ORIGINALLY RECORDED ON 12/10/21
In today’s episode shares the poem “Welcome to Holland” in the context of accepting, and mourning, the relationships that many people realize they won’t have with the narcissist in their lives, be it their spouse, parent, adult child, boss, etc. Then Tony covers the topic of what is OK to share with others who may not yet have woken up to the narcissistic traits or tendencies of others, but who may be suffering from the various forms of narcissistic abuse? Tony shared “Welcome to Holland” a poem by Emily Pearl Kingsley https://www.emilyperlkingsley.com/welcome-to-holland and “Switzerland Friends” from Kiersten Parson’s article “Switzerland, mutual friends who don’t take a stand” https://www.kierstenparsons.com/blog/switzerland-mutual-friends-who-dont-take-a-stand
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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 https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ
[00:00:10] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode 14. Waking up the narcissism, I'm your host. Tony Overbay licensed marriage and family therapist, certified, Mindful Habit coach and host of the Virtual Couch
[00:00:19] Podcast, and
[00:00:20] I am grateful that you were here today. We're going to get
[00:00:23] To a little bit of email. There's a couple of questions
[00:00:26] That I want to answer from email. They're going to
[00:00:27] Make up the bulk of today's episode, but let me take you on my train of thought. As I like to say
[00:00:32] There, we're going to talk today about different ways to interact with people that are starting to understand narcissism. Or maybe you're the one that's starting to wake up to the narcissism in your life. Again, whether it's the narcissistic
[00:00:43] Traits and tendencies of
[00:00:45] A spouse or of a in-law or of an adult child or of a person that you work with, whatever that looks like that as you start to open up to that, there does
[00:00:55] Become a almost this
[00:00:57] Need or desire to want to share that information with all of those around you. But it's pretty important to recognize
[00:01:03] That as clichéd as this can sound,
[00:01:05] Everybody is kind of in their own space as far as it is being aware of what the narcissistic traits
[00:01:12] Or tendencies look
[00:01:12] Like, or
[00:01:14] They may be affecting people differently. So the way
[00:01:17] That you show up or the things that you can do can greatly affect the way that people are going to want to hear you or maybe even want to know more or or even the way that they're going to start to view the person
[00:01:29] That you believe is is
[00:01:32] Having these narcissistic traits
[00:01:33] And tendencies. And so
[00:01:35] There's a phrase there that's called Switzerland friends,
[00:01:38] And the concept is that when
[00:01:40] You are being
[00:01:42] Emotionally abused, physically abused, financially abused, spiritually abused, sexually abused, any of these things, that those are not the times that you want
[00:01:49] The Switzerland friends where if you
[00:01:51] Are opening up to someone because often it can be really difficult to open up to somebody and then instead of saying, Oh my gosh,
[00:01:57] Thank you so much for sharing, that must be incredible and hard and difficult. And I'm here for you. And what can I do when I want to hear you? If if you're met with the energy of,
[00:02:06] Well, you know,
[00:02:07] There's two sides to every story and I've heard different, I've heard other
[00:02:10] Things that in in a
[00:02:12] Sense right now is the time where you really do
[00:02:14] Need the people that you can go to that
[00:02:16] You are that are going to have your back.
[00:02:18] And so that is a unique situation
[00:02:21] To people that are starting to finally open up and share when maybe they've felt like
[00:02:25] They can't. Maybe they have felt like it hasn't been safe to open up to anyone. So when I started
[00:02:30] Looking at more of how I wanted to address
[00:02:32] This concept of how you open up to people, what do you share with people and this idea of these Switzerland friends? Then I was
[00:02:40] Hit when I thought of the word or the, yeah, the word Switzerland.
[00:02:42] I thought of a a poem that I read on one of the group calls, the women's group calls that
[00:02:50] That I run. And again, if you're interested, shoot me an email through my website,
[00:02:53] Tony over Macomb. And it was one of the I felt like one of
[00:02:56] The most powerful group calls
[00:02:57] That we had, and I read a poem and the poem is actually about the the
[00:03:03] Experience of raising a
[00:03:04] Child with a disability, and it
[00:03:06] Was written by Emily Perl Kingsley. It was written back in
[00:03:08] Nineteen eighty seven when I was just a mere
[00:03:11] Junior in high school, and she wrote it, and this is what she wrote about the poem.
[00:03:16] The poem is called Welcome to Holland, and I think you'll see how that
[00:03:19] Is applicable to what we're talking about
[00:03:20] When it comes to waking up to to narcissism, she said. I'm often
[00:03:24] Asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a
[00:03:27] And she said, to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand
[00:03:30] It, she said, or how to help them imagine how it would feel, she said. It's like this and and I really feel like this is applicable because oftentimes when
[00:03:39] You enter your marriage, you have a certain idea or an ideal of what that marriage is going to look
[00:03:44] Like. It's something that you've dreamt of, something that you've planned of. So I just want to
[00:03:48] Float that out there, and I'm just going to
[00:03:49] Read this poem and then we'll circle back and I think you'll see where I'm going here. So when she's talking about raising a child with a disability and this poem, welcome to Holland, she says, when you're going have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks
[00:04:04] And you make your wonderful plans
[00:04:05] The Colosseum, the Michelangelo, David, the gondolas and Venice.
