How the Narcissist Slowly Destroys Ones Sense of Self - Death by a Thousand Cuts - Part 2

Posted by tonyoverbay

Tony Overbay, LMFT, gives more examples of how narcissists slowly destroy their partner's sense of self, using the "death by a thousand cuts" phenomenon. Narcissists will employ a consistent and relentless amount of small, hurtful phrases and actions that may feel like they aren't a big deal to those who haven't experienced the pattern. But to the victim of narcissism, it feels like they are slowly dying or "bleeding out" from the number of cuts to the psyche, ego, and heart. Plus, Tony breaks down an emotionally-immature review for Waking Up to Narcissism. A listener shares an incredible poem that describes the need to move from trying to fix the narcissist to focusing on self-care.

Tony mentioned his "Magnetize Your Marriage" workshop happening on April 7th. If you would like to sign up for the workshop, please visit http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic


[00:00:06] Hey everybody, welcome to episode 27 of Waking Up to Narcissism. I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and host of the Virtual Couch podcast. And today is it's the second episode of Death by a Thousand Cuts. But I have a couple of things to get to before we even get to the examples of death by a thousand cuts. I have loved when people have reached out and sent. We've had one poem so far. We've had a couple of letters that people have sent. The emails just continue to come in and go to Tony Overbay dot com. You can send them through the contact form, but I had someone share with me a particular email as well as a poem that I thought was beautiful. I want to start with that today. She said, Hi there, Tony. Sorry to hear about your daughter and to have to admit that. I will also say last week is the first time that I didn't release a podcast in the five years of the virtual culture, in the six months of waking up the narcissism, my number one goal has been consistency. And I did not get a podcast out last week because we were taking care of my daughter, which I've talked a little bit about. She's been in a pretty bad car accident. It's going to be a long recovery, but we'll get to that down the road. But she says, sorry to hear about your daughter.

[00:01:09] I admire how well you're working through it, at least from what I hear on your podcast, she said, I just wanted to share another poem with you, another prompting to share. I've been trying to ignore the prompting for about two weeks now, but I guess I need to learn to stop ignoring those promptings and gut feelings. Huh? And I know and I so appreciate this that she's talking about that is people are waking up to the narcissism in their own life or they're becoming more emotionally mature that it's absolutely it's imperative that you start to trust your gut. That's a place to operate from. And she said, I do want to say I so appreciate what you're doing. I've been feeling so much better about what I've been feeling, that I've begun journaling and working through a lot of my feelings emotionally, physiologically and spiritually. The last couple of months since discovering your podcast and she said, I've come to terms with the reality that I will work on myself and I will try to grow. And if my spouse is not on board with me and is not willing to grow with me or help me grow, then we may most likely separate, she said. Having a deep religious journey with our marriage, hoping all that we have done would eventually change my feelings about our marriage or his behavior towards me and the children has made it very difficult to accept this reality.

[00:02:11] But, she said, My eyes have been opened up to why I have felt the way I have over the last several years of our marriage, she said. I do have a wonderful priest who is very understanding and emotional immaturity and is supportive. Thankfully, she said, I love my spouse so very much and even with all the hurt he's inflicted on me, I do not wish harm on him. I don't wish to hurt him in any way, but I am so done letting him hurt me and I'll no longer back down any more. She said it's painful to realize that I'm no longer in quotes, in love, but that I do still love him, if that makes any sense. And it does, I want her to know that I do hear that often, either in the emails I receive or in my office. Your podcast and the others you've connected with and recommended have helped me so much. In my journey of slowly waking up to this, I'm also gaining more confidence in catching and correcting my own narcissistic tendencies, which is beautiful. I think that's when we made the shift to really talking about emotional immaturity versus emotional maturity, or as I refer to my own narcissistic traits and tendencies, those seem to fall more in line with that emotional immaturity that absolutely it becomes almost empowering to realize. There are times where I have personally showed up emotionally immature and what that emotional, mature response would look like.

[00:03:22] So she said, My cross to bear will be heavy, but I'm no longer drowning. Actually felt the rain on my skin last week in the warm sunshine and the breeze again. I felt a feeling deep in my soul, a deep appreciation for living that I had buried so long ago and has been so numb for far too long. She said. That little girl that I wanted to find again inside myself, the little girl that I was told was gone and stupid and that I was naive and delusional for trying to believe in again is coming back and my imposter syndrome is beginning to fade, she said. Thank you for all that you do. Please share this poem if you wish. Take care and keep shining and just keep her name anonymous. We can stop right there. And I think you could feel the shift, the energy. And I think there will be so many people listening that could identify with what she shared. But here's the poem. It gets better. It's not the name of the poem. I'm telling you that it gets better. Even the poem is phenomenal. The poem, it appears to be called Fix, she says. I seem to attract those who are very broken and I unconsciously crave to fix them or help them find a way to fix themselves. But why have I forgotten? I used to lean into the good times.

[00:04:28] Those times he loves me well. I relax and fall into his arms. Then eventually I cry alone and lonely, dark spaces. When he begins to treat me like the scum I begin to believe that I am over and over. I get treated like a queen. Given the warm, loving hugs that I so long for when I'm alone, I forgive, I forget I fall in love again. But this time is different. I cannot lean into it anymore and I'm not allowing myself to feel any warmth. I cannot bring myself to even want it this time. I do not want to fix him, nor do I want to fix us. That feeling alone kills me inside, for I once believed in. Marriage could last forever, that all problems could be worked out. But I'm so tired of trying, so tired of feeling lonely when sitting next to the one person in this world I devoted my everything to. When trying to be us. My heart has nothing to give. So I want to fix me. Now I know I can be there for me. And I will be there for me. I need to be here for me. Or I may not exist. It's a beautiful poem. I so appreciate you, the author of the poem for writing that and for sharing that. So here's a little bit of a shift and stay with me here for a second.

