What Is Blame-Shifting And Why Is It Harmful?

What is blame-shifting?

BLAME-SHIFTING is the redirection of responsibility for one person’s actions, behavior, or mistakes onto another person, group, or thing. It is a destructive act of deception that shirks personal responsibility and destroys trust in relationships. It is a tactic commonly used in the context of narcissistic abuse.

What Is Blame-Shifting?

  • Blame-shifting is a form of deflection
  • It is a practice people use individually and collectively to avoid accepting responsibility for their actions. 
  • It is a learned behavior used to cover up mistakes through deceit. 
  • Blame-shifting is one of the stages in the process of scapegoating.
  • It can devastate relationships, diminishing friendships, families, and communities because it erodes trust.

What Are Some Examples?

Here are some of the ways blame-shifting can show up:

  • A CEO blames their staff for poor performance rather than take responsibility for poor management choices. 
  • A politician who blames the opposition party for their errors rather than take accountability.
  • A student who blames their academic failure on a teacher rather than taking responsibility for their lack of motivation.
  • An unfaithful spouse blames their infidelity on their partner instead of admitting it was their own decision.

How Might It Sound?

Some of the ways people may try to redirect responsibility for an outcome by blame-shifting are:

  • “It’s not my fault I lashed out because you made me do it!”
  • “You’re the reason why I drink!”
  • “I only cheated because you let yourself go.”
  • “I was as happy as I ever was until you came along.”
  • “It’s your fault I’m leaving you because you always work late.”

Why Do People Blame Shift?

  • Blame-shifting is a strategy used to maintain power and control while avoiding responsibility. 
  • People and organizations often avoid criticism and scrutiny by blame-shifting.
  • Authority figures are often prone to blame-shifting to retain their status and escape accountability for their errors.

Summary

In conclusion, blame-shifting is the transfer of responsibility from one person or group to another person or group. It is a toxic behavior as it diminishes trust between individuals, collectives, and institutions. It’s wise to confront the behavior and resolve it to cultivate trust and accountability.


Confidential support is available 24/7/365 to anyone experiencing abuse.
Book a one-on-one consultation or coaching session.


NAR’s Journalistic Standards and Practices
About NA
R • Report Typo or Error

Recognizing the Signs of Narcissistic Cheating with Nicole Artz

Recognizing Signs of Narcissistic Cheating With Nicole Artz

BECAUSE MANIPULATIVE PEOPLE use tactics like gaslighting and blame-shifting to evade being held accountable when they are caught out, their partners may have difficulty recognizing the signs of narcissistic cheating.

For answers we turned to Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Nicole Arzt. She serves on the advisory board for Family Enthusiast and she’s also the author of the book Sometimes Therapy Is Awkward: A Collection of Life-Changing Insights for the Modern Clinician.

Manya Wakefield: Nicole, please share the biggest red flag of narcissistic cheating.

Nicole Artz: The biggest dead giveaway is withdrawal. This doesn’t inherently mean the person is cheating, but almost all partners look back and recognize that their partner was pulling back at some point in the relationship.

Manya Wakefield: Can you describe what withdrawal looks like when a narcissistic partner is engaging in an extramarital affair?

Nicole Artz: Withdrawal can be physical. For example, spending less quality time with you, avoiding sex, kissing, even holding hands or cuddling. It can be financial. Examples of this are they become less willing to spend money on you, and hesitate to open up a new credit card or bank account.

It can also be emotional. For example, they may seem more distant, act defensively, spend more time going out with friends, etcetera.

Manya Wakefield: Can a highly narcissistic partner’s withdrawal extend to other aspects of the relationship as well?

Nicole Artz: Your partner may also start withdrawing from your children, other family members – especially if they’re relatives on your side – and mutual friends. They may no longer have as much interest in the same shared hobbies or interests.

Manya Wakefield: Can you talk a bit about what drives the withdrawal process?

Nicole Artz: The withdrawal comes from a place of shame and guilt. On a fundamental level, people know cheating is wrong, and they want to separate themselves from the act. Additionally, most unfaithful partners don’t want to hurt their loved ones with their actions. Subconsciously or not, they start pulling away. They don’t want their loved one to find out what’s going on. They think they might be able to maintain the facade. 

Nicole’s book Sometimes Therapy Is Awkward: A Collection of Life-Changing Insights for the Modern Clinician,’ is available on Amazon.

Learn More About Recognizing The Signs Of Narcissistic Cheating

How To Tell When A Narcissist Is Cheating With Rachel Coffey

How To Tell When A Narcissist Is Cheating With Rachel Coffey

PEOPLE IN TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS often struggle with how to tell when a narcissist is cheating. This is because when a partner is highly narcissistic, they use a variety of manipulation tactics to deceive others, making it challenging for their partners to spot the red flags of infidelity. 

