Focus on Your Own Recovery…

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In a past post, I described the heartbreakingly naïve suggestions listed in some of the mainstream books available on the topic of Narcissism.  One such book, Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed, claims to help the reader “find a way of communicating effectively with narcissists, getting your point across and meeting your needs while side-stepping unproductive power struggles and senseless arguments”.

A moment for that to sink in…

Now, if you’re just learning about Narcissism, you may have felt a little pang of hope.  If you’ve been involved with one, you either felt insulted or had a good laugh.  Victims of narcissistic abuse know from experience that there is no way of communicating effectively with a Narcissist, no way of getting your point across to them, nor having one’s needs met. 

From a victim’s standpoint, using the advice from this book is equivalent to going into battle armed with a toothpick.

Disarming the Narcissist’s claim to fame is schema therapy.  Does schema therapy work with a Narcissist?  I suppose it’s possible in the same way that we have a Blue Moon every three years.

However, schema therapy is a great form of healing for victims of narcissistic abuse.

There is mounting evidence that a large number of victims attract Narcissists into their lives due to a faulty schema that developed during childhood in which they form the belief of being unlovable or unworthy of love.  For that reason, they subconsciously attract partners who are overly critical because there is a need to reenact the events from childhood in an effort to gain the attention and recognition they never received as a child.  It’s also another reason why it’s so hard to leave the toxic relationship, because the victim tries repeatedly to overcome their feelings of unworthiness and low self-esteem.  These behaviors are the core of co-dependency (the general nature of the Narcissist’s spouse or partner).  

Even if you weren’t codependent to begin with, you will be after being involved with a Narcissist.

In closing, I would suggest not trying to make a relationship work with a Narcissist and put all those efforts into healing yourself.  If you are a victim of Narcissistic abuse, you will never be free until you stop engaging altogether. If you need to know about Narcissism, by all means, educate yourself.  However, if you are looking for tools to heal your pain, a different path is necessary.

Suggested Readings

Setting Boundaries for Women

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light: Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing

The Road Back to Me: Healing and Recovering From Co-dependency, Addiction, Enabling, and Low Self Esteem

Honoring the Self: Self-Esteem and Personal Transformation

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emergingfromthedarknight says May 23, 2014

Dear Kim I actually bought that book “Disarming the Narcissist” along with so many others when I was struggling with the torment the narcissist put me through. I wish I had this information then. We have to focus on us because its a no win battle to gain love from a narcissist. But I do agree we are hooked in by our own lack of self esteem and especially if we had parents who did not notice us and put their own needs first consistently and put us down for being who we are. I hope people reading this will be helped sooner because it takes so long to get it that the narcissist is not interested in changing.

Benjamin Disraeli And I-Be True to Yourself | Simple Pleasures says May 22, 2014

[…] Focus on Your Own Recovery… […]

    Kim Saeed says May 23, 2014

    Thank you for sharing this, Cindy 🙂 <3

Jennifer S says May 22, 2014

I completely agree. It is hard for me to understand how professional therapists can be so naive about the N dynamic. When I went to couples therapy with my ex, I thought I could trust the therapist’s judgment, so when he treated us as if we were operating from similar vantage points, I tried to believe it too.

He was wrong. It was useless, like trying to plug a lamp into a water faucet.

I’ve been reading about scripts, which are similar to schemas. I really like this perspective, and the way it is grounded in an ethical framework which rejects the medical model of psychology, and instead views therapist and “patient” as complete equals.

Cf. Scripts People Live: Transactional Analysis of Life Scripts, by Claude Steiner.

Trish Ping says May 21, 2014

I agree with drawing these narcs into our lives. Its time for me and yeah I did try to “heal” “save” him. He even told me I can’t save him. Onto more work on me – the low self esteem. Now because I stayed until he almost broke me I have more work but happy to say I can and will a day at a time. I’m still trying to wrapped my head around everything. Kim your messages seem to reflect my next journey with loving a narc

    Kim Saeed says May 21, 2014

    Thank you for sharing that, Trish. It’s truly an honor.

    You might want to consider buying the books I suggested, or…seeing if they are available at your local library. I would also suggest meditations by Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer. Those two were the catalyst on my journey of healing…wishing you all the best <3

Mary Lee Morgan says May 21, 2014

Oh my goodness, Kim, when I read “find a way of communicating effectively with narcissists, getting your point across and meeting your needs while side-stepping unproductive power struggles and senseless arguments” I am one that had a good laugh. And then I felt really bad for anyone trying to take advice like that, as I used to do. If someone tries this, then because of the reasons you listed, it will only serve to reinforce their own feelings of failure, inadequacy, and worthlessness when it doesn’t work.

