Monday, June 27, 2016

7 Ways Ex-Narcissists Retaliate Through Children

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

Divorcing a narcissist doesn’t solve everything. While the day-to-day distance can elevate the stress, anxiety, depression, and frustration of living with a narcissist, it doesn’t stop them from being narcissistic. The next party on the victimization list is often the children. But really, the narcissist is just using the children to attack the ex-spouse (ES). Here’s how:
1.       Projection – Ex-Narcissists (EN) tells children that it is really the ES who is the narcissist. Any negative narcissistic traits are projected onto the ES, while the positive traits are preserved. For instance, an EN will claim the ES has no empathy and doesn’t understand what the children are feeling. However, the house they have is because of the EN’s achievements, not the joint effort of the prior marriage. It doesn’t matter what the truth is to the narcissist, it only matters how they can twist the truth to look superior.
2.      Unnecessary Generosity – When a narcissist can be recognized or admired for their generosity, they can be very lavish with gifting. This is usually done at random times so as to draw even greater amounts of attention. The recipient children in turn feed the EN’s ego with gratitude and feel a sense of obligation to be on the EN’s side. However, once the devotion has dried up, the EN becomes angry and sometimes takes the gift back. The EN will say, “The child never thanked me,” even when they did. This statement is said to elicit more praise, adoration, and keep the child committed to the EN.
3.      Excessive Discipline – On the opposite extreme of generosity is disproportionate discipline for minor infractions. The oscillating tactics of extravagant generosity verses excessive discipline keeps the child on edge. While the generosity inspires devotion (pulling the child in closer), the discipline sparks fear (pushing the child away). This mental abuse tactic is called push-pull. No doubt, this aggravates the ES who experienced and now despises witnessing it through the children. The EN knows this bothers the ES but does it anyway to maintain control of both the children and the ES.
4.      Dream Stealer – If the ES expressed a wish to take a European vacation, the EN will make it happen with the children and probably the new spouse. The EN will claim that the dream was their’s but it wasn’t. This tactic is done to show off to the ES. It also serves as a reminder that had they stayed, they too could be going on the trip. Of course, the ES won’t deny their children such a trip so they are forced to concede and let the children go. Any complaining by the ES comes off as sour grapes and only makes the EN look better. This is a checkmate maneuver.
5.      Gaslighting – A favorite line of the EN is, “That never happened, your mother/father (the ES) is making that up, they are crazy.” Without the filter of the ES present, the EN literally rewrites history and uses the push-pull tactic to cement the revision. When the ES protests the alteration, the EN blames the child for exaggerating. The confused child feels stuck between both parents, unsure which one to believe. This is a precursor to future anxiety issues in the child.
6.      Silent Treatment – Most ENs are talented in utilizing the silent treatment to get what they want by withholding love or affection. In a divorce situation, this tactic changes slightly. Now the EN will demand the ES contact them when the child is away from the EN. However, the EN will not do the same thing in return. When confronted, the EN makes excuses, blames the children, and deflects responsibility. Then the EN states the ES is just being demanding, controlling, manipulative, and overbearing. This silence is a constant reminder and fear that the ES has little to no control when the children are with the EN.
7.      Wrongful Punishment – When the EN becomes angry with the ES, the EN unjustly punishes the undeserving and unprotected children. This attack is so blatant that the ES and the children easily recognize it. But since the ES is out of reach of the EN, the EN goes after the closest target, the children. The children know they are being punished for the ES’s behavior. Sadly instead of becoming angry with the EN, the children become resentful of the ES for the lack of protection. This further alienates the ES from their kids.

Recognizing these seven ways can help an ES regain some amount of control over the situation. Better yet, having a therapist point out these methods to the children can prevent years of unnecessary anxiety. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Strategies to help children fter the Orlando Terrorist Attack

By: Dwight Bain, LMHC

Children look to their parents for support and encouragement during any crisis. The following is a guide to help parents and teachers manage the flood of emotions that may come up because of the terrorist attacks.

Ages birth-6
It is recommended that children under the age of six not be given exposure to major traumatic events. Children of this age draw their support from their parents, so if the parents or guardians feel safe and secure, the children will as well. Parents should speak calmly around children about bad things that happen in the world, and that "we will remember the people that were hurt in our prayers." If the parents are able to maintain a sense of calmness, children will feel safe.

