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Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve...holidays take on an entirely different meaning in a narcissistic family system. Trauma expert Shannon Thomas said it best "In healthy families, you're just yourself – your name, your talents, your strengths, and weaknesses. You're the person. But in a narcissistic family, things are different. Everybody has to find somewhere to be and a job to do within the family… they either support the narcissistic parent, or they are the focus of the narcissistic parent's rage." 

Tony discusses the dynamics of the narcissistic family giving particular attention to the scapegoat. Tony extensively references Alexander Burgemeester's article "Toxic Narcissistic Family Dynamics Explained" from his excellent website https://thenarcissisticlife.com/narcissistic-family-dynamics/, and he provides a beautiful description of the true power of the scapegoat from the website https://anchoredabode.com/2019/09/03/scapegoat-definition-narcissism/ 

And you can find out more about Tony's new parenting course in the Relationship Mastery Pack https://www.epicmarriageclub.com/a/2147499720/h3Cn8yaE Get thousands of dollars in relationship tools for one special Black Friday price featuring Tony's brand new parenting course: 3 Keys to Positive Parenting - Bring the Positivity without Messing Up Your Kids Even if You're Not Sure Where to Start! Go to https://www.epicmarriageclub.com/a/2147499720/h3Cn8yaE to sign up for thousands of dollars worth of relationship tools for less than the cost of one therapy session.

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[00:00:00] Hey, everybody. Quick note before we get started today, if you listen to last week's episode on waking up the narcissism, you heard that it was a surprise bonus episode from the virtual couch. That was because I had some audio difficulties. Well, those audio difficulties continued to a point, so I just wanted to give you a little heads up that this one may not exactly flow as best as I would like. But boy, we cover a lot of ground, a lot of information today. And I also realize there might be a couple of the audio files that are holdovers from last week from my previous attempts at recording. So you might even hear that the sound quality might differ just a tiny bit. We're going to try to take care of that in post-production. But you know what? Enjoy the ride on today's episode because again, a lot of ground, this one's a little bit longer, but we cover a lot of topics that they may not even be in order. And that might just be a fun little puzzle that you can put together over your Thanksgiving break.

[00:00:48] So let's get to the show.

[00:00:55] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode 11, waking up the narcissism, I'm your host, Tony Overbay in the licensed marriage and family therapist and host of the Virtual Couch podcast. And I want to jump right in. I want to thank you for your concern, your kindness, because in the beginning of last week's episode, apparently you could feel that the air had been let out of my balloon. I had this incident with a file that I had recorded, and now it will simply go down as the lost files. It was about 30 minutes of material about the narcissistic family system and the company that I use to record the podcast. I was going back and forth with tech support, and I'm following up because I again kind people asking How is how am I doing with this lost file? And it was this really fascinating. I almost felt like I was being gaslit by a large company, and that's fine. I know that they didn't mean to. I know that they had absolutely good intentions, but this file, I kept downloading the file that showed a large file size. I would plug it into anything I could that would produce sound and there was no sound. So at one point they came back and said, We've had some glitches, we've had some problems. We'd like to offer you a free month of our services and you have a backup of this file in this super special secret location on our server.

[00:02:08] And here's the link. So I go download the file and still no sound. So I go back and I say I would really like some help because I don't want to rerecord this bit of gold. This Jim. I didn't really say that, but I said if it's available there, I would love to not rerecord 30 minutes of just off the cuff reactions about narcissistic families based on this amazing article. And they came back to me and said, it really appears that there's no sound in the file. And then they they sent me a screenshot of the software and they have a part circled and they said, Do you remember if you had possibly turned off your microphone by pressing this button over in this corner? And I haven't responded, I just happened because I didn't even know that that button existed. And the irony is that I had hit pause at one point and then hit Go again, and I have two more clips from that same recording. I'm pretty sure I didn't hit the button that I wasn't aware of to mute my microphone, but regardless, we're back. We're here. Maybe there is some additional material that is intended to be in today's episode that would not have been in last week's episode. So we're going to talk about the narcissistic family system, and I've got one quick plug, so to speak.

[00:03:11] Maybe we'll get through this right away, but all my virtual couch podcasts, which I literally just hit publish on this is on Wednesday, November 17th I interviewed. I talked on that one about how opposites don't truly attract and why we like the people that we like. It was fun episode. I feel like I got off in the weeds a little bit on some of the research and data, but I had a fun time recording it. But I also had this part in the beginning where I brought on relationship researcher. He's a friend of mine, Nate Bagley, and Nate has a he's a master promoter and he has a thing called the Relationship Mastery PAC, and I have a brand new parenting course that I am going to unveil as part of this Relationship Mastery PAC. So I think he has about 10 to 15 experts that are talking about everything from co-parenting, not co-parenting. Sorry, they're talking about everything from boundaries and being overcoming perfectionism to intimacy and pornography and all of these things that these experts have come together. And we've put one of our programs into this relationship mastery package. And then it is a Black Friday sale. So I think it's going to go two or three days, three days, I believe, in the end of this month. And so if you

[00:04:20] Go to the

[00:04:21] My bio, the link in the show notes, then you'll find a link that you can click through and then you can have access to. It's the 10 to 15 courses. And I don't know the price yet. I'm going to be honest. But Nate said on the episode that it's going to be less than the cost of one therapy session, so I felt like I couldn't pass it up, and I do have this brand new parenting course that I'm unveiling. And so I just thought that would be a good place to put it now. I honestly thought about, is that is this the right audience for the parenting course? Because I'm really excited about the parenting course, but I understand. Let me pull up the marketing bullets that I was working on with a guy who helps me put together some courses. And here are the goals of this parenting course that I put together. It's getting you and your partner on the same page parenting confidently, parenting in troubled times, finding unity and a parenting approach, parenting together, helping your kids thrive, diffusing contention and the parenting partnership. Helping your kids feel more connected to you. Helping your kids become the best version of themselves, and while avoiding playing the shame game and furthering the divide between you and your children. And this fear that we're messing up our kids, the thing that every parent fears. And so I'm addressing all of that in my parenting program. So not that I'm trying to do some money grab, but I wasn't even going to talk about it on this podcast.

[00:05:31] I've talked about it a lot, talking about it a lot on the virtual couch. But again, the more that I put this information out about waking up to narcissism, whether it's one's own narcissism or the narcissism in their partner, that I really still feel like it would be nice to have a solid foundation of parenting. So even if your partner is not on board, maybe this can bring you some sanity. So it does sound like I'm doing a little bit of a sales pitch, but. I really feel like the 10 to 15 relationship courses for I'm going to guess it's going to be pretty cheap. So if you go to my show notes and click through this link to the Relationship Mastery Pack, then you can find out more information. All right. There's that. And then here's an email that I received. This was where I was going a bit earlier. So the person said they wrote me the nicest email and I'm still getting plenty. So if you've emailed me and the emails that people are sending me, I am reading them. I really am. They're really long. And I'm saying that in a man, bless your heart. I'm grateful for you taking the time to write the emails because I see you, I hear you, I'm reading you, and I just maybe haven't had the chance to respond back.

