Monday, September 29, 2014

Dealing with the Shock of Covert Narcissism

One of the rudest wake up calls we'll ever experience is the utter shock of discovering that a friend, an acquaintance or a relative is a covert narcissist. We learn, usually in a most horrific way, that, all along, she has been planning to undermine us, while, at the same time, pretending to be supportive of everything we do. Life gets very confusing, and problems abound, but she is the one we least expect to be causing them.

A covert narcissist presents herself much differently than an overt narcissist, who probably dresses very sharply and seems to crave being the center of attention. Her hair and makeup are probably perfect and her clothes are stylish. However, a covert narcissist often dresses very plainly. She may even appear disheveled. It seems as if she prefers playing a bit part, instead of a leading role. But make no mistake. She has the same drive to dominate, and just as much seething envy, as her more put-together counterpart.

Both types of malignant personalities are capable of great destruction. However, it's my personal belief that a covert narcissist is much more dangerous, because we tend to underestimate her ability to manipulate people, because she appears so unassuming. These types can be very difficult to spot, even for trained professionals who might be looking for signs of this disorder.

So, how can the rest of us protect ourselves from these mild mannered predators? Look for little cracks in the facade, perhaps a brief glimpse of anger, or a competitive nature. Another clue is someone who always likes to run things. She may be a very benign, benevolent leader. But maybe not.

Pixabay image by OpenClips

Friday, September 26, 2014

What's a Narcissistic Smear Campaign?

Anyone who's ever been involved with a malignant narcissist has probably experienced a smear campaign. This is when a morally disordered person tries to destroy your reputation. They often succeed, because narcopaths can be very persuasive, even as they're lying through their teeth. People who don't have this character flaw tend to believe whatever they hear, because it seems inconceivable that an adult wouldn't be telling the truth. We all tend to think that other people maintain the same code of ethics that we do. It's very difficult to get your mind around the fact that someone who appears to be such a solid citizen would fabricate things about another person. But this is how malignant narcissists operate.

Female narcissists, in particular, use social aggression to attack an adversary. The turn people against their target in order to isolate her. When they do this in the workplace, it often turns into a mobbing situation, as the target becomes public enemy number one.

Smearing usually kicks into high gear as the narcissist gets ready to discard the victim, if, previously, the target was her "friend." But it's likely she did a lot of groundwork before the target was even aware that the relationship was ending. Just to give you an idea of the depths to which a morally disordered person will sink, what often happens is that the narcopath first turns everyone against the target. Meanwhile, as the drama builds, she pretends to be sympathetic. The confused target may even cry on the predator's shoulder, because she's unaware of who's really causing all the trouble.

Remember, malignant narcissists are ruthless. They do not possess the normal range of human emotions, and they are especially deficient in empathy. Because their actions are so evil, it's very difficult for anyone who hasn't experienced narcissistic abuse to understand what has happened.

However, from personal experience, once you come to terms with what has happened, it's important to forgive this person. That's the only way you can break free of this toxic dynamic and move forward with your life. Forgiveness means the malicious person no longer controls your mind and thoughts.

Pixabay image top by geralt

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Narcissist Reaches Out Only When She Needs Something

There's an easy way to evaluate the quality of a friendship, or any relationship, for that matter. How often do you hear from this particular person? When does she call you? Does she ever check in with you, just to see how you're doing? Is she concerned about your problems? Or, do you hear from her only when she needs something?

Some people are givers and some are takers. Although a taker may be relatively benign, he or she still expects you to do a lot for them, and they'll never reciprocate. Although they're not out to destroy you, it's a one-sided relationship, and you can do much better.

A malignant narcissist, on the other hand, will destroy you. But, first, she'll use you as much as she can. A female narcissist believes you, and everyone else, exist to meet her needs. She'll have you drive her children all over creation, and never offer to repay you in any way. If she doesn't drive, she'll use you for rides. If she has children, she'll expect lots of free babysitting, but never offer to watch your children. (However, this is just as well, because you don't want to leave your little ones with a narcissistic psychopath.)

