Be a Guide, not the Hero: How to Model Empathy, Build Inner Wealth, and Put a Stop to Shame Based Parenting!

Posted by tonyoverbay

Are you in need of a parenting upgrade? Even from the most well-intentioned parents, our kids can still walk away from key parenting moments feeling shame, feeling alone, and often, even as we’re trying to teach life lessons, we more often than not end up not only missing an opportunity to show our kids that we’re truly there for them, but we miss key chances to model empathy, ownership of our own behavior and even deeper concepts of compassion, and standing confidently on their own two feet. In today’s episode we attack parenting more from a “what not to do” by referencing Christine Hammond’s article “Shame Based Parenting, A Narcissists Specialty” Tony also breaks down the differences of sympathy, empathy, pity and compassion by discussing Dr. Neel Burton’s article “Sympathy vs. Empathy”
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This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.
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Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.
Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle.
Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.
You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting And visit and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.
Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals and The Millennial Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here

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[00:00:00] In 1909, psychologist Edward Tichnor translated the German word inFulham, which meant feeling into into English empathy, and little did Tichnor know that at that time. Maybe some one hundred and twelve years later, this little seven letter word would cause friends to get angry against friends. Nations would divide because of a lack of it. In my profession, marriages fail because one partner speaks it even in their very bones, while the other person literally doesn't understand what all the fuss is about. They aren't being mean. They're just telling it like it is, or the other person is just being too sensitive. And what happens when this word empathy is never modeled from childhood? Because one or both parents never had it modeled for them? Do they even understand the gravity of this simple word, empathy? So coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, I'm going to talk about what a lack of empathy in parenting looks like, what it sounds like, and why, if you lack it, it is time that you learn it. Today, we're going to delve into the world of shame based parenting, and that may have been the way that you were raised, but might have in the way you were parented. But that doesn't mean that you have to continue the pattern, the data is in. It's pretty darn conclusive. As a matter of fact, the building inner wealth, not reacting to the negative.

[00:01:09] Building this wealth within your child doesn't mean that you have to learn the latest slang and shop at some trendy stores at the same stores as your kid as the mall. Although don't get me wrong, especially fathers out there, your wardrobe might indeed need a bit of sprucing up. I know mine. Mine certainly does. No positive parenting building in wealth. Rewarding and energizing success means moving from being the punisher to the guide. Gone are the days of your child wondering which version of dad or mom is going to walk in that door. Because from the view of the child, that is a lot of stress. That's a lot of mental energy and calories to burn. That's a lot of cortisol flowing through the body, stress levels going high, waiting to jump in to fight flight or freeze. It's a lot of teetering on the edge. And so it's no wonder our kids seem to often to be blown about by the winds of whomever will give them attention. And that role needs to be you parents. And it's time to get rid of the excuses. So buckle up and prepare yourselves for what could be a bit of a bumpy ride. If you identify with any of these upcoming parenting models or techniques, it's time for a change. And I know you have it in you, but it's going to take humility and honesty and letting go of some of the control that you may still be hanging onto from your own childhood experiences.

[00:02:14] So we are going to talk about that and so much more coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch. And today's episode of The Virtual Couch is brought to you by and sure 2020, it may finally be in our rearview mirrors for so many people. There is a lot of catching up to do, a lot of processing necessary, a lot of motivation needed. So you owe it to yourself, your family, your kids that we're going to talk about today, your pets, your future spouse, your future children, future you, whatever it is you need to tap into to get help, do what over a million people have done already. Visit and get 10 percent off your first one service. Answer a few questions and you'll find a therapist that fits your need, fits your preferences, whether you're looking for help in dealing with depression or anxiety, relationships, trauma, grief, OCD and more with counselors, licensed professional therapists. You get the same professionalism and quality you would expect from an office counselor, but with the ability to communicate when and how you want. So again, that's What are you waiting for, 10 percent off your first month services.

[00:03:13] Go give it a shot today. All right, hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 243 of the virtual couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. I'm a certified monville, have coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four and creator of The Path Back, which is an online pornography recovery program that is helping people put pornography as a coping mechanism in the rearview mirror once and for all. It's done in a strength based hold the shame, become the person you always want it to be kind of way. So if you're interested in taking a look at the path back, please head over to And there you can download a short ebook that describes five myths that people fall prey to when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. Again, And go to There's a link to everything there. You can go check out things on the virtual couch where I have some wonderful people creating some amazing graphics. And I'm so grateful for for the team that is putting those things together and try to be more engaging. Got some fun Instagram stories coming up. And also, you're going to hear a lot of promotion around the magnetic marriage course. That is coming up soon. But I want to I want to get right past that. You can go find all that stuff. I want to get right to the content today. And as you can tell by the intro I want to talk about, I'm going to talk a little bit about empathy, which is one of my favorite subjects.

[00:04:23] But we're going to really get specifically into some examples of what shame based parenting is. And that is going to be based on a pretty amazing article off of Psych Central by a two time virtual couch podcast guest Christine Hammon, who works primarily in the world of narcissism. And so if you are hearing more and more about narcissism lately, I am, too. Sometimes I feel like that is that is what the world is kind of attuned to. And I know that that term may at times feel like it is overused. But there are a lot of characteristics. I think that one of the questions I get asked the most is somebody isn't grandiose. They don't think of themselves often when they when they're looking at someone in their family and they think when they hear narcissism, they think that they're just gazing into a mirror all of the time. And while that is one type of narcissist, there are some subtypes that are not as well known. There's a vulnerable narcissist, an inverted narcissist, covert and overt narcissist, sematic narcissist, a cerebral narcissist. So we've got all these subtypes, but some of the characteristics or qualities are very much the same. And that is this concept of kind of not kind of not owning up to your actions, not apologizing. Some of the phrase, my bad does not happen.

