Narcissist’s Verbally Abusive Tactics

Verbal abuse is a favorite tactic of narcissists. It very quickly intimidates the target while simultaneously establishing their dominance and superiority. The attack usually catches the target off-guard thus assuring victory. All of this is done to gain control and manipulate a person into doing something.

The pattern is similar whether the narcissist is a spouse, parent, employer, coach, manager, or preacher. It first begins in secret, is infrequent, is mild in tone with minimal use of abusive language, and sometimes is followed by a shallow apology. Then it escalates to public humiliation, is more frequent, shifts blame to the victim, and is excessive in tone while denying abusive words.

Narcissists use the volume and tone of their voice to subconsciously establish dominance. They do this through two extremes. One way is to increase the volume by yelling, screaming, and raging. The second is equally effective through complete silence, ignoring, and refusing to respond. Their tone reiterates the abusiveness by combining petulance and pompousness.
Words have meaning beyond their definition.

For a narcissist, words are used to instill fear, intimidate, manipulate, oppress and constrain. Swearing and threatening language comes easily to the narcissist when the person refuses to do what they want. But if the victim tries to use the same method, the narcissistic verbal assault will amplify.

The manner of a narcissist’s speech is argumentative, competitive, sarcastic and demanding. They will frequently interrupt, talk over a person, withhold key information, bully and interrogate. Many times the verbal assault will be so rapid that the victim does not have the time or energy to fight point by point. This is precisely what they want.

Mixed in with the assault will be personal attacks such as name calling, mocking responses, defaming character, berating feelings, and judging opinions. To further add to the confusion, the narcissist will mix some truth with a lot of criticism. This condemning tactic leaves the victim feeling inferior and defeated.

A narcissist will do anything to avoid embarrassment, including going on the defensive over minor infractions by blocking and diverting casual remarks. Their self-inflated perception is so skewed that they frequently accuse the victim of making them look bad. When they perceive an attack, they refuse to take responsibility, become hostile, invalidate or dismiss feelings, lie, and conveniently forget promises or commitments.

Narcissists are masters at the blame game; anything that goes wrong is the other person’s fault. They accuse the victim of being too sensitive, are overly critical of other’s reactions, “one-up” feelings and oppose opinions. In essence, the victim is to blame for the negative condition in which they find themselves.

Typical sayings include: “I’m critical for your own good,” “I was only joking when I said that…,” “If only you would…, then I won’t have to be this way,” “You don’t know how to take a joke,” “The problem with you is…,” and “That (verbal abuse) didn’t really happen.”

As a result of the verbal abuse, the victim feels they can’t ever win, are always in the wrong, have a loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, constantly walk on eggshells, are fearful of their response, and are embarrassed by their behavior.

Verbal abuse is real and can leave a person confused and frustrated. If you are suffering from being in a relationship with a narcissist, there is a good chance therapy may help you learn coping skills and about creating healthy boundaries.

Mothering your thoughts and transforming yourself

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

It’s extremely simple and can be done anytime, anywhere and in virtually any circumstance.

Hanh teaches, however, it’s not the words that matter but our commitment to, and intention behind the practice.

Here are seven simple steps for you to begin your practice.

  1. Whenever you become aware of negative thoughts and emotions arising, rather than ignoring them, or setting them aside for later, gently (non-judgmentally) identify, acknowledge, and honor them.
  2. Become very clear on what the specific upset is by identifying the exact thoughts that are bothering you. Are they self-judging, bad memories, or anxiety about future events? Do you replay things over and over? Any thought that causes dis-ease in you, regardless of past, present or future is applicable.
  3. Next, indentify the specific emotions that arise in you as a result of said thoughts. What do they feel like in your body? Is there tightening in your chest? Is your stomach turning or is there a throbbing sensation in your head? Again, any emotion that causes dis-ease is applicable.
  4. Once you’ve clearly identified the thought(s) and emotion(s), and where you feel sensations, close your eyes and explore any imagery they create in your mind (once you’re familiar with the practice, you won’t always need to close your eyes—i.e., if you’re driving, or in public you can still do this.) Do the thoughts and emotions create colors, shapes, figures? Are they abstract or clear? The important thing is to let your thoughts and emotions create the imagery while you simply become aware of what they are. This takes practice.
  5. Breathe. We’re at the half way mark and I’d like to offer you a sincere congratulations on completing the first half! Our natural tendency is to suppress these uncomfortable thoughts and emotions, often telling ourselves that we’ll deal with them later—but honestly, does later ever come? Unfortunately for most of us, it never does. So even just by taking the time to become conscious of, and identify these unpleasant thoughts and emotions is a huge step! Let’s not stop there though – here’s where the really good stuff starts to happen.
  6. This step is where everything begins to change! Once you have the mental images of what your thoughts and emotions look like (and even if there’s no image at all, this practice still works), picture yourself holding the image (or lack thereof) in the same way a mother holds a newborn baby. Picture the image of your painful thought and emotion wrapped in a warm blanket, being held with very loving care closely to your heart, your chest, as you extend it very sincere compassion from your heart center. (You can also use the imagery of wrapping the thought/emotion in a warm blanket and placing it in a baby carriage, and rocking the carriage back and forth.)
  7. Next, mentally (or verbally) say to the image that you know it’s there and you promise to care for and hold it with compassion until it’s ready to go. Do your best to say these words from a very sincere place in your heart.