[00:05:42] I want to let listeners know that on April 7th I am going to be putting on a magnetize your marriage workshop. It's going to be virtual and I'm promoting this on social media and big time on my Virtual Couch podcast. And here's where I really want you to stay with me. I want you to know that I understand that. I don't know what an interesting message this might be to share on the Waking Up the Narcissism podcast, because the very last thing that I'm trying to suggest and I didn't even realize the irony of promoting this right after a beautiful poem like that where the author says, I can't fix us, I need to fix myself, but I am not trying to suggest that anyone stay in an abusive marriage and we're talking any kind of abuse, whether that's physical, emotional, financial, spiritual, you name it. But I also work with the population of people who are potentially possibly in relationships with someone with narcissistic traits, tendencies, someone who is emotionally immature, right up to those people who are diagnosed with narcissistic or borderline or histrionic personality disorder. But much like the people that I work with, when you start to wake up to the narcissism in your life, be it in your marriage or your work or your family situation, and even when you start to turn to Dr. Google or you're listening to my podcast or reading books or listening to other people's podcast or devouring things on YouTube, more than likely you're going to read person after person again saying, leave, don't even finish this paragraph.

[00:06:58] This will affect your health negatively. This is hurting your children. You're losing your sense of self, your sense of purpose. So just go and I understand that you will most likely be reading that and saying, okay, well situation isn't that bad because they don't really understand what my dynamic is because that's what I get to see in my office or OC, but we just don't have the tools that we need. I even hesitated on promoting this on the Waking Up the Narcissism podcast, but the workshop is going to be heavy on tools because no one, I believe no one has the tools. We don't have the tools from the factory. That's why I lay everything out from this abandonment and attachment standpoint of why everyone is emotionally immature as a little kid, how we all start the game of if we don't get our needs met, we die. How we all start the game needing external validation because we don't know who we are. But then the reason we get into relationships is so that we can process emotion in concert with another human being. But then when that other human being is emotionally stunted, emotionally immature, narcissistic, then when all they're doing is looking for their own validation and not having any curiosity or empathy, then that's where the problem lies.

[00:08:04] So no one has these tools. This workshop is going to be heavy on tools and I'm talking you have to find the tools and you won't go looking for the tools until you need them. And even then what gets tricky is simply finding the right tool doesn't fix the relationship either. That's actually when the work begins. And in a relationship you have, I was about to say, unfortunately, but in a relationship you have two people involved and you cannot make the other person change. But if you begin change, you will most definitely begin to understand how that's going to affect the dynamic in the relationship. You're going to start to understand if this simply is this more of an emotional immaturity issue? Is this just that we don't know what we don't know or if you might be in a relationship with someone who simply can't tap into the tools? Because as my guest Nate Christensen talked about a couple of weeks ago in the episode about the neuroscience of narcissism, their internal external switch might be stuck on internal meaning that they can't look outside of themselves. I mean, he talked about that part of the brain called the default mode network. And if they cannot look outside of themselves, then bless their heart. But they feel like they do not need any tools because they happen to have every tool with them already. And as a matter of fact, in their mind, their tools are way better than anybody else's tools, even better than the therapist or the expert or the doctor or the attorney, you name it, because they have all the tools they need.

[00:09:19] They just have to convince you that you don't understand that they have the tools. And even if it's a way of convincing you to make you feel less than, they're going to make you understand that they have those tools, which again, gaslighting is a childhood defense mechanism. So my workshop is going to be incredibly heavy on tools. So my four pillars of a connected conversation about what I mean when I talk about differentiation and when what two autonomous, interdependent people coming together in a relationship to edify and support actually looks like what it really means. So head over to Toni over Macomb Magnetic and sign up for the workshop and I will be completely, absolutely transparent with you. This podcast is free. Hopefully you're getting value from the podcast, but I'm going to be a lot more specific, intentional and direct in the workshop. I want to make it easily accessible to everybody, but I'm also working off of the research and data that says people are going to be a little more engaged if they are intentional about a course or a workshop. So there needs to be a little bit of skin in the game. So there's a cost of $19 and that amount, I will refund that so fast that I don't have a good analogy of how fast I'll refund that should you not find anything of value in the workshop.

[00:10:21] So April 7th will be an opportunity to truly get an understanding about more about the tools of what a healthy, emotionally mature relationship is meant to look like. And I think you get the point. Talk about segue. The point. We have one more little segment here to get to before we truly get to the death by a thousand cuts. But I think you will see where this fits in. It really is along the same lines of death by a thousand cuts. I want to bring your attention to today's topic via a review for waking up the narcissism that came in recently from. And so I'm not breaking confidentiality here because it's right on the name of the review. It just says from NYC 7949 and I've never broken down a review in a podcast before because quite frankly, yes, I love positive reviews. That would be amazing. And the negative reviews are there and they can bring down the score or the overall of the positive reviews. And I know all those things I used to be very, very much, I won't say obsessed with the reviews, but I wanted to make a big deal about asking everyone to go review the podcast. And you're absolutely welcome. And I do enjoy it.

[00:11:19] I can't lie. But here's the review that came in to waking up to narcissism from NYC 7949 simply titled Get to the Point so that you can see the Segway. When I said the word point a couple of minutes ago, the reviewer said, Here is the entire review. The viewer said this guy complained for 20 minutes about a previous recording he lost. So there's your review. One star called Get to the Point. This guy complained for 20 minutes about a previous recording he lost. This one fascinated me so much. So NYC 7949. I had to only guess this is just an assumption that they were possibly asked to listen to an episode and I would love to understand more about what their experience was like because it did go on to find which episode that I was referencing, because I do remember talking about that and it was episode 22, which is called New Insights on the Narcissistic Trauma Bond The Need for Survival. And I did go through and listen, and I do mention that I lost the recording at 28 seconds in and then for the next 45 seconds, I did talk about losing that recording. So that brought us to roughly one minute and 20 seconds in. And during that time, I did mention how fascinating it was that I had lost a recording and I wanted to go back in and do that same topic again.

