Tag Archives: aspd

Gaslighting Is Everywhere!

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Gaslighting Is Everywhere!

Gaslighting is a brainwashing strategy perpetrated by highly manipulative narcissists who live secretly and undetected in our society.  Like child molesters seeking prey, gaslighters have a keen eye for spotting vulnerable personality types who are susceptible to their pretend altruism, affection and promises of protection.

Gaslighters achieve complete control by manipulating the environment so their victims identify with an overwhelming and incurable psychological problem, which they never had, or was only a minor affliction.  The result of implanting an illness or disorder, and rendering a person helpless over it, is unfathomable distress, insecurity and paranoia.  Worst are the feelings of despair and powerlessness.

Descending into an emotional world of hopelessness and isolation, the victim is manipulated into seeking protection and solace from the very person who orchestrated their incapacitation.

Gaslighting is everywhere: secretly lurking behind the locked doors of politicians, clergy members, husbands, wives and even parents.  Gaslighters feed off a person, people, or a society that is devoid of hope and full of anxiety.  Only with such vulnerable people can the gaslighter play out their enchanting but mercilessly heinous emotional crimes.

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome

Creator of “The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder” seminar (and upcoming book)

                         

Codependency Categories: Active, Passive and Anorexic Codependents

Codependency Categories: Active, Passive & Anorexic Codependents

Excerpts from Ross  Rosenberg’s book, The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love  People Who  Hurt Us.

Active and Passive Codependency

As a direct result of the codependents questioning themselves about being a narcissist, I categorized codependency into two sub-types: passive and active.  Although all codependents are habitually and instinctively attracted (and later bonded) to severely narcissistic partners, one is more active in their perpetual but unsuccessful attempts to obtain their narcissist’s love, respect and care (LRC), while the other is more passive.  Although both try to control and manipulate their narcissistic partners, they go about it differently.

Passive codependents are more fearful and avoidant of conflict.  For complicated reasons, mostly related to their extremely low self-esteem, fear of being alone and tendency to be in relationships with controlling, dangerous and/or abusive pathological narcissists, the passive codependent attempts to control or influence their narcissistic partner through carefully, if not meticulously, executed control strategies – most of which are intended to fall under their pathological narcissist’s radar (awareness).  Because of the secret and hidden nature of their control strategies, passive codependents are perceived as more resigned, stoic and compliant than active codependents.

Active codependents, on the other hand, are overtly manipulative in their control strategies in attempts to rectify the LRC inequity in their relationship.  Being less afraid of conflict, they often engage the pathological narcissist in arguments and confrontations.  They also are prone to aggressive altercations, lying and manipulating, in an effort to avoid being harmed or to meet their own needs.  They are therefore experienced as controlling, antagonizing and manipulative.   In addition, they may want others to see them fight, control, and manipulate their narcissistic partner, as it serves as a paper thin attempt to feel powerful and in control.

Active codependents are often mistaken for narcissists because of their more openly controlling demeanor.   Like the passive codependent, they believe that “one day” their pathologically narcissistic partner will realize their mistakes and wrong-doings and finally give them the love, respect and care they so desperately want and need.  It just never happens…

Although different “on the outside,” both the passive and active codependent share the pathological “others” self-orientation.  While the active codependent may seem stronger, more in control and more confident, both share the same deeply embedded insecurities and feelings of powerlessness.  Both are unable to break free from their dysfunctional relationship.

Codependency Anorexia – Starving One’s Self of Love

Codependency Anorexia occurs when a codependent surrenders to their life-long relationship pattern to destructive pathological narcissists.  The codependent often transitions to Codependency Anorexia when they hit bottom and can no longer bear the pain and the harm meted out to them from their malevolent pathological narcissists. It is paradoxical in a sense, as it occurs during a moment of clarity, when the codependent realizes that they are completely powerless to stop their attraction to lovers who, in the beginning, feel so right, but shortly thereafter, hurt them so badly. In an effort to protect themselves from the long line of “soul mates,” who unexpectedly convert to “cellmates,” they flip their vulnerability switch to “off,” which results in a complete shutdown of their emotional, relational, and sexual machinery.

