways to prevent ourselves from slipping into unhealthy behaviors like suppressing thoughts and numbing feelings—a useful tactic for children, a silencing and powerless tactic for adults. We may feel better in the short term but we are not safe. Speaking thoughtfully and honestly has never been more imperative than it is now.

Source: The Narcissistic Continuum: A Traumatic Election: Emotional Overwhelm & Voice

Reblog: DABDA | Grace for my Heart

A post which says that losing a relationship should be respected as a source of pain and grief, not just losing someone through death:

It’s Narcissist Friday!        Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance The stages of grief I have often felt that the death of a marriage should be considered as sad as the death of …

Source: David Orrison, DABDA | Grace for my Heart

 

Hypnosis and Trump

Today (or, rather, yesterday now), I read several blog posts which claim that Trump has been using hypnosis to win the Presidency.  For those of us watching from outside the Trump rallies, his strange rise and win has been baffling because we can see he’s a showman, a con-man, a braggart–and nowhere near qualified to be President.

(We also wonder how the Electoral College became so ineffective, because it was supposed to prevent this kind of travesty from happening, but has turned into a rubberstamp instead.  Since nobody else elects leaders like this, we might as well abolish it.)

Now, him using hypnosis is not all that surprising to those of us who recognize the techniques of narcissists and of salesmen.  Hypnosis is not some mystical myth that belongs in fantasy movies, but actual psychological manipulation.  But the following posts have been enlightening:

Adams explains the hypnosis and persuasion methods he believes Trump has used, and since Adams is a trained hypnotist, Scott has plenty of research and background knowledge to pull from. The writer uses the terms persuasion, hypnosis, and negotiating as part of a three-legged branch all belonging to the same stool. –Paula Mooney, Donald Trump Uses Hypnotism And Persuasion, Says ‘Dilbert’ Creator Scott Adams

 

Would Trump use his negotiation and persuasion skills in the campaign? Of course he would. And we expect him to do just that.

But where is the smoking gun of his persuasion? Where is his technique laid out for us to see.

Everywhere.

As I said in my How to Fail book, if you are not familiar with the dozens of methods of persuasion that are science-tested, there’s a good chance someone is using those techniques against you. —“Clown Genius” by Scott Adams, not just a cartoonist, but also a trained hypnotist

 

“I teach hypnosis, and if you want to learn hypnosis, look at the way Trump’s doing it,” says Barker, author of the book “Selling Hypnotically: The Art of Suggestion.” –Judy Kurtz, Hypnotist: Trump winning with ‘Trumpnosis’

I also became fascinated with these posts because one of the main characters of my novel uses hypnosis.  These posts help me flesh out how the character persuades the heroine to trust and help him.

Another interesting post I found, somewhat related, and certainly of interest to victims of narcissists:

To be clear, at no time did Navarro diagnose Trump as having a narcissistic or predator personality. He says we should leave formal diagnoses to professionals — but that each of us still needs to be able to identify and protect ourselves from harmful people in our lives. And so he created behavior checklists and published them in his book to let you do just that.

Navarro’s book warns that if a “person has a preponderance of the major features of a narcissistic personality,” then he “is an emotional, psychological, financial, or physical danger to you or others.” As the book The Narcissism Epidemic explained, “A recent psychiatric study found that the biggest consequences of narcissism—especially when other psychiatric symptoms were held constant—was suffering by people close to them.” –Joe Romm, What a Top FBI Profiler Taught Me About Extreme Narcissists Like Donald Trump

 

Are we being too harsh on lower-level narcissists?

A couple of posts by another blogger:

Sam Vaknin’s damaging “definition” of NPD

The demonization of narcissism

We can’t deny that abuse happens, that some people are evil, that malignant narcissism exists.  A simple glance at crime reports, ISIS, Nazis, politics, and the like, will confirm that.  Just reading about Lance Armstrong convinced me that he was a narcissist, and that his “repentance” was not for real.

The trouble is that lower-level narcissists and borderlines may get lumped into the “evil” category.  Not every narc is the same; not every borderline is the same.  Heck, it’s said that we are all on a narcissism continuum, that without any narcissism, we’d be doormats.

