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  • Randi Fine
  • August 25, 2015 01:11:18 AM

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Randi Fine, author, counselor, and radio show host shares 100's of articles on Self Help, Spirituality, Relationship Advice, Mental Health Issues, and many inspiring picture quotes for you to share.

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Raising Children: Ten Things Every Parent Should Know

Raising Children Ten Things Every Parent Should Know Written by Randi Fine Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine Raising children who will grow up to be self-sufficient, successful, and happy should be every parent’s ultimate goal. We are responsible for giving our children the skills they will need to thrive in a life … Raising Children: Ten Things Every Parent Should Know Read More » The post Raising Children: Ten Things Every Parent Should Know appeared...

Child blowing bubbles

Raising Children

Ten Things Every Parent Should Know

Written by Randi Fine

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

Raising children who will grow up to be self-sufficient, successful, and happy should be every parent’s ultimate goal. We are responsible for giving our children the skills they will need to thrive in a life that will certainly have many challenges.

Parents plant many seeds in their children and hope they will grow.  It is difficult to know how we are doing as parents and what the end results will be because these seeds take many years to cultivate.  We may feel like we are not getting through or making a difference, but have no doubt; we get out of our children exactly what we put into them, though we may not see the fruits of your labor until they leave the nest.

While raising children there are ten important areas that I believe parents should focus on. My daughter and son benefited from these philosophies. I hope your children will too.