[00:04:09] You may learn some handy phrases in Italian, and it is all very exciting.
[00:04:13] And she said, after months of eager anticipation,
[00:04:15] The day finally arrives and you pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane
[00:04:19] Lands and the flight attendant comes in and says, Welcome to Holland Holland. You say, What do you
[00:04:24] Mean, Holland? I sent him for Italy. I'm supposed to be in Italy all my life. I've dreamed of going to Italy, but there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting,
[00:04:37] Filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease.
[00:04:39] It is just a different place.
[00:04:40] So you must go out and buy new guidebooks and you must learn a whole new language
[00:04:44] And you will meet a whole new group of people that you never would have met before. It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy. It's less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around. You begin to
[00:04:54] Notice that Holland has windmills and Holland has tulips, and Holland even
[00:04:57] Has been in everybody, you know, is busy coming and going from Italy. And they're all bragging about what a wonderful time that they've had there. And for the rest of your life, you'll say, Yeah, that's where I
[00:05:05] Was supposed to go. That's what I had planned. And the.
[00:05:07] Gain of that will never go away, and she says it'll never, ever, ever go away because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss. It's very real, she said. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never feel free to enjoy
[00:05:20] The special, lovely things about Holland. Now I feel like you may already say, OK, I'm going to go with about 70 80 percent of that poem because I am not
[00:05:28] Saying that, hey, you'll never understand or enjoy the very special, very lovely things
[00:05:33] About narcissism. So I am absolutely not
[00:05:36] Saying that there was another part of this that says when when we talk about that pain, we'll never, ever, ever go away because the loss of that dream is very, very significant in the in. The reality of that is that as you are processing
[00:05:47] What you had hoped was
[00:05:48] What your marriage would look like, it's it is going to hurt.
[00:05:51] And while I say well, she says, and again, it's a poem
[00:05:54] Where she's saying it will never go away
[00:05:55] Because it's a very significant loss. I want you to know that it is a very significant loss and
[00:06:00] That pain is very real. But we're going to break this down a little bit and I'm going to I'm going to share with you how over time it will start to
[00:06:08] Feel less intense
[00:06:10] And to the point where I even do feel
[00:06:11] Like in one sense, it can
[00:06:14] Start to go away. And again, everybody has a different version of
[00:06:17] What that means to go away.
[00:06:20] And there's another line in here that I think if I was to rewrite this, which I have thought about doing before and changing up some things to make it more about what it's like to have dreamt of a particular type of marriage, but then woke up and realize that this isn't that marriage that you had dreamed of, and everybody else is talking about the marriage that you've dreamed of.
[00:06:36] There's a line in there that
[00:06:38] Says the important thing is they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting,
[00:06:40] Filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease.
[00:06:42] It's just a different place.
[00:06:43] And I understand that in some of the situations, it is going to feel like
[00:06:46] It is a pretty bad place. But the fact that you can find tools, you can find people, your people, your friends and new groups and then grow from that
[00:06:56] Place, then that is a bit of a form of acceptance, of acceptance of the fact that OK, but
[00:07:01] I but I am here, and
[00:07:03] I start ruminating about man, I can't believe I'm here. Why am I here? Why? How did I get here? What's wrong
[00:07:08] With me?
[00:07:09] That while that is a very normal way to feel, it isn't necessarily a very productive or helpful way.
[00:07:15] So there's a big
[00:07:16] Piece of the therapy model that I love using, where it is absolutely human
[00:07:20] And normal to have those thoughts and feelings and emotions
[00:07:22] Because you are the only version of you that's going through life and you're going through these
[00:07:26] Moments right now. But when you
[00:07:28] Notice that you are starting to ruminate or
[00:07:30] Just go back in time and just wish and just why I did I that when you notice you're doing that, it's absolutely fine to acknowledge that, yeah, that
[00:07:40] This does hurt.
[00:07:40] And then I truly wish I would have. I had been planning on going day to leave the whole time, but then with that now to get yourself back to present in that acceptance. But this is where I am. So now what do I do? What am I going to do?
[00:07:53] And that's where I love the line and here where it says so you need
[00:07:55] To go out and buy new guidebooks and you need to learn a whole new language and you'll meet a whole new group of
[00:07:59] People that you never would have met. And I feel like that is
[00:08:01] Probably the most
[00:08:02] Significant part when I'm taking
[00:08:04] This poem that
[00:08:05] Again was meant for talking about what it's
[00:08:07] Like to have a child with a disability
[00:08:09] And then moving it over into what it
[00:08:10] Is like to then recognize that
[00:08:12] This is your relationship. And again, we can be talking about your marriage. Or maybe we're talking about you recognize this is the in-laws that you have or this is your adult children, or this is your faith community, or this is the job that you feel like you are stuck in.
[00:08:26] And so once you realize that now it's time to go out and buy the new guidebooks and it is time to learn the new language,
[00:08:32] Because now that you're here, once you accept the fact you're here, acceptance does
[00:08:35] Not mean apathy. It does not mean that, then I guess I am just doomed
[00:08:38] And resigned to be here the rest of my life.
