Narcissist Recovery Blog

Why Gender Roles Lead to Higher Rates of Depression in Women than Men

Women are raised to be gentle, loving and kind to others. As little girls, our parents teach us to feel empathy for and nurture others. We play with dolls. Boys are taught to compete with other boys, to be dominant and independent. Boys play with guns.

The way I look at it is simple: Girls play house and boys play war.

As a result, many women get their self-worth out of the role they play as wife, mother and caretaker to others. Many men get their self-worth out of their work life and their career status. We may not stop to think about this much, but I think it’s worth noting.

The Power of Anger

As we've discussed, we must process and validate our feelings before we can move on. Repressing our feelings has been shown to negatively affect our physical and emotional health.

We know that stress chemicals are released through emotional tears. Therefore, we should never be afraid to feel sad or cry.

We also should never be afraid to feel angry. Unfortunately, many of us were taught to repress anger, especially women. Anger has a negative connotation because most people associate it with aggression. But in reality, anger is followed by violence only 10 percent of the time, according to Howard Kassinove, PH.D., co-author of Anger Management: The Compete Treatment Guide for Practice.

The Importance of Feeling

We must allow ourselves to feel. Often times, when in the midst of a breakup or divorce, we do not take the time to feel our feelings. That’s because when you experience trauma, you are often in survival mode. You’re trying to keep it together for your children and/or other family members. All your energy is focused on getting through the transition. It’s natural not to grieve while in survival mode. It's all a process. That is why it is so important to work the steps of relationship recovery to ensure you deal with your feelings now instead of being forced to deal with them in the future when you are not prepared.

"What I Will Not Forget" about my relationship with my Narcissist

As humans, we have what is called "Selective Memory," which our mind uses as a way to protect us.

Good memories are vividly clear and much more readily available for recall in our memory than bad memories. As mentioned earlier, bad memories are fragmented, stored in a different part of the brain and not as easily accessible. We tend to obsess about bad memories more because they are unresolved and scattered. They pop into our heads more frequently when we have not sorted out the chaos or made any kind of effort to understand what happened.

Step 2 - Get it Out - Why this step is so important to our healing

Research tells us the main reason for the stress of psychological trauma is that our memories of these horrible events are fragmented. Psychologically traumatic events are ones that have no good explanation. You have painful facts that make no sense, right? This is what mental health professionals call Cognitive Dissonance.

Why We Must Write About Our Experience of Trying to Love a Narcissist

Here's why it's so important to write about what you're experiencing:

Today we now have proof that writing is therapeutic. James Pennebaker, PhD., a psychologist and researcher, has conducted studies that show improvement in immune system functioning and emotional well-being when research participants write about difficult or traumatic events in their lives.

As Linda DeSalvo points out in her book, “Writing as a Way of Healing,“ many writers, like Virginia Woolf and Henry Miller describe their work as a form of analysis or therapy. Before treatment was available, many writers used their work in this way.

DeSalvo describes the therapeutic process of writing like this:

Why the Narcissist will Never Change

Narcissism is a personality disorder and it is important to understand what this means. People with personality disorders are rigid and unaware that their thoughts and behavior patterns are inappropriate.

Research indicates they are rarely the ones who come in for treatment. Instead, the spouse, significant other, children, and parents of the personality disordered are the ones who suffer and seek therapy. PDIs rarely seek treatment.

Write his Eulogy

Yes, it is critical that we accept the fact that the man we fell in love with is gone.

Part of Step 4 - Accept It - involves writing his Eulogy. I believe this is important because we must fully grieve the man we fell in love with and accept that he is gone and never coming back.

The man who stands before us now asking for forgiveness and playing with our minds is NOT the man we fell in love with at all. We must not try to fool ourselves into thinking that he is. Trust me, he is relying on us to do this.

Instead, we must recognize this new man as an IMPOSTER and nothing more. We must fully grieve the man we fell in love with and say goodbye to him. We must pay our respects to him and mourn him. I believe by writing his Eulogy, it will help us do this.

Personality Disordered Individuals (PDIs)

I've been doing a lot of research lately for purposes of the new website and recovery book. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), there are 10 Personality Disorders. Mental health professionals group these personality disorders into one of three clusters based on similar characteristics.

Guess what they all have in common with one another? All Personality Disordered Invdividuals (PDIs) are:

MANIPULATIVE
CONTROLLING
SELFISH

They seek out relationships in order to use people to meet their own needs. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less.

Narcissism and the Church

Simply put, Narcissism is the "Abuse of Power."

At the LA Book Expo in 2008 where I found my publisher, none of the publishers I tried to talk to were at all interested in publishing a book on narcissism. Most of them suffered from it themselves! No joke!

You should have seen the look of disgust I got from some publishers when presenting my book to them. One guy handed it back to me and said, "Psssh, this is the reason my sister-in-law gave for divorcing my brother" and handed it back to me with a look that could kill.

To Obsess or Not Obsess After the Narcissist

When getting over a narcissist, I believe we must go through a process of obsessing about our experience and over-analyzing it before we can move on.

Our minds must make sense of the chaos and trauma we experienced (i.e. emotional abuse)at the hands of the person we love.

Each of us needs to find an outlet in which to give creative expression and form to what we experienced. To give it some structure and organization so that we can file it away and put it to rest once and for all. For me, this outlet was my book and my music CD.

Once we are able to process the experience, the obsessive thoughts should lessen, but ONLY if we allow ourselves to FEEL.

Fierflie makes an excellent point:

More on Managing Obsessive Thoughts

Briseis is right, the moment we tell ourselves to stop obsessing about something, we will obsess about it more. It's so unfair, but so true. Think about it. If you tell a group of people not to look at the elephant in the room, the first thing everyone is going to do is want to look at the elephant in the room, right?

The main reason we obsess is UNCERTAINTY. We hate UNCERTAINTY. When something in our life is unclear or uncertain, we will obsess about it until we think we can create some kind of certainty.

The first thing to understand here is that nothing in life is certain. Until we accept this, we will never stop obsessing. What's the old saying, the only thing in life that is certain is death and taxes. So sad, but also true if you think about it.