  1. Think before you speak. Your children will absorb every word you say, whether it appears that they are listening or not.  Choose your words carefully, especially around young children. Children are like sponges; they learn from what they hear and see. What parents say and do becomes imprinted on a child’s subconscious mind forever.  Children believe everything you tell them. If you do not want your child using profanity, do not swear.  Do not say hurtful or insulting things to your children in the heat of anger.  You cannot take those hurtful words back, so think about how your child will interpret what you say before you say it. With all the potential our children have, we never want to pigeon hole them by name calling or negative labeling; it is never worth the risk of compromising their burgeoning self image. When a parent is hostile or angry toward his or her child, or someone the child loves, the child will absorb the negative emotions, whether or not those emotions are directed at him. Those angry words reverberate inside of a child’s impressionable young mind and create life-time scars. Whether it seems like it or not, if your children are within earshot, they are listening to your every word.
  2. Teach by example. Your children will do as you do.  If you yell, they will yell.  If you hit, they will hit.  If you make unhealthy choices, they will do the same.  The most important influence in a child’s life is her parents. Children idolize and trust their parents; they learn more from what their parents do than what they say. Children observe their parents’ behavior, their values, and priorities, and then mirror them.  Those who parent with the motto, “do as I say, not as I do” are kidding themselves. Have no doubt–your children will do as you do.  Everyone loses control now and then, but parents who always over react, yell, or scream teach their children that it is acceptable to behave in this manner when things do not go their way.  If children observe unhealthy interactions between their parents, such as hurtful words and physical violence, they receive the message that love hurts.  They will repeat those patterns in their own adult relationships.  Model a healthy lifestyle for your children; do not abuse alcohol or drugs, smoke, or over-eat.  Your children are watching. Always lead by example.
  3. Be clear and consistent in your expectations.  Children feel safe and secure when they know and understand their limits. The three most important rules in child discipline are consistency, fairness, and conviction. Without these rules children never learn to think for themselves or take responsibility for what they do. Though all children will test the limits, they feel most loved and secure when they know that those limits are reinforced. Denying discipline means depriving children of the tools they will need to get along in life.  Every household should have logical and clearly established consequences for misbehavior that are known and understood by the children. Some parents rashly act out in anger, using their power in an attempt to frighten their child into behaving, but then fail to follow through with the threat. Some parents punish randomly and inconsistently.  And some parents make promises to their children in the moment just to pacify them and then renege or never bring those promises to fruition. These inconsistencies send mixed messages and are confusing to children. When parents do not follow through, children learn that they cannot trust and count on the word of their parents. That leads to behavioral problems inside and outside of the home, and later on in society.  Parents are not perfect.  We all lose our temper from time to time.  When you unfairly lash out at your children, apologize for your behavior.  Assure them that your anger was about you, not about them.  Your children will learn that parents are human and make mistakes, and they will learn how to show respect for others. Our goal as parents is to create a bond of trust with our children so that they can feel safe in this world.
  4. Teach your child to develop clear emotional boundaries. Children should have a healthy sense of what is and what is not acceptable behavior to tolerate from others. Show them by example by demonstrating the boundaries that exist between the two of you. Do not mesh with your child. More often than not, parents with healthy boundaries will raise children with healthy boundaries.  To teach children how to respect themselves and others, respect must be shown to them.  Physical boundaries such as privacy in the bathroom, privacy when they dress, unwanted touching, and having their own bed in which to sleep are most easily taught by demonstration.  When children are at an age where they can be alone for five or so minutes, teach them that when Mom or Dad goes to the bathroom they will close the door because they need their privacy.  And when the child goes to the bathroom say, “I am going to close the door to give you your privacy.  I will be right here if you need me.” Teach them to knock on closed doors before opening them by doing the same yourself. Every child should have a separate and unique identity within her family that she is loved, supported, and respected for. Let children make decisions by giving them choices. Allow them to decide how they will share their personal things with others.  Teach them to communicate their thoughts and feelings about what makes them uncomfortable, such as being touched or having to kiss someone they do not feel affectionate towards.  Never burden children with adult issues or discuss them when they are listening. If children are anywhere in the vicinity, assume that they are listening.  And as children go through the stages of separation on their way to adulthood, encourage their growth–do not stunt them.  Never make them feel guilty for pulling away from you. Do not take their withdrawal from you personally.  Our ultimate goal is to teach our children to be independent adults.
  5. Be strong as steel for your children.  Give them a secure, safe place to land when life hurts.  Never let your children see you fall apart when they are the ones hurting.  That is when they need you the most. When a child is hurting, physically or emotionally, it is about him or her; not about the parent.  If parents fall apart every time their children are suffering, three things will happen: Children learn to bottle up their feelings so they will not hurt the parent, children learn to hide all of their pain from their parents, children learn to put the needs of their parent before their own. Children should never feel more concerned or responsible for their parents than their parents are for them. Do not be needy with your children. Let your children know, while showing them with your actions, that you will always be there to support them in whatever they go through–no matter what. Your home should be a peaceful sanctuary for your children; a place of love and trust, and a soft place to land in this harsh world.  Children will feel secure when they know that their parents can weather any storm.
  6. Be your child’s greatest advocate.  Put your own insecurities aside and stand up for your child’s best interests. There is a fine line between advocating and being overprotective.  We should all encourage our children to handle their own issues when possible, but when their efforts are not effective we must step in before things spin out of control. Bullies abound in a child’s world. Bullies are masters of deception and can be very dangerous. The problem often escalates quickly; your child may be goaded into retaliating and getting into trouble.  If the school administration will not help you, take action.  Do whatever it takes to protect your child.  It is every parent’s responsibility to advocate and speak up for his or her child whether comfortable with confrontation or not.  The school system will not protect your children’s safety or insure their ability to learn in a non-hostile environment.  There are many wonderful, encouraging teachers in the school system, but there are also teachers in every school who pick on students and are verbally abusive.  These teachers may be sugar-sweet to your face and then turn around and verbally abuse your child in the classroom.  Listen to what your children tell you about their day at school. Ask questions. Be focused and informed when it comes to the specific needs of your children.  Speak up and be persistent in managing those needs.
  7. Encourage the development of your child’s inner beauty.  Teach children to be kind, understanding, fair, and loving. These attributes are more admirable, durable and lasting than outer beauty. True beauty does not lie in appearance, it lies in character. It is essential for your children’s self-images that they do receive compliments for looking nice.  Never deprive your children of hearing you say how beautiful or handsome they are. But just as importantly, never fail to acknowledge their beautiful inner qualities. Do not over focus on the child’s beauty, and never tell your children that they are perfect. In fact, you should send a clear message that nobody is perfect and nobody needs to be perfect. Catch your children doing good things; praise and reward children when they act out of kindness, show compassion towards others, and express love or forgiveness. Let them see you practicing what you preach.  Show kindness, humility, and compassion inside and outside the home. Reward, but do not spoil. Teach your children gratitude; to appreciate what they have and how to be giving to others.  Teach them to respect the fact that every person is unique and important; never to judge people by their outer appearance.  Accept your children for who they are, whatever their strengths or weaknesses, and encourage them to accept, be kind to, and love themselves. Be a shining example of inner beauty yourself so you can model it for your child. Plant seeds of self-love and self-esteem in your child.  If your children are not as successful as they can be in school, reinforce to them that they are smart, regardless. Every child excels in some way. Academics may not be their strength but something else is. Accentuate their strengths and potential for success.  They will eventually incorporate these truths into their self-image and rise to those heights.
  8. Demonstrate faith and hope for your children.  Give them a spiritual foundation, whether religious or not, that is relatable and that they can interpret on their own.  This is an invaluable tool that they will rely on for the rest of their life, one that helps them develop inner strength.  Allow them to experience some disappointments so that they develop the skills to deal with whatever challenges life may throw at them. Don’t be a helicopter parent who tries to maintain control of every situation by hovering. This type of parenting is selfish; it is based on fear and insecurity.  And it is irresponsible because it results in the stunting of the development of children’s coping skills. Coping is a crucial skill that is learned and developed through the experiences of life’s hard knocks.  If children do not experience small, managed doses of disappointment along the way, they will never learn to cope in life. Parents are responsible for teaching their children the importance of faith and hope in learning to accept life’s disappointments.  Parents should use every opportunity to show their children how life has a way of working things out; that even though they may not always get what they want, what they end up with might even be better.  It is our job as parents to open our children’s eyes to all the possibilities that life has in store for them.  We want them to always have hope for a better tomorrow, especially when they reach their emotionally charged teenage years and cannot imagine how much their life will change in the future.
  9. Be open, available, and nonreactive.  If your children fear the reaction they will face when they tell you the truth, they will learn to lie.  When children lie they are in danger of making bad decisions and succumbing to negative outside influences. Expect that your children will do things wrong and make mistakes.  We all do.  It does not mean your child is bad, it just reinforces the fact that children have a lot to learn. When your child does something wrong, never tell her that she is bad.  Never compare your child’s weaknesses to someone else’s strengths. Remember, children believe what you say. If you tell them they are bad they will be bad.  If you tell them they are inferior they will feel inferior. Just say that you did not like what they did, how they acted, or the way they handled a situation, but always reinforce how much you love them.  It is fine to tell them that you feel frustrated or angry.  It is not okay to fly off the handle.  Losing control teaches your child that it is okay to resolve issues that way. It is important for parents to always keep the lines of communication open, to know who their children are and what they are doing.  To accomplish this, parents should make a conscious decision never to show a negative reaction or act like they are uncomfortable when their children share feelings, tell the truth, or come to them with a problem–no matter how shocking.  Children, especially teenagers, will not talk to their parents if they have learned through previous experience that they will be subjected to anger, ridicule, lectures, or judgment when they do. The last thing we want them to do is repress their emotions or feel like they have to make difficult decisions on their own out of fear of what our reaction will be. As the primary figure of authority in our children’s lives we want to be respected and trusted, not feared. Never withdraw love. Your children need your support . Praise your children every time they tell you the truth.  Talk openly and honestly about the reality of the issues they bring to you; use them as teaching tools to help your children learn right from wrong and problem solve.  There is no better way to protect your children than through a constant stream of open dialogue.
  10. Show vulnerability to your children. Share some of the mistakes you have made past and present; discuss the negative consequences of your choices. Use examples that your children can accept, process, and understand at their level of maturity.  If you share things that you did when you were younger, whether right or wrong, your children will relate to you better.  They will find you more approachable.  Knowing that their parents are not perfect takes the pressure off of them to be perfect. Sharing some of our mistakes is a great way to encourage our children to talk to us about what is going on in their lives and the lives of their friends. It makes it more comfortable for them to tell us about mistakes they have made but have never shared.