Although their intention is to avoid getting pummeled again by the next narcissist, they unknowingly insulate themselves from the very human experience of intimate romantic love. This defense mechanism serves to protect codependents from the cascade of resulting consequences of their debilitating love choices. By denying their human need to connect and love passionately, they are, in a sense, artificially neutralizing The Human Magnet Syndrome. Or in other words, they are removing themselves from any possibility of close romantic love, healthy or not.

To maintain their codependent anorexia, codependents ultimately have to divorce themselves from their emotional and sexual selves. As a result, they “starve” themselves from the very human need to connect romantically, intimately, and sexually. Such deprivation often leads to long-term mental and relational health problems.

In the codependent anorexic state, the codependent is hypervigilant of any person or situation that would lead to a potentially harmful and dangerous intimate relationship. They often over compensate in social situations to avoid either showing interest in someone else or accidentally reacting to someone else overtures. To that end, they also deprive themselves of everyday social events, in order to not accidentally bump against a vulnerable or threatening situation or person. And if a person or event does threaten the codependency anorexic barrier, a shock of extreme anxiety uncomfortably steer them back onto their self-depriving but safe course.

The anorexic codependent is unable to recognize that their disconnection or disassociation from their vulnerable relational and sexual self is harmful, if not debilitating. Notwithstanding, they continue the path of intimacy deprivation so that they are able to maintain their distorted and deluded sense of power and control over real and invisible threats. At the end of the day, they are not hurt by another pathological narcissist. But, they also live their life in a barren desert of loneliness and fear.

Codependents cannot shake the unrealistic belief that happiness will only come if they are in a relationship. They look to other people to make them feel happy and fulfilled. It is only through an intimate relationship that they will be able to feel complete. Codependents tend to rely on a source outside of themselves – their romantic partners – to make them feel worthwhile and lovable.  As a result of the codependent’s reliance on pathological narcissists to make them feel good about themselves, they seldom experience self-love or healthy levels of self-esteem.

 

Since the codependent unconsciously chooses partners who are unwilling, unmotivated or unable to meet their personal and emotional needs, they may choose the path of control to get their pathological narcissist partner to give them what they want and need. To some, it is counterintuitive for codependents to be controlling. There are indeed codependents who do give up and take a passive victim-based role in their dysfunctional relationships. However, because most codependents take on the lion’s share of the relationship responsibilities such as child care, house cleaning, cooking, shopping, and/or financially supporting the relationship/family, they cannot afford to acquiesce and relinquish control of their family’s life. Without maintaining some semblance of control, they and their family or relationship would certainly suffer. To most codependents, the idea of stopping their attempts to get their narcissist partner to reciprocate or behave fairly and responsibly is tantamount to giving up on their relationship; something that codependents are mostly unwilling and incapable of doing.

Codependents often develop compulsive or addictive-like patterns while trying to control their narcissistic partner. Their compulsion to control someone who cannot be controlled puts them on a circular path that always brings them back to where they started: angry, frustrated and resentful. Much like the hamster on its wheel, they run around and around trying to get somewhere, but always end up in the same place. No matter how fast and how long they run, they never actually leave the place where they started – their dysfunctional relationship with a pathological narcissist. Their attempts to seek the unobtainable create a series of personal and relational failures that ultimately remind them of their powerlessness over others. This pattern is self-reinforcing. The more they fail at controlling the pathological narcissist, the worse they feel. Over time, they get worn down by their failures and consequently give up on the hope that the one-way nature of their relationship will ever change.

Codependents are slow to give up hope that their partner will eventually give them what they want, deserve and need. However, for some codependents, their patience eventually runs thin. Their naïve belief that their narcissistic partner will give them what they have so sacrificially and patiently been waiting for eventually transforms into bouts of anger and resentment. Realizing that hoping and waiting does not get them what they want, i.e., their spouse to be stop drinking, stop an affair, or to show them love and thoughtfulness, they resort either to direct or passive forms of aggression. Instead of running on their hamster wheel, they start to actively attempt to control their unyielding partner. So the stereotype that codependents are passive victims who wait a lifetime to get what they want is just not true.

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome

Creator of “The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder” seminar (and upcoming book)

                         

 

Stop Trying to Change the Malignant Narcissist (Why You Should Never Give A Narcissist My Book).

Stop Trying to Change the Malignant Narcissist

malignant narcissistI am so grateful to the many people who have told me that my book The Human Magnet Syndrome was life-changing. Having such a positive impact on the human condition is my teenager “gonna change the world” dream come true. I couldn’t be happier!

