When you are with a devil of a partner, you do not see their dark side at first. The really good predators are skilled at creating a shared psychosis…an illusion that you are two perfectly matched souls….destined to be together
When you are with an authentic partner, who has true compassion for you, they do not feel the need to state things like….
I have compassion for you.
I don’t usually have compassion for other people, but I have compassion for you.
Other people do not really understand you or see you. But only I see the real you.
No one sees your talent but me.
I am the only one who has really loved you.
I am the only one who could really love you.
You are so different from other people that I am the only one who understands you.
You are too special to be with anyone but me.
No one will love you the way I do.
You are the only one who can save me.
I would die without you.
You would die without me.
You and I do not belong in this world.
We are nothing without each other.
You can only do great things if you are with me.
I will kill myself if you leave me.
I will kill myself if you….
I will kill myself if you don’t….
My life was nothing before you.
You don’t need anyone but me.
Your friends are not really your friends. Only I am.
Everyone always lets me down in the end.
Everyone disappoints me sooner or later.
Every relationship I have ends up with them abusing me. You will do the same.
Everyone leaves me. So will you.
No one is willing to give me what I need.
I never get enough help from anyone.
People should help me and do what I ask, without wanting something in return.
If you really loved me you would not expect things in return for doing everyhing I ask you to do.
How can I believe you love me if you are not waiting by the phone when I call?
How can you do things for other people when I am so needy?
How can you do things for yourself (like take a shower) without checking that I am okay first?
I should not have to be there for you to prove my love.
Love is about you being there for me and doing things for me that I can do myself.
Love is being there for me when you have an impotant business meeting to go to.
Love is being there for me, when your friend or family member has an emergency.
Love is about being there for me when you have an emergency.
Love is being there for me when you are sick or sleep deprived.
Love is giving up all your friends and family for me.
Love is you knowing that my job is more important than yours, but that I not help you pay your bills.
Love is YOU paying attention to MEEEEEE and me ignoring, rejecting, demeaning, minimizing and lying about you.
If you have a narcissistic parent, then nothing of your own belongs to you. Not your mind, not your thoughts, not your feelings.
The narcissists feels entitled to control and own all of your things, both physical and mental.
When you have an idea you want to try that is different from theirs, they will put up a fight to make you change to their way of doing things. They have no right to d this. You are an adult with the same rights they have.
They do not ever see you as an adult, or as an individual with your own rights, gifts and talents.
They feel you are something they own and should control when you need controlling.
If you do not comply with their wishes, they will try to undermine you in any way they can.
Narcissistic parents have gone so far as to publicly shame their children, spread lies and gossip about them, and cause them to lose jobs and relationships.
They will take over responsibilities that are yours, and tell you it is for your own good, because you are inadequate.
This wears down your self esteem and effects how others see you. The narcissistic parent does not want you to shine independently from them.
If you do something well, they will claim the credit for it. Even if they did nothing but counter and interfere with something, they will still assume the credit.
If they disapprove of something you do, then they will punish you in the form of shunning. silent treatment, demeaning you, scapegoating you, or causing a mobbing effect from other family members, who they turn against you.
These are hurtful, malicious games, designed to keep them in the spotlight and you in the darkness, and under their shadow.
The narcissist is sure they are right all the time. They will never listen to your idea, your pint of view, or your circumstances. They do not care.
No contact is usually the best way to live.
Then you will have autonomy and be able to flourish and grow in ways you can not imagine while you are under their darkness.
If you cannot go no contact, then do your best to stick to your own ideas and plans.
Do not give in to the pleas of the narcissist or believe them when they call you abusive to them. It is a typical tactic designed to make you feel shame and guilt.
I just finished giving a guitar lesson to my teenage niece. It is nice to spend time with her. I have been giving her lessons for a few months now, about every other week.
Before her father had asked me if I was interested in doing guitar lessons with her, I had not been doing much with guitar at all.
I used to play all the time. Depression has a way of making you lose interest in the things you once used to love to do. After back to back abusive situations with partners and family members, I lost my will to do anything that I liked to do.
Since I have started my life coaching business I have been feeling that life force coming back. Once people suck your will out of you, it takes time to be able to self generate that energy again.
It takes doing something that you are passionate about. Since I have been working with other abuse victim, I have felt a purpose in my life that means something special to me. So this is having the effect of generating some of that will power back again.
I still feel the weight of depression pressing down on me as I try to push it off. I am learning that you cannot push it off at all. It is more a matter of accepting without judgement of yourself.