[00:12:33] But then I worried that I would struggle not continuing to say and what I said earlier was and then we were on to the next topic and the topic of the podcast that I lost. All the audio too was one about how my four pillars of a connected conversation fit into the world of narcissism and emotional immaturity. Which then I went on to do a couple of episodes later. Now, why bring this up? Other than the fact that it really is so interesting and it absolutely does nothing to make me want to, I don't know, apologize or go in and delete that episode. I mean, absolutely nothing. But this is where I would love to help people get in the relationship with the narcissists in their lives that this person gives me one star for the review, which absolutely, from an acceptance standpoint, it will bring down the overall reviews. I don't know the math, but for every however many five star reviews and if you do go in and read the reviews on waking up to narcissism, it'll it brings tears to my eye. The people that are share the hope or they feel heard and understood. And then one person does. They get to the point this guy spent 20 minutes instead of the 45 seconds that I did, talking about a lost recording. And then it's absolutely going to bring the overall numbers down. So that happens. Sure. Again, I would love for everybody to go in and give a positive review and dilute the negative review.

[00:13:44] But at the end of the day, I'm just going to keep putting out content and I hope that it helps people. The narcissists in our lives want to bring people down to make themselves feel better. Now, I'm not accusing I don't know, Nick 7949 But here's someone that they spent. They say this guy spent 20 minutes to tell, in essence, his sob story, as they imply, as if to say that, can you believe it? This guy talking about me giving out the free therapy, trying to help people and he dare spend 45 seconds telling a story about his experience. Because how many of you listening are experiencing your own conversations with someone like Nick 7949 in your life? Because that experience, that conversation, so to speak, that review comes with absolutely no curiosity, no empathy. And this person is taking on the position that, in essence, my podcast exists to give them the content that they want to hear in the way they want to hear it. So remember, narcissism, emotional immaturity in general comes from deep insecurities, from childhood, where someone does not have a sense of self, so they need that external validation. I would absolutely love to know more about this person's experience or situation, and that would be really hard. And this is where the empathy comes in. That would be really hard.

[00:14:56] I feel for this person if they felt like they had to leave this bad review on someone's podcast who is simply trying to help others for them to feel better, or for this person that that helps them feel understood. I empathize for them because again, I can't imagine what that would feel like. But in the same breath, I am the only version of me, as I like to say, to walk the face of the earth with my nature, my nurture, my birth order, my DNA, my abandonment, my rejection, all of those things. And so I'm going to share what I know. And if you disagree, if you have questions or comments, I would love to explore those from an emotionally. It's the endpoint from a differentiated standpoint with curiosity because there isn't anything productive in tearing someone else down just so that you feel better. So NYC 7949 I mean it at the every fiber of my being that I hope that you have a better day seriously than the day that you must have been having when 30 seconds into a podcast that I don't know, maybe someone had sent you where you felt like you needed to lash out and leave a review, where you needed to exaggerate by a multiple of 20 something that happened in hopes that you might feel better by making someone else me in this situation feel worse. But instead, my compassion for you has grown.

[00:16:09] You've provided content that I think others will see is examples of the way that conversations go in their own lives. This is going to help people understand more or feel more heard and understood if they have similar feelings when they have the NYC 7949 in their lives. And but I really do hope that you're having a better life experience than that day that you left the review. How does that go along with today's topic of death by a thousand cuts? Part two Well, if I were to tell somebody about the experience in my marriage or in my office or in my family that followed that pattern, the pattern that we just laid out in that review. Somebody listening might say, okay, so somebody gives you one bad review. I'm sure that they were there was a reason behind it or that maybe that person was having a bad day. Don't worry about it. It's not a big deal. Those of you who are listening today, I don't know how many times that you may start to share how something went. And we'll get to so many good examples today. But where you're saying my husband always wants me to wait for him before we leave anywhere, but then when it's time to go, that's when he decides he's just going to grab a quick bowl of cereal or he's going to go to the bathroom really fast. And then all of us are waiting.

[00:17:10] We're waiting. We have somewhere to go. We're all going to go to church, and then none of us can say anything. He gets really upset. And so when you express something like that to somebody and if they say, Okay, well, I'm sure it's not as big of a deal as you're making out to be. But if you're expressing that because you have that example throughout the day, most every day, then that can be really hard. This is where you need people in your corner that hear you wouldn't understand you. And they're not trying to fix you. They're not trying to judge you. You don't need your Switzerland friends at this point, the ones you're trying to play, the middle ground. That sounds harsh. But again, those of you who are here listening that feel a connection with the stories that are told and these episodes are going to understand where that's coming from, that it really does feel like in your relationships, that may be the only way that you have these interactions with your spouse or those around you. These situations where all that you feel is this constant criticism. If multiple times a day, every single time you get to the point where you don't even want to be around your spouse or significant other partner because your body itself is telling you that it isn't safe, that these criticisms and these negative comments, they come so often that it's not even worth having a conversation.

[00:18:20] And you're not even sure if I can say something about We're going to be late or I'm supposed to give the opening prayer in church. I'm thinking of specific examples that I've read recently, but then the spouse is just saying it's not a big deal. So you miss it. They'll find somebody else. How many of those do you have to go through in a day where you just feel like every one of those is a little cut? And so even if that's simply a small cut, but when you have those small cuts every day, over and over, eventually those cuts add up to be big enough that you will bleed out and die. At what point do you need to extricate yourself from the relationship with the cutter so that you can save your own life or you can begin to heal? Find yourself, be the very best version of you, for you, for your kids, all of it. That example about the opening prayer one. Let me be specific about that. It's a wife who said that whenever she's been asked to give the opening prayer church and she's been asked to give it fairly often, they have a pretty small church congregation that they have to be there at 930 to give the opening prayer. They're 15 minutes away from the home, and she will do everything in her power to be able to leave the house by nine just to build that buffer in because they have three small children.

[00:19:23] And then her husband routinely gets out of bed at nine and after she has already gotten the kids ready, which that's a pretty consistent pattern at that point. He's checking his phone. He still has to get dressed. And she is so tiptoeing and on eggshells of is there anything I can do? Can I help at all? And she feels like every time that she goes and engages that if she says, I feel like I'm sending that psychological reactance that you talk about, that instant negative reaction of being told what to do, it's as if every time that I ask him, Hey, do you know what time it is that he's thinking? Yeah, matter of fact, I will go slower. Now, I even say that I have examples of emails where people even say that they're emotionally immature spouse, be it the male or the female will then say, Yeah, I'm very aware and to punish you now I am literally going to slow down. That is actually said, which is such a fascinating thing. Talk about emotional immaturity. So today we're going to read a lot of examples from emails. People in my private Facebook group of women in relationships with the narcissists in their lives. And if you listen and you to have examples and please send them in through the contact form at Tony Dot Macomb because I would love to make this regular.