[00:08:40] But once you accept
[00:08:41] The fact that you are here now, you can start to move forward. Now you can start to
[00:08:44] Say, OK, what do I do about this? So I like that concept of Welcome
[00:08:49] To Holland, where it is perfectly normal to have dreamt your entire life of having a marriage that felt like Italy, but then waking up or hearing that you've landed the plane and all of a sudden you're in Holland
[00:09:00] And you wanted to go to Italy
[00:09:02] And you
[00:09:02] Have other people, especially people on social media that are posting pictures about Italy. So you are absolutely
[00:09:08] Normal human
[00:09:10] To have those desires of I really thought I was going to Italy. Now one of the things that I love about this concept
[00:09:16] And Emily Perl Kingsley, I'm sure, has no
[00:09:18] Idea that someone is taking her poem, which I absolutely love and then trying
[00:09:21] To force it into
[00:09:23] This, this concept of what it's like to wake up to narcissism.
[00:09:26] But one of the wonderful things here is once you do realize you're in Holland now, you
[00:09:31] Can start to look and buy the guidebooks and learn
[00:09:33] The language to to try to get back to Italy and even get back to as close to somewhere that is is near the Italian border as you possibly
[00:09:40] Can. So while the analogy is is pretty solid, we can see that there's some holes in there. But I want you to know
[00:09:46] That there there are definitely things that you can do now that you realize that you're in Holland
[00:09:51] And maybe, maybe you
[00:09:53] Leave there and you like the wooden
[00:09:54] Shoes. I don't know, but you can take them with you as you go along. Oh, OK, I just had an aha moment. Those wooden shoes, I mean, a lot of times people do say, But you know what?
[00:10:03] I do have my children, or there are other things that that I would not have had had I
[00:10:06] Not been in the. Relationship. And so those maybe are the wooden shoes. I feel like now I'm calling kids wooden shoes, and I don't know if that's a positive thing or not, because
[00:10:14] Quite frankly, I've never actually worn wooden
[00:10:17] Shoes, so I wanted to share that with you. And in just as a train of thought,
[00:10:21] I wanted to read one email that I actually
[00:10:23] Received yesterday because I continue to encourage people to email me, and I am grateful that emails a lot of times have questions that I will eventually get to. I promise I read them all, and
[00:10:33] Some of them are very long and
[00:10:35] People just saying that it feels good to be
[00:10:36] Able to express themselves or to feel heard or to just put everything down on paper, continue to encourage you.
[00:10:42] And one of the emails that I actually got yesterday and I will change some of the specifics, but I think it leads to
[00:10:47] A really good
[00:10:47] Question. So I'll just I want to answer this question, but also I
[00:10:51] Love hearing these type of emails. The person just said, Hi Tony, I've never done this before, but you keep encouraging your listeners to email
[00:10:57] You and somehow I feel that I should. They said that they've never listened to a podcast in their life. Recently, a friend had sent them the link to waking up the narcissism, and
[00:11:05] They have had many conversations with their
[00:11:07] Friend and they know that they have had a lot of difficulty with someone in their life, and they haven't
[00:11:12] Seen that person in quite a while, and they're about to see them
[00:11:14] Heading into the holidays and this person's anxiety is through the roof. So they said that listening to the podcast shows them that they are going through all the steps that others take when
[00:11:24] Discovering or waking up to the narcissism
[00:11:26] Of someone in their life. The initial shock I love how they said, pulling out their DSM five, which is a diagnostic manual that mental health
[00:11:33] Professionals use and trying to
[00:11:35] Diagnose mental illness. But they pull out their DSM five. They they ask
[00:11:39] Questions, they do the research. They are questioning their past encounters with these people, et cetera, et cetera.
[00:11:43] And I love
[00:11:44] That they are talking about everyone goes
[00:11:46] Through these steps. This shock, we
[00:11:48] Talked about the narcissistic awareness grief early on
[00:11:50] In the episodes, and I want I wanted to read this one in particular, because this just shows you how the assuming good intentions of the pathologically kind person
[00:12:00] And viewing others through a
[00:12:02] Similar lens such as the lying and cheating is universally accepted as wrong that we often just give people the benefit of the doubt. And again, I often say I would rather work with somebody that's coming from a place of giving someone the benefit of the doubt, rather than someone that is
[00:12:16] Continually on guard. That can be a little bit more challenging.
[00:12:19] So this person said that they especially felt blinded
[00:12:22] As they are in the world
[00:12:23] Of mental health. In the world of psychology, psychology is their jam. They've spent a long time
[00:12:27] Undergrad degrees master's degrees doctorate studying
[00:12:31] And they actually work in this field.