We reached out to life coach Rachel Coffey to explore some of the dead giveaways she has seen in her coaching practice when highly narcissistic partners are unfaithful. 

Manya Wakefield:  In your experience, Rachel, what is the first sign that a highly narcissistic person may be cheating on their partner?

Rachel Coffey:  Never ignore that gut feeling that things are not quite right. Our subconscious is brilliant at picking up tiny clues that our conscious brain tries to filter out and rationalize. If you feel like something is up, there probably is.

Manya Wakefield: What is the most likely think to ping the alarm bell of our gut instinct.

Rachel Coffey:  Little lies. You know when you notice that what someone is saying isn’t quite true, but you don’t know why they’d bother lying about it? For example, you ask what time a parcel was delivered – they say the courier handed it over at 4.00 pm, but you find out they actually left it on the doorstep at noon. Or you casually ask what your partner had for lunch, they say they had a Subway, but then you find a random receipt showing they had a sit down meal elsewhere. Someone who is having an affair lies constantly.  

Manya Wakefield: Right, and when you express the concern to a narcissistic partner, they respond with denial, gaslighting, and blame-shifting tactics. This is why it’s important people learn how to tell when a narcissist is cheating. So how do you catch them out?

Rachel Coffey: The big lies, their main cover, is usually water tight. The small ones that they don’t even notice they are telling? They are the tell tale lies they lose track of – and can be their downfall. 

Manya Wakefield: Are there any observable behavioral signs of infidelity to look for in your partner? 

Rachel Coffey:  If your partner’s appearance has dramatically improved or their grooming routine has gone into overdrive for no apparent reason – especially if you’ve been feeling a bit unkempt recently – it can be a red flag. It’s easy to explain away – but there’s many a partner that rues the day they did! 

Manya Wakefield: Can you share another behavioral sign that a narcissistic person is cheating on their partner? Can you give some clear examples of they style of deception?

Rachel Coffey: Grand gestures that aren’t warranted. For example, you might receive a random bouquet of flowers or a surprise romantic getaway out of the blue? Watch out! The person having an affair tries to overcompensate. Sometimes out of guilt, and, in other instances, they mirror what they are doing with the person they are cheating with to convince you how much they care! 

Manya Wakefield: Rachel, thank you for sharing your advice on how to tell when a narcissist is cheating, manipulation tactics, and tips on what signs of infidelity to look for.


Confidential support is available 24/7/365 to anyone experiencing abuse.
Book a one-on-one consultation or coaching session.


NAR’s Journalistic Standards and Practices
About NA
R • Report Typo or Error

Can Narcissistic Abuse Cause Narcissism?

can narcissistic abuse cause narcissism?

A COMMON QUESTION asked by people learning about abusive power and control in interpersonal relationships is whether narcissistic abuse can cause narcissism? The short answer is no. Narcissism is one of many personality traits all people possess that is necessary for healthy human functioning. Given that it is something all people are endowed with, narcissism is not caused by narcissistic abuse.

With that said, let’s look at the question from another angle: can the experience of narcissistic abuse lead to narcissism impairments such as excessive or extreme narcissism? The answer to that question is a definitive yes.

How Might Narcissistic Abuse Cause Excessive Narcissism?

The reason for this is that psycho-emotional abuse is generally is a highly stressful experience. Narcissistic abuse is particular can be traumatic. Excessive of extreme narcissism is a post-traumatic stress adaptation that occurs in some people.

Let’s turn to Dr. Gabor Maté for more insight on this topic. He describes trauma as, “a psychic wound that hardens you psychologically that then interferes with your ability to grow and develop.”

In this sense, excessive or extreme narcissism represent different levels of arrested development, which is why they share the same defense mechanisms seen in early childhood.

Narcissism Impairments As A Traumatic Stress Response

Dr. Maté goes on to explain the affects of trauma, “It pains you and now you’re acting out of pain. It induces fear and now you’re acting out of fear. Trauma is not what happens to you, it’s what happens inside you as a result of what happened to you.”

A great deal of what happens inside of people happens at a subconscious level. In this way, we can think of excessive narcissism as a balm to soothe a wounded ego. However, the effects of trauma are far more pervasive and can lead to a severing of the self. It is in these cases that various manifestations of extreme narcissism occur to protect a fragmented and, in some cases, annihilated ego.


Confidential support is available 24/7/365 to anyone experiencing abuse.
Book a one-on-one consultation or coaching session.


NAR’s Journalistic Standards and Practices
About NA
R • Report Typo or Error

Flying Monkey Narcissist Meaning

Flying Monkey Narcissist Meaning

FLYING MONKEY is a term used that generally describes someone who, knowingly or unknowingly, enables the destructive behavior of another. It is commonly used in the context of narcissistic abuse in reference to people in the manipulator’s social circle who make it possible for them harm others without being held to account.