My book was written to inspire and motivate people to understand their part in thedysfunctional dance they have been irresistibly drawn into their whole life. It WAS NOT written to be used as a defensive or offensive strategy in dealing with harmful pathological narcissists (PNarcs).

The “codependent” and “narcissistic” designations in The Human Magnet Syndrome were designed to identify a very serious personal and relational problem so the reader would be motivated to get help to disconnect from it. The book was never intended to be used as a retaliatory weapon to be used by angry, vindictive and/or controlling codependents, or what I now refer to as individuals with Self-Love Deficit Disorder (SLDD). Similarly, it wasn’t written to be used as a countermeasure against narcissistic harm.

The mere mentioning of my book to a PNarc is almost always counterproductive, as it will ALWAYS trigger a negative reaction, no matter how much you believe otherwise. I strongly suggest that you never give a copy of my book to PNarc. Never! It will always trigger a narcissistic injury and set up a dysfunctional interaction, or dance, where the PNarc has complete control and the person with Self-Love Deficit Disorder does not.

If a PNarc learns or is told that their partner is reading my book, they will react in one of two manners:

  1. They will exhibit various forms of vindictive and indignant rage, which compels them to openly intimidate, manipulate, and consequently sabotage their partner’s attempt at SLDD recovery.
  2. This is the more insidious and harmful reaction that is common with Covert and Malignant Narcissists. In this scenario, the PNarc covertly executes a plan of sabotage and disempowerment, which may include gaslighting, mind manipulation, and continued brainwashing.

The latter is more dangerous as the PNarc is allowed to maintain their victim role, while manipulating their partner into believing that they have the problems, not them. In these cases, some of my clients, in the beginning of therapy, are convinced that they are the PNarc and their significant other the SLD. Believe it or not, a few of these clients’ PNarcs read my book, and then gave it to their partner with the continued brainwashing narrative that they are the “codependent” and their partner the “narcissist.”

Plain and simple, any suggestion that the narcissist is at fault will elicit a narcissistic injury. Giving them my book, or referring to it, while telling them you are SLD or codependent, is and will cause them to react in one of two ways. One, they will project onto you that you are the narcissist and they the codependent; or, two, they will be triggered with a narcissistic injury, and subsequently rage against you for the comment or suggestion. You will be the target of their unmitigated fury and vitriolic criticisms, and they will punish you.
The following excerpt from the Human Magnet Syndrome exemplifies the predictable negative response that PNarcs have to my work.

“According to their verbal and/or written feedback, they feel the seminar is offensive, ill-conceived, biased and even absurd. In particular, they are quite bothered by what they perceive as prejudice. These participants hear me say that codependents are the victims and emotional manipulators are the perpetrators of their dysfunctional relationships. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the training (and this book) specifically details how both the codependent and the emotional manipulator are equally willing magnets in their dysfunctional “dance.” The codependent’s tendency to find harmful partners and remain with them cannot and should not be blamed on emotional manipulators, or vice versa.

It would appear that the severe reactions from my audience are likely products of a narcissistic injury, which occurs when the narcissistic individual felt criticized, judged or defeated.

Anger and defensiveness are the common reactions of a narcissistically-injured emotional manipulator, as they feel offended, degraded and/or humiliated when confronted about their wrongdoings.” (Rosenberg, 2013).

Depending on the PNarc’s sub-type or diagnosis, their narcissistically prompted rage will be either delivered directly (“in your face”) or passive aggressively/covertly, which is the common strategy by Covert Narcissists and Malignant Narcissists. The covert and passive aggressive form of the narcissistic injury is more harmful than the reactions from the garden variety overt narcissists. They deliver maximum damage to the triggering (activating) SLD because of the invisible, secretive and manipulative nature of their counter-attack. Examples include triangulation of family, friends or co-workers, in order to promote their victim narrative.

Sadly, and ironically, the mere fact of fighting for what SLDs most want and need — unconditional love, respect and care (LRC) — results in the loss of it. Once in a relationship with a PNarc, any attempts to control or coerce the narcissist into loving, respecting and caring for the SLD are quickly offset by a dizzying array of self-serving manipulative countermeasures. These come in various forms, depending on your PNarc’s subtype. Unfortunately, as long as codependents fight for LRC in a manner that renders them powerless and ineffectual, they are virtually guaranteed never to receive it.