Randi Fine is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.

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Empaths: What Are They and Are You One

Empaths What Are They and Are You One? Written by Randi Fine Are You An Empath? Have you ever wondered why strangers or people you hardly know open up to you and share their most trusted thoughts? Do you have an instant connection with animals? Are you unable to watch violence, cruelty, or tragedy on … Empaths: What Are They and Are You One Read More » The post Empaths: What Are They and Are You One appeared first on Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi...

Empaths

What Are They and Are You One?

Written by Randi Fine

Are You An Empath?

  • Have you ever wondered why strangers or people you hardly know open up to you and share their most trusted thoughts?
  • Do you have an instant connection with animals?
  • Are you unable to watch violence, cruelty, or tragedy on television or in the movies because your soul just can’t bear it?
  • Do you have an instant knowing about the character of the people you meet upon first meeting them?
  • Are you highly spiritual and find the physical world and everything in it heavy?
  • Are you often tired and have physical ailments that cannot be medically explained?

Empaths are people who are highly sensitive to the energy and the emotions of people, animals, and sometimes energetic imprints around them. Some are sensitive to the energy of plants. This extreme sensitivity applies to the familiar as well as the unfamiliar; people they know and total strangers.

Empaths experience the world around them and feel what other people are feeling through their extraordinarily heightened senses and keen intuitions. They tend to internalize others’ feelings without being aware they are doing it and then interpret those feelings as their own.

Empaths are set apart from non-empaths by their higher-than-average level of empathy, the ease at which they can connect to the feelings of others, and the range within which they can do it. And where others experience feelings of empathy cued by interacting with others, empaths can feel and internalize emotions from people near and far.. They don’t have to rely on the physical senses of sight, hearing, or touch, or clues from their interactions with others to pick up on the emotions and energies around them.

Crowded places such as shopping malls, supermarkets, stadiums or movie theaters can overwhelm the senses of empaths. These places may fill them with uncomfortable emotions, emotions that feel as if they are their own, picked up from the array of energies around them. Environments with depressive, low energy, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals can cause feelings of depression, physical maladies, and fatigue in empaths. Thrift stores, consignment shops, and antique stores, places that carry the residual energy of previous owners can be very draining for empaths as can used cars or pre-owned houses.

Empaths thrive in peaceful, harmonious environments. Disharmony makes them uncomfortable; they will do everything to avoid it. If and when they are confronted with turbulence or chaos they assume the role of peacemaker and will work toward a quick resolution.

Violence, cruelty and tragedy on the television, in the movies, or in print involving the physical or emotional suffering of people or other living things feels nearly unbearable. Whether real or dramatically acted out empaths are painfully sensitive to these things.