I suppose we writers must have some form of narcissism, to want to share our lives and stories with the world in our writing.  Yet I know I have no desire to hurt or use others like a narc.  I just want to write and be read.

While my own experience with BPD is an abusive woman described here, Tracy is not the only person with BPD whom I’ve ever known.  I’ve also known borderlines who do not wish to abuse anyone.

It’s because they’re all people.  I’m an introvert, for example, but on the extreme end of it.  Yet I still enjoy spending time with friends, and not just at home with a book.  Other introverts may be far less shy and not nearly as quiet.  Not all introverts are the same.  Not all NPDs or BPDs are the same, either.

As a Christian, I have a hard time seeing anyone as irredeemable.  However, I recognize some people are so far gone that they just don’t want to be redeemed.  But does that mean every NPD is on the road to perdition?  Not if they repent.  Can they repent?  Maybe a malignant narcissist won’t, but what about one who’s not malignant?  Are they all malignant?

The other blogger writes,

Sam [Vaknin] is not a nice person. I have personally experienced Sam’s toxic behavior (I’ll go into more detail about this later) and came away wounded but much wiser. He is everything he says he is, and his book “Malignant Self Love” makes his self hatred all too evident. It’s a dark and depressing read, and his overall attitude is very negative.

Sam has generalized his deep hatred toward himself to ALL people with NPD. He is the person who is most likely responsible for all the hatred and stigmatization flung at ALL people with NPD on so many of the narc-abuse sites and that attitude has spread like wildfire across the web in recent years.

Before Sam came along and started posting about narcissism back in 1995, NPD was just a psychiatric diagnosis. Now, it’s equated with something more akin to demonic possession.

Yes, of course malignant and high spectrum NPDs can be quite evil, but lower spectrum narcissists are really no more evil than anyone else with a severe mental disorder who act out because of defense mechanisms instilled in them during childhood.

I do still have hope for the narcs who haven’t yet lost their souls.  I actually know a couple of borderlines who do not seem abusive at all, and have been in therapy.  I have also read about different kinds of borderlines: ones who are full of angst and may try to kill themselves, but mean no harm to others; also ones who are high-functioning and narcissistic.  Obviously the second type would be more malignant, but not the first.

I especially hope this, because of the possibility that Tracy and her husband will eventually come to my church.  I can hope that the teachings of Christ will finally get through to their hearts and influence them to repent for how they’ve treated people.  I can see behavior in their visits to my blog which makes me suspect–is that a trace of compassion?

In the early days after their abuse, all I could see was an evil couple.  Nowadays, I still see their behavior as evil, but them–Evil?  I don’t know about evil.  Despicable behavior, but not irredeemable people.  I have seen behavior in Richard that I don’t think was fake emotion.

I was abused so badly by my ex Phil, and in so many different mind-screwing ways (as you can see here), that I’m convinced he’s a narcissist.  And yet nine years ago, I got an apology from him.  We’re actually civil online, the few times we’ve interacted since then.  Lower-level and not malignant, perhaps?

The other blogger writes:

I’m certainly not saying that the victim sites aren’t helpful, because they definitely are (I have one myself–although I cover a lot of other topics too).  I’m also not suggesting that narcissistic abuse victims should enable or stay with a narcissist or not go No Contact, or that narcissists aren’t dangerous (they are), but this wholesale vilification of all people with this particular disorder has gotten way out of hand, and Brown thinks it was Sam Vaknin who got the ball rolling on that. I think he is right.

She also writes that Vaknin’s definitions of narcissism combine traits from various different disorders which he suffers from, not just narcissism.  (She also posted a follow-up after seeing my reblog, here.)

Some of the narc blogs and abuse blogs do go to an extreme, lumping all narcs into the “evil” category, then spurring you on to hate them and never let go of the hate.  The trouble with that is you get so focused on the hate that you forget there are good things in life, too.  Do you really want to spend all your days stuck in anger over what happened?  Or do you want to let the anger separate you from the narcissist, then let it go from a distance?