[00:06:32] And that doesn't mean that I don't care. And I love when people say, you know what? It just feels therapeutic, and they're grateful for the content being put out that sort of thing. But here's one that just said nothing's been as enlightening or as empowering to me as your podcast waking up the narcissism. And she says, for that, I can't thank you enough. And she said the very best part of it is that her husband actually is the one that said she needed to listen to it, which I can only imagine if somebody sends you a podcast and says, Hey, listen to this one about narcissism that's going to put somebody back on their heels. But she mentioned that he had left and he sent her the trailer, asking her to listen and then call him back. She said I didn't listen right away, which was difficult for him, because if he wants me to do something, it should take priority over anything else I'm doing or that I have planned for the day. So then he called me before I listened and he said, I'm driving you crazy. And she said she replied with sarcasm, really? And she said I thought it was the other way around. And then he said, No, no, it's me. I'm the one driving you crazy. Just let me know when you listen to it. So she said she listened to the trailer and then she texted her husband and said, When did you give Tony Overbay permission to put hidden cameras in our home? And she said that she at this point, she's only about halfway through the episodes, but she feels relief and making sense of a relationship.

[00:07:38] So I'm getting so many of those emails that I'm just I'm so grateful for that. But the funny thing is how many people are accusing me of having hidden cameras in your home? That one does make me laugh if I'm reading this, if I'm reading an email like that. And it's funny because most 98 percent of the emails that are coming through are very, very positive about their people are understanding and feeling enlightened. But you get the random one that says, Oh, you think you're so smart or that sort of thing. So I think when I see one that comes through and says something about cameras in our home, then I'm still looking at it like, Oh, is this going to be the person that's accusing me of something? And so that one's just fascinating. But again, I'm grateful for the emails that people are sending me, and they're they're so much fun things that we're going to do down the road here. I have guests lined up. I have just some ideas. I just I didn't realize how much this podcast would take off. And so I really want to make the most of this opportunity to reach out and just help people wake up to to narcissistic tendencies and traits and their own narcissism and narcissism and their family, the narcissism and their family dynamic.

[00:08:36] And that's that's what we're going to jump in right now. The lost episode, the file that was corrupted was about toxic, narcissistic family dynamics explained. And this is from a fascinating website that I really do love. It's called the Narcissistic Life, and the narcissistic life is written by a guy named Alexander Burmeister. He says he's the founder and creator of the narcissistic life. He holds a masters in clinical psychology, and he has spent the past decade working as a psychologist in the Netherlands, where he currently lives with his wife, who is also a psychologist, and his two cats outside of Amsterdam. He said he has an emphasis in neuropsychology. He has extensive, extensive clinical experience treating patients recovering from strokes and traumatic medical injuries, dementia, Alzheimer's and Corsica syndrome. And so again, this is what I love about this community is there is no scarcity mindset I can only imagine, and I'm taking a guess here that Alexander is a wonderful person who would just love for people to read all of his stuff and listen to my podcast and read all the books about narcissism, because it really does take a lot to understand the dynamic. So even when I have people that send me these emails or the clients that I work with on a daily basis, every single day, I'm working with people that are in relationships with some sort of narcissistic person with narcissistic tendencies or traits or full-blown narcissistic personality disorder.

[00:09:58] And it takes a long time. Let's just be honest, it takes a long time to not only wake up or have the realization, but then also to just figure out what the best path is. And some of the most touching emails I've received are the ones that I speak to often where people will read about it and it just says, Go, don't finish the paragraph, pack your bags, leave, grab everything. But it is not that easy. I understand that there are deep, complicated relationship dynamics variables. There's financial issues that are at play, and so it takes a lot of time to really start to understand and people that are in these relationships, I mean, their brains, their bodies, their body keeps the score. They go to this place of where they now are constantly on high alert and trying to read the room and manage the dynamics of the relationship and the family. And when you do that over the course of years, that becomes your deeply rooted neural pathways. I talk a lot about this on my virtual couch podcast. The brain is just a fascinating thing the brain wants to create patterns will be them good or bad because the more patterns the brain creates, the less electrical activity that in theory it has to expel and your brain bless. Its little pink, squishy heart is working off of a flawed premise.

[00:11:10] It believes that you have this finite amount of electrical activity, so it wants to do everything it can to conserve electrical activity so it can live. If you just look at the way that all species evolve and work is that we want to live. That's our goal. So our own brains have evolved to become this don't get killed device. And part of that is we will hunker down and we will just see if we can let the storm blow over because tomorrow is a new day. But then if we wait until a lot of tomorrows, then our brain is too settled in and it's it's got you there. It's just saying, you know what, I'll deal with this later. I'll deal with it. When the kids are out of the house, I'll deal with it. When we get older, I'll deal with it when we're retired, I'll deal with it when our stocks are vested, whatever it is. But our brain is designed to kick that can down the road infinitely because it just seems safer. Even though your brain may not like the situation that you're in. So that was a long tangent. But what I was talking about is there's no scarcity mindset here. And so I'm pulling an article today from the narcissistic life. And the article is called Toxic Narcissistic Family Dynamics explained, and I'm going to read a lot from this again. This is by Alexander Burmeister from his or Burmeister from his The Narcissistic Life blog.

[00:12:22] And and I'll read and react, I think is what we'll call it. And there's a quote. It's interesting because I recorded this last week, so I've thought about this so much and I realize that I can. Everything's fair game because I did not. I lost that file. So the quote that I've thought about a lot is Alexander starts this entire article off by saying in April of 2020. Trauma expert Shannon Thomas told the insider about the differences between healthy families and families where a parent has narcissistic personality disorder. And again, if you've listened up till now, I'm going to say narcissistic personality disorder or NPD, but I'm talking about whether it's full blown narcissistic personality disorder, or it's someone that exhibits narcissistic traits and tendencies because those can be on a spectrum. But for the most part, the people that are listening to this podcast are the ones that are experiencing the ones that are pretty high on that spectrum to the point of emotional abuse, financial abuse, spiritual abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, that sort of thing. So she says that the differences between healthy families and families where a parent has NPD, she says, In healthy families, you are just yourself. Your name, your talents, your strengths and weaknesses. You are the person, she said. But in a narcissistic family, things are different. Everybody has to find somewhere to be and they have to have a job to do within the family.

[00:13:39] They either support the narcissistic parent or they're the focus of the narcissistic parent's rage. And that one is really resonated with me because I thought about that. I've done a lot on the virtual couch episodes and a little bit on here as well about our attachment, the way we show up with our attachment wounds, the way we show up with their fears of abandonment, or I've been talking a lot lately about this desire or need for external validation. So every kid again starts out as self-centered, but the goal is with the proper modeling to go from self-centered to self-confident. But when you don't have that support or modeling, then we stay in self centered. And that's what causes us to have our own narcissistic traits and tendencies as we grow older. And I just thought that as simple as this quote is that in healthy families, you're just yourself. Your name, your talents, your strengths and weaknesses. You're the person. But then in a narcissistic family system, everybody has to find somewhere to be in a job to do within the family. Is that when you are being led typically in this narcissistic family dynamic that everyone, the narcissists themselves is desperate to feel special and the way they feel special is by? If someone has a different opinion, they take that as criticism and they are going to knock that opinion down and take this one up position. And so there isn't curiosity, there isn't differentiation, there isn't validation when someone has a different opinion.

[00:14:52] And so you really do as a survival skill, whether you're the spouse, whether you're the child, the kids, you start to figure out, how do I survive in this family system? Do I just lay low and not say a thing? Or do I just agree with the narcissistic parent? Do I then now join the narcissistic parent and then put down the my mom or dad or the sibling that ends up being the scapegoat child? And so what a crazy dynamic that becomes. You can't just be you, and I think about that so often with my own kids not trying to say, Oh, we've got this all figured out, but I just want to know who my kids are. I want my kids to figure out who they are. I want them to find themselves. And that is not. I want them to be a certain thing because it makes me feel better. That's that that deep version of external validation that if my kid isn't a world renowned brain surgeon, then what does that say about me? Well, that's pretty darn selfish right now. I can say I want to learn about my kid. I want them to succeed and whatever that means to them. And I want to be right there beside them as their guide. I want to be the the secure attachment to them so that as they are going about life. That they will have me to then say, hey, here's what I'm thinking, here's what I'm struggling with, and I get to say, tell me more not well, that's ridiculous.