Others are drawn to the deep level of warmth and compassion empaths exude. Strangers find themselves sharing private things with them about their lives. Animals quickly bond to them for the same reason.

Empaths deeply connect to animals of all species; they resonate with their energies, love their pureness, and highly value their unconditional love. Preferring the company of animals over the company of humans, they usually have pets. Many empaths become vegan or vegetarian because they can feel the vibrations of the animal that the meat came from when they eat it.

Avid seekers of solutions, answers, and knowledge, believing every problem can be solved and uncomfortable until they figure them out, empaths will tirelessly search until they are satisfied. They are deep thinkers and studiers.

Because of their ability to know things not told to them, they naturally sense the agenda of others. This ability makes it difficult for others to lie to them, manipulate them, put on a facade, or hide their emotions. They are adept at reading body language and noticing subtle inflections of speech that others might miss. Natural prey for predators, empaths must implicitly trust their keen senses to avoid being targeted.

Requiring truthfulness in others and in themselves, empaths feel terribly uncomfortable and energetically drained around unauthentic people. And though generally tolerable of others, they absolutely cannot withstand others’ negativity, unnecessary drama, egotistical behavior, self-centeredness, judgment or jealousy.

Whether in social activities or work they cannot lie to themselves or pretend to enjoy things that they don’t; their feelings are written on their faces. Work must feel meaningful or they will become emotionally, spiritually, and physically unwell. Empaths feel best in creative fields such as art, dance, writing, or music; expressive fields that feed their souls–that are vital to their well-being.

Because they feel things so deeply and tend to be nurturing, they often work as volunteers, passionately dedicating their time to helping animals, children, others in need, or the environment. Excellent listeners, they are truly interested in the happiness and welfare of others.

With a natural ability to tap into Universal energy and heal others, empaths tend to gravitate toward medical fields, mental health fields, holistic therapy fields and energy work. Their sensitivity allows them to feel the emotions of others, influence their bodies and minds, and create harmony within them. To avoid absorbing energies from others that cause them unbalance and disharmony, empaths must learn how to protect their own energy.

Free spirits who must have freedom of movement and expression, restrictions cause them unease. They feel imprisoned by control, schedules, routines, and overly rigid rules or ones they don’t believe in.

Daydreamers who get bored or distracted easily, empaths have difficulty staying focused on things that don’t stimulate their minds. They live their lives in duality, existing in the physical world but equally connected to the light, pure, realm of spirit. Understanding the freedom of that alternative reality, it is hard for them to stay grounded.

Likely having experienced paranormal experiences of their own, whether near death experiences, out of body experiences, psychic ability, or a connection with those who have crossed over, they easily and without question incorporate this unseen reality into their physical experience.

Having had a broad range of life experiences, they are knowledgeable on a wide array of topics. Others tend to view them as wise. But empaths are not boastful people. They are more comfortable recognizing others’ achievements and attributes than their own.

Their deepest mutual connections are with those like them–those who get them and those they can be expressive, open, and frank with. Though lasting friendships can be formed with those unlike them they will always feel as if an element of the relationship is missing.

With their special ability, empathic people can be powerful healers. It is a gift; one that can make life emotionally and physically difficult until they learn to understand, honor, appreciate and embrace it.

Randi Fine is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.

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Chronic Overachieving: Collateral Damage of Childhood Narcissistic Abuse

Chronic Overachieving Collateral Damage of Childhood Narcissistic Abuse Written by Randi Fine Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine Under-nurtured children often become overgivers and overachievers in adulthood. While the gifts they  give to everyone else are enormous, true joy can only happen when they finally give themselves unconditional love for who they are, … Chronic Overachieving: Collateral Damage of Childhood Narcissistic Abuse Read More » The post...

Chronic Overachieving

Collateral Damage of Childhood Narcissistic Abuse

Written by Randi Fine

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine
Under-nurtured children often become overgivers and overachievers in adulthood. While the gifts they  give to everyone else are enormous, true joy can only happen when they finally give themselves unconditional love for who they are, not just for what they do. ~Doe Zantamata~

Are you an adult survivor of narcissistic abuse who suffers from chronic overachieving? Are you never satisfied with your accomplishments or fear failure? Do you have the “Nothing I Ever Do is Good Enough” syndrome?

Adults who were raised by a parent or parents with Narcissistic Personality Disorder suffer a great deal of collateral damage. They are left with open emotional wounds that impact many areas of their lives—wounds that will not heal until they understand what happened to them in childhood.

Many of the wounds you have carried with you since childhood stem from skewed internal belief systems deeply ingrained in you.

Many ACONS’s (adult children of narcissists) have a chronically unfulfilled need for external approval and validation, irrespective to the level of competency or success they achieve in their personal and professional lives. There is an underlying belief that they must look, act or perform certain ways to get approval, acceptance and love from others. This approval seeking pattern creates a great deal of stress in their lives. They sacrifice their own happiness and well-being at the expense of it.

