How to Stop Gaslighting Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse (A Guide for Loved Ones, Therapists and Law Enforcement)

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How Society Gaslights Survivors of Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Psychopaths (A Guide for Therapists, Law Enforcement and Loved Ones)

by Shahida Arabi for Psych Central

“There is a class of individuals who have been around forever and who are found in every race, culture, society and walk of life. Everybody has met these people, been deceived and manipulated by them, and forced to live with or repair the damage they have wrought. These often charming—but always deadly—individuals have a clinical name: psychopaths. Their hallmark is a stunning lack of conscience; their game is self-gratification at the other person’s expense. Many spend time in prison, but many do not. All take far more than they give.” – Dr. Robert Hare, The Charming Psychopath

As an author who writes for abuse survivors, I’ve communicated with thousands of people who have been affected by malignant narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths as partners, friends, family members, co-workers or even bosses. Throughout the course of my work, I’ve noticed a common theme: the societal invalidation and gaslighting of survivors.

This form of secondary gaslighting and invalidation is incredibly painful, especially when it comes from the very professionals, friends and family members who are meant to help support the survivor on their healing journey. Not only does secondary gaslighting from other people further isolate the survivor, it actually hinders the healing process. I can’t tell you the number of times a survivor has reached out to me to tell me the retraumatizing effects of being invalidated by a friend, a family member, a spiritual leader or even a therapist who dispensed ill-informed, sometimes even victim-blaming ideas.

This also contributes to a global Gaslighting Effect in which speaking out about abuse by covert manipulators is met with some form of backlash, victim-blaming, and victim-shaming by enablers of abusers and abusers themselves.

Read the rest of the article on Psych Central.

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Healing the Children of Narcissistic Parents: New Book Release

I am so excited to announce the pre-order release of my new book for adult children of narcissists! This has been a book that has been a long time coming. I have written countless articles, made numerous videos and spoken in multiple interviews about what it’s like to be raised by a narcissistic parent and how these experiences affect us in adulthood due to the trauma repetition cycle. In this essay collection, I explore not only the impact of this type of toxic upbringing but how we can heal as adults.

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Healing the Children of Narcissists: Essays on The Invisible War Zone

Those who have had a narcissistic parent can testify to how damaging it can be to one’s psyche. Narcissistic parents lack empathy, show a severe sense of entitlement to micromanage the lives of their children and often subject their children to neglect, as well as emotional, psychological and physical abuse.

From the unique challenges daughters of narcissistic fathers face to the ways in which adverse childhood experiences affect our brains, Shahida Arabi’s insightful essays resonate deeply with those who have been raised by narcissistic parents.

In this new essay collection, Arabi explores how narcissistic abuse in childhood can set us up for trauma repetition in adulthood, affecting how we navigate relationships, the self, and the world. She pinpoints the toxic traits and behaviors of narcissistic mothers and fathers, exposing how covert abuse insidiously plays out in these specific dynamics. She offers the essential tools, skill sets and healing modalities for survivors who have undergone a lifetime’s worth of abuse, helping them to break the cycle once and for all for future generations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Shahida Arabi is a summa cum laude graduate of Columbia University graduate school, where she studied the effects of bullying across the life-course trajectory. She is the #1 Amazon bestselling author of three books, including Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself, featured as a #1 Amazon Bestseller in three categories and as a #1 Amazon bestseller in personality disorders for seventeen consecutive months after its release. Her most recent book, POWER: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse, was also featured as a #1 Amazon best seller in Applied Psychology.

She is the founder of the popular blog for abuse survivors, Self-Care Haven, which has millions of views from all over the world. Her work has been shared and endorsed by numerous clinicians, mental health advocates, mental health professionals, and bestselling authors.

For her undergraduate education, Shahida graduated summa cum laude from NYU where she studied English Literature and Psychology. She is passionate about using her knowledge base in psychology, sociology, gender studies, and mental health to help survivors empower themselves after emotional abuse and trauma. Her writing has been featured on Salon, Psych Central, Bustle, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, The Huffington Post, MOGUL, The Meadows, Thought Catalog, The Rebelle Society and Harvard-trained psychologist Dr. Monica O’Neal’s website.

PRE-ORDER THE BOOK HERE.