[00:16:00] You shouldn't do that. I've told you a thousand times, this is the path to success. So that's where you just start to realize the heaviness, the weight of the narcissistic family system and what the role that can play. You already know if you're listening to this and you're the adult that it's at, what cost have you lost your sense of self? Do you have this heightened cortisol or stress hormone whenever you are in the room of the narcissistic parent or the narcissistic spouse, or even the narcissistic in-law or whatever that looks like because you have to be on guard, you can't be yourself because if you say something all of a sudden, it's going to be attacked. I don't think I went off this much on the last the hidden file, so maybe that's what we needed to talk about today. But Alexander says what's interesting is that the quote jobs are roles that Thomas talks about here are often quite similar between narcissistic families. And he says it is more and more people report their experiences, either with therapists or online than these similar roles. Keep coming up time and time again. So he goes on to say that as a society, we really need to get our heads around this. According to a study from 2008, the rates of narcissism have been increasing in the rate of increase has doubled since 2002.

[00:17:01] Now we are in twenty twenty one, approaching twenty twenty two. I'm not trying to say this with doom and gloom, but that was from 2008 and the rate of narcissism had been increasing. So I think that answers one of the questions I hear often is this increasing and you can see how if it really is about the modeling of parenting style, so is it nature? Is it nurture? Is it both? It would naturally start to increase because the people that are teaching the children to go from self-centered to self-confident, if they remain self-centered, then they are just modeling that self-centered behavior. So he said, since they are more narcissistic families out there than ever, it's important that we really understand these narcissistic family dynamics and the effect that they have on other members of the family. He said to understand the narcissistic family, we have to understand why narcissists would want to have children at all. And I thought this was interesting. We're going to we're going to go through this part pretty quickly because I want to get to the the roles and the relationship. But he said normally having kids is a natural thing. It happens when people are committed to each other and they want to share the rest of their lives together. But he said there's a word in there that generally isn't part of a narcissist vocabulary share.

[00:18:01] He said people with narcissistic personality disorder want everything to be about them and children, as we know, or perhaps the ultimate sacrifice. I have four of them. Listen to the virtual couch episode this week. One of my daughters down in Southern California, lost her last and final key, and I have learned the law in California is if my name is on the registration, I must be there in person. As they reekie, the car makes sense so that somebody can't just steal a car and say I lost my keys. So I took off Friday night, drove down to Southern California and had an amazing time with her. But I tell that story not to say I would like some pats on the back, please. I would like external validation. No, but it's there. The ultimate sacrifice. We ended up missing out on the world's greatest high school playoff football game that ever occurred in my city. Literally, it's all over the internet in a fog. This interception by my son's best friend when the game. But anyway, the ultimate sacrifice. You have to put their needs, their wants, their lives ahead of your own, even if it's in the form of driving seven hours down to Southern California to get a key made, but then having an amazing time with your kid. So as with most decisions narcissist makes, it boils down to their need for this narcissistic supply. He calls that adoration or praise or flattery. Essentially, they want the people to act around them as if they are fantastic or they're as fantastic as they imagine themselves to be.

[00:19:18] And then, he said, And then there need to avoid narcissistic injury, which is hurt feelings that arise when somebody suggests that the narcissist is not as fantastic as they think they are. And that's what I've been talking about in this world of external validation that that can come as easily as someone having a different opinion, that the narcissist views that as criticism. And then they will go to great lengths to defend their fragile egos because their minds immediately drop down into this shame where if somebody has a different opinion rather than sitting there from a differentiated place and saying, Tell me more, I love to hear about your opinion. They view it as an attack on their opinion, and so then they go to this place. Then that means that person must think I'm a horrible person when none of that's happening on the outside. The narcissist see children as an instrument to protect their ego is the next question, Alexander asked. He said, If you look at parenthood through this lens, you can start to understand how narcissists view children. Although many of them lack self-awareness, they do have a good sense of how certain behaviors are perceived. And image is everything. And as we've identified on a previous episode, narcissists are highly attuned to society's status symbols. So in other words, Alexander says that they know what's considered to be a good thing by other people.

[00:20:25] So narcissistic parents understand that if somebody is happy with they view this person's the narcissist. Life is seen as amazing, then they will see the narcissist as the better person. Therefore, a family is a way to improve their image. So, he said, now take this normal, healthy instinct to present yourself and family in a positive way, which is absolutely true. We just do that because that has to do with our need to compare because we want to be part of a group and we feel that if we are not showing up in a certain way, that the group will abandon us and. And that's a really dramatic, oversimplified version of that. But he said in this scenario, take again this normal, healthy instinct to present yourself and your family in a positive way and turn it up to 11. He said make it an all important obsession, he said. You don't need to portray a happy family member's image. You must portray the best family image. And he said the happiest, most functional, most successful family ever is what this needs to be. We are the special flowers. We are the most special family and then even my my thoughts here too, as he said, that it's not only he was talking about that, I feel like it's not just that, but then you also now have to either put yourself on the level of people that you think are also amazing families, or you have to now start to put others down and take this one up position.

[00:21:35] So he said, as well as being a way to present a good image to the outside world, a family gives the narcissist another opportunity a group of people that they will be able to maneuver into giving them the narcissistic supply that they need. He said it creates this mini world where they can retreat to and be the top of the social hierarchy, no matter what else happens elsewhere in their lives. They have this safe space to return to that their family is the most special family. And so, he said, as we learned earlier, achieving these goals involves pushing family members into some common narcissistic family roles. So this is the fascinating part, he says. All right, let's break down this narcissistic family dynamic and see what these roles are. And keep in mind that all of these roles tend to be persistent. That is, a child tends to only have one role in the vast majority of the time that the roles can also be fairly fluid, and you'll see what we mean by that, he said. Roles can change depending on the narcissistic person, the parent's whims or how people behave in this narcissistic family system. And I just want to say again, all the while this is the opposite of letting someone just be them in approaching them with a what do you want to do when you grow up? Who are you? What do you enjoy? Tell me more.

[00:22:37] And it isn't about saying, I can't believe you think that. I can't believe you want to do that. Do you know what that would mean to me? You're going to let me down and those sort of things. So I feel like at the forefront of this entire conversation is I would love for you to look at how you're showing up with your own kids. Yes, it means you mean so well when you want the best for them and you want to guide them and you want them to have success. But what does that mean? Is it? I want them to have the success that I want them to have because that makes me feel better about myself or look better around others, or I want them to find their success. And I want to be I sure want to be an adviser. I would love to say, Man, what would it look like if you explored this career opportunity or this educational path, but not you need to do this or you are a complete idiot? Let's jump right in and talk about the narcissistic family scapegoat. And actually, before I get back to this article by Alexander that I absolutely love, I had another tab that I had found long ago and looking up some information about the scapegoat and I just remembered it. It's a site called anchored abode, and they have some of the coolest information about scapegoat children or the scapegoat in the narcissistic relationship.

