A New Season of The Narcissistic Abuse Rehab Podcast

The Narcissistic Abuse Rehab Podcast | Photo by Nuno Obey

When I visualize the upcoming season of The Narcissistic Abuse Rehab Podcast, the image I hold in my mind is a platform that serves as a lighthouse to anyone feeling lost at sea during their proverbial dark night of the soul.

When we first launched in 2019, my intention as a content creator was to reach survivors wherever they were on their recovery journey with a message of confidence. Hope ignites the flame of courage in the human heart and makes it possible for us to take that first intrepid step toward transformation. Through the generous endowment of my wonderful mother, our platform has successfully engineered awareness, empowerment, and healing for thousands of people around the globe. 

Because narcissistic abuse occurs in the psychological domain, its effects are often invisible to everyone except the person experiencing the harm. It renders the sacred profane by weaponizing the building blocks of healthy relationships: good faith, trust, and loyalty. Narcissistic abuse impairs one’s ability to give and receive love without fear.

Tossed between seismic waves of idealization and devaluation, the survivor often loses sight of the way back to their safe harbor. Typically, the survivor is burdened with misplaced shame and cruelly thrust into the torturous scapegoat role. The result is often family estrangement and alienation from one’s wider social circle. 

Hope is the beacon of light that disrupts the gloom of this insidious form of human bondage. Without hope, healing seems impossible because it does not occur in a vacuum. The best and most lasting recovery happens through wholesome connections sustained by the restorative elixir of agapē, the purest and most liberating form of love. 

I am as resolute as ever in my commitment to restoring the dignity of survivors by connecting in our digital safe space. Every time a survivor makes the leap from victim to victor, they become an inspiration to those still ensnared in destructive relationships.

Your voice and vision are needed to co-create the best climate for recovery. I invite you to participate in a five-minute survey to let me know how you think we can streamline our website. I also welcome you to leave a comment or contact me directly to share relevant topics you would like us to discuss on the new episodes of the podcast.

Your’s in recovery,

5 Books on Trauma That Will Help You Heal

5 Books On Trauma That Will Help You Heal | Alice Nicole

Although a relatively small portion of the population (approximately 5%) are clinically diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder, cases of manipulative and destructive behavior have become more publicly recognized in the past few years. Michelle D. Roberts explains that narcissistic abuse differs from other forms of abuse in such a way that it is characterized by a pattern of manipulative behavior and intentional deception aimed at exploiting the victim. Gaslighting is also typical in narcissistic abuse making the victim question their self-worth and whether or not they deserve abusive behavior. However, it’s important to realize that there’s always a way forward from this type of abuse.

In this list, we discuss 5 books that can help narcissistic abuse victims get back on their feet.

Shame Unmasked: Disarming the Hidden Driver Behind Our Destructive Decisions

Shame Unmasked discusses what it calls the “hidden driver” behind destructive decisions – deep-seated feelings of shame. A self-identified reforming narcissist, Rick Patterson discusses how shame drives and fuels narcissism, racism, and the like. He speaks of how shame, especially when unaddressed, takes full control of our lives. Dr. Patterson also discusses in a previous piece the traits that narcissists look for in a partner, including neediness and vulnerability.

Although originally written to guide narcissists in realizing and acting upon their disorder, this book will also be helpful for victims to understand that the problem does not lie with them. Reassigning accountability for the experience will help the victim move forward.

Writing Into the Wound: Understanding Trauma, Truth, and Language

Writing Into the Wound delves into the necessity of facing trauma head-on by picking up the bits and pieces to make oneself whole again after a bout of extreme suffering. In the book, Roxane Gay masterfully tells us, “To change the world, we need to face what has become of it.” She stresses the importance of understanding the extent of trauma to open up ways to move on and move forward to better versions of ourselves.

Gay’s exploration of trauma is not meant for victims to punish themselves and wallow in misery, but to come out stronger and better through discovering extremely important life lessons and collective healing.

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

Narcissistic abuse can also occur between parents and children.  Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents explores the different dimensions of parent-children relationships, which can range from abandonment to outright violent abuse. Lindsay Gibson illustrates how children of emotionally immature parents grow up to be unsure of themselves (and their happiness) and are unable to independently navigate the world in front of them.

