Posted by: Admin | May 27, 2016

Memorial Day

Most people on this day spend time with traveling, parties, cooking out with friends and family.  It is a day to honor those who have served and sacrificed in protecting our great NATION now and in the past.

Back in 2000 a resolution was passed that asks Americans to “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or by listening to taps.”

So many of our military have sacrificed their lives and their way of life in support of our freedom.  Our FREEDOM is something that is challenged every day.  Let’s give thanks to the families of those who are picking up the every day duties of life while they are serving.  Let’s all be the best support system we can be to our military partners.

 

 

Donald Trump has grown an empire of wealth and power, but is it enough? He admits that it isn’t the money that motivates him. (The Art of the Deal, 1987) What drives narcissists are their fears of feeling weak, vulnerable, or inferior. Consequently, for male narcissists in particular, achieving  power is their highest value – at any cost. Trump is “certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred.” (Trump on Trump)

There is great disparity between what narcissists show the world and what goes on inside. Despite their big egos, they’re frightened and fragile – just the opposite of their grandiose, powerful façade. They must work hard to keep up their image, not only for others, but for themselves. In fact, their immodesty and exaggerated self-importance are commensurate with their hidden shame. “Me thinks you protest too much,” defines them. Shame is paradoxical in that it hides behind false pride. Its defenses of arrogance and contempt, envy and aggression, and denial and projection all serve to inflate and compensate for a weak, immature self. Like all bullies, the greater their defensive aggression, the greater is their insecurity.

Shame fuels their needs for admiration, attention, and respect. “If I get my name in the paper, if people pay attention, that’s what matters.” (Donald Trump: Master Apprentice, 2005) Trump wants “total recognition” as when “Nigerians on the street corners who don’t speak a word of English, say, ‘Trump! Trump!’” (New Yorker, May 19, 1997) Praise and success never fill a narcissist’s inner emptiness, nor compensate for deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. Despite being the topic of countless headlines and magazine covers, he complained to Scott Pelly in his 60-minute interview that his business doesn’t get enough respect.

To gain recognition and validation of their worth, narcissists brag and exaggerate the truth. They imagine themselves to be more special – more desirable, more intelligent, more powerful, more invincible – than others. “Some people would say I’m very, very, very intelligent.” (Fortune, April 3, 2000) “My I.Q. is one of the highest!” (Twitter, May 8, 2013) “All the women on The Apprentice flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously.” (How to Get Rich, 2004) “It’s very hard for them to attack me on looks, because I’m so good looking.” (NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Aug. 9, 2015) Trump announced his grandiose, unrealistic ambitions to Scott Pelly to force businesses to close foreign plants, to compel the Chinese to devalue their currency, and to build a cheap, impenetrable wall paid for by Mexico. (Estimates are $28 billion a year.)

It’s all or nothing with narcissists. For Donald Trump, there are winners, like himself (TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald, 2005), and losers, and he “doesn’t like to lose.” (New York Times, Aug. 7, 1983) “Show me someone without an ego, and I’ll show you a loser.” (Facebook, Dec. 9, 2013) Trump must stay on top and thrives on the challenge. “You learn that you’re either the toughest, meanest piece of shit in the world or you just crawl into a corner . . . Guys that I thought were tough were nothin’.” (New York magazine, Aug. 15, 1994) Losing, failing, being second aren’t options. “Life to me is a psychological game, a series of challenges you either meet or don’t (Playboy, March 1990). He “lies awake at night and thinks and plots.” (New York magazine, Nov. 9, 1992) These high stakes make for vicious competitiveness, where offense is the best defense. “Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition.” (The Art of the Deal, 1987)

Narcissists have a “my way or the highway” attitude” and don’t like to hear “No.” Others’ limits make them feel powerless as they did as a child, which is very frightening. They can throw a childlike tantrum when others don’t comply. When their imagined omnipotence and control is challenged, they manipulate to get what they want and may punish you or make you feel guilty for turning them down. (Lancer, Dealing with a Narcissist: 8 Steps to Raise Self-Esteem and Set Boundaries with Difficult People)

 

By projecting their aggression outward, the world appears hostile and dangerous. “The world is a pretty vicious place.” (Esquire, January 2004) People who are seen “as out for themselves,” (Playboy, March 1990), become adversaries to defeat or control. To keep safe, they push others away, fending off threats and humiliation, and they do so aggressively. Women “are far worse than men, far more aggressive … ” (The Art of the Comeback, 1997) “You have to treat ’em like shit.” (New York magazine, Nov. 9, 1992)  Nevertheless, narcissists are exquisitely sensitive to any sign of disrespect or imagined slight that threatens their self-concept. When Trump says, “The rich have a very low threshold for pain.” (New York magazine, Feb. 11, 1985), he includes himself.

