Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode 37 · 3 years ago

Narcissist Awareness Grief

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Christine introduces the concept of "NAG" with a story of her own client, Sam. She unpacks the symptoms and the 6 stages of NAG which all need to be faced and understood.

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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. Oh this is understanding. Today's narcissist brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom and now here's your host, Christine Hammond. Hi. Today we're going to talk about a topic called narcissism, awareness grief, also known as Nag and AG. So I'm sure this is not something that you have heard of before, because it...

...is something that I have made up, but it is something that I see quite regularly with clients and I'm going to explain through a story exactly what this is so you can start to become aware of it a little bit more. So I have a client. Her name is Sam and after thinking that she was very dysfunctional, she started to embrace the reality that her mother was really a narcissist. Her whole life had been filled with feelings of an adequacy, inferiority, selfdoubt, shame and even guilt over every little thing she did wrong or was even told by her mother was wrong. Now, several therapists later, because she, so many before me, seem finally open her eyes to the idea that her mother's perspective was the primary dysfunction and not something that was inherently within herself. This revelation resulted in a massive outpouring of emotions. Sam...

...struggled to accept this new reality. She was angry at her mother's lies. She wondered why it took so long for her to realize this. She felt relieved that she had an answer to so many questions and was deeply saddened by the heaviness of it all. While the missing link of Narcissism brought to light her own experiences, Sam felt overwhelmed by this sudden flood of conflicting emotions. She cried, yelled, screamed and wept as her whole body and being seemed to spin out of control. She looked like she was having a panic attack. What was happening? She started to ask. What she really wanted to...

...know was why now, after years of wondering what was wrong with her, why was her emotional experienced so incredibly intense? To help or process all of this, Sam began the narcissistic awareness grieving process, which is what we're going to be talking about today, similar to the grieving process that a person experiences after the death of someone they love. Narcissism, awareness grief, which all referred to as Nag here forward. Happens when a person becomes aware of the narcissism, sees how and where it has impacted their life and begins to rewrite their story. Now, looking through this new perspective, we're going to talk about the six stages of Nag, which are not necessarily experienced in a certain order. However, all of them do need to be faced before you can...

...enter into the final stage, which is acceptance. Not everyone enters the acceptance stage. Some get stuck in one or more of these stages, sadly for the rest of their lives. So let's go over the six stages of Nag. The very first stage of NAG is denial. Sam began therapy by talking about how perfect her mother was and how much she relied on her for her opinions, decisions and even direction for her life. It wasn't until several sessions later that the idea of narcissism was introduced. At first SAM denied it. Then, after thinking about it, reading it and talking about it, she began to realize the truth of this suggestion. However, she greatly minimized the impact until one day her mother aggressively went off on her. This type of...

...situation was not unusual, but what she usually blow over in the past seemed to pop a bubble of sorts within Sam and she could no longer ignore the severity of her mother's narcissism. So that is the first stage, which is denial, and at the end of the denial stage she can't ignore it. The second stage of NAG is anger. The anger that followed was very intense. Seam was mad at other therapists who failed to bring this to light, pissed it herself for believing her mother without any hesitation whatsoever, frustrated with her dad for encouraging her to listen to her mom and annoyed with friends and family who believe the lie that her mother was in fact superior. Compared to every everything else she had gone through. It felt like she had never actually experienced true anger before until today. Sam's therapist, which was me, suggested that...

...she make a list, with a bullet point list with specific itemizations of all things, occurrences and experiences she was angry about regarding her mother. Just putting it down on paper, sharing it with me and being able to feel validated, Sam was able to release it in a safe and healthy way. So Sam second stage was anger, and she was able to pass through the anger stage by writing things down on paper and sharing it with me. The third stage of NAG is called bargaining. As Sam engaged in the bargaining stage, she began to question her own reality. She wished her life was different and even felt shame for not seeing the narcissism. She had thoughts like why was I born into this family? Or if only I had a mother who cared...

