Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode · 5 months ago

Part 2 of an interview with Dr. Nadine Macaluso, LMFT


Part 2 of an interview with Dr. Nadine Macaluso, LMFT    


Restoring Resilience


Some abuse is dangerously obvious, while other types of abuse creep into our family DNA in covert ways. Keeping Family Secrets, intimidation, the silent treatment and cyber bullying are just a few examples of the many forms of abuse with troubling outcomes. Often victims ask why did this happen to me or what can I do, while abusers will excuse their behavior, asking why do you make me do this? Victims and abusers can rewrite their stories, improve their relationships and break the cycle for their future generations. In Christine Hammond's latest book, abuse exposed, you will learn the wide range of types of abuse, both overt and covert, the generational links to abuse, what to do before, during and after abuse, how to confront your abuser, how to talk to a victim of rape, finding forgiveness despite the pain, how to rewrite your story and avoid future problems, and much, much more. Look for Christine Hammond's latest book, abuse exposed, now available on Amazon. This is understanding today's narcissist, brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom and now here's your host, Christine Hammond. This is part two that we are talking to Dr Nay today, and part one if you haven't heard it, I would really encourage you to go back and listen to because it's all about her story, which is quite fascinating. And now we're going to focus on her healing process, because I'd really like to go through that with you and walking through some of the steps of what you had to go through, because it was quite the...

...healing process that you had after having been married to a narcissist, and quite a public one at that. Yes, yes, yes, yes, so I before I, before I ended up leaving Jordan, I had been in therapy for, I guess, seven or eight years, and so that that was very helpful in helping me manage it. However, when I did finally leave him, I someone had called me up in Sydney. Jean, if you don't go to this place, you're going to find like a a person with a similar energy. They might look different or seemed different, you're going to fall for the same person. And I was like, oh no, I mean, I didn't hear. If they would send me on a spaceship to like Mars, I would go any do anything to not endure that again. So I called up a place called the Karen Foundation, and now they have satellite places all over the country, but I went in Pennsylvania and I went to codependency clinic really for a week good, checked myself in. They worked with you from zero in the morning till eleven at night, and it was it was a wonderful experience because I learned that my peace in it, which was really important to know, to have accountability for my part, right, right, and so that my caretaking had made my life extraordinarily chaotic. MMM, yeah, and I love the idea of doing like it intensive right. Yes, it isn't just a like every week you're coming into see your therapist, like you just take some time out and do an intensive for a short period of time to focus on something kind of like jump start the healing process. Yeah, because my therapy was good. However, I really in this program. I learned about my family of origin and how my parents were in nineteen twenty, and they were not abusive, but I mean they were...

...neglectful, they didn't know what they were doing, and so I learned about how that impacted me to I had already had, already, had a very young age, been attending to my mother. HMM. So I was a natural caretaker because she was so young, and so I learned a lot about that and I learned about my caretaking and I learned how I over gave to people as an indirect way to meet my own needs. MMM, because my own emotional needs were I didn't have access to them. So was it you were not aware of them or I was not a mask? Yeah, I think he was both. MMM, I just don't even think I knew. I didn't know. I first of all, it was the first time I've ever heard the word boundaries. HMM, I didn't know I could say no. Right. I was like, wait, you're kidding me. That's how I like, but blimp is. I was so, so, like, let's like, let's go back, like if you were in that marriage which Jordan like, and you had said no, what do you think would have happened during that time period? Oh, yeah, well, it was I can never say no because he, if I had any boundary, would plow through it and I would be shamed for even like stating it. How dare you say you don't want to have kids right away? I mean that's a big decision. It is right and be made with both partners. Yes, right, and he was like, if you don't get me kids, I'm not going to marry you. You know. So I didn't know I could say no, I didn't know I could have boundaries. I didn't understand all these things. I didn't realize I don't have to sacrifice myself for love. I didn't realize that I could be my own self and have autonomy and be connected, and so these were all things that they taught me in a week. HMM, and it was really it was really lovel experience. And that's it. Give me my jump start. Yeah, that sound that sounds great.

