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Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Divorcing Borderline Psychopath

News Borderline Psychopaths Marital Infidelity Recommended Links Marriage and family conflicts Female Sociopaths Borderliners and sociopaths in marriage Movies depicting BPD Understanding Borderline Rage
Anger trap Negative Politeness Diplomatic Communication Fighting direct verbal abuse Six ways to say No and mean it Office Stockholm Syndrome Rules of Verbal Self Defense   Double High Authoritarians  
The Techniques of a Female Sociopaths The Good Wife Unfaithful Bonfire of vanities          
Female bullies The Fiefdom Syndrome Learned helplessness Films depicting female sociopaths Psychopaths in Movies Groupthink Quotes Humor Etc

Introduction

When relationships start to fail people first begin feeling vaguely uneasy about their marriages, sensing that something is wrong. Then this stage progress to the level when they are confiding their worries. First to their spouses, then to relatives and then their friends. At some point when they decide it's over and begin the process of “grave dressing”—preparing an orderly process of ending of the marriage called divorce. At this point there is the whirl of emotions that spouses feel, as well as complex process of working out a divorce settlement including financial matters and deciding on custody of the children, if any.

Probably the most emotionally abusive relationships and traumatic divorces involve divorcing a sociopath or  borderline personality (which often is just a politically correct term for Female Sociopath).  That can be even harder if spouses were partners in business... Living with or being married to someone with Borderline or Narcissistic qualities is one thing. Divorcing them is quite another. People with these disorders initially appear very convincing and charming to lawyers and judges. And while you know them better, in court they are judged by appearances. Which means that these “persuasive blamers” can successfully leverage false accusations,  manipulate others, launch damaging verbal  attacks, and do everything they can to get their way. The courts are way behind in understanding how highly manipulative individuals portray themselves as innocent victims. The same is true about  most attorneys. You might benefit from buying a relevant book for them After they read it they might have a better understanding of how to represent you in court.  As events unfold, you will be left wondering how well you truly know the person you used to love.

T. Van Egmondon November 5, 2015

After they read it they had a better understanding of how to represent me in court

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

I bought this for 2 of my attorneys. After they read it they had a better understanding of how to represent me in court. This book was invaluable to helping me understand why my days in the courtroom didn't even sound like my case. My adversary was a master at manipulating the system and had the capacity to twist any fact or event. Must read if you end up in court with any borderline personality disorder.

For a sociopath neither stable personality, not reality does not really exist. Everything including current personality is built on lies, and carefully woven together to entrap you or judge or jury.   In Lovefraud Blog  post  When women are sociopaths-psychopaths the author aptly noted:

There is actually very little research data available regarding sociopathy in non-criminals and in women. The little research that has been done reveals that sociopathy in women entails two or three main features that are similar to those found in men.

Namely, female sociopaths lack empathy and enjoy manipulating and exploiting others. Violent and impulsive behavior is less common in sociopathic women. This fact may make them more dangerous, as they more easily blend in with the rest of society.

The key traits of sociopathic females

A recent study of adolescent girls in detention performed by Crystal L. Schrum, M.A. and Randall T. Salekin, Ph.D. of the University of Alabama and reported in Behavioral Sciences and the Law, revealed the core qualities that best described young female sociopaths. The teens were callous and lacked empathy, had a grandiose sense of self worth and were conning and manipulative. They were also likely to engage in impersonal sexual relationships. Importantly, the researchers revealed that female sociopaths did not necessarily have “shallow emotions.” Again the lack of impulsivity ... make a female sociopath more difficult to spot.

... ... ...

The case of Michelle Drake also illustrates something else about female sociopaths. The courts are more likely to go easy on them. This attitude of the courts may reflect the fact that many people excuse the behavior of female sociopaths and feel sorry for them. Look at the cases of women in the news lately. We don’t know if the women involved are sociopaths, however, these cases do illustrate the double standard that exists in how we judge female as opposed to male antisocial behavior. Several women teachers have been found guilty of sexually exploiting students.

They were treated very leniently for the same crimes that would have put a man in jail for many years.

As they are preoccupied with self-satisfaction, marital infidelity is typical for those types and produces deep emotional wounds of mistrust, betrayal, sadness, loss of confidence in people. The excessive popularity of internet pornography with even major Hollywood studios producing "soft porn"  increased probability that one of spouses not completely satisfied with the current relationship will seek happiness and sexual satisfaction through another woman, or another man. Social networks, such as Facebook, also serve as a contributing factor.

If you are trying to divorce your partner who used to have periods of uncontrollable rage and a truly astonishing ability to twist words and reinterpret reality,  you might be dealing with Borderline Psychopath.   For such people false accusations like  getting "false restrictions stay away order" for non-existent violent behaviour,  "false drug possession charges" are pretty common and you need to be aware of this danger:

jay September 17, 2015

its as if you just read me the story of my last 8 months. she did the gifts, paying, for everything, cooking, massages, i love you, the promises, the lot and all over the top!!!

after literally 4 months to the day all the good things were replaced with dishonesty, lies, deceitfulness, cheating, abuse, manipulation, mirroring, mimicking etc etc etc long story short…. now I find myself facing false charges of assault & battery, false restrictions stay away order, two false drug possession charges, and a police investigation on me for being a drug dealer!

All from slander, lies , character assassination and absolute bullshit stories. 8 months ago I was a tax paying, mortgage holder and business owner. now I’m potentially a violent drug dealer and prison inmate.

oh and she is HIV+ from intravenous drug use and/or sex work and didn’t mention it ever in 8 months! my test results came back clear so far but wont know for 6 months for certain.

i was blissfully unaware that such despicably evil women existed . the devil is alive and well that’s for sure, she is living in the suburbs of Sydney Australia….

Physical violence is less common for female psychopath, but verbal abuse as well as more subtle patterns of emotional blackmail and projection are very common. Divorce just amplifies those pre-existing behaviors to the degree, when they became really dangerous. Even when people are warned about this danger, they still routinely underestimate the pathology with which they are dealing.

And all that means that you have a typical high-conflict divorce, which can be real living hell.  Try to depersonalize the harassment and compartmentalize your life. High-conflict divorces generally involve extended litigation, often crossing over from the family law arena into civil and criminal cases. Litigation cost large amount of money and can last for years. Sometimes the end of the litigation in  high-conflict divorce cases is brought by not a real resolution of the conflict, but by running out of money by one or both parties. 

Borderlines frequently sacrifice  their children in order to get even.  In court custody cases children become the sacrificial objects, are placed in the middle of arguments or worse, used as hostages. In custody cases, the narcissist may withhold (payment, child support, property visitation) because of exaggerated entitlement fantasies, but the borderline will be the one to withhold custody payments and refuse to participate if fair property division out of a desire to get even. For this purpose they are more then ready to sacrifice themselves, their time, their money, and their children.

It goes without saying that borderline personality disorder is a potent source of unending conflict because most borderlines do not have healthy boundaries. Unfortunately it affects the other party sanity too. Even a mentally stable person when attacked during a high-conflict divorce often exhibits patterns of  behaviors associated with mental illnesses  (Relationships and Divorces with Someone Who Suffers Borderline Personality Disorder angiEmedia):

Borderline projections can be very destructive and because most borderlines do not have healthy boundaries, situations can escalate and cause more unnecessary hurt and damage all the way to very serious false criminal allegations that can cost innocent people their jobs, children, and even their lives. For more on this, read up on BPD Distortion Campaigns.

Divorce Can Intensify the Emotional Abuse

When you divorce someone who suffers from BPD, the emotional abuse does not necessarily end there. It can result in a high-conflict divorce costing you more than you bargained for, not just in terms of wasted money and time, but in very deep psychological wounds. The borderline ex is prone to litigate over everything and to refuse to cooperate with court orders, reasonable requests, and common sense. She or he will likely make even straightforward property settlement issues costly, dragging out the legal process by refusing or avoiding to comply with court decrees to return property, split retirement accounts, repay money owed, and more. He or she may manipulate others by crying poor, telling others that you have lots of money stashed away and have always been mean with money, when in reality they themselves have a much higher income and have more savings than you. Again, this kind of behavior is projection and also a way to humiliate and dominate you.

Another way Borderlines can mess with your mind and emotions is to try and suck you back into the marriage if it is the early stages of your divorce or separation. Be sure to set your limits and be prepared to stand your ground and stick to your boundaries. Borderline behavior will swing unpredictably, one week they may call and want to talk for hours, the next week they may block off any and all communication from you.

No doubt this will be very frustrating so it will be important that you have good legal representation – preferably an attorney who is familiar and understands what drives high-conflict divorces – and a supportive network of family and friends that you can trust.

Most importantly, do your best to disengage from the situation. If you have tried every avenue to reasonably communicate with your Borderline and they continue to be unresponsive, do not persist by sending more communication thinking that they might not have received the others you sent.

Otherwise the Borderline may distort the truth and accuse you of stalking and harassment.

Also the backstabbing is a common practice. You ex might go to really dirty trick including hiring surveillance on you to prove his point.  Please change your passwords, change locks, and buy a couple of books such as Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder on Amazon.  And be ready for a bitter protracted fight.

Learning the ropes

Divorce is a painful process even under the best of circumstances. Divorcing manipulative spouse is especially challenging. Such people usually (at least initially) appear convincing and often charming to lawyers and judges. They are perfect actors for playing the role of victim. Many are not only really "charming and convincing" in court but demonstrate amazing skills in leveraging false accusations. Generally they attempt to manipulate others and like typical psychopaths do everything they can to get their way because they understand judicial machinery better then you and are ready to go lower then you to achieve their goals.  So you can study behaviour of psychopath as a close analog of behaviors that you might face in court. That might help to deal with this difficult situation.

Typical traits

To understand techniques used by female sociopath you need to keep in mind that they can use any known technique of entrapment of the victim. And this capability is amplified by their typical traits which make them perfect in the role of seducers and entrapment artists.  If you think that they would never attempt film your intercourse with them and use it later to blackmail you, think again.  Among traits that are often present  as a constellation and  that you need to be aware of are:

  1. Compulsive, pathological lying. Difficult to spot if you feel sympathy or affection to the individual, but it always demonstrates itself  in some self-contradiction and inconsistencies of their life stories. Especially about the facts of personal history; invented past and or excessive boasting about his successes (often of sexual nature), or excessive playing their misery, loneness, etc. If you are very attentive this is trait that is one of the easiest to spot despite all smoke screen that such person erect before you.  Such a behaviour is somewhat similar to "creating artificial reality" an artistic product, if you wish. Similar to writing a novel or painting.  This tendency to create artificial reality represents a consistent trait rather than an episode. Kind of manipulation of reality that MSM are notorious for in presenting foreign (and sometimes domestic) news.  To the pathological liar his own lies are reality, so he walks securely, is open and amiable inside this artificial reality environment of his life and past.  Extensive, very complicated fabrications may be evolved. They have no troubles to lie then they appeared in court, False accusations are to be expected...  Often the pathological liar lies not according to a plan, but spontaneously when the impulse seizes him/her.  Under oath such a person  can falsely accused other party of serious offences. For example, using or even distributing drugs or a women can accuse her husband that he has sex with their underage daughter.
  2. Manipulative, arrogant, callous  behaviour is a norm, but is typically well masked. Complete lack of remorse and empathy are also masked and are difficult to spot. They are probably more manipulative and cunning then professional con artists.  Actually they are professional con artists. Their personality attributes typically include superficial charm, unreliability, untruthfulness, and insincerity. Pathological egocentricity, selfishness, and related to those traits rejection of authority and discipline. Along with deriving pleasure from criminal behavior, they “really like getting away with it”—that “the ones who have intelligence, they don’t want to get caught.”
  3. Unreliability, untruthfulness, and insincerity. Please understand that betrayal and backstabbing are natural, typical behaviors for them, and they resort to it in situation were normal person would never do such thing. For example petty stealing when having money to buy particular item. As they have complete lack of remorse and empathy they can do really bad things smiling... If you observe such episodes several time this is an important warning signal. As Ian Fleming said (via Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger) “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action”
  4. Prone to fly into rages (See Borderline Rage ; "natural emotion is consciously controlled and used as a sharp weapon)
  5. Inability to accept any responsibility for their actions. Typically they has little or no concern about the consequences of their actions. They are natural born risk takers, "life gamblers" if you wish. For them life is a giant casino with games in which they can go "all in" risking everything.  They motto is "I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." (You Only Live Twice )
  6. "Courage under fire." In high tension situations, that happens when police is on the scene or during court proceeding, they typically maintain their cool,  behave rationally and are not prone to panic even in the face of dangerous to them revelations.  They can masterfully deflect of destroy "difficult", "sure win" questions  of your council.

To understand what those short description really mean is not easy. Words does not communicate the whole picture here. That means that need to watch several movies such as "Dangerous liaisons" which spells out well the process of psychopathic seduction.

Idealize-seduce-devalue-discard cycle

As narcissists are often sex addicts, narcissist managers represent direct danger to female subordinates, such as secretaries due to their propensity to seduce. To seduce just to prove that they can. The other person is just a tool designed to increase their self-word, another "conquest". Paradoxically this is also true for females, which also are often sex addicts in their own right and like to "collect trophies". While people typically view seduction narrowly as purely sexual in nature, but  actually the concept is wider then that. Wikipedia gives the following definition: 

Seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person, to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; to corrupt, to persuade or induce to engage in sexual behaviour. The word seduction stems from Latin and means literally "to lead astray". As a result, the term may have a positive or negative connotation. Famous seducers from history or legend include Lilith, Giacomo Casanova and the fictional character Don Juan. Seduction as a phenomenon is not the subject of scientific interest, although similar, more specific terms like short-term mating, casual sex or mating strategies are used in evolutionary psychology.[1] The Internet enabled the existence of a seduction community which is based on pseudoscientific discourse on seduction.

Seduction, seen negatively, involves temptation and enticement, often sexual in nature, to lead someone astray into a behavioral choice they would not have made if they were not in a state of sexual arousal. Seen positively, seduction is a synonym for the act of charming someone — male or female — by an appeal to the senses, often with the goal of reducing unfounded fears and leading to their "sexual emancipation" Some sides in contemporary academic debate state that the morality of seduction depends on the long-term impacts on the individuals concerned, rather than the act itself, and may not necessarily carry the negative connotations expressed in dictionary definitions.[2]

Which most commonly is discussed in the context of Narcissism, but has much wider applicability. see  Classic cycle of sociopathic relations (access-seduce-devalue-discard)

Blaming the victim

Blaming the victim is the essence of devaluation. Female sociopath lie so easily that  after they methodically and systematically destroy the relationship, they can present her former partner to the outsiders as a worthless, horrible human.  Also after they are in relationship for some time, t hey are never satisfied and are always looking for a new better target. Always. And having no moral principles (in other words being naturally promiscuous)  they behave opportunistically, if they have a chance to get a new "fresh" partner, who looks to them more promising then the old one, of only because of the excitement of a chase.   Feeling Like Spilling Your Guts to the Narcissist?

Remember: Pointing fingers at narcissists is difficult for Non-Ns. We want to be fair. We want to be honest. For every finger pointed at the N, we have three pointed back towards ourselves. So in order to feel good about ourselves, we can admit to having flaws, shadows and defects, too. But we CANNOT, SHOULD NOT, DO NOT need to admit this to the narcissist. It’s not good for YOU and it’s definitely NOT good for the narcissist.

When narcissists feel threatened, they cannot stop themselves from using whatever ammunition they have to defend themselves. Some narcissists regret their behavior afterwards but not nearly as much as we regret having trusted them. 

See Films depicting female sociopaths

Female sociopath look at relations, including divorce as on war and take no prisoners

You should remember  famous saying that "War is a continuation of policy by other means". that suggest the value of  your own "war plan" as measure that help to counteract their plans. Of course plans are ruined at first contract with reality, but that does not diminish their importance.  Read one or several books ob the subject. Go to the library and study the topic like military study their craft. It can save your life.  That fact that you have found this page is good, but you need more efforts.  Much more efforts. 

Emotional stability is one an important features of such struggle. Much like in military campaign you need special measures to maintains you emotional stability. One important  tip is to maintain or even upgrade a little bit, just a little bit, your psychical appliance. Buy new clothing if you need it. Maintain approaches. Appearance transmits back into your internal emotional state.

That also  might help you to avoid some common presumptions, mistakes and pitfalls typical for "normal" people, when they are face such a situation. Especially it this is your first encounter the judicial (it's judicial, not justice as you soon find out it's not about justice ;-) system.

Knowledge here is a real power and helps to avoid a nasty surprise of the mean, dirty tricks used against you. Expect a character assassination. Like in real warfare, be ready that opponent will use dirty tricks against you to win in court. Prepare for false accusations. Beware of traps. Try to minimize communication and practice Negative Politeness.

First of all, like in real war, there is a "fog of war" over the whole situation (i.e., you are facing incomplete, dubious, and often completely erroneous information and high levels of fear, doubt, and excitement). Here keeping daily log might be of tremendous help as it might slightly help to see though the fog. Still the level of uncertainty is high, which complicate rational assessment of the situation so delays with the reaction and keep your cards close to your chest. This simple tactic might in many cases be not detrimental, but advantageous.

Actually studying war tactics which were discussed for example in famous Clausewitz On War (available free from clausewitz.com) and The Art of War  is not a bad idea. Among them (cited from Wikipedia):

There are several good books on the subject that you should definitely read. Stakes are so high that any additional ammo worth much more then its nominal cost. See a list of suggestions in  Toxic managers: The Problem of Corporate Psychopaths. But again, you should took information provided with a grain of salt. Among those that IMHO deserve your attention are:

Watching films that depict psychopath also provide some additional insight and this way of study should not be overlooked.  Unlike real events you can watch the film over and over again and that's might help to enhance your understanding of specific tricks and attack methods. See Psychopaths in Movies  and Films depicting female sociopaths

Smear campaign

This is an intentional, premeditated effort to discredit our reputation, and character to get advantages during divorce proceedings . This also satisfy their longing for revenge.  Here is relevant (long) quote from SociopathHell.Com

A Smear Campaign is the epitome of a sociopath caring about absolutely nothing!
...With a smear campaign, the Sociopath strategically starts recalling all the things you have ever shared with them regarding your own personal experiences (i.e.: triumphs/failures), any and all things shared about people closest to you, or anyone you had a relationship with prior to them. They then take this information and set out to destroy you emotionally and mentally and sometimes financially. If you have children with a Sociopath, they will also use the children to try and destroy you.

They do this for fear! Fear of being found out for what they truly are, cardboard, empty, vile, viscous individuals. They also do this also as revenge.  The more they are exposed, the less likely to find additional sources of their supply.  And by supply, I mean, whatever they need from an individual for their own personal gain and nothing more. Exposing them, and limiting their supply source  places them in unfamiliar territory! They have a grandiose thought process, whereas, they will never believe ultimately there are consequences to their actions and/or verbal warfare., and therefore they think they have an endless supply of their ‘needs’. By placing them in this fear of exposure, this is where we see the darkest side of a sociopath. The hollow, soulless individual they actually are. A Narcissistic Sociopath are the master’s of ruination~ and they will do whatever they think necessary to protect their (clouded/distorted) image they have of themselves.

Some of  the more common  tactics a sociopath uses for his smear campaign are:

There is no easy way through the smear campaign. You will even begin to question your own sanity! And this is exactly what the Sociopath wants you to do. During this stage of smear, you will want to ask the Sociopath ‘why are you doing this’, ‘why are you saying these lies about me’. You will continually be on the defensive , but this has no bearing on them. If anything, your questions will just be the fuel they need to continue this emotional assault.  This is the most damaging of stages with a Sociopath. You think the devalue stage is the worst…..and no doubt, it is also very emotionally and/or mentally destructive. The devalue stage is geared specifically toward you, the individual. During the smear campaign , this is not only geared toward you, but also geared to destroy whatever relationships you have with other individuals and/also your career. Remember, the Smear Campaign is for total ruination! Tips for surviving this (because it is {or will be survival  if you haven’t gone through it yet}. These tips are to stop the Sociopaths supply source of your ruination.

Money extortion

Extortion is a crime in which one person forces another person to do something against his will, generally to give up money or other property, by threat of violence, property damage, damage to the person’s reputation, or extreme financial hardship. Extortion involves the victim’s consent to the crime, but that consent is obtained illegally.  Sometimes the whole marriage is an elaborate money extortion scheme and divorce is just a final act of the drama. This open happens when a younger man marries older woman. See Advice for Protecting Elderly Relatives from Sociopaths and Gold Diggers

Typically, as in those examples, extortion involves threats of future violence or harm rather than immediate violence or harm, but extortion can involve immediate violence.   The classic case of extortion of "protection money" schemes. Which sociopaths successfully adapt to divorce proceedings.   Often they use children as a bargaining chips.

Selected Amazon Reviews for Splitting by Bill Eddy

One of the few relevant books on the subject is Splitting by Bill Eddy. Here are some of the relevant Amazon reviews of the book:

ef on July 17, 2011, See all my reviews

If three of the last five words in this title have meaning to you, get this book, it WILL save your life, July 17, 2011

Does your partner have periods of uncontrollable rage? Bizarre behaviors? A truly astonishing ability to twist words and reinterpret reality around you? Wild mood swings? Hair trigger temper? Have you been desperate enough that you spend your free time surreptitiously Google-ing psychological disorders to try to "poor mans diagnose" what you're dealing with?

Clearly you have. If you're reading this, you're probably doing research Right Now in the vain hope of getting an answer to the one question you've been asking yourself night and day for as long as you can remember: What Do I Do?

If that sounds like you, get this book, it will save your life.

On second thought, clear your browser cache, erase cookies and search history, and beg a friend to buy this book for you so it does not get shipped to your home address. I'm not kidding. Read the title again.

Amazon Customer says:

I really wish he'd had a guide during that period, but instead he went through major trauma inflicted by the aggressor (stalking, parasuicide to gain sympathy, threats, vandalism, showing up unannounced, illegal entry...you name it). The aggressor is not always the male in the relationship, which is what I learned when the ex continued the craziness even after I married my husband. If I could go back in time and give this book to him prior to his marriage I would, based on your review.

People REALLY SHOULD take such extreme precautions when dealing with people with borderline or narcissistic personalities, because nothing is out of the question once they've lost control of their victim.

MarkA on September 10, 2011

Helps educate you to lower risks of arrest, abuse investigations from false allegations & help custody efforts

After having gone through the first years of post separation & divorce, I can definitely agree that PROTECTING YOURSELF is top priority when separating...

Educate yourself while quietly documenting the spouse's behaviors, quietly and confidentially seek the advice of a few family law attorneys who have experience with high conflict cases, carefully consider your options and prepare accordingly.

Decades ago the hot-button threats by disordered spouses were claiming you were a closet homosexual or having an affair. These days such allegations are ho-hum and ignored in most courts. What has replaced them? Claims of DV (against the spouse) and child neglect, abuse or molestation. Why?

To unfairly gain advantage or keep the upper hand in the court's custody and parenting decisions. Those are extreme hot-button issues and agencies are just waiting for a call to jump into action, this is the one time where the allegation is presumed valid at first and the presumption of innocence is set aside at first. An innocent spouse or parent (you) can be arrested and charged with some very serious offenses.

If your spouse has threatened to make false allegations in the past, then that means it has been contemplated and therefore you are at heightened risk. DO NOT FOOL YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE NOT AT RISK!

William Eddy presents information that will help you to avoid many common presumptions, mistakes and pitfalls us Nice Guys and Nice Gals are likely to make when we first encounter the judicial (not justice) system.

Sorry, but normal common sense does not apply in court and the truth does not always prevail. Courts, including family/domestic court, make decisions based on written laws, case law which has modified the application of written laws, and the latitude allowed for the case-by-case discretion by judges. That is why this book is so helpful, in addition to your family law attorney's legal advice.

To echo the excellent advice in another comment: If that sounds like you, get this book, it will save your life. On second thought, clear your browser cache, erase cookies and search history, and BEG a friend to buy this book for you so it does not get shipped to your home address or appear on your credit card or bank statements. I'm not kidding.

Read the title again. PROTECT YOURSELF.

Stan Yarbrough:

Poor sucker:

... Borderlines will immediately begin with a character assassination and side-setting of as many people as possible, and will split up all players in the game into black and white pieces.

You are black, WILL have the second move and will remain behind as long as your bank account holds out because nothing is more important to the BPD than the process of proving to the world that you are wrong, bad and probably belong in prison away from all of the white players, including only those of your children that believe the stories. It might include a custody battle with accusations of child abuse, when in fact the real abuse are the lies and deceit that are wielded upon your impressionable and confused children.

The narcissists are the worst because there is absolutely no self reflection in the process. If a borderline is not narcissist, then there is a possibility to change the game during one of the many "woe is me" moments.

Absolutely DO NOT GIVE UP and do not do anything stupid. Truth does not matter in court; it is only about going through the motions. Tell your attorney to go for the jugular and spare no expense on getting your kids. However, do not fight dirty directly. Do not talk bad about your BPD ex to your kids or ANY of your common friends. Only talk about truth, including his/her mental disorder...

Now, read this book. Own it.

If you are smart enough to use this knowledge to your advantage, you will win. After 5 years of pure hell from BPD people in my life, I have finally recovered but it took everything including relationships, money, nearly all property and two jobs.

BPD splitting is war and reading this book is the first step in a good battle plan.

Patrick J. Atkinson (Bismarck, ND United States) - See all my reviews

If this titlte clicks with you at all, read it!, July 15, 2011

 "Splitting" is the professional term used to describe what happens when a person with a diagnosable personality disorder suddenly, and almost always for reasons beyond their own control or understanding, redefines their lover, partner, spouse, or friend from being "savior / saint" to "demon / monster".

This "split" can occur in a matter of a few minutes, and within hours or days the memories of years of positive, loving, supportive relationship can be involuntarily rewritten by the person engaged in the "splitting" process, to be something totally different. Loving times are rewritten to have been false memories of times of anger, argument, and hostility. Special moments are forgotten... edited out... completely.

The person who suffers from the personality disorder often knows something terribly wrong is happening, but is not sure what, so the process continues to negatively cycle downward. I Hate You, Don't Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality

At the end of the "splitting" process, the person suffering from these personality disorders has completely rewritten years of relationship, with very little the affected companion can do. Since the affected companion still often loves the person who has been "splitting", the mis-steps, hurt, anger, sadness, and confusion.

This book is very helpful in that it tells the reader how to protect him/herself when this happens to your partner. While there maybe nothing you can do to stop or reverse the "splitting" process that your affected partner is going through, you can take care of, and protect, yourself.

move alpha (columbia, missouri) -

Excellent guide to managing high-conflict divorce, February 17, 2012

This review is from: Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Paperback)

This is a very useful guide to getting through a high-conflict divorce. Not a substitute for a good lawyer or therapist (one should have both), but a helpful supplement. Highly recommended.

Scott  A must have for nasty divorces, September 10, 2013

If your even thinking of divorce you should get this book to be prepared for what potentially could happen. Hold off the divorce for a year, get prepared. A year is a long time when your suffering but it can get rougher than you can even imagine.

Rainboja - See all my reviews

Relief's in sight, October 2, 2011

One of the most difficult things for me to understand, both during and after the break-up, was why we always ran the same pattern, why the anger was never modulated for the degree of offense and most especially when she acted in a certain way, why she said that I was.

Now I have my own issues, but this review is how the book has been so very helpful. Once I began (very late in the process) to get a hold of what was going on, I was able to begin to depersonalize the harassment and compartmentalize my life.

These were two major benefits and supports for me getting my feet back underneath me. She has been very successful in court, I have had to prove my ability to parent and have been under the microscope while she has been immune from even following court orders.

Now I know she never will, and apparently, the court doesn't seem to notice or care that she continues to divide and harass and etc. So, it's the lawyers, judges and therapists who have to learn about these personality types and bother to take a few extra moments to see beyond the surface of a family break-up. Thank you so very much, Mr. Eddy.

Joellen Whatman - See all my reviews

Splitting is very informative. Must Read., June 28, 2013

Living with or being married to someone with Borderline or Narcissistic qualities is one thing. Divorcing them is QUITE another. I never expected him to flip the way he did or become so incredibly evil. This book is a must read BEFORE the mention of divorce. AND its a must read for your attorney.

Attorneys deal with these personality disorders every day and don't realize it. Get this book in the hands of your attorney and if he/she won't read it FIND ANOTHER ATTORNEY who will.

OR end up like me without anything from a marriage of 25 yrs. starting completely over.

Eunice Leonard "5570leon" (Louisiana)

Splitting, April 27, 2013

This was a very informative book about Borderline Personality Disorder.

 I highly recommend it to anyone that is dating, thinking about becoming engaged to, or divorcing a high maintenance, demanding, blaming woman.

These people make everyone's life miserable. Although I feel sorry for anyone with this type of mental illness, the reality is that you can never do enough to meet their needs, and their needs are all that matter to them. I read this book to get a handle on the behavior of my daughter-in-law. Frankly, there is too much pain and trauma that affects everyone when involved with a person like this. Life is too short.

Read and take heed; run away with all speed:)

MA.Mom - See all my reviews

I wish I had known about this book seven years ago when I divorced my ex!, April 6, 2013

I purchased the kindle version as well as a hard cover because the kindle version couldn't display the charts very clearly. If you are in a situation where your ex can't let go of his/her anger and has made countless claims that bring you to court, you ABSOLUTELY need to read this book.

I've read many, many books about high-conflict divorces, but Splitting is THE ONE that has helped me the most. I've been fighting the same claims for the past 4 years and I finally can see the light at the end of the tunnel because of the insights I've gained from this book.

Barb Beller, December 20, 2012

This book is a must for anyone considering divorce from a narcissist or a person w/ borderline personality disorders. First, the author is a lawyer, a psychologist and a mediator with years of experience helping the partners seeking a divorce.

Each chapter has useful lists (e.g. clearly defining the characteristics of narcissists and borderline personality disorders, preparation before the divorce, numerous legal issues, etc.)

In addition, this clearly written for the layperson. It's easy to read and guides the partner seeking a divorce step-by-step.

The book can save the reader time, and some legal fees with preparation work. It also alerts you to possible harmful reactions from the narcissist.

r3VOLution (California) - See all my reviews

 Impressed!, May 1, 2013

I found this book packed a lot of great advice and examples in an easy to read and engaging format. The book was organized in a way that the anecdotes were clear and concise and led right to the strategy for dealing with that type of problem.

The author spelled out explicitly what you can expect from the personality disordered individual that is wreaking havoc in your life. He also gives great ideas about how to counter it and prepare for it.

I really appreciate the explanations about how to present yourself to the court, attorneys, and court facilitators; he cautions you against using diagnoses and suggests illustrating a prevailing pattern of negative behaviors in your ex.

There is a lot of wisdom contained in this book and I think this book will give those of us dealing with extreme divorces a better foundation and understanding of what we are up against to have confidence in dealing with the system and with our ex.

Rockofinder - See all my reviews

Check this out if you have been deceived in marriage., February 22, 2012

This review is from: Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Kindle Edition)

I could not believe that after 8 years my son was divorcing. This book helps everyone understand such lying, deceitful and erratic behavior of his spouse. I recommend this book for anyone (or for family members) who is going through a difficult divorce with someone who lacks compassion and exhibits borderline or narcissistic behavior. It can relieve anxiety and help cope with these unusual circumstances. The book provides helpful advice and a guidelines to assist people through this emotional time.

K Ellzey - See all my reviews

if you have an aggressive accuser, then this book will help, November 26, 2013

I am divorcing a sociopath (all sociopaths are narcissists). This book is about flamboyant narcissists, not so much about those that con or manipulate. I can see a lot of value in reading the book, but it is not addressing dimensions that I will have to deal with in court. If you are dealing with a narcissist and have children, I think this book suits your needs well. I encourage the authors to go further and cover other aspects of personality disorder and how the court system may or may not deal with those affects.

... ... ...

Still, I appreciated the straightforward, calm voice of the book; the suggestions about how lawyers operate; and strategy to move forward through muck and mire. Even if you don't have kids, read those sections.


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Old News ;-)

[Sep 22, 2016] 6 Signs Your Spouse Has Checked Out Of Your Marriage Huffington Post

Notable quotes:
"... Will you get dinner and pick up the kids? Could you call the plumber about the kitchen sink?" ..."
"... everything - ..."
"... "I'll be in bed in a little bit" ..."
"... Do you want to be more mindful about eating healthy foods that'll keep your mind and body at their best? Sign up for our newsletter and join our Eat Well, Feel Great challenge to learn how to fuel your body in the healthiest way possible. We'll deliver tips, challenges and advice to your inbox every day. ..."
Mar 14, 2016 | www.huffingtonpost.com

When your spouse isn't interested in doing the "work" of marriage, it's easy to feel powerless. But all isn't lost, said Jeannie Ingram, a couples therapist based in Nashville, Tennessee.

"The relationship doesn't have to end," she told HuffPost. "The truth is, all relationships need tuning up from time to time."

Below, Ingram and other experts share the most common signs a spouse has checked out of a marriage - and what you can do to take matters into your own hands.

1. They spend a lot of time around you but not with you.

It doesn't count as quality time if one of you is distracted by your smartphone or checking work emails, said Aaron Anderson, a marriage and family therapist based in Denver, Colorado.

"If you and your spouse spend a lot of time in the same room but they never do things with you, they've likely disengaged from the relationship," he told us. "Nobody wants to spend the two hours after work browsing social media."

Try planning new, exciting things to do together so hopefully "your partner will want to shut down the computer and turn off their phone to be with you," Anderson said.

2. They never include you in their weekend or after-work plans.

Spending time apart (pursing your hobbies or seeing friends) is essential in a healthy marriage. It keeps the mystery alive. But spend too much time apart and you're well on your way to living separate lives, said Becky Whetstone, a marriage and family therapist who works in Little Rock, Arkansas.

"If your S.O feels disillusioned with the marriage, they might cope by distracting themselves with things they enjoy that that don't involve you," she said.

To figure out why they're disengaging, broach the conversation in a calm manner, at a time that works for the two of you, Whetstone said.

"Therapists call this 'coming toward your partner,'" she said. "Watch the tone of your voice and your body language and find the right time - not in the middle of something hectic. Ask, 'Hey, what's up? I've noticed you pulling away lately.'"

Most importantly, don't lash out if their answer upsets you. "Make it safe for them to reply or they're not likely to open up again after that," Whetstone said.

3. They never ask, "How was your day?"

If your conversations are limited to household logistics (" Will you get dinner and pick up the kids? Could you call the plumber about the kitchen sink?" ) and your S.O. seems disinterested in how you're doing, your marriage may be in trouble, Anderson said.

"When someone checks out of a relationship, they stop caring about their partner as much," he said. "They don't ask you how work is going, how your family is doing or even if you got that promotion you wanted."

To show that your marriage is still very much a priority - and that you, at least, care about them - make it a point to vocalize that.

"Just because they've checked out doesn't mean you have to," Anderson said, "And after they see how much you care, they might just start caring more, too."

4. They aren't interested in sex.

The thrill is gone - and your S.O. seems entirely OK with that. Why might that be the case? Oftentimes, partners avoid physical intimacy after they've been hurt emotionally, said Ingram.

"In the beginning, couples in love are so intoxicated with each other that they share everything - they allow themselves to be fully vulnerable," said Ingram.

But that same vulnerability also opens you up to hurt from your partner.

"If you're emotionally hurt, intimacy doesn't feel safe - it's just too vulnerable," Ingram said. "Couples need to become conscious of this and be willing to talk about why they avoid closeness, perhaps in the office of a qualified marriage therapist."

5. They're hyper-critical of your friends and family.

Your partner may not be as forgiving of your parents as you are, but they shouldn't take the liberty to rag on them any chance they get, Whetstone said.

"It shows disinterest but it's also unacceptable behavior," she said. "Set a boundary and say something like, 'Please, why so much venom? It hurts me when you throw so much negativity on to me and my friends and family. What's going on? Obviously you're unhappy about something. Please, let's talk about it.'"

6. They go to bed at different times.

"I'll be in bed in a little bit" is not as innocent a phrase as you might think, Ingram said.

"Commonly, couples fall prey to what I call 'functional exits," she said. "These are behaviors that are part of everyday life, but serve the dual purpose of avoiding intimacy. For example, work, hobbies, or when you regularly say or hear, 'You go on to bed; I'll be along later.'"

The good news? Mismatched bedtimes and similar problems are easily fixed if you and your partner are willing to make the effort.

"Exits like these are not necessarily a sign the relationship needs to end, but rather, an indication that it's time for some work," she reassured.

Do you want to be more mindful about eating healthy foods that'll keep your mind and body at their best? Sign up for our newsletter and join our Eat Well, Feel Great challenge to learn how to fuel your body in the healthiest way possible. We'll deliver tips, challenges and advice to your inbox every day.

[Sep 10, 2016] Surviving the Storm - Divorcing a Narcissist

May 02, 2016 | dalkeithpress.com

Dalkeith Press

You may have thought that living with your troubled spouse was hard. But now that you've reached the point of divorce, you probably already know that this can be ever harder. Narcissistic behavior can be labeled as borderline, sociopathic, narcissistic, or just intolerable, but it all derives from one fundamental driving force: narcissists can't tolerate criticism, especially public criticism. And divorcing them is about them most direct and public criticism you can make. You'll know you're there when your soon-to-be ex spouse begins a campaign of destruction against you. And if you don't know how to resond and deal with it, it can take a terrible toll.

Surviving the Storm offers practical strategies that can help you reach a settlement with your soon-to-be ex, in spite of his or her seeming determination to scorch the earth. The key is understanding that narcissists fear, above all, critical judgment by others. Your decision to divorce sets these fears in motion. To counter them, you need to know how to split the battlefield, offering on the one hand a safe alternative in which you get what you need, and on the other a continuing stream of criticism, judgment, and shame heaped on your soon-to-be ex. In essence, you trade the safety of silence for the things you need in the settlement.

Surviving the Storm also offers practical boundaries on what you can and can't expect to do. It explains the impact of divorcing a narcissist on your children, and offers strategies and tactics to help achieve a custody arrangement that is best for your kids. It explains what parental alienation is and where to get more help with it. It offers some reflection on the moral issues we face in divorce, including the Catholic Church's surprising position holding that marriage to a narcissist is a moral impossibility. Finally, it offers a perspective on healing and the need for new experiences to move on.

Richard has been helping people deal with the trauma and pain of abusive relationships for nearly ten years. His other books are Tears and Healing , Meaning from Madness , In Love and Loving It - Or Not! , Tears and Healing Reflections , and the Way of Respect If you've read them, you know his style, and this book is also short and to the point, giving you the information and insight you need without wading through hundreds of pages you don't need.

[Sep 10, 2016] Are BPD Drama Queens Manipulative, Sadistic, and Worse

Notable quotes:
"... Often described as "drama queens" or "abusive," they too frequently create chaos in situations where others would smoothly deal with the normal differences and disappointments that arise from time to time for all of us. ..."
"... These habits now would suggest to me comorbid diagnoses, that is, a combination of borderline personality emotional hyper-reactivity with narcissistic and/or psychopathic (conning) patterns. ..."
"... manipulation is defined as deception used for personal gain, without concern for victims." ..."
www.psychologytoday.com

Women, and men, with borderline personality disorder seem not to know how to stop arguing (link is external).

Often described as "drama queens" or "abusive," they too frequently create chaos in situations where others would smoothly deal with the normal differences and disappointments that arise from time to time for all of us.

... ... ...

There may well be some individuals with BPD who are genuinely manipulative or sadistic.

These habits now would suggest to me comorbid diagnoses, that is, a combination of borderline personality emotional hyper-reactivity with narcissistic and/or psychopathic (conning) patterns.

In the Journal of Personality Disorders a 2006 an excellent article by Nancy Nyquist Potter, PhD entitled "What is Manipulative Behavior Anyway?" (link is external) looked to define the term manipulative.

In the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (cited in Bowers, 2002) ... manipulation is defined as deception used for personal gain, without concern for victims."

[Sep 10, 2016] Meet the Malignant Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... A personality disorder characterized by grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one's superiority; a lack of empathy, lack of truthfulness, and the tendency to degrade others. ..."
"... Malignant narcissists not only see themselves as superior to others but believe in their superiority to the degree that they view others as relatively worthless, expendable, and justifiably exploitable. ..."
"... This type of narcissism is a defining characteristic of psychopathy/sociopathy and is rooted in an individual's deficient capacity for empathy. It's almost impossible for a person with such shallow feelings and such haughtiness to really care about others or to form a conscience with any of the qualities we typically associate with a humane attitude, which is why most researchers and thinkers on the topic of psychopathy think of psychopaths as individuals without a conscience altogether." ..."
Dec 09, 2015 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
"A personality disorder characterized by grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one's superiority; a lack of empathy, lack of truthfulness, and the tendency to degrade others."