So, if you "disappoint" a malignant narcissist, by trying to set reasonable boundaries, you may never hear from her again. Or, she will become enraged because you've failed to meet her needs. Watch out. The "friendship" the two of you had will be over, and she will also spread lies about you, in an attempt to destroy your other relationships.

Part of the reason for conducting a smear campaign is probably because she wants to justify her own despicable behavior. Also, malignant personalities are highly concerned with their public image. So they need to convince everyone else that you're bad, and that they have legitimate reasons to discard you as a friend. They also need a cover story if they take it upon themselves to drive you from a job. The workplace, unfortunately, is where a lot of adult narcissistic abuse takes shape nowadays.

Pixabay photo top by Hans

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Three Phases of Narcissistic Abuse

A lot has been written about narcissistic abuse from a romantic perspective. But this blog is dedicated to female friendships that have gone bad. From my own experience, when a woman betrays another woman, the root cause is often envy. If the betrayer also tries to destroy a former "friend," we are usually looking at deep seated personality issues, such as malignant narcissism or borderline personality disorder. People who are mentally balanced do not act this way.

Even though I'm not a trained mental health expert, I've been "studying" psychopathy and malignant narcissism for a number of years, following an unfortunate encounter with a morally disordered woman I met at church. (Life was turned upside down for a stretch.) Since then, I've come to realize that narcissistic abuse typically follows a three-phase pattern, whether it's romantic or platonic.

The first phase is when the narcissist is just getting to know you. This is often referred to as "grooming," because she's using this time to look for your weaknesses. Ironically, during this phase, she also idolizes you. You may think you've found your soul mate, because her thoughts and desires so closely align with yours. This is because morally disordered people have few thoughts of their own. They are empty inside, so they "mirror" back whatever you're thinking.

This first phase can last for months, or years. But, eventually, it ends. That's because people with personality disorders have trouble maintaining relationships. In their mind, you are either all good or all bad.

Inevitably, since no one can live up to their impossible standards, you tumble from your pedestal. When this happens, you're headed into the discard phase, which I'll talk about in a minute. But, first, you'll probably be the subject of a vicious smear campaign. (This is the second phase.) A narcissist will do this for a number of reasons. One is to maintain power. Another is she doesn't want anyone else to think she's a bad friend, so she needs to get your faults (real, perceived and fabricated) out into the public arena. She wants everyone to "understand" why she's breaking off the "friendship."

The third phase is the discard phase. A malignant narcissist isn't just content to end things. She also likes to inflict as much damage as she can. If you work with her, she may find a way to get you fired. If you belong to the same social group, she'll damage your other relationships so much that you have no choice but to move on.

No one expects a good "friend" to have a such a sinister side. This is one reason why it's so shocking when we discover someone's true colors.

Pixabay image top by Violetta

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Narcissists Crave Drama

I just saw something on Pinterest that reminded me of my experience with a covert narcissist. These people love drama and they work endlessly to create it. It seems they are not satisfied unless they are actively engaged in pitting one person against another, or pitting a group of people against a target. Because people with this character flaw always need an enemy, they will change targets, selecting a new one just as they finish destroying their former one. Typically, this happens after they've driven the former target out of a workplace, a volunteer organization or a social group.

One of the easiest ways to spot a disordered personality is the chaos surrounds them. They are always upset with someone, always ticked off at someone else and they gossip endlessly about people who aren't present. Don't make the mistake of thinking they aren't doing the same thing to you when you're not around, because they are.

Amazingly, I once knew a malignant narcissist who let her secret slip. (I'm still shaking my head over this one.) She actually came clean, and told me she was trying to stir up trouble, in order to stay in control. If everyone around her was fighting, no one would be able to resist her particular plans, because they would be so bogged down with the drama she created. It's absolutely amazing how much destruction one person is capable of causing.

Pixabay image top by Nemo

Friday, September 19, 2014

Your Misery Makes a Narcissist Happy

Because malignant narcissists are seething with inner rage, and filled with envy, they cannot be happy for someone else. In their minds, your success or good fortune steals something away from them. Perhaps you're in the spotlight. They can't handle it, because they need to always be the center of attention. Perhaps you've won an award. Someone with such a severe character flaw believes it should have gone to them, even if they've done nothing even to earn it. and even if they were not in the race to receive this honor. (With a narcissist, whatever you have, they want, even if this possession is of no value to them.)

