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Does the Narcissist REALLY Believe What They're Saying? Understanding the Role of Confabulation in Gaslighting

Posted by tonyoverbay

If you've ever been on the receiving end of gaslighting, you've probably wondered "does this person honestly believe what they are saying right now? Because they seem SO certain that it makes me question my own reality...even about something I KNOW is true!" As with all things narcissistic, there is definitely a spectrum and a lot of variables at play, but understanding "narcissistic confabulation," will definitely help make some sense of what often seems nonsensical. Tony quotes the abstract in the article Dissociation and Confabulation in Narcissistic Disorders by Sam Vaknin https://www.heraldopenaccess.us/openaccess/dissociation-and-confabulation-in-narcissistic-disorders

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WUTN understand-2022-05-20.mp3

[00:00:07] Hey everybody, welcome to episode 33 of Waking Up to Narcissism. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and also host of the Virtual Couch podcast. And today we're going to talk about a concept called confabulation and what I love about learning about this space, working with people with narcissistic traits and tendencies, or those who are in relationships with those who are emotionally immature or those who are waking up to their own emotional immaturity, you name it, fill in the blank. But it is when you can find a term or a story or an example that really resonates or that really hits home. And I feel like this concept of confabulation is one of those. And it's something that although I like to think that I've been doing this for quite a while and working with this population for a long time, this was new to me. And let me just jump right into an article by Psych Central, and then we've got some really fascinating emails, examples from my women's group that I think will bring home this concept of confabulation. But the Psych Central article is written by Sherry Stein. She's got a side, a doctorate in psychology, and it's called Coping with Narcissistic Confabulation. So let me jump right in here. She starts by saying, I looked up the word confabulation in the dictionary and it defined as a memory disorder, affecting a person's ability to remember facts accurately without an intent to deceive.

[00:01:22] So there's a little bit of a catch there and we'll talk about that as we move along today. But she said that confabulation involves misinterpreted or misrepresented memories, where the confabulation is stating the recollection of events with a distorted or here we go, a completely false account of what actually occurred. Because I find this so often when people are in relationships with narcissistic individuals, they say they they know. Right? They know that they're not being honest or they're not telling the truth. And I think that's one of the big questions is do they know? And if you really take a step back and look at memory in a broad sense, this can be really confusing. You know, I was driving my wife to the airport last night. We were having a concept or we were having a talk about memory, which was really fascinating to me because we were talking about memory is fragmented. And Malcolm Gladwell in his podcast, Revisionist History, if you go back a couple of seasons, has a two or three part series within there where he talks about memory. And it is absolutely amazing. And I say that I lay that out as if I'm about to quote it. I'm not. But I would highly recommend you go find his work on memory and everything from flash memory and how we how our memory changes or the importance of memory. But our memories are fragmented. That's just the way the brain works.

[00:02:38] And we typically plug in things that make a little bit more sense or help us paint a picture in our memory. So as a marriage therapist, what I often see is someone can be arguing and they'll say they're talking about something ten years ago, or it could be 10 minutes ago. And they're saying, you know, I remember it so well. You had a red shirt on and you were just laying down on the couch when you were saying these things. And the person I don't even think we had that couch. And, you know, I hate the color red. So I think I was wearing a blue shirt and I was standing in the doorway. And then the people will argue about who was right, red shirt, yellow shirt, couch doorway. And I remember early in my career, I think, man, we got to figure this out because we can figure out that it was a red couch or a red shirt or a yellow whatever. If we can figure that out, then we can work from there. Not understanding that I can't remember something that happened half an hour ago, and I'm not being facetious about that, but our memory is just so fascinating. It's porous. It's fragmented. And then we plug in these details so that we can make sense because if not, think about that. If I'm going to think in terms of these just chunks of data, it's hard to tell a story or a narrative around that.

