Tony Overbay LMFT shares an example of gaslighting that led to setting a healthy boundary. Tony then tackles the topic of boundaries. What are healthy boundaries, and why are they so difficult to enforce? Tony refers to Kier Brady LMFT's article "5 Type of Boundaries For Your Relationship," http://www.keirbradycounseling.com/relationship-boundaries/ as well as Dr. Robert Glover's information on boundaries from his book "No More Mr. Nice Guy."
With the continuing "sheltering" rules spreading across the country, PLEASE do not think you can't continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch, you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.
You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program, The Path Back, by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs and podcasts.
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[00:00:12] Hey, everybody, welcome to
[00:00:13] Waking up to narcissism episode eight. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified mindful habit coach and a writer and a speaker and a husband and a father of four. And that is the you can tell I was doing that a little bit choppy. That's the way I start my virtual couch podcast. Just it's deeply rooted neural pathways that are going to that when I'm in front of this microphone. But welcome aboard. If you're new, I'm so grateful you're here. This podcast is just continuing to grow at an astronomical rate, and I'm not saying that to say How cool am I or is that? But it just shows the need. And so I see you, I hear you. I'm getting the emails on a daily basis, and I just want you to know I'm reading them all. It's it's hard to get back to people, but I am reading them and I have a sincere desire to just respond to everybody because people are sharing so many amazing things of feeling hurt or feeling understood for the first time. And there are so many questions coming in that working with some of the folks behind the scenes to see what the best way is to try to maybe put a second episode out and hopefully be a bonus episode, a Patreon episode or something to do some more of the questions and answers. Get more guests on because I don't know if I shared this early on, but I've started a nonprofit and that's attached to this women's group for that that I am a part of, or that I started this private women's group for women who have been through or in currently in relationships or even have narcissistic family members, bosses, that sort of thing and are just trying to learn how to maneuver and raise their emotional baseline, stay more present and the connection that these women have have. They've grown close, they share experiences and continually, and this is done in such a loving way. Let me know as a therapist, as someone that can help with the knowledge I have that nothing is the
[00:01:57] Substitute for
[00:01:58] People that are talking about this, that have gone through the experience themselves. So the nonprofit set aside there, when I say maybe a patron,
[00:02:05] I want you to know it's not so that I can almost 50 to. It's not so I can start my midlife crisis and get some gold chains and hair plugs in a sports car.
[00:02:13] But it would be more to hopefully help with this nonprofit, and the goal of the nonprofit is to possibly help people that need the legal fees that need relocation, costs that just need mental health support. And so I have rambled on far enough. Let's get to the episode today. I have a gaslighting example that is just it's incredible, and I think it touches on so many different things. And I want to talk today a little bit about boundaries because one of the things in the five things that I talk about to be able to maneuver, interact or start to gain some traction in your relationship, whoever the narcissist
[00:02:46] Or narcissistic
[00:02:47] Tendency person is in your life. And you know, I talk about five things. Number one is raise your emotional baseline, which is self-care. Self-care is absolutely not selfish, and putting your needs first is something that is really difficult for people who are the pathologically kind who often find themselves in the relationship with the pathological narcissist or the person
[00:03:06] Who is going
[00:03:07] To continually take advantage of someone. And so raising that emotional baseline is so important. Second, I say, get your PhD in gaslighting because I'm still I don't want to say amazed or because this is the work that I do. But people that haven't heard of the term gaslighting, you don't really know what gaslighting is about, which just is all the more reason why it's so important to to spread the podcast out or other podcasts that talk about things like gaslighting. Because when your words are turned against you and you walk away from a conversation feeling even worse, that is not a healthy relationship. Because if you get into my own narcissistic traits or tendencies here, but if you've listened to some of the virtual couch podcast episodes I do about my my marriage, my marriage course, my four pillars of a connected conversation that we really should be able to talk with our spouses or partners or colleagues or our kids about anything. Because you are your own autonomous individual, you're the only version of you that's ever walked the face of the Earth. So your opinions and your thoughts and your emotions, everything, they are valid. So when you are expressing those to someone and they are being turned around on you, that is not a healthy relationship. And whether, again, whether it's with a spouse or a sibling or a parent or a
[00:04:20] Church leader or a
[00:04:22] Boss or any of those things. So that second one is get your PhD and gaslighting. Then I talk about getting out of unproductive conversations. You're removing yourself from those situations. The fourth one is setting boundaries. And so we're going to talk today about boundaries because there's a lot of confusion on what a boundary is and what it even looks like to hold the boundary. And then the fifth thing I talk about is recognizing there isn't anything you're going to say or do that's going to cause that aha moment or that epiphany where the person that has been emotionally manipulative or
[00:04:48] Abusive or that they are
