Friday, May 15, 2015

10 Things I've Learned About Narcissistic Abuse and Recovery

Looking back on a time of extreme chaos and confusion in my life, the result of having a malignant narcissist as a "friend," I am so happy to be free of this sinister dynamic.

At one point, I had no idea that some adults are capable of acting in such a diabolical manner. Nor was I aware of the prevalence of this type of character disorder. A combination of my own naiviety, as well a couple of other factors, made me an easy target. Although this experience was painful, it was probably necessary, because it taught me some valuable lessons.

Here are 10 things I didn't know about narcs that I know now.
  • Men have not cornered the market on antisocial behavior. Women can be just as dangerous, if not a lot more treacherous. While females don't usually resort to physical violence, they certainly have an arsenal of techniques that can cause mass destruction. They destroy on emotional rather than a physical level.
  • Female bullies employ what some psychologists call "relational aggression" or "social aggression." This is designed to turn people against you.
  • Narcissistic abuse, especially what we see among adults, generally cannot exist unless a group of weak-willed people allow it to happen.
  • These enablers are just as guilt as the narc, because without them the narc is virtually powerless.
  • People you thought you could depend on let you down when a narcissist goes on the attack. They are ruled by self interest, rather than by doing the right thing. This means they lack integrity.
  • The incidence of malignant narcissism seems to be at all-time high. One psychologist named Dr. Martha Stout, PhD., believes that 1 in 25 people could be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.
  • Malignant narcissists operate much like sociopaths. They have no regard for the rules of society, or the rights of others. They are "unencumbered" by feelings of guilt or shame.
  • The most dangerous individuals are those that appear perfectly normal, and even saintly.  Some psychologists call these types "covert narcissists."
  • You can run into malicious people everywhere, even at church. In fact, coverts love to assume positions of power in religious settings. (But please don't let this discourage you from going to church.)
  • Oftentimes, the first sign that a narcissist has entered your life is a sense of uneasiness and confusion. During this time, your enemy-in-disguise is probably still pretending to be your friend. Meanwhile, she's busy turning other people in your life against you.
  • Getting away from the narcissist is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Original Pixabay top image by Kapa65

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Manipulating a Conflict

My husband recently told me about a town that was in so much conflict that an outside mediator is being called in to help its municipal officials get along. However, unless the independent investigators are well-versed in malignant narcissism, they're going to have a difficult time getting to the root of the problem.

That's because all it takes is one morally disordered person to bring an organization, or, in this case, a community, to its knees. One chief instigator will work the crowd, playing upon everyone's weaknesses. Because narcs have laser-like ability to zero in on our needs, wants and desires, and then pretend to meet to them, they get other people to march in lock-step with their plans.

It's going to be very hard for someone from the outside to come in and settle things, unless they're willing to spend a lot of time in that particular community. The narc or narcs causing the trouble will be well aware they're being watched, so they'll be on their best behavior. Narcopaths are able to fool even trained professionals.

I'm only speculating, but if I had to guess what's going on in that town, I'd bet it was a very malicious instigator, staying in the background, manipulating everyone else into battle. Good luck finding the right person.

Original Pixabay image by geralt

Friday, May 1, 2015

Spotting a Treacherous Person

You don't need an advanced degree to spot a treacherous person. Malignant narcissism, by its very nature, involves deceit and a disregard for the welfare of others. Oftentimes, it also means that someone afflicted with this character flaw delights in watching others suffer, and will even set up elaborate scenarios that result in unpleasant consequences for their targets.

This is treachery, pure and simple. People who engage in this type of behavior are evildoers. Perhaps we should move beyond labels and call it what it is.

Sometimes, when writing about malignant narcissism, I feel uncomfortable doing so because I'm not a psychologist, and I'm not qualified to diagnose a particular individual with this disorder. But I can recognize treachery and so can you.

Maybe that's all we need to do. Does it really matter if someone doesn't fit all the criteria for malignant narcissism? If they function fairly well, but have no integrity, this means they can't be trusted. They may not suffer from anything diagnosable, but they are still toxic and potentially dangerous. This should be enough to warn us to stay away. (Unfortunately, though, many folks keep this dark side well hidden, so we don't realize it's there until we get hurt.)

Of course, discussing malignant narcissism does have its benefits. It helps people just learning about this disorder to get their minds around the fact that a certain subset of the population can appear perfectly normal, and, oftentimes, "nicer" than average. However, at the same time, they are capable of turning your life upside down, until you realize you have an enemy in your midst, and take corrective measures to remove this person from your life.

Treachery always involves an element of deceit. If this weren't the case, it wouldn't be treachery. It happens because someone we once trusted betrayed us, usually in the most horrible way imaginable.

