Narcissists’ GROWTH Goals (PART 1c)


PREVIOUS: N-Growth Goals (PART 1b)

FYI : The complete series on narcissism is made up of 70 posts!

 

 


Therapy for NPD is a long process
Many NPDs feel defensive about treatment or think it’s unnecessary – that therapy is not worth their time & money, or if they try it, will soon quit.  Because Ns use defenses of denial, distortion, & projection, they believe all their problems come from the outside, so being introspective is not even considered. Thus, they don’t often come to individual therapy.

🔷NPD treatment – when sought – is centered around ‘talk therapy’, which tries to help the client take responsibility for their inner word & external behavior, such as understanding what triggers their emotions, what drives them to compete, to distrust & belittle others, & despise themself.

Long-term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is recommended, exploring the relationship between therapist & patient, with a focus on defenses used during sessions.
✿ This process may significantly reduce self-harming & emergency room visits. Interestingly, people with personality disorders (PDs) seem to have higher morbidity & mortality rates than those without.

A study in the UK indicated that – for women the life expectancy from birth is shorter by 19 years, & 18 years for men – than in the general population. (ARTWORK ➡️ : Panna Parmar)
Increased mortality is explained in part by:
‣ cardiovascular & respiratory diseases
‣ increased incidence of suicide or homicide
‣ long-term smoking, alcohol & drug misuse
‣ poor quality of medical care either by neglect
or
by troubled social interactions (typical of all PDs), which negatively effect relationships with health-care professionals, such as mis-communications, antagonism & non-compliance.     (Intro to NPD – slide show)

Issues for Ns to MODIFY or OVERCOME
🎍A
rrogance
Problem to correct : a snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitude
🎍Entitlement
Problem : assuming they have the right to be to be catered to and treated with ‘honor’ & respect – as if it’s their due just because – without earning it, then puzzled or furious when it doesn’t happen
🎍Envy of others
Problem : envious & jealous of others, & therefore severely devalue the contributions of others

🎍Exploiting others
Problem : taking advantage of others to achieve the N’s own ends. Forming
friendships or romantic attachments only if the other person seems likely to advance their agenda, or otherwise enhance their self-esteem

🎍Need for excessive admiration
Problem : the N’s need for endless attention, constant fishing for compliments, going out of their way to get people to admire them.

Actually, their self-esteem is very fragile, being hyper-sensitivity to criticism or defeat, causing intense feeling of humiliation & worthlessness. Reactions can be isolation or defiant counterattack.

Also WORK ON:
🎍Associating with ‘ordinary’ people, & accept being their equal
Problem : feeling ‘special’ & unique, believing they can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people / institutions

🎍Learning humility
Problem : a grandiose sense of self-importance, while devaluing others. They will routinely over-estimate their abilities, exaggerating accomplishments, being boastful & pretentious

🎍Putting aside grandiose fantasies
Problem : preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. Are obsessed with getting “long overdue” special status, comparing themselves favorably with famous or privileged people

🎍Showing respect for other people’s emotions & point of view
Problem : ‘sharing’ their own worries or unfair treatment in inappropriate & lengthy detail, while uninterested in others’ opinions or experiences.

Whether obvious or not, they’re emotionally cold. Impatient with anyone else talking about their problems, they’re oblivious to the hurt their insensitive remarks cause.
They see the expression of needs or feelings in others as signs of weakness (& therefore their own superiority).

