Stealing Someone’s Thunder

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Image ID : 44118396 Copyright : bowie15 123rf.com

 

Have you ever had a conversation with someone which almost feels more like a competition than an equal interchange?  Perhaps you’re excited about starting a new yoga class and you mention it to someone, only to have that person redirect the conversation by talking about her own experiences with yoga, to the point where you have been completely edged out of any chance to speak.

It turns out that many of us engage in what’s been termed by Charles Derber as conversational narcissism (check out his book, The Pursuit of Attention which is available on Amazon).  What’s the difference between a normal conversation and one in which you have been railroaded by a conversational narcissist?

Here are two examples, one from a normal exchange, and one from an experience with a conversational narcissist:

NORMAL CONVERSATION:

Sally:  I just got an offer to travel to Spain and I am so excited!
Chip: That’s so cool! I’ve always wanted to go there.  We have ancestors out there.  What part of Spain are you visiting?
Sally: Barcelona.
Chip: That’s amazing.  Hopefully you’ll have some time to explore.

 

CONVERSATION WITH A CONVERSATIONAL NARCISSIST:

Sally: I just got an offer to travel to Spain and I am so excited!
Chip: Cool.  I have ancestors out there.   In fact, there’s a town named after us.
Sally: Wow, that’s neat.
Chip: Yeah it is.  I really need to visit there.  My cousin says she can hook us up with the best accommodations out there.
Sally: Wow, awesome.  So do you know any good places to visit out there?
Chip: Well, when I go there, I expect the red carpet to be rolled out, you know what I mean?  We deserve that, you know?

In the second example, Chip took over the conversation, diverting the attention to himself.  He even ignored Sally’s question about whether he knew of any good places to visit in Spain.  In an instant, the conversation became all about Chip, and not Sally.

It is common for conversational narcissists to rather quickly jump in with their own personal stories rather than allow the other person to finish a thought.  The person’s story or complaint becomes swallowed up by the conversational narcissist’s story, which is the new focus of the conversation.  It’s also not unusual for a certain amount of bragging, boasting or name-dropping to occur with someone who has developed a strong tendency towards conversational narcissism.  Often, the conversational narcissist isn’t even aware that he has taken complete control over the dialog.

In this distracted age of social media and those irresistible handheld computers we call our phones, it seems that the art of conversation is deteriorating.   We’ve become impatient, entitled, and egocentric.  And many of us now exhibit behaviors which define conversational narcissism.  The art of truly listening needs to be relearned.

 

 

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Don’t Blame Los Angeles

Sometimes you just have to rewrite your list and rid yourself of toxic people.

Within the past year, I have separated myself from the few toxic people in my life who used me for their personal gain. One by one, several fair-weather friends had become so opportunistic, jaded, and filled with an exaggerated sense of self entitlement, that it was sheer torture to be around any of them.

It blows my mind that a couple of these people have chosen to act “Hollywood” recently, prompting their expulsion from my life. That’s definitely not cool, especially if you aren’t from Hollywood! I was actually BORN in Hollywood and spent the first five months of my life there, then my mom moved to the suburbs of Los Angeles. It turns out that none of the people I have chosen to push out of my life are originally from Southern California.

I’m not prejudiced against people who aren’t from L.A., but I am not joking when I say that every single Los Angeles native I know is incredibly humble and genuine. We L.A. natives just get a bad rap because of all the transplants who come here seeking fame and fortune, and who become bitter when their dreams don’t come true.

For those of you who are not from Los Angeles, who want to blame the city because you didn’t find your golden ticket there, I strongly suggest you go back to wherever you came from. Quit blaming the city for your failures. Instead, look at your life choices and the possible reasons why things didn’t work out.

I will always support my true friends, in whatever endeavor they choose. However, I will not put up with being used, and then cast aside in preference for the “bigger, better deal”. I have news for those of you who are in the habit of doing such a thing. Before long, you will very likely be cast into the dump pile for the exact reason, most likely by someone with power and influence who can see through your ulterior motives.

When “Nice” Just Covers Up True Meanness

Have you ever known someone who could throw on the charm when the need arose, while the rest of the time, the person had a strong tendency to behave as though he or she hated the entire world? Did this person’s behavior weave between the two extremes of sweet and mean? Were you at the receiving end of this bizarre pattern?

