• Certified Transpersonal Hypnotherapist ; Past experiences: Dream Analysis /10 Years Experience •Psychotherapist / Use of Gestalt, Jungian, Zen, Reality and Energy Therapies /10 Years Experience •EMDR • Men and Their Journey: the neuroscience of the male brain, and the implications in sexuality, education and relationship • Women: Their Transformation and Empowerment ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs) / 21 years experience •Ordained Interfaith Minister & Official Celebrant • Social Justice Advocate • Child and Human Rights Advocate • Spiritual Guide and Intuitive • Certified Reiki Practitioner • Mediation / Conflict Resolution • “Intentional Love” Parenting Strategy Groups • Parenting Workshops • Coaching for parents of Indigo, Crystal, and Rainbow Children • International Training: Israel & England • Critical Incident Stress Debriefing • Post-911 and Post-Katrina volunteer

MSW - UNC Chapel Hill

BSW - UNC Greensboro

"An Unending Love"

This blog and video is devoted and dedicated to my daughter, my grand daughters, and my grand son. They are hearts of my heart. Our connection through many lives..... is utterly infinite.

The Definition of Genius


"ONLY LOVE PREVAILS" ...."I've loved you for a thousand years; I'll love you for a thousand more....."

The degree of our enlightenment is the degree of passion that we will have for the whole world." ~The Greystone Mandala

~The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

Winston Churchill

"Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Do not go gentle into that good night."

Dylan Thomas


In “Conversations with God”, by Neale Donald Walsch, there is a warning I think of. I refer to it as the Atlantis passage, and I've quoted it a few times before." As I have said, this isn't the first time your civilization has been at this brink,"

God tells Walsch. "I want to repeat this, because it is vital that you hear this. Once before on your planet, the technology you developed was far greater than your ability to use it responsibly. You are approaching the same point in human history again. It is vitally important that you understand this. Your present technology is threatening to outstrip your ability to use it wisely. Your society is on the verge of becoming a product of your technology rather than your technology being a product of your society. When a society becomes a product of its own technology, it destroys itself."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"A Field Guide to Narcissism" (Psychology Today)

   There's the groom who wouldn't let his fiancĂ©e's overweight friend be a bridesmaid because he didn't want her near him in the wedding pictures. The entrepreneur who launched a meeting for new employees by explaining that nobody ever gets anywhere working for someone else. The woman who had such confidence in her great taste, she routinely redecorated her daughter's home without asking. The guy who found himself so handsome, he took a self-portrait with a Polaroid every night before bed to preserve the moment.
   As Ted Turner put it: "If I only had a little humility, I'd be perfect."
   But narcissism isn't just a combination of monumental self-esteem and rudeness. As a personality type, it ranges from a tendency to a serious clinical disorder, encompassing unexpected, even counterintuitive behavior. The Greek myth of Narcissus ends with the beautiful young man lost to the world, content to forever gaze at his own reflection in a pool of water. Real-life narcissists, however, desperately need other people to validate their own worth. "It's not so much being liked. It's much more important to be admired. Studies have shown narcissists are willing to sacrifice being liked if they think it's necessary to be admired," says Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee.
   Deep desire to be at the center of things is served by extreme self-confidence, a combination that makes narcissists attractive and even charming. Buoyed by a coterie of admiring friends and associates—protected by the armor of positive self-regard—someone with a mild-to-moderate case of narcissism can float through life feeling pretty good about himself. Since they feel entitled to special treatment, they are easily offended, and readily harbor grudges. Yet narcissists are often very popular—at least in the short term.
   The beauty of being a narcissist is that even when disaster stares you in the face, you feel neither doubt nor remorse. In a study, researchers asked a pair of participants to undertake a task that was rigged to fail. Most people tend to protect their partner, sharing either the credit or the blame. "But the narcissists would say, 'It's totally the other person's fault.' They're completely willing to step on someone," says narcissism researcher Keith Campbell, associate professor of social psychology at the University of Georgia.
   Intensely narcissistic people often live tumultuous lives, as few people can tolerate them for long. But having a milder version of the personality type comes with many side benefits. Subclinical narcissists are happy. They are less likely to be depressed, sad or anxious, and rate their subjective well-being more highly. They're less reactive to stress, and recover more rapidly from it.
   Mild narcissism also seems to help people recover from accidents or other trauma—it gives them an unrealistic sense of their own invulnerability, and they believe that they will be able to handle whatever else life throws at them. As one researcher put it, being somewhat narcissistic is like driving a huge SUV: You're having a great time, even while you hog the road, suck up extra resources and put other drivers at higher risk.
   A narcissist can be hard to identify, in part because he is likely to be much more fascinating than you would expect for someone so self-absorbed, and in part because you wouldn't think someone with such self-regard could be so defensive and needy.

