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do you need to get out of the stressful situation or do you just need to acknowledge it?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by learningmore, Dec 26, 2021.

  1. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    Let's say you're living with a narcissist and it's causing you a lot of drama and creating TMS.

    Is it enough to just realize this or do you have to get out?
    Lavender and plum like this.
  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is a great question. I want to say you do NOT need to get out of the situation, but some cases are extreme...and certain people are so Gnarly, you just need a break from them.

    I was in two relationships with Narcy's before I realized I was in a pattern...they were progressively worse. But I got TMS episodes even when I wasn't living with them. standing up for myself was part of the 'recovery'. And that included not seeing them anymore or allowing their actions to harm me.

    Sarno told that story about the woman whose symptoms faded when she finally stood up to an abusive family member, but returned when she 'couldn't maintain her strong position'. I assumed that meant they had a lot of exposure to each other or even lived together.

    I suppose you should be practical. Is it costing you money? Are they dependent on you financially? TMS set aside, Narcy's are always expecting others to put them first and that eats up a lot of resource and time which is a form of continued harm.....or are you just roomies and you can largely ignore them....they are just annoying, like a loud radio????
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  3. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    1. If just realizing it makes your symptoms go away, than that’s all you need to do.

    2. If that does not work, look into how you can communicate your needs more effectively.

    3. If that does not work, take some assertiveness training so that you can constructively stand up for yourself.

    4. If that does not work and it’s a relationship you cannot leave, such as a parent, consider coping strategies, group counseling, and other options.

    Not an easy situation. However, a lot of it is the result of not communicating what’s happening to us nice TMSers.

    I had do my own learning and transformation so that I could resolve issues with my wife and set boundaries for my overbearing parents so that I would not end up in disabling pain again. That was 28 years.

    So there are solutions. Don’t give up.
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  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Unequivocally I say get out.

    I say this as someone who endured narcissistic abuse for three decades. One of my greatest regrets is that I didn’t leave the situation way, way back but I had absolutely no idea what was happening, I was incredibly young and very naive. Without the wealth of resources available today, I had no idea what narcissism was.

    The narcissist in my life was my mother-in-law. She died this year and aside from a minor period of sadness my overwhelming emotion has been relief. That said I am still dealing with the emotional legacy of her behaviour and particularly so at the moment (Christmas has been triggering. Historically it was all about her and I neglected my own beautiful family for years. This is no longer the case and Christmas was wonderful but still I found myself haunted by ghosts of Christmas past).

    While I agree with the thoughts of both @Baseball65 and @FredAmir, I honestly don’t think you can ever truly feel safe, let alone thrive in a narcissistic environment.

    If memory serves it’s a parent you’re dealing with. This makes it harder to leave or cast a measure of emotional distance but I really think this is what you need to do, if not now then at least in the future. It doesn’t get better and you will mainline a lot of emotional energy in trying to keep an even keel, energy you need to craft your own life.

    However, even if you do leave you absolutely must learn about boundaries and how to assert them. I can share some resources that have helped me if you are interested.

    Lastly I want to pick up on something Fred says about the importance of communication. My main TMS issue has always been my mouth and TMS flares here the most (and most badly), when I veer into repressing or managing a situation to offset tension (associated with multiple bad experiences in the past).

    I never spoke of what I went through. I was too scared of the woman at first and completely broadsided by the horrible dynamic of the family and over time it morphed into shame, more fear, immense tension as I internalised the harm but it never manifested as anger. Isn’t that interesting. For decades I hid my emotional hurt, loneliness and despair behind a smile and a sexy free spirited persona. That was until I realised what I was dealing with and then the anger became white-hot yet conscious, how fierce must the unconscious swell be? Pure rage. Sarno was right.

    I had a conversation this morning with my husband about all this. He knows well what a Cnut she was but I don’t think he realised how profoundly it has affected me. He has Parkinson’s which I attribute to her and the toxic dynamics of his family.

    It’s messy, complicated and actually heartbreaking but we cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. We can however choose a better life for ourselves. Not all hurt people, hurt people. Some choose to not be like the abuser. We do become the company we keep and over time you will likely develop what is called reactive narcissism (I don’t care for such labels but they do encapsulate the problem). This is where you flare and react in kind. To my shame I have done this and it’s something of a relief to know it can happen when you are around narcissistic people too much. To that end I can only reiterate my opening words: get out. There’s a world of good, kind and compassionate people out there who will encourage you to bloom. The narcissist will ultimately poison you.

    I wish you the very best with this my dear.

    BloodMoon, westb, FredAmir and 2 others like this.
  5. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Just as a Resource. When I realized I had been slowly trained into being a submissive and addicted to my Narcy, I found the writings of Dr. Tara Palmatier. There is also a private forum on her website.(mostly for men, but there are female members)

    Just like learning about TMS, I had to learn all about what a codependent I had become to Break the cycle and get free . I had to learn what I had and what I didn't have. Dr. Tara's articles cover Cluster B disorders and their codependents in Marvelous detail. (Narcissistic, Borderline and Histrionic Personality disorders) . Just like Sarno and co., it felt good to know I wasn't the first or the last to suffer from that sort of abuse and neglect.