[00:03:39] And honestly, that's why when I talk about my four pillars of a connected conversation, my pillar one assuming good intentions or there's a reason why somebody is saying or doing the things they're doing. But my pillar two is this mindset shift, this vibe of where I can't put out the message of I disagree or you're wrong. Even even if I have the absolute data that backs up the fact that you are wrong. And I do disagree because so often that pillar too, when I talk about my pillars, pillar two will get the conversation out in the weeds, because now we're arguing about this minutia or the details of the color of a shirt, but we have to get past that in order to get to a more connected conversation or to get to accountability. Because if I can say, oh, man, okay, if you felt like it was the red shirt on the chair, then that makes more sense in the context of your narrative. I thought it was a yellow shirt. You were standing in the doorway. But regardless, let's move on. Let's keep going with the conversation so the confabulation thing can be really, really fascinating. It can be really difficult. But we plug in these memories or we fill in these gaps or holes in the memories, and typically it's with pretty pedestrian things. Like I'm saying maybe where what restaurant you were at or what the day was or what you were wearing.

[00:04:47] But confabulation with narcissists becomes increasingly more difficult, and it can start to move into the realm of emotional abuse. So Sherry Stevens in this article says that in general confabulation tends to be quite commonplace. She said, for instance, in everyday conversations, people may. Alicia childhood memory as they reminisce about the past. The purpose for this is usually to make a story bigger than life, and this approach often works. There is no great harm in this type of storytelling, and I think if we're being honest, we probably all will embellish a little bit of a story from time to time. And I know that I have. And it's funny because if I go back into the concepts of emotional immaturity and I'm really honest with myself, why, why do I build up a story when I could just tell the story as it went? And typically it's because I probably want my story to be a little bit better. I want people to view it as, Wow, that guy has a pretty amazing story instead of just putting the story out. Now there are people that take it to the opposite level, too, and they do such a incredible job of self deprecation that they make their stories almost seem less than or insignificant because they don't want to bring attention to themselves. But that's maybe a topic for a completely different day. But she says there is no great harm again in this type of storytelling. The storytellers tend to understand reality and have no ill intent in their miss collection of the events, and the listeners typically have no problem with the storyline.

[00:06:07] And she says, according to Dr. Sam Venkman, and if you are not familiar with Sam, Sam is a self proclaimed narcissist and expert on narcissism. He says the rules of confabulation differ for narcissists and for than for ordinary individuals. He believes that the very character of narcissists is a piece of fiction created to arm themselves from hurt and to nurture their strong sense of grandiosity. The narcissist, delusional self defense strategies prevent them from seeing the reality of themselves to a narcissist. Confabulation is reality. Now, let me jump over to an email to a story, and then I want to pull a little bit of data from an article that Sam wrote, a paper that Sam wrote. And then it's I think things are going to make a lot more sense as to does the narcissist truly believe what they're saying? Do they really know what their core that they're misinterpreting facts or details? And hopefully this will bring a little bit more sanity to those who are engaging with people that are have these narcissistic traits and tendencies. So I had put out a call for some examples in my Facebook group, and then this person said, I have a lot of them, so I will email you separately. And so they gave me permission to share this example on the podcast. And let me just throw another plug in for the concept of journaling or emailing.

[00:07:22] If that is something that you find healing or if you've never done it, it can be quite healing because when our thoughts are in our head, they are just going in myriad of directions and speeds and we're trying to interpret and reinterpret facts. In essence, we're probably comfortable relating to ourselves in our minds. So if you've never tried really journaling or writing things, these things out, I highly recommend it. And I know our brains will at times say, I don't want to have all this stuff written out. I don't want to write it down on paper. I don't I worry that someone else might find it and those are very valid. So even if you have to handwrite something out with a pencil and throw it away, I promise you it can be very therapeutic. Now, if you're going to do that, feel free to send it my way. And I really am interested in your stories, but this person just said that it's very healing for her to write about these things. But she said one time we had tickets for season passes to a place that I bought for the whole family well ahead of time. When we showed up, we were all excited to engage in the fun family amusement park activity, but we were told that our tickets were canceled and she said, I bought tickets early and I already paid the money and I got the discount tickets on time.

[00:08:24] The person at the counter told us that we had told them to cancel. And I hope that as I read this, you can just imagine the feeling that this this woman had when she went to the trouble of paying and or organizing and planning this to get these season passes, to have these amazing moments with the family. And now here she is at the counter to have these amazing moments, having put all of this effort into getting the tickets for this activity. So, again, the person at the counter told us that we had told them to cancel the tickets. So this spiraled into an argument between them and us about how we had never canceled the tickets. Finally, they told us that they had received an email and that prompted them to cancel the tickets. So I demanded to see the email and I was furious that I had even put this in my calendar, taking time from work and everything else to get the tickets on time. After a lot of back and forth and me demanding to see this email, the manager was called down and somebody went to go get the email. My husband was with me the entire time and acted just as confused as I was. Pretty soon they brought down a printed email from him, cussing them out because of their COVID restrictions and their decisions that they had made. He told them in his email that he would never come back there again and that he would never refer anybody else to go there ever.

