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. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Want to be better equipped to help when your organization or community is impacted by Crisis? Gain the valuable next level of Crisis Certification!

When UCLA went on "Lock-Down" last week after the school shooting, only certified first responders could help at the scene..

Tropical Storm Colin packed 50mph winds which sparked tornado warnings and flooding throughout the night, but only certified first responders are able to psychologically debrief storm survivors.

The brutal slaying on Monday of First Baptist Church of Orlando Sunday-School teacher Linda Jones by a fellow church-member was tragic, ( http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-jason-rohrer-murder-orlando-20160601-story.html ), but only certified first responders were able to lead crisis debriefing sessions.

The world is getting more dangerous. Are you Certified First Responder Ready?  

Counselors, Nurses, Pastors, Teachers, Doctors, EMT's, Law Enforcement, Firefighters and Concerned Citizens are able to attend this training, which is the only one scheduled in Central Florida until October.

Don't miss out on an opportunity to become certified so you are First Responder Ready. Florida Hospital/ Waterman Campus. June 23/24.

Details below for this deeply discounted certification led by Dwight Bain to get central Florida prepared to manage the dangerous situations that are to come.

Don't miss a chance to become credentialed to help after a crisis, instead of standing feeling helpless. Register today so you are ready Tomorrow.

Did you know only those trained and certified in crisis response are allowed to work on the scene of a disaster? If a School Shooting, Suicide, Bombing, Hurricane, Tornado, Fire, Flood, Car Fatality, Co-worker Suicide, Terrorist Attack or Airline Crash happened in your community, only those with the right credentials can work at the scene.

Are you equipped to help a group of people in your organization?  If you were at the scene of a community shooting or community disaster would you know what to do with a group of people who were devastated by the crisis?

Would you have the right credential?

ICISF Group Crisis Certification

June 23-24, 2016 (must attend 9am-5pm both days to achieve certification)
Lake County Group Crisis Certification is only $119 (advance registration by June 10th)

This 2-day certification course is required for all ICISF/Critical Incident team members in Law Enforcement, Fire Services, EMT, EAP, School Guidance or Hospital Chaplaincy work to give them the necessary training to get an organization in crisis back to a functioning level. It is being offered right here in Central Florida.

Participants will learn (among other skills):
  • Fundamentals of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM)
  • Large & small group crisis intervention methods
  • Incident assessment
  • Strategic intervention planning
  • Risk reduction
  • Appropriate follow-up services and referrals after an incident

This rapid crisis stabilization process is taught by Dwight Bain, a certified crisis response trainer who worked at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and has equipped thousands with psychological survival skills to use until emergency management teams arrive on the scene. 

Crisis events will come to Florida – will you be prepared to help or will you be a helpless bystander?

Space is limited. Register now!
ICISF Group Crisis Certification
Registration Form
June 23-24, 2016, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm daily
(must attend 9am-5pm both days to achieve certification)

ICISF Certified Instructor Dwight Bain
Training facility: Florida Hospital Waterman, Tavares, FL

PLEASE PRINT your name clearly as you would like it to appear on your National Certification


Address:  _______________________________________________________________

Telephone: _____________________________________________________________

E-mail:  ________________________________________________________________

____ $119.00 - early bird registration (by June 10th)
____$149.00 - late registration (after June 10th if space is still available)
 ____ Group Discount -  5th person free with 4 paid registrations, ($149 value)

Names of 4 registered _____________________________________________________

Payment Options:

*   Make check payable to:
     The LifeWorks Group, 1850 Lee Road, Suite 250, Winter Park, FL32789

*   Email this registration form with your credit card information to:
     Sola Thompson at info@lifeworksgroup.org or

*   Fax directly to:  407-647-8874

Credit card number_______________________________________________________

Expiration date ___________________ CVV code ________________

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Refund and cancellation policy:
Full refund minus $25 processing fee if notice is given two weeks before workshop.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Difference between Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

It is amazing the difference one word can make. Add the word “Personality” to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and it changes the definition and classification. There are some similarities such as obsessive and compulsive traits, thoughts and actions. However the underlying disorder is extremely different.

Here is the DSM-V definition of both:

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is classified as a type of personality disorder:
  • A pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
    • Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost
    • Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)
    • Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)
    • Is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)
    • Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value
    • Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things
    • Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes
    • Shows significant rigidity and stubbornness