[00:23:39] This, and I do not know who the author of this this website is, but I'll put this in the show notes as well. But they said they're talking about. Have you heard the term love hate relationship? Nothing could define the relationship between a narcissist and a scapegoat better. And so here's a couple of quotes they share. The narcissistic scapegoat exist to carry off the wrongdoings of the narcissist, carry the shame and the burden of the narcissist sins, especially if the narcissist feels like something may be their fault or is triggered into feeling guilt or shame. They project that onto the scapegoat for the scapegoat to deal with so the narcissist can wash their hands of the matter and move on emotionally. And again, we're talking about narcissism, and the narcissistic scapegoat typically is one of the children. But I think if you're if you're catching the vibe, there's a definitely, excuse me, a scapegoat aspect for the spouse and the depth which they talk about on this. This anchor tivoed site says that this is truly traumatic because the scapegoat definition points to a denigration of the scapegoat as a person to keep them submissive. And it's common when dealing with the two opposing parties to find a commonality to bond them together. So within the narcissist family structure, the members are all pitted against each other as though they are enemies, which is the complete opposite of the family dynamic that I think that most of the pathologically kind people would like.

[00:24:54] They want this family. They want everybody to come back and feel comfortable and love to be home. Thanksgiving's coming up. I have all of my kids come in and my son in law, and we just want it to be this place where we can all just hang and just just enjoy each other's company and not have this overall level of cortisol and thicken the air where people have to figure out, what do I say or who do I need to be so that I can manage the emotions of everybody in the room? But here's what I loved about this website, this author, they said. Ironically, the scapegoat is actually the most stable. And they said, in contrast to popular belief, the scapegoat definition conveys is what is unrealized by most. That the scapegoat is the most grounded because they are aware of their feelings because they are willing to be truthful. They're emotionally healthy. As a person in the narcissistic family, they're the one that is ready to fight for justice. I talk often to someone who has taken on the role of the scapegoat, and they are made to feel crazy, especially in a large, narcissistic family dynamic where the person that finally says, Wait, this isn't right, this isn't OK. Now, all of a sudden, they're the ones that are made to feel crazy, they're the ones that the entire family system is now saying, Oh man, you have anger issues.

[00:26:01] You need to see somebody about that when in reality, this person is now bringing true awareness to an insane situation. There are a sometimes think of them as almost packs of narcissistic families in different areas, and a lot of the emails that I've received have been really when I talk about the length of some of the emails, they've been ones where just as an example, let's say that there are a bunch of narcissistic siblings. Let's say there was a narcissistic grandma or grandpa. And then there is the whole family that was then raised and that dynamic. So there's a nice group of brothers and sisters that now they marry and they have kids, but then the people that they have married to slowly start to realize, Wait a minute, I'm allowed to have my own opinion and I'm not crazy, and I've been trying to manage my family's emotions for so long. So they start to have their own opinions and then have their own opinions. Then they are met by their spouses as then saying, Jeez, you won't let things go or you. You now have all these anger issues, and this is where that gaslighting starts to come into play. So then the more that the person realizes, no, it's OK for me to have my own opinion, it's OK for me to have my own experiences. And when that isn't now viewed in a relationship with curiosity, when it isn't viewed from a place of differentiation.

[00:27:09] Now this person suddenly, let's say it's a wife in this example. Now, all of a sudden, she now becomes the scapegoat of the entire family of all of the her husband's brothers and sisters, all of their their spouses. Because if someone is threatening that this family dynamic, this family system isn't unique and special. Now, the group must bond together to make the person that is bringing awareness to some things that just aren't right to make them feel crazy almost like this gaslighting by committee. So what happens is that now we get into this echo chamber and this group or this family system full of narcissists all now need to tell each other what they all want to hear. So do they still feel like they are special and the people that are finally saying, Wait a minute, I'm learning more about what a relationship really should be like that those people are. The more that they want to talk about things, the more that they want to say, Wait, these things aren't right in our family, then the more they're ostracized. So it can be one thing when you're waking up to the narcissism of a spouse, but it's a completely different animal when you're waking up to the narcissism of an entire family system. But the traits remain the same. To get your baseline up self care, get that PhD in gaslighting and then just get out of these.

[00:28:21] These conversations that are that are not going to go anywhere and then learn to set boundaries. And here's what I think is fascinating. There's that fifth piece I like to talk about. Realize there's not anything that you're going to say or do that's going to cause the aha moment or the epiphany and change the narcissist or the narcissistic family. But once you have gotten yourself into a good place with that now you can start to look at what a real boundary looks like. So if someone is really saying completely negative or horrible things about about the person who is now exited this narcissistic family system, what a boundary starts to look like is, Hey, if I hear that you are now saying that I am the one that is crazy, then I'm going to. I'm going to stand my ground and I'm I'm going to then share that. Ok, actually, here's the facts is now I see them, and I know that this can sound like all of a sudden we're going tit for tat. But there's a significant difference in realizing there's nothing I can say or do that will cause the AHA or the epiphany. But just knowing that then when someone exits the narcissistic relationship, whether it's with an individual or a family, that narcissist or that narcissistic family now is going to create an entirely false narrative and basically taken a giant one up stand on the person that is now leaving the relationship or leaving the family in order to make themselves feel like they were right and that they are special.

[00:29:36] So I feel like there's a real different dynamic to a boundary versus saying something in order to try and have someone change. So it's basically if someone is saying, Oh no, because I have all these examples where people all of a sudden spread a rumor that, OK, oh no, he divorced her because she found out she was cheating and she was there. She wasn't. So if that's the case, and now she, whoever she is, finds out from someone that that he is saying that, oh no, she was cheating, then that's where it may sound petty, but a boundary can be, Oh no, I wasn't he? A relationship wasn't based in reality, or I realized that there was a tremendous amount of lies or falsehoods or so that. And again, I know that can sound like we're going into tit for tat mode. But until you've been in one of these types of relationships, it can be completely maddening so you can be absolutely zen and be a mindfulness guru. But then if the narcissist is continuing to just build an army based off of lies that they're telling other people to make themselves feel better, that what we're saying is that there's a way to potentially stop the building of the army, because then the narcissist will then basically just focus their supply on someone else if they.

[00:30:46] And I think it's Christine Hammond that it talks about, this is almost like training the narcissist. If the narcissist realize that, Oh, wow, if I say this bad thing about. My former spouse and now my former spouse is going to actually say in a in a pretty competent way, that's absolutely incorrect. Every time you say that about me, I will then share this truth, then they don't look at that and go, Oh my gosh, I need to stop because I'm saying the wrong thing. But they look at that as almost if there's now this electric fence and the grass and the the yard and the dog is now trained that if they go past that barrier, they're going to get shocked. So what are they going to do? They're going to go to a different side of the they're going to go a different side of the yard to play, in essence. So I hope that makes sense. That's something that I don't see a lot written about. But in working with enough people that have broken free from narcissistic spouses or narcissistic family dynamics, that it's one thing to just say goes in. Just don't let it affect you and take the high road. And those things are all wonderful. They are based in some really good places. But the reality is that sometimes you have to stop by a boundary. The this snowball or avalanche effect of the narcissist trying to create this false narrative of someone just to make them feel better about their decision to to their narcissistic or their pathologically kind spouse's decided to finally stand up for themselves, understand that it's OK for them to have their own thoughts, feelings, emotions and opinions, and leave the relationship where in a normal, healthy relationship, the the partner, the narcissistic spouse in that scenario.

[00:32:14] I guess if they were not, the narcissist would then say, Oh my gosh, you're right, I didn't. I had no idea that you felt oppressed. I had no idea that you weren't sharing your true feelings, thoughts and emotions. And that's the part that I love about being a couple's therapist is when you realize they just didn't know and they didn't have the tools to be able to truly communicate and express their differences. Again, that is key difference when working with narcissists as a couple's therapist is providing them with tools. And then instead of seeing this, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry, it's no they're still wrong or that isn't what I really meant, or no, I didn't really ever say it that way or. And then basically the nurse exiting therapy. So boy, this is going on a lot longer than I had anticipated. I think I'm off on a little bit of a soapbox here. Let me step down off of that soapbox. But the author, when I was saying this, the scapegoat is the direct threat to the narcissist.