Ages 6-12
Children this age are more aware of the world around them, yet still need moms and dads to shield them from most of the bad news in our world. Very limited exposure to the media is recommended at this stage, with more open discussions about any fears or insecurities that the child is feeling. Talking is encouraged for this age group, or write letters to emergency workers to thank them for helping the victims. Drawing pictures allows for healthy emotional expression, and something everyone needs is just being held close. A hug helps bring security to a child. Also remember to have special times of prayer. These steps help children better deal with their fears about bad things that happen in the world.

Ages 12-18
Young people have their own impressions of traumatic events. The older they are, the more likely they will have strong opinions, and it is normal for them to process their feelings with friends. This should be balanced with family, teachers, pastors or counselors. They need time to verbally process how they feel about what happened ten years ago. Special emphasis should be placed on helping this age group talk through the issues and how it impacted them and not stay isolated. Silence is a warning sign that the crisis events of the past have been internalized. Strict limits on over exposure of media is essential to prevent anxiety or panic levels from rising.


Warning Signs.
Stress signs of overexposure to painful memories from the past may occur immediately after the trauma or even a few years later. These signs are indicators that stress is beginning to overwhelm the individual. The longer the stress symptoms occur, the greater the severity of the traumatic event on the individual. This does not imply craziness or weakness rather it indicates that the memories are too powerful for the person to manage by themselves. Adults or children who display many of the following stress symptoms may need additional help dealing with the events of the crisis. They should seek the appropriate medical or psychological assistance.

Physical:
Chills, thirst, fatigue, nausea, fainting, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, headaches, elevated Blood Pressure, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, difficulty breathing, shock symptoms, etc.

Emotional:
Fear, guilt, grief, panic, denial, anxiety, irritability, depression, apprehension, emotional shock, feeling overwhelmed, loss of emotional control, etc.

Cognitive:
Confusion, nightmares, uncertainty, hyper-vigilance, suspiciousness, intrusive images, poor problem solving, poor abstract thinking, poor attention/memory and concentration, disorientation of time, places or people, difficulty identifying objects or people, heightened or lowered alertness, etc.

Behavioral:
Withdrawal, antisocial acts, inability to rest, intensified pacing, erratic movements, changes in social activity, changes in speech patterns, loss of or increase of appetite, increased alcohol consumption, etc.

When in doubt, contact a trusted family member, a physician or certified mental health professional. It is important to actively deal with any painful past emotions to find strength to cope with issues in the present. Remember there are caring people who can help you. You never have to go through a crisis alone.


Bottom line discussion issues for growth. Think about and discuss these issues with others…

· How you have changed since the terrorist attacks?

· How you and your family are different since then?

· Talk about what was important to you on the day of the attacks… and what is important to you today.


Dwight Bain is an author who helps people manage major crisis. Follow his blog posts at www.DwightBain.com or follow him online @DwightBain

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Community Care After a Crisis- Identifying dangerous Warning Signs and Trauma Symptoms

By: Dwight Bain, LMHC

A community crisis can terrorize an entire community in just a few minutes, while the recovery process to rebuild from the terrorist attack may take weeks or months to sort through. The more you know about how to survive and rebuild after this crisis, the faster you can take positive action to get your personal and professional life back on track.

Since community crisis events like terrorism, shootings at schools, malls or churches, or bombing are unpredictable, it requires a different course of action than the crisis brought on from natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires and floods. What can you do right now to cope with the psychological impact of a major community crisis brought on through terrorism?

1. Deal Directly with Your Emotions

This will reduce the tension and stress on you, which allows you to have more energy to deal with a difficult situation. However, if you stuff your fears and frustrations in a major community crisis, your emotions can quickly blow up without warning. Exploding in rage on your children, your coworkers or your marriage partner will only make a difficult situation worse.

Community crisis is a horrible situation full of loss and difficulty for everyone. By taking action now you can move beyond feeling overwhelmed by intense stress, anger or confusion. As you follow the insight from this recovery guide, you will be taking positive steps to rebuild with the focused energy of an even stronger life for you and your family after the emergency service workers pack up and go home because your community has recovered.