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is classified as a type of obsessive compulsive related disorder:
  • Presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both:
    • Obsessions are defined by:
      • Recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and unwanted, and that in most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress.
      • The individual attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, urges, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action.
    • Compulsions are defined by:
      • Repetitive behaviors (hand washing) or mental acts (counting) that the individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied rigidly.
      • The behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety or distress, or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent, or are clearly excessive.
  • The obsessions or compulsions are time-consuming or cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
The similarities are:
  • Both can create significant relational issues and make it difficult to interact with others.
  • Both have intense, obsessive, and racing thoughts that are difficult to manage or prevent.
  • Both develop internal rules to be strictly followed in an effort to reduce stress or anxiety.
  • Both do compulsive behaviors to self-sooth such as hording or excessive cleaning.
  • Both have extremely high expectations of self to the point of requiring perfectionism.
  • Both can have “meltdowns” if a compulsion is not followed or their image is tarnished.
The big differences are:
  • OCPD can be seen in every environment and is pervasive whereas OCD is usually isolated to a few specific things or locations.
  • OCD is a learned behavior usually done as a way of coping with extreme stress whereas OCPD is part biological and part environmental beginning in early childhood and continuing through out adulthood.
  • A person may change OCD behaviors as they age whereas OCPD behaviors cannot be changed without significant effort and therapy.
  • OCD behaviors can cause significant impairment at work whereas OCPD behaviors are usually praised at work because of their strong devotion to it.
  • OCD behaviors are frequently done out of fear to avoid an undesirable outcome whereas OCPD behaviors are done out of fear of not living up to internal perfectionist expectations.
  • By outward appearance alone, it is difficult to identify an OCD person whereas OCPD persons are usually extremely well groomed, dress impeccably, and are very aware of the perfectionist image they portray.
  • OCD people know their behaviors or fears tend to be irrational whereas OCPD people believe their thinking is more correct than others and have a difficult time accepting the idea that their reasoning might be inaccurate.

The good news about both disorders is that they tend to do very well with therapy and the prognosis can be quite good.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Keeping Your In-Laws Out of Your Marriage

By: Nate Webster, IMH

“So what will you do if you or her gets cancer or something and you have all these medical bills”, was the first question my father in-law asked me when I asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage. It’s no mystery to most people that in-laws can be a downer, complicated bunch. We marry a person we love, but along with it we get a family who is often very different then what we’re use to. They don’t talk around the dinner table like we do, they don’t like the same things we do, and typically our boundaries and rules are usually just seen as suggestions and recommendations. So what do you do with difficult in-laws? Well fortunately the bible has some very timely advise for dealing with such in-laws and hopefully it can help you!

"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6

The principle of pearls and pigs: How many of us have dogs and swine for in-laws who constantly trample the precious parts of our life? Not that you need to be that harsh, but the powerful point that Jesus makes in Matthew is two fold. First is that you don’t give pearls to pigs, because pigs roll around in the mud and don’t know or care for something so precious as a pearls. If you keep giving dogs what is sacred you’ll only find yourself being “turned on and torn to pieces”. Jesus’ second point is you’re culpable in the treatment you’re receiving. In the case of in-laws, how often are you unnecessarily giving your in-laws ammunition to hurt you?
One of the biggest mistakes that my wife and I made with our in-laws, was intertwining with them financially. They gave us cheap rent on an apartment they owned and wanted to help us with my wife’s tuition when we were newly wed. Only to turn around and hold the cheap rent over our heads when we went on vacation and tried to control what my wife went to school for because they were going to help.
Jesus gives us this powerful message in Matthew to teach us that some people can’t handle the precious details and pieces of our lives and that we need to be diligent in protecting them, more importantly to stop throwing pearls before swine, hoping they’ll snort back how beautiful they are.

The Frustration of Dealing with Narcissistic In-Laws

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

Hold on tight and get ready for a roller-coaster of a ride when marrying into a narcissistic family. At first the Narcissistic Parent (NP) will seem amazingly charming and the concerns the Adult Child (AC) expresses appear to be exaggerations.  But give it some time and everything will change overnight. Here are some points to keep in mind when dealing with NPs:

It all begins with an engagement. Casual dating is not that threating to the NP because they have established a tell-all philosophy in the home. This gives the NP time to weave their “concerns” about the potential new spouse, spread untruthful rumors, and re-introduce the AC to previously approved (because they are easily manipulated and controlled) partners. But once the engagement is announced, the war begins. Suddenly this new spouse is an inadequate, unsuitable, and unacceptable addition who will destroy their AC.  The NP projects their unhealthy motives, lack of boundaries, and controlling tendencies onto the new spouse. There are even threats of not attending or supporting the wedding unless the NP’s standards are precisely met.  The NP intends for this drama to cause conflict between the AC and the new spouse in hopes that the engagement will end.

The wedding day is not a safe day. Having made it past the rough engagement, the couple erroneously believes the wedding day will be perfect. It will not. The wedding dress will be the wrong color or style, the NP’s family will believe they are being victimized, or the seat assignment will be improper. NPs need to be at the center stage and when they are not they will literally take the stage. They will do this before the ceremony, even during the ceremony, or most especially at the reception. What comes out of the NP’s mouth is likely to be shocking and they want it to be that way because they want to be remembered at this event more than the ceremony itself.  The NP will long be remembered for how they acted and what they said by others who recount the day in amazement.

Marriage will not make a NP go away.  The intense drama that precedes a marriage does not stop once the vows are made, it only becomes more subtle.  The new spouse will be met with private jokes, inappropriate sarcasm, and bigotry towards their socioeconomic class, culture, or religion. They will be isolated from family discussions through the constant recounting of stories and people from long ago. There will be a join family effort to demonstrate to the new spouse that they could never “fit it” with the NP’s family. The AC will go along with the NP seeing such comments as harmless and an overreaction by their new spouse. This is the first wedge the NP successfully injects into the marriage and it can be their most damaging because it is setting the stage for a “my spouse is crazy” argument.

