« The Rachel Hollis Podcast

DR. RAMANI DURVASULA | Demystifying and Dismantling the Toxic Influence of Narcissists

2024-02-29 | 🔗

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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behavior is not okay yeah yelling at someone's not okay manipulating someone's not okay well but that's what they learn from their parents okay but they're getting up they're going To a job, they're living a life, sometimes they're really successful, so they can do all that, they can figure this out. That's the problem is we let them get away with it. And a lot of us who've been through these relationships, we've had tough backstories too. - Hi, I'm Rachel. And in this show, we talk about everything. Life and work, health and healing, relationships with others and... With ourselves. These are stories for the seekers. These are conversations for the curious. This is the Rachel Hollis podcast.
- I'm so excited to have you here. Because I have heard forever that if you want to have a conversation about this topic, you are the foremost authority to sit with. - That's very kind. - So if the audience isn't already familiar with your work, can we just establish who you are and how you found. Yourself as the expert on narcissism. Well, my name is Dr. Ramani Dravasila. Most people know me as Dr. Ramani. I've worn a lot of hats professionally. I'm a licensed clinical psychologist. I've been in private practice. I am. I've been a professor now retired, but professor of psychology for over 20 years. I have written four books, three on this topic.
One come just about come out or coming out yeah so I bring that interest I train therapists on how to work with people who have these who are going through narcissistic relationships or healing from narcissistic abuse I've survived it myself and ironically that's not what got me into it. People are like, is that how you got into it? I said, actually it wasn't. Down the track and so I understand why we're defended against this you know we're so programmed to blame ourselves so I've gone through it in family relationships intimate relationships workplace relationships friendships and in very significant ways and I've stayed salter the course of my life and certainly how I view myself so I get that and you know my practice is focused on working with folks going through this so I know also what's possible in terms through the work I do with them. And I have a big YouTube channel that takes on sort of all elements of narcissism every day, something else I'm new musing, and we even have a healing program for survivors of narcissistic abuse who want to do a much deeper dive and really go listen to what's going on.
Workshops and Q&A's and we have a community platform. So do it in a lot of different ways. And how I got into it, I just say, you know, Into it originally as a researcher. I got really interested in how some people can be so difficult. Mean, entitled, demanding, and I originally got interested in it from the perspective of the havoc these people were, people with these personalities were creating in healthcare systems. Patients that were being demanding towards nurses, frontline health care practitioners, physicians. And they were leaving everyone so frazzled I'm like maybe we're all gonna get worse healthcare as a result. So that's the research question that originally got me into it and then in my practice I kept about the same themes in their relationships. And I thought, why isn't anyone educating them about narcissism? Because if they could understand the dynamics of these relationships, we could lift that self-blame.
Keep going through this cycle over and over again and I'm not saying it gets easy at that point but at least shedding a light on it was taking them out of this sort of eternal sort of and then that kind of got me into it. Had my own revelation that this is what's happening to me. And then, you know, and then sort of thought, how do I bring this to the public? Because it's one thing to just sort of talk about it, even write about it, but how do we bring it in a much more live way to the world? And that's how I find myself here. - So cool. I have about 50 follow up questions to that. I'm so excited. My first follow up to this, 'cause my brain went in a thousand directions, is you said that in your practice, you were seeing couples come in and it was the same, you were seeing the same story over and over. What were those things that you were seeing that we now have a better understanding this is a sign of a narcissistic person? - At the most basic level is that they were chronically being manipulated.
Devalued and questioned, gaslighted over and over again. So examples would be a person who the first time she would say something different than what worked for the narcissistic partner, the rage would be astronomical, be like a dam breaking. And she got scared of the rage and he knew the rage was scary for her 'cause she grew up with a rageful father. And he'd keep doing it. And when she'd bring it up to him, he'd tell her she's being too sensitive. 100 and that's the sort of stuff I was running into any but people consistently finding was that when they like it's the best example I could be is like you see Imagine you go to someone's house for dinner and you're like it's like I love how they do their
kitchen in there they've made this dishes and like I'm gonna go home and try this you go home it's like a colossal fail because you don't have the right equipment you don't have the right kitchen you have the right setup it's very similar in the sense that they see people having okay I went to dinner with someone there they told their spouse how they felt their spouse got up and helped them so they thought maybe I'll ask for that thing. And so they'll do a normal thing and all hell will break loose. And so then they'll very quickly blame themselves and say, I must have asked it the wrong way. I must, I should have asked it differently. And the challenge was, is that every one of these clients, there was a consistent. The entitlement, the arrogance, the grandiosity, the variable empathy, the self-centeredness,
or admiration and validation, that was consistent in everyone, right? But it showed up a little differently too. There's different kinds of narcissism and all of that. But at the end of the day, these clients said, For the longest time, I was trying to be in this like it was a normal relationship. But over time, the narcissistic person was, it almost felt like they were being indoctrinated into you don't make your needs known. If you do I'm going to tell you you're a bad person. That was really the formula and so Because they wanted the relationship to last they kept silencing their own needs. And they woke up one day, 5, 10, 15, 40 years later, and recognized that they were a shell of themselves, Like living in this kind of subjugated state to this narcissistic person. But to the outside looking in, it honestly just looked like the relationship was fine.
And there were no black eyes. There was no upturned furniture. It looked normal. And so people then kept telling themselves, Oh, really? Are tough and you know, my mother really loves me and my dad had a rough backstory. I, but when you keep hearing things, So often I do remember there's a point in time, they sit down to do my clinical notes and I think I had three set clients in rapid succession. So I had to quickly do their notes, but all at once. Once and I'm writing the note and I'm writing another note and I'm like oh shoot I must be writing the same note twice. I wasn't writing the same note twice. The theme is...
Were so similar it felt like I was writing the same note twice and it was those were the penny drop moments that made me think like we really need to be writing about this and talking about this more because most people are not gonna end up in my therapy yeah well you said something to the you were like you know having a rageful father which reminded me and reading about this that I have heard or read that there's a this is a terrible term but there's almost like a mark for someone who is a good partner for a narcissist there are things about them that make them like I had read that you're
the kind of person who's introspective. So you tend to, like if someone says something to you that you'll internalize and be like, oh my gosh, did I say that wrong? So are there things that make you more attractive to a narcissist because you'll play the game? - So let's break that down in two ways. 'Cause there's sort of multiple things going on here. It's what makes you attractive to the narcissist? Let's start there first. What makes you attractive to the narcissist are things that are gonna get them supply. So it might be that you're physically attractive, that you are younger than them, that you-- Have some form of social status. You have a fancy college degree or you have a fancy job. You have money or other resource that would also add to that sense of status. You praise them a lot. Them. Whatever it is that narcissistic person is attracted to people bring them supply. And you're thinking, well, if a person is attractive, how does that bring supply? Because
the hot person like that brings you supply because people are looking at you like, woo, you're with the hot person. So all of that brings them supply. That's what attracts them. We're attracted to the narcissist because they're often charming, charismatic, confident. Sometimes they can play at being very vulnerable initially. So we think, ooh, this is intimacy. They often can have their own status and credentials and good job and narcissistic people tend to be more successful than average people. So you throw all that in the blender too, right? But then the big split comes in terms of, yeah, they're attracted to you, you're attracted to them. The things they're attracted to you and you are attractive things, frankly. You're a good source of supply because you're successful or you're smart or you're funny or what are all the things that make anyone attractive. Where it starts to go wonky is when it comes, we talk about the conversation about who gets stuck because the people who get stuck, there's where your so-called mark comes in because the people who get stuck are people.