Trump learned to attack from his father, who “taught me to keep my guard up.” (Esquire, January 2004) When attacked, narcissists retaliate to reverse feelings of humiliation and restores their pride. “If someone screws you, screw them back. When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can.” (How to Get Rich, 2004) “If somebody tries to push me around, he’s going to pay a price. Those people don’t come back for seconds. I don’t like being pushed around or taken advantage of.” (Playboy, March 1990)

He told Scott Pelly that his father was “a tough cookie” – a strict, “no-nonsense kind of guy.” (Playboy, March 1990) There are many ways parents can shame their children and instill the belief that they’re not worthy of love. Scolding feelings and needs or emphasizing high expectations convey conditional, tough love, which makes a child feel unaccepted for who they are. Sadly, the implication is that without success (or for a female narcissist, often beauty), no one would care about me. “Let’s say I was worth $10. People would say, ‘Who the [expletive] are you?’” (Washington Post, July 12, 2015) Instead, they must earn their parents’ acceptance. Ted Levine, Trump’s high school roommate, described the kind of pressure to excel that the boys were under. “He had to be better than his father. We were sent here to be the best of the best, and we knew what our job was.”

To compensate for insecurity and shame, narcissists feel superior, often expressed with disdain or contempt, captured in the scornful, smirk and curled lip shown in the photo. Arrogance and putdowns bolster their egos by projecting the devalued parts of themselves onto others. Trump has disparagingly and publicly labeled various people a “dog,” “bimbo,” “dummy,”  “grotesque,” “losers,” or “morons.” Narcissists’ invectives are made worse by their lack of empathy, which enables them to see people as two-dimensional objects to meet their needs. “It really doesn’t matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” (Esquire, 1991) Objectifying others demonstrates how insensitively they were treated growing up.

Not the quarry, but the chase; not the trophy, but the race” inspires Trump. “The same assets that excite me in the chase, often, once they are acquired, leave me bored. For me . . . the important thing is the getting, not the having.” (Surviving at the Top, 1990) Conquest and winning reaffirm a narcissist’s power. “It’s all in the hunt and once you get it, it loses some of its energy. I think competitive, successful men feel that way about women.” (TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald, 2005) Victory also bolsters unexpressed feelings of insufficiency. Trump so hinted, saying, “Oftentimes when I was sleeping with one of the top women in the world I would say to myself, thinking about me as a boy from Queens, ‘Can you believe what I am getting?’” (Think Big: Make it Happen in Business and Life, 2008)

However, power and love don’t easily coexist. “Intimacy requires vulnerability, letting down one’s guard and being authentic to get close emotionally – all signs of weakness that are frightening and abhorrent to a narcissist. Rather than give up power and control, which risk exposure of their false persona, many narcissists have short relationships or are distancers when more than sex is anticipated.” (Lancer, Dealing with a Narcissist: 8 Steps to Raise Self-Esteem and Set Boundaries with Difficult People.)

Love relationships are about connecting – something herculean for a narcissist. “For me, business comes easier than relationships.” (Esquire, January 2004) “I’m married to my business. It’s been a marriage of love. So, for a woman, frankly, it’s not easy in terms of relationships.” (New York magazine, Dec. 13, 2004) “I was bored when she (Marla) was walking down the aisle. I kept thinking: What the hell am I doing here? I was so deep into my business stuff. I couldn’t think of anything else.” (TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald, 2005)

Posted on Find-a-Therapist by Darlene Lancer in 2015

Posted by: Admin | May 19, 2016

Depression Can Run In The Family

Studies show that 25% of the kids who have a parent who has suffered from clinical depression will experience their own episode, says Dr. Frassler a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont.  If both Mom and Dad are depressed, the risk increases to around 75%.  Scientists aren’t exactly sure of the reason for this, but one theory posits that these kids have a genetic vulnerability, which is the exacerbated by a stressful environment.  That said, keep in mind that genes aren’t destiny, even when there’s depression in the family.