For ACoAs with N issues, who are willingly committed to personal healing, work will be to :
✦ Find & acknowledge having Needs & Rights
✦ Give up waiting for someone (anyone) else to take care of them
✦ Give up the illusion of Perfectionism & to stop Procrastinating

✦ Increase ability to understand & regulate emotions (dealing with triggers)
✦ Learn how to accept & maintain genuine personal / intimate relationships, & better collaborate with co-workers

✦ Let go of the desire (demand) for unattainable goals & ideal conditions, accepting what’s realistically achievable, & then pursuing that

✦ Recognize & accept their genuine competence & accomplishments, realistic experiences & potential abilities – in order to tolerate external criticism or personal disappointments & failures without ‘collapsing’
✦ Understand & tolerate the impact of things that may dent their self-esteem

NEXT: N-Growth Goals (Part 2a)

Narcissists’ GROWTH Goals (Part 1b)

PREVIOUS: N- Growth Goals, #1a

SITE: NPD Treatment

 

 


What Type of Narcissist does Well in Therapy?
Because of the explosion of interest in NPD & easy access to information about it on the internet, more people are identifying their narcissism & contacting therapists for help.
Some people with ‘N adaptations’ are better suited to psychotherapy than others. These clients can be considered ‘self-aware’, who seem to have several characteristics in common. (www.elinorgreenberg.com)

SELF-AWARE Ns
🔸Acknowledge the feelings of others
People with narcissism can develop more realistic empathy —
— if they imagine looking through the eyes of someone they feel is a lot like themselves (still being self-referent)
— consider how their children will be affected, or how they’re seen by people who idealize / value them

🔸Capacity for Self-Reflection
This is the ability to look objectively at one’s own motives & actions.
Self-reflection can be hard for Ns because doing so damages their protective shell of perfection – which keeps them from having to look inside for the source of their problems.
If their illusion of perfection is challenged, they’re capable of lashing out, or becoming trapped in a self-hate spiral.
Only a few Ns out of thousands are desperate enough to be self-reflective.

🔸Desire for Self-Improvement
There’s a subset of Ns who genuinely want to grow, & are willing to do the hard work necessary. These clients believe that change is possible, & can imagine improving themselves & their life. As one said: “Once I see that I could do something better, I want to learn how.”

🔸Dual diagnosis
Ns often have mental & physical health issues as well, including anxiety, anorexia nervosa, depression, & substance misuse. These problems can encourage the N to seek therapy. A desire to relieve existing emotional pain & prevent future distress can be strong motivators toward change – which is not a narcissist’s natural desire.

🔸Ego Strength
This is a general ability to be emotionally stable & in touch with reality when under internal or external stress.
Being in therapy can be like living in your home while it’s being renovated – a lot of chaos, uncertainty & mess during construction. Therefore a person needs strong internal support (guts), so that when the therapist challenges a deep-set N defense, & their underlying shame hits, the person doesn’t fall apart & stops functioning.

Dismantling the N’s world-view has to be done very slowly & carefully, which is one reason their therapy takes so long. It is also why so many Ns quit before reaching their goals. When necessary, the therapist can temporarily “loan the client their ego strength” to support the client while going through this difficult & delicate process.

🔸High Functioning
They are able to navigate everyday life without significant difficulty, such as initiating projects & finish them. They graduated school, have a job, a relatively a stable living environment, & are able to make friends.

At the other extreme, if they’re too low functioning (in society & re. self-care), all their energy will be spent on simply surviving. So they’re much less likely to worry about their diagnosis – having to worry about their next meal or the latest eviction notice.

Naturally, there are functioning Ns who manage to look good on the outside, but will always try to handle their symptoms by themselves, while still negatively effecting family & colleagues.

🔸High Intelligence
All other things being equal, highly intelligent people are more likely to see the big picture & understand the difference between their perceptions & reality. As one self-aware N clients said: “Just because it feels real to me, doesn’t mean it IS real.”

🔸Motivated
There’s something going on in their lives they don’t like, & want to change. It could be that their second marriage is failing or that they didn’t get the promotion they worked for – again.
But with many Ns, as long as everything seems to be working for them, they’re not going to bother researching their diagnosis or going for help.

🔸Psychologically Minded
The Ns who do best in therapy have an innate interest & curiosity in why people think & act as they do. They read self-help books & blogs, go to 12 step-Programs & talk to friends about their feelings. So they’re much more likely to stick with long-term therapy because they enjoy the process of self-discovery.