The Narcissist in the Conference Room

   Some of the country's most successful companies are run by narcissists. It's been said about the founder of Oracle: "The difference between Larry Ellison and God is that God doesn't think he's Larry Ellison." Running on a full tank of confidence and charisma, narcissists often thrive as salesmen, entrepreneurs, surgeons or in other ego-intensive, cut-throat professions.
   The downside? Temper tantrums, unreasonable expectations, shocking selfishness and a complete inability to engage in teamwork. "Every once in a while, someone would be in the bathroom in tears after one of her outbursts," Charlotte Tomic says of her former boss's behavior. Tomic, a media relations professional in New York City, says her narcissistic boss subjected her to endless discussions of her wardrobe and travel plans, and managed in total ignorance of either group effort or recognition. Unfortunately, short of quitting, Tomic could do little about it. You can't always escape the egomaniac in the cubicle next door, but a few techniques may help you endure the experience.
  1. Butter him up. Novelist Candace Talmadge says her former boss was like a little boy stirring up an anthill with a stick. "His favorite practice was to come into our offices late on a Friday with a task that took up the entire three-day weekend," she says. "Then he wouldn't come in on Tuesday, or he'd just drop the whole thing." If you want to put an end to such wasteful behavior, try flattery, a time-honored way to manipulate a narcissist. Talmadge could have countered, "Can we start next week? Without your guidance, we're lost on tough stuff like this." Of course, you'd have to stomach your own servility.
  2. Let her be the center of attention. Narcissists' self-confidence on the job has no basis in reality; in fact, one study shows that coworkers generally rate narcissists as below-average performers. However, they do tend to do well when all eyes are on them, and the opportunity to look like a star is ripe. Their immunity to self-doubt means that unlike most of the rest of us, they aren't afraid to be the center of attention. Stage fright isn't a big issue for these megalomaniacs. "For the average person, pressure gets in the way [of achievement]. But the narcissist is very happy in the moment of glory," says Baumeister. "It has to be glory, though. He's not going to be a team player." If you've got a Barry Bonds on your team, give him the chance to excel—and to be admired—and get out of the way.
  3. Be clear on the quid pro quo. When a narcissist is in charge, he'll feel no compunction asking for a lot and providing very little in return. "He's totally focused on his vision for the project; it's all about him. Make clear the rules of the game, because he's not going to play fair," says Michael Maccoby, a psychoanalyst and business consultant who authored The Productive Narcissist: The Promise and Perils of Visionary Leadership. That way, if you work 70 hours a week to hit a deadline, at least you'll be compensated for it.
  4. Don't cross him. Entirely dependent on others' opinions, a narcissist can act like a cornered animal if he or she feels threatened. Research shows that narcissists become aggressive when they feel an ego threat—confronted with proof that they aren't special—or feel they aren't getting enough respect. In the lab, they are willing to punish other experimental subjects with a noise blast when they think they've been put down. If you have to tell a narcissist he isn't doing a good job, do it gently—and be prepared.
  5. Keep a sense of humor. One upside: Narcissists can be entertaining, if you keep a sense of perspective. Frederick Rhodewalt, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, describes one assistant professor who joined the department softball team. Although he had no experience with a ball and bat, his background in tennis gave him enough of an edge that he won the batting title for the league. "And for a few months, every time I saw him in the office, he'd be carrying that trophy," Rhodewalt laughs.

The Narcissist In Love

   As bad as narcissistic behavior can be in a coworker, golf buddy or relative, it's worse in a romantic partner. Male or female, narcissists are the quintessential sharks: Self-confidence and charm make them highly appealing in the early stages of attraction. Since narcissists are very concerned about appearance, they're likely to be well-groomed and fashionable. "He was into nice things, the best brand names. Everything was about treating himself well," says Lynn, a 30-year-old consultant in San Diego, about her ex-boyfriend. "And he was totally charismatic. After we were going out for a while, I could see him turn it on and off when he wanted something."
   Lynn found out that her boyfriend was what Campbell, author of When You Love a Man Who Loves Himself, calls a "game-playing" lover. Campbell found that narcissists' need for power and autonomy leads them to shun commitment—and to cheat. Romantic relationships become just another way for them to pump up their own self-image. Narcissists look for mates with very high social status (for example, looks or success) which complements an inflated sense of self.
   Lynn's narcissistic boyfriend was a poker player, and she says now that the relationship was just like a sport to him. "He would figure out the landscape, and he was never willing to gamble more than he was willing to lose," Lynn says. "He told me I had qualities he was looking for, but also that he needed to see other women."
   After nine months, they broke up, also typical for narcissists, whose relationships don't last long. In Campbell's studies, "relationships with narcissists were more satisfying initially, and then dramatically less satisfying at the end," he says. The extreme example might be Scott Peterson, who was charismatic enough to attract a beautiful wife—and coldhearted enough to murder her when he wanted to move on.
   Obviously, most narcissists aren't killers, but they do tend to be very unsatisfying mates. If he's had a string of relationships, if he can't stop talking about how much people admire him, if he gets easily riled when he doesn't get what he wants—he may not be just another commitment-phobic man. He's a narcissist.
   Unfortunately, anyone can be seduced by a narcissist. One misconception is that only those with low self-esteem date someone who's so self-centered, but people with normal self-respect can also end up involved with a narcissist. They have decisive, take-charge personalities in a society that shuns wishy-washiness.
   And after all, they're experts at making people admire them. Best-case scenario: when narcissists date each other. That way, both can have a self-confident, impressive and shallow mate—and leave the rest of us in peace. Heaven help the children they have, if they are to marry!