Posted by: Admin | May 6, 2016

What is Percocet?

Percocet is the brand name of a prescription medication that contains oxycodone and acetaminophen.  Oxycodone is a semisynthetic opioid that is also marketed as the prescription painkiller OxyContin.  Acetaminophen is an analgesic that reduces fever and is present in many over-the counter medications.  The combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen allows Percocet to treat moderate to severe pain.  When a person takes Percocet, the oxycodone interacts with receptors in the central nervous system to alleviate pain and elicits a sense of relaxed euphoria.  Oxycodone can suppress the heart rate and respiration, and is also highly addictive, while the misuse or abuse of acetaminophen can lead to liver failure.However, with effective comprehensive care, individuals can overcome their compulsion to abuse and can live healthier drug-free lives.

Posted by: Admin | May 3, 2016

Bullying

Bullying is the assertion of power through aggression.  The forms change with age: school playground bullying, verbal taunts, put-downs, exclusion from the peer group, sexual harassment, gang attacks, date violence, assault, marital violence.  Bullying is a conscious, willful, deliberate, hostile and repeated behavior by one or more people, which is intended to harm others.

Posted by: Admin | April 25, 2016

Depression

It is a myth that depression is part of the aging process.  Depression is a medical illness.  Watch for complaints of aches and pains, inability to concentrate, mood swings, talk of worthlessness, frequent doctor visits without relief, and possibly alcoholism.  Mental health specialists can help detect depression.  Family physicians can help provide treatment or provide referrals.

Posted by: Admin | April 14, 2016

Find-a-Therapist

Finding a therapist to help you should not be a difficult process. Are you willing to invest some time to find the right one for you?

There are many counselors, social workers, art therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists and others who are trained and licensed in the field of mental health throughout the world.

Where do I start my search?  Here are some things to consider when using the internet to search for a mental health provider.  You can use a Directory which therapists use to advertise their services.  There are many good ones to choose from.  Start the search finding a therapist near where you live.  You can do this through a Directory or by doing a general Google search.  A Directory will present the therapist profile in a readable summary.   Using some specific information will help narrow down your search.  You can enter your city, town or zip code.  If you live in a rural area you will need to enter a larger area that is close to you.  Decide whether you would be more comfortable with a male or female therapist.  Some will take insurances and some don’t.  They may be able offer a sliding scale. You may have to come out and ask this question if not offered.   This may make it more affordable for their services.  Determine what issue or feelings that you are struggling with.  We often don’t realize why we are struggling with such basic life activities.  Sometimes a mental health “checkup” is needed.  Visit the therapist website for more information about their location, office hours, services provided, insurances accepted or not, how many years of experience and are they licensed in their state.  Finally, make a phone call to ask them some specific questions about their services and availability.  Do a type of “interview” to see if they are the right fit for you.  It is best for you to do the search than a family member.  You know more about what you are looking for in a therapist.

Finally, be patient and polite.

 

 

Posted by: Admin | February 18, 2016

What to do with an aging parent?

When one or both of our parents age and need more care, who will do it?

There are options in this decision.  First, have any financial preparations been made for additional or long-term care by your parents?  If they are like most, retirement funds and social security are limited.  nowadays, there are care facilities that reach to each end of the scale.  Some, are very nice and  very expensive.  Their health and safety is so important.  There are some facilities that are more affordable but just don’t seem the right place for your parent. There is guilt when moving them out of their home to some place that is unknown.

Second, more and more children are moving their parents into their home for daily care.  There are limits to this scenario too.  Your life will not be the same.  You seem to spend every moment around their needs.  Your life as you once knew it, is no longer that, your life.