Unearthing one’s history of abuse may help them fully understand and place into context why they decide to put up with the situation, even for a prolonged time. Going through that process may unlock key links in breaking vicious cycles of abuse.

It Didn’t Start With You

Mark Wolynn’s book on deeply-ingrained emotional problems speaks in the same vein as Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents in discussing intergenerational family trauma. However, It Didn’t Start With You leans more on how family trauma is passed on from one generation to another, creating a cycle of anxiety, depression and other problems in familial relationships. Complementary to the traditional drugs, psychosocial therapy and other interventions, Wollyn delves deeper into family history to understand how heavy baggage is inherited from our ancestors, what to take away from it, and what to let go of.

Safe People: How to Find Relationships that are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t

Safe People takes that extra step in guiding you through your healing process. It covers more than just avoiding “unsafe people” and gives you an idea of what to look for in “safe people”. These are the kind that you want to surround yourself with especially when you are recovering from an extended period of abuse and trauma.

Henry Cloud and John Townsend speak of the important role of positive relationships for victims to regain trust and confidence in themselves and the people around them.

People who have had to stay in abusive relationships, be it platonic or romantic, with narcissists often take some time to heal. This healing process warrants a multitude of approaches and methods. A helpful first step might be recognition that abuse was committed, and nobody deserves that kind of abuse.

What is Gaslighting?

elderly woman in eyeglasses telling off blond woman

GASLIGHTING IS A FORM of psychological manipulation that falls under the category of psycho-emotional abuse. Its aim is to cause a person to question their sanity. 

What Is The Definition of Gaslighting?

The term comes from the 1938 play Gaslight, about a wife who discovers that her husband is secretly turning down the gaslights in their home in order to make her doubt her reality. Today, gaslighting is a colloquialism that describes a situation where one person manipulates another to causes them to second-guess their perceptions and beliefs. 

Who is most likely to use the gaslighting tactic?

Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic commonly used by people with malignant personalities, such as narcissistic- and anti-social personality types. Emotionally sound people are unlikely to gaslight others because they are able to empathize with them. People with darker personalities have low empathy and are less likely to care about causing others distress, which makes them more prone to gaslight others. However, not all people with malignant personalities resort to gaslighting.

In what context is gaslighting most likely to occur?

Gaslighting can happen in any type of relationship, including friendships, romantic relationships, and within the family. It can also occur in the workplace when one person tries to manipulate another into doing something they don’t want to do.

How does one person gaslight another? 

Gaslighting is usually accomplished by creating a false narrative and casting doubt on any facts or evidence that contradicts it. The transgressor misleads the recipient of the abuse by creating a false reality.

Why do people use the gaslighting tactic?

People who gaslight do so in order to manipulate and control others. The effects of gaslighting often leave the recipient of the abuse feeling powerless, invisible, and unable to influence the relationship.

What are some examples of gaslighting?

Some examples of gaslighting are:

  • When a partner denies having an affair, even when text messages are sent proving otherwise. 
  • When a spouse is criticized for expressing an opinion or feeling, but when their partner expresses the same opinion or feeling, they are commended for being open and honest. 
  • When a parent tells a child they are imagining things even though the child is not.
  • Denying that acts of aggression have taken place even though they have.

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Why It’s So Hard To Prove Coercive or Controlling Behavior

man in green dress shirt holding woman in black dress

IN 2015, A NEW LAW introduced a criminal offence of “controlling or coercive behavior in an intimate or family relationship”. Yet it remains difficult to prove this kind of abuse in court.

freedom of information request made by law firm Simpson Millar found that the new offence was used just 62 times in its first six months between the end of December 2015 and end of June 2016 and, out of 22 police forces in England and Wales, eight have not charged a single person with the offence. This has led to the implementation of a new pilot scheme by the College of Policing to help officers spot the signs of controlling and coercive behaviour.

The new offence looks for “controlling or coercive” behaviour that is engaged in “repeatedly or continuously” by person A and has a “serious effect” on person B. This is either by making them afraid that violence will be used against them, or by causing serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on their usual daily activities.

For traumatized witnesses, the process of giving evidence in court may trigger a traumatic flashback, panic attack or episode of dissociation where the brain becomes foggy, perceptions are distorted and they become confused and disorientated.

Charlotte Bishop, Ph.D.