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12 Of The Most Common Lies Sociopaths And Narcissists Tell – Translated

It’s common knowledge that manipulative personalities tend to engage in a great deal of pathological lying and deceit. Yet there are common lies narcissists and sociopaths tell their victims that, if translated to the truth, would expose the reality behind their actions. When expressed by a predatory personality in the context of manipulation, the following statements carry a far different and darker meaning.

Here are twelve of the most common lies narcissists and sociopaths tell us, translated into what they actually mean.

READ THE ARTICLE ON PSYCH CENTRAL:

12 Of The Most Common Lies Narcissists and Sociopaths Tell, Translated Into Truth

5 Surprising Signs Of A Cheating Narcissist

Have you ever encountered a dating partner who swept you off your feet, courted you persistently and made over-the-top declarations about the way they felt about you – only to discover they had a girlfriend or boyfriend all along? How about the ex who kept “checking in” with you over text while in bed with their spouse? Or the shady significant other who always seemed to disappear for days, only to return with excuses about their whereabouts?

You may have come across a narcissistic or sociopathic personality type. Narcissists and sociopaths are notorious for engaging in both emotional and physical infidelity. Not only are narcissists players and pick-up artists in the dating world, they are also serial cheaters in relationships. In fact, a wealth of research suggests that narcissism is positively correlated with having extramarital affairs and more sexually permissive attitudes towards infidelity, even when there is satisfaction in the present relationship.

Read the five surprising signs you’re dating a cheating narcissist here.

The Real Reasons Why Narcissists Remain Friends With Their Exes and Hoover – And Why You’re Addicted

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Have you ever wondered why a toxic ex tried so fervently to win you back, remain friends or keep in contact after a break-up? And why you felt so drawn to them when they did? Research has discovered the darker reasons why narcissistic partners specifically tend to stay in touch with their exes. Hint: the real reasons are not as romantic as we might think.

READ ON PSYCH CENTRAL: Why Narcissists Hoover and Remain Friends With Exes 

5 Early Signs of Narcissists In Dating

 

It’s not always easy to spot narcissists. They can be very charming and alluring at the onset, presenting a false mask to the outside world. Research indicates that narcissism is rising in the population, especially among the younger generation. With the rise of dating applications connecting us to people we wouldn’t normally have access to, it’s even more likely that at some point you will encounter someone on the narcissistic spectrum.

Yet how can you tell in the early stages of dating that you’ve met someone toxic? Although there is no foolproof way to immediately confirm whether someone is a narcissist, there are red flags of toxic people that we often mistake for intimacy.

These dating myths can cause us to believe that our dating partner is the soulmate we’ve been looking for, when in reality, they can indicate someone who lacks empathy, exploits others and feels superior to those around him or her.

READ: 5 Dating Red Flags of Narcissists We Mistake For Intimacy

6 Dark Traits of The Female Sociopath

 

Female sociopaths and narcissists are dangerous precisely because their manipulation operates underneath the radar. Although there is an ongoing debate about the definition of “sociopath” versus “narcissist,” it’s safe to say that both types exhibit the following:

  • A callous lack of empathy.
  • A tendency to manipulate and con others for their own gain.
  • A sense of egocentrism and excessive entitlement along with blatant disregard for the rights, needs and feelings of others.

Sociopaths and narcissists on the high end of the spectrum take it one step further. Those who meet the criteria for the Dark Triad (narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism) often lack remorse for their destructive actions. They use cognitive empathy to assess their target’s vulnerabilities but they lack the affective empathy to truly care about the welfare of others. They are often sadistic in provoking and deceiving others, feeling pleasure at the sight of another’s pain. Studies show that these toxic types experience positive feelings when seeing sad faces (Wai & Tiliopoulos, 2012).

The reality of their malice becomes darker when we consider that females are socialized by our society to be covertly aggressive. As a result, they are more likely to bully others through underhanded methods such as relational aggression – abuse through sabotage of someone’s  social relationships and reputation – all while mastering the guise of a sweet exterior.

Here are six signs you are dealing with a female sociopath or narcissist on the high end of the spectrum:

READ ON PSYCH CENTRAL: 6 Dark Traits of The Female Sociopath

Narcissism Page: Where You Can Find My Most Popular Articles On Narcissistic Abuse


Looking for an easier way to read about narcissism and narcissistic abuse? Check out Thought Catalog’s new Narcissism page, which features many of my most popular articles on this type of covert abuse. Be sure to share it with other survivors who might need this important information as well!