[00:09:37] There was a lot of profanity in the email as well, and he told them that he was absolutely done. Now here's where the confabulation kicks in. He claimed that he didn't remember seeing the email. He said he was mad about a lot of covert things, sure. But he never remembers sending that email. The printed email was literally right there in front of me with his email and his signature, and she said the most disturbing part was all of the language that he used in there as well. But again, he never admitted it. She said, I got really upset with him and I told him to fix it. And I left the kids. I left with the kids to the parking lot. Apparently he got it taken care of. We got the season passes back and she said, I never did get an apology or even admittance that he wrote the email. He still claimed that he didn't remember doing it, but nevertheless, this was a really bad thing for her and her kids to go through and for the kids to witness her getting upset. The husband saying that he didn't have anything to do with the cancelation of the tickets even when the email was presented. So to be clear, I am absolutely not diagnosing anyone's spouse or but that story shows how crazy making this event can be, where someone has put in a lot of work and then they hear a completely different narrative.

[00:10:43] And then the person who actually sabotaged the whole event is standing right there beside them and they are joining this spouse in with their frustration. And then when presented with the data that says, no, you actually are the one that canceled the tickets. There's no ownership, there's no man your right. And I'm embarrassed. I'm so sorry I did that out of rage. I was hoping they didn't get the email I got here. I just really wanted things to just work out smoothly. And I was too embarrassed. There wasn't any of that. There was an absolute just blank face and this view that they had not ever done what they were being accused of. So let me go to the article here by Sam Vinson and talk a little bit about what he shares. And then we'll jump back and forth between articles and we'll get some more examples in here as well. So I want to quote briefly now from the Herald Scholarly Open Access Journal of Addiction and Addictive Disorders. And this is an article that was written or a paper that was written by Sam Vatanen called Disassociation and Confabulation in Narcissistic Disorders. Now, if I just read the abstract, I think you'll get the point, he says. Narcissists and psychopaths disassociate or erase memories a lot, or they are amnesiac because their contact with the world and with others is via a fictitious construct, the false self.

[00:11:56] He says narcissists never experience reality directly, but through a distorted lens and darkly, they get rid of any information that challenges their grandiose self perception and the narrative that they had constructed to explicate, excuse or legitimize their antisocial, their self centered, or their exploitive behaviors, their choices or idiosyncrasies. So he says that in an attempt to compensate for the yawning gaps in memory. Now here we go again with these gaps in memory, what we identified earlier, where someone can put a gap and fill in those pieces with color of clothing or a location. But he says, in an attempt to compensate for the yawning gaps in memory, narcissism, psychopaths, confabulation, meaning that they invent plausible plug ins and scenarios of how things might, could or should have plausibly occurred. So to outsiders, these fictional stopgaps appear as lies, but the nurses fervently believes in their reality. He may not actually remember what had happened, but surely it could not have happened any other way. So how common does that or how real does that feel? If you are in a relationship with someone with narcissistic traits and tendencies or in severe emotional immaturity, where you are convinced that they are just absolutely lying when the details of something are not just a yellow shirt or a red shirt, but I am absolutely right and you are completely wrong. And now you don't even remember how often have you maybe heard that in your own relationship? So he says that they may not actually remember what had happened, but surely it could not have happened any other way than what their reality, the gaps that they will fill in, the gaps that they will plug in.