Original Pixabay image by Nemo

Monday, April 27, 2015

Toxic People Use Their "Friends"

Oftentimes, a toxic person will demand a lot favors. That's because have an inflated sense of entitlement. Being their "friend" wears you out physically and emotionally. They expect so much, but give so little in return. In their twisted way of thinking, just allowing you to be in their presence is their way of "repaying" you.

Watch when these demands are coupled with the sympathy ploy. Dr. Martha Stout, PhD., in her book, The Sociopath Next Door, warned us to be on guard when a new acquaintance tries to make us feel sorry for them. She believes this is the only reliable indicator you may be dealing with a sociopath.

Although not all toxic people may meet the criteria for antisocial personality disorder, an umbrella term that encompasses sociopaths, psychopaths, malignant narcissists and anyone else who has no regard for their fellow human beings, if someone has enough of these traits, they don't make good companions.

But, anyway, back to the constant favors. (I'm not talking about true friends who may be going through a crisis, and who need our help.)

If you perpetually feel as if you're obligated to go far out of your way to meet the needs of someone, who really shouldn't require that much help, it's time to rethink the relationship. That's because such expectations go hand-in-hand with a crazy sense of entitlement. Someone who feels so entitled likely has strong narcissistic traits, regardless of whether they have a diagnosable disorder.

Someone with this character flaw has no loyalty. Once you're no longer useful, expect to be discarded.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Narcissists in the Workplace

One of my readers on another site left a comment, which contained an excellent suggestion. He thought that it would greatly benefit businesses if they could somehow weed out people with strong narcissistic traits before they are hired. Corporate leaders and human resource people should be educated on the problem of malignant narcissism, and learn how to watch for it.

Malicious behavior in the workplace is rampant, and undoubtedly very costly. It results in increased sick days and loss of productivity. Targets usually end up leaving the company. This gets very expensive when you factor in severance, hiring costs and retraining a new worker. These serial bullies tend to strike again and again, so the cycle repeats itself. Morale suffers and the atmosphere turns toxic.

Of course, this type of training probably wouldn't be refined enough to detect the covert narcissist. That's because these villains are so good at hiding their character defects that they come across as saintly. But their targets know better.

Coverts are extremely dangerous and destructive, precisely because they can go undetected for so long.

Original Pixabay image by Nemo

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why are Narcissists So Charming?

Those of use who study "narcology" are well aware that one of the characteristics of malignant narcissism is superficial charm. But it wasn't until today, when I noticed an interesting pin on Pinterest, that I started to think more about the reasons behind this trait. It also made me ponder the meaning of "charm" in general.

What we are seeing with these good first impressions is manipulation. The reason someone with a disordered character is so appealing (at first) is because they always say the right words. That's because they have studied us and have pinpointed our strengths and our weaknesses. They play to our weaknesses with flattery.

This type of "charm" is not a good thing. Oftentimes, deep down inside, these charmers detest us. Or, if they don't hate us now, they will soon enough. That's because narcissists initially idolize their targets. However, eventually, they turn on them. No one can possibly measure up to their impossible standards. 

Their brand of charm is dangerous. Real charm, on the other hand, comes from a sincere person with good manners. These people don't turn ugly. Narcs, on the other hand, do, because cannot keep up this facade indefinitely. That's when the "charm" gives way to abuse.

So pay close attention to the "charmers" you meet. Even if they don't have all the traits of full-blown narcissism, it's an indication they may relate to people in a less-than-sincere manner. One more thing to watch for as we strive to keep malicious people at arm's length.

Original Pixabay image by Dieter_G

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Finding Your True Friends

True friends are a treasure. They are also relatively rare. If you find just one or two in your lifetime, you are truly blessed.

Thinking about the handful of true friends I do have, I am extremely grateful for them. These are the people you know will not talk about you behind your back, or, worst case scenario, secretly plot your destruction. They stick by your side in good times and in bad. They are happy when things are going well for you, and sad when troubles arise. They enjoy spending time with you and will go out of their way to do so. (You do the same for them.)

No matter what happens, you know they're in your corner. They don't make cutting remarks to your face. They aren't envious of what you have, and they're not scheming to take it away from you.

True friends are loyal. They are not swayed by a hostile third party, whom wants them to leave your side. They simply will not take the bait, even if it means a measure of sacrifice, or forgoing some type of personal gain. They'd much prefer to not hurt their friend.

These characteristics are the opposite of malignant narcissism, which so many of us have experienced.

Actually, at this point in my life, I'd prefer to have no friends if I can't have true friends.

Ecclesiastics 6:15

A loyal friend is something beyond price, there is no measuring his worth.

Original Pixabay image top by geralt