[00:12:32] And I want to say welcome to the club. I had
[00:12:34] Worked in this field for quite a while before I started waking up to my own
[00:12:38] Narcissistic traits or tendencies,
[00:12:40] Or the narcissistic traits in others that are
[00:12:43] In my life as well. And so they said, How did I never see that this was what was happening with this
[00:12:48] Person in their life? And they have a dramatic reveal in the email, too. They mentioned one person and they said, and wait for it and they mentioned another
[00:12:55] Person, and I love that they said, I guess I was too close, and I think that is so common where it is a bit of a shock. I think this quote just says it's so well. Narcissists are so good
[00:13:04] At sniffing out trusting vulnerable
[00:13:06] People who tend to see the good in others. Thus, they can
[00:13:08] Be very difficult for nice people to spot until the offender is tremendous and
[00:13:13] And relatedly, because people tend to view others as subscribing to a generally accepted moral code such as that
[00:13:18] Lying and harming others is wrong. Even an otherwise savvy person can work hard to find the good reason
[00:13:23] Why somebody is acting off,
[00:13:25] Rather than identifying problem personalities and behaviors for what they are. Feelings of anger and distrust or fear about what we know
[00:13:31] About a loved
[00:13:32] One causes us great distress, otherwise
[00:13:34] Known as cognitive dissonance. And as a result, most of us wind up resolving this cognitive dissonance
[00:13:38] By reinterpreting facts
[00:13:40] That feel at odds with what we need, and we want to truly believe about someone. So again, we give people the benefit of the doubt continually that they must just be stressed, that I must have said something wrong, that it must just be a big misunderstanding, or that I can frame things in a completely different way. So there's just so many things going on
[00:13:56] At the core. So they said that they're on one of the earlier episodes. Their goal is to get through the rest of the episodes before Christmas. But here is their question.
[00:14:04] And they said, maybe I will address this in one of the episodes that they have not listened to, but I don't believe that we've really covered this specifically. But they said
[00:14:11] That now that they are very aware of what is
[00:14:13] Actually going on with these people in their lives, they said, Do I do something with that information? And what a wonderful question. They said, should I talk to this person's spouse or should I talk to other people in my family? Basically? Do I start to bring awareness to others in the family? And I think that it's such a good question because to people that are not in these relationships, they would say, Well, yeah, of course you go talk to them, but somebody that is in this relationship,
[00:14:39] Then you're very aware that it
[00:14:41] Is not just as easy to just go talk to somebody because of the gaslighting, because of the person sliding into victim mentality, because
[00:14:50] The the conversations around especially difficult things are not very productive.
[00:14:54] So they said, do they
[00:14:55] Talk to people around this person who are distraught? Do they talk to people that are maybe married to the people that they're recognizing as having these problem personality disorder traits? Or is that going to just open up a can of worms or do you let them?
[00:15:07] Unfold the process themselves, so the reason why I just love this question is because the answer is in essence, yes, yes, the
[00:15:15] Answer d
[00:15:16] All of the above. And so I thought it would be kind of I was in say fun, but sometimes I wonder if this waking up the narcissism is considered fun, but it is something it is something that we need to discuss and get out on the table. So I want to go through this email and go through each one of these things
[00:15:32] That this person brought
[00:15:32] Up. And let's say let's dove a little bit deeper. So let's start out with do you talk to someone's spouse? So if you
[00:15:38] Become aware that someone near next to near and dear to you has these narcissistic
[00:15:44] Traits and tendencies and the fact
[00:15:46] That you're starting to wake up to
[00:15:47] What narcissism is, then do you share that with somebody? So the first thing that I did was I posed this question to
[00:15:54] The private Facebook
[00:15:55] Group, and I have a couple of just amazing
[00:15:58] Responses that I wanted to share. The first person said
[00:16:01] I would not tell them what you've learned unless they ask, and it can be as simple as that. They said that they've made that mistake and
[00:16:07] Often the other person, the person that you are now bringing the information, Hey, guess what? I've learned they will end up feeling like you are mean
[00:16:14] And in the group, this person said.
[00:16:16] She said we all have our own journey, so start learning how to not react to
[00:16:21] The problematic situations and begin to model the good
[00:16:23] Behavior. They may start to see how healthy you are and ask how you're handling it. You can share general relationship podcasts or articles and encourage them to get counseling as you have discovered yourself. It doesn't take much searching before they will
[00:16:35] Stumble on the truth themselves. She said it was only three
[00:16:38] Sessions in with her first therapist until the therapist happened to bring up
[00:16:41] Narcissism as a possibility. And then the dominoes all
[00:16:44] Fell from there.
[00:16:46] She said some concrete suggestions might be
[00:16:47] Called out the behavior and avoid the psychology jargon like narcissism and gaslighting, and establish boundaries on the bad behavior. For example, it's not OK for him to call you whatever fill in the blank.
[00:16:57] That's name calling. And if he keeps doing it, I'm going
[00:17:00] To leave or it's not OK to allow him to treat me that
[00:17:02] Way. And I'm not going to sit and watch while he treats you
[00:17:05] That way, either.
[00:17:06] And that response alone, there's so much good in there. I love this concept
[00:17:10] Of raising your own emotional, raising your own emotional baseline. Get yourself in a position where you're no longer in that reactive
[00:17:18] Mode and when you can get to this place. And I know it takes time and it really is a difficult
[00:17:23] In a very intentional
[00:17:24] Task. But when
[00:17:26] You let your light so shine, when you lift yourself
[00:17:28] Up to a place where then people do recognize, well, wait a minute, there's something different about you and and tell me what's going on with you.
[00:17:35] You just have a more of a glow. I noticed that you're not as is reactive to these
[00:17:40] Troubled situations, then that's
[00:17:42] When someone is more likely to go to
[00:17:44] You and say, Hey, you look like you've look, you got some things figured
[00:17:47] Out. Can you tell me more about that?