Or very empathic, who are tend to be rescuers, who want to be fixers, who might have grown up like this. And so this is the template that they've got. They're used to giving up on their own needs. They're used to giving in like, oh, this is love, because this is what I was raised with. It becomes so reflexive. You're not even, it's not like you're, no one's signing up to say, great, love. I get to give up my needs. No one's doing that. It happens very gradually, right? And so, but it happens in this very almost automatic way. There's a certain psychological. Muscle memory that kind of kicks in, right? So in that way, people, I mean, even people who are very optimistic are, get stuck because they're saying, it's gonna change, everyone can change. Maybe I need to love them more. You get that kind of thing. And then there's other sorts of interesting vulnerabilities at the time you meet them. And these could be things like if you're going through a transition. So for example, let's say-- You just broke up with someone, you moved far away, you're in a new city, you're in a new job, those might be vulnerable.
Another vulnerable moment could be if you're in a rush So you're at an age where you're all your friends are getting married Well, all your friends are having kids or you feel sort of left out because everyone's doing their thing people might feel Like, okay, this is the devil I know, but they're here and I do not have another two years to get something going. Then there's also this contrast effect thing, which is let's say a person to a couple of things this can go, let's say a person came out of a relationship with someone absolutely awful. Like there's no red flags. It's just one big red banner. It's like, it's a nightmare. banner. It's like, it's a night. It might be physically abusive or just awful. Everyone sees it. Everyone knows it's not subtle the way narcissistic relationships can be very subtle so when If someone comes around who doesn't abuse the hell out of you, that can seem attractive. Right? That's why it's always important to take long breaks after relationships are unhealthy because you almost need to sort of clean the
system out in a way. And I would add in that that can be the transition from childhood to adulthood. Absolutely. Because - Yeah, because coming out of an environment, if you had a parent who was a narcissist. And then you immediately go into your first relationship, there's no frame of reference. - There's no frame of reference. - Like you just think this is what normal looks like. - And there's also no individuation. So, you know, a big part of what being a human being is, and really the adolescents in emerging adulthood are meant to serve is we individuate into our own person, separate from our parents. If you have very healthy parents, They let you do that process. They support you through that process. They don't say, You owe me, or, You need to be this, You need to do this, or, Why aren't you thanking me enough? They're not feeling as though their child is arrogant.
For individuating. It's a normal part of the human sort of developmental cycle if you will and that really happens emerging adulthood. Let's call it 18 to 25, 20 to 25, right? And so when people do get into committed relationships, especially if they're coming out of a toxic narcissistic family system, they've already been very stunted in their capacity to become their individuating. Itself and if no one's talking to them about doing it it's going to already be that much harder anyhow but if you roll right into a relationship which is why a lot of people have harmful toxic relationships in college because for some people that's their first stint away from home and I think that's a very vulnerable group because There is a I mean the adolescent brain is still developing until 25 So there's still some of that impulsivity and just sort of we don't know fully who we are We're not sort of the the cake is still sort of
in the pan kind of thing until we're about 25. So I think that it's more valid to say it's important to understand what makes us attractive is that for any given narcissistic person we're a good source of supply. And you keep saying supply like it's giving them what they need? It's giving them what they need and that can be praise, admiration, compliments, presence. Just simply your present there with them. Status. And where does that need come from? So narcissistic people, they are...
Them, the only way I can, without getting into some sort of fancy psychodynamic theory is that they're empty. There's a real emptiness inside of them, right? And they need to feel it, otherwise they feel a sense of panic. They're very much referred to what's outside of them. So they'll often set their goals on the basis of what they think other people would want them to do. What's the coolest place to work? What's a cool job? What's a cool place to be? It's always about sort of hip credential or status. Like they set their goals on the basis of what's cool and what's current versus if you think the rest of us aren't individuated, they have no sense of self. It's very much on what's going to get me likes, you know, praise. I'm substantiated by how other people see me kind of thing. That's how a narcissistic person views it. So that emptiness in them means that if you're in a relationship with them, we make the mistake of thinking we're responsible for the other person's emptiness. If they're in a relationship with me and they feel empty, that's got to be my fault.
I'm not filling them up. No, no, no, no. We're all responsible for our own buckets. So I don't think. That a relationship should ever be doing the filling, the relationship is meant to be a compliment, an enhancement, but looking to another person to fill that void is a huge mistake. My fortune. I'll see you next time. It is to have a kitchen available to you when you have four kids, which is why Airbnb is always the place that I head to just make the vacation easier. And I have always used Airbnb as a place to say whether it was for work or family or a girl's work. Weekend, but more and more, my friends are using Airbnb in a totally different way as a business.
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Dot com slash get your own. What does it look like if because I'm trying to think from the perspective of listeners right now who perhaps they could be in a relationship or recognize a past relationship that they had with a narcissist. What does it look like if you're an adult and you're thinking of mom and daddy or you think of the people who raised you? How does that sort of emptiness or this desire to sort of get filled up? How does that translate between parents who are narcissists and their children? So when a person has a narcissistic parent, odds on favorite that those narcissistic parent created a child who is not sure of who they are unless they're sort of in service to someone else right because they were really told that love is you meet someone else's needs and you silence your own so that's and what that does is it creates a real
Anxiety, a social anxiety? And am I disappointing someone anxiety? What if I'm saying it wrong anxiety? I'm not enough. - I don't know if we can do this episode because I feel like we're having a therapy session. I'm like, holy shit, I have that big time. I have that so, I am 41 and I still am, petrified of disappointing someone, doing something wrong, of getting it like, and I've never equated it to that. And God are you, you're so right. Like in my family growing up, it was, I was the peacekeeper. I was the youngest of four and I was the peacekeeper and like make sure everyone's okay. Hey, make sure mama's happy and daddy's not screaming and like just do all these things. And I still, there's no family to keep. I mean, I have children obviously, but I feel like
The world, is everything okay? I've never associated it with that before. - Absolutely is. It's almost like a trauma response. - Yes. - Right, if everything's okay, then I'm safe. - Yes. - We're always driven towards safety and so that... Is everything okay? Am I okay? We say, Sorry, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. Should I have said that? I'm sorry. Can I get you anything? I'm so sorry. It becomes like this running tape for us, which is why people have been through... These kinds of childhood environments and even into adulthood really crave time alone because it's the only time somebody doesn't want something for you. It's the only way your nervous system can get a break. Oh my god, we're doing a mirror podcast. You're just like holding a mirror up. You're so right. That is like, I just, I have four kids, a lot of kids. And it is like that it I mean, I'm just like I just want five minutes where nobody needs me for anything It's a need and you're probably feel compelled to excessively care. Give them Yes, because that's a throwback because that's how you got safe. We really have to bring this back to safety
It's not even to get one would say oh you do that so you could feel good about yourself Or you do that to get praise no no no no right you're doing that to stay alive, right? Yes, I I really oh man. I get that okay, so maybe other people are These light bulb moments like I am right now associating that with a parent. I want to go back to this idea though just because it's also helpful for me to understand what is it that a parent like an adult person who is a narcissist who has children how do they see those kids as sort of like giving them what Is it the same kind of like the status thing? You got A's and now daddy's proud of you or yeah. - So the narcissistic parent again, they need supply too. And the supply is gonna be different. Sometimes the supply is.