NEXT : Growth GOALS (Part 2a)

Narcissists’ GROWTH Goals (PART 1a)


PREVIOUS: N-abuse Recovery, #3

SITE : :How to Develop Empathy for Someone Who Annoys You

 

NPD Treatment

There is no cure for NPD, but talk therapy can teach these clients to modify the most self-defeating behaviors, to ‘understand’ their emotions & actions, & have more realistic expectations of others – but the fundamental structure of their dysfunction does not change.

CORE Q for all Narcissists (N) 
“Do I really want to work on modifying my narcissistic patterns – to whatever degree possible?”

REVIEW – When considering the possibility of a Narcissist changing their damaging ways – we need to keep the Continuum of Severity in mind.
All humans growing up with abuse & neglect – no matter how ‘normal’ things seemed on the outside – will carry with them narcissistic characteristics. It’s inevitable. ( “ACoAs as Ns”).

However there are degrees of narcissism – of using oneself as the only reference point – in dealing with the world. (⬆️ CHART)

1. “Deep dish” Ns (NPD) are never going to improve on the inside. They can fake-care, fake-feel, be fake-well-behaved…. to get what they can from People-Places-Things (PPT) they want something from. They’re very good at mimicking ‘normals’, but don’t actually want to be like ‘everyone else’, often hiding their feeling of superiority.

Chapter 5 of the AA Big Book refers to such people:
“Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men & women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.

There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault. They seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping & developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average…..”

Someone on Quora asked : “Are NPD & BPD merely different manifestations of the same broken core, with a lack of self worth?”
ANS : “It’s a false assumption that the broken ‘core’ of the NPD is merely lack of self worth. Instead, one can say that the core is twisted, gnarled, distorted, & misshapen.”

As noted in other posts, these Ns either never go to therapy of any kind (“I don’t need it”), will go briefly, under threat of loss, but never benefit OR will go for years, never improving, & use what they learn about the variety of human needs & motives to better manipulate others.

2. Garden variety Ns (“subclinical narcissists” without full-blown NPD) have all the same underlying N characteristics to be worked on. But they also have the capacity to explore the causes of their damage & the willingness to work at replacing long-held defenses (character defects).

This is possible if such people :
👅 become”sick & tired of being sick & tired”, & can ‘do the work’
🦾 have the ego strength to stick to the life-long process, especially
when discouraged, AND
🔐 are provided with a safe support system, plus correct information – both about the damage (toxic Rules & toxic Roles), and what mental health IS – to give them something to aim for.

NOTE: Sympathy – is understanding the feelings of another, moved by their thoughts & feelings but maintaining somewhat of an emotional distance, while ↓
Empathy – is one person sharing in the mental & emotional reactions of another person’s observable experiences.
DANGER – Ns think they empathize, when it’s really co-dependent mind-reading. (More….)

Empathy comes in 3 levels:
a. Cognitive (under-emotional) : mainly logical = knowing or imagining how another person feels & what they might be thinking, putting yourself in their shoes, & seeing things from their perspective

b. Emotional (over-emotional) : common meaning = literally feeling another person’s emotions along with them, as if you ‘caught’ the EMOs, like a cold.

c. Compassionate (balanced) – understand another person’s predicament and feel with them (a + b), but clearly maintain one’s own sense of identity,
as well as spontaneously moved to help, IF needed & if one can.

🔺Much of Therapy for NPD includes trying to foster in clients the empathy which is lacking in narcissism.
And since they see everything only from their own point of view –  point a. is the place to start – before expecting the other 2 levels to develop, which can only happen when the N is less rigidly defended against their own emotions.

 

 

 

NEXT: Overt Ns – themselves (#1)

RECOVERING from Narc Abuse (Part 2)

PREVIOUS : 60 Healthy Responses  / LIST ⬆️

HEALING
Recovery looks different for everyone. It may take weeks of no-contact for you to feel relief. For those who need to be in some amount of necessary  communication with the main N – your ability to hold boundaries will affect your ability to ‘heal & grow”.
Also, notice the other Ns in your life, as there likely were one or more around before you met your N partner. Similar boundaries must apply to them too.

