LEVELS of NARCISSISM (#1)

PREVIOUS: Harmful ‘innocent’ sayings #2

NPI = Narcissism Personality Inventory measures:
Authority, Entitlement, Exhibitionism, Exploitativness, Self-sufficiency, Superiority, Vanity

UNHEALTHY N: The common use of the term ‘Narcissism’ refers to an unhealthy, selfish focus on oneself, without a genuine concern for the needs & desires of others. It’s the yucky narcissism staring back at us in the mirror when our inner-brat holds the outer-adult hostage (regression / ‘kid-whipped’). This unhealthy, age-INappropriate N. retards or prevents psychological growth, & frustrates intimacy in relationships.

1. HEALTHY N, on the other hand, is based on knowing AND accepting yourself so thoroughly that you can interact with others, safely & comfortably, without– always having to be the center of everyone’s attention, being afraid of abandonment or using others to take care of your emotional needs.

In psychoanalytic terms,”normal (legitimate) narcissism is defined as a positive investment in a normally functioning self-structure….
It plays a crucial role in the human capacity to:
‣ manage challenges, successes & changes
‣ overcome defeats, illnesses, losses & trauma
‣ experience happiness, satisfaction, & acceptance of the course of one’s life
‣ love, be productive & creative (Ronningstam).
Kohut (1977) considers that healthy narcissism in adults is expressed as creativity, empathy, a sense of humor, awareness of finiteness (limitations) & wisdom.

The N Phase of CHILDHOOD 
A complete preoccupation with oneself is normal & expected in young children, beginning around age 2, the same time they start talking – using words like “I, mine” and “no.” They assume the world revolves around them, with little awareness that others are separate entities.

Mahler described this phase as a “love affair with the world.” If development proceeds as it should, the child learns, through close contact with loving parents, friends & teachers, that those people also have needs & desires. Egocentrism diminishes as the child develops concern for others.

ACoAs didn’t get the opportunity to develop healthy narcissism. Many of us were ignored or punished for being exuberant or succeeding – at anything. We learned to be afraid of shining, because others did  envy &/or punish us, so we diminished our talents or hid them, even from ourselves.

ADULTHOOD : A Cohesive Self is a psychologically positive identity.
❤︎ It’s comes from combining the child’s Grandiose Self with the Idealized Parent Image (Omnipotent or Idealized Object), which allows the Adult TO :
= feel worthy of existing, have ambition, confidence & self-esteem
= have ideals, a meaning to life, & form healthy connections with others

Relinquishing or modifying childish behaviors to improve important adult relationships we don’t want to lose – increases self-development, preventing depression & burnout.

At its best, every-day narcissism is a normal part of everyone’s Self.
We need it functioning – on our own behalf – to feel good about ourselves & other people. If we had been safe enough to experiencing normal ‘ecstatic joy in yourself’ when we were a kid, it would have provided a residual strength to get through tough times later on.
EXP: Now, if you allow yourself narcissistic pleasure from a difficult job well done, it can sustain you through times of disappointment, frustration or failure.

In a healthy adult, the Inner Child’s normal Grandiose Self is tamed by being attached to an appropriate set of ideals – gathered from healthy role models & eventually our own values. IF this happens, it allows us to experience others as separate-from-us sources of actions, thoughts & emotions. All humans must undergo this process of maturation to develop a Cohesive Self.

This unified identity develops from a complicated interaction between :
(1) inborn capabilities & inherited genetic vulnerabilities – predisposing each person toward or away from psycho-pathology (strong or weak ego structure)

(2) the environment – especially interactions in childhood with Significant Others, who either strengthen & support the emerging child’s Self, OR interfere with its optimal development

A Cohesive Self basically means that all our Ego states are in sync, with the Healthy Adult in the driver’s seat. It means that we know what we need & like, with the willingness to be our own Good Parent, & respectfully express our Truth without needing to step on other’s emotional toes.  Because of this, we can let others be who they are without it threatening our wellbeing. We know we have choices, & we make the best ones we can, based on our personality.

NEXT: N. Levels #2

HARMFUL ‘innocent’ Parental Phrases (Part 2)

 

PREVIOUS: Harmful Parental Phrases (#1)

SITE: “My Mothers Love……Arsenic, Grain Alcohol and a Straight Razor

 

MORE HARMFUL PHRASES from the mental health community at “THE MIGHTY”
15. ‘You’re just going through a phase.’
Mom said about my panic attacks I’ve had since adoption, & still have. When is this ‘phase’ over?” — Elizabeth M.
16. ‘You keep messing everything up.’
“I was told that I ‘slop things up’  – whether in the kitchen or my handwriting ….” — Jen B.
17. ‘You need to act your age.’
“‘Act your age, not your IQ,’ said mom right in front of my friends when I was 11. It pierced my heart.” — Carre L.

