Research on Narcissism Changed my Life

"I wasn't sure if I was so afraid of it being true. No I was afraid of it not being true because my reality was so distorted. "

Podcast links

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0LwjIzcoA4d0xHeujVbyDz?si=Y0Rvc5LaQGKRZ63ux5NUHg

Apple: https://https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/e2-research-on-narcissism-changed-my-life/id1536527419?i=1000495842249

Transcript

Mary:

We all have stories that are behind closed curtains, you know, the ones that are  untold.

We dive into these stories that may have authors who wish to remain anonymous  yet, who are ready to expose the light, some untouched memories of those who  deserve better in order to spur, change, hope, courage, and education to those in  similar circumstances. I'm your host and I want to welcome you to the next episode of the untold story  project.

Welcome to episode two of the untold story project. A lot of the stories we share or  deep and pretty vulnerable and so in order to protect the identities of the stories and  to create a safe place for people to be able to share, all of our Blues have the option  to remain anonymous and identify themselves by another name, which is a favorite  quality about who they are as a person. And so I would like to invite today's Blues  to introduce yourself with your name.

Blue:

Hello, my name today is blue.

Mary:

And what does blue mean to you?

Blue:

Well, blue first stemmed from a poem I read and it seems like a very like  lighthearted, chill like Pinterest poem at first, I think at first glance, but it really  spoke to me and I found myself when I first started, writing poetically and just  writing and journaling and working through healing processes, I found myself using  this blue tool as a form to explain or to express my spirit and my true identity.

So, I would have that to go back to, at times I would write it on my arm. So if there  was times where I was confused or I didn't know it was happening or I just felt in  the wrong brain or a lot of demonic oppression, I would like to look at it and it would  remember that even though I'm feeling like this, and even though this is happening,  that in the end, that's not who I am. That's not who God says I am and that's not who  he created me to be.

Mary:

That's so beautiful. What feelings are associated with blue for you?

Blue:

I would say feelings of joy and strength and called out and to who I actually am.

Mary:

I love that it's very poetic and I love how certain words can, you can just capture so  much in it and that seems to definitely be one of those words for you. So thank you  for sharing that. 

Blue:

Absolutely

Mary:

So to dive in, in our conversations before we started recording, you mentioned that  you've had a narcissistic person in your life growing up and can you explain what  narcissism is? 

Blue:

I think I want to explain two things, kind of like my definition would be, is a mental  condition that encompasses most not all but most toxic traits in a single condition.  But I also think it's important to remember that like, there can be narcissistic traits,  you can be narcissistic and there's narcissistic personality disorder .

And so like that definition, like you would search on Google is a mental condition  in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for  excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and the lack of empathy  for others. 

Mary:

You know, I'd heard of narcissism before. I didn't realize there were these different  categories of just having narcissistic traits, being a full on personality disorder and  everything in between. 

Blue:

Yeah, for sure. Like, I think especially in our day and age, people throw around the  word a lot and so it's important to identify like those three things. I mean, they're all  obviously are very similar, but I kind of like think of it as a scale of what is actually  going on. A narcissistic trait could be a, what some people would say as like a toxic trait but that's also something that you would also categorize in a narcissistic person  or narcissistic personality disorder. 

Mary:

So this person in your life who was narcissist, were they close to you? 

Blue:

Yes. I'm not going to go into too much detail of that, but yeah, this person was very  close to me, lived with me, yes, for sure. 

Mary:

And something that I had learned from looking at some of the resources that you  shared with me is that the one big difference in narcissistic personality disorder is  that it has to affect how that individual, the narcissist operates in their daily life.  So it doesn't necessarily mean that they are affecting other people more than people  who just have traits of narcissism but to be a personality disorder in the cluster B Psychopathic disorders, it has to actually impair them and how they operate daily.  I just thought that was really interesting. And when did you realize that something  was wrong? 

Blue:

It was always something in the back of my mind but then there was just this one  week where I kept having like these few things, because there's a lot of specifically  this week, there was a lot of arguments with this person. There's a lot of mishaps, there was a lot of this, there's a lot of that and it was a very difficult week for me.  Like three things kept repeating in my brain, so yeah, the three things were like, lack  of empathy, it was like, it's really strange. I'm literally like, pouring my heart out to  this person, I'm putting myself in an extremely vulnerable position.

I was trying to be vulnerable with this person to hopefully get back something  literally anything, any empathy is all I wanted at this time was just love from this  person. And so I started seeing that very clearly, wow, I'm literally putting myself,  all of myself out there, like this person somehow still managed to gaslight me and  put it back on me. 