🔅Acknowledge & accept the reality of the abuse
🔅 Be compassionate to yourself for what you’ve been through
🔅 Prepare to experience Intense & complex emotions, & that they’ll last, since we can’t always stop loving someone who hurt us
🔅 Good self-care practices can make a big difference to your recovery, which involves meeting PMES needs (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). It also includes getting the right kind of support & help.

Things to say to a pushy abuser :
“I’m very busy. Let’s talk some other time” (Then go)
“NO.”  (Don’t lie, but don’t explain or justify!)
“I need you to take a step back”
“My heart bleeds for you” / “Sorry you feel that way”
“That is not acceptable” / “STOP THAT”
“Don’t talk to me.” / “Not interested”

RECOVERING your Self
1a. Don’t take their bait
Avoid engaging. Try your best to not give the emotional response they’re craving (rage, tears….). Stay in your Adult power by being calm, & only speaking logic, using facts.
Find smart ways to stay away as much as possible, or limit the time spent around them, including special events.
Be warned: Theyre likely to be angry when you pull away – since you won’t be as available to be pushed around.

1b. Don’t accidentally offer bait
🕸 Always be selective in what you share with a N – so they can’t use it against you – which they will, given the opportunity. And you can’t predict when.
🕸 Don’t give too many personal details or emotional statements that will trigger their hostile reactions  

2. Clearly communicate needs & boundaries
Take some quiet time to figure out what you will & won’t accept from your N. Write them down. Be very specific when telling them your boundaries, giving practical examples. Make declarative statement – don’t hope they’ll intuit what you want. 

Hand it to them in writing so there’s no denying what you’re asking for.
Print it out & post a copy somewhere so everyone (in the family) can be reminded. This prevents items being ignored or twisted (“I didn’t Know!”)

It’s also for your benefit – to keep you strong & on track. Read them often & stick to your guns as much as possible! NOTHING will be perfect, so don’t give up. “It gets worse, then it gets better, then it gets different.” AA quote

PS. No one can set boundaries until they know what their needs are. Look them up, copy & memorize.

3. Prepare an IF / WHEN list
Take more quiet time to write down every annoying, frustrating, mean, stupid thing the N might do or say. You can reasonably predict this, based on lots of experience. 

Make 2-3 different columns, by degree of intensity, of their persistently bad behaviors – from least aggravating to most, to see which ones are hardest for you to deal with.
Then, still calm & in your Adult ego state – list how you plan to verbally respond, practically manage, or ignore.
“If they do/say ________ then I will do/say_____________.”

4. Believe in your RIGHTS
Find out what they are – print out & memorize lists.  Constantly making yourself wrong (self-hate) & not standing up for yourself as a valuable human being –diminishes your humanity & eventually the will to live.  KNOW that you have a right to be treated with resect – so you can stop apologizing!

5. Accept that you can not change them
You’ll be a lot less surprised & frustrated – not taking things as personally or as hard.
This does NOT mean accepting & tolerating the N’s terrible treatment.
But it’s imperative to know & believe that no one (that means you too) has the power to change someone’s deep-seated personality disorder, like NPD.
“Don’t let toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent – & then kick them out!”

NEXT: Recovery from N-abuse, #2

RECOVERING from Narc Abuse (Part 1)

PREVIOUS: Recovering from N abuse, STAGES

BOOK : Powerful Questions for Healing after Narc Abuse –
and 50+ Journal Prompts: N-Abuse Recovery Guided Workbook

 

✳️ There’s no way around grief. Processing the reality of a relationship with a narcissistic parent or partner involves grieving your losses.
As a partner, you grieve
– the person you fell in love with & thought you knew
– the promise of love you never got
– the time you spent hoping for something that never came
– the trust & intimacy that could never be.

Mourning those losses is deeply painful, and takes time.

Anger stages
1. At first, your anger will be directed at your abuser. It’s appropriate, but isn’t cleansing & may feel like being caught in a whirlpool – trapped & hopeless because there is no way to get fairness or justice.