Children are highly impressionable. Growing up under the control of a narcissistic parent, children become conditioned to put their own needs aside and wait to see what the parent expects of them. These expectations are never predictable. The children jump through ever changing hoops trying to keep their parents happy and get a crumb of “love” or acknowledgment.

They live in an environment in which their parent’s feelings, the person they must rely on to take care of them, take priority over their own feelings. To fulfill their basic needs of being loved and cared for, and create some sense of peace in their home environment, children must play the game the way the parent wants it played.

Having always based their feelings on the feelings of the narcissistic parent, children grow up not knowing what their own feelings are. Because they have always gauged their successes and failures by the approval or disapproval of the narcissistic parent, they have no inner guidance system. And having been conditioned to keep the peace through pleasing or playing it safe, they fear disapproval and failure. All considered it is easy to understand why as adults they do not trust their own judgment, why they rely on external validation, and why they never feel “good enough.”

As adults, their self-worth does not come from an inner pride in their accomplishments but from external validation and approval. Since they never learned to self-define or self-qualify their achievements, many adult children of narcissistic abuse become self-critical workaholics, over-performers or overachievers.

One of the biggest problems chronic overachievers have is their need for perfection. Perfectionism comes from negative self-talk; limiting beliefs that tell them that they are not good enough or that what they do is not good enough.

To change these counter-productive messages they must be moved from the subconscious mind to the conscious mind where they can be recognized. Once you are aware of them they can be replaced with positive self-talk.

The positive affirmations I am suggesting may or may not resonate with you. Use whichever ones feel right, or create your own:

  • I deeply love, appreciate and approve of myself.
  • I am confident in myself and my decisions.
  • I strive to do the best I can do and then let things go.
  • People who matter accept me for who I am.
  • My worth does not depend on my success, my accomplishments, or what others think of me.
  • I release the need to prove myself to anyone.
  • I am not perfect and that’s okay.
  • I release myself from the pressure of having to be perfect.
  • My best is good enough.
  • I accept my mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow in my life.
  • I am free to make my own choices and decisions.

Letting gohttps://randifine.com/letting-go-of-the-past/ of chronic overachieving begins with self-love and respect. Your abuser cannot pass the degradation baton to you unless you take it.

You can always do more and always do better; the possibilities of achievement in life are infinite. But “more” and “better” do not equal contentment. Inner peace comes with the satisfaction, acceptance and appreciation of where you are now.

There is nothing wrong with striving to do more, but focus on the process of reaching your goal, not on your attachment to the outcome. If you are always driving yourself toward outcomes, you will always be looking to do more. You will never be happy with what you do accomplish.

Stay focused on the ride, not the destination.

Randi Fine is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.

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Relationship Codependency: The White Knight Syndrome

Relationship Codependency The White Knight Syndrome Written by Randi Fine Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine Relationship codependency is often referred to as the “White Knight” syndrome, because codependent people tend to be rescuers. Roughly 100 million Americans suffer from this emotional disorder. In general terms, codependency is the relationship that exists between … Relationship Codependency: The White Knight Syndrome Read More » The post...

Man and woman kissing in codependent relationship with colorful hearts.

Relationship Codependency

The White Knight Syndrome

Written by Randi Fine

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

Relationship codependency is often referred to as the “White Knight” syndrome, because codependent people tend to be rescuers. Roughly 100 million Americans suffer from this emotional disorder.

In general terms, codependency is the relationship that exists between everyone and everything. In order to live emotionally healthy lives, we all must have relationships. 

But unhealthy relationship codependency can be and usually is a debilitating addiction. It is a psychological dependence on painful, frustrating, and unequal relationships.

There are three types of codependents; the enablers, the persecutors, and the victims. Throughout a codependent’s relationship with his or her love addiction all three parts will be played, whether simultaneously or separately.

Relationship codependents are primarily concerned with the needs of others. Their own feelings, desires, and needs are rarely prioritized. Rescuers with a compulsive need to help, nurture and/or control others, relationship codependents are typically drawn to those lacking stability and/or those who act irresponsibly in a particular area of their life.

Always looking for the potential in others rather than accepting others as they are, they become addicted to hope that the other person will change, beyond all evidence or rationale. Focusing on these types of relationships distracts them from their own issues.

The emotional disorder of codependency begins in childhood and develops over a period of several years. As children they may have been subjected to dysfunctional family dynamics such as repeated anger, extreme rigidity, violence, manipulation, and/or abuse in the home. The child may have assumed an inappropriate care-taking role of a substance abusing or over-dependent parent.

Children in these scenarios quickly learn that compliant, over-pleasing behavior brings them some semblance of emotional safety. In time their self-esteem becomes entirely dependent on the unpredictable and ever changing moods of their parents/guardians. These distorted survival strategies are then carried into adulthood.

Children in these situations never develop a clear sense of self or a healthy emotional boundary system; the appropriate and protective emotional borders that should exist between us and others.

Codependency forms in childhood, but it does not reveal itself until a person starts having adult relationships. As adults, in order to feel good about themselves, they believe they must be in a love relationship.