It’s typical for police investigations into domestic violence cases to face difficulties, and this new offence is no different. The realities of the way evidence and testimony is currently used in court may seriously limit the effectiveness of prosecutions for this offence. 

Recognising Coercive Control

Research conducted by anti-domestic violence campaigner Evan Stark has shown how coercive control, most often perpetrated by a male against his female partner, can be very hard to recognise. This is because it involves micro-regulation of some of the daily activities already commonly associated with women in their “traditional” role as home-makers, mothers and sexual partners.

Given the persistence of such gender-role expectations, it may be difficult to distinguish coercion and control from romantic love. Research has suggested that jealous and possessive behaviours such as restricting what the victim wears, who she sees and where she goes may be interpreted as signs of the abuser’s love and so not recognised as abusive – at least at first. 

A witness is required to provide a coherent account in court, but a traumatic experience commonly cannot be recalled as a cohesive memory due to the impact trauma has on the brain’s memory processes.

Charlotte Bishop, Ph.D.

Unlike in cases of physical violence that can leave external bruising or broken bones, it’s difficult to objectively assess whether coercive control has taken place. The abuser will typically use signals and covert messages to exert and maintain control and often these have meaning only in the context of that particular relationship. For example, the perpetrator may use a specific look, phrase or movement to convey to the victim that they are close to breaking an unspoken “rule”. 

But these signals may be hard to classify as abusive in and of themselves. Compliance with demands about dressing, shopping or cooking in a particular way to avoid repercussions may seem voluntary to an outsider with little or no understanding of the dynamics in the relationship. This makes it very difficult for those involved in the prosecution process to determine, beyond reasonable doubt, that the behaviour was controlling or coercive for purposes of the offence. 

The Crown Prosecution Service has produced guidance on the types of behaviours to look for and how evidence could be gathered in relation to the new offence. These include diaries kept by the victim, text messages and emails, and testimony from friends, family and people living in the area. Yet, these things may not always provide sufficient evidence of the extent of the harm inflicted on the victim. 

Witness Credibility

If a victim of domestic violence appears in court to testify against an abusive partner, this can also create obstacles to successful prosecution. Despite a shift in favour of reliance on evidence other than testimony, such as photographic evidence of the scene or police descriptions of the demeanour of the alleged witness and perpetrator in the immediate aftermath of the incident, oral testimony is still the preferred form of evidence.

But let’s not forgot the trauma these victims have gone through. Any event or set of enduring conditions which overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope can cause psychological trauma. Victims of domestic abuse and coercive control often live in a permanent state of hyper-vigilance where they are constantly trying to do the right thing and second-guess the reactions of an abuser whose expectations may change minute by minute. This results in a continuing state of siege which may cause the victim to experience ongoing symptoms of trauma.

For traumatised witnesses, the process of giving evidence in court may trigger a traumatic flashback, panic attack or episode of dissociation where the brain becomes foggy, perceptions are distorted and they become confused and disorientated. Without information on trauma, the shaking, confusion, disorientation and an inability to maintain eye-contact which often result from these reactions may lead magistrates, judges and the jury to doubt the credibility and veracity of her testimony. The reactions may also be seized upon by the defence barrister and portrayed as suspicious in an attempt to undermine witness credibility. In addition, a witness is required to provide a coherent account in court, but a traumatic experience commonly cannot be recalled as a cohesive memory due to the impact trauma has on the brain’s memory processes. Again, this is likely to affect perceptions of credibility.

In my own research, I’m looking at whether information given to the jury on the possible impacts of trauma on witness testimony would be appropriate to help overcome some of these obstacles. Without appropriate understandings, the impact of trauma may severely undermine perceptions of the credibility and reliability of the witness and so further reduce the likelihood of a conviction.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at The Conversation and is republished here under Creative Common License.


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3 Causes of Parent-Child Estrangement in Narcissistic Abuse with Dr. Michael Kinsey

Adult Child-Parent Estrangement in Narcissistic Abuse

ONE OF THE MOST DEVASTATING aspects of narcissistic abuse in families is that it often leads to estrangement between the recipient of the abuse and their children. To orchestrate parent-child estrangement, narcissists use a manipulation tactic called triangulation. One of the reasons why extreme narcissism is so malignant is because a narcissistic person is prone to objectifying others and, therefore, has no qualms about weaponizing their children in order to exercise abusive power and control over the other parent.

Narcissistic abuse is most effective when the targeted person is isolated, so they excise external influences from the targeted person’s environment that threaten to disturb the narcissist’s narrative. In this way, the perpetrator of the abuse is able to control the targeted person’s perspective and shape the way the individual sees themselves, the narcissist, and the world around them.

In extreme cases of domestic violence, narcissistic triangulation can result in child-to-parent violence with the child mimicking the narcissist’s aggression toward the recipient of the abuse. This shocking behavior is devastating to the targeted parent, who cannot understand why their beloved child is unable to empathize with them or how their children rationalize enabling and sometimes participating in the abuse.

A member of our community who is a survivor of severe long-term narcissistic abuse suffered this cruel fate when they left their abusive partner and refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement after they were divorced. They wrote:

I am a survivor of narcissistic abuse and the atmosphere between my adult children and narcissist ex is cult-like. The children participated in the abuse when they were younger and refuse to have contact with me today. I’ve never met my grandchildren.

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

1. Narcissists See The World Through A Binary Lens

An important factor in understanding the behavior of children in the context of parent-child estrangement is the awareness that narcissists view the world around them through a binary lens. Dr. Kinsey explains:

“The context that I would give people who are estranged from their children or who are caught up in the narcissist’s version of reality [is] to understand is the nature of the narcissist’s defensive structure. The world to a narcissist is divided into good and bad and the narcissist distances himself or herself from the bad as much as possible. There is intense profound disgust for the bad and the bad always has to be outside of the narcissistic personality and that means that there are scapegoats, demons, devils, and people who are completely unworthy of association.”

2. Children Often Identify With The Same Sex Parent

Another aspects as to why parent-child estrangement can occur is because the identity of the child may be in lockstep with the narcissistic parent due to social influences, such as gender.

“An identification often develops, especially with the same-sex parent,” says Dr. Kinsey, addressing why some children who grow up the the dysfunction of narcissistic family dynamics may be unwilling to empathize with the recipient of the abuse, “If the same-sex parent is a narcissist then there is a tendency to emulate that way of dealing with problems, difficulties, and emotions. so, functionally, what this means is the bad that exists in everyone and especially exists in the narcissist is displaced or it’s placed into the other parent. Usually, these are things like vulnerability, weakness, and unworthiness can be disowned in that way

3. The Child Prioritizes Their Survival In Power Holder’s Social Circle

Another social aspect of the equation that could impact the child’s behavior is their survival instinct.

“Being within the narcissist-child dyad is, obviously, a very coveted place. You know with both of our parents there is such a deep need to be loved and accepted,” according to Dr. Kinsey, “If a child is forced to choose, they might choose the person that they feel they are most like or they’ll also choose the person who they feel is safer or who they feel is the more desirable one to follow. In the case of the kind of scenario you’re discussing, it’s really a matter of survival. Being in the “in-group” of the narcissist is so essential to survival.”

Final thoughts

If you have been targeted for narcissistic triangulation and are estranged from your child, remember that you are not alone. Up to 45% of domestic violence survivors are targeted for this strain of post-separation abusive power and control. As distressing as the situation is, bear in mind that your children are secondary victims to intimate partner violence.

Focus on what you can influence and practice radical acceptance of the things you cannot control. Recognize that the aim of narcissistic tribulation between a parent and this child is to psychologically destabilize you, so it is especially important to practice emotional hygiene.

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

Watch Episode 1 of Co-Parenting with a Narcissist with Dr. Michael Kinsey.


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6 Signs of Love Bombing with Dr. Steve Sultanoff

Signs of Love Bombing with Steve Sultanoff, PhD

LOVE BOMBING is a manipulation technique used by one person to gaslight another in order to control and dominate them. It is commonly used by highly narcissistic people and people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), but it can be used by other types of manipulators as well. The aim is to give the perpetrator an advantage over the recipient of the abuse. This is accomplished using a schedule of intermittent reinforcement that alternates between love bombing and devaluation to deliberately induce, escalate, and then soothe anxiety in the victim-survivor. One of the dangers of love bombing is that it feels so good it can be difficult to recognize it for the psycho-emotional abuse that it is. Today, we’re going to highlight 6 Signs of Love Bombing with clinical psychologist Steven M. Sultanoff, PhD

For more than thirty years, Dr. Sultanoff has been a professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. He’s also served as a clinical supervisor and spent twelve years as clinical director of a psychology training network. In 2012, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in therapeutic humor from the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: What is something most people don’t understand about love bombing?