"Narcissism becomes particularly malignant (i.e. malevolent, dangerous, harmful, incurable) when it goes beyond mere vanity and excessive self-focus. Malignant narcissists not only see themselves as superior to others but believe in their superiority to the degree that they view others as relatively worthless, expendable, and justifiably exploitable.

This type of narcissism is a defining characteristic of psychopathy/sociopathy and is rooted in an individual's deficient capacity for empathy. It's almost impossible for a person with such shallow feelings and such haughtiness to really care about others or to form a conscience with any of the qualities we typically associate with a humane attitude, which is why most researchers and thinkers on the topic of psychopathy think of psychopaths as individuals without a conscience altogether."

"There is nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He's only serving himself."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/x54z2pRAvtg?rel=0"

Love, Sex, and Intimacy: Their Psychology, Biology, and History

We counsel both men and women to take exactly that to which they are entitled by law. In most no-fault divorce states that is defined as child support (based on a formula that looks at salaries and a few other variables) plus one-half of any assets the couple has accumulated. If married more than 10 years, that often means one-half of all assets. We remind them that this will buttress them against later feelings of bitterness based on feelings of having been cheated. When the mate later tries to dictate what school the children should attend or what major the college student must select, it may be helpful to have the resources to defend the interests of the children. If clients believe, after one year, that they were awarded too much in the divorce settlement, they can still return the money to their husbands.

Conversely, if someone wants to punish a mate by taking everything, we try to persuade them such a Pyrrhic victory can produce only everlasting bitterness. More effective than moral persuasion may be the reminder that such strategies very likely never get consummated. We have had clients, who, against our advice, spent over $100,000 a year for three years on high-powered lawyers only to get what we predicted at the beginning: type A visitation (she gets the children during the week; he gets them Wednesday nights and every other weekend), normal child support, and one-half of all their assets. Moral and ethical standards for who “deserves” what after a marriage can be a very sticky business; the highest morality may be to give and receive that which the law, in its flawed wisdom, mandates.

... Today, if present trends continue, about 40% or more of American children will witness the breakup of their parents' marriages before the children reach 18 (Bumpass, 1984). This represents a significant increase over the 1951 to 1960 figures.

The Divorce Settlement

Men and women are often quite clever and quite ruthless about getting the things they want after a breakup. Sociologists Gerald Marwell and David Schmitt (1967) found that people employed 16 different techniques to get their way. In Table 14.1, using the preceding framework, we have indicated the “tricks” that those who are divorcing often use to get what they think they deserve in a divorce settlement (or far more than they know they deserve).

...Whichever parent (mother, father, or both) could take best care of the child should be awarded custody. In the 1970s, more fathers began to seek sole custody. Sometimes they got it. More commonly, courts began to award men and women sole custody but give the noncustodial parent visitation rights that were so ample that it approached joint custody. (Children might be assigned to stay with the noncustodial parent Wednesdays and every other weekend; or allowed to visit the noncustodial parent during the Easter and Christmas holiday season plus perhaps six weeks during summer vacations.) Sometimes, when the parents could get along, the arrangements would be left flexible and vague: providing for “reasonable visitation.”

Today, however, mothers are still generally (90% of the time) granted sole legal and physical custody; fathers are generally granted liberal visitation—they may get to spend every other weekend, half of each holiday period, and four to eight weeks in the summer with their children (Bronstein, 1988). Today, legal scholars have begun to push couples toward joint legal and physical custody. A more egalitarian spirit, the women's movement, the fact that both men and women are often involved in child rearing, and that both are now in the labor force has led family judges and lawyers to encourage many couples to share responsibility for their children.

Sole Custody—Pros and Cons

Sometimes one parent should take sole custody of the children. One parent may be mentally ill, an alcoholic or drug addict, irresponsible, or just plain unwilling to be a parent. Sometimes couples hate one another so much that it is impossible to share custody. We mentioned earlier the client who, in spite of our advice, squandered $100,000 a year for three years in a futile attempt to secure sole custody of her children. Every waking moment with her children she filled them with subtle to blatant indictments of her husband. She was like the Ancient Mariner, plucking strangers' sleeves with a bony hand, telling “Her Story.” Finally, the courts took the children away from both parents. Their love of the battle with one another was far stronger than their love for their children. They found a purpose in life in reviling and vilifying each other.

Frequently, it is easier to raise children alone than to try to negotiate the shoals of a difficult marriage (Kohen, Brown, & Feldberg, 1979). Single parents no longer are caught in the middle. They can devise a consistent set of rules and do things their way.

Yet sole parenting is difficult too. Single parents sometimes report an overpowering sense of responsibility. They are short of money. Eighty-five percent of divorced women received no alimony at all. In 1985, although 82% of custodian mothers were awarded child support, only 54% received any; on the average, mothers and children received $200 a month (Ellwood, 1988). When child support is collected, it pays for less than half of the cost of raising a child (Mason, 1988). Single parents may feel trapped. It is hard to date, work, or have much of a social life if you are always with your children. Two mothers stated:

[My major problem was] knowing I had four children on my own to be responsible
for—drying to keep us together, raising two boys to be boys. That was hard. (Spanier
& Casto, 1979, p. 222)

I hate feeling totally responsible for the kids. They're mine completely. At least when
I was married, I could mentally not feel responsible at times. … It gets lonely with
the kids in bed by 8:00. It's an ambiguous role. [I want to go out but] I don't want the
kids to be stuck with a babysitter three or four nights a week. (Spanier & Casto, 1979,
p. 223)

Parents without custody (generally this could read “fathers”) suffer as well. Most noncustodial fathers wish they could have a close relationship with their children. Most men feel guilty about “deserting” their children. They miss them and long to see them regularly. They worry about how they will turn out. Even so, visitation may be painful. It is painful to have to deal with an angry ex-mate; to engage in humiliating power struggles. (Wives may think of the children as “theirs”; they assume the fathers are incompetent; they may schedule their children's lives in ways that make visitation difficult or impossible.) Fathers may hesitate to confront children who resent them or who are bored with them. Fathers may not know how to entertain little strangers over a long weekend. In any case, most fathers visit their children regularly for two years or so and then things begin to fall apart. In the end, most fathers rarely see the children of divorce. In one national sample, it was found that fewer than one-half of divorced fathers had seen their children even once in the preceding 12 months! Fewer than one-sixth of the fathers saw their children once a week. When fathers stopped visiting, they generally stopped writing or calling as well (Furstenberg, 1983). Both parents and children are the losers when visitation ends. Daughters may be left with a deep, lifelong yearning for their fathers. Boys may begin to run wild; their school achievements plummet (Loewen, 1988). Divorce may cause fathers and children to lose touch with one another permanently. In one study, most older fathers (53% of fathers 50 to 79 years of age) reported they “frequently” saw their sons and daughters; few divorced fathers (only 11%) saw their adult children as frequently. Normally, fathers never lost contact with their adult children; 33% of divorced fathers did (Uhlenberg, 1991).

[May 18, 2016] Less Than Artful Choices Narcissistic Personality Disorder According to Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... So, without further ado, Trump's quotable illustration of the hallmarks of NPD, defined according to DSM-IV as, "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy." The disorder is indicated by at least five of the following: ..."
Big Think

Donald Trump was born in 1946. 34 years later, in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the American Psychiatric Association's hefty volume of mental disorder classifications, the term "Narcissistic Personality Disorder" (NPD) first appeared as a diagnosable disease – Trump would doubtless say it was created in his honor (characteristic #1 of NPD: An exaggerated sense of self-importance). After all, the newly-minted personality disorder made its debut only nine years after he took the helm of his father's company… and renamed it from Elizabeth Trump & Son to The Trump Organization.

The most recent DSM, DSM-IV, is currently under extensive revision, with DSM-V scheduled for publication sometime in 2013, and both its listed diseases and their definitions are undergoing extensive scrutiny and contentious debate. On the chopping block are five of the ten or so so-called personality disorders, including NPD. Among the reasons for the cut are the frequent overlap between disorders, the general lack of stability of symptoms, and the range of those symptoms in reality, as compared to the either/or approach of the manual (either you have a disorder or you don't). So, before NPD becomes a thing of the past, at least in its current form, I thought we'd take a moment to reflect on some less than artful choices – or the things that make Trump look like he just stepped out of the fourth edition, symptom by symptom.

A caveat: I am obviously exaggerating, both Trump and narcissism. But debate on personality disorders, classifications, diagnoses, and treatments is well worthwhile, and a colorful spokesperson never hurts.

So, without further ado, Trump's quotable illustration of the hallmarks of NPD, defined according to DSM-IV as, "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy." The disorder is indicated by at least five of the following:

1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

A sense of one's own importance, a grandiose feeling that one is alone responsible for any achievement is a hallmark of the narcissist. Grandiosity is one of the central tenets of a narcissistic personality. Narcissists tend to take credit for everything, as if no one else contributed to the end product. Witness Trump's declaration that, "When people see the beautiful marble in Trump Tower, they usually have no idea what I went through personally to achieve the end result. No one cares about the blood, sweat, and tears that art or beauty require." What do you know: not only is Trump a developer and an artistic visionary, but he seems to be a stellar architect and construction worker as well.

And history will agree (naturally). "Anyone who thinks my story is anywhere near over is sadly mistaken," says Trump. Sadly, indeed.

2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love How many presidential runs does it take for the process to be defined as a preoccupation rather than an occupation?

I'd leave it at that, except for the existence of this little gem: "My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body." Not only all-powerful, but all-beautiful, too. The man has it all.

3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions) To narcissists, the "little people" or anyone beneath them (which is mostly everyone) don't matter. Trump's lambasting of Rosie O'Donnell is a good case in point: "Rosie O'Donnell called me a snake oil salesman. And, you know, coming from Rosie, that's pretty low because when you look at her and when you see the mind, the mind is weak. I don't see it. I don't get it. I never understood – how does she even get on television?"

Clearly, Rosie lacks the power to understand the dazzling intellect that is Donald Trump. Trump needs someone of equal status to appreciate his immensity. But it can't be Larry King, because as he told King, "Do you mind if I sit back a little? Because your breath is very bad. It really is. Has this been told to you before?"

4. Requires excessive admiration No matter the sincerity, as long as the praise comes frequently and at a high enough volume. Says Trump, "All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That's to be expected." Clearly. Admired, wherever he may go, even when he's talking about himself in the third person, as in, "Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money."

As he puts it, "Nobody but a total masochist wants to be criticized."

5. Has a sense of entitlement The world owes the narcissist everything; he, in turn, owes it nothing. I think Trump's attitude can be summed up with this approach to marriage: "I wish I'd had a great marriage. See, my father was always very proud of me, but the one thing he got right was that he had a great marriage. He was married for 64 years. One of my ex-wives once said to me, 'You have to work at a marriage.' And I said, 'That's the most ridiculous thing.'"

6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends I don't have a quote for this one, but perhaps we can talk to one of his ex-wives.

7. Lacks empathy Narcissists don't sympathize with the feelings of others. Who are these "others," anyway? No one matters except for me. I won't recreate the Rosie rampage in full, but sentiments like, "I'll sue her because it would be fun. I'd like to take some money out of her fat ass pockets," capture the spirit.

8. Is often envious of others or believes others to be envious of him Here, it seems like Trump is dominated by the second sentiment, the expectation that everyone is envious of his success. Everyone wants to be Trump. As he puts it, "The old rich may look down their noses at me, but I think they kiss my ass."

9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes Again, other people don't matter. They can be treated like nothing, because who are we kidding – nothing is the closest description of what they are.

Clients don't matter. As Trump puts it, "When I build something for somebody, I always add $50 million or $60 million onto the price. My guys come in, they say it's going to cost $75 million. I say it's going to cost $125 million, and I build it for $100 million. Basically, I did a lousy job. But they think I did a great job." Take them for the suckers they are; that's the ticket.

The media doesn't matter. According to Trump, "You know, it really doesn't matter what (the media) write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass." The piece of ass doesn't matter, either; any will do.

Other businesses don't matter. As Trump says, "If you want to buy something, it's obviously in your best interest to convince the seller that what he's got isn't worth very much."

But it's ok. Trump doesn't have to be nice. After all, it's not like he wants to run for office or anything: "I'm not running for office. I don't have to be politically correct. I don't have to be a nice person. Like I watch some of these weak-kneed politicians, it's disgusting. I don't have to be that way."

Too bad. We need a good candidate. Because according to Trump, "One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don't go into government."

[May 18, 2016] Barack Obama – Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?

Notable quotes:
"... Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth. ..."
"... Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap"). ..."
"... An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests". ..."
"... Subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions, views, opinions, and "ideals" (e.g., about campaign finance, re-districting). These flip-flops do not cause him overt distress and are ego-syntonic (he feels justified in acting this way). Alternatively, reuses to commit to a standpoint and, in the process, evidences a lack of empathy. ..."
"... Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). ..."
"... Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct. ..."
"... When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on. ..."
"... The narcissist instantly idealizes or devalues his interlocutor. This depends on how the narcissist appraises the potential his converser has as a Narcissistic Supply Source. The narcissist flatters, adores, admires and applauds the "target" in an embarrassingly exaggerated and profuse manner or sulks, abuses, and humiliates her. ..."
"... In general, the narcissist always prefers show-off to substance. One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to delve deeper. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack of all trades. The narcissist never admits to ignorance in any field yet, typically, he is ignorant of them all. It is surprisingly easy to penetrate the gloss and the veneer of the narcissist's self-proclaimed omniscience. ..."
"... In general, the narcissist is very impatient, easily bored, with strong attention deficits unless and until he is the topic of discussion. One can publicly dissect all aspects of the intimate life of a narcissist without repercussions, providing the discourse is not "emotionally tinted". ..."
lettingfreedomring.com
Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist . Granted, only a qualified mental health diagnostician (which I am not) can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews. But, in the absence of access to Barack Obama, one has to rely on his overt performance and on testimonies by his closest, nearest and dearest.

Narcissistic leaders are nefarious and their effects pernicious. They are subtle, refined, socially-adept, manipulative, possessed of thespian skills, and convincing. Both types equally lack empathy and are ruthless and relentless or driven.

Perhaps it is time to require each candidate to high office in the USA to submit to a rigorous physical and mental checkup with the results made public.

I. Upbringing and Childhood

Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then, his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia : a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995.

Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence. The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial: the perpetrators could be dysfunctional or absent parents, teachers, other adults, or peers.

II. Behavior Patterns

The narcissist:

Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth.

Perhaps the most immediately evident trait of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is their vulnerability to criticism and disagreement. Subject to negative input, real or imagined, even to a mild rebuke, a constructive suggestion, or an offer to help, they feel injured, humiliated and empty and they react with disdain (devaluation), rage, and defiance.

From my book "Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited":

"To avoid such intolerable pain, some patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) socially withdraw and feign false modesty and humility to mask their underlying grandiosity . Dysthymic and depressive disorders are common reactions to isolation and feelings of shame and inadequacy."

Due to their lack of empathy, disregard for others, exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, and constant need for attention (narcissistic supply), narcissists are rarely able to maintain functional and healthy interpersonal relationships.

Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap").

An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests".

Another crucial division within the ranks of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is between the classic variety (those who meet five of the nine diagnostic criteria included in the DSM), and the compensatory kind (their narcissism compensates for deep-set feelings of inferiority and lack of self-worth).
Obama displays the following behaviors, which are among the hallmarks of pathological narcissism:

III. Body Language

Many complain of the incredible deceptive powers of the narcissist. They find themselves involved with narcissists (emotionally, in business, or otherwise) before they have a chance to discover their true character. Shocked by the later revelation, they mourn their inability to separate from the narcissist and their gullibility.

Narcissists are an elusive breed, hard to spot, harder to pinpoint, impossible to capture. Even an experienced mental health diagnostician with unmitigated access to the record and to the person examined would find it fiendishly difficult to determine with any degree of certainty whether someone suffers from a full fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder or merely possesses narcissistic traits, a narcissistic style, a personality structure ("character"), or a narcissistic "overlay" superimposed on another mental health problem.

Moreover, it is important to distinguish between traits and behavior patterns that are independent of the patient's cultural-social context (i.e., which are inherent, or idiosyncratic) and reactive patterns, or conformity to cultural and social morals and norms. Reactions to severe life crises or circumstances are also often characterized by transient pathological narcissism, for instance (Ronningstam and Gunderson, 1996). But such reactions do not a narcissist make.

When a person belongs to a society or culture that has often been described as narcissistic by scholars (such as Theodore Millon) and social thinkers (e.g., Christopher Lasch) how much of his behavior can be attributed to his milieu and which of his traits are really his?

The Narcissistic Personality Disorder is rigorously defined in the DSM IV-TR with a set of strict criteria and differential diagnoses.

Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). It is considered pathological in the clinical sense only when it becomes a rigid personality structure replete with a series of primitive defence mechanisms (such as splitting, projection, projective identification, or intellectualization) and when it leads to dysfunctions in one or more areas of the patient's life.

Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct.

When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on.

But the narcissist does emit subtle, almost subliminal, signals ("presenting symptoms") even in a first or casual encounter. Compare the following list to Barack Obama's body language during his public appearances.

These are:

IV. Narcissistic and psychopathic Leaders

The narcissistic or psychopathic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.

The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and this is further exacerbated by the trappings of power. The narcissist's grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience are supported by real life authority and the narcissist's predilection to surround himself with obsequious sycophants.

The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

The narcissistic leader fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.

The narcissistic leader is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people – or humanity at large – should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, the narcissistic leader became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman".

But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.

In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural" – or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to as "nature" is not natural at all.

The narcissistic leader invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial – though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols – not about veritable atavism or true conservatism.

In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.

Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism – and the cult's leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.

Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" – against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.

Minorities or "others" – often arbitrarily selected – constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is "wrong". They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are "decadent", they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin … They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally superior), they are everywhere, they are defenceless, they are credulous, they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy.

This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm – together with Stalin – as a malignant narcissist. He was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.

The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime – the narcissistic leader having died, been deposed, or voted out of office – it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely-held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. "Earth shattering" and "revolutionary" scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem.

It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of the narcissist. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform with the narcissistic narrative.

Thus, a narcissist who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite – is highly unlikely to use violence at first.

The pacific mask crumbles when the narcissist has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, the prime sources of his narcissistic supply – have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, the narcissist strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. "The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)", "they don't really know what they are doing", "following a rude awakening, they will revert to form", etc.

When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail – the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized – is now discarded with contempt and hatred.

This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. A narcissistic leader is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc.

The "small people", the "rank and file", the "loyal soldiers" of the narcissist – his flock, his nation, his employees – they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated – is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of the narcissist. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

DISCLAIMER

I am not a mental health professional. Still, I have dedicated the last 12 years to the study of personality disorders in general and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in particular. I have authored nine (9) books about these topics, one of which is a Barnes and Noble best-seller ("Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"). My work is widely cited in scholarly tomes and publications and in the media. My books and the content of my Web site are based on correspondence since 1996 with hundreds of people suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (narcissists) and with thousands of their family members, friends, therapists, and colleagues.

[May 18, 2016] 10 Signs That Youre in a Relationship with a Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... the narcissist is someone who has "buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self." ..."
"... In our highly individualistic and externally driven society, mild to severe forms of narcissism are not only pervasive but often encouraged. ..."
"... It is more accurate to characterize the pathological narcissist as someone who's in love with an idealized self-image , which they project in order to avoid feeling (and being seen as) the real, disenfranchised, wounded self. Deep down, most pathological narcissists feel like the "ugly duckling," even if they painfully don't want to admit it. ..."
"... Some narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, believing that others cannot live or survive without his or her magnificent contributions. ..."
"... "Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others" - Paramhansa Yogananda ..."
"... Making decisions for others to suit one's own needs. The narcissist may use his or her romantic partner, child, friend, or colleague to meet unreasonable self-serving needs, fulfill unrealized dreams , or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws. ..."
www.psychologytoday.com

Be on the lookout for these, before you get manipulated.

"That's enough of me talking about myself; let's hear you talk about me"

― Anonymous

"It's not easy being superior to everyone I know."

― Anonymous

Psychologist Stephen Johnson writes that the narcissist is someone who has "buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self." This alternate persona to the real self often comes across as grandiose, "above others," self-absorbed, and highly conceited. In our highly individualistic and externally driven society, mild to severe forms of narcissism are not only pervasive but often encouraged.

Narcissism is often interpreted in popular culture as a person who's in love with him or herself. It is more accurate to characterize the pathological narcissist as someone who's in love with an idealized self-image , which they project in order to avoid feeling (and being seen as) the real, disenfranchised, wounded self. Deep down, most pathological narcissists feel like the "ugly duckling," even if they painfully don't want to admit it.

How do you know when you're dealing with a narcissist? The following are some telltale signs, excerpted from my book (click on title): " How to Successfully Handle Narcissists (link is external) ". While most of us are guilty of some of the following behaviors at one time or another, a pathological narcissist tends to dwell habitually in several of the following personas, while remaining largely unaware of (or unconcerned with) how his or her actions affect others.

1. Conversation Hoarder . The narcissist loves to talk about him or herself, and doesn't give you a chance to take part in a two-way conversation. You struggle to have your views and feelings heard. When you do get a word in, if it's not in agreement with the narcissist, your comments are likely to be corrected, dismissed, or ignored. As in: "My father's favorite responses to my views were: 'but…,' 'actually…,' and 'there's more to it than this…' He always has to feel like he knows better." ― Anonymous

2. Conversation Interrupter. While many people have the poor communication habit of interrupting others, the narcissist interrupts and quickly switches the focus back to herself. He shows little genuine interest in you.

3. Rule Breaker. The narcissist enjoys getting away with violating rules and social norms, such as cutting in line, chronic under-tipping, stealing office supplies, breaking multiple appointments, or disobeying traffic laws. As in: "I take pride in persuading people to give me exceptions to their rules" ― Anonymous

4. Boundary Violator. Shows wanton disregard for other people's thoughts, feelings, possessions, and physical space. Oversteps and uses others without consideration or sensitivity. Borrows items or money without returning. Breaks promises and obligations repeatedly. Shows little remorse and blames the victim for one's own lack of respect. As in: "It's your fault that I forgot because you didn't remind me"― Anonymous

5. False Image Projection. Many narcissists like to do things to impress others by making themselves look good externally. This "trophy" complex can exhibit itself physically, romantically, sexually, socially, religiously, financially, materially, professionally, academically, or culturally. In these situations, the narcissist uses people, objects, status, and/or accomplishments to represent the self, substituting for the perceived, inadequate "real" self. These grandstanding "merit badges" are often exaggerated. The underlying message of this type of display is: "I'm better than you!" or "Look at how special I am-I'm worthy of everyone's love, admiration, and acceptance!" as in: "I dyed my hair blond and enlarged my breasts to get men's attention-and to make other women jealous " - Anonymous. Or "My accomplishments are everything" ― Anonymous executive Or "I never want to be looked upon as poor. My fiancé and I each drive a Mercedes. The best man at our upcoming wedding also drives a Mercedes." ― Anonymous.

In a big way, these external symbols become pivotal parts of the narcissist's false identity, replacing the real and injured self.

6. Entitlement. Narcissists often expect preferential treatment from others. They expect others to cater (often instantly) to their needs, without being considerate in return. In their mindset, the world revolves around them.

7. Charmer. Narcissists can be very charismatic and persuasive. When they're interested in you (for their own gratification), they make you feel very special and wanted. However, once they lose interest in you (most likely after they've gotten what they want, or became bored), they may drop you without a second thought. A narcissist can be very engaging and sociable, as long as you're fulfilling what she desires, and giving her all of your attention.

8. Grandiose Personality. Thinking of oneself as a hero or heroine, a prince or princess, or one of a kind special person. Some narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, believing that others cannot live or survive without his or her magnificent contributions. As in: "I'm looking for a man who will treat my daughter and me like princesses" ― Anonymous singles ad. Or: "Once again I saved the day-without me, they're nothing" ― Anonymous

9. Negative Emotions. Many narcissists enjoy spreading and arousing negative emotions to gain attention, feel powerful, and keep you insecure and off-balance. They are easily upset at any real or perceived slights or inattentiveness. They may throw a tantrum if you disagree with their views, or fail to meet their expectations. They are extremely sensitive to criticism, and typically respond with heated argument (fight) or cold detachment (flight). On the other hand, narcissists are often quick to judge, criticize, ridicule, and blame you. Some narcissists are emotionally abusive. By making you feel inferior, they boost their fragile ego, and feel better about themselves. As in: "Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others" - Paramhansa Yogananda

10. Manipulation: Using Others as an Extension of Self. Making decisions for others to suit one's own needs. The narcissist may use his or her romantic partner, child, friend, or colleague to meet unreasonable self-serving needs, fulfill unrealized dreams , or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws. As in: "If my son doesn't grow up to be a professional baseball player, I'll disown him" ― Anonymous father. Or: "Aren't you beautiful? Aren't you beautiful? You're going to be just as pretty as mommy" ― Anonymous mother

Another way narcissists manipulate is through guilt, such as proclaiming, "I've given you so much, and you're so ungrateful," or, "I'm a victim-you must help me or you're not a good person." They hijack your emotions, and beguile you to make unreasonable sacrifices.

If you find yourself in a relationship with a difficult narcissist, there are many strategies and skills you can utilize to help restore health , balance, and respect. In my book (click on title): " How to Successfully Handle Narcissists (link is external) ," you'll learn how to maintain composure, ways to be proactive instead of reactive, seven powerful strategies to handle narcissists, eight ways to say "no" diplomatically but firmly, keys to negotiate successfully with narcissists, and seven types of power you can utilize to compel cooperation .

For more on dealing with difficult people, see my publications (click on titles):

Follow me on Twitter (link is external) , Facebook (link is external) , and LinkedIn (link is external) !

Preston Ni, M.S.B.A. is available as a presenter, workshop facilitator, and private coach. For more information, write to commsuccess@nipreston.com (link sends e-mail) , or visit www.nipreston.com (link is external) .



Old News ;-)

4 Warning Signs You're Dating a Narcissist World of Psychology

That is what a relationship with a narcissist is like. In the beginning there's flash and excitement. Their presence is magnetic and he or she seems larger than life. They are intelligent, charming, and popular, and when they're the center of attention, some of the spotlight shines on you, too, leaving you glowing with pride, importance, and accomplishment. Yet after a while, you discover that under the surface the relationship is hollow. Soon, the excitement and status wear thin.

This is because a true narcissist lacks inner qualities necessary for a healthy bond: empathic perspective-taking, a moral conscience, stable confidence, and the ability to be intimate and genuine with another human being. Being in a relationship with a narcissist (especially if you don't realize they are one) can leave you feeling worthless, emotionally exhausted, and unfulfilled.

So how can you know if you are in this kind of "hollow chocolate bunny" relationship before it crashes and burns in heartache? Do you have to wait until your relationship sours to find out? Not necessarily. Spotting the signs early means being able to avoid getting entangled in a narcissist's web, and could spare you from doing the challenging, messy work of digging yourself out later.

Here's a few signs to look for in your partner, which may signal that the person you are dating has narcissistic tendencies, and the negative effects those behaviors can have on you:

1. He poses as "The Most Interesting Man in the World."

A narcissist may initially intrigue you with his or her apparent confidence, swagger, or audacity, regaling you with stories about accomplishments, rubbing elbows with influential people, or their innumerable talents and gifts. He or she may seem fun and magnetic, always the center of attention and the life of the party, but this may actually be a facade - a ploy to satisfy the narcissist's pathological need for praise and reassurance. You may come to find out that the stories are exaggerated (or altogether false), their confidence is artificial and fragile, and his or her need for attention may trump good judgment or others' needs.

2. You feel talked down to.

Because narcissists deeply lack self-esteem, almost everything else in their lives is orchestrated to hide their weaknesses and give them a temporary sense of power and success. This can take the form of subtle insults that cause you to question your worth, such as a dismissive sneer when you make an observation, a condescending "that's nice" when you share an accomplishment you're proud of, or demeaning comments about your behavior or appearance.

When you look to a partner who is a narcissist, it can feel like you're looking into a funhouse mirror and getting back a distorted view of yourself. Your flaws seem to be highlighted and your strengths diminished - a careful ruse constructed to ensure the narcissist holds themselves in a more flattering light.

3. She acts like the victim.

Narcissism also is characterized by extreme self-centeredness. Anything that is outside the narcissist's experience or that contradicts his or her beliefs is wrong, foolish, or crazy. For this reason, a conflict with a narcissist is almost certain to end with all the blame being directed to you. This, combined with the funhouse mirror effect, can make even minor arguments emotionally exhausting.

Nothing you say can convince the narcissist that you're not making intentional and irrational attacks against him or her. In the narcissist's eyes, you're somehow responsible for their sadness, anger, or even immoral behavior.

4. Your relationship feels one-sided and shallow.

When it's time to move from casual to committed, this is where the "hollow chocolate bunny" effect of narcissism really shows through. A relationship with a narcissist is unlikely ever to reach greater depths of sharing, emotion, and intimacy.

A narcissist is likely to spend time with you when it suits his or her emotional, physical, or sexual needs, and dismiss or ignore your needs, desires, and preferences. Your time together is likely to be marked by a lack of genuine interest in anything other than him- or herself. For example, you could get late-night calls when he or she is distraught, excited, or wants something but similar calls from you may not even be answered. Attempts to share your deeper thoughts, beliefs, or feelings may be given lip service, ignored, or dismissed.

If these seem to describe your current relationship, don't panic. In fact, seize the opportunity to reflect and evaluate your twosome. These red flags may help shed light on the dysfunction you're bearing and guide you away from further pain. If you want to make things work, there are ways to cope with dating or living with a narcissist, including developing conflict-resolution skills and bolstering your own confidence and self-esteem to shield you against narcissistic attacks.

Ultimately, knowledge is power. Being aware of signs of narcissism (and some of the problems that can arise from dating a narcissist) allows you to be prepared and to make informed decisions about the relationship.

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Dr. Craig Malkin | Posted 07.30.2013 | Women

Read More: Attachment, Narcissism, Insecurity, Relationships, Emotional Intelligence, Tina Swithin, Narcissist, Video, Healthy Relationships, Unhealthy Relationships, Dating a Narcissist, Narcissists, Women News


The most glaring problems are easy to spot -- but if you get too hung up on the obvious traits, you can easily miss the subtle (and often more common) features that allow a narcissist to sneak into your life and wreak havoc.

[May 18, 2016] Obamas Malignant Narcissism

www.americanthinker.com
Here's a partial checklist . You decide.

1. "Common to malignant narcissism is narcissistic rage . Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury (when the narcissist feels degraded by another person, typically in the form of criticism )."
2. "When the narcissist's grandiose sense of self-worth is perceived as being attacked by another person, the narcissist's natural reaction is to rage and pull down the self-worth of others (to make the narcissist feel superior to others). It is an attempt by the narcissist to soothe their internal pain and hostility, while at the same time rebuilding their self worth."
3. "Narcissistic rage also occurs when the narcissist perceives that he/she is being prevented from accomplishing their grandiose fantasies."
4. "Because the narcissist derives pleasure from the fulfillment of their grandiose dreams (akin to an addiction), anyone standing between the narcissist and their (wish) fulfillment ... may be subject to narcissistic rage. Narcissistic rage will frequently include yelling and berating of the person that has slighted the narcissist, but if strong enough could provoke more hostile feelings."
5. "Individuals with malignant narcissism will display a two faced personality. Creation of a 'false self' is linked to the narcissist's fear of being inadequate or inferior to others and this mask becomes ingrained into their personality so as to project a sense of superiority to others at all times."
6. "The narcissist gains a sense of esteem from the feedback of other people as it is common for the malignant narcissist to suffer from extremely low levels of self-esteem."
7. "The ... false self of the malignant narcissist is created because the real self doesn't meet his or her own expectations. Instead, the narcissist tends to mimic emotional displays of other people and creates a grandiose self to harbor their internalized fantasies of greatness."
8. "The [false self] is used by the narcissist to present to the outside world what appears to be a normal, functioning human being and to help maintain his or her own fantasies of an idealized self. The narcissist constantly builds upon this false self, creating a fictional character that is used to show off to the world and to help them feed off the emotions of other people."
There's ongoing debate about "malignant narcissism" as a diagnosis, and some people prefer to use the standard DSM-IV version . It doesn't make much difference in this case.

... ... ...

It's possible that Obama may be a "fanatic type" of narcissist. That could mean a world of trouble for the Democrats, for the nation, and given his position in the world, for other countries as well.
Here is Theodore Millon's definition of the fanatic type:
fanatic type - including paranoid features. A severely narcissistically wounded individual, usually with major paranoid tendencies who holds onto an illusion of omnipotence. These people are fighting the reality of their insignificance and lost value and are trying to re-establish their self-esteem through grandiose fantasies and self-reinforcement. When unable to gain recognition of support from others, they take on the role of a heroic or worshipped person with a grandiose mission.

[May 18, 2016] Can Narcissists Change

Notable quotes:
"... Trait labels like narcissist, or the admittedly less stigmatizing ones like extrovert and introvert, merely provide a shorthand description. They're a stand-in for "this person scored high on a trait measure of narcissism or extroversion or introversion." They can never hope to capture the whole person. ..."
"... For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . ..."
"... For more on emotional intelligence, click here . ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com

The author is a Clinical Psychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School

At the end of May 2013, I wrote an article titled "5 Early Warning Signs You're With a Narcissist." It sparked a number of rich conversations through comments, emails, Facebook and Twitter . Not surprisingly, the vast majority of reactions came from people who feared they were currently in a relationship with a narcissist. Nevertheless, some of them - often among the most heartfelt and desperate of messages - came from people who'd either been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), or felt convinced they met criteria for the diagnosis. From both sides, the same question surfaced again and again: Is there hope for those with NPD and the people who love them? Is there anything we can do if we see early warning signs or actual diagnostic criteria besides end the relationship? As simple as they might seem on the surface, questions like these resonate with some of the deepest concerns in psychology. Can we change our personalities? More to the point, can people who meet criteria for personality disorders open themselves up to new and better experiences in relationships and in the world? I'm going to go on record as saying, yes, I do believe it's possible for people to change, even if they've been diagnosed with something as deeply entrenched and formidable as a personality disorder.

Trait labels like narcissist, or the admittedly less stigmatizing ones like extrovert and introvert, merely provide a shorthand description. They're a stand-in for "this person scored high on a trait measure of narcissism or extroversion or introversion." They can never hope to capture the whole person. (Bear in mind that even Jung, who introduced the latter concepts, firmly believed we all possess both an introvert and an extrovert side , regardless of how much we tend to one side or the other.) Nevertheless, when they become diagnostic labels, like "narcissist" or "Narcissistic Personality Disorder," these stark descriptions imply something that goes far beyond a tendency or a style - they suggest permanence and a set of stable enduring features. I have more hope than this. I believe that rather than simply being "who we are," our personalities are also patterns of interaction. That is, personality, whether disordered or not , has as much to do with how (and with whom) we interact as it does with our genes and wired-in temperament.

So what pattern does the narcissist follow? Many have suggested that NPD emerges from an environment in which vulnerability comes to feel dangerous, representing, at worst, either a grave defect, or at best, a stubborn barrier to becoming a worthwhile human being - that's simplifying a great deal of research and theory, but it's a workable summary - hence the correlation between NPD and insecure attachment styles , in which fears of depending on anyone at all engender constant attempts to control the relationship or avoid intimacy altogether. If you devote yourself to directing interactions or holding people at arms length, it's a lot harder to become vulnerable (needless to say, the "safety" is largely an illusion). People with NPD have learned to ignore, suppress, deny, project and disavow their vulnerabilities (or at least try) in their attempts to shape and reshape "who they are" in their interactions. Change - allowing the vulnerability back in - means opening up to the very feelings they've learned to avoid at all costs. It's not that people with NPD can't change, it's that it often threatens their sense of personhood to try. And their failed relationships often confirm, in their minds, that narcissism is the safest way to live. Put another way, narcissists can't be narcissistic in a vacuum. They need the right audience in order to feel like a star, for example, so they often cultivate relationships with people who stick around for the show, instead of the person. Over time, as their perfect façade starts to slip, their constant fear that people will find them lacking becomes a horrifying reality. The very people who stuck around for the show lose interest when it ends - which merely convinces the narcissist they need to hide their flaws and put on a better show. Alternatively, even when they fall for someone who could be more than just an adoring fan - someone who offers the hope of a more authentic, enduring love - narcissists still live with the paralyzing fear they'll somehow be deemed unworthy. Their terror is frequently out of awareness, and nearly always managed with bravado and blame, but it's profound and palpable. Sadly, their anger at having their mistakes and missteps exposed ultimately alienates their loved ones, and the demise of yet another relationship prompts them to redouble their efforts to avoid vulnerability - in short, it pushes them towards more narcissism.

The sad irony of the narcissistic condition is that, in an effort to protect themselves, narcissists inevitably invite the very rejection and abandonment they fear in the first place. The key then, to interacting with someone you suspect is narcissistic, is to break the vicious circle - to gently thwart their frantic efforts to control, distance, defend or blame in the relationship by sending the message that you're more than willing to connect with them, but not on these terms - to invite them into a version of intimacy where they can be loved and admired, warts and all - if they only allow the experience to happen. As a therapist, I've seen firsthand that changing relational patterns often transforms even the most inflexible "trait" into something softer, gentler - not a fixed feature, but a protection that eventually yields to touch and intimacy in all the ways one would hope. Narcissism is a way of relating. Not everyone can shift into a more flexible form of intimacy, but some can, and in the next post, I plan to share steps you can take to help you decide whether or not the person you're with is capable of seeing themselves - and you - through a less-constricting lens than the narcissistic worldview. If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . For more on emotional intelligence, click here .

[May 18, 2016] 5 Early Warning Signs Youre With a Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... Feelings are a natural consequence of being human, and we tend to have lots of them in the course of normal interactions. But the very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure. Narcissists abhor feeling influenced in any significant way. It challenges their sense of perfect autonomy; to admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them. So they often change the subject when feelings come up, especially their own, and as quick as they might be to anger, it's often like pulling teeth to get them to admit that they've reached the boiling point - even when they're in the midst of the most terrifying tirade. ..."
"... If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . ..."
"... For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com

Dr. Craig Malkin , Author, Clinical Psychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School

At the beginning of April this year, I was tapped by the Huffington Post Live team for a discussion on narcissism . I happily agreed to appear, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that narcissism happens to be one of my favorite subjects. Early in my training, I had the pleasure of working with one of the foremost authorities on narcissism in our field, and in part because of that experience, I went on to work with quite a few clients who'd been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder . That's where I learned that the formal diagnostic label hardly does justice to the richness and complexity of this condition. The most glaring problems are easy to spot - the apparent absence of even a shred of empathy, the grandiose plans and posturing, the rage at being called out on the slightest of imperfections or normal human missteps - but if you get too hung up on the obvious traits, you can easily miss the subtle (and often more common) features that allow a narcissist to sneak into your life and wreak havoc. Just ask Tina Swithin , who went on to write a book about surviving her experience with a man who clearly meets criteria for NPD (and very likely, a few other diagnoses). To her lovestruck eyes, her soon-to-be husband seemed more like a prince charming than the callous, deceitful spendthrift he later proved to be. Looking back, Tina explains, there were signs of trouble from the start, but they were far from obvious at the time. In real life, the most dangerous villains rarely advertise their malevolence. So what are we to do? How do we protect ourselves from narcissists if they're so adept at slipping into our lives unnoticed? I shared some of my answers to that question in our conversation, and I encourage you to watch it. But there were a few I didn't get to, and others I didn't have the chance to describe in depth, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to revisit the topic here. Tread carefully if you catch a glimpse of any of these subtler signs:

1) Projected Feelings of Insecurity: I don't mean that narcissists see insecurity everywhere. I'm talking about a different kind of projection altogether, akin to playing hot potato with a sense of smallness and deficiency. Narcissists say and do things, subtle or obvious, that make you feel less smart, less accomplished, less competent. It's as if they're saying, "I don't want to feel this insecure and small; here, you take the feelings." Picture the boss who questions your methods after their own decision derails an important project, the date who frequently claims not to understand what you've said, even when you've been perfectly clear, or the friend who always damns you with faint praise ("Pretty good job this time!"). Remember the saying: "Don't knock your neighbor's porch light out to make yours shine brighter." Well, the narcissist loves to knock out your lights to seem brighter by comparison.