[00:17:49] And I did a podcast on the virtual couch a few weeks ago with my associate Nate Christensen, and we did talk in
[00:17:56] Detail about a book called The Buddha Brain. And there was a section on there where we were talking about mindfulness, and we were really starting to talk
[00:18:04] About how what this path of enlightenment looks like. And I know that can sound a little bit for some. It can sound a little woo woo and a little bit out there, but it is something that I believe so highly in. And the concept is
[00:18:19] You're on this journey of this awakening, you're just starting to figure these things out, so your body still truly is going to keep the score. And by that, I mean that you are going to walk into situations. And if you are around someone that has gaslit you, that has made you feel pretty crazy, then the first thing that you're going to do is your your brain is going to start going into protective mode or fight or flight mode. And so you may not even be aware of your reaction. So in this book, The Buddha Brain, the author said that as you deal with different issues on your path of awakening, you'll repeatedly encounter these stages of growth. And I love how he
[00:18:51] Said that he said stage one that you're caught
[00:18:53] In the second dart reaction. You don't even realize it again. That's a reaction to
[00:18:57] Something that is going on
[00:18:59] The second dart. The first start are just things that are happening, so the second dart reaction. And he gives the example if your partner forgets to bring milk home and you complain angrily without seeing that your reaction
[00:19:07] Is over the top. So that is what is called unconscious incompetence.
[00:19:11] So often we're just caught up in the second dart reactions and we walk into a room and your fight or flight has already kicked in, and you're not even aware that you are just reacting. So others around you admittedly may see that as a reaction and think, Oh man, you know, she she is pretty elevated here, and I don't
[00:19:28] See him doing anything that is blatantly obvious, so they will get
[00:19:32] A little bit of a different vibe. And so when you are practicing this daily mindfulness practice and starting to help bring awareness to the situation as every bit of data that you're gathering, every podcast you're listening to, every book that you're reading
[00:19:44] And you're starting to gather this data and
[00:19:46] You're starting to understand more, that is self care that is raising your emotional
[00:19:49] Baseline. And so that will help get you into this. Stage two of what he calls
[00:19:53] These stages of growth or this path of awakening where he says you realize you've been hijacked by your emotions in the broadest sense, but you can't help yourself internally. You're squirming, but you can't stop grumbling. And again, if he goes back to the analogy bitterly about the milk. And so that is where we're starting to move from
[00:20:09] Unconscious incompetence to what he calls out of conscious incompetence.
[00:20:13] So you're starting to be aware, you know, you're you're being hijacked by your body, hijacked in a good way. Again, bless your body's heart. It is trying to protect you. But then, as the more you bring this practice, as more, you're intentional about just even being aware in the moment
[00:20:27] That, wow, I notice that I am reacting to this. Then you move into
[00:20:30] The stage three. We're starting to move toward conscious
[00:20:32] Competence, which that he says some aspect of
[00:20:35] The reaction arises, but you don't act it out. You feel irritated, but you remind yourself that you getting cranky is
[00:20:41] In essence going to make things worse. And I know that can
[00:20:43] Sound like we are understating this or underselling this because I understand there there can be a
[00:20:48] Decade multiple
[00:20:49] Decades pattern or history
[00:20:50] Of abuse, whether it's physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual, financial. And so it takes time and it takes being very intentional to start to move to this
[00:20:59] Stage three path of awakening or stage three of growth in this. In this example, where you are aware, you are noticing that your body is starting to go into fight or flight mode and it's starting to get elevated, but you aren't going to react because you remind yourself that that just makes things worse. It really does. It feeds the nurses their supply.
[00:21:18] So the goal and that's why I love this book so much and I love this, this in particular, this this concept is
[00:21:24] There is a stage for in your path of awakening. There is a stage for and this growth in toward enlightenment. He said the reaction over
[00:21:30] Time doesn't come up, and sometimes you forget you
[00:21:33] Even had the
[00:21:33] Issue. You understand there's no milk, but you calmly figure out what to do. And I promise you that that is
[00:21:39] You were on that path.
[00:21:40] That path can take time, and the the amount of time it takes is
[00:21:44] Going to be different for everyone, depending
[00:21:45] Upon all of the
[00:21:46] Situations that they bring into that very
[00:21:48] Moment. But it is possible
[00:21:50] That as you start practicing a daily mindfulness practice, teaching yourself
[00:21:54] To do a little bit of in through the nose
[00:21:56] Out through the mouth breathing, learning how to lower your heart rate as your heart rate lowers your stress, your cortisol lowers. As your cortisol lowers, your prefrontal cortex can come back and
[00:22:05] Get engaged, and you can calm down that amygdala that's so
[00:22:09] Trying desperately to protect you. And it is a process, and that's the part where you start to enter into heaven.
[00:22:15] What I call
[00:22:15] The popcorn moments where you're watching the narcissist in your life, react
[00:22:19] And gaslight and victim and blame and all of these things. And you're just stepping back watching the show, just having
[00:22:25] A little bit of popcorn watching the show. Act one is the Anger Act, where they, in the scenario say he gets very violent with his words and says, How dare you? And he knows all the buttons to push, and you don't react
[00:22:36] And then grab another
[00:22:37] Piece of popcorn and then act
[00:22:38] To act too. Sometimes it's really sad. Yeah, it's oh my gosh, I can't believe. I can't believe I'm even doing this. I can't believe that. I just can't get control of my emotions. This is the nicest talking now. And then you still
[00:22:50] Because he's looking for you to then latch hold. What button can he press? Or then all of a sudden
[00:22:54] You're saying, Oh, it's OK, no, I'm the one that's probably
[00:22:58] Wrong. You know where they're trying to tap back into that pathological kindness of yours.