Then allowing the feelings to come and sitting with them in a way that is nurturing. Showing yourself compassion when the people closest to you cannot show you any compassion is not easy. But you can do it once you learn that the perceptions others have about you do not have to frame your reality.
Anyway, I was thinking of putting new strings on my guitar so that it would sound better. The old strings have a very thumpy, dull sound. I know that I would be pleased to hear the sound of new strings and I would be more likely to play for enjoyment.
I might learn a new song or write one of my own. Baby steps are sometimes the way to make great changes in your perceptions. It is the change in perception that will create change in your behavior.
Perceptions control your emotions. Emotions are underneath of all behaviors. Once you can begin to change behaviors and have more control over getting some momentum, then you can begin to enjoy your path as you are creating it under your feet.
Emotophobia is the fear of unpleasant emotions, not to be confused with emetophobia, the fear of vomiting.
There is little online about emotophobia.
The few articles I found offered the suggestion to “stop treating negative emotions as if they are your enemies and can harm you.”
This is somewhat condescending and implies that emotions themselves cannot harm you.
The person offering this advice clearly has never been in a situation where showing negative emotions could harm them.
So, they think it is rather ridiculous that someone would associate their negative emotions with danger.
The problem with this thinking is that there are situations where someone’s emotions can cause them harm.
This advise shows a complete misunderstanding of emotophobia and its root causes.
People with emotophobia are not “treating” emotions as if they are the enemy.
For people that have emotophobia, emotions were the enemy and they were followed by consequences.
People that grew up in mentally abusive childhoods were not permitted to have emotions like other people are.
The expression of emotion, which represents being an individual, is often punished by abusive parents.
Even children who were not physically abused, could have had their right to individual ideas and feelings violated.
Narcissistic parents and other overbearing, maniplulative parents do not want their children to develop independent thoughts and ideas.
They do not want their children thinking in terms of their own needs at all. When their children expressed feelings, the abusive parents retaliated. If the child thinks independently and can express their feelings then it might threaten the narcissistic parent.
The narcissistic parent wants to create a false narrative about the family. It is the vision of the family that is portrayed to the outside world. Everyone in the family has to back this story up.
Children are not allowed to talk about abuse that occurs in the home. The narcissist re-frames the abuse to the mind of the child. The child is taught to believe the shared psychosis of the family, created by the narcissist.
Punishments are inflicted on a child who goes against the narcissistic parent in any way. These can be emotional or physical in nature.
Everyone in the house is trained to cater to the narcissist. Everyone knows that there are consequences for disobedience. The family members are made into a kind cult that follows the lead of the narcissist.
These mentally abusive parents, want the focus on themselves. The needs and feelings of the others in the family do not matter.
They demand for the child to cater to their ever changing desires and demands. The narcissist will set rules and then change them when they feel like it.
The children are expected to follow the rules, even when the parent has not informed them of changes. It is like playing a game with someone who changed the rules randomly and does not tell you.
In order to survive in this type of environment, the child must learn to constantly read the parent’s body language and tone of voice.
They must anticipate the desires and moods of the parent. If they fail to do so, it is met with negative consequences.
If the child expresses disagreement, or unhappiness with a narcissistic parent, they will likely incur the anger and wrath of the parent.
The smallest indication of disagreement with the parent can bring out their anger.
For their own protection, these children and teenagers learn to disguise their feelings and push them down.
They do not want the parent to see their feelings because it will be used against them.
If you grew up in this type of environment, then feeling negative emotions was the enemy. It is not something we have suddenly developed an irrational fear of as adults.
This environment causes C-PTSD, which is Complex Post Traumatic Stess Disorder, in many people. This is carried over into adulthood.
So, the advice to “stop treating emotions as if they were the enemy” and to tell people that feeling emotions is safe, does not make sense to someone with C-PTSD from childhood mental abuse.
Adults can also develop emotophobia from ongoing abusive relationships with a partner. Women become afraid to disagree with their partner because they fear the consequences of his anger.
Abusive people do not tolerate their partner exercising their personal rights, or expressing opinions that are different from them.
Again, the brain rewires the neural connections to avoid showing negative feelings. This is a necessary survival tactic at the time.
It is not easily undone. The brain considers it necessary in order to protect the safety of the person.
It takes years to develop this survival tactic and to learn how to detach from one’s own emotions. The brain becomes wired to avoid entering into situations that may cause negative emotions.