Third, hire someone to come into their home or your home to help out.  They can run errands with them, play games or do light cleaning.  The question is how do you find someone who is reliable, honest and a good fit as a companion.  It may take several trials and many different agencies.  They may even need this service if they are in an Assisted Living Facility.  This price would be added on top of that monthly rental fee.  It boils down to COST.  That is what every family ultimately thinks about.  The decision and leg work is usually left up to the siblings.

Finally, when you are looking forward to retirement, you may find that your responsibilities grow with the care of your parent or parents.  Unless, there have been provisions made or even discussed before the time comes.  It will take time, family discussions and money to provide the right setting for your parent or parents as they age.

Posted by: Admin | August 23, 2014

How to Spot Manipulation

How to Spot Manipulation

We all want to get our needs met, but manipulators use underhanded methods. Manipulation is a way to covertly influence someone with indirect, deceptive, or abusive tactics. Manipulation may seem benign or even friendly or flattering, as if the person has your highest concern in mind, but in reality it’s to achieve an ulterior motive. Other times, it’s veiled hostility, and when abusive methods are used, the objective is merely power. You may not realize that you’re being unconsciously intimidated.

If you grew up being manipulated, it’s harder to discern what’s going on, because it feels familiar. You might have a gut feeling of discomfort or anger, but on the surface the manipulator may use words that are pleasant, ingratiating, reasonable, or that play on your guilt or sympathy, so you override your instincts and don’t know what to say. Codependents have trouble being direct and assertive and may use manipulation to get their way. They’re also easy prey for being manipulated by narcissists, borderline personalities, sociopaths, and other codependents, including addicts.

MANIPULATIVE TACTICS

Favorite weapons of manipulators are:  guilt, complaining, comparing, lying, denying (including excuses and rationalizations), feigning ignorance, or innocence (the “Who me!?” defense), blame, bribery, undermining, mind games, assumptions, “foot-in-the-door,” reversals, emotional blackmail, evasiveness, forgetting, fake concern, sympathy, apologies, flattery, and gifts and favors. Manipulators often use guilt by saying directly or through implication, “After all I’ve done or you,” or chronically behaving needy and a helpless. They may compare you negatively to someone else or rally imaginary allies to their cause, saying that, “Everyone” or “Even so and so thinks xyz ,” or “says xyz about you.”

Some manipulators deny promises, agreements, or conversations, or start an argument and blame you for something you didn’t do to get sympathy and power. This approach can be used to break a date, promise, or agreement.  Parents routinely manipulate with bribery – everything from, “Finish your dinner to get dessert,” to “No video games until your homework is done.” I was bribed with a promise of a car, which I needed in order to commute to summer school, on the condition that I agree to go to the college that my parents had chosen rather than the one I’d decided on. I always regretted taking the bribe. When you do, it undermines your self-respect.

Manipulators often voice assumptions about your intentions or beliefs and then react to them as if they were true in order to justify their feelings or actions, all the while denying what you a say in the conversation. They may act as if something has been agreed upon or decided when it hasn’t in order to ignore any input or objection you might have.

The “foot-in-the-door” technique is making a small request that you agree to, which is followed by the real request. It’s harder to say no, because you’ve already said yes.  The reversal turns your words around to mean something you didn’t intend. When you object, manipulators turn the tables on you so that they’re the injured party. Now it’s about them and their complaints, and you’re on the defensive.

Fake concern is sometimes used to undermine your decisions and confidence in the form of warnings or worry about you.

EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL

Emotional blackmail is abusive manipulation that may include the use of rage, intimidation, threats, shame, or guilt. Shaming you is a method to create self-doubt and make you feel insecure.  It can even be couched in a compliment: “I’m surprised that you of all people you’d stoop to that!” A classic ploy is to frighten you with threats, anger, accusations, or dire warnings, such as, “At your age, you’ll never meet anyone else if you leave,” or “The grass isn’t any greener,” or playing the victim: “I’ll die without you.”

Blackmailers may also frighten you with anger, so you sacrifice your needs and wants. If that doesn’t work, they sometimes suddenly switch to a lighter mood. You’re so relieved that you’re willing to agree to whatever is asked. They might bring up something you feel guilty or ashamed about from the past as leverage to threaten or shame you, such as, “I’ll tell the children xyz if you do xyz.

