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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Narcissists: Your Worst Enemies - Don't Enable a Narcissist's Conceit!

Narcissim.  This was a word I had no clue about years ago when I seemed to develop a pattern of drawing narcissists to me.  They were quite flattered when I gave them kind words and actually listened to them quite intently when they talked about themselves.  

I would ask questions and comment on their strengths making them feel good in my presence.  I couldn't help but be this way, taking more interest in people than most, because of my educational background in journalism and communications.  

Some individuals thought I was a counselor, therapist, or in some other profession, but never guessed a writer or journalist.  It wasn't that these individuals were fascinating people, I was just trained to listen and to treat people as well as possible to get them to talk--get the story.  I never bothered to think deeply about why selfish people liked me so much until I connected the dots.

I realized that some people are over-the-top interested in others for the sole purpose of hearing them speak well of them.  They like to be admired, appreciated, questioned, complimented, and when you are one for communicating how much you like something about them, these narcissists are all ears.  However, the relationships with these individuals with this type of personality disorder are energy-draining.  

The wrong things I did that kept drawing narcissists near and dear--way past their expiration dates.  Don't do these things if you want to cut ties!

- Don't enable their conceit.  They already think they are better than most people even though they lack in so many areas.  
- Don't encourage them to self-love and self-admire (they do that enough already).  When you do, they will lean on you when they are feeling bad about themselves far more than you can handle.
- Don't buy them much (especially expensive items).  Keep in mind they only really want what they ask for which is usually expensive--don't expect them to return the favor.  Most of them are cheapskates.
- Don't make them feel so important and right knowing full well that what they are saying is unimportant and wrong.
- Don't engage them in much conversation especially about their self, because when they do speak they expect you to listen and not to interrupt.  
- Don't show so much support when they are suffering, but don't expect any sincere empathy.
- Don't admire their wit, strength, decisions, house, car, clothes...anything tied to them, but if you have anything bigger and better, you best not talk about that to them. 

The connections you make with narcissists start off appearing like a match made in heaven, but in time corrode becoming one-sided and unsatisfying.  Narcissists rarely fulfill one's emotional needs; instead, they take and take and take some more until the victim is exhausted of their manipulations and simply can't give anymore!

The narcissists know this because they have a long track record of disappointing people and not being liked by them.  They grow bored with most relationships when people aren't stroking their egos.  Egoists don't bother to revitalize the people they take from unless they can once again get their personal needs met first.  When they aren't able to anymore, because the victims are no longer blind to just how truly selfish they are, off the narcissists goes, looking for new supply.

When narcissists' new supply can't be found or is no longer providing, depending on just how much they feed off of them, they will try to win that person over again or move on.  I personally grew weary of these connections that led nowhere.  So many dead-end relationships!  I found myself wanting very much to have long-term and quality connections, but nothing was really left after the narcissists' love bombing during the early stages of the relationship.  Once all the niceties faded, the narcissists were beginning to demand far more than they gave me.  

All these self-centered individuals wanted was more of me (time, energy, money and gifts) but they weren't willing to give me even close to the amount of service and money I gave them!  As long as I made them look good, treated them with much respect (more than most), went along just to get along, bought them, made my schedule available to them, exceeded their expectations, balanced multiple roles which included taking the load off of them...all was good with the narcissists if you made them feel and look exceptional!  

Make a narcissist look bad and you will soon find out that they are orchestrating a plan to hurt you or pay you back.  A narcissist in a position of power will look for ways to bring you down.   They don't mind sharing their disappointment in you with you while telling anyone who will listen all about you.  The argument, lie, mistake, or misunderstanding that they cause is never their fault.  They have more excuses for their short-comings then a child who doesn't complete his or her homework.

As I grew older and bolder in my conversations with these needy and controlling people, I started speaking up and exposing the narcissists.  I didn't care about their so-called "love" for me, because I knew it wasn't about "loving" me, but using me.  As quick as the smiled and said, "Thank you so much!"  They were coming up with yet another idea to get me to do something else for them.  