[00:13:32] So this is my take on it, that those gaps that are not just filled in with minutia, but those gaps are filled in with this grandiosity or deceit or deception, which then makes the narcissist as the one who knows more about that situation. And then also those gaps are filled in with and of course, everyone around them absolutely is wrong. So the gaps are filled in with these very, very big swings in story, narrative perception. But Sam says these tenuous concocted fillers are subject to frequent revision as the narcissist inner world and external circumstances evolve. This is why narcissists and psychopaths often contradict themselves. Tomorrow's confabulation often negates yesterday's. The narcissist and the psychopath do not remember their previous tales because they're not invested with the emotions and cognitions that are integral parts of real memories. So they can change on a day by day, maybe even a minute by minute or hour by hour basis. Because those gaps in memory that we all have, those gaps are not filled by minutia or they're not filled by giving someone the benefit of the doubt. They're filled with grandiosity or they're filled with a way that things must have gone, because there's no way that the narcissist would have done this horrific thing, this mean thing, this thing that would have left an entire family stranded.

[00:14:47] It couldn't have happened that way. So the confabulation fills in those blanks with these these what they view as facts in that very moment. Now, tomorrow, when things are re-interpreted or the story has been told in a different way, now that confabulation kicks in, and now there might be a completely different narrative. But it is. Absolutely the truth to that narcissist. So I go back to Sherrie Stein's article in Psych Central Coping with Narcissistic and Fabricators, and she said, This tool is very useful for the narcissist ability to manipulate others because they not only believe they're fabrications, they spend a great amount of time reinventing reality in order to prop up their overinflated egos so as to avoid facing vulnerability. And I love the way that she puts that to avoid facing vulnerability, because remember, when this all stems from childhood, so what did vulnerability equate to in childhood? If someone was vulnerable and open, then they were often, not often, probably most, most all of the time were told that they were wrong or get over it, or that doesn't matter or pull yourself together or rub a little dirt in it, or that isn't really what happened. So when someone wasn't met with a secure attachment as a child, then being vulnerable was absolutely not productive. It didn't help at all. So that is carried into adulthood.

[00:16:01] Why on earth would I be vulnerable when that does not work? So in other words, instead of being vulnerable, I need to take this one up position and my brain is going to fill in all the gaps with all the ways that I am taking this one up position, or at least putting someone else in a one down position. So she goes on to say that narcissists are deeply wounded, she says, psychically, which has caused them to develop overcompensating over compensatory over compensatory coping strategies such as the need for grandiosity and entitlement attitudes. Confabulation serves narcissists for these self-protective purposes, usually in order to protect them from living in the truth. In fact, their relationships are damaged because narcissists defend their confabulation at all costs. Here's where we go into gaslighting, right? That they reinterpret their reality that there is no discussion to be had with narcissists that will dissuade them otherwise. And going back and given a little bit of language to my four pillars of a connected conversation, and this will sound like a sales pitch, but we do have you can go to Tony over eBay.com slash workshop, and I'm just going to leave the $19 hour and a half course on things that we don't know going into relationship. And I do touch on the four pillars there, that sort of thing. But I've got that there. Tony eBay.com slash workshop. But anyway, I say that because there's no discussion to be had with the narcissist that will dissuade them otherwise.

[00:17:14] And that's because I also feel that Narcisse are so adept at taking any conversation out into the weeds, is what I'd like to say, so that when we now get into tit for tat or when we are saying yellow shirt, red shirt, or you said this or and going very emotionally immature in the conversation, then the conversation goes off into the weeds and we will never get to stay in the conversation to even come anywhere near approaching accountability, because there will be no discussion. It will not go well and you will be told you are wrong and they will not take ownership. So having a framework to be able to at least expose that. All right. We're not going to continue to just jump out into the weeds and have unproductive conversations, can be very empowering for the person that's trying to figure out what to do in their relationship. Sherry goes on to say One way narcissists abuse their partners with confabulation is by recreating a past argument or a behavior, by describing the entire scenario as if they were the blameless victims and you were the abuse villain. This type of confabulation causes the victim to experience cognitive dissonance, and that occurs when we experience a psychological conflict as a result of believing or experiencing one thing and then being told another. And that produces a tremendous amount of anxiety as a result of holding contradictory or incompatible attitudes and beliefs.