2. Eventually, you will feel a different kind of anger – coming from an inside voice ready to protect you, to fight for your new life, to get your soul back & never let anyone mess with you ever again.

3. As you gradually release your anger, (in therapy, on paper, in AL-Anon, ACA, CODA, in prayer)…. you’ll have moments of hysterical laughter at the absolute absurdity of some of the Ns behaviors, who doesn’t deserve you wasting even one of your brain cells on a single thought about them. (Posts : Anger / Co-dep anger in us / Anger Triggers / Anger & Co-dependence )

You’ll also see the absurdity of your own behavior, – all the times you’ve tried to say or do something you hoped would stop what can never be stopped – their sickness. You will forgive & laugh at yourself.  You’ll know you’re healing when you start to feel safer & more at ease.

 

❣️ You can heal. Along with our capacity for suffering is a corresponding capacity for mending a broken spirit. Healing happens as we recognize the larger patterns at work in our lives, overcome denial, understand the reality of narcissism, & move through Grief Stages to a safer, easier state of being.

NEXT : NARC RECOVERY #2

RECOVERING from Narc Abuse – STAGES

 

PREVIOUS  : Recovery from N Abuse

QUOTE :
Giving up the addiction is more than just giving up on the narc. 
It’s giving up
on the hopes & dreams they promised, but never fulfilled.”

 

Alka Shingwekar, feminist, MBA in Finance, California State U, East Bay, 45 yrs experience; 2 yrs research Behavioral Psychology  10/5/2018

This set of recovery tips & stages was in answer to the Q:
How do you manage emotional triggers after narcissistic abuse?

QUOTEs: “Trying to explain (to a ‘civilian’) the secret living hell you were put through by an abusive narcissist is like trying to explain color to a blind person.”

“I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, & accept an apology that never came!”

 

QUOTEs: “It’s okay that you don’t know how to move on. Start with something easier = like not going back!”

“Hard truth : you cannot change things by loving them harder.”

QUOTEs: “I release attachment to all negative things from the past year. I prepare for & welcome new changes, new lessons & new adventures. I welcome new opportunities to grow emotionally, mentally & spiritually.”

‘You have the right to receive the love you keep trying to give everyone else.”

QUOTEs: “Subconsciously – it takes at least 6-8 months process forgiveness toward someone who has hurt you emotionally”

“Hang on – it gets easier. Then it gets okay. Then it becomes freedom”

NEXT : Narcissist

60 Healthy RESPONSES to Narcissists

 

PREVIOUS : Re-traumatization

SITE : “How to Deal With a Narcissist, Backed by Research”

🔆 Online Course
– Understand & Recover from Difficult Relationships

⬅️ Stand up against all abuse!


😸 
Their strong need for power often drives narcissists (Ns) to develop new & creative ways of getting what they want.  This often leaves people around them feeling confused, diminished or devalued.  You may have asked yourself: “Do I have ‘doormat’ written on my forehead? , Why can’t I just speak up and tell him . . . What’s my problem?  Am I a masochist?”

When a N pushes your “hot button” – & they know all of them only too well – try to pause & take a deep breath.  This will interrupt your automatic “defense mode” reaction, to give you a moment to get in charge of your emotions.

👮🏽 Review all responses, & pick 1 or 2 that seem to fit your current issues. Memorize each one that you like by repeat it 10-20 every day for a week – or a moth if circumstances permit.  Then the next time you’re confronted by a N, the words will fall out of your moth without having to think about it. Even if you’re scared, it will be empowering to finally have a voice.

THINK realistic, empowering thoughts like:
“Even though I feel bad right this minute, this situation is not all my fault.  I can respond from my adult voice rather than the WIC (wounded inner child).  I deserve to speak up, even though I can never be perfect.”

“I feel very defensive right now, but I know I’m safe. I can take a moment to calm the fear.  Then I can  answer clearly & firmly.”