The Care and Feeding of a Narcissist

   Nobody knows for sure how someone becomes a narcissist. The expert consensus is that genetics plays a huge role. Overly permissive moms and dads who lavish their children with endless praise also seem to contribute. Parents who set boundaries in terms of acceptable behaviors have an endless battle and, because they are dealing with a narcissistic child, are always devalued and demoralized, because the narcissistic child is always allergic to even helpful criticism.
   Some researchers believe more men are narcissistic than women, while others counter that since many key traits—being self-centered, competitive, disinterested in intimacy—are more socially acceptable in men, women may be equally narcissistic but less visible as such. Female narcissists might install themselves at the center of a circle of friends, for example, rather than seize the stage at work. Similarly, some studies show that Westerners are more narcissistic than people from Asian cultures. Others posit that people "self-enhance" in every society—it's just that in a more collectivist culture, such as Japan's, narcissists are subtler, since self-aggrandizing behavior isn't rewarded or respected.
   It stands to reason that if narcissism can be fostered, it can be treated as well. For years, personality disorders were thought to be essentially incurable. That thinking is changing, but narcissists may be among the hardest cases to crack. An unhappy narcissist generally believes that his main problem is that other people don't treat him as well as he deserves. When you think you're the greatest—and when other people mostly defer to you—why would you want to change?
   "Narcissists are either dragged in by someone who is having trouble with them—a spouse or relative—or they show up because of feelings of emptiness," says Rhodewalt. "Why, they wonder, if they're so accomplished and wonderful, does life seem so empty?" When you've built a life on falsehoods, it's hard to grapple with questions that everyone faces, like the meaning of life. The needle's stuck on "I'm wonderful," and your personality doesn't allow you to grow—to change your behavior or attitudes in response to life's challenges.

Your Inner Narcissist

   You're pretty pleased with yourself. And that's a good thing. Studies reveal that most ordinary people secretly think they're better than everyone else: We rate ourselves as more dependable, smarter, friendlier, harder-working, less-prejudiced and even better in the sack than others. "The paradox about narcissism is that we all have this streak of egotism," says Mark Leary, chair of the department of psychology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "Eighty percent of people think they're better than average."
   Psychologically healthy people generally twist the world to their advantage just a little bit. If we do well on a test, for example, we're likely to congratulate ourselves. If we do poorly, we'll claim the test was badly written, unfair or wrong. It's normal, perhaps even necessary. By telling ourselves that our faults are universal but our strengths are unique, we can get through life's trials without losing faith in our own abilities.
   These biases are only faint echoes of the serious distortions that a narcissist creates. A narcissist can't see anything wrong about herself, even when her world is crashing down all around her. "Negative emotions are often functional. They tell you when things need to change about the environment or yourself," Leary says. So the narcissist does, after all, have an Achilles' heel—being blind to her own faults. And that's perhaps the only way to console yourself when you've been subjected to the blunt edge of a narcissistic personality. Rather than admiration or fury, narcissists may in fact deserve our pity...but from a very safe distance.

The Hollywood Cure

We love movies in which a raging ego is tempered by challenges. Dropkicking a character out of their grandiosity is a cherished plot twist. All the same, don't expect these tricks to work for the narcissists in your life.
  • Relive one day a thousand times. (Groundhog Day) Self-centered, striving weatherman Phil (Bill Murray) finds emotional and spiritual growth after being trapped in a space-time anomaly.
  • Get shot in the head. (Regarding Henry) A confrontation at a botched burglary transforms Henry Turner (Harrison Ford) from a lying, cheating, bullying corporate attorney to a charming innocent.
  • Bond with your autistic brother. (Rain Man) Greedy go-it-alone Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) learns that he shouldn't exploit his autistic-savant older brother.
  • Undergo hypnosis. (Shallow Hal) Hal (Jack Black) dates a string of beautiful vixens, then falls for an overweight woman while under Tony Robbins' spell.
  • Be trapped by a sniper. (Phone Booth) Brash Stu Sheppard (Colin Farrell) is a philandering PR rep who learns what life is really about while in the crosshairs of a killer's rifle.

Criminal Profiler Says Suicide Pilot Joseph Stack Blamed Others for Everything - AOL News

Criminal Profiler Says Suicide Pilot Joseph Stack Blamed Others for Everything - AOL News

