Tag Archives: borderline personality disorder

NARCISSITIC INJURIES: What They Are And How To Protect Yourself From Them

 

NARCISSISTIC INJURIES:

What They Are And How To Protect Yourself From Them

 

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

 

A narcissistic injury occurs when narcissists react negatively to perceived or real criticism or judgment, boundaries placed on them, and/or attempts to hold them accountable for harmful behavior.  It also occurs when a person does not accommodate a narcissist’s insatiable need for admiration, special privileges, praise, etc.  The “injury” also shows up when the narcissist over over-amplifies and personalizes benign interpersonal interactions, or when a person with no mal-intentions does not meet the narcissist’s impossible to achieve desires for high levels of praise and admiration.

The “injury” is often followed by the narcissist’s loss of control over his or her emotional equanimity, and a subsequent burst of passive or overtly aggressive vindictive responses.  These bouts of emotional tumult are referred to as emotional dysregulation, as the activated narcissist emotional reaction spikes and often is beyond his or her control.

In my book, The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us, I explain how the loss of emotional control and the reflexive need to punish an “offending” person can be traced back to the narcissist’s core shame and pervasive levels of pathological loneliness, about which the narcissist is often either in denial or oblivious (disassociated from). The hair-trigger “injury” reaction is a direct result of attachment trauma the narcissist suffered as a child, often because of an abusive, neglectful, or depriving narcissistic parent.  As much as I make a case for the distressing nature of attachment trauma the child who will become an adult codependent experiences, the agonizing experience for the child who is to become a Pathological Narcissist is far worse- there is no comparison.

In The Human Magnet Syndrome’s chapter, The Origins of Pathological Narcissism, I explain that the massive abuse, neglect, and/or deprivation perpetrated by both the Pathological Narcissist and, to a significantly lesser degree, the codependent parent, results in psychological trauma of the highest degree.  To emotionally survive this anguish, the child’s mind reacts in a manner similar to adult victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  When a traumatic event is beyond the brain’s ability to process, sort through, and integrate as an experience of severe trauma, it is relegated to what many people refer to as our unconscious mind.

The human brain has a circuit breaker-like response to trauma.  In other words, a natural safety mechanism that is activated when any given traumatic event(s) exceeds the brain’s capacity, or is overloaded.  The “circuit is tripped” and the traumatic experience is relegated to a part of the brain that deeply buries these memories.  In other words, the trauma is neatly packaged in what I refer to as a “hermetically sealed memory container,” which is physically located in the brain’s limbic system, specifically the amygdala.  Once buried, the trauma memory is disconnected from a person’s conscious abilities to recall the event and/or experience the emotions surrounding it.

Considering the manner in which a narcissist-to-be child processes attachment trauma, this author believes all Pathological Narcissists, or those with Narcissistic, Borderline, and Antisocial Personality Disorders, also have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Therefore, underneath the narcissist’s psychological “surface,” lies a deeper reservoir of self-loathing and core shame.  Although the attachment trauma is blocked from the narcissist’s conscious recollection, they show their “ugly face” during narcissistic injuries.

More often than not, defense mechanisms successfully protect pathological narcissists from realizing the truth about their highly traumatized, shame-based, and psychologically impaired selves.  This form of protective amnesia wards off personal meltdowns (emotional dysregulation) by the psychological processes known as defense mechanisms.  Such mechanisms include: Conversion, denial, displacement, fantasy, intellectualization, projection, rationalization, reaction formation, regression, repression, sublimation, and suppression.

Since the human brain was designed through the imperfect process of evolution, and not by computer programmers, neurologists, or mechanical engineers, the brain’s natural defense mechanisms by themselves are not insufficient in keeping stowed away trauma memories from “bubbling up” into the narcissist’s conscious mind. Despite the brain’s best efforts to keep the trauma cordoned off from consciousness, the “seals are broken,” and there is “leakage.”