Mary:

So you mentioned the word Gaslight, what does Gaslight mean?

Blue:

So the definition of gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, that's seen in abusive  relationships. It's the act of manipulating a person by forcing them to question their  thoughts, memories, and the events occurring around them. 

A victim of gaslighting can be pushed so far that they question their own sanity.  Gaslighting is a very serious thing, it's a very common, like I said, that's why it's  important to understand it, like narcissistic traits, a lot of people gaslights but it is  one of the worst things I believe that you can do to a human because it makes them  question, especially if you are a more shy person, if you're a more insecure person  or in your vulnerable state, or you're putting yourself out there to a person you love,  and they do that to you. 

It creates a wound that you don't know will ever turn into a scar or not. This can  present itself I think not just with narcissistic people, but like I just said, in the  narcissistic dynamic around it. 

Mary:

Gaslighting is a very important concept for understanding narcissism and  understanding how to work with people who exhibit these traits. And we're going to be talking about this on so many episodes in the future as well,  but could you provide maybe an example of gaslighting? 

Blue:

So specifically with a narcissistic person or person with narcissistic personality  disorder, oftentimes when you are deeply hurt by them and you go to them and you  say, and it's very clear and you say, you hurt me by doing dot, dot dot, their brain  goes, oh, this is an attack towards who I am as a person and how amazing I am, like  the audacity of that person.  

And so then they go and they turn that around to you, to make you feel invalid, to  make sure you're not heard, to make you feel unworthy by saying something like  that. 

Mary:

It sounds like basically pure manipulation. 

Blue:

No, it's manipulation, absolutely. It's a manipulation of your reality, that's why it  says it can be pushed so far that they question their own, one can question their own  sanity. I'm going to be honest, that's what happened to me. 

Lack of empathy, the second one was, only showed like loving action or only did  things that seemed, that made me feel loved or did things that seemed nice when it was convenient. Because when I really looked back on it, it made me go wait, I  started like looking back on things like that and seeing, wait actually, that person  only went shopping with me because I had the credit card or they wanted my money  or they complimented me for this reason so that later I would do something for them,  or they only act like we were best friends around her friends to make her look better. But then really when it was just us, it wasn't like that at all. 

And then the third one was like this abnormal, oh my gosh, like this person has such  a need for control that as soon as like it slips everything explodes. And then all of  the people around them are trying to pick up the pieces and it just kept happening  over and this kept like turning my brain over and over and over. And then literally  in the middle of the night, like I woke up and I wrote down, research narcissism.

It was almost like, it was really strange, it was literally in the middle of the night.

Mary:

Wow. So, you knew, you just happened to know, oh, these, these three things,  narcissism. 

Blue:

I didn't know it. I was just thoughts, I was trying to figure out like, this is really  strange, but it was almost like, I didn't want to come to the conclusion. So like, in the middle of the night, I literally remember, I like popped up out of bed  and I was just like research narcissism. I didn't know what that meant, I was just like and so I did.

Mary:

Wow, that's crazy. Did you tell anyone? 

Blue:

I don't think I did, I was terrified of telling anyone because well, during this time I  had no one to tell, that was my bubble, that was my world. Yeah, I didn't have anyone  to tell and I was terrified of telling it because I was so afraid of it. I wasn't sure if I  was so afraid of it being true, no I was so afraid of it not being true because my  reality was so distorted. 

Mary:

Yeah and when your thoughts are being turned against you and your reality is continually invalidated and you don't know what's true, what can you do with that, you know?

Blue:

Yeah. 

Mary:

So then you did some research. How did that research impact your interactions with  this person afterwards? 

Blue:

Well, at first I was just researching it a ton in general and then I came across this  concept called the gray rocking. The definition of gray rocking is a strategy for  dealing with a narcissist or sociopath is to act like a quote unquote gray rock,  meaning that you become uninterested and unresponsive. Using the gray rock  method, your objective is to make someone lose interest in you. You don't fill their  needs for drama or attention, so that means you don't put yourself in a vulnerable  position. You interact with this person as little as possible, yeah, you just try not to play into their game as much as possible. You are doing your best, because at this  point for me, it was like, I couldn't try things because I was so out of my mind, I  didn't know what was, I couldn't see what was real and I couldn't understand what was real and what wasn't real, that it was like, coming across as, was like my saving  grace and for anyone, I’ll recommend this for anyone in a similar situation it helps  you to step out and see things for how they are.

Doing that, it created a lot of tension within, all kinds of scenarios, but I felt it so  strongly that I was supposed to do it and I'm so glad I did. 

