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Author’s Note: I remember struggling for words when—many years ago—I decided, that instead of continuing to get angry about the lies my husband Steve had been telling me, it would be better if I could help him see why being honest was important.

The words I struggled to find back then seem insignificant to me now, having finished reading chapter eight in Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life (“Rule 8: Tell the truth—or, at least, don’t lie”) which in large part has inspired this article.

Previously I had assumed that everyone knew it was wrong to lie, but eventually came to understand that many people grow up to think lying is normal.

Little did I know that solid answers would emerge from delving into the dark and murky world of lies and deceit.

If you care about the security of your family alongside that of our global human family, I hope you will find the courage to follow.

Disclaimer: Although I quote Jordan Peterson and Four Horsemen (the documentary) extensively throughout this piece, the interpretation of the views they expressed is my own.

Big Lies A Build a Bridge Back to Reality in a World Filled with Corruption

“The capacity of the rational mind to deceive, manipulate, scheme, trick, falsify, minimize, mislead, betray, prevaricate, deny, omit, rationalize, bias, exaggerate and obscure is so endless, so remarkable, that centuries of prescientific thought, concentrating on clarifying the nature of moral endeavor, regarded it as positively demonic…”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life page 217

Humans are astounding in their ability to lie. Not just small lies, but complex, cross-referenced webs of untruths, spun to create totally false and complex realities. In my line of work, I get a fairly unique (while often depressing) perspective on this, hearing real life stories that rival most soap operas.

For example:

  • the man who pretended to be going to a job every day, while for years he had been spending his days putting money into poker machines after mortgaging his family’s home and cars
  • the woman who used an affair she’d had to blackmail her husband (figure that one out)
  • more than one eminent intellectual who, behind the scenes, was addicted to junk food, sloth and reality TV

Unfortunately the kind of deceit that hurts families is not limited to failing marriages. The 2008 housing crisis in the US a glaring example… 

They Promised Us a Home - YouTube

Conspiracy Theories

With the human tendency to lie so clearly in focus in my day-to-day work, I have often wondered why many people become derogatory towards anyone interested in ‘conspiracy theories?’ If husbands and wives living under the same roof can conspire to cheat one another, surely conspiracies must exist all around us?

I have come to understand that there are true dangers in considering such things, but ‘treasure’ also hidden there despite the danger.

A little more on that in a moment…

On the surface isn’t it only right for us to consider we are not being duped by people in power? Shouldn’t skepticism be considered a sign of wisdom and discernment?

There is plenty to love in the mystery exposing possible conspiracies offers, alongside the mental flexibility required to rearrange your inner knowledge base when considering new and unprecedented information.

Like old news-reels that can be reviewed—and even laughed at—now that we have a better understanding of CGI (computer graphics) in cinematography. 

With only a little understanding of how chrome-a-key and green-screens work for instance (and how to spot them), it’s easy to see that much of what is passed as real life, present and past, simply isn’t or wasn’t:

5 Green Screen Tricks In Under 3 Minutes - YouTube

How Green Screen Worked Before Computers - YouTube

Why should we believe anything that we are not allowed to question? Isn’t that just gullibility?

Love conspiracy theories or hate them, please stick with me on this one… I am not here to tell you what you should believe. What I hope to do is explain what this has to do with your own personal security and why the idea of conspiracy divides so many people.

If conspiracy theories scare you—there is a healthy reason for this we will get to in a moment—but if they bother you to the point that you refuse to consider important information put in front of you; that is a clear sign of codependency.

Avoiding the discomfort conspiracy theories cause will not save you from what you fear. You need to squarely face what you are afraid of, by giving yourself permission to gather as much information as possible and time to get clear in your thinking.

If you love conspiracy theories there may likewise be a problem…

  • Is there a reason you are obsessing about a potential broad scale deception?
  • Would uncovering this deception be useful in your life right now?
  • Is your interest perhaps a warning sign for something closer to home?

Even more important, how do you connect with others?  

Many people believe that sharing beliefs is essential for getting along with each other.

Telling people everything they have seen and read is lies and that they should only believe your version of reality is not a good strategy to build trust with people.

Building trust is essential and we will speak more on that shortly, but first I would like to challenge the belief that sharing beliefs is essential for getting along with each other.

This belief is so ingrained that even befriending a racist or fascist for instance (let alone being one) was for a long time considered grounds for social ostracization. Shunning people—we have been taught—is the best way to ‘teach them a lesson’.

Logic I suppose except that it doesn’t work:

African-American man convinces Klansmen to leave the KKK through friendship - YouTube

Ostracising people we disagree with can only lead to our opposing beliefs becoming more divisive and entrenched.

When we truly understand the power (and danger) in the belief that sharing beliefs is essential for getting along with each other—belief itself becomes something much less likely to divide us.

And this comes right back to building trust with each other, because—in your mind—I have to believe what you believe for us to maintain an empathetic connection with each other, that will not leave any space for honesty between us.

Tricky enough when dealing with politics and science—but how much trickier does this become when we begin talking about faith and religion?

By the end of this article I hope to have come some way in convincing you, that rather than sharing beliefs—consideration, trust and building flexible power structures in your home and community is much more important in determining the success of your relationships.

Faith & Belief

At one stage in my life I was told by a church elder (in private thankfully) that following my own conscience in regard to my religious beliefs was narcissistic vanity.

That really got my attention.

I don’t pretend to know everything about narcissistic vanity but as an author on the subject, I know it is not a person open and outwardly following their conscience.

Sociopathic narcissism is often (and even typically) exposed as the opposite:

  1. a man who professes to be a moral church leader is found to be running an immoral double life with negative impacts on his family and community
  2. a woman who professes to be charitable and respectable, is discovered to be blackmailing her husband; generally by accusing him of being abusive and/or worthless if he doesn’t subsidise her over-spending
  3. a father or mother is found to have set up one of their children as a foil to gain sympathy.

Narcissists often rise to positions of authority in churches (and other organisations), with the chaos they create driving more honest and conscience driven members to the fringes or out-lands.

Uncomfortable to talk about? Yes…  but were the faithful not admonished in the Bible to call evil by its true name?

Honest questioning is not the sign of trouble makers or liars, but generally of honest and genuine people.

People often question their faith at times in their life when other issues may be sending their life off balance. Family members ‘preaching’ or becoming rigid, pious or judgemental at these times is rarely ever helpful.

Smoke and Mirrors

Perhaps our hall of mirrors begins with our parents’ misled benevolent desire to ‘protect’ us as children…

Give them a ‘childhood’ we say, with ‘childhood’ our code word for ‘fantasy protection from reality’, and then pride ourselves on our goodness.

Image courtesy of False Flag Weekly News

Collectively, we use Santa’s fantasy kingdom as a (conspiratorial) moral tool to teach our children to be ‘good’ while individually, we do things like replace their pet that died with a new one without telling them, and in both cases hope they don’t ask too many questions.   

Understandable? I guess so. Children are not equipped to deal with the harsh realities of poverty, death and betrayal—and consequent difficult emotions such as jealousy, boredom, grief, loneliness, and guilt. But then neither are most adults.

Allow people not to face the tough stuff for long enough and most of us will never be ready.

We tell ourselves this ‘protection’ makes us caring and devoted parents, but let’s consider if this is honest…

“Only the most cynical, hopeless philosophy insists that reality could be improved through falsification… It denounces truth as insufficient and the honest man as deluded. It is a philosophy that both brings about and then justifies the endemic corruption of the world.”

–Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life page 212

Isn’t lying to our kids about Santa a perfect example of insisting reality can be improved by falsification? Could this be a philosophy that brings about and then justifies endemic corruption? It might sound extreme, but let’s unpack this…

Is there even more that we avoid when we conspire to deceive our children about Santa’s worldwide charitable enterprise? Could we be hiding that many children will be lucky to get a meal at Christmas, let alone—ever in their life—receive a store-bought toy? Are we hiding from them—as well as ourselves—the fact that this fantasy supports an economic system that keeps many of the people who make our clothes and toys, in what amounts to modern slavery?

The truth we hide from ourselves - YouTube

I wonder if the actual people who make those toys wouldn’t prefer a bit more credit, instead of it all being given to Santa’s elves in their cute-looking sweatshops?

And what about us parents?

Are we truly being magnanimous in protecting our children from feeling they owe us a debt; relieving them the burden of thanking us for the Christmas presents we worked so hard to buy them?

Or perhaps we are really protecting ourselves from ever having to play bad guy; not wanting to confess it was us who decided not to buy them a present this year, because they have been ‘bad’, and instead shift the responsibility and make Santa the arbiter of justice and discipline in the family?

Or could it be that we need the fantasy, because deep down we are worried about how soon they will discover the deficiency of the justice, truth and meaning we have settled for in our day-to-day reality?

In Santa’s defence, there may be some benefit in unifying our standards in regard to virtues such as reward for good behaviour, generosity, and the kind of benevolence that doesn’t need much thanks (and is happy to let Santa take the credit), but surely there must be a way to do this without conditioning everyone to co-operate in such an exploitative and deceptive conspiracy? (I have some ideas we are putting in place in our family and always welcome discussion.) 

But no matter how carefully we hide it, the truth will eventually come out. So there is really not that much to worry about, is there?

Of course there is no Santa living at the North Pole… just parents working in jobs they don’t like, to buy presents they will never get thanked for that will most likely be broken and thrown on earth’s already burgeoning trash-heaps before Christmas week is over.

Back in the real world, the behind-the-scenes Christmas news reports will tell us the Santa-lie is vital to drive the economy, a beast we don’t understand but to some degree all slave to feed. Christmas spending is up this year (they say) and it’s a good sign, isn’t it? *Applause* Don’t worry that the economic beast we are feeding is already so big that it’s close to devouring many of us.

With reality this bleak, peel back the layers of fantasy we protect ourselves with and life can seem almost impossible to face without Santa’s hefty sugar-coating.

Best delay the truth until our children’s adolescence, we rationalise. But our lies reinforce the bad system we have now compromised our honesty (with ourselves and our children) to maintain.

Not that I am against tradition… just that we need to question what we can do when we notice tradition has turned into something that’s no longer healthy (or in the case of Santa maybe never was).Santa’s Fearful Pagan History

We need to recognise that we live in a society which is intolerant and inflexible about working to improve the situation, even when we come to see things are going badly.

Declaration against suffering - YouTube

This article—if you have the courage to follow—is about remedying this and throwing off the suffering in your own life…

We tell ourselves lies are terrible things and pride ourselves on our honesty. But just like Santa’s just and benevolent fantasy world we so carefully wrap our children in, society’s comforting ‘big lies’ are hard to challenge.

We slave (and compromise our honesty) to offer our children the protection of a ‘childhood’, but by a younger and younger age every year, children watch fantasy violence and horror on the screen, much worse than most will ever face in reality.

Except it is fantasy, right? And so of course it won’t really hurt them…

Meanwhile, we congratulate ourselves on our ‘real life’ hunting. Through expressionless mannequins in the clothing department to anthropomorphised smiling cows and chickens in the deli, we come home showing all how clever we were to hunt down quality at such a bargain!

But how much would we have been comfortable to pay for the same dress if it was our friend or neighbour who made it? And do we know what kind of life the animal had that is now on our plate at the table?

Fantasy horror is much easier to resolve in minds than real life injustice, that if acknowledged we might have to work for years setting straight.

Too hard to contemplate right now? Maybe… but the years will pass anyway and if you don’t begin cleaning up your act now, where will you be ten or twenty years from now?

Hypnosis or Compliance?

Our grooming starts early to play along with society’s big lies that we have built our comfortable lifestyles on… starting with trained compliance.

A bell rings and we get out of bed in the morning, another to let us know our food is ready, and another when it’s time to head for work or class.

By the time we are adults, how many of us have the luxury of planning our own day?

Considering the following video, what individual finding themselves on a stage would in front of a crowd this size have the confidence, let alone stage craft, to resist this man’s suggestions?

AMAZING HYPNOTIC POWER - WATCH THEM DROP! - Stage Hypnosis University - YouTube

What Happens if You Resist?

A few years of conditioning, and soon most are easily led. Refusing to play along (even when, as in the case above, the game is built on nothing but words) and make decisions for ourselves eventually becomes terrifying. See how fast the young man falls to the floor when the hypnotist pretends to shake his hand (but probably tugs it down hard) and says, “Sleep again.” Considering the hypnotist’s haughty arrogance, the young man was probably relieved to get off so lightly.

Later, when asked if he remembers what happened on stage, instead of explaining he had no idea what to do except go along with the game, what could be simpler than to just say, “No.” I mean that is what is meant to happen when we are hypnotised, isn’t it?

Telling the truth is never easy in a society whose comfort is built on big lies…

Dream About Flying - Alexi Murdoch - YouTube

Brakes - Why Tell The Truth (When It's Easier To Lie) - YouTube

The pressure to lie and go along with the game normally may not be quite so obvious and public as a hypnotist’s stage, but big lies are generally built on much more than words.

Steve and I never lied to our children about Santa, for instance, but even in our unquestioned role of authority as parents of our children, still faced criticism and condemnation for it.

Even without a TV in our home, pressure from the wider community was so great that in the end our children decided it was us who were stupid for not believing in Santa or the Easter Bunny.

The evidence was in every shop they walked into.

I even remember a strange man telling our younger son, when he was acting up in our local supermarket, that Santa was watching him from the air-conditioner vent in the ceiling.

Creepy? By society’s standards apparently not, but our children certainly thought him a weirdo.

Trained Compliance Coupled with Society’s Lies May at Some Point Leave You Frustrated and/or Helpless

Trained compliance fools you that you are thinking and planning when in reality you are just choosing. Think menu items, holidays and what classes you take at school.

We are taught to trust the experts on such things, but when built on lies these choices may leave you stranded… 

Like millions of Europeans who were offered subsidies and pressured to invest thousands of pounds in new diesel vehicles, after VW and other European car manufacturers had lied for years that diesel technology was now clean. Protests have raged in France since they have since been hit with a 10 cents per litre carbon tax on diesel. This was a direct result of the deceit being exposed and truth finally coming out in the US that diesel is not clean and probably never will be. 

Know Your Limits - YouTube

So much pressure and money had been put into the idea of making diesel clean that few of the technicians given the job had the courage to be honest and admit they couldn’t do it.

Everyone looked for a scapegoat to blame while ignoring the missing platform for honesty.

The lies had gone on so long that the cars could not be improved or modified. In the US and Australia millions were recalled and warehoused, but in Europe owners faced a no win proposition; accept an insufficient subsidy to replace their expensive diesel cars or otherwise be made subject to the carbon tax on diesel.

Just like the car industry is now being forced to reconsider their ethics and clean up their act, hopefully families too can find a platform to begin cleaning up their internal corruption.

Conspiracies might distract, entertain and help hide what otherwise would be inexcusable danger or exploitation, but lies are not something you can build anything meaningful on.

You can pretend to believe in Santa, sure, and maybe even dress up as him, but..

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What follows is a simplified overview of our message…

  1. We have found organisational rules (more common to business) far better at helping families than most standard psychology.
  2. The terms narcissism and codependency (you will find most of our earlier work based on) are not terms we invented or especially want to promote. They are (psychological) terms we came across looking for help with our own marriage. Although many professionals agree with us (and the latest DSM was in fact changed after we published our work in this area), our view of these disorders differ from most standard psychology. We argue especially that Narcissistic Personality Disorder should not be considered rare or incurable. We also do not think it inherently worse (or always more selfish) than codependency.
  3. A more simple business term for narcissism and codependency might be ‘family corruption.’

People are very good at finding excuses not to share. This is the very simple but almost universal cause of corruption; in business, politics and families.

All institutions are prone to corruption and to the vices of their members.

Morris West

In families, we feel that psychology has blamed mothers (and personality disorders) for too long–instead of looking at plain old dishonest behaviour–aimed at personal gain or gratification.

Mothers, like all of us, can be selfish, but fathers and children are often downright experts!

Narcissistic selfishness consists of the unholy trinity (old as time itself) of lying, cheating and stealing.

Codependency on the other hand, opts for selfishness less easy to identify; emotional manipulation, moodiness, guilt tripping and psychosomatic illness. All aimed at squeezing others for time, love and attention.

Father blames mother’s jealousy as emotional manipulation and rationalises (to himself) that this is why he cheats on her (or in other ways disrespects her). Mother blames father’s absence and obvious disinterest (and lies) for her binge shopping or drinking.

This is one common example of narcissistic and codependent behaviour each scapegoating the other.

Which came first the chicken or the egg?

Or let’s make this even simpler…

Say we are playing a real life game, where every day 30 sandbags need to be moved from point a to point b. One sand bag might represent making sure everyone in the family is fed. Another might be earning the money to purchase the food and a third cleaning up (even if it is just throwing away takeaway containers, wiping down counters and taking out the rubbish and sweeping the floor after meals).

There are many more sandbags, that if left undone, will leave a family uncomfortable or worse;

  • earning money to pay the mortgage and rent
  • organising clean clothes for work or school
  • maintaining vehicles, insurance and paying other bills
  • health care
  • cleaning and home maintenance
  • keeping the garden and garbage bins tidy enough to stop neighbours or council complaining
  • earning money for all the other things the family needs
  • caring for sick and aged family members
  • caring for pets

Life is tough for most of us and the list is long. And besides these chores is the relationship work required to protect a family’s emotional stability;

  • listening to all family members’ needs when planning
  • making sure everyone feels valued and appreciated
  • understanding challenges family members are facing
  • setting challenges to help children (and adults) develop age appropriate skills
  • teaching children reading and other life skills
  • modelling emotional intelligence (ie. helping children learn what their emotions mean and how to regulate them)

Even if all 30 sandbags get moved every day, the game will eventually sour (or break down completely) if each member of the family does not move an equal share.

Want a happier marriage? Share the housework equally. - YouTube

Everyone moving an equal share is called ‘stability’ and will still be a challenge (for everyone) sometimes but by the end of most days no one will be feeling over tired or exploited and instead of fighting the family can relax and have some fun.

And if not, the family may need to work together on changes that will improve the household budget, such as better employment, less expensive housing, cheaper and more nutritious food, less expensive holiday and recreation options, etc.

As in business, the budget must balance or bankruptcy or foreclosure will loom (which in families may also cause family fragmentation, homelessness and/or divorce).

Corruption exists when people in the family allow the shared contribution to the workload to continue unbalanced.

Narcissistic members will lie, cheat and steal: “I am working back late honey,” they might say,  when really they are not at work earning money but out spending more than their share.

They may also pretend the sandbag they must lift is much heavier than everyone else’s, as a way of cheating so they get more of the credit while really carrying less of the load.

Codependent members, on the other hand, will lift all 30 sand bags a day if you let them, but then expect an unequal (and unhealthy) share of love, gratitude and devotion in return.

And when this doesn’t eventuate they may get whiny and resentful and later get sick. Often even chronically ill, without realising their illness is psycho-somatic. If asked why they are sick they may say it is their family’s fault for not providing them enough love and care.

They need to learn that letting people use you is not the path to being loved and appreciated.

Not that narcissistic corruption is an easy thing to deal with, but in families–the same as business–getting angry, complaining or taking sick days is not a good way to negotiate a better deal.

Not guilty of any of this?

I wonder…

How often are you ‘too busy and important’ to do your fair share of the lower status, unpaid and unpleasant chores in your household? Or pay someone else (what you would expect to be paid) to carry your share of the sandbags every day?

Or what (emotional) debt do you hold over others (and what do you rob them of) by taking on more than your  share of the sandbags, instead of insisting they be delegated fairly?

‘Selfish’ mothers are often targeted by psychology for this last type of unhealthy behaviour. Stealing responsibilities and learning opportunities in the guise of ‘protecting’ their spouse and children in order to tie their family to them through unhealthy dependence.

Women are told ‘we love too much’, and this truly can be a problem in families. Parents not delegating chores to their children (including expecting them to contribute financially by the time they are teenagers), in my eyes, amounts to a form of covert child abuse.

But when husbands and children are outright selfish, psychology often blames mothers too. In this case we are told that we are ‘enabling.’

Getting the balance right isn’t easy.

Especially if you have no tried and tested family traditions to lean on. This may be because your husband and wife’s families were based on different roles and expectations that don’t play out together well together in your family now. Or because the families you grew up in failed and fell apart (as Steve’s and mine did). Or perhaps you have moved to a different country where culturally things are different. In these cases arguing with each other will never produce a new fair balance of roles and responsibilities. Tough as the truth is, learning to stand up for yourself and negotiate fairly will be the only path to stability.

Husbands and wives need professional processes and structures (just as all organisations do) to ensure there is accountability and that heavy lifting is shared.

We find that standard psychology often gets in the way of this process. Focusing on emotions rather than on the families organisational structure and agreed rules.

What Does Psychology Have to Say About Selfish Fathers and Narcissistic Mothers?

Why not more talk in psychology about selfish fathers? For instance; what of the rash of massage parlours and brothels I see opening around our towns these days? Surely some wive’s jealousy is founded in reality? And where is the time and money that this ‘pass-time’ embezzles from a married man’s family budget being addressed?

Many will argue (too loudly) that his money is his own; even while his wife struggles to meet the families expenses with her–often smaller–pay check and larger share of the families sand bags to move.

  • Why is it generally only considered corruption when a man’s brothel visits are on his companies time and money?
  • Is every married man who cheats on (and lies to) his wife really suffering from an incurable personality disorder?

If a husband is hiding this spending from his wife, and not paying his share of the expenses at home, I would say this is not only infidelity but also a clear case of family corruption.

Or the women who hold good men to ransom, claiming him complaining about her spending more than he earns (and not acting as her slave) somehow makes him weak or abusive. Women whose parents have usually raised them with an unrealistic view on the realities of life.

There are plenty of narcissistic wives out there, with codependent husbands who take on more than their share of the heavy lifting.

A Way Forward

Traditional family roles were very limiting for many of us. Not all men are well suited to looking after cars and yard-work, and not all women prepared to commit to a lifetime of cooking and cleaning.

The breakdown of these roles, however, will never give us freedom, if we lack a level playing field to negotiate roles that suit our family better.

Because without defined roles and responsibilities in a family (and systems to hold all members accountable) as in any organisation, corruption (ie. tyranny and slavery) will become inevitable.

Tyranny and slavery both engender their own forms of unchecked chaotic personal misery…  and so this imbalance truly affects us all.

The corruption of the best things gives rise to the worst.

David Hume

Exposing that corruption in yourself (and partner) is the first step to a better home life. This is what most of our early work (Back From the Looking Glass–13 Steps to a Peaceful Home, The Love Safety Net Workbook, 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence, Your Blind Spot) are in essence all about.
The chart at the end of Back From the Looking Glass (and also included in 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence) on exposing the corruption in your family (to end the cycle of abuse)–on its own–is worth the asking price.

Further, replacing that corruption with fair systems (including a consensus based decision making process) and a solid family structure, is the aim of our latest program, Good Fathers and Mothers (included in our members area).

Corruption in marriage has nearly become standard these days and just like exposing corruption in governments or business is not an easy problem to tackle.

We cannot accept, however, that this corruption represents an incurable psychiatric disorder. The stakes for  giving in like this are simply too high.

The truth is men and women both have been encouraged to be selfish. Advertisers don’t care what is fair just as long as they are the ones who get our dollars.

We are inundated with advertisers messages, now embedded in just about everything we look at.

Instead of being encouraged to be responsible towards ourselves, each other and our children, advertising has lifted personal gain and gratification to the status of being a new religion.

All of us suffer because of this, but as always when corruption takes hold, especially the weakest members of our community.

Children shunted from home to home in the cross fire of relationship minefields that even their parents have no idea how to manage.

Step-parents feel themselves rivals with their step-children, for their new partner’s time, attention and money. Instead of acting like caring and responsible parents, step-parents then begin looking for any justification they can find that might deem their step-children unworthy (or someone else responsible for them). Many step-parents will disagree, but most of us need our parents well past the age of 18.

What excuses do you use to demand more than your share of ‘the juice’ in your family? What rational that you deserve less of the heavy lifting?

That you are smarter? Better educated? Higher class? None of these attributes exonerate you from your share of the sandbags, unless you are actively using your intelligence, education or status to help make life easier for your family as a whole.

And if held to account, are there ways you twist the truth and paint yourself the victim?

Women are good at this – but men are too…

How MEN Play the Victim... - YouTube

An excellent movie by TeamJaxn (mind a very small amount of bad language at the end)

Men also often claim women have the upper hand when negotiating. Many say talking things through with their wife or mother equals losing.

I understand negotiation can be painful, but I have to ask what exactly they fear losing? The right to treat their wives and mothers as second class citizens (ie. slaves)? And if not, what is it they don’t feel able to stand their ground on?

If you can’t hold your place at the (negotiation) table until you get an outcome you think fair, who do you think should be responsible for taking that stand for you?

You only lose if you agree to something you really don’t agree fair, which really means you should have held your ground and continued negotiating.

Someone disagreeing with you generally isn’t grounds for you ignoring that person and doing what you like.

Better to even bring in professional mediation if necessary and work out a genuine agreement, than to allow small unresolved issues like this to eventually pull your family apart.

To be fair negotiation is not something our education has prepared us for, we have been groomed to be workers and consumers instead.

That needs to change if we want to end the heartache.

That needs to change if we want strong and stable families.

Anyone who is looking solely at their partner’s selfishness has not understood the lessons we teach here.

Hard to tackle, yes of course–no one likes admitting where we are allowing ourselves to be exploited, let alone looking at the selfishness in ourselves.

Steve and I are back on deck full time here for the next few months (at least) and are offering a new service to members.

Previously we encouraged people to read our books before joining our members area, but for as long as we are able will be turning that around:

Join Steve’s or my group as a first step and you will receive (within 24 hours) a short question-air that will help us personally advise you where to start. (Existing members can also request this.)

You will also gain access to our secret Facebook groups and a huge library of resources and information included in your membership.

We aim now at building a large worldwide community.

Corruption must be exposed at all levels if our societies are to heal… and the best place to start is in our homes.

The post Fighting Corruption Where it Begins appeared first on TheNCMarriage.com.

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An updated version of this article – First published at https://thelovesafetynet.com/

by Kim Cooper

Just as you wouldn’t invest in an organisation that had no idea what it produced, with no defined roles, standards, policies or procedures—why risk your family’s collective stability and security on vague, conflicting and sometimes horrifying notions of what constitutes good family governance?

It was many years ago that I discovered the business world uses much better tools for helping people work together than what families are generally offered.

My husband (Steve) was a barman and coming home drunk most nights, long after our children were asleep. I was left at home—usually with no money—with three kids under 10, that I somehow had to feed and entertain. I started to look online for help on how to deal with a husband who lacked empathy. ‘Change the locks’ was the only advice anyone had for me.

Yet when I looked at advice from the corporate arena, hey wow, what a different story! Empathy in those circles was deemed the easiest emotional intelligence skill to teach staff, with training usually consisting of a two-hour workshop.

‘Change the locks’ was the only advice anyone had for me.

Thankfully I didn’t listen to the advice I received back then to leave Steve…

Steve and I with our youngest son who just graduated from High School

∞ We recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary ∞

In the years since, I have discovered that on just about every level, the business world has far better advice than what is generally offered to families.

. . . . .

Families are under threat

‘Every man is a king’ was the catch-phrase of a famous radio broadcast known as the Share Our Wealth Speech delivered during the Great Depression—a time when financially life was even harder on families than it is today.

But the threats to families are now far broader than financial… so, how do we organise ourselves now?

That address was a challenge to men to organise and defend themselves, and to push back against the same financial powers that are again crushing down on many of us.

Economically, the average family is under more stress than at any time since the Great Depression.

But the threats to families are now far broader than financial… so, how do we organise ourselves now?

Don’t be duped into blaming the people you love

Most of us feel the pressure, but end up running in circles, pointing a finger at each other while arguing about the cause:

  • men blame feminism
  • women blame narcissism
  • children of all ages blame their parents
The real enemy is our own ignorance

If you search the internet on how to set up a business or corporation, you will find links to many thousands of libraries full of highly detailed and extremely professional advice on how to set up an organisation with a solid structure.

Search for how to set up a functional family, on the other hand, and you will be inundated with vague and unstructured platitudes, such as:

‘Make sure you spend time together’
‘Communication is key’
‘Be flexible’

It all sounds warm and inviting, but what does it really mean? Spend time together communicating by swearing at each other? Be flexible in allowing your own plans for the day to be ignored?

In reality this advice is almost worthless.

The real reason most families are dysfunctional is that they do not have a solid organisational structure in place.

You need your family more than you might think

If we consider family as a business I think most would agree that what families produce is physical, emotional and financial stability and security.

Stability and security are not fashions or gimmicks, and society cannot afford to consider them luxury items.

If we consider family as a business I think most would agree that what families produce is physical, emotional and financial stability and security.

These are precious commodities and families are unique in their ability to produce them. Institutions, community housing, or even share housing, cannot produce the same kind of stability and security a well-organised family can.

So if we agree that stability and security are important, and families unique in their ability to provide these, it only makes sense that just like any other primary producers, what families produce needs protecting.

Yet more people than ever are walking out on their partners. More people than ever are emotionally and physically injuring their partners, and more people than ever are choosing not to enter a relationship at all.

The obvious solution

The real reason most families fight is that they do not have solid organisational structures in place.

Governing a family successfully requires as many structures, standards, policies and procedures as running any professional group or organisation.

Consider… if there is conflict between employees, the first thing a good manager will check is that:

a. each person’s roles are well-defined, and

b. a clearly defined hierarchy is in place for who reports to whom in the company’s organisational chart, defining how work is assigned and reviewed.

If management doesn’t solve the dispute, trade unions may become involved in what is known as a demarcation dispute.

By contrast, if family members are in dispute, the member with the problem is usually told they need to ‘set a boundary’.

What is referred to as boundaries in families is called demarcation in business.

It is highly unlikely that anyone will offer to talk to family members about defining their roles and responsibilities, let alone review the family’s organisational chart. Setting boundaries in a family usually amounts to the person with the problem with someone, being pressed to ask that person to change their behaviour. This kind of boundary setting will usually create conflict rather than resolve it.

Imagine if employees were given this type of vague advice on how to deal with problems with a coworker? “Don’t tell me what to do, you are not my boss!” or “Don’t tell me how to do my job!”

Does this sound familiar in your family?

What is referred to as boundaries in families is called demarcation in business. Surely it is obvious that if there is conflict in your home, one of the first things that should be defined is the family’s roles and responsibilities.

Disorganisation leads to corruption

If you are running a retail shop and don’t have your systems in order, it won’t be long until your merchandise starts to disappear and money go missing from the cash register (or bank account). You might blame your staff, but with no roles, standards or policies in place, they will probably feel entitled to make their own rules.

In a family, just the same as in a business, disorganisation almost inevitably leads to corruption.

Corruption in a family occurs when some members feel entitled to more of the families shared resources (and less of the unpaid work) than other members.

This of course includes money, food and material goods but also time, love and attention.

A little more on that in a moment but first…

Every man a king and every woman a queen

We have dug deep into history and come up with the mythology of The Good King (and queen) to provide wisdom and guidance in developing a program for good family governance.

Setting up your family structure professionally will be a challenge, but not nearly as tough as allowing all the bad ideas out there (of how families should be managed) to drag your life around in circles.

…more people than ever are walking out on their partners. More people than ever are emotionally and physically injuring their partners, and more people than ever are choosing not to enter a relationship at all.

Just as you wouldn’t invest in an organisation that had no idea what it produced, with no defined roles, standards, policies or procedures—why risk your family’s collective stability and security on vague, conflicting and sometimes horrifying notions of what constitutes good family governance?

…….

Is Steve’s and my home life a perfectly run corporation?

Not yet, but we are working towards that! This insanely big idea of how to produce more physical and emotional security in our lives, is a work still in progress.

It has taken time to develop these ideas and put them in place in our own family.

In the development process we encountered many roadblocks (more on them in Part 2).

When it comes time to plan or make decisions, unfortunately without solid operational policies and proceedures in place, many of us have become used to (in at least some ways) emotionally manipulating our family.

Dealing with this resistance was one reason it took so long for us to develop this programme.

If you can relate to these kind of struggles around decision making, don’t let these roadblocks dissuade you!

In Part 2, we will challenge you to tackle a few of the bad programmes that will help you get past these. The road blocks to producing order from the chaos (in your home) certainly can be conquered!

To Continue Reading Part 2 Please Take a Moment and Join Our Newsletter:

The Love Safety Net Newsletter
Bringing Sanity to Your Home!
We respect your privacy.

PS. This programme is only suitable for families where the adults are ready to work together on a better future. If instead corruption has set in and one partner won’t cooperate on putting a better foundation in place (and thinks themselves entitled to more than their share of the good stuff and less than their share of the hard stuff), please start here with our best seller Back From the Looking Glass – 13 Steps to a Peaceful Home. The flow chart at the very end of the book , which shows how to disrupt this abusive (corruption) cycle is worth the price of the book on its own!

The post Men and Women Must Organise to Defend Their Families appeared first on TheNCMarriage.com.

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In 2005, Kim helped me face my narcissism. We share that story in Back From The Looking Glass – 13 Steps to a Peaceful Home

In 2019, Kim is helping me once again in ways I did not ever expect.

I have only recently been diagnosed with a fairly serious heart condition, the symptoms of which have put a lot of stress on my family over the last year or so.

Irritability has been one of the symptoms. My family have been putting up with me being hard to talk to for a long time now.

The stress of my current job has been partly responsible. My inability to handle the stress has been transferred into a great deal of unpleasantness my family have had to suffer. My poor health was causing me various problems, but rather than taking direct action, I decided it easier to blame Kim and the kids.

Another symptom has been extreme fatigue. I have no idea how Kim has been able to tolerate me over the many conversations we’ve had recently where I simply fall asleep.

It’s clear to me now that my family have been dealing with my sickness more than I have.

The unfortunate mix of poor health and unhealthy work conditions has created a situation where over and over again I have put my family last.

This week, I have committed to rectify this. I have clearly seen the hurt I have inflicted on myself but more importantly, I am now aware that my family has suffered greatly from my insistence that my career should be our family’s biggest priority. This is one of the toughest paths I have ever faced.

Codependence in the workplace has become a new normal for me. I work for a couple of narcissistic types that leave me little room to be anything but a codependent serf in their fiefdom. In an attempt to build my own professional career I have solidified a whole range of unhelpful and unsustainable habits that have hurt my family in several ways. We no longer take holidays together, I decree my daily work commitments as non-negotiable, I am reluctant to allow others to ease my workload, I am stressed and take it out on my family, I have stopped planning social or fun lifestyle events.

In short, I have been pretty tough to be around.

Kim has such a big heart and the determination to help me become the husband she knows deep down I really can be for her. I love Kim and respect her, but when the obsession with myself recently began to dominate our home life again, it’s become crystal clear that another intervention of sorts is required for me to take better responsibility for myself.

The 2019 intervention has a few serious career, health and lifestyle changes that will require implementation and attention.

A complete restructure is required to take the burden off my family and I have asked that Kim be in charge of this.

Due to my neediness right now, Kim may not be around for a while as we begin the process.

After that I have so much I want to share and hope I can make time to offer my own experience as an example for others to compare.

I know a lot of men who put their careers first and regret it later. I do not wish to be on of those guys. I am now committed to getting better in all areas of my life.

It is time I start walking my talk.

For the past few years I have made my work the central focus of our family. In 2019 I am committing to make our work here my main focus again.

I am sorry I have taken Kim from everyone here for so long. Both of us will be back soon once I set some long overdue boundaries around my job.

It has been said that the treasure we search far and wide for was always within reach, we were simply looking in the wrong places.

It is ironic that my heart condition is said to be due to poor vagus nerve tone. The answer to the problems associated with poor vagus nerve tone was what Kim has been teaching us here all along, so I feel a little stupid.

Thanks to everyone who continues to send loving and kind comments to us. The higher levels of cooperation and understanding required now in my family will hopefully be an inspiration to your family too.

Stay cool,

Steve

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When I first began looking for help for our marriage, most were quick to judge our problems as either my or Steve’s fault.

Although I had been advised that Steve had the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I still did not see him as the cause of all of our problems.

Eventually (after many months of research) I stopped focussing on Steve’s lack of empathy for us, and put together the steps (by trial and error) to heal my own emotional neediness, allowing myself to take more of a leadership role in getting our lives back on track.

When we shared those steps in our first book, Back From the Looking Glass – 13 Steps to a Peaceful Home, I received some fierce criticsm. I was called everything from delusional to narcissistic myself. Many more people, however, thanked us and urged us to continue our work.

Fifteen years on, our marriage is still a work in progress and life has its ups and downs.

Although I had been advised that Steve had the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I still did not see him as the cause of all of our problems.

While things certainly improved dramatically by following the steps we share, Steve’s underlying lack of ability to empathise (especially when times get tough) is something I admit that I still struggle with.

Hundreds of testimonials from other families echo similar results. Following the steps can improve your family life tremendously but deep down, the nagging ‘no empathy’ problem remains.

Needing your partner to care more may sound needy, but really it is primary to feeling secure in your life.

When times get tough, Steve’s default position is still that he doesn’t care enough—about his job, where we live, or his relationships—to put any real concern into resolving problems or conflict. Instead, his knee jerk reaction is to pretend that putting any effort in is not worth the effort, or to simply blame someone else for the problems that exist.

We are finally now addressing this with some promising results, and I will share more about that in a moment.

Needing your partner to care more may sound needy, but really it is primary to feeling secure in your life.

Back to our story…

Most of the time I know how to keep things on track, but after a terrible few years where life threw a lot of incredibly tough and stressful situations at us, I saw that keeping things on track could not always rely just on me.

I had learned to trust and depend upon myself much more, but after 24 years of marriage, I had run out of patience. I was experiencing Steve’s lack of caring as a threat to all I value in my life.

I felt cornered and helpless. The problems we had faced earlier in our marriage (like how he hid credit cards, etc.) were gone. His lack of empathy however had turned to full blown depression and self-pity, just when I needed him most.

I needed Steve to put on the line the fact that he does care—especially when times are tough—about me, our children, his job and our home.

Unfortunately, I forgot most of my own advice and started fighting Steve again, insisting he step up to the plate.

I had learned to trust and depend upon myself much more, but after 24 years of marriage, I had run out of patience. I was experiencing Steve’s lack of caring as a threat to all I value in my life.

Fighting, of course, didn’t work and I finally saw that I had to dig deeper.

My life had brought me to the point where I needed to be responsible for organising staff as well as my family. I came to see that the same formal process and procedures we use to hold staff accountable in a business, might also be used in our home.

You can read more on that here: Men and Women Must Organise to Defend Their Families

Part of the new business-like structure we are now putting in place in our family, is a conflict resolution process.

Steve was resistant to this idea at first, saying our children would resent spending time on it—but quite the opposite has been the truth. Our young adult children have been responsive (especially after reading the examples), and the discussions lively. Young adults, I have come to realise, really labour with the burden of not knowing how to resolve problems they have with other people.

Avoiding fights is one thing, but what of the hard feelings that still lingered and eventually resurfaced? Totally resolving conflict to the point where there were no residual hard feelings, was something we all knew our family needed.

The clincher with conflict resolution is that it requires empathy…

Practicing examples of responding empathetically with one another has finally helped Steve see his gap with this, and he is now working on it.

If you are interested, I will leave the conflict resolution page we are working on (which will eventually be part of a members only subscription) open until New Year. You can view it here:

The Cooper Family Conflict Resolution Process

This is not something you can launch into with your family before you are ready.

Putting these types of structures in place will require leadership skills you may not yet have.

Just take it one step at a time. The first step may be looking at your own codependency.

If you need help knowing where to start, you can email me at kimcooper@narcissismcured.com, or friend and message me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kimcoo

The end of my story today is that no matter how badly you feel threatened and hurt by your partner’s lack of empathy, fighting won’t help. I know because I have been there. I wrote my books primarily for myself because I have had to remind myself about this often.

The new programme we are developing for better family governance is still in its early stages. The framework is there but it’s not very visual or fun yet. It may take a year or more to get all the movies, visual cue cards, and published documents finished to make it something that is ready to be rolled out commercially. But if you can handle plain documents that need downloading and printing yourself, and want to share your experiences, we are looking for early adopters. Come have a look and see what it is all about here:

Men and Women Must Organise to Defend Their Families

And once again our conflict Resolution process is here:

The Cooper Family Conflict Resolution Process

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It was many years ago that I discovered the business world has much better tools for getting people working together than what families are generally offered.

Back then my husband was a barman and coming home drunk most nights, long after our children were asleep. I was left at home—usually with no money— with three kids under 10, that I somehow had to feed and entertain.

I started to look for help online on how to deal with a husband who lacked empathy.

I was soon told point blank by professionals, many of whom had never even met Steve, that ‘no empathy’ meant he had a Cluster B personality disorder for which there was no cure or even treatment.

‘Change the locks’ was the only advice anyone had for me.

Yet when I looked at advice from the corporate arena, hey wow, what a different story.

Empathy in those circles was deemed the easiest emotional intelligence skill to teach staff, with training usually consisting of a two-hour workshop.

Thankfully I didn’t listen to the advice I received back then to leave Steve…  we recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

In the years since, I have discovered that on just about every level, the business world has far better advice than what’s generally offered to families.

. . . . .

‘Every man is a king’ was the catch-phrase of a famous radio broadcast known as the Share Our Wealth Speech delivered during the Great Depression—a time when financially life was even harder on families than it is today.

That address was a challenge to men to organise and defend themselves, and to push back against the same financial powers that are again crushing down on many of us.

Economically, the average family right now is under more stress than at any time since the Great Depression.

But the threats to families are now far broader than financial… so how do we organise ourselves now?

Families are under threat

Most of us feel the pressure, but end up running in circles, pointing a finger at each other while arguing about the cause:

  • men blame feminism
  • women blame narcissism
  • children of all ages blame their parents
Families lack structure

If you search the internet on how to set up a business or corporation, you will find links to many thousands of libraries full of highly detailed and extremely professional advice.

Search for how to set up a functional family, on the other hand, and you will be inundated with a deluge of vague and unstructured platitudes, like:

‘Make sure you spend time together’
‘Communication is key’
‘Be flexible’

It all sounds warm and inviting, but what does it really mean? Spend time together communicating by swearing at each other? Be flexible in allowing your own plans for the day to be ignored?

In reality this advice is worthless.

The truth is, the most common reason families fight is that they have not agreed on a fair decision-making process.

Governing a family successfully requires as many structures, standards, policies and procedures as running any professional group or organisation.

Consider…  if there is conflict between employees, the first thing a good manager will check is that:

a. each person’s roles are well-defined, and

b. a clearly defined hierarchy is in place for who reports to whom in the company’s organisational chart, defining how work is assigned and reviewed.

If management doesn’t solve the dispute, unions may become involved in what is known as a demarcation dispute.

By contrast, if family members are in dispute, the family member with the problem is usually told they need to ‘set a boundary’.

‘Boundaries’ are what demarcation is called in families.

In families it is highly unlikely that anyone will offer to talk to family members about defining their roles and responsibilities, let alone reviewing the family’s organisational chart.

Setting boundaries in a family usually amounts to the person with the problem being pressed to ask someone else to change their behaviour.

This will usually create conflict rather than resolve it.

Imagine if employees were given this type of vague advice on how to deal with problems with a coworker?

“Don’t tell me what to do, you are not my boss!” or “Don’t tell me how to do my job!”

Does this sound familiar?

Surely it is obvious that if there is conflict in a family, one of the first things that should be defined is the family’s roles and responsibilities.

. . . . .

Okay, so if we continue comparing running a family to running a business, let’s consider what families produce.

I think most would agree…  families are meant to produce physical, emotional and financial stability and security.

What families produce is important

Stability and security are not fashions or gimmicks, and society cannot afford to consider them luxury items.

These are precious commodities and families are unique in their ability to produce them.

Institutions, community housing, or even share housing, cannot produce the same kind of stability and security a well-organised family can.

Family day care centres, hospitals, prisons, and aged care facilities have a place in our society, certainly—but most are still dependent on families taking a large share of the responsibility for the decision-making and emotional care of their clients.

Institutions are generally set up as places where people work shifts, not live in permanently. They are a necessity in many situations, but given a choice, hardly anyone genuinely wants to live in one.

Share houses face many of the same organisational conflicts that families do.

People living in share houses are usually also less motivated to look out for each other to the same degree a family is.

So if we agree that stability and security are important, and families unique in their ability to provide these, it only makes sense that — just like any other primary producers—what families produce needs protecting.

Yet more people than ever are walking out on their partners. More people than ever are emotionally and physically injuring their partners, and more people than ever are choosing to not enter a relationship at all.

Will I be CEO of my family?

Corporate titles don’t sit well in a family setting…  so we have dug deep into history and come up with the Good King and Queen as roles for family governance.

This metaphor adds depth to the work ahead, as does the notion of it being a game.

Setting up your family structure professionally will certainly be a tough challenge, but not nearly as tough as allowing all the bad ideas out there (of how families should be managed) to drag your life in circles.

Just as you wouldn’t invest in an organisation that had no idea what it produced, with no defined roles or standards, and no policies or procedures in place, why would you risk your family’s collective stability and security on vague, conflicting and sometimes horrifying notions of what constitutes good family governance?

Is Steve’s and my home life now a perfectly run corporation?

Hardly.