[00:05:35] I was talking with someone yesterday in my office who said, why is it so difficult for people to apologize and for people to just say, and I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to do that or I'm sorry that I'm sorry that that happened. I'm sorry that I wasn't thinking about that. And that caused you some grief. But for some reason, that is really difficult for so many people to do is apologize. And we'll get to that a little bit later. So before I even get to the shame based parenting, I wanted to just touch on an article. This is where I got that 1909 psychologist Edward Tichnor information from and that is it's purely titled Empathy versus Sympathy from Psychology Today. And it's by Neil Burton, who's an MD. He is a psychiatrist, philosopher and writer who lives and teaches in Oxford, England. So he goes on to talk about that Edward Tightener story, which is really the the the dawn of the word empathy. And empathy, as Neil refers to, can be defined as a person's ability to recognize and share the emotions of another person, a fictional character assassination being. And it involves first seeing someone else's situation from their perspective, and second, sharing their emotions, including, if any, of their distress. And so I go big on this concept. I am such a huge fan of empathy and trying to learn more and more about empathy. And there's a huge difference of empathy versus sympathy. And what I love about this article that Neil shares is we're often talking about empathy and he says it's often confused with pity, sympathy and compassion.

[00:07:00] So I want to break down those and then I want to get into this shame based parenting article by Christine Hamman. So empathy, he says, is often confused again with pity, sympathy and compassion, which are each reactions to the plight of others. Pity is a feeling of discomfort at the distress of one or more sentient beings and often has paternalistic or condescending overtones. And I really love the way that he framed that. So pity more has these paternalistic or condescending overtones. So implicit in this notion of pity, he says, is that the object does not deserve its plight or moreover, is unable to prevent or reverse or overturn it. So pity is less engaged than something like empathy or sympathy or compassion. So pity, as is Neil, refers as amounting to little more than a conscious acknowledgment that someone is going through something. And it really is more of this. I feel like this looking down upon or condescending view. I pity this person. So sympathy is this comes from the words fellow feeling or community of feeling. So sympathy is a rare feeling of care and concern for somebody, often somebody close, which is accompanied by a wish to see them better off or happier. So compared to pity, Neil says that sympathy implies a greater sense of shared similarities together. With a more profound personal engagement, however, sympathy, unlike empathy, does not involve shared perspective or shared emotions, and I love how this is one of my favorite things about this article.

[00:08:27] He calls out that while the facial expressions of sympathy do convey caring and concern, they don't necessarily convey a shared distress. So sympathy and empathy often lead to each other, but not always. For instance, it's possible to sympathize with things such as, he says, hedgehog's and lady birds, but not, strictly speaking, to empathize with them. And conversely, psychopaths with absolutely no sympathy for their victims can nonetheless make use of empathy to ensnare or torture them. They can they can play upon these these tools of empathy to get someone to fall prey to them. Sympathy should also be distinguished from benevolence, which is a much more detached and impartial attitude. And compassion or suffering alongside someone is more engaged with simple empathy and associated with an active desire to alleviate the suffering of its object. While empathy is I share your emotions with compassion, I not only share your emotions, but I also elevate them into a universal and transcending experience. He goes on to say that compassion, which builds upon empathy, is one of the main motivators of altruism. So one of the examples I give often whenever I get a chance to speak, I talk about this simple version of empathy versus empathy that I learned long ago, and that is you are walking down a road and there let's just say you look down and there is someone that is stuck in this deep pit and we're not talking to allegorical or metaphorical pit of despair, but I'm talking about a literal pit several feet down in the ground.

[00:09:46] Sympathy is looking upon him and really feeling sad for their situation and saying, I am so sorry you're in there. That breaks my heart. But I kind of got to go. I got some things to do. Where in empathy looks more like I see this person in this pit and I jump down in there with them and I say, oh my gosh, like, tell me what you're feeling or what's this like for you? Have you been in a pit before? Are you afraid of the dirt? You know, is it is it cold down here? You know, what are you tell me about this. What are what are you experiencing here? Give me the best opportunity that I can have to just feel and join you with these emotions so that you can have this shared experience that we are in this together and that I will do my best to understand what you're going through. And one of the key notes here with empathy, while again and this is where I was headed a minute ago, and yet I digress. But with empathy, that is the ultimate goal. I want to try and understand the plight of others. And I want to, if I can, as as Neil Burton talked about, I want to also get to this level of compassion.

[00:10:45] I want empathy with compassion, which is my ultimate goal. But in reality, can you truly have pure empathy for somebody and bless their hearts for trying? But the answer is no. Why? Because no one has actually been through that situation that that person is going through. Even if we're in that pit with that person, I'm in that pit with my own personal experiences. So in the world of acceptance and commitment therapy, we often talk about you are the only version of you with all of your nature and nurture, birth, order, DNA, abandonment, rejection, fear, hope, loss, grief, dreams. So therefore, even in that very pit, if I am in that pit with you, we are still having different experiences based on all the things we bring into that pit. I was speaking one time and I was grateful that the person participating or that I was able to lovingly pick on was a good sport. But I was talking with a lot of people that were in these leadership positions for a particular church training that I was asked to do. And it was people that were trying to reach out and help people within their congregation. And there was a person that raised his hand and he said, you know, what do you do? Because it can be really frustrating when you were trying to help someone and you know exactly what they're going through. But they they don't believe you or they don't want to take your advice.

[00:11:58] This was an older man, I'd say older than me, probably mid 50s. And so I took a took a chance and I said, tell me a little bit more about your situation. And you talked about having this opportunity to interact with this single mom of three young children. And he said, I know what she's going through. I've been there. I've had three young children before, and you can see where I'm going. Bless his heart, he wanted to say, I empathize. I know what you're going through. But in reality, was that more of sympathy? I mean, in a paternalistic way, it was that almost even more of pity. I think it was more in the vein of sympathy, but I said so, and again, thankfully, he was a good sport. But I said, so what was that like when you were a young single mom of three young children? And of course, people chuckled and he said, point well made. But so even when we're trying our best to have empathy, it still isn't the exact experience of that person's going through. So why am I setting the table with this as we're going to get to parenting? Because we want to say, look, champ, I've been there before. I've been 13. Now granted, in my situation, it was thirty seven years ago. Things are a little bit different. I had three channels of TV. We would ride a bike if I had to call somebody had to make sure that I can try to stretch the cord out of the room so my parents wouldn't hear.

