The Mind Is Greater. Mindcology is a website dedicated to mental health, self-improvement and all thing considered, well, the mind. Mission to provide online mental health services that provide tools for self-empowerment.
In some cases, it is possible that you have encountered someone in your life that exhibits specific behaviors and characteristics that are a bit excessive, unrealistic, or otherwise fantastical in their design or nature. Maybe the person expresses beliefs of being secretly famous or wanted, despite any evidence of this in reality. Or perhaps, he or she makes claims of religious heritage or possessing some rare, unknown, and coveted item.
These types of behaviors are often considered delusions from a layman’s standpoint. Delusions are, in the simplest terms, false beliefs. A delusion can be had in a varying degree of intensity. For example, a child might have the delusion that Santa Clause or the Easter bunny is real or a man might have a delusion that he’s a superhero that can fly leading him to jump from a tall building.
While some delusions might not pose a threat to anyone, other delusions can put one or many people at risk of harm or injury. Delusions are a product of distortion on the actual reality and a believed reality. When they are extreme or intense, the professional psychological term for these behaviors is delusions of grandeur or grandiose delusions.
What are delusions of grandeur?
Delusions of grandeur is a term which refers to thought patterns where the individual believes they are extremely superior or special with a lack of any physical or social evidence to support their claims.
This type of thought process often is found in those diagnosed or suffering from a number of mental or psychiatric disorders or illnesses. In many cases, these types of delusions are based around the thought or concept that the individual is not who they really are. For example, someone suffering from schizophrenia might truly believe that he or she is a famous celebrity and that the other person is a clone or some other conspiracy which would explain why their lives are not what they should be.
Additionally, these types of cognitive impairments often include beliefs that the individual has special qualities or talents that separate them from the rest of society. The delusion itself is likened to the most extreme form of narcissistic thought processes in which reality is distorted to place the individual having the delusion into some unique or vastly superior position.
There are a number of mental illnesses or psychological conditions which have delusions of grandeur as an associated and common symptom. These include:
Like many psychological processes and behaviors, delusions of grandeur are typically diagnosed or recognized by the characteristics which are commonly found within the delusion. These characteristics are:
Relations to life experience – One of the most distinctive features about delusions of grandeur is that they are often beliefs or claims which have nothing to do with the individual making the claim. For example, someone with delusions of grandeur may claim and believe to be an Asian prince without even the slightest biological connection to anyone of Asian descent. These delusions are often extremely disconnected from the life experiences that the individual has had.
Committed Belief – The individual with the delusions of grandeur will stay committed to their belief of reality, despite when others or society provide evidence to contradict them. For example, someone laboring under the delusion that a celebrity has stolen their life will find ways to explain away evidence suggesting that they were abducted and forced to live in a miserable existence rather than accepting that he or she is not the celebrity and never has been. Individuals suffering from many forms of psychosis may not even be able to recognize truth within their own world due to the distortion created by their mental disorder.
Individual life impact – For those living under delusions of grandeur, there is a tremendous impact on their daily lives. In some cases, depending on the delusion, the individual may struggle to accomplish survival tasks such as eating or caring for themselves. For example, a person with schizophrenia often has the delusion that those who are trying to help them are doing so with malicious intent. Rather than sticking to medication or treatment plans, their delusion can convince them to avoid taking medication or socializing with others. Additionally, these delusions can have devastating impacts with behaviors such as self-injury or harm or even suicide resulting from very server cases.
A lack of possibility – Unlike harmless or mild delusions, delusions of grandeur are often extremely far-fetched, unrealistic, unlikely, or perhaps just simply impossible. For those living with psychosis or other factors leading or influencing these delusions, there is no amount of imagination or impossibility that limits the delusions of grandeur.For example, someone suffering from grandiose delusions will often claim things such as having bees living in their ears or that they are made of robotic material. Even though these examples seem unrealistic, for those living with these delusions, they are seen not only as plausible, but the individual cannot understand how impossible or improbable their belief is. Yet to those around him or her, these claims resemble the ideas of a young child with a very active imagination.
What to do if you suspect someone you love is experiencing delusions of grandeur?
The most important thing to remember when dealing with delusions of grandeur is that they are most often associated with some form of psychosis or mental illness. While it is not uncommon to encounter someone who seems to be a bit delusional about their own talents or value, delusions of grandeur are often a red flag to professional psychologists and psychiatrists to screen for possible disorders. As such, it is extremely important to remember that these delusions are no laughing matter and should be immediately evaluated by a licensed professional to establish the proper treatment plan.
Depending on the cause for these delusions, a number of treatment options can be available. These can include one or more combinations of medication, individual therapy, group therapy, inpatient facilities, and support groups. If you or someone you love is suffering, please seek help as soon as possible.
Despite Hollywood’s common portrayal of a world with hope and love, where relationships always work out, and children are loved by their parents, the real world can be a very cruel and unforgiving place. The word abuse often conjures the mental image of physical violence such as a man who hits his wife or a mother who beats her children. However, there are some ways in which the behaviors of others have a negative impact on individuals without any evidence or sign of physical violence.
What is Emotional Neglect?
Emotional neglect is a term that refers to the process of failing, whether deliberately or unintentionally, to contribute to the meeting of emotional needs which are expected for that relationship. A victim of emotional neglect can feel worthless, depressed, and useless to those around him or her. It can be a simple disregard for another’s feelings, or it can be a deliberate attempt to avoid meeting emotional needs by engaging in hurtful behaviors or introducing unnecessary shame into the situation.
There are a few types of relationships most notably associated with emotional neglect.
Parental Emotional Neglect
The most commonly referenced and understood pattern of emotional neglect is the emotional neglect which parents can inflict on their children. For most cultures, parents are ultimately viewed in by society to be the primary individuals responsible for nurturing their children’s emotional needs to help them become healthy, well-adjusted contributors to society as a whole.
Part of this process is for parents to strive to help their children understand their emotions, validate their feelings, and teach them how to cope with powerful emotions according to individual situations. When a parent fails to achieve the delicate balance of their child’s emotional growth and development, it can leave long-lasting impressions that impact the child as he or she grows into an adult. In many cases of generational abuse (where an abused child becomes an abusive parent), there was a significant amount of emotional neglect present during the critical stages of cognitive and psychosocial development.