Clients, like everything's in order and everyone's just going along. I'm like, you know, sort of, you know, rigid soldiers. In some cases as you get the A's, you make them look good. In some cases that you meet them, meet their needs, you listen to their problems, you, you silence yourself. If you had the worst day at school, you make sure you come in cheerful like, Hey, how are my mom? How are you knowing that if you come in at all sour, she's going to attack you? So you modify your emotional states, how you present yourself to suit that. Being met, meaning that the child almost doesn't think of it this way, but it's how can I not ever be a problem. You know one thing I've heard from narcissists people who are adults now, but grew up with narcissistic parents They'll say I did my best to make sure that my room was always clean I would make sure that I I didn't you know bring up I didn't ask for I didn't ask any problem questions at the dinner table. They'd even say they got absolutely
At detecting their parents' mood just by the way the keys jingled in the door. They're like, That jingle meant he's mad. That jingle means it's okay. If my parent was whistling... That it was going to be okay, but if they weren't, I mean, they, it is the vigilance of growing up with a narcissistic parent that, that again, that supply for the narcissistic parent. In essence, a narcissistic parent feels very inconvenienced by a child. So if the child has a need, the child's basically being a child. That the narcissistic parent almost takes it personally. How could you have made my day more difficult? Not recognizing it's just a kid, kids spill milk, kids leave toys around, that's what they do. And this absolute rigid adherence, the self-centeredness and the preoccupation of the narcissistic parent is that this child has almost like don't exist. Unless I expect you or need you to exist. Right! And I also think in my own experience, it was never the same expectation. So it wasn't like, Oh, just be this kid.
It was on any given day, maybe I don't want you to exist at all. I don't want to see you, I don't want to hear you, like get out of here. And on this day I want you to be charming and cute and impress the company. But you have seen that over and over and like social media and stuff, this idea that empathy for so many of us, we have this empathy, but it started. As this like survival mechanism of like, is everything okay? Am I going to be safe in this moment? And so that's where it absolutely. So the empathy then becomes a trauma response. And I think it's almost like you have to view empathy on a continuum. And there's a point at which it's empathy is healthy and wonderful, and it develops our relationships and it's pro social and it's all good. But then there's a point at which the empathy is almost this overdeveloped muscle.
Where it's not even empathy as much as it almost becomes that fawn response. What do I need to become for this person to calm all of this down, to make sure it's okay? I don't know that that's empathy. Again, it feels like a safety response, which is not what empathy is at all designed to be. And there's also this sense of like, well, narcissistic people are. They target people who are agreeable and nice and warm and friendly. I would argue. That by being in a narcissistic relationship, the only reason it works is that a person becomes nice and-- And friendly or the relationship doesn't work. So I think in some ways in a lot of survivors of narcissistic relationships you see these very warm friendly people because that became its own form of trauma response. If I show up cheerful everything's going to be fine because narcissistic people don't when people aren't cheerful unless they're having a bad day and then they don't want you to be cheerful.
So you're literally just moving on their schedule. Everything is dictated by their emotional states, to which I'm sure people listening to this are saying, well, what would happen if you weren't? They scream in rage. They shame, they humiliate, they tell you you're ungrateful, you're greedy, you're entitled, you're selfish. And so they tell the kid, You're bad. Well, a kid can't hear that from a parent. That's too much. So the child who is a narcissistic parent internalizes that sense that I'm a selfish person, I'm a bad person, I'm a needy person, I'm a sensitive person. That's how their identity gets shaped. It's completely inaccurate. But then by doing that... That the, the child then internalizes all the bad. The parent gets to walk around thinking they're all that. More and more ways to sort of curtail their behavior. Though there is a subset of kids who have narcissistic parents who become very rebellious. They act out. - Oh, I bet, I bet.
They're like, you're going to notice me if it's the last thing that happens. Those kids are my heroes. And that's a tough play for those kids because you know what's so sad is that many times that rebellion self-defeating. So they'll get into trouble. They'll get into drugs. They'll get it. Kids and while I understand the rebellion, it can pull them off the track in terms of education. They might get into unhealthy peer relationships. They might start experimenting with sex and drugs in a way that's problematic. So the rebellion makes sense, but it ends up being self-defeating. Do you see it in genetics? Do you see like a narcissistic parent? Do you see it in genetics? breeds a narcissistic child, does that ever run down in families or is it? It runs down in families, but not because it's genetic.
Right, so then I think about you know, think about how the narcissistic parent behaves I what I've often seen is that I'll see families where there's multiple siblings and you'll see one siblings not the narcissistic parent or parents Ones of the children right will become narcissistic and other siblings in that family aren't yes So there's there's obviously something happening and probably our best guess on that is the different Of the children. So children do have different temperaments and kids with slightly more difficult external. Analyzing, acting out, demanding temperaments. Those are the kids who are a little bit more But more vulnerable to becoming narcissistic. Now, narcissistic parents don't always like those kids. So those kids may struggle with the invalidation of the anger of the parent. The other kid who may become vulnerable to becoming narcissistic is if one kid was more overindulged in the family. So that's your golden child.
Then almost be sort of pulled into, and it's, again, I'll never blame a child for what they need to do to survive, but the golden child might kind of get pulled into the narcissistic parent system. They get, they get a car, the other kids don't, they get. Other resources. They might get more allowance. They don't have to do the chores because they have a sports practice, but the other kids do. So there's an, there's inequitability, that kind of golden childness that child being told you're more special than any other child that can also be a setup to What does this look like? I'm trying again, I'm trying to give like all the possible variables for listeners. What would this look like if You had a boss who was a narcissist. And everyone doesn't always have the ability to just cut ties and quit a job in their inside of an environment where they don't realize that that's a major component for why this is so hard to manage. Like why does life feel so hard? Why does my job suck so much?