Dr. Steven Sultanoff: The extreme narcissist is a “big game hunter.” He is stalking his prey, and the thrill is in the hunt and capture of the prey. In order to capture the prey, the narcissist will go to almost any length to achieve that goal. The result is self-congratulatory: “Look what major feat I accomplished!” In other words, “I made you fall for me.”

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: What you are describing it sounds more like entrapment than love.

Dr. Steven Sultanoff: He is on a quest to “do” whatever it takes to achieve the goal: capturing a “love” connection or perhaps more accurately capturing the object of his desire. Nothing will stand in the way. Whatever it takes (behaviorally) he will do. He will shower the “love object” with whatever might be pleasing including gifts, flowers, romantic getaways, etcetera.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: This is an excellent analogy because it illustrates how little a narcissist’s behavior has to do with the person they are pursuing and everything to do with their self-image. What’s the pay off for the narcissist?

Dr. Steven Sultanoff: Once the goal is achieved, he will feel “full,” valued, worthy, etcetera until the moment of the accomplishment wears off.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: So, they obtain narcissistic supply through success in pursuit and conquest of someone they regard as “prey”. It gratifies their ego and fills them with a sense of pride in their ability to manipulate the person they targeted. What is the first major red flag that people should look out for?

Dr. Steven Sultanoff: One tell-tale sign is over the top extreme behavior that, of course, feels like being nurtured and loved.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: But in reality it’s neither of those things because the narcissist is using the capture and conquest of their “prey” to feed their ego. Dr. Sultanoff, you have been practicing for over thirty years. Please share something you’ve observed about narcissists in your clinical experience.

Dr. Steven Sultanoff: Most narcissists are men, although women are not immune to the disorder.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: Indeed, that’s consistent with the research. Can you please share some other signs you think might help people recognize when they are being love bombed?

Dr. Steven Sultanoff: Narcissists are frequently absolutely charming and they make a great appearance. For example, they are often coiffed meticulously. They are usually generous with money and material things, showering the object of their affection with an assortment of gifts mostly of monetary value but not necessarily. Depending on their style and expertise, they may offer more personal gifts such as poetry, writing songs, sunsets on the beach, looking at the stars, etcetera for their partner. They make a major effort to be in contact with their partner and may frequently text or email with lots of emojis or other endearing extras.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: It’s often said that narcissists target people who have one or several blind spots. Can you talk a bit about this?

Dr. Steven Sultanoff: One sign that is often overlooked is the partner’s reaction to the love bomb. If you feel enamored, giddy, or enthralled especially to the point of discussing all the gifts with others then you may want to examine the relationship. It is easy for the partner to be “sucked into” the love bomb since it “feels” so good to be loved at such an extreme level.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: That’s a very astute and helpful tip! Dr. Sultanoff, do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share on this topic?

Dr. Steven Sultanoff: Bottom line, if he is too good to be true, he likely is too good to be true. Look for the signs of excessively loving behaviors, look for feeling immersed in his love, look for constant actions of his love and desire to be with you, and finally look beyond his loving actions and ask yourself, “What is the substance behind the actions. Is he who I can love if all these loving actions were not present?”

Dr. Sultanoff’s 6 Signs of Love Bombing

To summarize, Dr. Sultanoff highlighted six signs of love bombing and they are:

  1. Too good to be true
  2. Charm
  3. Flamboyance
  4. Generosity
  5. Excessive Attention
  6. Euphoria

Visit Dr. Sultanoff’s website humormatters.com to learn about therapeutic humor.


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What Narcissists Look For in A Partner with Dr. Rick Patterson

what narcissists look for in a partner

DR. RICK PATTERSON spoke candidly with me about what narcissists look for in a partner. He is the author of Shame Unmasked: Disarming the Hidden Driver Behind Our Destructive Decisions, an insightful book about the inner thoughts associated with extreme narcissism. In his work, Dr. Patterson underscores that toxic shame is the driving force of narcissistic aggression.

He explains “A person with internalized shame believes he is inherently flawed, inferior and defective. Such a feeling is so painful that defending scripts (or strategies) are developed to cover it up. These scripts are the roots of violence, criminality, war, and all forms of addiction.”