Parental emotional neglect can occur by either a failure to properly assist in the child’s emotional development or through a lack of structure to help guide and govern appropriate socioemotional responses. Children cannot function without some level of authority. Much like the bumpers used in bowling alleys, guidelines help children to learn where to aim their emotions and how much power to give them based on the situation. Without this parental guidance, children are rolling emotional gutterballs which can lead to some psychological disruptions.
Emotional Neglect in Adult Relationships
Much like how children require input and guidance from their parents to aid in the development of appropriate emotional responses, adults often rely on their romantic partners to provide some measure of emotional needs. Some psychological theories have suggested that emotional needs such as love and belonging are those which are essential to the ability of individuals to achieve their best selves overall. So it is no surprise that serious romantic relationships can create the potential for emotional neglect.
There are some personality disorders in which one partner has no desire to concern themselves with the needs of others. However, for some personality disorders, like Narcissistic Personality Disorder, they themselves have the need to be needed or wanted. Many use manipulation skills to convince others to invest their emotional and physical selves in them before revealing their truest nature. In these types of relationships, once the Narcissist has secured their target’s emotional devotion, he or she will use their love and admiration to feed their own needs while ignoring or blatantly disrespecting and disregarding the emotional needs of their partner.
Additionally, emotional neglect can exist in adult relationships where there are no signs or symptoms of personality disorders or psychosis. Many times in adult relationships, whether it is with another adult or with a child, emotional neglect takes the shape of simply failing to respond or act to any situation. A married couple can experience emotional neglect for many years before realizing that it was not a deliberate act against a partner, but rather the lack of emotional actions or changes to help address and deal with the needs of the partner or problems that arise within the marriage.
What does emotional neglect look like?
Emotional neglect is one of the most hurtful behaviors because it is often not recognized by those outside a relationship and sometimes not by those who are being neglected. For example, a child suffering from emotional neglect may just appear to be going through a phase or battling hormones while an adult may experience emotional neglect but feel embarrassed or shameful, thus concealing their experiences from others. For the most part, emotional neglect is an invisible form of mental and emotional abuse that takes a heavy toll on its victims.
Common forms of emotional neglect
The silent treatment – In any relationship where there is a lack of communication, there is probability and potential for emotional neglect to occur. With parental emotional neglect, the lack of communication with a child can leave the child feeling vulnerable, shameful, invalidated, confused, and unwanted. For adult relationships, the silent treatment is often a more deliberate means of manipulation. It can, however, also be indicative of the “failure to act” which is most commonly associated with emotional neglect in general.
Failure to fight – This form of emotional neglect is most commonly found in adult relationships. Much like the silent treatment, a lack of fighting or arguing demonstrates to some degree that there is a lack of emotional connection or concern from one if not both partners within the relationship.
Independent Isolation – Children and adults can feel like they are always alone, even when there are others around. Someone engaging in emotional neglect, whether intentional or unintentional, will somehow find ways to isolate the other person (i.e., spouse, child, partner) so that he or she is alone and feels lonely. When intentionally done, this form of emotional neglect can introduce guilt and depression in the victim as it can be viewed as a direct action rather than a failure to act.
If you or someone you know is struggling with emotional neglect, please seek the support and services from a local therapist or counselor.
Mindcology by Neel Shah, Masters Psychology - 3M ago
If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, it can be difficult to gauge their potentially volatile emotions. You may also question whether they have finished a relationship with you on a permanent basis or if this is merely temporary. You must also ask yourself the question, whether you wish to maintain some form of a relationship with them or wish to completely cut off ties.
Is this permanent?
Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) rarely discard other people on a permanent basis unless there are specific reasons for this. Until you reach the point where you are adamant about finishing your relationship with them, the narcissist will always see an open door and away in or back into your life. You may have to accept that they will always believe this even if you are confident you no longer wish to have them as a part of your life.
The narcissist undergoes treatment
Treatment is possible for someone with NPD through regular psychotherapy sessions and other talk therapy. Through this process, they may acknowledge the hurt or suffering they have caused you and endeavor to give you the space you need to develop without them. However, it should be said that although not impossible, NPD is a notoriously difficult condition to treat and these kinds of sustained positive changes can be challenging for many people to achieve.
You no longer supply what the narcissist wants
Once a narcissist realizes that their supply (i.e. you) isn’t providing what the narcissist wants, they’ll begin to devalue and mistreat you. This is when silent treatment might set in and where the narcissist acts disinterested in his or her supply. They will try to find alternative sources for their supply and this is where they will withdraw from you and seek out other company.
A relationship with a narcissist tends to follow distinct stages. Perhaps in the initial honeymoon stages of the relationship (the idealizing stage), your narcissist partner was full of praise for everything you did and saw all your qualities as highly attractive. The relationship takes the narcissist to euphoric highs and becomes infatuated. Of course, at this point, you might feel like you’ve hit the jackpot with such an attentive and loving partner who you love to be around. Sadly, this doesn’t always last and further down the line, they may see the exact same qualities they loved previously in a completely different light now (the devaluing stage). For example, maybe once they saw you as witty and funny but now see your jokes as vulgar or crude. They may have seen you as someone who had a great fashion sense but now see you as vain.
In a different sense, there would also have been a time where your compliments and praise meant a great deal to your narcissist partner but now they see these comments as desperate and needy. They may no longer see you as someone they admire and will seek praise and validation from other sources that they admire at that time and will continually shift their attention in this way.
The narcissist may be hostile towards you if you have started to ‘see through them’ and recognize some of their less favorable qualities that they do not want to admit to. Thus, making them seek out other suppliers who have not reached this stage with them and where they can use their charms to greater effect.
Other behaviors to look out for include:
Coldness and aloofness
When attempting to discuss the future of your relationship, you might be met with a change of subject, blank stare or a non-committal response. The narcissist will know what will ‘push your buttons’ per se and will use this tactic with you.
A disappearing act
Your partner may disappear for hours, days or weeks without contact but come back and not acknowledge this behavior as something that may have distressed you. Especially if in an earlier stage of the relationship, your narcissistic partner may have been in intense regular contact with you.