managerial role. - I mean, it looks exactly the same as it looks in all these other ways, but we sometimes actually view it differently 'cause it's work. Like we don't think our boss is supposed to be nice, right? The trope is bosses are mean, bosses are demanding. So I think we might endure more bad treatment at work without questioning it for even longer than in other relationships because we might say, okay, well, especially as a boss is getting results. So let's say you're under your boss, the sales totals were higher under your boss, more things were getting published under your boss awards were being won. Right? So you're seeing this person who is killing it in their field. Right? And so then you're thinking, well, they're actually really good at what they do. So maybe I'm not up to the job. Maybe I'm not very good. So how does it look like it's a boss who plays favorites? It's a boss who engages in a lot of inequity in the relationship, the favorites have to do less. It's a boss who gaslights you. If you bring up- Can you explain gaslighting real quick if people are-
Yeah, so gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in which a person's reality or experiences or perceptions or memories are doubted and then that person is told there's something wrong with them. Gaslighting can only happen with someone we trust or that we perceive has some level of expertise like a boss or a healthcare provider or something like that, right, teacher. And so the gas fighter will say, that never happened. I never said that you're making that up and you're thinking, no, no, I'm not like I. I have evidence. Initially we might even engage with the gas lighter, fight back, and then what the gas lighter will say is you're so dramatic, you're so extra, you're out of control, what's your problem, you're paranoid, you have memory problems, you should see a shrink, and that doesn't happen once, it happens
So over time you feel silenced or you believe what they're telling you that there's something wrong with you. Yes. So a boss gaslighting would look like something where you might bring up a safety issue and say, Hey, this is the second time we've come up. I'm really concerned. We're understaffed on this shift. I actually think it's because you're not working hard enough. Maybe if you're working better, this would not be an issue. So now you're led to believe you're the problem. You're not working hard enough where in fact you're actually pointing out a very valid concern. And when that happens enough in a workplace, things can go really, really wrong. Then oftentimes either that boss has gone on or gets somehow protected. They're going to deflect blame. They're going to say, well, they should have done something about it. Or they knew what the protocol was, and they didn't follow it. They'll always shift responsibility onto someone who was under them. Well, I feel like we all have sort of front row seats now. If you just look at media in terms of politicians--
heads of business, billionaires, you know, people who do really well in the entertainment industry. There is almost like this acceptance to your point of when you're succeeding. And you're winning the awards when you're doing these things, everybody looks the other way. It's sort of allowed because of the clout that you have? I think it's-- number one, when people are succeeding, we believe they have the goods. Instead of you did shady-- manipulative stuff and threw people under the bus right here, which is what I always assume. Or you had like the most talented team of people underneath you. That were actually the ones who were doing the thing. Correct, but they're abusing the hell out of that team. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Right? So I tend to look at them as usually people have done things that are not probably right. Like they have... And I would say mistreating a team is...
Not right. Right. So whatever, however they got there, they did not get there in a good equitable kind way. I mean, in some cases it might just be plain lucky, but they don't recognize it as luck. Some people do well because they got lucky and they're the first ones to say, I got lucky. Right place, right time, stars lined up. I had a connection. And what that does is it's soothing for others to hear. If they're not doing it like, okay, I guess I was the wrong timer. I didn't have that in or whatever and they might keep trying, but they'll feel better. But the narcissistic person who's lucky will attribute it all to their skill and ability. Cause they, there is a sort of ego driven nature. To a narcissist like they think they're the greatest thing ever. Yeah. I mean, this is it's almost delusional. Not only think they're great, they think of themselves as nice. They believe they're empathic. They think of themselves as generous and kind and human.
They believe it now at the deepest deepest deepest unprocessed unconscious level of their psyche. Do they believe it? No because if you did believe you're a good person at your core You wouldn't have to behave like a jerk in your exterior or be so I'm so great. I'm so great normal people don't say that What does it look like? When a narcissist and maybe this never happens or sometimes that do they ever sort of implode? because if you have all of this emptiness inside of you or All of these things or do you just keep feeding yourself the BS until that's just your reality forever? No, they implode all the time. Yeah, so, you know we talk about some people use the word covert narcissist I prefer that the technical term is the vulnerable narcissist Sort of they're used interchangeably. So when we think of the narcissist, we usually think of the grandiose narcissist. Look at me I'm so great arrogant pretentious preening showing off validation seeking often attractive Well put together lives in a fantasy world and they often do get
Things done too. Like they really are like that circus barker. Like they're able to get things done and they believe it all. Like come see the biggest elephant in the world or whatever they're selling. But under hidden under every grandiose narcissist is a vulnerable And what makes that vulnerable narcissist come out and the vulnerable narcissism of the people call covert narcissism is the resentment the sullenness the passive aggression the victimhood the why isn't life fair to me I'll show them I'm better than that. Why should I even have to wait in this line? It's a very Grudging entitlement. Yes versus the grandiose person's like I'm great. That's why I need to wait in line in a way the grandiose the not in a way the grandiose narcissistic person much more charming much more Charismatic whereas a vulnerable narcissist almost looks like the rumpled fool in the corner So you're a bit disarmed by them right until you start hearing this sort of their grudgy stuff And so when things don't go well for that grandiose narcissistic person
Then the vulnerable part will come out. They're the victim. So things don't go their way. They'll shift blame onto everyone else. They won't take responsibility. Everyone's out to get me. Nobody wants me to succeed. No one wants me to win. A person like me can't get ahead because everyone's against me. That's the vulnerable narcissist talking. So in terms of the implosion for narcissistic people who believe they're hype, and they do--because what happens is narcissistic people get more and more emboldened. The further down the track they get and nobody calls them out on their behavior, they're always going to go down. on. Because they think they can get away with more and more and more. One day they just walk into the bank and think they can take the money, right? They're gonna make that move, whether it's they treat someone badly and they treat the wrong- and that person calls them out, they get called out on a-
Scandal, which is something that the world changed after 2017, right? After Me Too, there was more awareness. So I think a lot of narcissistic people went down at that time, you know, because now things that they just thought were axiomatic, of course I can harass people at work, where now it was now going to actually finally be. Called out as inappropriate behavior. So they get more and more emboldened. They really start sleep. And then one day they get called out and they're shocked. It's like a kid that was allowed to call their own bedtime for years and now some It's like, No, actually, we go to bed at 8.30. And they're like, What? - Yeah. - What are you talking about, we go to bed at 8.30? I'd say like, I eat whatever I want, whenever I want. Like, No, we have meal times and healthy things you're supposed to eat. And the kid will be like, Huh? That's almost what happens with the narcissistic person. And then they get mad at the world.
World is out to get me. And then they'll go into that victimized rant. They'll do things for optics. I'm going to go into special treatment or whatever the heck their thing, their narrative they're creating. But they implode all the time when things don't go the way they want them to. How often do you think people are inside of relationships with a narcissist and actually realize it? Yeah. Less than half of the time. I think, you know, because I think once people realize that the climate and the relationship changes, right? So I think for a lot of people, especially when they've been relationships that have been going on for a while, you've gotten sort of acclimatized to the conditions you've adjusted to the conditions. So this is your normal, right? And you don't question it because to question it is painful because once you question it, it almost feels like a call. To action that you may not be prepared to do. You may not want to get divorced. You may not want to move out of your house. You may not want to disengage from someone you see on a regular basis. Like it feels like you have to.
Here's something I always tell people, You don't have to do anything. Half the battle is just seeing what it is and sort of engaging with them in a different way. But I also think that because there's so many different kinds of narcissistic relationships, right, it's harder to recognize that sometimes in a parent, because you're so embedded in the justifications you've made about this person, that it feels many people will say, I felt disloyal, like I was a bad person to think of my parent that way. Especially if the parent had any kind of difficult backstory or the parents struggle. In any way if that makes sense. So those things can make it harder for someone to say instead of they'll say oh my no my parent just had a really hard life and that's why they're like this. this. But even that, can I just say I'm... I'm realizing this in this exact moment that even that doesn't make sense. I mean, I was aware of both of my parents' hard backstory.