Psychopaths manufacture a bizarre cycle of alternating meanness and sweetness as a safeguard against you seeing their true colors and leaving them. The meanness can surface through an insult, a threat or a verbal attack. The next day, the psychopath will act as if the verbal assault never occurred, and a pattern of attack and sweep-under-the-rug ensues. All the partner wants is for the psychopath to be NICE, but this is impossible for the psychopath to maintain, because his inner self is mean and nasty.

When you are at the receiving end of a “mean attack” as I like to call it, you’ll think to yourself, “Wow, this person acts like he/she hates me.” That’s because, deep down, the psychopath DOES hate you. The sweetness is just an act to keep you engaged enough so you don’t see the person’s true colors and are kept guessing.
It’s FUN for them to upset you, to get a rise out of you. They won’t think twice about saying hurtful things to you, because they lack what you have: a conscience.

One unfortunate thing about psychopaths is that they are forever locked into their sweet to mean patterns because their personality traits are indelible parts of their personalities. What’s worse, they fail to recognize how broken they truly are. Their tempers are wicked, but they will never acknowledge their outbursts. Instead, they will push you into crazytown by egging you on until you finally explode. Why? So they can blame you for the shit they started in the first place.

If you find yourself entangled in the cycle of sweet and mean with someone, do yourself a favor and end the relationship. It will save your self-esteem.

I Had A Quick And Easy Divorce

written by Ed Sherman

Many of your probably don’t know that I was married once. Back when I was about to start my second year of medical school, I met and was charmed by a guy who was about to start his first year of medical school at the same institution. He signed up to be one of my subjects for a study I was conducting on lumbar somatic dysfunction (I later found out that the main reason why he signed up was because he thought I was hot).

After I gathered scientific data from the portion of the study which involved him, he began asking me questions. Which mnemonic guides were the best for gross anatomy? Which professors were my favorite? Where did I typically study for exams? He then went in for the kill, taking me by surprise by asking me out. I liked him, and noticed he was different in a way that really grabbed my interest, so I said yes.

To make a long story short, that date progressed into a romance which was so intense that we were married a year later. In general, I loved being married, and though we had our difficulties, we made our marriage work for a while. Then it stopped working, and after three years, I asked for a divorce.

After the initial emotional anguish subsided, my husband and I spent close to a year trying to determine if divorce was the best option. Inevitably, we both agreed that being apart was actually much better for us both. Since we were both rather rational about our impending divorce, and retained a level of mutual respect which is quite rare among couples at the demise of their marriage, we agreed that we could probably bypass legal counsel and file the paperwork ourselves. I ended up purchasing a book called, How To Do Your Own Divorce In California, by Ed Sherman, and printed off the legal forms which were included on the CD in the back of the book.

I filed the initial paperwork and braced myself for the paper storm to follow. It was a bit of a hassle to complete all of the forms myself, but I saved a ton on legal fees. The total amount which I spent on the book and all the filings came to under $300, and I was happy to pay it. My husband and I were also able to complete the Marital Settlement Agreement without much difficulty, and we were able to reach a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Six months and one day from the day I filed, I received the final Divorce Decree in the mail. My divorce was honestly easier than some breakups in my life. And to this day, my ex-husband and I are on good terms. He remarried in November of last year (thirteen years after our divorce was finalized), and I can honestly say that I truly wish the best for him and his bride.

In case you are in the unfortunate predicament of a looming divorce, but feel confident that you and your estranged spouse can divorce without any drama or irrational behavior, you may want to consider the easy divorce route we took. The newest version of the book I used is now 20 bucks on Amazon. However, I am by no means endorsing this route, so you should explore other options if need be. If you are facing an ugly battle, you should definitely seek top notch legal counsel to aid you in the divorce process.

The newest edition of Ed Sherman’s valuable reference guide for divorce in California

Living With a Narcissist on the Weekend: Your Private Codependent Hell

I am sharing this video from Angie Atkinson to reveal to you all that this was how my weekends were for years, all because I was under the spell of a narcissist. I’ve actually been in TWO relationships with narcissists who made sure that every weekend was torture, filled with emotional land mines. I would relish the advent of a new week so that I could immerse myself in my own life, and have limited exposure to the narcissist. Even at the tail end of my most recent relationship with a narcissist, my heart would sink when he would unexpectedly show up during the week, because that meant that I could not relax, I couldn’t be myself, and I had to walk on eggshells, never knowing when he would cause me to trip and fall into his web of craziness.