...more for me than her own image, or I should have realized this sooner, I am so stupid. These thoughts obsessively occupied her mind. All of these sentiment sentiments, are essential pieces to forming new patterns of thinking, processing and re organizing information. Without these seemingly discouraging notions, the stage of rewriting, which is the next stage, cannot occur. Unfortunately, most of these questions Sam had could not be answered. There was no good answer to any of those questions, but she was able to stop insulting herself in a manner similar to what her mother had been doing for all of her life. So, as Sam entered the bargaining stage, she had lots of questions. By the end of the bargaining stage, she started to realize that the answers were...

...not something she was going to have and she had to let that go and stop insulting herself in the process. The fourth stage of NAG is depression. The heaviness of the diagnosis of narcissism generated a sadness as Sam came to understand that her mother is not likely to ever change. SAAM would have to live with this new reality, change how she related to her mother and work through her own missed opportunities for both the past and future attachment with others. The expectation that if she just did enough or was enough, then somehow her mother would love her more needed to be completely eliminated. Instead, Sam needed to accept that her mother will continue to point out her flaws, belittle horror in front of others, never apologize, remain controlling and manipulative and relentlessly demand constant...

...attention. Sam's depression through this process and this stage only deepened. Now she found herself feeling like she had to do all of the work to heal and her mother would have to accept no accountability for her behavior. So during the depression phase, Sam had a lot to work for, which is the fourth stage a lot to work through and it was very hard for her and lasted for a while. But as she came out of it she started the next most important stage, which is number five, the fifth stage of Nag, which is rewriting. This stage is in addition to what we call the normal stages of a of grief and is unique to Nag. As a child, Sam believed that her mom did amazing things. Now, as an adult, she was forced to come to terms with how her mother's narcissus them created great...

...exaggerations about her accomplishments that were not even close to drue. To see her mother for who she really was, seem had to rewrite her own perspective with the a new perspective. She had also carried away from childhood this idea that she was so flawed that she somehow didn't deserve to be loved at all. Now, looking back over the past failed relationships, she began to realize the brevity and widespread effect of her mother's narcissism. These old negative feelings started rewriting themselves as well to state it was my mother who could not love or properly attached, not some defect in me, with her history. Updating to match the truth, Sam immediately transformed her opinion of herself. For instance, instead...

...of being ashamed of her sensitivity, Sam learned to value it. She began to see her kindness in optimism, not as a weakness but as a strength. More importantly, she viewed her attachment onto her new boyfriend as healthy rather than some weird dependency that her mom insisted it was. So the rewriting stage is not only unique to the grieving process, but is unbelievably essential to being able to move forward into the final stage of NAG which is acceptance. One. Sam had worked through the previous stages, this final stage of accepting the narcissism came very naturally to her. No longer haunted by the diagnosis, Sam saw it as a revelation, a new and exciting freedom of sorts, from the trappings of her dysfunctional childhood. She could see the narcissism as a permanent...

...disability from which her mother would never recover. Without having the desire to try to help her mother become better. Instead of being upset about this, saam started to embrace it. Since narcissists don't change, they are very predictable. This made engaging with her mother easier because see him, was now able to anticipate her mother's rages, the attempts at humiliating her and her mom's need to be the center of attention. Sam's expectations of her mother changed greatly and gave her a comforting new found piece. Those are the six stages of Nag, and the amount of time that it takes for a person to complete all of these stages is going to vary from one case to another. Some are able to do this in a few months, while others can take a year or longer. Unfortunately, a few people actually get stuck in the middle of the...

...process and never really reach acceptance at all. Whatever the situation may be, in order to truly and fully achieve peace within yourself, it is necessary for those who have been victims of narcissistic personalities to complete all the stages of acceptance and Nag and learn how to grow beyond their previously fabricated reality. I hope that this helps explain just what that grieving process looks like and that you are able to move forward in a healthy and balanced way. 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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