    When I finally left my 'person', it was good to have information to read and other people who'd been through the same thing to warn me about what My Narcy would try to do to reel her captive back in (they were right about everything)... But I also found out I wasn't as bad as some others and NOW I know all of the big red flags to avoid stepping into the same hole.
    plum likes this.
  6. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Thank you for sharing Plum.

    Indeed “We can however choose a better life for ourselves.”

    here’s an interview by Dr. Dan Ratner on dealing with narcissists.

    plum likes this.
  7. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree - same goes with sociopaths/psychopaths.
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  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I spent some time reading Dr. Palmatier‘s articles and I especially liked her emphasis on self-care and boundaries, both of which have been instinctive healing practices for me. It’s always good to see someone endorse a healing process that you know to be true.

    I also very much appreciated her focus on men because I fear their suffering is something of a social/cultural blind spot. I know a man who has endured this and it’s only because his daughter happened to capture on her iPad a particularly nasty assault by her mother on her dad that his case was taken seriously. Prior to this everyone believed her lies. She was prosecuted but still he has to deal with unending malicious bullshit…they have two children. Next time I see him I shall mention this resource to him so thank you.
    Baseball65 likes this.
  9. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you Fred. :)
    By coincidence I came across the YouTube channel of the lady in this interview. I was searching for information on what happens when a narcissist dies and I was greatly heartened to find that she knew all about TMS and offered resources for those afflicted by chronic pain and narcissism.

    Here’s a link to her channel:

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  10. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hell yes.
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  11. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    When the police came, it was only because THEY photographed the burn marks on my neck that it finally ended.... I thought they were field-sobriety testing me "Look Up...turn left...turn right"... they were capturing all of the burn marks from bleach and a towel (she tried to strangle me). Her trying to fight them didn't go too well either (LOL)

    I was so lost, I went and told the judge that they were from my guitar strap, so she didn't go to prison.... I thought it was MY fault. That's how 'lost' I got. I could run a crew of men on a construction site, pay my bills and support myself , but didn't have a clue how to manage one little princess. It took awhile for me to get back to 'sane'. Those men helped a lot.

    Oh yeah... that myth of the 'lonely old man' that keeps guys in that situation? It's a Myth. I have so much fun, I didn't even know it was allowed.
    plum likes this.
  12. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    TMS or no TMS, that is no way to live. Why stay in a miserable, one sided relationship where your partner makes you feel crazy most of the time? You could do that on your own lol!
    Baseball65 likes this.
  13. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    How extraordinarily SANE of you (LOL)

    When you've been getting FOGged by a narcy for years (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) making easy observations like that isn't so easy. I am ashamed at how much abuse I put up with and how Helpless I was, so I couldn't even tell people what was really going on... it's like being in a two person cult and 'reality' has been left awhile back. I felt Crazy, as you say, But she told me it was because of my manifold shortcomings. Knowing I have plenty, I never stood up to her or kept any boundaries and had to learn basic stuff like your Sane statement there.
    miffybunny likes this.
  14. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think any time someone makes you feel "less than", "not good enough", or causes you to doubt your own reality, you should dump them like a hot potato. The problem is that these types of insecure people know the right victims to choose in a sense. I suppose they choose you and if one doesn't have a strong enough sense of self or worthiness, then one is vulnerable to that kind of abuse. It can often be subtle and one can get conditioned to it, to the point where it seems normal! I do think there is something to the whole mid life time period where you just have a lower tolerance and you start to realize you don't want to live like that between now and dead. When I think back on my twenties, when I should have had the world at my feet, I was a total disaster with no self esteem. I feel sad for that girl. @learningmore , I don't know where you are at in your life, but the worst thing on earth is living with regret for lost time. You never want to have too wonder how your life may have been different and shared with someone who might have cherished you. The more time you waste on a dead end relationship, the more opportunities you are missing out on to grow and meet others.
  15. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    God bless you, that’s awful. By horrible coincidence the guy I mentioned was also attacked with bleach. By the grace of god he knew exactly what to do to save his eyesight because he had worked in industry for years.

    We have to remember how subtle the abuse is and that it’s our good qualities (sensitivity, compassion and empathy), as much as low self-esteem or poor sense of self that makes us vulnerable. This is one of those times, as with TMS, where it does well to learn as much as possible and then make the changes needed. It’s wonderful that there are supportive communities to help and guide us.

    It’s funny how quickly I clock red flags now, it’s often purely instinctive. Something else I am very mindful of is limerence*. TMS gold. It’s been a long time since I experienced it but I view it on a par with TMS (especially in terms of how easy and addictive it can be). It’s just the unconscious flagging an emotional wound that needs more self-love and healing.

    *This is the site where I learned about limerence. I’d never heard of if before and thought it was just me being an indulgent romantic. I share this as it may resonate with others here.

    https://livingwithlimerence.com/what-is-limerence/ (What is limerence?)
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2021
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  16. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    In the 'recovering from abuse' nomenclature, that initial period is called 'Love bombing'.... what cluster B people , especially Narcy's are very good at is reflecting that person's idealized, romantic perfect partner image BACK at the codependent to 'capture' them. Once that period ends (6 mo's-2 years) is when the real Narcy appears. The victim keeps trying to get back to that HIGH of limerence, but only gets stomped and emotionally destroyed.