For as long as I can remember. Being a little kid, little, little kid, and them telling me stories about the things that happened to them, that was justification for why. They were acting a certain way. And right now I'm having that like, wait, why did I even know that? Like, I would never tell my kids. Obviously, we explain things to like, help them or keep them safe or whatever. But I would never tell them the worst parts. I would never put that on them. Even that's bonkers. It's bonkers. And but it's in there's but there's. - There's ways of bunkers, right? Because a kid could find this out, not from the parent. Out with a bad backstory. Yeah. Right. Who's not narcissist. Yes. Someone else says like, Oh, you're a parent, da da da. And they'd be like, I never knew this. Right? And the parent never uses it as a justification. And the kid might go up to parents like, why didn't you tell me da da da? And say, because everything's--
I feel so, I'm so happy and I'm good in my life and yada yada yada. And so I think that it is the, they, the narcissistic parent weaponizes their story, they use it as a way, one more tool to keep that child in their place and also let them know, literally you're inducing guilt in the child, right? That's what it is. I try to tell people, I said, listen, no doubt in my mind, many people behave narcissistically because they had terrible backstories. They might even have difficult present stories. And I get that, and I feel for them, and I have empathy for that. And their behavior is still not okay. Those two things can be true at the same time, and people struggle with that. They're like, But no, no, no, how could I say their behavior is not okay if they had a bad backstory? Because I said their behavior is not okay. Yelling at someone is not okay, manipulating someone is not okay.
All but that's what they learn from their parents okay but they're getting up they're going to a job they're living a life sometimes are really successful so they can do all that they can figure this out and that's the problem is we let them get away with it. And a lot of us who've been through these relationships, we've had tough backstories too. Yeah. Do you recommend that people sort of cut off relationships like that with parents if they're deeply unhealthy? Or is there a way to be in relationships? with a narcissistic parent? I'm never prescriptive on contact. I think that that's a very risky place. There's so many things that drive why we have ongoing contact with a narcissistic person. There can be practical factors. There can be cultural factors. There can be so many safety factors. There's so many things. So I'm very careful to say that there's no path forward, that all paths carry risks. There's also things like people say, I still do have some love for this person. The tricky part about narcissism is
Day isn't bad that you're still, you know, those, there's those moments just when a person's like I'm leaving him and then you have a really nice long weekend. You're like, whoa, the devil I know. And I see my friends and they're dating and I don't want, I mean, and then people, and then one good weekend buys you another two months. Of bad times and then so I mean there's a lot of narcissistic people and that other reason people use the word covert is to the public they look like really well put together great people people like oh gosh you're so lucky to be married what a great Relationship and you're thinking, I'm living in the Twilight Zone, right? So I think that when you're making these decisions, especially around parents, I'll tell people It's more important to know it than it is to make some sort of dramatic decision to leave it or not. I think one of the big problems I have with TikTok and Instagram. And everybody and their brother thinking they're a narcissism expert. It's like, You're a narcissist, you gotta go! I'm like, Oh no. Because people going through these relationships already feel so shamed.
So now they're like, Oh, I'm weak because I'm not leaving. I'm like, You're not weak. It took all the strength in the world to see what this is. Now make your decisions from a place that's authentic to you. And some people will say, What's authentic to me is this is an elderly person. I'm the only one who can take care of them, but now I no longer know there's never going to be a thank you. There's never going to be gratitude. They are going to mistreat me. So they get disliked. Instead of sitting there all afternoon, I set a timer, a sound goes off, they don't know the difference, they say, Oh my gosh, I have to get to this work thing.
And they'll say, oh, you never stay long enough. It's never going to be long enough. Now you've only endured it for 30 minutes, right? So you create your own sort of internal structures to manage it. You know, some people, the grief is ongoing. You're like, oh my gosh, this is what I endured as a kid. And that's where therapy becomes absolutely essential. Because I know that you did endure this as a kid. You still came out the other side. There's meaning and purpose. That suffering had some meaning and purpose. You might be a stronger parent because of it. You might be much more aware of being present with others for it. There might be an empathy that came out of that. You know, again, it's understanding we can't just assume it was all a waste, right? something of you you brought out of this but people will say the grief is overwhelming that they'll go and see it and they'll say what if I had grown up in a normal family with normal parents who got along and didn't manipulate me I'd like.
I don't have a little, like a sort of a VR machine that lets you go live that, but I tell all of my clients and we have a healing program full of thousands of people and I tell them, who is sitting in front of me now wouldn't be this user. Without that and I understand they're like but I doubt myself and I blame it I don't want to be this person I said yep but you got Resilience all the way down. Like there's a toughness and there's-- and I don't know-- I mean, I think of my own self and my own story. I wouldn't be doing this work. And I know this work is helping people. There was a journey and a process. If I had been a little miss happy, happy romances, Happy friendships, happy family life, happy, happy. I'd be doing whatever the hell happy people do for a living, which I'm not clear on, but that's not my world. That's this, and I love.
What I do and I feel grateful every day I get to get up and help people in this way. I wish it wasn't true. But that's not the world we live in. - Yeah, well you said something that really resonated with me, I have a really fantastic astrologer. I don't really know much about astrology but this woman is so wise. So about every six months I do a session with her and just like talk to her, she's so wise. And she said something to me in our last session that really resonated with what you said, talking about one of my parents. She said, The hard part is that you just won't see them That's where the grief keeps biting you. - That's exactly right. - Because you just refuse, you're surprised every time. Every time they do the same thing they've always-- Is done and you're shocked by it. - And that doesn't work. - And you could be in some kind of whatever relationship you wanna have if you would just see them for who they are. - And that's what we call radical acceptance. - Yeah, that's good. - That's it, radical acceptance is, I always.
That imagine like you're on this process you're going through this narcissistic relationship you're like damn it I'm gonna heal and I'm like okay well here's the toll plaza here's the gateway call it what you will this gateway is Radical acceptance and let me tell you what's on the other side isn't pretty Because everyone's like radical acceptance. Ah, it's not that radical acceptance like oh my god what? and whether we want to admit it or not because if you're I tell folks if you're still surprised that meant you are not fully you're not
100%. You might be 90, you might be 92, but 100% means when they do it, you're like, now it doesn't mean you're not hurt by it. It doesn't mean you don't feel grief. It doesn't mean those things, but you shouldn't be surprised. And that's what we're trying to get, like get ahead of that. So sense of surprise. So when they do it, you're like, Oh gosh, here we go. You know? And I think that for some folks it's, for example, let's say they're planning a big event, right? shower or a wedding or something. Like that and I get my big day I don't want them to screw it up I'm like they're going to screw it up you need workarounds for the fact that they're going to screw it up. Now some people listen. And they will, they'll literally mobilize family members whose only job is to manage this person. And that's it, they'll pay air tickets and everything to just have them manage this person, right? But some people don't listen.
They'll say the whole day was shot. Yeah. My memory of that day was their tantrum. My memory of that day was them criticizing me. It was supposed to be my day. And that's the not getting it. That's the not getting to radical acceptance. And we don't go from zero to 60 on radical acceptance. It takes time. Is grief. There is, there is no, it can't be, or maybe I'm wrong or let me try this. No, I'm going to ask them. And people go through that whole process for a while. Whatever that penny drop moment is when you see.
So holy that you're never surprised again. That, I mean, it's still a tough moment, 'cause like I said, if it's apparent, you still feel grief. But if you're still feeling surprised, you haven't gotten a radical acceptance, which means you're not gonna fully get to that process of healing. That does hold you back. It's an invisible force. - Yeah, that's so good. Well, talking about the healing too, I wanna talk about the new book for sure. Because hopefully you've given people some really good ideas of maybe what it might look like in their life if they have someone who is narcissistic or has narcissistic tendencies. I'm curious what the healing looks like, because I think in my own experience, I could not figure out
I feel like I'm crazy because I feel like I see something that nobody sees. And I'm a researcher, like just my, I read every book and I just kept looking and looking and everything that I found on narcissism at the time was like in your face and sort of like the one you said where it's like bigger than life and what, and I was like, that's not it. That's not what this-- and it wasn't until I understood what it might look like more subtly, and the passive-aggressive, and the gaslighting. And those things that I had this like, my mind was blown. But I have to tell you, I have so much grief still in me for every version of my. You know, how did I let someone treat me that way? How did I let someone speak to me like that?
How did I let someone do these things over and over and over again? That when I think of them, I just like, I want to like smash a car with a bat or like cry forever or what does it look like to I mean the acceptance piece yes what is healing look like I'd even say in the example you're giving, how did I let someone do this, treat me this way? The first thing I'd want to know is, how did you make sense of what was being done to you at the time? I would shut down. So that shut down though, right? That shut down in many ways is a trauma response, right? You've got, they've gone to that place. Right, that has violated you in a way, your sense of self. And so you shut down and that sort of kind of freeze response.
Is a way of, you know, again, sort of feeling safe when someone's coming at you. But there's also the concept of DARVO and I don't know if you're familiar with DARVO. They'll help make a lot of sense of this. So Dr. Jennifer Fried is someone who's looked a lot at betrayal and betrayal trauma and she coined this term DARVO and DARVO stands for deny, attack, reverse victim.
And offender. So when something is said to them, they're like, I didn't do that. And by the way, you did this and I'm suffering as a result of your terrible behavior. So by the time it's done, the person who actually is the one being harmed in the relationship has been left feeling as though they're the one who was the problem. They were the offender. And so the darvoing, and you see this all the time, it's people, I didn't do that. It's a witch hunt kind of thing. That's an example of darvoing, right? So that's a very classical, vulnerable, narcissistic, covert narcissistic kind of a move. And I'm glad you brought this up because when we look at the literature, when we see the harms of narcissism, the harms on kids, the harms in relationship. The vulnerable narcissism is what's causing all the problems. The grandiose narcissists are a pain in the ass. They brag, they cheat. The worst thing about the grandiose narcissist is this is the person who might be more likely to just sort of like flirt with the person.
And then get their number and get sort of, you know, shady. They'll do that kind of stuff. And that obviously I'm not, you know, that's hurtful. I get that. But the vulnerable narcissism is where the harms are. These are the people who are so preoccupied with their own stuff. Are who are so guilt they're so good at inducing guilt from other people for twisting and turning that the vulnerable narcissism is actually where we see this manipulation done in a much more harmful way and the outcomes for kids are worse in fact grandiose narcissism Parents and not always that terrible. I mean they're annoying and they can be frustrating but they can also be very concerned with how are my kids doing and they might actually show up like, I mean, even though they're sort Agenda for the kids, it feels very different than that deep manipulation that the vulnerable, covert, narcissistic parent does.
So that will be things like the induction of grief, of guilt. Like you know, I knock myself out. I do so much for us and you can't even spend a little time with me or you're asking me to do this and, and you know, I, I like, I think we're supposed to, we should be sharing Responsibility since family. No, they're kids. They can't do as much as you, right? So the vulnerable narcissistic parent really is, it is they all roads are to carry. For them, but they manipulate it so that they look like the ones that are the wronged party, which is, you know, I do so much and I'm not appreciated. You made a mess and now I have to clean it up. How could you leave a mess? What are you trying to do to me? And it's like the kid who's even thinking about their probably just embroiled in their toy and then got distracted with a sibling. But they really leave the kid feeling as though the kid was actually trying to hurt the parents.
Those are the kinds of maneuvers we see in a vulnerable narcissistic parent. I definitely saw the favoritism you talked about big time. For many children to tolerate persona non grata, the withdrawal, the withholding, the age, it's too much. And so this is why something I write about in It's Not You is when I'm talking about all the roles people take in narcissistic families, one of them is what I call the truth teller or the truth seer, right? And I don't even think that's a role as much as it's something that happens to a kid. These are often kids who are very intuitive, very perceptive. They were born that way, right? And so at some inherent unprocessed, like they don't have the words for it. They know something.
Not right. That could be what you're just referring to. They just know something's not right. And even their little kid face that narcissistic parent can sense this kid's got my number and that kid often gets scapegoated as a result. So it's a, the, the truth. See I say truth seer because many times the child does not speak out because when they speak out vengeance will be swift. Too scared of that, right? And so the, and like I said, and invariably that truth, see your kid becomes a scapegoat, even if they're not saying anything because it's on their face like, and, and narcissistic people interestingly are very socially perceptive for all the. For lack of empathy, they're very aware of what's happening in the room when it has something to do with them. And so when they know they're being seen, they feel like... Unmasked, there will be rage. Wow. What would you suggest to people who are maybe co-parenting with?
An ex who is a narcissist and they're you know for whatever reason they're like half to split time or the kids are still interacting with that parent. How do you navigate that? It's not easy. I mean there's nothing I'm going to say here that there's a sort of like a hack for dealing with this. There's a woman named Tina Swithin who does great work in this space. Probably more the severe malignant kind of narcissistic situation. And there's all of it, but I think her guidance is particularly important there. But one thing she came up with, everyone talks about gray rocking, gray rocking, right? Blo-rocking because she said that yellow and she chose yellow because she likes the color yellow, but she's like gray rock is great But the problem with gray rock is even you're doing it in person. It can look a little Little cold. It can look a little even it's unsettling for a kid right to the parents just saying yes no and you're very flat. Yeah, no, you know, it's that kind of thing, but there's a little bit more emotion infused.
Some idle conversation like, yeah, it was rainy this weekend. Are you doing okay with all the rain? So it doesn't feel to the child that they're in this really cold situation. Like grey rocking it looks cold and they might actually feel that the grey rocking parent is the problem even though they're doing it. Can you explain grey rocking? Grey rocking is a communication technique in a narcissistic relationship where it's called grey rocking because you become as inner and dull. And uninteresting and boring is a gray rock. So it's a lot, it's very, very unemotional. And to the point in communications. A lot of yes, no, not sure. And if it's too flat, it does feel a bit, almost like it feels like its own form of antagonism. - Yes. - Right? And so I think gray rock is great when you're writing. Like a text message. You say, Yes. So now you've answered the question. No one can say you didn't respond to them, you did. I said, Yes. But the narcissist wants a fight.
Yes So they want you to get into the mud with them And like you know if they if they said something like is it true or is it not? That you told the kids that they could bring the this to the that And that to this and their whole word salad situation, and you might write, It's true, I said they could bring their towels. - Yes. - And that's it. They're done. And you're like, What happened? But you answer the question. It was really, did you tell them they could bring towels or whatever? Or is it, blah, blah, blah, could they watch that movie? And you say, Yep, I said they could watch that movie. That's the fact. You strip it down to fact, right? That works great in writing, but not as great in person when there's kids and others involved. Great Rockin' can work at work where you can sort of be... Kind of to the point. But yellow rocking is this again. It's a little bit like, hey, hey, how's everyone going? You might be thinking I can need this conversation to be done. I can't stand this person, but. When you're co-parenting with a narcissistic person, it's nightmarish, especially if you have...
Shared custody because you may know when your kids are with that parent they don't enjoy it. They come back a lot more dysregulated. Their homework's not done. Are confused. I mean, in extreme cases, it just, you feel like I'm getting a different kid back and it takes days to put them back together just to send them right back. Into that situation. And no family court in the world is going to listen to that. Right. Family court is about parents rights. They present so perfectly at in the... Hearing and they're this upstanding citizen that everybody loves. Even when they're not an upstanding citizen. Yes. But yes, it is. And so family court is for parents rights, not children's rights. They're not really worried about the well-being of the child. They're worried about coming up with a settlement that's equitable. Exactly. For a lot of people this is the most painful decision of all. Do I stay in this marriage? Because at least then I'm around my kids all the time.
Or do I leave it? It's really, really difficult. Yeah. Oh, God. Is there a correlation often with addiction or alcoholism and narcissists? Absolutely. I would say the correlations are sitting around somewhere around 60%. Wow. Addiction and narcissism are the... When you look at narcissism and all other mental health issues, addiction is probably the highest over life. Why is that? I mean, I think it's tricky, right? Because I think that what you've got is... It's a funny thing. Addiction often onsets young. It's from a mental health perspective, rates of addiction are highest in 18 to 25 year olds, right? Because they would have likely started the substance use...
In, you know, post-puberty adolescence, right? So they'll get into it and the addiction sort of forms, right? So, it starts to become a bit of a chicken egg. Could these narcissistic kids be the ones who are sort of feeling like they have all these emotions they're trying to keep, you know, sort of under wraps? Does the substance use sort of ignite a nascent narcissism in them? So it's sort of, they're being shaped. Depending on the substances they're using. For example, a kid who's smoking a lot of weed to not deal with their emotions is now not... With their emotions. Narcissistic people don't know how to manage their emotions. That's why they use substances, right? Because they don't want deal with it. But when you want to do the deeper dive into this conversation and it gets quite interesting is addiction is a disease, okay, plain straight up and that's why we treat it medically, right? But given that high overlap of narcissism you can treat addiction and medically all you want but if what's
Is a sober narcissist, that's where we had the term the dry drunk. That's what the dry drunk is. The person who has all the behaviors and beliefs. And ways of going through the world as an addict does, they're just not using. They're not drinking. Wow. Don't take responsibility antagonistic victimized all that stuff. That's what we've seen the proverbial dry drunk not drinking but they walk around like that person there. That's the person they are. If people are having. Holy crap moments and they're realizing relationships in their life that follow these patterns. Beyond getting the book which we're all gonna do and read in detail. What are some of the healing? Techniques that are helpful. You have to have the radical acceptance piece if you cannot see this clearly healing. It's very difficult because until you see it clearly you're going to remain stuck in the cycles of self-blame.
Grief will ever go away. And the radically acceptance sadly that you open that gateway, you radically accept and now you started this pathway of grief. What about all the things you've lost a healthy childhood, a soft place to land in a family of origin, the idea of growing old with someone, your kids growing up in an intact family, a sense of hope gets lost, a loss of innocence. There's so many things that get lost in the grief of a narcissistic relationship. And so radically accepting means you keep repeating that because every time you see the narcissistic person, it comes right back to you. See how much it's not going to change. But as you work through that grief and grief like any human process does it does come through its conclusion if you don't fight it Right, so you get to the other side you do start seeing things more clearly and then it's the hard work Figuring out who the hell you are because we had to sort of sacrifice ourselves to make these
narcissistic relationships work. We gave up on our wants, we gave up on our needs, we gave up on who we are, we gave up on authentic selves. We just, we had to become what they wanted. So excavating. That and figuring out who I'm like, what am I about? What do I stand for? What's meaningful to me? What gives my life purpose? That's the hard work of healing. And slow. It is a slow process. Because people feel, well, I was told I was selfish if I did this kind of thing. Those internalized things, you're selfish, you're greedy, you're needy. Those words are bouncing around your head at the same time. You're like, what is important to me? Can I do that? Oh, no, that's selfish to do what's important to me. And so you keep sort of hitting against the walls. but there is nothing more. Important. Then even if all you figure out is that I like the thermostat set at 65 and I like watching reality TV and I like pineapple on my pizza, but you could never know those things to be true. Yes. A narcissist would force you to set the thermostat where you want it.
Put pineapple on pizza they tell you and only low brow people watch reality TV. So you gave up on everything. You're like I like these things and that's who I am. Yes it's so it's so silly I've actually talked about this a lot after getting divorced. I met my ex-husband when I was 18 years old. He was eight years older than me. We broke up I think when I was 30. So it was a very long time. And I moved out essentially like for the first time as like... Living by myself and it was during COVID so I was You know, you weren't going anywhere, it was by myself. And I remember it was like a big deal. I got HBO Max, which we had never had. And I was like, I would like to watch HBO. And then I, this sounds so stupid, but I signed up for HBO 'cause I really wanted it. And I was scrolling through and there was a TV show that was a fantasy, like Swords and Dragons and whatever. And I was like, oh, that looks interesting. I kept scrolling and I scrolled for a minute and I went,
That show looked interesting. And I went back to it and I was like, I really want to watch the show. And then I had this huge unpacking. Why didn't I just watch it when I saw it? Because he hated fantasy. I know that sounds maybe so simple or stupid to people who don't get it, but like so many things that you shut down about yourself. The environment I came out of was whatever the person in authority would like. And I just sort of had been raised to make myself most agreeable. So all of these things I just watching fantasy, having wind chimes, using dill in food, like all of this stuff. I say that for anybody right now who's maybe in that space, in a breakup or coming outside of something. It's those little things. It's not like, Oh, I'm gonna move to Miami. No, it's like, Do you like extra pepper?
on your food. Like it's little stuff. - And the thing is, so it goes a step further, is that it's not just as simple as you felt silence. You were also told you're foolish for wanting to. What are you, like six? Watch people with swords and ew, dill gross or whatever it may be like, what are you, a bad taste buds? So like you were insulted. Internalizes this damaged part of yourself. So yeah, you want to set that thermostat to-- 77 degrees and you're the one paying utility bill go for it. You know you want to get a cat like so many people Only weird women are gonna die alone and get cats. Go get that first thing, go get that cat. And so it's all of these things, big and small, but I do agree with you. I think the moment you have the aha moment about what you want on the pizza and you get that pizza, you're healing. Yes, dude. What does this look like when you come into a new relationship? - Mm. - You've done your healing, you did your therapy, you're trying to come into a new--
Healthy whole relationship. What does that look like? - So it's not easy. And one thing I'm gonna tell you straight out is you gotta give yourself time. So I always call it like sort of the 12 month cleanse, If you're in a narcissistic relationship that lasted a year or longer, I want you to take a year off before you get back out there again because it takes about at least that much time to do that work, unearth yourself, figure out the pizza. Toppings watch the fantasy show whatever it is, but get back into rhythm get back into your body kind of turn down those that you're having like I have to please, I have to please, right? So assuming you've done all that, it's not easy to get back out there. Because when you take that much time, actually the discernment, if you're doing it right, kicks in. And you are you stopping you're like mmm I'm noticing I always say that if you're doing this right you probably throw back fish that were big enough to keep you know
And it's okay. Let those fish swim. That's a good line. You'll find it. You might need to get the giant swordfish who's so sweet, so kind, so respectful. You're like, Okay, this feels right. Some people will feel angry that if they put themselves back out there and they let someone in who is showing some narcissistic-y signs. I say, Listen, you might want to take a second to be sure of what you're seeing. Some survivors say, nope, they one toxic thing and I'm out against it's a lot of calibration, but I always tell folks that time. Your friends slow down slow down because when you slow down you are checking in with your body you are asking yourself does this feel right And if anyone doesn't let you slow down and says, Well, I guess you're not looking for a relationship, or, You have commitment issues, they just out. There you go. It becomes a great test. Because somebody who--
Who cares about you? Who's into you? We'll say, we'll take this at whatever pace you need to. I'm enjoying how we're hanging out together. So let's just keep hanging out and somebody's able to Feel that in you, then that's a sign. But if you're really asking, I need to take this slower, you don't even have to say why. One thing I've noticed that even-- people who are even like really low grade narcissistic folks don't like it when they're not there. In charge of the narrative and the agenda around timing. But so slowing things down can be a great way to engage in that discernment you need when you get into a new relationship. That's so good. It was sort of hard for me to. Navigate how to use my voice and how to speak up for myself and I was determined When I started dating again to not fall into old patterns and to say things which felt so impossible to me 'cause I'd never practiced that before.
And I was really lucky in that my boyfriend is someone who was my friend for a while before we started dating. He knew my story. We had bonded over friend things before we ever wanted to make out with each other. And you talked about the thermostat, which reminded me, I hate being cold. I mean, you can tell 'cause I've made this room like toasty. I tend to run cold. And I hate being cold and it was always cold in my house previously. It's just the funny things that you're like my god, you know, it's this is gonna be warm. I remember one time he was over And I think he had like open windows or something. He was trying to cool it off and I was getting like rage inside of me. I was getting so upset because. I couldn't get warm and it was completely out of proportion with what was actually happening in the... and then I finally was like, I am cold and I...
I'm gonna turn the heat on. That's what I'm gonna do. 'Cause it's my house, right? And he was like, okay, oh my gosh, like of course, why do you want me to get-- A sweater, like, I'm so sorry, I didn't, you know. But he could also tell how upset I was, and he was like, what, what just happened? Something bigger just happened and I was explaining this. He's like, Oh my gosh, just please tell me. Like this is not, and I have to say, and I want to say this for people who maybe find themselves in a similar situation. It is wild to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't weaponize everything you say, who doesn't make... You bad who doesn't, who just goes, oh my gosh, cool. There's no drama, there's no, they don't internalize. And make it about them. When it would happen over and over again, I was almost left spinning a little bit, like wait.
We can just talk about that and you can just take it on board and then we just move forward, that's it? - Yep. There is a... there's a... Rainbow, there's another side to it. - Absolutely, there's another side to this. And it is, you know, whether it's coming out and how somebody enters a new relationship, it may very well be that someone moves to live in a different place. Never lived alone their whole adult lives, that it might be that people say, I'm gonna go back into the workforce. It might be people will say, I'm gonna finally finish that college degree. It could be any number of things where people are just sort of quieting those voices down. But I think the intimate relationship space is the hardest. But after a few times like that, there's no argument about the heater. I always say to people, experiment with making needs known early, even if it's the littlest thing like, Can I sit on that side of the table?
out at the view right and if they say sure absolutely I should have offered it pay attention little little asks you know do you mind if we go to this I'm vegetarian and they have so many better options that kind of thing you keep making these these are not big asks These are not cataclysmic asks and if these are getting pushed back again There's a sign but if these are being embraced if you have experience after experience after experience where you are being The first time you give them any form of feedback or criticism. So the first time you say to them, I mean, it can be the littlest thing. If it's someone narcissistic, you could, I always use this example. Like you, maybe you're going out to a concert and you say, example like you maybe you're going out to a concert and you. Oh, I think this was actually the parking garage for the venue and they'll lose it They'll be are you telling me I can't drive you tell me I don't know where to and you're like, oh my gosh you know, but it might
be even the littlest bit of feedback. If you say, Hey, maybe we should have gone on that. It's taken that exit. It seems like it would go quicker. The GPS told you to exit. Pay attention to how they respond to that because if they lose it, yeah, I don't care how bad Us. That's it. That you're done. Yeah. God, so good. This has been such a gift. I'm so grateful and I know that the audience is going to so appreciate. Oh, I'm so grateful. If they want to hang out with you. I mean basically if you search narcissism on YouTube you are who is coming up period But if they want to read the books hang out with you online Like, can you tell us all the details? So please buy the book. Please buy the book. But we also have, we have a YouTube channel where we post new content every day. It's all also been really organized because we have over a thousand videos. People can probably find the answer there. We also have a healing program for people who are coming, you know, healing from narcissistic abuse, narcissistic relationships. And I, you know, people.
Want to do the deeper dive. You know, it's a monthly program. You can get a workshop every month. There's a Q and a every month. There is a community. I'm going to be back. Is worth it alone because now you're with other people who are going through this and they're very open and Transparent and vulnerable and beautiful and they're an amazing group. So that's another thing I have to do the deeper. You can find that on my website at drromini.com if you're a therapist listening to this I have a training program for therapists who want to get certified to work with people going through narcissistic abuse again check out my website and you can go and sign up for that and and you get your continuing ed units for doing that so that there's also that If you have that kind of qualification and you want to do work in this area. I have multiple books. This is my third on it, but the others are more descriptive. One of them is more about should I stay or should I go? in an intimate relationship, the other is about narcissism in general, this one's about healing. So the three together, you're pretty.
Well covered, but buy this one for sure. And so there's lots of different ways to get the. Information that I offer and I can't thank you enough for giving me the opportunity to have this conversation with you today. Thank you. Thank you. The Rachel Hollis podcast is produced by me. Rachel Hollis. It's edited by Andrew Weller and Jack Noble. you
Transcript generated on 2024-03-01.