The codependent mantra is, “Love Conquers All.” Denying and rationalizing away the obvious, relationship codependents believe that if they love their partner enough, the person will change. They go from relationship to relationship thinking, “If he or she would only change, this would be the perfect relationship, the one I’ve always dreamed of.” But it never is because the problem lies not in the relationship but within themselves.

Over time, codependents become emotionally dependent on their significant other and obsessed with the person’s needs and problems. Overly empathetic over the pain and suffering of their partner they feel compelled to sacrifice their own needs. After all efforts to make their partner happy or change the person’s self-defeating behaviors fail, they blame themselves for not trying hard enough or loving the person enough. Then they try even harder to fix the problem. It is a downward spiral.

This is a mental health issue, an emotional addiction. Until codependents become aware of their problem and acknowledge the part they play in the all their painful, failed relationships, they will repeat the destructive behavior over and over.

In order to change their debilitating behavior pattern, codependents must learn how to define themselves as separate from others, learn how to discriminate between what feels right and what feels wrong, and learn how to allow others to take responsibility for their own lives.

Complete recovery requires exploration into childhood issues and their relationship to present patterns, but current patterns should always be addressed and managed first. The fellowship and support of groups such as CODA, Nar Anon, and Al Anon are invaluable to this process.

The important thing to remember is that recovery takes time, support, and patience. Those who choose to embark on this healing journey must be kind, gentle, and forgiving with themselves. They will stumble, but the end result makes all the effort worthwhile—freedom, happiness, serenity, and fulfillment are the rewards.

Randi Fine is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.

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Narcissists Are Clever, Cunning and Diabolical

Narcissists Are Clever, Cunning and Diabolical  Article written by Randi Fine Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine Narcissists are clever, cunning and diabolical; treacherously brilliant at their craft. Some are obvious in the way they express their disorder, some more secretive. Those who express it obviously/overtly are more outward and open about it. … Narcissists Are Clever, Cunning and Diabolical Read More » The post Narcissists Are Clever, Cunning and...

Narcissists Are Clever, Cunning and Diabolical

 Article written by Randi Fine

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

Narcissists are clever, cunning and diabolical; treacherously brilliant at their craft. Some are obvious in the way they express their disorder, some more secretive.

Those who express it obviously/overtly are more outward and open about it. They like attention and have an insatiable need to always be in the spotlight. Often these people are very successful, high achievers, or in the public eye. They will do whatever it takes to attain the limelight and capture the attention of what they perceive as an awe-filled audience. To accomplish that they may intimidate others, make demands, or use their charm.

Overt narcissists show little interest or enthusiasm in what others have to say or share. They will deliberately show boredom or impatience while steering the focus back to themselves. When they succeed at redirecting the attention, their enthusiasm and animation noticeably resume. Whenever there is physical violence displayed in the home of a narcissist it often signals overt narcissism at work.

Covert narcissists, the more secretive of the two, gain the constant attention they seek using indirect or secondary methods. They are not obvious in their pursuit of this stardom. They may gain their admiration and feelings of importance through engaging in helping or nurturing roles, though they actually care little for the people or the cause.

Covert narcissists like to play the role of martyr—they take on heroic responsibilities, claiming that they have to do everything themselves because everyone else is undependable, unqualified, or uncooperative. They claim that no one is helpful to them; that they sacrifice a great deal for others and get nothing in return. This tactic is used to get sympathy and admiration. Their sacrifices are grandly exaggerated or imagined and always self-serving. They do nothing sincerely or for the welfare of others.

Narcissists are extremely sensitive to criticism and do not take blame very well. Anyone giving them negative feedback, even an innocuous statement from the person stating that she would like to be treated better, will be subject to the outbursts and viciousness of narcissistic rage.

Just below the surface of every narcissist lie repressed aggression, paranoia, suspicion, and fear. Whenever their expectations are not met they quickly react erratically with rage or blame. Any form of criticism or disapproval makes them furious. They simply cannot tolerate the suggestion that they are less than perfect. This often causes problems in the workplace because narcissists refuse to compromise their needs for the good of everyone else. And they never think they are wrong. It can be very stressful working with someone like this.

The fury of narcissist rage may be released at the slightest provocation. Any challenge, insult, lack of respect, or defiance, whether real, trivial, or imagined can send them flying into this rage—screaming, spewing horrible insults, belittling their target, dredging up sensitive or confidential information that was shared before and throwing it in the person’s face, acting out aggressively, or seeking revenge.

Very critical and judgmental, narcissists cannot accept people for whom they are. Others are judged as being good or bad based on whether they flatter or agree with the narcissist. Those good and bad labels are never carved in stone. They can easily shift in the narcissist’s eye. Self-righteous gossips, they put everyone down (even their closest friends) by making snide or degrading comments either to their face or behind their backs. And they enjoy turning other people against each other.

One of the most insidious forms of emotional and psychological abuse typically used by narcissists is a tactic known as “gaslighting.” Because narcissists are so subtle and sneaky with their cruelty, people on the receiving end find themselves questioning their own reality. Pathological liars, they lie sometimes intentionally sometimes not, whether the matters are inconsequential or trivial.