Through bringing our attention to the image of our painful thoughts and emotions, and tending to it with an open heart, we’re doing the most natural thing we can—expressing love. Instead of ostracizing our uncomfortable thoughts and emotions and their unpleasant effects, we show them pure, complete and inclusive love. It’s a love they’ve never known before, and a love many of us have never known before either.

The thoughts and emotions will often subside very quickly. Sometimes, however, they aren’t ready to go so fast, and that’s fine. When we initially told them we’d be with them as long as they needed us, we were sincere in that intention. So if/when the thoughts and emotions call us on it, we honor our words and hold them dearly in our heart for as long as it takes.

So that’s the practice. This practice can be used on everyday minor things all the way to heavier memories of our most difficult life experiences. It’s all relevant, it’s all grist for the mill and it can all be healed.

Excerpts of:

Al Green – Love and Happiness (Live from Soul Train!)

 

Adult Siblings

 

Sibling Relationships

Sibling Rivalry

As modern cultural norms shift from extended family units to nuclear family units, sibling relationships have been overshadowed by relationship issues between parents and children. In many ways, troubling sibling issues can be more challenging to resolve than parent-child issues. Without a cultural mandate to stick together or a therapeutic road map to reconciliation, may siblings in strained relationships see no reason to create harmony. According to Psychologist Joshua Coleman, cochair of the Council on Contemporary Families, in modern sibling relationships, the ‘rules’ are quite unclear.

Therapy may provide an atmosphere for healing and re-establishing the family bond. Depending on the goals of individual siblings, reconnecting can relieve years of guilt and regret. Often when a sibling does the cutting off, regardless of how much it may be objectively deserved sill has serious emotional ramifications. Those who initiate the estrangement often feel deep regret later in life, according to Jeanne Safer, a New York City psychotherapist and author of Cain’s Legacy: Liberating Siblings from a Lifetime of Rage, Shame, Secrecy and Regret.

 

 

 

Body and Soul

BODY AND SOUL
Sex and Spirituality By Darlene Lancer, M.A., MFT

With the Sexual Revolution, a la “Playboy”, now behind us, as well as the Victorian attitudes which it rejected, perhaps we are ready for a new conception of sexuality, one not dividing, but embracing, both body and spirit. With few exceptions, such as the Tantric tradition, for centuries both Eastern and Western religious leaders have warned of the dangers of the flesh, and exhorted abstinence and restraint in the furtherance of spiritual ideals.(1) Particularly in the West, the separation of the body and spirit, and matter and energy, permeates not only our theology, but Cartesian philosophy, medicine and science. It is only in recent decades that medicine has become more holistic, and physics has acknowledged the interchangeability of matter and energy.

A holistic attitude towards sex would incorporate the body and spirit, the physical and the divine. It so happens that both the path and the experience of mystical bliss parallel that of lovers’ sexual ecstasy. It is not surprising that many saints refer to their relationship with Jesus as if he were a lover. I’m suggesting that the spiritual experience is neither exclusive, nor preferable, to the sexual, but that it is merely an individual choice as to whether one finds the divine alone or shares the experience with another. In fact, each such experience only enhances the other.