The role of narcissism in toxic relationships

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: Dr. Patterson, what is something most people don’t know about love bombing?

Dr. Rick Patterson: As a reforming narcissist myself, I’ve seen this play out in all types of venues. Love bombing isn’t just a romantic thing. It can happen in any relationship anywhere, including the workplace or where you worship. 

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: As a recovering narcissist, could you share your thoughts on what qualities a narcissistic person or NPD looks for in someone they think will be susceptible to the love bombing tactic?

Dr. Rick Patternson: A narcissist can sense someone’s need and their openness to being manipulated.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: Your mention of need is interesting because it’s a word associated with being impoverished, lacking, or hungry. Could you explain a bit more about what you mean when you say that someone is open to being manipulated?

Dr. Rick Patterson: Someone experiencing love myredbook sacramento bombing is thinking that this attention doesn’t make sense combined with a feeling of needing it to make sense.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: In your opinion, what drives the need to make the absurd make sense?

Dr. Rick Patterson: Ironically, someone’s need for attention from a narcissist comes from their own narcissism.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: Given that narcissism is a trait that exists on a continuum that we all have, it makes sense that a highly narcissistic person or someone with narcissistic personality disorder would excel at recognizing and appealing to narcissism in others. What exactly does a narcissist see when they set their sights on someone?

Dr. Rick Patterson: They see the narcissism of the person they target presenting as neediness, which opens them up to a person whose narcissism presents as manipulative. Both individuals have complementary and codependent forms of the same shame-based malady.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: One is the yin to the other’s yang.

What drives narcissists to manipulate others?

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: Let’s talk about what motivates a narcissistic person to love bomb someone. What drives this behavior?

Dr. Rick Patterson: There is something in it for the narcissist.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: So, it’s avarice. The narcissist is seeking to benefit from the person or people they love bomb.

Dr. Rick Patterson: This happens in volunteer organizations and the workplace all the time. Volunteer organizations need people to work for free. The best way to make that happen is through compliments. There is nothing wrong with donating to a cause – just do it for the cause and not the person showering you with attention. Your workplace has also learned that they can pay employees less when they give more compliments. They describe it as “worker retention”, but it helps “retain” workers when they can’t pay as much.

The role of sociotropy in narcissistic abuse

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: If a person has been targeted for narcissistic abuse what are three things they need to understand and be mindful of going forward?

Dr. Rick Patterson: Think about these things:

  1. Neediness – Your need and your openness to being manipulated
  2. Resources – There something in it for the narcissist to shower this attention.
  3. Vulnerablity – A willingness to give up your freedoms for praise.

Narcissistic Abuse Rehab: Excellent points. An excessive need for approval and acceptance can cause people to lapse into denial when confronted with red flag behaviors. Sociotropy or people pleasing creates blindspots. It’s a green light for a predatory personalities.

Dr. Patterson: The danger for the recipient of love bombing is the needier you are for the praise you receive – in other words, the more shame drive you have – the less likely you will be to see what’s going on. Find someone you trust to give you some clarity.

Shame Unmasked: Disarming the Hidden Driver Behind Our Destructive Decisions is available for purchase on Amazon.


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In the UK call 0808 2000 247 or log on to nationaldahelpline.org.uk.


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3 Effects of Narcissistic Parenting on Minor Children

a sad young girl

TRAUMA IS THE WORD most commonly associated with extreme narcissism – and with good reason. People who have been targeted for narcissistic abuse often scoff when the pathology is described as shame based because they are distracted by the spectacle of the narcissistic person’s formidable defenses. But in reality, narcissistic personality disorder is a post-traumatic stress adaptation. It is usually developed to resolve intense feelings of inferiority and shame often connected with psychological devastation.

Extreme narcissism is a kind of scar tissue that develops to protect unhealed trauma. It numbs, hardens, and desensitizes the mind, eventually severing consciousness from feelings of incessant vulnerability, fear, and hyper-vigilance. It restricts the ability to genuinely bond with others, making empathy an elusive prospect. The deeper the trauma, the more narcissistic people disconnect from their emotions to cope. The overarching feelings of inferiority and shame become submerged in the subconscious mind. There, a false self is generated to serve as a bulwark to keep unbearable, vulnerable emotions at bay. The words narcissist and narcotic originate from the Greek narkao which means “I numb myself”.