[00:20:32] Where you will, where you can share these examples, because these examples truly do resonate and people feel like these are the examples that they see in their lives over and over again. So here we go. And just a quick reminder as well, I am trying to put more of the content up on YouTube that a lot of people do like to even listen on YouTube. So this one does have a video element to it as well, just in here on a Saturday morning. So a little more casual, I'm just realizing. But you can find the virtual couch YouTube channel on YouTube and if you're there, it'd be great if you subscribe to that as well. That would be wonderful. So let's get to some examples today. Here's one of the emails. Death by a thousand cuts really fits my situation so well. That's what makes it so difficult to explain to people what the abuse has been like. No one believes how bad and how crazy it is. They tell you that there are just normal problems that everybody struggles with, but it's just that it's such a pattern and it's really about the crazy stuff going on in their thought process. And I know that this person is talking about their spouses thought process and feelings that make them behave in these crazy, making ways they see the world so differently that this person said they could tell thousands of stories.

[00:21:33] So let's get to some of the stories. So these are going to be just a variety of stories. The male, the female. I'm going to do my best to possibly even leave that out because it's the stories themselves that are so important that people resonate with. This is under the title. This person had multiple categories running late. We go to the gym together every Saturday morning and every time I'm standing in the front hall waiting, he gets dressed, he finishes breakfast, you name it. Even at our wedding many, many years ago, I remember standing outside next to the limo, waiting by myself for him to come out of the reception. I feel like this is the story of my life. He has to go to the bathroom, fill his water bottle, finish an important call, etc., etc. Yet when he has to catch a flight, miraculously, he always gets there on time. When our kids were growing up, amazingly, he could never get up with them to take care of them. He couldn't quite make it to their sporting events on time. But then when he played rec basketball or when he was doing things, he always seemed to make it on to another category. Spending more on himself. This person said, I swear every single time we go to a restaurant as a family, then he will say, Hey, whatever you guys want.

[00:22:34] But then he tries to control what everybody has. Do you really want that side or can you really eat all of that? Or, Oh man, that is actually pretty expensive. And then he decides to order the filet of sole the house special. It can be $40, $50 for himself. And this is such a constant pattern. And so if you are new to waking up to narcissism and you haven't listened to the previous episode of Death by a Thousand Cuts, I would absolutely encourage you to go back and do that. If you are someone that has this experience, then I feel like you will understand just the significance of these stories. And if you're someone who has been sent this and said and someone has said to you, I think that you do this to me, then they welcome you here. And I realize that this is one where someone might feel a lot of well, yeah, but but the goal here is just to listen listen with curiosity driving. So a few months ago, this person said, I finally told my spouse I wasn't comfortable driving with them. And they said, Yeah, because you're a really nervous passenger and even thought I could stop right here and break that down. Is there any curiosity if I go to my four pillars of a connected conversation? As a matter of fact, let me do that right now. Pillar one Assuming good intentions, no one wakes up and says, I'm going to try to hurt my spouse.

[00:23:42] So in this scenario, it is the husband driving. The wife is the one saying that I am not comfortable driving with you. And instead of him saying, okay, she's not trying to hurt me, pillar one, pillar two, I can't. And it's a mindset, it's a shift. I cannot put out the message, that's ridiculous or don't believe you, you're wrong. Even if I feel like that is the case. And then pillar three questions before comments. Tell me more about that. Here's where that empathy comes in. That would be hard if you feel like you are not comfortable driving with me. I am so glad that you're sharing that with me because I want to understand we are in this relationship together and I want you to be able to express yourself. Of course I'm going to have my own opinion, and this is why my four pillars is a framework for a connected conversation. It's a framework for an emotionally mature conversation where then if he says, Tell me more, help me see my blind spots, tell me why you're uncomfortable with me driving. And if she says and it doesn't go into this here, but then if she says, I just I feel like you get very angry. I feel like you often speed. I feel like you you blame a lot of things on other people. I feel like if we miss an exit that you say that it was my fault and that's a lot of I feels right.

[00:24:44] And so the person listening in this scenario, the guy, this is where that emotional maturity comes so much into play. My fourth pillar is you cannot go into your bunker, you cannot retreat. The person listening, the guy in this scenario because you need to stay present. You don't go into victim mode. Victim mode would look like, okay, well, I guess you just tell me how to drive then. I guess that's what you need to do or fine, I'll never drive again. And you can just drive right now, or I will pull over right now and you can walk all the way home if you feel so unsafe. That's going into victim mode because now all of a sudden that guy wants his wife to say, You know what, it's fine. I shouldn't have even brought it up. You're you're a great driver because we want to be able to have conversations. Now, the beauty of my four pillars is if he is willing to stay emotionally mature and present and he understands that that is what how his wife feels then now he. Gets to say the I feels and I worry statements. I so appreciate that. And here's the empathy. I really do mean it. I feel like that would be if you feel unsafe or you feel uncomfortable driving with me because you feel like I drive fast or because you feel like I get angry when I drive.

[00:25:45] Let's just pause right there. How many of us really do? Maybe drive too fast or we do feel like we get angry when we drive? Why is it so scary to admit that? Here's where I talk about accountability. If she feels heard and understood and he simply said, You know what, I can appreciate that. And you're right, I do. I do drive fast. I do get a little bit angry now in an emotionally mature relationship and the goal of why we have relationship, that's where growth could come. Yeah, there's tension and we're so afraid of contention that we avoid tension altogether. But in that for pillared framework, again and here's where I say no one has these tools from the factory. And then even though I'm going to hand you this tool and you hear this thing about the four pillars, it doesn't mean that now you can take a tool set and go out and build a fence or something like that, because it's hard to practice these tools because our body already has such emotional responses, because of all of the conversations we've had that don't go well. So in that scenario, I want that guy to be able to step back with curiosity and hear what his wife says and say, Hey, why do I drive so fast? And I want him to take ownership of it and accountability because it's okay.