[00:18:23] And remember, once we get anxious, once our brain floods with cortisol, we kick right into our fight or flight mechanism. So when someone can confabulation, when they can reinterpret a story, and when they can, in essence, gaslight to the point of where not only are they reinterpreting the story, but now you are the abuser, you're the villain, and they are the victim. Then how does one not lose their proverbial mind and have that spike in cortisol and jump right into their Neanderthal brain and go into attack mode? And when we do that, then the narcissist is not going to have to take ownership or accountability of anything because by simply reinterpreting the facts or retelling the story or the narrative, and now you try to defend that, that is absolutely insane. Now they've got you locked into that tug of war and they are going to win because you, as the pathologically kind person, is most likely going to eventually just let them pull you into the abyss that is there between the two of you that you're fighting the tug of war over. She says since narcissists actually believe their confabulation, they are very convincing in their rhetoric, causing their victims to question their own thoughts and memories, which is very emotionally distressing, she said. One of the main ways to cope with narcissistic confabulation is to continually counter the cognitive dissonance. When you're around this person, narcissists will leave you feeling emotionally confused and insecure by their crazy making strategies.

[00:19:40] And she said, You'll never be able to convince the abuser that they are inaccurate and their recollection because too much is at stake emotionally for them to let their guard down of manipulation. So she said there's no point in trying to convince confabulation that their memories are inaccurate, as this will only stir up another even uglier defense. In addition, the defense will be far more lethal emotionally for you, and I just felt like that part of the article was almost worth to just doing the podcast in general because the my fifth rule in. Dealing with people with narcissistic traits, tendencies and emotional immaturity is realizing that there is nothing you'll say or do that will cause them to have that aha moment or that epiphany. And I think she even said it better. There's no point in trying to convince confabulation that their memories are inaccurate, as this will only stir up another even uglier defense in addition to defense, far more lethal emotionally for you. So when you are trying to find that a ha moment or provide them with the aha moment because you feel like you can explain more or better because no, this is what you said before that all you're doing is almost exercising their confabulation trademark. I make that up on the spot, but in exercising their confabulation muscle, then they are almost growing stronger and you are probably feeling more and more insane. So this is where that not engaging in unproductive conversations and getting that PhD and gaslighting, getting out of those unproductive conversations and setting boundaries that when we start going into this narcissistic world of confabulation, then I'm going to step out because this is not going to go anywhere helpful or productive.

[00:21:03] And now we even know that it's most likely going to just only reinforce the narcissistic confabulation. So she said the best way to counter abusive cognitive dissonance is to surround yourself with emotionally healthy people and debrief after every encounter with your abuser. And I love she I love that concept, emotionally healthy people. And again, these are not the Switzerland people. I continue to get emails from people that talk about how empowering it is to understand that people that are saying, well, there's two sides to every story in a non emotionally abusive relationship, then that is a wonderful thing to keep in mind. But when you have experienced years of feeling gaslit and feeling like what is wrong with you? And you're noticing the isolation, the sequestering from your friends and people around you, that you've lost your sense of self, that you really don't know who you are, that these are not times to find yourself around the people they're going to say, Yeah, but I'm sure that he's got his side too. Or that there's two sides to every story because this is where you need these emotionally healthy people. And I love the way that Sherry said debrief after every encounter with your abuser.

[00:22:06] She said that there's a really good website that helps with the cognitive dissonance and it's called Psychopath Free. And she said ultimately, no contact is the safest approach for stopping the emotional brainwashing promulgated by abusive confabulation. And I just want to take any chance that I can to say, man, I understand, though, of how difficult a no contact relationship or no contact order or any of those things can be in these type of relationships. And that's part of that trauma bond that that it's perfectly you're okay if it is really difficult for you to establish no contact because there's a lot at stake. There's typically family and finances and social capital and rites of passage and so many other things that are going on in a relationship. That's where I just want to say how much I appreciate those who are on this journey and in fighting this fight, because it takes a lot of time to figure these things out. Some of the examples that people gave on in the group that I think is just really interesting is someone just said that they are experiencing now with their teenage children the experience with their narcissistic ex, that he is always saying, you just don't remember. I never said that and I never said that that sweater made you look fat. This was in her words. And she said that now I will only communicate with him in writing. And even then he denies that the conversations happen.