This insanely big idea of how to produce more physical, emotional and financial stability and security in our lives is certainly still a work in progress.

Families need structure not stress!

It has taken me nearly three years to work on getting these ideas in place in our family while also developing them into a programme.

In that time, I have encountered many roadblocks (more on them in Part 2) and also come to see that I am being too hard on myself,  thinking I should be able to do this on my own.

I am going to offer your family the opportunity to join us in becoming an early adopter of our (soon- to-be released) programme titled:

The Good King and Queen (Click for an overview)

Early adopters will help us shape the end result and bring this idea to a wider audience.

Or perhaps you can offer help with any of the following:

Help We Need

– Developing and producing charts, checklists and other resources for families playing The Good King and Queen.

– Video post-production.

– Experienced crowdfunding project manager with fund-raising ideas to assist with our advertising and production expenses.

– Donations

– Sponsors

– Advertising

– Promotional opportunities

– Your ideas

If you are interested and can help with any of these, please contact me at kimcooper66@gmail.com and provide us with the following;

a. Let us know briefly who you are.
b. Let us know briefly how you can help.
c. Let us know briefly why you want to help.
d. Let us know what you hope we might offer in return.

Someone will get back to you within 24 hours to let you know if your abilities and needs match the team we are building.

The post Every Man a King and Every Woman a Queen appeared first on TheNCMarriage.com.

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First published at www.thelovesafetynet.com

Don’t Put Me Down!

When I first Wrote Back From the Looking Glass – 13 Steps  to a Peaceful Home (now in its 12th edition), it was a lot shorter than it is now and was called “Don’t Put Me Down!”

This is worth mentioning. The issue of domestic abuse often focuses too heavily on violence while downplaying the real damage verb abuse can cause.

Domestic Abuse Doesn’t Generally Start with Violence

Violence is certainly an issue of concern; but generally sets in once the conflict has spiraled downward.

I heard a saying once that violence is an admission of defeat – and in most cases I would agree. Violence is generally a sign that one or both partners have begun to feel desperate and helpless.

I know there are people in the world who still believe they can maintain a position of respect in their home while using violence to control family members. In Australia, however, and most countries in the western world, this is no longer the case. In our society, most people understand if you are hitting someone to enforce your will, it will breed hostility and contempt rather than respect.

If someone is hitting you, they probably know they shouldn’t and won’t respect you for putting up with it.

Violence is Often an Admission of Defeat

Still, violence in our homes continues; mostly when a person finds themselves beyond caring how their behaviour will be judged. When in the heat of the moment, they begin feeling helpless about ever getting their needs met. In these situations people will sometimes lash out in despair doing terrible things they would normally never consider. This is most likely when a person feels ‘all is lost’ and cannot manage the depth of their feelings.

I am not condoning family violence, and that is really not the subject I want to write about today, I just wanted to make it clear that the issues facing families in conflict are often not as black and white as people make them out to be.

For instance, abandonment can be a major trigger for violence and so telling people to ‘just leave’ is not always the safe advice it might sound like.

Stop the Downward Spiral by Ending the Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse, on the other hand, usually sets in years before any sign of physical aggression. The nursery rhyme ending, “but words can never hurt me”, is a lie. Words do hurt, especially when coming from the mouth of the person meant to love you more than anyone.

I have a number of articles on dealing with verbal aggression in my article series dealing with this subject (for only $8.95). These articles are also available in our intro membership.

Make a Commitment

Ending the put downs and verbal abuse in my marriage was one of the toughest challenges I have ever faced. If this is a problem you are facing in your marriage, check out the article series linked above. A little knowledge is dangerous as they say and so it really is best if you read the verbal abuse articles while also working through the steps and exercises in our ebooks; Back from the Looking Glass (13 Steps to a Peaceful Home), The Love Safety Net Workbook (the 4 pillars of a happy and healthy home) and 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence.

To end here I want to offer a testimonial which came in this morning from a church worker who uses our material ‘in the field’ . . .

“I am extremely thankful that you have your story to tell of breakthrough. What would I have done without it??!!! Yikes. I lead quite a few women and to just say “Stay in your marriage” is a not at all realistic without your tools.

Your materials have been so very helpful when really there is nothing very accessible out there. This is such a common problem that people face – I have AT LEAST 4 friends who work and work at their marriage and face wall after wall and no way forward. 2 of these friends have had serious issues like you have faced. Your book has been an amazing resource to turn to.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the moon and back for the work you do – I know it must be exhausting and draining but I am so very thankful you have chosen to do it rather than dust off your lives and just look like the ‘normal’ couple in the crowd.

BLESS you both!!”

Are you ready to get started?  Our “Earning Respect” Membership Subscription gives you access to Kim’s series on dealing with verbal abuse. You may ask questions in the comments section of each members only article.

Check Out Our Earning Respect eCourse

The post Verbal Abuse Hurts appeared first on TheNCMarriage.com.

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When Narcissism is Healthy and When it’s Not

Love yourself / but don’t be conceited. Take care of yourself / but put others first. Stay focused on your goals / but don’t crow about your accomplishments. Survival of the fittest / or love your neighbour as yourself?

With all this contradictory ‘wisdom’ floating around out there, is it any wonder couples are confused and having trouble getting along?

What is Narcissism?

Frankly I am tired of people saying ‘a little bit of narcissism is healthy’ when the truth is healthy and unhealthy narcissism are two completely different outlooks on life.

Can your husband loving you or loving someone else be considered the same thing? No of course it can’t and it’s not!

In just the same way; healthy narcissism is about loving and caring for yourself, while unhealthy narcissism is about loving and caring for a fantasy idea of yourself you have created in your own mind.

A person caught in unhealthy narcissism has so little love for themselves that they have invent a pretend self in order to hide from their own insecurity and shame. So in reality healthy and unhealthy narcissism are opposite extremes.

Can you look at your own weaknesses and faults? Or do you hide behind a perfect image that you promote while blaming your shame on someone else?

Healthy Narcissism
  • Greets people (including close family and friends) confidently and warmly (by name) looking them in the face and smiling
  • Can be objective about their own faults and weaknesses
  • Can be objective about their own talents and skills
  • Relaxed and comfortable around people of all ages and not afraid to hear what other people think
  • Puts their point of view across without putting anyone else down
  • Is compassionate
  • Is patient
  • Feels relaxed and comfortable in their own skin
  • Wins friends easily with interesting people
  • Maintains healthy and close personal relationships with their family including their spouse and kids
  • Enjoys life even when things are not going to plan
  • Is naturally influential
  • Is their own best friend
  • Lives with ease and peace within themselves
  • Enjoys intimate and gratifying sex
Unhealthy Narcissism
  • Jealous and unhappy with their lot in life
  • Competitive and obsessed with being the center of attention
  • Charming in public (and when they want something) but critical, rude and sarcastic to their close friends and family in private
  • Talk badly about people (including their friends and family behind their back)
  • Only comfortable relating to a small group of peers
  • Multiple relationship break downs
  • Damage to business and reputation
  • Wrongly accuses and punishes others
  • Child neglect and abuse
  • Puts their own need for love and attention before their own and their families well being and best interests
  • Can’t genuinely admit they are wrong
  • Feels superior but alone
  • Feels trapped in a bubble that separates them from others
  • Impersonal and/or unsatisfying sex
  • Nervous breakdown
  • Marriage breakdown
  • Increased risk of having violence directed towards them

The false shell of unhealthy narcissism is as constraining to live inside as an 18th century corset and as painful to live with as a tyrant or drunk (as many unhealthy narcissists are). Still, most people with narcissistic tendencies protect this false image of themselves at all cost. Most feel far too vulnerable to let the pretense down and feel the trade off far better than facing their own shame.

You are best not to hold a mirror to this person’s bad behavior or you might find yourself rejected or dealing with an open (or covert) assault.

What to do?

Please Continue Reading here . . .

Narcissism in Yourself
Narcissism in Your Partner

Why Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Marriage Counselors Come to us for Relationship Advice

Narcissism does not need to be a death sentence for your marriage – but it won’t get better by itself!

Kim Cooper

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/self-esteem/art-20047976

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This may shock you (coming from me) but today I am going to help you find your dream lover, just waiting to have the perfect life long affair with you, beginning today and in real life!

But first I want to ask a question, and share a little story …

Have you ever thought you knew something, only to have a life event make you realise you didn’t understand it at all?

The first time this happened to me when I was hit by a car.

Of course, before this, I thought I knew cars were big, heavy and could hurt people. It wasn’t until one hit me however that it came to me I hadn’t understood this at all.

Before this cars were just sound and vision to me; a bit like watching a movie or watching TV. Then after my minor accident, I began to start ‘feeling’ the cars around me in the street. A new sensation had dawned in me, causing my whole body, not just my mind, to become aware that I had to watch out.

I had a similar experience with the story of Narcissus falling in love with his own reflection. Later experiencing my own very real personal redemption from my own narcissism.

There were a few events that led up to this breakthrough I want to share with you today. How in the matter of one week my own experience of myself and my life completely changed.

Narcissism nowadays tends to describes a self-centered person, which in reality has nothing to do with loving oneself.

As the Greek myth explains, Narcissus was not in love with his true self, but a reflection of himself. Far from being ‘self centered’, Narcissus was totally unbalanced, gazing at what he thought was his ‘perfect lover’ (in reality his own reflection) in a pond. Not centered in himself at all, Narcissus is pictured gazing hopelessly at his shallow reflection in the outside world.