For those of you who are in a relationship with a narcissist, and who can relate to this video from Angie Atkinson, pay attention! You can also subscribe to her fantastic channel, which has helped me tremendously in my own healing and recovery. She’s @Angie Atkinson on YouTube.

Right Hand Rings


Pictured above is a Diamond Vintage-Inspired Engagement Ring (1/2 ct. t.w.) in 14k White Gold. This is the ring I wear now.

The trend in right hand rings has increased in popularity over the last fifteen years, because women are embracing it as a way to celebrate their independence and honor themselves. Similar to promise rings, which are also often worn on the right ring finger, right hand rings symbolize a dedication to a goal, a celebration of one’s strength, or an expression of one’s personality.

Though most of the women who opt to purchase right hand rings for themselves are single, a growing number of married woman are purchasing right hand rings for themselves. Right hand rings enable women to proudly display their power and freedom. One advertising campaign uses the slogan,

“Your left hand is a symbol of loyalty. Your right hand is a symbol of freedom.”

I’ve been married, and I have been engaged, so I still regard the left ring finger as sacred. As a matter of fact, I RARELY wear rings on my left ring finger out of respect for my strong belief that the left ring finger is reserved for the bond between two people. However, I have no intention of waiting for a left hand ring to alight once again upon that digit, and it turns out that many women feel the same way, and are purchasing right hand rings, even married ladies.

I had bought a right hand ring back in 2012, but I wasn’t in love with the design, and because I was so resentful of the non-committal man I was with at the time, I didn’t really want to wear it. When it was stolen in 2013, I figured it was meant to be.

Then in early February of this year, I was struck with a sudden urge to get a new right hand ring. It was time to honor myself. I wanted a design which reflected my personality, my taste, and was hoping to find something I absolutely loved, something that made me happy every time I looked at it. I selected a ring which did exactly that, the one that is pictured here on my blog. And it was on sale, for a price which could not be beaten, so I bought it. Little did I know I bought the ring on the crest of a huge breakup, so in a very cosmic way, it was perfect timing.

Exactly one month after I bought my right hand ring, I was completely broadsided by a sudden breakup, the third breakup by the same person in the span of six years. He was planning to move back in. He told me that he was finally ready to make an effort. It was all a lie.

To be honest, I was relieved that I didn’t have to explain my purchase to this guy who I am sure would have berated me for it. It was ridiculous of me to be so apprehensive to reveal my new bauble to someone who let me pay for everything (dinners, trips, gifts, etc.), yet felt he had the right to direct me on how to spend MY money. He never, ever took care of me, but expected me to acquiesce to his every need, and also knew that I would always rescue his pathetic ass.

Now I wear my right hand ring proudly, without fear of being ridiculed. I didn’t know it was considered an engagement ring until I wrote this article, but here’s a thought: I’m never going to break up with myself, and this ring symbolizes my lifelong commitment to myself, my dreams and my goals.

Never Lonelier

I had never been as lonely as I was while entangled in a love relationship with a narcissist. I could be sitting next to him, and because he had no regard for my feelings, I felt invisible and utterly alone. I always felt “less than” in every way, and my needs and desires were ALWAYS eclipsed by my partner’s. I didn’t matter, I was always wrong, I was always at fault for everything, and I was always an idiot, a nag. I was constantly pinned against the ropes and made to feel like I was completely worthless, which was exactly how my partner wanted me to feel. It maintained his control over me, and he remained my kryptonite for many years.

During the years that I was foolish enough to be with this person, I spent my money on him for food, trips, gifts, and helped him in whatever way I could, in the hopes that he would finally see what I was doing for him, and finally let me in emotionally, which of course he never did. I’d wait for texts which wouldn’t come, and if I dared to say that I missed him or wanted to perhaps receive greetings from him, he would turn it around and say that I was being too needy. If he upset me, and I revealed that I was upset, he would gaslight me, twisting things around, telling me, “Tough shit”, or “I can’t always be there for you, it’s not my job.” Like a first-class jerk.

