CLICK "Read more" Below for LINKS to the best quality FREE content!
Meghan Markle provides a full-view educational example of narcissistic behavior. Our healing opportunity is to reduce any shame you may feel about your situation. Narcissism is so poorly understood, neither Harry nor the royal family could protect him from a narcissist initially or succeed in helping him to break away from Meghan once her voluminous narcissist behaviors were on display in plain sight. (Meghan likely felt some loss of control coming and then facilities their move to isolation, first to Canada and now to Santa Barbara, CA - the familiar US for Meghan.)
The Oprah interview on March 7, 2021, provides an easily digestible view of how a narcissist thinks and speaks. Megan's control of Harry, entitlement, exploitation, lack of emotional empathy, grandiosity (this interview itself, which Meghan did without Harry for more than the first half). All these behaviors take place in an unconscious (unknowingly) instinctive manner (her manipulations just come to her naturally, she has no specific awareness of them being different than typical societal behavior). Megan is not acting, she is an example of displaying her sincere but delusional beliefs that she is a victim of the royal family, the media, her father/sister, everyone! Meghan is in a stage of idolizing Harry (at the end of the interview she skillfully attributes their "escape" to him); unfortunately, a pattern of de-valuation will likely come in the future.
What made Harry susceptible? It is highly speculated that Princess Diana was unfortunately afflicted with a borderline personality disorder (likely developed from her parent's rejection and banishment to a boarding school). Prince Charles was not a very nurturing father. Diana (who died when Harry was 12), developed his "people-pleasing" personality style and was familiar with relationship instability. Prince Harry described Diana as a mother who “smothered us with love”: “She would just engulf you and squeeze you as tight as possible. And being as short as I was then, there was no escape, you were there and you were there for as long as she wanted to hold you… All I can hear is her laugh in my head and that sort of crazy laugh of where there was just pure happiness shown on her face.”
I found the best YouTube video to educate you is from HG Tudor (A self-proclaimed narcissist-psychopath himself). HG had created a series of 17 short videos on Meghan BEFORE the March 7, 2021 (you can back to watch them to learn about all her previous behaviors. I suggest you what the HG Tudor video first, before watching the CBS interview. HG Tudor's Meghan video 18 AFTER the interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kFP3BGeJgY&t=186s
Shame is not deserved. Interesting: In this Meetup group, 65% of our members suffer "Relational Trauma" from a romantic partner. 35% are or have suffered "Developmental Trauma" from parent/s. Both fall under "Complex PTSD" (CPTSD). CPTSD is not yet an official diagnosis in the DSM (adding a diagnosis to the DSM takes many years - PTSD was not added until 1980). Many Meetup members are suffering both types of trauma, developmental trauma from their parents and then relationship trauma from their partner. Why? At least partially from SURVIVAL and FAMILIARITY. Our brains seek the safety of the familiar environments which can be the behaviors of the toxic parent we grew up with. The good news, there are treatment modalities that will help you get better (the sooner the better, trauma feelings get more ingrained over time)!
THIS MEETUPS FORMAT: I commonly present research-based PSYCHOEDUCATION sessions that can TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE by ENABLING you with the information, knowledge, and motivation to take action to start gaining control over your distress towards overcoming the trauma you may not realize you suffered. Learn why recovery can be hard and the steps available to prevent you from making the same mistakes again! "Toxic" generally includes narcissistic, borderline, antisocial personality disorders (psychopathy/sociopathy).