[00:33:01] They say that for this reason, it's no coincidence that this person is belittled and tormented into submission. It's the only way the narcissist can maintain control over a confident person. In essence, the narcissist will continually try to crush the strength out of the scapegoat. And they say what is also in realize is that the scapegoats emotional stability usually equips them to be the strongest and first to set boundaries against the nurses. So the scapegoat is typically the first to walk away from the toxic family. As they get older, they will start questioning. Wait, am I really that bad? Could I actually be the cause of these problems? Was this really my fault? And no, it wasn't. And that's where they say that the smear campaign begins. So moreover, it is that very inner dialog that ultimately saves them from the continual abuse. And it bolsters this courage needed to withstand the smear campaign. The author says that they need that courage because they're daring to step away. But then, however, the scapegoats reputation is now a focus for the narcissist. It's now an immediate threat to the narcissist or the narcissistic family, to the person that confronted them. So if a narcissist cannot sway the scapegoat to come back into the toxic relationship or the toxic family dynamic, then they will decide to protect their own image or protect their narcissistic family by destroying the person who dared stand up against them. So then you've got the friends and the families and all these people, the church leaders, the whoever is there are told these fabricated stories about how that person is crazy or their messed up, or they see a therapist or they've had to they've had to get medication or that sort of thing or how they have problems or they're overreacting or they're not forgiving or they're unloving.

[00:34:28] And the fact is that is all this just smokescreen to draw attention away from what the narcissist is actually doing. Did they just completely move on from from the marriage or the relationship? Did they not take ownership of the the role that they played in destroying relationships with close family members, their children? So and that is what they are going to now push away from because they cannot take ownership of that because they feel like someone is telling them that they doing something wrong. So the narcissist knows that, and this is the thing where people say, Well, is this conscious or is this just subconscious? But they know that they they are going to try to jump out there and control the narrative, and it's almost like they feel so you could set a boundary and say, Hey, we oh, sure, we're going to get a divorce. We didn't see eye to eye, but let's not talk negative about each other. And I have watched these dynamics so often where the couple then says, Yeah, no, we're not going to. And so then they get out among friends and a friend says, Hey, I heard you guys got divorced.

[00:35:25] And where let's say the wife in this situation is going to say, Yeah, we just we just grew apart. But then the this dynamic, the husband is going to say, Yeah, she she was really struggling with a lot of things. She's I don't know if she's doing really well, but I'm praying for. I hope she's going to get to a better place. And so basically then having this, it looks like captain empathy. But in reality, it is saying it's not taking ownership for any bit of their role in the dissolution of the marriage and now having to make the other person the wife. The scenario look and feel crazy so that they feel better about themselves, and the thing that kills me is it's that nurses don't even know what a healthy divorce if they I know they can sound like an oxymoron, but a healthy separation or what that can look like because what the effect it can have on the kids, what that really can look like and it's so simple is to just say, Yeah, we grew apart. I hope that they I hope that they are doing well. We want to be the best parents, the co-parents. We want to be the best coach grandparents that we can be. But they don't realize that because they're so impulsive in the moment to protect their fragile egos that then they are just saying these horrific negative things about this person that was once such a significant part of their life.

[00:36:32] And I think that just again shows just the character of the narcissist and again, man soapbox number two. Let me get off of this, and let's get back to this article by Andrew. So that just like I appreciated that this author talking about the scapegoat is actually the most stable, whether it's the scapegoat of a spouse or whether it's the scapegoat in the children. But they are the most stable because they are the ones that have truly woken up to this narcissism. And as they have woken up to that, that is the place that puts them in a more. Now they're going to go through some pretty rough patches to get to this better place, this higher ground. But I promise you, it is worth it when you get there. So man, now I feel like I'm back to this the nurse's family scapegoat from Alexander's article, and I'm going to buzz through this quick because we had a lot more to cover. We're going to talk about the golden child. We're going to talk about some examples from the group that I run. But in essence, then the scapegoat role in the narcissistic family is exactly what it sounds like, Alexander said. There the person in the family who gets the blame for everything. The narcissistic parent can use the scapegoat to generate the narcissistic supply through put downs and insults other forms of abuse.

[00:37:35] And then we'll try to turn the rest of the family against them, to which I can appreciate this term. He calls it family mobbing, but that abuse is not always overt and direct, and it can be subtle. So he shares that if the scapegoat triggers this narcissistic injury in the parent, then they may be punished directly. Most likely or indirectly, they most likely will. And he gives these examples that sounds so subtle, and it go back to that episode I did called death by a thousand cuts. But he said, for example, the narcissistic parent may cancel the their karate lessons, but say it's because they can't afford them. But when, in truth, it's because the scapegoat stepped out of line in some way. So he says, why does a child become? It's another form of control. It is so important for the nurses to manage other people's behavior because again, it gives them that supply. So the problem is with their children, it is different because the narcissists the children is an extension of themselves. So because of that, they do project their own traits and he says, both positive and negative onto their kids. But since the narcissists themselves are so insecure again, if we look at it, I think an episode I did a week or two ago where we talk about that pathological defensive narcissism, where they have this mask that is just paper thin that then when they feel like they are all of a sudden questioned that they are not the expert on everything or they don't know better than all of those around them that then they turn that immediately into anger because they can't take responsibility or ownership, or the fact that it's OK to say, Yeah, I don't know.

[00:38:51] I'm not really sure. Again, I go back to all these, OK, I could. I could tell you so many examples. But he says so with the children, though, it's different. So when the nurse sees the children as an extension of themselves, both positive and negative, that the narcissists have this insecurity, they project the weaker side of themselves onto their onto one of their children, the scapegoat. So they need to find this scapegoat to then be able to dump their own insecurities onto. And then they find this golden child to then say, and here is the fruit of my loins, not even having a clue of the damage that can do to either of the kids or all of them. And what that feels like to the entire family is now they have to manage their own roles. And do they support the scapegoat at times? Or are they going to become the target of the nurse's rage? Or even as we'll talk about here in a little bit what that can do to the golden child? So let me just run through a couple of examples that I found from the group.

[00:39:42] Ok, so one of the examples of the scapegoat child that I just have to share and I'm changing up a few things just so that we can maintain good confidentiality, but this is such a good example where the person shared that they one of their sons they can clearly identify is the scapegoat. And in one situation, the husband became fixated on things in the house even when they weren't turned on pulling power and costing money. And I love how this person had shared that she did a little of our own research, and it may cost somewhere around twenty five cents a year to leave a cell phone charger plugged in. And so while there were multiple people in the home, this scapegoat son then became the target of the husband, saying, You keep believing your things plugged in. This is a problem. You're costing me money, this sort of thing. And other than not doing that with anybody else. And so I felt like that was such a good example because there are other people in the home. It's a pretty I love that, she said. There's some truth a quarter a year, but it's a pretty flawed premise to begin with. So it does become more of a control issue. And then we will now target the scapegoat to then allow the narcissist there to take the one up position because they can make someone else feel bad. And if you just look at that, step back and say, OK, this is where is it? Is it more important to have control or love and an adult relationship? And this is clearly an issue of control.