Flying Monkey Meaning

Flying monkey (noun): a person who is an abuse enabler. They makes it possible for one person to harm another by making excuses for them or acting on their behalf. They encourage perpetrators of abuse and shield them from the consequences of their behavior.

Synonym: enabler, hatchet man.

Flying Monkey Narcissist Meaning

Flying monkey narcissist (noun): is a term used to describe a narcissistic person who takes on the flying monkey role. Narcissism is a trait that exists on a continuum, and it is something all people have to a greater or lesser degree. Narcissistic abusers are skilled at appealing to narcissism in others as a means to recruiting them into their cause.

Example sentences

  • Rose McGowan says Harvey Weinstein did not respond to her accusations directly. She alleges that he had his flying monkeys Lisa Bloom and David Boies hire Black Cube to undermine the publication of her book.
  • Most people don’t realize it but in the film ‘Mean Girls,’ Cady Heron was Janice Ian’s flying monkey.
  • My youngest brother Chuck said he had my back but it turns out that he was our older brother Drake’s flying monkey.

Signs of Flying Monkey Behavior

Here are some behaviors commonly seen in flying monkeys:

  • Turning a blind eye – Flying monkeys ignore the narcissistic person’s aggression.
  • Vouching for the narcissist – Flying monkeys excuse and justify the narcissist’s behavior. If the narcissist commits a crime, the flying monkey provides them with a false alibi.
  • Smearing the recipient of the abuse – Flying monkeys participate in character assignation. They echo the narcissist’s talking points without verifying it. They don’t bother to seek out the recipient of the abuse and listen to their side of the story. Flying monkeys are instrumental in narcissistic scapegoating, i.e. DARVO.
  • Data mining – Flying monkeys often act as spies for the narcissist. A common tactic they use is pretending to be a friend to the recipient of the abuse only to pump them for information and report back to the chief abuser.
  • Acting as the narcissist’s emissary – Flying monkeys can also take on the role of the narcissistic person’s proxy, acting as their ambassador to carry messages to the recipient of the abuse. They may also negotiate or aggress on the narcissist’s behalf.

Further Reading

Understanding Narcissistic Abuse by Lana Levin.


Confidential support is available to anyone experiencing abuse.
Book a one-on-one consultation or coaching session.


NAR’s Journalistic Standards and Practices
About NA
R • Report Typo or Error

Flying Monkey Destroyed

Flying Monkey Destroyed

IN THE CONTEXT of narcissistic abuse, flying monkeys perpetrate secondary victimization on the targeted person. This article revisits their origin story to answer the question, “How is a flying monkey destroyed?”

What are Flying Monkeys?

Flying monkeys are aggressive enablers, who shield the narcissist from being held to account. During the love bombing phase of the cycle of narcissistic abuse, they support the narcissist by lending them credibility. They are also active in devaluation and discard phases of the abuse cycle, acting as informants, lieutenants, character assassins, and enforcers of the narcissistic person’s agenda.

The Flying Monkey Origin Story

The concept of flying monkeys comes from the L. Frank Baum children’s novel, ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.’ It tells the story of Dorothy Gale’s dramatic foray into the enchanted fairyland. A tornado causes her house to land on Nessarose, the Wicked Wicked of the East. As the Winkies rejoice over the demise of their oppressor, Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, appears to claim her late sister’s magical ruby slippers to consolidate her dominance in the realm. However, in an unexpected turn of events, Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, intervenes and casts a spell placing the coveted shoes on Dorothy’s feet. Thus begins Elphaba’s vendetta against Dorothy in the Ozian saga.

In her effort to retrieve the ruby slippers and become omnipotent, Elphaba commands her army of flying monkeys to terrorize Dorothy and thwart her from achieving her goals. The Wicked Witch of the West used the flying monkeys to abuse Dorothy by proxy. In the real-world, enablers of narcissistic abuse exist within a similar power dynamic. For this reason that author Sam Vaknin borrowed the term flying monkey to describe them.

What Caused Elphaba To Attack Dorothy Gale?

Before we consider Baum’s idea of how the flying monkey is destroyed, it might be helpful to recognize why the Elphaba sent the flying monkeys after Dorothy in the first place. The Wicked Witch of the West saw Dorothy as a threat to her identity and status. Dorothy’s kindness and empathy made her a preferable steward of power to Elphaba who was notoriously dictatorial.

When Glinda rewarded Dorothy with the coveted ruby slippers, Elphaba experienced a narcissistic injury and set her mind to sabotaging Dorothy’s rise to power. From Elphaba’s point of view, bringing Dorothy down was as an act of self-preservation. As is the case with most narcissistic people, Elphaba was frightened of her rival.