[00:26:50] We all have our own thoughts and experiences and feelings. I was once a person who got very frustrated on the road, the classic road rage. This is where I feel like things like mindfulness, accountability, differentiation all did come into play because I did have to look inward and say, I do. I get so frustrated. Why is that? And sometimes it's because that's the only place where I really feel, wow, I can yell at someone in the comfort of my own car and not have someone then get mad at me. Or the bigger reason is what was I pretending not to know in the world of my my email or my in the world of my podcast on accountability or in my magnetic marriage course, we have an entire accountability module. I love this concept of, okay, what am I pretending not to know that oftentimes when I'm driving fast it's because I'm late? Why am I late? Because I didn't prepare to leave early enough. Because I did a battle. Because I didn't. Because. And that's me. So then if I am running late and all of a sudden I am driving fast and I am getting frustrated with someone else who is driving because they're just driving. How many times have I accidentally cut somebody off? How many times have I not used my turn signal or those sort of things? Because we're all just people doing people things, but then we're going to make such meaning about it because how does that affect me? That's where the emotional maturity of the selfishness comes into play.

[00:28:04] I didn't prepare. I'm running late, I drive fast and I get angry. There's a lot of me going on there. So how about I just take ownership of. Oh yeah, I didn't prepare early enough, so I'm running late, so I'm probably going to be late and now I'm going to need to take ownership of that. So there's a four pillar example of that. She also says at one point they were on the freeway, he was distracted, she was super tense. And she said, you're stressing me out. And he said, I will drop you off on the side of the freeway. This is a very true story. And she said, and you can get an Uber to get the dinner. And I said, literally, do you know what that's going to look like when we arrive at this dinner party and I arrive half an hour late and tell everybody that you dropped me off on the freeway? She said. I almost started laughing. He stayed silent. About a month later, they were heading to some family's house for a particular holiday, and she said, I need to stand up for myself and not in this. How dare you weigh? But it's this is where that differentiation thing so important because I can have a different opinion and if I ultimately feel like I need to drive separate because I don't feel safe in the car, it doesn't mean that I have to then build this strong case and get angry and frustrated, although I know that's how it feels that we have to do.

[00:29:12] But if I were to just say I'm going to drive and the car is going to pull out of the driveway at noon. And you to her husband. Absolutely. Welcome to be in there. And if not, absolutely fine. I completely understand because this is something I need to do so that my cortisol level won't be up, so my stress won't be too high. And he said, no, I'm driving. And if you won't let me drive the car with you, then I'm going to drive my own car. And she said, What a waste of gas. And there are already so many cars on the road and you're choosing to add one. But again, absolutely. That's fine. It's up to you. He literally drove his own car from their house to this gathering, and she said arrived at the same time and it made one of the kids feel bad to go with him as well. Other examples, death by a thousand cuts. The spouse saying this person said they think he thinks he's so much smarter than everybody else. And this one, I have to tell you a little bit of I'm going to say it was spoiler alert.

[00:30:03] This one came from the for the Facebook group. And there were so many examples that had to do with guys and tires. And I can even think of a couple of people that are in the group that I've worked with individually where we have had conversations about tires. When he feels like his tires are bald, he will go get new tires. When the family is driving around on tires that are bald or the threads are showing it's this and this one. I know I'm sounding like I'm making this humorous because it's not because if a tire blows. It's actually a story in the news this last week of a 13 year old driver somewhere, I believe, in Texas, where they had a tire pop and it caused some fatalities. But if that is emotional immaturity, that is selfishness. If someone is saying, hey, my tire is bald and I need help, I need to change those. And if he doesn't want to do it because it's going to cost money or he just doesn't want to do it, and so he's putting his family at risk and yet then he goes and gets the new tires. So that's even not the example that we're talking about right here. But there were multiple examples that happen to come up in the Facebook group around tires. It was just fascinating. So she said we need to get new tires for our car.

[00:31:10] He said he would do it, but nothing was happening. She said, I asked whether he was going to take the car over to a tire place on Saturday. A few weeks ago he rolled his eyes and then said with disdain, No, I have to. I have to order the tires online so that they arrive and then I can take the car and then for them to install the tires. She said, okay, fine. But then he continued not to do it. So a couple of weeks later she started to get concerned because it's a rainy season. They have you can see the tires are becoming bald. And so she just said, Can I do anything? I'll take the car in. So he says, Fine. He says, I'm going to go to Costco. I'm going to shop for the tires because I really need to talk to them about the tires. So she said, But last week you weren't going to go in until you ordered the tires ahead of time because you said it would be a waste of time. And then he rolled his eyes and said in a disdainful voice, Well, I want to go check these guys out and make sure they know what they're doing before I order thousands of dollars of tires from them. As if she were crazy for listening and believing him the weeks earlier and the part that she didn't even put in here as well that I think is interesting.

[00:32:09] We talked about this earlier in this episode. Is he I don't know what he does for a living and maybe he manufactures tires for Goodyear. I don't know. But he is saying, you know what I need to do? I need to pop down there and see what see these guys that install tires on a daily basis so they know what they're doing. So I'm going to go check that out. She said he went down and then ended up ordering the tires. Someone else put slow as molasses unless it's something that he wants to do. She said, I can't count the number of times that we have all sat at the table waiting after several calls, as dinner got closer and closer and waited for him to suddenly slowly go and wash up. There were other examples as well as I was compiling these of the slowest molasses until it's something that he wants to do, how people would have to. And one of the number one examples that comes up is on family trips. And I guess this one doesn't completely fall into the slowest molasses vein, but it's the until it's something that he wants to do. We're on a trip where one of the examples said and everyone in the car has to go to the bathroom and we will be waiting until he has to go to the bathroom.

[00:33:12] And then when he does, it is just now you've got 2 minutes. You better be back in the car when he is done. I still remember from the first episode of Death by a thousand cuts of the multiple examples that we had of people that were at, I believe it was Disneyland or another theme park. And if he was not thirsty, no one was getting drinks. If he was not hungry, no one was eating. But when he was hungry, now we will all eat. But what will we eat? We'll eat what he believes is a fair to have in the park. Another person said that they have similar stories about their narcissist being slow. She said We go to church on Sunday mornings and I like to be on time, she said. For a whole year we drove separate cars because he isn't ready and I want to leave. A couple of weeks ago he decides that we're not doing that anymore and we need to drive together. But he also didn't tell her that that's what he wanted to do. So she was ready to leave and he was still ironing his clothes and he still had to eat breakfast. So she said, But I take my daughter and I leave. So he sends a series of nasty texts about how selfish I am and how I couldn't wait 10 minutes while he eats breakfast. And that she said I wasn't aware.