You may find yourself wanting to confront your narcissistic partner for behavior you are unhappy with. They may find ways of manipulating the conversation to make you doubt yourself and your intentions. Narcissists are particularly adept at playing on your potential fears and insecurities and will often use this as a tactic to deflect any acknowledgment of the issues at hand.
Changing attitudes towards you in social situations
The Narcissist could change their behavior towards you in different ways in different social situations. They may actually see you as a threat and might cut you off in conversation with others or diminish or patronize you. They may rile you to the point where you wish to leave a conversation or social setting but will not chase after you or acknowledge your hurt feelings at the time. When you are not present, they may speak critically of you to others and manipulate other people into minimizing their time and efforts with you.
They may present a completely different character at home compared to their work and social persona with friends. People may comment on how wonderful your partner is but will not recognize the abusive or manipulative behavior that may be demonstrated at home and understandably this is a huge source of upset and frustration.
How to recover from a breakup with a narcissist
This further article talks about methods such as Gray Rock which offers a strategy to overcome some of the suffering and distress caused by abusive relationships.
Mindcology by Neel Shah, Masters Psychology - 3M ago
A relationship with a narcissist is an emotional roller coaster that can leave you feeling completely unsure of yourself and highly vulnerable. If a decision has been made to end the relationship, whether by you or the narcissist, this is an opportunity for you to self-reflect and begin a journey of re-evaluating yourself in a different light. It is an enormously difficult process and some people can take years to fully recover from the suffering caused to them by a narcissistic partner. However, many people have rebuilt their lives successfully and there are a number of methods that can help you in the initial phases and over time that will increase your mental resilience and rebuild your confidence.
Grounding techniques and self-soothing methods
Narcissistic abuse is emotional trauma. When betrayed, let down, rejected or treated with disdain by a narcissist, your rational brain is hijacked by your amygdala and is hard-wired to go into fight or flight mode. For example, you might start blaming yourself for the situation and feeling that you are inadequate. This can lead to a spiral of other emotions that become extremely distressing and debilitating.
You can use grounding techniques and self-soothing methods to try and overcome these patterns of behavior.
Grounding techniques are tools that help you stay focused on the present moment in times of intense anxiety and distress. These can be actions that create strong physical sensations such as running cold water over your hands or holding ice cubes. It might be to make mental checklists to refocus your attention, such as naming 5 things you can hear in your immediate surroundings or 5 things you can pick up in the room.
Self-soothing techniques help you feel calm and relaxed. Almost akin to a childlike state of protection and contentedness. For example, taking a hot shower or relaxing bath, wrapping up in a blanket with a cup of cocoa or listening to calm and soothing music to re-energize yourself. However useful this is in the moment, it is still not a long term solution. It’s important to also express your emotions in a safe space.
Allow yourself to express your emotions
It’s important to express your emotions about the relationship you’ve had and to find a healthy outlet for this. Like any form of abuse, recovery will take time and if you try to just push past the pain, you won’t have given yourself the opportunity to heal properly. Bottling up these emotions and holding them within can leave you in a state of sadness or depression. It can lead you to a path of more destructive behavior that can even affect you physically, such as increasing your risk of addiction or leading to chronic pain or illness. Channel your emotions into outlets such as boxing or writing a journal. Talk to a therapist and they will also suggest techniques and methods you can use on a daily basis.
Avoid self-blame and accept that it’s okay to move on from your narcissistic partner
It’s an easy trap to fall into to start thinking about how things could have been different or what you could have done to avoid your current situation. Its crucial at this point to remember that your narcissistic ex-partner has a mental disorder that you have no control over. Narcissists are also expert manipulators and have convinced you that you are the sole root cause of the issues when this is simply not true.
The person you loved initially may not be the same person you see today. It is your decision to make and yours only if you don’t feel happy in your relationship and you see no way of improving the situation. On an even more important level, if you feel in danger then it’s even more reason to cut ties for good, or in the case where contact may be required (e.g. in child custody situations), have a clearly defined legal boundary for visits.
Clear Rules on No-Contact
Where possible, you should maintain a strict no-contact policy so you can give yourself space and time you need to fully heal. The Narcissist’s mentality is that any door left ajar is a door to you that they can exploit and manipulate. If you respond to texts or emails from them, you are in essence giving them a sense of power over you. Of course, as mentioned above, this might not be possible in the case of parental visits, shared custody or if the narcissist is a relative. In these cases, have a clear plan in place for how you deal with them and also see our article on the grey rock method that can provide a practical solution for communication in these cases.
Progress through the 3 stages of recovery
The first stage is the ‘victim’ stage where you may feel betrayed, angry and fearful. It’s also a time where you might feel a sense of loneliness or abandonment. It’s important to remember that as hard as this phase is, you will get through it.
The second stage is the ‘survivor’ stage. This is where you have the mental energy to do some more self-reflection. You might evaluate all the significant relationships in your life and look deeper at situations that have triggered different emotions.
The third stage is the ‘surthriver’ stage. Even at this stage, you will find particular challenges. You might struggle to maintain focus at work. You may also feel fixated on past events that are unresolved. Feelings of residual anger and resentment towards your ex-partner may resurface.
The presumed fourth stage is not mentioned but that is for good reason. The process of healing will take a long time and there will be many setbacks on the way. Be kind to yourself, listen and read the wealth of resources out there. There are many stories of people who have recovered from narcissistic abuse and a community of supportive people who have understood what you have gone through and have taken the journey to healing themselves. Give yourself the time and all the tools you need and you will get there.
Mindcology by Neel Shah, Masters Psychology - 3M ago
Picture a dull, lifeless rock devoid of color and features. Perhaps with the exception of geologists, it doesn’t hold any charm and is unextraordinary and uninteresting to most of us. The grey rock is a metaphor for what we should temporarily become if we want to control our interactions with a narcissist and persuade them to fuel their supply from alternative sources.
Why is it so hard to deal with a narcissist? By nature, they are hardwired to manipulate, create drama and gain the supply they need. So how do we deal with them?
The grey rock method is a technique that can be helpful in situations where you are unable to remove all ties to a narcissist in your life and varying levels of contact might be necessary for whatever reason. Maybe the narcissist is a family member, an employer or maybe it’s an ex-partner with whom you have children and you have to face them for regular visits. It is is an excellent coping mechanism to diffuse the gaslighting and manipulation of narcissists.