To undo what was a learned survival skill takes a lot of work in re-wiring the brain.
Telling someone “emotions are your friends” does not work, especially without any idea why the person feels such anxiety about emotions like anger and sadness.
The only people who really understand what it feels like to have severe anxiety about showing anger, and sadness to others are those of us that are carrying the C-PTSD that causes it.
This is not a simple problem to just fix. You have to re-wire your programming. You have to learn that it is okay for someone else to be upset with us when we say “no.”
You need to learn how to identify what you want and what decisions will support you in a healthy way. It is okay if other people do not agree with your choices.
It takes practice to be able to stand your ground about things without fear of the consequences making you comply with others even when it is hurtful to you.
Low self esteem.
Lack of being able to self generate feelings of self worth.
Fear of doing things that make other people upset, angry or disappointed.
Difficulty prioritizing oneself.
Trouble feeling motivated to get ahead in life.
These are some of the symptoms of C-PTSD from growing up with a narcissistic parent. Your subconscious brain is programmed very early about your identity, and your role in the family and your place in the world.
Associations are deep in the subconscious.
If you do not comply with the other person, there will be consequences to pay. If you cause someone to become upset , you will pay dearly.
People from more health families learn to look out for themselves. You learned that in order to protect yourself, you have to look out for others.
People from functional families were taught to be in touch with their own feelings and to love themselves.
If you were the child of a narcissist, you were taught to defend against the wrath f the narcissist by not expressing your own feelings. Eventually you began to have trouble identifying what you want at all.
As an adult this wiring in your brain keeps you from taking care of yourself properly.
You still have that hyper-vigilance that there is a threat of danger when someone near you is not getting their way.
You may have a fear of being abandoned by the people you love, if you consider your own needs to be equal to theirs. The longer you cater to the desires of other people, in a relationship, the more they come to expect that treatment from you.
People around you can become conditioned to expect you to always agree, always go along with them, and never challenge them.
One of the many problems of this “people pleaser” behavior is that it attracts narcissists and predators. Narcissists and psychopaths want easy prey or at least a victim that had obvious emotional wounds that they can use to use against you.
If you have never practiced standing up for yourself, then you have no idea how to do this, and you fear the consequences of doing so. What would happen to your relationships if you said “no” to someone?
What would happen to your world of you began to prioritize your own needs? What consequences would follow if you believed that your needs and ideas were just as valuable as those of the people in your life?
Well, you can see the people in the world who are not afraid to say “no.” You interact with them all the time. They say “no” to you all the time. These people are not all in the same category.
There are people who do what they want all the time. They never let people cross their boundaries. In fact, they cross over into your world and stomp all over your rights and invade your boundaries all the time.
These are the narcissists. You may have a fear of becoming like that. You do not want to become the parent that emotionally abused you. The very person that caused much of your difficulty in getting what you want out of life.
But there is another category of people who stand up for themselves. These are people that have healthy boundaries but still respect the rights of other people. They do not exploit and manipulate others.
They express their feelings and let people know what they want. They go after the things they want out of life and they consider their personal dreams, desires and emotions to be a high priority.
These are not narcissists. They do not use aggressive, emotionally manipulative communication. They do not covertly try to get emotional reactions from you, in order to exploit and control you.
There is a line between assertive and aggressive. You are being assertive when you express what you do and do not want.
You are being aggressive when you make it clear that you do not care what the other person wants. You undermine, lie to, and gaslight people to get your way.
Being assertive and having healthy boundaries does not have to injure other people.
You are not a bad person for looking out for yourself.
You are not a narcissist if you care about your own feelings and needs. You are a normal human being.
I will write about this topic again in the future. Please leave comments below about a specific question or particular problem that you have.
Give me some ideas about problems of having C-PTSD (complex PTSD) that you are dealing with.
I want to hear from adult children of narcissistic parents. Also from anyone that grew up under the heavy cloud of a narcissist in some capacity. It is not always a parent.
Also, if you feel that your ability to move forward and get momentum in life has been affected by narcissistic abuse, either during childhood or as an adult, please leave me any ideas about questions I can address in a future post.
There are many of us who asked to be loved by a parent who either refused to love us, or was incapable of loving us. This can carry over into adulthood as a disorder called codependence. People who have codependent tendencies also have People Pleaser Syndrome.
The traits of People Pleaser Syndrome include: difficulty saying no, a phobia of upsetting people and being around negative emotions, and a tendency to do what others want even if it causes you discomfort or even harm.