Freud was revolutionary in proposing that healthy sexual expression is necessary for healthy psychological and emotional functioning. Wilhelm Reich realized the opposite was equally true; that if a person is emotionally healthy, he will be able to express himself openly and spontaneously, and this will generate a fulfilling, ecstatic orgasm. He postulates that surrender is the necessary prerequisite for total orgasm, as opposed to a mere release of muscular tension. “Orgiastic potency is the capacity for surrender to the flow of biological energy without any inhibition…”(2) In order to achieve this, in the late sixties sex therapists began recommending non-demand pleasuring, warning that too much focus on orgasm only leads to performance anxiety, and the loss of spontaneity. Starting with the premise that the sexual response cannot be willed, Masters & Johnson introduced the “sensate focus” method in treatment of sexual problems. This therapeutic technique of mutual touch was developed “…expressly without pressure to `make something happen’ sexually.”(3) In fact, they discovered that removal of a goal-oriented concept in any form is pivotal for recovery. Thus, this method teaches the participants to: “`think and feel’ sensuously and at leisure without intrusion upon the experience by the demand for end-point release (own or partner’s), …without the demand for personal reassurance, or without a sense of need to rush to `return the favor’.”(4)

It turns out that these are precisely the instructions for the proper attitude in meditation, and in ones relationship with God or a higher power. Buddhist teachers counsel that enlightenment will not come by the effort of ones will, that one should sit in meditation for its own sake, and although a certain amount of desire is necessary for a disciplined practice, desire itself can be an obstacle. Trying to control or make something happen may yield fleeting pleasurable experiences, but is self-defeating in the long run. Focusing on techniques and goal, whether orgasm or enlightenment, only takes us further from awareness of the present and the joy of the moment. The writings of Tarthang Tulku, a Tibetan Lama of the Nyingma Buddhist tradition, could as easily be contained in a lovers’ sex manual: “So, during meditation, do not have expectations. Do not try to get anywhere or achieve anything…too much attention only produces tension.”(5)

“…Although we must make some effort in the beginning, once meditation is entered, there is no need for further effort…There is no need of will in meditation. The common idea of willing is to make an effort. Most people find it hard not to make an effort, not to do something in meditation. But will does not help…As soon as we try to force the mind, our meditation is disturbed.”(6)

Not surprisingly, Masters & Johnson come to the same conclusion, in describing the dilemma of impotency and being caught in the role of spectator: “Apprehensive and distracted by his fears of performance, he usually forcefully initiates some form of physical sexual expression, and immediately takes a further step toward total sexual dysfunction by trying to will his sexual response, thereby removing sexual function from its natural context.”(7)

The sensate-focus method is the sensual prescription for abandoning self-consciousness to the present for what Thartang urges in meditation: “Letting go of all thoughts and images, letting them go wherever they will, reveals there is nothing behind…not even a `me’…only an immediate, genuine present. In other words, there is no flow of time, no past, present, or future. Everything is in the moment.”(8)

“In meditation we make our closest contact with our experiential side, where enlightenment, higher consciousness, is found. When we pass directly into any moment, when we dissolve the forms or `clouds’ of concepts and yield to pure experience, we discover our great resource, enlightened space…This understanding is true integration, a genuine connection of our whole being with the reality of experience, with the `now’ which is unlimited by time or space.”(9)

Thus, it is in the giving up of control, not trying, nor willing – the shedding of the ego’s desire, and its opposite, fear, that the boundaries of self and other fall away; one enters an I – Thou relationship, whether communing with God or with the soul of another. Whether love making or in meditation, it is a physical, emotional and mental surrender and opening to this emptiness, moment by moment, with no holding on to the moment experienced, nor anticipating the next. Through such spontaneous surrender, one enters a timeless emptiness that at once becomes full of joy and ecstasy. Tarthang continues:

“Open all your cells, even all the molecules that make up your body, unfolding them like petals. Hold nothing back: open more than your heart; open your entire body, every atom of it. Then a beautiful experience can arise that has a quality you can come back to again and again, a quality that will heal and sustain you.