Mary:

Gray Rocking?

Blue:

Yeah. Yeah, no, it really, it works and it was really hard for me, I’m not going to lie,  It wasn't like all rainbows and butterflies. It was hard to do because it meant, almost  like everyone was asking, like, why you acting so different around this person or  why are you not acting at all around us?  

And so at first I think this is very common with any narcissist, they become very  angry because they lost one of their pieces to their game. And so they'll try  manipulating you, hardcore a lot of the times when that happens, they'll do anything.  They'll try all of their methods that worked on you in the past and that's the trial  where that was like probably the most hard part. But after that, then when it came to  the part, that's why it says like the objective is to make someone lose interest in you, because then it makes you be finally be able to go from here and like be able to look  at that from a place of like, okay, how can I heal?

Mary:

No, because narcissists really thrive off of the reactions that are given from their  statements. And so if you don't give them that reaction, you're not giving them the  power that they desire. 

Blue:

Exactly, it's like literal food for them. And so when you take that away, it's almost  like a drug to them, when you're taking that drug away from them, it's almost like a  withdrawal and so it creates that reaction. 

Mary:

Everyone can be addicted to a number of things, whether that be drugs or success or  money, perhaps narcissists are addicted to the reactions they get from manipulative statements. So this is complete speculation, but the person who is a narcissist in your  life or other narcissists in general, do you have any thoughts on why narcissists act  the way that they do, because I have no idea. 

Blue:

Yeah, Yeah. That's a great question, narcissists, it doesn't come from a place of  security and it doesn't come from a place of self-love although it can seem that way.  I remember when I'm looking up to this person and thinking, oh my gosh, I wish I  had their confidence. I wish I had their love for themselves, I wish I was able to go  into life with that mindset, but it's not, it is a mask for how deeply insecure they are.  And they become so insecure inside with certain things that they actually like fill  those things and fill that identity in such a toxic way that that is literally who they  are to them.

Mary:

I mean, I would say looking at the people I know in my life, there's probably a few  people who are narcissists or have narcissistic tendencies and you're right. A lot of  them do come off as very confident.

Blue:

Charismatic, healthy people, they're the life of the party. Not all of them, but some  of them, a lot of them.

Mary:

Yeah and so a lot of them can like mask their insecurity, so well, or never ever even  talk about it.

Blue:

Which is what can be come so scary because that becomes a gaslighting environment  for the victim as well, because then they think everyone else thinks they're so great and so awesome and so charismatic and so nice. 

But they've mastered these things because they've mastered them, because it adds  value to this image of themselves that they need to be glorified. 

Mary:

Yeah, so something that fascinates me about your particular story is that, you know,  you notice these patterns of this person in your life who is unhealthy and then you  researched them.

So if one of our listeners also notices, you know, similar patterns of someone in their  life, what would you recommend that they do? 

Blue:

First things first, I would say is just like, educate yourself at least from my own  experience. When I first started researching it, I glossed over so many of the traits  of what was actually happening because I'd been convinced that, that wasn't who  that person was. And be open to the fact that maybe your reality could be disordered  and how you see that person as well.  

Yeah, I recommend watching Dr. Ramani's videos. That was for me, that's what I  inhaled every day was like Dr. Ramani's videos. Cause she has like videos from  literally everything you can think of about narcissism. She has a whole channel  dedicated to it and practice gray rocking and see what that opens up for you because when you do that, it actually allows yourself to separate and push through the time.  Like I said before of like cracked down on you, yeah. 

Also if you have access to professional help, so important, for me it was, yeah, a lot  of reflection of like writing things down and processing them and then being able to  take them to God and have him come into that and be able to deal with the anger,  the resentment, all of these emotions that I knew were hurting me, but I also felt like  I had a right to, and I, or I didn't have a right to and so it made me feel guilty. 

All of these things that'll happen, all these side effects is why it’s so important to  then take it to God and be like, can you come into this? Can you hold my hand  through this? Cause he will, he's there, he will hold your hand through this because  you don't want it to then create something in you where you become like them, where you have traits from them, because that can also happen because you feel entitled to  almost and that's not your fault but just going in with that.

And then fight for your feelings, even if you don't know if they're valid or not,  that was a huge one for me, it was like going into every conversation with every  single person. Because when you, when you've let somebody manipulate you for  that long, you also have everyone around, you treat you a certain way.

And so a lot of people around you, not that it's your fault because you are the victim  of this, but like people will treat you differently because of how you've allowed or  how you haven't stood up for yourself. And so fight for every single feeling and  know that it's valid, that it's real, that it's happening and that it is valid.