This need for approval and love was not gratified as a child, and there is still a longing for approval from others. There can be a confusion between people loving you and people approving of you.
People can approve of your actions because your actions meet their own agenda. This does not necessarily mean that they love you, or even like you.
There can be a tendency to waste energy attempting to attain approval from the wrong people.
There are people who will take advantage of people pleasers because they notice that you need approval. They will manipulate you be using your emotional needs against you.
They also realize that you are kind and want to make people happy.
This good nature is also something that manipulative people will notice and take advantage of.
So, what can be done for people who still want to fill their love tank from childhood? Are there any safe places for the unloved children when they become adults. ( note I got the term Love Tank from the book called the Five Love Languages which I recommend)
There are safe people and safe situations, but people pleasers often have trouble identifying who is taking advantage of them and who is not.
One of the main things that was broken or not fully formed during childhood is the ability to create personal boundaries.
You must have reasonable boundaries for yourself, and be unwilling to violate those boundaries just to attain approval or affection. People that truly care about you will not constantly cross your boundaries.
When another adult is constantly taking too much and asking unreasonable things from you, then you need to take a look at the overall relationship.
When people insist on crossing your reasonable boundaries, then it is time to tell them “No” …even if they act upset or disappointed with you. Sometimes people will be upset with when you tell them “No”. This is okay.
People will be upset with you when you refuse to allow them to have their way. If they are used to being able to manipulate you by provoking an emotional response, then they will try to resist your new stand about your boundaries. That is okay.
It is okay for other people to feel upset when you refuse to allow them to take advantage of you.
Everyone does not need to have their way all the time. No one needs to have their way all the time. They are just used to ignoring your feelings.
If someone is always demanding their way, in spite of you telling them how you feel , then experiment with holding your ground with them.
You do not have to give them reasons that they will just reject and minimize. You can give them a simple form of No, such as “No I am not able to help you with that this time,”
If there are no reasons for them to counter and guilt you about then they have no material to work with. You want to stay away from a debate with them because they are used to finding your buttons and knowing how to guilt an shame you. Just do not allow it.
You will never get your love and approval needs met from people that only care about their own agenda.
Not only that, the people that would be caring to you may be getting ignored by you because your energy is being taken up by manipulative people.
The squeaky wheels tend to get the oil. They drain all of your time and energy, just because they are demanding.
In the mean time, there may be other people in your life that are feeling starved of your love and attention. You may not mean to do this, but it happens to people pleasers sometimes.
Pay attention to the ones that respect your boundaries and the people who are loving towards you. Do not confuse someone telling you that they care about you, with people that actually care about you. Love is not in the words.
There are manipulative people that will enter into relationships with codependent people. When this happens the narcissistic person might tell you that they are looking out for your own good. Just because someone says that they are controlling you for your own good does not make this true.
People that respect you and your boundaries will allow you to make your own choices. They may guide you to be able to think about what you want, but they will not try to force their agenda onto you. They will not project their beliefs and force them onto you.
If someone has to announce to you or to others that they are good to you, then that should make you wonder.
Some abusers use this tactic to confuse their victim. They will tell you that they are good to you and even tell others how good they are to you.
Look at how people treat you, not how they say they treat you.
See if the relationship is really balanced. If you are always doing things for them and they complain about having to do one thing for you, then you may want to evaluate how fair the relationship is to you.
The need to be approved of and loved is strong with adult children of alcoholics and other abusive parents. But that need cannot be met by abusive people.
Once you practice drawing simple basic boundaries, then you will be able to attract people that respect those boundaries. Notice what boundaries other people have. They should respect the same boundaries with you that they expect you to respect for them.
Here are a few examples of ways a manipulative person crosses boundaries while holding their own boundaries
1. They do not allow you to call them at work. But they call and interrupt you at work all the time.
2. They do not do favors for you that will interfere with things they need to get done. But they insist on you doing favors for them, even when you tell them that you have other things that you need to do.
3. They are clear with you about not interfering with their sleep schedule, work schedule and other time frames. But they keep you up late when you have to work the next day and make you run late for work by keeping you on the phone.
4. They insist that you answer the phone when they call, even if you are busy. But they ignore your calls and call you back hours later if at all, even when you leave a message that it is important.
5. They are clear that they have other relationships that need their time and attention. But they get upset or angry when you spend time with other people or do things to maintain other relationships, rather than giving them all of your time and attention.