So how if somebody hearing this right now it's interested in that kind of intensive, how would they go about going there or finding it? So the current foundation, what they call that program now, is called breakthrough and it's a week and I've sent people there and they were and they've really liked it and it's a week of your life and it's worth it because it does do more than what we can do in therapy. Right, right, exactly. Yea. So after the intensive, like there's another long process, right, of trying to refocus even how you think every day, right, and in in the voices that you allow to filter through in your own head. Can you talk a little bit about that part of the healing process for you? Yeah, so I I think you know, I went even like extreme, which was good because I think I was so one sided and care giving, an accommodating and self sacrificing. Then I came home and at our three and a five year old Ben and I would say to them you're coursing a boundary, and they really got scary. Mommy, don't say that, but I saw. I started to use those skills that I learned. I was very afraid of confrontation because I was very afraid of disappointing people or their judgment. So I started to put into practice having those tough conversations, being able to set boundaries, and I spent a lot of time journaling, because there's a lot of research now about attachment, that journaling really creates security within oneself, and so I did a lot of that to help myself. I of course, I continued to stay in therapy and then I got on my own journey about my own career and I was a garment manufacturer. I was a clothing manufacturer before I was a therapist. Okay, okay, Yep. So then...

I started to really invest in myself, because I was very focused on others as a way to distract myself. For Myself. Now I know how I thought I was, you know, just an angel, but not really, and so I really got just more every time I would look, try to get like focused on somebody else as a way to not avoid myself. I would say, Nadine, turn the mirror back to you good like don't or I used to get very affected if someone was in a bad mood there. I would catch their mood like a cold and I would really worked on that, you know, like they are there in their mood. I don't need to jump in and take care of them and make it better and become a role and mess with them. I learned to tolerate the people can sometimes be in bad moods and has nothing to do with me right and I can't fix them right. So people think that change is like this big overarching change, but it's these little moments in life, little and often, that lead to a change in my life and I kept practicing them every single day and a lot of care. It's a very slow process but every well worth the effort. Very slow and I learned that self care wasn't selfish. HMM. I really thought that if I, you know, focus on myself and would so self be so selfish, you know. And so that's what happens when you have a mother who's English and says extant pasture of needs. But MOM, for I shouldn't be extending as my own beings. That's now. So. So I really learned how very good self care and pay attention to my emotions. I think I really learned how to manage my emotions, not suppress them. MMM. I think I was suppressing a lot of my authentic emotions. MMM. And so I would practice understanding what I was feeling and expressing it...

...and seeing that everyone lived right. And I and things. Talk a little bit more about the emotions. I of it because of the type of therapy that you do, I'm sure you focus quite a bit on it a lot. So like talk a little bit more about that part of the process of healing, even for your clients, like how do you walk them through not only being aware that they're feeling something right instead of stuffing it, but then how do they express it in a way that isn't going to cause harm to themselves or others? Right? So yeah, that's a great question because, as a somatic psychotherapist, the body is where emotions live. So I teach my patients of skill called self referencing, and what that means is that when they feel something, a tingle, a sensation, a tightness in the chest, butterflies in the belly, to go to the body and see what they're feeling and name it. And so if they can figure out what they're feeling, a lot of times people will ask them out extremely their emotions or suppress them. So I work with them on how to be with them. Don't judge them, don't dismiss some, don't ignore them, don't scream them out, feel them, hold the sensation, realize what it is and express it authentically, because when we don't express our emotions, we block the connection. Right and part of what I've done in therapy, I'm sure you've done the same thing too, is like I have seen clients have pain in certain part of their body right that has no medical reason for it existing there, and have found that it is often tied to some type of traumatic event. MMM, for sure, for sure, because the issues are in the tissues.

And even when Jordan wanted to get back with me. I said to him myself have memory, even if I wanted to go, I can't, right, yeah, and the body holds with the psyche can't anymore. It kind of catches the overflow. I love that, like I want you to say that again because I think it's so important that they hear that again for sure, that the body carries what the mind or psyche can't. Yes, and so then it gets overflowed and then it's trapped in the body. And and when muscles, when we feel emotions that we can and we don't like allow them to be, we contract. That's muscle tension. That's the tension that we feel. Yeah, right, very impat often use it as like a warning sign, right, like there's, yeah, that we have to pay attention to. If you're feeling pain in this area, yes, and we have no medical reason for it, then then there's something that's going on inside of you. And and I think for people who have been married to a narcissist before, they're not even like they've taught so much right to suppress US everything and to not pay attention to their own needs and their own wants that all of that continues to get built up inside of their body, even to the point that they're not they don't even know that it's there and don't even necessarily feel it sometimes until they're away from the narcissist. HMM. Yes, yes, that is true. That is true. Actually, yeah, no, it is true, because the emotions are energy and motion. MM. So, when they are trapped in the body, they have to manifest to something. And you know, the body and mind are actually brilliant because, when you think about it, anxiety and depression are really signs that we have unresolved emotional issues. So, so I don't look at them as a thing to get away, but to get curious about. Right, right. So,...

...but if you think about depression, it's a pressing down of self. And when you were the narcissist, you cannot have a self, right, you can't, right, right, not in survive in the relationship. Right, right, right, I mean you can, you can have it, but it's got half of a self, right, because they can't tolerate they feel threatened by so, but it what was that process for you like, as you start to become become more aware of your own self outside of him? Right, because narcissists are famous, like you're you're a physical extension of their body, right, and so as you start to separate that and become aware of your own self, like, what was that process like for you? It was so liberating. I mean it was so it's, you know, as scared as I felt with him, was as like as much vitality as I felt one I left, because when someone's that big and takes up so much space, it's kind of like the BLOB. You know, your audience might be too young to understand the movie the BLOB. Maybe, maybe not. Yeah, it's okay, overtake you. And so so my body felt so much more expansive and alive and free, HMM. And I just could express myself, and it's a weird feeling too. You know, sometimes it almost would feel scary because I wasn't used to it, and I would say it's like a new pair of shoes, you know, let a be able the blisters and wear them anyway, right. And and I just definitely felt much more alive. And it was scary at times too, because expressing yourself fully and, you know, tolerating the fear of disappointing people, and sometimes you might lose people in your life, you know, once you really start to set boundaries. Right. So it's not all rainbows and UNICORNS, but it's constructive pain. Being with the narcissist is destructive to you pain.

And then, as we know, Christine, and you know of course, being a great therapist, when you go to therapy, sometimes it's painful, right, but it's constructive pain. It's going to help you in your personal growth and yourself actualization process. So what I've seen with some of my clients like, as they've come out of a narcissistic relationship, they're kind of like little babies almost right in learning how to rethink again, how to feel again, and then and then we have to grow them up a little bit along the way. Talk a little bit about that experience as well. ME. Yeah, so, I. Yeah. So, I think the real the repatterning your thoughts is very important, because I when I when I was with Jordan, I would scare myself too. I would be like, if you leave him, he's going to hurt you work, you know, or you have to be perfect. I would be very critical of myself and so once I left, I had to really be aware of the fact that I was scaring myself. I was criticizing myself. My thoughts were not kind to me. So, and this is what I work with my patients on, on developing an inner witness to my thoughts. Right. So, since I'm the one shaming myself and I was one criticizing myself, the good news was I could stop it, and that's where agency happens. Yes, and so I really learned to use my mind to control my brain and help, you know, change that thought pattern, because they weren't doing me any good. Now they're very destructive thoughts, right. And so so we have to, we definitely can repattern our brain to think differently. I often tell my clients you have to be your own best friend. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and when I was left Jordan, selfcompassion theory was not in De side Geist, but Kristin KNAPP has done such beautiful work with selfcompassion. And what that means is you. You say, I'm suffering, the world...

...is suffering. Speak. Let me speak to myself as I would have best friend, right, or would I sometimes say to my bemails, I'm like when you have a little girl, or would you tell your little girl the on fairy tale? Would you tell them one day you're going to grow up, somebody's going to hurt you're not going to be able to escape the end. MMM, no, no, you do. That work out horrible, right, it's horrible. So we have to learn, definitely learn our to change our inner dialog. HMM, yeah, for sure, I agree. HMM. Okay. So what are some parting thoughts that I would like you to just give some clients like they're they're just coming out of a narcissistic relationship. They need to start healing. What are your best, like quick tips that you would really want them to hear? You know what? I think that what they need to think of is that a narcissist has withdrawn so much from their emotional bank, so much from that personal bank, and so they need to build new resources, to influx themselves with a surplus of autonomy, agency, emotional regulation, like we talked about. And so there is a process to do that, and you know some of the ways that we mentioned about being aware of your thoughts, how to connect to your emotions. But I the way I like to term it is that you're building your own internal resources so that you can build resilience right, right, and it can be done absolutely, absolutely so for our last few seconds, like can you just tell people how they can reach out to you if they have a question or they would like to get more information about you? Make goes to my website, Nadine macalousocom, or they can go to my instagram needs at Nadine macaluso. They'll find me a Dr Na. Sounds Great. Thank you so much. Thank you. 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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