THE NARCISSIST IN YOU LIFE book by Julie L. Hall c 2019 - about $14 on Amazon. FREE SAMPLE! This book is awesome and highly recommended because in its 300-pages it succinctly covers partners/parents/siblings in easy-to-read, research-based information. I have 58 books on personality disorder-related topics and this is 1 or the 2 BEST for most people. https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=Aj6RDwAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&pg=GBS.PP1
WHY IS THIS NOT CALLED A "SUPPORT GROUP"? BALANCE. (1) "Talking about your abuse does play a role in your healing journey." (2) "Group members do not share details of their trauma histories; rather, they bond around ways they continue to suffer in the present from the trauma. They find commonality in understanding their symptoms, even as they learn new and more adaptive ways to manage their symptoms in the course of the group." (Judith Herman) (3) "...new experiences create new neural pathway activations in our brains. Trauma experiences and discussing your trauma is can be detrimental by reinforcing those unhealthy pathways." (Rhonda Freeman Ph.D.) Due to the reduced frequency and psychoeducation focus of this Meetup, we mostly follow (2) and (3) above.
DISCLAIMER: All content is psychoeducational and does not include mental health therapy or advice. You should seek a licensed therapist before taking any action.
TESTIMONIAL by a member who ended her relationship with a cohabitating partner of several years:
"I went to my first meeting at a point in my life when I was struggling for closure after ending a relationship that had caused me tremendous emotional and physical pain. I had figured out that narcissism was involved but not much more. The resources, thoughtful analysis, and discussions that took place at this Meetup group were instrumental in helping me move forward. The organizer/leader does a superb job selecting topics, gathering and sharing resources, and running the meetings. For me, participating in this group has been life-changing."
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson.
2. Ross Rosenburg, M.Ed, Licensed Clinical Counselor, Codependent: 164,000 subscribers, 14 million views. Ross’s Codependency Cure™ work reformulates, redefines, & ultimately renames “codependency” to “Self-Love Deficit Disorder. ™" https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8OgfVyM8u5xhoHTJPa9sOQ
GOOD BOOK: The Human Magnet Syndrome: The Codependent Narcissist TrapThe Human Magnet Syndrome: The Codependent Narcissist Trap by Ross Rosenberg M.Ed. LCPC CADC CSAT, 2018, 4.5 stars $15 on Amazon
3. Dr. Sam Vaknin (Ph.D.) & diagnosed with NPD: Could be the MOST CLINICALLY ACCURATE VIDEOS, he is brilliant and a leading authority and author on Narcissism (Sam actually has a narcissistic personality disorder) - 120,000 Subscribers 21 million views 620 videos to choose from for the specific topics you want. He speaks with a European accent but is very understandable. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLadFapyecCYAeuTqc12avA
This Meetup's psychoeducation is only meant to start your recovery or supplement your THERAPY which IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - because IT IS EFFECTIVE!: According to respected Sandra L. Brown, MA, (30 years in this field) is the Director of the Institute for Relationship Harm Reduction that publishes the Safe Relationships Magazine (it is online). 90% of survivors have "aftermath" symptoms of trauma and 75% have Complex PTSD or PTSD - so it is very likely that you have trauma that is holding you back from enjoying life! There are several types of therapies that have been proven to work! You are lucky, you can recover and get healthy. Unfortunately, abusers with personality disorders are typically intractable (difficult to treat). Start today because untreated trauma gets worse!
6. Craving for the relationship even though it was harmful to you
7. Feel deprived of your attachment to your former partner
8. Acute, Chronic Stress Reactions, PTSD or Complex PTSD
9. Stress-Related Physical Illnesses
10. Feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster
11. Decreased ability to focus and make decisions
12. Cognitive Dissonance (Conflicting belief system that the partner is good/or bad)
These symptoms are commonly referred to as ‘Aftermath’ symptoms and are the most identified forms of trauma associated with relationships with pathological partners who have Cluster B and/or Psychopathy. Sandra's one year program is $33 per month. (Unbiased recommendation, no affiliation or benefit to this Meetup Group.)
Sandra's research differentiates the types of trauma an each requires a different treatment to be effective:
- 25% of survivors need treatment for their codependency traits of being overly compassionate, thinking about others' problems, anticipating their needs, and making excuses for others (learned during childhood). Treatment is to resolve a feeling of worthlessness and being awful to themselves and doubt their intuition and worry they are not being flexible enough.
