This is much longer than what I normally post on here, but I need to process.
Goodness me, I have been through a tumultuous time. Finally, I have a clear mind once again. However, I have come to a serious revelation that if I do not continue to make changes in my situation the cycle will quickly happen again.
Now I do take responsibility for my own emotions and actions, however, this last round of depression stirred something in me. It made me stop for a moment – I halted, took a look around, and recognized the cycle.
It is not one that I create on my own. It is not depression in the sense that I cannot come out of it. There are moments when the depression and the feelings of hopelessness flee. In those moments I have clarity of mind. Without going into too much detail, this round happened when I should have been happy and excited that I published another poetry book.
I should have felt at least some sort of pleasure AND I did for a moment, but it was quickly drowned out by a person in my life who has now written a book, but they are unable to edit quickly or get the person that they convinced to help them edit, to get it it done quick enough. They have subtly downplayed my accomplishment.
This is not new, it is a repeating cycle. Anytime I accomplish something they do this to me, though they vehemently deny it.They insist that they are the sole person who understands me, how I think, and who truly appreciates what I do. They also claim that I do not appreciate all they do for me.They help feed my insecurities and fear of abandonment from my family. It is my trigger and can easily send me into a spiral especially, when I am mentally and physically exhausted.
This has been going on for years. I finally got the nerve to share with some of my family what has been happening because I know that I cannot live like this anymore. I need help. I need other people to give me perspective. I need to stop feeling constantly confused and alone. I am not sure I will write about this on my other blog, there are certain family members who do read it that I do not want to know about this.
I need to process and feel safe. I have been doing a lot of research on narcissism, for some reason this time around my eyes seemed to see clearly. I do know that I have asked a lot of people to pray for me the last week, I do know that people have been praying for me to have clarity. Possibly, the prayers are helping. Something has changed.
My mind was able to comprehend cycles and comprehend how I am being emotionally depleted. I have continued to doubt myself and feel as I am making things up. I have felt guilty for the information that I have shared and I should not. I have done nothing wrong by telling people about my situation, but somehow I feel fearful and wrong for doing so.
I would believe that I was making everything up if I were the only one who felt this way and I did not have specific details and actions to prove otherwise. My family is worried about me. Even those who are not the most supportive. This is the first time that I have actually been concerned for myself.
I dismissed everything before, but now I cannot. The reason being that I know that I cannot keep this cycle up anymore. I have adopted someone else’s issues. They are not mine. I am not this person. I have been working through things for several years now and every time I begin to gain my identity and some form of independence something happens.
I can never pin point it, but somehow it is my fault. I am the problem, but I have no idea what I have done. My entire foundation crumbles again and I begin to doubt who I am, my own inner strength, my ability to be independent. My anxiety comes back like a vicious beast and next comes the depression.
I am supposedly surrounded by the most supportive environment I could possibly have. There is no way to explain it. Everything gets twisted and turns into hours of conversations where I sit in a mind mess because I do not know how the topic got spun. I end up saying things without knowing what I am saying. I am bombarded with information and red herrings so much that I cannot think straight and then, I have to try to sort it out for days.
I just got off the phone with my mom which helped me and gave me another perspective. One of the great things about my mom is that if she felt I was off or that I was perceiving things incorrectly she would tell me. She does not hold back the truth whether it may hurt me or not. She is very matter-of-fact and that is a good thing for situations like this.
We can all be emotionally driven and have a clouded point of view because of how we are feeling it is good to have someone who can see with different eyes and to help bring balance. I am the first to admit my challenges and things that I need to work on, however, I cannot possibly be the only person who has issues.That is all I will write about now.
I did find a ton of things to read through and gained a new appreciation and understanding for narcissism. Though I have been a victim of narcissists in the past, my social challenges make it hard for me to realize when I become the prey of one.
I will give resources and share some things that were red flags for me, but I am naive and tend to bend toward only seeing the good of people so I missed became full of doubt and believed that I was wrong. It is not a bad thing to see the good in others, but it is can and has led to my downfall many times throughout my life.
Maybe some of what I share can help others. I am on a new journey and in need of educating myself a great deal.
The Reddest Red Flag of Narcissism
Eight red flags of narcissism as listed originally by (deceased) Kathy Krajco:
- puts on a conspicuous display of goodness and kindness
- damages the images of most others
- has a history of past upheavals
- is hated for mysterious reasons by people close to them
- exhibits unnatural and perplexing behavior — backwards reactions to things
- is a control freak, trampling privacy/boundaries
- is extremely self-absorbed
- has a hostile reaction to attention and credit given others
- Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
- Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
- Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
- Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
- Requires excessive admiration
- Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
- Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
Types of Narcissists
The Vulnerable NP
Vulnerable narcissists (VN’s) tend to be more sensitive, often see themselves as victims of those who don’t understand how superior they are. Just like those with BPD, vulnerable narcissists tend to be preoccupied with fears of rejection and abandonment. They and may feel helpless, anxious and depressed when people don’t treat them as they desire.
