Tag Archives: advice

How to Make Yourself Fall Out of Love

Ever been in love with someone you knew was bad for you, but couldn’t help yourself?

Cluster B’s have a tendency to idealize and devalue others. When I have idealized someone they can virtually do no wrong.

Even, and sometimes especially, if they are treating me poorly, it can be hard for me to let go. I see only the good in them, and have a tendency to internalize their bad or hurtful behavior as some fault of my own. I am defective. Unlovable. That’s why they are treating me so poorly.

At times like these my old friend, Devalue, would be really handy to have around. But I can’t control the devaluation process. Devaluing for me, is like falling out of love — it just happens.

Worse, I have a tendency to devalue those who treat me well, and exalt those who mistreat me. I think, if they love me, there must be something wrong with them.

Or, they are trying to manipulate me.

A couple of weeks ago, someone in one of my Cluster B groups mentioned the DBT Peer Connections series on YouTube. I finally got around to checking it out and found it helpful.

The series consists of 23 episodes, ranging in length from 3 minutes to 2 hours. So, it’s a time investment. But from what I’ve seen so far, it’s worth it.

In this video (below), she talks about using the DBT skill, “Opposite Action” for emotional regulation, and goes through a series of emotions including jealousy, anger, shame, guilt and even love. DBT Opposite Action Love.png

This was the first time I had seen love covered as an unhealthy emotion that requires regulation. But for a lot of us, it is.

When love doesn’t fit the facts, when the person doesn’t deserve our love or admiration, there are things we can do to change our feelings — we don’t have to be slaves to unhealthy emotions.

She gets to love at 18:00, but the entire video is worth a watch. I identified with needing help on all of the emotions, especially anger.

DBT Peer Connections Ep 4c – Emotion Regulation Opposite Action

Working with a narcissist in family or couple’s therapy

Here’s another helpful article I ran across on how to effectively work with a narcissist in couple’s or family therapy.

The article offers some gems for both the therapist and the family member. 3 Basics of Working (Mindfully) with a Narcissist in Therapy: a Balancing Act:

It may be surprising to know that it’s definitely not about a sole focus on how to “set the npd straight” or “correct” their attitudes and treatment of others; in effect, that’s their job. Your job is about letting go of what’s not yours … to avoid that trap, so you can remain aware and authentically connected to your inner sources of strength, thus, in an optimal state of mind and body to be a healing presence for yourself … allowing you to do “your part” to create a context or “holding place” in which healing, authentic connection and transformational change is possible.

An npd’s behaviors are destabilizing at least in part because: balance is both their greatest need, yet also what they most actively and desperately fight against, nevermind the outer calm they may present.

These three starting points provide a mindful understanding of npd, first and foremost, as a set of learned problem behaviors driven by a certain mindset (belief system, thoughts, etc.) from which the therapist may invite the npd client and their loved one(s) to work as a team, inspiring them to create new possibilities. This starting place:

  • Shifts away from judging or condemning the npd client to identifying the “problem behaviors” that, in effect, predictably always produce the same effects, and include negative ones for the npd as well, for example: they push those they love away from them; and isolation, knowingly or unknowingly, is the cruelest of punishments to human beings. For the narcissist, abandonment can be their greatest fear. If this seems puzzling, consider this: their current mind set associates “avoiding vulnerability” with “status” and illusions of “power,” etc., which explains why they desperately need to shift to a mindset that would better their higher needs to relate authentically as human beings. The new mindset, for example, would recognize the ability to be vulnerable as a relationship-building strength! (Warning to codependent partners: This is not your job; it’s theirs alone.)
  • Allows the focus of what needs to change to remain on the “problem” mindsets and behaviors, and the cultural and familial contexts in which they flourish. Additionally, this focuses on “judging” behaviors, not persons (and disarms the npd of one of their primary weapons — blame). Instead all are invited to not only take blame off the table, but also to (humorously) team-up to “blame” blame itself for much unnecessary suffering.
  • Places primary responsibility on therapist, and increasingly on those interacting with an npd client for their part of the interaction, and that is, to remain present, observant and thoughtfully responsive rather than judging, reactive, anxious to fix or to please, etc., because reactivity “feed” the npd problem-behaviors.
  • Last but not least, this shift to a new mindset emphasizes the reality, that: all human beings are hardwired to yearn to matter and feel they contribute value and meaning to life around them. The destination mindset is a way of thinking that makes therapy (and relationships) a place where each is primarily responsible for relating to self and other in ways that promote authentic, wholehearted ways of loving self and other. Most npds are more capable of empathy than they’d care to admit. Thus, for those interacting with an npd client, it’s important to keep reminding themselves that npdare human thus fully equipped with human capacities (just more or less misguided or addicted to a false sense of power they gain from their current mindset, reinforced by major cultural institutions, media, entertainment, etc.)

As a therapist (or loved one), there are no quick fixes. The best hope of being a healing presence that has a balancing effect on your relationship with others starts inside you — your mindset, and relationship with your self.

Read the rest of the article here.

How to communicate with a narcissist

I’m really lucky to have a husband who is fully supporting me as I try to overcome my personality disorder. But he doesn’t always know how, and that’s incredibly frustrating for both of us.

A huge downside to having such a stigmatized PD is that it’s nearly impossible to find any helpful advice among the mountains of hate, shaming, misinformation, outright lies and general vitriol for people unlucky enough to be stuck with my disorder.

One of my husband’s chief complaints is that whenever he searches for anything having to do with NPD all he gets are narcissist hate sites. He can’t find anything on how to help me manage my disorder, how to more effectively talk to me, or how to support me in my recovery. He has searched and searched and the only advice he says he can find is, “get away from them.” Nice.

“I’m not giving up on you. I’m not leaving you,” he tells me. “I love you unconditionally.” For me that’s pretty hard to hear or accept, in part because vulnerability is still so fucking hard for me. I am still struggling to believe anyone can really love me at all, let alone unconditionally. But he’s trying to show me and I’m trying to learn to believe him. So, how can we help each other out?

Where’s the practical advice for those who aren’t ready to give up on their spouse or loved one with NPD, who is trying to change? I don’t have all the answers, but when I find something useful, I will pass it along — because it’s quite literally like finding a needle in haystack.

I came across this article the other day, and I think it had some decent, practical advice for people like my husband, on how to more effectively communicate with a narcissist:

How can you effectively communicate with someone who is generally only able to process what’s going on in their own lives and minds?

  • Let them think you are focusing on them, but really divert their attention to the emotions and thoughts of others. Giving them outside perspective. When they try to bring their feelings or thoughts back to center, acknowledge, then divert again.
  • Remind them of their responsibility in the causes and consequences of their actions. Not everything is someone else’s fault. Although they will try to make it seem that way. And they cannot complain about the choices they made freely and willingly.
  • Remind them of their responsibility to care for their own ego, and boost their own self-esteem. While encouraging them to support others’ emotional needs, as well. Not necessarily by making someone feel good, or feel anything for that matter, but by providing an open, welcoming, gentle atmosphere for others to dwell.
  • Remind them of the difference between caring for others and trying to control them. What they think isn’t always best. Support and show affection to others. Don’t just peddle advice.
  • Ask them to really listen, not just talk. Think how what is being said affects them as they’re listening. Focus on how the topic of conversation affects others.
  • Be sure to note direct comparisons of their lives, attitudes and actions to those they deem inferior or incorrect in others’ lives. They easily notice flaws in others but rarely notice, acknowledge or take responsibility for their own flaws. If they are doing these things, they probably will put forth a lackluster effort to change them, if any at all.

Read the rest of the article at Familyshare.