[00:41:05] There were some other examples of scapegoat as well, and they just become it's heartbreaking. Another one where someone talked about one of their sons who has ADHD, and so everything that their son does, then that one's an easy one to say that's the scapegoat. So the husband can take this one up position and then say everything that he does is so annoying would be the buyer that they would project on to the scapegoat kid. This is the one with ADHD. And so then what is the son start to feel like? It doesn't matter what he does, he is going to feel less than and especially if there's somebody else there, another kid that does not have ADHD, where then you can see that is going to be someone where the narcissistic parent is going to say, Why can't you be more like this person and just think of what that does to the psyche of anyone. It doesn't mean even have to just be a young child. Any person where and people that feel like that scapegoat often feel like, then it really is what's wrong with them. It must be then goes right back to those abandonment issues that we talk about, that when you're moving from childhood and adolescence into adulthood, we are programed to feel like if if people are responding in ways that don't really feel like they hear us or understand us that then it must be me, it isn't the fact that it might be this person who has a problem personality disorder, but it's more of what am I doing? So then I start trying to do anything I can to make things better, to get this person to like me because it goes back to that.

[00:42:34] We still want the validation of other people, especially our parents. So that really is. There are so many more examples, though, of the scapegoat child that that maybe we will. I don't know. Maybe I have a big announcement. I think I want to make next week about ways to get to more of these Q&A and more examples, because I feel like the more that people really do hear those, the more they start to feel like they are not alone or they're not the ones that are going crazy, just some comfort in numbers or just starting to to people. The emails I'm getting are people that are just saying that it's bizarre to hear all of the similarities. But the second time we move on to the golden child, so the golden child and then what? It's funny. I feel like I have to do a reset, but it's because I started the podcast recording this morning and it's 12 hours later. And so I was going to say, Hey, so we're still here with Alexander Burmeister from the narcissistic life where in reality you have been there the entire time.

[00:43:28] So I feel like I will probably end up editing this part out. So Alexander says the golden child is pretty much the opposite to the scapegoat, where the scapegoat is the target of anger and criticism. The Golden Child is the target of praise and adoration. And most of the time, the golden child can do no wrong. Their successes are celebrated as if they are the narcissistic parents own, and their failures are brushed under the carpet or and this one is so true or blamed on the scapegoat. Some of the examples that I saw were things where if the golden child needed more training, let's say it was with athletics or that sort of thing, and then the scapegoat child got a ticket. This is an example that I had in my office not too long ago. Then, instead of just the fact that the scapegoat child got a speeding ticket because he's a human being and not trying to make him feel bad about that, then the scapegoat child, the money that they were going to pay on that ticket then became the reason why they couldn't get gold and child the training they needed, which would most likely this is according to the narcissistic parent, mean that golden child may not get the opportunity to play at a college that would then maybe get them even to the pro, so a speeding ticket to the scapegoat child ends up turning into and you just ruined your golden sibling's chance at the NFL and.

[00:44:41] Those are real stories. They really are. So the golden child tries to test boundaries of the parent with narcissistic personality disorder, and they soon learn that there's no real love or friendship behind the praise and can be taken away just as easily as it can be given out. So that's what's interesting, too, is that oftentimes the golden child, because it becomes almost a survival mechanism that when they recognize that they are the golden child. And I have talked to these people that have realized down the road that they were that golden child. They knew who that scapegoat child was, and it's almost like they have to do this to each man their own where when they are adults, then they want to say, I wish I could have just let my brother know or my sister know that I saw them, that I understood what they were. I could see what they were going through. But the golden child is trying to survive themselves, and they don't want to be made to feel less than as well. So they start to learn to play the game, they start to learn what they do. They can't and can't say, even sometimes to the detriment of where the narcissistic parent will want the golden child to join them as they talk negatively about the scapegoat child.

[00:45:39] And then Alexander says, How is the golden child chosen? Wonderful question. In some cases, it will be because they bring status to the family in the eyes of the narcissistic parent. For example, they might be captain of the football team, a straight-A student, or this one. It happens often they may be particularly attractive. So in other cases, it might be the child who is more attentive to the narcissist who buys into their view of the world must readily. I see that one a lot when it comes to people who absolutely agree with the narcissist, take on anything from politics to sports teams that are good or who they like in their church or that sort of thing. And so sometimes the wonder is that does the Golden Child adopt those similar beliefs as a way to attach or to get that validation? Or if they do just happen to believe that, then they go all in on that. And the more that they feed that narcissistic supply of the narcissistic parent, then the more that the scapegoat child looks like they do not support the narcissistic parent, as we've talked about before, then that can be viewed as criticism or an attack or saying that the narcissistic parent is wrong, to which then that narcissistic parent goes back to the old will say anything or do anything to defend their fragile ego.

[00:46:46] So whatever the reason, though, it will be something that helps the narcissistic parent get their supply, either by helping them present a happy family image to the outside world, or by simply making them feel more important within the world of the narcissist internal family life. So the golden child vs. the scapegoat child, Alexander said. In a way, the dynamic between the narcissistic parent, the scapegoat child and the golden child is this form of triangulation so that the abuse may not be directly targeted at the scapegoat, such as the bullying or insults and put downs, but it might be more indirect using the golden child as proxy. So, for example, he talks about the scapegoat. I want to take up an instrument like the violin, but they'll told they can't do it because they're spending too much money on the scapegoat child's Typekit adolescence. So instead of the parent stepping up and saying I, I am insecure and I do not want to tell anyone, no, so I'm going to pin this on the scapegoat child or they don't want to feel less than if they can't afford to have both lessons. So instead of saying we just aren't in a position to do that, it has to be, well, I wish we could. But these doggone tyquan adolescents, and if there isn't as much left for the scapegoat, then that's just how it is. The narcissistic parent uses the golden child is this tool of abuse by literally showing favoritism in front of the rest of the family, and he talks about favoritism isn't unique to narcissistic parent, so we don't assume that just because favoritism is going on, that it's because of narcissism.

[00:48:05] And he quotes one study in 2010 that found that 70 percent of mothers and multi sibling families could name a child they felt closest to. And ninety two percent of the children can name a sibling who argued with their parents most often. So the study also found poor mental health implications as a result of this normal favoritism. So once again, we see this pattern where narcissistic behaviors are the extreme end or an exaggerated version of things that are fairly normal. And this isn't an exact example of that, but I will find that oftentimes when people have gone through divorce and even we're not even talking about narcissistic co-parenting, but when there are when there's a divorce and the teenagers or whatever age kids are shuttling between mom and dad, and people will come in and talk to me about how, oh my gosh, because of this divorce, my kids are playing me off of each other. They're telling dad one thing. They're telling me another thing where I love, when I can bring a little bit of normalization, say, Oh no, that that is just teenager behavior. My kids will often ask me or have in the past asked my wife one day if they can get some money for something and then the next day, ask me.

[00:49:11] And then a few days later, my wife. And so then to me, it feels like they're not asking for very much. But boy, they can just be geniuses. So that doesn't necessarily mean that we're Typekit narcissistic parents. That can be a normal pattern, but you can see that the narcissistic behaviors will often expose the extreme end of a behavior. He talks a little bit about how the golden child treats the scapegoat child. They said the golden child might be encouraged to join in on the abuse, as we talked about earlier, either directly or indirectly. And sadly, they often do for a number of reasons, including to please the parent to live up to expectations. Ins to maintain this high status or because they have inherited or adopted a tendency toward narcissistic personality disorder themselves and or fear and all those who might not happen in all cases, if the golden child does adopt the behaviors, then it's understandable to say that life could be pretty difficult for the scapegoat. And the golden child might start to abuse the scapegoat in the exact same way that the narcissistic parent does, such as blaming them for the Golden Child's own mistakes and shortcomings. And I think that's how you start to see people worry often that, Oh my gosh, is my child going to become a narcissist? And remembering that children in general are. But I think this is starting to show that if the nurses can't take ownership for something and say my bad, then you can start to see here where we're handing that golden child the same ability to then say, Man, I could have done better if it hadn't been for the scapegoat.

