United Parenting shares – Is Your Partner a Narcissist? by Karyl McBride

Here Are 50 Ways to Tell.

An expert’s checklist for gauging where you stand.
Post published by Karyl McBride Ph.D. on Dec 30, 2014 in The Legacy of Distorted Love

The label narcissist is used loosely these days, typically to indicate anyone who is vain and selfish, but the true personality disorder and its traits run much deeper, and carry long-term debilitating effects for those involved with such people. If you were raised by a narcissistic parent or are in a relationship with a narcissist, you will likely feel more like an object to be used and manipulated to meet the narcissistic partner’s goals or needs. You eventually realize your partner does not see the real you. It is a heart-breaking discovery to realize you have been conned or duped by someone you trusted and loved.

Below I’m offering you a checklist to determine if your relationship carries these devastating traits. Remember: Narcissism is a spectrum disorder; someone with a high level or number of these traits can be a more damaging influence on you, and your children. The more traits, the closer to a full-blown personality disorder.

This checklist is copyrighted and comes directly from my new book to be released on February 10, 2015: Will I Ever Be Free of You? How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist, and Heal Your Family. 

Is Your Partner a Narcissist? Checklist 

  1. When something goes wrong, does your partner blame everyone but himself or herself?
  2. Does your partner refuse to be accountable for his or her bad behavior? (For example, “You made me so mad that I couldn’t help . . .”)
  3. Does your partner believe he or she is always right?
  4. Is your partner unable to tune in to your feelings or your children’s feelings?
  5. Does your partner seem more concerned about how your behavior or your children’s behavior reflects on him or her than on understanding and accepting who you and the kids are as people?
  6. Does your partner seem to be out of touch with his or her own feelings or seem to deny them?
  7. Does your partner carry grudges against you and others?
  8. Is it all about your partner and his/her money, time, parenting time, property, and wishes/demands?
  9. Does your partner seem unwilling to listen to you and to hear your concerns?
  10. Is your partner constantly telling you what to do?
  11. Does your partner make you feel “not good enough”? Have your partner’s constant put-downs caused you to internalize this message?
  12. Does your partner never ask about you, your day, or your feelings, even in passing?
  13. Does your partner need to go on and on about how great he or she is and how pathetic you are?
  14. Does your partner lie?
  15. Does your partner manipulate?
  16. Does your partner tell different people different stories about the same event, spinning the story so that he or she looks good?
  17. When your partner talks about his or her kids, is it about what the kids do rather than who they are?
  18. Are the children uncomfortable with your partner, love your partner, but at the same time are reluctant to spend time with him or her?
  19. Have you come to realize that the kids protect themselves by not sharing their feelings with your partner?
  20. Does your partner mistrust everyone?
  21. Are the kids always trying to gain your partner’s love and approval?
  22. Has your partner spent minimal time with the children?
  23. Does your partner typically skip the children’s events if he or she does not have an interest in that particular activity or does not value it?
  24. Does your partner push the children to be involved in activities that your partner likes or values and discourage or forbid them from pursuing activities that your partner does not value?
  25. Have others in your life said that something is different or strange about your partner?
  26. Does your partner take advantage of other people?
  27. Is your partner all about power and control, pursuing power at all costs?
  28. Is your partner all about image and how things look to others?
  29. Does your partner seem to have no value system, no fixed idea of right and wrong for his or her behavior?
  30. After the divorce, does your partner still want to exploit you? Or has your partner never calmed down?
  31. When you try to discuss your life issues with your partner, does your partner change the subject so that you end up talking about your partner’s issues?
  32. When you describe your feelings, does your partner try to top your feelings with his or her own stories?
  33. Does your partner act jealous of you?
  34. Does your partner lack empathy?
  35. Does your partner only support things that reflect well on him or her?
  36. Have you consistently felt a lack of emotional closeness with your partner?
  37. Have you consistently questioned if your partner loves you?
  38. Does your partner do considerate things for you only when others are around to witness that good behavior?
  39. When something difficult happens in your life (for instance, an accident, illness, a divorce in your family or circle of friends), does your partner react with immediate concern about how it will affect him or her rather than with concern for you?
  40. Is your partner overly conscious of what others think?
  41. Do you feel used by your partner?
  42. Do you feel responsible for your partner’s ailments or sicknesses?
  43. Do you feel that your partner does not accept you?
  44. Is your partner critical and judgmental of you and others?
  45. Do you feel that your partner does not know and value the real you and does not want to know the real you?
  46. Does your partner act as if the world should revolve around him or her?
  47. Does your partner appear phony to you?
  48. Does your partner swing from grandiosity to a depressed mood?
  49. Does your partner try to compete with you?
  50. Does your partner always have to have things his or her way?