How Grey Rock Works
The narcissist needs the stimulation and energy you provide them with your attention and praise. Their behavior mirrors that of the most compulsive of addicts. They enjoy the drama that’s created by manipulating your emotions and will soon tire of you if you no longer feed this supply of drama and entertainment for them.
By becoming less responsive to the drama that is stirred up by the narcissist and by invoking the qualities of the ‘rock’, you can starve them of energy supply. They might anticipate an angry reaction or drama from you from their provocations but you can be in a position to disengage. Perhaps they arrived late without any notice or warning and expect this to irritate you. Perhaps they deliberately criticize or pass a snide comment to provoke a biting response. Show no emotion or reaction. Don’t continue a struggle and refuse to engage so you can move on with the rest of your day.
One way of shifting perspective is to see the narcissist with an air of professional detachment. See them in some ways as a stranger and communicate with them on that level with firmness and politeness but without the emotions that are carried forward from your shared history.
The grey rock method is an effective way of slowing down a narcissist’s temper or heated emotions but speeds up your exit point from their company and avoids an escalated or heated debate. Instead of potentially being lured into an hour-long argument or heated day-long exchange, the method can shut down any prolonged feelings of frustration on the part of the narcissist and leave you to get on with the rest of your day.
Its a method of training the narcissist into seeing you as dull, flat and uninteresting. You become a far less effective source of narcissistic supply and they will start to seek this elsewhere.
How To Respond
Be non-committal in your answers using flatly reciting words or phrases such as ‘Interesting’ or ‘OK’. Stick to safe topics of conversation and nothing personal. You can use the grey rock method as a tool and although it runs counter to your instincts, you can respond with emotion to the issues that are actually the most inconsequential to you. After all, it’s important to remember that the narcissist does not have the same value system as you do and is only reactive to your emotional state at the time.
Try to avoid some of the conventional wisdom and etiquette that’s associated with high-quality conversation and find opportunities to disrupt this. For example, checking your phone for messages, watching tv or reading a magazine. Try to avoid full eye contact during these interactions.
However, as helpful as this might sound to someone struggling in their relationship with a narcissist, this can still be quite challenging. It is an understandable part of our human experience that we want to feel validated and to put across our perspective and side of the story. In conversation with a narcissist, there might be numerous times where you don’t feel this is happening and it can lead to frustrations.
Draw Backs And Reactions
There is also a risk that the grey rock method may not be effective if the narcissist is aware of your methods. If your behavior and emotional responses change with dramatic effect overnight, they may suspect something is not quite right and will try to provoke you further. Don’t ever tell a narcissist that you’re using this method. If they see that you’re using a technique to use ‘against’ them, they will try to break your focus. Be prepared that it may be easier to attempt the grey rock method in newly formed relationships and friendships before the narcissist has a deeper knowledge of what makes you tick.
The method does take a great deal of willpower and sustained focus. It is only natural that there may be times that you will face increases provocation from a narcissist to invoke a reaction and their awareness of this makes it harder to be successful in your goals. This is completely understandable, especially in moments where we ourselves are tired or lacking in energy as it can also be quite exhausting.
The method is not a long term fix or a lifestyle choice that can be maintained. As outlined in its original form in this post by the author Skylar, it is meant as a short term measure to give yourself time to escape a dangerous situation or to manage the risk in occasional contact. Be aware of your safety at all times and if you feel that you are in danger then the grey rock method is not the solution you are looking for.
Mindcology by Angela Sartain, Phd Psychology - 3M ago
Relationships can be difficult on their own even when the world around the couple presents no additional challenges. However, when one or both partners suffer from mental illness resulting from trauma, it can lead to more complex relationship bonds that may or may not be entirely healthy.
What is Trauma Bonding?
Trauma bonding, in the most neutral sense, refers to an attachment process that often occurs from a very intense, emotional connection. Many times, however, the term is more commonly associated with a negative relationship experience where a person is overly dedicated, attached or otherwise loyal in a relationship with someone who introduces toxic behaviors and treatment.
When Trauma Bonding is positive
Trauma bonding can be a positive aspect, such as sharing a common pain with someone who has experienced a shared traumatic experience like a car accident or losing a family member. Many times this form of trauma bonding occurs in social relationships, such as friendships or with family members. The experience of the trauma can cause a more secure attachment due to the presence of support and understanding by those who shared the experience.
Similarly, in romantic relationships, trauma bonding can bring a couple closer together and allow them to overcome the challenges which follow the traumatic event. For example, in some rare cases where a couple has experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or other late-term pregnancy loss, the experience is shared by both partners. Both will feel the loss and will have to process their emotions individually and within the marriage. For these couples that choose to move forward in a positive experience, the support received from an intimate partner can solidify the existing bond between the couple.
However, more often than not, experiences of trauma in a relationship are more likely to result in the negative form of trauma bonding.
What negative trauma bonding looks like
Negative trauma bonding is most commonly present in relationships where one individual has a highly toxic personality. This can be seen in relationships with those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or other personality disorders. There are a few signs that indicate if there is a negative trauma bond in the relationship.
Your friends, family, and social circle all believe you should end the relationship – Many times for individuals in a negative trauma bond, they are oblivious to the dangerous and unhealthy behaviors that are happening. Some individuals may try to explain away bad behaviors or poor treatment by blaming themselves for the actions or using excuses. Those outside of the relationship, however, are usually more aware of the behavior and often petition for the abused to end the relationship.
You know the relationship isn’t great, but you wanna see it through no matter how bad it gets – Maybe you realize that the behaviors from your toxic partner are destroying the relationship. Maybe he/she yells at you, makes you question your self-worth or sanity but you’re just in love with them so much that you’re willing to do anything to be with them, even if it lowers your own value. This is typically a signal that the relationship you are in is toxic and most likely unsalvageable. It is also an indicator that you are in a negative trauma bond with your partner.
You’re never good enough for your partner, no matter what you do – You’ve tried everything you can to make your partner happy, but no matter what you do, it’s always wrong. You can spend months searching for the perfect gift or work hard to get the house ready for a romantic night, but your efforts are not only unnoticed, but they are also criticized or complained about by your partner. You chose the wrong color, burned the meal, or just otherwise didn’t do enough to warrant your partner’s approval.