[00:13:10] And so I don't know what it's like to be a 13 year old boy today. I have no idea what it's like, so from an empathetic standpoint, my job would be to say tell me what it's like being a 13 year old boy right now. What is that like with technology in your hand? What's that like when people don't even necessarily want to hang out as much as they want to just share Memes on their phones? And as much as I might want to say that I know what you're going through, I just this sets the stage for what we're talking about today. I really don't know what they're going through. They're 13. And if you listen to the last episode I did on how to parent today's teens, then I hope, matter of fact, stop right now and go back and listen, because I lay out some pretty crazy data that talks about exactly how quickly generations are changing along with technology. And we if you're anything over about thirty five, we're kind of being left in the dark a bit. That is not to sound doom and gloom or ominous, but to say it, we're in a better position now to say, tell me more about that. What's that like? That our own parents were our own parents really did, for the most part, basically know what we were going through with, you know, again, I like they always say that they're talking about records and we were talking about CDs.

[00:14:21] So those are still in the same ballpark. Now, I want to talk about CDs and we're now talking about streaming video and audio and having everything at your fingertips. No. One, if I tell my kids a story about buying a CD the day it comes out, and I think they will just find this fascinating and amazing, they don't and bless their hearts, they don't even have a concept of what I'm talking about. When my parents would talk about going and buying the new record, when it came out, I knew what that feeling was. But then I could sound a little bit cooler because we had CDs, we had this new technology. And yet then when I would go play a record at times on the record player downstairs and I was going to jump rope working out and I would hear the sound of the record, the needle along the vinyl, that that was amazing and that was incredible. Now, there's none of that. It is I want it right now. And as a matter of fact, I can have it. So I'm not trying to go into the kids these days already. But empathy versus sympathy, I feel like that. That's why I wanted to set the table with that. Let me go on and talk about. So he talked about compassion being more of a suffering alongside someone, again, more engaged than simple empathy.

[00:15:23] And it's associated with an active desire to alleviate the suffering of an object. So with empathy, again, this is this author of this article. His name's Neil with Empathy says I share your emotions with as we just went over trying your best to share those emotions and then compassion. I not only share your emotions, but also elevate them to a universal and transcending experience. Compassion, which builds on empathy is again a main motivator to altruism. So let's get into and again, that was from Neil Burton. And I'm grateful for that article. I have the link to that in the show notes. So let's get to this article about shame based parenting. It's from two time virtual couch guest Christine Hamman, who I interviewed about not only narcissism, but also borderline personality disorder. And I can put those links in the show notes as well. But Christine knows her stuff. And one of the reasons why I wanted to do this article is after I do this episode was after I released the episode last week about here's a guide to parenting teenagers these days. I got a lot of good feedback, but I also do a fair amount of work and bringing awareness to the concept of things like gaslighting or the concept of narcissistic personality traits or narcissistic personality disorder. When people feel like they are being made crazy making, when they feel like their reality is being questioned constantly or when their spouse is someone who they can.

[00:16:44] And if you are not in this situation, this is going to sound like a fairy tale. But I work regularly with people that say I literally have never heard my spouse apologize about anything or if it is an apology, it's an apology that goes something like this, I guess. I'm sorry, but you took it the wrong way. You made me do it anyway. Now that I think about it, I'm kind of angry. And I can't believe that you did the thing that you did that now makes me feel like I have to apologize. So even in that apology, there's gaslighting, gaslighting throughout the apology. So there are people that are in those type of situations. And then the feedback that I got from my my episode last week was a whole lot about those kind of parents, you know, those shame based parents who don't take ownership of what they've possibly done in a situation and how that works or what that looks like when they are interacting with their kids. When you when you are a parent and you're not modeling the I'm sorry are when you're not modeling my bad, how can we expect our kids to then have those traits or qualities at that moment or even moving forward? And I did a podcast not too long ago on the concept of accountability. Let me grab a drink. And in that podcast, it was fun, I had almost an aha moment while I was recording it, because in this accountability podcast I was reading an article at the time and the article gave an example of a mother showing up to pick up their daughter from high school.

[00:18:14] And the mother was two hours late. And if you are a parent and you have high school kids and there's probably I know I can think of times where I have been pretty late picking up one of my kids and they gave the example of the kid coming in the car. And the kid is frustrated. They've been sitting outside and they've been embarrassed and they feel like, you know, what's wrong with me? They feel like their parent has abandoned them. They haven't been able to get a hold of their parent, whatever the situation may be, as they watch their friends leave, as they try to feign confidence when there's really embarrassment there. But they get into the car and they say, I can't believe, where were you? Like, I can't believe you were so late. And the first response by the parent is, you don't talk to me like that. And so there's a lot to be said right there. So there is a lack of apology or lack of taking ownership. And then there is a I'm going to I'm going to diffuse or I'm going to, in essence, gaslight with anger. I'm going to I'm going to meet your anger with even more anger. And now I'm going to make you feel bad about it. I'm going to say you have no idea what my day was like.

[00:19:11] You know, when a parent says that, so when you have those kind of situations modeled and then we expect our kids to then own up to their mistakes, they are being trained to not own up to their mistakes, to kind of dig into their bunker. And this, too, shall pass weather the storm. You know, this is either that fight flight or freeze they're picking on either fight or sometimes it's freeze. They're not going to say a word. And then finally, you're done where as a parent in that same situation, if you if they come into that car and you say, I am so sorry, I'm running late, I should have prepared should have planned ahead, I should have reached out to somebody else. Talk about a way to diffuse and no, you are not a weak parent. Your kid isn't now going to walk all over you and say, holy cow, I can't count on you for anything. No, you're modeling empathy. You're showing them I care about you and I am sorry. So sometimes that simple concept of saying my bad I should have planned a little bit more ahead is going to show that kid a more of a solid example of what it means to be an adult or what it means to be responsible or take ownership for their own actions than anything else. You as the parent have that opportunity and that ability to model that type of parenting. So let's get to this shame based parenting.