Female vs. Male Narcissists

   I keep using the male third person singular in my writings ("he") because most narcissists (75%) are males and because there is no difference between the male and female narcissists except in two things:
  In the manifestation of their narcissism, female and male narcissists, inevitably, do tend to differ. They emphasise different things. They transform different elements of their personality and of their life into the cornerstones of their disorder. They both conform to cultural stereotypes, gender roles, and social expectations.
   Women, for instance, concentrate on their body. They flaunt and exploit their physical charms, their sexuality, their socially and culturally determined "femininity". In its extreme form this is known as HPD or the Histrionic Personality Disorder.
   Many female narcissists secure their Narcissistic Supply through their more traditional gender roles: the home, children, suitable careers, their husbands ("the wife of..."), their feminine traits, their role in society, etc. It is no wonder than narcissists - both men and women - are chauvinistically conservative. They depend to such an extent on the opinions of people around them - that, with time, they are transformed into ultra-sensitive seismographs of public opinion, barometers of prevailing winds and guardians of conformity. Narcissists cannot afford to seriously alienate those who reflect to them their False Self. The very proper and on-going functioning of their Ego depends on the goodwill and the collaboration of their human environment.
   Even the self destructive and self defeating behaviours of narcissists conform to traditional masculine and feminine roles. Besieged and consumed by pernicious guilt feelings - many a narcissist seek to be punished. The self-destructive narcissist plays the role of the "bad guy" (or "bad girl"). But even then it is within the traditional socially allocated roles. To ensure social opprobrium (read: attention, i.e., narcissistic supply), the narcissist cartoonishly exaggerates these roles. A woman is likely to label herself a "whore" and a male narcissist to style himself a "vicious, unrepentant criminal". Yet, these again are traditional social roles. Men are likely to emphasise intellect, power, aggression, money, or social status.
   Women are likely to emphasise body, looks, charm, sexuality, feminine "traits", homemaking, children and childrearing - even as they seek their masochistic punishment.
   Another difference is in the way they react to treatment. In general, women are more likely to resort to therapy because they are more likely to admit to their psychological problems. But while men may be less inclined to DISCLOSE or to expose their problems to others (the macho-man factor) - it does not necessarily imply that they are less prone to admit it to themselves. Women are also more likely to ask for help than men. 
   Yet, the prime rule of narcissism must never be forgotten: the narcissist uses anything available to obtain his (or her) Narcissistic Supply. Children happen to be more around the female narcissist because women are still the primary caregivers and the ones who give birth. It is easier for a woman to think of her children as her extensions because they once indeed were her physical extensions and because her on-going interaction with them is both more intensive and more extensive. 
   This means that the male narcissist is more likely to regard his children as a nuisance than as a source of rewarding Narcissist Supply - especially as they grow older and become autonomous. Devoid of the diversity of alternatives available to men - the narcissistic woman fights to maintain her most reliable source of supply: her children. Through insidious indoctrination, guilt formation, emotional extortion, deprivation and other psychological mechanisms, she tries to induce in them a dependence, which cannot be easily unraveled.
But, there is no psychodynamic difference between children as sources of narcissistic supply - and money, or intellect, or any other Source of Narcissistic Supply. So, there is no psychodynamic difference between male and female narcissists. The only difference is in their choices of sources of narcissistic supply.
   There are mental disorders, which afflict a specific sex more often. This has to do with hormonal or other physiological dispositions, with social and cultural conditioning through the socialisation process, and with role assignment through the gender differentiation process. None of these seem to be strongly correlated to the formation of malignant narcissism.
   The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (as opposed, for instance, to the Borderline or the Histrionic Personality Disorders, which afflict women more than men) seems to conform to masculine social mores and to the prevailing ethos of capitalism. Ambition, achievements, hierarchy, ruthlessness, drive are both social values and narcissistic male traits.
Social thinkers like Lasch speculated that modern American culture - a narcissistic, self-centred one - increases the rate of incidence of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
   To this Kernberg answered, rightly: "The most I would be willing to say is that society can make serious psychological abnormalities, which already exist in some percentage of the population,and which seem to be at least superficially appropriate."

The Female Narcissist

   Abusive behavior in men or women can be a function of many underlying issues. Personality disorders or their milder counterparts (i.e., "traits" or "features") are one underlying etiology.  The article below tries to help the reader understand the mindset of the female with NPD or with narcissistic features.

   Like her narcissistic male counterpart, this lady (Dana) harbors deeply held and undisputed irrational underlying beliefs that affect her feelings and behavior. Most of these beliefs are never questioned and are only dimly realized, if they are realized at all. While we all harbor irrational beliefs, those with personality disorders harbor belief systems that are deeply embedded and intertwined.

A Real Charmer

   Dana is an extremely pretty 23-year old young lady. A delight on the surface, she has an uncanny knack of presenting herself extremely well to the target audience she wants to impress. She has a corresponding almost magical ability to make people feel verrrry good. She can WOW you! You'll be gushing (or panting if you're a guy), and there just isn't anything you wouldn't do to please her.  She will continue to reward your good behavior as long as she needs you. After all, it is very hard work to be "on" so much of the time.

  If she's accomplished her mission and you are no longer useful, she spends less and less energy being perfectly charming and engaging. In most cases Dana has no real desire to be disrespectful, but as she "relaxes," becoming more "herself," she becomes quiet or mildly disrespectful. 

A Typical Narcissist

   The problem is that the only person Dana cares about is Dana. You are no more than the object who provides her with whatever it is she wants and needs: love, admiration, money, encouragement, support, etc. While she pretends to care, and indeed wants to care, the reality is that she doesn't care. Her world starts and stops with herself. She hides that fact pretty well from most people; especially those who are consistently meaningful to her (i.e., parents, husband, siblings, boss, etc.). Most of these individuals would be shocked to hear this, and in fact would think you're crazy!

   Dana is typical as pretty female narcissists go. She relies on her beauty and her charm. She feels good about herself as long as she "has it over" anybody she considers "the competition."

Few Real Friends

   Parents are parents and too often love unconditionally, but friends and acquaintances don't. As a result, while new people Dana meets like her, the more they got to know her, the less interested they are in her company. Except, of course, for the young men, most of whom vie for her attention.

   Other than a childhood best friend with virtually non-existent self esteem, there are no friends. There are acquaintances and those who share her environment as well as the many men who surrounded her - all of whom she refers to as "friends," but there really are no friends.

She explains this deficit by rationalizing that her peers disappoint her in one way or another. This one uses drugs, that one you can't trust, the other one is jealous of her, etc. There is virtually no recognition that the reason people who are not related to her or have no sexual interest in her do not like her given how she treats them!