Longing for this perfect lover doesn’t only apply to people with narcissistic tendencies. Just like Echo in this same myth, people with codependent tendencies also long for their ‘perfect lover’,  just as tragically, but in different ways.

Someone with narcissistic tendencies searches for completion in the praise and admiration they can win from others for their own achievements: personal worth and glory they see reflected in the eyes of their admirers. The codependent, on the other hand, seeks their true ‘soul mate’ (who will know all of the codependent’s secret hopes, dreams and fears) but will often feel that this love lies locked behind the defensive walls of an aloof (and perhaps narcissistic) partner. Rather than looking for admiration, the codependent instead searches for the key to the ‘dark well’ their true love (who continues to reject them) has locked his or her heart in – so they can set it free and heal their cruel lover – at last freeing all the love and sympathy they are sure is waiting locked inside.

Both of these ideas of finding true love are equally as flawed and dangerous as each other, and as repeated attempts at finding ‘their perfect love’ in this way fail, both the narcissist and codependent will be likely to begin resorting to fantasy.

Many of us have a little narcissism and codependence within us. We will sometimes vacillate between looking for love in the eyes of an admirer, or in the eyes of someone who will sympathise for us instead.

When neither of these attempts to find love work effectively, the wonderful life we dreamed of for ourselves may begin to slide away into fantasy.

This is the pain of the human condition – We cannot forget the love we crave, but the ways we search for it hurt ourselves along with the people around us, causing chaos, destruction and emotional pain.

So if the ways I have just described don’t work, how will we ever find our dream lover?

The truth is there is only one person who will truly love and care for you in the way that you secretly crave. And I am not talking about a divine or religious identity. Your perfect lover is a real life, living and breathing human being I want to introduce you to right now . . .

I hope this isn’t too disappointing for you, but the rock-solid truth is that only you can be your own perfect lover.

Now perhaps you are thinking “Oh yeah, loving myself and all that New Age rubbish, I have heard all that before.” or “Hey I have worked for years at loving myself, but it’s not the same as what my heart really craves.” Or perhaps you may even think this idea sacrilegious?

If so, keep your mind open for just a moment (minds work better that way!) and give this idea half a chance.

Because what I have described so far was only part of what hit me last year, and these ideas I am sharing are experiential, which (like getting hit by a car) means they are things you must experience to understand.

If you truly want to experience self love and all that goes with it, you cannot just read this article, you will need to do things that may even scare you at first.

Before I get to that however, first I want you to simply imagine exactly how your dream lover would care for you. Even if you are married or in a relationship, give yourself permission to do this and be as detailed as you can. Remember the dreams you once had about your ideal love, the actors and perhaps songs that once evoked a picture of this person.

Maybe you imagined someone who would take care of you by cooking and making a nice home for you? Or someone who would support you emotionally and financially while you changed your occupation or went back to school? Or maybe you imagined someone who would give you the life you always wanted? Someone who was sympathetic to your emotional pain, and understood that you only made the mistakes that you have, because you were hurting, afraid or misunderstood?

Or maybe you imagined someone who would carry you off to live in the neighbourhood or country where you always felt you really belong?

Whatever your fantasy, once you are ready, please stop and write down some notes about the following points (give yourself the gift of a lifetime);

1. The character traits this person displays (such as beauty, strength, or honesty).

2. The ways they would care for you and protect you if they walked into your life as your perfect lover right now.

Make sure that you make notes about this, because I will suggest that these may become a checklist of the most important things you will ever give yourself in your life.

You see most of us have been brought up to believe loving ourselves will make us egotistical or conceited (or even evil) and this has caused us to deny ourselves the most important gift this life will ever offer  . . .

The chance to be our own perfect lover.

I learned this the hard way over one Christmas and New Year. With a house full of kids (and their friends) on summer holidays here in Australia, I lost my direction and inner courage to continue giving myself a lot of what I really needed in my life. The first and most important being a quiet place for me to work to be able to financially support my family.

You see, I work from home and back then my daughter shared her large bedroom with me (as my office) and that worked fine when she was at school. It is a big beautiful room and she had a desk and a big art table in it for her use too, but with the kids home from school it just wasn’t working.

So I went into hiding and moved my computer into a corner of our much smaller bedroom and without seeing the ‘loveless’ choices I was making for myself, my anxiety and fear began to grow.

My story is very relevant to what I hope to share with you today, because this journey I am recommending is not easy, and the number one thing you will need to be your own perfect lover is COURAGE.

When I look back at the problems I faced the 3 previous summers, me needing a quiet space to work during summer holidays should have been obvious. But unfortunately this took all my ‘bad old patterns’ coming back, such as putting demands on my family / trying to please them to get them to feel for me / challenging their feelings for me / blame and anger / and even now and then seeking attention and recognition elsewhere.

I am ashamed to say that it even finally took me having a severe anxiety meltdown, before the fact I had things I needed to sort out for myself became clear.

Once I got through this and decided I better start treating myself better, no one in my family really helped me at all (Steve had been overwhelmed with his own workload too) but no one argued or stopped me.

What had happened was no one else’s fault, and the real reason I hadn’t seen the problem sooner was that it involved me doing some things that were new. This was why it had previously been so hard for me to see what was needed. To face my fear and believe in myself enough to look after myself better.

First I told my in-laws, that as soon as we arrived to visit them for 3 weeks on our yearly summer vacation, that before I could do anything I needed to find a room to rent (with internet) for me to work in without being interrupted for the duration of our visit.

While they scratched their heads asking how much that might cost and saying they didn’t know how I would find something like that, I was already out looking at the notice board in the local launderette and was soon on the phone.

I was scared inside about this new thing I was claiming the right to organise for myself, but after my anxiety meltdown, the idea of my own office had, in my minds eye, become a life rope back to peace and sanity.

Because I had never done anything like this when visiting my in-laws, no one really understood or believed it would actually happen. Being my own perfect lover however meant I didn’t need their support, permission or help, instead, even though I felt nervous and scared that someone might try and talk me out of it or judge me for giving so much time and attention to myself, I just did it.

So in less than 48 hours after arriving in Melbourne, and with a little help from Steve, I found myself sitting in a beautiful upstairs room, with trees outside the window and smelling the flowers I had bought for myself.

The room I found to sublet comprised the whole upstairs of a beautiful two story house and had total peace and quiet, with the fastest internet connection I had ever encountered.

And that room didn’t just feel like heaven – in a way I believe it actually was.

Because I believe God wants us to know we are deeply loved and wants us to love and take care of ourselves, from the very inner depths of our own heart.

This is not selfish either, because back home while I forgot to love myself, guess what happened?

I started believing that the love and support I needed was outside of myself and hence I became egotistical and dissatisfied with how my family was treating me. I also became anxious and hard to live with. Once I saw the light however (after my fall) and became my own perfect lover, I could see that what I had organized for myself was not only good for me but was 100% better for my family as well.

Because loving yourself does not make you egotistical and self centered, but rather less demanding and much easier to be around.

So please go back now and have a look at that list you made. Because the truth is that no one is going to give you those things if you don’t start giving them to yourself.

Are there ways you want to live your life differently? Well maybe it is time you start taking responsibility for organising those changes (without demanding too much from anyone else).

Do you long for a lover who is honest, hardworking and sincere? This is a message that you need to begin working on those traits in your own character, and grow stronger so that you can begin to trust yourself.

Will that be easy? No.

Will you get to where you want to be overnight? No.

Will you always get the life you dreamed of or what you want? No. You will often have to make the most loving choices for yourself from what is available. That may sometimes mean needing to choose to be by yourself, or to spend some quiet time contemplating nature, or even to go hungry if the food available is not a loving choice for yourself.

Will other people help you? Not if you make your needs optional or ask permission for what you need. We all need some support from others, but you need to keep your requests direct and simple and be ready to accept a “no” if the person you ask can’t help.

Will it be worth the fear and discomfort you will feel when leaving your comfort zone? Undoubtably the answer is yes!

Being your own perfect lover means working to give yourself what you need, regardless of what anyone else thinks. It means finding courage to claim the freedom to live your life the way that you need to, while demanding as little as possible (particularly emotionally) from anyone else.

Because self worth is experiencing and giving yourself love, not just talking or thinking about it.

And my story doesn’t finish there, because once finding my dream lover, I discovered this . . .

~ My Own Inner Riches ~Sitting quietly working in my new ‘room in heaven’, I had a realisation where I felt, perhaps for the first time ever, my own genuine and intrinsic self worth.

Because if I am to be my own dream lover, what could possibly be more valuable to me than myself?

For the first time in my life I experienced that what was inside of my chest was worth more than all of the gold or riches in the world, and this same moment I suddenly saw and experienced two things; The first was a realisation that what Narcissus longed for was not the image he saw in the cold water of his reflection, but rather to feel his self worth inside his own warm and living chest.

It was like I was Narcissus- I felt the cold hard reflection disappear and my real self come alive, and my heart expand with joy at discovering the warmth, love and reality of cherishing and valuing myself.

Narcissus’ shame was not to love himself, but to foolishly look for that love anywhere but inside himself.