I was never respected or appreciated. The relationship was NOT reciprocal. I would give, give, give, and all he would do was take, take, take. I was not allowed to ask for his help, even with lifting something heavy, because that meant I was giving him a “chore”. It didn’t matter that he outweighed me and was taller than me. I can’t even count the number of times I would struggle with heavy groceries or boxes, and he would simply sit on the sofa and WATCH me struggle, like he was watching a humorous scene in a sitcom. On the rare occasion when he would offer to help, he would wait until I put everything down before saying anything. Um, yeah, too late.

The narcissist always makes the outside world believe that he is the most wonderful, caring person. But the truth is that a narcissist has no heart, just like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. A rusty, loveless, impenetrable, cold hunk of metal.

How do you know you are with a narcissist? Here are some signs to watch for:

Has no regard for your feelings.
Completely dominates conversations, even when they’re about you.
Constantly argues with and challenges you.
Blames you for all the difficulties in the relationship.
Regards you as weak if you reveal any emotions.
Never takes responsibility for anything.
Must be the center of attention while with you and friends.
Hates being interrupted but will always interrupt you and talk over you.
Turns on the charm with strangers and often adopts a certain voice or persona while doing so.
Feels superior or entitled.
Lacks empathy.
Has a tendency to lose his temper and become completely enraged.
Controls and manipulates his partner.
Only cares about getting his own needs met, while ignoring the needs of others.
Cannot listen to criticism.
Exhibits a complete lack of emotion, often leaning towards cruel, vindictive behavior.
Is extremely opportunistic and will always go for the bigger, better deal.
Harbors extreme fantasies about power and wealth which are out of proportion to what he is able to achieve.

My narcissistic partner would usually back away during the times I most needed emotional support. I always felt invisible to my narcissist. I was also insulted on a consistent basis, was instructed on which individuals I was allowed to communicate with, and was even second-guessed on my medical knowledge, despite being a board-certified physician with over a decade in practice. Never mind that the same rules did not apply to him. I was even punished for things which happened in my distant past which I of course could not change, basic things like dating someone he didn’t like. What was I to do? It was of course my fault, and I was made to feel like the worst person on the planet for something I had no power to erase. I suffered endless torment over his insane jealousy.

My narcissist NEVER let me in emotionally, and always treated me like I was the enemy. That way, it was easier for him to rage at me, to blame everything on me, to devalue me. He was so incredibly mean to me that at times I was more shocked than anything by the fact that someone who supposedly loved me (I realize that had never been the case) could be so incredibly heartless and cruel. The depths of his cruelty ran so deep that I found myself trying to figure out how someone who seemed relatively normal to the outside world could be such a monster.

Speaking of jealousy, the narcissist will become incredibly jealous over you, and his possessiveness may trick you into thinking that he honestly cares for you. The truth is, you simply serve as a source for him to project his toxic behavior onto. If you react to his patterns by expressing frustration or by, god forbid, revealing your hurt feelings, the narcissist will very craftily knit his rationalizations so that you seem needy and overly sensitive.

Once the narcissist has discarded you, be prepared for him to insult, bully and threaten you. He will ALWAYS want control over you, so unless you practice no contact and block him (or her) from your life completely, that open door will be kicked open again, and the narcissist will feed on the deranged dynamic which got you trapped in his nest in the first place.

I saw this passage online and was stunned, because the line in bold was exactly what happened to me each time my narcissist dumped me:

“During the discard phase, the narcissist abandons his or her victim in the most horrific, demeaning way possible to convince the victim that he or she is worthless. This could range from: leaving the victim for another lover, humiliating the victim in public, blatantly ignoring the partner for a long period of time, being physically aggressive and a whole range of other demeaning behaviors to communicate to the victim that he or she is no longer important.”

As an empath, I was always willing to repair the relationship, and took the blame over and over again, because I honestly believed that my narcissist would recognize my efforts at some point and wake up. He was unemotional, unaffectionate, and even had me conditioned to avoid touching him in any way while we slept. And forget about getting him to say ‘I love you’. If he did say it, he said it begrudgingly, like it was some big joke, and only after I said ‘I love you’ to him.

We always did what he wanted, and I took care of everything. If we went on a weekend getaway, I had to plan the trip, and pay for everything. I paid for our dinners. I even paid for HIS stuff which I had no financial responsibility over. Do you think I got anything in return? He didn’t like my friends or my family, and rarely took an interest in them.