Evil does exist, malignant narcissism does exist, and denying this will only make you vulnerable.  The experiences of the narc-abuse victim need to not be dismissed.  Just like you shouldn’t tell a rape victim to “get over it” or pity the rapist.  The victims of narc-abuse should not be scolded for being “bitter” or “not forgiving” when they see in the eyes of the narcissist that he’s not sorry.  I also spent a little time (all I could stomach) reading the blog of a guy who claims to be a narcissist–and loves it.  He seems to have no conscience or human feeling.

But the danger comes in believing that all narcissists are like this and will never change.  Or that all borderlines are the same.  I have seen for myself, on one of the more extremist blogs, how this attitude has turned the blogger and his/her commenters into a group of bullies.  I see them demonstrating the same narcissistic behavior they condemn.

I also noted that after several years of writing about and finally beginning to move past my own experiences of narc abuse into a place of healing, of letting go of the anger and moving on–

returning to this person’s blog felt like stepping back into anger and a desire for vengeance.

This horrified me because I had been a huge fan of this blog for some time, and thought it was correct about narcissists and how to deal with them.  I adopted many of its attitudes and considered it helpful.  It affected the very language I used in writing or thinking about narcissists: words like deranged and insane.

Then I had a huge wake-up call about this blogger, after the events I describe here.  Another person got bullied by the same blogger and friends for daring to say that not all narcissists are malignant and incurable.

Now I had to backtrack and ponder how much the blog was just encouraging me to become a narcissist myself.

Yet that blog is HUGELY popular.

In this post is embedded a video in which Vaknin discusses the modern phenomenon of narc blogs and the narc abuse victim community, and how it’s turned into a groupthink: Dare to suggest that not all narcs are demons, and you’re turned on, the old mob violence.  Vaknin even says it’s because Americans got involved, that our culture/religion is very fundamentalist and puritanical, God vs. the Devil.

He said his purpose was NOT to inspire a mob, but to bring closure to victims of narcissists.  Meanwhile, the groupthink online refuses to let the narrative turn away from Good vs. Evil, even though the latest research says otherwise.  You do so, and you’re accused of being a “narc lover” making excuses for and pitying the narc.

As I wrote in the comments here,

The trouble is when you get abused by someone who exhibits these traits, you don’t want to empathize with them, because those traits caused the abuse. In the early days, I also found sources that said these people choose to be this way. Well, if they choose to abuse you, you don’t want anything to do with them. Victims also fear that the focus will be taken off the harm that was done, while everyone pities the abuser instead.

But at the same time, as a Christian, the idea of irredeemable evil is abhorrent to me. I believe that anyone could potentially be redeemed. In fact, my conversion to Orthodoxy started when I discovered some of the Orthodox saints believed in some form of universalism. It wasn’t “official” church doctrine, but I identified with their heart. There are even beliefs of Christ preaching to the already-dead….I don’t want to get into all that here, but basically, I don’t want to give up hope for anyone.

But evil does exist, and some people do fit the description. And many of them end up in positions of power. We can be empathetic to a degree, but too far leaves us vulnerable.

The takeaway I get from all this can be summed up this way: Of course what happened to us was wrong.  Of course there is evil in the world.

But the purpose of learning about narcissism is NOT to make yourself some kind of crusader against all the narcs in the world, but to help you learn, understand–and then heal and move on.

It’s to help you learn about reasons why people might end up behaving a certain way, not to excuse the abuse, but to recognize that you didn’t deserve it.

It’s also to help you figure out ways to avoid becoming a victim again, to help you not just to recognize narcissistic behavior in others, but to recognize your own vulnerabilities and attraction to such people.

Just as I realized that gullibility and loneliness keeps making me susceptible to such people and their lies, so I need to be more careful.  It doesn’t mean I deserved what happened.

Calling yourself a narcissist “magnet” is not helpful if that means you have no responsibility whatsoever in figuring out why you’re susceptible.  Do you really want to keep being a victim over and over, or do you want to enjoy life?