Victims of blackmailers who have certain personality disorders, such as borderline or narcissistic PD, are prone to experience a psychological FOG, which stands for Fear, Obligation, and Guilt, an acronym invented by Susan Forward. The victim is made to feel afraid to cross the manipulator, feels obligated to comply with his or her request, and feels too guilty not to do so. Shame and guilt can be used directly with put-downs or accusations that you’re “selfish” (the worse vice to many codependents) or that “You only think of yourself,” “You don’t care about me,” or that “You have it so easy.”

CODEPENDENCY

Codependents are rarely assertive. They may say whatever they think someone wants to hear to get along or be loved, but then later they do what they want. This is also passive-aggressive behavior. Rather than answer a question that might lead to a confrontation, they’re evasive, change the topic, or use blame and denial (including excuses and rationalizations), to avoid being wrong. Because they find it so hard to say no, they may say yes, followed by complaints about how difficult accommodating the request will be. When confronted, because of their deep shame, codependents have difficulty accepting responsibility, so they deny responsibility and blame or make excuses or make empty apologies to keep the peace.

They use charm and flattery and offer favors, help, and gifts to be accepted and loved. Criticism, guilt, and self-pity are also used to manipulate to get what they want: “Why do you only think of yourself and never ask or help me with my problems? I helped you.” Acting like a victim is a way to manipulate with guilt.

Addicts routinely deny, lie, and manipulate to protect their addiction. Their partners also manipulate for example, by hiding or diluting an addict’s drugs or alcohol or through other covert behavior. They may also lie or tell half-truths to avoid confrontations or control the addict’s behavior.

PASSIVE-AGGRESSION

Passive-aggressive behavior can also be used to manipulate. When you have trouble saying no, you might agree to things you don’t want to, and then get your way by forgetting, being late, or doing it half-heartedly. Typically, passive-aggression is a way of expressing hostility. Forgetting “on purpose” is conveniently avoids what you don’t want to do and gets back at your partner – like forgetting to pick up your spouse’s clothes from the cleaners. Sometimes, this is done unconsciously, but it’s still a way of expressing anger. More hostile is offering deserts to your dieting partner.

HOW TO HANDLE MANIPULATORS

The first step is to know whom you’re dealing with. They know your triggers! Study their tactics and learn their favorite weapons. Build your self-esteem and self-respect. This is your best defense! Also, learn to be assertive and set boundaries. Read How to Speak Your Mind: Become Assertive and Set Limits. Contact me at info@darlenelancer.com for a free report “12 Strategies to Handle Manipulators.”

If you would like to learn more about Darlene Lancer, M.A., MFT, J.D. and her private practice please view her profile by clicking here.

©DarleneLancer2014

Posted by: Admin | June 16, 2014

Are You a People-Pleaser?

Are You a People-Pleaser?

 

Everyone starts out in life wanting to be safe, loved, and accepted. It’s in our DNA. Some of us figure out that the best way to do this is to put aside what we want or feel and allow someone else’s needs and feelings take precedence. This works for a while. It feels natural, and there’s less outer conflict, but our inner conflict grows. If we’d like to say no, we feel guilty, and we may feel resentful when we yes. We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

Our strategy might create other problems. We may put in extra time at work and try to please the boss but get passed over for a promotion or discover we’re doing work we’re not enjoying at all. We may be very accommodating to family and friends and resent that we’re always the one called upon for help, extra work, or to take care of someone else’s problems.

Our love life might suffer, too. We give and give to our partner, but feel unappreciated or unimportant and that and our needs and desires aren’t considered. We may begin to feel bored, joyless, or mildly depressed. We may miss earlier times when we were happier or more independent. The anger, resentment, hurt, and conflict we always tried to avoid continue to grow. Being alone might appear to be a welcome escape from these challenges, but then we’d end up sacrificing our connection to others, which is what we truly want. Sometimes, it seems like we have to choose between sacrificing ourselves or sacrificing a relationship.