The next thing I felt was all of the anxious memories that had too often defined my life, began falling away like old leaves.

This was no day dream or wishful thinking either, and I will tell you exactly why . . .

Because true love is a verb.

Giving yourself the things that your heart truly longs for (like the quiet office I had given myself) is not wishful . . .  it is about doing and will take courage, determination and hard work!

At first you will say; “But I can’t afford the life that I want,” or, “My partner won’t let me do that,” or if you are more honest perhaps, “But I feel nervous because this is all new and I am afraid.”

It takes courage and strength to love yourself, and giving yourself a new and kinder life than you have in the past may be harder than you realize at first . . . but if you don’t have the courage to learn to love and respect yourself, who else will?

Loving yourself is also tough because it means giving up all your old bad habits, such as the junk food, drugs and stimulants you rely on to make yourself feel better about denying yourself the life you truly long to be living. Or your addiction to fantasy with soap operas, pornography, romance novels, music, movies, magazines, computer games or TV. Or your reliance on blame. Or always feeling you need things from others (that you won’t even give yourself) because you don’t have the courage to take some risks, step out of your comfort zone, and start taking the steps necessary to create the life that would express who you truly are.

Well you can cringe and beat yourself up about your bad habits if you want, but I am telling you now that you will never get rid of them until you replace them with something new and filled with more love for yourself.

For instance, if you are a drinker and you try to stop drinking without first finding some new pastimes, which you enjoy and that are more loving towards yourself, what do you think will happen?

From experience I can tell you that it will only be a matter of time before you are back filling your spare time in with drinking. Because it is a habit and what feels natural to relieve your stress and anxiety, even though it actually creates more stress and anxiety for yourself.

Further from this, I want to be straight with you and let you know that the things I recommend in my ebooks are not what will bring heaven into your life. My ebooks simply offer new ideas of how to live a life of self respect, replacing some of your old habits and responses that are no longer working for you (or perhaps never did but you learned simply from bad example) with better ones.

What will bring heaven into your life is you facing your fear, deciding to become your own dream lover, and finding the courage to form new habits of loving and supporting yourself as you want to be loved.

If you are truly working at change, these new ideas will feel strange and scary at first and some may indeed be challenging, but most of the time it will simply be because these ideas and suggestions will be new.

For instance, if you have never made an online purchase, purchased an ebook, or read a self-help book . . .  even deciding to get started on this may be something that feels foreign and a bit scary, and that fear is completely normal.

But if you are to grow as a person, and move towards a better life full of love, avoiding the anxiety trying new things causes and saying “Don’t worry just be happy” is never going to cut it.

I have written 5 ebooks now. The first, Back from the Looking Glass (now in it’s 12th edition), shares how I turned around a marriage filled with humiliation, emotional and physical abuse. However, while I was working through the steps I offer, I was so scared that a lot of the time I felt like throwing up!

And that’s the catch 22. If your new ideas are not putting you far enough out of your comfort zone to feel some distress, you are probably not genuinely growing. The things you are doing to improve your situation are probably not going to work.

Just like exercise, where they say no pain no gain!

Whoever would have guessed that truly loving yourself would require so much strength!

So, here’s to you experiencing your own self worth, and learning what it means to truly love yourself.

Kim Cooper

PS. If you want something special and meaningful to give yourself, please check out The Little Book of Empathy Love and Friendship. Presented  in the easy to read style of a magazine; it outlines concepts of being lovingly accepted in your home and community. It’s a great choice as a gift for you, your partner, or for a teenage child needing emotional support.

Another good choice as a gift idea for a teenager is our audio Lovable me or for a girlfriend 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence.

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‘After the Fight‘ was originally posted at our members site, this version has been revised and updated 29/6/2018.

By Kim Cooper

You are sitting alone after a big fight. Nasty things have been said, plans have been spoiled and although apart, you are both unbalanced and in emotional pain.

A Guide to Human Love

You feel desperate to see your partner again and hear them apologize for all the terrible things they have said and done.

What do I say now?”

you ask yourself or anyone who will listen and,

How do I get them to come home?”

You reach for the phone or walk to the next room to talk to them. Trying to convince them NOT to ignore you and how wrong they are NOT to care about how hurt you feel.

And just to prove that hurt, and how much you truly deserve sympathy, although your heart wants to make up . . .  instead your head tries to convince them just how awful and wrong they have been.

You know this isn’t likely to work and that it will probably cause them to hang up on you, but because you feel so bad, you don’t censure yourself and let your head rule.

When your convincing talk and blame don’t work, you may start crying or threaten to hurt yourself or even get angry and start yelling again.

Starting the fight all over again may feel better than feeling their love has gone cold.

Or perhaps your partner is no-where to be found, and you turn to alcohol, drugs or cigarettes for comfort.

If you can relate to any of this, I want to step into your life at this very moment and show you why, at this point, you should stop doing what you are doing.

Put down the phone. Go back to your own part of the house. Put down the bottle of alcohol or that cigarette. Or if you are out drowning your sorrows – make the decision it’s time to go home.”

I know it is probably the last thing you want to hear – but this is the point where you can most quickly create positive change for yourself and begin to create a better life.

‘Convincing’ and acting desperate are only going to hurt you.

I hear it all the time that people think they cannot control these desperate feelings. I’m here to show you just how wrong this belief is.

You may simply have not reached rock bottom yet. My question to you is:

How bad will things need to get before you see it is you who will need to help yourself?”

How bad will it get before you see what I am describing here? I have had a women access our material from jail, having been wrongly accused by her husband, before she realised it was her and no one else who would need to find the strength to change her life.

This reminds me of a book my cousin bought for my children called Hatchet. It was a story about a boy, marooned on an island, who is soon forced to realise that tears and self-pity will not save him. His desperate situation makes him see he has no choice but to dig deep in himself and find the strength to provide for his own self preservation.

  • How bad is it going to get before you make this same realization?
  • Do you have the strength to change old habits that are not working?

You desperately want your partner to change – but what you first need is more emotional control.

How can you expect anyone to do what is good for you if you cannot do what is good for yourself?”

And once you have control of yourself, I want you to dig deeper still.

Write down what upset you and be satisfied to put that aside until later.

Now decide what you need to do to take care of yourself (and your kids if you have them) and get things back on track until conditions in your home become civil again.

If they have stormed off, make plans to be self sufficient when they return. Because after the fight they too will need time and space to get their life back on track.

This, of course, is not all you will need if you want a new life – but it is the start.

The start of you learning trust in your your ability to take care of yourself.  To stop letting you need for someone to take care of your sadness and hurt get in the way of your security and goals.

Because what is it you want anyway? To feel better? Or someone to feed your sadness and self pity instead? If you want to feel better, the truth is it’s only you who can give that to yourself.

If, instead, you want someone to feel sorry for you, I wonder if you find emotionally needy people attractive? Maybe you can see now that this is what might actually be driving love away in your life?

You may certainly have reason to be upset with your partner, but you need to start dealing with that like an adult and not leave your emotional balance up to anyone else.

My bet is your partner may even have trouble taking care of themselves at the best of times, let alone knowing how they should take care of you when you are an emotional mess.”

Or maybe it is the other way around and after the fight it is your partner who won’t leave you alone to find your emotional balance again? If so, maybe it’s time to tell them the truth. That you love them but if they won’t take charge of their own happiness, there is no way you are ever going to be able to make them happy.

You can also suggest that they take some time out to be kind to themselves and perhaps give them a copy of 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence.

A Guide to Human Love

If you leave, also make sure you tell them where you are going and when you will be back. This is just basic courtesy and unless you want the fight to start again it is important you stick to what you say.

This is tough – but important work on the road to change.

. . .

How bad did it get with me? It is embarrassing to talk about, but even psychosomatic illness wasn’t enough to show me I was heading in the wrong direction. Back then I would have argued my illness wasn’t psychosomatic, but now I know that it was. I remember believing that being sick would make Steve love and want to take care of me. Did it work? No. Because if you think about it, being sick and needy really isn’t that attractive.

Once I saw this, I stopped longing for Steve to take care of me and started taking care of myself instead. My health soon improved and has become my own responsibility now.

I wonder if you know that codependence can be fatal? Many people die from psychosomatic illness, subconsciously making themselves sick trying to gain love and attention. In my experience just about all codependents suffer from some form of chronic illness.

Stop reaching for the phone. Stop making yourself sick. Stop reaching for things that will hurt you. Instead try giving yourself the love and care you really need.

Let’s think about it now . . .

What is the first thing you are going to do from now on when you feel yourself needing to get back on track after an upset? What can you do for yourself that will make you happy and also be good for you?”

Because if you can’t find a stronger connection with your own inner calm and happiness, no one else is going to build you the life you want.

Keeping a light heart and your daily goals on track – especially after the fight – is the kind of strength that is attractive in the long term.

Your state of mind is the most valuable thing in your life; don’t leave that in anyone else’s hands.

You are going to need all 4 pillars to build a new life – and that includes strong boundaries to limit abuse – but the message here today is where it all starts.

Your new emotional self control will also be a positive model for your partner. Apologies to each other won’t fix the problem. What you both need is progress in emotional self discipline. We are all nice people when we are happy. The only time to demonstrate self control is when you have been emotionally derailed.

The post After the Fight appeared first on TheNCMarriage.com.

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