2) Emotion-phobia: Feelings are a natural consequence of being human, and we tend to have lots of them in the course of normal interactions. But the very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure. Narcissists abhor feeling influenced in any significant way. It challenges their sense of perfect autonomy; to admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them. So they often change the subject when feelings come up, especially their own, and as quick as they might be to anger, it's often like pulling teeth to get them to admit that they've reached the boiling point - even when they're in the midst of the most terrifying tirade.

3) A Fragmented Family Story: Narcissism seems to be born of neglect and abuse, both of which are notorious for creating an insecure attachment style (for more on attachment, see here and here ). But the very fact that narcissists, for all their posturing, are deeply insecure, also gives us an easy way to spot them. Insecurely attached people can't talk coherently about their family and childhood; their early memories are confused, contradictory, and riddled with gaps. Narcissists often give themselves away precisely because their childhood story makes no sense, and the most common myth they carry around is the perfect family story. If your date sings their praises for their exalted family but the reasons for their panegyric seem vague or discursive, look out. The devil is in the details, as they say - and very likely, that's why you're not hearing them.

4) Idol Worship: Another common narcissistic tendency you might be less familiar with is the habit of putting people on pedestals. The logic goes a bit like this: "If I find someone perfect to be close to, maybe some of their perfection will rub off on me, and I'll become perfect by association." The fact that no one can be perfect is usually lost on the idol-worshipping narcissist - at least until they discover, as they inevitably do, that their idol has clay feet. And stand back once that happens. Few experiences can prepare you for the vitriol of a suddenly disappointed narcissist. Look out for any pressure to conform to an image of perfection, no matter how lovely or magical the compulsive flattery might feel.

5) A High Need for Control: For the same reason narcissists often loathe the subject of feelings, they can't stand to be at the mercy of other people's preferences; it reminds them that they aren't invulnerable or completely independent - that, in fact, they might have to ask for what they want - and even worse, people may not feel like meeting the request. Rather than express needs or preferences themselves, they often arrange events (and maneuver people) to orchestrate the outcomes they desire. In the extreme form, this can manifest as abusive, controlling behaviors. (Think of the man who berates his wife when dinner isn't ready as soon as he comes home. He lashes out precisely because at that very moment, he's forced to acknowledge that he depends on his wife, something he'd rather avoid.) But as with most of these red flags, the efforts at control are often far subtler than outright abuse. Be on the look out for anyone who leaves you feeling nervous about approaching certain topics or sharing your own preferences. Narcissists have a way of making choices feel off-limits without expressing any anger at all - a disapproving wince, a last-minute call to preempt the plans, chronic lateness whenever you're in charge of arranging a night together. It's more like a war of attrition on your will than an outright assault on your freedom. None of these signs, in isolation, proves that you're with a narcissist. But if you see a lot of them, it's best to sit up and take notice. They're all way of dodging vulnerability, and that's a narcissist's favorite tactic.

If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here .

[May 18, 2016] Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist Therapists Weigh In!

Notable quotes:
"... As Dr. Robert Klitzman, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master's of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual's mental state without examining him personally and having the patient's consent to make such comments. ..."
"... To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing. ..."
"... Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed. We call it the narcissistic injury. They're uncomfortable with their own limitations. It's not that they're cut out to lie, it's just that they can't handle what's real ..."
"... Most narcissists don't seek treatment unless there's someone threatening to take something away from them. There'd have to be some kind of meaningful consequence for him to come in. ..."
"... They're aware; the problem is, they don't care. They know how you'd like them to act; the problem is, they've got a different set of rules. The kind of approach that can have some impact is confrontational. It confronts distorted thinking and behavior patterns in the here-and-now moment when the narcissists are doing their thing in the session. It's confronted on the spot; you invite them to do something different, then you reinforce them for doing so. ..."
www.vanityfair.com

Vanity Fair

As his presidential campaign trundles forward, millions of sane Americans are wondering: What exactly is wrong with this strange individual? Now, we have an answer.

For mental-health professionals, Donald Trump is at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. "Remarkably narcissistic," said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. "Textbook narcissistic personality disorder," echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. "He's so classic that I'm archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there's no better example of his characteristics," said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. "Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He's like a dream come true."

That mental-health professionals are even willing to talk about Trump in the first place may attest to their deep concern about a Trump presidency. As Dr. Robert Klitzman, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master's of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual's mental state without examining him personally and having the patient's consent to make such comments. This so-called Goldwater rule arose after the publication of a 1964 Fact magazine article in which psychiatrists were polled about Senator Barry Goldwater's fitness to be president. Senator Goldwater brought a $2 million suit against the magazine and its publisher; the Supreme Court awarded him $1 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages.

But you don't need to have met Donald Trump to feel like you know him; even the smallest exposure can make you feel like you've just crossed a large body of water in a small boat with him. Indeed, though narcissistic personality disorder was removed from the most recent issue of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, for somewhat arcane reasons, the traits that have defined the disorder in the past-grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one's superiority; a lack of empathy-are writ large in Mr. Trump's behavior.

"He's very easy to diagnose," said psychotherapist Charlotte Prozan. "In the first debate, he talked over people and was domineering. He'll do anything to demean others, like tell Carly Fiorina he doesn't like her looks. 'You're fired!' would certainly come under lack of empathy. And he wants to deport immigrants, but [two of] his wives have been immigrants." Michaelis took a slightly different twist on Trump's desire to deport immigrants: "This man is known for his golf courses, but, with due respect, who does he think works on these golf courses?"

Mr. Trump's bullying nature-taunting Senator John McCain for being captured in Vietnam, or saying Jeb Bush has "low energy"-is in keeping with the narcissistic profile. "In the field we use clusters of personality disorders," Michaelis said. "Narcissism is in cluster B, which means it has similarities with histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. There are similarities between them. Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, the man served-and suffered. Narcissism is an extreme defense against one's own feelings of worthlessness. To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing."

What of Trump's tendency to position himself as a possible savior to the economy despite the fact that four of his companies have declared bankruptcy? "It's mind-boggling to me that that's not the story," said Michaelis. "This man has been given more than anyone could ever hope for," he added, referring to the fact that Trump is not wholly self-made, "yet he's failed miserably time and time again." Licensed clinical social worker Wendy Terrie Behary, the author of Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed, said,

"Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed. We call it the narcissistic injury. They're uncomfortable with their own limitations. It's not that they're cut out to lie, it's just that they can't handle what's real."

Indeed, the need to protect or exalt the self is at odds with the job requirements of a president. Michaelis said, "He's applying for the greatest job in the land, the greatest task of which is to serve, but there's nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He's only serving himself." As Prozan sees it, "He keeps saying he could negotiate with Putin because he's good at deals. But diplomacy involves a back and forth between equals." Dr. Klitzman added, "I have never met Donald Trump and so cannot comment on his psychological state. However, I think that, in general, many candidates who run for president are driven in large part by ego. I hope that does not preclude their motivation to govern with the best interests of the public as a whole in mind. Yet for some candidates, that may, alas, be a threat."

Asked what, if Mr. Trump were their patient, they would "work on" with him, several of the therapists laughed. "I'd be shocked if he walked in my door," said Behary. "Most narcissists don't seek treatment unless there's someone threatening to take something away from them. There'd have to be some kind of meaningful consequence for him to come in." Simon concurred but added, "There is help available, but it doesn't look like the help people are used to. It's not insight-oriented psychotherapy, because narcissists already have insight. They're aware; the problem is, they don't care. They know how you'd like them to act; the problem is, they've got a different set of rules. The kind of approach that can have some impact is confrontational. It confronts distorted thinking and behavior patterns in the here-and-now moment when the narcissists are doing their thing in the session. It's confronted on the spot; you invite them to do something different, then you reinforce them for doing so."

But for at least one mental-health professional, the Trump enigma, or should we say non-enigma, is larger than the bluster of the man whose own Web site calls him "the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence"-to this mind-set, Trump may be a kind of bellwether. Mr. Gardner said, "For me, the compelling question is the psychological state of his supporters. They are unable or unwilling to make a connection between the challenges faced by any president and the knowledge and behavior of Donald Trump. In a democracy, that is disastrous."

[May 17, 2016] 6 Warning Signs Youre Dating a Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... By Nancy Kay from DivorcedMoms.com ..."
Jan 17, 2015 | www.huffingtonpost.com

By Nancy Kay from DivorcedMoms.com Could you be dating a narcissist and not even know it? After starting to date again after divorce , I often found myself drawn toward highly successful professional men who are competitive in business and strongly determined to continue to build their own financial empire. Their determined, confident attitudes and visible business successes appealed to my strong desires for security and stability. A recent first date I went on was with this type of guy. My date with a dentist turned into a three-hour marathon of misery for me when he insisted that we sit in a back booth that he had reserved in advance with the hostess by visiting the restaurant the night before and then he told our server that he would leave an extra generous tip if she served our meals at a very leisurely pace. Right away he launched into a one-sided brag fest about how he got elected president of his college fraternity and why he easily scored highest in his graduating class on the dental board exam. He then dropped names of all the famous people he knows who live in our city and then went on to reveal the names of all the famous people his dad knows too. By the time the pasta finally arrived, I wanted to collapse into my plate from sheer boredom and exhaustion. After that mind-numbing experience, I ran to my car and swore off dating for several months. Unfortunately this was just one more very disillusioning date with a narcissistic man . I had already experienced many others. Several times I dated a man exclusively for three to six months, expecting things to become more serious over time, only to have them abruptly break things off with very little explanation or distance themselves with vague excuses about why they couldn't continue to spend time with me. After spending many frustrating weeks trying to figure out how to get each of these men I had dated exclusively to connect with me on an emotional level so that our relationship could continue to grow, I finally discovered that there was a big disconnect between the type of relationship I was expecting to unfold and what these narcissistic men were able to contribute in terms of intimacy, emotional connection and respectful two-way communications. I discovered that I was living on crumbs and pretending it was a whole nutritious meal. Are you dating a narcissist? Here are six warning signs: 1. He is pre-occupied with how things around him appear and how he is perceived by others. He aggressively pursues financial success and is not content with what he already has acquired or achieved. He has a strong craving for admiration, praise and his home, car, clothes and high status are a direct measurement of how successful he appears to others. 2. He exploits or takes advantage of others to get what he wants. Narcissists are highly skilled at using others' talents; taking advantage of their desire to avoid conflicts and their good natured helpfulness as a means to an end to achieve their own goals. 3. He does not appreciate or even see your unique abilities and natural gifts. Highly self-absorbed, narcissists are so driven by how they can use others to benefit themselves that your own individual strengths, abilities and achievements are often ignored or dismissed as inconsequential. 4. He resents authority and despises correction or being told what to do. He is reluctant to accept any blame or criticism and strongly prefers to be in control of things and those around him at all times. Having his faults pointed out to him or even having to admit that he made a mistake can set him off into a fit of rage. 5. Petty arguments often erupt into power struggles. The narcissistic man thrives on being right so disputes are rarely resolved. Mediation and counseling rarely helps to improve communications with a narcissist because this type of person sees themselves as under attack and can't stand for their actions to be subject to the opinions of others and held up to the light. 6. He disregards your healthy needs for attention and affection. Since narcissistic men often lack empathy and the self-examination necessary to create an intimate relationship, you'll often find yourself running on empty. Attempts to get more affection from him often leads to him creating a secret life to run to and evading your questions about what is really happening or not happening in your relationship. If you recognize these signs in a man that you are dating, it is helpful to remember that narcissists have very rigid expectations (especially for themselves) and so this type of man rarely changes his ways. Understanding or experiencing intimacy and love within the context of a balanced and healthy relationship is not on the agenda of a narcissist. Unfortunately, many times we keep trying to change a narcissistic man into who we'd like them to become or the reverse - trying to twist ourselves like pretzels into a perfect version of what he wants instead of cutting our losses. Recognizing the traits of a narcissistic man and realizing how deeply rooted they are is critical so that we can begin taking back control of our own life and start to move forward in a healthier direction.

[May 17, 2016] Are You Dating a Narcissist

www.huffingtonpost.com

< Have you ever had a situation that goes something like this?: You meet someone and it feels like the stars align. This person is so into you and lavishes you with attention, romance and gifts. The relationship moves very quickly and it feels like you have met "the one." Months down the road when things have settled in comfortably, things start to change. The person who used to adore and worship you now fluctuates between needing you desperately and devaluing you. Perhaps as time goes on, the person who you thought cared so much becomes more emotionally unavailable, distant and cruel. The "Jekyll" part of the personality starts to overtake the "Hyde." How did this person who used to be so wonderful and made such an effort to be with you all of the sudden turn out to be so opposite than what you thought? This can leave someone confused, hurt, angry and depressed. If this situation sounds similar to something you have experienced, you may be or may have dated someone with narcissistic tendencies. Here are some of the warning signs:

1. They are madly in love with you right off the bat and the relationship moves very quickly: People with narcissistic tendencies use fantasy like projections when picking a mate. Usually it takes a certain amount of time to fall in love with someone. Sure, you can feel chemistry and a connection with someone but to fall in love with who a person truly is (flaws and all) takes some time. A person with narcissistic tendencies loves the intense feelings and the attention. Sadly, their intense interest in you is more so about them and their needs than it is about you.

2. They fluctuate between adoring you and devaluing you: People with narcissistic tendencies are very hot and cold. They can be mean and critical one second and then sweet and loving the next. This becomes very confusing because you are still seeing glimpses of the wonderful person you first fell in love with but you are also getting to see another side that makes you feel bad about yourself.

3. They have little ability to empathize and everything is on their terms: Someone with narcissistic tendencies doesn't really see things from your world or from your point of view. Everything is about them and what they want. They ignore your needs in the relationship and only focus on getting what they want or what works best for them. They will always be their number one priority and everyone else will always come after that.

4. They cheat, lie or manipulate and don't feel remorse: Narcissists don't really empathize so when they do something to hurt you, they don't really feel remorseful. This can actually be the most hurtful part because it may make you feel like they never cared about you at all. Moving on can be very hard because a lot of people feel that they need closure or apologies that they will never get from narcissistic people.

5. When it's all over, it's like you never mattered: A classic case narcissist mostly uses people for their own gain and has very little emotional connection to those that are in their lives. Because of this, they discard people in their lives very easily. I recently watched an episode of the new HBO show Girls and in this particular episode, one of the characters who had broken up with her serious long-term boyfriend 2 weeks prior now finds he already has a new girlfriend. Shocked that he could move on so quickly from something so serious she exclaims. "you're a sociopath!!" and walks away. Even though she was the one who broke up with him, she is shocked that it feels like their relationship meant nothing to him at the end of the day and that she was easily replaceable. People recovering from narcissistic relationships are often in shock that someone who once claimed to love them so much has moved on so quickly and without any sense of remorse.

How to spot a narcissist:

I always tell my clients to take the time to really get to know the people they are dating before getting too emotionally invested or putting all their eggs in one basket. There are definitely fairy tale stories out there of two people falling madly in love with each other right at the get go and spending their lives happily ever after, but that is generally not the norm. Keep your guard up the more intensely the person is into you and the earlier on it occurs. Past relationship patterns are also very important to look at. As mentioned above, people who are narcissistic are intense very quickly and end up leaving a trail of shattered relationships and people who are left to pick up the pieces (and often need quite a bit of therapy after being in the destructive path of a narcissist). If you get an idea of the dating history of someone and it follows a certain pattern, pay attention to that. Yes, people can change, but past relationship patterns can raise a lot of red flags. The reason people have a hard time of extricating themselves from a narcissistic relationship is because it is hard to get past the fact that someone who used to be so wonderful and loving can turn so cold, hateful and lacking in remorse. These people hang on because of the glimpses they get of the good side and hold out the hope that if they were only "good enough" or "better", or unconditionally accepted and loved this person then they could get the nice and kind person back.

It turns into a vicious cycle and the more you get into a relationship, the harder it is to get out of. Being in a relationship with a narcissist will make you feel crazy and most narcissists actually don't actively leave relationships; they wait to be left first. It can be really hard to get out of a relationship like this and if you have never been in one, it's hard to know how. If someone makes you feel worthless or crazy and you know they are not treating you with respect, or empathizing with you, that might be hard to change. Learning to spot negative patterns early and having the strength to know what you deserve in a relationship is one of the best things to do if you find yourself involved with one of these people.

Recovery after a narcissistic relationship:

Recovery after a narcissistic relationship can be very difficult. Many people are driven to therapy because they have been left completely shattered and fragile after a relationship with a narcissist. The most important thing to remember is that it's not about YOU. This has everything to do with the flaws of the narcissist and their inability to make real, meaningful connections with others. What they have done to you is what they have done and will continue to do in all their relationships unless they recognize this within themselves and get help. The problem is, most narcissistic people never recognize that they need to change. Remember that you deserve a relationship that builds you up, that makes you feel safe, and that brings you happiness and warmth. A person who is narcissistic cannot give this to you, simply because they are not capable of it.

**This article originally appeared on Pamela's Punch

[May 17, 2016] 10 Signs Youre In Love With A Narcopath

Notable quotes:
"... "You're the prettiest. The sexiest. The skinniest. The best mom. The funniest." ..."
"... "You have such a sexy voice. Not too high, nor too low; it's just perfect. My friend Courtney's voice is super high-pitched and she has this weird way of talking through her teeth. Annoying." ..."
"... "You have a great body. I guess I'm used to having more to hug with my ex!" ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com
What do you get when you cross a sociopath with a narcissist? The least funny joke and the worst kind of hybrid: a narcissistic sociopath, narcopath for short. Both a narcissist and sociopath have an inflated sense of how important they are, as well as a constant need for praise and admiration. One commonality between the two is their ability to fool others in order to get what they want, without remorse. But what sets them apart is that a narcopath is unable to handle criticism or be viewed in a negative light, whereas a sociopath couldn't care less who thinks what or how they're perceived. When you hear the word narcopath you may picture a deranged, knife-wielding lunatic - at least that's what I pictured before I met my own. Unfortunately, this couldn't be further from the truth. Narcopaths are boogie men in disguise and wolves in sheep's clothing. Their abuse is sometimes so subtle that you don't see it until the curtain closes and your world is torn apart. Still unsure if you're in a relationship with a narcopath? Here are ten telltale signs that you might be.

1. Things move from zero to one hundred in seconds.

From the beginning, nothing is normal with a narcopath. Things progress at warp speed, hop-scotching over the usual stages of a relationship. Instead of slowly getting to know one another, you go from the first date to planning your future together within weeks of meeting. And when your gut warns you things are moving too fast, you tell it to shut up because you've finally found your soulmate.

2. They're a broken record of compliments.

A narcopath will sweep you off your feet, place you on a pedestal, then worship you from down below. They'll tell you the things you've always wanted to hear, saying them over and over and over again. But listen closely and you'll notice there's not much variation in these love monologues, and their sweet-nothings sound more like a script than anything from the heart. "You're the prettiest. The sexiest. The skinniest. The best mom. The funniest." If everything feels staged and too good to be true, it probably is.

3. They flatter you with comparisons.

There's no period at the end of a compliment. Instead, a narcopath compliments you by comparing you to someone else in their life. In my case, he'd say things like, "You have such a sexy voice. Not too high, nor too low; it's just perfect. My friend Courtney's voice is super high-pitched and she has this weird way of talking through her teeth. Annoying." Or, "You have a great body. I guess I'm used to having more to hug with my ex!" Praising you by putting down others is a huge red flag, not to mention incredibly distasteful. And while it's no doubt flattering to hear these praises, keep in mind that one day they'll be offering them to someone else and using your name to fill the second blank.

4. Your chemistry between the sheets is off the charts.

You've never felt this much passion with anyone else. Pushing all the right buttons in just the right ways, it's like they're reading your mind and its desires. The reason sex is so mind-blowing, at least in the beginning, isn't because they know what to do with their hands; they know what to do with your mind . They'll make you feel like you're the only one who's ever existed to them. Yes, narcopaths are indeed that great - at acting, that is. By mirroring your every emotion they're able to make their own emotions seem genuine and fool you into thinking yours are real.

5. Their eyes are windows to nothingness.

My Narc-in-a-Box would stare at me with such intensity I'd become nervous, fidget, and quickly turn away. Speaking directly into my eyes with a deadpan and unwavering stare, I don't think he blinked once during our four months together. At times his gaze was so piercing that his pupils practically vanished. But sadly, behind all that intensity lied a vast amount of dark nothingness. I turned away from that stare because it made me feel uneasy in all the wrong ways.

6. They always lead the conversation back to themselves.

On the surface, a narcopath seems hyper-focused on you and genuinely interested in learning all there is to know. Yet the moment you begin divulging this information, they quickly interrupt with a story of their own. It's like a revolving door: They ask you a question to gain the opportunity to talk about themselves. They're quick to interject with their thoughts and opinions, and always have a similar experience to share with you. Experiences that, once dissected, are nothing more than sweetly camouflaged one-uppers and indirect ways to let you know that they know better.

7. They have a checkered relationship history.

I've never met anyone with such an odd and storied relationship history. He traveled to Texas after meeting a girl online, then met his ex-wife online, and later flew in another girl he met online (through a quiz website!) all the way from Europe, before finally meeting me online. Narcopaths often leave long trails of broken relationships behind them, but of course they were never the ones responsible for breaking them. And no matter how long ago it ended, they'll claim all their former flames still burn strongly for them from afar.

8. They use big words that have little substance.

Have you ever read something that initially seems incredibly deep and profound, until you reach the end and realize it's nothing but a nonsensical jumble of fancy words? A narcopath craves superiority and thrives on being smarter than everyone in the room. The only the problem is that often times they're not, forcing them to fake it and pray no one catches on. On the surface, a narcopath seems highly intelligent and cultured, but dig deeper and you'll discover it's nothing but fluff.

9. They give because it makes them look better.

Give and you shall receive. Or, in the narcopath's case, give and tell everyone within a thousand mile radius who you gave to and exactly how much. A narcopath doesn't give because it makes them feel good on the inside; rather, they give because it makes them look good from the outside. No kind deed goes unnoticed, because they'd never allow it. Whether it's helping an old lady cross the street, giving a homeless person a buck, or donating to their children's PTA, they'll make sure someone knows about their generosity.

10. They're no stranger to the silent treatment.

Narcopaths love to dish it out. You may see glimpses of this passive-aggressive form of punishment early on in the relationship, or it might come on suddenly out of left field. Either way, the silent treatment is without a doubt the most vile and abusive trait that narcopaths possess. Like a child, anytime they can't get their way or feel threatened, they stomp away with their arms crossed and punish you with a deafening silence. The harder you reach out, the more you cry, and the angrier you become, the better they feel. It's normal for your partner to get angry, sulk, or brood sometimes. What isn't normal is using silence as a weapon to punish and control you, then sitting back and gaining pleasure from your pain.

This article originally appeared on YourTango .

[May 17, 2016] 7 Strategies for Dealing With the Narcissist You Love

Notable quotes:
"... Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline . ..."
Jun 23, 2014 www.huffingtonpost.com

Late last year, I wrote a piece where I shared a perspective, based on growing research , that narcissism isn't simply a stubborn trait, but a style of coping. The seeds of that idea turned into a book , scheduled for release in spring next year. Since I promised a follow up, I'm taking a brief break from the larger project to deliver on my promise. Here's a glimpse at what's to come. If you think your partner's a narcissist , you might want to try these seven strategies. Check For Abuse : None of what I'm about to suggest is likely to help if the person you love is physically or emotionally abusive. Not all narcissists, even those diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) , resort to abuse. But some do - and if you're on the receiving end, your first step should be to explore what makes it hard for you to leave . If you're facing abuse, it doesn't matter whether it's driven by your partner's narcissism, chronic pain, or drug addiction - the problem is the abuse, plain and simple. And the abuser is 100 percent responsible for his or her choice. Until that changes, you probably won't feel safe enough - nor should you - to take the kinds of risks I'm recommending here. Check for Denial: Most people recognize denial when they see it. It's easily the most famous of all the defense mechanisms. The alcoholic who protests, "I just enjoy the taste of fine wine!"; the terminally ill patient who assures everyone, "It's just a cough"; and the narcissist who, despite having alienated all her friends and lost her job, proclaims, "I'm just fine" - all are exhibiting denial. The more denial a narcissist displays, the less hopeful you should feel about change. How bad is denial? In adolescents , it predicts some of the most ruthless, demanding forms of narcissism - adults who happily admit "I find it easy to manipulate people." Make sure your partner can admit something's wrong, even if it's as simple as saying, "my life isn't where I hoped it would be." Contrary to what you might think, some narcissists do seek therapy . Which kinds? The "vulnerable" ones, riddled with shame and fear; they freely admit they have problems instead of burying them beneath near-delusional denial. In fact, they're also more likely to stick with treatment once they start. Beware the Manipulator : Across studies , narcissists who score high on measures of entitlement and exploitation (or, EE, as researchers call it) have the highest levels of aggression, a strong impulse to cheat, and even, when angered, a penchant for stealing or sabotaging property at work. In fact, EE singlehandedly accounts for most of the worst behaviors a narcissist can display. Manipulative narcissists are also more likely to score higher on measures of Psychopathy and Machiavellianism. The former is a cold callous personality linked to criminal behaviors, while the latter, as you can guess from the name, describes a cutthroat, "do whatever it takes" personality. Along with narcissism, these two traits comprise personality's dark triad . Not all narcissists are cold and manipulative. But the ones who are pose the greatest threat because they're so practiced at play-acting and deceit you'll have a hard time separating fact from fiction. Check Their Willingness to Change: This one might seem obvious, but it's crucial enough that it bears mentioning. The easiest way to test a partner's capacity to change is to seek help from a couples therapist - or any therapist for that matter. Even people who aren't narcissists can be leery of therapy, so this one shouldn't be considered a litmus test. If your partner's willing to work with you, though, your odds at improving the relationship have probably jumped by an order of magnitude. Check Your Anger: "You've always been the paranoid, jealous type," sneers your partner after you openly wonder about the amount of time he's spending with his attractive coworker. Our natural tendency, when faced with such shocking indifference to our fear of losing love or needing more closeness and comfort, is to protect ourselves. For many people, this means donning battle armor and launching an attack. "You're the most selfish person I know! I don't know why I'm with you!" As understandable as the protective measures are, they cut us off from crucial information: Can our partners hear our sadness and fear and feel moved? If there's any way at all to reach through the detachment, it's by sharing our feelings at a more vulnerable level. Try this: "You mean so much to me; I hear you talking to her and I'm scared I'm not enough for you." Or, "Your opinion means the world to me; when I hear you talk to me that way I feel so small and worthless in your eyes." Most partners, if they can feel anything at all, will melt when they hear comments like this. They don't just convey your pain with greater clarity; they remind your partner why the behavior hurts - because it comes from the one person who matters most. How effective is this kind of communication? Across decades of studies, 90 percent of couples who learned to share the sadness and fear beneath the anger, healed their broken bond and enjoyed happy, closer relationships. Likewise, in multiple recent studies , narcissists who focused on caring and closeness ("communal behavior") actually scored lower over time on several measures of narcissism; those who saw their partners as communal (compared to those who didn't) even said they'd be less likely to cheat . Check Your Silence: Say you come home from a hard day at work, and your boyfriend, grumbling about the weekend plans being up in the air, starts lecturing you about how indecisive you are. "You sure take a long time to make decisions, don't you?" Condescending remarks like this don't always enrage us. When our self-esteem is already crumbling, they often shut us down completely; we crawl away, crestfallen, or slip into hours of silence. But we have to find a voice again if we want things to get better. Research suggests that silent withdrawal is just another way of coping with feeling sad or fearful about our connection with people we love; your best bet, as with anger, is to go beneath the impulse to shut down and share the upset. "I'm feeling so put down right now I'm afraid you've stopped caring about me altogether." Why is this so important? Though they appear to be universal ways of coping with fears about the people we love, anger and withdrawal also ramp up our partners' insecurities . The result? Our loved ones fall back on their usual way of protecting themselves - like criticism or indifference - instead of hearing our pain. If they're narcissists, that means they resort to their favorite MO - narcissism. Be Honest with Yourself: If you've tried a more loving approach to sharing what hurts in your relationship, and the narcissist in your life still won't soften, you truly have done everything you can. This might be the only hope for change. Those of you who wrote in to say you already tried this and it didn't work have made a valiant effort; you may have exhausted your supply of empathy from working so hard. If so, my heart goes out to you. But staying in an unhappy relationship comes at a steep price, including your self-esteem. Ask yourself, honestly - are you staying because your partner's doing his best to change - or because it feels too hard to leave? Even if the people we love want to change, none of us should be expected to endure the same hurts over and over. Narcissistic arrogance and hostility elicit our worst behaviors ; they get beneath our skin, working away like a thousand needles. The natural response is to pull away or lash back; but if you do your best to share the pain openly, letting your loved ones see your softer feelings, you're giving them their best - and only shot - at hearing you. If they can't understand your pain then, perhaps they never will. As sad and difficult as it feels, you might need to take care of yourself by leaving. Because regardless of which habit steals their attention away from genuine love and intimacy, if our loved ones can't risk change, their problems are here to stay. Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline . If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. And be sure to sign up for my newsletter, for more tips and advice, as well as information on my forthcoming book , about understanding and coping with narcissism in all its forms, in our friends, lovers, colleagues-and even ourselves. HARPERWAVE AND HARPER UK, SPRING 2015

Follow Dr. Craig Malkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrCraigMalkin

[May 16, 2016] Stockholm Syndrome The Psychological Mystery of Loving an Abuser, Page 1

Notable quotes:
"... In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation. The "Stockholm Syndrome" reaction in hostage and/or abuse situations is so well recognized at this time that police hostage negotiators no longer view it as unusual. ..."
"... Stockholm Syndrome (SS) can also be found in family, romantic, and interpersonal relationships. The abuser may be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, father or mother, or any other role in which the abuser is in a position of control or authority. ..."
"... In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not "all bad" and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the partner would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. An aggressive and jealous partner may normally become intimidating or abusive in certain social situations, as when an opposite-sex coworker waves in a crowd. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be verbally battered and when it doesn't happen, that "small kindness" is interpreted as a positive sign. ..."
"... During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past - how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. ..."
"... Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with "I know he fractured my jaw and ribs…but he's troubled. He had a rough childhood!" ..."
"... Keep in mind: once you become hardened to the "sad stories", they will simply try another approach. I know of no victim of abuse or crime who has heard their abuser say "I'm beating (robbing, mugging, etc.) you because my Mom hated me!" ..."
"... In abusive and controlling relationships, the victim has the sense they are always "walking on eggshells" - fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent/intimidating outburst. For their survival, they begin to see the world through the abuser's perspective. They begin to fix things that might prompt an outburst, act in ways they know makes the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life that may prompt a problem. If we only have a dollar in our pocket, then most of our decisions become financial decisions. If our partner is an abuser or controller, then the majority of our decisions are based on our perception of the abuser's potential reaction. We become preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller. ..."
"... Controlling partners have increased the financial obligations/debt in the relationship to the point that neither partner can financially survive on their own. ..."
"... The legal ending of a relationship, especially a marital relationship, often creates significant problems. ..."
"... The Controller often uses extreme threats including threatening to take the children out of state, threatening to quit their job/business rather than pay alimony/support, threatening public exposure of the victim's personal issues, or assuring the victim they will never have a peaceful life due to nonstop harassment. ..."
counsellingresource.com
While the psychological condition in hostage situations became known as "Stockholm Syndrome" due to the publicity, the emotional "bonding" with captors was a familiar story in psychology. It had been recognized many years before and was found in studies of other hostage, prisoner, or abusive situations such as:

In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation. The "Stockholm Syndrome" reaction in hostage and/or abuse situations is so well recognized at this time that police hostage negotiators no longer view it as unusual. In fact, it is often encouraged in crime situations as it improves the chances for survival of the hostages. On the down side, it also assures that the hostages experiencing "Stockholm Syndrome" will not be very cooperative during rescue or criminal prosecution. Local law enforcement personnel have long recognized this syndrome with battered women who fail to press charges, bail their battering husband/boyfriend out of jail, and even physically attack police officers when they arrive to rescue them from a violent assault.

Stockholm Syndrome (SS) can also be found in family, romantic, and interpersonal relationships. The abuser may be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, father or mother, or any other role in which the abuser is in a position of control or authority.

It's important to understand the components of Stockholm Syndrome as they relate to abusive and controlling relationships. Once the syndrome is understood, it's easier to understand why victims support, love, and even defend their abusers and controllers.

Every syndrome has symptoms or behaviors, and Stockholm Syndrome is no exception. While a clear-cut list has not been established due to varying opinions by researchers and experts, several of these features will be present:

Stockholm Syndrome doesn't occur in every hostage or abusive situation. In another bank robbery involving hostages, after terrorizing patrons and employees for many hours, a police sharpshooter shot and wounded the terrorizing bank robber. After he hit the floor, two women picked him up and physically held him up to the window for another shot. As you can see, the length of time one is exposed to abuse/control and other factors are certainly involved.

It has been found that four situations or conditions are present that serve as a foundation for the development of Stockholm Syndrome. These four situations can be found in hostage, severe abuse, and abusive relationships:

By considering each situation we can understand how Stockholm Syndrome develops in romantic relationships as well as criminal/hostage situations. Looking at each situation:

Perceived Threat to One's Physical/Psychological Survival

The perception of threat can be formed by direct, indirect, or witnessed methods. Criminal or antisocial partners can directly threaten your life or the life of friends and family. Their history of violence leads us to believe that the captor/controller will carry out the threat in a direct manner if we fail to comply with their demands. The abuser assures us that only our cooperation keeps our loved ones safe.

Indirectly, the abuser/controller offers subtle threats that you will never leave them or have another partner, reminding you that people in the past have paid dearly for not following their wishes. Hints are often offered such as "I know people who can make others disappear". Indirect threats also come from the stories told by the abuser or controller - how they obtained revenge on those who have crossed them in the past. These stories of revenge are told to remind the victim that revenge is possible if they leave.

Witnessing violence or aggression is also a perceived threat. Witnessing a violent temper directed at a television set, others on the highway, or a third party clearly sends us the message that we could be the next target for violence. Witnessing the thoughts and attitudes of the abuser/controller is threatening and intimidating, knowing that we will be the target of those thoughts in the future.

The "Small Kindness" Perception

In threatening and survival situations, we look for evidence of hope - a small sign that the situation may improve. When an abuser/controller shows the victim some small kindness, even though it is to the abuser's benefit as well, the victim interprets that small kindness as a positive trait of the captor. In criminal/war hostage situations, letting the victim live is often enough. Small behaviors, such as allowing a bathroom visit or providing food/water, are enough to strengthen the Stockholm Syndrome in criminal hostage events.

In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not "all bad" and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the partner would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. An aggressive and jealous partner may normally become intimidating or abusive in certain social situations, as when an opposite-sex coworker waves in a crowd. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be verbally battered and when it doesn't happen, that "small kindness" is interpreted as a positive sign.

Similar to the small kindness perception is the perception of a "soft side". During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past - how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. The victim begins to feel the abuser/controller may be capable of fixing their behavior or worse yet, that they (abuser) may also be a "victim". Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with "I know he fractured my jaw and ribs…but he's troubled. He had a rough childhood!"

Losers and abusers may admit they need psychiatric help or acknowledge they are mentally disturbed; however, it's almost always after they have already abused or intimidated the victim. The admission is a way of denying responsibility for the abuse. In truth, personality disorders and criminals have learned over the years that personal responsibility for their violent/abusive behaviors can be minimized and even denied by blaming their bad upbringing, abuse as a child, and now even video games. One murderer blamed his crime on eating too much junk food - now known as the "Twinkie Defense". While it may be true that the abuser/controller had a difficult upbringing, showing sympathy for his/her history produces no change in their behavior and in fact, prolongs the length of time you will be abused. While "sad stories" are always included in their apologies - after the abusive/controlling event - their behavior never changes! Keep in mind: once you become hardened to the "sad stories", they will simply try another approach. I know of no victim of abuse or crime who has heard their abuser say "I'm beating (robbing, mugging, etc.) you because my Mom hated me!"

Isolation from Perspectives Other than those of the Captor

In abusive and controlling relationships, the victim has the sense they are always "walking on eggshells" - fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent/intimidating outburst. For their survival, they begin to see the world through the abuser's perspective. They begin to fix things that might prompt an outburst, act in ways they know makes the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life that may prompt a problem. If we only have a dollar in our pocket, then most of our decisions become financial decisions. If our partner is an abuser or controller, then the majority of our decisions are based on our perception of the abuser's potential reaction. We become preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller.

Taking the abuser's perspective as a survival technique can become so intense that the victim actually develops anger toward those trying to help them. The abuser is already angry and resentful toward anyone who would provide the victim support, typically using multiple methods and manipulations to isolate the victim from others. Any contact the victim has with supportive people in the community is met with accusations, threats, and/or violent outbursts. Victims then turn on their family - fearing family contact will cause additional violence and abuse in the home. At this point, victims curse their parents and friends, tell them not to call and to stop interfering, and break off communication with others. Agreeing with the abuser/controller, supportive others are now viewed as "causing trouble" and must be avoided. Many victims threaten their family and friends with restraining orders if they continue to "interfere" or try to help the victim in their situation. On the surface it would appear that they have sided with the abuser/controller. In truth, they are trying to minimize contact with situations that might make them a target of additional verbal abuse or intimidation. If a casual phone call from Mom prompts a two-hour temper outburst with threats and accusations - the victim quickly realizes it's safer if Mom stops calling. If simply telling Mom to stop calling doesn't work, for his or her own safety the victim may accuse Mom of attempting to ruin the relationship and demand that she stop calling.

In severe cases of Stockholm Syndrome in relationships, the victim may have difficulty leaving the abuser and may actually feel the abusive situation is their fault. In law enforcement situations, the victim may actually feel the arrest of their partner for physical abuse or battering is their fault. Some women will allow their children to be removed by child protective agencies rather than give up the relationship with their abuser. As they take the perspective of the abuser, the children are at fault - they complained about the situation, they brought the attention of authorities to the home, and they put the adult relationship at risk. Sadly, the children have now become a danger to the victim's safety. For those with Stockholm Syndrome, allowing the children to be removed from the home decreases their victim stress while providing an emotionally and physically safer environment for the children.

Perceived Inability to Escape

As a hostage in a bank robbery, threatened by criminals with guns, it's easy to understand the perceived inability to escape. In romantic relationships, the belief that one can't escape is also very common. Many abusive/controlling relationships feel like till-death-do-us-part relationships - locked together by mutual financial issues/assets, mutual intimate knowledge, or legal situations. Here are some common situations:

In unhealthy relationships and definitely in Stockholm Syndrome there is a daily preoccupation with "trouble". Trouble is any individual, group, situation, comment, casual glance, or cold meal that may produce a temper tantrum or verbal abuse from the controller or abuser. To survive, "trouble" is to be avoided at all costs. The victim must control situations that produce trouble. That may include avoiding family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who may create "trouble" in the abusive relationship. The victim does not hate family and friends; they are only avoiding "trouble"! The victim also cleans the house, calms the children, scans the mail, avoids certain topics, and anticipates every issue of the controller or abuse in an effort to avoid "trouble". In this situation, children who are noisy become "trouble". Loved ones and friends are sources of "trouble" for the victim who is attempting to avoid verbal or physical aggression.

Stockholm Syndrome in relationships is not uncommon. Law enforcement professionals are painfully aware of the situation - making a domestic dispute one of the high-risk calls during work hours. Called by neighbors during a spousal abuse incident, the abuser is passive upon arrival of the police, only to find the abused spouse upset and threatening the officers if their abusive partner is arrested for domestic violence. In truth, the victim knows the abuser/controller will retaliate against him/her if 1) they encourage an arrest, 2) they offer statements about the abuse/fight that are deemed disloyal by the abuser, 3) they don't bail them out of jail as quickly as possible, and 4) they don't personally apologize for the situation - as though it was their fault.

Stockholm Syndrome produces an unhealthy bond with the controller and abuser. It is the reason many victims continue to support an abuser after the relationship is over. It's also the reason they continue to see "the good side" of an abusive individual and appear sympathetic to someone who has mentally and sometimes physically abused them.

Is There Something Else Involved?