18. ‘Should you be eating that?’
“‘Food is not your friend.’ my mom said when I started gaining weight after going through a breakup & a hard time in my life.” — Shauna A.
“My dad said : ‘Maybe guys don’t like you because of the way you look. I’m not saying you need to lose weight, but you know how guys are.’” — Morrigan R.

19. ‘Oh so now I’m the bad guy?’
“They said when I told told them about something they were doing that was hurtful or  made me uncomfortable.” — Bethany R.

20. ‘Are you sure you’d be qualified for that job?
“’I don’t think you have the skills for that career’ or ‘Are you SURE? That career is really difficult,’ said my parents when I was younger. I’ve had trouble now finding a career path I really want because I always think back to what they said” — Kachina M.

“When I told my mom I wanted to be a makeup artist, she said : ‘You don’t really handle people well. Maybe a nice desk job?’ Thanks for killing my dreams & making
me believe I can’t do anything.
Anytime I’d brought up a new interest for a career, she’d immediately find something wrong with it. Now I don’t have a career because I never believed I was good at anything. I still don’t.” — Kimy L.

😲    😛   😢   😡

A FEW MORE, from DMT at HEAL & GROW for ACoAs:
Mom
was an ACA & definitely a narcissist, but disguised as a ‘spiritually’ motivated righteous do-gooder who everyone (other adults) absolutely thought she was the bee’s knees! wherever we moved to – which was often & in several countries.
These are some of her favorite sayings, repeated often throughout my childhood :

❗️”Look ashamed!” =  whenever I did something she didn’t approve of, not anything actually bad, just if it made her look bad to others

❗️”You’ll be the death of me yet” = the message was 2-fold: I’m killing her & I should
be dead. I became suicidal – which morphed into long-term depression

❗️”Why did I have to have a kid like you?” = meaning I’m a disappointment, I’m a burden, nothing I do is ever right or good enough….

❗️”Now I’ve seen everything!” = her reaction when – as a tween – I designed & made a stylish, beautifully-made hat (I was always a sewer), and said it, shaking her head, in front of a neighbor lady. It was not a compliment. Mom had very middle class, conservative taste & this hat was a NYC designer-style creation.
I did later go to FIT in NY, & for a while became a designer. But with all the put-downs over the years, there was no self-confidence – until therapy & Recovery.

❗️”It’s the bad coming out”  = referred to having acne as a teen. She implied there was so much bad inside me it even showed on my face. Just one more cruel comment

❗️”See, she got someone” = Looking good was the only thing that mattered & I always fell short (being so bad on the inside) so I ended up convinced I was ugly, which she knew but never corrected.
So one day after school walking with her – she notice a rather ‘less than attractive’ couple hand-in hand across the street. She pointed them out & said “See, she got someone!”

❗️I’m glad I’m not sensitive like you & your dad = self-evident, we all got the message that having emotions – unless always happy – were to be avoided, ignored, never identified, explained AND never comforted !

❗️”Why can’t you be more like L.& L.?? (my cousins) = They were ‘perfect’ according to her. It turns out they’re the same Astro Sign as her – Taurus – and I’m not! Perfect match for a narcissist mom – rather than me!

❗️”You’re such a pig. You could lie down next to dirt and sleep!” = What can one say? She exaggerated – typical Narc. What she called dirt was more like disorganized & messy. She was a cleaner. I’m an artist.

NEXT:  Narcissist Levels (#1)

HARMFUL ‘innocent’ Parental Phrases (Part 1)


PREVIOUS: Alan Sayings #5

SITE: “13 Things You Should Stop Saying to Your Kids Now”

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), in the long run psychological abuse in childhood can be just as damaging as sexual or physical abuse.

To shed some light on what “innocent” comments actually hurt,  author JULIETTE VIRZI – turned to the mental health community at ‘The Mighty” for suggestions ➡️.

It’s important to remember that what may seem innocent or teasing comments to some adults are actually hurtful or abusive to children. No matter what anyone thinks, your feelings are valid, & you deserve support. The following are phrases you too may have heard growing up. They’re listed here by the people who suggested them.

