This episode is a continuation of the topic narcissistic relationships due to many people writing to Ameé – men and women – expressing their frustrations at repeating the patterns of falling into bed (literally and figuratively) with the same type of person over and over again.
So, for those of you still falling off the wagon and finding themselves attracted to another charismatic, over-the-top flattering personality, Ameé brings back to the show Wendy Behary, the author of "Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed" and the founder and Director of The Cognitive Therapy Center of New Jersey and The Schema Therapy Institutes of NJ-NYC and DC, to talk with Ameé about the next steps on your journey to towards finding more secure relationships – not just the ones with other people but more importantly – the secure relationship with YOURSELF.
In this episode, you will hear:
How will a person feel right after they have left a narcissistic/emotionally manipulative partner?
What should a person do then for themselves once they've left an emotionally traumatic situation like this?
Should they start dating someone new right away or wait?
What are some key self-examination things one should be doing or looking for about their relationship patterns?
What are the non-negotiable RED flags one has to look for if they want to avoid choosing another emotionally abusive partner?
Is there a dating process one could do, intentionally, so that red flags can be drawn out sooner than later.
[inaudible] you are listening to one broken mom , a podcast dedicated to raising awareness about mental health, parenting consult improvement. I'm the host Quirk County one broken mom is not a family joke . It is intended for adults only and may contain adult language. Sometimes the topics are serious but you can count on the episodes to be entertaining . Also, one broken mom is not offering any psychiatric or medical diagnosis . We're just here giving away useful and important information. So if you're ready to hear real talk by real people so that we can all get better together, then you're in the right place and welcome. All right everyone. Welcome back to one broken mom. I have to tell you, I am very, very excited about today's episode. I brought back to me a Wendy Buhari and as many of you I know, many, many, many of you know , um, we wrapped up season one together talking about her book called disarming the narcissist and also how to start to break the cycle of being in narcissistic relationships, whether they're in family dynamics, in work relationships or in personal relationships. And I know it resonated with a lot of you because after that episode was published , um , I received many emails from listeners out there and men and women alike. So I'm , I want to make sure that I clarify that. And there is a general, Gosh, a frustration I think is a really great word and I know I felt this myself with even though you kind of start to put some pieces together of how you want to be able to get yourself out of these bad patterns, I'm still finding yourself kind of perpetually being drawn back into some of these relationships. And when it comes to romantic relationships, I know for me, you know, there is, there is this innate part of us as human beings to have somebody, you know, for as a person, you know , um, a romantic connection with somebody. And so, you know, being able to heal that part of our life and to find ourselves around a person that actually can help us reduce our own stress and add value to our life and beauty to our life certainly makes it so much easier when you're having to heal. And deal with everything else. It's related to , um, you know, kind of unwinding the traumas of our past and our experiences. And so today's episode, we're actually gonna focus on , um, how you go back into dating after you've been in , um , narcissistic relationships. Um, and so for anybody that's listening, if this is your first episode here, I do recommend that you go back to the episode that Wendy and I did. It was called ending the cycle of narcissistic relationships. And also, fortunately I have a whole show dedicated to this. You can probably find out a few more episodes that will help you kind of put together and untangle that big ball of yarn in your head, which is your childhood script. If, however you've done that and you're like, okay , I'm, I've got my history, I'm co it's coming together, I'm still falling off the wagon, which trust me. Like I said, I've done this a few times, even myself even, you know, recently as in the last few months. Um, then this is probably a great episode to jump into. And so Wendy is here to talk to us about what are the next steps on your journey towards having these more secure relationships and not just the ones with other people, but more importantly the one with yourself. So when do you, we'll come back.Wendy Behary:
Thank you. I made it so good to be back with you.Ameé:
Um, so I know that , um, I , like I said, we've tackled the topic a lot of different ways. One of the last questions that I asked you in the last episode was what kind of work should someone do on themselves first before , um , they try to get into the business of managing relationships with, with narcissists and , and because of wanting to talk about that point is , um, as we mentioned in that last episode and as you bring up, you know, a lot of internal work has to happen first in order to really heal that we have to get past the understanding what our narcissist is, who he is or who she is, what their behaviors are, and then start to reflect internally. Is that, is that correct?Wendy Behary:
Yeah. And I'm so glad you brought up that point because I put a lot of emphasis on gaining knowledge. Understand as much as you can about narcissism and issues of narcissism because it will liberate you a to be not blaming yourself, doubting yourself, questioning yourself, but really understanding the makeup of this individual and how it plays a role in hurting, sabotaging , um, even abuse at some levels, but when it's extreme abusing you and abusing the relationships. So get that information, understand it. Well, the next step is understanding yourself. As you just mentioned. It's really get to know that deep inner core of you. Um, what your inclinations tend to be both for better and for worse. Because we have, you know, we have sometimes that gut instinct that we fail to trust that will say , I'm saying yes, but I really want to say no. Why am I saying yes? Why am I saying yes? Why am I giving in? What am I apologizing for? I'm apologizing. You know, your gut is speaking loudly, right up through your nervous system, into your brain, and yet you're following a different path. Maybe one you learned as a little child, maybe one that was imposed upon you, maybe one that was modeled for you. But get to know like, where did I get the idea that I have to forfeit my needs or that I have to give in or that I have to be, I'm the one who's always sorry for things when I haven't done anything wrong or feel guilty when I have nothing to feel guilty or ashamed of. So you really want to get at the origins of that . Get at the core, what we call the schemos . You know these embedded traits or beliefs or themes about your life and put your narrative together as clearly as you can. So that's step one because step two is going to be how do you unlearn it? How do you want to do it? How do you protect that sweet, precious little you who typically ends up, frankly going on the date? You know, because whenever we're racked with a little anxiety, nervousness, even coming out of a narcissistic relationship or a relationship with the narcissist, I should say, you know, we , we may be more prone to feeling anxious and I'm scared and concerned reasonably so. But the problem with that when it creeps up in the body is what can also show up from memory is the little you. And if you little you is going out on the date, then chances become higher that you're going to respond to this potentially narcissistic individual, hopefully not. But if they are, you're going to start responding in those old familiar ways, those old patterns come right on back.Ameé:
I , and I'm glad you brought that up. I , I, for the listeners that haven't heard this before , um, you know, I , I find that it's really helpful for me, especially as I'm talking to you and to everybody else is , um, is as you're sitting here listening or watching this on video, be mindful of your body. Because sometimes when we're talking about certain topics, we might start to feel the response first. You know, we might like our heart might jump a little bit or a chest might or we might sweat or something. So for the listeners that are out there, as we're going through this and we're talking about these topics, be mindful of that because that's what Wendy's talking about is sometimes that's your first indication, right? That little you is popping up is because that little rush of anxiety comes in. And if you're not used to doing that, I mean I can tell you that it's one of my biggest, biggest , uh, helpful things that I've learned to do is to hear myself and like to feel, you know, the response there. Um, now because you talk about that , um, you know, being able to know who, who shows up on the date and I'm absolutely like a hundred percent correct and sometimes I find that little you is the one who's also , um , attracted, you know, the one that gets all excited about certain people that it's not really the adult version of you. It's the little view that's still going after the certain characters and qualities and characteristics. Um, you know, the whole like what's your type , um , your type might still be the little person, right?Wendy Behary:
Oh yeah. And narcissists are incredibly charming, most of them. So , um , literally you will may get caught up in the fact that they do a really good job in courtship. So they're very good at willing and charming and approving and they are funny. They can be very bright. They all entice you with lots of interesting, you know, and I've got this and I've got that and I can do this for you and I can help you with that. And so their heroin seemingly heroic. Um, and that can be very appealing to someone who's almost anyone, frankly, but have a little you inside who was neglected or who's been deprived of certain amounts of attention or who was, you know, kind of grew up feeling unsure of yourself or had incidents that just led you to feel very alone or unimportant or insignificant. I mean, it puts just puts you at greater risk even though you know, most of you have heard me say, perhaps you said this to me, that you know, no one is immune to being attracted to a narcissist for all the reasons I just mentioned. There's something about the attraction that's not all that puzzling because the way they show up, at least in the overt sense, but if little you is sitting in the other chair looking at them, then you won't be mindfully aware of the fact that, hmm , not asking them any questions about me and they're not really listening to my answers to those questions. They don't seem to , you know, they kind of interview me like a journalist , but they don't really get caught up in what I'm feeling. What I'm saying. They don't seem to be really listening. Their eye contact seems to be off. There is a lot of interrupting when I start my sentence. You won't even be necessarily aware of that if you're sort of under the spell or if you're in your most vulnerable state and that child's like state, which is where we can all get thrown.Ameé:
[inaudible] absolutely. I recall too , from , uh , one incident that I had, right . You know, kind of found myself again, like, Ooh, all the, all the shiny bells and whistles and you know, go out and, and meet this person. And , um, they asked questions but they were very quick to when I answered, tell me how it was wrong and how they could help me improve it, whatever it was. Um, and so, you know, there are some relief skills, you know, people out there, which is why I think this episode is really going to be valuable from that regard because as we go through, you know, some of the questions is identifying really what are some of the strong hallmarks of that personality type in the dating world and what you might hear in stuff. Now I want to start off with , um, you know, I talked with another woman who had been through in a narcissistic relationship and she's actually a neuropsychologist and she, so she understands like the brain chemistries and things. Um, and I want to first, you know, when you're coming out of a narcicisstic toxic relationship, how, how would you expect somebody to feel in those early days and maybe even months as they're extricating themselves out of that , um, that abusive relationship. Cause I know there's this weird pull back into it and doubt and you know, I'm just this , you know, I called it like glue. You mean you have to kind of like disconnect all that glue. But if somebody , you know, like some of my listeners that just wrote me, that just broke up with somebody, how would you expect them to feel and is that all normal?Wendy Behary:
Yeah, that's a great question. And it's , it's a bit challenging because there's a , there's that word depends. It depends on how long has it been going on, how much of awakening has come in the decision to terminate? Did you terminate that relationship or did the narcissist terminate it ? They don't typically terminate relationships unless they have someone already waiting in the wings, but who terminated and where are you getting help ? Do you have a big support system? So a lot depends because if you're coming out of it after a lot of thoughtfulness and maybe some therapy and great friends and listening to army's podcasts and I mean if you're, if you've come out of it feeling your strengths , then you're going to be feeling on the greater side of relief. But even with relief comes, you know, the mourning , the grief of just kind of looking at the time I've invested and maybe some of those who was I and why didn't I get there faster? And so you can end up living in the land of regret for a little while or were questioning yourself. Even if you've had, you know, a fair amount of help and support. If you haven't had it, then you're more likely to be doubting yourself and, and, and really grieving in a way that can be more painstaking because of there's a loss, there's a sense of investment with no real dividends. Um , there's a feeling of, you know, why does this happen to me? What's wrong with me? And , um, some, some people come out of it and even can be quite scared and punitive with themselves. Like, I just need to give up relationships. I'm not fit for relationships. You know, it must be something that I bring out because clearly he or she, whoever the narcissist is, was incredible out there in the community. So must be me. And these are all normal reactions. Sad but normal reactions to extricating yourself from this relationship. But mostly there's a fear of even thinking about getting into another relationship. You know, I don't know if I trust myself, if I can really make that decision. I just don't trust my judgment.Ameé:
[inaudible] now you're duplicating it right now I've seen the opposite. However, without where that, that fear is especially I think if you have abandonment like in your trauma history , um, where I feel like I, I've witnessed , um, even even with myself initially before I kind of like pulled myself out of the fog with the, I can, I can feel better if I just go to the next relationship, just jump right in. And I, and I've seen people do that , um , where they are just ready to just charge right out hookup with somebody else right away and um, um, and get going. And you know, is that a recommended practice for some people? I mean, I have a gut answer for that, but you're the , you're the specialist .Wendy Behary:
Another really good question. And I'll say generally, no, it is not a good idea because you know, having time to reflect, to breathe, to even just be a little, get comfortable with the discomfort for a little while. And as you probably did, I need to really dig down deep and figure out what's the motivational driver behind that because it might be an old abandonment issue. It might be an old issue of deprivation or just feeling defective or broken or you know, flawed and doing some good work on that will help you kind of put yourself in that Sturdier, poised position, you know , to be choosing your next partner from a healthier platform. So for the most part, no, we don't want to just race into another relationship. Um, out of fear or out of any of those drivers that I just mentioned. Uh , there are some cases where someone has endured the pain and suffering for so long. The loneliness, loneliness for so long of not feeling loved, of not feeling connected, of not having a reciprocal, intimate relationship, that by the time they terminate the relationship and they've done their work, they're ready, you know, they're kind of ready to start. I still say go slowly, don't just latch onto the first person, you know, do your work, do your screening, do your scrutinizing, but you know, they may be more ready because they have done all the self-work prior to the ending of the relationship with the narcissist.Ameé:
Yeah, that's , that's a very good point. And I, and I know that there are people that definitely , um, feel, you know, that that way that they've, they've put in a lot of effort, you know, into understanding what's going on with themselves. And , um, and yeah, I mean, like I said, you know, we are wired to want that and sometimes that can be a very therapeutic and healing thing is to be able to find that you can connect with another person. Again, I'm , I'm glad that you said take the time. Um, because I do think that one of the things that can be really difficult for , um, for people, especially if their their backgrounds is insecure and anxious is patients is a very, very hard thing to come by and to manifest in ourselves. And , um, because we, you know, we are grabbing to try to get, you know, a , a solution quickly. You know, we've learned how to solve problems and to, you know, dodge and weave as much as we can and in relationships that , you know, it can be very hard to dial back and just say, let's just take a few breasts . There's no point in racing towards the, you know, Facebook status updates, relationship or whatever anybody wants to do , um, anybody that that is still prone to push forward really quickly. You know, what would you, what might you say to that person in order to help them kind of develop that, that sense of patience and peace ? I call it peace. I tell everybody I'm, I'm remarkably peaceful. I didn't set out to get it because I didn't know I needed it. But then once I attained it, I feel it everywhere. Um , so I don't, and I don't know how to quantify that, but you know, from your, your standpoint as a therapist , um, what would you advise somebody there on how to startWendy Behary:
good for you? Because I love that word peace. I mean, finding that internal peace and that is part of the, in what we might think of as our healthiest adult mode. You know, being in a posture of a healthy adult , which means that we contain all the wonderfulness of a , of a playful, happy child and you know, a curious human. And so for those who feel very antsy and really want to get back out there, what I say to them is use dating. If you're going to date, use dating as a discovery mission. Use it to learn about you. Don't use it to immediately think about connecting with someone in a really profound way. You, I mean, you might get lucky, you might, you know, hit that million dollar lottery or something, but know that it's tedious. It's hard, but have a little fun with it. Be a little curious. Go out there and notice yourself. Going back to what I said earlier, when you're on the date, You know, are you, are you apt to share truths about yourself? Are you out to say no when you want to say no? Are you likely to ask questions that you , you know, that you're really dying to ask, but maybe the former you would have been more inhibited. Um, notice if you tend to agree with things that you don't really agree with. Oh, there I am doing that again. That's interesting. Why am I doing that with this guy or with this woman? So use it as a chance to really take inventory on who you are and how you show up and maybe how you shift when you're in a dating relationship or dating stance. And that will be just such good data. You know, you'll see patterns within yourself that you may need to work on for awhile. Um, so if you just, if you really have the itch today, do it in this way. Do it for discovery of you as opposed to really just trying to, you know, grab another relationship as fast as you can.Ameé:
Yeah. I love that. I did that unintentionally. Like I didn't set out to do that when I, when I decided, you know, I had taken about a year off and then I walked into my therapist's office and said, okay, I'm going to try this dating thing again. Like I feel like, you know, I'm, I , I called it like I'm 90% there, so let's work on this 10%. And she gave me, you know, a bunch of advice , um, you know , uh, and then when I went out and had some, you know, mismatches happen, you know, they weren't terrible or tragic, but I found myself naturally going back because having gone through the therapeutic process and this inner working in this inner reflection, it just, it came naturally to sit there and go, okay, let's, let's think about what happened and why and all that. And, and I loved it because you're right. As I was going through this process and dating, you know, several people , um, you know, every time I found something new, like , uh , you know, one of my, my best ones I think is , uh , when I went out with a gentleman who was much wealthier than I am. And , um, I noticed inside of me feeling really insecure, really nice guy, never did anything. He wasn't, he was, he was very unassuming, like you wouldn't know, you know , uh , his wealth. And so there was nothing about his personality that was off putting or anything like that. But just being in the presence of that, it bubbled up all these insecure feelings that I had about money disorders and you know, what my childhood experiences told me about wealth and money and it set off this wonderful new opportunity for me to start to heal those parts, you know, of my life and apply it to, you know, day to day in business and stuff like that. He and I still talk, we decided that we, we just weren't a good romantic, naturally each other, which was fine. And it , it ended just fine. And we still, you know, occasionally chat with each other and stuff, which I think is really good as to be able to walk away from a relationship and not have it blow up behind you, but to actually go, let's be adults here. Um, but you're absolutely right. You know, so then I was like, okay, guess what? You've got this great opportunity. You are learning a little bit of something about yourself. Like, you know, so if it ends in you ended or they end it, you just take away, you know, some other good nugget, you know, to move forward. Um , and it does, it does change it. Like, you know, I , I'm with you, like it'd be really awesome to meet somebody and have them be the person, but I don't, I don't set all those really high grand expectations for that. And I think that was one of the things I had to change to have , where every relationship has got to be the relationship. Um, because we , we can be, as speaking as somebody who has had these, again, toxic relationships, we can easily become codependent in them. And so that means that we start to put everything on a pedestal and we start to work really hard to make sure it all works, even if it's not working. And , um, and so I, you know, one of the things that I wanted to ask you about then was once the air has cleared in our life, and if a person is apt to replay those scripts over and over again, meaning that , um, what's attractive to them can still be that that little person inside of them being drawn to the shiny object of what the narcissist carries. Are there ever any non negotiable red flags that you have to look for and avoid when choosing or deciding if somebody is a good emotional fit for you? I mean, I feel like there's, you know, there's obvious ones like have they murdered somebody? Do they steal all the time? But I do see people tending to just kind of like, go, yeah, that's a red flag, but you know, I can work with it. Um , but I mean, in your opinion, like are there the ones that are, you're just like, do not, you know, do not negotiate on theseWendy Behary:
very, very important. Um, something you said earlier that was still sticking in my head, and I loved this because what you just described in your own example of the date and the guy who was not the right fit was you did your weeding very quickly. You didn't spend a lot of time. So it's another thing that I suggest to individuals who have been in, you know , these toxic relationships, especially with narcissists where you know, you, you go back into the dating world to do your weeding very quickly. And that takes us to this recent question about non-negotiables. I use that expression all the time asking my clients what are your fundamental non-negotiables? And take that back to the your earliest memories of needs that just were never adequately met. Messages you got that were so painful and excrutiatingly distorted, painful because they, they felt true at the time. If, especially if they're being told by caregivers who are important in your life. But if you're carrying around the message that you know you should have to work harder than the average person because you just don't measure up or you know, in the end if you don't really sacrifice yourself, you're going to be alone. So if you've got messages like this and there's so many others of course that we could come up with, you want to really get a sense of what is it that I need, you know, what were those needs that were never fulfilled and that will help you to identify those fundamental non-negotiables. Meaning the personal ones, as you said, not the ax murderer or the, you know, the serial killer. But you know, those, I really need to be with someone who has the capacity to be affectionate or to be present, to be a give and take person because I have the strong tendencies given what I've learned in life for better and for worse, to be sometimes to giving to self sacrificing , allowing myself to become controlled or suffocated or subjugated in relationships. So my non negotiable is someone who's just gonna like glom on and manipulate. And I mean, not that anybody wants that, but certainly that would be a red flag and especially a red flag if it's part of your life story, you know, and it's easy to get caught up in the fantasy and the imagination that, you know, I'll just love him really well and it'll change and you know, I'll just be my best self and I could just lose that last 10 pounds. It's just gonna be like amazing. Um, be careful with that thinking because again, narcissists don't change because of any of those reasons. They don't change unless they want to change. They have to change, they're feeling forced to change and then they get good therapy to do that, but they don't change otherwise. So identifying what's absolutely not negotiable and really having that deep conversation with little you about that unmet need and how you've coped with that throughout your lifetime. Cause that'll give you many clues if your coping style has been to subjugate and self sacrifice as a means of covering up that otherwise feeling of being unlovable. This is beautiful for narcissists. They get to have their way, they get to be entitled, they get to walk all over you. And again, that's not your fault. It's no one's fault. It's just a reality. It's just just a life experience that needs to be investigated so you can heal it so you can really heal it. So that when , again, you're going out on the date, you're meeting new people, you're sheltering the little you, you're literally tucking in your little self into a safe place in your imagination so you can stand up, raise your chin, you know, open your eyes and walk into that meeting, that date with your healthy adult intact, ready to be an advocate for yourself, ready to really take a look and see is this going to violate those non-negotiables? No. Relationship is perfect, but there's, you know, there's, you know, small imperfections, compromises and flexibility and then there's non negotiables.Ameé:
Right? Right. You , um, I have like two thoughts in my head. Um, so I want to continue this one here. Um , while you were talking about that, I , I, you know, I sat there and I thought, you know, are non-negotiables, you know, for clarification , um, really are with the deep work, isn't that whether or not they have their college degree or whether or not they, you know , um , you know, have been married before or have kids or whatever it is. What I had discovered through the dating process was that a lot of my, what I thought were my negotiables changed and that's a normal process, you know , I believe is that you, you, you put your list and we're prone to do this unfortunately because of online dating, right? You're online dating prop , you know , uh , profile doesn't ask you what your emotional, non-negotiable points are. You can put that in there if you're, if you're privy to them. Um , but mostly it just asks you about how tall they are, blonde hair, blue eyes, college degree, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Um , and so we get confused with that. That's the metric that we're measuring everybody by. And that's how we decide whether or not they're a good fit. But I will tell you that what I had discovered to the course of this, you know, dating , um, and starting to reconnect with people was one of my major non-negotiables, again, rooted in that little girl inside of me, which was , um, I transparency and communication. I am a very forgiving, flexible person. If you have a busy day ahead of you and it's difficult for you to, or you're not addicted to your phone, that's another thing. Um, when I send a text message app , I don't have a timer on it. I say this now. I used to though I used to have a timer and I used to want to make sure that the answer was coming back timely and if it didn't come back to me timely, then my brain went into death , death scenarios. Um , he's cheating on me. He's, you know, in an accident, he's whatever. That's an anxiousness, right? You know, where the , the lack of answer. But what I also did discover was that I had a pattern of having people in my life that when they didn't want to talk to me, they just shelved me, put me on the shelf. We couldn't circle back to the topic. It was just, I'm just going to keep dismissing it and dismissing it. And I found that one of my non-negotiables was, I don't care if you're busy, just say, just tell me that that's what's going on here. And then we get to come back to this topic, discussion, whatever it may be. Um , and let me know that you were thinking about it. You weren't able to get to it. And you know, and to me that's like a healthier communication. It's a, it's a something I feel like I give to people in return, but if I have somebody who is avoidant in their communication style, and when you start to share, they start to back away, then I know like there's, there's no point in moving forward. Like we're never going to have that deeply connected relationship that I want to have. Now somebody is working on it. Like, Hey, I apologize that I have difficulties being open, you know, all that. I'm totally cool with that. That's that flexibility, right? I mean, we're all growing, we're all works in progress. Um, but so for people listening, like to me, those are the, those are the non-negotiables. And like you said earlier about having like a process of, you know , um, uh, getting out, cutting sooner, you know, I kind of establish two dates, you know, one day we all show up nervous and we all show up with our representatives and our , you know, our best face. And then by the second date it's kind of like you should be able to suss out a few things and decide whether or not you really want to, you know, keep moving on with date three and four. Um, but if it's , if there's like definitely out of there and by day two , then it's just like no apologies and just kind of ,Wendy Behary:
absolutely. Yeah. But if you are on day five, you know, and because you know, it's felt pretty good. And in date five or date six, there's a new discovery. And just to keeping with your theme there, which I love that idea of that example of, you know, not really responding in a timely way but not owning it either. Right? So that would be a red flag. The example you gave was, you know, if, if, let's say the guy in this case is saying, look, I, you know, I'm working on this. I know I don't always, I don't always show up so well, I'm not so good at being able to share my enthusiasm and you know, express myself emotionally, but I really want to, you know, I really want to, it's just been something that I've been working on in my own therapy. Okay, that's interesting. Probably not a narcissist. That's a good sign. But if you're not hearing any accountability, any responsibility, you're beginning to ask some questions. It's knowing at you a little bit or some things just changed dramatically between date two, three and four. It seems to be kind of going down the tubes a little bit. Most importantly, don't beat yourself up for that, you know, don't beat yourself up to that. It's okay. You know, move on. It just decide it's time. That's enough time. Um , even therapists will decide that it might take three, four, five assessments to decide whether or not this is gonna go anywhere in a meaningful way. Um , because we do tend to hold back, we do tend, does tend sometimes to take time to see the truth, the true patterns really unfold. So again, using your word, we need to be a little patient with ourselves but not so much so that it's going on for weeks and months and you know, we end up just really losing precious time when we could be discovering someone else and discovering something else about ourselves as well. You know, narcissist for example, your , what you're going to to notice in that non negotiable category, which I think is just non negotiable for almost anyone, is that they can't be accountable. And you gave the example earlier on me that you know, they may ask questions but they're correcting your answers. It's as if there's a correct answer and an incorrect answer. And so you give your most honest answer because you are committed now to being honest and upfront. But then they fix it. Well, it's not quite like that. It's actually a little bit more like this or um, you know, they , they sort of dismiss it out of hand and one up you with maybe something even better or they do that bait and switch things that I write about in the book where they're kind of baiting you. Like, are you okay or what's the matter? Or did I say something to upset you? And you share a little bit and they sort of roll their eyes or they chuckle. Like you're silly for being upset about this. I mean, you can predict if you've been in a relationship with a narcissist, but it's only going to be a matter of time before they're being critical and demeaning you for being upset with anything that they should have to say, you know, any of their wonderful words , um, should be hurtful to you. How dare you. So these are some of the signs that you're going to see and you want to watch for them early on. Even test them. Even provoke it a little bit so you can see what the response might look like. I often say to my clients, do they, even if they don't agree with you, like if there's a lack of agreement, I'm , look, I'm, we're using the data that comes out of John and Julie Gottman's beautiful work on healthy relationships, right? Years of research and beautiful work and they will say this. They'll mention this one point in a healthy relationship where you may not enjoy all the same activities. You may not have all the same shared interests, but when you share something that's interesting to you, even if it's not to him, I'm sitting across from you, can he be excited about your enthusiasm? Can he seem to say, Gee, you really love that, don't you? That's great. That's great. You light up when you talk about, you know, the music , that music, it's not my favorite. The boy, I love watching you talk about it because you just light up. When you talk about do they seem to be able to appreciate your interests, your enthusiasm, what matters to you even if it's not the same for them. Cause we're not going to have everything in common with anyone. So good things to keep an eye on because narcissists certainly can't bear it if you have your own opinion ideas or preferences, it's just one thinkable it's as if you're, you're assassinating their character because you're different.Ameé:
Yeah. I had that happen and that was when early I detected the next narcissists like fast and then cut it. Um, but I, you know, there were two incidences that, you know, red flags. I made sure that I didn't just take one red flag and pull the ripcord out of fear. Like you said, sometimes you're just like, you're , you're on edge and you're worried that you're going to make the same mistake again. I think that I invested a little bit more time than I should have, but I'm grateful that I did because then I was able to see more landmines and again, be able to take away from myself though one of the things that was, that was a trigger for me and I felt it first in my body. That's why I mentioned at the beginning of the episode for people to feel how, how something makes you feel. Yeah. I had, you know , texted, hey, I did this really amazing episode of talking about my show. Super excited. I think it's one of the best ones I've ever done. Um, the response back was, yeah, I'm not sure it's really one of your best, but it's okay. And that's what I was like, are you fucking kidding? You know, and it was, and that was my first response was like, ah , and then it was like, wait a second, hold on. You know where this is going. Like, if here we are in the early days of courtship or you know, him trying to, you know, to get me interested in him because I wasn't like that interested in it , but he was really trying hard. I know like you just said, I know this only goes downhill. This only gets worse. It, you know, nothing is good enough and everything that I tried to do and that they shift you then into wanting to support and throw behind everything that they've got going on. Like you have to constantly be idolizing their work. They get you to do that by demeaning that what you're doing is really not as important as what they're doing and therefore it's not worth your time and energy. You need to stop investing in yourself and start investing in me. And , um , and I do think that that is one of those early, early red flags that you know, that [inaudible] to pick up on. And I liked that you said, you know, as time goes on, you know, is there actually a, some key questions or some processing that you can kind of trickle out, you know, in a dating process and helps tease out some of those toxic characteristics that all of those, you know, narcissistic types of people actually do share because there is a behavior pattern behind them. And if we don't know how to Suss that out until we're totally wrapped into him , you know, because we've gotten into the charm and the good, you know , the charm, the good luck , see overblown love bombing and all that other stuff that gets us wrapped in, you know, how can we be much more intentional? And I know this takes the spontaneity out for everybody. That just is like, I just want to go with the flow. Well, if you've been in an abusive and toxic relationships and unfortunately folks going with the flow is no longer an option if you don't want to keep going in that past . So , um , help me understand some other, some other questions that you might be able to throw in and kind of evaluate whether or not you've got a narcissist or you know, maybe somebody that's actually a little bit healthier and secure.Wendy Behary:
Okay . Well let's think, let's use your example for, for one thing and then we'll go onto a couple of other ideas. But what would a healthy response be? You know, clearly you're, you're excited about your podcast . You're sharing. Yeah , I think this is my favorite one. You know, that I've ever done and what would have been healthy, you know, caring, thoughtful, considerate response. It doesn't have to be loving cause you're just meeting, but you know something that's thoughtful,Ameé:
right? Yeah. Well, with another person it is. That's amazing. What a great job. You know, you're doing so well at it.Wendy Behary:
That's it. That's thoroughly agree that it's their favorite one. They may have a different, but then mention the other favorite one . Really? Oh Wow. That's cool. I really love, I really love the one you did on blah, blah, blah. I thought that one was fantastic. I just think you , you know, you really got your, got your act together. You know, I mean something. I mean , if they don't like your podcast at all, they don't like the work you do, then this is probably not a good fit. Cause you're not going to get any respect, which is another sign. But at least share your enthusiasm. Um , mention the one that they may like even better. Great. That's great. You know, you don't have to have the exact same opinion, but you were demeaned for having, for sharing your opinion. So I often say the real golden nugget is empathy. The narcissists are so bad at this. I mean, most people are not great. It's, it's, you know, empathy gets confused with sympathy and compassion as I think we talked about before. But look for little strokes of empathy, meaning that there's some things connecting in a way that feels very resonant, as if you can start to see yourself reflected in the mind and the eyes and the words of the person sitting across from you. So it would be something like that must've been hard. What was that like? Or, Oh, you okay. You look a little sad when you said that. Or um, well, yeah, of course you would be excited about that. Given what you just said about you know, your daughter, of course you would be excited about the fact that she was able to achieve that. Good for you. They're connecting with you. It's not just, you know, bullets. It's on a screen. There's more elaboration. It's more fleshing out of the conversation. There's a sense that they're attuned to your experience, not just the words coming out of your mouth. Again, as I said, a lot of people, especially men, were just not socialized so much this way is women are , are not necessarily so good at this, but you'll get at least a better flavor of that from someone man or a woman who is not narcissistic. The narcissist will have a lot of trouble with this. They can be, they can have a solution, they'll have a solution. I know how to fix that, or I know how to make that better. Or you know, well, you know, we can improve on that or I can help you with that. And that's, that's enticing. But it's not empathy that's not connecting with you, that's not attuning to your experience that you're having in the moment. And I always say it's like more than a thank you. It's when someone doesn't just say thank you. They say thank you. That really meant a lot to me. I was so doubting that I would have anyone to support me through this process. And there you are . That was meaningful. Right? That's a real thank you. [inaudible] it's really sharing something from yourself. So the question becomes, can they connect with your experience? Can they share their own, can they be vulnerable? Do they show any vulnerability? And I don't mean baring their soul in their whole, you know, story of life and childhood, but just a little vulnerability using words like, yeah, that was a little scary. Or , uh , yeah, I was a , I was a little upset about that . Or , you know, I was giddy with joy. It was just vulnerability, realness. You sense a real person. They're not someone who's just trying to prove themselves or someone who's just trying to sell you something. Right or win you over.Ameé:
[inaudible] . Yeah, absolutely. They , um, you know, one of the other experiences that I, that I've had too in terms and, and I actually, I have actually started to think about what is it that I want to share about myself and how do I measure their response back? And like I said, I know that takes the spontaneity out. I don't want to scare anybody that I've gone out with that you're getting interviewed, but I do actually kind of approach it as there some, there's some particular questions that I want to put out there and one of them is my work is important to me. It , we go back to what's a non negotiable and non is my hopes and dreams and my goals, those are non negotiable . Um, and that means investing in myself. And that's something that I had to learn that you know, that it is okay to be incredibly passionate about the things that I want to do and I want to keep continuing to do. And if somebody is, like you said, they don't have to, you know, be a twin. And I think that's another mistake sometimes. You know, a narcissistic trick is to , they love to fall into 20 . I don't say all of them. Again, I'm not the expert, but my experience has been as twinning is a powerful thing that it makes us feel like we're connecting by showing everything we have in common with each other. And , um, and so I don't expect that from anybody that they get it. But like you said, I do want to know, like, you don't have to listen to all the episodes. It's not a requirement, but , um, do you get how important it is to me, you know, do you understand that it is, this is important for me to do and that I'm going to, you know, remain passionate about doing this type of stuff. Um, and because I feel like I have that to give back to somebody else, you know, if I, you know, I, I understand and respect it and myself on how important it is and I understand that, that other people can have those things for themselves in it. Um , a good relationship is to support a person in their endeavors. In dreams. So those questions do kind of come up in there of like, well, what are your aspirations? What do you like? And then to be able to see how they respond. And if they do actually give you a great their face lights up, right? And then they tell you their story about what they want. Like that's what you're talking about is that there's a human connection when you can see some emotion come out of them, that's, you know, engaging and connecting there . Um , yeah ,Wendy Behary:
but I love, I love what you just said about put it out there. Definitely put it out there. What's important to you and watch what happens. You know , don't be afraid to say my kids matter. They are my top priority. Um, I'm not sure how you feel about that or you know, if it's the same for you, if they have children too, of course, but you know, they are my top priority, so I put that right at the end. Watch, watch the reaction to that. Is it quick? Does it , do they pause? Are they hesitant? Do they stumble? Um , do they frown? Are they smiling? Are they, again, they don't have to feel exactly the same way you do. Um, they may be in the middle of some conflict with the children that they're working through, but you know, you want to know that they can respect and appreciate what's important to you, your work, your kids, whatever it might be.Ameé:
[inaudible] yeah, and it's a superficial thing and I think that that's why it's patience that is required is to understand that their connection with you, it's gotta be more than that superficial level. Um, you know, the, the understanding of the difference between being complimentary of how you look, for example all the time versus being able to connect, like you said, at a probably a much more intellectual and emotional level. Cause we do get that little person inside of us, especially if we're feeling a little bit worn out from the abuse of the last relationship. Any compliment feels good. The compliments are not the same as, as really connecting, you know, with what you aren't supporting, what you're , what you're doing. And, and I think that's probably where the wounded, you know, of us out there at some point in time have fallen prey to , um, gosh, they're just, you know, they're so flattering, you know? Yeah , yeah. And it's,Wendy Behary:
sometimes that's a cover up, you know, that I talked about in other , um , interviews on this very specific topic, which maybe someday you and I can get more into if your listeners are interested. But this, if you've been with a narcissist who has also the classic kind of cheating mentality, whether it's, you know, a addiction to pornography, it's addiction to prostitutes. It's addiction to , you know, sexual affairs with other people, whatever chat rooms, whatever it might be. But they have this, this issue, this , we call it like an intimacy disorder. Um, and so it's, there , it's this hypersexual mode that they do tend to have, which is another way that they can feel grand and majestic and wonderful and extraordinary. And it's another way that they, it's kind of their drug of choice. Another way that they avoid intimacy and you know, the real give and take of an intimate relationship if you've lived through, suffered through endures that and you're at , is that something you want to get out on the table right away, your position on fidelity and loyalty and you know, you can say, you know, I've lived through this, I'm not going to live through it again. So just have to put that right out there that that's who I am and I'm zero tolerance at this point. You need to know that.Ameé:
Yeah. I, I'm so I'm glad you brought that up. Um, and yeah, so we probably could talk about that when , um, I'd be happy to because that is exactly, you know, the , the relationship of having to go through with that. And I have to tell you that one of the weirdest things was to have a conversation with somebody that I felt completely trusting of them and it was a weird sensation. And a part of that piece came from, I have no doubts this person is, is not who they say they are. And I have no doubts that they are going to attempt to try dating behind my back or that they want to keep a bunch of people on the table at the same time. And the anxiety that goes with are you good enough? Are you better than the other four women he's talking to? I mean it's such a weird, weird process to get out of that. You know that lane, you know of those people and into that and then it was just like, oh my God. So it's , it's relieving but you're right. It's like being able to say that and just say, listen, this is my past. I , I haven't been that explicit. I'm happy to do that cause I felt like I'm trying to, I'm trying to figure out ahead of time if this is the type of person that you know will demand that, that very direct tone or if I can figure it out, you know, the same perpetrator, the one that was like, that's not your best episode and whatever was also chronically texting and I'm chatting with a bunch of other women and I laughed. I was like, yeah, this is not going anywhere with me. Like No. And in fact, he had sent me a text with the wrong woman's name in it and I actually just shot it back and it was just like, you gotta be kidding me here, but you're the hybrids place . Yeah. So, yeah, we, we can't talk about that other one because that is important. Now I've seen this amongst other people, this perpetually greenlighting someone because you want to see the good in them and um , and forgiving red flags or giving someone the benefit of the doubt. And it honestly, it does drive me crazy when I see , um, a person able to inside themselves say, listen, I'm just a really forgiving and honest and you know, I like to trust everybody. And so, yeah, so they were doing all these things, but I don't want to, you know, I don't think they'll do it again. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Um, if the person just finds himself in that situation where they just want to, you know, trust everybody and go with everything but yet still keep finding themselves again with the same type of a person kind of advice. Might you give that individual to start to reflect a little bit inside with them? Like what would you say to them? That I can't possibly figure out what to say to them when I see it.Wendy Behary:
So it's very, it's very hard because first of all it's such a lovely trait to be forgiving and someone who gives people a second chance and recognizes that there can be all kinds of variables that can explain bad behavior. If it's, if it's a blip pattern, if it's a pattern of behavior, which is what you're going to see in narcissism, you're going to see patterns of behavior that are deeply entrenched. So you're going to be the one always forgiving. Oh , always giving the second chance. Giving the benefit of the dow coming up with ways of describing or you know as say some called super empath too . Or , you know, looking at the early childhood experience and seeing the suffering little boy underneath. And you know, he's just, just needs a lot of attention because he never got the attention you needed. All he got was demands and pressure to be perfect. And if you're doing a that's, it's very thoughtful, but the consequences, the cost to sell is so high. So what I'm often saying is test your hypothesis. So if you're going to give benefit of the doubt because you believe this is a forgivable, you know, blip in the wind, that's fine. But a confronted talk about it, tested , you know, set up another experiment that's going to give them a chance to come through and to come through again and to come through again. You want to see more of an enduring pattern of positive behaviors as opposed to this negative one that maybe was just a fluke. But if it's a pattern that has a life, you know, life span attached to it, I move on, she just pay a price that you're not going to change it, you're not going to fix it. And all your caring and your benefit in the doubting in the world isn't going to make that go away.Ameé:
Yeah. Yeah. And I, you know, I guess part of the thing that I've seen with some other people is the still going to the same type of a man or woman who requires benefit of the doubt over and over and over again. So there's one thing when you're in with one individual and it's just their blip, but when you're, you know, I, you know , like let's take a hard look here. Does everybody require the benefit of the doubt you keep dating with , cause that's something different, right? Like that's the, you're still not in tune with what your script really is because I do agree. I think it's beautiful to be open minded and I am that way. Um, but I guess again, I also don't feel like I'm going to keep picking projects from this point forward, you know, in my life.Wendy Behary:
Yeah. And do you get it in return? I mean is , are you given the benefit of the doubt? Are you given the opportunity to make a mistake or to have a slip? Because that's not usually the case. When you're dealing with someone who's narcissistic, it's , it's really a double standard. They get to be, they're entitled to do whatever they want. You're not, and so you want to be very careful to be watching for that. If you're coming from, this goes back to where we started. If you're coming from your healthiest adult self, then you're knowing that you are fine and you're worthy and you are deserving of love and respect and reciprocity that you would only give benefit of the doubt in the context of a very healthy relationship. When there's moment of fluke, you know, a mistake, a headache, something has come over your partner and they're not at their best self. But coming from your healthy adult mode, you are operating with the, I'm fine, I'm worthy, I'm deserving and deserving to be what? Respected. Loved, cared for, thought of, shared, you know, community in this relationship, not this sort of monolithic unilateral decision making. Um, so you'd have to really take a look at where am I, where am I operating from? My coming from that platform resists the little knee who just has learned how sweet, sweet, sweet little me but gives in so much and pays such a high price and doesn't get his or her needs met. [inaudible]Ameé:
yeah. Now we're, we're coming to the place where , um, there I wanted to ask you because this can be difficult, which is the breaking off, you know, with, with the narcissist. And I don't mean the longterm relationship. I , I mean like here we're in the dating pool and we've been exploring and we've , we've , we did it again, you know, we found ourselves like, okay , I , I, I'm back in a place where I've, I've gone through this. I feel like I have done a little bit of testing with my questions. I've watched the responses. I have somebody here that is going to be an unhealthy relationship. What is the best way to break up with a narcissist? Because you know, in the early days they are extremely manipulative and charming and relentless. I mean, that's the other thing is if they want you badly, they don't give up very easily and it can be easy to be swept back in with the apologies and the I will change and excuses or all the other blah, blah, blahs. So what's your advice for kind of armoring yourself and not, you know, and and getting out of that relationship, you know, even before it becomes like a full blown relationship.Wendy Behary:
I would say take the, take all the wisdom that you've just spoken on me, all that wisdom that you know what they are, they might do, which is to now start hounding you. I'm trying to prove themselves to you. If they really want it to work and they feel you drifting or you've even said, you know, this isn't going to work for me. This isn't just isn't the right fit. First of all, I don't think anyone has to be apologetic for ending a relationship that isn't working for them. You don't have to defend yourself. You don't have to be apologetic. If the other is saying, look, give me some feedback because you know, I'm out there in the dating world and I want to know what I'm doing that isn't working. And again, I would say you can share with them, well , I don't know that it won't work for anyone, but it certainly doesn't work for me. You know, it's just not working for me. And so you can give them feedback if you feel like you want to share something with them, but don't defend yourself. Don't be apologetic or ending. You just say, you know, this isn't gonna work for me. It's just not the right fit. I'm just not feeling it in the way that I want to. And so, you know, thanks for the time that we've spent, but I think I'm going to move on and I wish you the best done right. But if you're already suspicious because you tried to maybe slip away even sooner and they keep coming back, use the preemptive strike. You know, please, please understand that this is not me playing hard to get, this is not an invitation. Continue to keep contacting me. Um , I'm really asking you to respect, you know , my boundary at this point because I, I'd like to move on and I don't do that with ill will . I'm, it's just what I need to do. Right. So you can even preempt anything you anticipate that might follow with a very clear line and a very clear limit, you know? No, we're not going to talk maybe next week and give it another shot. Right?Ameé:
Yeah. And boundary violations, like we talked about this in the last episode, you know, when you, when your experiences in your script in your Schema is a story of having your boundaries repeatedly violated, like not even acknowledged that you have some degree of limits for your own self that can be honored and respected by, you know, caregivers or people around you. Um, you know, you are used to, you know, having your boundaries continually violated in personal relationships. And narcissists are boundary violators, you know, I mean they're , they're used to always being able to kind of press through and ignore, you know, the boundaries that you set out there. Um, and so that is important. And so, you know, saying we're done. I do know also , um, from the experiences with narcissists is that the intensity, they love it. So if you start to get in that defensive mode, you know, like Wendy says, don't do, you know, it's only, it can't only just be more fodder in bait for them to continue to try to convince you more and you know, and it can go on and on and on and on, like in , you know, forever. So keeping it clean, keep it as simple .Wendy Behary:
Yeah. Done . Yeah, it's not the , it's not you, it's me. You know , forget the, it's not you, it's me.Ameé:
Just me. It's, we're done. We're done. We're done. And you know, and I will put this out there too , depending on the intensity of it, you know, sometimes we feel badly for blocking. People don't feel badly for blocking people. You know, if you have to block the text blocks , the Facebook page, you know , the contact, whatever it is , um, because you just know that it's not, it just doesn't feel healthy to you. And you've got all those fields in you. Like I said during this interview with you, Wendy, I did get some of those sensations crop up and my body and stuff. And so I don't know if anybody else listening kind of had the same experiences while they were going through this. But remember that's your signal, you know, that you've kind of touched on something too, to really think about it and be reflected . Yeah. So it is possible, right . To find love after being through narcicisstic relationships and get healthy, secure relationships. Right.Wendy Behary:
I've done it. That's how it's possible.Ameé:
Good . Awesome. Well, I appreciate you so much and thank you for coming back on and I am looking forward to talking with you more , uh , about other topics. Um, and especially the one , um , when you've been in the relationships with one where you've been, you know , cheated on and this very, you know, a using the, the sexual relationships as basically like you called it, like it's a drug, it's a medication. Um, those are, those are tough and powerful and , and knowing how to , um, you know, notWendy Behary:
every trauma, the trauma of betrayal is very,Ameé:
yeah, that's again where the, no , I chest titans right there. So , um , I'm, I'm certain and when in those relationships , uh, it would probably, I would say it's some people that I've known that have had their nurses [inaudible] partners haven't had to deal with that, but I do know many people out there including myself where that has been one of the biggest traumas , um, because it does the betrayal also is the trigger of the abandonment, you know, being basically not chosen and left behind over and over and over again. And that was probably one of the most toxic and poisonous feelings that I had. So I get that.Wendy Behary:
The only thing I would add is that follow those body sensations that you've mentioned so poignantly, follow those bodies sensations to recognize that it might be, again, that old story kind of creeping up through your nervous system, through your memory and you know, embrace it and, and commit to that part as opposed to committing to the person you're worried about blocking over there or the person who you know, is trying , still trying to woo you and you don't want to turn them away, you know, commit here to self-advocacy and protection, healing of that part of yourself. And you'll know you'll, you'll bypass these, these tendencies to continue to be gravitating towards narcissistic individuals .Ameé:
Yeah, I think that's actually a really great point because the narcissistic person always has an answer for your objections. They always have a verbal response back to whatever it is that you're raising. And , um, but if it never makes this feel any better, and I know that's how I knew I was in a danger, you know, danger mode with a, with another potentially, you know, toxic relationship was I kept coming back to the body. Um, and for me , um, I , I can't remember if we discussed this in , um , the episode or not, but I have rheumatoid arthritis and my, my Ra is triggered and I discovered exactly what triggers my ra. And it was this type of an individual, whether it was in a professional setting or in a personal setting. So when I started to have a flare up, I knew, I just knew this is a poison to my system and it doesn't matter what they say or how they're doing it, my body is telling me right up, run, get out, get out. Now because of all the unconscious signals you know, that my body had put together to, to protect myself through life from these types of people that I never knew to honor and listen to . Brilliant , brilliant. So I don't recommend chronic illnesses for everyone, but our nervous system does talk to us, you know, and I've learned that, that that really does our body is talking to us. So I think that's a great point. Well, you're amazing and thank you so much for, for doing this again with me today. I appreciate knowing you and having you on the show. Amazing and I amSpeaker 5:
so happy to be with you again. Thank you. Thank you.Ameé:
Thank you for listening to one broken mom . You can find podcast notes on my firstname.lastname@example.org and they're all provide all links to all of the resources that we mentioned on the episode. Also, if you have any questions, comments, or ideas for other episodes, feel free to send me an email. And if you are interested in sponsoring the show, I'd love to have you be a part of the team. Finally, if you like what you hear, please share the podcast and leave a review so that others can find it. You're all here to get better together. I am the host of me per kone , and as always, I am super grateful to have you as a listener and next time have a great day.