It’s Easier to Just Go Along

We often feel trapped, but don’t know another way to be. Accommodating others is so ingrained in us that stopping is not only difficult, it’s terrifying. If we look around, we might notice other people who are well-liked and don’t people-please. We may even know someone who is kind or admired and is able to say no to requests and invitations. What’s more, they don’t seem to agonize about it with guilt. How they do that is baffling. We might even envy someone quite popular who doesn’t give a hoot about what others think. If we bother to reflect on all this, we may wonder how we got into such a mess and question our fundamental belief that pleasing is the road to acceptance.

Although there are other people who choose to be cooperative and kind, we don’t feel as if we have a choice. It can be as hard to say no to someone who needs us as it is to someone who abuses us. In either case, we fear it will negatively affect our relationship, and the guilt and fear of rejection or disappointing someone is overwhelming. We may have loved ones or friends who would become indignant and even retaliate if we were to say no. Each time, it gets easier to agree when we rather not or to go along and not object. We can turn into a human pretzel trying to win the love or approval of someone we care for – especially in a romantic relationship.

Starting in Childhood

The problem is that for many of us, our pleasing is more than kindness. It’s our personality style. Some children decide that accommodating their parents’ wishes is the safest way to survive in a world of powerful adults and best way to win their parents acceptance and love. They try to be good and not make waves. “Good” means what parents want. Their parents may have had high expectations, been critical, had rigid rules, withheld love or approval, or punished them for “mistakes,” dissent, or showing anger. Some children learn to acquiesce merely by observing their parents’ actions with each other or another sibling. When parental discipline is unfair or unpredictable, children learn to be careful and cooperative to avoid it. Many of us are more sensitive and have a low tolerance for conflict or separation from parents due to genetic makeup, early interactions with parents, or a combination of various factors.

People-Pleasers Pay a Price

Unfortunately, becoming a people-pleaser sets us on a path of becoming alienated from our innate, true self. The underlying belief is that who we are isn’t lovable. Instead, we idealize being loved as a means to self-worth and happiness to the point that we crave it. Our need to be accepted, understood, needed, and loved causes us to be compliant and self-effacing. We conclude, “If you love me, then I’m lovable.” “You” comes to mean just about everyone, including people incapable of love!

Preserving our relationships is our uppermost mandate. We strive to be lovable and charitable and reject character traits that we decide won’t serve that goal. We can end up squelching entire chunks of our personality that are incompatible, like showing anger, winning competitions, exercising power, getting attention, setting boundaries, or disagreeing with others. Even when not asked, we willingly give up separate interests that would mean time away from a loved one. The slightest look of disappointment (which we may inaccurately infer) is enough to deter us from doing something on our own.

Assertiveness feels harsh, setting limits feels rude, and requesting that our needs be met sounds demanding. Some of us don’t believe we have any rights at all. We feel guilty expressing any needs, if we’re even aware of them. We consider it selfish to act in our self-interest. We may even have been called selfish by a selfish parent or spouse. Our guilt and fear of abandonment may be so strong that we stay in an abusive relationship rather than leave.

It’s not surprising that we’re often attracted to someone who is the opposite of us – whose power, independence, and certitude we admire. Over time, we can start to think that unlike us, they’re selfish. In fact, we probably wouldn’t be attracted to someone of the opposite sex who is as kind and pleasing as we are. We would consider them weak, because deep down we dislike ourselves for being so compliant. Moreover, getting our needs met doesn’t rank high on our list. We’d rather be submissive – but eventually pay a price for it.

We’re not aware that each time we hide who we are to please someone else, we give up a little self-respect. In the process, our true self (what we really feel, think, need, and want) retreats a bit more. We become accustomed to sacrificing our needs and wants for so long that we may not know what they are. Decades of conveniently accommodating “just this time” whittles away at our connection to our true self, and our lives and relationships begin to feel empty of joy and passion.

We can change!

It’s possible to change and find our voice, our power, and our passion. It requires getting reacquainted with that Self we’ve hidden, discovering our feelings and needs, and risking asserting and acting on them. It’s a process of raising our sense of self-worth and self-esteem and healing the shame we may not even know that we carry, but it’s a worthy adventure of self-reclamation. Learn more about the steps you can take in my books and ebooks on my website, http://www.whatiscodependency.com.
©Darlene Lancer 2014

Click here if you would like to learn more about Darlene Lancer and her private practice in Santa Monica, CA.

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 41 other followers