I learned 22 years ago that setting boundaries, resolving conflict, and defending myself from a PNarc was a complicated and dangerous endeavor that left me feeling worse than I felt before the ordeal. I was surprised to learn that my repeated and unsuccessful attempts to control my PNarc’s neglectful and harmful treatment were the primary interactional components of our relationship. My behavior was so automatic and reflexive that I was completely oblivious to it. Adding insult to injury, the only predictable outcome of my control compulsion was feelings of shame, loneliness, anxiety, and anger.

We must learn that PNarcs are never the primary problem. Instead, it is a SLD’s distorted and delusional belief system that compels them to keep trying to change and control their PNarc partner, who has a great deal riding on not letting you succeed. Despite ample evidence that SLDs can rarely effectively and consistently control their PNarcs, they blindly continue.
In conclusion, please do not use my book or other works to wage a battle against your PNarc. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, I beseech you to Observe and Don’t Absorb your PNarc into oblivion!

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig.
You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it!
– George Bernard Shaw

About Ross Rosenberg, MEd, LCPC, CACD, CSAT

Ross is the author of the Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us.

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT © 2016
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us

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Excerpts from The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder Book Proposal

Excerpts from The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder Book Proposal

Chapter 3: “CODEPENDENCY” NO MORE – THE SELF LOVE DEFICIT DISORDER STORY

Discovery Phase V – Core Shame Pathological Loneliness
At age 43, about two years after my humiliating second divorce, my life spiraled out of control and seemed be irrevocably reduced to shambles. My success driven self, the one that kept winning races because of the blinders he had on, could no longer carry the day. Like an old battered row boat with one too many holes in it, I took on more water than I could frantically bail out. No matter how much I tried, dragging on life’s rocky bottom, made it impossible to keep the “good” Ross afloat. As rapidly as one part of me was sinking, another part was rising upwards, seeking the light of day.

To my great dismay, from the murky depths of my unconscious mind, arose my emotional nemesis – core shame. This wasn’t the first time we met, as “he” had repeatedly and unremittingly tapped me on the shoulder back in my exquisitely sad, lonely teenage years. In an effort to stop the throbbing loneliness he caused, I almost self-medicated myself into oblivion. Twenty-eight years later, I was back to my self-medicating ways, trying to anesthetize myself from the ever-present reminders that I was essentially broken, worthless and unlovable. “Bottoming out” at age 44 served as a wake-up call, when I decided to awake from my self-medicated slumber and got myself back into therapy. This time around, I would not stop, until I could permanently eradicate my shame core, that part of me that kept leading me into the arms of a pathological narcissist.

Proposed Table of Contents

Dedication
Acknowledgments
Forward: Another author will write?
Introduction: The Journey to Self-Love: Breaking Free to Recovery
Chapter 1: “Magnets” and “Cures:” The New Codependency Landscape
Chapter 2: Codependency, Narcissism, And The Human Magnet Syndrome
Chapter 3: “Codependency” No More – The Self-Love Deficit Disorder Story
Chapter 4: Paleopsychotherapy: Uncovering Trauma Fossils
Chapter 5: Codependency Addiction: “Hooked” on Your Narcissist
Chapter 6: Organizing The “Codependency Cure.” A Six Stage Recovery Model
Chapter 7: Hitting Bottom – From The Ashes the Phoenix Does Rise”
Chapter 8: Stop Wrestling with “Pigs!” The Observe Don’t Absorb Technique
Chapter 9: Finding Your Voice: Setting Boundaries in A Hostile Environment
Chapter 10: Maintaining Safe & Secure Boundaries
Chapter 11: Healing the Wounded Child Technique
Chapter 12: Discovering Self-Love: Building A Self-Love Foundation
Chapter 13: Relationship Math: The Addition of Two Self-Loving Individuals
Chapter 14: Reaching Self-Love Abundancy – The Codependency Cure
Conclusion
Bibliography

CHAPTER 6: ORGANIZING THE “CODEPENDENCY CURE.” A Six Stage Recovery Model

The Inevitable “How To” Question
It seemed every time I talked about the Human Magnet Syndrome (HMS)—in seminars, YouTube videos, blogs, articles, and of course, in my book—I was repeatedly besieged by the same emphatic question: “When will you tell us how to solve the problem?” Even with the epiphanies and watershed moments that the HMS material made possible, these same people were still mired waist-deep in the muddy swamp of a lifetime of codependent pain.