“Once you touch your inner nature in this way, every thing becomes silent. Your body and mind merge in pure energy; you become truly integrated. Tremendous benefits flow from that unity, including great joy and sensitivity. The energy flowing from this heals and nourishes the senses. They fill with sensation opening like flowers.”(10)

In the Christian tradition, when speaking of infused prayer, St. Teresa could be depicting sexual union, as she describes the faculties rejoicing without knowing how they rejoice – the intellect ceases to reflect and instead rests in the presence of God (or ones lover).(11) She also writes that we can do nothing to procure this experience, but that man must open his whole soul to God; total submission of the will is necessary for perfect union.(12) As in surrendering to a lover, she urges fully trusting and disposing of oneself to God, with an attitude of “I am Yours, I do not belong to myself any longer.” This represents the longing of the soul “to love, to be loved, to make love loved.”(13) In this state of immense depth and openness, God then unites man to Himself and in this intimate union expands and transforms him,(14) as lovers are transformed by their sexual union, when they have fully surrendered, as Reich advocates.

Her account of surrender is as sensual and arousing as is D.H. Lawrence’s:

“He took her in his arms again and drew her to him. It was gone, the resistance was gone, and she began to melt in a marvelous peace…and she felt herself melting in the flame (of desire)…and she let herself go to him. She yielded with a quiver that was like death, she went all open to him…she was all open to him and helpless! “…her breast dared to be gone in peace, she held nothing. She dared to let go everything, all herself, and be gone in the flood.”…heavier the billows of her rolled away to some shore, uncovering her, and closer and closer plunged the palpable unknown, and further and further rolled the waves of herself away from herself, leaving her…and she was gone. She was gone, she was not, and she was born: A woman.”(15)

His allusion to death and rebirth echoes The Prayer of St. Francis: “…And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

When lovers are fully present with each other, by putting aside their expectations and their fears, and are able to open their minds, hearts and bodies to the unknown of the moment, there is a surrender of the ego that occurs akin to death. In this empty and timeless space, absent of “self,” the energy flow from both souls merge in a union of love, described by St. Teresa and Tarthang, that is both expansive and euphoric. Such experience is restorative and transforming, whether occurring alone in meditation or prayer, or shared with another soul. Reich attempted to explain this commonality as an outgrowth of a functional point of view, as distinguished from a mechanistic one. From the latter, mechanistic and mystical thinking, and religion and sexuality, are incompatible. On the other hand, in functionalism the contradiction is resolved:

“…the common principle of sexuality and religion is the sensation of nature in one’s own organism…In natural religion, religion and sexuality were ONE:orgonotic plasma excitation…Functionalism breaks through the boundaries of the rigid splitting contradiction through the discovery of the common factors in emotion, origin, and essence of sexuality and religion.”(16)

Sex as a mystical experience is far from a casual encounter. It demands a new morality, one borne neither of rigidity nor indulgence, but of strength and vulnerability. It requires a strong sense of self to be vulnerable enough to abandon the ego. Additionally, in order to promote integration of body and soul, sex should be approached with integrity and compassion. If instead it emanates from selfish motives, solely to satisfy physical needs, or to possess or control another, it only strengthens the ego, and is destructive to the soul, which, as a result, retreats even further from reality. Valuable guidance is found in Buddhist sexual ethics. Here the emphasis is not on the sexual act itself; in fact, some schools even recognize passion as a means to enlightenment. In any case, ones motives must always be ethical; so that a Bodhisattva will take care to never harm or deceive another, thereby not harming him or herself in the process.(17)

Copyright, Darlene A. Lancer 1991
Published in Whole Life Times, Oct., 1991

1. Stevens, John, Lust for Enlightenment, Buddhism & Sex, p.23, Shambala Publications, Inc., Boston, 1990. (Gotama Buddha is reported to have said: “Brother, there is no real delight in passion; real delight is to be free of passion.”)

2. Reich, Wilhelm, Discovery of the Orgone, p. 79, Ambassador Books, Ltd., Toronto, 1967. (He goes so far as to posit that men who equate surrender and femininity will be orgiastically disturbed. Id., p. 82)

3. Masters & Johnson, Human Sexual Inadequacy, p.74, Little, Brown & Company, Boston, 1970.

4. Id., p. 73

5. Tarthang Tulku, Openness Mind, p. 114, Dharma Publishing, Berkeley, CA, 1978

6. Id., pp. 34-35

7. Masters & Johnson, p. 65

8. Tarthang Tulku, p. 122

9. Id., pp. 128-29

10. Id., p. 47

11. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D., The Way of Prayer, A Commentary on St. Teresa’s “Way of Perfection”, p. 83, Spiritual Life Press, Milwaukee, 1965