[00:04:49] Going to all of a sudden say, Oh my gosh, I did not understand what I was doing. I will never do it again. Because even if they say that, then often it's to get themselves out of that situation. Help you to feel better. And then until
[00:05:00] The pattern repeats itself at some point and I call that a
[00:05:02] Shelf life, let's get to the episode we are in the episode. Let's get to the example on gaslighting, because again, this one is I'm going to read it. I asked the person for permission. And I am changing some of the details, because because that's what we want to do to protect the confidentiality of the person, but it's so good. The person said nice things about the podcast and they said that they're the episodes of narcissism. A few years ago on Virtual Couch was what really did wake them up to their narcissism and their spouse and help them realize that they were not the problem that he was the one with the dysfunctional thinking. She said that at
[00:05:32] That time, the
[00:05:33] Virtual couch, they helped give her language to be able to describe something that for so long, she wasn't able to pinpoint. She gained also some knowledge from Christine Hammond, who I had on my podcast. She has a phenomenal podcast about understanding today's narcissist. And she said it truly was a hinge point in her marriage, not because it fixed the issue. And again, that's why I love about this. This email is so real. She said it didn't, but it allowed me to learn how not to engage in a way that would feed his narcissistic supply. She said she met with a therapist who also helped her implement some boundaries and learn to walk away during unproductive arguments and to avoid the trap of getting lured in. This is an ongoing practice that she's still not perfect at, and again, this is an ongoing practice, and we're going to talk more about that, especially when setting boundaries. We want to think that we set a boundary and then there we go where it's done, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way. So it's an ongoing practice of doing this. She said she still finds herself taking the bait in an effort to defend her position on something, and before she knows it, she's on the roller coaster ride. But it always ends with her feeling frustrated and completely drained of energy by the time the conversation is over.
[00:06:32] She said My energy continues to be expended during the hours after the argument, when I ruminate and replay the conversation on loop in my brain and I stew over all of his attempts at gaslighting manipulation, she said. When will I learn just not to engage and to walk away, which she's on her way? The awareness is one of the biggest factors and again, ongoing practice. And I feel like what happens is, and this is part of us being human is that we do let our guard down the things that have worked for us and give us some hope. We then feel a sense of relief. And so sometimes we do let our foot off the gas. So we kind of our brains go right back to the path of least resistance. And so we fall back into some of the similar patterns and behaviors. And I want to talk about this too. I like to again, if you're new to the podcast that I really do enjoy humor, I am joking at times when I when I say I was about to say, I'm an expert in this field, I know what I'm talking about. I've got this podcast. I've been doing this forever. I've testified in court cases and yet then I can find myself in some of the narcissist in my own life of getting all of a sudden caught up.
[00:07:29] And then all of a sudden I am defending myself and I've got that psychological reactants, that instant negative reaction of being told what to do, even to the point where someone might say something that I somewhat agree with. But then I find myself just saying, I don't agree with that at all. As a matter of fact, I've never agreed with that in my entire life, and I'm sitting there thinking, OK, I'm almost a fifty two year old guy who's a theoretical expert in this field, and I just got lured in. I just got caught. And so it's just a process. And when you recognize that you have been caught up in that narcissistic hamster wheel just when you can, when you bring awareness to it, just gently step off. Don't beat yourself up. Don't tell yourself you don't do that. What's wrong with me? Story? Just I notice I'm noticing, and I need to remove myself from the situation and just regroup. Review the game film. See, maybe what we're what led to falling back into the pattern with the narcissist? Oftentimes, I use this acronym. It's called Halt Hungry, angry, lonely, tired. And oftentimes that acronym can describe a lot of what leads up to when we go back and we engage in something that we know isn't healthy for us. On my
[00:08:30] I've got a pornography recovery program called the Path
[00:08:32] Back and on there, I talk so often about the difference between compulsion and impulse. Compulsion is something that's premeditated, and somebody is fixated on getting their next fix, whether it's something like pornography or food or gaming or gambling or shopping or anything like that, that you can do some really good work and then address the compulsive nature. So we could even fit it into this situation of you can address this constant need or desire to prove yourself to the narcissist fix the narcissist buffer for the narcissist, explain to the narcissist. And so you can have that compulsive piece down where now you are more present in your day to day, but then you can hit with an impulse because you're human because you maybe are hungry or angry or lonely or tired. And so that will oftentimes lead to impulsive reactions, impulsive behaviors. I give an example. Oftentimes when I'm talking about compulsion versus impulse of I can really be working on trying to not eat junk food. As matter of fact, the timing of this is perfect. I'm recording this on Thursday, October 28th, and I think last year I gave an example of Reese's Pumpkins the the mixture of chocolate. The peanut butter is amazing. It really is. It's just the right amount if you get that thing just slightly chilled to. Holy cow, that's OK. I need to bring myself back to center. But last year I told myself I am going to try and not devour an insane amount of Reese's pumpkins leading up to the holidays.
[00:09:49] And even right now, I haven't done any. I forgot about them and now I'm going to be thinking about them. But it compulsively. I have been very aware this time last year that I was not going to continually think of. I need to get Reese's Pumpkins. Those would be nice to have. I'll put some in the refrigerator, I'll have some of my office. And so I had that dialed in and we were heading to my son's best. Well, tournament, he was playing a tournament, it was a Saturday. I had a really good workout that morning, but I had also seen a bunch of clients leading up to that week. I probably didn't get as much sleep as I would have liked, so I wake up on a Saturday. I get up early. I work out hard because I want to have my workout done before we go and watch my son play basketball. And I didn't. I didn't probably eat a good, healthy breakfast because I just didn't do it. So then I what am? I'm hungry, I'm tired. And so I walk into like a 7-Eleven and I'm going to get him some Gatorade and they're there on the counter. Reese's Pumpkins, what do I do? I impulsively grabbed two of them and I walk out with them, and then I brought them to my office
[00:10:47] At that time, and I think I ate one as soon as
[00:10:50] I could fit it into my mouth. I put the other one in my fridge at work, and then a couple of days later, I did the same thing within seconds. Now do I beat myself up about it? No, that that was. I fell into an impulse because of one of these triggers hungry, angry, lonely, tired. So if you find yourself falling to an impulse and then engaging with the narcissist in your life, then give yourself some grace. It's a process. It is an ongoing practice, as this is, this person said. So that is a really long lead up to say to the next part, she said. This leads me to my gaslighting example. A couple of years ago, when my therapist taught me the walk away strategy, I began to implement it during arguments where my husband was yelling or cussing or belittling me when I would tell him, Hey, that's not OK with me. We'll revisit this conversation when you can be calm and she would walk away. He started blocking exits with his body, and I have heard of this often. So often, she said. This happened several times. He would stand in front of the doorway, and when I would try to leave, he would say no and blockade the exit. She said she would try to squeeze through, but she's one hundred and twenty pounds and he's well over two hundred. So there wasn't really a way that he could.
[00:11:52] He would tell her that the conversation was not over and he would attempt to pull her back in. And she said she just learned to turn her back to him remain silent, no matter what. And he would continue to say things to try to get her to engage. He would tell me, Quit acting like a child or you're so immature. Why are you giving me the silent treatment? And eventually he would give up and leave enraged and oftentimes punching a hole in the wall or walking out and slamming the door. And she said he's had to replace doors because he slammed them so hard. I've talked with so many people that have holes in their walls where people have punched through in this narcissistic rage or anger. She said. Eventually, she got tired of him blocking her in and refused to engage in that argument. One day he was standing in front of the door with his arm across it so she couldn't leave, and she told him that if he didn't let her go, she would call the police because she was being held against her will. And he called her bluff and said, Go ahead, and he's in the medical field. So if he happened to lose his license to practice medicine, he said, that's all on you. And she said, Oh my gosh, you know,
[00:12:48] That's he's he's
[00:12:49] In this medical profession. She's a stay at home mom without a college degree. She can't support her family. So in her mind, she thought, Doug, Honey, he's right. She can't risk him losing his license because they have kids to feed. They have a family to support. And he'd also convinced her that it was her fault for not being willing to finish the conversation. But she backed down. She said she didn't call the police, and by doing that, he was able to continue to gaslight and manipulate her once again. So she said, fast forward a couple of years, she found herself in a similar situation and this was pretty recent, and he was not letting her leave during an argument. And this time she managed to make it past him. She quickly grabbed her keys, ran to the car which was parked in the garage, and she hit the button to open the garage door, ran to the car, turned on the engine. As soon as she threw it in reverse, there was her husband standing there. I can almost picture this like a scary movie where there he is right behind, she said. He'd already hit the button and the garage door was beginning to close before she could back out. So then he ran over and he pulled the little rope on the garage door to keep it from opening. She said she was trapped and she had no way to leave her car.
[00:13:47] He walked next to the door and tried to get in, but she had locked the doors, and she said she told him to hurry and open the garage door because the car was running, and she was worried that they might even be in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning or, you know, enclosed garage with the engine running, and that she hoped that would help them come to a senses and open the garage door and allow her to leave. But at that point, and she was so true in the way she put this, she said. At that point, it was a battle of control and he was not about to back down because to the narcissist, it is all about control. He told her, Oh yeah, that's pretty stupid. You might want to turn your engine off. But she said the message was clear that he wasn't going to let her leave, so she did turn her car off and she decided to use what little control that she did have. She said I told him he had three seconds to open the garage door or she was going to call the police. And he said, go ahead thinking that there was no way I would follow through with my threat like I have not done in times past. But she said this time she knew better. She said she knew that whatever the result was from the police being called was not on her, that it was on him due to his actions.
[00:14:50] She proceeded to count to three and then she dialed nine one one, and as soon as the dispatcher, she had him on the phone. Then he opened the garage door and let her leave, and he called her crazy. He told her he was being ridiculous, that she was being ridiculous because he didn't even touch her. And so then she told the dispatcher what had happened and that she no longer needed the police to come. But she was told they still needed to come and assess to make sure that she was safe. When the police came, they spoke to her and her husband separately, and they told her that when he blocks her exit and doesn't allow her to leave, it's considered a form of abuse and that he could go to jail for that. And she told the officer that she wasn't interested in pressing charges, but asked him to please tell her husband what they told her and that that it was considered abuse. So the next day, her husband and her had a conversation about it. And of course, there was little to no acknowledgment on his part of anything, any wrongdoing, and she had told him that the officer had told her that was abusive. And he said, Oh, that's absolutely not what the officer told me. In fact, they said nothing like that, which, oh man, I see that one in my sessions, often where people will use me against the couple.
[00:15:51] And there's a quick remedy to that. But I know that this isn't necessarily something that she could have enacted. I don't know. Maybe she could have. But I will have. Let's say the wife will text me and say, Hey, when you met one on one with my husband, he said that you were pretty clear that I am the problem. And man, that is the air that the narcissist breeze is to then triangulate, put to put that person, put the spouse in the hot seat and say, No, everybody thinks that you're the crazy one. Everybody's telling me this, and oh my gosh, they hand me a gift at that point because when I say, All right, hey, let me group text you and your husband and just make sure we're on the same page, because I absolutely would not say that and did not say that. And you do that one time and then and then that does help or correct the behavior and which I think and I actually learned this from Christine Hammond, where that's in my fifth rule of working or trying to work with a narcissist. You're not trying to give them that aha moment where they go, Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. I can't believe I did that. But unfortunately, at some point that is setting a boundary because in that trains the narcissist to say, OK, when you do this, when you try and triangulate against me, then I will reach out to the person that you are pinning against me.
[00:16:54] And that takes some guts. But I start seeing that often when I get a new client. And let's say again, it's let's say it's the wife and the husband is the narcissist. I've had so many of these where the husband will then say in the room, even because he's trying to convince me I was talking to your to your cousin and your cousin was even wondering why you're not on medication or why you're not nicer. And you can just watch the air go out of the wind out of the sails of the woman in that situation who says, Whoa, my really. My cousin thinks that too. I thought I had a great relationship with my cousin, but in reality then I love when somebody can say, I had no idea. Let me reach out and ask my cousin more, because the Narcissus is going to say, Well, no, no, I don't want you to do that. I don't mean to involve them. That's on you. But no, that's the gaslighting. So at that point, let's text the cousin and the husband, and I don't care even the therapist and say, Hey, I understand that you think that I should be on antidepressants or that you think that? I mean, I would love to talk about that.
[00:17:46] And what do you think happens? The cousin says, I have no idea what you're talking about. She said what? I appreciated this and she said I was so proud of myself that day for sending the message to my husband that he can't continue to manipulate, control and gaslight me. And since that time, he has not tried to keep me from leaving when we get into an argument. And she said, I'm slowly learning I won't be able to reason with them. So why bother getting into the argument in the first place? Bless her heart. Holy cow. That is it right there? Is it fair? No, absolutely not fair. But is it productive? Yes. As you are waking up to the narcissist in your life, this is a great example of the slow process. But then the empowering feeling that that process can it isn't always satisfying because you aren't. You aren't going to feel heard or be able to resolve that in a mature way like you deserve. But once you can accept that fact, then no longer are you trying to seek out that mature connection or conversation if it is not possible. And that's where you do get to work on yourself, raise your emotional baseline, become the person that you want to be. And boy, we're going to talk about that. I've got another group call
[00:18:48] Coming up tonight, and
[00:18:50] We're going to talk about that there, where it is one of the one of the hardest things to see are the women or men or in relationships with narcissistic women when they do break free that they often have realize that they have just been whoever they have needed to be to appease him, to buffer between him and the kids. And so trying to find that identity is a real difficulty. So I'm not going to give more on that because I've got somebody that is just has such a wonderful way to put that. But that's going to lead us to talk about boundaries. Let's move into that part of today's episode. So one of the
[00:19:20] Articles that I found that I really enjoyed that goes over different types of boundaries is by marriage and family therapist out of Georgia, and her name is Kim Brady. So I have not reached out to cure, so I hope that she is OK with me sharing her. This article she wrote about five types of boundaries
[00:19:38] For your relationship,
[00:19:39] And I'll have a link to it in the show. But she
[00:19:41] She laid out very well
[00:19:43] The five different types of boundaries. One is physical boundaries, and she says those refer to your body privacy, your personal space. She gives the example of someone might they might enjoy public displays of affection, or they might be uncomfortable with it. If your partner kisses you in public and you're uncomfortable with it, that you need to let them know and you can see right here where things start to get interesting. If you have someone in your life who doesn't respect a boundary or tells you, OK, you're you're crazy, or will I like to be? Physical in public, and so you need to be OK with it, then you can see where people start to back the line up on their boundaries, and the more they do that, the more the person, especially someone with narcissistic tendencies, traits or a full-blown narcissistic personality disorder is going to continue to push those boundaries again. I think I said in an earlier episode that the boundary at some point to the narcissist or person with narcissistic tendencies is becomes somewhat of a challenge. So she says sharing your preferences and expectations might feel difficult, but not sharing them. Excuse me, can make you feel disrespected, and it might be easy to establish a boundary around your partner not slapping you, for example. Perhaps the boundary in consequence is quick to define in this case, if you slap me, I will leave. However, in other areas, it can be tricky, and she talks about how sharing your personal boundaries can improve your relationship, know what you are and what you are not comfortable with, and share this with your partner. And the key here is that in a healthy relationship, that one should be able to and I always say in the virtual couch, no one likes to be should on. You should do this,
[00:21:11] You should do that.
[00:21:12] But here's the healthy version of that that you should. You should be able to share your, your truths, your hopes, your dreams, your boundaries and have your partner view that with curiosity. Not well. You need to understand that I have my needs to that kind of that kind of a vibe. The second one she talks about is emotional boundaries. And she says in order to establish emotional boundaries, you need to be in touch with your feelings. And again, you can see where the difficulty can lie. When someone who is in a relationship with someone with narcissistic tendencies and again, I'll stop laying out that whole, I think you know where I'm going with that. When I just say narcissist, someone that is on that entire spectrum of narcissistic traits and tendencies to full blown narcissistic personality disorder. She says healthy emotional boundaries require you to know where you end and where your partner begins. And if that phrase sounds familiar, that's I love talking about the concept of differentiation. That's our ultimate goal is to be differentiated. Differentiation is a healthy relationship with one with a partner and yourself. Differentiation is where one person ends and the other begins. And so instead of being enmeshed and codependent in a relationship, you want to get to interdependent and differentiated.
[00:22:19] Differentiated is how it's too autonomous individuals that can maintain a relationship without trying to break down the other person's view of the world or reality. And, quite frankly, not having to defend your own in a healthy way. You get to differentiation, and there is a lot of curiosity involved with differentiation, but I often say that when a couple gets different becomes differentiated. At first, there's going to be the strong desire to go right back to codependency or right back to enmeshment. So if somebody starts to say, Hey, here's my opinion that I have this different opinion. That's the person starting to grow. If that's you. If you've been in this relationship where you felt like you weren't allowed to have a different opinion, then you are not differentiated. So the more that you are standing up for yourself, not acquiescing, saying, Hey, no, actually, I like this, or actually, I would prefer you not do this. And we talked to one of the earlier episodes that that is where the narcissist will often say, Oh, well, you, you're being pretty mean right now are rude. Or Boy, look at your anger or you don't let things go.
[00:23:16] All those kind of things
[00:23:17] That a lot of that, that is when someone starts to differentiate. And again, differentiation is healthy. Differentiation starts to happen when people aren't afraid of the tension in a relationship. We're often so afraid that things will be contentious or that they will go to contentious, that we avoid tension altogether. She's saying if your partner is upset and you notice yourself sharing, this feeling boundary might be needed. Notice that when you feel guilty or ashamed or upset and undervalued, she said, boundaries might be needed when you notice these feelings coming up around certain issues or situations here says If you are upset and your partner tries to fix it, you could feel as if your partner isn't hearing you. Your partner might be trying to help you, but it just leaves you feeling more upset. And she said this is a place where a boundary might be helpful. You could say when I'm upset, I would like you to listen to me without trying. Or sometimes I just need to vent. Excuse me when you try to fix things, I don't feel heard. If I want your advice, I'll let you know. And you can see where that sounds like I'm being rude. If I want your advice, I'll let you know. But it's not said with that intention. It's the I just want to be heard and I love when my wife can say to me, I just need to. I just need to vent. And man, now I'm starting to creep over into so many of the virtual couch episodes. I do healthy relationships, my whole marriage course, my magnetic marriage course is about learning how to communicate more effectively, and I have these four pillars of a connected conversation that in a healthy relationship, these four pillars are gold.
[00:24:37] They are that to assume the good intentions that no one wakes up in the morning and thinks, How can I hurt my spouse? Or a deeper level of ad is that there's a reason why someone presents the way they do. The second pillar is that you can't put off the vibe or the energy that you that your partner is wrong or you don't believe them, even if you're pretty confident that they're wrong or you don't believe them. My third pillar is you ask questions before making comments in the fourth pillar. As you stay present, you don't retreat into your bunker or go into victim mode. A quick example of this is, let's say that you and we'll say. The woman in the relationship finally says in this vein of starting to be differentiated or wanting to set their boundaries says, I feel like you don't, you don't appreciate me, I feel like you don't even know me. And if the husband, then in that scenario, you know, responds with, Well, you don't even know who I am or I can't believe you even say that. Do you even have any idea who I am? And do you know all the things I do for you to know the things I buy for you? Do you know the do you know how good you have it? Then that is breaking multiple pillars.
[00:25:41] So what I mean by
[00:25:42] That is if I'm working with that couple in my office and if the wife excuse me, says, I don't think you even know me, I feel like you're, you're not there for me, then I do everything I can to stick to this for pillared framework. So the husband in that scenario has to assume good intentions that she did not wake up one day and say, I know what I'm going to do and I'll wait till about five 30. He walks in and I'm going to spring the old. I don't think you know me lying so that I can hurt him. No no one wakes up and thinks, How can I hurt someone in a healthy relationship so that pillar one, I have him listening and assuming those good intentions. The second pillar is then in that scenario, he cannot say, I don't believe you or you are wrong, because if so, then that's going to shut the conversation down immediately. The third pillar has questions before comments, and that scenario would have him then say, Tell me more. Help me find my blind spots. And none of that involves, let me fix it and or let me judge what you're saying.
[00:26:35] And then the fourth pillar that people spend, I do get a little gender stereotyped here that guys are pretty bad at four. I mean, we all find ourselves falling into patterns of violating one of these pillars if you really look at when conversations go south. But that fourth pillar is not to retreat into one's bunker or go into victim mode and victim. I'm not a big fan of that word, but I think you know where I'm going with that. But if somebody let's say that he says, OK, he's going to assume good intentions. She's not trying to hurt him. She can't say or he can't say, you're wrong. That's ridiculous. I don't believe you because that will shut the conversation down. He asked questions before making comments. So tell me more. Help me see my blind spots instead of just saying, OK, let me just tell you what's going on in my life. You don't think it's you don't think I'm stressed with trying to provide financially or
[00:27:18] Those sort of things, or
[00:27:20] If he makes it through all three of those pillars in a positive way. Breaking that fourth pillar could be saying, OK, I guess my opinion doesn't matter, and I'm just a paycheck because that he's wanting the wife then to say, No, I shouldn't have said anything. You're right. I'm sure I'm just overthinking things or that sort of thing. So then when she feels heard, not fixed or judged, but heard in a healthy relationship when someone is given that tool, my four pillars of a connected conversation, then he gets to say, OK, maybe in that third pillar when he asks questions, he she says, When you come home, you just you just don't say much. You just give me a little bit of a nod and you head right into right into the family room. And so then once he says, Man, I appreciate you sharing that I when I walk in, I felt like you were stressed with the kids, and I felt like I was just going to add to that stress. So I just retreat to another room and then try to come back when I think you must be ready. So in a healthy relationship. And that's one where that is, not just him being him gaslighting you, then that's one word now. Once you feel heard and then you become the listener, he becomes the speaker, then you will assume those good intentions as well, that he wasn't trying to hurt you with that behavior.
[00:28:28] And when he says that he really felt the stress in the home and he thought that he would just add to that, so he went to another room, then it's OK. I can. I appreciate that. I can understand that if that's where you are coming from. And again, I can't tell you you're wrong or I don't believe you. And then that would make a little more sense. And then so when the couple feels heard and understood the goal of my four pillars, it's a whole paradigm shift is not to resolve, but it's to be heard because again, in a healthy relationship, the more you can communicate in that way in that fashion, the more you can get toward differentiation and realize you're both having two different experiences and we just don't have the tools to communicate. But the difficult part about my four pillars is when, when that isn't an unhealthy relationship, it just becomes another tool to be weaponized. That was in two emotional boundaries. Three. She talks about sexual boundaries. These are important sexual boundaries. Refer to your expectations around physical intimacy. What is and isn't OK with your sexuality boundaries around frequency, sexual comments, unwanted sexual touch expectations around others, involvement in your sex life and what sexual acts are performed and are off limits should be discussed. Healthy sexual boundaries include mutual agreement, mutual consent and understanding of each other's sexual limits and desires. And I appreciate that.
[00:29:38] Kerr says that if you were sexually abused in the past and you were triggered during certain positions, the sexual boundaries needed and you might want to avoid sexual contact with your partner if you're reminded of a traumatizing experience. And this is where again, I say that in healthy relationships, one has these conversations and it doesn't go to all or nothing. It doesn't. My pillar for it doesn't mean that if the wife in the scenario says that when we have sex this way or the frequency or when I just feel like you just want, I'm just object. If I'm objectified, then my four pillars can. Lead to oh my gosh, I didn't know you felt that way. Tell me more Instead of, OK, what am I supposed to do? I have needs as well, no for intellectual boundaries. And this is why I liked this article that she wrote. We don't often talk about intellectual boundaries and electoral boundaries encompass ideas and beliefs. Boundaries around showing respect for different views and ideas can keep your feelings from being hurt. Talking down to someone or treating them as though they're not smart enough to understand what you're trying to say can damage your emotional intimacy. And if you feel as though you can't discuss certain topics with your partner because you believe they don't respect your opinion or put you down a boundary is needed because, she says. When you're afraid to share your views or opinions, because your partner's responses, you're going to leave feeling hurt or upset.