Naturally, the HMS’s explanation for why they repeatedly mistook harmful Pnarcs for loving life-partners was helpful, but it wasn’t enough. It helped them identify and understand their destructive self-sabotaging tendencies, but they also craved guidance on how to break free from the bonds of codependency , while learning how to be in a relationship with a lover, a best-friend, a mother, or a brother, who was mutually loving, respecting, and caring.

In writing The Human Magnet Syndrome, my goal was to explain what codependency is, not the solutions to it. It was my intention to both revise and redefine it, while explaining its predictable and reflexive behavior pattern, and why codependents repeatedly “dance” with harmful Pnarcs despite cascades of consequences, losses, and emotional pain. As much as I sympathized with the urgency of these questions, I maintained the course of my mission, which was to create a seismic shift in the understanding of codependency. I would not waver from this decision, since I had already planned to follow-up my HMS work with an instructive “how to” book focused on practical solutions and the path to healing.

Even with the clarity of my master plan, I still needed to convince others—both professionals and patients eager for help—why my “why material” needed to be separated from and to precede the eventual “how to” discussion. The following lays out my rationale.

CHAPTER 8  STOP WRESTLING WITH PIGS!  How to Master the Observe Don’t Absorb Technique
The Emotional Wrestling Ring

The emotional ring is the fight that occurs in the SLD’s head, a fight which the SLD always loses. This thought and feeling-based wrestling ring consists of the flood of thoughts, feelings, suppositions, predictions, and judgments that overwhelms the SLD before, during, and after the SLD enters the physical ring. Adding another level of complexity, in any given emotional ring, the SLD is wrestling the current Pnarc, as well as Pnarcs from the past, namely the narcissistic parent or parents responsible for attachment trauma (the cause of SLDD).

The emotional wrestling ring is more dangerous than its physical counterpart. Not only is it invisible and lacking a definitive shape, but it is also the venue in which inner voices or dialogue command your attention. On a good day, the voices or dialogue are patient, accepting, self-forgiving, and self-loving. On a bad day, the Pnarc takes residence in your head, berating you with a cacophony of conclusions, judgments, and impatient commands that unfairly second-guess, judge, and ridicule your actions while degrading and derailing any attempt to secure healthy boundaries.

With the Pnarc infecting your thoughts, feelings, and judgments, the wrestling match is over before it starts, and the inevitable outcome is assured. When you add to the mix the flight or fight and false power responses, the SLD’s thought processes and judgment are impaired, rendering them the surefire loser of any altercation, argument and/or conflict with their Pnarc partner. In addition, once the SLD “rents” the Pnarc “space in their head,” all bets are off, as defeat in the emotional ring ensures another humiliating smack-down in the physical. The fight may seem to the SLD to be fought and lost in the physical ring, but this is an illusion, as most fights are lost in the emotional ring.

Muhammad Ali’s Emotional Knockouts
Muhammad Ali, international sports icon and boxing legend, exemplified a person who dominated his sport because of his mastery of both the emotional and physical rings. Many boxing aficionados and sports historians would agree that Ali may not have always been physically stronger, faster, or more skilled than his opponents. However, these same people would agree that despite his opponents’ obvious advantages, “The Champ” would find a way to win the boxing match. It is unimportant to this book to determine if Muhammad Ali was a Pnarc or not. But what is of value is to demonstrate how and why his psychological boxing methods were a masterful use of the emotional ring, and how they enabled him to achieve dominance in the boxing world.

Especially in the mid to later part of his career, Ali racked up wins through the carefully executed psychological manipulation of his opponents. His big wins, especially against the likes of Joe Frazier and George Foreman, were attributed to his ability to get into their heads, provoke unbridled anger, and ultimately, render them their own worst enemies. Winning in the emotional ring was achieved by taunting, ridiculing, and embarrassing them, which got them so enraged and hell-bent to pulverize Ali that they would ultimately sabotage their own efforts to win the fight.

Once Ali’s opponents were antagonized to the point of rage and a hyper-focused obsession to beat him to a pulp, they expended huge amounts of their energy early on in the match. The combination of his opponents’ triggered vindictive rage, their all-out intention to knock him out in the first few rounds, and Ali’s successful use of his “rope-a-dope” strategy (hunkering down in a safe, defensive position), all but guaranteed Ali a win. By the time his opponent lost his steam, and perhaps his false power, Ali would tap into his reserves and deliver a flurry of bout-ending punches.

Simply speaking, Ali won most of his fights by leading his opponents into an emotional ring and manipulating them to fight unknowingly against themselves; just as the Pnarc does with the unsuspecting SLD.

 

Narcissists Do Not Like Psychotherapy

narcissists don't therapy

 

Narcissists Do Not Like Therapy

  1. NPD’s, in or out of therapy, frequently deny personal responsibility when blamed for a problem.
  2. A person diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) resists seeking psychotherapy.
  3. The NPD’s tendency to blame others and deny responsibility for their mistakes, misdeeds and/or problems, inhibits the experience of cognitive dissonance or the affective experience of guilt, shame, or self-anger.  Cognitive dissonance is often the antecedent or motivating factor for one’s decision to seek psychotherapy.
  4. As a result of the NPD’s lack of insight into their role in personal and interpersonal problems, their participation in psychotherapy is limited to the cessation of discomfort others are causing them.
  5. The potential for positive outcomes in insight-based psychotherapy with an NPD client is low.
  6. The NPD’s lack of empathy inhibits the collaborative problem-solving process necessary for most couples-based psychotherapy to succeed.
  7. If and when a psychotherapist directly attributes a problem to the NPD client or challenges their lack of empathy and/or denial systems, the likelihood of an eruption of anger, resentment and paranoia (narcissistic injury) is high.
  8. Psychotherapy terminations are likely if and when the NPD client perceives the psychotherapist agreeing with or supporting (taking sides) another party in the psychotherapy process.
  9. Narcissistic injuries are the most common reason for psychotherapy termination.
  10. NPD’s temporarily participate in psychotherapy to seek forgiveness or to alleviate a consequence.  When the threat of the consequence has been lifted or neutralized, the NPD often terminates psychotherapy.
  11. NPD’s may leverage their participation in psychotherapy as a “bargaining chip” to manipulate another person.

NOTE: I use the term “Narcissist” to represent Pathological Narcissists, which included those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Antisocial Personality Disorder / Sociaopaths (ASPD) and, of course, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).  It also inlcudes a person active in an addiction.  They all share the following characteristics.

  • Impaired thinking, mood & control of impulses
  •  Impaired relationships
  •  Trouble perceiving & relating to situations & people
  • Rigid & inflexible thought & behavior patterns
  • Resist change despite consequences
  • Unaware of the harm they cause others
  • Commonly project blame on others

(c)    ©Rosenberg, 2016

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT © 2016
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us

                  

 

 

 

Malignant Narcissism (from The Human Magnet Syndrome 2013)

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Malignant Narcissism (from Rosenberg’s Human Magnet Syndrome Book 2013)

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

In 1984, Dr. Otto Kernberg, a Cornell University psychoanalyst, coined the diagnostic term “malignant narcissism.” Kernberg believed that there is a narcissism continuum, with NPD at the low end, and malignant narcissism with psychopathic features at the high end. Malignant narcissism appears to be a hybrid of NPD, as it is a combination of four pathological extremes: narcissism, psychopathy, sadism and paranoia. Even with the other forms of psychopathology, they are still distinctly narcissistic as they demonstrate most narcissistic traits/symptoms. The difference, though, is that malignant narcissists are able to force their grandiose fantasies onto others.

Like NPDs, they are entitled and grandiose. However, malignant narcissists take it to a more extreme level because they believe they have a special destiny in life. By believing in their special status or destiny, their extreme sense of entitlement and grandiosity in their relationships is reinforced. They are outwardly selfish and unapologetic, while also feeling compelled to direct the lives around them. They are often suspicious of others, especially those who could remove them from their position of power. They are belligerent and scheming, while manipulatively casting themselves as the injured party. They often rise to influence by claiming they are victims of oppression. As a direct result of their beguiling charm and calculating nature, they are able to sympathetically rally support for their cause. With legions of dedicated followers, they are able to lead and inspire rebellions, which in turn secure their leadership and power structure.