“(S)he seems like (s)he is feeling pretty threatened & defensive right now too.  Maybe it would help to revisit this issue after we’ve both had a break.”

What hurts a narcissist?

Silence . Silence.  Truth.

👏🏼 Each healing journey is different, as are the specific details of abuse. However, one sure indicator you’re well on the way is when you have a random thought about or meeting with the abuser, or another person’s gushing approval of them  – & it no longer triggers a strong, painful emotional response in you. YaY!

2 reminders about shutting down narcissists:

NO amount of trying to get a N to change who they are at their core – will ever create long-term change.

⁍It’s best to try to steer clear of these people – for your own sanity’s sake!

NEXT : Recovery STAGES

AFTER-EFFECTS of ABUSE & Re-traumatization (Part 4)


PREVIOUS: After-effects #3

SITE : Supporting Survivors of Trauma: How to Avoid Re-traumatization”

 

 

 

💔 AFTER-EFFECTS (cont)

Re-Traumatization
This is when someone with PTSD is exposed to actual people, places, events, situations or environments similar to the original harmful ones. Such people tend to develop a range of avoidance strategies to protect themselves from possible reminders of their past trauma, & those who’ve been re-traumatized will often double down on this strategy.

But it should not be confused with re-victimization, when PTSD sufferers are currently abused or injured in the same way as in the past.

Re-traumatizing events replicate important elements of the original trauma (with feelings of loss of power, control or personal safety) without experiencing the actual events themselves. These may include exposure to violence or abuse that does not harm the PTSD sufferer, but still brings up vivid memories of past experiences, as well as compassion & empathy for the other victims.

EXPs: Traumatic or stressful events seen in movies, TV shows, news reports, online….can be triggers if there’s enough similarity to the person’s previous trauma. (Child / domestic abuse, natural disaster, war images, drunken fights, political wrangling, riots, school killings…..)

The PTSD person may not be assaulted, abused, or injured in any of these situations, but just being exposed to the possibility of harm may be enough to bring back unpleasant memories in a disturbingly intense form.

Also, dysfunctional but not abusive relationships, with abandonment or conflicts can set off PTSD symptoms.  Good relationships that end in tragedy (death or disappearance of a loved one) are also potential triggers, if the original trauma involved a similar loss.

🖤Symptoms will be similar to ones in Part 2

AFTER re-traumatization, PTSD sufferers will go through a period of heightened sensibility & renewed vulnerability to traumatic memories. This means increased anxiety & physical stress, which set off or worsen various medical conditions.
These ailments are associated with PTSD in general, so episodes of re-traumatization can increase occurrences, including :
⁍Arthritis, Chronic body pain, Headaches
⁍Cardiovascular disease
⁍Diabetes, Respiratory disorders
⁍Digestive disorders
⁍Insomnia, restless sleep, nightmares, fatigue

RESEARCH
☔︎
Eating disorders. One study of women seeking treatment for eating disorders found that 52% showed symptoms consistent with PTSD 

☔︎ Major depression. Research reveals that about half of all people with a PTSD diagnosis will also experience the symptoms of major depression.

☔︎ Other anxiety disorders. Up to 80% of PTSD sufferers will have co-occurring mental health conditions & other anxiety disorders like : Generalized anxiety, Social anxiety, panic & specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder

☔︎ Substance-use disorders. In one comprehensive study, nearly half (46.7%) of PTSD sufferers also met the criteria for a substance-use disorder

GOOD NEWS : Re-traumatization does not have to sabotage recovery. People with PTSD know that, even as treatment progresses, triggering events can take them back to difficult times & force them to relive harsh, painful memories.
The techniques they’ve learned – to manage their symptoms – can still be effective, & the perspective they’ve gained won’t be forgotten.