You’re addicted, and not in a good way – You know you should leave. Everyone tells you but you can’t imagine your life without your partner. Sure things could be a lot better, but you know that losing them would cause you physical, emotional, and mental anguish. You ache for their presence, even though it is destructive and unencouraging.
You’ve lost your identity – You used to be a fun and energetic individual with a social life that demonstrated love and happiness. Yet, now you only focus on trying to achieve the impossible approval of your partner. Everything you do, eat, wear, and enjoy is determined solely by your partner’s desires. It’s their way or the highway and you’ve willingly complied to the point of losing yourself and your own identity as an individual.
You can’t seem to find your friends – Some individuals who help to create negative trauma bonds do so intentionally and try to isolate their partner from friends or relatives. Maybe you used to go on weekly lunch dates with your mother, but you’ve not been attending or you’ve cleared your social calendar to spend as much time as you can with your partner. This unhealthy behavior is a clear indication of the formation of a negative trauma bond.
How are trauma bonds maintained?
For those with personality disorders, negative trauma bonds are created and reinforced as a part of the process for control. For example, individuals with NPD or BPD may find ways to create trauma bonds to ensure their source of narcissistic supply goes on uninterrupted. They will use a combination of techniques such as love bombing, hoovering, triangulation, and other manipulative tactics to keep their partner in a cycle of toxic and unhealthy behavior and abuse.
There can be instances where real trauma has helped to form the bond and is periodically reinforced by the abuser. In these cases, there will be a number of instances of false promises and periods of over attention by the partner in order to help their victim feel a connection despite the negative atmosphere of the relationship.
If you or someone you love is suspected of being involved in a negative trauma bond, it is important to seek the help of a licensed professional psychologist or therapist to help you begin to overcome this unhealthy relationship and mentality.
Mindcology by Angela Sartain, Phd Psychology - 4M ago
Nearly every adult has by now seen the famous movie, The Wizard of Oz. There is a pretty iconic scene in the film where the wicked witch sends out a large group of flying monkeys to attack and delay Dorothy and her friends on their way to Oz. The witch uses her flying monkeys as a tool or resource to manipulate the situation in an attempt to control the outcome. Much like this famous scene, narcissists often use flying monkeys to do their bidding. However, for the narcissist, only the term is as entertaining.
Flying Monkeys and the Narcissist
Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are masters of manipulation. They use a variety of behaviors to control those around them. These can include love bombing, triangulation. Hoovering, gaslighting, discarding, and flying monkeys.
The Flying Monkeys term for Narcissists refers to a process that is typically employed by the narcissist after the discarding phase of a relationship when the narcissist feels completely out of control. Driven entirely by a need to feel superior and regain control over the situation, a narcissist will then begin to seek out the means to find their flying monkeys.
The narcissist will reach out to any and every person that could possibly have a connection to their intended target. Once they have established a connection, they will fill their monkey’s head with lies, rumors, half-truths, and other information specially designed to make their target look bad. The goal of flying monkeys is to help the narcissist spread the idea that the target is in the wrong, a bad person, or otherwise unreliable.
How do Narcissists create flying monkeys?
If you’ve got a narcissist in your life, or even think you might, then chances are that he or she is already very aware of your potential to become a source of narcissistic supply as well as the personal support network you have. If the narcissist has been in your life for any length of time, he or she has probably managed to squeeze his or her way into family gathers, professional events, and other scenarios where he or she can meet and ‘size’ up their competition for your time, attention, and dedication.
Being the master manipulator that the narcissist is, chances are that they have already made their charming selves seem absolute perfection to all those around you. The narcissist has established their trust or maybe even fostered the idea that he or she is a decent human being. All the while, this cozying up to your friends, family, and coworkers, the narcissist is filling his or her arsenal to launch a recruitment campaign for flying monkeys, should the need arise.
Once you’ve been through a discarding cycle with a narcissist, or perhaps decided to cut ties yourself, the narcissist has lost control and needs to find a way to regain it. They need to make sure that you don’t reveal their secrets or tell others about their tactics. They also need to find ways to devalue you and discredit anything you might say that casts a negative light on them or their behavior.
Once ready to strike, the narcissist loads their ammo and launches the attack. The Flying Monkey process has a few key steps:
Feeling them out: The narcissist has most likely kept close tabs on minor complaints or spats you’ve had with others. They will use this information to try to gauge if a person is capable of becoming a monkey. Much like recruiting new cult members, the narcissist will use their arsenal of manipulation tactics to generate support from someone in your social network. They are now on his/her side, being spoon fed information to further a negative opinion of you.
Using Monkeys to Spread Rumors: This is often the first and primary goal of the Flying Monkeys process. The narcissist will find those who are close to their target and try to spin or manipulate facts about situations or events to create a rumor. This can be anything from cheating on an exam to cheating on a lover with multiple people, lying, thievery or whatever other rumor the narcissist believes will be most believable to their monkeys while causing their target as much emotional and mental harm as possible.
Using Monkeys to Spread Abuse – The next step of the process is often to spread rumors to gain the ability to execute the second goal of using monkeys to help abuse their target. Some of the rumors spread will be aimed at destroying the social circle around the target. This allows the narcissist to whisper in the ear of the monkeys to carry out emotional and social abuse tactics like ostracizing them, ignoring them, being rude or hateful to them or completely tearing their self-esteem apart. This allows the narcissist to enjoy knowing that their target is suffering without them having to do the dirty work.
Using Monkeys to pull in the reigns: In some cases, the narcissist will use Flying Monkeys as a way to reign in the source of narcissistic supply. They will use the monkeys as go-to guys and gals to remind the target why the narcissist was so wonderful, overlooking and glossing over any flaws that might be presented. In these scenarios, narcissists will make a “plea” to friends and family members to persuade the source into speaking with them again. Getting the opening to the source is all that is needed as the narcissist will then use their charm and wit to lure the source back into compliance if the need be.
In many ways, individuals with NPD or narcissistic tendencies act very similarly to children, demanding their own desires, ignoring the needs of others, and pitching a fit when things don’t go their way. Much like a child who pleads with one parent after being told no from another, the narcissist will find any means necessary to maintain their sources of supply to feed their own ego and gratify their own needs.