I'm The Best!

   Dana is not content unless she feels she has it over her peers, especially female peers. She believes she has the prettiest face, the nicest hair, and the best figure - which she flaunts with her form-fitting, sexy, and hip wardrobe. She is always well-dressed, even when lounging around. "Studied cool" describes her style. While giving the impression of having thrown together any old top and pair of jeans, the trained eye can discern the hours and hours spent trying the outfits on, making up to appear not made up, etc.

   Every asset she has, she flaunts. One weekend, invited to spend a weekend with some new friends at their family's home in a poor section of a neighboring town, she found reason to make a 30-mile detour to her parents' upscale, gorgeous home - to show it off - as though announcing her supremacy. Of course, she would never admit that's why she came home. Her reasons are always framed in wording that casts her in a positive light such as "It's my dad's birthday, or, "I have to pick up something important I forgot." Never an honest reason like, "I wanted to show off the house to intimidate them." 


   Jealousy is a huge issue. Her own envy is as cut off from her consciousness as Wisconsin is cut off from the Atlantic Ocean. While she has no clue regarding her pervasive jealousy, it is sadly evident to the sensitive observer.

   One year Dana didn't get her cousin a birthday present. While Stephanie routinely bought Dana beautiful and expensive gifts, Dana couldn't say why she didn't get Stephanie anything. When pressed, annoyed, she provided a series of senseless answers.  "I made a deal with my friends that we were not to exchange gifts." "Did you made that arrangement with Stephanie?" "No, but I'm not getting any gifts. We're going to lunch. I'll pay." Not only did she not end up paying,  Stephanie paid for both Dana as well as for Dana's boyfriend!

   The "problem" was that Stephanie, her peer, had gotten her life together. Also beautiful, she found her calling and was pursing an advanced degree with straight As - a feat Dana couldn't hope to accomplish. She also had a rich boyfriend who adored her. You get the picture. When asked point-blank if she was jealous of Stephanie, Dana replied too quickly and with an affected laugh, "Jealous of Stephanie? WHAT is there to be jealous about?" 

The Price She Pays

   Part of the price Dana pays to manipulate others is the exhaustion required to be "on" much of the time. When caught with her vigilant guard down, she is not nice: often impatient, short, arrogant and condescending, reflecting her near chronic bad mood. Shopkeepers, boyfriends who try too hard and all the not-too-important people in her life who will put up with it are the unwitting victims. This is subtle. For example, one day she walked into her compulsively clean mother's house and saw a leaf on the sparkling floor by her feet. Instead of picking it up, she asked, "What's that?" Her mother, almost on cue, dropped what she was doing to pick up the leaf by her daughter's feet.

The Devil in Disguise

   The apparent angel is the devil in disguise.

   A compulsive liar who needs to mislead to maintain her unblemished facade, Dana is not a mean or cruel person. This young woman really wants to do the right thing. While she derives a measure of immediate satisfaction from her cruelty, when forced to face her behavior, she is not happy she mistreats others. After all, a misbehavior is not in keeping with her perfect image of herself! When reality occasionally hits her and she is  confronted with her condescending acts,  she becomes upset with herself, often in tears. For a short time. Soon all is forgotten. Time heals or she takes solace in blaming others. When she presents her selectively-presented view, it sounds compelling. Until one realizes nothing ever seems to be her issue. Someone or something else is to blame - or the entire topic is dropped. No matter how much she has vowed to correct these behaviors, she does not. She cannot because she will not.

Why, Why, Why?

   She cannot because she chooses not to face the truth about herself. She cannot face that her nature is in fact dark and very imperfect. She cannot face that she is no more special, no more unique, no more perfect than anybody else. Unthinkable! What can she possibly fall back on if she were to simply enjoy her many assets as well as accept and work around the impact of her many deficits?

   She believes special rules apply to her, and she is not willing to give these up without a struggle. She's secretly glad others haven't figured out how to be as special as she is. Giving up her specialness in unthinkable. It does not feel good.

How, How, How?

   Keep in mind that narcissism is a lifelong pattern developing from  childhood and believed to have a biological basis. If deception and pretense have provided a lifetime of comforts and esteem supplies, why mess things up? Isn't it more satisfying to concern herself with gratification in the moment? Why work when you can instead do just enough to get by? Better to spend that energy cultivating one's external assets and targets. These yield immediate rewards.

After all, the only thing she compromises is herSelf, her integrity, her relationships. All the things she has never known or understood, but thinks she knows well.


   With all these issues, the narcisstic woman (or man for that matter) cannot be trusted. They are not trustworthy - unless they are expending energy pretendingto be trustworthy. So, at best, their trustworthyness is inconsistent. Like the male abuser, her moods are unpredictable. When frustrated, the energy demands of being "on" are too great. Her frustration slips away from her - and spills onto anybody unfortunate enough to be in the way.

In a Nutshell

   To feel whole, a woman like Dana needs to be the center of attention, be the prettiest, the most fortunate, the most talented, the bestest. She cultivates others who will be manipulated by her to admire her, adore her, inflate her, love her, and overlook her pretense, lies and half-truths.