To best survive a major community crisis, you need a strong combination of three key elements:

·         healthy coping skills
·         healthy supports
·         healthy perspective

2. Consider the Health Dangers of Long-term Stress

A community crisis affects everyone however; it becomes dangerous to our health when the stress goes on for an extended period of time. Major stress can affect adults, children, the elderly and even pets, so it is important to be alert to watch for the danger signs of STS (secondary trauma syndrome), which leads to the psychological condition called Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (commonly referred to as PTSD), in yourself, your family members and coworkers.

These symptoms include any dramatic change in emotions, behavior, thought patterns or physical symptoms over the next few days, weeks or even months. Since community crisis events are a terribly stressful time for everyone and often remain stressful for days or weeks to come, there are a number of factors to be aware of to keep yourself and those who you care about safe.

3. Identify the Warning Signs of Overload

These signs are indicators that the intense stress from the critical incident is beginning to overwhelm the individual. The longer the stress symptoms occur, the greater the severity of the traumatic event on the individual. This does not imply craziness or personal weakness; rather, it simply indicates that the stress levels from the storm were too powerful for the person to manage and their body is reacting to the abnormal situation of having survived a major trauma.

It’s normal to feel completely overwhelmed by a community crisis; however, there are danger signs to watch for in yourself or others that may indicate psychological trauma. Adults or children who display any of the following stress symptoms may need additional help dealing with the events of this crisis. It is strongly recommended that you seek the appropriate medical or psychological assistance if you see a lot of the physical, emotional, cognitive or behavioral symptoms listed below in you, your coworkers, or someone in your family or home, especially if these symptoms were not present before the crisis.

Physical Symptoms - Chills, thirst, fatigue, nausea, fainting, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, headaches, elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, difficulty breathing, shock symptoms, and so on.

Emotional Symptoms - Fear, guilt, grief, panic, denial, anxiety, irritability, depression, apprehension, emotional shock, and feeling overwhelmed, loss of emotional control, and so on.

Cognitive Symptoms- Confusion, nightmares, uncertainty, hyper-vigilance, suspiciousness, intrusive images, poor problem solving, poor abstract thinking, poor attention/memory and concentration, disorientation of time, places or people, difficulty identifying objects or people, heightened or lowered alertness, and so on.

Behavioral Symptoms- Withdrawal, antisocial acts, inability to rest, intensified pacing, erratic movements, changes in social activity, changes in speech patterns, loss of or increase of appetite, increased alcohol consumption, and so on.

If you are in doubt about these symptoms in your life, or someone you care about, it is wise to seek the care of a physician or certified mental health professional. Better to actively deal with the stressful emotions directly to help yourself and your loved ones to immediately cope with this crisis because these emotions tend to worsen and get more intense if left untreated. Remember that there are many experienced professionals who can help you and your children recover during a time of crisis.

You do not have to go through this alone. Take action now to prevent stress from continuing to overwhelm you or the people you care about. Call a trusted friend to talk through it, reach out to clergy, or call your family doctor or counselor. If you don’t know someone to call about these emotional issues, you can reach out for assistance by calling telephone hotlines which are offered at no cost to you. These numbers are often posted by local media, hospitals, EAP, churches, schools, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army or FEMA. If you, or someone you care about are feeling overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, guilt or grief, it’s important to make the call for help. 


About the Author –  Dwight Bain helps solve crisis events and manage major change as a Critical Incident Stress Management expert and trainer to over 3,000 groups on the topic of making strategic change to overcome major stress. Follow him for updates at www.Facebook.com/DwightBain or @DwightBain

Monday, June 13, 2016

What Do You Do When Terror Attacks?

By: Dwight Bain, LMHC 

The terrorist attack in Orlando creates the immediate feeling of being overwhelmed emotionally and confused about what to do next. 
The following are some practical steps to prevent secondary trauma, which is a condition that occurs after a major critical incident. These principles will help you, or the people you love to stabilize.

The first step is to practice self-care. This is listening to your own emotions and dealing with your own level of fear. You need to stabilize in order to help the people you care about. Pay attention to your own emotions of fear, anxiety, panic, or trauma so you can take immediate action to manage the flood of emotions. 
One of the simplest ways to do this, involves a legal pad and a pen. Writing down what you're feeling and what you're experiencing will help you get through the process faster. (For very young children this can be done through art or drawing, or maybe drawing a picture for a firefighter or first responder. Anything your child can do to process the emotions will help them stabilize faster.)