If you have a narcissist in your life, or you are going through the painful process of dealing with Flying Monkeys, try to keep in mind that your reactions have more power than the narcissist. Do not engage. Do not give in. This is a ploy to maintain control over you. Walk away from the situation, tell your truth to whomever you feel you must and know that eventually, the narcissist will become bored with their fruitless endeavor.
Mindcology by Angela Sartain, Phd Psychology - 4M ago
With the recent passing of Valentine’s Day, and the resulting hook-ups and break-ups, it’s no surprise to see that the numerous dating websites and applications are still housing hundreds of hopeless romantics waiting for their one chance at true love. Psychology theories suggest that all people, at one point or another, have a deep need to experience some version of love. It can be the romantic feelings of being in love, the flattering experience of having someone love you, or even the friendship type of love where you spend a great deal of time together. No matter what the style, the desire to love and be loved is a natural part of the human process.
Finding love, however, can be quite difficult. With numerous social rules, expectations, attractions, and interests, meeting a suitable partner who is on the same journey, ready for the same relationship can be daunting. Thus, many individuals choose to look for social opportunities to increase their odds of finding this love. Blind dates, singles mixers, social gatherings with mutual friends and even dating applications are just a few of the common ways that people begin their advertisement and search for their next or newest lover. But the more advertisement that is put out to the world, the more there is a chance that you can become a victim of the negative aspects of love bombing.
What is love bombing?
Love bombing is a term which refers to the overall explosion of affection, attention, and intention for romance from a partner or potential partner. It can be either positive (when used appropriately) or negative (when used by those with Cluster B personality disorders or other social issues). It is the act or actions of an individual who begins exploding another person’s life with any and all expressions of love, desire, and attraction.
What can love bombing look like?
Let’s say you meet a guy and you hit it off after the first couple of dates. Then almost out of nowhere, you begin receiving cute texts throughout the day, flowers delivered to your job, gifts delivered to your home, romantic sonnets sent via text or email, social media tags to romantic or insinuating memes, and the same day this new guy randomly shows up at your favorite coffee shop or home to sneak in extra time with you. Seems sweet right?
In most cases, love bombing can be a genuinely wonderful and innocent stage of growing intimacy between two partners. It is common for these types of love bombs to occur in the first few months or years of a relationship. When both partners are willing participants to these actions, love bombing can be a movie-style way of making your partner feel special.
When love bombing goes wrong
For the same scenario, the factors which can change the climate of these actions depends on the nature of the individual engaging in love bombing. For example, in the same scenario, imagine that this new guy is someone diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). In this case, these actions are a means of manipulation where the goal is two-fold.
One motivation from the Narcissist is to manipulate your feelings by overwhelming you with their charm, allowing them to seem compassionate and caring, and trying to win you over with lavish gifts. The other motivation stems from their need to isolate you from your social circle and family to establish you as a means of Narcissistic supply. This can also be true for other individuals with personality disorders.
Cluster B Personality Disorders and Love Bombing
Individuals with Cluster B personality disorders typically fall into one of four categories:
Antisocial Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Histrionic Personality Disorder
While these four personality disorders vary in their characteristics and traits, they all share a general disregard or lack of concern for social rules or norms. It is very common for anyone with a Cluster B personality disorder to use any means necessary to manipulate and control their victim. This can include the use of love bombing as a way to initialize or maintain control over another individual.
For these personality types, love bombing can serve a variety of purposes. For those with no remorse for their actions, love bombing can mask their truest nature by allowing them to appear apologetic. For those who desire the complete and total admiration of others, such as Narcissists or those with Histrionic Personality disorder, love bombing is a means of luring in others to feed into their own ego.
How can I know if I’m a victim of negative love bombing?
One of the hardest parts of love bombing is knowing if the actions are too much, too soon, or an appropriate means of communicating true affection. For scenarios where the relationship is new, hope and promise are high, and everything seems to be falling into place, love bombing can be presented as a promise or a validation that you have found the love you’ve been searching for.
However, when things seem too good to be true, it usually means they are. Look for the signs and subtle hints that this amazing experience may be a cover for a more devious intention.
Are these actions wanted or suggested by you to your new partner?
Is he or she showing up at your job or home, unannounced, uninvited, and uninterested in leaving?
Does your new partner seem to want all of your free time, isolating you from your friends, neighbors, or even family?
Do they seem to get upset if you do not respond a certain way to their shower of gifts, affections, and attention?
Do you feel the pressure to reciprocate the acts of love, even when you do not feel that way?
Answering these questions can help you to determine if this love bombing is a good indication of a solid and attentive romantic partner or if this is just a means of control and manipulation. If you think that your new beau is using love bombing as a means to control you, try to find ways to decrease or eliminate their presence in your day to day life.
Mindcology by Angela Sartain, Phd Psychology - 4M ago
From Hollywood cinema to original films streaming on popular platforms, personality disorders are very present in the fictitious characters and docu-series everywhere. Identifying someone with a personality disorder can be difficult. Personality disorders can be as different as the individuals who are burdened with them. While there are some common indicators, true diagnoses must be given by a professional psychologist or psychiatrist. There are currently 4 categories of the Cluster B personality disorders that are recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-V).
Cluster B Personality Disorders
The four personality disorders which fall under the classification of “cluster B” are grouped together due to the overall nature of these disorders being dramatic, erratic or otherwise involving high intensities of emotional outbursts and occurrences. Common traits of these disorders include:
Lack of empathy
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) often manifests within an individual by him or her having an inflated ego or sense of entitlement. These individuals are typically very charismatic and seem to have an insane amount of confidence. These individuals can often appear arrogant and judgemental. They expect special treatment and awards, even when they are not deserving of these luxuries.
Many times, narcissists believe that they are above other individuals and cannot understand when their own limitations, whether mental, emotional, or physical, leave them underperforming to their own expectations. They often take advantage of those around them, using them as a source of narcissistic supply that feeds and encourages their already enlarged ego. Narcissists often want to be worshipped without asking for worship because they believe their superiority is so evident, others should want to admire and love them without prompting.