12. Id., p. 112

13. Id., pp. 114-115

14. Id., p. 99

15. Lawrence, David, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, pp. 178-179. Nelson Doubleday, Inc., Garden City, New York (l928)

16. Reich, Wilhelm, An Introduction to Orgonomy, p. 301, Ambassador Books, Ltd., Toronto, 1961

17. Stevens, p. 140

2015 Year of the Sheep

Following Chinese tradition, the year of the sheep can be seen as a time to heal after the chaos of 2014’s Horse year. What is of value now is intimacy, family and close friendships. It is a time to be more caring, kind and sensitive with each other. Develop a gentle heart, open to love and acceptance. Another theme of Sheep year is to express your creative side. Now is the time for art, creativity and cultivation of beauty. If you ever wanted to explore your creative side, this is your year. Do not give up, be pessimistic or become discouraged. Be positive and think about what you are grateful for.Sheep 1-1

2014 Year of the Horse

2014 is the Year of the Horse  ~ The spirit of the horse is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able

Shedding pain and turmoil may leave us raw, yet full of passion to move forward. Horse energy can carry us now, as long as we agree to stay on our path of growth and development. Let this energy come to you by being present and being authentic. Horse energy speaks to allowing ourselves to be present, allow healing now, don’t look back, and just be.

Horse’s are extremely hard-working and the human race owes much gratitude for how energetically this amazing being has helped us, as well as brought us much pleasure and freedom.

This year’s Horse energy wants us to be gentle on ourselves and each other and desperately wants you to know that balance is key for good physical and emotional heath. Reining in our intuition by pushing ourselves or judging our worth based on your view of another is something we need to leave behind now in order to evolve into the coming years. Horse energy senses you are strong but longs to know how soft you can be, how kind, how much love are you willing to receive and share.

 

Moving toward your Potential

Live this day based on the way you can be, not on the way you have been. Live this day focused on your best possibilities, not on your worst fears.
One big thing that makes life so amazing is the constant opportunity to move forward. As you live this day, choose to make the most of that opportunity.
Whatever the situation may be, whoever may be to blame, your best option is to move forward. No matter how the past has been, or what you have or do not have, your best choice is to move forward.
There is something you can do right now that will make a positive difference and move things forward. Find it and do it.
If you’re dismayed and don’t really feel like doing anything, what will quickly help you feel much better is doing something to move forward. If you’re not sure what to do, move forward just a little and you’ll soon see ways to move forward even more powerfully.
There may be plenty of good reasons to give up, and yet there’s one even better reason to keep moving forward. It will inject new substance and energy into your life, and with that, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.
— Ralph Marston

Ever wonder why therapy works?

Ever wonder …Why does therapy work?

When most of us start seeing a therapist, we are seeking solutions to something or help with a particular person/issue or support during a difficult life transition. What makes therapy work is the honoring of your unique and precious path that only you can walk and share with others. In therapy, the time is devoted solely to your healing and growth.

By attuning to your path, a therapist can gently support you as you explore ways to bring you closer to your authentic self. Therapy provides support as you find your way through stressors. Therapy works because you have found a safe place to invite every emotion, without judgment. Staying curious, open and present, the atmosphere for healing and solution-finding arises.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than a quarter of American adults experience depression, anxiety or another mental disorder in any given year. Others need help coping with a serious illness, losing weight or stopping smoking. Still others struggle to cope with relationship troubles, job loss, the death of a loved one, stress, substance abuse or other issues. And these problems can often become debilitating.

Psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a therapist. Grounded in dialogue, it provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who’s objective, compassionate and nonjudgmental. You and your therapist can collaborate  to identify and change the thought and behavior patterns that are keeping you from feeling your best.

By the time you’re done, you will not only have solved the problem that brought you in, but you will have learned new skills so you can better cope with whatever challenges arise in the future.

Starting something new

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Getting started with something new can be daunting. Excitement gives way to confusion. Confusion can often spill into doubt and stagnation. Giving yourself permission to flounder and seek help is not only empowering, but sometimes necessary to getting back on track. Seek out support and try to be kind to yourself. Try to look at the steps you’ve taken that support your growth. Give yourself credit if credit is due.