   If she is questioned, she distances. This simple yet effective technique invariable affects the codependents in her life. On cue, they lay low and let the issue drop or chase her, thinking they must have done something wrong/ worrying that she won't want to be with them.  Should an admirer truly believe in her specialness and try too hard to win her, they are treated with contempt instead of charity. These people represent that which she despises: only the weak and common permit themselves to be demeaned. In reality, she herself is envious of the ease with which they are real people, not just superficial and pretend.

   The bottom line is that this very beautiful, very charming (and extremely manipulative) young woman has absolutely no concern for others apart from those who are in a position to provide her with narcissistic supplies.

   Does anybody know a Dana? Even worse, have any men out there fallen in love with a Diana? (May God help you...)

Friday, February 19, 2010

An epic book from Clarissa Estes, PhD.

This is a professional leyter announcing her book.  Dr. Estes is one of the deepest, most profound readers I have ever read....her books merit reading, then rereading, sections...every piece a jewel to remember forever.  Her Women Who Run with the Wolves  spoke to me like no other...and defined healthy spiritual feminity in ways not matched, at least in my experience.

Dear Brave Souls:

Hello there, it’s me, Dr. E.,

What you’ve heard over the years about my having disappeared and gone underground to work and write is true. When people ask where the heck I’ve been and why I so seldom come out when called by the “clattering world,” I often want to respond by saying that one can’t fulfill one’s calling by being called away. Rather one fulfills one’s calling by filling up . . . by studying, thinking, listening, looking at, living in the layers of life beyond the collective ones. Then . . . one can pour outwardly again.

I also joke around sometimes saying that though I’ve been underground all these decades working . . . there might be “sightings.” I hope that last bit of levity made you smile, for another “sighting” is about to occur . . .

I am writing to warmly invite you to come be at the fireside with me and The Dangerous Old Woman, beginning the evening of April 6, 2010.

This is the “first of several” six-week online firesides where I’ll successively release to you for the first time ever—the complete and unabridged contents of the manuscript I’ve been working on for three decades: The Dangerous Old Woman: Myths and Stories of the Wise-Woman Archetype.

I’ll be telling you beautiful, meaningful, and often funny stories about the specific challenges, hard-won wisdom, and heartful insights to be found in the ancient and beautiful blood-red archetype of the old woman herself . . .

Through my research and studies over all these years—and also like you yourself—by living deep into all life’s curves and sudden right-angle turns, I see like the twisting trajectories of the old, wise, and wild woman in tales . . . that our lives as creative beings also follow a set of meaningful zig-zags . . . and that there comes a time in life when we veer toward a far more meaningful pathway than before, and we follow that as yet unknown path far more attentively as we gather more years . . .

It is said, “Getting older ain’t for sissies,” and that is true, but not for the often absurd reasons the over-culture usually tries to impose on us. Instead of merely “getting old,” we are “free to transgress the old rules,” which may have once served, but do not now . . . or never did.

Instead of supposedly “breaking stride” (take your calcium, darn it), we “break into” new territory that we thought or were told was off-limits to us . . . and yet now, we realize more and more that this “forbidden territory” of living in love and in soul is “the golden fuse” to living wise and free.

We are told our bodies will become “fuller” as we gather years. Well, maybe yes, maybe no, (mine more than leans to the fuller side, lol) but for certain we are destined to come into “fullest knowing,” into “fullest sense of being a soul”—not as a mere body, brain, and heart who just happens to have a soul straggling along behind—but rather—as a soul who came to earth with a dear and honorable body, a fine mind, and a glowing heart—all these being our most radiant traveling companions.

Amongst the ancient images of the wise old woman, I believe we find one of the greatest premises: We are not meant to lead life by the limited sights of the ego or the culture we happened to be born into, but rather we are meant to lead with the Soul . . . and to help ego learn to serve the Soul in every single one of our wild and wise endeavors and creations.

While it’s true we are living in times that are challenging outwardly and personally, and that the gaining of wisdom is not only a set of lessons, but a set of vows and inspired plans . . . we are also standing together in the ancient soul with La que sabe, “the one who knows” the ways through with dignity and with much flourishing both.

In gathering years, seeing becomes being . . . rather than our just “being what we were handed” by way of paltry “seeing” from the collective point of view.

Thus, as I’ve told you many times before, and I tell you now, and will continue to tell you dearly: Do not lose heart . . . for we belong to a tribe that has never before been seen on planet earth . . . Never has such a huge tribe of souls existed all at the same time who are so alert, so gifted, so filled with street sense.

Never before has there been such a huge group of women worldwide who carry the capacity to bridge, to reach across to one another, and out into the world. Never before has there existed such an enormous tribe of women willing and able to fulfill the callings of their souls on earth with verve, with style, with critical insights, and with love.

We are Tribe of the Sacred Heart. For many of us, our clan is Scar Clan. Just know the fireside is already blazing. I know you can see the great flames of heart’s intention from wherever you are now. Come join us. The Dangerous Old Woman is fully present, and we, your tribe, are waiting for you.