[00:20:26] Christine Hammond shares a story of it's a pretty harrowing tale about some narcissistic abuse that happens to a young man, but it sets the stage for all this kind of jump to the end.

[00:20:41] But she's talking about the situation with the young man and she says his narcissistic father's early conditioning had unknowingly caused his shaming obsession. This is not an uncommon narcissistic behavior, but why does a narcissist do this?

[00:20:54] So usually when there's shame based parenting, if this is coming from a a narcissistic parent or a parent with narcissistic personality traits or tendencies, usually they harbor a deep rooted insecurity, which is masked by the narcissism that they can't tolerate exposing even in the slightest. So go back to that example where I'm saying, hey, own up to your mistakes and it's OK. As a matter of fact, you're doing your kids a favor by modeling that empathetic behavior. But I feel like this is where that narcissistic tendency or behavior can't tolerate exposing themselves even in the slightest. So in order to self protect, this leads a narcissistic, manipulative, manipulative shame others to maintain their superior status and to deflect any vulnerability. A narcissist is unwilling to feel their own shame and fear. So instead they divert it by purposely causing others to feel that same way. So in the case of this example, Christine Hammon said this. This person's father was targeting him to reinforce the father's own confidence. So to put an end to behavior like that, it's necessary to be aware, aware of the ways that a narcissistic parent shames their child. So if you are engaged in any of these parenting situations or techniques, I am not diagnosing you as a narcissist. In fact, I can't I can't do that professionally. And and this is the thing where I feel like the concept of narcissism gets thrown around in a very heavy way of you are a narcissist. But man, I will own up to having narcissistic traits or tendencies. I love to say to my wife, destines of narcissism. I recently had Jennifer Finless and Fife on my podcast. It was amazing episode. And we talked about anxious and attachment styles within a relationship.

[00:22:28] And then I also we answered a question by someone that listens to both of our podcast. And the question had to do with Jennifer saying, show up big in your marriage. If you're going to do it, go all in. But then this person learning a lot from the podcast that I do about narcissistic behavior and about gaslighting and about feeling like this. There's this crazy making. And the person said, hey, can the two of you talk about what that looks like together? And I love the fact that Jennifer really validated a lot of the things that I've said in the sense that in a sense, we. We all have these narcissistic traits or tendencies, and that's why I like to look at this on a spectrum.

[00:23:01] As a matter of fact, I was listening to an audio book not long ago and I was on a run and the author had this concept that he shared that I had to try and speak a text to myself through Siri in my headphones, which was more difficult than I thought because of my laborious breathing. But the concept that I shared in this text to myself was that gaslighting. It comes from a childhood defense mechanism. So if you think about that, that's kind of mind blowing. I processed it with a couple of clients the next day. And if you look at a 9 or 10 year old kid, maybe that's the sweet spot. They have a hard time owning up to any of their behavior. They may freeze by shutting down, crying or getting anger angry. They may have take flight literally run away or they may fight. And they're telling you, I didn't do that, you know, and they will sit there and on America's Funniest Home Videos, it's the cutest thing in the world where you have some kid with chocolate over their face and you're asking little kid, did you eat the bar of chocolate? And they're saying, no. I mean, that's that's this extent of not owning up to their behavior. So gaslighting is this childhood protection. It's this childhood defense mechanism. Unfortunately, that concept carries often into adulthood to the point where then people cannot say, yeah, the chocolate.

[00:24:14] Instead, it's like, are you kidding me? And any chocolate, they get chocolate over their face. So that's where and oftentimes when you are engaged in someone that is gaslighting, you are making you feel crazy when you know they have chocolate on their face that you feel like I feel like I'm arguing with a ten year old kid. And it's because that gaslighting principle comes forth as a childhood defense mechanism. I've talked about this in two of I swear, my last three or four podcast episodes. So please go back and listen. I know Episode 240 is one where I talked about it in more depth. But this author, Robert Glover, who laid out the childhood abandonment and attachment wounds in a way that just has made so much sense, I swear it has made its way into every therapy session since that time that I that I have with my clients where he talked about if we're talking about childhood development cycles, if you look at maybe five years and under when the the I like to say the wiring is being laid under the cement foundation of the brain, so to speak, that that model of attachment looks like this. You are a pink, squishy baby and you are your biggest fear is abandonment.

[00:25:18] If your needs aren't being met, as far as you know, it means death. Abandonment equals death. And you go from this point where you cry and when you cry, you get picked up and held. You get fed, you get your diaper changed to then slowly but surely being abandoned, as in all of us get abandoned, abandoned there means. No snacks before dinner. No, we're not going to Disneyland. You can't stay up past your bedtime. So is this ego centered kid, which is not a judgmental statement. It's just the thing. Then the more that things are not happening that you want to happen and you're looking at it from your five year old brain, not your 50 year old brain, not your 30 year old brain, but your 5 year old brain, you're thinking, what is going on? I just get all my needs met. I am the center of the universe. Do they not know? So that starts to lead to two things. One, good old toxic shame that this must be about me. This must be the people must not like me. And this is where you see the child children of divorce, for example, when they're younger, you know, you can tell them, hey, this isn't about you, champ. But at the time, they can really struggle with that and they can really feel like, wow, this, you know, if I would have done things different.

[00:26:22] I mean, we do that in all kinds of things, you know, that that principle of hindsight can be a blessing and a curse. Sometimes we can look back in hindsight and say, oh, that makes sense. I was a kid at that time. My parents are going through their own struggles, so that wasn't on me. But then there are other times where we look back in hindsight and think, wow, I made that all about me, but but bless my heart, that's all I knew at the time. So that those those abandonment attachment principles move forward in that toxic shame. But then it also then leads to us trying to figure out how to get our needs met because all of a sudden we weren't getting our needs met. So this is where we start taking on who do I need to be? How do I need to show up in a particular situation? Almost like what mask do I need to wear in order to be accepted or loved so that I won't be abandoned, so my family won't leave me and my community won't leave me, my church won't leave me, my wife won't leave me. And all of those go against really figuring out who you are as a person.