It became a challenge to be all things to all narcissists (there were plenty around me).  I was tired, confused, used, and abused.  These poor relationships ranged from a year to decades.  I felt like something was "off" about these people, and I just couldn't keep up with all their demands, manipulations, false fears, false tears, threats, fake flattery, fake promises, lies, coverups, secrets, and more.  This was all to keep me near so they could use me yet again!

If you are interested in learning more about the narcissist from a spiritual perspective (there are definitely dark spirits/energy at work), listen to the audio below.  These are some of my most informative audios. Guard your heart around narcissists!


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Mentally Ill Relatives: Excuse Dysfunctional Behaviors, Disapprove of the Truth

Family.  When I watched them as a child, I didn't think that later in life I would never see them again.  In those childhood moments, they absorbed the energy in the room, in my mind, they were here to stay!  However, God had other plans. Separation, divorce, death, and more would keep many relatives apart.  God didn't want his children being influenced by stubborn and rebellious people any longer.

To grow up watching people with their share of mental health issues, were troubling, they had unchecked symptoms that would come and go  and so too was there sin, lots of it!  Someone always had an excuse for a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother or cousin.  The gullible would say, "Don't worry, that's just how they are, let them sleep it off.  Don't cry, it's okay.  Don't be scared.  You'll be fine.  They just act like that sometimes."  Yet, what the mean-spirited relatives were repeatedly doing or saying that was offensive and abusive was not "okay" and when were these people ever going to get help!

It is a challenge to speak to people about someone, who they love, admire, or who has done much for them, that their favorite person seriously needs help that they simply can't offer.  My relatives' idea of "help" was to keep buying unhealthy food to feast on, alcohol to drink until someone couldn't stand, drugs to lull one into a fantasy world once again, or many cigarettes that offered a temporal bliss.  No one wanted to come forth and admit that mentally ill relatives had issues that were bigger than they could manage.  Most often, the mentally ill convinced the relatively normal, that they didn't have any problems and that the one who was trying to help really needed help--huh!?  Yep.  Some of the na├»ve actually believed what they were saying.  When the relatively normal did get their share of counsel only to find that there really wasn't much wrong with them, but it was in fact the other person along with environment, and other related factors tied to the mentally ill, they were surprised.  The toxic relative's negative behaviors were causing their mental and physical challenges--go figure!?

By the time I grew up and became educated on a multitude of personality disorders as a journalist, freelance writer and author, I wasn't making any excuses any longer for the family dysfunction nor was I going to subject my children to their erratic emotions, gas-lighting, and emotional and physical abuse. 

Delusional thinking over the years had spread like wildfire and was never put out among kinfolk.  The mentally-ill insisted they were right and everyone else was wrong.  They lied, hurt and confused people and they still got favor from matriarchs and patriarchs.  They stole, fought, and abused loved ones and they still got the pass.  Those of us who called them out on their foolishness were name-called, disrespected, ostracized, and told we weren't getting this or that when they died. 

I didn't want to be a part of any of their so-called celebrations when I got old enough to have some common sense.  They would attempt to guilt me for not coming.  They would not speak to me for a time.  They would sometimes call and act friendly only to discuss my distance or absence to upset me like they had been because I didn't want to come around and/or offer support.

I could care less about their handouts, criticism and what they thought of my reputation with them. Once I grew independent and learned to get along without their dysfunction, I became a better person.  Someone had to grow up and realize the truth, so it might as well be me!

When you are agreeing to all that is not mentally right with a person, you are enabling.  You are telling them that it is okay for them to behave in dysfunctional ways.  Eventually they will get you to do their bidding.  Is that the relationship you want with someone?  You are their errand boy or girl running back and forth to keep their dysfunctional and immoral behaviors going.

One day I reached that point of no return with my mother, who is now deceased, I had enough of feeding into the "we are family" hype.  I wanted out of what she called was "helping" me in these critical conversations, mind you, voice of her own frailties. I wasn't the only one who she did this with, there were others, and some got away when they picked up on her prideful conversations.  She had an on and off type of favor she dispensed out when you "do for me." or "make me feel good."  This behavior was taken from the playbook of her mother. 