[00:34:14] And he said, Well, you should have known again, even though after a year this has been the pattern and he hadn't let her know. This is an email that this one these are hard some of these they may sound like this is funny to read in hindsight, but it breaks my heart. This one, she said. My water broke. We lived out on a farm and we were well over an hour from the hospital. He had to finish a chore. Then he had to shower and then he wanted to make sure that he ate some dinner before we left because he was convinced that they would just send us home. And right there and I am so sorry that people have to go through this. I she has plenty more in this, but I had an example not too long ago where another woman was telling me about after she had had a kid and that she was really having some postpartum depression and the kid was having trouble nursing and that they believe there was colic and they just she needed sleep. The baby needed sleep. But since the husband was taking two days off of work, he let her know that he needed to make the most of that. And he had a riding lawnmower. And so then he spent about a few hours, then making sure to mow the lawn in the same breath. He wanted the windows open because he didn't want to run the air conditioner because he wasn't normally home during the day.

[00:35:24] And so the windows open, the riding lawnmower going while the wife needed sleep. And there was a colicky baby. And that one in particular. I ended up that was a session where I met with the clients and that was that one was hard because the husband looked at me with that blank stare and just said, Well, you don't know what it was like. You weren't there. As if then I would if I would have been there beside him. I don't know if I would have looked at the grass and I would have said, you know, he's got a good point, really didn't need to be mowed. And so that's the stuff where I feel like that concept of the default mode network of the nurses that internal switches stuck to the point where I honestly feel like that guy doesn't I don't understand what you guys are talking about. My wife, yeah, she's tired, but I was home two days and you know how much the AC would have been. And I have a riding lawnmower. I don't get to use it very often. And he was saying these things as if he could just say it enough or if he could raise his voice or if he could use a tone of voice that made us feel stupid, then we would finally go, You know what? I hadn't even thought about that.

[00:36:22] That's a really good point. Yeah, that's true. I guess you probably needed to mow the lawn. And so that's the part, again, that it's hard because it just doesn't make sense except for to the person, the emotionally immature, the narcissist that it does make so much sense. And that's where I feel like at times even the pathologically kind person, the wife in the scenario, when I met with her a couple of weeks later and we were processing a session, I do remember that she absolutely said she's like, you know, I still find myself sometimes thinking, hey, was I being self? And again, no. And I know sometimes I want to get a shirt made that says reality police in one breath. I know that. I'm saying, hey, you're the only version of you. You have all of your own experiences nature, nurture, birth order, DNA, abandonment. So then who am I to say that his experience was the wrong one? But I just want to say, even with the goal of just both of them being heard, the hope is that then once both people feel heard and they haven't gone into their bunkers and they're having a conversation, that it would make sense that the person who just had birth, who's home with the colicky baby, that they would probably need more rest than the person, the importance of having the grass mowed. But then to the narcissist, I worry that they're still saying, okay, I guess we just have to agree to disagree.

[00:37:33] Other examples. So this was back to this one where so we were back to the my water broke. We lived on a farm. She then said we arrived on the far side of town after driving the speed limit the whole way and he actually needed to hit the McDonald's drive thru for a drink. Again. This was after her water broke, living on a farm an hour outside of the hospital. After we finished this chore, showered up and had a quick bite to eat, then drove the speed limit where I would wonder if that isn't even normally the way he drives and then he stops at the McDonald's drive thru. Now, if you haven't heard me do an episode yet on primary and secondary motion, my secondary motion is humor. The way primary and secondary motions work is. The secondary motion often comes in because the uncomfortableness of the primary emotion. The reason I give this example is even as I read this, I feel like I my heart is so my heart breaks for this person. So then I immediately want to go to this joke and say, okay, but McDonald's does have some pretty amazing sodas and they're only a dollar. But I just want you to know that, no, this is again where he needs to hit the McDonald's drive thru for a drink is absolutely the wrong thing to do.

[00:38:39] Mike Interaction. She said, we're 6 minutes apart. We got to the hospital, but he wouldn't pull into the emergency. So she said she had to walk across the parking lot to the emergency entrance. It was 10:00 pm. They got checked in and our son was born less than an hour later that night. It was their anniversary. He went to dinner with her folks being our anniversary. She had declined dinner thinking that he would bring the meal to her. Maybe some flowers, but no, they showed back up. Well, after dinner, she said her parents felt so bad they tried to convince him to bring her something, but he had said that now she's okay. She wouldn't want this anyway. This was way before cell phones and she said she was so worried that she'd even called state troopers to see if there had been an accident. She was beside herself. And unfortunately, this woman says she's got pages and pages of sad stories, but they ultimately lead to this death by a thousand cuts, five, a complete lack of care and concern always. And she was continually told that she just needed to be tough, that she needed to be stronger and tougher. Another person, his car didn't have a passenger side seatbelt for the longest time. She said It took me finally refusing to ride with him for him to get it fixed. He asked me to do his laundry.

[00:39:41] The morning after our first child was born, he had left with a woman friend to go get a bite to eat while she was in labor with their fourth child and barely had made it back in time for the birth. That was another one. On that note, on birth and labor, there was another person that said that her husband had slept through two of her labors and pretty much the entire time at the hospital when their fourth was in the night cue that he never ended up meeting the pediatrician or talked to anyone about taking care of the son. Another example someone shared was that their daughter wouldn't go to sleep the night before her six week visit without so without saying a word, he went to bed in the other room, leaving her up with the crying baby. He she said, I got up the next morning and took her to the visit by myself. He didn't wake up before we left and he later said that he went to bed so that he could drive us the next morning. So he got upset that she didn't wake him up to drive them to the meeting, even though she was not aware that that was what his intention had been. Another person said that when their husband was out of a job and supposed to be job hunting, she said, I unexpectedly came home from work around 10 a.m.