Early life wounds fuel the adult fury boiling under the surface of this personality type. It’s what drives the explosive narcissistic rage that detonates with every real or perceived threat to their cherished false self. It feeds their obsessive need for control and it can blind them to the fact that they perpetuate the very trauma that wounded them on others, especially their children.

3 Effects of Narcissistic Parenting on Minor Children

  1. Research shows that children who witness narcissistic abuse suffer the same degree of harm as the parent who is the primary target for the narcissist’s aggression.
  2. Children who witness or experience narcissistic abuse are at risk for long-term physical and mental health consequences.
  3. Some children who witness narcissistic abuse may have an increased propensity to act out the same violence in their own relationships.

“Children learn first and foremost by what they see and what they observe.” explains Clinical Psychologist and parent-child attachment specialist Dr. Michael Kinsey, “There are going to be lasting impacts of trauma in a context where there is emotional and physical abuse.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.”


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What Is Coercive Control?

What is Coercive Control?

COERCIVE CONTROL IS AN ACT or a pattern of acts used by one person to harm, punish or frighten another person to secure psycho-emotional dominance. It begins with occasional incidents of strategic aggression that escalate over time to full-scale campaigns of intimate terrorism.

Coercive control was conceptualized by Evan Stark, Ph.D. in his book Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life. Perpetrators of coercive control also harm their children as part of their wider campaign to isolate the primary recipient of the abuse.

Signs of Coercive Control

1. GaslightingThe perpetrator deliberately distorts the victim-survivors’ reality.
2. IsolationThe perpetrator isolates the victim-survivor from family and friends. 
3. Control of Daily LifeThe perpetrator dictates where the victim-survivor can go, see, wear, and eat.
4. Monitoring timeThe perpetrator oversees where the victim-survivor is, where they are going, and what they are doing at all times
5. Put-DownsThe perpetrator may repeatedly tell the victim-survivor that they are worthless or useless, they may publically humiliate the victim-survivor by calling them degrading names or by criticizing their appearance, intelligence, etc.
6. Monitoring CommunicationThe perpetrator may use spyware to track the victim-survivors’ digital communication.
7. Rules and Regulations The perpetrator creates a set of ever changing rules which they enforce by humiliating, degrading, or dehumanizing the victim-survivor.
8. ThreatsThe perpetrator may threaten to hurt or kill the victim-survivor, their child, family members, friends, or pets; they may threaten to take away their child; they may threaten to reveal private information such as intimate photos or revelations about your sexuality.
9. Deprivation of Basic NeedsThe perpetrator restricts the victim-survivors’ access to healthcare and food.
10. Obstruction of EmploymentThe perpetrator may stop the victim-survivor from obtaining employment, going to work, and earning their own money.
11. Financial AbuseThe perpetrator takes control of the victim-survivors’ finances, making sure they have little access to money so that the victim-survivor is dependent on them.
12. Criminal DamageThe perpetrator may damage or destroy the victim-survivors’ personal property.
13. Assault or RapeThe perpetrator may physically abuse, sexually assault, or rape the victim-survivor.

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.


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Marlee Matlin on William Hurt’s Violence: ‘I Was Afraid I Might Not Survive.’

Marlee Matlin on surviving William Hurt's Violence

ACTOR WILLIAM HURT died of natural causes on Sunday, March 13, 2022. That evening as Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin walked the red carpet at the Critics Choice Awards, a reporter asked her to comment on the news of Hurt’s passing. 

Matlin squared her shoulders, gave her head a quick shake as if ingesting a bitter tonic, and summoned the grace to say:

“We’ve lost a great actor. Working with him on the set of Children of a Lesser God will always be something I remember very fondly. He taught me a great deal as an actor. He was one-of-a-kind.”

Matlin’s response was so charitable and respectful, that for a brief moment it transcended the reality of the intimate terrorism Hurt allegedly subjected her during a two-year relationship that left her fearing for her life. 

A History of Battery and Rape

Marlee Matlin was involved in a romantic relationship with the late William Hurt when she was a teenager. They met in the 1980s during her screen test for the film Children of a Lesser God. Hurt, then 35, was at the height of his acting career while nineteen-year-old Matlin was a Hollywood newcomer.