READ AND SHARE: All About Narcissism – The Red Flags and How To Heal

5 Things You Don’t Realize He’s Doing Because He’s A Narcissist

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A narcissist is not just someone who is vain or self-absorbed. True narcissists cause actual emotional harm to their friends, partners, family members, colleagues and loved ones due to their callous lack of empathy, excessive sense of entitlement and their unwillingness to change their abusive behavior.

True narcissists control you, manipulate you, coerce you, belittle you, isolate you and sabotage you. But first, they charm and ensnare you into their toxic web, presenting a false mask that bears little similarity to their true selves.

Although this article specifically refers to male narcissists, please note that female narcissists also exhibit these same behaviors.

Here are five things you don’t realize he is doing because he’s a narcissist.

READ THE ARTICLE HERE: 5 Things You Don’t Realize He’s Doing Because He’s A Narcissist

The Dollhouse: 5 Roles You Play In A Narcissist’s Harem or Love Cult

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Narcissists are fickle creatures; they love shiny objects and they love to replace them just as swiftly as they’ve obtained them. They pit people against one another, they manufacture love triangles to make people jealous and to cause people to compete for the narcissist’s attention and approval. They become easily distracted by new victims who can heighten their status, reputation and wealth.

In a narcissist’s eyes, all victims are replaceable and interchangeable, depending on what they can do for the narcissist. All victims are in a never-ending competition to prove their worth and value to the narcissist. They are dolls in a narcissist’s playhouse of horrors.

The “love cults” that narcissists build to stroke their egos aren’t actually exclusive to romantic relationships. They can exist in families, friendship circles, the workplace and various organizational hierarchies.

Love-bombing is a technique that cult leaders use to groom and indoctrinate their members; it consists of showering someone with constant attention and praise to get the cult’s own needs met. When members are sufficiently love-bombed and indoctrinated into the group, they are then expected to cater to the narcissist’s every desire in return.

Contrary to popular belief, the role you play in a narcissist’s harem isn’t always a fixed one. It can change and fluctuate based on how the narcissist perceives your usefulness and their needs.

Here are five roles you may play if you unwittingly become part of a narcissist’s harem.

READ THE ARTICLE: The Dollhouse: 5 Roles You Can Play In A Narcissist’s ‘Harem’ Or Love Cult

7 Reasons People Lie And How To Spot A Liar

Narcissists and sociopaths are known for their pathological lying. They lie in order to deceive, to manipulate, and for their own benefit. They might also lie to gaslight someone and erode their sense of reality, causing their victims to feel off-balance. Unlike liars who lie to protect others or to preserve their self-image, chronic manipulators lie even when the situation does not warrant it because it gives them a sense of “duping delight” – the sadistic pleasure of being able to one-up and deceive someone successfully.

READ THE ARTICLE: Why Do People Lie? 7 Major Reasons For Deception (And How To Spot A Liar)

Featured image by Pablo Heimplatz.

 

5 Reasons Why People Attempt Suicide – And How We Can End the Stigma

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This has been an incredibly tough and triggering week, especially for those who struggle with mental health issues, suicidal ideation, self-harm or are mourning the loss of someone from suicide. With the tragic deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, we are reminded that these issues do not discriminate and that mental health is something that needs to be prioritized.

Unfortunately, there is still a great amount of emotional invalidation, stigma, misinformation, harmful stereotyping and shame surrounding the topic of suicide.

This includes the omission of discussing depression, abuse and complex trauma as factors which often play such important roles in tragedies like these. That’s why it’s so important to continue the conversation and to remind people that there is support out there, and people who do understand.

It’s important to talk about why suicide attempts and ideation occur. It’s important to de-stigmatize the suffering of those who may be shouldering their pain in silence. It’s important to be mindful of how we treat those who choose to share their struggles and to be mindful that not everyone may not be as open in coming forward or reaching out for help.

Here are five reasons why people attempt suicide and how we, as a society, can be more mindful of how we engage in this dialogue when someone does reach out.

READ THE ARTICLE: 5 Reasons Why People Attempt Suicide

This article contains sensitive or potentially triggering content related to suicide. If you are struggling with suicidal ideation, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Featured Photo by Shalom Mwenesi.