[00:40:40] to still find him in bed asleep, she said. Another person weighed in in the death by a thousand cuts and talked about how it took over 15 years not to get her husband to stop touching her in ways that she had told him repeatedly that she didn't like. And another person said that if the husband scared or startled her, that he wouldn't apologize and usually expected her to apologize for being frightened. And let me just take a step back again and say death by a thousand cuts. How many of these things, if you just took them one off, two off examples and shared with someone else with that person, say, okay, let me ask not the worst thing in the world. And they would say things such as, do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food on the table then? Is it really that bad? But to the person that is bleeding out from death by a thousand cuts, it absolutely is. It is a bad thing. Another person weighed in and said that the husband wouldn't go to bed with her early in the marriage. She stayed up and watched TV. Now, the last few years he's gone to bed super early. Usually just go into bed no matter what was going on in the house, whether they were playing games as a family, whether there were things that needed to happen, whether one of the children was having an emotional issue, that he would just often just go to bed without saying anything to anyone else.

[00:41:49] Some other examples. Here's the ones where I want to go to the emotional immaturity because as I would talk about at one point, even wanting to name this podcast Narcissist in Recovery, I almost said that about myself. But I really like the idea of waking up the narcissism is this this next line? Someone started posting about their narcissistic husband having a long history of expired car tags, late bills, student loans went into default. And she said, but he claims I brought a lot of debt into the relationship. Expired driver's license again more people talking about unpaid tickets. One person said at one point they were afraid to let the kids go anywhere because they worried that if he got pulled over that they would get arrested. And again, I have been almost blown away by the more people I work with. And this could be either whoever was in charge of the finances, the husband, the wife, whoever was that almost that more of that emotionally immature how it really I have continually had to pay late registration fees for cars because why? Because I would forget and because I wouldn't write things down and because I would lose the registration. And then I would all of a sudden notice that the stickers on the license plate were four or five months old.

[00:43:00] And that was one of those where I had to recognize, okay, I have to take accountability of this. And I used to find myself wanting to make excuses of I don't think I got that in the mail or that sort of thing, or I literally have had my driver's license expire even when I knew that the expiration date was coming up, because I would continually forget to schedule an appointment and then I would go online and look at the appointments that the Department of Motor Vehicles and see that there were well out passed when my license would expire. And so rather than just setting an appointment, actually don't know what I was thinking. And that's where sometimes I feel like that that accountability piece of the emotional immaturity or the route to emotional maturity is to be able to share with the spouse and say, check this out. This I don't know why, because then at that point, we can have more of this connected conversation. And that's where then I would love my wife's opinion or this is where and I know I talk about often that we don't we shouldn't seek that external validation. Not that I'm not sure how I feel, so I want someone else to make me feel better. But when you're showing up as emotionally mature as people that are again autonomous and we have our own life experiences, then I can present that, hey, check this out.

[00:44:09] I don't know why it's such a struggle for me to get the licenses. A car registration is paid on time, and that's where I already know because my wife and I have had several of these conversations. It's this concept that I've heard of people writing these lists I have so heard of to do lists. She's remarkable, phenomenal with her to do list. And so that that's where I have started to try to take more ownership and accountability of that. So if you aren't able to have those emotionally mature conversations, then again, is it something that it's just something that you don't know, that you didn't know, that you weren't aware of the tools? Or is it something where your your spouse is? And it sounds dramatic for me to say incapable, but does it feel incapable for them to stay present in a conversation and take ownership or not? Or if they are taking ownership, does it come from a victim stance where then you have to find yourself going and rescuing them? A couple of people talked about road rage. There are so many death by a thousand cuts, examples of money. Maybe the husband who is more of the breadwinner, so to speak. Then we'll say, Hey, we're broke, we need to stop buying things. But then we'll come home with the new golf club. One of the examples that I have is where everything was about money and how financially strapped they were.

[00:45:18] But then the husband came home with a brand new truck. So there are so many of those things. There's one where she said, When we were dating, I had gone to see my sick grandmother for the weekend. When I got home, I called him and I couldn't find him. I finally found someone who knew what had happened. His son had a seizure the day before and he was in the hospital for observation and her husband had not thought to let her know and death. By a thousand cuts, someone could say, Man, he probably had a lot going on. He didn't think to let you know, but that was a consistent pattern that was going on in this person's relationship. So there was a whole section in the Facebook group of walking ahead. Someone said Walking ahead, anybody else experienced this? She said, My ex and his father, who is even more narcissistic, would do the same with his wife, would always walk several feet in front of them while going for a walk or walking to a restaurant. It never felt like we were walking together. It was really an odd and stressful thing, like they can't just tune in and be in the company of someone that in essence, she felt like the more that she woke up to this narcissistic trait in her husband, that the more it felt like even if she tried to stay up with him, that he would even walk a little bit faster, as if everything did boil down to a competition, which I think that's the part that becomes more around that that emotional immaturity of where I need to be better than you, that if you are trying to walk with me, it's this subconscious place where the person can then say, Do you see how amazing I am and how much faster I can walk? And how much more consistent I can walk fast versus that not even being an issue in a healthy relationship.

[00:46:51] Ship because why on earth would somebody be annoyed and need to walk faster than their spouse? I feel like that's one of those things where the narcissist is just simply trying to put out this vibe of, Hey, I am better or you're not doing enough. And then other people started to chime in here as well. Another person said about the walking head. Yeah, she said, Although here's something I've started doing. She said, When he does that, since I'm behind, he can't see me. I start to find myself finding reasons to stop. I might pet a dog, I might smell a flower, I might check my phone. Then he can get so far ahead of me that when he finally turns around and sees I'm not there, but then he gets annoyed and he waits for her to catch up. Then I say, If you want to walk with me, you need to slow down.