In a short response - Yes! Throughout history, people have found themselves supporting and participating in life situations that range from abusive to bizarre. In talking to these active and willing participants in bad and bizarre situations, it is clear they have developed feelings and attitudes that support their participation. One way these feelings and thoughts are developed is known as "cognitive dissonance". As you can tell, psychologists have large words and phrases for just about everything.

"Cognitive Dissonance" explains how and why people change their ideas and opinions to support situations that do not appear to be healthy, positive, or normal. In the theory, an individual seeks to reduce information or opinions that make him or her uncomfortable. When we have two sets of cognitions (knowledge, opinion, feelings, input from others, etc.) that are the opposite, the situation becomes emotionally uncomfortable. Even though we might find ourselves in a foolish or difficult situation - few want to admit that fact. Instead, we attempt to reduce the dissonance - the fact that our cognitions don't match, agree, or make sense when combined. "Cognitive Dissonance" can be reduced by adding new cognitions - adding new thoughts and attitudes. Some examples:

Leon Festinger first coined the term "Cognitive Dissonance". He had observed a cult (1956) in which members gave up their homes, incomes, and jobs to work for the cult. This cult believed in messages from outer space that predicted the day the world would end by a flood. As cult members and firm believers, they believed they would be saved by flying saucers at the appointed time. As they gathered and waited to be taken by flying saucers at the specified time, the end-of-the-world came and went. No flood and no flying saucer! Rather than believing they were foolish after all that personal and emotional investment - they decided their beliefs had actually saved the world from the flood and they became firmer in their beliefs after the failure of the prophecy. The moral: the more you invest (income, job, home, time, effort, etc.) the stronger your need to justify your position. If we invest $5.00 in a raffle ticket, we justify losing with "I'll get them next time". If you invest everything you have, it requires an almost unreasoning belief and unusual attitude to support and justify that investment.

Studies tell us we are more loyal and committed to something that is difficult, uncomfortable, and even humiliating. The initiation rituals of college fraternities, Marine boot camp, and graduate school all produce loyal and committed individuals. Almost any ordeal creates a bonding experience. Every couple, no matter how mismatched, falls in love in the movies after going through a terrorist takeover, being stalked by a killer, being stranded on an island, or being involved in an alien abduction. Investment and an ordeal are ingredients for a strong bonding - even if the bonding is unhealthy. No one bonds or falls in love by being a member of the Automobile Club or a music CD club. Struggling to survive on a deserted island - you bet!

Abusive relationships produce a great amount on unhealthy investment in both parties. In many cases we tend to remain and support the abusive relationship due to our investment in the relationship. Try telling a new Marine that since he or she has survived boot camp, they should now enroll in the National Guard! Several types of investments keep us in the bad relationship:

Emotional Investment
We've invested so many emotions, cried so much, and worried so much that we feel we must see the relationship through to the finish.
Social Investment
We've got our pride! To avoid social embarrassment and uncomfortable social situations, we remain in the relationship.
Family Investments
If children are present in the relationship, decisions regarding the relationship are clouded by the status and needs of the children.
Financial Investment
In many cases, the controlling and abusive partner has created a complex financial situation. Many victims remain in a bad relationship, waiting for a better financial situation to develop that would make their departure and detachment easier.
Lifestyle Investment
Many controlling/abusive partners use money or a lifestyle as an investment. Victims in this situation may not want to lose their current lifestyle.
Intimacy Investment
We often invest emotional and sexual intimacy. Some victims have experienced a destruction of their emotional and/or sexual self-esteem in the unhealthy relationship. The abusing partner may threaten to spread rumors or tell intimate details or secrets. A type of blackmail using intimacy is often found in these situations.

In many cases, it's not simply our feelings for an individual that keep us in an unhealthy relationship - it's often the amount of investment. Relationships are complex and we often only see the tip of the iceberg in public. For this reason, the most common phrase offered by the victim in defense of their unhealthy relationship is "You just don't understand!"

Combining Two Unhealthy Conditions

The combination of "Stockholm Syndrome" and "cognitive dissonance" produces a victim who firmly believes the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their survival. The victim feels they would mentally collapse if the relationship ended. In long-term relationships, the victims have invested everything and placed "all their eggs in one basket". The relationship now decides their level of self-esteem, self-worth, and emotional health.

For reasons described above, the victim feels family and friends are a threat to the relationship and eventually to their personal health and existence. The more family/friends protest the controlling and abusive nature of the relationship, the more the victim develops cognitive dissonance and becomes defensive. At this point, family and friends become victims of the abusive and controlling individual.

Importantly, both Stockholm Syndrome and cognitive dissonance develop on an involuntary basis. The victim does not purposely invent this attitude. Both develop as an attempt to exist and survive in a threatening and controlling environment and relationship. Despite what we might think, our loved one is not in the unhealthy relationship to irritate us, embarrass us, or drive us to drink. What might have begun as a normal relationship has turned into a controlling and abusive situation. They are trying to survive. Their personality is developing the feelings and thoughts needed to survive the situation and lower their emotional and physical risks. All of us have developed attitudes and feelings that help us accept and survive situations. We have these attitudes/feelings about our jobs, our community, and other aspects of our life. As we have found throughout history, the more dysfunctional the situation, the more dysfunctional our adaptation and thoughts to survive. The victim is engaged in an attempt to survive and make a relationship work. Once they decide it doesn't work and can't be fixed, they will need our support as we patiently await their decision to return to a healthy and positive lifestyle.

Family and Friends of the Victim

When a family is confronted with a loved one involved with a 'Loser' or controlling/abusive individual, the situation becomes emotionally painful and socially difficult for the family. (See " Are You Dating a Loser? Identifying Losers, Controllers and Abusers ".) While each situation is different, some general guidelines to consider are:

Final Thoughts

You may be the victim of a controlling and abusive partner, seeking an understanding of your feelings and attitudes. You may have a son, daughter, or friend currently involved with a controlling and abusive partner, looking for ways to understand and help.

If a loved one is involved with a Loser, a controlling and abusing partner, the long-term outcome is difficult to determine due to the many factors involved. If their relationship is in the "dating" phase, they may end the relationship on their own. If the relationship has continued for over a year, they may require support and an exit plan before ending the relationship. Marriage and children further complicate their ability to leave the situation. When the victim decides to end the unhappy relationship, it's important that they view loved ones as supportive, loving, and understanding - not as a source of pressure, guilt, or aggression.

This article is an attempt to understand the complex feelings and attitudes that are as puzzling to the victim as they are to family and friends. Separately, I've outlined recommendations for detaching from a Loser or controlling/abusive individual, but clearly, there are more victims in this situation. (See " Are You Dating a Loser? Identifying Losers, Controllers and Abusers ".) It is hoped this article is helpful to family and friends who worry, cry, and have difficulty understanding the situation of their loved one. It has been said that knowledge is power. Hopefully this knowledge will prove helpful and powerful to victims and their loved ones.

Please consider this article as a general guideline. Some recommendations may be appropriate and helpful while some may not apply to a specific situation. In many cases, we may need additional professional help of a mental health or legal nature.

[May 16, 2016] https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/comments/29dhay/good_movies_about_narcissistic/

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    [–] dopebojangles ADoNM with BPD 3 points 4 points 5 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Also Betty Draper in the show Mad Men.

    [–] rammaam 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    And American Horror Story Coven. Jessica Lange plays a NM.

    [–] [deleted] 4 points 5 points 6 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    American Beauty - Annette Bennings character is a classic N

    [–] [deleted] 3 points 4 points 5 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Ordinary People is a great one that may still be on Netflix.

    [–] Sub_Salac 3 points 4 points 5 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I suspect the mother in Excision (2012) is an N. One of my favorite movies.

    [–] throwaway98721214 ACoN now NC with the entire FOO. 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (3 children)

    Films:

    Notes on a Scandal (Barbara) Oranges are not the only fruit (Mother) Drop Dead Fred (Mother) and as always, Tangled (Mother Gothel)

    (With the first two, the original books are quite harrowing (and accurate) in depicting the actions of an authority figure with NPD)

    TV shows: Nashville Season 2, eps 19 & 20 (Clare's mother)

    (I'm sure there's loads more than that, and they'll come to me!)

    [–] KissMyAspergers NAunt, Parent(s) with FLEAS 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (2 children)

    Seconding Tangled.

    [–] 1234567ate Nmom, Edad, SGsis 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (1 child)

    I can't even watch the part where she sings "mother knows best" it gives me the creeps..... Reminds me of my NMom....

    [–] KissMyAspergers NAunt, Parent(s) with FLEAS 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Right? It's fucked up.

    [–] ArabRedditor 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    BATES MOTEL.

    The mother is the N, the younger child is the golden child, and the older son is the Scapegoat.

    [–] Dotdotbludot 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I love the original, Gaslight (1944). Ingrid Bergman is slowly driven mad by her handsome new husband. It perfectly demonstrates Gaslighting abuse. Oddly, my Nmom loved the film, too. It can be hard to watch for those of us who have a lot of practice with recognizing red flags. Bergman's character is so trusting and walks right into so many N-traps!

    [–] PagingDrLector 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I always thought the mother in Igby Goes Down was an Nmom.

    [–] modecat forging a new path 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I think White Oleander is amazing. An amazing portrayal of narcissism. Just excellent. I can still feel the sting from that one. Just smolders.

    It's always so interesting when you watch a movie and start to figure out it's about narcissism.

    For me, as soon as I found RBN, all of a sudden every movie i watched was about a narcissist or his victim. It was so weird.

    [–] jm_kaye 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (1 child)

    Frances (1982) about Frances Farmer. Although she clearly had serious mental problems, her mother was absolutely no help.

    [–] modecat forging a new path 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Yup, i think Frances makes such a great depiction of it. This movie is so sad. Just awful.

    [–] ArtichokeOwl 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    The Sopranos. Tony's mom is sooooo much like my Nmom!! Also the mother in Requiem for a Dream resonates with me a bit.

    [–] KissMyAspergers NAunt, Parent(s) with FLEAS 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Just about anything involving serial killers (e.g. Criminal Minds) is gonna feature narcissism at some point.

    [–] DmKrispin ADoNM -1 points 0 points 1 point 1 year ago (0 children)

    Now Voyager (1942) starring Bette Davis and Paul Heinried.

  • [May 16, 2016] Barack Obama – Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?

    Notable quotes:
    "... Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth. ..."
    lettingfreedomring.com
    Dr. Sam Vaknin, Ph.D

    January 28, 2012

    Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist . Granted, only a qualified mental health diagnostician (which I am not) can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews. But, in the absence of access to Barack Obama, one has to rely on his overt performance and on testimonies by his closest, nearest and dearest.

    Narcissistic leaders are nefarious and their effects pernicious. They are subtle, refined, socially-adept, manipulative, possessed of thespian skills, and convincing. Both types equally lack empathy and are ruthless and relentless or driven.

    Perhaps it is time to require each candidate to high office in the USA to submit to a rigorous physical and mental checkup with the results made public.

    I. Upbringing and Childhood

    Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then, his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia : a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995.

    Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence. The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial: the perpetrators could be dysfunctional or absent parents, teachers, other adults, or peers.

    II. Behavior Patterns

    The narcissist:

    * Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements);

    * Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;

    * Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);

    * Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation â€" or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious ( Narcissistic Supply );

    * Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority treatment;

    * Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends;

    * Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;

    * Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;

    * Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and omnipresent ( magical thinking ). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy.

    Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth.

    Perhaps the most immediately evident trait of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is their vulnerability to criticism and disagreement. Subject to negative input, real or imagined, even to a mild rebuke, a constructive suggestion, or an offer to help, they feel injured, humiliated and empty and they react with disdain (devaluation), rage, and defiance.

    From my book "Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited":

    "To avoid such intolerable pain, some patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) socially withdraw and feign false modesty and humility to mask their underlying grandiosity . Dysthymic and depressive disorders are common reactions to isolation and feelings of shame and inadequacy."

    Due to their lack of empathy, disregard for others, exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, and constant need for attention (narcissistic supply), narcissists are rarely able to maintain functional and healthy interpersonal relationships.

    Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap").

    An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests".

    Another crucial division within the ranks of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is between the classic variety (those who meet five of the nine diagnostic criteria included in the DSM), and the compensatory kind (their narcissism compensates for deep-set feelings of inferiority and lack of self-worth).
    Obama displays the following behaviors, which are among the hallmarks of pathological narcissism:

    * Subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions, views, opinions, and "ideals" (e.g., about campaign finance, re-districting). These flip-flops do not cause him overt distress and are ego-syntonic (he feels justified in acting this way). Alternatively, reuses to commit to a standpoint and, in the process, evidences a lack of empathy.

    Ignores data that conflict with his fantasy world, or with his inflated and grandiose self-image. This has to do with magical thinking. Obama already sees himself as president because he is firmly convinced that his dreams, thoughts, and wishes affect reality. Additionally, he denies the gap between his fantasies and his modest or limited real-life achievements (for instance, in 12 years of academic career, he hasn't published a single scholarly paper or book).

    – Feels that he is above the law, incl. and especially his own laws.

    – Talks about himself in the 3rd person singluar or uses the regal "we" and craves to be the exclusive center of attention, even adulation

    – Have a messianic-cosmic vision of himself and his life and his "mission".

    – Sets ever more complex rules in a convoluted world of grandiose fantasies with its own language (jargon)

    – Displays false modesty and unctuous "folksiness" but unable to sustain these behaviors (the persona, or mask) for long. It slips and the true Obama is revealed: haughty, aloof, distant, and disdainful of simple folk and their lives.

    – Sublimates aggression and holds grudges.

    – Behaves as an eternal adolescent (e.g., his choice of language, youthful image he projects, demands indulgence and feels entitled to special treatment, even though his objective accomplishments do not justify it).

    III. Body Language

    Many complain of the incredible deceptive powers of the narcissist. They find themselves involved with narcissists (emotionally, in business, or otherwise) before they have a chance to discover their true character. Shocked by the later revelation, they mourn their inability to separate from the narcissist and their gullibility.

    Narcissists are an elusive breed, hard to spot, harder to pinpoint, impossible to capture. Even an experienced mental health diagnostician with unmitigated access to the record and to the person examined would find it fiendishly difficult to determine with any degree of certainty whether someone suffers from a full fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder or merely possesses narcissistic traits, a narcissistic style, a personality structure ("character"), or a narcissistic "overlay" superimposed on another mental health problem.

    Moreover, it is important to distinguish between traits and behavior patterns that are independent of the patient's cultural-social context (i.e., which are inherent, or idiosyncratic) and reactive patterns, or conformity to cultural and social morals and norms. Reactions to severe life crises or circumstances are also often characterized by transient pathological narcissism, for instance (Ronningstam and Gunderson, 1996). But such reactions do not a narcissist make.

    When a person belongs to a society or culture that has often been described as narcissistic by scholars (such as Theodore Millon) and social thinkers (e.g., Christopher Lasch) how much of his behavior can be attributed to his milieu and which of his traits are really his?

    The Narcissistic Personality Disorder is rigorously defined in the DSM IV-TR with a set of strict criteria and differential diagnoses.

    Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). It is considered pathological in the clinical sense only when it becomes a rigid personality structure replete with a series of primitive defence mechanisms (such as splitting, projection, projective identification, or intellectualization) and when it leads to dysfunctions in one or more areas of the patient's life.

    Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct.

    When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on.

    But the narcissist does emit subtle, almost subliminal, signals ("presenting symptoms") even in a first or casual encounter. Compare the following list to Barack Obama's body language during his paublic appearances.

    These are:

    "Haughty" body language. The narcissist adopts a physical posture which implies and exudes an air of superiority, seniority, hidden powers, mysteriousness, amused indifference, etc. Though the narcissist usually maintains sustained and piercing eye contact, he often refrains from physical proximity (he is "territorial").

    The narcissist takes part in social interactions, even mere banter, condescendingly, from a position of supremacy and faux "magnanimity and largesse". But he rarely mingles socially and prefers to remain the "observer", or the "lone wolf".

    Entitlement markers. The narcissist immediately asks for "special treatment" of some kind. Not to wait his turn, to have a longer or a shorter therapeutic session, to talk directly to authority figures (and not to their assistants or secretaries), to be granted special payment terms, to enjoy custom tailored arrangements – or to get served first.

    The narcissist is the one who vocally and demonstratively demands the undivided attention of the head waiter in a restaurant, or monopolizes the hostess, or latches on to celebrities in a party. The narcissist reacts with rage and indignantly when denied his wishes and if treated equally with others whom he deems inferior.

    Idealization or devaluation. The narcissist instantly idealizes or devalues his interlocutor. This depends on how the narcissist appraises the potential his converser has as a Narcissistic Supply Source. The narcissist flatters, adores, admires and applauds the "target" in an embarrassingly exaggerated and profuse manner or sulks, abuses, and humiliates her.

    Narcissists are polite only in the presence of a potential Supply Source. But they are unable to sustain even perfunctory civility and fast deteriorate to barbs and thinly-veiled hostility, to verbal or other violent displays of abuse, rage attacks, or cold detachment.

    The "membership" posture. The narcissist always tries to "belong". Yet, at the very same time, he maintains his stance as an outsider. The narcissist seeks to be admired for his ability to integrate and ingratiate himself without investing the efforts commensurate with such an undertaking.

    For instance: if the narcissist talks to a psychologist, the narcissist first states emphatically that he never studied psychology. He then proceeds to make seemingly effortless use of obscure professional terms, thus demonstrating that he mastered the discipline all the same, as an autodidact, which proves that he is exceptionally intelligent or introspective.

    In general, the narcissist always prefers show-off to substance. One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to delve deeper. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack of all trades. The narcissist never admits to ignorance in any field yet, typically, he is ignorant of them all. It is surprisingly easy to penetrate the gloss and the veneer of the narcissist's self-proclaimed omniscience.

    Bragging and false autobiography. The narcissist brags incessantly. His speech is peppered with "I", "my", "myself", and "mine". He describes himself as intelligent, or rich, or modest, or intuitive, or creative but always excessively, implausibly, and extraordinarily so.

    The narcissist's biography sounds unusually rich and complex. His achievements incommensurate with his age, education, or renown. Yet, his actual condition is evidently and demonstrably incompatible with his claims. Very often, the narcissist lies or his fantasies are easily discernible. He always name-drops and appropriates other people's experiences and accomplishments.

    Emotion-free language. The narcissist likes to talk about himself and only about himself. He is not interested in others or what they have to say, unless they constitute potential Sources of Supply and in order to obtain said supply. He acts bored, disdainful, even angry, if he feels that they are intruding on his precious time and, thus, abusing him.

    In general, the narcissist is very impatient, easily bored, with strong attention deficits unless and until he is the topic of discussion. One can publicly dissect all aspects of the intimate life of a narcissist without repercussions, providing the discourse is not "emotionally tinted".

    If asked to relate directly to his emotions, the narcissist intellectualizes, rationalizes, speaks about himself in the third person and in a detached "scientific" tone or composes a narrative with a fictitious character in it, suspiciously autobiographical. Narcissists like to refer to themselves in mechanical terms, as efficient automata or machines.

    Seriousness and sense of intrusion and coercion. The narcissist is dead serious about himself. He may possess a subtle, wry, and riotous sense of humor, scathing and cynical, but rarely is he self-deprecating. The narcissist regards himself as being on a constant mission, whose importance is cosmic and whose consequences are global. If a scientist, he is always in the throes of revolutionizing science. If a journalist, he is in the middle of the greatest story ever. If a novelist, he is on his way to a Booker or Nobel prize.

    This self-misperception is not amenable to light-headedness or self-effacement. The narcissist is easily hurt and insulted (narcissistic injury). Even the most innocuous remarks or acts are interpreted by him as belittling, intruding, or coercive. His time is more valuable than others' therefore, it cannot be wasted on unimportant matters such as mere banter or going out for a walk.

    Any suggested help, advice, or concerned inquiry are immediately cast by the narcissist as intentional humiliation, implying that the narcissist is in need of help and counsel and, thus, imperfect and less than omnipotent. Any attempt to set an agenda is, to the narcissist, an intimidating act of enslavement. In this sense, the narcissist is both schizoid and paranoid and often entertains ideas of reference.

    These, the lack of empathy, the aloofness, the disdain, the sense of entitlement, the constricted sense of humor, the unequal treatment and the paranoia render the narcissist a social misfit. The narcissist is able to provoke in his milieu, in his casual acquaintances, even in his psychotherapist, the strongest, most avid and furious hatred and revulsion. To his shock, indignation and consternation, he invariably induces in others unbridled aggression.

    He is perceived to be asocial at best and, often, antisocial. This, perhaps, is the strongest presenting symptom. One feels ill at ease in the presence of a narcissist for no apparent reason. No matter how charming, intelligent, thought provoking, outgoing, easy going and social the narcissist is – he fails to secure the sympathy of others, a sympathy he is never ready, willing, or able to reciprocate.

    IV. Narcissistic and psychopathic Leaders

    The narcissistic or psychopathic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.

    The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and this is further exacerbated by the trappings of power. The narcissist's grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience are supported by real life authority and the narcissist's predilection to surround himself with obsequious sycophants.

    The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

    The narcissistic leader fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.

    The narcissistic leader is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people – or humanity at large – should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, the narcissistic leader became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman".

    But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.

    In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural" – or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to as "nature" is not natural at all.

    The narcissistic leader invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial – though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols – not about veritable atavism or true conservatism.

    In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.

    Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism – and the cult's leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.

    Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" – against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.

    Minorities or "others" – often arbitrarily selected – constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is "wrong". They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are "decadent", they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin … They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally superior), they are everywhere, they are defenceless, they are credulous, they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy.

    This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm – together with Stalin – as a malignant narcissist. He was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.

    The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime – the narcissistic leader having died, been deposed, or voted out of office – it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely-held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. "Earth shattering" and "revolutionary" scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem.

    It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of the narcissist. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform with the narcissistic narrative.

    Thus, a narcissist who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite – is highly unlikely to use violence at first.

    The pacific mask crumbles when the narcissist has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, the prime sources of his narcissistic supply – have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, the narcissist strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. "The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)", "they don't really know what they are doing", "following a rude awakening, they will revert to form", etc.

    When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail – the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized – is now discarded with contempt and hatred.

    This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. A narcissistic leader is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc.

    The "small people", the "rank and file", the "loyal soldiers" of the narcissist – his flock, his nation, his employees – they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated – is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of the narcissist. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

    DISCLAIMER

    I am not a mental health professional. Still, I have dedicated the last 12 years to the study of personality disorders in general and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in particular. I have authored nine (9) books about these topics, one of which is a Barnes and Noble best-seller ("Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"). My work is widely cited in scholarly tomes and publications and in the media. My books and the content of my Web site are based on correspondence since 1996 with hundreds of people suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (narcissists) and with thousands of their family members, friends, therapists, and colleagues.

    Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain – How the West Lost the East as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, and international affairs. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, Global Politician, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101. Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com You can download 30 of his free ebooks in http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/freebooks.html .

    [May 16, 2016] Dr. Sam Vaknin - Barack Obama Is a Narcissist

    Notable quotes:
    "... His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words. ..."
    "... One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around himself and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality. His admirers become his co-dependents. ..."
    "... Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objective. They are focused on one thing alone and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and do not deserve their attention. ..."
    www.snopes.com

    snopes.com

    Dr. Vaknin states "I must confess I was impressed by Sen. Barack Obama from the first time I saw him. At first I was excited to see a black candidate. He looked youthful, spoke well, appeared to be confident - a wholesome presidential package. I was put off soon, not just because of his shallowness but also because there was an air of haughtiness in his demeanor that was unsettling. His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words.

    Obama's speeches are unlike any political speech we have heard in American history. Never a politician in this land had such quasi "religious" impact on so many people. The fact that Obama is a total incognito with zero accomplishment, makes this inexplicable infatuation alarming. Obama is not an ordinary man. He is not a genius. In fact he is quite ignorant on most important subjects. Barack Obama is a narcissist. Dr. Sam Vaknin, the author of the Malignant Self Love believes "Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist."

    Vaknin is a world authority on narcissism. He understands narcissism and describes the inner mind of a narcissist like no other person. When he talks about narcissism everyone listens.

    Vaknin says that Obama's language, posture and demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, dearest and nearest suggest that the Senator is either a narcissist or he may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Narcissists project a grandiose but false image of themselves.

    ....All these men had a tremendous influence over their fanciers. They created a personality cult around themselves and with their blazing speeches elevated their admirers, filled their hearts with enthusiasm and instilled in their minds a new zest for life. They gave them hope! They promised them the moon, but alas, invariably they brought them to their doom.

    When you are a victim of a cult of personality, you don't know it until it is too late. One determining factor in the development of NPD is childhood abuse. "Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations," says Vaknin.

    "Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia, a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995".

    One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around himself and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality. His admirers become his co-dependents.

    Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objective. They are focused on one thing alone and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and do not deserve their attention.

    [May 15, 2016] The Truth About Donald Trump's Narcissism

    Aug. 11, 2015 | /time.com
    Even as the comet that is The Donald continues to streak across the political sky-as babes peer in wonder out their windows, dogs bay in fear in the night and scholars debate the source of the great apparition-it's worth taking a moment to feel some compassion for the man who's causing all the mischief.

    The fact is, it can't be easy to wake up every day and discover that you're still Donald Trump. You were Trump yesterday, you're Trump today, and barring some extraordinary development, you'll be Trump tomorrow.

    There are, certainly, compensations to being Donald Trump. You're fabulously wealthy; you have a lifetime pass to help yourself to younger and younger wives, even as you get older and older-a two-way Benjamin Button dynamic that is equal parts enviable and grotesque. You own homes in Manhattan; Palm Beach; upstate New York; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Rancho Palos Verdes, California; and you're free to bunk down in a grand suite in practically any hotel, apartment building or resort that flies the Trump flag, anywhere on the planet-and there are a lot of them.

    But none of that changes the reality of waking up every morning, looking in the bathroom mirror, and seeing Donald Trump staring back at you. And no, it's not the hair; that, after all, is a choice-one that may be hard for most people to understand, but a choice all the same, and there's a certain who-asked-you confidence in continuing to make it. The problem with being Trump is the same thing that explains the enormous fame and success of Trump: a naked neediness, a certain shamelessness, an insatiable hunger to be the largest, loudest, most honkingly conspicuous presence in any room-the great, braying Trumpness of Trump-and that's probably far less of a revel than it seems.

    Contented people, well-grounded people, people at ease inside their skin, just don't behave the way Trump does. The shorthand-and increasingly lazy-description for Trump in recent weeks is that he is the id of the Republican party, and there's some truth in that. Trump indeed appears to be emotionally incontinent, a man wholly without-you should pardon the expression-any psychic sphincter. The boundary most people draw between thought and speech, between emotion and action, does not appear to exist for Trump. He says what he wants to say, insults whom he wants to insult, and never, ever considers apology or retreat.

    But that's not someone driven by the pleasures of the id-which, whatever else you can say about it, is a thing of happy appetites and uncaring impulses. It's far more someone driven by the rage and pain and emotional brittleness of narcissism, and everywhere in Trump's life are the signs of what a fraught state of mind that can be.

    There is Trump's compulsive use of superlatives-especially when he's talking about his own accomplishments. Maybe what he's building or selling really is the greatest, the grandest, the biggest, the best, but if that's so, let the product do the talking. If it can't, maybe it ain't so great.

    There's the compulsive promotion of the Trump name. Other giants of commerce and industry use their own names sparingly-even when they're businesspeople who have the opportunity to turn themselves from a person into a brand. There is no GatesWare software, no BezosBooks.com; it's not Zuckerbook you log onto a dozen times a day.

    But the Trump name is everywhere in the Trump world, and there's a reason for that. You can look at something you've built with quiet pride and know it's yours, or you can look at it worriedly, insecurely, fretting that someone, somewhere may not know that you created it-diminishing you in the process. And so you stamp what you build with two-story letters identifying who you are- like a child writing his name on a baseball glove-just to make sure there's no misunderstanding.

    On occasion, there is an almost-almost-endearing cluelessness to the primal way Trump signals his pride in himself. He poses for pictures with his suit jacket flaring open, his hands on his hips, index and ring fingers pointing inevitably groinward-a great-ape fitness and genital display if ever there was one. After he bought the moribund Gulf+Western Building in New York City's Columbus Circle, covered it in gold-colored glass, converted it into a luxury hotel and residence, and reinforced it with steel and concrete to make it less subject to swaying in the wind, Trump boasted to The New York Times that it was going to be "the stiffest building in the city." If he was aware of his own psychic subtext, he gave no indication.

    It's not just real estate Trump seeks to own or at least control. There was his attempt to trademark the words "You're fired," after they became a catchphrase on his reality show, The Apprentice. There was his offer to donate $5 million to a charity of President Obama's choosing if Obama would release his college transcripts to him, Donald Trump. In both cases, Trump wants something-possession, attention, the obeisance of no less than the President-and so he demands it. The behavior is less id than infant-the most narcissistic stage of the human life cycle.

    The petulance of Trump's public feuds-with Rosie ODonnell ("a total loser"), Seth Meyers ("He's a stutterer"), Robert De Niro ("We're not dealing with Albert Einstein") and Arianna Huffington, ("Unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man . . .")-is wholly of a piece with the fragility of the narcissistic ego. In Trump's imaginings, it is Fox News's Megyn Kelly who owes him an apology for asking pointed questions during the Republican debate, not Trump who owes Kelly an apology for his boorish behavior and school-yard Tweets ("Wow, @ megynkelly really bombed tonight. People are going wild on twitter! Funny to watch"). As for his sneering misogyny-his reference to blood coming out of Kelly's "wherever"? Nothing to see here. It's Jeb Bush who really should apologize to women for his comments about defunding Planned Parenthood.

    Trump was right on that score; Bush was indeed clueless to suggest that the annual cost of protecting women's health should not be as high as $500 million-or just over $3.14 per American woman per year. So Bush did what people with at least some humility do: He acknowledged his mistake and at least tried to qualify the statement. That option, however, is closed for the narcissist. The overweening ego that defines the condition is often just a bit of misdirection intended to conceal the exact opposite-a deep well of insecurity and even self-loathing. Any admission of wrong shatters that masquerade.

    To call Donald Trump a narcissist is, of course, to state the clinically obvious. There is the egotism of narcissism, the grandiosity of narcissism, the social obtuseness of narcissism. But if Trump is an easy target, he is also a pitiable one. Narcissism isn't easy, it isn't fun, it isn't something to be waved off as a personal shortcoming that hurts only the narcissists themselves, any more than you can look at the drunk or philanderer or compulsive gambler and not see grief and regret in his future.

    For now, yes, the Trump show is fun to watch. It will be less so if the carnival barker with his look-at-me antics continues to distract people from a serious discussion of important issues. It will be less still if Trump actually does wind up as the nominee of a major political party or mounts an independent campaign and succeeds in tipping the vote one way or the other.

    But that kind of triumph is not the fate that awaits most narcissists. Their act becomes old, their opponents become bold, and the audience-inevitably-moves onto something else. Trump the phenomenon will surely become Trump the afterthought. He is a man who desperately hungers for respect and attention and who, by dint of that very desperation, will likely wind up with neither. The pain will be his; the relief will be ours.

    Adapted from The Narcissist Next Door: Understanding the Monster in Your Family, in Your Office, in Your Bed-in Your World by Jeffrey Kluger by arrangement with Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, Copyright © 2015 by Jeffrey Kluger.

    [May 15, 2016] 10 Great Self-Absorbed, Narcissistic Movie Assholes The Playlist

    blogs.indiewire.com

    There's more than a few examples of the archetype doing the rounds at the moment, from the three lovably awful kids in Amazon's brilliant "Transparent" to the title character of Alex Ross Perry's brilliant "Listen Up Philip," which opened in limited release last Friday and will continue to expand in the coming weeks. Said archetype is of course often complex, and "asshole" frequently doesn't cover it. These characters often are masking deep pain, insecurity, self-doubt and or misplaced arrogance. But we know these types and while often not likable, they're real and often quite hilariously awful.

    So, to mark the release of "Listen Up Philip," which features a deliciously prickly Jason Schwartzman in the lead as a egocentric young writer who damages all his relationships, romantic or otherwise, we thought we'd pick out ten of our favorite self-absorbed, unpleasant and yet curiously watchable characters to go alongside his great turn in the aforementioned film. It should be noted that most of our examples come from the last decade or two, but that's not entirely surprising, given that we're arguably living in the most self-obsessed, insular age in human history (this is of course the era of the selfie). Take a look at our picks below, and let us know your favorites in the comments section.

    Sweet and Lowdown

    Sean Penn as Emmett Ray in "Sweet & Lowdown" (2000)

    Woody Allen is an obvious touchstone for "Listen Up Philip" ("Husbands And Wives" is named specifically by Ross Perry, and Sydney Pollack's character in that arguably qualifies for this list too), and Allen's certainly representative of self-absorption. But none of his creations have been more self-absorbed, or more asshole-y, than Sean Penn's central figure in "Sweet & Lowdown." The role of Emmet Ray, a reasonably well-known, heavy-drinking, scumbag of a jazz guitarist whose life is continually overshadowed by that of his idol Django Reinhardt, was originally penned by Allen (under the original title of "The Jazz Baby," back in the early 1970s) to be played by the writer/director, but after nearly thirty years in a drawer, went to Penn (though Johnny Depp was also reportedly considered). And it's hard to imagine anyone doing a better job. Penn brings a mix of swagger and deeply insecure neuroticism that makes him very much a creation of Allen, but one that doesn't simply echo the filmmaker in the manner of so many of his leading-men surrogates. As with the lead of another later film about a guitarist, the Coens' "Inside Llewyn Davis," Ray is talented, but enough of a fuck-up (drunken, a sometime pimp, kind of a coward, tight with money, and with a self-inflated view of his own "genius") that he'll never make the kind of impact that he'd like to. And when potential redemption comes along in the shape of Samantha Morton's sweet, mute Hattie, he throws it away in order to marry socialite Uma Thurman. And when he's dumped by her, he's stunned when Hattie's moved on. He's almost irredeemably awful, and yet Penn's performance, one of his very best, manages to find pathos, as well as a pleasing level of comedy, in the character, the kind of thing the actor doesn't get to do enough.

    The Life Aquatic

    Bill Murray as Steve Zissou in "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" (2004)
    Wes Anderson characters can generally be grouped under the banner of "self-regarding" to one degree or another, from Max in "Rushmore" to even the animated Mr. Fox. But his prize asshole might just be Steve Zissou, in Anderson's fourth film. An oceanographer and documentary maker modelled loosely after Jacques Cousteau, Zissou is a man whose limited fame and prestige has gone very much to his head, who drags his inexplicably loyal crew on an Ahab-ish revenge trip against the shark that ate his long-time partner (Seymour Cassel). He has a certain affection for the people he travels with (he does at least launch a rescue mission when even hated insurance company employee Bud Cort is captured by pirates), but is resolutely unlovable otherwise, particularly in his relations with basically everyone, from consistently hitting on pregnant reporter Jane (Cate Blanchett), treating Klaus (Willem Dafoe) like a bullied lapdog, or feuding childishly with his maybe-son Ned (Owen Wilson), who's eventually killed in a helicopter crash on the hunt for the shark. Anderson's characters, even cantankerous assholes like Royal Tenenbaum, usually find some form of redemption, but there's surprisingly little for Zissou: Ned, who turns out not to be his son anyway, dies, and Zissou is once again acclaimed at a film festival for his finished picture. It's a decidedly sour note, and perhaps one of the reasons that the lavish, lovingly made 'Aquatic' is possibly Anderson's least-loved picture.

    The Social Network

    Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network" (2010) "You're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like because you're a nerd," says Rooney Mara's Erica to Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) at the beginning of David Fincher's Aaron Sorkin penned "The Social Network." "And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole." And it's perfect introduction to the condescending, snobbish, ambitious, narcisisstic founder of Facebook, the website that will eventually make him a billionaire.

    And as the film goes on, Zuckerberg never exactly improves: he creates an insulting blog about Erica, hacks into Harvard's network to steal photos of women to let people rate their attractiveness, possibly steals the idea for his site from a trio of other students, freezes out best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), and ends up rich but estranged, endlessly refreshing his friend request to Erica. He's selfish, self-regarding, prickly and defensive, but in the hands of Eisenberg's meticulous, brilliant performance, you can also see why.

    He embodies the true revenge of the nerds, a twisted and bitter one, but he's only that way because that's what he thinks he has to be. As his attorney, Marylin (Rashida Jones) tells him at the film's conclusion, "you're not an asshole, Mark. You're just trying so hard to be."

    A Fish Called Wanda

    Kevin Kline as Otto in "A Fish Called Wanda" (1988)
    Self-absorption is often something that seems to come with intellect, as demonstrated by the characters on this list. Many of these figures genuinely are the smartest person in the room and treat anyone they deem not to be on their level with according levels of contempt. Otto, in "A Fish Called Wanda," is something slightly different, and all the funnier for it: he's a moron who only thinks he's the smartest person in the room. The result, unusually for a broad comedy like Charles Crichton's 1988 hit (penned by co-star John Cleese), won Kevin Kline a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. The character is the film's secret weapon, a borderline psychotic, Limey-hating dimwit with a severe inferiority complex, which manifests in his continual threats to those around not to call him stupid. But as his lover Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) tells him, "I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs." Otto is a man who thinks "the Gettysburg Address was where Lincoln lived," that the central message of Buddhism is "every man for himself," and that the London Underground is a political movement. He's the ultimate Ugly American abroad ("you are the vulgarian, you fuck," he tells Cleese's Archie when he calls him on his swearing), a terrible driver with the most hilarious off-putting cum face in cinematic history, and a total tour de force from Kline that still remains the actor's finest hour. He's the truly hateable kind of asshole in the best possible way. It says it all that, after somehow surviving being run over by a steamroller, he becomes Minister of Justice in apartheid-era South Africa…

    Young Adult

    Charlize Theron as Mavis Gary in "Young Adult" (2011)
    Arguably Jason Reitman's best film to date, a brilliant gender-swapped inversion of the arrested-development theme that's dominated the comedy movie in the last decade or so, "Young Adult" revolves around a titanic performance from Charlize Theron, playing one of the most unrepentantly unlikable, unchangeable characters in recent cinema. Theron, arguably in a career-best turn, plays Mavis, a divorced writer of the teen-aimed books whose series has just been cancelled. On a whim, she returns to her small Minnesota hometown in an attempt to win back her high-school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson), who's just a had baby with his wife (Elizabeth Reaser). Mavis is clearly having some kind of deluded break with reality, but part of the brilliance of Theron's performance is how unquestioning she is of herself: a Mean Girl grown up, chasing simpler times when she ruled the world, and prepared to do just about anything to get there. Theron never courts your sympathy, but there's still a deep sadness in Mavis' absolute lack of self-reflection, not least when she's comes close to a breakthrough, only to be talked out of it by one of her few remaining admirers (a brilliant Colette Wolfe). People talked about her bravery in changing her appearance for her Oscar-winning turn in "Monster," but there's just as little vanity in her performance here, and the film simply wouldn't work without her.

    Baumbach Squid

    The Assorted Jerks Of Noah Baumbach
    Another obvious touchstone for "Listen Up Philip," Noah Baumbach is arguably, and we mean this in the nicest way possible, the king of the self-absorbed asshole. In fact, we decided to amalgamate his collected jerks into one selection, because otherwise it could have taken up half of the entire list. The filmmaker's been interested in the archetype ever since his debut "Kicking And Screaming," about chronically procrastinating recent college grads, but (after co-writing the script for two of Wes Anderson's most self-absorbed characters with "The Life Aquatic" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox") reached something of a zenith with what we like to call 'The Asshole Trilogy' : "The Squid & The Whale," "Margot At The Wedding" and "Greenberg." 'Squid' is the best, as we gradually see the effects of self-absorbed, generally toxic novelist Bernard (Jeff Daniels) on his son (Jesse Eisenberg) during the parents' bitter divorce, ending movingly with Walt rejecting the Way Of The Jerk. 2007's 'Margot' was disliked by many at the time, but has only grown in stature, with Nicole Kidman's brittle, sharp turn proving to be a perfect fit for the filmmakers' world-view, appalling (but still human) as she takes her frustrations in life out on her son. 2010's "Greenberg" is the least of the three, despite a raw and uncompromising performance by Ben Stiller in the title role, a thwarted man-child who can't see much beyond his own needs and worldview. The three films aren't the easiest watch (no wonder that Baumbach's next film, the delightful "Frances Ha," felt like such a breath of fresh air), but together do a pretty great job at encapsulating the era of mammoth selfishness.