Because a morally disordered person's mind is so twisted, and because these shallow individuals are so self-absorbed, they cannot truly be happy about another's accomplishments or blessings. Someone who is extremely narcissistic, or malignant, will even take the added steps of trying to take this accomplishment or praise away from you, or try to clip your wings, so you land with a big public thud. This, she believes, will raise her own standing.

Do not mourn if you suddenly lose a "friend" because something good has happened in your life. This person was never a friend in the first place. There is such a thing as foul-weathered friends, as opposed to fair-weathered friends. The foul-weathered folks are at your side while things in your life are falling apart. However, they get very upset when things take a turn for the better. Avoid these types. They will only cause you misery.

Pixabay image top by OpenClips

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Female Sociopathy Underreported

When we think of a sociopath, most of us associate this term with men who've committed violent crimes. Certainly, most people who do these things could probably be diagnosed with anti-social personalty disorder. But so could a lot of women who harm people in other ways, but just don't get caught, because, technically, they're not breaking any laws.

For every man now doing time for his crimes, there are probably countless women walking free who are just as capable of great evil, except they carry out their wicked deeds under the cover of darkness. However, their behavior is still extremely deviant.

These women are just as ruthless, if not more so, as someone who breaks into someone's house and steals valuable items. When they go on the offensive, they set out to destroy another person, typically another female whom they view as a threat.

Much of what is known about psychopaths comes from research conducted among male inmates. But some experts are beginning to wonder if, perhaps, more attention needs to be paid to the issue of female psychopathy. Those of you reading this blog would probably agree, since most of us have probably been fooled by a saintly appearing woman with a very dark side. She may be someone you work with, or she may have been your former "best friend." She may be your next door neighbor, or the mother of one of your children's friends.

Humans are very social beings, and we like companionship. Getting close to a female predator will always turn ugly. If you happen to work with one of these socialized psychopaths, and she turns on you, your job will likely be on the line. If you encounter one in a social setting, expect to see a lot of infighting. For a female narcissist/sociopath, sowing discord is as essential as breathing.

Learn how to spot the warning signs that someone could be a socialized psychopath. That way, you can walk away, sparing yourself a great deal of angst down the road.

Pixabay image top by violetta/370 images

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Malignant Narcissist Will Mirror Your Values

In the beginning of a relationship with a malignant narcissist, the behavior you see is often the opposite of what you'll encounter later. They are lavish with their praise, to the point that they seem to put you up on a pedestal. They are readily available and they're a lot of fun. It seems as if you have found the perfect soul mate. You are so thankful to have found such a close "friend."

However, what's happening is that you are being "groomed." Because people with such a severe character flaws do not have normal human emotions, such as compassion and the ability to take another's perspective, they can only mirror your personality traits. This is why the two of you seem to connect so well. For instance, you enjoy traveling to the Caribbean. Guess what? So does she. You and your husband may like a particular type of ethnic food. Well, coincidence of coincidences, that's her favorite as well.

The morally disordered person is also using this time to probe your personality for strengths and weaknesses. She is envious of your strengths, so down the road she will try to destroy these, or at least try to destroy other people's perceptions of your strengths. During the discard phase, and even before, she will attempt to assassinate your character. By the time you realize what she's up to, a great deal of damage has been done. If this happens at work, you may need to look for another job.

Malignant narcissists are dangerous people. That's why it's always a good idea to spot the warning signs of this very destructive disorder beforehand, in order to keep divisive personalities at arm's length.

Pixabay image top by Nemo

Friday, September 12, 2014

Adult Bullies Also Use Social Media

It's a well-known fact that childhood bullies use social media to taunt their targets, which is a very dangerous thing because the target never really gets a break from the abuse. In an earlier generation, a child could come home from school and not have to worry about mean people until he or she returned to class the next day. They could also enjoy bully-free weekends.

Adult bullies, unfortunately, have also discovered social media. These online predators love the ease and convenience it affords. For instance, if they are trying to exclude someone from a group, or drive them from a job, they will typically start email lists, yahoo groups or post a lot on Facebook. They will then use these posts to let the victim know they are being isolated and excluded. (Exclusion is a form of bullying, as is gate keeping, or managing the flow of information.)