This comes with love and with peace,

Dr. E

Psychoanalyst, activist, author: currently deputy managing editor, and columnist at the national catholic reporter online: El Rio Debajo Del Rio: The River Beneath the River.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Spirituality Is Key To Kids' Happiness, Study Suggests

LINK:     Spirituality Is Key To Kids' Happiness, Study Suggests

     This post, found in Science Daily, a source for the latest research news, was long overdue and most welcome. The left side of my brain is always edified by hard-core, qualitative and quantitative analysis. This certainly seems to be obvious, but it is wonderful to see it proven.
     Many parents today seem to have a dim memory of the real purpose which drives their position. They concentrate on labels, "stuff", and how their children can be an extension of their own unsought dreams. Seeking approval for "doing" or "buying" the right things, , they forget the core responsibility of their job: the modelling, the teaching, and the molding of character. Thus, parents recoil when they see their child tantrum, or be demanding...when that is what they model through their own life.
It is even more interesting to discover that it is not the acts of praying, meditation (all meant to richly enhance one's belief system) which create the happiness. It is the daily, minute-to-minute compassion, verbal teachings of the parents of how to bring divine acts into this world. The smallest of things such as being in a grocery store, and helping someone elderly, or incapacitated, find a product, or reach one on a shelf, is a rich lesson if the moment becomes a teachable moment, i.e., if the parent teaches about compassion, assistance, the oneness of us all........

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Marital Wellness: Sacrifice and Empathy

     Few couples would choose to marry during periods of severe relationship stress, but then, trials come unexpectedly — you can't plan for layoffs, illness or a raging wildfire that forces a change in wedding venue 24 hours before the big event. That bad start, however, can have benefits. 
     While an abundance of research shows that stressful life events often amplify a couple's problems — turning a husband's short temper into abuse, for example — and increase the likelihood of divorce, studies also show that hardship can have an upside. For some couples, it's protective, helping solidify their commitment into an unshakable us-vs.-the-world resolve. However,  that usually results in a highly codependent relationship and "head in the sand" views of life.
     Data from the Great Depression suggest, for instance, that economic adversity held many couples together. "Those families who were cohesive before the Depression, they banded together as a team and really became more cohesive in dealing with the economic crisis," says Gottman — surely good news for the untold numbers of newlyweds who have faced job loss or foreclosure in the past year. 
     Surviving the gauntlet of misfortune early in a relationship can be a valuable litmus test, say counselors. A relationship crisis "smashes the illusion of invulnerability," says William Doherty, a psychologist and marriage researcher who runs the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Minnesota. That illusion, he says, "was going to go away anyway, and I don't think there's any great loss to it going away sooner than later."
     So what about all those unlucky couples whose early years are marked by nothing but peace and happiness — what is their litmus test? There are two key predictors of a resilient relationship, experts say: mutual support and a willingness to sacrifice. In a recent study of newlyweds who became first-time parents, Gottman found that two-thirds suffered sharp drops in happiness during their child's infancy, under the strain of new parenthood. But for one-third of couples, the experience was cohesive and increased intimacy. Gottman says he could predict which couples would blossom under stress: those in whom, years before, he had observed better communication and more mutual support, not only with themselves but others. "Even at the time of the wedding, the men were more respectful of their wives, prouder of them," he says.
      Beyond respect and pride — and even love — it may be the willingness to sacrifice that leads to a lasting marriage, according to researchers. In a 2006 study by Scott Stanley, the director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, and colleagues found that the willingness to forgo personal interests and put a partner's needs ahead of one's own was directly linked to a long-lasting, happy marriage — provided that such sacrifices weren't damaging or one-directional. "If your partner has a really big opportunity to sacrifice because of some crisis in your life, and they don't, that's pretty bad," says Stanley.
     But before you go seeking disaster just to test your spouse, remember that resilience evolves over time, as long as couples make it a mutual priority — and that takes patience. The operant word here is:  couples (both members of the dyad).
     Keep in mind also that over the long haul, the health and mental benefits of marriage are countless. Says Diane Sollee, a marriage and family therapist and the founder of "You've got to know that you actually do better if you hang in there." Of course, that refers to generally healthy marriages, not those based on residual angers, negatives, emotional abuses, etc.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Narcissism / "The Game Change"