[00:27:17] So this is getting me away from this shame based parenting. So let me let me kind of talk about this a little bit. Christine Hammond lays out these examples of this shame based parenting. The first one she talks about is historical revisionism. She says a narcissist will retell their child's story with shaming commentary favoring the parents purpose. This is frequently done in front of others as a way of discounting any success that the child might have accomplished. The narcissist will state that they are trying to keep their child humble for their own benefit, though in reality they're causing humiliation. And now those witnesses to the storytelling view the child in a light that is filtered by the parent giving the parent complete control over the situation. This one I've heard so many examples of this one.

[00:27:57] Where the narcissistic parent will remind the child of their absolute dependency on the parent, you know, the stories will be about childhood bike ride. So, you know, the child might remember, it is a thrilling day where they just finally figured out how to ride a bike. But the historical revisionist, narcissistic parent will retell the story as, no, you were you that wasn't that wasn't how it was. I mean, I'm glad you created this memory for yourself. But I was I was the one telling you, you got to figure this out. You got to hang in there. You know, if it hadn't been for me, you would never be riding a bike and you cried and you didn't want to do it anymore. And I kept telling you, you know, this is something you got to do. And so you can see that the the narcissistic or the insecure parent has a hard time even giving that five year old or six year old kid trying to figure out how to ride their bikes credit. So in a historical revisionist setting, does that build the child's inner wealth? No, it makes the child feel crazy. It makes the person is there remembering this story about their learning how to ride a bike.

[00:28:55] All of a sudden they think, wait a minute, I thought I had a whole different version of that. But I mean, this my my parent, I mean, that that must be the truth. And I think that's one of the hardest things about this shame based parenting model, is that it is there because of the parent's own insecurities. And so what is the harm in letting that child, no one probably have their correct memory of it? Is their memory of that was this glorious day where I finally learned how to ride a bike to then only be told that if it hadn't been for me, confidence breaking. That's the second one she talks about. She says a narcissistic parent uses private, detailed information to expose their child at the worst possible time. This is done to reduce the child while elevating the narcissist. The narcissist might even do this just before a major life event as a way of undermining any confidence their child might have obtained. And by breaking this the assertiveness, the child might have momentarily held the narcissist now back at the helm and once again capable of commanding the space.

[00:29:50] I have heard some horrific versions of this for things right before a wedding day, right before a birth of a child where this narcissistic parent can talk about. Man, you know, I hope you don't have a meltdown like you did before prom or I hope that you don't end up having cold feet like you did when you were thinking about getting married before. And and I mean, I hope you can start to recognize if you are the parent hearing this and this is hard to hear or you feel like, well, yeah, but I'm just being honest. No, you're you're elevating yourself to the role of hero. You know, we want you to stop being the hero, stop being the guru and move to the role of guide. That's where things become very empowering. As a parent, your job is to be there alongside your kid and to be able to help guide them from a situation. I remember in grad school, one of the first experiential exercises that I ever did with my sensei, Darlene Davis, as she had, she stood on one side of the room and then she had somebody else on the other side. There were desks and that sort of thing to to maneuver. And she said, OK, now move left, move right, come over here, do this, do that. And the person made their way across the room. But when they got across the room, what did they learned? They were able to praise their guru and say thank you for guiding me across the room. But she said and we were talking at that time about what the role of a therapist was, but that role of a therapist is to go over there and stand right beside the the person and look ahead and say, all right, the field is full of desks and all kinds of debris.

[00:31:14] What do you want to do? I'm right here beside you. Let's do this. And the person says, I think I want to try to climb over a desk. All right, let's talk about it. You know, tell me more. What do you have any fears around this? What are your previous experiences with desks? Was your family killed in a landslide of desks from a desk making factory? Then I can understand this this intensity or this anxiety or or you want to go under the desk around the desk. Do let me help you lift the desk and not just say, OK, pick up the desk now. Go over it, lift your foot. You know, our job is to be right there beside our kid and not in the shame base. You couldn't have done it without me. You know, get rid of that. That's from that's from your own childhood. That's your own stuff. Go work with your therapist on that. But your job is to say you've got this, you can do this. I'm going to build this inner wealth and confidence in you so that you can do more, not so that you will always need me and you must always rely on me, because that is not going to get anyone anywhere that is not going to build this inner wealth. It's not going to build confidence. And all it's going to cause is this unnecessary reliance and and your child's own insecurities as they move forward.

[00:32:18] So that all came off of confidence. Breaking, exaggerating, faults is a third one within a narcissistic mine. No one is perfect except for them who she says that one good narcissist are very good at identifying the faults of their children and even better at passive aggressively commenting on them. This is a way of putting their child in their place. So when confronted, they often say I was only joking or simply claim that their child can't take a joke. Writing it off is something that the child could not maturely handle, only highlights the dominating qualities of the parent ooh man. I love a good joke more than anything, and I remember early on recognizing that, but not at the fault of others. Not not to bring. Not the. To make someone feel worse or not to to bully someone, not to destroy their self-confidence, a joke is great. Nothing diffuses a situation more than humor. Nothing lighten the mood more than humor. Nothing. Nothing unifies more than humor. But humor is not there at the expense to be used at the expense of others. So exaggerating false can can again have this narcissistic parent just taking credit for everything or really breaking down that kid's reality, you know, talking about. Oh, no, no. You you know, you had no sense of humor when you were in high school. I mean, all your friends used to look over at me as the parent.