Ma was a safe haven, so I had thought, for allowing all that was wrong with us to be validated.  She made you feel like that all was well between you and her  just as long as your challenge wasn't affecting her, but someone else.  She would allow you to talk as much as you want about that other person, your personal faults, and how you needed to do something different.  But don't dare talk about anything she ever said or did wrong to you or someone else.  She was quick to hand up the phone or walk away and spoke a cigarette or two in one sitting.

Needy for attention, like her mother, my mother enjoyed people listening to her and all that was perfect in her world along with praising her, but she didn't enjoy listening to you especially if there was some criticism you had of her when she was so called "helping you." Her help was more like enabling you in whatever dysfunction you presented her with just so long as it didn't make her look bad or directly affected her negatively.  "That's your business...I'm not judging.  You do what you want.  I'm just saying...Yep, I was young once, we all make our mistakes no one is perfect but Jesus."  Really?  By the time she got off the phone with you or walked away from you, she was saying something different about you to someone else, laughing, talking about how you are "naive, stupid...always had problems--never learned."  My dad would chime in, "Good-for-nothing." 

I saw this enabling behavior firsthand when her dysfunctional brothers, who she had a love, hate relationship with, would call or come around.  She held them in high regard when she thought of past stories when they personally helped her.  She wouldn't let anyone speak real truth to her about them unless of course they had pissed her off.  Even though, they had a long history of abusing women and was often disrespectful to their own mother toward the end of her life, according to her mother, she still defended them. 

One day as I was preparing to leave her home for the last time, I had, had enough!  I wasn't going along with any more false programming about any of our relatives.  I listened to how this one was "good to me," "protected me," "helped me,"  and "did for me."  These same individuals who she had multiple falling outs with over decades, were also quite negative when they talked about her to others and used her when they could like she would use them to help with one thing or another always saying, "...but I paid them."  Yep, she did.  However, no amount of throwing money at a situation was providing any healing to any of us.

There was no getting through to my mother on helping herself, keeping her distance from toxic relationships, and doing what was morally and ethically right concerning others after her own mother died; rather, she welcomed all who made her feel some kind of way while pushing away anyone or anything she felt was "boring," "a burden" or "weak."  I found that was also anyone who knew her, like I did, a little better than most--no time for me--I was too close to God for her taste. 

My mother had learned from the best of them, how to control, manipulate, and ignore those she didn't see as a challenge while pushing away those, like myself, who didn't by into the false programming--her view and only her view of how her family is/was.  "I know how they are..." but at what cost will one make a deal with the devil so to speak?

The line was drawn in the sand by me when I created distance between her and I.  I no longer deemed it necessary to have discussions with her about my life (which she didn't mind telling others about--funny how that came around full circle) or her "no-good" brothers as my dad would like to say.

Meanwhile she covered up her own personal issues while presenting herself as perfect despite my grandmother's passing--no she didn't want to talk truth about that and how she acted disrespectful with her months prior to her death. 

Too much emotional stress was building within to "be on my best quiet...listen, listen..." with my mother.  So, to avoid an argument where I would dishonor her, it was better for me to deal with the truth about everything concerning my family headlong while keeping my personal faith intact.  I said what needed to be said and moved on. 

What exactly was I listening to when I spoke with her in the past?  I sat on the phone and in -person and I heard what? How my mother felt, how great she was at XYZ, how good others were that made her look good, how I needed to do ABC because it would make her feel...don't expect her to give. without getting something in I and they could or better.  Yep, that was my mother. 
Ma encouraged conversation that she felt comfortable with, yet resented me when I spoke truth--her truth as observed since I was a child. 

"Hey Ma, did you ever consider seeing someone like a therapist.  Did you notice that sometimes things just aren't right, you know within?"  I said one day. 
"There is nothing wrong with me, Nicky." 
Yep, she was going to draw a line in the sand too.  She was going to run, because I got close, too close to her truth. 

I knew after grandma's death, her and I were finished and so too was I done with all mentally unstable relatives who were convinced by her that everything was wrong with me, and never was anything wrong with her.