When you say that they subconsciously attract partners who are overly critical because there is a need to reenact the events from childhood in an effort to gain the attention and recognition they never received as a child, my mind played back all the times that my soon-to-be-ex-spouse has told me how critical I am. No one else in my life tells me that, and he speaks and behaves toward me in ways that exceed the limits of behavior he holds to with almost everyone else. This particular dynamic takes place only between the two of us, and he has been observed initiating it. I can recall many times when I began a conversation where it was my intention to give him a compliment, and even that conversation went south. It makes me wonder, now, if he has been manipulating me into being critical in order to serve this need of his. Of course, since he is not introspective enough to ever understand this much less figure it out, it will never change.

I’ve concluded that a lot of what he does is completely unintentional and totally a result of a skewed view of the world and others. Even though he knows that not very many other people in the world think like he does, he sees no need to change. He’s just fine as he is, don’t you know, and it only insults him to hear that the way he is brings pain to me and sometimes to others. If only I weren’t so critical and had only told him of my pain instead of constantly criticizing him, he is a compassionate man and would have listened. That is his story these days, the one he is telling our adult children. Fortunately, they know a few things of their own.

I am now counting the days until I am in my new place and wondering how long it will take for me to get a sense of myself and my own behaviors that is something close to accurate.

Phill Ferreira says May 21, 2014

Reblogged this on The Story of my Twin Boys , Oliver and Oscar Ferreira and commented:
Great post Kim as always as you know I have a report done in 2 hours at an airport to say I am a Narcissist thus ensuring family court will not allow me contact with my boys , thus I asked for these details to be able to do self improvement if this diagnosis was indeed correct , the Court and the psychologist refused to give me my records , the independent psychologist whom I went to see on my own accord does not agree that I am a Narcissist , Maybe a little OCD because I like things in its place and neat and tidy , so I guess that makes me crazy and a bad person and a threat to our little boys even on a Skype call ! 🙂 O and as I am sure you seen the Court feels my boys blog is causing them and their mother emotional abuse because I post all the documents and speak the truth !…

Trying says May 21, 2014

It’s been 72 days since I went up to the other woman’s home right around the corner from my house because his truck was parked in front of it first thing in the morning and the alarm bells started going off.

It’s been 72 days since she let me in her home, surprised to know that he had a current girlfriend (other than her) and walked me to the bedroom where he was lying in bed with nothing on but the watch I had just given him for his birthday a few days before.

It’s been 72 days since we had a verbal confrontation, all the while he was calling me crazy, telling her that we had broken up months before, that we hadn’t just been together and slept together a few days before that, all while he was actively seeing her as well.

This is not the first time this has happened, not the first time I’ve caught him red handed, and had communication with the other woman. Every other time he’s come back crawling, begging for another chance, or made me think I was imagining the woman’s name appearing on his phone, it just looked like Jennifer, or Brenda, or Patty…you’re being insecure, you’re causing drama, I’m not doing anything wrong! And not the first time that I went back with him, expected to erase what had just transpired and move on like nothing happened.

But it’s different this time. After I had it out with him and apologized to her for coming into her home and asked for the expensive watch back, there is now silence. No begging for another chance, no relentless texting and emailing, no phone calls throughout the day, no trying to sweep it under the rug and act like nothing happened like he did so many other times.

And in a way that hurts more. What does SHE have that made him stay with her this time and not coming crawling back to me like every time before? Why is he spending every minute he can over her house, meanwhile making a point to drive by my house on his way there? Why is he meeting her kids so quickly while he took forever to meet mine?

This is worse than a kick to the gut. He had a pattern in the 2+ years we were together. Every 3 months, give or take, my spidey senses would kick in and I’d just know something wasn’t right and I’d be more on my guard. I asked and asked (and demanded) he cancel his online dating account, even though he said he wasn’t on, I would see “online now”, yet he would deny it and accuse me of causing problems and overreacting.

Is it wrong to be wanting to see if that pattern repeats with her? He is a serial cheater, a habitual liar and a master manipulator, I know this. I don’t want him back. I’ve changed my route to and from work so I don’t need to see his truck there every day. I’ve jumped off the torture train yet I want to know that he’s going to do the same thing to her, that indeed he is a narcissistic personality and that I’m not crazy and just a jilted ex. I want to know that I meant more to him than sex and an ear to dump all his poor me victim problems on.

Like I said, he did this before. His ex-fiancée and I spoke for some time after the first time I caught him red handed with her, she made the mistake of getting back together with him after a few years of a break. He did the same thing to her the first time they were together, but it included swinging clubs, Viagra and many many women I later found out.

I know he won’t change, I assume if he’s not already doing the same to the new woman he will be very soon, but I need closure. I have things to say to him that I couldn’t that day, I want validation. I can’t move on and feel cemented to the ground in the same spot I was 72 days ago. I can’t stop thinking of how she “’won” him because he didn’t come back to me like ususal, and what she did different that I didn’t do while we were together, because I did everything possible to keep him satisfied and happy, sometimes engaging in sexual behavior I didn’t want to just to keep him satisfied and not get bored with our sex life.

Where do I start? How do I begin to focus on my own recovery when I feel so lost? I’m merely existing at this point

    Kim Saeed says May 23, 2014


    I know this has been a difficult journey for you. I realize you need closure, but that is something you’ll never get from him. It’s something you will need to do for yourself. I have a few articles on my site that may help with understanding. There’s one titled, Will My Ex Treat His New Supply Better, Why is My Ex So Mean Now That He’s Found New Supply, and I am today re-posting an article I wrote last year about dealing with grief that may be of help.

    Best wishes for your recovery. I do offer coaching/consultations if you think that might be of benefit to you.

    Warmly, Kim

Tela says May 21, 2014

Great article Kim! We cannot ‘fix’ these people and for anyone to write a book or publication as such is doing a true disservice to victims of Narcissist.

Healing says May 21, 2014

hahahah….I signed on to say LMAO to “going into battle with a toothpick” and see others beat me to it! Kim, what a great line that really says it all. I’ve read that book plus every other book I could get my hands on regarding narcissism. NOT ONE HELPED. The tactics they give ONLY help with a healthy person…using “I feel…when you…” statements, etc. only inflames a Narc to say things like “OH! YOU feel that way…well, listen to yourself only caring about your feelings…what about ME?!!!” Seriously, this was the reaction I’d get when I humbly would tell him I felt hurt when he mocked me and called me names. TRUE STORY…one time I started a “conversation” with him using a lot of “I” statements and he said, “I, I, I…that’s all you care about.” So, then I tried again using “You” statements and he raged back, “You, you, you…there you go again, BLAMING ME!!” I stood there dumbfounded and said, “OK, how about…WE feel hurt when WE mock and namecall. Does that sound better because I don’t feel I should be speaking for you? That doesn’t seem right but if it truly sounds better to you then I’m happy to phrase it that way.” He wouldn’t respond to that at all and just stonewalled me. Seriously, trying to pick your words so carefully to please these sickos is an exercise in futility. There is NO help for them. What the authors don’t seem to get is that these people don’t want real conversation or real relationship. There is NOTHING you can say that will end well when the recipient just wants to hammer you down to stay in a one-up position. There ego HAS to make every word out of your mouth wrong.

I hope the new readers understand that these authors are just trying to sell books. It should be a crime, actually, that they are able to sell these…I guess these books are akin to those ads for wrinkle creams that are obviously airbrushed. Wasn’t it Estee Lauder who said she doesn’t sell skin cream, she sells hope? We have more of a hope looking 20 again from some cream in a jar than we do getting a narc to suddenly develop empathy, insight, and normalcy just because we phrase our words differently. Aint gonna happen. 😉 I would love to hear from just one person who ever changed a narc by using any of the methods in these books. I don’t recall the authors even claiming to have had personal success with narcs?? Anyhow, another great post, as always, Kim. Thank you!

    maryleemorgan says May 21, 2014

    Boy, you said it! I’ve had too many of those kinds of conversations. And when I had tried everything I could think of or find counsel to do, and threw up my hands and said, “I can’t win with you!” he would tell me I wasn’t supposed to win. When I talked to him about relationships either being win-win or lose-lose, he claimed he’d rather lose than see me win. Well, he’s lost now. Hope I’m going to be happy!

Lighting a Candle says May 21, 2014

I agree whole heartedly!

I prefer Lundy Bancroft, George Simon Jr., survivors blogs and the Book of Proverbs, and “The Sociopath next door.” George Simon Jr’s description of Covert Aggression and Character Disturbances have been especially helpful.

    Kim Saeed says May 26, 2014

    Thanks, LAC! These are great suggestions 🙂

happinessweekly says May 21, 2014

Ha! “Going into battle with a toothpick – and feeling equally as empowered at that! Dead on!!

The other point you raised was Schema Therapy. That’s interesting! I have an interest in that particular therapy – it’d be my therapy of choice because of the practical components to it. Anyway, my narcissist and I did it together. I still have the results – next to me – that’s how strange it was, I held onto them thinking there was something more to it but the penny just dropped!

Guess what??

We got EXACTLY the same results!!

I went and saw a psychologist “Is that normal to get exactly the same results, in the same order of severity but with different levels?” She didn’t know.

I can now answer this with certainty: Schema therapy involves taking responsibility and realistically assessing things. Narcissists are capable of neither – but they ARE great at mirroring their victims. He had the same issues as me – we could work through them together, right?? WRONG!!

Victims of narcissistic abuse can heal, people with narcissistic personality disorder have a real up-hill battle with healing and this is why. They don’t take responsibility and as they never need help, they can’t properly contribute to their assessment of themselves in order to successfully complete the exercise.

Very insightful post, thanks, Kim!! 🙂

PS That resource is a hazard!

Sunshine says May 21, 2014

…”going into battle with a toothpick”… yeah, that sums it up real good! And thanks for the giggle! 😉

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