[00:23:22] But she said, at least I still have proof to call him out on it. And I thought that was really interesting in the concept or in the context of confabulation that you can still have the things in writing, but even to the narcissist who is confabulation, then they still they cannot make sense of what the words on that page say. And so I feel like it is so important to have those conversations in writing, but it doesn't mean that they're going to go mean you're right. And remember that that's not the goal. The goal is if you're writing the things down and only commuting, only communicating through written conversation, then it's going to help you have more of a semblance of sanity. And so that is absolutely part of this process of helping you understand that you are not crazy. As someone also said in the group, they said that this concept of confabulation was tragically informative. They said the phrase that stood out to them toward the end is that he who is not responsible cannot be punished. And she said this means that on the flip side, whoever they decide is responsible must be punished. And she said, we all know from experience what that feels like every single time, that they really do rewrite history over and over and over and then call us the crazy ones. Another person gave an example where they said that their spouse was seething with anger for a reason that they didn't understand.

[00:24:33] We parted ways and then their spouse sent them a rage text saying something like, It is going to take a long time to get past this. So within a week they had gone to marriage counseling and the spouse didn't talk about this incident. So the person who wrote this, who gave this example said that they did. They said that their spouse then said in marriage counseling a week later, oh, I completely forgot about that. And that their spouse seemed genuinely alarmed that that they had forgotten somebody else had given a few examples. They said it was okay to share some of these examples, but they said that every time that their spouse starts. You mean or becomes verbally abusive, then he doesn't remember that. And she said, I think he knows that he is lying. But now after reading this article and confabulation, I'm really not sure if he does. So when she would say. Remember, last night was bad, he just says, Well, we just had a little argument. It really wasn't that bad. So I don't know how many times those of you listening have heard those concepts as well. And there's been that question of do they just feel embarrassed about what happened or did they really not? Do they really not remember? And I feel like with this concept of confabulation, the answer might be more of that be where it's that wasn't the way that they remember it, because they can't remember it that way, because that would mean that they are not a good person.

[00:25:44] Here's one that I get a lot that does break my heart. This was an example that the person shared. They said, He tells me that I'm fat, that I'm worthless, and then tells me a beautiful when he has love bombing me. And I feel like the the elephant in the room in those scenarios because I hear it in my office often. It is when someone wants physical intimacy that then now all of a sudden they are man, you have. I told you how amazing you are, how beautiful you are. And boy, that can be really confusing in a marital relationship as well, because so often the spouse who is doing the love bombing when they want physical intimacy and this can be the male or the female, well, then after the intimacy is achieved, shall we say. Then they go right back to their old behaviors. And so it starts to create this dynamic that then when the person starts being nice, the spouse just wants to go and give in to intimacy because they they almost just feel like, okay, I know that this is inevitably going to go back to the way it was. And so they almost are more uncomfortable with the person being nice and kind and complimentary because they know that now very specifically that there's a reason for that, that there's that they're seeking physical gratification, in essence, in this scenario.

[00:26:49] She said, He tells me this I'm fat, worthless and tells me I'm beautiful. I questioned him, saying, Just yesterday you called me. You called me all these names. Today you're telling me that you're proud of me and telling me that I'm doing all these things that you're so amazed by. Which one is it? Which version of me am I supposed to believe that you actually think? Because in the moment, both of them seem like you're speaking your own truth in those moments, this one is so spot on. This person said one day I needed the car at a certain time and it was important that it wasn't around that time because I've experienced around that time many, many times. So I told him that I needed it exactly at a certain time and not after, please, not even by a minute. And he agreed fully that he would bring the car back at the exact time. And I can only imagine the scenario. And she didn't say this, but I can imagine that there might have even been a chance where he said, Man, relax, I always do what I say. I'll get it back if I say she said, I made him promise. And then 45 minutes later he texted me 2 minutes after the time that he said and she said, I quote, he said, I'll be pulling it in the driveway at exactly the time that you said the text said, call me when you need the car.

[00:27:52] So she said, of course I called. I was so furious. He pulled up 15 minutes after the time I needed the car. There was no apology. And then now he said, and this is again, this is within a few hours that he said, I never said I would be back at that time. I told you to call me. She said, I lost my mind that day because he had agreed and it was not that much earlier where he had said, I will absolutely bring it back. And then by the time that he couldn't be wrong about not bringing the car back in time, so he shot the text that said, Hey, call me when you need me or let me know when you need the car. And so there's that clear example of confabulation. There was another example that this one was so amazing. She said, we were heading to a wedding the night before. We had to be out of the house at 4:30 a.m. and he decided he was going to go to a different party as well. And so I said, okay, let's pack our bags, let's be ready because we have to leave at 430 the next morning. And so he said that he would have his bags packed earlier as well. He didn't. And then he promised and she said, I promised. I literally mean, I made him swear a promise to me that day, a pinky promise that we would only stay for dinner at this party.