    Roger Dodger

    Campbell Scott as Roger Swanson in "Roger Dodger" (2002)
    Jesse Eisenberg makes another appearance on this list (his more malevolent side in the recent "The Double" could also have qualified), but for once, he's not the asshole. That would be Campbell Scott, who is remarkably brilliant in Dylan Kidd's minor classic "Roger Dodger." Scott plays the titular Roger Swanson, a New York ad-man who's asked by his 16-year-old nephew to help him learn how to seduce women so he can lose his virginity. Roger's a self-described player and essentially a misogynist, and attempts to induct his young relative in what he describes as essentially a war of the sexes. A smarmy early '00s precursor to today's pick-up artist scumbags, Roger doesn't have the charm that he thinks he does, particularly given that he's in an unacknowledged meltdown after being dumped by lover/boss Isabella Rosselini. Like many such people, he hates almost everyone around him, but no one brings out quite so much bile in him as himself, and it's this brilliant duality that makes the performance one of Scott's best. Kidd's film is a woozy, witty examination of sex and masculinity, and though it missteps a little towards the end in offering something of a redemption for the character, it still gave us one of the more iconic cinematic douchebags of the last couple of decades.

    Rachel Getting Married

    Anne Hathaway as Kym in "Rachel Getting Married" (2008)
    We think of being an asshole as a specifically male trait, but we've already seen with "Young Adult" and "Margot At The Wedding" that there's no gender divide. "Rachel Getting Married" is another great example, one that's arguably sadder and psychologically richer than either. Jonathan Demme's film stars a revelatory Anne Hathaway as Kym, who returns home from drug rehab to attend the wedding of her sister (Rosemarie DeWitt), only for the family's long-brushed-over painful past to emerge, as it tends to do in movies like this one. Kym initially seems like a comically awful person, a selfish, up-staging drug addict who hijacks the rehearsal dinner to make twelve-step apologies, and who seems to delight in deliberately upsetting almost anyone in her family and not accepting any blame for her actions. But over time, Kym richens, as we learn that she killed her younger brother in a car accident when she was high, and while that itself is clearly a terrible and selfish action, it's only continued to haunt her, and Hathaway is superb in painting a picture of a woman who longs to be forgiven by people who would like to, but might just find it impossible. Demme and the movie never let her off the hook, but that whatever small progress she might make happens at all feels all the more moving for being so hard-won.

    As Good As It Gets

    Jack Nicholson in "As Good As It Gets" (1997)
    Ol' Jack plays cantankerous assholes the way Tom Hanks plays nice guys or Tom Cruise plays people who jumps off tall buildings: brilliantly, vigorously and frequently. In James L. Brooks' award-winning rom-com, Nicholson builds on earlier performances like "Five Easy Pieces" "Carnal Knowledge" and "Heartburn" to create something like a crown prince of unlikable fellas, OCD-suffering, racist, homophobic, misogynist misanthrope novelist Melvin Udall, whose carefully controlled life is upended by the intervention of gay neighbor Simon (Greg Kinnear), and single-mother waitress Carol (Helen Hunt). Nicholson might be playing a slightly sitcom-ish, Archie Bunker-ish character, but the mix of his typical devilish charm, smartly and sparingly used, and a detailed psychological realism that makes Melvin into more than just an archetype, elevated the performance to Oscar-winning effect. Though of course it helps that Nicholson is clearly relishing the lovingly and intricately-written speeches that he gets to deploy ("never, never interrupt me, okay?," he tells Simon. "Not if there's a fire, not even if you hear the sound of a thud from my home and one week later there's a smell coming from there that can only be a decaying human body and you have to hold a hanky to your face because the stench is so thick that you think you're going to faint"). There's a certain degree of cheesiness to the way that Melvin softens up thanks to the love of a good woman, but Jack never makes you doubt it for a minute.

    Last Days of Disco

    The Many Assholes Of Whit Stillman
    Like Baumbach, Whit Stillman is a director who's made a career with characters who can't quite see past their own bubble of existence (and, usually, privilege), up to and including his current Amazon pilot "The Cosmopolitans." The pattern began with his debut "Metropolitan," in which Stillman favorite Chris Eigeman plays arguably the platonic ideal of the director's favorite archetype, a big-mouthed upper-class cynic who one can imagine going into Wall Street and essentially becoming Patrick Bateman in years to come ('"the surrealists were just bunch of social climbers," he condescendingly says at one point). Follow-up "Barcelona" sees Eigeman in a similarly smug role, the ugly American abroad, while "The Last Days Of Disco" sees Kate Beckinsale (who's fantastic here) as a particularly callow example of the type ("remember the Woodstock generation of the 1960s that were so full of themselves and conceited? None of them could dance," she tells someone at one point with the naivety of youth). If one was ungenerous, one could argue that the narrow worldview of his films makes Stillman and his archaic language rather self-absorbed himself, but that's a misreading: Stillman is ultimately a social satirist, a sort of cinematic heir to Jane Austen (whose influence is felt in his most recent picture, "Damsels In Distress," more than ever), savagely poking at the ridiculous attitudes and views of his characters without ever quite judging them.

    Honorable Mentions: There were various other possibilities that we dismissed as not quite being quite the right brand of asshole for this specific theme: think of Kirk Douglas in "Ace In The Hole," Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster in "Sweet Smell Of Success" (too toxic), even William Atherton in "Die Hard" and "Ghostbusters" (which veers closer to a simple villain). Among the ones who came closest to qualifying were Ed Norton and Micheal Keaton in "Birdman" (we wrote about their self-absorbed asshole-ish tendencies here), Rachel McAdams in "Mean Girls," Matt Damon in "The Departed," Paul Reiser in "Aliens," Aaron Eckhart in "In The Company Of Men," and Tom Hulce in "Amadeus," along with both Jason Schwartzman's villain, and arguably Michael Cera's hero, in "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World." Any others? Let us know below

    [May 15, 2016] Famous Narcissistic Movie Characters -

    May 14, 2013 | The Narcissistic Life

    If you want observe people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or strong narcissistic traits, look no further than your TV set. There are many memorable movie characters who display the basic characteristics of narcissism: the grandiose and overinflated sense of self, lack of empathy, exploitation of others with no remorse, and excessive self-focus. Listed below are some of the more well-known narcissists portrayed in the movies:

    Movie: The Devil Wears Prada
    Played By: Meryl Streep
    About: Now this is an NPD character that sticks with you.

    Movie: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Played By: Kenneth Branagh
    About: This is the definition of narcissism. Lockhart is hilarious. One of the comical moments from the series is when Lockhart is talking to Harry during his detention and says "Fame is a fickle friend, Harry. Celebrity is as celebrity does. Remember that." *turn and smile* He goes to such lengths as to fake his fame and risk the deaths of many students just to keep his ego fed.

    Movie: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    Played By: Sam Rockwell
    About: Zaphod (and Sam Rockwell) is great and Rockwell plays him well- he's fun for the role he has.

    Movie: American Psycho
    Played By: Christian Bale
    About: Bale plays the role with what appears to be ease. He's a completely memorable character with some very iconic scenes.

    Movie: Dinner for Schmucks
    Played By: Jemaine Clements
    About: Whether or not you liked the movie, most have agreed that Jamaine Clements was the best part.

    Movie: The American Pie Trilogy
    Played By: Seann William Scott
    About: Stifler thinks he's hot stuff, almost obnoxiously so. But he's not without his insecurities underneath it all. He's probably not a true narcissist as the rest on this list–it's much more of a front, at least partially. But there's no doubting he thinks highly of himself, and he's funny while he thinks so.

    Movie: Zoolander
    Played By: Ben Stiller
    About: "I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is."

    Movie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall/Get Him to the Greek
    Played by: Russell Brand
    About: Russell Brand was hilarious in them–clearly the best part of the movies.

    Movie: The Princess Bride
    Played By: Wallace Shawn
    About: Vizzini: "I can't compete with you physically, and you're no match for my brains." Westley: "You're that smart?" Vizzini: "Let me put it this way. Have you ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates?" Westley: "Yes." Vizzini: "Morons."

    Movie: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
    Played By: Will Ferrell
    About: The narcissism is right there in the title of the film! He's a fun character, wrapped up in his own little world.

    MOVIE: Gaslight
    Played by: Charles Boyer
    ABOUT: This classic movie is where the term gaslighting comes from, to indicate how an N (or other abuser) lies to you to make you doubt your experience of reality. Although the film is a bit dated now (it was made in the 1940s) it is still extremely gripping and terrifying. The narcissist in this film, Gregory Anton, is trying to deliberately send his new wife insane in order to inherit from her. An absolute must-watch for anybody interest in learning more about malignant NPD.

    MOVIE: Mommie Dearest
    Played By: Faye Dunaway
    ABOUT: A classic film. It's the real-life story of total narcissist Joan Crawford and her daughter Christina. This is a chillingly accurate portrayal of the hell of being raised by a narcissist.

    MOVIE: White Oleander
    Played by: Michelle Pfeiffer
    ABOUT: Michelle Pfeiffer plays the narcissistic mother in this amazing film, and by all accounts does a terrific job.

    MOVIE: Gone With the Wind
    Played by: Vivien Leigh
    ABOUT: Scarlett O'Hara is a total narcissist in this classic tale.

    Other Movies Portraying Narcissistic Characters

    • American Beauty (narcissistic mother)
    • East of Eden (narcissistic father)
    • Ordinary People (narcissistic mother)
    • Mermaids (Cher as Mrs. Flax)
    • Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (narcissistic sister)
    • Sybil (narcissistic mother)
    • The Little Foxes (narcissistic mother)
    • Flowers in the Attic (narcissistic mother)
    • Matilda (both parents are narcissists)
    • Coraline (both "other" parents are narcissists)
    • Precious (narcissistic mother)
    • Girl Interrupted (Angelina Jolie)
    • Life or Something Like It (Angelina Jolie)

    References:

    http://www.narcissism101.com/NarcissistsinMedia/narcissistsinmov.html
    http://dementeddoorknob.blogspot.com/2010/10/top-10-favorite-narcissistic-characters.html
    http://daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/movies-featuring-npd.html
    http://www.outofthefog.net/Movies.html

    [May 01, 2016] 10 tactics for child custody battles with sociopaths By

    May 5, 2008 | Lovefraud.com

    Last week Dr. Liane Leedom wrote about the tragic case Dr. Amy Castillo, whose children were murdered by their psychopathic father after several judges issued rulings that failed to protect them. I hope this terrible and extreme case will be a wake-up call for family courts.

    Lovefraud frequently receives e-mail from men and women involved in child custody disputes with sociopaths, who hopefully, are not murderers. Here is one of them:

    I am involved in a custody case with a sociopath, however, my case is being fought in Europe where I recently relocated to (I am American, he is European). After being the sole caregiver of my children for five years, I had no choice but to leave them with their father and return to the States. When we separated he took their passports and left the country for a year. It was NOT possible to obtain new passports for children without BOTH parents’ signatures.

    By the end of that year my financial situation was desperate and I had no choice. I came back to the States, got myself back on my feet and recently I started my own company as a Virtual Assistant, allowing me to work anywhere in the world. While in the States I came back to Europe every six to eight weeks to visit my children. Well one month ago, I relocated back to Europe to live and continue my fight for custody of my children.

    The court case had already been ongoing since January and in typical sociopath style he has lied and forged documents. Even so, my ex was recently given sole custody (temporarily while custody is decided) and that I must pay him 900 euros (around $1,300 USD a month!). As if that could not be bad enough, he sends me on a regular basis (the most recent being today) faxes full of lies and accusations that he then turns around and uses as evidence in his court case!!! Furthermore, I do NOT have 900 euros a month to give him. I just relocated and started my own business and this is a real slap in the face with all of the financial damage he has done to me as well as my credit in the U.S.

    I have fired my attorneys and hired the best Custody/Family attorney where I live. He has been in practice for 30 years and not lost a case! Also he is known to be a very strong and tough attorney. I wish I would have had him in the beginning. So with this I feel confidence.

    The reason I am writing is because although I have a very positive outlook and feel that I am a strong person, as I know that most of you can agree, it is very difficult dealing with a sociopath. When I receive these horrible faxes my stomach just drops and it can make me feel very anxious for hours after. So now I have stopped reading them at all. I do not know what I am looking for by sending this email. I think I just need the support of knowing there are others out there going through the same things as me and that this is manageable and that I will make it through. I would greatly appreciate hearing what others have done in a situation like this. Thank you.

    Like most parents fighting a custody battle with a sociopath, this woman faces a difficult times. Below are some general suggestions about child custody and sociopaths.

    Get him or her to walk away

    If your ex is a sociopath, at best, he or she will be a lousy parent. At worst, he or she will intentionally try to damage your children. Therefore, if at all possible, it may be best to cut the sociopath out of your children’s lives.

    You may want to consider offering the sociopath an incentive to walk away. Tell the sociopath to give up parental rights, and he or she won’t have to pay any child support. You may feel that you need the child support payments, but chances are that you’ll never get the money, or it will always be a struggle to get it. The money isn’t worth having the predator in your family’s life. Figure out a way to support your children without it.

    Sometimes this works—there are sociopaths who care more about money than kids. But many times it doesn’t, because the sociopath considers children to be possessions. Or, the sociopath just wants to win the battle with you, and destroy you in the process. In those cases, you’ll end up in court.

    Tactics in custody battles

    I am forever grateful that I never had children with my sociopathic ex-husband. I avoided the most tragic of circumstances involving these predators—a child custody battle. Therefore, the suggestions I make below come from my research and what Lovefraud readers have told me.

    If you’re fighting a custody battle with a sociopath, here are some tactics to follow:

    1. Document, document, document. Keep a journal of everything that happens. Often, the craziness is so intense that you don’t want to remember what happens. Your journal will be important when you need to tell a cohesive story of what has been going on with the sociopath, especially if you need to tell it long after events have transpired. Save every scrap of paper, every e-mail, every fax, every receipt. Develop a way of organizing the information, whether chronological, or by topic. Keep copies in a safe place.
    2. Have witnesses. It is best not to deal with the sociopath alone; every interaction then becomes he said/she said. Have a trusted friend or relative present during child exchanges or other interactions as much as you can. You may even want to consider tape recording and videotaping some of what goes on.
    3. Get your own information. Do not allow the sociopathic parent to control information about your children. Make sure you get information directly from schools, doctors and others.
    4. Hire an aggressive, competent attorney. Child custody cases with sociopaths are not normal cases. The sociopath will not play by the rules. Your attorney must understand this. The sociopath will lie in court, although his or her performance will appear heartfelt, like he or she is “just concerned with the welfare of the children.” The sociopath will make outrageous accusations. The sociopath is also likely to retain an attorney who is also sociopathic. Therefore, your attorney must be up for the challenge.
    5. Do not allow lies to become part of the court record. Sociopaths lie. Sociopaths lie convincingly. You cannot allow unchallenged lies to become part of the court records. Once they are, they take on the aura of truth, and put you in a very bad position. Some lies, like accusations of child abuse, may haunt you forever.
    6. Be cautious in stating that your ex is, in fact, a sociopath. Unfortunately, many judges really do not understand what this means to the welfare of a child. Like the general public, many judges equate “sociopath” with “serial killer,” and may consequently believe that you are overreacting. So it may not be in your best interest to prove that he or she is a sociopath. Focus on proving the behavior.
    7. Stay calm in court. You must present a calm, professional image when you go to court, even as the sociopath lies. Do not allow the sociopath to make you emotional. The sociopath will accuse you of being unstable, and you will prove it by your behavior in court. Keep your emotions in check, at least in front of the judge.
    8. Make sure court orders are explicit. Insist on detailed court orders. The order should not say, “parent has visitation every other weekend.” It should specify exactly which weekends, starting at what times, returning at what times, who is responsible for transporting children, who is responsible for bathing and feeding them—everything must be spelled out in detail. If there is any ambiguity, the sociopath will exploit it.
    9. Make the sociopath abide by court orders. If the sociopath fails to honor the orders, do not cut him or her any slack. Record any violation. Call the police if necessary. Continue to document everything that happens, because you may need to go to court again. If you ever decide that you need to cut the sociopath out of the child’s life, you’ll need evidence to do it.
    10. Take care of yourself. You will need all your resources to deal with the sociopath. Therefore, make healthy decisions in your own life. Eat right, avoid drugs and alcohol, get enough sleep, exercise and develop a support network. In order to care for your children, you must care for yourself.

    Post your suggestions

    I previously reviewed the book, Win Your Child Custody War, on the Lovefraud Blog. This book is full of information that may help you, from how to gather documentation to how to hire an attorney and private investigator.

    If Lovefraud readers have any more suggestions that may be helpful to others involved in custody battles with sociopaths, please post it in comments below.

    sfctommy, March 28, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Good advice, but what if the sociopath knows the ropes well enough to keep from getting caught? Or better yet, when the sociopath is a woman, the court really doesn’t care as long as she isn’t a danger to the child’s safety. I know too many men in that situation.

    http://yilieneth2.blogspot.com/2015/07/help-with-ex.html

    MomhasGod, March 30, 2016 at 1:14 am

    I am about to go to the first Full Custody hearing in about 2 weeks. I was married to him for 15 years and have 2 children. He left me and he filed for full custody. Psychopathy was brought to my attention and everything makes sense and falls into place. It’s been about 3 months since he moved out and the kids are a ton happier since we are not all walking around on eggshells. I was shocked that he filed since he was not around much and hardly ever involved in their care. He wasn’t even excited when I was pregnant, didn’t want to feel my belly, offer to help out, feel the kicks, etc…like I said it makes sense now. In the 3 months he’s been gone he’s done some horrible things, some dangerous, and has neglected the kids which I’m actually grateful for. He only asked to see them 3 times and when I gave him option to meet at a public place he didn’t even respond. I ended up getting a temporary restraining order and we have to go back After the custody hearing. His attorney is filing a motion this week for him to get visitation rights but my attorney is going to fight for supervised visits. In the restraining order, issued a month ago, it was ordered he could have 2 supervised visits a week but he never even tried to set it up with the people that were supposed to be supervising. I’m trying to understand his current “game” and what my concerns should be if he gets unsupervised visits in the meantime. I know he can be charming, manipulative, and dangerous.

    I’m fearful for the safety of my children and my attorney knows this. My kids had to testify but not in front of us for the restraining order. My youngest, aged 8, picked up on how “dad’s lawyer is just like him and he’s probably going to tell him what I said and dad is going to hurt me”. I had no idea the lawyers were going to question my kids and I do think he’s going to tell him. Has anyone been through something similar that they can offer words of advice? My oldest son said he knows he’s going to threaten him and he wants to record it. I told him I didn’t think that was a good idea because it would probably make him mad. I didn’t tell him this but I think it would make him so mad that my son would probably be hospitalized. I’ve done psychopath research but I’m still in the beginning stages of realizing what’s been happening to all of us.

    My eyes are open now and I need to protect me kids. He knows they are the world to me which is also my understanding that could be a risk factor of him wanting to hurt them more.

    jm_short, March 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    You have a number of things going for you…

    1. Your oldest son seem to be wise to him.
    2. You have filed for a restraining order. And he has not complied with the visitation that the court provided for him.
    3. You understand what you’re dealing with.
    4. You seem to have a good attorney.

    About your son recording his threats. Just because you have the proof does not mean you’ll use it. So there’s no downside to getting the proof. But there’s a great deal of upside if you end up needing it. You wanted to understand what he’s all about…… control and harming you. And he’ll use your kids to do so. A lot of what they do is to position themselves as the victim in an effort to minimize support. So try to keep the issues of visitation and support as separate as possible.

    If the judge leans toward non-supervised visits, ask for psychiatric evaluation of both parents. Unfortunately, this does not always work out favorably, but you may have a good judge or a bad judge. If you have a bad one, you can only hope to persuade him/her.

    Your little guy is just a baby. Don’t treat him like an ally or a confidante. He is neither. He’s a little boy whose parents are at war. Try not to discuss the issues with your ex in front of him. Let him know you love him and that you’re trying to settle the differences you have with his father as quickly as possible, and that what happens will be decided by the court.

    I know how difficult this can be, I’ve been there.

    MomhasGod, March 31, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Thank you for your advice and I’m sorry you had to go through it too. Psych evals are ordered but it could be several more weeks. I’ve done research and know they can manipulate test givers so it’s supposed to be court ordered. My research also mostly comes up with the courts not understanding how damaging psychopaths are. (He treated my oldest worse than my youngest, I’ve never told him this and never will but the ex doesn’t even think he’s his…repeatedly refused a paternity test to prove it…I assume it’s coming from his own guilt???)My oldest, aged 13, just said yesterday that the next time he has to see him he’s going to tell him he wants nothing to do with him. Again, I had no idea what to advise…this could be good and maybe he’d walk away, or bad and he’d have a temper. This is a “man” that did 2 things that would have eventually caught my house on fire knowing me and the kids are here just because I stood up for myself and didn’t agree to what he wanted. (I credit God with saving us by bringing it to my attention in subtle ways). I’m keeping faith but I’m scared because I don’t really know to what extent he’ll go to.

    I know he has a girlfriend, and honestly I do not care as I have no love for him at all, and lots of people have said that’s the best thing because he’ll focus his attention on her. This hasn’t happened yet and I don’t know when they met but she’s been spending the night since the 2nd week of January. I feel sorry for her because she has no idea and I think he only got a girlfriend because he’s too lazy to do anything for himself like cook/clean/laundry/lawn/etc. Do you know if they tend to back off once they get a new “victim”? Do you think it’s a good idea if my son told him to stay away or not? Thanks.

    jm_short, March 31, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Mom-

    Typically, a Psychopath will make one child a “Golden Child” and the other will be the “scapegoat.” and their roles may change over time.

    As to your son telling his father he doesn’t want to see him, this is not good timing to do so. Your soon-to-be-ex will turn that into “parental alienation” and it will bolster his case for custody.

    The custody action is to cause you pain and cost you money. Does he really want custody….probably not.

    What your son should do is to let the therapists know of his fears, and the bad behavior he witnessed. He could also tell the same thing to the judge if he gets that opportunity.

    You’ve likely read the relationship with the woman correctly. And the children will be used to bolster his claims that he’s Mr. Wonderful and you’re the problem. Your children should always be able to reach you while they are “visiting” with him. Do they have their own phones?

    Joyce

    MomhasGod, March 31, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Thanks again. We’re waiting on a court appointed Guardian ad Litem so I will let him know to just talk to them. I know he doesn’t want custody, never had patience for them, easily annoyed, neglected the few times they were in his care. He tried having family time maybe once a week but always ruined it with his tantrums…literally tossing board games if he even thought he was going to loose, etc. The boys have seen enough to tell. My oldest has a phone. If he ends up getting them does he have to let me contact them or vice versa or does that have to be outlined in the order?

    jm_short, April 11, 2016 at 11:27 am

    MomhasGod-

    People in authority will often blame the mother for her children not wanting to see their father. It is a very difficult phenomenon to deal with. If the custody hearing precedes the psych evaluations, your attorney could ask that a determination be postponed until the psych evals are complete. The less negative comments you make about him, the better.

    Also, if he sees you struggling over his visitation, he’ll put more effort behind this battle. Be calm. Simply ask that the court review the psych evaluations before making a decision.

    Don’t get into a pissing match with him. In fact, don’t speak to him at all. If he speaks to you, turn to your lawyer. Say what you need to her and have her speak for you.

    If there were any instances of child abuse in which the children were injured and photos were taken, or hospital records exist, you have a better chance of persuading a judge that there is a problem. Without those, characterizing him as abusive is a dangerously slippery slope.

    One of the things you could ask for is that when he has visitation, there be a drop off point and pick up point (friend/relative) so you do not have to interact with him, and that all communication be made through your attorney, not with you directly.

    He gets his jollies by making you miserable. If he can’t get access to you about the kids, and there are witnesses to his visitation conduct, he’ll probably get tired of visiting. He’ll know he’s under scrutiny.

    I wish you the best of luck dealing with this. Stay strong. It will be in your rear view mirror before you know it. This is a phase you need to go through to get to the other side.

    Joyce

    NoMoreWool, April 13, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Many states now have a system of child exchange points so the parents don’t interact with each other at dropoff/pickup times. It also has the added benefit of documenting whether each parent is following the custody schedule. I wish you all the best.

    Joyce

    MomhasGod, April 20, 2016 at 8:14 am

    There has been so much drama. Visits are still supervised for now. He was over an hour late to the mediation and he semi-showed himself. It was voice recorded so I hope the judge listens to it. The mediator warned him many times he could get a deputy to escort him out. Evals are ordered but I don’t know when they will start. My lawyer asked for it to stay supervised until later. A guardian was appointed so hopefully they will have a say. The mediator scolded him to for not asking for any visits so I guess his lawyer talked him into it so he had his first supervised and first time he’s seen them since mid January. He gave my youngest money and my oldest nothing. My kids haven’t had a chance to speak on their behalf yet…they were supposed to at mediation but didn’t have time since he was so late. When my lawyer finally got maybe 5 minutes to speak she pulled out a piece of evidence he didn’t know I had and he was ticked…the most evil eyes and he started mouthing threats to me but nobody else saw. We were ordered to go through and pay for a website for all communication/visits. Last night he put in for a visit today at his house…just me and the kids! I called the supervisors and they haven’t heard from him at all since the last visit and aren’t even available today. Found out Monday that the courthouse was holding the divorce papers so he got served at the courthouse, I thought he was already served so he had another outburst and walked out. There’s a ton more but it’s just too much. I’m hanging in there and he doesn’t realize he will not break me.

    [Apr 12, 2016] When Evil Is a Pretty Face Narcissistic Females the Pathological Relationship Agenda

    Kindle edition
    Notable quotes:
    "... Society typically supports females, especially narcissistic women, as they are often the victims of stereotypical males (in real life and fictional portrayals). ..."
    "... In my case, I felt like a man who was for years playing on a stage and with a coreography designed by my ex wife. ..."
    "... As a victim, narcissism makes you crazy, the more you delve into it to understand it, the more you get tangled in the lies, distorted views of reality, crazy nonsense "dialogues", etc. ..."
    "... I've lived with a female narcissist for years and reading this made me fees as if the writer was right there with me for MY story! It's amazing how traumatic these people are. ..."
    "... I also really enjoyed another similar book " Surviving Sara " by Brian Morgan. Very similar story and I can't help but few the pain these men went through. ..."
    www.amazon.com
    Todd L. Andrews on March 14, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    This book is a desperately needed wake up call to NS men needing fluorescent illumination in the middle of "gaslight" and other

    I really identified with the "role reversal" and truth that there are men that suffer under a female N's tactics. The severity and persistence of the female N is exposed brilliantly in this book. Having Zari identify the male as a victim of the narcissist is crucial to helping men break free of the craziness, while also helping men identify why they feel so stuck loving the woman they have committed their souls to. Also crucial, is the chapter that breaks out the difficulty of "no contact" when children are involved.

    While many N relationships share much in common, the male NS suffers under societies prescribed male strengths, and serves to undermine the ability of men to overcome being trapped. Society typically supports females, especially narcissistic women, as they are often the victims of stereotypical males (in real life and fictional portrayals).

    Kudos to the Author for helping unlock the chains of this forbidden subject. There are, not undeservedly, many explicatives used in this book. I believe the strong words are approiate representations of the years of suffering and pain inflicted by the narcissist on their supply. The author's insights will likely help release many NS men from their prison within.

    Man_under_female_attack on April 15, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Men under pain by narc women deserved to get a book like this. I was married to a narc women for several years, and we share a daughter. I thank Zari Ballard for this excellent account of how narc females move around in society, mostly unknown to other people, friends and relatives who judge them just as "weird" or "arrogant".

    In my case, I felt like a man who was for years playing on a stage and with a coreography designed by my ex wife. Now, thanks to books like this one, I can stand aside and *understand* what went on, and what is currently going on. As a victim, narcissism makes you crazy, the more you delve into it to understand it, the more you get tangled in the lies, distorted views of reality, crazy nonsense "dialogues", etc.

    I spent years married with a woman with whom I had no real dialogue, without noticing it. If you are a man in distress, and you feel some woman makes you feel miserable, please read this book to go deep into the causes of your pain. Thanks Zari for your book, thanks from the many men that suffer the pain inflicted by narcissistic women.

    Jonathan Thompson on March 3, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Wow!! Amazing read.

    I've lived with a female narcissist for years and reading this made me fees as if the writer was right there with me for MY story! It's amazing how traumatic these people are.

    Well written. I also really enjoyed another similar book "Surviving Sara" by Brian Morgan. Very similar story and I can't help but few the pain these men went through.

    Jack on December 11, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Need to get off the crazy train? This is your first stop!

    Guys, if your life is one gigantic roller coaster ride of being seduced, destroyed emotionally, and then kicked to the curb when you say anything, then this is the place to start.

    If you're looking at this review, then you know something in your relationship is slowly poisoning you to death. It is NOT you! Wanna know why? Get the book!!!

    PowermanBillX on April 29, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Absolute must read if you are in a relationship with a female N!

    This book will give you the tools to end the roller coaster from Hell ride once and for all. You have to summon the strength to end the dance with crazy because if you don't, your life will NEVER be good or close to normal!

    [Apr 07, 2016] Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups - Revised

    csj.org

    Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

    Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.

    Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a "cult scale" or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.

    1. The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
    2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
    3. Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
    4. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry-or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
    5. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar-or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
    6. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
    7. The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
    8. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
    9. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
    10. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
    11. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
    12. The group is preoccupied with making money.
    13. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
    14. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
    15. The most loyal members (the "true believers") feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

    This checklist will be published in the new book, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias (Berkeley: Bay Tree Publishing, 2006). It was adapted from a checklist originally developed by Michael Langone.

    [Apr 07, 2016] The Confidence Game Why We Fall for It... Every Time by Maria Konnikova

    Hardcover: 352 pages, Viking (January 12, 2016)
    Notable quotes:
    "... I went back and saw ways I got conned in matters of the heart while dating; in buying things; in following certain leaders in church. ..."
    "... As a former prosecutor of elder abuse crimes (both physical and financial), I have a lot of experience with people who "fall for it." But that certainly doesn't mean everyone does. Nor does it mean that the ones who don't "fall for it" are more cynical, less humane, less open to true friendship, etc. In fact, Konnikova's description of victims of con artists as being more open and in touch with their humanity sounds like the manipulation of a con artist. ..."
    "... As a scientist, used to sorting through ambiguous evidence and well-meaning but underdetermined interpretations, I find this book excellent. The author no doubt has to cast speculations of her own, and overplay some connections and implications, but the connections between gullibility, optimism, cults, and scams strike me as well articulated. ..."
    "... But you are not at all privileged to launch unsolicited attacks on the personal attributes of the author. (Your line "until she matures as a thinker and researcher....." was completely uncalled-for, and hints more at your feelings of insecurity and inadequacy than anything else.) ..."
    "... Three-card monte gets some attention - but that's not that interesting to me...I know why they succeed, because people want to see if THEY can beat the game - it's not a con as much as a battle of wits, which the rube always loses (I was cheated on a rigged carny game years ago - they suck you in with a few easy wins, then it gets progressively harder to win the stuffed animal). ..."
    "... as long as there's an advantage to fooling somebody, people will try to fool other people. ..."
    "... A confidence game starts with basic human psychology. The con identifies what the victim wants and how to play on that desire to achieve what the con-artist wants. Size someone up well, and you can sell them anything; it helps to have someone in the throes of some sort of life turmoil - the conman preys on what people wish were true, reaffirming their views of themselves and giving their lives meaning. Doing so requires the creation of empathy and rapport - laying an emotional foundation before any scheme is proposed. ..."
    "... The con is an exercise in soft skills - trust, sympathy, persuasion. He doesn't steal - we give. We believe because we want to, and we offer whatever they want - money, reputation, trust, fame, support, and don't realize what is happening until it is too late. No one is immune to the art of the con - it is not who you are, but where you happen to be at the moment in your life (eg. undergoing misfortune). ..."
    "... The con is the oldest game there is, and it's likely to be entering a new age - thanks to new opportunities brought by increasing technology that make it far easier to establish convincing false identities (eg. LinkedIn), as well as identify those who might be more likely conned (dating sites that identify widows and divorcees). ..."
    "... Con artists aren't just master manipulators - they are expert storytellers (eg. 'I'm supporting my mother, who now has AIDS,' 'I had PTSD from Iraq,' etc. Once we've accepted a story as true we will probably unconsciously bend any contradictory information to conform to the conclusion we've already drawn - it's known as 'confirmation bias.' Ultimately, what a confidence artist sells is hope. Many cases go unreported - most cases, by some estimates. AARP found that only 37% of victims over 55 will admit to having fallen for a con, and just over half those under 55 do so. Most con artists don't ever come to trial because they aren't brought to the authorities to begin with. ..."
    "... The first commandment of the con man - 'Be a patient listener.' (Victor Lustig, con artist) Emotion is the primary hook used, much more powerful than logic. Cons tend to thrive in the wake of economic or natural disaster illness, personal travail. Sadness makes us more prone to risk taking and impulsivity - perfect for certain types of cons. Con artists love funerals and obituaries, divorces, layoffs, and general loneliness. He does everything in his power to bring our self-perceived better-than-averageness perceptions to the fore - eg. 'How intelligent you are, Professor Frampton.' And we believe it, because we want it to be. ..."
    "... They recognize common traits, like our tendency to see others as similar to ourselves, our illusion of control, and our unwillingness to think badly about ourselves. These traits aren't weaknesses; without them, we'd be functionally paralyzed. Effective swindlers work by turning our best characteristics and human capabilities against us. ..."
    "... Fraudsters prey on traits that open us to community, family, and fiscal reward. As Konnikova writes: "The same thing that can underlie success can also make you all the more vulnerable to the grifter's wares. We are predisposed to trust." With swindles, as with propaganda, those who think themselves most immune are, actually, most vulnerable. ..."
    "... "It's not that the confidence artist is inherently psychopathic, caring nothing about the fates of others. It's that, to him, we aren't worthy of consideration as human beings; we are targets, not unique people." ..."
    "... Konnikova suggests it's difficult to prevent con-games without isolating ourselves and descending into cynicism. In the later chapters, though, she reverses the trend, showing how skilled, self-aware people can resist flim-flam artists' techniques. Not hypothetically, either: she shows how real people, cult busters and cultural anthropologists and police, have maintained their sanity when confronted by seemingly insurmountable double-dealing. Resistance is possible. ..."
    "... Even if we never vote for crooks, invest with Bernie Madoff, or buy salvation sellers' wares, the potential for confidence games still surrounds us. Konnikova provides needed tools for self-awareness, clear boundaries, and bold self-defense. Swindles are inevitable; victimhood isn't. ..."
    amazon.com
    Dan E. Nicholas, February 4, 2016
    And some are not even bad people. She says it's when folks who lack ...

    I'm reading and loving this book. I'll expand my review when I'm completely done in a couple days but just have to say: get it. Read it. Learn about yourself; if you dare. (I gave it four stars rather than five to protect myself!)

    I was shocked how well she documents that it is we the conned that want the con to be real. The Grifter doesn't even have to always be that skilled. I went back and saw ways I got conned in matters of the heart while dating; in buying things; in following certain leaders in church.

    Stunned to learned that 1% of the population is psychopathological in the way their brains are wired, some folks just can't feel or give meaning to your pain or the pain of others. And some are not even bad people. She says it's when folks who lack this "proper" wiring aim to use it for financial gain or to win and break hearts? Awful.

    I fell in love with a Man Eater once. Looking back I see how it was my fault in setting up my own fall. I want things to look like they would work. The bad rests on me now. She's still a Man Eater. But the wounds I earned with my stupidity. I went on to find success with love but I've some scars for sure due to female cons running scams unwittingly online with dating sights.

    She shows we can be wise without being cynical. I like that.

    Wild'n'Free
    Disappointing but with some qualities, November 28, 2015

    Konnikova promises a lot in the titles to her books. I read Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes and was disappointed. I did not learn to think like Sherlock Holmes; not by a long shot. In this book, Konnikova has come closer to delivering the "Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time" but I disagree with her observations and conclusions.

    As a former prosecutor of elder abuse crimes (both physical and financial), I have a lot of experience with people who "fall for it." But that certainly doesn't mean everyone does. Nor does it mean that the ones who don't "fall for it" are more cynical, less humane, less open to true friendship, etc. In fact, Konnikova's description of victims of con artists as being more open and in touch with their humanity sounds like the manipulation of a con artist.

    Not that I think Konnikova is a con artist. She is just a very ambitious young woman and a self-promoter. I have read a lot of her magazine articles and have enjoyed many of them. Unfortunately, her organizational and analytical skills as a writer do not make her a good writer of books. Viewed as a series of magazine articles with the inevitable repetitions this book holds up fairly well.

    But as a book, it lacks a great deal. It certainly deserves 3 stars, but its failure to respond to bigger questions with bigger answers makes it fall short. For me, it was an uneven, often repetitious, fairly shallow approach to a fascinating subject. Until she matures as a thinker and researcher, Konnikova does better when she sticks to the magazine articles that she handles so well.

    SundayAtDusk says:

    "In fact, Konnikova's description of victims of con artists as being more open and in touch with their humanity sounds like the manipulation of a con artist."

    Excellent observation and excellent review.

    JohnVidale says:

    As a scientist, used to sorting through ambiguous evidence and well-meaning but underdetermined interpretations, I find this book excellent. The author no doubt has to cast speculations of her own, and overplay some connections and implications, but the connections between gullibility, optimism, cults, and scams strike me as well articulated. The field of psychology is messy, but this book was very interesting and enlightening, clear as is possible (aside from chapters organized like magazine articles), and the connection between empathetic people and people who get scammed seems completely reasonable, albeit with a less than perfect correlation.

    Joe Madison says:

    I have the same question as Ellis Reppo: If this book is only average, can you recommend a good one? I have not read The Confidence Game, but I have a psych degree and a longstanding interest in persuasion. I often find popular psych books to be like you describe The Confidence Game (repetitive, without great breadth of understanding), and so your own book recommendations would be of real value. Thanks!

    pat black says:

    There's one called Eyeing the Flash: The Making of a Carnival Con Artist. A case study, if you will, of a 17-year-old middle class math whiz who became a midway con man in 1960s midwest

    JLMK

    I'd stick to making an unbiased appraisal of the merits of the book if I were you, and cut out the ad hominem nonsense. As a reviewer you are privileged to make an opinion on the book's attributes, how it answers the questions raised by the author, etc.

    But you are not at all privileged to launch unsolicited attacks on the personal attributes of the author. (Your line "until she matures as a thinker and researcher....." was completely uncalled-for, and hints more at your feelings of insecurity and inadequacy than anything else.)

    Kirk McElhearn says:

    Read David Maurer's The Big Con. It explains how the cons work, rather than focusing on lots of psychological studies that Konnikova looks at, trying to suss out why we respond the way we do.

    Nathan Webster TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE on November 27, 2015

    Entertaining and interesting look at conmen and the rubes who buy what they sell

    This is a fun book that covers a lot of ground about 'cons,' from the personalities of those who can commit them, to the marks and rubes who get taken advantage of.

    You would think in our informed culture, we couldn't be fooled, but we know that's not the case. Author Maria Konnikova does a good job presenting all sides of these stories and it's often entertaining reading about the pure brazeness of it all. I had not heard of many of the conmen (and women) that she describes and I always like reading new stories.

    I do wish there had been more recent accounts - there are so many cheaters like Lance Armstrong that aren't exactly doing it for profit, and more attention to them would have been interesting. Three-card monte gets some attention - but that's not that interesting to me...I know why they succeed, because people want to see if THEY can beat the game - it's not a con as much as a battle of wits, which the rube always loses (I was cheated on a rigged carny game years ago - they suck you in with a few easy wins, then it gets progressively harder to win the stuffed animal).

    I think the book is not disorganized, but it does cover a lot of ground, and the different names and situations can be difficult to follow at times. Interesting and entertaining, yes, but just be ready to pay attention.

    Ultimately, it's an interesting sociological study - as long as there's an advantage to fooling somebody, people will try to fool other people. I would not use this book as the primary source - I think a reader should have interest in this specific topic first, and not use this book to try to get interested. It's a little too specific to get a reader invested who comes to the topic totally new.