1. ‘Children are meant to be seen, not heard.’
“Appearances were important – my thoughts, emotions or opinions were not.” — Keisha D.

2. ‘If you don’t behave, no one will love you.’
As a child, my dad & stepmom said so many hurtful things, & this one caused the most damage. To this day, some 40 years later, I still believe I’m unwanted & unloved, especially if I do something wrong.” — Tammy Z.

3. ‘You’re not the daughter I expected.’
“My mom said this constantly. I’m adopted, so it was heartbreaking, making me even more depressed & anxious. I don’t talk to her anymore. If I’m not wanted, I’ll stay away.” — Benedicte V.

4. ‘Never be a burden to anyone.’
“This seemed like good advice, but I grew up keeping everything to myself, & trying to help everyone. When someone did something nice for me, I felt obligated to reciprocate, not wanting to be a burden, thinking I was a burden.” — Florence N.
5. ‘Don’t be so dramatic.’
“This was said every time I expressed any emotions not pre-approved by my stepmother. I repress them to this day because of that instilled fear.” — Lea L.

“Throughout my entire childhood whenever I expressed emotions, I was told I was ‘being too dramatic,’ so when I was abused & assaulted, I couldn’t tell my parents. It’s affected my entire life, struggling to express emotions because of it.” — Natasha A.

6. ‘Sometimes I wish I never had you kids.’
“My mum told me as well as my brothers & sister.” — Christina F.

7. ‘You’re my perfect child.’
“My mom favored me over the other 4 kids.” — Brooke L.
8. ‘Why can’t you be more like your siblings?’
“- like my sister. But we’re very different people. Mum was very controlling of my looks until I got a job & could do what I wanted. Then she lost control.” — Sarah W.

9. ‘It’s like you don’t want to be happy.

“‘You can choose to be happy, you just don’t want to.,’ said my mom while I was trying to ask for help during a suicidal episode.” — Darian K.
10. ‘You should be thankful.’
“It’s what my mother tells me every time I have depressive episodes: “You survived college. You’re abundant with food, money and shelter. You have us. Your sisters actually love you. So, there is nothing to be depressed about! You’re just brokenhearted because someone you like just rejected you.’

Yes, it may seem harmless to anyone, but for me, even though I have everything, depression is still there & won’t go away just like that. I’m sorry.” — Pamela J.

11. ‘You are the sorriest youngin’ that ever lived.’
My Mama even said this on my wedding day. I responded, ‘That’s OK because after today you won’t have to worry anymore!’ Some years later I confronted her with this & she said, ‘Well I was just joking, couldn’t you tell I was joking?’ I was a child. How was I supposed to know?” — Marsha S.

12. ‘You’ve always been so difficult.’
“I heard this anytime there was a difference in opinion.” — Marie V.

13. ‘You’re really filling out your bra now, aren’t you?’
“‘You’re a woman now. You know what that means, right?’ my dad said when I got my first period at his house, at age 9. Followed by, ‘You sure are filling out your bra…’
Every weekend thereafter for the next 3 years.” — Kristy B.

14. ‘That’s silly, you shouldn’t feel that way.’
“When I was a child (& still as an adult), when I’d get the courage to tell my mom how something she did / is doing made me feel, she’d say, ‘That’s silly’ & proceeded to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way. It made me feel bad then & even worse now, so I’ve stopped telling her things.” — Jen D.

 

NEXT: Parental Phrases – Part 2

Al-Anon SAYINGS & Info (Part 5)

PREVIOUS : Sayings #4

SITE: LIFELINE (Al-Anon newsletter, CONN)  


SPONSORSHIP
It’s a confidential relationship between 2regular’ Al-Anon members (no experts), who benefit from sharing their Experience, Strength & Hope. It’s focused on Al-Anon Principles, which are the 12-Steps & Traditions of AA.

The private information exchanged strengthens acceptance, compassion & understanding. Making a commitment to this special relationship OR letting go of – a specific sponsor or sponsee – is a matter of personal choice, on either side. It’s legitimate & appropriate to end a S-S relationship any time it’s not working.
New-commers may not always know who to ask, & it may take a few tries to get the right combination. This is normal is real-life as well.

Usually the Sponsor is a long-time member with good ‘Al-Anon sobriety’ who helps a newcomer navigate the early stages of Recovery, which can be very painful & confusing.
However, 2 long-timers can be very helpful to each other in dealing with both old & new issues as they surface. Age does not matter, but it’s suggested that it’s best to be woman-to-woman & man-to-man, although straight-woman-gay-man can work very well.