As one of my clients commented, “If you have ever awakened at 3 a.m. with heart pounding and a vivid certainty that you must end the relationship with the person sleeping next to you, but the next day continued on as if such middle-of-the-night thoughts were just a bad dream, then you may need some help with the struggle of what to do next. The surreal Alice in Wonderland quality of living with a narcissist is not something we are born knowing how to deal with or even understand.”

Of course, there is hope and healing and if you determine you are struggling with an emotionally abusive relationship I encourage you to reach out, get help, and learn as much as you can about this insidious disorder. You deserve to be loved and cherished, as do your children.

Will I Ever Be Free of You? How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist, and Heal Your Family. New Book Release: February 10, 2015. Atria Books

United Parenting – sharing my own story of recovery

I’ve been away from blogging for a while as I needed to concentrate on looking after myself. I was knocked off balance by life events outside of my control last autumn and it’s taken a massive effort for me to bounce back. However, my mojo has returned, I have set new goals in motion and I’m ready to face the world again.
I’ve only just had the courage to watch myself in action and I’m so proud of myself that I’m going to be brave and share my story with you xx‪‪‬ ‪‬ ‪#‎therapy‬

United Parenting writes about “Who’s yer one?”

 

This is a transcript of the presentation that I gave recently at the Parenting 2.0 Conference in Dublin. It’s my story (well, a little of it as I only had 10 minutes to share it!) My mantra when I wrote it was ‘name it and claim it!’ because I believe that if I cannot have the courage to be vulnerable and name my experiences then I’ve no business asking a client to do so in a session with me.

 

 

There’s a saying here in Ireland: Who’s yer one? It means’ who do you think you are to tell me what to do?!’ Well, my name is Niki Williams. I’m a Psychiatric Nurse, Counsellor, Parent Mentor and Trauma Therapist by training. However my main qualification is what I’ve learned through personal experience as a survivor and a divorced mother of three.
My parents separated, my father moved abroad, and I was raised from the age of three by a single mum for nine years. We lived in a council house on welfare benefits. I remember life as simple and carefree. Then my mum got married to a man whom she really didn’t know. I believe she was in love with the idea of being ‘a proper family’ and she fell for his potential rather than his reality.
He was a very sick man. He was a whisky drinking alcoholic who made irresponsible financial decisions. My mother went to work to feed us. He systematically sexually abused and raped me. My mother was too terrified and ashamed to leave him. All this had a hugely damaging effect on our family relationships.
Consequently I was left with a legacy of shame. I felt like it was my fault, there was something bad in me and if people actually knew me they wouldn’t like me.

 

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More positively it gave me a thirst for learning. I had a God given unshakable belief that there were better things out there for me. I wanted to learn how to do things differently. I needed practical, workable alternatives. I became a self-help book junkie!
After some chaotic years of living independently; learning the hard way that hurt people hurt people, I found a man who was willing to marry me. Having read an abundance of literature about relationships, healing and creating a better life; I’d engaged in therapy and felt ready to create my own family. I was clear with him that divorce was not an option for me. In fact, what I told him was “I‘ll kill you before I divorce you so you better be sure this is what you want!”