Once you do this, the second principle is to be able to take care of the people around you. While it is normal to think about caring for your children first, think of what they teach on the airlines. Put on your own mask and then you are able to help the people around you. 
It is important to pay attention to the emotional reaction of the people you care about especially if they are acting unusually quiet, or unusually scared. A terrorist attack of this magnitude creates overwhelming emotions. Learning to pay attention to those emotions, especially feelings of panic, deep sadness, or debilitating fear, will help you to comfort the people important to you.
Stabilizing your emotions, and then reaching out with compassion to the people you care about prepares you to help other people which is the third level of care. Remember these three principles and teach them to others. Self-care, friend and family care, and then reaching out to others.
Think of a massive Boulder being shot into a pond. There would be an incredible ripple effect. These ripples of trauma show us how to reach out to other people. Talk to the people in the impact zone or "ground zero" of the trauma first, and then you can reach out to people layer by layer. This is terrible crisis, it's the worst it's ever been in our country's history but together we can get through this. 

Last night we saw the worst of humanity in Orlando. In the next few days we will see the best in humanity from the epicenter of Orlando, rippling forward into the entire country. This is the greatest opportunity to show the love and compassion of our Christ in my hometown. 

Will you join me and spreading The message of #PrayForOrlando ?

Remember to reach out to your friends who may live alone. This is the most important time to call them, invite them to dinner, or go to coffee. No one should be alone in a crisis. We need each other, and we all need to talk. Based on this principle-
"If you can talk through it, you can get through it."
Now is the time to reach out to people you care about, even people at work or neighbors you may not know very well. Don't miss a chance to connect to the community of people you care about with words of hope, healing, peace. 
The Bible teaches God is a very present help in time of trouble. This is the time to move through the normal feelings of fear to show the world what our faith is about. Don't go alone, reach out to others, especially to those who may be forgotten by others. (See Psalm 91 as a reference to stabilize in crisis)


@DwightBain is an author and leader in managing critical incidents and crisis. Access more positive articles and blogs to cope in crisis at www.LifeWorksGroup.org 

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

11 Ways Narcissists Use Shame to Control

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

A weakness of a narcissist is their extreme hatred of being embarrassed. There is nothing worse for them than having someone point out even the slightest fault. Ironically, they have no problem openly doing this to others. 
This method of casting shame allows them to feel superior while minimizing any impact the other person might have. It also serves as a way of discounting any future comments the other person use to embarrass the narcissist. Basically, they are beating the other person to the first punch. 
In order to avoid a first punch, a person needs to understand what it looks like. Here are eleven ways a narcissist uses shame to control others. 

1. Historical Revisionism. A narcissist will retell another person’s story adding their own flare of additional shame. This can be done in front of others or privately. It usually happens after the other person has achieved some level of accomplishment. The narcissist will state that they are only trying to the keep the other person humble but in reality, they are trying to humiliate. 

2. Confidence Breaking. Narcissists love to gather information about a person and store it away for later abuse. They use their charm to entice a person to share confidential details, especially ones that caused the other person embarrassment. Once gathered the narcissist uses the story to keep the other person in check and constantly worried about when the information will come out. 

3. Exaggerating Faults. No one is perfect except for the narcissist. The narcissist is very good at identifying the faults of others and even better at passively aggressively commenting on them. This is a way of putting the other person ‘in their place.’ When confronted, they often say, “I was only joking,” or that person “can’t take a joke.” 

4. Victim Card. Narcissists are talented at exasperating others and then using their reaction as justification for becoming the real victim. Regardless of how hard the narcissist incited the other person, the angry reaction to the provocation is viewed as shameful. The other person who usually feels bad by their reaction, allows the narcissist to play the victim card, and thereby surrenders control to the narcissist. 

5. Blame Shifting. Whenever something goes wrong, the narcissist shifts all of the blame to the other person. The other person who may have done one thing wrong, allows the narcissist to dump more than their fair share of the responsibility. 

 6. Baby Talk. In any narcissistic relationship, the narcissist wants to be seen as the adult and the other person as the child. This belittlement is done in several condescending ways such as literally talking down, calling the other person immature, and saying the other person needs to grow up. The implication is that the narcissist is more mature and has developed beyond the level of the other person. 