[00:33:33] Think she's does he think that's funny, you know, exaggerating these faults? And then if if the if the teenager then looks over at the parents really like that, I don't appreciate you saying that. They're like, I'm kidding. You need to learn how to take a joke. So exaggerating faults, not building in her wealth. The victim card. Oh, man. This one. This one. I got actually one of the amazing, wonderful email from someone that was listening to a particular episode where I was I think I was laying out the four pillars of a connected conversation, which are the big part of my marriage course. Number one, you've got to assume good intentions. Nobody wakes up and thinks I want to hurt my partner. Number two, you can't say you're wrong because once you tell somebody, if somebody opens up to you and you say you're wrong, I don't even believe that. What are they supposed to do with that? That's already devolved the conversation. Three, is ask questions before making comments. That is imperative, because the more questions you ask, the more you're going to learn and find out that you may not even be correct about your assumptions. But the fourth one, one of the biggest parts of these four pillars of a connected conversation is staying present, leaning in, being in that conversation, because the opposite of that is playing the role of victim of all of a sudden, if you've just heard, hey, like pillar one, if somebody says, I really feel like you haven't been there for me, number one, they didn't wake up and say, I know what I'll do.

[00:34:52] I'll wait till about two thirty in the afternoon. I'll drop this bombshell on them. And that's really mess him up. No, if somebody comes to you and says, I really feel like you haven't been there for me, assuming good intentions. Pillar one, pillar two. I can't say that's that's a bunch of garbage. I totally been there for you because then what do they do? OK, I'm sorry. I'm wrong. No, No. Two is I can't tell them the wrong number. Three, let me ask questions and not say, OK, I can't believe you're saying this, but but now tell me what you have to say. No questions before comments. Hey, tell me, help me see my blindspots. I wasn't aware of this. Tell me tell me what you mean by that. Tell me what you're seeing in my behavior. You can even do all three of those amazing pillars and then get to the fourth pillar of a connected conversation and then pull this victim card and all of a sudden say, well, I guess I'm a crummy parent or OK, you got me.

[00:35:35] I'm the world's worst, worse father and husband. So when when a narcissist goes to the victim card, what they all of a sudden did is, you know, I call them these narcissistic outs or when they can hang in there for so long, when they pull the victim card, now they want the person to go into rescue mode. They want the person that they just lit up to, then say, now you're a great you're a great parent. You're doing awesome. I shouldn't have brought it up or no, you're a great provider, husband. I shouldn't have said anything. You are there for me. I'm obviously confused, but all that does is this build up this this this wall where then you can't go and open up to if you're whether it's your kid trying to open up to you as a parent or whether it's a spouse that you can't go to your other spouse when you know where you feel like that other person is going to pull this victim card. So narcissists are amazingly talented, exasperating their child, and then using the poor reaction as justification for identifying themselves as the victim. You know, you don't understand what this is like. You don't understand the struggles I have. You don't understand how hard it is for me to go about my day.

[00:36:36] All of these are the victim card. So then you as the person that's trying to have a conversation or communication or relationship with that person, what do you even do? You are trying to dance on eggshells to this point where I don't feel like I can say a word, you know, if I want to talk about something that's gone on in my day. But I know that this is either going to be I'm either going to be Gaslit, I'm going to be told that it's not that way. I'm going to be told that. Oh, you don't even know. It's much worse for me, are you know, every single thing is going to be this this eventually lead to this victim role. Then you are eventually not even going to want to engage at all. So regardless, again, of how aggressively the narcissist inside of the child, an angry reaction to the provocation is viewed as shameful. So the child is conditioned to feel responsible, most often allows the narcissist to play the victim card and therefore they surrender control to them. There's another concept that Christine talks about called blame shifting. This one is fascinating, too. Whenever something goes wrong, the narcissist shifts all the blame to the child. So the child may only have made a minor mistake. But then that enables the narcissist to dump more than their fair share of responsibility onto him.

[00:37:42] This way, the narcissist takes advantage of the child's vulnerability. They escape accountability and they leave the child there to face the consequences. So the blame shifting is it's fascinating to watch. And again, I hear these examples constantly is this is a large. Portion of people that I'm working with are either people that are in relationships with narcissists or people that have broken out of some narcissistic trauma bond or people that are processing childhood wounding from maybe narcissistic parents. But the when when something does go wrong, that this is this is that part where the narcissist can't say, man, that's my bad, that that wasn't that wasn't cool. I shouldn't handle it that way. You know, it is shifting blame to the child. So then the the the blame shifting looks like this where then the narcissist says it goes back to this. I can't believe that you said that. Like you're not even willing to listen to me. I was just trying to help you. I was just trying to to to share something with you that that would help, you know, you're not even giving me a chance. And so that is that blame shifting now all of a sudden it's on it's on the child who was just trying to express themselves or talk about their experience.

[00:38:50] This one I don't see as often. But, man, when I do see it, I it just sounds maddening. And Christine calls it baby talk. She said in any narcissistic parent child relationship, the narcissist wants to be seen as the adult, regardless of how much their child might have aged.

[00:39:04] So to achieve this, they belittle and condescending ways, such as literally talking down to the child, calling their adult child immature, saying their adult child needs to grow up. The implication is that the narcissist is more mature and has developed beyond the level of a child. This is a tactic used by the parent to maintain superiority despite the status that their child has obtained. So when I do hear this, I've heard it often in relationships where it's the narcissistic spouse, maybe the narcissistic male to the to the wife, where they've said things like, I mean, I can do I can't even do the baby talk stuff. But where if the wife has been very frustrated and said, you know, you were never there for me, you never care for me. And then one that I heard recently was where the husband drops into the kitchen, do it where he's like you, never there for me, you know, kind of goes into this baby talk, making fun of the person literally, you know, using voices to make fun of another adult human being. Offensive play the narcissist will use personal attacks to put the child on the defense. Often the child will get so caught up in defending their name or their character that they miss the next attack. Look how defensive you are. You must have done something wrong. The narcissist will counter. Christine said this is a checkmate position because the child has nowhere to go.