[00:50:28] This one is interesting, too. Alexander talks about the enabling parent, he said, because people with narcissistic personality disorder are deeply dependent on others for their supply. Or, as we've talked about here, they seek they absolutely drink up that external validation the they usually have enablers in their lives. And he says that often the romantic partner is one of them, although the enabler can also be taken up by other siblings and by enabler, it can sound so this such a negative thing. But I think, as we've identified on this podcast already, several times, it can often be the enabler is the pathologically kind person or the person who acts as the buffer who is going to make things better. And they're doing it for all the best reasons because they know that if they aren't, they're trying to negotiate the family situations that things could be bad for the kids. So it's almost as altruistic put themselves as this sacrifice in the family for the good of the kids and trying to just make things as smooth as possible. So he said enabler simply someone who then supports or encourages a particular behavior in another person.

[00:51:30] The enabling parent usually buys into the nurse's view of reality and will generally not question it. In fact, they might even make excuses for the nurse's behavior. Try to downplay the negative aspects of it, and they say that this is usually especially true in public, where they might serve as a kind of a reputation cleanup crew, which I love that phrase, but also within the family structure. They might downplay the abuse that's targeted as the scapegoat, and I feel like this one is where I want to start moving into the realm of what it will look like to co-parent with a narcissist and and be able to go there next. And even before I get to that, I think it's safe to say that it isn't always just we're talking here about narcissistic family dynamic and the scapegoat child, the golden child. But often the spouse of the narcissist really does become the scapegoat. As part of that, I know that Alexander talks about the enabling the piece of that and enabling. This is where I feel so bad because I feel like the kind, nice person who was trying to manage the situation. It would fit technically under this enabler, but they're enabling because they are trying to make the best of the situation based on the information that they have to deal with. And I think that there's a couple of examples from the group when I posed this question where people talk about, let's say, the wives in this situation with the husband being the narcissistic parent that where Alexander would talk about the enabler.

[00:52:56] But then they find themselves in the role of the scapegoat. There's a phenomenal example where one of the women was talking about how she would buy presents for everybody and everybody from the people in her family, her kids and her husband, and she would also buy presence in her husband's family. And so at one point, the husband had said, I want to take care of this. I've got something that I want to buy my family and he doesn't follow through. So then Christmas rolls around and she hears him talking to his family, and he says, Did you get presents? Did he get the presents we sent? And they said no. And then he said, Oh my gosh, my wife must not have sent those presents. And so then she gets to literally hear him throwing her under the bus because then it makes him not feel bad that they don't have presents. And so when she then asks him why or why did he say that? Because she reminds him, you were going to buy them presents? And she even knew the exact present that he had said he was going to buy. He then says, I didn't have time to do that because I'm the one that works. You're the one that is at home all day. So he still couldn't take any ownership, and now she was the scapegoat, and his family now thinks that she's the one that dropped the ball when in reality, she was more than willing to jump in and do what she always did and buy those presents to make him look good.

[00:54:14] Now she doesn't because he said that he wanted to take care of that. He didn't, doesn't take ownership of it. She ends up not feeling worse, looking bad. And so you can see where then the as Alexander says, the enabler. Sometimes I want to say the buffer or the pathologically kind person becomes the one who then takes the brunt of everything. Or there's another wonderful example in the group Wonderful. Wonderful is the wrong word. It's it breaks my heart example, but a good example of another woman who was talking about how her mom, who was the narcissistic parent in her family that ends up marrying another person that just feeds her narcissistic mother. And I do often see that sometimes I have people say, Does the narcissist ever find themselves with another narcissist? And absolutely. And sometimes people say, Well, how does that work? It's because they're both just and I know I use humor sometimes where these are intense situations, but where they both are just feeding each other of how amazing and wonderful they are while also not listening to the other person. So it's quite a dynamic. But what happens is neither of them are taking ownership of things, which I think it just feels like there's a double dose of crazy pills going around, especially in things like holiday situations and the person who's trying who's typically been again, as Alexander says, the enabler or I say, the buffer, the person that's trying to manage the situation so that their kids may not feel less than or in the spotlight of the narcissist.

[00:55:37] But then everybody feels crazy. She gave examples of people just hanging out around the home of the nurses around the holidays and everybody checking in saying, Hey, is everybody in the area? Are we going in together because we almost have to go in as a united front? Because if somebody gets in there and they are isolated and alone, then now all the gaslighting is going to be focused on that one person. And what I thought was really interesting is in this scenario, this person said that she's also seen her daughter become the scapegoat. Or so sometimes the scapegoat is the wife, the mom, or it's the kid. But then it's her narcissistic mother and narcissistic mothers, new husband that those are the two narcissists. So there's just a double dose of this family dynamic of narcissism. And but what was so, so interesting is she said that. She feels like her mom is trying to recreate what I know I'm being confusing, the woman who posted in the group said it was their dynamic growing up with her grandparents, so her mother's parents, who her mother's parents were the kindest, nicest people.

[00:56:35] So people did want to go to grandma and grandpa for the holidays. So now the person who posts its mom is in essence saying, I want to recreate that. But rather than recreating it from a place of genuine love and empathy they're creating, they're trying to create it from a place of control. And don't you? Why don't you? Why don't you kids adore and admire me like we all adored and admired her parents or the person posting his grandparents? And it's because it's not based on a foundation of actual empathy and in providing this emotionally stable environment, which I think the reason I love that post is because I think the people that are hearing this and are saying, Man, OK, it's nice to feel like I'm not the crazy one, but what do I do next? Because I feel like the buffering or the enabling that the pathologically kind person is trying to do in this situation is literally trying to create this wonderful family tradition. So here we go into the holidays Thanksgiving, Christmas, and I know that I just want to. I hope if you're hearing this, it's making sense. I feel like I'm all over the place, but I hope it's making sense and that I see you and I know that you are saying, OK, it's another year. Here come the holidays, and what can I do to make this work? But it's that thing where the very way that you're trying to make it work by buffering and by managing is what probably makes you feel even more crazy.

[00:57:56] So I don't know if going into the holidays now with this new awareness and knowledge and knowing that, OK, this year I am going to go in knowing I'm not crazy. That's that second thing I like to talk about that you're starting to get maybe, maybe get your bachelor's now, maybe get your associate's degree in gas lighting. Maybe you're studying to get your bachelor's, and one of the exams that you're going to about to take is going to be. Maybe one of the exams that you're about to take is going to be witnessing this family dynamic from a completely different lens, so you're going to go in there with your emotional baseline a bit higher because of this awareness, you're going to you're going to really try to be aware of the gaslighting and you're going to get out of these unproductive conversations because, you know, now that they aren't going to go in a positive direction. And I also hope that in that scenario, then you're going to learn to start to set boundaries that OK, if somebody is starting to gaslight my scapegoat kid, then the boundary of my said is, we're going to we're going to we're going to take off now or we're going to we're going to walk outside or I'm going to I'm going to validate the scapegoat kids experience in that moment.