    Loyd Eskildson HALL OF FAMEon January 12, 2016
    Rogues Regularly Triumph Over The Meek

    Author Maria Konnikova has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia, along with considerable experience researching topics in and writing about psychology. This, her second book, is about conmen - elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust, not just your dime a dozen cheats and swindlers. Their 'bible' is Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

    A confidence game starts with basic human psychology. The con identifies what the victim wants and how to play on that desire to achieve what the con-artist wants. Size someone up well, and you can sell them anything; it helps to have someone in the throes of some sort of life turmoil - the conman preys on what people wish were true, reaffirming their views of themselves and giving their lives meaning. Doing so requires the creation of empathy and rapport - laying an emotional foundation before any scheme is proposed.

    The con is an exercise in soft skills - trust, sympathy, persuasion. He doesn't steal - we give. We believe because we want to, and we offer whatever they want - money, reputation, trust, fame, support, and don't realize what is happening until it is too late. No one is immune to the art of the con - it is not who you are, but where you happen to be at the moment in your life (eg. undergoing misfortune).

    By the time things begin to look dicey, the victims tend to be so invested, emotionally and often physically, that they do most of the persuasion themselves. The con-artist may not even need to convince his victims to stay quite - they usually are more likely than not to do so themselves. When we hear others talking about their unbelievable deal or good fortune, we realize at once they've been taken for a sucker, but when it happens to us, it's simply because "I'm lucky and deserving of a good turn."

    The best of cons are never discovered - we simply write our loss off as a matter of bad luck.

    Psychopaths make up an estimated 1% of male population; among women, they are almost nonexistent. Grifters also are highly likely to be narcissist and Machiavellian. Narcissism entails a sense of grandiosity, entitlement, an overly inflated sense of worth, and manipulativeness. Machiavellian has come to mean a specific set of traits that allows one to manipulate others - employs aggressive, manipulative, exploiting, and devious moves. They are also more likely to attempt to bluff, cheat, bargain, and ingratiate themselves with others, and more successful at doing so.

    Leadership and high-profile roles, salesmen/marketers, and the legal profession are all more likely to be populated by confidence men.

    Researcher James Fallon believes that certain critical periods in childhood can nudge one more or less towards full-blown psychopathy - luck out, you become a high-functioning psychopath, get the bad draw and you become a violent psychopath. Fallon believes the first three years of life are crucial in determining one's psychopathic future.

    The con is the oldest game there is, and it's likely to be entering a new age - thanks to new opportunities brought by increasing technology that make it far easier to establish convincing false identities (eg. LinkedIn), as well as identify those who might be more likely conned (dating sites that identify widows and divorcees). Since 2008, consumer fraud in the U.S. has risen more than 60%, with online scams more than doubling. In 2012 alone, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported almost 300,000 complaints of online fraud, with over $500 million lost. Between 2011 and 2012, the Federal Trade Commission found that a little over 10% of American adults (25.6 million) had fallen victim to fraud. The majority of the cases involved fake weight-loss products, second place went to false prize promotions, and in third place was buyers' clubs in which what seemed like a free deal actually involves membership charges you didn't even know you'd signed up for. Fourth was unauthorized Internet billing, and finally work-at-home programs.

    Con artists aren't just master manipulators - they are expert storytellers (eg. 'I'm supporting my mother, who now has AIDS,' 'I had PTSD from Iraq,' etc. Once we've accepted a story as true we will probably unconsciously bend any contradictory information to conform to the conclusion we've already drawn - it's known as 'confirmation bias.' Ultimately, what a confidence artist sells is hope. Many cases go unreported - most cases, by some estimates. AARP found that only 37% of victims over 55 will admit to having fallen for a con, and just over half those under 55 do so. Most con artists don't ever come to trial because they aren't brought to the authorities to begin with.

    Most people require three things to align before going from legitimacy to con-artistry - motivation (underlying predisposition created by psychopathy), narcissism, and Machiavellianism - along with opportunity and a plausible rationale. In corporate fraud, for example, few choose to con in a vacuum - they also perceive an aggressive sales environment (opportunity) and a feeling they must do something to stand out. For a significant percentage of the conning population, surroundings matter. About half those who commit fraud cite intolerable competitive conditions as justification. They can rationalize away just about any behavior as necessary.

    In one study of 15,000, only 50 could consistently detect liars - they relied on detecting incredibly fast facial movements as their clues. One of those 50 is now employed in law enforcement, and she told the author that smart psychopaths are super liars and have no conscience, and are very hard for her to identify.

    The first commandment of the con man - 'Be a patient listener.' (Victor Lustig, con artist) Emotion is the primary hook used, much more powerful than logic. Cons tend to thrive in the wake of economic or natural disaster illness, personal travail. Sadness makes us more prone to risk taking and impulsivity - perfect for certain types of cons. Con artists love funerals and obituaries, divorces, layoffs, and general loneliness. He does everything in his power to bring our self-perceived better-than-averageness perceptions to the fore - eg. 'How intelligent you are, Professor Frampton.' And we believe it, because we want it to be.

    Consistency plays a crucial role in our ongoing evaluations of a person we're helping - 'If I've helped you before, you must be worth it.'

    Overall - some good points about con-men - but far too reliant on anecdotes.

    Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE. November 2, 2015

    Know How Crooks Think, So They Can't Outthink You

    Our world positively teems with swindlers, ripoff artists, and con-men. From ordinary curbside Three-Card Monte to charming, narcissistic domestic abusers, to Ponzi schemers and Wall Street market riggers, the confidence game exudes from society's very pores. Psychologist turned journalist Maria Konnikova wants to unpack what makes us susceptible to con artists, a journey that leads through all human psychology, sometimes vulnerable to diversions and cow paths.

    Konnikova's first book, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, dealt with how crime fighters organize thoughts, observe reality, and undermine criminal mentality. This book essentially addresses the same issues from the opposite angle: how criminals create situations that need busting. Konnikova's conclusions may seem surprising, until we consider them further. Vulnerability to confidence artists and other professional chiselers actually means our psyches are healthy.

    Confidence artists work with an encyclopedic understanding of human psychology with which research scientists are only now catching up. They recognize common traits, like our tendency to see others as similar to ourselves, our illusion of control, and our unwillingness to think badly about ourselves. These traits aren't weaknesses; without them, we'd be functionally paralyzed. Effective swindlers work by turning our best characteristics and human capabilities against us.

    We must recognize, therefore, that making ourselves insusceptible to cons isn't actually desirable. Fraudsters prey on traits that open us to community, family, and fiscal reward. As Konnikova writes: "The same thing that can underlie success can also make you all the more vulnerable to the grifter's wares. We are predisposed to trust." With swindles, as with propaganda, those who think themselves most immune are, actually, most vulnerable.

    The answer lies in understanding ourselves and the swindlers better. They don't see us like we see ourselves. They don't want to. We must cultivate complex understanding of different human thought patterns, and a stronger sense of ourselves. Konnikova again: "It's not that the confidence artist is inherently psychopathic, caring nothing about the fates of others. It's that, to him, we aren't worthy of consideration as human beings; we are targets, not unique people."

    All isn't bleak. Throughout most of this book, Konnikova suggests it's difficult to prevent con-games without isolating ourselves and descending into cynicism. In the later chapters, though, she reverses the trend, showing how skilled, self-aware people can resist flim-flam artists' techniques. Not hypothetically, either: she shows how real people, cult busters and cultural anthropologists and police, have maintained their sanity when confronted by seemingly insurmountable double-dealing. Resistance is possible.

    As Konnikova explains confidence artists' psychological techniques, her focus expands to include much about recent discoveries in psychology and behavioral economics. She wants readers to emerge with as thorough an understanding of human minds as the fraud merchants enjoy. This sometimes makes her technique sprawling (this book runs over 300 pages plus back matter, unusually long for its genre.)

    Reading Konnikova sometimes requires especial concentration and focus.

    She richly rewards those who stick with her narrative, though. I've recently seen one friend lose rafts to shady investments and two others get burned by charming, narcissistic romantic partners. Even if we never vote for crooks, invest with Bernie Madoff, or buy salvation sellers' wares, the potential for confidence games still surrounds us. Konnikova provides needed tools for self-awareness, clear boundaries, and bold self-defense. Swindles are inevitable; victimhood isn't.

    [Apr 05, 2016] Catherine Zeta-Jones speaks out about her battle with manic depression

    Notable quotes:
    "... The 43-year-old actress said she wanted other sufferers to know that help was available, and claimed that being diagnosed with bipolar disorder had made her appreciate life all the more. ..."
    "... "The smartest thing I did was to stop going online," ..."
    "... "I'm the sort of person who will just look for the negative. Michael really can't understand it, but that's the way I am. And, with my bipolar thing, that's poison. ..."
    Nov 14, 2012 | Telegraph

    Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones has spoken out about her battle with manic depression after being admitted to a US rehabilitation clinic last year, in an effort to lift the "stigma" of mental illness.

    Catherine Zeta-Jones has spoken about her battle with manic depression in an effort to lift the "stigma" of mental illness.

    The 43-year-old actress said she wanted other sufferers to know that help was available, and claimed that being diagnosed with bipolar disorder had made her appreciate life all the more.

    In April last year, Zeta-Jones was admitted to a US rehabilitation clinic where doctors concluded she was suffering from bipolar II disorder, a form of manic depression.

    Her husband, fellow actor Michael Douglas, was recovering from treatment for throat cancer at the time.

    "I'm not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops but, with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it is completely controllable," Zeta-Jones told US InStyle magazine.

    "I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who don't have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it."

    Describing the past 18 months as "an intense time in good ways and bad", the Welsh actress said: "You find out who you really are and who are you are married to. You find things inside yourself you never imagined were there.

    "I've gained an appreciation for little things, like tea outside on a terrace."

    Zeta-Jones admitted that, at the height of her illness, she Googled her name to find negative comments about herself.

    "The smartest thing I did was to stop going online," she said.

    "I'm the sort of person who will just look for the negative. Michael really can't understand it, but that's the way I am. And, with my bipolar thing, that's poison.

    "So I just stopped. Cold turkey. And it's so liberating."

    The couple have two children, Dylan and Carys, and Zeta-Jones claimed they have a down-to-earth lifestyle. "We're country people, really, I garden and knit. I golf. We ride horses," she said.

    "I love clothes and, yes, we go out, but it's not like I'm walking around all day in a negligee with fluffy mules."

    [Mar 28, 2016] Splitting Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder Bill Eddy, Randi K

    ef on July 17, 2011

    If three of the last five words in this title have meaning to you, get this book, it WILL save your life

    Does your partner have periods of uncontrollable rage? Bizarre behaviors? A truly astonishing ability to twist words and reinterpret reality around you? Wild mood swings? Hair trigger temper? Have you been desperate enough that you spend your free time surreptitiously Google-ing psychological disorders to try to "poor mans diagnose" what you're dealing with?

    Clearly you have. If you're reading this, you're probably doing research Right Now in the vain hope of getting an answer to the one question you've been asking yourself night and day for as long as you can remember: What Do I Do?

    If that sounds like you, get this book, it will save your life.

    On second thought, clear your browser cache, erase cookies and search history, and beg a friend to buy this book for you so it does not get shipped to your home address. I'm not kidding. Read the title again.

    MarkA, September 10, 2011

    Helps educate you to lower risks of arrest, abuse investigations from false allegations & help custody efforts

    After having gone through the first years of post separation & divorce, I can definitely agree that PROTECTING YOURSELF is top priority when separating, especially if you have children. Educate yourself while quietly documenting the spouse's behaviors, quietly and confidentially seek the advice of a few family law attorneys who have experience with high conflict cases, carefully consider your options and prepare accordingly.

    Decades ago the hot-button threats by disordered spouses were claiming you were a closet homosexual or having an affair. These days such allegations are ho-hum and ignored in most courts. What has replaced them? Claims of DV (against the spouse) and child neglect, abuse or molestation. Why? To unfairly gain advantage or keep the upper hand in the court's custody and parenting decisions. Those are extreme hot-button issues and agencies are just waiting for a call to jump into action, this is the one time where the allegation is presumed valid at first and the presumption of innocence is set aside at first. An innocent spouse or parent (you) can be arrested and charged with some very serious offenses.

    If your spouse has threatened to make false allegations in the past, then that means it has been contemplated and therefore you are at heightened risk. DO NOT FOOL YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE NOT AT RISK! William Eddy presents information that will help you to avoid many common presumptions, mistakes and pitfalls us Nice Guys and Nice Gals are likely to make when we first encounter the judicial (not justice) system. Sorry, but normal common sense does not apply in court and the truth does not always prevail. Courts, including family/domestic court, make decisions based on written laws, case law which has modified the application of written laws, and the latitude allowed for the case-by-case discretion by judges. That is why this book is so helpful, in addition to your family law attorney's legal advice.

    To echo the excellent advice in another comment: If that sounds like you, get this book, it will save your life. On second thought, clear your browser cache, erase cookies and search history, and BEG a friend to buy this book for you so it does not get shipped to your home address or appear on your credit card or bank statements. I'm not kidding. Read the title again. PROTECT YOURSELF.

    Holly O. on January 2, 2013
    Splitting - Aint talking about an equitable divorce

    I read this book too late to fully be effective. The best advice that you can take is; show absolutely NO mercy to these soul-sucking people. Sure, it is a behavioral disorder, but there is no excuse and a great deal of choice-making that goes into the decisions that are made during the divorce process. They will never own their own faults - ever.

    Borderlines will immediately begin with a character assassination and side-setting of as many people as possible, and will split up all players in the game into black and white pieces. You are black, WILL have the second move and will remain behind as long as your bank account holds out because nothing is more important to the BPD than the process of proving to the world that you are wrong, bad and probably belong in prison away from all of the white players, including only those of your children that believe the stories. It might include a custody battle with accusations of child abuse, when in fact the real abuse are the lies and deceit that are wielded upon your impressionable and confused children. The narcissists are the worst because there is absolutely no self reflection in the process. If a borderline is not narcissist, then there is a possibility to change the game during one of the many "woe is me" moments.

    Absolutely DO NOT GIVE UP and do not do anything stupid. Truth does not matter in court; it is only about going through the motions. Tell your attorney to go for the jugular and spare no expense on getting your kids. However, do not fight dirty directly. Do not talk bad about your BPD ex to your kids or ANY of your common friends. Only talk about truth, including his/her mental disorder. Kids have automatic BS detectors. If you tell the truth, you will win. Period.

    Now, read this book. Own it. If you are smart enough to use this knowledge to your advantage, you will win. After 5 years of pure hell from BPD people in my life, I have finally recovered but it took everything including relationships, money, nearly all property and two jobs. BPD splitting is war and reading this book is the first step in a good battle plan.

    [Mar 28, 2016] The Dance of Anger A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships

    Amazon.com

    Marcy L. Thompson

    A large number of books on the topic of anger have recently come into my house -- how to recognize anger, what it means, and how to "control" it. This is the only one of these books that I liked. All the other books on this topic seem to treat anger as a loss of control, which should be repressed. In fact, they seem to be about impulse control more than about anger. (I have nothing against people learning to control their impulses, I just don't think that it's the same topic as the topic of anger.) Luckily, I did not pay for any of these books, so I can just be glad I read this one, and forget about the others.

    In this book, Lerner treats anger as a signal that something is going wrong. She explains that only when we address the "something wrong" in a useful way will the anger go away. Then she explores the "dances" we engage in, in our attempts to make ourselves feel better. She suggests that most of our attempts to make ourselves feel better focus on the person(s) we think made us mad, rather than on ourselves. She compassionately and wisely shows how to disengage from the anger and the counter-productive patterns, while staying connected and acting with integrity. However, she also acknowledges the effect that this sort of change can have on other people in the dance, and she provides guidance in maintaining oneself in the face of countermoves.

    Fundamentally, this is not the kind of self-help book that provides 10 easy steps to ridding oneself of anger. Instead, it describes a different way to think about anger, and discussion of the ways in which one can respond to anger. No easy steps, just a way of thinking, which can radically change the way one engages with the world.

    Rev. Dr. Jude Arnold (Arkansas, USA) -

    The Dance of Anger by Dr. Harriet Lerner, Kindle Version
    A BOOK REPORT BY REV. DR. JUDE ARNOLD

    I was happy to find the eBook version of Dr. Lerner's 1970's classic. I'm finding writing my first review of an eBook much more challenging, tho. Dr. Lerner, a champion in women's psychology, offers us this awesome self help around anger. I begin with the Epilogue in which Dr. Lerner talks about what she means by self help.

    "'Defining a self' or `becoming one's own person' is a task that one ultimately does alone....In the end, I define what I think, feel and believe....Yet, this lonely and challenging task cannot be accomplished in isolation. We can only accomplish it through our connectedness with others and the new learning about ourselves our relationships provide."(Italics and Underlining throughout are Dr. Lerner's.)

    In her books Dr. Learner always stresses "the importance of learning about the experience of family members and sharing our own." She also adds her belief that it's "equally crucial for us to connect with the family of womankind....This book [is] about personal anger and personal change, but as feminism has taught us, `the personal is political.' This means that there is a circular connection between the patterns of our intimate relationships and the degree to which women are represented, valued, and empowered in every aspect of society and culture.... "It is not sufficient for individual women to learn to move differently in personal relationships. If we do not also challenge and change the societal institutions that keep women in a subordinate and de-selfed position outside the home, what goes on inside the home will continue to be problematic for us all....Whether the problem we face is a marital battle or the escalating nuclear arms race, women and men both have a long legacy of blaming people rather than understanding patterns. Our challenge is to listen carefully to our own anger and use it in the service of change - while we hold tight to all that is valuable in our female heritage and tradition."

    Dr. Lerner wrote The Dance of Anger "to help readers not only identify the true sources of their anger, but also to learn how to change the patterns from which anger springs....The challenge of anger is at the heart of our struggle to achieve intimacy, self-esteem, and joy. Learning how to deal with it is worth the journey, even though there are no six-easy-steps to personal fulfillment and relationship bliss. The Dance of Anger teaches readers to understand how relationships operate and how to change our part in them. It encourages readers to go the hard route."

    Anger is a signal that "can motivate us to say `no' to the ways in which we are defined by others and `yes' to the dictates of our inner self. Women, however, have long been discouraged {and condemned} for the awareness and forthright expression of anger....The taboos against our feeling and expressing anger are so powerful that even knowing when we are angry is not a simple matter. When a woman shows her anger, she is likely to be dismissed as irrational or worse.... "Why are angry women so threatening to others? If we are guilty, depressed, or self-doubting we stay in place. We do not take action except against our own selves and we are unlikely to be agents of personal and social change. In contrast, angry women may change and challenge the lives of us all, as witnessed by the past decade of feminism." (I believe she refers, unfortunately, to the 1960's here.)

    "Anger is something we feel. It exists for a reason and always deserves our respect and attention. We all have a right to everything we feel - and certainly our anger is no exception....Our anger signals a problem, but provides us with no answers - not even a clue - as to how to solve it." Dr. Lerner does not however advocate venting anger or letting it all hang out. "Feelings of depression, low self-esteem, self-betrayal, and even self-hatred are inevitable when we fight but continue to submit to unfair circumstances, when we complain but live in a way that betrays our hopes, values and potentials....Those of us who are locked into ineffective expressions of anger suffer as deeply as those of us who dare not get angry at all."

    Dr. Lerner defines two styles of managing anger, the nice lady who avoids anger and conflict at all cost, and the bitch who is easily angered and fights with no constructive resolution. In reality, both these styles "serve equally well to protect others, to blur our clarity of self, and to ensure that change does not occur....Anger is inevitable when [nice ladies'] lives consist of giving in and going along; when we assume responsibility for other people's feelings and reactions; when we relinquish our primary responsibility to proceed with our own growth and ensure the quality of our own lives; when we behave as if having a relationship is more important than having a self....Nothing, but nothing, will block the awareness of anger so effectively as guilt and self-doubt. Our society cultivates guilt feelings in women such that many of us still feel guilty if we are anything less than an emotional service station to others." On the other hand, the nature of the hysterical bitch's "fighting or angry accusations may actually allow the other person to get off the hook" protecting old familiar patterns as surely as does silence. The end result in both these styles is we end up feeling powerless. Our self-esteem suffers because we have not addressed the real issues causing our anger.

    It is in our first family relationships that closeness often leads to stuckness. Dr. Lerner teaches us to use our anger energy to get unstuck in our stickiest relationships first, so these same issues will not fuel the fires in all of our other relationships. "The ability to use anger as a tool for change requires that we gain a deeper understanding and knowledge of how relationships operate....unresolved issues from our past inevitably surface in our current relationships." We simply must learn to use our anger to change our own patterns of relating rather than blame and try to change other people.

    Dr. Lerner identifies these four areas we need to learn to develop our skills and to use our anger as a tool for change in relationships: "1. We Can Learn to Tune In to the True Sources of Our Anger and Clarify Where We Stand. "2. We Can Learn Communications Skills. "3. We Can Learn to Observe and Interrupt Nonproductive Patterns of Interaction....We cannot make another person change his or her steps to an old dance, but if we change our own steps, the dance no longer can continue in the same predictable pattern. "4. We Can Learn to Anticipate and Deal with Countermoves and `Change Back!' Reactions from Others....In all families there is a powerful opposition to one member defining a more independent self...The powerful emotional counterforce (`You're wrong'; `Change back!' `Or else....') is predictable, understandable, and to some extent, universal."

    Dr. Lerner adds, "It is never easy to move away from silent submission or ineffective fighting toward a calm but firm assertion of who we are, where we stand, what we want, and what is and is not acceptable to us....Not only can we acquire new ways of managing old angers; we can also gain a clearer and stronger `I' and with it, the capacity for a more intimate and gratifying `we.' Many of our problems with anger occur when we choose between having a relationship and having a self. This book is about having both.....If two people become one, a separation can feel like a psychological or a physical death. We may have nothing - not even a self to fall back on - when an important relationships ends. We all need to have both an `I' and a `we' that nourish and give meaning to each other....The more we carve out a clear and separate `I', the more we can experience and enjoy both intimacy and aloneness."

    Dr. Lerner demonstrates that all, and especially romantic, relationships can be like a seesaw; "the underfunctioning of one individual allows for the overfunctioning of the other....The more the man [i.e.] avoids sharing his own weaknesses, neediness, and vulnerability, the more his woman may experience and express more than her share. The more the woman avoids showing her competence and strength, the more her man will have an inflated sense of his own. And if the underfunctioning partner starts looking better, the overfunctioning partner will start looking worse....If the woman is further convinced that she herself cannot survive without the relationship, she will vent her anger in a manner that only reinforces the old familiar patterns from which her anger stems....

    "Whenever one person makes a move to rebalance the seesaw, there is a countermove by the other party. There are few things more anxiety-arousing than shifting to a higher level of self-assertion and separateness in an important relationship and maintaining the position despite the countermoves of the other person....Countermoves are the other person's unconscious attempt to restore a relationship to its previous balance or equilibrium, when anxiety about separateness and change gets too high....What matters is the degree to which we are able to take a clear position in a relationship and behave in ways that are congruent with our stated beliefs....The woman who sits at the bottom of a seesaw marriage accumulates a great amount of rage, which is in direct proportion to the degree of her submission and sacrifice....Sometimes, to develop a stronger `I' is to come to terms with our deep-seated wish to leave an unsatisfactory marriage and this possibility may be no less frightening than the fear of being left."

    Dr. Learners covers the subject of triangles in great depth. "Identifying the real issues is not an easy matter. It is particularly difficult among family members because when two adults have a conflict, they often bring in a third party to form a triangle, which then makes it even harder for the two people involved to identify and work out their problems.... Underground issues from one relationship or context invariably fuel our fires in another." We detour "feelings of anger from one person to another....We reduce anxiety in one relationship by focusing on a third party, who we unconsciously pull into the situation to lower the emotional intensity in the original pair. Triangles can become rigidly entrenched blocking the growth of the individuals in them and keeping us from identifying the actual sources of conflict in our relationships....Triangles greatly increase the probability of escalating aggression....The three essential ingredients of extricating oneself from a triangle are: staying calm, staying out, and hanging in." It is never helpful to anyone to gossip or talk about a third party. "In the best of all possible worlds we might envision separate person-to-person relationships with our friends, coworkers, and family members that were not excessively influenced by other relationships."
    Most of us put our anger energy into trying to change the other person. This, Dr. Lerner repeatedly exclaims, is impossible. We "secretly believe that we have the corner on the `truth' and that this would be a much better world if everyone else believed and reacted exactly as we do. But one of the hallmarks of emotional maturity is to recognize the validity of multiple realities and to understand that people think, feel, and react differently." Closeness does not mean sameness. "We have a right to everything we think and feel - and so does everyone else. It is our job to state our thoughts and feelings clearly and to make responsible decisions that are congruent with our values and beliefs. It is not our job to make another person think and feel the way we do or the way we want them to.... We are able to move away from ineffective fighting only when we give up the fantasy that we can change or control another person. It is only then that we can reclaim the power that is truly ours - the power to change our own selves and take new and different actions on our own behalf."

    Dr. Lerner gives example after example illustrating these same basic lessons: "First, `letting it all hang out' may not be helpful because venting anger may protect rather than challenge the old rules and patterns in a relationship. Second, the only person we can change and control is our own self. Third, changing our own self can feel so threatening and difficult that it is often easier to continue an old pattern of silent withdrawal or ineffective fighting and blaming. And, finally, de-selfing is at the heart of our most serious anger problems."

    "Even rats in a maze learn to vary their behavior if they keep hitting a dead end. Why in the world, then, do we behave less intelligently than laboratory animals? Repeating the same old fights protects us from the anxieties we are bound to experience when we make a change....Human nature is such that when we are angry, we tend to become so emotionally reactive to what the other person is doing to us that we lose our ability to observe our own part in the interaction....Self-observation is the process of seeing the interaction of ourselves and others, and recognizing that the ways other people behave with us has something to do with the way we behave with them." The form of this circular dance is universal in which the behavior of each serves "to maintain and provoke the other. Once a part of an established twosome - married or unmarried, lesbian or straight - the more each person tries to change things, the more things stay the same."

    I am beginning to understand how my interaction had become a circular dance in which my behavior maintained and provoked behavior in my significant other. "In the final analysis it matters little who started it.... A good way to make this break is to recognize the part we play in maintaining and provoking the other person's behavior. Even if we are convinced that the other person is ninety-seven percent to blame we are still in control of changing our three percent." Bottom line - "We do not have the power to change another person who does not want to change, and our attempts to do so may actually protect him or her from change. This is the paradox of the circular dances in which we all participate."

    "Opposites do attract, but they do not always live happily ever after. On the one hand, it is reassuring to live with someone who will express parts of one's own self that one is afraid to acknowledge; yet, the arrangement has its inevitable costs: The woman [i.e.]who is expressing feelings not only for herself but also for her husband will indeed end up behaving `hysterically' and `irrationally.' The man who relies on his wife to do the `feeling work' for him will increasingly lose touch with this important part of himself, "and when the time comes that he needs to draw upon his emotional resources, he may find that nobody's at home....This is the `masculinity' that our society breeds - the male who feels at home in the world of things and abstract ideas but who has little empathic connection to others , little attunement to his own internal world, and little willingness or capacity to `hang in' when a relationship becomes conflicted and stressful... . Doing the `feeling work' like cleaning up has long been defined as `woman's work', and lots of women are good at it. As with cleaning up, men will not begin to do their shares until women no longer do it for them."

    "When a woman vents her anger ineffectively or expresses it in an overemotional style, she does not threaten her man. If anything she helps him maintain his masculine cool, while she herself is perceived as infantile or irrational. When a woman clarifies the issue and uses her anger to move toward something new and different, the change occurs. If she stops over-functioning [overinvolvement] for others and starts acting for herself, her underfunctioning [underinvolvement] man is likely to acknowledge and deal with his own anxieties."
    Dr. Lerner goes on to identify two other types of dancers: "Emotional pursuers are persons who reduce their anxiety by sharing feelings and seeking close emotional contact. Emotional distancers are persons who reduce their anxiety by intellectualizing and withdrawing." No matter the problem, these two styles of responding to stress eventually become at odds. The common outcome of this classic scenario is that "after the escalating dance of pursuit and withdrawal proceeds for some time, the woman [most often the pursuer] goes into what therapists call `reactive distance', which only temporarily reverses the pursuit cycle or has little effect at all....When a pursuer stops pursuing and begins to put her energy back into her own life - without distancing or expressing anger at the other person - the circular dance has been broken....A relationship becomes more `true' and balanced as the pursuer can allow herself to acknowledge and express more of her own wish for independence and space, and in turn, the distancer can begin to acknowledge more of his dependency and wish for closeness."

    She repeats again, "Changing another person is a solution that never, ever works." The power that is ours is only and always the power to change our own self. The only real power we have is the power to act and make choices. However, to try to change the other person is usually the first thing we do with our anger. The second thing we do is cut ourselves off either emotionally or geographically. Such distancing does bring short-term relief but there are long term costs - "the unresolved emotional intensity is likely to get played out in other important relationships....When emotional intensity is high in a family, most of us put the entire responsibility for poor communication on the other person....Always, we perceive that it is the other who prevents us from speaking and keeps the relationship from changing. We disown our own part in the interactions we complain of and, with it, our power to bring about a change."
    OK! What do we do instead of trying to change the other person or their thoughts and feelings? We clearly state our beliefs and convictions and we stand behind them. This includes identifying within ourselves the true source of our anger, usually our independence from that person. As we become less scared and guilty about showing our own strong and separate selves, in a mature and responsible fashion, we become more ready to make a change in the relationship, a change to being a separate and different person with our own unique way of being in the world. With this change comes the experience of separation anxiety, most often "based on an underlying discomfort with separateness and individuality that has its roots in our early family experience, where the unspoken expectation may have been that we keep a lid on our expressions of self."

    "Hit and Run confrontation does not lead to lasting change.... If serious about change, she must show for her own sake as well as the other that at last she is declaring her separateness and independence, but she is not declaring a lack of caring or closeness. Independence means that we clearly define our own selves on emotionally important issues, but it does not mean emotional distance....The work of negotiating greater independence may be so fraught with mutual anxieties about rejection and loss that the person making the move must be responsible for maintaining emotional contact with the other." Success will rest on her ability to share something about herself in a straightforward, nonblaming way while maintaining emotional contact throughout the process. It requires also that she "uphold her position with persistence and calm, without getting emotionally buffeted about by the inevitable countermoves and `change back!' reactions we meet whenever we assume a more autonomous position in an important relationship. This is what achieving selfhood and independence is all about. And it requires, among other things a particular way of talking and a degree of clarity that are especially difficult to achieve when we are angry."

    Another important technique that Dr. Lerner teaches is to turn anger into an "I message," a nonblaming statement about one's own self. She emphasizes that "if our goal is to break a pattern in an important relationship and/or to develop a strong sense of self that we can bring to all our relationships, it is essential that we learn to translate our anger into clear, nonblaming statements about our own self .... The significant issue for women is that we may not have a clear `I' to communicate about and we are not prepared to handle the intense negative reactions that come our way when we do begin to define and assert the self....Women often fear that having a clear `I' means threatening a relationship or losing an important person. Thus, rather than using our anger as a challenge to think more clearly about the `I' in our relationships we may, when angry, actually blur what personal clarity we do have."

    We really fear rocking the boat. "Feeling fuzzy-headed, inarticulate, and not so smart are common reactions experienced by women as we struggle to take a stand on our own behalf. It is not just anger and fighting that we learn to fear; we avoid asking precise questions and making clear statements when we unconsciously suspect that doing so would expose our differences, make the other person feel uncomfortable, and leave us standing alone."

    "Why would any of us attempt to deny our anger and sacrifice one of our most precious possessions - our personal clarity?" For one thing, "our very definitions of `masculinity' and `femininity' are based on the notion that women must function as nonthreatening helpmates and ego builders to men lest men feel castrated and weakened." This explains when a woman's anger turns to tears; she's attempting to restore togetherness. Instead she probably needs to work harder at the task of clarifying her separateness and independence within her first family. She cannot control the other person's reaction. She should not allow herself to be controlled by them either. "She can simply stay on course by listening to what they have to say and then restating her initial position. There is nothing wrong with "sounding like a broken record now and then.... She cannot change the other person's mind or ensure that justice will prevail. She can state her position, recognize her choices, and make responsible decisions on her own behalf."

    "Our problem is not the fear of clarity but the absence of it. That we are angry is obvious. But we may have little perspective on the `I,' as a result of focusing exclusively on what the other person is doing to us.... Using our anger as a starting point to become more knowledgeable about the self does not require that we analyze ourselves and provide lengthy psychologically explanations of our reactions....Anger is a tool for change when it challenges us to become more of an expert on the self and less of an expert on others. Learning to use our anger effectively requires some letting go - letting go of blaming that other person whom we see as causing our problems and failing to provide for our happiness; letting go of the notion that it is our job to change other people or tell them how they should think, feel, behave. Yet, this does not mean that we passively accept or go along with any behavior. In fact, a `live-and-let-live' attitude can signal a de-selfed position, if we fail to clarify what is and is not acceptable or desirable to us in a relationship. The main issue is how we clarify our position....We can simply say, `well, it may seem crazy or irrational to you, but this is the way I see it.' Of course, there is never a guarantee that other people will alter their behavior" to suit you and me.

    Dr. Lerner also counsels to not be in a hurry with this. It's ok to be uncertain. Sit with it for a while! She says, "Slow Down! Our anger can be a powerful vehicle for personal growth and change if it does nothing more than help us recognize that we are not yet clear about something." What most of us do when we are angry is judge, blame, criticize, moralize, preach, instruct, interpret, and psychoanalyze. She goes on to say, "If I persist in repeating this point, it is because it is an extremely difficult concept to grasp, and hold on to when we are angry. Conflicting wants and different perceptions of the world do not mean that one party is `right' and the other `wrong.'"

    Some common communication mistakes we make are, for starters "not being particularly tactful and strategic. Few people are able to listen well when they are being criticized or told what's wrong with them." Second, we communicate as if to convey that we are an expert on the other person's experience. "'Who has the problem?' is a question that has nothing to do with guilt or culpability. The one who has the problem is simply the party who is dissatisfied with or troubled by the particular situation....How many of us can distinguish with confidence where our responsibilities to others begin and end? How can women trained from birth to define ourselves through our loving care of others - know with confidence when it is time to finally say `Enough!'?" Many woman devote themselves so exclusively to the needs of others that they betray if not lose themselves.

    "If however, we do not use our anger to define ourselves clearly in every important relationship we are in - and manage our feelings as they arise - no one else will assume this responsibility for us. We are never the first in our family to wrestle with a problem although it may feel that way. All of us inherit the unsolved problems of our past....We put our energy into taking responsibility for other people's feelings, thoughts and behavior and hand over to others responsibility for our own. When this happens, it becomes difficult, if not impossible for the old rules of a relationship to change....As we learn to "relinquish responsibility for the self, we are prone to blame others for failing to fill up our emptiness or provide for our happiness - which is not their job." It is however our job to "allow others the space to manage their own pain and solve their own problems. When we do not put our primary emotional energy into solving our own problems, we take on other people's problems as our own. When we overfunction for another individual, we end up very angry and in the process, we facilitate the growth of no one." We must "acknowledge that we do not have the answers or solutions to other people's problems." Even with children, "Change comes about when we stop trying to shape up the other person and begin to observe patterns and find new options for our own behavior."

    In closing, I'd like to thank Dr. Lerner for her tremendous contribution to women's psychology and my emotional health, and for this "review of some basic do's and don'ts to keep in mind when you are feeling angry.

    [Mar 26, 2016] Divorce Movies Worth Watching by Alison Heller

    1. Take This Waltz (tone-contemplative and quiet): This 2011 movie starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen follows a young wife as she meets and becomes enchanted with a handsome and rather forward stranger. She’s been happy enough in her marriage, but the stranger is suddenly everywhere: on her flight, in her cab, coincidentally living down the street. Is it fate or something a little less magical? Although the story arc is a familiar one — temptation, seduction, decision — director Sarah Polley goes a little deeper by extending the movie past the wife’s choice and exploring how the end of a relationship informs the beginning of another. This is a thoughtful and lyrical examination of individuals in retrograde and whether their patterns of behavior are ever broken.

    2. The Good Wife (fast-paced and entertaining): Okay, so this is a small screen offering that’s also about a Chicago law firm, but TGW started out as the ultimate separation story; the whole thing kicked off with Alicia Florrick rebuilding her own life and career after the betrayal and broken promises of her husband, fallen politician Peter Florrick. In recent seasons, there’s been some not-so-neat rekindling between the two, in addition to the extra-marital temptation — for Alicia — of Will Gardner. Because all three characters are sensitively written and acted and complex and likable, the yo-yoing is more engaging than annoying. TGW gets bonus points for divorce lawyer David Lee — hilarious, acerbic and manipulative — in my opinion, one of the most entertaining characters on television (with interesting, high profile cases to boot).

    3. Blue Valentine (dark and depressing): Admittedly, this list is a Michelle Williams fest, but only because she deserves it. (Full disclosure: I watched Blue Valentine because I was blown away by her performance in Take This Waltz.) Blue Valentine, and its well-publicized scene of Ryan Gosling (also excellent) threatening to jump off the Manhattan Bridge, examines the demise of a relationship by interspersing the couples’ last moments together with scenes of their doomed start. It’s a character study as much as anything else, but it also sensitively shows how you know — and why — the end is the end is the end. Sometimes two people are just... toxic. (This one is also the most depressing on the bunch, though — if you’re looking for even an ounce of hopefulness, a tiny little sprig of a bud on a tree that might possibly signal spring somewhere, look elsewhere.)

    4. It’s Complicated (light and comedic; real estate porn): Nancy Meyers uses all the standard rom-com tricks in this very watchable movie about a California bakery owner who has an affair with her ex-husband You’ll laugh, you’ll feel good watching Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin — because it’s impossible to feel bad watching Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin — you’ll drool over everything from the food to the home décor. (Even the messiness of getting back together with an ex and keeping it a secret from three grown children appears kind of... fun and, in a way, not all that complicated.) It’s Complicated examines the issue of “closure” and its complications: how much of a relationship’s demise is timing or youth? Is there maybe always something — a little spark — remaining between two people who have once been in love? So, there is some food for thought, but it’s certainly not forced on you. It’s possible to watch the entire movie at face value, for the fun performances and that house-my goodness — that amazing house and don’t even get me started on the garden.

    [Mar 23, 2016] A Separation Peyman Moaadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, Leila Hatami

    A court drama
    Amazon

    Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    13 January 2012

    Mankind Is Flawed

    In Tehran, the teacher Simin (Leila Hatami) has requested the divorce from her husband, the bank clerk Nader (Peyman Moadi). Simin wishes to live abroad to give a better life to her eleven year-old daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi) and Nader, who is a family man but very arrogant, wants to stay to take care of his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi) that has Alzheimer. Simin moves to the house of her mother and Nader hires the religious Razieh (Sareh Bayat) to take care of his father while he is working.

    Razieh is pregnant but she does not tell her husband Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), who owes a large amount to the creditors, that she is working. When she arrives with her daughter Somayeh (Kimia Hosseini)at Nader's house, she distracts and Nader's father goes to the street and she goes and gets him back home. On the next day, when Nader arrives home with Termeh, they find Nader's father tied up to his bed and Razieh and Somayeh are not at home. When they arrive at home, Nader accuses Razieh of theft and expels her. Razieh feels offended and argues with him, and Nader pushes her out at the front door. Razieh falls and has an abortion. She goes to the court with her husband and the witnesses are summoned to testify.

    "Jodaeiye Nader az Simin" or the separation of Nader and Simin, is among the best Iranian films I have seen and is a fantastic drama that shows how flawed mankind is, no matter in Iran, Brazil, Europe or wherever. Despite the different values of the Iranian society comparing with the Westerns ones, all the characters are flawed; therefore, the plot is realistic.

    Nader is a family man that loves his father and his daughter, but commits perjury, is stubborn and arrogant and asks his acquaintances to lie. Simin uses the secret that Razieh had told her to take advantage. Termeh lies to save her father from justice. Razieh is religious and worried with Allah and sins, but she was capable to lie fearing the reaction of her husband. Hodjat is a rude and impulsive man that is violent.

    The direction is perfect and the acting is top-notch. The story is engaging and believable and differences of cultures between Iran and Brazil are intriguing. I really recommend this film for any cinema lover or people interested in learning a little about the Iranian culture. My vote is ten.