[00:23:02] And so you will give them the benefit of the doubt. So as you step back and you stay in this zen
[00:23:06] State and be present and
[00:23:08] Watching the
[00:23:09] Show Act three, then can be even the humorous act. Unfortunately, typically you come back around to the opening scene, which is a little bit of that gaslighting or anger, but that will start to feel empowering as
[00:23:19] You don't take the bait
[00:23:20] And as you are doing that and not taking the bait, that is the part where you start to see your emotional baseline raise and the people around you do start to recognize, OK, something's different. And that is ideally the part where then someone will say, How are you doing this?
[00:23:33] Because sometimes I feel
[00:23:35] Crazy with my spouse, or sometimes I feel crazy with my, my parent, and now we're going to start be able to have the conversations.
[00:23:41] Another one? Somebody said that they commented that they loved the
[00:23:44] Suggestion, the one that I just read about calling out specific behaviors rather than using the jargon. And she says that she has learned that one the hard way. And I do find a lot of times if somebody just goes right in and says, you know, I've learned a lot about narcissism and gaslighting. If you are just talking to somebody that they are just starting to recognize that this is not healthy or not productive, then they may hear those terms of narcissism and gaslighting.
[00:24:04] And they may say, OK, you've been listening
[00:24:06] To too many, you're reading too many clickbait headlines or or that sort of thing instead of again modeling good behavior and then
[00:24:13] Going into their situation with curiosity. Hey, what are you feeling? Or I'm noticing that? So, she said.
[00:24:17] My suggestion is to be very careful about talking to other people about the narcissistic person.
[00:24:22] And she's saying, I'm not saying, don't do it, she said. My belief of that
[00:24:25] Knowledge is power and understanding, and her understanding of narcissism has changed. Her marriage does change your life, so she's much happier now and a more confident person.
[00:24:33] And so she said some ways that she's found
[00:24:34] Success is by recommending, and she was very kind, she said. Maybe my one of my other podcasts, the virtual couch, where I do talk about things that are about healthy communication or setting boundaries or those sort of things.
[00:24:45] So she said,
[00:24:46] In that scenario, you're putting out small feelers to see if the other person is open or curious to understand more. And I do appreciate even the way that
[00:24:53] She closed up her suggestion on this. This topic, she said. Good luck. Seems like we are always walking on eggshells, and I could do
[00:24:59] Quite a bit of information right there where I wanted to say that is not what a marriage should be. That's not what a relationship should be where you're walking on eggshells. In my magnetic marriage course, I'm actually trying to teach people and this isn't a plug for that, but
[00:25:12] It is in a healthy relationship.
[00:25:14] Again, it goes more toward thee as we learn better communication
[00:25:17] Tools that then
[00:25:18] You literally can go to your partner with
[00:25:20] Anything and say, Check this out, and they're
[00:25:21] Going to view that with curiosity. Because you're two different people, you're too interdependent people that are processing information information together. And that can be a
[00:25:29] Beautiful thing, not when someone is blaming you and not when someone is then continually going into victim mode and blaming you and then just
[00:25:39] Blowing right past your boundaries. Another person said I would tread carefully, she said. Again, I'm sure that Tony over based on a podcast on the virtual couch that you might be able to share. She said when she discovered that her narcissistic ex was had these narcissistic traits
[00:25:52] Tendencies, she said, I told
[00:25:53] His sister in law, his brother's wife, thinking it would help her understand what was
[00:25:57] Going on because she had made comments about something being with this person since since she had at this point, at that time, she had gained some weight and she had
[00:26:03] Really been frustrated with her situation and it was affecting her mental health and her physical health,
[00:26:09] And she said it totally blew up in her face. She said she went right to the narcissistic ex and told him what she had said. So not trying to say that as something that is
[00:26:17] To be worried about or to be frightened of. But I really like these
[00:26:20] Suggestions because I feel like you
[00:26:22] Really do have to read the room, so to speak, and gauge where someone else is at in the process. Because so often when we find out information, we want to go run and share it with those that
[00:26:31] We think it will help. And that is a wonderful thing. But at times
[00:26:36] In the scenario of dealing with narcissistic tendencies or traits or narcissistic behaviors, especially in a family dynamic or a family
[00:26:44] That if other people are not quite where you are in your journey, then in essence, if you're saying, I
[00:26:50] Think this and you should think this too.
[00:26:52] Now we're getting back into that world of psychological reactants telling
[00:26:54] Someone, No, you need to listen to this, you need to understand this.
[00:26:58] Even their own brain is going to say that again, that psychological reactants the instant negative reaction of being
[00:27:03] Told what to do.