What most people fail to realize about those with NPD is that they often suffer from a very fragile ego and lack true self-esteem. For some individuals with a narcissistic personality disorder, there is an inner voice which is just as judgemental about themselves. In many cases, when a narcissist experiences a failure or limitation in their lives, they become overly critical of their own performances. Their inflated ego demands the highest level of perfection and when it is not achieved, they can feel defeated and worthless. They do not accept responsibility for their actions and will often blame others for these feelings or actions.
This is often when many narcissists seek out the love and adoration from those they have labeled as their narcissistic supply. Their loud and mostly obnoxious behaviors boasting their seemingly perfect traits, talents, and skills are more like a mask they wear to establish dominance. It is this self-deprecation of perceived inferiority in their own minds that not only drives them to attempt to fake the life they want but is also the source which drives them to find tools of manipulation strong enough to help them achieve the feelings of superiority over others. In their minds, if they can make others appear weaker, then they are achieving the ability to establish dominance, control, and demand adoration from all those they encounter.
When many individuals hear the term “Antisocial personality disorder” (ASPD), they often manifest an image of someone who is awkward, withdrawn or otherwise a social wallflower only appearing in the background of any given setting, if at all. However, this description is more fitting for someone suffering from social anxiety. Individuals with antisocial personality disorder are a horse of a different color altogether.
The term “anti” typically refers to the opposite or negative instance of a thing or event. Anti-prejudice movements are those which were against prejudice legislation or social expectations. When considering its use in the term ‘antisocial’, the literal and possibly most correct meaning of this is the opposite or negative of social. This does not mean that those with ASPD avoid social engagements. Instead, it simply means that the respect for moral and social expectations and norms is not accepted, or possibly even comprehended, by the individual with ASPD.
ASPD is one of the many mental disorders in which those individuals who suffer often begin demonstrating symptoms and signs of the disorder earlier in life. For some, this can be evident in childhood, with episodes of bullying behavior, torturing small animals for pleasure, and other reckless and dangerous behaviors. These dangerous and reckless impulses can put themselves or others at risk, yet for those with ASPD, this is of no concern.
Individuals with ASPD are defiant, showing no genuine remorse, regret, or empathy for the repercussions of their actions to others. They can destroy property and people without even batting an eye. When confronted with the devastation caused at their hands, a person with ASPD may not even seem to understand why you are upset. However, it is a common occurrence for those with ASPD to attempt to appear remorseful or apologetic when it is benefitting to them.
Much like the narcissist, those with ASPD are not those to willingly accept the blame for their actions and will often find a scapegoat in their midst who is at fault for whatever tragedy, disappointment, or devastation that has occurred. Individuals with ASPD are more likely to have aggressive in their behaviors making them appear to be socially awkward or someone who is very disturbed.
Individuals with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) are the drama queens (or kings) of the Cluster B personality disorders. These individuals are excessively emotional, demanding to always be the center of attention, praise for the most mundane task completion, and be the ideal partner in all ways sexual and sensual for any man, woman, or other individual alive. It’s the personality disorder most often categorized by the excessive behavior tendencies in just about any scenario possible.
An HPD sufferer will bankrupt themselves and others trying to have the flashiest cars, jewelry, high-tech gadgets, and luxurious homes just to remain the talk of the social circle. They will purposefully and tactfully involve themselves into any scandal that is guaranteed to put their name, and image, in the mouths of everyone and anyone they can possibly reach.
These promiscuous individuals often will be the most scantily clad at a club or a party. A man with HPD might wear shirts that are fitted to show off their physique while a female with HPD may wear a dress leaving little to the imagination.
These individuals thrive off the attention they receive from their sexual nature and will use any ploy to capture the attention of anyone in the room. This can include using baby voices (female) or flaunting their multiple love interests as a means to make them as desirable as possible. They may amorously greet near strangers with such vigor and sensuality that to an outsider, it would appear they were lovers.
Some individuals with HPD will admit a specific thrill capturing the attention of an otherwise unavailable individual. It is not uncommon for these individuals to engage in sexual activity with the partners of others in their social circles.
While an obvious need for attention is present in those with HPD, their emotional range is very shallow. These individuals are known for being the type to “cause a scene” in a public setting, but they do not comprehend the emotional anguish experienced by those who are embarrassed or humiliated by the scene. These individuals do not understand the lack of desire to be the center of every situation. If you’ve got an HPD individual in your social circle, be prepared for drama greater than any network television show.
The fourth category of Cluster B personality disorders and the most researched of them all is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD sufferers have a range of behaviors and emotional responses, but they do not have a steady idle in their tool bag. These individuals will become enraged over the smallest thing, with explosive behaviors and thoughts. For example, someone in a relationship with a BPD sufferer might find themselves flooded with messages threatening the end of the relationship, infidelity, and worse over an opposite-sex friend commenting something positive on a social media post.
Where you or I might see the black, white, and 1000 shades of gray, the individual with BPD will only see the black and white. For these individuals, there is no middle ground or in-between. They are polarized and their behaviors and thoughts align with this mentality of all or nothing. In relationships, they are either entirely in-love, praising their partner and showering them with affection, attention, and gifts or they are completely checked out, emotionally and physically cold to their partner, and may engage in acts of infidelity.
Individuals with BPD are also incredibly impulsive, acting on a whim and doing whatever their mood suits. They may randomly decide to engage in acts of prostitution as a vengeful tactic against a lover or impulsively get a tattoo of a cartoon character because it struck their fancy. While these actions may not seem to be too dangerous, many individuals with BPD will engage in very risky and dangerous actions due to their impulsivity and polarized mentality.
Another common symptom of individuals with BPD is a poor sense of self. Like the narcissist, these individuals do not have a strong sense of self-confidence or esteem. However, unlike the narcissist, the BPD individual does not seek to always place the blame on others. Instead, they take an internal view on themselves befitting the polarized mentality they apply to every scenario. Individuals either see their actions as exactly right or exactly wrong.
They cannot see both good and bad in their actions, relationships, or even themselves overall. They are likely to be fad dieters switching diets every two weeks, job hoppers working only short stints at any one place before moving on, and a serial relationship killer who finds, lures in, and destroys new partners due to their inability to process a middle ground mentality.