Like Dorothy, many people who experience narcissistic abuse do not see their own power and are oblivious to the fact that highly narcissistic people feel threatened by them on some level despite their posturing and bravado. Fear is one of the driving forces of the narcissist’s effort to exert control over them.

Why Are Flying Monkey’s Loyal To Narcissists?

According to Baum, the actions of flying monkeys are not necessarily personal. They are obedient to whoever is the power holder within their hierarchy.

Baum wrote that flying monkeys recognized a magical Golden Cap as the ultimate symbol of power. In the ‘Hidden History of Oz: An Introduction to Oz Before Dorothy,’ author Tarl Telford reveals that Baum’s notes detail the cap was created by Gayelette, an enchantress at the Ruby Palace. Whoever wore the Golden Cap had command of the Flying Monkeys and could ask them to do their bidding, whether for good or for ill.

Victim-survivors often describe secondary-victimization as more painful than the first instance of narcissistic abuse. It’s hard to make sense of the flying monkeys aggression when you have done them no harm. It can be helpful to recognize that their behavior is not about you, it is about their survival within their social circle.

Learn More About Flying Monkeys

How Is A Flying Monkey Destroyed?

Returning to ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ Baum wrote, “Dorothy went to the Witch’s cupboard to fill her basket with food for the journey, and there she saw the Golden Cap. She tried it on her own head and found that it fitted her exactly.”

In other words, Dorothy was destined to hold power. In the first instance, she is given the charmed ruby slippers by Glinda and in the second instance she unwittingly takes it by pilfering Elphaba’s Golden Cap which fits her as if it was made for her.

However, Dorothy does not realize the cap’s power until she is made aware of it by the Queen of Mice. Once Dorothy learns the secret of the Golden Cap, she realizes she has the power to command the army of flying monkeys and their attacks cease. In a surprising turn of events, once Dorothy realizes her power, the flying monkeys carry her to Emerald City and where she is made a Princess of Oz by Ozma, Queen of the Realm.

The moral of Baum’s story is that the solutions to our problems often exist within us. Dorothy was an ordinary person who prevailed in a power struggle with the most fearsome character in Oz. She accomplished this by using her tactical skills to build a social circle of her own. Through her good nature and building connections with others, Dorothy successfully realized her full potential in spite of the Elphaba’s aggression. Moreover, by courageously realizing coming in to her own power, the flying monkeys chased their allegiance and served her.

Conclusion

Flying monkeys may be on a mission is to bring you down but your power lies in your choices. For example, you can see them for what they are and remember that their aggression is not about you.

Dorothy did not waste time or energy trying to convince the flying monkeys that they had a terrible master. Instead of fighting them, she invested her effort with people who believed in her. She did not allow attacks from the narcissist or the flying monkeys to sway her from her goals. Dorothy stayed close to people who cared for her and continued building friendships with people who wanted to see her shine.

As U.S. president Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

Flying monkeys may not ever be your friends but are destroyed the moment the person they target realizes their own agency. Remember, they submit to whoever wears the Golden Cap. Dorothy didn’t seek sympathy or vindication from the flying monkeys, instead she seized power and fulfilled her destiny. Walking in purpose, setting goals, staying productive, and adding value to relationships are the components of a real-world Golden Cap.

Further reading

Flying Monkey Quotes


Confidential support is available 24/7/365 to anyone experiencing abuse.
In the USA call 1-800-799-7233 or log on to thehotline.org.
In the UK call 0808 2000 247 or log on to nationaldahelpline.org.uk.


NAR’s Journalistic Standards and Practices
 About NAR • Report Typo or Error

The Long-Term Consequences of Narcissistic Abuse

OVER THE LONG-TERM narcissistic abuse can lead to a range of adverse health outcomes for victim-survivors, including mental health conditions and stress related diseases.

The long-term consequences of narcissistic abuse can manifest as:

  • Physical
  • Behavioral
  • Psycho-emotional
  • Financial

What is narcissistic abuse?

Narcissistic abuse is a maladaptive form of emotional regulation used by one person to subjugate another. It is a kind of psycho-emotional abuse that is motivated by one person’s desire to dominate, control, manipulate, and exploit others to affirm their sense of superiority.

It can take the form of verbal abuse, manipulation, intimidation. It can also lead to the loss of friends and loved ones for the victim-survivor through isolation. Narcissistic abuse can happen in any relationship, including intimate partnerships, friendships, and families.

Physical effects of narcissistic abuse

In the presence of a threat the brain’s hypothalamus sets off system of defenses in the body to combat stress. The adrenal glands spring to action, secreting adrenaline and cortisol, sending the organism into survival mode responses, i.e. fight, flight, freeze, or fawn.