Because malignant narcissists are fundamentally insecure and paranoid in their relationships, they counter by maintaining complete and total control of others. With a rise to power through popular support, they believe there is a mandate for them to maintain power and strict control over their legions of followers. Once they have achieved control, they will do almost anything to maintain it, including rape, murder, and even genocide. As a direct result of their paranoid and psychopathic tendencies, they challenge, defy, demean and even murder anyone who is either an authority figure or has the power to hurt them. Examples of malignant narcissists include Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.

Malignant narcissists are known to be emotionally, physically and/or sexually abusive and will purposely and maliciously harm others. Their cruel and harmful treatment of others is reinforced by their need to maintain power, control, and a sense of superiority over others. Although they seem similar to psychopaths or those diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder, they are different in that they can internalize right and wrong, form meaningful personal and social relationships and rationalize their actions as a desire to advance society. They may be loyal in relationships, but because of their paranoia, may hurt or harm those who pledge loyalty to them.

LINK TO MY VIDEO: Malignant Narcissist Are Dangerous! Loving the Destroyer

COME SEE ME IN LONDON ON 11/28/15

rhms london

                  

Are You Vitamin L (Love) Deficient? Did Your Parent Deprive You of Nurturing?

 vit l a copy

ARE YOU VITAMIN “L” DEFICIENT?

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT 

Sadly, illnesses caused by low or absent levels of essential nutrients, minerals and vitamin are pervasive in the world in which we live.  Such deficiencies more negatively impact children than adults, as a child’s future physiological and neurological health requires a steady stream of what their body and brains need most.  Anemia, tooth decay and Rickets are just a few of the medical problems connected to childhood mineral and vitamin deficiency.  To illustrate this dilemma, anemia, which is caused by an iron deficiency, impacts two billion people worldwide, while 70% of American children aren’t getting enough vitamin D (CNN 2015).

Vitamin L – Vitamin Love

An “emotional vitamin” is a metaphor for interpersonal and emotional “sustenance” that is given to children by their parents in order to promote healthy psychological and social development.  The most important of all the metaphorical emotional vitamins is “vitamin L” or “vitamin love.”  Just like actual vitamins, say C or D, vitamin love is critically important to a child’s developmental needs.  Or, in other words, if parents or caretakers do not provide sufficient, consistent and predictable levels of emotional nurturing, mental health problems in adulthood will surely occur.  There is no way around this stark but important fact.

On a global basis, vitamin L deficiency is as real and pervasive as other serious real vitamin deficiencies.  As with complications from iron or a vitamin D deficiency, vitamin L deficiency manifests itself in adulthood when it is too late to correct the problem.  Rickets, for example, if untreated in childhood, will result in permanent bone or skeletal malformation.  Similarly, when vitamin L is lacking or absent in childhood, harmful psychological, social and even physiological consequences are likely to occur, some of which may be difficult to treat in adulthood.  According to my book, “The Human Magnet Syndrome” (2013), when unconditional love/nurturing is absent in infancy and early childhood, adult mental health and interpersonal disorders will probably occur, i.e., codependency and pathological narcissism (Rosenberg, 2013).

A glaring example of a vitamin L deficiency was observed in Romanian children who were raised in stark and emotionally depriving orphanages.  According to numerous studies (Tottenham, 2013), many Romanian orphans suffered adult brain dysfunction and mental health disorders due to a lack of nurturing, attention and stimulation in the infant and toddler years.  The dire consequences of such deprivation included neurological or brain dysfunction, a dramatic reduction in brain size and language, intellectual and cognitive impairment.  In addition, higher incidents of conduct disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder were also demonstrated (Tottenham, 2013).

Erik Erikson Knew about Vitamin L Deficiency

Erik Erikson, a world renowned developmental psychologist and personality theorist, created a psychological and social (psychosocial) developmental theory that was based upon eight distinct developmental stages, each with two possible outcomes – success or failure.  He theorized that if a child was to mature into a psychologically healthy adult, they would have to been cared for and emotionally nurtured in a manner that facilitated an active and passive completion of each stage.

