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May 28

11 Ways Narcissists Use Shame to Control


By Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC
A weakness of a narcissist is their extreme hatred of being embarrassed. There is nothing worse for them than having someone point out even the slightest fault. Ironically, they have no problem openly doing this to others.

This method of casting shame allows them to feel superior while minimizing any impact the other person might have. It also serves as a way of discounting any future comments the other person use to embarrass the narcissist. Basically, they are beating the other person to the first punch.

In order to avoid a first punch, a person needs to understand what it looks like. Here are eleven ways a narcissist uses shame to control others.

Historical Revisionism. A narcissist will retell another person’s story adding their own flare of additional shame. This can be done in front of others or privately. It usually happens after the other person has achieved some level of accomplishment. The narcissist will state that they are only trying to the keep the other person humble but in reality, they are trying to humiliate.
Confidence Breaking. Narcissists love to gather information about a person and store it away for later abuse. They use their charm to entice a person to share confidential details, especially ones that caused the other person embarrassment. Once gathered the narcissist uses the story to keep the other person in check and constantly worried about when the information will come out.
Exaggerating Faults. No one is perfect except for the narcissist. The narcissist is very good at identifying the faults of others and even better at passively aggressively commenting on them. This is a way of putting the other person ‘in their place.’ When confronted, they often say, “I was only joking,” or that person “can’t take a joke.”
Victim Card. Narcissists are talented at exasperating others and then using their reaction as justification for becoming the real victim. Regardless of how hard the narcissist incited the other person, the angry reaction to the provocation is viewed as shameful. The other person who usually feels bad by their reaction, allows the narcissist to play the victim card, and thereby surrenders control to the narcissist.
Blame Shifting. Whenever something goes wrong, the narcissist shifts all of the blame to the other person. The other person who may have done one thing wrong, allows the narcissist to dump more than their fair share of the responsibility.
Baby Talk. In any narcissistic relationship, the narcissist wants to be seen as the adult and the other person as the child. This belittlement is done in several condescending ways such as literally talking down, calling the other person immature, and saying the other person needs to grow up. The implication is that the narcissist is more mature and has developed beyond the level of the other person.
Religious Guilt. It doesn’t matter what the religion of the narcissist or the other person is. In every religion, there are a set of standards and expectations. The narcissist will use the other person’s religious beliefs to guilt them into acting a certain way. They might even go as far to say, “God told me you need to…”
Offensive Play. The narcissist will use personal attacks to put the other person on the defense. The other person will get so caught up in defending their name or character that they will miss the next attack. “Look how defensive you are, you must have done something wrong,” the narcissist will say. This is a checkmate position because the other person has nowhere to go.
Talking Above. Instead of talking down (baby talk), the narcissist will talk over the other person’s knowledge level. Even if the other person is more intelligent, the narcissist will talk in circles with an air of authority to force the other person into an inferior position. They will use sophisticated vocabulary, physical posturing such as looking down at the other person, and embellishment of details to disguise the real point of shaming the other person.
Comparing Accomplishments. It doesn’t matter what the other person has accomplished, the narcissist did it first, better, and more efficiently. By outperforming the other person, the narcissist minimizes the other person’s accomplishments in comparison to their own. This produces an ‘I can never be good enough,’ feeling in the other person.
First Impression. A narcissist is very aware of how they look and appear to others. Frequently they are dressed in designer clothing with immaculate grooming. Not a hair is ever out of place. This is not just for the narcissist; rather their perfectionistic appearance is used to demean others. Comments like, “They don’t take care of themselves,” or “It doesn’t take a lot of effort to look better” are typical.
When a person can see a punch coming, it is easier to dodge. Resist the temptation to attack first with a narcissist that will only intensify their reaction. Instead, deflect and distract to avoid become a target.

Christine Hammond is the award-winning author of The Exhausted Woman’s Handbook available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

Dec 18

By Janice Wood

A new study of Finnish children has found that exposure to bullying as a child was associated with psychiatric disorders in adulthood that required treatment.