Survival mode is meant to last for a short time, until the person is able to get to safety. However, people experiencing narcissistic abuse remain in survival mode for sustained periods of time. The long-term effects of raised adrenaline and cortisol can have adverse health consequences as increased adrenaline and cortisol leads to elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels.

Some of the health conditions chronic narcissistic abuse can lead to are:

  • Cardio-vascular disease
  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Substance dependency
  • Behavioral addictions

Psycho-emotional effects of narcissistic abuse

Exposure to extreme narcissism can lead to the erasure of victim-survivors’ identity, which can negatively impact their psycho-emotional functioning. Manipulation, coercion, and repeated boundary violations leave the recipient of the abuse forever circling back and forth through fight, flight, freeze, or fawn responses.

The victim-survivor’s prolonged grief of the inner-self can lead to mental health conditions like:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

What are the consequences of narcissistic abuse on behavior?

Narcissistic abuse can cause significant changes in a person’s behavior. Feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation and worthlessness may cause them to withdraw socially. Narcissistic abuse distorts how the person experiencing it sees themselves and can lead to struggles with self-esteem. They may blame themselves for the narcissistic person’s aggression and come to believe that they deserve to be ill-treated. They may also place the narcissistic person on a pedestal and respond to their aggression by fawning over them in the hope that the relationship will revert to the love bombing phase again. To please the narcissistic person, the needs of the recipient of the abuse are neglected. To avoid angering the narcissistic person, the recipient of the abuse may even self-sabotage their own progress and goals.

People in recovery often describe “losing themselves” in relationships with a narcissistic partner and may experience:

  • Confusion
  • Self-blame
  • Depression
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Lack of motivation
  • Procrastination
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fear of failure
  • Hopelessness
  • Worthlessness
  • Decrease or absence of libido

Financial Effects of Narcissistic Abuse

Financial abuse is prominent a prominent feature of narcissistic abuse in the context of domestic violence. 99% of people who experienced domestic violence report that financial abuse was used to entrap them in the relationship. Perpetrators of narcissistic abuse sabotage their partner’s income through campaigns of manipulation, intimidation, and harassment. They may also take control of their partner’s income, restricting access to money. Victim-survivors are often plunged into poverty and forced to remain in abusive relationships because they cannot afford to leave.

According to the American Psychological Association, prolonged financial stress can cause people to develop, “higher resting heart rate, blood pressure, and circulating stress hormones such as cortisol.” Ultimately, this can lead to a condition known as allostatic load a term used to describe the cumulative effects of chronic stress that can lead to impaired physical and mental health.

Recovering From Abuse – Tips

As the old adage goes, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ If you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse it’s imperative to start looking after your health as soon as possible.

Choose activities that bring your peace of mind.

Try reducing your stress though activities that bring you a sense of fulfillment, get you to move your body, and give you peace of mind.

The following suggestions may be helpful:

  • Set realistic health goals
  • Learn time management skills
  • Eat healthfully
  • Move your body for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Get restful sleep
  • Spend time with family, friends, and pets.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Take up hobbies in your spare time

Part of recovering from narcissistic abuse is learning to change your focus from the narcissistic person to yourself so that you can use your time and energy to heal and build your best life. To prevent the long-term consequences of narcissistic abuse from impacting your health it is important to create a deep connection with yourself and a vibrant social life. Remember, all things are possible for those who believe. You’ve got this!


Confidential support is available 24/7/365 to anyone experiencing abuse.
In the USA call 1-800-799-7233 or log on to thehotline.org.
In the UK call 0808 2000 247 or log on to nationaldahelpline.org.uk.


NAR’s Journalistic Standards and Practices
 About NAR • Report Typo or Error

Emotional Ghosting: 10 Signs of Emotional Abandonment

Emotional Gaslighting | Emotional Neglect | Abandonment

EMOTIONAL GHOSTING is a form of neglect where one partner emotionally disconnects from the relationship, causing confusion and pain to the other partner. It can show up as emotional withdrawal, ignoring the partner’s needs, and cool indifference to the relationship. The effects of emotional ghosting can be just as harmful as physical ghosting. Because of its passive-aggressive nature, emotional ghosting can be difficult to spot.

10 Signs of Emotional Ghosting

Recognizing emotional abandonment is not always easy. Here are ten signs commonly associated with the behavior:

  1. Absence of communication: Your partner is disinterested in discussing your thoughts.
  2. Absence of emotional intimacy: Your partner is disinterested learning about your feelings. 
  3. Absence of physical affection: Your partner is disinterested in physical intimacy or affection with you.
  4. Absence of support: Your partner is unwilling to provide you with emotional support.
  5. Absence of validation: Your partner does not validate your feelings or experiences.
  6. Absence of empathy: Your partner has no interest in understanding your perspective.
  7. Absence of trust: Your partner is no longer willing to share their thoughts and feelings with you.
  8. Absence of commitment: Your partner no longer values the relationship and is unwilling to work through issues.
  9. Absence of engagement: Your partner has divested from the relationship and avoids spending time with you.
  10. Absence of love: Your partner is indifferent and seems not to care about you.