Invulnerable narcissists tend to be less sensitive and more confident. They know they are superior and will seek revenge or go into a viciousrage against those who don’t treat them as superior or dare to give them negative feedback. They appear to have no sense of shame about themselves and truly have very high self-esteem. Their parents or caregivers may have treated them as superior from early childhood, so that they are not compensating for anything. They’re simply acting out their expectations.
Recognizing Narcissistic Abuse
The emotional and mental abuse that a narcissist inflicts on their victim is based on the power of subtle suggestion. The power of suggestion is one of the most powerful psychological tools known to man and should never ever be underestimated. The narcissist presents to their victim, usually their relationship partner, a false self made up of a collection of simple and subtle pathological lies. Lies which make them seem angelic and builds them a reputation of being ‘as good as gold’ and ‘would never do anything to hurt anyone’.
voicelessness.com (This is an excellent article.)
Not surprisingly, narcissists cannot hear others: spouse, lover, or friends, and especially not children. They are interested in listening only to the extent that it allows them the opportunity to give adviceor share a similar incident (either better or worse, depending upon which has more impact). Many engage in “sham” listening, appearing to be very attentive because they want to look good. Usually they are unaware of their deafness–in fact they believe they hear better than anyone else (this belief, of course, is another attempt at self-inflation). Because of their underlying need for voice and the resultant bluster, narcissists often work their way to the center of their “circle,” or the top of their organization. Indeed, they may be the mentor or guru for others. The second they are snubbed, however, they rage at their “enemy”.
What makes it difficult to help this type of narcissist is their self-deception. The processes used to protect themselves are ingrained from childhood. As a result, they are absolutely unaware of their constant efforts to maintain a viable “self.”
Be on guard against heartbreak if the person romantically pursuing you:
- Assumes there will be instant exclusivity in the relationship.
- Declares their “love” after knowing you only a brief time.
- Continually dwells on similarities between the two of you.
- Monopolizes your time so that you see less of friends and family.
- Disparages others in your life or previous lovers.
- Wants to be almost constantly in contact by phone, e-mail, instant messaging, and so on.
- Maintains that they alone understand the “real you.”
Always remember, you are wiser than your narcissistic spouse. You will see many red flags and ignore a lot of them. You will hear the clear voice of intuition, telling you the truth about your narcissistic spouse. Pay attention to what you hear. It is telling you the truth. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled back in with his/her seductive offerings. They are designed to make you more dependent on him and to keep you from achieving your full personal and professional potential.
Once you know who this man/woman really is, create a step by step plan to extricate yourself from the relationship. Cut the cord. If you wait too long, you will become more entangled in his lies, insidious psychological traps and mind bending.
You can develop your sense of self-awareness and intuition by spending a few moments alone each day, especially when you feel overwhelmed or upset. If you don’t know what you’re feeling or why, sit down somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and ask yourself, What am I feeling? Don’t think, just listen. Trust your instincts. The answer will come to you, perhaps as an image or maybe a word or a feeling. And then base your actions on that trusted information, and not what someone else is telling you. They may not have your best interests at heart.
Highly sensitive people can become targets for narcissists, but that does not mean you are powerless. Knowing who you are and what you need will make it easier to draw the line between a first date with a charmer and a relationship from hell. And if you find yourself in such a relationship, the best solution is to leave. It’s not your job to fix someone else. All you have to do is look after yourself.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim’s an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. The techniques used in “Gaslighting” by the narcissist are similar to those used in brainwashing, interrogation, and torture that have been used in psychological warfare by intelligence operative, law enforcement and other forces for decades.
Seven Strategies To Protect Yourself
If these characteristics sound familiar, know that when you are dealing with a narcissist, ignorance is not bliss. Know that it is highly unlikely that the narcissist nearest you will ever find the need to change. If anything is to shift, it will come from you. Your first step is to realize that you deserve to treat yourself in a worthy manner. Apply the following:
- Decide upon your boundaries.
- Identify what behaviors cross the line, and communicate this as needed.
- Build into your schedule plenty of down time for you when you’ve been in their vicinity.
- Identify a strong circle of support for yourself, not as a place to whine, but as a place to renew your energy and perspective.
- Build reserve. Know that when the time comes to set stronger boundaries, there will be push-back.
- Don’t crumble. Stay steady. Stand your ground without drama. Stay neutral.
- Do not be duped. Move toward what love really means.
How to Live With a Narcissist