[00:30:45] If your partner calls you names when you have a different opinion or a political view, you could feel as though they don't value your thoughts or beliefs. And man, it's so wild to see such a vast difference of this in my office, and I know the people that are in these relationships with narcissistic people often feel like, no, this is normal. And that's where I just say my heart goes out to you because I have the pleasure, the fortune, the benefit of talk about with couples. I've worked with well over a thousand couples doing these four pillars of a connected conversation, and I often say for a good seventy five percent of the ones in my office, they get this new tool of a way to communicate. And then it was just they didn't know what they didn't know. And but with people with these narcissistic traits and tendencies, they get this new tool and then it just becomes another another tool in their arsenal to manipulate or to gain control. And that's where I then oftentimes will work hard to help the person that is that is being manipulated, gaslit or emotionally abused or intellectually abused to or financially abused or spiritually abused or sexually abused to to understand that OK by becoming differentiated and setting boundaries, it's OK that that's that's a healthy version of a relationship and with the intellectual boundaries.
[00:31:54] And this one just hit me. I do a tremendous amount of work with people with strong faith communities, and I do a lot with navigating faith journeys and faith crises. And because that is a big part where people start to have two completely different opinions and that's OK, even if they grow up with the same belief system. And and there's a whole bunch of work I do around this concept of Fowler stages of faith, I speak literally a worldwide to that. And so being able to approach even a faith journey with curiosity with a couple is a chance to grow where in controlling relationships, it's where one person starts to put the other person down because they're starting to have different opinions or beliefs. She also covers financial boundaries, and those are said they're all about money. And some of the narcissist money is such a fascinating thing because when they have not been modeled or tapped into emotions throughout their lives, I'm saying they don't know what they don't know. The financial thing is so big that finances become the only way to express, in their opinion, express love, maintain control, and so many things are about finances. Look at all the things I've done for you. Look at all the things I bought for you. Where do you think you'll be without me financially and where the oftentimes the opposite the partner in the relationship with the narcissist is saying, at this point, I don't care about finances.
[00:33:09] I just want to be heard. I just want a connection. I want to be valued emotionally. So she says financial boundaries are all about money boundaries around joint versus separate accounts, how much goes into savings, what purchases you want to make and how much discretionary funds you'll have. Each can keep you both on the same page where your finances are concerned. Having different rules and agendas related to where you spend and how you spend your money can cause a great deal of strain on your relationship. So if you feel that you are often fighting about money, boundaries are probably needed, and discussions about your financial goals up front can keep finances from becoming a point of contention. But I will tell you, even in healthy relationships, the financial conversations can be difficult because there is so much that goes into finances as far as even comparisons to other people. And boy, I'm going back to my. This really isn't a plug, although I can't lie. I'm about to start my next round of my magnetic marriage course. And so my partner who helped me create it, Preston Pug Maya and I were actually doing a webinar about this. I think it's next Wednesday, which is something November 3rd or 4th. I don't know the date at the top of my head, but if you're interested, you can just shoot me a note through the contact form at Tony Overbay dot com.
[00:34:16] I can give you a little more information, but where was it going with that? Oh, that this four pillars. Even I say that we often try to go immediately to these high charged topics, which is a sex, politics, religion, finances and parenting, and we don't even have the tools to be able to communicate effectively about lower charge topics. From where do you want to go to eat or what does retirement look like? Or What's your favorite movie or song? And I just want you to know when you're hearing this. I hope that this concept of boundaries resonates and that you it can even give you some excitement as much as it's probably going to have some fear about the importance of setting a boundary. But I do understand that oftentimes we don't even have the tools to have the conversations to set a boundary. And so I realize now I really sound like I'm plugging my magnetic marriage course. But even if you just go over to the virtual couch and just look for virtual couch and four pillars, if you google that or my name and four pillars, I've done a lot of episodes on these four pillars of a connected. Conversation, and that might be the thing that you need to be able to start to communicate about boundaries, let me and thank you to hear Brady and again, what a great article and I'll put a link there. And she says her mission is to help people transform their personal relationship challenges into life enhancing opportunities for growth.