[00:27:04] So we really do have to meet people where they're at. We have to approach it more with curiosity. And then we can look for areas to share the things that we've learned and
[00:27:11] Maybe to do so
[00:27:12] In a little bit more of a calm
[00:27:14] Way. Sometimes we are so desperate to share with others that, oh no, no, I finally figured it out. I'm not crazy that
[00:27:19] We may look like we are like, we I don't want to say we are crazy, but we are wanting. You have to understand
[00:27:25] This is what I am going through. And then a lot of times that just models
[00:27:29] Or it just backs up the behavior that the narcissist has been spreading,
[00:27:32] Saying, Man, they just they go nuts. They get crazy.
[00:27:34] I hope that you're when you're hearing the answer to this question, that it is viewed as more of just, Oh man, that's interesting. And that's fascinating. This is just data for you to take in and then to hopefully internalize and then and then turn it into your own so that you do approach these family situations still being more of who you are, but being able to meet someone else where they're at and then hopefully being able to find ways to just introduce some of the things that you've learned. And I think that can be a really helpful way to to attack this problem of what do I do when I start to wake up to the narcissism and others, and I want to share that story with anybody that will listen.
[00:28:09] So what have we learned today?
[00:28:11] It is that unfortunately, there isn't just one answer of do I do I? Or even how do I start to let those around
[00:28:19] Me also join in waking up to
[00:28:22] Narcissistic traits or tendencies? Or maybe the narcissism that is showing up in family members, a spouse,
[00:28:27] That sort of thing, because just like it is probably
[00:28:30] Taking you quite a while to really go from, something's off here, is it me? And then starting to say, Wait a minute, there is the thing. There's something called gaslighting. There's something called gray rocking. There's something called sequestering or parodying or. And as you start to become more familiar with all of these terms and phrases and you start to feel so validated or understood that, you know, for better or worse, I'd still say better that that's that's your experience. It is your process of unfolding.
[00:28:56] And so
[00:28:57] To to everyone, they're going to have their own process of
[00:28:59] Unfolding. To some,
[00:29:00] They're just now starting that journey where they they maybe are even sitting in that world of know. We talked about Holland and Italy and this sort of thing earlier, but
[00:29:09] I don't know if you're familiar with the concept
[00:29:10] Of Switzerland, friends Switzerland. I mean, Switzerland is a great place.
[00:29:13] And but
[00:29:14] When it comes to the term of Switzerland friends, this is where
[00:29:18] Maybe it isn't the best of places all the time that that concept of a Switzerland friend and I pulled up an article that I've enjoyed in the past. It's from twenty eighteen
[00:29:27] And it is from a site called Kerstin Parsons-King. She has some really wonderful information
[00:29:33] About narcissism, and she
[00:29:36] Has an article or a blog post there called Switzerland mutual friends who don't
[00:29:40] Take a stand. And in a nutshell, she talks about being asked by somebody
[00:29:44] If Kirstin has ever had experiences where
[00:29:46] Someone doesn't they? They sit in the middle, and
[00:29:49] Even if they're aware of the emotional abuse or even physical
[00:29:52] Abuse of someone with narcissistic or even, she says sociopathic behaviors, then how can anyone still sit in the middle and not take a stand,
[00:30:01] Not support the person that is
[00:30:02] Being abused? And she said she said some she realizes that. Few people just don't really want to
[00:30:08] Rock the boat, or some already have a
[00:30:10] Preconceived notion of who she is based off of the
[00:30:13] Calculated maneuvers on the part of the narcissist.
[00:30:15] And some
[00:30:16] Just don't care enough to care about anything other than their own reputation or how it might feel for them to take a
[00:30:21] Stand. And she said the sad reality is that this type of nonphysical abuse,
[00:30:25] Which is rampant in relationships across the world, has been able to hide in the back of a dark closet for way too
[00:30:30] Long, she
[00:30:30] Said. Most survivors are scared to talk, and rightly so
[00:30:33] Because she says those of us who do who do speak up and
[00:30:37] Often will endure more harassment by the abuser and then
[00:30:40] Shaming by folks who really don't
[00:30:42] Know or trust the inner workings of what is transpired, she said. Funny enough for me, it was the folks who refused to stand up for the ones speaking out that hurt the most.
[00:30:51] She said there's some social media
[00:30:52] Friends who are still she has quote friends with the abuser, or maybe they're playing both sides, or maybe they don't want to rock the boat. But she said, for whatever reason, it took her
[00:30:59] A while to understand, and sometimes no amount of
[00:31:02] Proof will inspire somebody to stand up if they just aren't stand
[00:31:05] Up kind of people. And maybe those types of people, she
[00:31:08] Says, aren't her people,
[00:31:09] She said. On the flip side, one mutual
[00:31:11] Social media friend had come along apologizing for believing him
[00:31:14] When she finally saw the light. And she said, I've done the same with those in his past whom I didn't believe
[00:31:21] Enough that they were saying that he was abusive, she said. I respect my friend immensely for reaching out and sharing that with me. She cared enough to show her support and own the fact
[00:31:28] That she had been snowed, and she said, That's human, that's real, that's standing up. So I say those things to get to
[00:31:34] This piece that I really appreciate the way she framed this, she said.