7. Religious Guilt. It doesn’t matter what the religion of the narcissist or the other person is. In every religion, there are a set of standards and expectations. The narcissist will use the other person’s religious beliefs to guilt them into acting a certain way. They might even go as far to say, “God told me you need to…” 

8. Offensive Play. The narcissist will use personal attacks to put the other person on the defense. The other person will get so caught up in defending their name or character that they will miss the next attack. “Look how defensive you are, you must have done something wrong,” the narcissist will say. This is a checkmate position because the other person has nowhere to go. 

9. Talking Above. Instead of talking down (baby talk), the narcissist will talk over the other person’s knowledge level. Even if the other person is more intelligent, the narcissist will talk in circles with an air of authority to force the other person into an inferior position. They will use sophisticated vocabulary, physical posturing such as looking down at the other person, and embellishment of details to disguise the real point of shaming the other person.
 
10. Comparing Accomplishments. It doesn’t matter what the other person has accomplished, the narcissist did it first, better, and more efficiently. By outperforming the other person, the narcissist minimizes the other person’s accomplishments in comparison to their own. This produces an ‘I can never be good enough,’ feeling in the other person. 

11. First Impression. A narcissist is very aware of how they look and appear to others. Frequently they are dressed in designer clothing with immaculate grooming. Not a hair is ever out of place. This is not just for the narcissist; rather their perfectionistic appearance is used to demean others. Comments like, “They don’t take care of themselves,” or “It doesn’t take a lot of effort to look better” are typical. 

When a person can see a punch coming, it is easier to dodge. Resist the temptation to attack first with a narcissist that will only intensify their reaction. Instead, deflect and distract to avoid become a target.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

58 Warning Signs of Cheating Partners

By: Dwight Bain, LMHC 

These are the most common signs of a partner who has detached from you because they are attached to someone else. Check off any of these traits you have seen in your relationship over the last few months. Be honest, the future of your relationship together could depend on it.

Spiritual Warning Signs:
____ You find your partner has been lying to you about a variety of topics
____ Your spouse seems more secretive or deceptive
____ Abandoning faith or previously held values or morals
____ Not trustworthy or constant violations of trust
____ Secrecy or unusual activity that is very out of character for them
____ Your partner is disrespectful or rude to those who hold traditional values
____ Your partner abandons their religious belief and value system
Behavioral Warning Signs:
____ Mate is working longer hours on the job and not coming home as much
____ Your spouse has become lazy, especially with household responsibilities
____ Your Partner says they are working more, yet no noticeable increase of income or volume of work
____ Leaving very early for work, or says they are going early to workout
____ Increased use of the web, emails, texts, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter
____ Unaccounted for time away from home
____ Additional mileage on odometer for no apparent reason
____ Smelling of perfume, nicotine or alcohol, like they have been to a club- instead of work
____ Increased use of alcohol/tobacco/prescriptions
____ Increased use of cell phone, especially at odd times
____ New clothing or hair style, with tremendous attention to appearance
____ Increase in exercise/personal grooming
____ No longer wearing a wedding ring
____ Taking trips alone to the store or coffee shop, often for unexplained reasons
Financial Warning Signs:
____ You notice charges on credit card statement that don’t make sense
____ Money becomes more of an issue between the two of you or frequent fights over spending
____ Hiding phone bills or travel expenses
____ Lying about raises, bonuses, or overtime pay
____ Discovering secret checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, or PO boxes
____ Unexplained purchases on credit card bills
____ An increase in ATM cash withdrawals for no logical reason
____ Purchases of flowers, jewelry, lingerie, perfume, or other ou gift items that you didn’t receive
____ Discovering financial records (canceled checks or utility bills) that indicate spouse has a separate residence
Emotional Warning Signs:
____ Your partner is indifferent to family events like birthdays, holidays, or family vacations
____ Your spouse seems bored. Bored with you, with their job, with kids, with hobbies, and basically with home life in general
____ Your spouse seems to want danger or thrills in their life
____ Your spouse has low self-esteem or insecurity about themselves
____ You notice your spouse has a sense of confusion about their responsibilities
____ Your spouse gets very defensive if you mention suspicion of infidelity or affairs
____ Saying “It’s your imagination” is a common excuse for their actions
Relational Warning Signs:
____ Your spouse is suddenly more attentive to others than usual
____ Your spouse is dressing nicer, looking nicer to everyone but you
____ They don’t want to go anywhere or do anything with you anymore
____ You feel as if you are being avoided by your spouse
____ You have considerably less intimacy in your relationship
____ You notice less affection, kindness or tender connections in your relationship
____ You sex life is practically non-existent
____ You can’t get your spouse to communicate with you
____ You can’t even get your mate to fight with you because they are so detached
____ You spot withdrawal or restlessness when they have scheduled family activities like children's school events
____ Leaving home during an argument instead of staying and working it out
____ They have new friends you’ve never met or are not allowed to meet
____ Hang up or anonymous phone calls at your house
____ No longer interested in you or the things important to you
____ New sexual techniques or the pressure to perform uncomfortable sexual behaviors
____ Finding birth control items hidden away in secret places
____ Finding new or hidden lingerie/ sexy undergarments
____ Unusually close to a ‘friend’ of the opposite sex who they talk about often
____ Saying “I need space” from the relationship or home responsibilities
____ Saying “You should go on with your life” or “I’m not good enough for you”
____ Separation is not only to move out – but clearly to move on