Published: February 5, 2010
     In “Game Change,” the recent tell-all book about the 2008 presidential campaign, the authors blame John Edwards’s narcissism for his downfall and describe Bill Clinton as a “narcissist on an epic scale.” Do a Google search on “Tiger Woods” and “narcissist” and you get tens of thousands of references. Try it with the Salahis and you get thousands more. Rush Limbaughcalls President Obama a narcissist, it seems, every 24 hours, while a writer on The Huffington Post recently declared that “advanced stages of narcissism thrive on the Right these days.”
     This would all sound familiar to Christopher Lasch. Just over 30 years ago, in “The Culture of Narcissism,” Lasch, a historian at the University of Rochester, took what was still mainly a narrowly clinical term and used it to diagnose a pathology that seemed to have spread to all corners of American life. In Lasch’s definition (drawn from Freud), the narcissist, driven by repressed rage and self-hatred, escapes into a grandiose self-conception, using other people as instruments of gratification even while craving their love and approval. Lasch saw the echo of such qualities in “the fascination with fame and celebrity, the fear of competition, the inability to suspend disbelief, the shallowness and transitory quality of personal relations, the horror of death.” “The happy hooker,” Lasch wrote, “stands in place of Horatio Alger as the prototype of personal success.”
Not all reviewers cottoned to Lasch’s relentlessly grim tone, but Time magazine described him as a “biblical prophet,” and the broader public embraced his jeremiad. Appearing at a time of inflation and recession, oil shortages, soaring crime rates and faltering cities, Lasch’s book leapt onto the best-seller list, making him famous. Jimmy Carter was so taken with Lasch’s ideas that he invited the academic author to advise him on the famous “malaise” speech of July 1979.
     Lasch wasn’t the first to comment on our rising self-absorption. Three years earlier, Tom Wolfehad written an epoch-anointing cover story in New York magazine called “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening.” But where Wolfe celebrated narcissism as a millenarian outburst of vitality — “the greatest age of individualism in American history,” as he put it with winking enthusiasm — Lasch saw a decadent defiance of nature and kinship. In “The Culture of Narcissism,” he asked a simple question that cut deeper than Wolfe’s provocation: How had the radical changes in American economic and social arrangements since the 19th century affected the individual? Armed with Marx’s conviction that economic forces shape character and with Freud’s insight into the bourgeois mind, he answered with a sulfurous indictment of contemporary American life. “Long-term social changes,” Lasch wrote, have “created a scarcity of jobs, devalued the wisdom of the ages and brought all forms of authority (including the authority of experience) into disrepute.”
     The son of a newspaperman and a social worker with a doctorate in philosophy, the Nebraska-born, Harvard-educated Lasch learned to read history through a psychological lens from the political historian Richard Hofstadter, with whom he studied at Columbia. Lasch, however, rejected his mentor’s harsh view of the role that irrational emotions like anxiety over declining social status played in shaping the politics of the middle classes. As if in response, in “The New Radicalism in America: 1889-1963” (1965) Lasch wrote sourly about the role a rationalist conception of human nature played in liberal intellectuals’ programs for social improvement. In “Haven in a Heartless World: The Family Besieged” (1977), an almost Oedipal retort to Hofstadter, he made a blistering attack on the “therapeutic” society in which professional elites medicalize acts of will and minimize personal responsibility. To Hofstadter’s scorn for unrestrained market forces, Lasch added his own contempt for the way commercial appeals so nicely accommodate the liberal ideal of personal freedom.
     In “The Culture of Narcissism,” Lasch again blamed both the right’s veneration of market forces and the left’s cultural progressivism for weakening the bonds of family and community — and thus deforming the growth of solid character. Freudian that he was, Lasch laid much of the blame for “the narcissistic personality of our time” on the way packs of experts had taken child-rearing out of the hands of parents, thus interfering with traditional stages of attachment, especially to the mother. If such ideas never endeared him to feminists, his critique of late capitalism hardly endeared him to conservatives, either. Corporate bureaucracies, he wrote, “put a premium on the manipulation of interpersonal relations, discourage the formation of deep personal attachments and at the same time provide the narcissist with the approval he needs in order to validate his self-esteem.”
      Lasch saw that same dynamic at work in politics, producing rootless figures devoted solely to managing the impression of managing a crisis. The Bay of Pigs disaster drove Kennedy to “overcome the impression of weakness” as he “blustered” against Khrushchev at the Vienna summit, while Nixon “devoted most of his career to the art of impressing an unseen audience with his powers of leadership.” The narcissism of the politician is thwarted by the narcissism of the voter, whose fantasies of power lead him to identify only with “winners” who then arouse his wrath when their shortcomings dis appoint him.
er here.
     Even as he dug deep into psychoanalytic and social theory and American history, Lasch took in a remarkable range of contemporary experience, making many observations that, if anything, ring more true today. In a chapter called “The Degradation of Sport,” he lamented the way big money and free agency were turning the athlete into a mere “entertainer” who “sells his services to the highest bidder,” bound to his team only in a spirit of “antagonistic cooperation” (a term borrowed from David Riesman). Noting how self-help experts make us feel that success or failure is at stake at every moment, he seemed to anticipate the calculating side of social networking. “The search for competitive advantage through emotional manipulation,” he wrote, culminates in a sociability that functions as “an extension of work by other means.” And long before Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness,” Lasch perceived that “the air is saturated with statements that are neither true nor false but merely credible” — which only makes it easier for the narcissist to see the world as an extension of his desires.
In a skeptical cover review in The New York Times Book Review, the literary critic Frank Kermode called “The Culture of Narcissism” a “hellfire sermon.” Delivering one can be a gratifying exercise, and at times Lasch seems strangely heartened by his despairing diagnosis. He writes as if contemporary culture represented a fall from some earlier, Edenic period. It is hard to take him seriously when he declares that “the peculiar horror of contemporary life” makes “the worst features of earlier times . . . seem attractive by comparison” or that “the prison life of the past looks in our own time like liberation itself.”
     At such moments, Lasch’s disaffection with so much of contemporary life seems less intellectual than unfathomably personal. “The True and Only Heaven” (1991), published three years before his death from cancer at age 61, was an even more alienated tribute to an idealized working class, a sentimental paean that glossed over the way its rage and resentment drove the annihilating anti democratic movements of the 20th century. It’s a book that would probably hearten the Tea Partiers of today.
But passionate excess is often the price of original perception. The next time you close a book frustrated by the author’s “pseudo self-insight” or are taken in by someone’s “nervous, self-deprecatory humor,” the next time you find yourself repelled by the general collapse of “impulse control” and by the type of person who “sees the world as a mirror of himself,” you might want to seek solace in Lasch’s illuminations. The personality of his time, it seems, is even more the personality of ours.

"there were no words, but images flooded every cell in her being ...

"there were no words, but images flooded every cell in her being ...