[00:58:58] And that's where I start to get into. And then that number five thing realize there isn't anything you're going to say or do that's going to cause them to have the AHA moment you're doing these things more from a boundary than, say, I acknowledge the scapegoat kid I do in this moment, or if I'm being the scapegoat in that scenario that I'm going to calm calmly, competently express that I have a different opinion or I disagree with what somebody is saying. Knowing that is, it could likely bring some emotion where the nervous system might go into the Oh my gosh, I can't. Why are you being so difficult or but knowing that, OK, no, I'm starting to have my own opinions and stand up for myself, which goes a little bit into what I had alluded to a minute ago, which is the co-parenting with the narcissist. Whether you are co-parenting, whether you are parenting with the narcissist, I think this is the stuff that's really interesting to me, and I don't feel like there's a whole lot written on this, and I would like to change that. But and it sounds so wrong for somebody if somebody is listening and they do not understand what narcissism does in a relationship, a parenting relationship, a co-parenting relationship that we're if we accept the fact that there is most always going to be the scapegoat child or the person that the narcissist is going to put in that one down position, then rather than be the buffer rather than make up reasons why.

[01:00:16] And let me just give the generic example that that I run into often where let's say that whether you are any divorced from a narcissist situation or you are currently parenting with a narcissist and you are sitting with the child and dad is supposed to come pick up the child. So again, it could be whether it's coming from a divorce standpoint or dad is just supposed to come and take the child somewhere else. And dad has forgotten dads two hours late, and this is where if you just hear this and you haven't had this live this experience, somebody's going to say, OK, so he's not perfect. He's running a little late. But no, we're talking about a consistent pattern of not taking ownership or accountability of things like being late or saying, Yeah, I'll come get you. Because in that moment, the nurses then feels that external validation people say, OK, good. No, that'd be great if he came and picked them up or you took him somewhere with you. And then they don't show up that. Instead of saying, Hey, champ, the I'm sure your dad had a lot going on. I'm sure he's just busy. But when you're sitting there internalizing, Oh my gosh, I'm the one now sitting here again, trying to comfort my child who feels left and abandoned by their dad.

[01:01:18] And again, this is just where the father is in our system situation. I know it could be the mom as well, but I think the the the better way is that when we're doing that, then what we're basically telling that child is that you're wrong. You are wrong to feel this way. There's a good reason why dad did this, but the kid is starting to feel like, OK. And then I guess my emotions, my opinions or my view of the situation must be wrong as well. So I'm going to start questioning my view of reality, where I think there's a I guess we could call it a middle ground there where I'm going to say, Hey, I am so sorry. What what are you feeling right now? And if they're saying, I'm mad, I'm mad that dad forgot again, I'm mad that he's late. I thought that, and I can't imagine that he's going to come and say, Oh, I thought that you were going to remind me, or I thought you were going to bring the I thought you were going to bring him where I was. And so saying, man, that would be frustrating, but that really would. I'm so sorry that you that you feel like there are times where he doesn't care or I feel and again, I'm validating what they are sharing.

[01:02:16] I'm not telling them, Oh, no, no, he does care, but I'm not saying the opposite. I'm not throwing him under the bus and saying, I know he totally doesn't care. He does this to me too, but I'm validating and empathizing with what the child is expressing. So if they're expressing frustration, if they're expressing hurt or anger, those are all valid emotions because they're the emotions that that person is having. So we can validate them and say, No, that would be hard. That would be really hard if you feel like he doesn't show up or she in situations that she forgot again. I hear you. That would be really difficult. But hey, I just appreciate you expressing yourself. So we're validating and we're building that inner wealth. We're validating and then we're saying, but I but I see you. I acknowledge that you are consistently trying. You're putting yourself in positions where you're hoping that dad will come because you want this experience with him. So that would be hard. So what am I doing? I'm not telling him he's wrong, the kid. I'm validating them. I'm showing them what empathy looks like, and I'm not making excuses for somebody. And so I really feel like that's one of those things that we'll explore a lot more in the coming weeks about co-parenting. There's a little bit more here, but I feel like this one's going on. I. Actually recorded this over two days and three different situations, so I don't know if this thing is going to end up being 30 minutes or an hour, but I will share the length of this post from the narcissistic life because there's a little bit more here.

[01:03:31] We just talked about the enabling parent and Alexander goes into impact on the family scapegoat. And there's a couple of good quotes that come out of this one is from Peg Streep as Psychology Today, who reports an experience of the girl who had been a scapegoat by her family. And the quote says, I honestly believed every word my mother and siblings said about me. I blamed myself for everything and I couldn't take credit or feel pride in anything. So when something good happened that it was a fluke when something went wrong, I knew I had made it happen because I was flawed and deficient, which then shows those abandonment attachment things that we talk about in previous episodes, and even the impact on the Golden Child. The Golden Child is also, Alexander says, the porn and the nurses game. They're being pushed into this role. They're being abused and manipulated to. And the purpose of that golden child's role, I can remember, is to support a tend to or provide the supply to the narcissistic parent and often to the complete exclusion of their own needs and wants. So Julie Hall, a trauma consultant that tells the story of this person, named Lynn, a woman who was pushed into the golden child role in her family growing up.

[01:04:28] She said it was too complicated for me to manage having relationships other than with my mother, who was her, the nurses and her family. My only friends were people I could hang out with at school when my mother couldn't expect me to be at home and it was horribly suffocating. That's the fascinating work of suffocating. I felt I couldn't breathe, and it was like I was in jail. So the golden child, he says, is more likely to become trapped with the narcissist due to this undeserved praise. So it creates this this. I was going to say the word conundrum, but it creates this just interesting dynamic where the golden child is getting their validation and praise and their kids. They want that again. It goes back to that. That's how they're trying to make sense of the world as if, well, if my parent is praising me, then I think I must be OK. If my parents getting mad at me, then it must be me. That's our view as kids. So then he just talks about the narcissistic family tree. Does it run in families? And maybe just to be able to give a shout out to I'll put in the show notes there again the link to this article so you can go check out that what he has to say about the narcissistic family tree. So let me wrap this up, and I will just say again, I so appreciate you being here.

[01:05:29] If you feel like you're a woman in particular in relationship with the narcissistic male, whether it's currently, whether it's and it could be a parent, it could be a sibling, it could be in a work environment. I have a really neat group that is this really it's it's so powerful to watch people interact and feel heard and understood. So you can send me an email through my website and we'll see if we can get you connected there. But please continue to send me your emails, send me suggestions for episodes, send me your questions. Like I mentioned earlier, we're going to do something with some Q&A here coming up pretty soon, but I just can't thank you enough for being here. This is funny because again, I'm recording this a completely. Day after I started the recording, I had not been on my social media and a little bit because no one had started causing anxiety because I feel like, Oh my gosh, I start to do my own comparisons of other people that are doing the work that I do, or I feel like if I don't have enough time to get back to people, then I feel bad about that. But I was on last night and somebody had sent me a direct message and said that they found me thanks to an article on KSL about podcasters that had Utah roots because I had gone to high school and college there.

[01:06:35] And it was a phenomenal, amazing article.

[01:06:37] And I know now that there are people that have found me from that or that that article talks about the virtual couch and on the virtual couch. I talk about this waking up the narcissism, and so I had a message from someone that had felt so validated because they had just run across this article that talked about certain podcasters and found the virtual couch, which then led them to hear. I would just I would love and appreciate it. If you do spread the word, if you're in groups where they talk about narcissism and again, this is where it's so hard because I feel like I'm saying I would like my ego validated as well. But no, I just am so grateful for people that are sending me the messages saying that they feel like I've got their house bugged or I know what they're going through because of the examples that we give. Because the more that people get the information, the more they understand that they are not alone, the more they understand that they're not crazy. It does raise that emotional baseline. It does cause them to feel like they are. They know that they can now take some steps, even if it's a slow process, but they can start to make more sense of their life. And when they can do that, they can start to then realize if they have lost their selves, how to find themselves, how to find people that will provide support and doing that as the first step to recovery. Thanks again, and I look forward to talking to you next week on waking up the narcissism.

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