If you have ever fallen for a narcissist or psychopath and have spun your wheels combing through every memory, conversation, email and text message searching for clues of where things went wrong, what was real and what was fake, and any signs you may have missed along the way, what you’ll come to discover are the veiled tracks of very deceptive and powerful manipulation tactics that were used to seduce and control you. Pathological individuals (most notably narcissists and psychopaths, but non-pathological individuals can be extremely manipulative as well) tend to be innate, master manipulators. And, since manipulation, by its very nature, occurs below the radar and just outside the realm of our conscious awareness, it makes it very difficult to detect.
If you’ve entered into a new relationship, and you suddenly begin to feel less good about yourself and start to develop any of the following symptoms: depression, anxiety, feelings of guilt, frustration, or your self-confidence diminishes, you might be in a relationship with a master manipulator.
Emotional manipulation isn’t something we consider is happening in our relationship when we develop feelings of depression or a sudden decrease in our self-esteem. Why would we suspect our partner is toying with our emotions when the act of manipulation, by its very nature, is designed to be invisible and undetectable? Nope, we assume only the best intentions, and unwittingly collude with the manipulator by accepting blame for things that aren’t our fault, apologizing when we’re not wrong, censoring ourselves, especially when we have a differing opinion or perspective, doing things that we aren’t comfortable with, working harder to fix the problems in the relationship, and doubting our own judgments. And every time we do, and the longer we stay, the manipulator tightens his/her grip of control over us, until we are left feeling exhausted, demeaned, exasperated, depressed, anxious, demoralized, misunderstood, and confused.
For many of us, the New Year signals a fresh start, renewal and the start of a new chapter. It’s a special time because it brings the hope of new beginnings and possibilities. On New Year’s Day, after the celebrations end and the champagne toasts are over, many of us take time to reevaluate our lives. We reflect on our choices, priorities, and goals, and decide how we are going to do things differently to improve our lives. This is best seen in one of the most popular customs and is what New Year’s resolution making is all about. Wishing you a New Year filled with new hopes, new joy, and new beginnings. January 1st, 2018 is the first day of a 365-day chapter, write a good one.
Bree Bonchay, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist with over 18 years of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships and shares her insights about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and psychopathy in her blog FreeFromToxic. Her articles have been featured in major online magazines and she has appeared on radio as a guest expert.
If you’ve been the target of a narcissist’s smear campaign, you know it’s one of the most devastatingly effective, and vicious attacks you can find yourself on the receiving end of. The narcissist uses the smear campaign for three main reasons:
- To distract people’s attention away from the truth
- For damage control and reputation management
- To isolate the victim from potential sources of support
The smear campaign is a premeditated and pre-emptive attempt to harm the victim’s reputation or call their character into question by spreading lies and rumors. To the surprise of many victims, the narcissist’s smear campaign started long before the relationship ended, which is one of the reasons why smear campaigns are so effective and hard to defeat. Your narcissist may be a female, male, family member, friend or boss, but for ease of writing and clarity, I used the pronoun “he” throughout this piece, and in the context of a romantic relationship. Smear campaigns are an offensive strategy and can be used in all types of relationships. No matter what the nature of the relationship, the basic concepts, and motivations are same.
World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day is June 1, and everyone, unless you’re living under a rock, has heard the word narcissist. In fact, the word is tossed around so liberally these days, its meaning becoming so diluted, that posting an occasional selfie can make people suspect you of being a narcissist.
Ironically, despite the popularity of the word, most people have never heard of the phrase “narcissistic abuse.”
Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional and psychological abuse. It is primarily inflicted by individuals who have either narcissistic personality disorder (NPD, which is characterized by a lack of empathy), or antisocial personality disorder (ASPD, also known as sociopaths or psychopaths), and is associated with the absence of a conscience.
You may be wondering if most people haven’t even heard of narcissistic abuse, then why is it so important to raise awareness about it? Unfortunately, since it’s such an under-recognized, understudied public health issue, statistics are hard to come by regarding this form of abuse.