[00:31:37] My advice to anyone dealing with this is
[00:31:40] To evaluate your inner circle often
[00:31:43] Give time and energy to those who lift you up and stand up for you. Like anyone would do if you were the victim of physical violence or traditional bullying. Abuse is abuse, and Switzerland, she says, is no place to be
[00:31:53] When your friend has been
[00:31:54] Abused. So I hope that when you take a look at what we talked
[00:31:58] About today, there is that welcome
[00:32:00] To Holland kind of a vibe, but only in so much is that absolutely acknowledging
[00:32:04] The fact that there was a version of the relationship that I'm sure that you
[00:32:07] Wanted and that can be difficult, and you may need
[00:32:11] To mourn that. We talked about again, that narcissist awareness, grief, if you haven't heard that
[00:32:15] Episode, go back and find that one
[00:32:16] Because there are some steps of grief and loss that we even add an extra one in there from the the original Elisabeth Kubler-Ross model of grief and loss, which is denial, anger, bargaining, depression
[00:32:28] And acceptance.
[00:32:28] And then we add another one in there as well.
[00:32:31] And in the context
[00:32:32] Of do you share what you're what you've learned with others?
[00:32:36] It really does depend on the situation and it depends on the friend. If it's a Switzerland friend, then that's going to be invalidating. It really is. You may open up to somebody and say, Hey, you know what? I've kind of noticed,
[00:32:46] And if you're sharing it about your own situation or maybe you're trying to give
[00:32:50] Advice to somebody about their situation, just
[00:32:52] Be aware that they may
[00:32:53] Not be in a position to open up. And this is where I feel like one of the best things you can do. And is it fair? Maybe not all the time, but often just to view things
[00:33:03] From a lens of curiosity,
[00:33:04] Which in reality, that's the best way to be as a
[00:33:07] Parent, to be to show up in a relationship with a
[00:33:09] Spouse is that when you're showing up with curiosity, hey, tell me your thoughts about something or tell me what that's like for you, or tell me where that comes from, or tell me what you think about something and you're saying those things because
[00:33:18] You truly are curious
[00:33:20] And you truly want to know more about someone's experience. And you're not saying that so that you can
[00:33:25] Then tell them they're wrong or get to your own story, then that's where people are really going to start to feel more hurt, and they're going to start to feel
[00:33:32] And if they feel hurt and if they feel
[00:33:34] Understood, then there's a couple of things going on. First of all, you may now have some information that that maybe gives you a little more perspective. So you may not actually feel like it is
[00:33:42] Necessary for you to share the things that you feel are important or that you have learned. And this is where that Stephen Covey phrase comes from. Seek first to understand before being.
[00:33:51] And so if you do look at things
[00:33:53] With a little more curiosity,
[00:33:54] Then you may understand that
[00:33:55] They actually know more than you thought they did, or they may. You might recognize from where they're at that they may be in a place that you remember being. And it might be really difficult to hear information that
[00:34:06] You found difficult at that time as well. So approach things with curiosity. And then but just know know that deep within your soul that at times I just mentioned that concept of external validation.
[00:34:17] Are you wanting to share things because
[00:34:19] You want
[00:34:20] That your own external validation
[00:34:22] That you want somebody to say, Yeah, you know what? I can understand why
[00:34:24] You feel that way or why you're doing the things that you're doing because it's fair. It's human of us. But as you are starting to wake up to this narcissism and whatever form that is, I want you to start to trust that instinct or trust your own gut or your own
[00:34:37] Intuition and know
[00:34:38] That desire for external validation,
[00:34:40] While it is, is one of the things that when you hand that over to somebody that doesn't have your best interest in mind and you're saying, what do you think about something? And then they take that and they say, I
[00:34:49] Can't believe you're saying that or I think that you're crazy, that that can be part of what is so crushing or what
[00:34:54] Can feel so invalidating is when you are not sure how you feel about something, which is a lot of what external validation is about. And then you ask somebody else, Hey, what do you think about or what are your thoughts about and. You then
[00:35:07] Hand your heart there to them, and then
[00:35:09] They say, I can't believe you said that or that's crazy, then that
[00:35:12] Can feel crushing. But if you are feeling pretty confident about where you're at or the knowledge that you have and now you're asking someone else for their opinion, now we're doing this again, more out of curiosity or the desire for a connection.
[00:35:24] And so then
[00:35:25] If they are invalidating or if they are criticizing,
[00:35:28] It isn't going to cut as
[00:35:29] Deep because you aren't asking for their approval. You wanted to to share information or have this shared experience. All right. I can go on and
[00:35:37] On and on, but I am again,
[00:35:39] So grateful for those of you who are continuing to
[00:35:41] Support the podcast. If you get a second
[00:35:43] And you feel like throwing a rating or a review up that I
[00:35:46] Just I can't thank you enough for that. And again, one of the
[00:35:50] Things that I forget to do until the very end is if you are looking for help in the world of online counseling, I
[00:35:55] Am a little bit of a help from Betterhelp.com. So if you go to Betterhelp.com
[00:35:59] Virtual couch, you'll get 10 percent off your first month's treatment. If you're looking for a therapist and
[00:36:04] A licensed clinical counselor or a
[00:36:06] Licensed professional therapist,
[00:36:07] And you can sign up
[00:36:09] Through Betterhelp.com slash virtual couch and get 10 percent off your first month's services, and you can find help for a variety of things there. Please keep sending your questions, your
[00:36:20] Examples, anything, even if it just helps you to
[00:36:22] Feel like you are heard. I am reading them, I hear
[00:36:25] You and I'll see you next time on waking up the narcissism.