Healthy parent-child attachment is absolutely essential for successful completion of the first five of Erikson’s stages.  Without it, the child will remain frozen in a specific stage, which will deprive them of the skill development necessary to proceed with the following psychosocial stages.  Erikson and the legions of followers of his theory maintain that children who are frozen within a stage are psychosocially underdeveloped in adulthood.  In other words, these children will likely develop mental health and interpersonal problems in adulthood.  Vitamin L is, therefore, the key developmental constituent that facilitates healthy childhood psychosocial development.

A little like the unfolding of a rose bud, each petal opens up at a certain time, in a certain order, which nature, through its genetics, has determined. If we interfere in the natural order of development by pulling a petal forward prematurely or out of order, we ruin the development of the entire flower.  (G. Boeree, 2006) 

Vitamin L Deficiency and Attachment Trauma

Vitamin L Deficiency Disorder is a metaphorical disorder caused by a lack of emotional, physical and environmental nurturing during critical developmental stages of childhood, especially during the first four years of life.  Because of the fragile nature of an infant’s/child’s rapidly developing brain, any developmental disruption or harm to it will result in a lifelong template for pathological thoughts, feelings, behavior and/or a variety of mental health disorders.

There is no doubt that Vitamin L and parent-child attachment are intricately connected – both are necessary for adult mental and relational health.

“Attachment, the emotional bond formed between an infant and its primary caretaker, profoundly influences both the structure and function of the developing infant’s brain. Failed attachment, whether caused by abuse, neglect or emotional unavailability on the part of the caretaker, can negatively impact brain structure and function, causing developmental or relational trauma. Early-life trauma affects future self-esteem, social awareness, ability to learn and physical health (Trauma, Attachment, and Stress Disorders, 2015).”  

Sustained neglect, deprivation or abuse of a child by a pathologically narcissistic caregiver detrimentally affects the parent-child attachment process.  In other words, Vitamin L Deficiency Disorder or attachment trauma is caused by the lack of or impaired attachment between a child and his parents.  Such trauma is often perpetrated unconsciously and reflexively by a pathologically narcissistic parent (Rosenberg, 2013).  These parents are often oblivious to the harm they caused because of a lack of insight and empathy for others, especially for their children.  Moreover, they often parent their child in the same manner in which they were raised by their own narcissistic parent.  Just as Erik Erikson theorized, such trauma (developmental breakdown) sets the child up for adult mental health and relational problems.

Attachment trauma and vitamin L deficiency is difficult to identify in adulthood as it is the basis for adult personal and relational problems, not the actual problem.  Because some forms of maltreatment or neglect do not always result in vitamin love deficiency or attachment trauma, it is necessary to consider the amorphous nature of the problem.  Although neglect, deprivation and/or abuse sets the stage for attachment trauma, such maltreatment doesn’t always cause it.  A child’s unique personality type, psychological strengths or weakness, level of resiliency and other biological and personality attributes will either deepen or mitigate (buffer) the effects of attachment trauma.

Only with an understanding of Vitamin L Deficiency Disorder can one proceed with the appropriate treatment of it.  It is this author’s opinion that vitamin love deficiency can be successfully treated with trauma-based psychotherapy treatment strategies.  The following are ten recommendations to solve or heal Vitamin L Deficiency:

Ten Steps to Reverse Vitamin L Deficiency

  1. Seek psychotherapy that can address and resolve attachment trauma.
  2. Seek help with your codependency or narcissism, which is a secondary effect of of the deeper attachment trauma wounds.
  3. Create clear boundaries and expectations with those who seek to deprive you of vitamin L.
  4. When possible, eliminate or pull back from relationships that do not have vitamin L reciprocity.
  5. Create support systems when disengaging or setting boundaries with those who won’t give you vitamin L
  6. Get daily doses of Vitamin L by surrounding yourself with loved ones who take part in empowering, affirming and personally connective relationships.
  7. Seek healthy relationships where there is a fair distribution of love, respect and caring
  8. Seek support and guidance though 12-Step groups, namely Codependency Anonymous (CODA) or Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA).
  9. Prepare for pathological levels of loneliness, a major withdrawal symptom of codependency (Rosenberg, 2015).
  10. Stop the generational pattern of Vitamin L Deficiency Disorder.  Love, respect and care for your child in a way that your parents did not do for you.
Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
3325 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Ste 400B
Arlington Heights, IL  60004

Owner of Clinical Care Consultants and Advanced Clinical Trainers