Unfortunately, for most survivors of narcissistic abuse, ending an emotionally abusive relationship and going no contact doesn’t immediately put an end to or erase the damage left behind from the trauma of being in a toxic relationship. We anticipate having to deal with the normal emotions and grief that accompanies any major loss, especially the loss of a significant relationship, but what many of us don’t anticipate is having to deal with the unexpected and extremely debilitating symptoms following the aftermath of a pathological relationship.
I have some exciting news for you! You may have received an email from me a while ago announcing World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day is officially a thing. (Read the press release.) I am thrilled to announce that this year, Athena Moberg, CPC and I, are hosting a virtual World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day Telesummit. We have hand-picked speakers who have unparalleled expertise in their fields… who are devoted to helping people and raising awareness… who we have the utmost respect for… and who we knew could shed light on all aspects of narcissistic abuse and trauma recovery. Also, we would like you to know that every speaker enthusiastically offered their time, and volunteered their support of WNAAD's mission despite their very hectic schedules… which speaks volumes about their passion and dedication to their field and helping others.
Access is complimentary to all the expert interviews for a limited time starting June 1st. Once you register for your free access you can listen at your leisure June 1st - June 7th. You will receive an email on or before June 1st with details and instructions on how to access the expert interviews. Reserve your free access now before it's too late! All you need to do is subscribe here.
Here is a list of the speakers and topics that will be presented at this year’s event
Sandra L. Brown, MA- Why It's More Than Just Being an 'Empath'--Understanding the Personality Science Behind Why You Are Targeted
Richard Grannon- Emotional Literacy, Ferocity of Intent, How To Stop Emotional Flashbacks
Lori Gill, MA.- Neurological and Physiological Implications of Trauma
Lisa Romano- The Dynamics Between Codependency and Narcissism- Why Do Codependents Attract Narcissists?
William Brennan, ME.D, LMHC, CAP- E.M.D.R Treatment- Healing The Aftermath of Narcissistic Abuse
Christine Louis de Cannonville- The Pathological Behaviors of Narcissistic Mothers
Steve Becker, LCSW, CH.T- The Red Flags of Psychopathic Personalities
HG Tudor- Inside the Mind of A Narcissist- What The Narcissist Thinks When You Go 'No Contact" and The Most Effective Strategies to Release Their Hold On You
Jennifer Young, LMHC- Has the Narcissist Really Changed with New Partner?
Sherri Renner, JD- Legal Battles with Cluster B Individuals in Family Court: What to Expect, When to Prepare, and How to Survive the Crucible
Heather Tuba, BA- Supporting A Partner With Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Kami Lindgren, BA - Life Beyond Pain
Tina Fuller- Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents
Don't forget to share this event with a friend and help spread awareness!
Do you often engage in conversations with your narcissist that leave you feeling like you were talking to a brick wall –or worse, maybe leave you feeling like banging your head against a brick wall? Perhaps, it has even crossed your mind that you would have been better off conversing with a brick wall because the wall would have more capacity of providing understanding, validation, and empathy than the narcissist in your life!
Real life conversations with a narcissist are exhausting, dizzying, nerve-racking, and make you feel like you’re going crazy, or at least drive a compassionate person to question their own reality, and even their sanity at times. The circular conversations leave you feeling worse off than if you had never had them in the first place. You begin to blame yourself, doubt your instincts, and wonder what the heck is going on?
There’s a phenomenon we’ve all experienced at least one time called Synchronicity. It’s when you think of someone you haven’t thought about in years and then run into them a few hours later. Synchronicity always reminds me of another phenomenon that I call, Coincidental Hoovering. This phenomenon, more often than not, happens to the former partners, and relatives of narcissists. It’s when you finally start feeling some relief and peace in your life and make a giant Stover move like finally deleting your ex’s telephone number, or an even bigger Stover move, and change your number, and then out of the blue, you receive some kind of communication or an unexpected visit from your narcissist.