    We have had interesting discussions before. Since Narcy's only mirror stuff back to people, is their really a person in there at all? Or are they one big carnival mirror?? If a tree falls in the forest....? LOL

    all good stuff!
    plum likes this.
  17. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Of course! Thank you for this because it prompted an epiphany around what was going on at the time my TMS started. It was a long distance, online relationship of sorts and I have always thought I messed it up. Astonishing really, after so much healing that I never realised they were a narcissist! How unbelievably daft can I be?! Stuff to journal on…

    This is especially interesting because I recall one conversation when he asked me ‘if I were the candle or the mirror?’ *sighs* Aside from that being romantic baloney, your words make such sense. One big carnival mirror for sure. God bless you for those insights.
    Baseball65 likes this.
  18. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    The narc in my life is my mother. I am currently living with my parents and the only reason I'm still here is I cannot afford to move out.

    It wasn't until recently that I realized my mom is a narc. I thought my parents were awesome, because similar to many narc dynamics, I was told constantly (from my mother) what a great parent she is.

    Suddenly components fit together. (Nearly) every woman I've dated has been a borderline. I'm codependent.
  19. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    Yes, please share some resources.

    It's interesting you mention Parkinsons. My father (codependent) appears to be developing Parkinsons as well.
  20. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    So I'm very familiar with Cluster B. Many of the woman I've dated have been borderline. I didn't know it at the time, I didn't know I was the kind of person who had relationships with that kind of woman. Clearly I get it now. Narc mom - I'm codependent - I date borderlines. It took years and years to realize my mom is a narcissist. Now I'm so grossed out, I feel bad. I feel bad to have all the disgust and rage I have at my mother for all the grossness and lack of boundaries which were there my entire life but I never realized until now. And I see it in my dad, too. My mom completely owns my dad's life. It's gross. My dad is so unhappy but he tries rather hard to produce happiness in my mom, which definitely doesn't work. Not because he's doing anything wrong, but because she's a narcissist. So I see him enable her like crazy and I'm like DAD WHAT ARE YOU DOING and of course it just makes it worse with her. My mom is not fair, nor compassionate, nor any other good trait she claims to be. My dad experiences health issues, my mom never encourages him to see a doctor, but she sure does belittle him for it, not consistently to his face, but periodically. My dad acts around my mom like a small kid acts around his mom when he's trying to make sure she's not mad at him. He won't make decisions (because he'll be fussed at for making the wrong decisions). He lets my mom pick everything, from what's for dinner, to what they watch on TV, to what gets done around the house. It's repulsive. My mom's attention seeking behavior is so out of control she has dropped every remnant of boundaries... she pisses with the door open (and my dad stands in the doorway and watches her sometimes wtf), she sucks her fingers while she eats after every bite, she slams the cabinet whenever she closes it, she stomps anywhere she goes and the house shakes with each step (my mom isn't fat), and my parents have a big house, and no matter where you are, if she's walking around, the total house shakes, I can literally be in the basement and she can be on the second floor and it sounds like someone is slamming concrete blocks into the floor with each step, it's like if there's a way to be loud or gross while doing something, she'll do it. Of course, this is just extra frustration on top of the daily ridicule and judgement at my dad and me, which I am watching destroy him, yet he just reacts by being even nicer and trying harder, which she just thrives off of I guess, because she keeps being intolerable. My dad is too nice to say he's unhappy, and I just watch their bullshit on a daily basis, and not only that, now that I realize what I've been enduring my entire life (complete lack of boundaries, withdrawal of affection if I choose something other than what my mom wants, lavish rewards if I do what she thinks I should do (read: my needs aren't considered, what my mom wants is correct) etc., I'm seeing it constantly and it's crushing.

    So I feel rage. Don't worry, I'm not going to do anything -- I'm just saying, currently ACTUALLY SEEING IT -- somehow I missed it for my entire life -- it's so gross, and it's UNENDING. My mom is always gross. Sometimes she pretends to be nice or sweet, like the fake little kid voice she uses when she wants something from my dad, but really she's not. Everything is about her. The only thing she talks about every day is herself. Everything relates to her. Nothing can happen in the house without her approval.

    I have literally had zero conversations ever with my mother that weren't about her. Even if it's about me, she makes it about her. My dad is the same way; everything they talk about is about her. My dad has even taking to "pinging" her throughout the day (asking her questions about her opinions) because he has discovered that if she is talking about herself she is plausibly not going to be yelling at him for something.


    I've never been homesick ever in my life. When I'm away, or when my parents are away, I can breathe. I feel guilty for these thoughts. Money is preventing me from leaving, thus I'm living with my parents watching their grossness and basically being ridiculed (indirectly) and prevented from doing anything because I just... can't... fucking... decompress when I'm here. There is UNENDING TENSION.

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