Why does emotional ghosting hurt so much?

According to Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, emotional neglect is “a relationship pattern in which an individual’s affectional needs are consistently disregarded, ignored, invalidated, or unappreciated by a significant other.”

Prolonged experiences of emotional ghosting, otherwise known as emotional abandonment or emotional withdrawal, can damage a person’s sense of self. In her book, Neglect – The Silent Abuser: How to Recognize and Heal From Childhood Neglect, Enod Gray explains, “I believe neglect to be the foundation stone of outright abuse, although many neglected adults have developed ways of denying, justifying, and minimizing the abusive behavior they experience in relationships.”

Emotional ghosting is a painful, subtle kind of abandonment that can give rise to feelings of profound sorrow and intense loneliness. When an inconsiderate partner ignores your feelings and needs, it can wreak havoc on your self-esteem. Moreover, it can reawaken memories of similar experiences of emotional neglect in early life.

Why do people emotionally ghost others?

There are many reasons why emotionally unavailable people ghost partners. A benign motive for emotional neglect might be that the person is preoccupied with personal struggles in their own life, and doesn’t have the capacity to give their partner the emotional support they need.

Common reasons why a highly narcissistic person may emotionally ghost their partner might be that they come into romantic relationships in the guise of a false persona. Upholding the ruse can become exhausting, especially when the novelty of their romantic partner’s validation has worn off. This is when the narcissistic person is likely to start devaluing their partner.

For example, they might off-handedly start a rivalry between you and someone else by implying the other person is superior to you in some way or they might blame you for the fact that they no longer have the energy to maintain their false persona and tell you to your face that they think you are boring.

Because they lack empathy, they don’t end the relationship because the still want access to its benefits. Narcissistic people put a great deal of effort into grooming their partners and they usually want to continue to have access to the benefits associated with them as they seek new sources of validation. Because they are self-centered, they tend to be oblivious to the pain emotional ghosting causes their partner.

Moreover, if another source of validation captures the narcissistic person’s interest, they may emotionally ghost to manipulate their partner into ending the relationship due to neglect. In their view, if the partner breaks up with them, the narcissistic person can play the victim while pursuing their new interest and come up smelling like a rose.

How to protect your mental health from emotional ghosting

In the words of Aeschylus, “There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.” It is a fitting description of the despair that arrives hand in hand with recollections of the love bombing phase of the narcissistic abuse cycle. Indeed, the experience of neglect from a loved one is warning. The more cold and indifferent they grow, the more likely that their emotional withdrawal is a prelude to more egregious acts of aggression.

As painful as emotional ghosting can be, remember that you have agency. With a little bit of courage and a lot of focus, you can turn the experience into an opportunity to grow in self-love. 

Here are four tips for moving forward when you have been emotionally abandoned:

  1. Prioritize self-care: If you are being neglected by your partner, step up your efforts to look after yourself emotionally and physically. Start doing wholesome activities that give you peace and strength, like exercise, meditation, and spending time with friends and family.
  2. Remember who you are: The waning affection of another does not diminish your value in reality. Your intrinsic worth as a human being is fixed and does not fluctuate based on a troubled person’s inability to recognize it.
  3. Communicate your needs: Emotional unavailability does not mean that you should shut down. Set boundaries with your partner. Let them know what you are feeling and what you need from the relationship.
  4. Seek support: If necessary, seek support from a mental health professional to help you work your way through the pain and confusion of emotional abandonment. They can help you gain clarity about the situation and map up a workable plan to create the future you want. They can also help you gain insight into the underlying causes of emotional ghosting in your relationship and discover healthy solutions.

In summary, emotional ghosting can be just as destructive to a relationship as physical ghosting. If you think it is happening to you it’s important to take action to protect your mental health, identify your needs, and communicate them clearly to your emotionally detached partner. Be sure to reach out to people in your social circle for support and consider developing a strategy with a mental health professional to move forward.

Watch: Emotional Ghosting – 10 Signs of Emotional Abandonment


Confidential support is available to anyone experiencing abuse.
Book a one-on-one consultation or coaching session.


NAR’s Journalistic Standards and Practices
About NA
R • Report Typo or Error

Triangulation With Children And The Narcissist’s New Supply

Narcissistic Triangulation

IN THE CONTEXT of narcissistic abuse, triangulation is a manipulation tactic in which one person engineers a rivalry between two other people or groups. The aim is to prevent the opponents from uniting against the manipulator, who uses the conflict to control and exploit both factions. Macedonian King Philip II called the strategy divide et impera, but it is more commonly known as divide and conquer.