When we talked about the future, my narcissist made it clear that I wasn’t a part of his future plans. He had no impulse to care for me, even though I had broached the subject of our golden years together. His attitude was, “You’re on your own. Figure it out.” And stupid me, I actually accepted that as a reasonable response from my love partner. We’d also have arguments about where we were in our relationship. I was instructed at numerous points in our relationship to avoid referring to him as my boyfriend. These were simply tactics to devalue me, and boy, did they work. I never felt like anything to him. I was utterly and completely lonely, neglected, and unloved.

Even though my mother and closest friends couldn’t stand him, I didn’t pay much attention. I wanted to believe that they didn’t know him like I did, and I wished that they would love him the way I did. I see now that they were able to see my narcissist’s true colors.

Here’s another passage which I found online, which I honestly could have written about my narcissist:

“He came up to me on evening and he told me that he didn’t want to be with me anymore. To say I was stunned and devastated would have been putting it mildly. He swore up and down that there was no one else and I believed him. He said that he hadn’t been happy for a long time and that he should have left years ago. He minimized our whole relationship, he said people break up all the time and he couldn’t understand why I was so upset and emotional. He couldn’t get away from me fast enough. I’ll never forget looking into his eyes in such pain looking for something, anything that would show any kind of emotion, but there was nothing, they were completely dead.

A couple of weeks prior to this confession of his, we had been on vacation together. We had been intimate several times a day. There was no indication or anyway I could have seen this coming.”

“The two most bone chilling parts of the whole experience were how easily he could shut himself off emotionally. How one minute we’re on vacation and being intimate and then as soon as we’re back he’s cold as ice.

The second thing that so astounded me, was the ease at which I had handed over my power to this man. How easy it was for him to be in total control of me. I realized that I never would have left no matter how abusive it got for me, I would have stayed and taken more and more.”

Lastly, here is a link to a great article which details the three phases which a narcissist goes through while in a relationship. I have provided the link to the original article, as well as copied and pasted a portion of the article here.

http://esteemology.com/the-three-phases-of-a-narcissistic-relationship-cycle-over-evaluation-devaluation-discard/

The Three Phases of A Narcissistic Relationship Cycle: Over-Evaluation, Devaluation, Discard
2013 – Feb Posted by Savannah Grey

A relationship with a Narcissist has been compared to being on a roller coaster, with immense highs and immense lows. They have been described as the proverbial Jekyll and Hyde, one way one minute, another the next.

People usually get into relationships for love and the need to connect and bond with another. Narcissists get into relationships for entirely different reasons. They do not feel love and they lack the ability to connect and form normal attachment bonds with others.

Narcissists need people more than anyone. Because their entire sense of self-esteem and self-worth is dependent on the admiration of others, their emotions are a precarious balance of needing others and needing to be left alone.

Narcissists feel an enormous void inside of them. This void is ever present and the only thing that fills it, is the love and esteem of another. The fix is always temporary though. A Narcissist describes it this way, “It’s like my brain is constantly seeking something. It’s like I’m always chasing a carrot at the end of a stick. Nothing I do satisfies me, at least not for long. I feel like I only do things because I’m supposed to, because society does it. I don’t feel like I belong anywhere or with anyone.”

Narcissists are completely self-absorbed and are oblivious to the wants and needs of others. They enter into relationships in an attempt to fill this void and to make sure that they have someone who is always available for sex, an ego stroke or whatever need they may have. A relationship with a Narcissist always follows three phases, the over-evaluations phase, the devaluation phase and the discard phase.

The Over-evaluation Phase

A Narcissist is very careful when choosing a target. Typically, they will choose a victim based on their status. They must be attractive, popular, rich or extremely gifted in some area. The greater the status, the higher the value the Narcissist places on the Supply derived.

Once a target has been chosen, it’s almost like the Narcissist gets tunnel vision. They are hyper-vigilant in their pursuit and will project the perfect image that their victim wants them to be. They are excessively caring, loving and attentive at this stage. They shower their targets with attention, compliments and literally sweep them off their feet.

They place their target on a pedestal, idolize and worship them. Their target is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Here the Narcissist is ecstatic, full of hopes and dreams. They will talk and think about them constantly, they are euphoric. This is as close as a Narcissist will ever get to feeling love. This kind of idolization is what others would call infatuation.

