The many and various ways I pass the time now has a new addition. Usually it involves drinking coffee whilst sitting at a computer keeping in touch with chums, or sipping wine sitting on our tiny terrace catching the sun, and wondering what else I can do to avoid any cleaning or tidying or putting away of stuff and things that aren't even MINE. And now I am going to type this blog. Provided that doesn't become a chore as well, in which case...

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

An Ex-Codependent's Cri du Coeur

I am doing a straw poll to find out how many other people out there have had prolonged dealings with a narcissist (be it parent, sibling, friend, partner, boss, colleague or adult child) and find themselves still searching for strategies to help them cope with the fall-out, even if they are estranged from the narcissist(s) in their life and many years have passed since contact. I am considering blogging separately on the topic as well, in a different blog aimed at foming a friendly and generous therapeutic community particularly of ex-codependents of narcissists.

If you recognise a sizeable number of these features in someone you know or have known well, please PM me with your experiences and coping strategies if you don't want to go public, or comment if you aren't shy.

Traits and signs

Narcissists typically display most, and sometimes all, of the following traits

1) An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
2) Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
3) A lack of psychological awareness
4) Difficulty with empathy
5) Problems distinguishing the self from others
6) Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults
7) Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
8) Haughty body language
9) Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them
10) Detesting those who do not admire them
11) Using other people without considering the cost of doing so
12) Pretending to be more important than they really are
13) Bragging and exaggerating their achievements
14) Claiming to be an "expert" at many things
15) Inability to view the world from the perspective of others
16) Denial of remorse and gratitude

I have been in recovery from being a narcissist's codependent for many years now, so the healing powers of distance and time have helped a lot.  But the topic still exercises me somewhat, and of late I have realised that I have sustained long relationships with others with distinct narcissisic leanings despite the undermining effect this has sometimes had on my health and wellbeing.  I got good at coping, and even used comedy and humour to good effect to enable me to do so, but that didn't mean coping was doing me any good!

I have great faith in the idea of the Wounded Healer, and see how effective it is in support groups for physical conditions, to share experiences, offer hints and advice and discuss treatments attempted.  So I am going to see what I can do to pass on any wisdom that I have gained from hard-won personal experiences, and use the anonymity of my blog persona in particular if this will be of help to others, and also glean more ideas from others to help me find my centre and balance despite my past experiences of the prolonged and unthinking cruelty doled out to others by people with strong (and usually utterly unacknowledged) narcissitic tendencies.

Thanks in advance if you feel you can comment openly.  If you can't go public, please private message me.