You can imagine my devastation when five years into forever I discovered my husband’s affair with a married friend. All the things I believed would protect me from this had failed. The bottom fell out of my world.
We had two children at this stage. My daughter was three. When I looked into her eyes I was unable to separate her pain from my own at losing a father. I had long ago vowed that my children would grow up with a mum and dad who loved each other and stayed together. So we reconciled. We honestly tried, we even had another child, but the trust was gone.
By the time we agreed to go our separate ways and I relocated from England to Ireland, two out of three of our children were acting out with daily antisocial behaviours. Because I had worked so much on myself I understood the process. They were drawing attention to what needed to be resolved. I sought help for them. I researched and tried every solution I could come up with and yet, the behaviours continued.
Only now I faced it as a single parent, where I knew no-one and had no support network. On the outside I appeared bravely confident, relying on my old survival skills. On the inside I felt isolated, ashamed, angry and guilty. There were days when I lost sight of anything positive. I woke in the morning thinking “This is not my life”, feeling “I just can’t do this anymore”, before dragging myself out of bed to do what had to be done. I was living a life of quiet desperation.

 

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However, just as in my childhood, my spirit kept telling me there were better things ahead and I could not give up hope. I read about Dr Tony Humphreys, an Irish psychologist and author who seemed to speak my language about raising children with healthy self-esteem. I thought to myself “This is it. If he can’t help me no-one can!” Whilst at U.C.C. for a year. I grew and matured, as a person and a parent.
I learnt, among many other things, the simple yet profound truth that I want to share with you today.
I call it the 100% rule. It goes like this…

Everything that someone else says or does is 100% about them.
Everything I say and do is 100% about me.

Think about that for a moment.

Everything that someone else says or does is 100% about them.
Everything I say and do is 100% about me.

It’s about personal accountability. It was a revelation to me, taking complete responsibility for one’s own actions. Something my parents had not learned and so were unable to teach me. By applying this rule I was able to stop personalising other people’s behaviour. It’s what finally moved me out of a victim mentality where I felt powerless over my life.

For example; my children were not punishing me for being a bad mother. They were telling me the only way they knew how that life was difficult and painful for them too.
My husband didn’t leave because I failed as a wife. He left because he chose to solve his problems that way. He could have chosen differently. I couldn’t have forced him to leave any more than I could make him stay. The only person I can control is myself.
How other people act usually has very little to do with me and more to do with what’s going on inside of them. Fear, anger, hurt, frustration, disappointment, illness, you just don’t know what battles someone else may be fighting in their lives and projecting onto you.

With the compassionate, non judging mentorship I received I learnt how to hold, not control, my children’s pain over the loss of their Dad, or their upset at witnessing my grief. I chose to forgive myself rather than beat myself up. Acknowledging my pain I began taking better care of my own needs and reached out for support to people who were actually able to offer it. I learnt how to parent myself with the same loving compassion that I was endeavouring to parent my children.

 

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Having read so often about loving myself now I was actually doing it. By recognising and honouring my needs, valuing my thoughts and expressing my feelings as being equally as valid as everyone else’s I moved from head knowledge to a heartfelt understanding. It’s not what you have that makes you a good parent, it’s who you are. Love is what my children will remember. I believe that because a lack of love is what I remember. After this shift from within, I moved on with renewed hope.

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I felt empowered to act for myself rather than against another. It’s called setting healthy boundaries which I had struggled with for such a long time. I found my voice and used it to communicate honestly and assertively, especially with my children. No means no because my rules are fair and are there to keep you safe.

It became ok to be vulnerable with them, to respond to their anger or tears with “I understand you feel angry” “It’s ok to be sad” and “I know I miss Daddy too.” I could admit to them “I’m really sorry I shouted, I’m having a tough day and that’s not your fault.” Children are naturally very forgiving.
Seeing my ex-husband through my children’s eyes was a huge step of emotional separation. It was more important to me for him to be their Dad than to punish him for hurting me. I was willing to forgive him and healing followed.
I discovered that I was actually unconditionally loving my children, cultivating a close, affectionate relationship with each of them, despite the difficult behaviours. I feel so passionately about sharing this learning with other parents that I founded United Parenting – Putting Children First. Sometimes getting help doesn’t mean solving the problems. It can mean maintaining a loving relationship even in the face of those problems.

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With a house of teenagers now it’s a bumpy road that we’re travelling together. As we know better we do better. So can you. I trust that sharing my story will inspire you to share your story with me. Thank you for listening.