The NP is in this for the long haul. There are two major things that are at stake for the NP: image and control. NPs will oscillate between showing approval and strong disapproval depending on what’s at stake, who is watching, and how they can or cannot benefit. For instance, some NPs privately bash the new spouse while publically expressing their excitement. Other NPs want assurances that they can remain in control of their ACs life. Any indication to the contrary is met with intense rage, verbal assaults, and promises of withholding love, attention or money. The end game is to maintain the image they have erected to the public and maintain control over the AC.

It’s all about strategy. The new spouse needs to be able to safely communicate their concerns to the AC and an outside person for assistance without feeling like they are betraying the NP family. This should not be a family member but rather someone who has an intimate knowledge of narcissism. In turn, the AC must take on the main responsibility for communication with their NP family. This will be well received by the NP as they really just want the AC for themselves and it will reduce the new spouse’s stress.  Strong boundaries need to be communicated in advance of holidays, birthdays, and visits with the AC and new spouse in complete agreement. A united front must be presented at all times regardless of any personal struggles. The AC also needs to be prepared to defend the new spouse even for slights and never join in an insult. The new spouse will need constant protection for many years to come by the AC against the terror the NP will repeatedly inflict despite the setting of boundaries.

Years of not protecting the new spouse will accumulate intense resentment that might be too much to bear for the new spouse. Remember this is the secret dream of the NP: to prove that they were right all along. 

Monday, May 02, 2016

The Narcissistic Family: A Narcissist, an Exhausted Spouse, and an Anxious Child

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

The level of stress surrounding a narcissistic family is intense from the inside and picture perfect from the outside. As a member of the family (narcissists excluded), there is a constant state of walking on eggshells, questioning what did or did not happen, and minimizing personal feelings while elevating the narcissist’s feelings. From the outside looking in, the family seems to function perfectly in-tune and any hint of issue is immediately discounted. The extreme divide between the two existences is rarely addressed and almost always is denied.
This leaves the family in a continual state of uncertainty, insecurity, depression, and fear. But the narcissist won’t hear of any such negativity and most definitely won’t accept any responsibility for the issues. Any attempt to reach an outsider is quickly met with further alienation from the narcissist, accusations of betrayal, or gaslighting. So what can a person in such a family do? It must begin by taking off the narcissistic colored glasses and seeing things the way they really are.

The Narcissist. A narcissist is narcissistic. They have been that way in the past, are that way now and will most likely be that way in the future. Not that someone cannot change, they can. They just have to believe that they need to, listen to the advice of others, and then do the work to get there.
Real change happens slowly over a period of time. Anyone claiming an instant change in personality without allowing long periods of time to prove the change has not really changed. Stop expecting or hoping the narcissist will change, it is not that likely.

The Exhausted Spouse. Usually the exhausted spouse is a co-dependent or dependent personality disorder. These are the two main types of personalities who will even put up with a quick-sand type of environment. The narcissist needs a regular feeding of attention, affection, admiration and adoration. These two personalities are the ones most likely to give such a high demand with expecting it in return.
Most spouses spend significant chunks of the day cleaning up after the relational mess the narcissist leaves behind. There are friends to apologize to, children to console, neighbors to minimize the overheard outburst, and family to discount the latest narcissist rant. Then there are excuses to be given for insensitivity, employers/employees to mitigate any conflict, and forgiveness on behalf of the narcissist to be sought. After all that is done, the exhausted spouse pulls themselves together to maintain the perfect storybook image the narcissist demands.
Eventually this task becomes too great and the spouse stops cleaning up the messes. This angers the narcissist even more with threats of leaving because the spouse is no longer living up to the narcissistic standard. The spouse must choose a boundary and stick to it. Despite the ranting of the narcissist, they are not that likely to leave unless they can look like the victim.

The Anxious Children. The children of a narcissist are divided into two categories: the golden one and the others. There really is no rhyme or reason the narcissist singles out one child over the other. It can be because of personality similarities, a willingness to admire the parent unconditionally, the same gender or similar interests.
The golden child is perfect and can do no wrong in the narcissist’s eyes. For some reason, the golden child feeds the ego of the narcissist, either consciously or subconsciously. The golden child is often elevated to an unhealthy level than can encourage future narcissistic behavior. Even when the exhausted spouse corrects the golden child for a real error in judgement, the narcissist will come to the child’s rescue and bash the spouse. The child knows they are chosen and becomes anxious at the thought of losing the status and being reduced to the other child.
The other child knows they are not the favorite. Some form their identity around not being chosen and even relish in a change to embarrass the narcissist. For the most part, they are in a constant state of depression, vengefulness, resentment, anger, and anxiety. The more outward they can express it and hopefully humiliate the narcissist as a result, the better they feel. Ironically, by trying to be the anti-narcissist, they can become more like them. They also tend to be hyper protective of the exhausted parent, even beyond the parent’s self-preservation nature. The other child is on constant guard which breeds excessive anxiety.

Understanding the dynamics of a narcissistic family is only the beginning. Next comes identifying the individual roles each member plays and learning how to counteract the negative impact of narcissism.