Mary:

Yeah, you know, I think all of these things are really important that you mentioned,  like research, right. Understanding what's true and what's not true and I feel like  really anything to get yourself out of your head because when you're in a place of constant manipulation and you don't know what's true, stepping back and talking  with other people, learning from professionals, you know, whether that be research  online or speaking with other people. And of course, taking it back to God and  journaling and just getting your thoughts out is so beneficial. So I love those  recommendations. 

Blue:

Yeah. Thanks of course. 

Mary:

And you also mentioned kind of the danger of taking on maybe some of these traits,  you know, because the scary thing is they say you're the sum of the five people that  are closest to you. And if a narcissist is really close in your life, that's a pretty hard  thing to break, you know? So have you noticed yourself taking on any of these  characteristics or them at least influencing your thought life to some degree? 

Blue:

Yeah. Like what mostly happened with me is you can go two routes. You can almost  become so closed off and this dynamic was like, a lot of people came to me to either vent or if they were mad at another person, they would come to me and be mad and  so it just mostly affected my identity. But obviously like seeing that presented to  like, this is how you're supposed to act, this is the reactions you get from the world  and seeing how that affected you seems almost like you're entitled to affect others  that way. And I think that's where we have to be careful as people who have been  around this and have been subject to this. Yeah. I find myself like having to consciously practice specific forms of empathy. Like I still fight the voice that  subconsciously says, nobody validated this hurt in you so why should it matter right  now and in them, like in that person. Consciously thinking, this is not even a real  problem, like rolling my eyes in my brain, like that, I have to sometimes, like that's  an example of where I would have to like catch myself and go, no actually this is  something that is true. And by doing this, I could either be blocking so many  opportunities in this area to comfort this person, to dig deeper into this to meet them  where they are in that, especially if it's never been something that's recognized and  you kind of just like grow older, especially when they're like your parents, they're  not narcissistic. Well, they may be a little bit narcissistic, yeah, for sure, because of  how they grew up in, because they never actually dealt with those specific hurts.

Mary:

That’s really important thing to deal with the hurts that you've experienced and  understand them so that you don't repeat them.

Blue:

You break the pattern, so you break the cycle because that's also going affect all of  your other siblings and all of the other people around you. And if you're able to get  the opportunity to acknowledge it, it's so powerful to take the time and focus on the  strengths to unlearn these things and to really walk through the healing, the full  healing process of them.

Mary:

You know, actually I've been thinking about, about the origin of all sin. Sin is usually  operating out of hurt or selfishness to some degree, which is a huge web of fears and  insecurities, right? Like anytime someone does something wrong or to hurt someone  else, it's because of a trail of past hurts pretty much throughout time.

And to me, Jesus is like, he broke that, you know, he didn't just not sin, but he didn't  let those hurts and those things, years and insecurities, he didn't pass that on. He  stopped it, you know, whenever we take our hurts back and deal with them and pray  about them and get redemption that's when we're acting like Jesus and breaking  cycles of sin.

Blue:

So powerful, yeah. I'm only recently like learning because like a year ago, I didn't  even think I could actually, like, I didn't see past a life with all of these hurts.

Mary:

Yeah and I'm so excited. You're continually on this path of healing and finding even  more healing so I commend you for that. 

Blue:

Thank you. Thank you for that.

Mary:

Well blue, thank you for sharing your story. 

Blue:

Thank you for having me.

Mary:

I don't take any stories that are shared lightly because it's a lot and so I thank you for  your strength and choosing healing and choosing love and choosing to not only just  love the people around you but also pass that on through sharing a piece of your life  today. So thank you. 

Blue:

Yeah, we just, it's important to spread the word about this and have more  conversations about this, because this is real. And if people are more educated about  this, not only does this understanding like what narcissistic personality disorder is or  narcissistic person, but like I said, it is the embodiment of the traits of a ton of toxic  traits. So when you're able to be educated on what this is, you're also able to identify  that, the enablers in the world, you're able to identify other people who have, that's  why I put narcissistic traits and you can build a life for yourself that builds you up,  builds others up and creates this beautiful environment of how God created us to be,  being closer to that and being closer to how Jesus was like by understanding this,  because now we're building each other up instead of consciously or subconsciously  tearing people down.

Mary:

Like I said, blue, it has been a joy to have you today. Thank you for sharing your  story with me and so many others and for our listeners, if you have an untold story  that you would like to share, hop over to our website at untoldstoryproject.org and  apply. Thank you.