In order to maintain dominance, highly narcissistic people tend to use oppositional parenting strategies with current or former partners. It’s distressing enough when a narcissistic person triangulates a former partner with their new romantic interest, but the wound cuts much deeper when the triangulation is used to weaken the bonds between the former partner and their child.

A community member submitted the following question:

I am being triangulated with my ex narcissist’s new partner. They are telling our children that the new partner is a better parent because they are carefree, while I have been battling anxiety & depression. Ultimately, they want the children to move in with them. In your opinion, what is the best course of action for someone in my situation?

For answers, we turned to clinical psychologist and parent-child attachment specialist, Dr. Michael Kinsey, author of ‘Transcendent Parenting: A Workbook For Parents Sharing Children With Narcissists,’ for his analysis.

1. Play the long game

It’s painful when a child expresses a preference for their other parent and their new partner. Parents experience feelings of fear, abandonment, and anger at the unfairness of the rejection. However, it can be helpful to look at the situation through a wide lens.

Dr. Michael Kinsey encourages parents sharing children with narcissistic partners to look at the big picture.

“I think that there’s the short view and the long view here,” explains Dr. Kinsey, “The short term view can be pretty discouraging. The kids may believe it, they may be acting in line with what the alienating or narcissistic parent is feeding them. But the thing to keep in mind with narcissistic people is that if you have an estranged relationship with them you are one of many people. The hallmark of narcissistic personality disorder is there have chronically strained relationships. And the reason for this is that everyone ultimately has a fall from grace with a narcissist. People will always see through the façade at some point. Maybe at first just for a few moments. Maybe there will be a prolonged estrangement that develops between the narcissist and the kids. But there will always be an opportunity.”

2. Don’t take the narcissist’s bait

It’s tempting to enter into a competition with the narcissistic person’s new partner, to utter a snarky response when your children comes home repeating praise of the new partner and criticism of you. But that will only encourage the narcissistic person because it shows that their manipulation is working.

Dr. Kinsey says that it’s best not to take the bait, “You stay above the fray. You don’t comment on it. You don’t respond to it. You speak to the kids. You don’t speak to the narcissist through the kids.”

3. Be your child’s safe harbor

Once you have processed your feelings about the situation, start focusing on taking the best possible care of yourself so you can show up fully and with an open heart for your child.

Take the best possible care of yourself so you can show up fully for your child.

“What I would advise people to do,” says Dr. Kinsey, “Is to create a very welcoming, open, accepting, non-contentious environment for the kids to return to. In many ways, that’s the best you can do.”

It’s okay to gently let your child know how you feel. Dr. Kinsey gives an example of what this might look like, “You speak to the kids and you say, ‘It really hurts that it feels that way to you, that this other parent is better, but I’m your mother or father and I’m always here for you.'”

Final Thoughts

It’s not easy raising children with combative partners. It’s important to remember that extreme narcissism is a post-traumatic stress adaptation and that much of their crazy making behavior is not about you. Highly narcissistic people are often acting out repetitions of early life conflicts.

As much as narcissistic people seek to shift everyone’s attention on to themselves, its important to support children by making sure that their needs remain the top priority. Learn more about preventative steps you can take to protect your child’s mental health and how to answer your child’s questions about a narcissistic parent.

If you feel that you or a loved one could benefit from additional support with triangulation, reach out to Dr. Kinsey at Mindsplain

Books by Michael Kinsey, Ph.D.

Quotes about excessive narcissism and triangulation


Confidential support is available to anyone experiencing abuse.
Book a one-on-one consultation or coaching session.


NAR’s Journalistic Standards and Practices
About NA
R • Report Typo or Error

4 Ways To Protect Children From Developing Personality Disorders

3 Ways To Protect Your Child From Developing A Personality Disorder | Dr. Michael Kinsey

Many parents are concerned about how exposure to excessive or extreme narcissism will affect their children. They worry about whether their kids have a higher risk of developing personality disorders.

Narcissistic abuse as an expression of domestic violence and can adversely affect a child’s neurobiological experience. It can harm the child’s sense of security and ability to bond. Even if a parent is the primary victim of the aggression, abuse, or neglect, it is important to recognize that the child is a secondary victim. Witnessing or experiencing domestic violence in early life can sow the seeds for the repetition of these behaviors in adulthood, which can manifest as victimization or oppression.

A community member asked how they might protect their child from developing a personality disorder. They wrote:

I’m co-parenting with a malignant narcissist who is verbally and physically abusive to me in front of our children. Is it possible that my children risk developing personality disorders from exposure to pathological narcissism?

For answers, we turned to parent-child attachment specialist Dr. Michael Kinsey, author of Transcendent Parenting: A Workbook For Parents Sharing Children With Narcissists, for his analysis.

Prevention of the development of personality disorders in children

“Children learn first and foremost by what they see and what they observe. There are going to be lasting impacts of trauma in a context where there is emotional and physical abuse,” explains Dr. Kinsey, “I think there are things people can do to buffer against the permanent arresting of development that can happen as a result of witnessing or seeing that type of abuse.”

1. Validate the child’s experience

It’s import that children receive support to help them process their experience of domestic violence. Parents can build trust with their kids by being honest and direct about what the child is living through.

Dr. Kinsey explains, “Creating meaningful narratives around the experiences. Do not walk away from it, silence it, or pretending as if it’s not happening. That’s a really important thing for kids. Kids need to know that they’re not experiencing an alternate reality from their parents.”

He points to an important factor that can impact children growing up with family dysfunction, underscoring the significance of the deep connection between kids and same-sex caregivers.

“When the parent who is experiencing the abuse is the same-sex parent, there is a strong identification, i.e. the classic example of a husband abusing his wife emotionally or verbally,” says Dr. Kinsey, “The child who is going to be most greatly impacted by what is going to be the one who is identified with the one who is being abused.”

The reverse can be true in instances when children identify with the parent who perpetrates the abuse. In this way, children may internalize and emulate the dysfunction of their same-sex parent later in life.

Dr. Kinsey puts it this way, “There are other problems in continuing the line of abusers when the observer is identified with the abuser.”

Personality order prevention
The effects of domestic violence on a child who is the same sex as the recipient of the abuse will be profound. Dr. Kinsey explains,”The child most greatly impacted by what is going on is going to be the one who is identified with the one who is being abused.”

2. Make sure that your child is safe from harm

To protect your child’s mental health after they have witnessed or experienced domestic violence, reassure them that actions are being taken to ensure their safety.

“Let the child know that what they saw was really disturbing and it’s not okay what happened and that something is being done to protect or insulate the child,” says Dr. Kinsey, offering an example of what parents might say to help support their child, “One thing I can think of just at a very practical level [would be to say], “I know what you saw was really scary. Do you have any questions for me? Do you have any feelings about it?”

3. Encourage your child to express their feelings

Help you child articulate the emotions they are feeling in connection to abuse. Be mindful of the ways the child communicates their experiences so that you can affirm them.

Dr. Kinsey explains, “For younger kids watching for signs of the impact of the abuse in play is super important and not silencing the play when it shows up. So, if toys are fighting then you can sort of say, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re fighting. How scary.’ Things like that and just sort of validating that the child is seeing something that’s very hard.”

4. Teach your child to practice compassion

Encourage your child to practice putting themselves other people’s shoes. Without condoning harmful behavior, show them how to practice compassion and understanding for others. This must include people they may not necessarily agree with, such as a narcissistic parent.

Teach your child to practice compassion and put themselves in other people’s shoes.

“One of the biggest buffers against personality disorder development is having some sense of understanding of one’s feelings and the feelings of someone else.” says Dr. Kinsey, adding that its vital for the parent to remember that a narcissistic partner is still a human being, “Narcissists are not devoid of feeling states. To optimally protect kids, we need to help them develop an understanding of who that person is and what their emotional system is like and give them a context for understanding the behavior. We can hold intention that the behavior itself, that the abuse itself, is unacceptable.”

He points out that to remain in an abusive relationship is to tacitly green light toxic behavior, which sends the wrong signal to a child. However, it’s still useful to help the child develop an understanding of what’s going on with a domineering parents and why the act the way they do.

“At the very least,” he concludes, “The child needs to have an understanding of who the narcissist is, why they are behaving the way they are and how it’s possible to still maintain a loving understanding of that person, even though they do very bad things.”

Final Thoughts

To prevent the development of personality disorders in children, it is important to prioritize protecting their mental health especially if they have borne witness to or experienced abusive power and control.

There is no escaping the fact that staying with an abusive partner can devastate a child’s mental and physical health. They may develop a fear of abandonment, chronic anxiety and depression, or a guilt complex. Some of the others ways a child’s wounding may also manifest are disconnecting from their emotions, impaired empathy, compulsive lying, isolation, and shame.

If you feel that you or a loved one could benefit from additional support with preventing personality disorder development in your child, reach out to Dr. Kinsey at Mindsplain

Further reading


Confidential support is available to anyone experiencing abuse.
Book a one-on-one consultation or coaching session.


NAR’s Journalistic Standards and Practices
About NA
R • Report Typo or Error

1 2 3
buy amoxil buy amoxil 500 mg online