The victim is likely so caught up in all the attention and is usually thinking at this point, that they have found their soul-mate. Their pursuer is exactly what they want in a partner (because the Narcissist is mirroring what they have learned appeals to their target) and they can’t believe how lucky they are and that this catch is still single.

What they don’t know, or could ever be prepared for, is what comes next.

The Devaluation Stage

The Over-Evaluation phase, if you’re dealing with a Somatic Narcissist, usually lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months, just long enough for the Narcissist to be confident that they have secured their target’s love and devotion. Unbeknownst to the target, what they were witnessing in the early phase was the Narcissist’s false self. In this second phase, the mask comes off and the Narcissist starts to reveal their true colours.

The shift could be gradual or almost seemingly overnight. Suddenly the attention they so lavishly gave you is gone and replace by indifference and silence. Days or weeks could go by and you won’t hear from them. They don’t return your phone calls, they don’t keep a single promise and you’re starting to suspect that they might be involved with someone else. The target is left baffled and confused and wondering what they did wrong to cause such an abrupt turnaround.

Narcissists become bored easily and what usually starts happening in their heads at this stage, is that the void begins to emerge again. The high they were feeding off of is waning and they begin to question your worthiness, that perhaps you weren’t so special after all, because if you were then the void wouldn’t still be there.

They become moody and agitated easily, blaming you for even the slightest transgression. They start to disappear more frequently and they give you the silent treatment in an attempt to create distance. As the Narcissist withdraws, the target starts to cling and your demands for his attention and your need to understand what’s happening, grate on his nerves. The harder you cling the more the Narcissist pulls away. They start to blame and criticize the target for everything, treating them like an emotional punching bag.

At this point the target is an emotional wreck. The Narcissist has left without any explanation and they can’t figure out how one minute they were put on a pedestal and now it’s like they don’t even exist. The Narcissist is a projector and they are projecting their emotional turmoil onto you. They feed off of other people’s misery (as long as it’s caused by them) just as much as they feed off of your admiration, either way it makes no difference to them.

It is this person, this cruel, indifferent, unfeeling, sadist that is the behind the mask. Most targets desperately try to find the one they fell in love with. What they don’t realize is that that person never existed. They were a facade an act put on by the Narcissist to secure their Supply.

The Narcissist will take no responsibility for their actions, because they simply don’t care how they’ve treated you or how you are feeling.

Narcissists are not capable of forming normal healthy attachments to people. Those that aren’t familiar with the disorder are completely at a loss to understand how unnecessarily cruel their behavior can be. The target was never more than an object to the Narcissist, whose usefulness is on the decline.

The Narcissist isn’t one to throw away a potential piece of supply though. They will keep up this I love you, I love you not charade going for as long as it suits them or as long as you allow it. They will breeze in and out of your life as if nothing ever happened, completely oblivious and indifferent to your suffering.

This mind fuck is deliberate and they will keep feeding you crumbs of attention, just enough to keep you emotionally invested and available to cater to their every need.

At some point one of two things will happen: either they will find a new target and begin phase one with them, thus ignoring you completely, or you will have had enough of his psychotic abuse and you will take control and put an end to it, thus ushering in phase three.

The Discard Phase

It is almost baffling to watch the ease at which a Narcissist can pull away from his partners. Many targets are left asking themselves, “Did he ever love me? Did I mean anything to him?” The simple answer is no. No one means anything to him. Women are only a means to an end – to obtain the much needed Narcissistic Supply. Once your usefulness has run its course, you will be discarded abruptly and cruelly, without warning.

Trying to get over a relationship with a Narcissist is extremely difficult. Once it is over the target is usually an emotional wreck, whose self-esteem has been annihilated by the persistent demeaning behavior, insults and cruelty of the Narcissist. Depending on when they were able to break free, the target maybe a shadow of their former self, with a lot of work ahead of them to rebuild their shattered self-image.

As a victim tries to pick up the pieces, what must be remembered is that you were deliberately targeted, lied to and manipulated by a skilled con-artist, for their own gain. There was nothing you could have done differently and none of this was your fault. The Narcissist will repeat this pattern with every person, every time, bar none.

All former targets must be vigilantly on guard, because a Narcissist always reserves the right to revisit a former source of supply, no matter how much time has passed or how badly they’ve behaved.

Once you have broken free you must close the door on any and all contact, because if you don’t you’re headed back to a watered down version of Phase One – over and over and over again.