Stages of Adultery
Nearly all affairs follow very specific patters they generally fall into 6 stages, according to research which can last for a period of weeks, months or in rare cases, for years.
Adultery Level One-Conversational
They develop a close emotional bond. Sometimes it occurs on social media, at work, or in the neighborhood. They get to know each other. There’s a spark. They want more.
Adultery Level Two- Deception, Secrets and Lies
Things are heating up by keeping feelings for the other person a total secret. Lies, deception and cover-ups fuel the fire of lustful desire even more. They don’t tell their spouse or friends that they are attracted emotionally or romantically to this person. Fantasy is very powerful and pushes the secret relationship deeper into the shadows and darkness.
Adultery Level Three- Romantic Dating
They meet for lunch, workout together or play tennis. Even though a casual observer would call this type of relationship ‘dating’ the new lovers may not see it that way and fiercely defend their actions as innocent. They start seeing and doing everything together. They begin to tell themselves that this is just a work pal, just a friend, but can’t deny that they dress special and look forward to being with them, even for the most mundane of activities.
Adultery Level Four- Fatal Attraction
The romance and secrets keep heating up the secret relationship until an explosion of physical desire creates sexual contact. They justify that it “just happened” and can’t explain their actions, yet want more of the forbidden fruit.
Adultery Level Five- Discovery & Decisions
The secret affair is discovered by someone and a decision must be made to stop the lies, set boundaries and seek professional help to restore or to move forward with the new person.
Adultery Level Six- Restoration or Separation
Research shows that an overwhelming majority of people caught in an affair decide to restore their marriage. They say good bye to the secret lover for good and take bold steps to restore trust into the relationship. In seriously damaged relationships they may move out and move on to begin the process of ending the marriage through divorce to start with someone new.

Emotional Affairs - How can you tell if a Relationship is really Friends or Lovers?
Secrecy- You meet or talk with someone of the opposite sex you are romantically attracted to and feel that you can’t tell your spouse. This includes Internet, email, social networks, chat rooms, text messaging or twitter.
Emotional Affairs- Confiding things you are reluctant to tell your spouse creates emotional intimacy that grows greater in the new friendship than in the marriage. A common pattern is confining negative things about your marriage to the new partner. This is boldly signaling that, “I am vulnerable” or I’m available”, which tends to heat things up with the new person.
Sexual Chemistry- It can occur even if both people don’t actually touch. Saying suggestive things to a new person, like, “I’m attracted to you,” or “I thought about you last night, but because I’m married I can’t do anything about it.” This tremendously increases the sexual tension by creating the desire to taste the ‘forbidden fruit.’