- 75% of survivors need treatment for "Healing the Aftermath of the Pathological Love Relationship" and to learn how to prevent a repeat relationship by learning to guard their "super traits" of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness that narcissists target. Also, this profile often requires additional treatment for the cognitive dissonance pain caused by their gaslighting and the fact that you had essentially 2 relationships - one with the abusers "good" Jekyll persona and another with the evil Hyde persona.
1. Complex PTSD (CPTSD) is typically from pernicious (slow, insidious) or repetitive trauma that includes child developmental trauma & abuse (often with insecure attachment too), child neglect, sex abuse, domestic violence, intimate partner coercive violence that affects our psyche and can take years for a full recovery. Treatment options include Component-Based therapy (Hopper 2019)
2. PTSD trauma is typically singular events and can often be treated successfully within months using psychodynamic group therapy, hypnotherapy, and flooding (Hopper 2019)
3. Abused Women Syndrome - refers more to physical violence and requires a different treatment for that abuse and trauma harm.
Requirements and priorities of a GOOD match therapist for YOU: You feel listened to, safe, and that they really care about you. They answer your questions without being defensive. Do they come across as professional and only share information about themselves that is relevant to helping you. For more ideas, watch Ross Rosenberg's therapist litmus test: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90ik1hzX0xs
CAUTION: Never tell anyone that you think they are a narcissist, have narcissistic traits, or have narcissistic personality disorder. Also, don't tell other people that you think this either (except your 1 or 2 closest friends or family members). Somewhat surprisingly, it is hard to convince/educate people about the very real damage that narcissists cause; even with evidence - "Until people experience the harm, it's hard for them to comprehend it, especially when they have only experienced the narcissist as charming." Narcissists have needed to learn how to charming (even though, as you know, it is only superficial) and are only abusive to those close to them, so they have likely only experienced their charm or normalcy.
Especially resist using any labels with any professionals you encounter! Although using this label gets people's attention, a psychological phenomenon called "SPONTANEOUS TRAIT ATTRIBUTION" happens, which causes nearly all people to think that YOU are the trait label you used! Therefore they will view YOU
This "NOT LABELLING" people guidance also applies to all other personality disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder (known as a psychopath). Even though people with these disorders can be harmful to you and others and you need to protect yourself. You should still be respectful and have compassion for them, they did not choose to have this mental illness, likely were victims of trauma in their childhood (that only specialist professions can treat, do not try yourself - establish strict boundaries instead). (Note: While someone who is afflicted with a "Bi-Polar disorder" is NOT destructive to others like personality disorders can be and Bi-Polar disorder can be successfully regulated with commonly prescribed medications and talk therapy.)
VIDEO: Dr. Ramini: "The Empath and the Narcissist: a Dark Fairy Tale" As Dr. Ramini says, her story also applies to reversed gender roles. If you are the adult child of a toxic parent, you could easily have developed to be an "empath" or "codependent" personality style (common, but not official clinical terms). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMXx5VlrMog
Note: We all have some mild narcissistic traits throughout our lives. Narcissism is a valuable part of normal child and adolescent development. However, when the traits continue into early adulthood, and a qualified clinician identifies them as having 5 of the 9 criteria in the DSM-5, then the clinician may be diagnosed with "Narcissistic Personality Disorder" (NPD). Labels like NPD are useful for training and understanding, but since in the case of Narcissism it has severely negative interpersonal behavior connotations, are regarded and intractable to treat, so many clinicians are reluctant to give this diagnosis.
SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS when explaining your situation to family and friends (I used a placeholder "he" (could also be a "she") and "XXXX"):
"My mind and body are hurting and I've finally realized that it's mainly due to how I've allowed myself to be lied to, controlled, manipulated, and exploited by XXXX. He has suffered in his life and now I've realized that he has a psychological issue that is driving him to be verbally and emotionally abusive to me. I've read articles on the web that describe why he is so negative, hostile, and always putting people close to them down. In public with you and with most people, he does a great job of being charming and normal, that's part of what attracted me to him, but I now have realized that it is all a mask. I'm recognizing how he has exploited me and many other people, he feels entitled, uncaring, and yet he always describing himself as a victim... after I read about it, his traits fit this problematic profile in many ways."
"Despite all this, I still feel compassion for XXXX because the research explains how common it is for the trauma he suffered from his parents and family often results in this abusive form of behavior as an adult. These traumas don't affect a person's intelligence and it actually increases their ability to be charming, and successful. To describe their lack of being able to relate to others, one doctor uses a movie metaphor, that people like XXXX experience the world as if he/she is an actor and also directing all the other actors in a movie, and they become violent when the actors don't act as they direct them, which is to always meet their needs for admiration and to be served. I've learned that unfortunately for them and us, these conditions are very resistant to change, so I need to protect myself and our children from him."
"Part of my journey back to health includes not allowing myself to be isolated so thank you for letting me share this with you. I appreciate your friendship as I work to figure out what to do next."
BOOK 2: Top selling and 5.0 rated: "Whole Again: Healing Your Heart and Rediscovering Your True Self After Toxic Relationships and Emotional Abuse" c 2019 by Jackson MacKenzie (he also authored the best selling "Psycopath Free Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People" c 2015
BOOK 3: Top Selling and 5.0 rated: "Healing the Adult Children of Narcissists: Essays on The Invisible War Zone and Exercises for Recovery" c 2019 by Shahida Arabi
Should you also join this related Meetup Group: "Parental Alienation"? You do if you fit either of these 2 situations:
A. You do NOT have contact with one of your parents because you are convinced they were/are:
1. Unsafe, 2. Uncaring, 3. Unavailable
B. Your relationship with your children has been undermined by your ex-partner/co-parent. They have restricted your access to your children resulting in them becoming cold or rejecting you.
If so, you may be a victim of "Parental Alienation", a rather common phenomenon...but with low awareness for the term. Brian has been running a support group for this for over 3 years...use this link and be sure to check out the YouTube video links in the "About" tab of this meetup group (which you can see even without yet becoming a member.) https://www.meetup.com/Bostons-Alienated-Parents-Meetup/
Codependency is characterized by a person belonging to a dysfunctional, one-sided relationship where one person relies on the other for meeting nearly all of their emotional and self-esteem needs. It also describes a relationship that enables another person to maintain their irresponsible, addictive, or underachieving behavior.
The term codependency has been around for decades. Although it originally applied to spouses of alcoholics (first called co-alcoholics), researchers revealed that the characteristics of codependents were much more prevalent in the general population than had previously imagined. In fact, they found that if you were raised in a dysfunctional family or had an ill parent, you could also be codependent.
Researchers also found that codependent symptoms got worse if left untreated. The good news is that they’re reversible.
SYMPTOMS OF CODEPENDENCY The following is a list of symptoms of codependency and being in a codependent relationship. You don’t need to have them all to qualify as codependent.
§ Low self-esteem. Feeling that you’re not good enough or comparing yourself to others. Hidden from consciousness, are feelings of shame, guilt, and perfectionism
§ People-pleasing. Saying “No” causes them anxiety (https://psychcentral.com/anxiety/). Some codependents They go out of their way and sacrifice their own needs to accommodate other people.
§ Poor boundaries.Boundaries that are weak or blurry your feelings, thoughts, and needs plus your body, money, and belongings.
§ Reactivity. If someone says something you disagree with, you either believe it or become defensive.
§ Caretaking. If someone else has a problem, you want to help them to the point that you give up yourself. It’s natural to feel empathy but codependents need to help others and might feel rejected if another person doesn’t want help.