[00:35:25] So I appreciate that. Article And last but not least, this is ironic is the there's a book called No More Mr. Nice Guy, which I really do enjoy by the title alone. It can sound like teaching the the person who is nice to not be. It's not that it's really helping people take a little bit more ownership and accountability. A lot of the concept of the nice guy is is in play as well in these relationships, where there are people with narcissistic traits and tendencies who get into relationships with people that are maybe more highly sensitive and helping someone get out of what they call this nice guy syndrome is not saying be a jerk, but sometimes it's just saying, Hey, take ownership of your own emotions and feelings and don't project those onto the other person. The reason why I say that is I'm going to read a little bit from the book by. It's by Robert Glover, and it is. It's called no more Mr. Nice Guy, but he just has a really nice section on boundaries. And so let me just read that. And instead of where he says, Nice guy, I'm going to say, I'm going to say person. He says we find this real quick. Ok, he says setting boundaries helps. And again, he says, Nice guys, I'm going to say people setting a nice setting, nice
[00:36:31] Guys setting boundaries helps people reclaim
[00:36:33] Their personal power. So he says the boundaries are essential for survival and running. Learning to set boundaries allows people to stop feeling like helpless victims and reclaim their personal power boundary. Setting is one of the most fundamental skills that he says that he teaches people. He says recovering nice guys. But I will say people that are trying to become more emotionally healthy. And he says he demonstrates the concept of boundaries. This is what I really was drawn to by this chapter that he has in his book. He said I demonstrate the concept of boundaries by laying a shoestring on the ground. And he says, I tell the person that I'm going to cross his boundary and push them backwards. Instead, I instruct the person to stop me when they begin to feel uncomfortable, and it's not unusual for the person to stand well back from the line, allowing me to violate that space several steps before they even begin to respond. And once, he says, once I start pushing, it's not uncommon for the person to let me push them back several steps before they do anything to stop me. And sometimes the person will let me push them all the way back to the wall. And he said, I use this exercise as a graphic demonstration of the need for boundaries in all areas of life that people are usually more comfortable backpedaling, giving in and keeping the peace. What does that one? Sound familiar? He says they believe that if they take one more step backward, the other person will quit pushing and everything will be smooth. And I just felt I felt like that example is so powerful, he says, that this is a great line. I like as well that in time, they also learned that boundary setting isn't about getting other people to be different. It's about getting themselves to be different if somebody is crossing their boundary.
[00:37:57] It isn't that.
[00:37:58] And he says it isn't the other person's problem. It's theirs. Now, I don't want that to sound like you are doing something wrong. I want you to say, Oh my gosh, that makes more sense, that I need to learn to set these healthier boundaries. And if my spouse will not respect boundaries, period, then is that a viable relationship? And he says, because of memory, fear that people often unconsciously reinforce the very behaviors that they find intolerable due to their childhood conditioning. And this is so deep. We'll end with this today, he said. Due to their childhood conditioning, they teach the people around them that they will accept having their boundaries violated. And as people start to take responsibility for how they let people treat them, their own behavior begins to change. And that's where you are waking up to narcissism, whether you are the narcissist to the person in the relationship with someone with narcissistic tendencies or traits. So then as you stop reinforcing the things that you aren't willing to tolerate, the people around you are given an opportunity to behave differently. It gives the relationship a chance to survive and grow. But I will be very clear in saying it gives that relationship a chance to survive and grow. It doesn't mean that now that you start setting your boundaries, that then everything will be better, but it will start to feel empowering and that is my goal for you. And again, if you heard the last episode and you are the person saying, Wait a minute, can I be the narcissist?
[00:39:09] Then thank you for listening to this. And if you recognize, Wow, I do cross these boundaries that people said, especially my spouse, because I just I just feel like I be honest. Do you feel like but I know better, but they don't understand, then that's an absolute time to stop and
[00:39:24] Say, Wait a minute, I need
[00:39:26] To stop and respect that boundary. And when I do that, then that can help me get to curiosity.
[00:39:31] And then there are tools like my four pillars of a connected conversation that will allow people to try and at least have the conversations. And the conversation is about being heard. I say so often you can only have
[00:39:43] Or control in an adult relationship, not both. And love comes with a heavy dose of curiosity. All right.
[00:39:49] Hey, we cover a lot of ground today.
[00:39:51] I am literally wrapping up right now because it is four point forty nine a.m. and
[00:39:54] I happen to have a five a.m. client today. Thank you for
[00:39:56] All the work you're doing. Thank you for the feedback. Please keep sending me the questions, the comments. I read them, I read them all. I read actually almost running late with this podcast because I got some amazing emails last night and if you're interested in joining that group. For women who are in relationships with narcissistic people, it doesn't just have to be a spouse, it can be a
[00:40:14] Parent, a sibling, a coworker, a church leader or whatever it is, there is power in numbers.
[00:40:20] Shoot me an email through the contact form on Tony over bakam. And if you are interested in hearing a little bit more about the magnetic marriage course that my buddy Preston and I do, the timing is pretty good and you can shoot me an email through there too, and I can let you know more about what's coming up with that.
[00:40:34] So have an amazing day.
[00:40:35] I see you. I really do. I appreciate everything that you're doing and your change in the world when you're sending me your emails and quotes and comments and I read them, I'm telling you, I get to see the stats. And this podcast has found its way already to one hundred and something country, tens of thousands of downloads. And so I just I appreciate everything you're doing. All right. Have an amazing, wonderful day weekend, and we'll talk to you next week on waking up the narcissism.