Treatment for PTSD isn’t a quick fix or a straight route. It’s important to stay focused on the future, with hope & positive beliefs. This applies to re-traumatization experiences as well. Although recovery is a long-term process, everyone’s pace is different.
Helpful tips include:
‣ becoming more physically active
‣ eating a balanced diet, getting adequate rest
‣getting help from family members, friends, or a health professional
‣ reaching out socially, such as to friends or coworkers, volunteering

Successful recovery requires time, commitment, patience, & self-acceptance. If these qualities & tools are available & consistently applied, then the effects of re-traumatization only need be a temporary setback – painful, but temporary.

 

NEXT : After-effects

AFTER-EFFECTS of ABUSE & Health (#3b)

 

PREVIOUS: After-effects #2

LINKS re. Child abuse & Neglect 

 

 

1. CHILDHOOD TRAUMA
“Childhood maltreatment has been linked to higher risk for a wide range of long-term and/or future health problems – including inter-generational impact – as well as a cost to society as a whole. Consequences may be independent of each other, but may also be interrelated.

EPIGENETICS
This term refers to changes in the way a person’s genes are expressed & used, which may be temporary or permanent, & can be passed on to their children. (NSC on the Developing Child)

Epigenetic changes are caused by life experiences, such as child maltreatment, substance abuse or exposure (smoking).
EXP: One study found that maltreated children showed changes in genes associated with various physical & psychological disorders, resulting in bipolar disorder, cancer, cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression…..  (Cicchetti et al., 2016)
🌀
An example of the direct link between physical abuse & physical health is the stunting of the child’s brain development, causing psychological problems such as low self-esteem, which later lead to high-risk behaviors.(lists in Part 3a & 4).

Such physical effects of abuse & neglect may occur immediately (brain damage caused by deliberate head trauma), but others can take months or years to emerge or be recognized.
Fortunately there’s promising evidence that children’s brains can recover with the help of appropriate interventions. (Brain Development)

FROM : FACTSHEET, 4/2019 http://www.childwelfare.gov
💠
2. ADULT REPERCUSSIONS
Life with narcissists can be extremely stressful, leading to depression & anxiety. It can also make you physically sick. The longer a N dominates your life, the more you suffer – such as snuffing out the fires of immunity so that pathogens can sneak into your bloodstream, making you septic.

Such damage can simmer for months, even years, as low-grade inflammation expressed as allergies, arthritis, fatigue, headaches, IBD, IBS, psoriasis…..

And it all starts in the intestines. This isn’t surprising, since being upset is often coupled with gut disturbance. There’s a good reason for this: Research shows that our brain is intimately connected to the trillions of microbes in the gut, called microbiota.

Amazingly & a bit disconcerting, this is BI-directional – our brain & these little bugs can talk to each other in a language they understand: via neurotransmitters that allow all nerve cells to communicate.
This gut-brain interplay involves the vagus nerve that runs from intestines to brain stem.
An over-taxed brain will negatively affect gut microbes, making you queasy, which increases stress, creating a nasty feedback loop.
When we’re continually scared, angry, threatened, attacked…. naturally our body wants to ‘run from danger’. To provide it with enough strength to flee (even though we rarely can), the brain will keep signaling the gut to tone down its normal immune response in order to suck up all it’s energy for survival. But this diverts its protection from other needed functions – leading to illness.

This was tested on lab mice. Several were placed in a cage with a bigger bully mouse, who intimidated & pushed them around for awhile, before technicians withdrew it.
After a few days of repeating this, the ‘normal’ mice become depressed & agitated – called “social defeat stress”. Their gut bacteria had changed, causing chronic systemic inflammation, making them miserable.

INTERESTING Study
Bully mice can cause Autism-like reactions in smaller males (non-genetic)

SUGGESTED HELP – for us 🙂:
🔅Certain bacteria, like in kraut & yogurt, can improve mood by competing with pathogens for resources, or killing them outright. Fermented foods are good, but have to have active cultures to work
🔅Add fiber to your diet, which are complex sugars that helpfully feed the  your gut’s microbial menagerie. Fiber is found in veggies like onions, asparagus, artichokes & leafy greens

🔅Try pre-biotic supplements (concentrated fiber) which can do a lot to boost good psycho-biotic bacteria
SITE: “Gut-brain connection & Nutrition”

🔅Get some exercise – it improves the balance of gut microbes.