§ Control. Control helps codependents feel safe and secure. Sometimes they have an addiction that either helps them loosen up, like alcoholism, or helps them hold their feelings down, like workaholism so that they don’t feel out of control. People-pleasing and care-taking can be used to control and manipulate people. Alternatively, codependents are bossy and tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. This is a violation of someone else’s boundary.
§ Dysfunctional communication. Codependents have trouble when it comes to communicating their thoughts, feelings, and needs. Instead of saying, “I don’t like that,” you might pretend that it’s okay or tell someone what to do.
§ Obsessions. Codependents have a tendency to spend their time thinking about other people or relationships. This is caused by their dependency and anxieties and fears.
§ Dependency. Codependents need other people to like them to feel okay about themselves. They’re afraid of being rejected or abandoned, even if they can function on their own. Others need always to be in a relationship because they feel depressed or lonely when they’re by themselves for too long. This trait makes it hard for them to end a relationship, even when the relationship is painful or abusive. They end up feeling trapped.
§ Denial. One of the problems people face in getting help for codependency is that they’re in denial about it, meaning that they don’t face their problem. Usually, they think the problem is someone else or the situation. Codependents also deny their feelings and needs. They might be in denial of their need for space and autonomy. Although some codependents seem needy, others act like they’re self-sufficient when it comes to needing help. They won’t reach out and have trouble receiving. They are in denial of their vulnerability and need for love and intimacy.
§ Problems with intimacy. By this, I’m not referring to sex, although sexual dysfunction often is a reflection of an intimacy problem. I’m talking about being open and close with someone in an intimate relationship. Because of the shame and weak boundaries, you might fear that you’ll be judged, rejected, or left.
§ Painful emotions. Codependency creates stress and leads to painful emotions. Shame and low self-esteem create anxiety and fear about being judged, rejected or abandoned; making mistakes; being a failure; feeling trapped by being close or being alone. The other symptoms lead to feelings of anger and resentment, depression (https://psychcentral.com/depression/), hopelessness, and despair. When the feelings are too much, you can feel numb.
There is help for recovery and change for people who are codependent. The first step is getting guidance and support. These symptoms are deeply ingrained habits and difficult to identify and change on your own. Work on becoming more assertive and building your self-esteem.
How do you spot a narcissist? (Source: Adapted from Bill Eddy, LICSW & Attorney)
The "WEB" Method: Their WORDS, Your Emotions (Gut Feeling), Their Actions:
A. THEIR WORDS:
1. Do they often speak about others either disparagingly and only occasionally positively (and then its extra positive and not often in the middle)?
2. Do they always turn the conversation back to themselves, and looked bored when you are talking? (The
3. Are they perpetually describing themselves as a victim in many ways while also referring to themselves as superior?
B. YOUR EMOTIONS (you gut feelings):
1. How do they make you feel? Don't ignore your gut feelings.
2. Too good to be true - it likely is.
3. Do you feel stupid, inadequate, and like you can't breathe?
C. THEIR BEHAVIOR:
1. Take notice of what they do, more than what they say (the words are a distraction from their bad behavior).
2. Do they disregard your requests? (This is because they like winning relationships, not having relationships).
3. When they mess up, do they blame you? This is called projection. (They are always a victim.)
4. They always defend themselves, including writing long email rants and engaging in social media meltdowns.
5. The 90% rule. Do they do something (or many things) that 90% of people would NEVER do? Examples could include humiliating a partner or child in public, sabotaging someone, verbally attacking a colleague or employee in a meeting, etc.
Additional ways to identify a narcissist (compiled from multiple sources):
6. Be wary of someone who doesn't have many active long-term friendships. Determine if there is dysfunction in their family. Family estrangements could be the result of narcissism (which leaves a wake of destruction for all people close to them).
7. Tell them you don't want to do something they want to do. A narcissist will often react with significant discomfort or even worse - an angry outburst. (They view you as an object and are insulted that you are in control in any way.)
8. Ask them, "In what areas of your life or character would you like to improve?" and observe their baffled expression - narcissists think they are perfect and will only refer to something that is external to themselves.