Narcissists believe their twisted realities and try to convince their targets that their reality is the wrong one. Not only does this tactic makes the other person feel insane, the narcissist will outright tell the person that she is insane for believing whatever she believes to be true, or not believing what the narcissist claims is true. This is very confusing and crazy-making.

Continually walking a fine line between fantasy and reality, they confuse imagination with true memories, or form false memories. False memories are distorted to make them fit into their fabricated, recreated world. Narcissists have a very selective memory—they will say that they don’t remember something, deny it happened, or claim that the other person is just making it up. Believing they are right or determined to convince the other person, they obstinately argue the point until the other person gives in.

So clever, cunning and diabolical, it is nearly impossible to pin them down or call them on their predatory behavior. Deliberate about where and when they do things, there will never be witnesses to what they say and do to their victims. It is very difficult for victims to explain to others what happened. To the outside world narcissists seems harmless and innocent. They wear a disguise in public and painstakingly cover their tracks.

Overestimating the effect they have on others, narcissists truly believe that everyone loves them. They find it difficult to identify with the emotions and needs of others. Any reactions from others that are relevant to them and their needs are misread and misinterpreted.

Though narcissists generally have a wide circle of acquaintances, they fear vulnerability. Keeping an emotional distance from everyone, those who attempt to get close to them will be rejected. A narcissist’s true self really has nothing to give and therefore resents any demands put on her.

Consummate actors, often worthy of academy awards, they pick up on social cues and then play whatever role is needed for them to fit in. Their charm can be turned on and off like a light switch. The chameleon-like persona shown to the public is gracious, charming, helpful, generous, light-hearted, apparently sensitive to other’s needs, and engaging. But it is only a mask.

Narcissists know exactly how to fool others to get what they need; a constant outpouring of praise, flattery, and adoration. Their ever-dry well must constantly be replenished. The wider their range of social connections, the more insurance they have that they will continue getting their supply.

Their need for a constant influx of complements and attention can be likened to a drug addict needing their drug. As long as they have their fix they are satisfied, but it never lasts for very long and it is never enough.

When they want or need something from someone they will lure the other person into their sinister web, flatter him, flirt with him, and seduce him. They are adept manipulators. Everything they do appears spontaneous but it never is. Every thought or action is planned and premeditated; sometimes within seconds of executing it.

Narcissists are highly impressed by those who have money, power, influence or those who are their superiors. So eager to please these people they will do anything to be recognized and liked. Impressive, accomplished people are the only people they will act slavish to.

Accomplished students of human behavior, observing the emotions and reactions of others and then mimicking them, they are able to blend in with society. That is how they know when to show caring and concern; what is proper to say and how to react. Narcissists fool people because they can perfectly mimic empathetic behavior, though they are incapable of feeling it; of loving or caring for anyone else.

Not only do they lack empathy, they are unwilling to recognize others’ thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and needs—especially those that conflict with their own. Uninterested in hearing the perspectives or problems of others they will tune them out or rudely cut them off. The feelings of others are never listened to, supported, or validated.

Narcissists treat others like objects, not people. Others are seen as disposable and interchangeable. People are only useful if they provide narcissistic supply. Those they cannot control and manipulate are rejected and scorned.

They are volatile, dramatic, emotional people who feed off of any kind of drama good or bad, negative or positive. If there isn’t enough drama in their lives they will create it.

Lacking emotional self-control they are prone to extreme, wild, aggressive mood swings triggered by external events. As long as everything is going their way, they have everything they want, and no one is challenging them they can be happy, loving, and fun, but the good times are few and far between. Anything can set them off at any time.

With their precarious state of mind, those around them never know what’s coming. This confused those who are close to them. One minute the narcissist is up and the next minute she is down. She’s pleasant one minute and then furious the next, euphoric one minute and depressed the next, feeling powerful one minute and helpless the next, passive one minute and punching holes in the wall the next.

Narcissists do not recognize their behavior to be irrational or unacceptable. Their insatiable need to maintain their pathological self-image of perfection, they see justification for all their reactions. It is always someone or something else’s fault.

Narcissists are clever, cunning and diabolical barbarians with no redeeming qualities. To think otherwise is a trap. Trust yourself, trust your intuition-and beware.

Randi Fine is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.

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Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents

Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents Written by Randi Fine Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine Children depend on their parents for all their needs and are defenseless when it comes to these narcissistic monsters. There is no way to escape. No one from the outside comes to rescue them because the abuse is … Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents Read More » The post Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents appeared first on Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and...

Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents

Written by Randi Fine

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

Children depend on their parents for all their needs and are defenseless when it comes to these narcissistic monsters. There is no way to escape. No one from the outside comes to rescue them because the abuse is invisible to the outside world.  As a result, the subtle, craftily designed abuse these children are subjected to damages them for the rest of their lives.