The activation or re-surfacing of the trauma manifests as feelings of danger, insecurity, and extreme discomfort, which then trigger a cascade of angry second-level emotional responses, such as hatred, resentment, and/or disgust for the “perpetrating” individual.  The resulting emotional dysregulation, at most, is just a temporary solution to the narcissist’s misperceived threat.  Although the hair-trigger reaction emboldens and protects the narcissist, it is only temporary.  Like a loosely fitted bandage, it will eventually fall off – exposing the underlying wound (core shame).  This is when defense mechanisms kick back into action, and once again divert the narcissists away from their core shame, and toward their grandiose and entitled dissociated selves.

Narcissistic injuries are almost always projections, which is the misplacement of the narcissist’s unconscious self-hatred onto any person who they experience as threatening.   Feeling “bad,” “broken,” and/or “never good enough,” like they did as a child, is simply not an option for the Personality Disordered narcissist.  In actuality, projections are dissociated feelings of self-hatred and self-loathing, that are attributed a person who threatens the narcissist’s veneer-thin self-esteem.  In other words, projection diverts the realization of self-hatred and core shame by transferring self-judgment and condemnation onto the activating or ‘injuring” person.  Because projections intertwine with narcissistic injuries, it is only academic to separate them.

Narcissistic injuries are quite varied.  They range from active aggression, like a disapproving glance or kick in the shin, to passive aggression, which includes the silent treatment or triangulation of others against the “injuring” person.  A narcissistic injury may even occur when the recipient of the abuse does absolutely nothing It is the perception of a threat that causes the internal emotional meltdown, not the real thing!

Whether it is yelling, threatening, or even highly dangerous aggressive actions, narcissistic injuries are unnerving to many, and downright frightening to most.  They provoke an internal fury that incites punishing pronouncements, judgments, and actions against the perceived perpetrator.  The only real cure for them is to find an exit route to the interaction, and potentially out of the relationship.  Unfortunately, people who suffer from codependency, or what I now refer to as Self-Love Deficit Disorder™, find themselves powerless to Pathological Narcissists.  The reason for their attraction to narcissists and their inability to extricate themselves from harmful relationships with them is explained in full in my book, The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us.  Sadly those will Self-Love Deficit Disorder mistake the abuse for love, and explain away their harm (trauma) by using some of the same defense mechanisms as mentioned above.

And remember this: few narcissists learn from the consequences of their out-of-control narcissistic injuries.  Any act of contrition or remorse is just a guise to hide their fear of being abandoned by the very person to whom they are causing so much suffering.  It is a psychological fact: few narcissists learn from the outcomes of their abuse.  And when conftonted about it, they do not experience empathy, as they feel justified in their actions

10 Tips To Protect Yourself from a Narcissistic Injury

  1. Always protect yourself and your children from unacceptable harm that results from the narcissistic injury. If necessary, contact the police.
  2. Remember, narcissistic injuries are rarely about you, but rather about the narcissist himself. My video,“It’s Not About You. It’s About Them!” explains this phenomenon.
  3. Apply my Observe Don’t Absorb Technique, which is explained inmy seminar of the same name.
  4. As much as possible, do not react defensively to the narcissistic injury, as to do so will antagonize the perpetrator of abuse. See my videoand Huffington Post article on the topic.
  5. Whenever possible, find an escape route, as narcissistic injuries and the harm that follows, are meant to hurt the projected perpetrator – you!
  6. Find a good therapist who can help you uncover why you have subjected yourself to the narcissist’s harmful treatment.
  7. When in psychotherapy, consider discussing how and why the absence of self-love and core shame is at the root of your codependency, or Self-Love Deficit Disorder.
  8. Explore my Self-Love Recovery, Self-Love Deficit Disorder™, and Codependency Cure,™ materialto assist you in self-protection and personal and psychological recovery.
  9. When you find yourself forgiving the offending narcissist, consider that you are more afraid of being alone/lonely then being hurt again.  My video on Pathological Lonelinesscan help.
  10. Consider reliable intensive retreats and breakthrough experiences to uncover why your fear of loneliness trumps your ability to protect yourself from pathological narcissists and their narcissistic injuries.