In her 2009 autobiography I’ll Scream Later, Marlee Matlin disclosed that William Hurt subjected her to repeated emotional, physical, and sexual abuse throughout their two-year relationship. Hurt was a brilliant but complex person who struggled with substance abuse for most of his life.

Accomplished and experienced, Hurt was able to take advantage of the glaring power imbalance in their relationship due to his status as a revered performing artist, their age gap and the privileges of his positionality in the world. He was free to manipulate and abuse Matlin with impunity and without any consequences.

According to The Daily Beast, Matlin recalls a horrific incident when inebriated Hurt, “…finally came home around 4:30 A.M. drunk and woke me up. The next thing I knew he’d pulled me out of the bed, screaming at me, shaking me. I was scared, I was sobbing. Then he threw me on the bed, started ripping off his clothes and mine. I was crying. ‘No, no, no. Please Bill, no.’ The next thing I remember is Bill ramming himself inside me as I sobbed.”

Several independent witnesses confirmed Matlin’s account. Among them are members of the crew on the set of Children of a Lesser God, her translator, a medical doctor, and Hurt’s children who treated her injuries after Hurt’s brutal attacks.

A Shift in the Balance of Power

Children of a Lesser God received multiple Academy Award nominations, including nods to Hurt and Matlin. Matlin made history that year when she became the youngest person ever to win the Oscar for best actress. Hurt walked away empty handed. This only increased his envy Matlin and was the beginning of the end of their relationship.

Matlin recalls that Hurt told her that she didn’t deserve her Oscar, and told her, “What makes you think you deserve it? There are hundreds of actors who have worked for years for the recognition you just got handed to you. Think about that.”

Matlin recalls feeling anxious and confused by Hurt’s mood swings and explosive violence. She described the extent of Hurt’s abuse to Nancy O’Dell of Access Hollywood:

“I always had fresh bruises every day. There were a lot of things that happened that were not pleasant. I loved him. I did. Or maybe I thought I did.”

She recalls how his attacks on her confidence intensified after she won the award. Hurt suggested that she take acting lessons and his aggression toward Matlin escalated. Eventually, she says she started losing her will to live, “I felt lost, helpless. I realized I didn’t care whether I lived or died.”

DARVO in Intimate Partner Abuse

Many of Hurt’s described tactics are typical of intimate partner violence. Matlin describes receiving a letter from Hurt in which he DARVOs her, blaming her for his aggression and domestic violence, “He said in that letter that he was guilt-ridden about what he called his ‘physical anger.’ But he blamed me for doing things that made him crazy angry.”

The relationship finally reached its breaking point after a horrifying episode of Hurt’s explosive rage.

Matlin remembers, “I have never been so scared in my life before or after that day. The struggle turned violent. I was afraid I might not survive.”

She alleges that she reached for the telephone to call for help but Hurt jerked it from her grasp and beat her severely, striking her arms and face. She says she realized that Hurt wasn’t going to change his ways and, if she returned to him, she might never find the courage to leave.

Matlin explains, “I understand how women are afraid to leave an abusive relationship. They should, but at the same time, I understand how they don’t know how.”

Guilt as a Tool of Control in Intimate Partner Violence

When Matlin escaped from the relationship, she did not file charges against Hurt because she was afraid her substance abuse would be used against her.

“I was so wrapped up in his world and my drugs,” She says candidly, “The drugs took over my life, took over my brain.” 

Hurt also struggled with substance abuse. However, he eventually became sober, which he considered to be one the greatest triumphs of his life.

Marlee Matlin was asked by a journalist if Hurt had been informed about the book before its publication, and allowed to refute her claims, and she responded, “I had no contact with him. Really, I had nothing to say to him. He knows what happened, I know what happened. We both were there.”

In a statement issued by Hurt in 2009, the actor did not deny Matlin’s allegations.

He said: “My own recollection is that we both apologized and both did a great deal to heal our lives. Of course, I did and do apologize for any pain I caused. And I know we both have grown. I wish Marlee and her family nothing but good.”

Perhaps Hurt was merely being cautious with his words to avoid litigation but his statement effectively minimize the severity of his violence toward Matlin while underscoring her purported transgressions against him. This response is typical of a highly narcissistic person side stepping accountability. His acknowledgement and apology is so vague one might think he wasn’t speaking about battery and rape, which are criminal acts.

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