[00:40:17] Defending themselves further only plays into the trap and attempting to avoid confrontation allows for proof of the narcissist argument. Boy, this part is frustrating. Cornering your opponent, the narcissist can ensure the outcome resolves in their favor. So this is one that I see more than more more than I care to. And when I talk about the five things that I encourage for people to break free from narcissistic relationships, one is the get your self care up, raise your emotional baseline. I've got multiple episodes on the concept of the emotional baseline, but it's about self care. It's about putting yourself in a position so that you can take on the world in a sense, and that does involve you. Taking care of yourself in self care is not selfish. Self care is absolutely necessary for putting you in a position to succeed. So no one is is raise your emotional baseline. Number two is get your Ph.D. in gaslighting. Know that when you are speaking a truth and all of a sudden you're being told one of these these shame based parenting tactics to then question your version of reality, a version that you are very confident of. They know that that is gaslighting. And I don't I don't have to question my own version of reality, which leads to number three, disengage from unproductive conversations. By now, you have a pretty good idea of where conversations are going when you're interacting with the narcissistic parent or a narcissistic spouse for that, for example, as well.

[00:41:42] And so the third one disengage from productive conversations, which leads to number four, learning how to set boundaries, learning how that if I can't even have a conversation, then the boundary is I'm not going to go try to have a conversation. I have too many good things in my life to focus on, to then put myself in a position where I am just going to be made to feel like a complete buffoon. I'm going to be told that I'm doing things wrong. I'm not going to feel like my opinions matter. So there we only we only have one time in this life. So it is it is to be used creating amazing and positive strength based experiences of building situations of success with your spouse and your family. So putting yourself in a position to then take upon this attack is something that can again be emotionally draining and it causes a ripple effect. You know, when you are stressed or don't want to even have to interact or engaged and then you go and interact, you're engaged and then are met with these these shame based parenting techniques, then you can see that this just becomes a giant energy drain. You may very well want to, and most likely because of your own childhood experiences, want that approval of that spouse, of that parent.

[00:42:51] But then if the if you've tried and tried and the effort to have that relationship be a positive, a fruitful one, one where you can feel validated and know that you're OK at some point, it's almost as if something had one client one time say, man, at some point something broke and they just said, I just realized I can't keep doing that. And then they said that their spouse actually responded to and said, OK, something didn't break, something healed where you felt like, OK, that's OK, you're a good person and you don't have to continue to put yourself in that position to be hurt in that way. Bless the narcissist heart. You really have tried your entire life to to repair, rebuild or or nurture that relationship. But at some point it has just taken its toll. So, you know, sometimes and I heard this one literally and literally twice last week and with different people where they talked about this moment where something broke. And then I was now able to, thanks to the comments of this other person, say or did something heal at that point? And sometimes with that healing, the person, you know, you can return to that relationship. But now with you've with different expectations, you know, if you want to return at all. It isn't that now I'm going to try to get in there and engage and make a point.

[00:44:08] Oh, my goodness. That leads to the fifth thing of when I'm talking about understanding or getting out of these relationships with the narcissist or a narcissistic trauma bond. So we've got the raise your emotional baseline self care we've got number two is get your Ph.D. in gaslighting. Number three is to disengage from productive conversations. Number four is to set boundaries. So you get out of these unproductive conversations by setting a boundary when the gaslighting occurs, when you're being told that you are a complete buffoon or an idiot, when it becomes incredibly emotional. And I'm not talking about positive emotion, but a emotion of being gaslight or told that you're wrong, that then you say, OK, hey, I think I'm going to take off now. And then the fifth one is recognize this one sounds it sounds dramatic. It sounds mean, but recognize that there is nothing that you can say or do that will cause them to have that aha moment or that epiphany that then all of a sudden magically changes their entire view of what the the parent child relationship is like or what the husband wife relationship is like because the nice kind person is going is trying to do that for years, decades where they're trying to if I say it this way, if I'm nice, if I engage, if I withdraw, if I get angry, if I get sad, if I get funny, if I say it in a haiku, if I sing it in a song, maybe now the person will say, oh my gosh, you're right.

[00:45:28] I didn't realize that that's what I was doing. But unfortunately, that's not the way it works. You know, I've talked about this in so many different episodes, but if you look at narcissism in general, it is this concept that every child and I've been talking about this a lot lately with these attachment and abandonment principles of of childhood. But every child, again, comes into the world as this egocentric, self-centered, little pink, squishy baby. No, no shame. No judgment. That's the way it is. And then with that secure attachment, with that that positive parenting, with that building inner wealth, then the child can move from self-centered to self-confident. But the problem is when that hasn't been modeled, when that the parent themselves can't own up to their own struggles or challenges, or when they are using the shame based parenting techniques, then that child often never goes from self-centered to self-confident because they stay in that gaslighting as a defense mechanism mode. They stay in that toxic shame of if if man, if my parent was telling me that I wasn't the person that I really thought I was, then I must not really know who I am, that I must be broken, that something I must be unlovable.

[00:46:39] Something must be wrong with me. That's that toxic shame. And the unfortunate part is you can't really do the work on figuring that out until you're out of that relationship or until you're out of that. Sometimes that that trauma bond or that feeling like you are not enough. So when you get outside of that now, you can look back on that and say, wow, that I'm OK. I have my own thoughts, feelings, emotions. I got my own strengths. And so when my own parent is trying to tell me that that's not my reality, that now I can recognize me and bless their heart, but that's that's their issue, because I have figured out who I am. You know, I have so many people that this is what I love about acceptance and commitment therapy, where they start to realize their own values, their own strengths, their own gifts. And they start to hear as soon as they even say, man, I do like this thing. Whatever this value is, I do want to be authentic. They hear this this, you know, sound in the back of their head. At times it says, oh, but do you though it could be pretty embarrassing, you know, are you sure that's how you feel? And that is part of this myth, OK, or am I good enough? Siren song that creeps back in from maybe this narcissistic, shame based parenting model.