Side by side or face to face?
Remember the old saying – “Friends stand side by side, while lovers stand face to face,” We all need friends who support us and who encourage us to honor our commitments. Lovers are motivated to use the relationship to meet their needs and neglect other family members. One relationship is about adding value to the other person to meet their needs in a healthy and appropriate way, while the other is about immediate gratification to indulge selfish desires.
Friends will tell you truth and protect you from going down roads that will destroy the good things in your life. Lovers often play along with the deception, but everyone knows that the secret will one day come out and often in a shame filled way. When that happens, the chemistry of the affair is usually replaced by the despair of trying to rebuild broken trust. It can be done, but usually can’t be done alone.
If you, or someone you care about is facing a secret affair- get help now! Marriages can recover from shattered trust in time, but it is essential to have some professional guidance to prevent more pain. There are many options available to those who want to rebuild and I believe this is always for the best, no matter how complex the situation, there is a way to work things out if both people are just willing to try.
Someone you know might benefit from this resource, so help us to help them by sharing it with our prayer that they take bold action today, to avoid regrets tomorrow.



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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Five Things to do Today When in a Relationship with a Narcissist

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

It’s hard to avoid narcissists. They seem to be everywhere, multiplying in great numbers. It reminds me of the old Star Trek episode with the Tribbles who reproduced at such a rapid rate that the ship was in danger of being overtaken in a matter of days. At first the Tribbles were cute to watch but then they became threatening. And so it is with narcissism.
What can a person do to counteract this perilous environment? Here are five things a person can do today:

1.       Guard self-talk. The innately persistent and persuasive nature of a narcissist allows them to effortlessly influence others. Unfortunately, some of the narcissistic talk is negative attacks designed to intimidate others into an inferior position to their superior one.
a.      Solution: To counteract the effects, a person must guard their self-talk especially if it mirrors anything the narcissist has declared about the person. Of every negative thought, ask: “Where did this come from? Who does this sound like?” Anything that resembles a narcissistic statement must be immediately discarded and replace with positive self-talk. Remember, their perception is not accurate.
2.      Don’t compare. A favorite abusive tactic of narcissists is to compare their accomplishments with others. Of course, they exaggerate their success far beyond what is accurate to demonstrate their superiority. At the same time, they minimize other’s accomplishments to further widen the gap of difference.
a.      Solution: There are two points of advice to handle this situation: don’t point out the inaccuracies and don’t internalize the comparison. First, don’t waste time arguing or refuting the inaccurate perception of the narcissist. This will only result in a heated or volatile situation. A narcissist will not admit they might be wrong even when the evidence is clear. Second, it is not unusual for a person to absorb the comparison and place themselves in the inferior position. Because neither position is accurate, there is no reason to segregate. There are many paths to success beyond what the narcissist declares.
3.      Reset boundaries. Narcissists are famous for setting ridiculous boundaries or limitations on others while refusing to accept any. They believe that the rules are for other people who need such guidance, not them. As a result, they tend to have unrealistic expectations of what others should and should not do.
a.      Solution: A person needs to filter each expectation, limitation or boundary a narcissist places on them to see if it is fair, realistic, or practical. Ask: “Is this a standard that I would place on someone else? How does this rule make me feel?” If the answers are: “No and angry,” then reset the standard to a more reasonable level. The new level does not need to be immediately communicated with the narcissist; again this would just incite an argument. Rather, get comfortable with the standard first and then if needed communicate later after evidence has been gathered to demonstrate that this is a more sensible approach.
4.      Do right. Ethics and morality at the hands of a narcissist are colored by what works for them in the moment. Even religious narcissists tend to have one set of standards for them and another for everyone else. When caught doing something wrong, the narcissist uses blame, justification and minimization to dismiss any concerns.
a.      Solution: Don’t follow their immoral or unethical lead. Instead have a set of standards that are guiding principles for how to live a principled life. Refuse to do what is wrong, indecent, improper, or dishonorable regardless of the consequences the narcissist has imposed. There is always a choice to be made in every difficult circumstance and choosing to do what is virtuous will bring far greater satisfaction then the opposite.
5.      Take responsibility. A narcissist will not take responsibility for their actions, words, behavior, or reactions. Everything is about shifting blame to someone else or dumping their duties onto others so they don’t have to be held accountable. However, narcissists will say that they are the most responsible person they know and that is usually because they have taken credit for things they did not accomplish.
a.      Solution: Be different from the narcissist. When a person makes an error in judgement or behavior, be willing to take responsibility for the mistake and accept the consequences. Do not however, accept responsibility for a narcissist’s mistake no matter how much they try to be convincing that it is not their fault.

Relationships with narcissists require an enormous amount of self-control to keep all of these things in check. At first, this is hard to do but with time, energy and effort, all five of these items become easier.