Children in families with narcissistic parents understand that their family operates by a set of unspoken rules—rules that feel confusing and painful. The only stability these children know comes from adhering to the agenda of their narcissistic parent.

The feelings of these children are never recognized—it is demonstrated over and over by the parents that their children’s feeling do not matter. These children never know where they stand with an unpredictable, unaccountable, and inconsistent parent.

Since they have to find a way to shield their selves from these surprise attacks and have never had healthy coping skills modeled for them, they build dysfunctional walls inside as a way of coping and for protection. With no boundaries between them and their parents and no acknowledgement of their feelings, children do not learn how to process their emotions in a healthy way. The assertion of feelings, rights, or thoughts can lead to much bigger problems for them—rejection, isolation, anger, and violence—so they learn to repress these things as a way to keep peace in the home.

Children internalize and absorb whatever they are told by their parents. If they are told that they are at fault, they believe that they are at fault. If they constantly receive messages that they are not good enough, that they are stupid, or that they are bad, these things become their truths and define them for the rest of their lives.

Another source of confusion for these children is that these parents can sometimes be nice. But children quickly learn that any kindness shown to them has strings attached. They feel forever beholden to their narcissistic parent—anytime the parent is nice or generous the child will owe something to him or her. The message is that love has conditions—they are never loved for who they are, just for how well they please.

Sensitive children of narcissistic parents become people pleasers, a pattern that continues into adulthood until recognized and changed. They strive never to deny anyone anything while sabotaging their own self in the process. They feel as if they have to earn the love and acceptance of others to get it while feeling overly responsible for the needs and feelings of others. That is the making of a codependent adult.

Less sensitive children or children who put up high walls of protection may take a different route. They may vow to never trust or be vulnerable again so they will never be hurt again. It becomes them against the world. That is the making of the false self of a pathological narcissist.

As a result of having been raised in a smoke and mirrors, crazy-making lifestyle, adult children of narcissists have a very difficult time trying to figure out what is wrong with them. They may be filled with repressed anger, suffer from bouts of anxiety and depression, and may feel empty, defective, and inadequate.

Adult children of narcissists grew up being told and believing that they were not good enough. This translated in their head as, “If I was good enough my parents would have loved me.” To come to terms with that thought they keep trying to recreate their childhood, unwilling to accept that they never really had one, or that the one they had was not grounded in reality.

Adult children of narcissistic parents feel as if something if always missing within them. They are always looking for the self. They feel flawed and unaccepted, and never quite know where they stand with other people. They may place a great deal of importance on what other people think of them. These weaknesses may make them vulnerable to victimization by other narcissists or others with similar agendas. Having had their parent dictate to them how they should act and feel, they grow up without autonomy. They have difficulty making their own decisions. They lack the sense of knowing what is right for them and are unsure of what they like or want out of life.

Though they are adults they never feel like they are, because no matter how old they are their narcissistic parent never treats them that way. There is always the underlying message that, “You comply with my wishes and do it my way or I will make your life a living hell.” Adult children of narcissists struggle with feeling love for their continually difficult parents. The confusion never stops. Deep down inside they may hate their parent or parents, yet feel guilty because they do. It is not seen as acceptable for children to hate their parents, especially when everyone else loves and sees nothing wrong with them.

It is important to understand that narcissistic parents suffer from an incurable mental disorder and are never going to change. Whatever love seemed real or hopeful is or was an illusion. The love never existed and never will. This parent has no capacity for love. The relationship will never be healthy or satisfying. The offspring of these individuals mean no more to the parent than merely being a source of narcissistic supply, whether they are children or adults.

If you are the adult child of a narcissist you are not alone. They are many of us and we are all survivors—survivors of the most insidious form of child abuse. Adult children of narcissistic parents are commonly referred to as ACONS. Those both inside and outside your family will not be able to support, understand or validate you. They will be probably be a source of great frustration and make you feel even worse about yourself. For that reason and many more, it is very beneficial to gain the support of an experienced professional.

Without professional help you may continue to suffer and fall into the same painful, confusing trap over and over; buying into the manipulations of the narcissistic parent just to get a few crumbs of love and attention.

The pain you feel is real. You were severely abused. And the future may seem hopeless. After having your emotional needs unmet for so long, healing from this traumatic childhood is difficult. It may seem impossible to do but it is not. With persistence and time, full recovery is absolutely possible.

It is time to reclaim your life as your own. You may see your narcissistic parent as a big, powerful monster, but he or she is actually small, weak, and no longer has any power over you. As adult children of narcissistic parents, the only power our mothers or fathers have over us is the power we give them.

You are an adult now and you do not have to answer to anyone but yourself. It is time to embrace self-love. It is time to nurture your inner child and take good care of yourself. You are worthy, you are lovable, and you matter. It is time to start working through your feelings.

Allow yourself to start grieving the parent you never had. Understand that grieving is a painful process. Allow yourself feel the pain and take all the time you need to get through all the stages.

It is time to stop hoping that your narcissistic parent will change.  He or she will not.

Randi Fine is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.

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