Sunday, November 26, 2023

Narcissistic Caregivers: Holiday Edition

Children affected by narcissistic parents or caregivers are often subjected to years of emotional manipulation, neglect, and abuse which goes unnoticed by outsiders. These children are often not even aware of the abuse they are experiencing until it manifest later in life as difficult to diagnose mental health issues. 

But before we can understand how the narcissistic caregiver abuses a child, we must first understand what narcissism is and how the disorder presents. 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a psychological personality disorder, defined by The DSM-5, characterized by an inflated sense of one’s own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. 

Because we’re not diagnosing anyone in this blog, we won’t go into the lengthy definition of this disorder. What we want to focus on, however, are the key traits, because they do an excellent job illustrating how this disorder applies to the abuse that narcissistic caregivers can cause children. 

·         Lack Of Empathy

This is probably the single biggest defining trait of a narcissist. The inability to identify with and/or unwillingness recognize the experiences and feelings of other people.

In other words. The narcissist neither cares nor wants to understand how other people feel.

·         Grandiose Sense Of Self-Importance

These people exaggerate accomplishments, talents, connections, and experiences. These do not have to be actual experiences.

Grandiose people often have a preoccupation with fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. They live in a fantasy world of their own creation. One where they are the center of attention and the most important person.

This belief they are unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions bleeds into their everyday interactions with the real world.

·         Need For Excessive Admiration

These people are often covering for some deep emotional wound, and in order to avoid the pain of it, they constantly need praise and approval to keep their spirits up. With this trait, the person with NPD will surround themselves with others who constantly boost their ego. They do not; however, reciprocate.

·         Sense Of Entitlement

Living in a fantasy world of their own imagining, these people consider themselves to be special and act accordingly. They expect favorable treatment. Those who do not meet their expectations are treated with aggression and outrage.

·         Exploitative Behavior

The need for admiration, coupled with the sense of entitlement, and their inability to empathize with others, means the person with NPD will only surround themselves with people who do and say what they want. This becomes their standard. Their circle exists to serve them, and they do not think twice about using their people to get what they want.

·         Envious Of Others

Narcissists feel threatened whenever they encounter someone who appears to have something they lack - confidence, popularity, better looks, or possess skills they do not. Their defense mechanism is contempt. They may patronize or dismiss the value of others whom they are secretly envious of. Or they attack with insults, bullying, or other forms of character assassination to neutralize the threat.

Children exposed to complex trauma, especially when originating from someone they know and trust, is a risk factor for nearly all behavioral health and substance use disorders. The impact of childhood trauma, whether single instances or long-term abuse carries impacts that can last well beyond childhood.

Did you survive a narcissistic caregiver? We value your feedback and ideas! Reach out on our Community Facebook Page!


If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Healthy Boundaries: Holiday Edition

Let's start with a primer: Family knows how to push your buttons because they installed them. 

Going to our families of origin for the holiday season can be stressful and kick up a lot of anxiety triggers. The best way to get a hold of our anxiety and feel grounded and centered is to review boundaries.

Healthy boundaries are the ultimate form of self-respect because they say to the world, "I deserve to be honored, respected, and valued." Boundaries denote confidence. 

Since confidence is one of the casualties of PTSD, we likely have to relearn (or maybe learn for the first time) how to make a healthy and reasonable boundary, how to maintain that boundary, and what to do if someone chooses to ignore it. 

Making healthy boundaries seems like it should be easy and intuitive, but it's not. So let's start.

1. Healthy boundaries make healthy relationships

There is no such thing as a healthy relationship without boundaries, whether it's a marriage, a friend, a colleague, or the relationship that you have with your kids. Healthy boundaries say I deserve to be honored respected and valued and this is important for any healthy interpersonal relationship.

2. People do not know our boundaries unless we state them clearly and succinctly

In a perfect world, people should know how to act, but this is not a thing. Some people think that offensive comments are okay some people don't understand that unsolicited touching is creepy. Let's not waste time getting mad about what "should" be. Instead, let's remember that half the people we meet are below average and common sense is not common. Boundaries are not intuitive. Therefore, we must State our boundaries clearly and concisely, out loud, to other people.

3. Reasonable people respect reasonable boundaries

The inherent problem with this is that not all people are reasonable. Sad news of the day. The world is full of psychopaths and assholes. 

4. It's our boundary, and their choice

We create healthy boundaries, and then we have absolutely no control over other people or how they act. When we state or healthy boundaries, out loud, clearly and concisely, other people then choose whether they want to respect our boundaries or not.

This is hard to hear, so I'm saying this with a lot of love and empathy: when people choose to ignore our reasonable boundaries, they are saying in no uncertain terms, loud and clear, I do not respect you and I do not want a relationship with you that is not on my terms. No exceptions.

Boundaries are vital to relapse prevention for PTSD. You can read more about boundaries in The Soldier's Guide to PTSD and Acknowledge & Heal.


If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD