Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode 20 · 3 years ago

7 Steps of Change for a Positive Narcissistic Mid-Life Crisis

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Chuck knew he was a jerk. He cheated on his wife several times, put his work before his family, rarely went to his kid’s activities, drank heavily on the rare occasions that he was home, and verbally berated anyone who challenged him. And yet, he was a highly successful businessman, intelligent about a wide range of topics, had numerous friends, and was charming (when he wanted to be). Nonetheless, despite getting his way most of the time, Chuck was miserable.

He toyed with counselors in the past, going only when needed to preserve his marriage, but not putting any real effort into changing. Instead, he would strategically turn the counselors against his wife over many sessions, leaving her a bigger mess than when they began. He was proud of his ability to manipulate situations that normally would be to his detriment into his benefit. This precise skill was used in business as well to make him far more successful than his natural abilities.

But here he was at the mid-point of his life, wondering what was it all for? He made money to spend it on cars, boats, and houses but these things just needed more money to exist. He was a rags-to-riches story but never seemed to fill the hole in his heart that told him, “You will never amount to anything.” He had sex to feel intimacy and connection but couldn’t feel satisfied. He had a family to secure a sense of belonging but instead found shame.

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...to grow with Christine Dot com forward slash narcissism. That's grow with Christine dot com, forward slash narcissism. This master class will change your life again. That's grow with Christine Dot Com. Forward Slash Narcissism. This is understanding today's narcissist, brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom and now here's your host, Christine Hammond, and welcome back today. I want to talk to you about seven steps for a positive change of a narcissist who might be going through a midlife crisis. And I know that sounds like a mouthful and let me...

...explain where I'm going with this. I have a lot of clients that I see that fit this profile and they are narcissistic and they are going through their midlife crisis, which happens anytime between the ages of forty and sixty. Really it's been a little bit extended. It used to be around forty, but it's been moved back a little bit, at least that's what I've seen in my practice. And so what we're going to do is we're going to profile chuck and we're going to talk a little bit about what his life is like and what he's done in therapy before, and then we're going to talk about what it means to actually change. And I know it sounds crazy that a narcissist might actually want to change, but it's been this kind of strange phenomenon that I have even seen within the therapy that narcissists will come in wanting to do something different. In their midlight, they realize they've messed up their life thus far and they want to change and they want the rest of their life not to look like the life that they had before. So we're going to...

...talk about what it means to actually go through that process. And for those of you've been hurt by a narcissist, some of this might be hard to hear, that some of them can change and can do better, because it's what you've hoped for. But then they didn't change at the right time, because a narcissist will never change unless they decide that they're going to change, and when they do decide that they're going to change, they do it quite grandioseate, just like everything else about their personality. So let's dive in and talk about it a little bit more and you'll see what I mean. So we're going to talk about chuck, and Chuck Pretty much knew he was a jerk, came in saying it and therapy had cheated on his wife several times he put his work before his family. He rarely went to any of his kids activities, he drank heavily on the rare occasions that he was actually at home, and he verbally berated anyone who challenged him. And yet he was a highly successful businessman. He ran his own business, he was intelligent about...

...a wide range of topics. He had numerous friends, mind you, the friends are a mile wide an inch deep, and he was charming, true to his narcissistic self. Only when he wanted to be, though. Nonetheless, despite getting his way most of the time, chuck was miserable. That's the irony of narcissism. He toyed with counselors in the past. Of the therapists that he had gone to, he was only going when he needed in order to preserve his marriage, but he didn't really put any effort into changing anything about himself. Instead, he cast blame on his spouse. Instead, he was strategically turn all of the counselors against his wife over many sessions, leaving her an even bigger mess than when they began. He was rather proud of his ability to manipulate situations that would normally be to his detriment. Into somehow his benefit. This precise skill was what he used in business. That made him far more successful than his natural abilities would even allow him to be.

But here he was at the midpoint of his life, wondering what is it all for? He made money to spend it on cars, boats and houses, but these things just needed more money to actually exist. He was a rags to riches story, but never seemed to fill the hole in his heart that told him you will never amount to anything. He had sex to feel intimacy and connection, but he never felt satisfied. He had a family to secure a sense of belonging, but instead found shame. One counselor in years past had the courage to actually call him a narcissist. He forbade his family from ever returning to that therapist, but now sought them out for his own work. Chuck didn't want to be another typical midlife crisis story because, remember, narcissist can't be typical. His life was already a series of mini...

...midlife crises. His superiority complex had caused him to want to be different. He wanted to be more than what he had become. But how exactly could he do that? So we're going to talk about seven things, and these are the seven things that I walk through with my clients who fit this profile. Number One and openness to hearing. Chuck wasn't sure what needed to change or if he would even do what was required, but he was at least willing to listen. For the first time, he took what someone else said into consideration. Without an openness to listening, there is no positive outcome of a midlife crisis, especially for a narcissist. The only one who can get a narcissist to hear, however, is, ironically, the narcissist. No amount of begging or a naggame will change a person unless they want to be...

...changed. That is the most important thing that you can hear in this a Nars as must have step number one and openness to hearing in order for the change to actually start. Number two, after the openness to hearing, they must be able to examine themselves. Chuck's life was spent running from the things of his past that haunted him. His mother was extremely physically abusive and even cross the line of sexually abusive on several occasions. This was a deep source of shame that chuck carried and never spoke to anyone about it. His numerous sexual partners were an attempt to heal, in a very unhealthy manner, from the abuse that he experienced. So in order to go through this change, chuck had to be willing to examine himself and examine his past. Step number...

...one, and openness to hearing. Step number two and examination of self, which leads us to step number three, a willingness to heal. Exposing his shame was difficult, but chuck quickly recovered once the trauma was actually exposed. Just because a trauma is revealed does not mean that a person is willing to heal from it. Those are two separate issues. Most preferred to keep the trauma buried where it has been rather than to walk through the path of healing, which is usually painful. The path of least resistance is the easiest, which is to bury the trauma unresolved. Trauma often has a way of helping the person to remain a victim. Thereby they continued to get sympathy from others. So, step number three, chuck had to have a willingness to heal.

It's not enough to know that the trauma existed. He had to be willing to heal from it. So remember, yes, to have an openness to hearing and an examination from self, a willingness to heal. which brings us to number four, discovery of true self. After the trauma has been healed, a person is able to see their true self. This cannot be revealed through the veil of shame resulting from the trauma. Discovery of a person's true self requires vulnerability and transparency. After chuck healed from his trauma, he was able to see a more sensitive side, one that did care more about his family rather than his social status. He also returned to some hobbies he abandoned as a child, such as playing the guitar and painting. So on this journey, after Chuck was willing to heal from his trauma, he had this discovery of who he really was, the things that he left aside,...

...the things that he had forgotten, the things that actually mattered to him, and that's when he started to discover his true self, which is step number four. Step number five is the killer, restitution for wrongs. Part of Chuck's process was to recognize, acknowledge, admit and even apologize for the mistakes he made. His list was long and it took a considerable amount of time and energy for him to apologize for his misdeeds. This humbling experience generates a lot of anger inside chuck. Anger towards himself for messing up so much, anger towards others who were doing the same thing but not apologizing, and anger towards others who tolerated his jerky behavior. Processing His anger was no small task, but when he was done, he finally felt free. This is the...

...killer step for a narcissist. In this is almost always the stumbling block for them. Is when they have to do restitution for the wrongs. Most narcissists are not willing to admit that they've made a mistake, and if they are, they will not apologize for it. They'll continue to go back to step number three, which is a willingness to heal, except they won't be willing to heal. So remember Earth. This is why I say this isn't an easy process for a narcissist to go through in a midlife crisis. Can they change? Yes, but step number five is the killer of all of those stages. So let's review the stages again. Number one is an openness to hearing. Number two is an examination of self. Number three is a willingness to heal. Number four is discovery of true self. Number five is restitution for wrongs. Number six is commitment to growth. Getting free from Chuck's past...

...abuse and the mistakes he made was significant, but things did not stop there. Chuck needed to make a commitment to continue to learn, grow and change. This was new to him. In the past he was satisfied with his identity and felt no need to improve, but now he saw numerous areas of his life that he actually wanted to water. This commitment involved finding an accountability person that would be honest with him about other areas of improvement. This was a totally new concept to chuck, who in the past would have seen such an idea as a sign of weakness. So after you've done the restitution for wrongs, there has to be a commitment to continued growth, and only over time will you know whether a person has truly made that commitment, which leads to our last stage, inspiration for others. Chuck used to think that his...

...success was an inspiration to others. Now he viewed his material success in vain and decided that his inspiration should be in how different the second half of his life looked. He wanted to inspire others to change in show that an old dog really can learn new tricks. As such, he recommitted himself to his marriage and his kids. He also decided to change his business model to allow a more flexible schedule to have more times for the things that he enjoyed. This change was noticeable to nearly everyone around him. So let's review the seven steps. Number one is an openness to hearing. Number two and examination of self. Number three, a willingness to heal. Number for, discovery of true self. Number Five, restitution for wrongs, number six, commitment to...

...growth and number seven, inspiration towards others. Not all narcissistic change needs to end towards the negative. There can be a positive outcome. Sometimes, albeit rarely, a narcissist can change for the positive, and when they do it is on a very grand scale, which is so true to their personality. So I hope after hearing this, you really have a better understanding of what it takes for a narcissist to actually go through positive change and come out on the other side of this. This is a very hard process for them. And it takes a considerable amount of therapy and patience and time. It is not something that can be done overnight and it should not be rushed and the steps should not be skipped. All of those steps are designed buying purpose and intention to heal that narcissistic shame wound which exists deep inside of them. So...

I hope this was helpful for you and it gave you an idea of what true change could look like for a narcissist. The biggest catches will they decide to start and complete the process. Thanks for listening to understanding today's narcissist with Christine Hammond brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom. For more information, visit grow with Christine dotcom.

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