There is a coined term for relationships with BPD called The BPD Relationship Cycle. This cycle describes the processes of emotional and behavioral polarization for BPD individuals in a relationship. The cycle goes:
BPD becomes overly emotionally invested in a new love interest
BPD recognizes only the positive emotional signals of reciprocated affection
Partner has an off day, makes a short response, references plans with others, or other small, unimportant action
BPD’s polar mentality allows the action to be thrown into complete negativity “He/she doesn’t love me anymore”
BPD then begins struggling to control this quick and intense shift from one event to another
BPD explodes with rage, anger, and may act impulsively (cheating, throwing out belongings, moving, etc).
After confusion and possible reaction from the partner, BPD begins self-doubting
BPD begins extreme judgment of their own actions and begins the self-hate process (this often leads to self-harm)
In many cases, the partner feels manipulated or otherwise played and may end the relationship, furthering the impulsive behavior and self-deprecation until a new love interest can be found. The cycle then repeats.
Despite the differences in each of these personality disorders, for both the individual and those around him or her, the suffering and life disruption are shared. Each disorder presents its own challenges for those who are close. If a family member is afflicted with any of the Cluster B personality disorders, managing some semblance of a routine or consideration from that individual can be extremely difficult. One of the biggest challenges for any of these types of individuals is the unawareness of their actions, lack of empathy, and the inability to take true responsibility for their actions.
If you have someone in your life who is affected by a Cluster B personality disorder, therapy options can provide some balance and resources to helping adjust their behavioral patterns. Many will resist the requests to seek treatment but with a supportive atmosphere, it is possible for them to receive the professional care that will help them to lead happier and healthier social lives.
Mindcology by Angela Sartain, Phd Psychology - 4M ago
If you’ve ever dated or known someone who is a Narcissist, you’ve may have experienced a wide variety of their personality traits. Some can be charming, some can be aggressive, and others can be entitled and selfish. These individuals are like chameleons, waiting patiently for their prey while flashing pretty colors and inviting them in before devouring them in one fell swoop. One of the common negative symptoms experienced by those around a narcissist is being discarded.
What is discarding?
Discarding for narcissists refers to the abrupt end of a relationship, whether romantic or social, after a phase of ideation and devaluation. The narcissist will simply ignore or avoid the discarded individual until or unless he or she finds some new value that the discarded person can provide. In other words, once the narcissist has become bored or tired of you, he or she will play a series of mental and emotional games with you before just simply walking away.
Why do narcissists discard people?
Narcissistic individuals are typically driven by their own desires and needs, giving little cause for concern for others in their social or personal lives. A narcissist will take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself to them. If they see an opportunity to use you to achieve an increase or boost to their professional career, social status, financial gain, or even just their self-esteem, they will often lure you in with a charming personality before slowly and surely draining your energy like a slow-leaking faucet. However, once you no longer provide this benefit to them, it is not uncommon for the narcissist to simply discard you like a piece of used tissue paper.
Discarding in Romantic Relationships
In romantic relationships, the expectations from the narcissist can be infinite and exhausting for the romantic partner. He/she may expect to be waited on, emotionally and physically, hand and foot by their romantic partner. Narcissists tend to fall for a “new soulmate” very quickly, seeing only the potential for their own selfish desires to be fulfilled by this perfect new companion (also known as the ideation phase).
However, when reality sets in and, like all relationships, the new wears off to reveal the minor dents and dings in their romantic partner, the narcissist will feel betrayed. They will convince themselves that you lied to them or misrepresented who you were to gain access to their supposed superiority.
This sparks the narcissist to engage in the games of devaluation (or breaking their partner down). This can include emotional warfare where the narcissist will use their knowledge of your own fears, hopes, dreams, and insecurities to destroy your confidence and self-esteem. Another popular tactic is gaslighting. However, before long, the narcissist has grown bored of this game like a spoiled child, and simply walks away from the relationship.
3 Signs to watch for
Narcissists are opportunists by nature. Trying to pinpoint when a narcissist will discard someone from their life can be difficult. However, there are three signs to determining if a narcissist is on the verge of a social discard.
New Obsession – When a narcissist finds another person to fulfill their insatiable emotional and physical needs, he or she will often discard the current placeholder. A narcissist is typically not interested in a long-term relationship or fostering a real intimate connection. Instead, they simply seek the pleasure of satisfying and gratifying any and every need that comes to mind. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist and they aren’t satisfied, he or she will most likely seek out a new source of fulfillment and discard you once they have found a replacement or they may triangulate you with the new partner.
Relationship tendencies – While there are a set of common traits shared by most narcissists, they are as diverse as any other social group. Their tendencies in relationships can be a clue to determining if a narcissist is going to discard an individual. This may be observed through a repeated cycle of running through the same group of people at different times or they demonstrate a tendency to become easily bored in life overall.
You – Some people in relationships with narcissists can begin to see their disruptive and destructive behaviors, leading them to distance themselves from the narcissist slowly. However, a narcissist is typically intelligent enough to notice even the slightest change in your behavior, especially if you stop meeting their needs.
How do I stop a narcissist from discarding me?
Unfortunately, there is no steadfast rule for helping a narcissist to overcome their behaviors and tendencies, despite how much you may love or care for them. Therapy options can help them to recognize their own behaviors and avoid them, but the narcissist must be aware and willing to seek out professional treatment for their disorder.
Discarding can become a repetitive cycle for those involved with a narcissist. They are charming, manipulative, and very convincing. When you have been discarded by a narcissist, they may try to weasel their way back into your life by claiming they have changed or that they see things clearly now. However, it is up to you to decide if you want to jump back into the whirlwind of chaos and insatiable need that surrounds the narcissist.
What to do if you have been discarded?
No one likes feeling rejected or abandoned, particularly by those who we’ve come to love and care for. If you’ve been discarded by a narcissist, you might feel as though you are to blame or that you are not good enough. However, it is important to remember that most often narcissistic behaviors have nothing to do with anyone but the narcissists themselves. They are motivated by an almost primal need for the gratification of their own needs and will seek all means necessary to achieve this satisfaction, regardless of who they hurt in their wake.
If you are experiencing depression or anger as a result of being discarded, there are a number of therapy services and professionals who can help you to mitigate this pain and move forward with skills to avoiding future scenarios like this.