The standard format it that a sponsee calls their sponsor at an agreed time of day,  generally for 15min. 4-5 times a week, more if it’s an emergency.  ‘Older’ members can call each other as needed.  The sponsor can listen to their pain & frustration, but the goal is to help the sponsee learn to think with mental clarity & develop emotional ‘sobriety’, using Al-Anon tools.

Al-Anon SAYINGS

NEXT: Narcissism LEVELS #1

Al-Anon SAYINGS & Info (Part 4)

 

PREVIOUS : Sayings (Part 3)

SITEs : The 3 Legacies of AL-ANON

✿  1,500 year old history of the 12 Steps (of Humility) – Written by a hermit mystic monk in 520 AD

Al-Anon is for anyone affected by someone else’s addiction.
This usually means alcohol, but can include drugs & gambling, as well as unhealthy use of food, exercise, money, raging or sex, in an addictive way.
Even without active alcoholism, any Al-Anon members grew up in families with these & other severe stressors (beating, incest, mental illness, severe narcissism….) & so are also ACoAs.

At first (1960s, 70s) most 12 Step fellowships believed we couldn’t look at parental behaviors without falling into blame, rage & self-pity. As a member of AA, who also attended Al-Anon, Tony A. disagreed. He realized we can’t find clarity or peace until we identify what our family system has handed down to us – but without blame & shame.

The unhealthy beliefs & behaviors we absorbed as children became deeply embedded in our spirit, & the defenses we had to form were so much a pair of us that we assumed that’s just the way we were. Not so.
Al-Anon shows us that with much support, we can take a blameless, honest inventory of our parents & ourselves (4th Step). It allows us to separate who we are from who they were, so we can move beyond our programming, & freely choose what’s best for ourselves.

Tony’s Steps focus on gentleness, self-love, self-forgiveness & healing – in safety. They were included in his 1991 book, The Laundry List: The ACoA Experience, after years of refining.

 

NEXT: Sayings #5

Al-Anon SAYINGS & Info (Part 3)

 

PREVIOUS : Sayings (Part 1)

SITE :
The 12 Steps Illustrated

 

Al-Anon recognizes that for many of us who love an active addict, codependent & enabling behavior can be difficult to quit.  Addicts tend to be emotionally abusive, deceitful & manipulative, in order to keep feeding their addiction.
When you love someone & want them to be happy, you may provide them with money, housing & other needs whether they can support themselves or not!

Unfortunately, making it easy (enabling) for someone to continue abusing alcohol will only prevent them Recovering & building a productive life. Attending Al-Anon meetings & sharing your stressors & confusion can help:
— identify behaviors that may be harmful to your loved one’s healing, and
— also work on your own emotional obstacles to personal growth.

 

 


NEXT: Al-anon #4

 

Al-Anon SAYINGS & Info (Part 2)

 PREVIOUS : Sayings (Part 1)

SITEs :
The RECOVERY SHOW
sayings, quotes, proverbs

LISTEN HERE
(re. Al-Anon & AA)

 

❣️ The core of Al-anon is about helping anyone who has been affected by someone else’s alcoholic drinking. This can be a family member, a friend, a boss… even the crazy drunk in the neighborhood.
Attending 12-Step meeting allows us to hear similar experiences from others, share our own (when we want to), deal with our own inner pain, as well as share our triumphs & successes as they occur.

 

NEXT : Al-anon #3

Al-Anon SAYINGS & Info (Part 1)


PREVIOUS : Affirmations

SITEs :
AL-ANON & AlaTeen info

✴️Lois Wilson’s Story

 

Al-Anon Family Groups is a “worldwide fellowship that offers a program of recovery for the families and friends of alcoholics, whether or not the alcoholic recognizes they have a drinking problem or seeks help”.

Al-Anon sayings & slogans may seem trite to some people – at first. But over time we find they’re very helpful, especially in times of great stress. Then we find they’re very useful & comforting.

 

SERENITY PRAYER  –  See Post “Backwards”

 

 


NEXT: Sayings #2  

Positive AFFIRMATIONS

 

PREVIOUS : Chronic lateness #2

SITE:
Using Affirmations : Harnessing Positive Thinking

 

 

ACoAs: For those of us who don’t like using other people’s words, and who don’t want to be told what to think – work up a list of your own beliefs & attitudes that you want to grow into. Then copy it & plaster it up everywhere!
(Sneak a peek at these anyway 🧐 )

For the rest of us – enjoy :

🦋   🌺  🌴

🌈   ☀️   💫love affirmations
NEXT
: Identifying Narcissists, #1

PERSONAL CORE VALUES

PREVIOUS:
Lateness #2

SITE : LIST of 400 Values (click on each word)

Verb:  To Value = Process of identifying the merits of an entity or concept within a structured system
Noun:  The Value = result of that evaluation.