    Title (Brazil): "A Separação" ("The Separation")

    [Mar 22, 2016] The Vampire's Bite Victims of Narcissists Speak Out

    Notable quotes:
    "... N would [even] lie when the truth would save his neck ..."
    "... "I lie. Compulsively and needlessly. All the time. About everything. And I often contradict myself. Why do I need to do this? To make myself interesting or attractive. In other words, to secure narcissistic supply (attention, admiration, adulation, gossip )." ..."
    "... Because they're not genuinely interested in others, they're poor listeners ..."
    "... They can be extremely mean-spirited (as in taking an almost perverse delight in raining on another's parade). ..."
    "... They're untrustworthy: As one discussant bluntly puts it: "Don't tell them anything you aren't prepared to get shoved up your butt later ..."
    "... Despite their self- confident , better-than-thou exterior, they often betray feelings of weakness, insecurity, inferiority, jealousy , and cowardice. One commenter even sums them up as "emotional cripples." ..."
    "... What I, and others on this board, have learned from dealing with N bullies in our personal lives applies to terrorists. There can be no appeasement, no attempting to reason with them, no attempt to "fix" them, to unseat their deep-seated hatred, shame and envy. Sounds terribly harsh to the uninitiated, but not recognizing that can only lead to our own destruction. ..."
    "... Looking back on ALL the Ns I've ever known and merged with, I see there WERE signs within minutes of meeting the N that they were grossly selfish, immoral, sex -addicted or [that] something was definitely 'off' [about them]. I didn't honour my intuition, gut feelings and instinct. The truth is that I had almost no experience setting healthy boundaries. ..."
    Apr 23, 2014 | Psychology Today
    Of all the oppressive, crazy-making features of the narcissist, the one perhaps most frequently cited is their exasperating dishonesty. And such untruthfulness has at times led their no-longer-so-gullible victims to describe them as con artists. Here's a highly selective sampling of such complaints:

    The controversial Dr. Sam Vaknin, creator of this forum on narcissism and himself a self-confessed NPD, has written profusely-at times, brilliantly-on the subject. In his article "Pseudologica Fantastica," he freely admits:

    ... ... ...

    Below, I'll summarize some other distressing characteristics of the narcissist regularly alluded to by their victims:

    The one consolation for victims of the narcissist's "dagger" (or "vampirish teeth") is the hard-won insights they eventually gain, which makes it possible for at least some of them to repudiate a relationship that's been so toxic to them. Again, in their own (sadder-but-wiser) words:

    [Mar 22, 2016] The Secret to Spotting Subtle Narcissists

    Notable quotes:
    "... The entitlement surge of subtle narcissism is a bit like the normally happy drunk suddenly becoming surly and going on a bender, cleaning out the liquor cabinets and storming off to buy more booze. ..."
    "... Your partner begins complaining about the messy house after your pregnancy, feeling he works hard enough that he deserves to come home to a clean house.... ..."
    Mar 16, 2016 | Psychology Today

    ...narcissism is marked by an entitlement surge-those moments when a normally understanding friend or partner or coworker angrily behaves as if the world owes them. It's usually triggered by a sudden fear that their special status has been threatened in some way. Until this point, their need for the world to revolve around them is mostly under wraps, because it hasn't been called into question. Kevin didn't ask for Sherry's support or even try to understand how hard her year after her mother's death had been. In his mind, he deserved her full understanding because he felt so close to his dream of a becoming a law partner.

    The entitlement surge of subtle narcissism is a bit like the normally happy drunk suddenly becoming surly and going on a bender, cleaning out the liquor cabinets and storming off to buy more booze. Your usually affable boss suddenly tears into you, worried that the latest project (his idea) is failing. Unbeknownst to you, he's secretly had plans to become the CEO ever since he arrived. Your partner begins complaining about the messy house after your pregnancy, feeling he works hard enough that he deserves to come home to a clean house....

    ... ... ...

    To read more about subtle (and dangerous) narcissism, including specific, research-backed strategies to protect yourself from it, order Rethinking Narcissism (link is external) today.

    [Mar 22, 2016] The 5 Most Dangerous Myths About Narcissism (Part 2)

    Notable quotes:
    "... The other narcissist is my mother. For years I lived in terror of her rages, and how the family pretty much revolves around her. I didn't understand how a parent could be so cruel, and assume everyone else was a bad person. ..."
    "... As far as healthy narcissism goes, it's something I'm working on. My mother has stripped all of our self-esteem, as she relishes putting loved one's fault under the microscope as often and loudly as possible. I grew up with massive amounts of fear and anxiety assuming everyone was very concerned about every minor mistake I made. I wish I had worked on this earlier. Mom taught me how to make a mountain out of a tiny molehill. ..."
    "... It's true, many children who've lived with extremely narcissistic parents--and I count myself among them--grow up to struggle with a more generous self-image. ..."
    Feb 17, 2016 | Psychology Today

    Narcissism has never been an official mental health disorder. Narcissist isn't a recognized diagnostic descriptor either; it's shorthand for someone who scores higher than the average on narcissism measures and may or may not be disordered

    ...It's a mistake to talk about "symptoms of narcissism." What people usually mean is symptoms of pathological narcissism or NPD.

    Anonymous on February 17, 2016 - 9:04am

    I have two narcissists in my family. One borders on sociopathy so I avoid her, she scares me. The other narcissist is my mother. For years I lived in terror of her rages, and how the family pretty much revolves around her. I didn't understand how a parent could be so cruel, and assume everyone else was a bad person.

    But now that can attach a label to the problem and get a better understanding of what is happening and why, I can create much better boundaries and sit back and watch the crazy unfold. My mother is pretty frustrated that her usual tricks aren't having the impact on me that they once did.

    As far as healthy narcissism goes, it's something I'm working on. My mother has stripped all of our self-esteem, as she relishes putting loved one's fault under the microscope as often and loudly as possible. I grew up with massive amounts of fear and anxiety assuming everyone was very concerned about every minor mistake I made. I wish I had worked on this earlier. Mom taught me how to make a mountain out of a tiny molehill.

    Craig Malkin PhD on February 19, 2016

    It sounds like you've been through hell

    And come back. It's true, many children who've lived with extremely narcissistic parents--and I count myself among them--grow up to struggle with a more generous self-image. It's like we swallow that parent whole, their voice plaguing us at every turn. It's hard work silencing that inner critic. But that's the task -- well worth undertaking-- of overcoming echoism and finding our voices. I wish you well in continuing to find yours.

    [Mar 22, 2016] 9 Enlightening Quotes on Narcissists

    Notable quotes:
    "... In fact, one of their central defenses (or stratagems) is to endlessly project onto others the very flaws (and fears!) they're unable, or unwilling, to allow into awareness. ..."
    "... "Narcissists are great con-artists. After all, they succeed in deluding themselves! As a result, very few professionals see through them." ~ ..."
    "... most therapists learn quickly enough the signs and signals that give away a narcissistic patient (e.g., regularly blaming others for their problems, taking very little responsibility for why their lives aren't working, telling them how to do therapy , ..."
    Apr 14, 2014 | Psychology Today

    Curiously, deep, deep down-and undoubtedly unconscious to them-they know they're not really what they project. In fact, one of their central defenses (or stratagems) is to endlessly project onto others the very flaws (and fears!) they're unable, or unwilling, to allow into awareness. As critical as they are about others' shortcomings, they're amazingly blind to their own. (And in this respect, the reader might take a look at my earlier piece, "The Narcissist's Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But . . . ").

    ... ... ...

    "To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance." ~ Oscar Wilde

    Although as stated, this quote is undoubtedly ambiguous, the term "romance" leads me to believe that Wilde's notion of self-love leans toward the pathological-and maybe the auto-erotic as well. But healthy self-love really has very little to do with the romantic: it's grounded in positive self-regard and an acceptance of one's flaws and frailties. On the contrary, being "in love with" oneself (as implied by Wilde's quote) suggests a self-absorption that can only be detrimental to narcissists in their relationships with others. In fact, one of the most common descriptions of unhealthy narcissism emphasizes their inability to care about other people-apart, that is, from how these others might satisfy the demands of their (insatiable) egos.

    "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm, but the harm [that they cause] does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." ~ T. S. Eliot

    This quote makes a vital distinction between narcissists' being malevolent (cf. the sociopath) and their simply lacking concern about how their behaviors might adversely affect others. It's yet another way of drawing attention to their supreme self-absorption, which makes it impossible for them to empathically identify with another's feelings, Most of the time they don't consciously intend to take advantage of others. Such exploitation is merely a side effect of their overriding need to feel more important and better than others-and so feel "good enough." Nonetheless, their insensitivity to the wants and needs of those around them can at times be nothing less than astonishing.

    ... ... ...

    "Narcissists are great con-artists. After all, they succeed in deluding themselves! As a result, very few professionals see through them." ~ anonymous.

    This statement seems somewhat exaggerated to me. For most therapists learn quickly enough the signs and signals that give away a narcissistic patient (e.g., regularly blaming others for their problems, taking very little responsibility for why their lives aren't working, telling them how to do therapy, etc.).

    Still, the quote is instructive in pointing out not only the enormous self-deception in the way narcissists see themselves, but also their singular expertise in deceiving others. Speaking with bogus authority, they typically have an excellent track record in getting others to see things as they do, even though the result to those so taken in can be disastrous (e.g., being persuaded to make a truly ill-considered investment).

    All of which is to say that-on many different levels-getting involved with a narcissist can be as dangerous as a snake bite. And the unexpected sting of it all can, alas, last a good deal longer.

    Note 1: In examining literally hundreds of quotes for this post, I came across many that centered not anywhere so much on the narcissist as on their hapless victims. Consequently, my next post will explore the damage that narcissists-especially those far out on the narcissistic continuum -do to those who unwittingly put their trust in them. It's called "The Vampire's Bite: Victims of Narcissists Speak Out."

    Note 2: If you'd like to explore other posts I've written on narcissism, here are the links:

    Note 3: If you'd like to check out other posts I've done for Psychology Today blogs generally-on a broad variety of topics-click here.

    Linda Taylor, welfare queen Ronald Reagan made her a notorious American villain. Linda Taylor’s other sins were far worse By Josh Levin

    Dec. 19 2013 | slate.com

    In the 1970s, Ronald Reagan villainized a Chicago woman for bilking the government. Her other sins—including possible kidnappings and murders—were far worse.

    Jack Sherwin knew he’d seen her before. It was Aug. 8, 1974, and the Chicago burglary detective was working a case on the city’s South Side. Though her name and face didn’t look familiar, Sherwin recognized the victim’s manner, and her story. She’d been robbed, Linda Taylor explained, and she was sorry to report that the burglar had good taste: $14,000 in furs, jewelry, and cash were missing from her apartment. Thank heavens, most of it was insured.

    After listening to her tale of woe, Sherwin asked Taylor if she’d mind getting him some water. When she returned, the detective kept the glass as evidence.

    The fingerprints collected from Taylor’s kitchen helped jog Sherwin’s memory. Two years earlier, the same woman had been charged with making a bogus robbery claim—that time, the thieves had supposedly made off with $10,000 worth of valuables. Sherwin knew Linda Taylor because, out of pure happenstance, he’d been called on to investigate both of these alleged burglaries. She was living in a different part of town, using a different name, and sporting a different head of hair. But this was the same woman, pulling the same stunt.

    Sherwin cited Taylor, again, for making a false report. But the 35-year-old police officer, a former Marine and a 12-year veteran of the force, didn’t stop there. “The more I dug into it, the more I found that just wasn’t right,” he remembers. First, he learned that she was getting welfare checks under multiple names. Then he discovered Taylor’s husbands—“Oh, I guess maybe seven men that I knew of,” Sherwin says. The detective and his partner, Jerry Kush, got to work tracking down this parade of grooms, and they found a few who were willing to talk. Sherwin’s hunch had been right: This woman was up to no good.

    In late September 1974, seven weeks after Sherwin met Taylor for the second time, the detective’s findings made the Chicago Tribune. “Linda Taylor received Illinois welfare checks and food stamps, even tho[ugh] she was driving three 1974 autos—a Cadillac, a Lincoln, and a Chevrolet station wagon—claimed to own four South Side buildings, and was about to leave for a vacation in Hawaii,” wrote Pulitzer Prize winner George Bliss. The story detailed a 14-page report that Sherwin had put together illuminating “a lifestyle of false identities that seemed calculated to confuse our computerized, credit-oriented society.” There was evidence that the 47-year-old Taylor had used three Social Security cards, 27 names, 31 addresses, and 25 phone numbers to fuel her mischief, not to mention 30 different wigs.

    As the Tribune and other outlets stayed on the story, those figures continued to rise. Reporters noted that Linda Taylor had used as many as 80 names, and that she’d received at least $150,000—in illicit welfare cash, the numbers that Ronald Reagan would cite on the campaign trail in 1976. (Though she used dozens of different identities, I’ve chosen to call her Linda Taylor in this story, as it’s how the public came to know her at the height of her infamy.) Taylor also gained a reputation as a master of disguise. "She is black, but is able to pass herself off as Spanish, Filipino, white, and black," the executive director of Illinois’ Legislative Advisory Committee on Public Aid told the Associated Press in November 1974. "And it appears she can be any age she wishes, from the early 20s to the early 50s.”

    For Bliss and the Tribune, the scandal wasn’t just that Taylor had her hand in the till and had the seeming ability to shape-shift. The newspaper also directed its ire at the sclerotic bureaucracy that allowed her schemes to flourish. Bliss had been reporting on waste, fraud, and mismanagement in the Illinois Department of Public Aid for a long time prior to Taylor’s emergence. His stories—on doctors who billed Medicaid for fictitious procedures and overworked caseworkers who failed to purge ineligible recipients from the welfare rolls—showed an agency in disarray. That disarray didn’t make for an engaging read, though: “State orders probe of Medicaid” is not a headline that provokes shock and anger. Then the welfare queen came along and dressed the scandal up in a fur coat. This was a crime that people could comprehend, and Linda Taylor was the perfectly unsympathetic figure for outraged citizens to point a finger at.

    ... ... ...


    The 21-year-old sailor was working in the dental clinic at Chicago’s Great Lakes Naval Training Center when a beautiful woman walked in to get her teeth cleaned. Something about her was totally fascinating, Jones remembers. “I met her because she was pretty and I was shooting game to her,” he says. “I guess her game must’ve been stronger than mine, because I met her that Monday and [got] married that Saturday.”


    Jones thought he was lucky to get hitched to the 35-year-old Linda Sholvia. She was beautiful, with the smoothest skin he’d ever seen. She also gave him $1,000 as a wedding present, and he had his pick of fancy new cars. But Lamar and Linda’s marriage lasted only a little longer than their five-day courtship. A few weeks after they exchanged vows, Linda was arrested. When Jones paid her bond, his new wife fled the state. To make things worse, she stole his color TV.


    The young Navy man realized that something was amiss with his new bride even before the television went missing. When she showed him a degree from a university in Haiti, he noticed that it said Linda Taylor, not Linda Sholvia. Jones says Linda had five mailboxes at her residence at 8221 S. Clyde Ave., and she’d get letters in all five, addressed to different names. He got a bit uneasy when Linda told him, after they were married, that he was her eighth husband. She also had a “sister” named Constance who seemed more like her adult daughter.

    ... ... ...

    A month after his wife was brought back from Arizona, Lamar Jones testified against her in front of a Cook County grand jury. Jones says that around the time of that proceeding, he was shuffled into a car with another witness and told they had something in common: They were both married to Linda (or maybe it was Connie) at the same time. That was a surprise to Jones. His wife had told him that husband No. 7 was dead.

    ... ... ...

    Isaiah Gant, who has been an attorney for nearly four decades, says his onetime client “was a scam artist like I have never run across since.” Gant, now an assistant federal public defender in Nashville, Tenn., says Taylor could change personalities in an instant. “If she wanted to be a ho, she could be a ho. If she wanted to be a princess, she could be a princess,” he says. “The woman was smooth.”

    ... ... ...


    It got stranger from there. Constance told the Defender that Rose Kennedy, Lawrence Wakefield’s purported common-law wife, was no such thing. She also accused Kennedy of trying to poison her, saying, “The doctors said I had swallowed enough strychnine to kill a dozen people.” And in just the last few weeks, she reported, police had captured two white men trying to break into her house; a “swarthy Italian” had threatened to kill her; and her bodyguard had narrowly thwarted an attempt to blow up her 1964 Cadillac. A few days after that, the Associated Negro Press wrote that Constance Wakefield Steinberg—she was a “light-skinned Negro woman with a ‘Jewish’ surname”—“reported to police that her 11-year-old son, John, had been kidnapped and that she had received a number of threatening calls.”


    Whether she was going by Constance Wakefield, Linda Taylor, or any other name, the future welfare queen never went for subtlety. She was a woman of great ambition, and she conjured a universe in which the forces arrayed against her were equally extraordinary. Someone was always trying to kill her, or steal from her, or kidnap her, or take her children. These stories rarely checked out. Her son John, the Chicago Sun-Times would report, hadn’t been kidnapped. He was found by FBI agents wandering near his house, and explained that he’d run away after a fight with his sister. Census records and Lawrence Wakefield’s own death certificate reveal that Edith Jarvis was not Wakefield’s wife, as Taylor had asserted—she was his mother. When Taylor went to probate court to press her claim to the Wakefield fortune, even more of her story fell apart.


    Constance Wakefield was many people, but she probably wasn’t Constance Wakefield.


    In this and many of her other battles, Linda Taylor’s weapons were documents, paperwork of uncertain provenance that buttressed her version of events. Though her birth to Lawrence and Edith did not appear in contemporaneous records, she procured a delayed birth certificate from the doctor who she claimed had delivered her. She also furnished a pair of Lawrence Wakefield’s heretofore-undiscovered wills. The first, which dated to 1943, included a description of Wakefield’s daughter that matched her own, “specifically describing a scar and a mole and their location on her body,” the Tribune reported. The second will, from 1962, indicated that Wakefield had $2 million, that the vast majority of that lucre should go to his daughter, and that Rose Kennedy—who Taylor maintained was Lawrence Wakefield’s housekeeper, not his common-law wife—was entitled to precisely $1. "She is no good and will try to take everything from my baby,” the will read, according to the Tribune. “She has stoled enough from me since the death of my Edith."

    None of this evidence—the delayed birth certificate, the will that conveniently trashed her primary rival—convinced Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Gerald Mannix that he was dealing with Lawrence Wakefield’s real daughter. A long way from Chicago, he found someone who could help him prove it.

    “A surprise witness testified in Probate court yesterday that Miss Constance Wakefield, who claims to be the illegitimate daughter of the late Lawrence Wakefield, policy king, and thus heir to his fortune, actually is Martha Louise White,” the Tribune reported on Nov. 10, 1964. Hubert Mooney, who claimed to be Martha’s uncle, explained that his niece was born in Summit, Ala., around 1926, making her about 38 years old—nine years older than she’d claimed to be in the guise of Constance Wakefield. Martha, Mooney said, was the daughter of his sister Lydie and a man named Marvin White. The court didn’t have to take his word for it. Hubert’s 84-year-old mother came from Tennessee to testify that she’d assisted in her granddaughter Martha’s birth.

    Mooney said he’d seen his niece most recently in Arkansas—the state where “Constance Wakefield” had grown up, according to her interview with The Chicago Defender. He’d also run into her in Oakland, Calif. On that occasion, she’d asked her uncle to bail her out of jail. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the assistant state’s attorney produced fingerprints and “police records from Oakland, which he said were those of Miss Wakefield, listing arrests for prostitution, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and assault.” A police expert testified that those fingerprints matched those of Beverly Singleton, a woman who’d been arrested the year prior for assaulting a 12-year-old girl. Constance Wakefield, it seemed, was many people, but she probably wasn’t Constance Wakefield.

    This dramatic testimony didn’t clear everything up. For her part, “Constance Wakefield” said she knew Hubert Mooney but that she was not Martha Louise White. She also denied that she was the woman identified in all those criminal records, though she did confess that she’d been charged with assault in Oakland.

    Weighing all the evidence, Judge Anthony Kogut cited Taylor for contempt of court and sentenced her to six months in jail. She wouldn’t get any of Lawrence Wakefield’s money, the balance of which would go to Rose Kennedy, the policy king’s common-law wife.

    ... ... ...


    There’s almost no chance that Sandra was really kidnapped. Two years prior, Taylor had falsely reported that Johnnie had been abducted. He says now that his mother likely just wanted the cops to do the hard work of tracking him down after he’d left home of his own volition.


    In 1967, she’d try the same line again, telling Chicago police that another of her children had been taken. When the cops investigated, they found that the child wasn’t missing. They also discovered that the kid didn’t belong to her.

    ... ... ...

    In another Tribune story, Bliss and Griffin noted that Linda Taylor had been arrested twice in the 1960s for absconding with children, though she wasn’t convicted in either case because the little ones were returned. The reporters also laid out a possible motive. “Chicago’s welfare queen,” they wrote, “has been linked by Chicago police to a scheme to defraud the public aid department during the mid-1960s by buying newborn infants to substantiate welfare claims.”

    ... ... ...

    This theory is a little hard to believe. Given Taylor’s ability to fabricate paperwork, acquiring flesh-and-blood children seems like an unnecessary risk if all you're looking to do is pad a welfare application. Her son Johnnie believes his mother saw children as commodities, something to be acquired and sold. He remembers a little black girl—he doesn’t know her name—who stayed with them for a few months in the early 1960s, “and then she just disappeared one day.” Shortly before Lawrence Wakefield died, Johnnie says, a white baby named Tiger showed up out of nowhere, and then left the household just as mysteriously. I ask him if he knew where these kids came from or who they belonged to. “You knew they wasn’t hers,” he says.

    ... ... ...


    Nine days later, a newborn child was kidnapped by a woman dressed in a white nurse’s uniform. Dora Fronczak told police that the mystery woman whisked away her son Paul Joseph, telling the new mother that her baby boy needed to be examined by a doctor. Witnesses said the ersatz nurse carried the infant through a rear exit and disappeared.

    The Fronczak case transfixed Chicago and the nation. The Tribune, the Sun-Times, and the national wire services printed eyewitness accounts, sketches of the suspect, diagrams of the kidnapper’s probable path, and the family’s pleas for their child’s safe return. Within a day, 500 policemen were working the case, including 50 FBI agents. They were looking for a woman between her mid-30s and mid-40s, around 5-foot-4 and 140 pounds, with close-set brown eyes. Nine months after the kidnapping, the Tribune reported that a staggering 38,000 people had been interviewed in connection with the case, and that 7,500 women had been eliminated as suspects. Still, the baby-snatching nurse remained at large.

    Did Linda Taylor pull off one of the most notorious kidnappings of the 1960s? In early 1975, law enforcement officials got a tip from one of Taylor’s ex-husbands that she “appeared one day in the mid-1960s with a newborn baby, altho[ugh] she had not been pregnant.” Her explanation, the Tribune said, was that “she hadn't realized she was pregnant until she gave birth that morning.”

    ... ... ...

    In 1977, a man named Samuel Harper told police prior to Taylor’s sentencing for welfare fraud that he believed she had kidnapped Paul Joseph Fronczak. He explained that he was living with her at the time, that several other white infants were in her home, and that she left the house in a white uniform on the day of the kidnapping. Johnnie Harbaugh confirms that Harper, who was 69 years old in 1977 and likely died many years ago, lived with his mother for a period in the 1960s. If anyone was in a position to know what Linda was up to, Johnnie believes, it was Sam Harper.

    ... ... ...


    Jack Sherwin, who retired from the Chicago Police Department in the mid-1990s, says he saw a composite drawing of the Fronczak kidnapper in an FBI office. “I looked at it for a second and knew it was her,” he says. In police reports from the 1970s, Taylor is listed at 5-foot-1 and 140 pounds with brown eyes—not that far off from the suspect’s description. Sherwin says she also had a station wagon at that time that matched the description of the potential getaway car. He believes she was “guilty as hell.”


    And yet, Linda Taylor was never charged in the kidnapping of Paul Joseph Fronczak. Ron Cooper, a retired FBI agent who worked on the Fronczak case in the 1970s, says that they “had no cooperation from people around her.” Everyone who talked “would tell you a story and it would just sort of be a flim-flam thing, and it wouldn’t make any sense.” If she had taken Paul Joseph in 1964, he was long gone.

    ... ... ....

    Jack Sherwin, the fight to take down Linda Taylor was a multifront war. Some battles were contested face to face. “At one point the arrestee Linda Taylor stated that no matter how much money it took she was going to get my badge and me,” the detective wrote in one police report. “She then blurted out that she had a bullet for me. [There] were other things said such as she would tell my wife about all the ‘Black Ass’ I had.” Taylor also waged a disinformation campaign, calling Sherwin’s superiors to complain that the detective had it in for her. She even took the fight to the astral plane, jabbing sharp pins into a voodoo doll, one she told Sherwin that she’d made especially for him.


    Sherwin did the digging that led to Taylor’s arrest for welfare fraud, and his testimony helped send her to prison. But four decades after he first met Linda Taylor, the 74-year-old retired detective can’t help but feel that she beat him. She was his prize catch, but Sherwin ended up getting snared in her net.

    ... ... ...

    For the Chicago burglary detective, Linda Taylor was never really the welfare queen. He believed she was a kidnapper and a baby seller. Maybe something worse.

    ... ... ...


    Mrs. Parks, who was also named Patricia, earned her living as a schoolteacher. Her daughter describes her as polished, a woman with a master’s degree who hung out with college-educated types. Parks-Lee says that Linda Taylor, by contrast, looked weathered, like she’d done a lot of hard living. “She didn’t associate with people like that,” says Parks-Lee, who’s now 48. She believes her mother must have hired Taylor to keep house and watch the kids, nothing more. She says that Linda Taylor was the worst nanny they ever had.


    Taylor took up residence with the Parks family in 1974. At that point, Patricia Parks was a healthy woman with three young children. Less than a year later, she was dead. At the time, Taylor was out on bail, awaiting her welfare fraud trial. The Tribune explained that she was now under investigation yet again after authorities “learned that Mrs. Parks reportedly had willed her home to Miss Taylor and had made her the beneficiary of ‘several’ insurance policies and the guardian of her three children.”

    ... ... ...

    Taylor told the funeral director that Patricia Parks had cervical cancer. When her blood was drawn at the funeral home, however, the sample contained a high level of barbiturates. On Parks’ death certificate, the coroner indicated that she had died of “combined phenobarbital, methapyrilene, and salicylate intoxication.” There is no indication that she had cancer.

    “She killed my mother,” Parks-Lee says. She’s so sure about what Linda Taylor did that she says it three more times: “She killed my mother. She killed my mother. I just, I mean—she killed my mother.”

    ... ... ...

    As in the Fronczak kidnapping, Taylor was never charged with killing Patricia Parks. James Piper, the prosecutor in the welfare fraud case, also looked into the alleged Parks homicide. He tells me that he “was satisfied personally that there had been chicanery.” But Piper says that he wasn’t able to acquire blood samples from the hospital where Parks had been pronounced dead. He believed that without the samples there was no “connector”—nothing to convince a jury that Taylor had administered a lethal drug cocktail to Parks. Piper says that his decision wouldn’t have prevented the Chicago police from continuing their investigation. He believed, though, that indicting Taylor for murder would have created the perception that he was looking for more publicity for the welfare fraud case—a case with clearer evidence, and one that he didn’t want to jeopardize.

    ... ... ...

    Other than Sherwin, nobody seemed all that motivated to learn the full extent of Linda Taylor’s crimes. Though the Tribune wrote about Taylor’s purported connections to the Fronczak kidnapping and the Parks homicide, the paper treated her kid-snatching and voodoo spells as colorful details—odd facts to embellish the shocking welfare queen story. In 1975, the Tribune reported the allegation that Linda Taylor was “buying newborn infants to substantiate welfare claims.” Somehow, though, the welfare claims remained the bigger story, not the allegations of black-market baby trafficking.

    ... ... ...


    In the aftermath of Ray’s death, the National Home Life Insurance Company requested a complete coroner’s report from Illinois’ Kankakee County. Byron Keith Lassiter, who looked into the case on behalf of the insurance firm, says such a contestable death claim investigation would have been routine. With no charges filed against Loyd, the money from Sherman Ray’s life insurance policy would be paid out to his wife, Linda.

    A month after Sherman Ray’s death, Taylor bought a parcel of land in Holmes County, Fla. Her name is listed on the deed as “Rev. Linda Ray.” In the Sunshine State, public records reveal, she’d use at least six names and six different Social Security numbers. She wasn’t there alone. Her companion was her husband’s killer, Willtrue Loyd.

    This is Linda Taylor’s life in microcosm: a series of tangled connections, a death that serves as a potential windfall, a quick move, and a new start in a faraway place. Sherman Ray, the former Marine with emotional problems, was a man in uniform—a classic Taylor mark. Paul Stull Harbaugh, the man listed as her son Paul’s father on the child’s birth certificate, was in the Navy. So was another supposed husband, Paul Steinberg—the Tribune alleged that in the 1960s she was “obtaining federal support” as the widow of both Harbaugh and Steinberg.

    ... ... ...

    In 1978, one of her lawyers wrote that Linda Taylor was likely psychotic, that she “was incapable of knowing whether or not she was telling the truth.” Johnnie Harbaugh is certain that’s not the case. “She was cold,” he says. “She knew what was right and wrong, but she was choosing wrong.”


    or Linda Taylor, people were consumable goods, objects to cultivate, manipulate, and discard. Once she’d extracted something of value—an identity, a check, a life insurance claim—she’d move on to someone else. No matter her circumstances, and no matter her surroundings, there was always a new target.


    What kind of person behaves this way? In the 1970s, psychologist Robert Hare developed a checklist to assess a given subject’s personality. The symptoms on Hare’s list read like a catalog of Linda Taylor’s known behaviors and personal characteristics: glib and superficial charm, pathological lying, manipulativeness, lack of empathy, parasitic lifestyle, frequent short-term relationships, and criminal versatility.


    Of the 20 items on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist–Revised, nearly every one describes the welfare queen to some degree. Dr. Steve Band, a behavioral science consultant and an expert on criminal behavior, says “people with that personality know right from wrong.” Dr. James Fallon, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California at Irvine and the author of The Psychopath Inside, says that Taylor “screams psychopathy.” Along with deriving pleasure from criminal behavior, he says, psychopaths “really like getting away with it”—that “the ones who have intelligence, they don’t want to get caught.”

    Despite the striking synchronicity between this checklist and Taylor’s behavior, diagnosing someone as a psychopath isn’t as easy as ticking a set of boxes. As Dave Cullen wrote for Slate in 2004, it took an elite group of mental health experts to establish Columbine shooter Eric Harris’ psychopathic “pattern of grandiosity, glibness, contempt, lack of empathy, and superiority.”

    If a similar team of psychologists scrutinized the welfare queen, Hare’s checklist would be a logical place to start. For her part, Taylor’s daughter-in-law Carol Harbaugh has a simpler list, one with just three points: “She was brutal. She was mean. She was terrible.”

    ... ... ...

    Some of Taylor’s victims were spared her worst behavior—they just learned an expensive lesson and got on with their lives. Kenneth Lynch, who’s now in his early 80s, bought a property with Taylor in Holmes County, Fla. Lynch remembers her saying that her husband had been killed by mobsters in Chicago. He also says that Taylor never came up with her share of the money, though she did pilfer Lynch’s last name. Reta Hunter, who lives in Live Oak, Fla., says “Linda Lynch” led her to stop trusting people. Taylor told Hunter she was a psychic who’d descended from Caribbean royalty, and that she could help remedy her relationship with her daughter. “The last time I seen her it cost me $80 for about 20 minutes,” Hunter says. “She could take you, honey. She was a slick talker.”

    Not all of Linda Taylor’s relationships ended so harmlessly. Sherman Ray took a shotgun blast to the chest. Patricia Parks’ life ended in her daughter’s bedroom with her body pumped full of phenobarbital. And an elderly African-American woman named Mildred Markham died in Graceville, Fla., far away from her home and loved ones.

    Taylor and Markham met in Chicago in the early 1980s. Markham’s husband James, a retired Pullman porter, earned a good salary in his day. Soon after he passed away, Taylor convinced the railroad man’s widow that she was her long-lost daughter. “All [Mildred] used to do was talk about this Linda,” recalls Markham’s granddaughter, Theresa Davis, who is 75 and still lives in Chicago.

    By the time she fell under the sway of her new “daughter,” Mildred Markham was well into her 70s. Davis and her mother tried to convince Markham that Taylor was a con artist, but she wouldn’t listen. Markham went with Taylor to Momence, Ill. From there, they moved to Florida. All the while, according to Davis, “my grandfather’s money was going out the bank.” She says that as much as $50,000 went missing, along with Markham’s furniture, sewing machine, jewelry, and mink coats. And in 1985, Mildred deeded away 185 acres of Markham family land in Mississippi. The grantees were Linda Lynch and her son Clifford. For his part, Clifford says he had no idea that his name was on the deed, and that he played no part in this land deal.

    ... ... ...

    Once, when the Harbaughs were in Florida for a visit, Markham begged them to take her back to Chicago. Carol says Taylor was verbally abusive, and that she watched her lock Markham in a room. Markham also told them that she wasn’t being fed. “She was forced to be there against her will,” Carol says.

    They did not rescue Mildred Markham. Johnnie says that he was determined to take her but that she changed her mind at the last minute and decided to stay. In Carol's recollection, Taylor told Johnnie, “You even think about it, and I’ll blow your head off.” She says her husband took the threat seriously, and he decided not to get involved.

    Mildred Markham died on Oct. 5, 1986. Her death certificate says she passed away of “presumed natural causes,” and that she had previously suffered a stroke. The Graceville police department reported that her husband, Willtrue Loyd, found her body in bed.

    Carol Harbaugh says she thought Loyd and Markham had gotten married. Florida records suggest that was probably the case. In March 1986, Loyd married a woman named “Constance Rayner” in Marianna, Fla. The marriage application says Constance’s home state is Louisiana; Theresa Davis says that’s where her grandmother, Mildred Markham, was born. The bride signed her supposed maiden name, Constance Wakefield, in a looping script. It’s a shaky signature, one that doesn’t much resemble Linda Taylor’s tidy penmanship.

    Taylor always took something from her prey. But this marriage record, with the telltale Wakefield surname, shows that even as she sucked this older woman dry, Taylor was grafting parts of herself onto Mildred Markham.

    ... ... ...

    As in the cases of Patricia Parks and Sherman Ray, Taylor stood to gain financially from Mildred Markham’s death. Mildred’s medical examiner’s file includes letters from Union Fidelity Life Insurance and Gulf Life Insurance, both of which were looking to verify the claims of one “Linda Lynch,” the decedent’s daughter. The file also contains a note in which someone, presumably the medical examiner’s assistant, writes that Markham’s daughter “took out insurance policies at varied times using different names (marriages).” The daughter needed a letter to clear up this misunderstanding, and the medical examiner complied. “To the best of my knowledge Mildred Constance Raner Loyd, Constance Loyd, and Mildred Rayner are one in the same person,” he wrote.

    That wasn’t the only confusion about Mildred Markham’s death. On May 15, 1987, Dr. D. Bruce Woodham sent a letter to the medical examiner’s office saying that his patient did not die of natural causes. Woodham, a neurological surgeon, wrote that Markham hadn’t suffered a stroke. Rather, she’d fallen and hit her head. “I believe that Ms. Loyd's death was the result of an injury, she fell, she sustained a subdural hematoma, and she herniated from this, and that caused her demise,” the doctor explained.

    On account of Dr. Woodham’s letter, Markham’s death was reclassified as an accident. Regardless, Taylor probably collected on those life insurance policies—so long as there were no accusations of foul play, the companies more than likely paid up.

    Dr. Woodham, who is still practicing, says that although he wrote that Mildred Markham fell and hit her head, there’s no way he can know with certainty. He’s not a forensic pathologist, and he doesn’t have the expertise to distinguish between injuries that are consistent with a fall or ones that might come from a car accident or a blunt instrument. Dr. Woodham says he doesn’t remember the particulars of this case, but in general he goes by what he’s told—information provided by a paramedic, or possibly a family member.

    Theresa Davis does not believe her grandmother fell and hit her head. She is convinced that Mildred Markham was murdered, and that Linda Taylor is somehow responsible.

    Six years after Mildred Markham’s death, her widower Willtrue Loyd died in Florida at age 72. The medical examiner’s report says he succumbed naturally, to heart disease. Loyd’s next of kin is listed as Linda Lynch, his granddaughter. Taylor was only about seven years younger than her “grandfather.” Nevertheless, as Loyd’s supposed heir, she presumably stood to receive the World War II veteran’s benefits. Another death, another check.

    ... ... ...

    For Linda Taylor, documents were never simple accountings of the truth. Pieces of paper always told a story—about her identity, her husbands, her children, her parentage, what was owed to her, and who owed it—and that story was usually self-serving, contradictory, and false. That didn’t change just because she was dead.

    Her death certificate, compiled from information provided by her daughter Sandra Smith, is a blend of truth, lies, and conjecture. The welfare queen’s name is rendered as Constance Loyd, which it wasn’t. Her date of birth is listed as Dec. 25, 1934. It wasn’t. She’s described as a homemaker, which she wasn’t. Her father and mother are given as Lawrence Wakefield and Edith Elizabeth Jarvis. They weren’t. Her race is white—the same as in the 1930 and 1940 census. Among her itemized medical conditions is bipolar disorder. That may be true, or it may be a fabrication.

    [Mar 19, 2016] Are You High Maintenance -

    www.nationalmarriage.com
    Are you high maintenance? Some people seem to always be on the edge of becoming upset. They require a lot of attention, approval, and maybe reassurance. Often such individuals take offense easily at being overlooked or somehow not recognized. These individuals enjoy being in control of a relationship. They can be easily overwhelmed with stress and responsibility and often feel as though they are the most put upon in a relationship. They may see themselves the victim of their mate's insensitivity and distraction.

    Maybe you are married to someone who is high maintenance. You constantly find yourself the object of criticism and it seems as though you can never do anything to the other's satisfaction. Spouses of high maintenance individuals often find themselves in no-win dilemmas. No matter what they do they will incur the disapproval, if not wrath, of their spouse. The high maintenance spouse often claims their expectations are normal and any reasonable caring loving spouse should anticipate what to them are the most basic of considerations. Spouses of high maintenance partners can feel as though they are walking on egg shells waiting for the next failure to occur and they once again are the source of hurt, injury and pain to their spouse.

    Sound familiar at all? Many relationships can be described as one member being more "high maintenance" than the other. In some relationships this is a long standing pattern and contributes to erosion of affection and commitment over time. In other relationships the "high maintenance" tag gets shared depending on changing circumstances and felt needs. One week it is the wife who is high maintenance, the next week it is the husband. It is conceivable that a relationship might occur in which both spouses are high maintenance and the relationship dynamics revolve around competition over whose 'felt need' is greatest at any given time.

    If you honestly recognize you can be "high maintenance" take heart, be encouraged there is good news. One, the simple fact you recognize you can be demanding and easily offended puts you in a position to change. Many high maintenance individuals are oblivious to the pain and suffering they inflict upon those around them. Self-objectivity, the ability to look at oneself honestly and objectively is a characteristic of maturity and essential to personal change. If you are unsure about whether you can be high maintenance, your spouse and loved ones can probably tell you. But, don't ask until you are really ready to hear their input. A part of being high maintenance is being defensive when others are critical. If you ask for this feedback, challenge yourself to hear the person out without rebuttal. Maybe take notes and set them aside for a few days, then go back and review the notes before responding to the feedback.

    Secondly, be encouraged because your sensitivity which leads you to be high maintenance is also a gift. High maintenance persons are often capable of deep emotional connection and appreciation. What may be judged as high maintenance may actually be an undeveloped sense of emotional sensitivity that can be harnessed and directed for deep emotional connection with others. High maintenance individuals are often capable of deep empathy and compassion. Their sensitivity affords them the recognition of how circumstances, events, and behavior can impact people emotionally. This is valuable insight and can be cultivated for great connection and support with others.

    The problem with being high maintenance lies with the expectations which we can attach to our felt wants and desires in relationship. If you are high maintenance, learning how to recognize how expectations develop in you and how to hold your wants and desires more lightly may help soften the disappointment when a spouse does not recognize how important something is to you. Most importantly, beware of looking to a spouse for the significance and security you should be finding in your relationship with God. High maintenance conflict may be due to demanding some attention, approval, and affirmation from a spouse which first should be found in our relationship with God and ourselves. If we are secure in how God sees us, how He loves and cares for us, then the care, attention and affirmation of a spouse is a gift. We may be disappointed if our spouse neglects us in some way but this is way less distressing than if we tell ourselves we must have our spouse notice and provide our need. Feeling entitled to something from our spouse is a sure sign we are becoming "high maintenance."