[00:47:31] And that hasn't caused him to slow down. I feel like that he just doesn't choose to tune in to us as a relationship to us as a couple, or to be again, to be in the company of someone. And she said if they that they can't be present in someone else's reality because all of a sudden it's not about them, that now it's only about half of them. Another person said that she used to be able to walk at the same pace, but then she's had chronic illness. That's happened over the course of the relationship, the course of the marriage, which I have to tell you on this Facebook group for women in these relationships with narcissistic people, we do a group call every other week and on the group call this week, we actually talked a lot about the concept of trauma and how the body keeps the score, that the body keeps the score in the sense that there were a couple of women on the group call that now have been out of their relationships with the person who had caused all of this stress. One of them said that they are now off of high blood pressure medication and that they had been told throughout their relationship that even by their doctor that this is just a condition, that there isn't anything they could do about it. But she's just been blown away by ten months, I believe, out now divorced from the narcissist where she said, I now actually have low blood pressure to the point where we almost need to take a look at is there anything that I can do to raise my blood pressure? This person had this chronic illness, she said.

[00:48:52] I've told him, I know it sounds like maybe an exaggeration, but probably at least 100 times that I can't keep up with him because of a chronic illness. And to please slow down, which only makes him go faster after years, I just finally just stopped saying anything and just let him go at his own pace of time to him just to see how long it takes before he realizes that I'm not with him at this point. The record amount of time is up to 5 minutes, and typically he gets himself completely out of sight. Another person said, holding open a door. Her husband's never done that, holding a hand, not more than a minute or two at a time. And she even said he has a motto You first after me when it comes to doors and that sort of thing. Another person shared that their spouse knows that they get carsick if he speeds around corners too fast. They live on a pretty windy road. She said, I've asked him and told him over the years, could he please stop? But he continues to do so, telling me he's not going too fast or that he can't slow down in time in which she says, If you can't slow down in time, then does that mean that you're going too fast? But she said, I've given up trying to make that argument because there isn't any accountability or ownership at that point, she said.

[00:49:59] It's actually led to me puking on multiple occasions to the point where she will often try to hold that until she can get out of the car because that not only hasn't stopped him from speeding around the corners, but he gets mad if she gets sick in the car. And she said, I just have pages of driving examples with them. Another person said that they have asked their narcissist to read directions off of Google Maps or Apple Maps, and I can even imagine people listening to this one. If you are the passenger or the the navigator, I think on that first episode we had a lot of examples of even navigation that because she said, I rarely gives what I say any wait or credit. So he'll even question my ability to read the directions correctly. So he often choose to go a completely different way that he thinks is correct, proceeding as to get lost and blame me for not telling him to go the right way to begin with. So she just says it's absolutely infuriating. I have a client right now. The thing we're literally working on is her setting a boundary that I will not I will not be copilot if she has to sit beside him.

[00:51:03] She said, we literally have the map we have and there's I believe they have Apple Maps. And granted, we have been taken in some directions that don't seem like they were the best way to go with some of the GPS devices. But in essence, I think that's happened once or twice, but on a daily basis, we're using maybe multiple times a week. We're using the GPS to guide us and direct us. So I'm still going to trust our actual satellite technology. And where instead of what one of the women that I'm working with now says that her husband says, do you really think that that's the right way to go? So just even look at that. She's asked to be the copilot. Copilot, meaning to make sure that he knows what Apple Maps is saying. But then now he's asking her, do you really think that Apple Maps is correct? So talk about. Being in a bit of a quandary that she if she then validates him and then Apple Maps is off, then she should have known that no Apple Maps was right at that point. And if she validates Apple Maps is right and for heaven forbid, it does go a wrong way. Now then he's going to say, See, I told you so. It can just be it can be frustrating.

[00:52:09] It can be maddening. So if you have additional examples of death by a thousand cuts, please feel free to send them in. I think that you, if this resonated, will will pull more from the group as well. But just know that this is again one of those times where I so, so see you and hear you and I understand I have a tab on my in the notes of while I'm taking notes as a therapist every day. And the tab in the note section on my iPad is death by a thousand cuts. And so I continually list examples because there are just so many examples that happen. So know that you're not crazy, know that it's not healthy to feel like you have to go into a conversation that worrying is this one going to go, okay, we all have misunderstandings. We all have situations where we make assumptions and then things maybe aren't what we think that they are, but emotional maturity is to be able to have those conversations and recognize my bad or Oh, we have two different opinions or experiences with that, so I would love to hear yours and tell me more about that because I care about you and not meaning that when the person says No, you don't care. So thank you so much. Again, if you're interested in that April 7th Magnetic Communication Workshop, then head over to Tony Macomb Magnetic.

[00:53:32] And then I would love your examples of your own experiences with Death by a thousand cuts, Cinnamon, and we'll get those into another episode of Waking Up in Our System. Thank you so much for taking the time. Thank you for the amount of support that the podcast is getting through downloads and shares and it's phenomenal. Spread the word. And purely from the standpoint of I get so many people that just say they finally feel heard, they finally feel seen and understood. And I still get the examples of people saying that it feels like you had a camera in my room and I did not, but that it shows you how consistent this stuff is. Hang in there. You are on the right path. You're starting to wake up, wake it up to your own narcissism or waking up to the narcissism in the relationships that you have, whether it's work, family, that sort of thing, and that you're coming from a place where you weren't aware to. Now there's awareness. And I think I've said on a couple of episodes, unfortunately, awareness is still just on the path that with awareness now you're going to start to find the tools, and then you're going to have to start enacting the tools. And that is where we're that's where the rubber meets the road. Rubber referring back to tires earlier, I believe. But that's where you're going to start to learn tension.

[00:54:39] It can be okay. Tension is an area of growth. Tension can be a positive thing. But if tension immediately goes to contention or that tension is where you're going to learn, do we just not have the tools or is this not safe? And I do not want you in unsafe situations. I promise you that there's nothing, nothing positive about that. But I know that so many of the people that are listening right now are still not sure if this is just something that that we can figure out as a couple or if we absolutely can't. And as the marriage therapist man, I feel that I want to save everybody's marriage. I want to save everybody. I want everybody to live their best lives and find themselves. Because if you don't feel like you know who you are or you don't feel like you have a true sense of self, then it's really time to find that and let your light so shine so that then you can be the person that you're put on earth to be. And that best version of you, the person that is internally validated so that I'm not I can bring my, my, my passion. I can bring my excitement, I can bring that into situations. Not going into situations, trying to figure out what do I do here? I just want you to be and be confident and know, take ownership of the things you know and the things you don't know as well, because that's all part of the human experience. I am rambling. I will hop off my soapbox and I will see you next time I'm waking up in our season.

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