[00:28:57] We would leave right away. But he didn't. And he ended up getting a little bit intoxicated. We were there at that party an extra 3 hours. Then we came home and he went directly to bed, telling him it would only take him a few minutes to pack in the in the next morning. The next morning she wakes up at 330 and she just loses her mind about how things actually went. They ended up leaving the house an hour late for a flight. Then they hit traffic. They got to the airport. They miss the flight. The change fees for the flight that they could take later were close to 1000. And then they missed the some significant parts of this wedding that they were heading to. So she said the broken promises do hurt so bad, she said they still hurt, but I'm slowly learning to figure things out for myself. And she said, I really do loathe these times where I don't have a choice about things like the time that he took the car and didn't come back on time. But she said that she's starting to understand or realize that she can only do the things that she has within her control. And this is where that concept of boundaries starts to kick in. And I want to preface this by saying, man, it breaks my heart. Bless you. Give yourself grace and compassion, but you don't know what you don't know.

[00:30:03] And when the person says, I will. This time. I promise you I'll get the car back at this time that it's unfortunate that you almost have to start to make plans, anticipating those promises will not be kept. And then, if that is the case, then do what is best for you. And I know it can sound selfish, but this is the part where boys self care is not selfish. And this is what I talk about raising your emotional baseline. The first thing that I like to recommend, because you have to be in a good space emotionally, emotionally, mentally, to be able to deal with these things and to be able to stay present and calm and not take the bait, get your buttons pushed, and then run out into the weeds and in the conversations. So I hope that this has helped a little bit today, this concept of confabulation. What I worry about at times are, boy, you want to say that awareness is pretty awesome, but I know that sometimes awareness can be really frustrating, but making sense of things is a huge part of your your waking up to narcissism, whether it's the narcissistic spouse again or narcissistic in-law or parent or sibling or boss or whatever that is, just know that it is a journey and you are. And the more time that you spend in the journey and the more you can do to raise your emotional baseline, get that self care, don't forget to do some mindfulness, some meditation.

[00:31:21] We got to be able to calm down your central nervous system. Really do. Because right now your body is truly keeping the score. Your body is reacting and it's trying to protect you. And remember that those those emotions travel a whole lot faster than your than your logic. So your emotions are going to start anticipating when there's danger or when things are not safe. And so I'm not saying that you let your guard down so that you can be abused, but I'm saying that it's so important to do that self care work, to raise your emotional baseline so you can start to find yourself. You can start to rediscover who you really are so that you can show up in a way that will you'll be able to stay present and you'll be able to make more sense and try to see if you can actually have emotionally mature conversations, not let your buttons be pushed and try to get to a place of accountability for you and for your spouse or the narcissist in your life. But I see you. I really do feel free to keep sending those emails and those questions, examples, story ideas, topics, you name it. And you can go to Tony over Macomb workshop if you want to find out the things that I feel like are really important to have in a relationship and a healthy relationship.

[00:32:25] And again, I will continue to say world's worst businessman. Feel free to go to Betterhelp.com, slash virtual couch and discover the world of online therapy. The reason I say world's worst business man is probably a good idea to throw that stuff up around the front, since that is what pays for a lot of the costs for producing a podcast or distributing it, that sort of thing. But so if you are looking for the world of online therapy, go to Betterhelp.com slash virtual couch. They have a really good assessment program and assessment tool and you can be speaking with someone within 24 or 48, 72 hours and you will be matched up with a licensed counselor that is in your area. But yet you can also do the therapy through telehealth, phone, text, Zoom. But thank you so much for taking the time to be with me and I really appreciate you sending out a lot of you are sharing the episodes and please continue to do that. And if you are a therapist, I'm hearing more and more from you and thanks for recommending the podcast and feel free to shoot me an email and just let me know that this is a population that you're interested in learning more about and love to put more of us together and see if we can provide more tools to help our clients. So thank you so much and I will see you next time. Waking up the nurses.

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