©Ross Rosenberg, 2017

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)

SELF LOVE RECOVERY INSTITUTE                         

 

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

                  

 

 

 

NO, I DON’T HATE “BORDERLINES.” What I Do and Why I Do It

NO, I DO NOT HATE “BORDERLINES” What I Do and Why I Do ItNO, I DON’T HATE “BORDERLINES”
What I Do and Why I Do It

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

My videos have raised the ire of some viewers who have taken pot-shots at my professional background, ethics and clinical skills about codependency and Borderline Personality Disorder. I have been accused by a small but vocal community of purposefully perpetuating myths and falsehoods about clinical disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder.

Because I’m not an elected representative or spokesman for mental health in general, I have created video content imbued with my own voice and personal and professional experiences. Although it is my ambition to provide support, direction and advice to the victims of what some people are now calling Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome, I do not restrict my feelings of responsibility to one side over the other. Because I tend to take the position of right and wrong while doling out fair distribution of responsibility or blame to all sides, I have not walked the tightrope of political correctness. I am okay with this.

Although the victims of such narcissistic abuse, those with codependency, or what I now refer to as Self-Love Deficit Disorder (SLDD), complain that they are trapped in relationships where there is an absence of love, respect and care, they are also trapped in the same relationship that lacks self-love, self-respect and self-care. Consequently, I have worked hard to create helpful content that inspires my readers, viewers and clients to take an open look at their own responsibility in their perpetual attraction to pathological narcissists (The Human Magnet Syndrome).

As a recovering codependent and passionate mental health provider of services for SLD’s, I know that the only hope for full recovery is to heal the deeply seated psychological trauma that is directly responsible for our personal and relational dysfunctional patterns. I am hell-bent on creating content that provides direction and hope for those with SLD, who want to heal their personal insanity with all their heart and soul – their long-buried attachment trauma.

My perspective or frame of reference has always been with the victim SLD who finds themselves compulsively, if not addictively, in relationships with harmful narcissists who mercilessly hurt them when they attempt to set safe boundaries or behave with dignity and self-love. I make no bones about my lack of empathy or sympathy towards the pathological narcissistic partner who emotionally and relationally survives on the backs of the powerless SLD partner. Therefore, I keep creating as much content as possible to help those with SLD to overcome their paralyzing fear of living alone with their shallowly submerged feelings of self-loathing, core shame and excruciating pathological loneliness.

My ambition is to empower my SLD clients to take responsibility for their disorder while understanding they are also victims of it. I help them to muster the courage to move backwards on a journey to heal and resolve their long-forgotten childhood attachment trauma. It is as if I help them become their own paleontologist whose ambition it is to uncover their own trauma fossils that will explain what happened to them so many years ago when they were truly powerless and vulnerable. Putting the trauma fossils together allows them to understand their long-buried past while being able to construct a more accurate understanding of who they are in the present and what they can become in the future so they can move forward without fear of the past, present or future. In combination, my SLD work puts an end to the insane self-fulfilling prophesy of personal and relational doom.

My Human Magnet Syndrome book and video work has taught millions of people why they repeatedly and reflexively choose relationships with harmful people and remain in long-term relationships with them. Unfortunately, my work has been confused as a negative indictment against pathological narcissists. On the contrary, my work has never strayed from a focus of empowerment and support for those who are courageous enough to face the stark reality of their core shame, fear of loneliness and need to lie to themselves or self-medicate to hide from the reality of their own personal nightmare. It seems that those with SLD gravitate toward my work and the pathological narcissists cower from personal accountability.

I do not bash people with BPD or, for that matter, other pathological narcissists. But I do have a distinct point of view and a prejudice against those who harm others and who resist getting professional services for such harm. Let me be clear: I AM FOR people who want to get better, not hurt others, and take personal responsibility for their actions. I AM AGAINST abusive perpetrators who narcissistically justify their harmful behavior or blame it on the victims.

You will find that my work will not focus on the pathological narcissist’s faults, but rather with what is “wrong” or what compels the SLD to consistently fall in love with people who say they love them, but consistently fall prey to their narcissist’s deprivation, neglect and/or abuse. My life’s work is to lead SLD’s out of their self-perpetuating walk of shame and onto a path that includes self-love and the healing of the trauma that has kept them from holding onto it. After all, the antidote to Self-Love Deficit Disorder is self-love.

Rosenberg’s BPD Videos

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT © 2015
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