9. Tell them that they did something wrong and you want an apology - narcissists are very resistant to apologizing (and if they do, it is empty and they will do the same thing again).
The problems with many NARCISSISTIC ABUSE & HEALING YouTube videos:
1. They are by coaches that don;t have formal education or training on the important, foundations of treating trauma and mental health issues'
2. They focus too much on describing narissist behavior and not enough on "what to do", too many videos are used to simply describe how narcissists behave (and they are very interesting), but...to actually get better, you then need to move to solutions such as establishing boundaries and often going no contact.
YouTube speed trick to SAVE TIME! You can listen to most videos faster using YouTube's 1.5x to 2x setting. You can still comprehend the material (even while driving). (On average we speak 150 words per minute yet our average listening/processing capability 3x that — 450 words!) To reach the "settings" YouTube videos have 3 dots in the upper right that opens the playback speed options.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). (They have more of these traits and more severely then what we all occasionally have a bit of.) In bold are the behaviors that negatively affect others (vs themselves and vs just being annoying).
1. They are emotionally vacant due to childhood abuse, they can only act out on their false sense of their entitled self, they misperceive everything as an attack so they strike first
2. Emotionally restricted to negativity; angry, hostile, vindictive, aggressive, and some are violent
3. Self-centered, view people as objects to be exploited, entitled to lie-cheat-steal, manipulative, they have to win, and some are grandiose
4. They are always the victims, it's never their fault, rather it's your fault that caused them to do bad things
5. Superficial and lacking empathy (the ability to understand how others feel), calm, cool, charming, convincing, they are experts at impression management
6. Often your gut will tell you there is something "off" about them - but you mistakingly ignore it because of their intelligence and they speak well
7. They focus their abusive, controlling behavior on family and co-workers.
8. The stealthiness of their limited target selection combined with speaking to others first makes it easy for them to convince other people that they are the victims
FYI - Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5) (Copywrite 2013) Alternate Model Proposed Diagnostic Criteria for Personality Disorders includes, in part (only), for all disorders: "Part A: Moderate or greater impairment in personality functioning, manifested by characteristic difficulties in two or more of the following areas: (1) Identity, (2) Self-direction, (3) Empathy, and (4) Intimacy." Each disorder also has Part B diagnostic criteria; they differ for each disorder.
They’re not always as obvious as you might think. That’s because domestic abuse is about controlling someone’s mind and emotions as much as hurting their body. Being abused can leave you mentally scared and confused. It can be hard for you to see your partner’s actions for what they really are. The abuse can creep up slowly and continue subtlety. A verbal putdown here or there. An odd excuse to keep you away from family or friends. Sometimes they wait to be violent only after you’ve been cut off from other people so you feel trapped. If you’re afraid of your partner, that’s a big red flag. You may be scared to say what you think, to bring up certain topics, or to say no to sex. No matter the reason, fear has no place in a healthy relationship.
If you feel like you’re being abused, there’s a good chance you are, and it’s worth getting help.
Keep that in mind as you think about these signs:
Bully, threaten, or control you: Accuses you of having an affair, Blames you for abuse, Criticizes you. Tells you what to wear and how you should look, Threatens to kill you or someone close to you, Throws things or punches walls when angry, Yells at you and makes you feel small
Cuts you off from family and friends: Keeps close tabs on where you go and whom you go with, Makes you ask for an OK to see friends and family, Embarrasses you in front of others, and it makes you want to avoid people
Physically abuses you: Abandons you in a place you don’t know, Keeps you from eating, sleeping, or getting medical care, Locks you in or out of your house, Punches, pushes, kicks, bites, pulls hair
Controls your money: Keeps cash and credit cards from you, Puts you on an allowance and makes you explain every dollar you spend, Keeps you from working whatever job you want, Steals money from you or your friends, Won’t let you have money for basic needs like food and clothes