[00:47:52] So what have we learned today? Oh, I missed one more. Oh, gosh, I missed two more talking above, I'll make these quick, instead of talking down toward the child, as is described in baby talk, the narcissist will instead talk over the child's knowledge level, even if the child is more intelligent than our sister talks in circles with an air of authority to force the child into an inferior position. This one is amazing. I have seen this one. I have seen this one in my office. I've seen this one out in the wild where someone will they will know their stuff. They will they will be an award winning psychologist. They will be an author. They will be a scientist. They will be a philosopher. They will be chemical engineer. I've seen so many of these. And then when they are expressing something that they know, they are told that that is that is not really the way it is, that that might be what it looks like in your office or that might be what it looks like to you. But, you know, the narcissist still has to force the child into an inferior position. So they will do physical posturing at times, even looking down on the other person or an embellishment of details to disguise the real point of shaming. the child, no matter their ability, still finds themselves unable to fend off the narcissist attacks. And in turn, the parent can often or always orchestrate a way to win. And then the the last one is comparing accomplishments. It doesn't matter what the child has accomplished, the narcissist will claim to have done it first or better or more efficiently. By outperforming the child, the narcissist can minimize the child's accomplishments in comparison to their own. This produces the I can never be good enough feeling in the child and solidifies the parent's authority and experience over them. And what can be really difficult about this one,

[00:49:20] I've seen this one far too often as well, is that the more that this happens again, this is that fifth rule that I talk about in trying to to break free from maybe this narcissistic enmeshment or trauma bond where the person you're constantly trying to say or think or find or do the thing that will cause that narcissist, whether it's the narcissistic spouse or the narcissistic parent, to have that aha moment or that epiphany. So the more that they tell you that that they were better than you were at that age, the more you try to come up with other examples of, OK, but what about this? And then it's, you know, again, it's this. Oh no, no, I, I actually taught you that or I was way better than that at you. I remember hearing a client once tell me that their their mom had insisted that she could run faster and jump higher than this client could at that point in their high school career. And at that point, this high school person was a very accomplished track star, multiple sport athlete, and just in this phenomenal shape. And he was telling me that he was out outside one time playing basketball.

[00:50:20] And I believe he was trying to show his parent first time he dunked a basketball and the mom, who is much smaller and and said, yeah, I could do that. And he was saying he said he told me, well, you could dunk a basketball. Like, there's only, you know, go look up on SportsCenter in the top ten dunk highlights of in the women's pro game, you know. Ah, there. That's only been in recent years. But you were dunking back in the sixties in high school Girls basketball? was like, yeah, yeah. I mean, I can get up over the rim and remember this person just thought, wow, I can't even win. You know, I can't even I can't even get in this moment. That is an amazing feat that you're doing, son. It was no, I think I was probably a little bit better than that than you were. So just to hear those things, it's fascinating. It really is. And so the one of the hard things, again, is that this is one of those things that at the time that does start to lead to this. What is wrong with me?

[00:51:12] Well, you know, as the kid and if you are engaged in any of these shame based parenting techniques, I would love for this to be a wake up call. There is nothing about this episode that I want someone to hear and think, how dare he say that I need to do these things differently? No, I want to say you don't know until you know. So now you know, and now that, you know, you can do something about it. And if you need help doing something about it, find somebody that can help you. One of the things that I think is the most amazing, incredible, vulnerable things that I get to work with is let's just take this example of where there's a parent that has all of a sudden said, wow, I realize maybe I haven't been doing this the way that I thought was the right way to do it. And that's what I love to say.

[00:51:53] Hey, you were you were trying your best based on the situations that you had. You didn't even have the knowledge that you needed to have. But there is knowledge out there and it starts with seek first to understand before being understood, ask questions before comments. And and that is the beginning. The road, it causes a tremendous amount of humility. I've had amazing examples. I was talking to a client last week who said that they had an opportunity to interact with one of their parents over the holiday break. And their their father said that, you know, he said that he recognized now a lot of the things that he had done, again, from a bless his heart standpoint, but that he wasn't very supportive. And in his the person in my office has said that it was one of the most tender and touching moments they had. And then they had a whole bunch of conversations about different things that they remember growing up in their childhood. So it's never too late. It really isn't. It's never too late to make changes to start to to nurture that inner wealth, whether it's with your young kids. If you're a young parent hearing this now, go take my free parenting course parenting positively in the not so positive of times, it's based on the nurtured heart approach, and that is an amazing evidence based model of parenting that takes you from being the Punisher to being the one that instills this inner wealth and confidence. And it does not mean that your kid gets to walk all over you or get away with everything. It's the opposite. It is not. It is so empowering to absolutely not engage with the negative and then and then reward and acknowledge the the good. And and it's not just some simple good job, champ. It's a hey, I love the way that you're playing with your sister because it shows me that you are a caring, kind person. And then there are there are limits there. There are there are consequences to actions.

[00:53:33] But there are things that you've come up with as a family. So no longer are you the Punisher. You're the one now that gets to say, oh, man, buddy, that's so I'm so sad that you now have this consequence that that you that you came up with when you broke this this rule that we had in the home. But I can't wait until you serve your punishment or do your time. That sounds pretty dramatic because then we can get out here and play and then I can build more inner wealth. So, hey, thanks for taking the time today. I hope that there were some things that you learned maybe about your own parenting or some things that you learned about your own childhood that you will be able to now say, all right, this is one of these hindsight principles that I'm OK and that these things that maybe happened when I was growing up, that that I am OK, that I can heal, that I can start to turn toward the things that I know are deep within me, that the strengths that I have, the values that I have and I can stand, the more I start to turn toward living a value based life and turning toward these value based activities. The more of this inner wealth I'll build within myself, the more my own emotional baseline will raise and the more I will put myself in a position to to raise the waters for everybody. And and because the days of trying to put someone down to elevate yourself, those need to be gone. We need to get to this point where we take this personal responsibility that's personal accountability, own up to our our roles and relationships. "My bad" is perfectly OK to say it's not weak. It's actually powerful. And that is going to lead you into this position where you can change lives and first of all, starts with your own. So thanks again for taking the time to listen. And I will see you next time on the virtual couch.

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