For the study, a team of researchers led by Andre Sourander, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Turku in Finland, examined the associations between bullying behavior at age 8 and adult psychiatric outcomes by age 29.

The study used data from 5,034 Finnish children. Assessments of bullying and exposure to bullying were based on information from the children, their parents and teachers. Information on the use of inpatient and outpatient services to treat psychiatric disorders from ages 16 to 29 was obtained from a nationwide hospital register.

About 90 percent of the study participants — 4,540 of 5,034 — did not engage in bullying behavior. Of those, 520 (11.5 percent) had received a psychiatric diagnosis by follow-up.

In comparison, 33 of 166 (19.9 percent) of participants who engaged in frequent bullying, 58 of 251 (23.1 percent) participants frequently exposed to bullying, and 24 of 77 (31.2 percent) participants who both frequently engaged in and were frequently exposed to bullying had psychiatric diagnoses by follow-up, according to the study’s findings.

Study participants were divided into four groups: Those who never or only sometimes bully and are not exposed to bullying; those who frequently bully but are not exposed to bullying; those who were frequently exposed to bullying; and those who frequently bully and are exposed to bullying.

The treatment of any psychiatric disorder was associated with frequent exposure to bullying, as well as with being a bully and being exposed to bullying, according to the researchers.

Exposure to bullying was associated with depression, they add.

A limitation of the study is the lack of understanding about how exposure to bullying — whether as the bully or the victim — may lead to psychiatric disorders.

“Future studies containing more nuanced information about the mediating factors that occur between childhood bullying and adulthood disorders will be needed to shed light on this important question,” the researchers concluded in the study, published in JAMA Psychiatry.

“Policy makers and health care professionals should be aware of the complex nature between bullying and psychiatric outcomes when they implement prevention and treatment interventions.”

Source: JAMA Psychiatry

Oct 11

Can Babies Be Made into Bullies?



Molly Skyar, in open conversation with her mother, Dr. Susan Rutherford, a clinical psychologist and expert in human behavior, view parenting decisions through a psychologist’s perspective.

MOLLY: If your baby didn’t develop a secure attachment to a parent, how might you see that child acting in preschool and elementary school?

DR. RUTHERFORD: You might notice that preschool- and elementary school-aged children with attachment issues don’t discriminate enough between known caregivers and strangers. For example, they may go off with someone else without a backward glance at Mom or Dad. Young children should have different feelings for their regular caregivers than for other people.

MOLLY: Might it be something like preschool anxiety?

DR. RUTHERFORD: Preschool anxiety is very normal, and it can easily affect both secure and insecure children. But some children with attachment difficulties might appear unusually sad or scared and exceptionally difficult to console.

The key words here are “unusually” and “exceptionally.” All preschoolers run through a gamut of emotions, especially as they begin to separate and spend time away from home. But children with attachment difficulties stand out. This is largely because they don’t feel safe to reach out and explore in ways that are typical for their age.

When a child develops secure attachments, it creates a foundation for developing the ability to cope with friendships, intimate relationships, marriage, and eventually, their own role as a parent.

MOLLY: If he or she didn’t attach well to begin with, what effects might you see as your child gets older?

DR. RUTHERFORD: As soon as children become mobile, universal behavior patterns can be observed. The child will begin to explore without the assistance of the parent. As engaged as he may be with his activity, he will periodically return to check back in with Mom. This is called the rapprochement phase.

But children who haven’t had their basic security needs met in those first 18 months might not leave their parents at all because they don’t feel secure that the parents will be there when they come back. This can make it hard to make friends with their peers. They might feel better when they are by themselves.

In elementary school this may show up in kids who cry and refuse to get on the school bus to go to school for no valid reason. Some children with attachment issues may prefer to spend recess alone; some may fight with or bully others.

*Excerpted from the recently released ebook, Shaping a Secure Start: Parenting Your Child During the First 18 Months.

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