Enough was enough!

For some of you, your connections to family is a complicated often psychologically twisted connection.  You want something from people who will not admit their faults while pretending as if there is nothing wrong emotionally and/or physically because they told you so. 

I learned later that we had a mix of all the psychological clusters (A, B and C) in our family.  I had to even check myself, receive prayer, and listen to counselors when it came to some challenging character traits within me.  I attended deliverance ministries as well.  I felt much relief as a result.

Dealing with mentally challenged relatives is no walk in the park.  Family gatherings are difficult to be a part of particularly when the organizers are not stable.  Fights show up out of nowhere.  Things are disorganized and in disarray.  The family instigator is building a case of being right in this situation and that one even though he or she is really terribly wrong.  The flying monkeys of the family defend and offend because they are loyal to the one who gave them A, B, and C.  Truth-tellers are demonized and children are often annoying to these dysfunctional relatives who are really about self not us.  I knew the truth, while many relatives believed lies given to them by anyone who would dare listen to them. 

Wake up and do what you can to preserve what little sanity you still have concerning your relatives and most of all protect your children.  "It's okay, alright..." to connect with people who are troubled in mind, body and spirit, is unacceptable!  No it's not okay to look away and pretend that there is no elephant in the room.  It is seriously not okay to let emotional and physical abuse to continue to go on!  Get some help for yourself if you believe otherwise.

God bless.

Nicholl McGuire is the author of Say Goodbye to Dad, Tell Me Mother You're Sorry and When Mother's Cry.  You can find these books wherever books are sold online.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Tired of the Emotional Pain Caused by Relatives? Choose Your New Family

You grew up with them.  You know more about them than they care to admit.  They blamed you for things you did or didn't do.  They shamed you for being you.  They told lies then acted like they told the truth.  Your family.  Your good-for-nothing family!  Someone may have told you once, "You can choose your family."  Maybe it's time to let go of the old and welcome the new.

Too often people put up with so much from others because of titles, past favors, old gifts, fond memories, and more.  But when do you ever reach that point when you are free--totally free from the pain these people have caused you?

One-by-one my stable-minded relatives let go of the toxic kinfolk.  There was the uncle who often drank too much, bye!  The aunt who was out doing who knows what with who, bye!  The cousin who was often in trouble with the law, bye!  The beggar, the liar, the abuser, all gone!  The victims had enough of the pain.  It hurts to argue with a stubborn relative who refuses to see his own destruction.  It is exhausting reaching into the fire to pull someone out.  Heroes get tired of saving the damsel in distress.  Family eventually burn out from protecting family.

I recall there were relatives who looked much better when I bumped into them away from the family  holiday events. The survivors were no longer dealing with certain relatives.  Sure, they missed them from time-to-time, but they knew that of they let these people back into their lives, they would pay for old and new offenses.  It didn't help that the trouble-making relatives didn't let go easily.  They would lure their victims back in every now and again with a party invite, a sad story, a funeral announcement, a gift, or an offer to baby-sit.

What did it take for the survivors to finally let go and welcome new "family" into their lives?

1)  They found lives of their own.  They stayed involved with activities they personally enjoyed rather than go along with family tradition/programming.

2)  They found people who supported them mentally, financially, spiritually, etc. outside of the family circle.

3)  They refused to do what relatives wanted when they wanted and how they wanted; instead, they put themselves first.

4)  They stopped making excuses for disrespectful relatives.  They stood up to the bullies.

5)  They went low and no contact when boundaries were not respected.

6)  They didn't subject their children and grandchildren to toxic relatives and their lifestyles.

7)  They changed phone numbers, addresses, avoided online connections, etc.

I admired those who got free from my dysfunctional kinfolk.  I saw early on that they had been troubled far too long by them.  The survivors had chosen a different path, one of peace, prosperity, and protection.  They were deserving of their new found family and friends!  I am proud of them for it.  I too, had left, moved on.  It's a great feeling not to be shackled by others' dysfunction.

Nicholl McGuire


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