    Being open about desires and wants can go a long way toward helping our spouse understand what impacts us and contributes to our feeling loved and supported. Recognizing and being grateful when a spouse is attentive and affirming is especially rewarding and encourages a spouse to be attentive and affirming in the future. Spouses may not understand the power of reassurance, attention, and support. Often times they are making efforts to be accommodating but do not recognize the effort is not in a manner desired or hoped for. Communication about feelings, hopes, and wants beforehand can go a long way to avoiding conflict when you're prone to be "high maintenance."

    If you are married to a high maintenance person you too can be encouraged as well. The cycle of disappointment and conflict can be sometimes diminished through some basic relationship skills. Giving your spouse a full hearing when they are distressed will often go a long way to dissipating the emotional intensity they may be feeling. Remember, listening and validating their feelings do not require anything to be fixed or changed. It's just an opportunity to offer understanding and care in the way of attention and presence. The high maintenance spouse can often use judgmental and accusatory language. If one can listen past the personal criticism to the hurt, disappointment, anxiety and/or fear behind the attack it may be possible to have compassion for their emotional distress. This is challenging, but spouses who learn not to take personally the distress in their mate even when it is delivered as a personal attack learn how to diffuse a great deal of conflict.

    Letting the high maintenance spouse know when the attack is crossing over to becoming abusive and exiting a conversation will also be helpful. A person may lose awareness in the midst of their negative emotional spin and a caring, calm confrontation and firm "time out" temporary withdrawal will sometimes help that person become more aware of how their words and tone are not helpful. Above all, avoid responding in kind to a high maintenance person who is discharging their disappointment and hurt with a lot of intensity. By remaining calm and not escalating with the other person, a spouse can often ride out the initial emotional venting, to arrive at a place where genuine emotional connection can occur.

    The emotional distress surrounding disappointment and unmet expectations can be at the center of so much conflict in relationship. Sorting out one's own emotional expectations and how they are operating in a moment is key to managing the pull toward becoming "high maintenance." Being able to absorb some emotional intensity and remain patient and loving with a spouse who is distressed is a valuable discipline to working through disappointment in relationship. Hopefully these comments and observations will give you and your spouse some food for thought and maybe some occasion for conversation. Be careful not to judge each other too harshly about being "high maintenance." Remember, there is an upside to most personal qualities that initially may seem problematic or annoying, "high maintenance" is no exception.

    Please post a comment to enter a conversation about this column. I so much enjoy the responses folks are sending to this column. I will contribute to the conversation as well. Let me know if you have a concern or question which could be addressed in a future column. You can also email concerns and questions to me at aftercare@nationalmarriage.com. God Bless You, and know we at National Institute of Marriage are praying for you.

    Dr. Robert K. Burbee
    Licensed Psychologist, Intensive Therapist
    National Institute of Marriage

    [Mar 16, 2016] Ending a Relationship With a Pathological Liar

    The site is down as DNS name expired....
    Phoenix Rising

    I spent the first year after the relationship ended uncovering these lies. Hundreds and hundreds of them. I now realize that his personality is so fake, that I cannot believe a single thing that he ever told me. I realize that I was an enjoyable sexual partner for him, but I cannot trust that he ever cared for me in any other way.

    In order to carry on his two sexual relationships and his various illegal activities, the amount of lie which he told to me and to his other girlfriend is staggering.

    He is not a person with a soul or a conscience. He is a being who pursues pleasure. When anything or anyone might inhibit his pleasure, he simply lies his way around it or them. His morality is formed around the opinions of his friends, who are also ‘Cluster B’ types. He and his ‘buddies’ are pathological liars and addicts; they are grown men who behave like children in a candy store. Porn, intoxication, loose sex and getting high are their thrills which they pursue daily.

    Knowing that these thrills are unacceptable to their wives and girlfriends, they lie about them.

    Once I was able to unravel all of his lie to me during our thirty month ‘reunion’ I could see how he didn’t exist a a person. He is nothing besides whatever urge he is fulfilling at the moment.

    [Mar 15, 2016] Seduction Stage 1

    If you think that this is too much, think again: "false restrictions stay away order, two false drug possession charges, and a police investigation on me for being a drug dealer!"
    jay September 17, 2015

    its as if you just read me the story of my last 8 months. she did the gifts, paying, for everything, cooking, massages, i love yous, the promises, the lot and all over the top!!! after literally 4 months to the day all the good things were replaced with dishonesty, lies, deceitfulness, cheating, abuse, manipulation, mirroring, mimicking etc etc etc long story short…. now I find myself facing false charges of assault & battery, false restrictions stay away order, two false drug possession charges, and a police investigation on me for being a drug dealer!

    All from slander, lies, character assassination and absolute bullshit stories. 8 months ago I was a tax paying, mortgage holder and business owner. now I’m potentially a violent drug dealer and prison inmate.

    oh and she is HIV+ from intravenous drug use and/or sex work and didn’t mention it ever in 8 months! my test results came back clear so far but wont know for 6 months for certain.

    i was blissfully unaware that such despicably evil women existed . the devil is alive and well that’s for sure, she is living in the suburbs of Sydney Australia….

    Adam – July 16, 2015

    Let me tell you this, this site is my refuge from my past this a sociopath woman. Every chapter I read in here, matches what I have experienced. I wish, I have known about this site while I was dating that sociopath woman. Let’s talk about seduction stage, oh boy. When a woman buys you expensive gift, cloths, shoes and pays for everything, you HAVE to stop and ask the question: WHY?

    I was swept away by all of this and her story was: I am in love with you, I have never loved before and you are my first real LOVE ever. There were even bigger (ofc turn out to be empty) promises of a Range Rover SUV (100 K+) , a 6 months long trip to Europe, all paid by her. I was in heaven and was thinking WOW, this is love life.

    Little I knew that she was setting me up to use me to do her dirty money scam, to use my account to transfer huge amount of $(God know from whom and from where). I am so lucky to stop that. I am sure she would have blamed me for that as well, if anything would have gone wrong. Do not be fooled by seduction, NEVER!

    Tela – July 16, 2015

    Adam, your Female Sociopath sounds exactly what Greg {I refuse to use my ex} as I want no association to him, did. All the gifts, the flowers, the “I love you” within 3 weeks~ ugggggg, red flags waving all around.

    [Mar 15, 2016] Dangerous Liaisons How to Recognize and Escape from Psychopathic Seduction by Claudia Moscovici

    "... She goes into detail and examines the relationship of Pablo Picasso and one of his main women with whom they had two children. She takes this woman's story, published long ago, and dissects it in a way in which we understand psychopathic seduction and the subsequent, universal "bait and switch" and eventual discard, that define the psychopath and his motives and actions. ..."
    "... if you're looking for a book that dissects in the most fascinating way how people become ensnared with disturbing personalities like psychopaths, and what can make it so immensely hard to disentangle oneself from destructive, devastating individuals and relationships, look no farther, this is your stop --this is the book for you ..."
    Amazon.com
    set free on October 25, 2011

    Another excellent book about psychopaths

    Claudia's book about psychopaths, "Dangerous Liaisons" is yet another exquisite and most helpful read in understanding the experiences with an emotional predator.

    What I found most intriguing about this book, was her insertions of the many examples of others work and spelling it out for the reader in discerning the patterns and behaviors of psychopaths with her own wonderful "voice" as an author.

    For example: She goes into detail and examines the relationship of Pablo Picasso and one of his main women with whom they had two children. She takes this woman's story, published long ago, and dissects it in a way in which we understand psychopathic seduction and the subsequent, universal "bait and switch" and eventual discard, that define the psychopath and his motives and actions. Claudia takes her own insights and perspectives of having been with a psychopath herself, and brilliantly lays out the groundwork of understanding to help others who may be searching for answers about their experiences.

    Her work here is excellent in weaving together the painful picture of how a pathological bond develops, what the psychopath is, what he says and what he does and the traits and behaviors that are so commonly associated with pathology.

    This book, coupled with her fiction novel, "The Seducer" about a pathological relationship, brings us full circle from Claudia's perspective about what makes the exploiter tick and how victims/survivors respond to the bond and how to heal from such a trauma.

    Becker, July 9, 2015

    A Fantastic Probing Into Dark Terrain

    This is a great book, not surprisingly, as Moscovici writes about psychopathic personality and psychopathic relationship dynamics as probingly as anyone out there. No one combines, as she does, her formidable erudition with her striking clarity of prose. So if you're looking for a book that dissects in the most fascinating way how people become ensnared with disturbing personalities like psychopaths, and what can make it so immensely hard to disentangle oneself from destructive, devastating individuals and relationships, look no farther, this is your stop --this is the book for you. Moscovici can't help going very deep into subject matter that interests her, and to our benefit, she can't help exploring it in a most captivating, illuminating way. I always learn so much from her books.

    [Mar 15, 2016] Seduction Stage 1

    false restrictions stay away order, two false drug possession charges, and a police investigation on me for being a drug dealer!/em>

    jay September 17, 2015

    its as if you just read me thestory of my last 8 months. she did the gifts, paying, for everything, cooking, massages, i love yous, the promises, the lot and all over the top!!! after literally 4 months to the day all the good things were replaced with dishonesty, lies, deceitfulness, cheating, abuse, manipulation, mirroring, mimicking etc etc etc long story short…. now I find myself facing false charges of assault & battery, false restrictions stay away order, two false drug possession charges, and a police investigation on me for being a drug dealer!

    All from slander, lies , character assassination and absolute bullshit stories. 8 months ago I was a tax paying, mortgage holder and business owner. now I’m potentially a violent drug dealer and prison inmate.

    oh and she is HIV+ from intravenous drug use and/or sex work and didn’t mention it ever in 8 months! my test results came back clear so far but wont know for 6 months for certain.

    i was blissfully unaware that such despicably evil women existed . the devil is alive and well that’s for sure, she is living in the suburbs of Sydney Australia….


    Adam – July 16, 2015

    Let me tell you this, this site is my refuge from my past this a sociopath woman. Every chapter I read in here, matches what I have experienced. I wish, I have known about this site while I was dating that sociopath woman. Let’s talk about seduction stage, oh boy. When a woman buys you expensive gift, cloths, shoes and pays for everything, you HAVE to stop and ask the question: WHY? I was swept away by all of this and her story was: I am in love with you, I have never loved before and you are my first real LOVE ever. There were even bigger (ofc turn out to be empty) promises of a Range Rover SUV (100 K+) , a 6 months long trip to Europe, all paid by her. I was in heaven and was thinking WOW, this is love life. Little I knew that she was setting me up to use me to do her dirty money scam, to use my account to transfer huge amount of $(God know from whom and from where). I am so lucky to stop that. I am sure she would have blamed me for that as well, if anything would have gone wrong. Do not be fooled by seduction, NEVER!

    Tela – July 16, 2015

    Adam, your Female Sociopath sounds exactly what Greg {I refuse to use my ex} as I want no association to him, did. All the gifts, the flowers, the “I love you” within 3 weeks~ ugggggg, red flags waving all around.

    [Mar 06, 2016] Stress relief from laughter It's no joke

    Mayo Clinic
    When it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered. Here's why. By Mayo Clinic Staff

    Whether you're guiltily guffawing at an episode of "South Park" or quietly giggling at the latest New Yorker cartoon, laughing does you good. Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that's no joke.

    Stress relief from laughter

    A good sense of humor can't cure all ailments, but data are mounting about the positive things laughter can do.

    Short-term benefits

    A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:

    Long-term effects

    Laughter isn't just a quick pick-me-up, though. It's also good for you over the long haul. Laughter may:

    Improve your sense of humor

    Are you afraid you have an underdeveloped — or nonexistent — funny bone? No problem. Humor can be learned. In fact, developing or refining your sense of humor may be easier than you think.

    Laughter is the best medicine

    Go ahead and give it a try. Turn the corners of your mouth up into a smile and then give a laugh, even if it feels a little forced. Once you've had your chuckle, take stock of how you're feeling. Are your muscles a little less tense? Do you feel more relaxed or buoyant? That's the natural wonder of laughing at work.

    [Mar 06, 2016] Humor and Mental Health Using Humor to Cope With Stress (Part of Humor and Health Online CEU Course)

    Freud pointed out a century ago that humor offers us a healthy means of coping with life stress. George Vaillant, in his book, Adaptation to Life, reported that in-depth interviews revealed that humor was a very effective coping mechanism used by many professional men under stress. Gail Sheehy reported the same thing for both men and women in her book, Pathfinders.

    A key idea emerging in both of these books is that you need to actively use your sense of humor in dealing with the hassles and stresses in your life to get the coping benefits. You can have a good sense of humor, but still have your sense of humor abandon you when things begin to go wrong. On your good mood days, you can have quick and easy access to a playful attitude, be the one who comes up with clever quips or finds a funny side to things that happen, and be able to poke fun at yourself. But this won't help you in managing the stress in your life unless you can do the same thing on the tough days.

    "If it weren't for the brief respite we give the world with our foolishness, the world would see mass suicide in numbers that compare favorably with the death rate of lemmings." (Groucho Marx)

    This view was supported by a Canadian study that found that even if you're someone who finds a lot of humor in everyday life, it doesn't help you cope with stress unless you also make an effort to actively use humor to deal with that stress.126 So even though you have a great sense of humor when all is well, you'll be just as stressed out as the next person on your bad days.

    People who have access to their sense of humor in the midst of stress are much more resilient than the rest of us. They are emotionally more flexible, and can bend without breaking in the midst of the most difficult circumstances. If you're lucky, and have parents who showed a good sense of humor in the midst of stress, chances are you've already got some of those qualities within yourself. You just need to refine and strengthen them. One study showed that even a 5-session humor workshop was enough to improve adults' use of humor to cope with life stress.127

    [Jul 14, 2015] Importance of physical exersize

    Out brains are deeply connected to our bodies. One way to improve your mental stability and the capacities to endure stress is to use vigorous exercise regiment. This is the point that implicitly was made by prominent neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki in her book Healthy Brain, Happy Life A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better. It looks like aerobic exercises are important for mental stability and the ability to cope with stress. Of cause, an important warning attributed to Talleyrand "Not too much zeal" is applicable here too. Some additional ideas might be extracted from the following reviews:
    "... “Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment.”"

    A neuroscientist transforms the way we think about our brain, our health, and our personal happiness in this clear, informative, and inspiring guide—a blend of personal memoir, science narrative, and immediately useful takeaways that bring the human brain into focus as never before, revealing the powerful connection between exercise, learning, memory, and cognitive abilities.

    Nearing forty, Dr. Wendy Suzuki was at the pinnacle of her career. An award-winning university professor and world-renowned neuroscientist, she had tenure, her own successful research lab, prestigious awards, and international renown.

    That’s when to celebrate her birthday, she booked an adventure trip that forced her to wake up to a startling reality: despite her professional success, she was overweight, lonely, and tired and knew that her life had to change. Wendy started simply—by going to an exercise class. Eventually, she noticed an improvement in her memory, her energy levels, and her ability to work quickly and move from task to task easily. Not only did Wendy begin to get fit, but she also became sharper, had more energy, and her memory improved. Being a neuroscientist, she wanted to know why.

    What she learned transformed her body and her life. Now, it can transform yours.

    Wendy discovered that there is a biological connection between exercise, mindfulness, and action. With exercise, your body feels more alive and your brain actually performs better. Yes—you can make yourself smarter. In this fascinating book, Suzuki makes neuroscience easy to understand, interweaving her personal story with groundbreaking research, and offering practical, short exercises—4 minute Brain Hacks—to engage your mind and improve your memory, your ability to learn new skills, and function more efficiently.

    Taking us on an amazing journey inside the brain as never before, Suzuki helps us unlock the keys to neuroplasticity that can change our brains, or bodies, and, ultimately, our lives.

    Bassocantor TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 19, 2015

    We Have An Enormous Capacity To Change Into The Very Best Version Of Ourselves

    HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun read, filled with all kinds of exciting ways to expand your brain power. My favorite parts of the book are these little sections that the author calls "Brain Hacks." These sections are lists of easy ways to really supercharge your brain and make use of the latent power in it.

    Here's the theme in a nutshell: "One thing I know for sure is that brain plasticity endows us with an enormous capacity to change into the very best version of ourselves that we can be." Dr. Suzuki explains that she uses 20 years of research in neuroscience to apply these same principles to her own personal life. She admits that she "Went from living as a virtual lab rat --an overweight middle aged woman would had achieved many things in science, but who could not seem to figure out how to also be a healthy, happy woman..."

    One of her main discoveries is the powerful mind-body link. The author emphasizes how powerful exercise is. "Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment." And so, Dr. Suzuki invests much time talking about the power of the brain-body connection. Towards that end, she combines physical workouts as a way to energize your brain: "The body has a powerful influence on her brain functions and conversely but the brain has a powerful influence over how are bodies feel and work and heal." Exercise causes definite changes in your body--it boosts the level of three key chemicals that affect mood.

    The key is to make your workouts intentional. Towards that end, the author suggests ways to do this--for example, proclaiming affirmations out loud. "Intentional exercise happens when you make exercise both aerobic and mental...You are fully engaged in the moment and trigger a heightened awareness of the brain body connection." In the Brain Hacks suction, the author lists different exercises that would best fit you.

    Another great section is the section on creativity. You can actually improve your creative thinking; it is "a particular version of regular thinking they can be practiced and improved like any other cognitive skill." Once again, the author lists great suggestions in the Brain Hacks section on ways to jumpstart your creativity. The key point is to learn something new and "Try to use as many senses as you can." For example, one fun suggestion is to "Sit outside and blindfold yourself for 4 minutes. Then, listen to the world sounds in a new way."

    All in all, HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun, inspiring read. The author is full of great, uplifting ideas. My favorite chapter is the one on creativity. The end of the book contains an extensive Reference section, in which the author documents the various points she makes.
    Highly recommend!

    Advance copy for impartial review

    love2dazzle on June 10, 2015

    Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is all about focusing on ...

    “Healthy Brian, Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is all about focusing on expanding your brain power. Our bodies and mind have a very powerful link. Dr. Suzuki has invested her life to focusing on the brain. She goes on to state that “Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment.” Dr. Suzuki is making the point that we need to exercise to work our brain to its fullest potential. She goes on to make the point that you want to make sure the exercise is intentional because that is what exercise you both mentally and aerobically.

    The second best way to expand your brain is by creativity. The point of creativity is to learn new things that will improve your brain and your senses. One is able to find different ways to help build and exercise their brain. The author calls some of the tips she gives “Brain Hacks” so I thought this was a great learning tool.

    I thought “Healthy Brain, Happy Life” was very insightful. I thought this book had a lot of good tips and was also able to explain the brain and how things worked really well. I did enjoy reading it and learning new things on how I am able to improve my brain function.

    Bruny Hudsonon June 13, 2015

    Interesting theory for improving one’s life

    The book “Healthy Brain, Happy Life” by Wendy Suzuki is about a success story, about the author’s life. It’s entertaining and enriching but sometimes out of touch with reality. Considering that the author is a neuroscientist, her line of reasoning sounds dubious in parts of the book, especially her generalizing concepts of life. Just because an effort has worked for her, it does not mean it will work for someone else. Nevertheless, the book deserves a five-star rating because of the author’s pleasant writing style and the well-explained examples of research in neuroscience.

    Transporter chair reviewer, on July 9, 2015

    Mainly autobiographical

    I saw her interviewed on CBS and found her a charming and energetic person. I am not sure what take aways I have from the book, though it interested me since I am also an Asian American woman who is an over achiever, and many of her experiences resonated. I enjoyed the read. I am not sure what type of person I would recommend it to . I am also a doctor. It was fun to review some of the neurobiology and learn some new things.

    [Jun 24, 2015] Advice for Protecting Elderly Relatives from Sociopaths and Gold Diggers

    Lovefraud.com

    Editor’s Note: Yesterday, Lovefraud posted a story from a reader whom we’ll call “Maura.” She describes how a female sociopath latched on to her recently widowed father, took over his life, and tried to hasten his demise. Read the story. Following are tips that Maura and her family learned the hard way.

    Our Advice On How to Protect An Elderly Relative

    This is our advice based on our experience to best protect an elderly relative should they marry a sociopath or a gold digger:

    1. Immediately hire a private investigator to do a background check on the new spouse. Verify marriage status, divorce and marriage history, career history, credit history, bankruptcy, ancestry, court records, previous lawsuits, registered businesses, property ownership, number and names of children and siblings in the family as well as trade and university qualifications. You can investigate this yourself but it takes a lot longer and you may not be aware of the places you need to search or have to pay to access the site.

    2. The new spouse will probably be estranged from most members of their own family and claim their family are bipolar, crazy, dead, ill or live interstate. If estranged, find out these family members’ names and the towns where they live and contact them as soon as possible. They will be grateful you called and tell you more about the sociopath’s true nature. Use an alias if you have to. The ex will tell you exactly what you are up against.

    3. ...

    4. ...Copy or scan all your family photos and keep them in a safe place as they will be disappear or be destroyed. Find some pretext to get hold of the keepsakes, heirlooms and mementos. Replace them with fakes if need be.

    5. ...

    6. Locate and photograph all the passwords to every account of the elderly relative. You can then keep an eye on the accounts and know if they are being drained.

    7. Never believe a single word the sociopath says, no matter how charming, gracious or supportive they may seem. However, to the sociopath, pretend you believe them wholeheartedly. Maintain a polite, friendly demeanor and flatter them. They will look for any excuse to blacklist you.

    8. Ninety-eight percent of what the sociopath will tell you is completely fabricated. Always covertly check up on their stories or claims about anyone or anything and question the veracity of such claims with family or friends. Communicate regularly, openly, and most importantly, directly with family and friends, rather than through the disordered sociopath. The sociopath will seek to create mistrust and create division by lying to you about others. This is how they destroy relationships and gain control, over incoming and outgoing information. Their ultimate goal is to have total control over your elderly relative.

    9. ...Type up transcripts of conversations. This is very revealing as to how what they say just doesn’t make sense. It also shows how devious and manipulative they are in.

    10. Never confide in the sociopath or divulge any personal information or feelings about yourself or anyone in your family. It will be used in a smear campaign against you at a later date. Be dull and uninteresting in their presence, minimizing one-on-one conversations. Talk about the most mundane things. When they ask questions about you or your family be vague and forgetful or change the subject.

    11. Refrain from emotional displays such as tears, anxiety, disappointment, anger, hurt, or fear as that tells the sociopath what upsets you and how to hurt you further.

    12. Whenever you deal with them be cool, calm and business-like. Show no fear or weakness and never apologize to them or beg and plead with them. When the sociopath creates drama or pressures you for an immediate response to any issue, always say that you will think about it and get back to them.

    13. Always have another person/relative present whenever you visit them. That way everything can be verified by your witness.

    14. Never let the sociopath mind your house, pets or children. The sociopath will snoop and rifle through every drawer and paper. They will also use this as an opportunity to covertly pit your children against each other and you.

    15. Make sure that either you, other family members, the family lawyer or accountant have medical and financial power of attorney for your elderly relative. Keep these documents in a safe place. At some stage the sociopath will try to gain control of this for their own personal gain.

    16. If you suspect the sociopath is cheating in their relationship, tail them or have your friends or a private detective do so. If possible obtain photographs of the liaison...

    17. If the sociopath ever wants you or your family to sign or witness anything, insist on reading all the fine detail in the document first. If they pull the line “Don’t you trust me?,” just smile and say you trust them implicitly, but that you always read the fine print first as you only want what is best for them, and you would never forgive yourself if they were defrauded in any way. Never be bullied with the excuse that it is urgent.

    18. Never let the sociopath have access to you or your family’s computer, email, address book, financial records, investments etc.

    19. Never finance, bankroll or become a business partner in any of their business ventures. They will swindle or bankrupt you.

    20. Never rely on the sociopath’s hearsay as to what a doctor, lawyer, accountant, police, pastor etc said. Deal directly with these people and always VERIFY. Obtain your own copy of this documentation and keep it in a safe place.

    21. Remember that sociopaths fear being exposed. They do not want the truth about them to be known. Keep records of every interaction with them. Who, what, where and why. Events, actions, words spoken, date and time and place. This will confirm your recollections against their warped version. Build up an arsenal of evidence with documents, recordings, texts, emails letters and transcripts. You then have a rock solid case.

    22. Always stay in touch with your elderly relative, despite the sociopath’s efforts to keep you away. Let the elderly relative know that you support and care about them. You are just waiting to help anytime if and when needed.

    23. Sociopaths fear losing control. Love to them means ownership and control. The elderly relative belongs to them. The sociopath loves this elderly relative in proportion to how much they can use them. Their loyalty ends where the benefits stop. When sociopaths lose their grip or control over someone, the mask of pretension will be dropped and you get to experience their full on rage.

    24. Covertly videotape their rages. Install a Nanny -Cam to find out how they treat your elderly relative when you aren’t there.

    25. Keep copies of your elderly relative’s birth certificates, drivers license, bank accounts, passport, loan documents, car registration in a safe place. Backup everything on your computer.

    26. Ensure that your elderly relative’s will is in the form of a testamentary trust. Check this regularly as the new spouse will at some stage make themselves the sole beneficiary.

    27. Find an aggressive, pit bull lawyer as soon as you suspect that the new spouse is a sociopath or gold digger. This lawyer must have experience in dealing with sociopaths swindling the elderly. If you are involved in legal proceedings know that the sociopath will lie under oath and expect outrageous, false allegations of abuse and hostility. Expect false claims of living expenses and needless delays. They see ultimatums or pressure as threats or games. The sociopath does not play by the rules.

    28. Remember that the more charming the sociopath is, the more suspicious you need to be.

    29. ...

    AnnettePK, June 24, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Really good advice, and much of it applies to remarriages of any age. I was widowed at age 36, and remarried a gold-digging sociopath 10 years later. Exploitation is what defines this disorder, at any age.

    [Feb 02, 2015] It's All Your Fault! 12 Tips for Managing People Who Blame Others for Everything by Bill Eddy

    February 21, 2012 | Amazon.com

    It's All Your Fault! explains, in easy-to-understand terminology, behaviors of people who have personality disorders, particularly blaming, irrational, and impulsive behaviors. This is a growing problem—possibly effecting over 25 percent of the US population—and a predictable one that can be managed and keep everyday problems from becoming high conflict disputes.

    Laura on April 7, 2012

    Extremely helpful

    I recently managed an employee who's a high conflict person (probably BPD). I learned so much from this book and it actually gave me empathy for these folks and the fact that you simply can't reason with them. They have such a hair trigger for danger and go into some sort of serious survival mode.

    My employee tried to report a "hostile work environment" to HR, but I'd already been talking to HR about her for a period of time. I, also, luckily, had a strong reputation for being very empathetic, fair, and calm.

    Her survival technique was to talk to my manager and manager's manager about me, when I tried to enforce any boundaries or work standards. The first time it happened, I became extrememly concerned. But by using these techniques and following the advice in this book--it's almost like she got frustrated that I wouldn't react and quit. She didn't like constructive, simple feedback and from the point I started coaching her and working w/ HR to when she quit only took about two months.

    What was scary about this perons, was that she couldn't get through a sentence without twisting things or outright lieing. It's like she was contantly spinning everything to try to manipulate peopel's perception. She'd lie about things it made no sense to lie about. One week she'd storm at me and cry and be going to HR and the next week she'd ask to have lunch as if nothing happened.

    I was definitely this person's "Target of Blame", and she did enlist a negative advocate to vent to, but this person ended up being very nice to me, and we get along. I don't doubt it's damaged some of my relationships, which had always been good at work.

    It was one of the draining, stressful experiences I've ever been through and this book was a godsend.

    I'd say if you're dealing with a high conflict person at work...get this book, read it all the way through once, and then read through slowly and really aborb the information. It works. I used the E.A.R. method, and I remembered that you can never, ever let your (understandable and justified) anger show. People with BPD in particular have preternatural attunement for emotions, though.

    Next...document everything. Take time out of each day to note the date, and right down anything and everything that happened. Never be alone with the High Conflict Person and beat them to the punch. Get to HR, managers, etc. first and bring all your documentation.

    Don't let on to the person in any way that you're doing this, though.

    These people can trigger a lot of emotions, so it's important to really take care of yourself, use the support systems at work for employees, and even bring this book to HR or your management team to explain what's going on (be careful though, as Eddy describes in the book, you only want to use this info to protect yourself). This is all easier said than done, I'd wake up in the middle of the night with knots in my stomach and feel scared to go to work not knowing what she'd do next.

    I also have some high conflict family members, so this book has already helped me not engage or escalate drama.

    You can't change these folks, tell them they're wrong, or get them to listen to reason. So save yourself years of heartache and hurt, and don't try.

    Just protect yourself and get on with your life.

    Maeri VINE VOICE on February 26, 2012

    How to protect yourself from toxic people


    Bill Eddy's It's All Your Fault is a must-have book for anyone (and that is most of us) who have what he calls High Conflict People in our lives. What makes this book so valuable is that it isn't a psychology book, even though he does briefly write about the origins of the personality disorders that HCPs suffer from. This book is about how to protect yourself from becoming sucked into drama, distorted feelings and paranoia that HCPs bring into our lives. The examples of HCPs that Eddy writes about are those we encounter in legal and business settings.

    HCPs waste vast amounts of taxpayer money through frivolous and bizarre litigation and can cripple businesses and demoralize their fellow employees with their angry and manipulative behavior. Eddy's advice seems counter-intuitive; he suggests listening to their complaints with what he calls E.A.R., that is Empathy, Attention and Respect. Anything less simply confirms their self-image of themselves as victims, makes their behavior worse and opens us up to being what he calls a target of blame on the HCPs part. We also risk getting sucked into the HCPs drama and taking their side and becoming a negative advocate and unwittingly making a bad situation worse.

    Eddy wisely writes that HCPs cannot tolerate the slightest amount of criticism and nothing we can do will change them. This is great advice.

    Other books about dealing with personality-disordered people suggest that we have the capacity to change them and frankly, it's absolutely futile.

    All we can do is steer clear of them. Eddy also suggests a communication style he calls B.I.F.F. This means keeping our communications with HCPs Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm and establishing strong boundaries with them (since they are incapable of establishing boundaries themselves). This is an invaluable book, clearly and concisely written, and thank you Bill Eddy for making your experience available to us!

    [Feb 02, 2015] BIFF Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Hostile Emails, Personal Attacks and Social Media Meltdowns by Bill Eddy

    Word Crafter, May 5, 2012

    Great examples clearly explained

    When you have to deal with a hostile person, responding with hostility just escalates the conflict. Eddy advises keeping your responses Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm. He presents several real-life examples. Even better, he recognizes that it takes practice to use the BIFF formula. Several of his examples show how to take a first attempt at a BIFF reply and improve it. Eddy is an expert who knows how to explain his knowledge in a clear, practical way.

    al, September 30, 2013

    A great help.

    I am dealing with a BPD person in my life and this has helped me know how to communicate in a way to end a discussion quickly with accurate understanding. I fell into the trap of reasoning and defending myself in communicating with this person which used to escalate the situation to no resolution and a huge amount of contention and conflict. I wish I knew about this years ago, but it is saving my life at this point non the less.

    Recognizing High Conflict Divorce

    Three Kinds of Divorces

    Two things make a High Conflict Divorce possible... Motive and Means. Many people view their divorce as high conflict because it is stressful and because there are conflicts and confrontation. But the truth is that very few divorces are actually high conflict in the strict sense of this term. In my professional experience there are three kinds of divorce scenarios.

    Controlling People

    Before getting to the motive and means behind high conflict divorce, let’s take a little detour to better understand the type of person who usually initiates a high conflict divorce. Author Patricia Evans calls them “Controlling People.”

    In a nutshell, controlling people are narcissistic and low on empathy. The narcissist acts as if he or she is the center of the Universe. In his or her eyes, their beliefs are the “right” ones. Their perspective is the “right one.” Their actions are the “right ones.”

    A natural outcome of the narcissistic personality is a lack of empathy for others. While the narcissist is well aware of his or her feelings they have no concept of how the other feels. When you don’t know how another person feels it is extremely difficult to understand the other’s beliefs, perspective, or actions. Therefore, the narcissist is often negative and critical of the other if they disagree.

    Loving relationships require empathy to mature. If you have empathy for your spouse you know how he or she feels. This means you can relate to their beliefs, perspective and actions even if you do not agree. If you can relate you can be respectful and kind. Being able to step into another’s shoes is vital to a healthy relationship and to your own personal growth. Because they are different than us, our sweetheart in life, helps us to see things in new ways...ways we could never have understood without empathy.

    While controlling people are narcissistic and do not understand you, the other ingredient for a high conflict divorce is the narcissist’s counterpart, a person who works for equality in relationships. This type of person is often very nurturing and self-effacing, and has a strong sense of justice. Thus while the controlling person works toward a win-lose solution to problems, the nurturing or egalitarian person works for a win-win solution. According to Patricia Evans, this places the win-win person at a disadvantage. While the egalitarian person keeps empathizing with the controlling person in an effort to create a win-win solution, the controlling person views this behavior as weak and an opportunity to conquer.

    Essentially the controlling person creates a power struggle with the unwitting egalitarian. This keeps the egalitarian “on the hook,” so to speak because they can’t seem to realize that they will never create a win-win solution with a controlling person. Sadly it appears to be true that narcissists marry egalitarians and create high conflict divorces all too often.

    Motive and Means

    Personality alone is not enough to create a high conflict divorce. The individuals also need Motive and Means.

    “Means” generally equates to money and/or power. If one or both parties have enough money to wage a war and they are not concerned with an unhealthy outcome (or not aware of this possibility), this leads to a high conflict divorce. But generally healthy people will quit the conflict when they recognize that they are throwing their money away. Only those snared by the narcissistic power struggle will continue to the “death.”

    Another source of means is power, which can come in a variety of forms. Being a divorce attorney is a source of power. Having a personal relationship with the Judge is a source of power. Being personally acquainted with the local police and the city prosecutor helps. Being famous or having media connections is a source of power. All of these things can be used to create a high conflict divorce.

    A third source of means is being irrational and tenacious. Even without money or power, a person can create a high conflict divorce through simple means. There is an axiom that the most irrational and inconsistent person in the system is in control of the system because...they don’t follow the rules. If the controlling person is uncooperative, antagonistic, and dishonorable, a high conflict divorce will take shape.

    Then there is “motive.” If a person feels aggrieved and they are narcissistic, they can feel justified doing just about anything to trash and burn the other person. This includes dragging the children into the fray. And no matter how self-effacing the egalitarian is, he or she will fight back if pushed far enough. Thus the motive to protect and defend is aroused. Unfortunately trying to fight a narcissist is like dousing yourself with gasoline and lighting yourself on fire.

    Solutions to High Conflict Divorce

    In spite of this disheartening look at high conflict divorce, I still believe it is possible to prevent or at least better tolerate a high conflict divorce. Anyone going through a life changing experience like a divorce, high conflict or otherwise, should seek the support of a therapist, your church, and other groups supportive of your experience. The Kanji for “Crisis” equates to “danger” and “opportunity.” In order to see the opportunities in something as tragic as a divorce you will need a level head. While friends and family may love you, your therapist will be more objective. You definitely need objectivity to stay out of the power struggles that the controlling person can create in a high conflict divorce.

    If at all possible work with a mediator to craft a win-win solution to your divorce. Be willing to compromise and to walk away with a “half fair deal.” In the long run, walking away from your money and possessions is worth it to avoid the acrimony. Remember, too, that it is only your perception that you are getting an unfair deal. With the dollars you save on legal fees you can free up your life to explore a new and healthier way of living.

    On the other hand if you are up against a party who refuses to negotiate honorably, then you have to use another strategy. And the most important thing to consider is that your desire to be reasonable and fair may be exactly what does you in. When you seek a win-win solution but the other party seeks a win-lose solution, the other party is in the driver’s seat, at least in our current Divorce Court environment.

    So here is the simple answer if you do not wish to stoop to the underhanded level. Do your best to secure a fair, mediated agreement. If you cannot swing a mediated agreement with the controlling party, and in very short order, don’t hesitate and hope that he or she will somehow change their mind. You need to act swiftly before you are inundated. Give them what they want and count your blessings that they allowed you to get away.

    Never, ever, go to Court with a controlling person who wants nothing more than to trash and burn you especially if they have means (i.e. money or power). And never, ever, go to Court with a controlling person if you have children to protect. The Court system is designed to determine a winner and a loser, not resolve conflict amicably and certainly not to protect the innocent. If you are really a win-win type of person, you are no match for a system that does not hold the attacker responsible, but instead requires you to defend yourself against the constant attacks of the controlling person. You just can’t keep up.

    It is not easy to take the high road in these kinds of situations. Regardless of what you lose in the way of material goods or even psychological status in your community, trust that taking the high road means that you and your children will be able to sleep soundly at night. The gift to yourself and your family is to walk away from these Divorce Wars with your integrity and compassion in tact. That does count for something in God’s Eyes.

    Useful Links

    Patricia Evans’ website on verbal abuse and controlling people.

    Recommended Links

    Softpanorama hot topic of the month

    Softpanorama Recommended

    Divorce Movies Worth Watching by Alison Heller

    1.Take This Waltz  (tone-contemplative and quiet): This 2011 movie starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen follows a young wife as she meets and becomes enchanted with a handsome and rather forward stranger. She’s been happy enough in her marriage, but the stranger is suddenly everywhere: on her flight, in her cab, coincidentally living down the street. Is it fate or something a little less magical? Although the story arc is a familiar one — temptation, seduction, decision — director Sarah Polley goes a little deeper by extending the movie past the wife’s choice and exploring how the end of a relationship informs the beginning of another. This is a thoughtful and lyrical examination of individuals in retrograde and whether their patterns of behavior are ever broken.

    2. The Good Wife(fast-paced and entertaining): Okay, so this is a small screen offering that’s also about a Chicago law firm, but TGW started out as the ultimate separation story; the whole thing kicked off with Alicia Florrick rebuilding her own life and career after the betrayal and broken promises of her husband, fallen politician Peter Florrick. In recent seasons, there’s been some not-so-neat rekindling between the two, in addition to the extra-marital temptation — for Alicia — of Will Gardner. Because all three characters are sensitively written and acted and complex and likable, the yo-yoing is more engaging than annoying. TGW gets bonus points for divorce lawyer David Lee — hilarious, acerbic and manipulative — in my opinion, one of the most entertaining characters on television (with interesting, high profile cases to boot).

    3. Blue Valentine  (dark and depressing): Admittedly, this list is a Michelle Williams fest, but only because she deserves it. (Full disclosure: I watched Blue Valentine because I was blown away by her performance in Take This Waltz.) Blue Valentine, and its well-publicized scene of Ryan Gosling (also excellent) threatening to jump off the Manhattan Bridge, examines the demise of a relationship by interspersing the couples’ last moments together with scenes of their doomed start. It’s a character study as much as anything else, but it also sensitively shows how you know — and why — the end is the end is the end. Sometimes two people are just... toxic. (This one is also the most depressing on the bunch, though — if you’re looking for even an ounce of hopefulness, a tiny little sprig of a bud on a tree that might possibly signal spring somewhere, look elsewhere.)

    4. It's Complicated (light and comedic; real estate porn): Nancy Meyers uses all the standard rom-com tricks in this very watchable movie about a California bakery owner who has an affair with her ex-husband You’ll laugh, you’ll feel good watching Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin — because it’s impossible to feel bad watching Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin — you’ll drool over everything from the food to the home décor. (Even the messiness of getting back together with an ex and keeping it a secret from three grown children appears kind of... fun and, in a way, not all that complicated.) It’s Complicated examines the issue of “closure” and its complications: how much of a relationship’s demise is timing or youth? Is there maybe always something — a little spark — remaining between two people who have once been in love? So, there is some food for thought, but it’s certainly not forced on you. It’s possible to watch the entire movie at face value, for the fun performances and that house-my goodness — that amazing house and don’t even get me started on the garden.

    Films about childhood abuse

    Ultimate Betrayal starring Marlo Thomas, Mel Harris, Ally Sheedy, Donald Wrye Amazon Digital Services LLC

    Films about court cases

    Amazon lists

    Psychopathic seduction

    Pathological lying

    gutenberg.org

    Case story: Phoenix Rising

     



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    Last modified: February, 21, 2017