Female bullies typically use relational aggression, rather than physical violence or threats of physical harm. They work hard to get other people to turn on their target, by spreading false rumors and using innuendo to convince others the target is a bad person. Because females are often covert, or closet, bullies, they can also maintain a facade of being a nice person at the same time. Their target sees their true colors, but no one else does.

So, if you're having trouble with a female bully at work, or in a social setting, disconnect from the Internet as much as you can. Don't read her emotionally charged emails. Ignore her Facebook page. Let her waste her time trying to shoot arrows across the Internet, because they have no place to land.

Pixabay image top by geralt

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Managing a Disordered Personality

On another platform, I recently wrote an article about managing people with difficult personalities. People with borderline or narcissistic personality disorder certainly fall into this category.

Usually, if possible, it's best to avoid interacting with someone who has this type of moral disorder. That's because lying and deceit are part of the picture. However, this isn't always possible. The person in question may be your boss or someone sitting in the next cubicle at work. Or, horror of horrors, your child's teacher may have strong narcissistic traits.

One of the tips in this article was never to agree with someone when they start complaining about another person. Trust me, sooner or later, this will happen. Usually, it's sooner, because morally disordered people are very unhappy, both with themselves and with others. They're always looking for the worst possible motives, and seizing upon people's faults, real or imagined.

So, when they start running someone down, remember they'll do the same thing to you when you're not around. They want to draw you into their drama, and they desperately want you to agree with them, that the person they are talking about is wicked and evil. Don't do it.

Aside from the fact you're participating in a mean-spirited activity, people with moral disorders like to sow discord. As crazy as it sounds, what usually happens is that the narcissist or borderline will run to the person she was speaking badly about, and tell that individual that YOU were saying terrible things about her, and that she felt she had to get this off her chest.

Then, when the other person responds in shock and anger, a malignant narcissist (or a borderline) will run right back to you with this information.

Pixabay photo top by PublicDomainPictures

Monday, September 8, 2014

Narcissistic Abuse - Moving Away from Anger

If you're reading this blog, it's very likely you've been a target of narcissistic abuse, or you've had a negative encounter with someone with a serious character flaw,such as borderline personality disorder. (Sometimes, it's hard to tell a borderline from a narcissist, since they share so many of the same traits. Malignant narcissists, in general, are capable of causing much more destruction though.)

Perhaps you've been betrayed by a female friend with whom you've shared a lot of secrets. Maybe her personality issues are severe enough to warrant a diagnosis, which can be made only by a professional. However, her moral aptitude leave a lot to be desired.

Being betrayed by a friend is a horrible experience. So is being mobbed at work, a dynamic that's all-too-often started by an adult female bully.

These can be life-changing experiences and the fallout can be incredibly devastating. It can lead to job loss (75 percent of workplace targets are either fired or resign) and it invariably leads to loss of relationships with other significant people. Female bullies attack by social aggression, in which they attempt to isolate you and turn other people against you. They typically succeed, because they fabricate nasty information about you and then they spread it.

It's normal to be angry, but it's not healthy to hold on to the anger. If you do, consider it a victory for the bully. She wants to ruin your life. If you spend the rest of your days bruised, crushed and licking your wounds, she's won the battle.

Pixabay image top by Nemo

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mom Cliques and Adult Queen Bees

With childhood activities now arranged mostly by mothers, I wonder if this is part of what is fueling the rise of "mom cliques." These are groups of mothers who form a tight little circle and exclude other mothers they don't like, as well as their children.

The mothers feel the sting acutely. They suffer both for themselves, because all their "friendships" connected to that group have drifted away. But their hearts really ache for their children, who are devastated when they're not invited to birthday parties and sleepovers anymore, all because a group of grown women have decided they don't like their mother.

It's very clear these childish games being played didn't end in childhood. It's almost like a return to the schoolyard, but much worse. Children can set aside their differences much easier. Today's squabble is tomorrow's reconciliation. Not so with adults.