VALUES (social & moral principles) are the reasons people give for their attitudes & actions. They’re what we believe to be good or bad concepts, & therefore what should or should not be done, based on them.
EXP: Someone is considered an effective leader if they express ‘spiritual values‘ such as honesty, humility & integrity

Generally, we get along better on the basis of matching values than on matching personality types.
👍🏽 Values are the markers by which we gauge personal development. Reasonably healthy people try to consistently align their actions with their values, which minimizes hypocrisy. So when they notice a discrepancy between the two, it can motivate them to make positive changes.

Whenever you’ve achieved big or small things that you’re pleased with, you can know it’s because you’ve lived up to 1 or more values that come from your core.
This skyrockets self-motivation, since you’re focused on what’s most meaningful to you. Building dreams & actions that way will prove how much you can accomplish.

CAUTION: If our accomplishments are motivated by someone else’s value(s) (parent, leader….), then the goals we pursue in the future will also not be ours, whether positive or negative, whether they suit us or not. This will always leave us insecure & dissatisfied.

Note for ACoAs : In spite of the hypocrisy, lying & craziness of our childhood alcoholic household, most of us do have our own set of decent standards – part of the Healthy Inner Child – but we too often ignore or deny them for fear of disloyalty to the family & being cut off by them.
Remember, their damage has already caused them to abandon us – in many PMES ways. We just need to admit it & follow our own ethics.

10 Universal Values, in 4 Categories w/ 2 opposites
1. Conservation = motivation to preserve the status quo
vs. Openness = motivation to pursue newness
2. Self-enhancement = motivated by self-interest
vs. Self-trancendence = motivated to promote the welfare of others

◆ Achievement: Personal success through expressing competence according to legitimate social standards (suited to our personal type)
◆ Benevolence: Preserve & enhance the welfare of people who we’re often around (not P-P / Co-dep)

Conformity:  Restrain actions, inclinations & impulses likely to upset or harm others or violate social expectations or norms (using the UNIT)
◆ Hedonism: Pleasure or sensuous gratification for oneself

◆ Power
: Social status & prestige, legitimate control or dominance over people & resources (Healthy Responsibility)
◆ Security: Safety, harmony & stability of society, of relationships & self

◆ Self-direction: Independent thought & action – choosing, creating, exploring (emotional maturity)
◆ Stimulation: Excitement, novelty & life challenges

◆ Tradition: Respect, commitment & acceptance of the customs & ideas that one’s traditional culture or religion provide
◆ Universalism: Appreciation, protection, tolerance & understanding for the benefit of all people & nature  (MORE…. theories about these 10)

CHOOSE VALUES which are:
🌱 Consistent with your personal vision, mission & basic beliefs
🌱 Inspirational – they uplift & motivate to take on the day’s challenges, allowing you to fulfill your life’s purpose

🌱 Long lasting – needed to help develop your future, evolving as you mature but not following the latest fad
🌱 Meaningful & rewarding – express your True Self, therefore creating inner peacefulness

🌱 Provide guidance – help to make everyday decisions, especially with relationships
🌱 Unique – must ‘speak to you’, defining who you are & want to be. They must reflect your priorities & emphasize strengths while compensating for weaknesses.

Some Basic VALUES we already have, or can grow into (More….)

EXERCISE
Go thru the 400 words listed above, a little at a time, a few at a time. DO NOT let the WIC get overwhelmed!
Maybe pick a different ONE each day with your am coffee, & just let it sit on the back burner to see if it fits you (or not), is like your family or not. Don’t push.

When you can, make 2 lists =
a. 5-10 values you already identify with & use
b. 5-10 you’d like to incorporate or enhance.  Change as needed.
If it helps, sub-divide them into PMES categories.
EXP: P = flexibility / M = curiosity / E = fearlessness / S = forgiveness
Once a week check to see how you’re enjoying the as, & if you’ve seen improvement on the bs of your Values lists. NO S-H allowed!

🤓 What each Enneagram Type VALUES most

 

NEXT: AFFIRMATIONS