In my opinion, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of treatment for reducing obsessive thoughts. It is important to understand when coming out a relationship with a narcissist, we need to deprogram from them. I can speak from personal experience that working with a certified CBT mental health professional is what finally helped me deprogram and retrain my brain. Thanks to recent advances in science and technology, we now know that our brains are much more plastic (changeable) than we ever thought.
Narcissist Recovery Blog
In light of recent news that the American Psychological Association (APA) is considering lumping Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) under Anitsocial/Psychopathic Type, I have done a great deal of reading to understand their reasoning.
It appears there are two schools of thought offering an explanation thus far. One school of thought is that Narcissism has become so commonplace and so encouraged in America that the APA will simply no longer recognize it as a disorder due to political reasons. I certainly hope this is not the case. I do not want to believe this theory, but it's out there and we need to acknowledge it.
It is not easy to face the reality of our relationship with our significant other. We may waste time shifting blame or try to tell ourseleves things aren't that bad. This is understandable. I know I lied to myself for years before getting honest. Let's talk about what prevents us from getting real...
Let's talk about fear. Whatever we fear controls us. Fear, if not confronted, prevents us from truly living. Fear is like a prison.
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
Narcissists may hope for love and caring, but feel very uncomfortable if they seem to find it. Being in love makes them feel vulnerable and this terrifies them. They doubt the authenticity of real love and devalue anyone who loves them because they believe that person, like themselves, can never live up to their expectations of perfection.
Narcissists cannot grasp the concept of unconditional love that includes the acceptance of flaws. Love does not sustain them. Instead it feels unsafe. Admiration feels safer because it can be earned through achievements and credentials. Since these are things the narcissist can control, they feel much safer being admired, rather than loved.
The emotional abuse that occurs in a relationship with a narcissist is merciless and relentless. Narcissists brainwash their victims. They use several different methods of coercion in order to obtain control over their significant other. They threaten, degrade, shift blame, criticize, manipulate, verbally assault, dominate, blackmail, withdraw, withhold love and affection and gaslight their victims.
By learning from the moments in life, we become more compassionate and can aspire to live in the present. We can relax and open our heart and mind to what is right in front of us in the moment. We see, feel and experience everything more vividly. This is living. Now is the time to experience enlightenment. Not some time in the future. Keep in mind, how we relate to the now creates the future.
Yes, it's completely normal and healthy to start losing friends once you wake up and realize what you will and will not tolerate in a relationship. Once we begin to understand narcissism, we see that not only do we attract narcissistic romantic partners, but friends as well. I have lost more than one friend this past year.
As a result, I've started asking myself why I'm so drawn to these personality types and would like to understand why they’re drawn to me. The first part of this question is a no-brainer. It’s easy to fall for a narcissist. They are very charming, witty and often the life of the party. To spend time with them is intoxicating and exciting. There’s never a dull moment.
Women are raised to be gentle, loving and kind to others. As little girls, our parents teach us to feel empathy for and nurture others. We play with dolls. Boys are taught to compete with other boys, to be dominant and independent. Boys play with guns.
The way I look at it is simple: Girls play house and boys play war.
As a result, many women get their self-worth out of the role they play as wife, mother and caretaker to others. Many men get their self-worth out of their work life and their career status. We may not stop to think about this much, but I think it’s worth noting.
As we've discussed, we must process and validate our feelings before we can move on. Repressing our feelings has been shown to negatively affect our physical and emotional health.
We know that stress chemicals are released through emotional tears. Therefore, we should never be afraid to feel sad or cry.
We also should never be afraid to feel angry. Unfortunately, many of us were taught to repress anger, especially women. Anger has a negative connotation because most people associate it with aggression. But in reality, anger is followed by violence only 10 percent of the time, according to Howard Kassinove, PH.D., co-author of Anger Management: The Compete Treatment Guide for Practice.
We must allow ourselves to feel. Often times, when in the midst of a breakup or divorce, we do not take the time to feel our feelings. That’s because when you experience trauma, you are often in survival mode. You’re trying to keep it together for your children and/or other family members. All your energy is focused on getting through the transition. It’s natural not to grieve while in survival mode. It's all a process. That is why it is so important to work the steps of relationship recovery to ensure you deal with your feelings now instead of being forced to deal with them in the future when you are not prepared.
As humans, we have what is called "Selective Memory," which our mind uses as a way to protect us.
Good memories are vividly clear and much more readily available for recall in our memory than bad memories. As mentioned earlier, bad memories are fragmented, stored in a different part of the brain and not as easily accessible. We tend to obsess about bad memories more because they are unresolved and scattered. They pop into our heads more frequently when we have not sorted out the chaos or made any kind of effort to understand what happened.
Research tells us the main reason for the stress of psychological trauma is that our memories of these horrible events are fragmented. Psychologically traumatic events are ones that have no good explanation. You have painful facts that make no sense, right? This is what mental health professionals call Cognitive Dissonance.