A great exercise is to push yourself away from narcissists.
Ns 
can leave psychic scars that take time to heal, but gut health is under your control. Work on it, & you’ll feel better.

FROM: “Don’t Let Ns ruin your Health

NEXT: After-effects #4

AFTER-EFFECTS of ABUSE & Health (#3a)

 

PREVIOUS : After-effects (#2)

SITE: ” In Sickness & in Health?  Not if Your Partner is a Narcissist !”


REVIEW
:
Driving a victim to madness, suicide or death from disease delivers a grand rush to the narcissist’s ego. Death or insanity provides a lifetime supply of ready-made psychological hooks to use on the next partner. Ns milk their ‘misfortune’ for all it’s worth.
And while the victim’s destruction may take on various forms, the end result for the abuser is always the same – as ever, they emerge unscathed, quickly working to reinvent themselves.

▼ Prolonged emotional, physical, even perceived stress – all have exactly the same physical impact on the body.  Consequences of chronic stress include vulnerability to disease, slow rate of injury healing, loss of libido, sleeplessness, digestive problems, depression….

Quora Q: Can having a narcissistic partner make you physically sick?

FROM: Mel E. Quinn, Lifelong Veteran of Toxic Relationships  (January 26)

A : “YES it can! Your immune system can’t function too well when you’re under constant & increasing stress over time. Maybe you’re being physically beaten, poisoned or prevented from seeing a doctor …. Your body starts to fall apart from all the trauma.

You’re neglecting all your own needs, pushing your body past its limits to keep up with the N’s expectations.
It starts with little things you brush off as weird but unimportant.

Digestive issues, frequent colds, pre-existing conditions & old injuries that were previously under control – are suddenly flaring up a lot. Your face looks tired, your skin & hair loses some luster, you’re not sleeping well & not eating normally.

Over time, you start seeing worse problems – elevated blood pressure, drastic weight & appetite changes…. You have no energy, something’s always hurting, there are symptoms of glandular malfunction &/or organ issues – that the doctor doesn’t know why.

Memory & focus get so bad you feel like you’re “stuck on stupid” most of the time. Anything that was wrong to begin with is way worse now, & you’re not getting better, even with treatment.

The longer you stay, the worse it gets. The N may won’t actually kill you, but the stress they cause certainly might. Something to consider when you’re debating about leaving.”

A: “For sure. You are under constant stress which will have negative physical effects if it goes on for a long time. You know something’s wrong, but that’s absolutely ignored or denied, which is confusing.
Your hair, nails & skin will show it. You’ll get fat or too thin. Since you’re not in control of the money, you’ll struggle to conceal the problems with treatments & fancy clothes…..”
Recommended book: “Prepare to be Tortured  – The price you will pay for dating a narcissist”∼ AB Jamieson

Quora Q:  Why do you get physically sick after being with a narcissistic person?

FROM:  Veronica Welles  (October 29, 2017)

A : “Yes. MRI studies have shown that when we feel emotional pain, the same regions of the brain get activated as when we feel physical pain……We get sick because we hurt so much invisibly after dealing with a narc, but nobody can see it. Before the MRI studies there was no way to even prove it, so nobody would believe us. But now we know it is just as bad as physical injury.

The N is invisibly boiling our insides through antagonism. Our bodies were never built to withstand a constant barrage of hostility indefinitely, so it will eventually break our bodies, starting with the immune system, followed by the rest….. Permanently high inflammation markers is a symptom shared with cancer, a signal the body gives when constantly dealing with injury.

EXP: Research has shown that children from abusive homes have prematurely shortened telomeres. Even their DNA was damaged.

Do not trivialize narcissistic abuse – it’s a killer. Work to be authentic, slowly training yourself to reject Ns wherever, whenever – even in the midst of an audience, even if means violating social norms.”

NEXT: After-effects #3b