When one woman is suddenly excluded, you can usually blame this group dynamic on an adult queen bee. (She will be surrounded by a group of adoring, and easily led, flying monkeys" who go along with her nasty plan.) Female bullies use social aggression to harm others. Excluding someone, along with their children, is a wicked thing to do, because it hurts the children so much.

Things were much healthier back in the day when mothers could open their doors and let their children play outside, expecting them back in time for lunch or dinner.

Pixabay image top by Nemo

Friday, September 5, 2014

Malignant Narcissism and Borderline Personality Disorder

To answer the question about why women can be so mean to each other, I believe that many of the most extreme instances of relational abuse can be traced to character defects, such as malignant narcissism and borderline personality disorder. My posts here tend to focus on narcissism, since, of the two conditions, this is the most dangerous one. Narcissists, in general, are not as impulsive as someone who psychologists would consider a "borderline." A narc can often function very well in society, and appear perfectly normal. Because she can come across as being very competent, people tend to trust her and believe what she says.

However, someone with the classic symptoms of borderline personality disorder may appear a little odd or eccentric. Unlike a narcissist, she can have a empathy and go out of her way to help you, until she turns on you. Borderlines will inevitably flip 100 degrees, and can go from loving you to hating you in an instant. When you're the enemy, they can become very aggressive. During this time, they will go on a full-scale, all-out assault to turn other people against you.

Although the two conditions share a lot of common traits, narcissism, especially the malignant kind, is the most problematic. That's because of all the stealth attacks. It's very clear when a borderline doesn't like you. She glares at you and she's likely to insult you to your face. However, a malignant narcissist may be seething with hate, but still smile sweetly at you while she's plotting your destruction.

Pixabay image top by Nemo

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How Narcissists Minimize and Invalidate

Part of what makes malignant narcissists so unpleasant to be around is their tendency to minimize and invalidate our feelings. This is a particular "skill" they likely learned earlier in life, as they realize that using it makes it easier to control and manipulate others. The phrase "you're too sensitive" is frequently trotted out in attempt to make you feel as if the bad behavior you're responding to is perfectly acceptable, and that you're the one with the problem. As someone pointed out on one of the Pinterest boards, people who possess empathy for other people do not use this phrase to minimize or invalidate what someone else is legitimately feeling.

Similar words that tend to minimize our reactions include, "You need to get over it" and "You're really good at holding a grudge," something we may hear if we dare to bring up a pattern of behavior. "I'm sorry you feel that way" is another line to watch for, because it implies that you are the one who needs to get over something, and it deflects responsibility away from the emotionally abusive person.

All of this goes hand-in-hand with gaslighting, a sinister form of emotional abuse in which a morally disordered person attempts to get you to doubt your own feelings and perceptions. It's named after a vintage movie in which a husband secretly rearranges items in his home in an effort to drive his wife crazy. Then he lies about it when she asks him if something was moved.

However, just because the person in the movie Gaslight was a man doesn't mean that female malignant narcissists don't do their share of gaslighting. They most certainly do.

Pixabay photo rtop by hansiline

Monday, September 1, 2014

There's No Pleasing a Narcissist

Anyone who's ever been involved with a disturbed individual suffering from narcissism or borderline personality disorder, a closely related condition, knows that there's no pleasing these people. You can do everything "perfectly" for only so long. Sooner or later, they'll find something that doesn't "measure up" to their ever-shifting standards. (Also, their standards are for other people. They'd never be able to follow them.)

So it's impossible to please someone with such a severe character disturbance. Knowing this makes it much easier to accept and to move on from the inevitable occasion when you "disappoint" them. Narcissists tend to overreact to real or imagined slights, since they have very fragile egos. Watch out when this happens. You will be then become the villain as an all-out psychological war is declared. You may not know you're in the heat of battle until things become really crazy, and a number of other people have turned on you.

A narcissist on the warpath is a force to be reckoned with. A morally disordered individual will cause a ton of drama as she pits one person against another. Personality disorders, or character disturbances, are the root cause of workplace mobbing. Typically, what happens is a bully rallies a group of flying monkeys to help carry out her agenda of pushing her target out of a job. Because most people are weak, or easily led, they march in lock-step to the bully's beat.

Pixabay image top by realworkhard