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Old 01-20-2011, 07:04 PM
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Narcissism

I'm sure this topic has been brought up on these boards many times but too bad, I'm bringing it up again.

How many of you feel that people just appear Narcissistic when they are active alcoholic and how many feel that the people already had those tendencies to begin with?

My counselor told me that he thinks my ex is a narcissist even without the booze. That really scares me.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:06 PM
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I think most alcoholics are self-absorbed to the extreme, but that's different from narcissism.

Narcissism is a bona fide personality disorder and, yes, it IS scary.

My most recent relationship was with a narcissist (lol, I diagnosed him), and he rarely drank.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:12 PM
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My marital counselor told me way back when my XAH and I were trying...he told me privately...that he was pretty certain my ex also suffered from something something narcissistic personality disorder and even if he went to rehab, our relationship would be very, very difficult.

I remember being really sad about that.

I am still sorry we didn't work out...but...we were insane together...and my current loneliness is still way better than that!!
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:13 PM
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Focusing on THEM, diagnosing THEM, trying to figure THEM out is a diversion tactic my mind uses to avoid looking within.

And, yes I know this has been brought up many times, but too bad, I'm bringing it up again. (Said with the best of intentions)

L
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
Focusing on THEM, diagnosing THEM, trying to figure THEM out is a diversion tactic my mind uses to avoid looking within.
I would agree in most cases, but there is one exception in my mind.

I know that my relationship with XABF was toxic, and not healthy for me. For my own sanity, though, I needed to figure out if I wanted to give him yet another chance, if he started to get his act together. I just had to know if there was a chance it would work...

But looking at some of the issues he has, besides the alcohol, I know now that it is wasted effort, because there are some things deep in his personality that I do not believe he will ever change, and they are not compatible with the wonderful person I intend to become through my healing process. He is who he is, and I am becoming who I was meant to be, and we are going in opposite directions.
So I have been learning to let go, at least mostly, and much more than I would have if I did not come to that conclusion. I care about him, and I wish him the best, but he is not my burden, and a sober XABF will just become XRABF. This discovery is how I am managing to hold strong, even though he has started trying to open communications with me. I am not strong enough to talk to him yet, but I am strong enough to not get sucked back in, and that is a wonderful start.


In short, concentrating solely on THEM is a bad idea, a delaying tactic, and slows down your own recovery.
Concentrating on them just enough to determine what YOU want to do with the rest of the relationship, however, can help you move forward with your own recovery, with at least some idea of your hopes and dreams for the future.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by StarCat View Post
In short, concentrating solely on THEM is a bad idea, a delaying tactic, and slows down your own recovery.
Concentrating on them just enough to determine what YOU want to do with the rest of the relationship, however, can help you move forward with your own recovery, with at least some idea of your hopes and dreams for the future.
I understand where you're coming from and I agree to an extent. However, the longer I live, the more I realize my crystal ball is defective. None of us knows what will happen tomorrow, much less 10 years from now.

Hopes and dreams are wonderful, if they are a driving force for action TODAY. Other than that, they are only speculation. The hopes and dreams I had 10 years ago are completely different than the hopes and dreams I have today. That's life. It's an unexpected adventure that takes you places you never would have dreamed.

GG's talking about someone who is already and EX. Nearly every thread she has started since she came to SR has been about HIM. I believe it is much more productive to focus on where to go from here than where we have been. If you are constantly looking the the rear view mirror, you will crash.

L
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:04 AM
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I believe it may be healthy to come to terms with the person we were involved with/are involved with. If that means attempting to diagnose them, why not? Sometimes when you're involved with a manipulative, selfish, abusive or otherwise, non-empathetic person who makes you feel like you're the 'crazy' one, finding out there could be a name to their behaviour is liberating and could be a step in the right direction of recovery. Having been with my fair share of abusers, finding an 'answer' or a reason for the insanity has helped me move on as well as helped me to start taking personal responsibility for attracting such people into my life and to work on my own boundaries and 'radar'. In saying that, none of us have any problem saying we have been with/are involved with alcoholics whether they've been diagnosed by a professional or not or accepting others who say that. What is the difference between attempting to 'diagnose' someone who abuses alcohol and attempting to 'diagnose' someone who seems to have anti-social tendencies, especially if we're on the recieving end of such behaviour? Maybe it's not 'politically correct', who knows? At the end of the day, if we've lived with dysfunction, and abuse and such abuse has a 'face', surely we can be forgiven for labelling it as such IF it helps us to face it and move on... in our own time?....Just my thoughts on it.

At the end of the day, we will work through our recovery in our own time. And yes, I agree, looking back is not always helpful. When I've done that, I have crashed at times and felt like I'm starting from scratch. This is when I remind myself that recovery is a process, not an event. And one day, maybe I'll get it. But right now, for me. it's one day at a time.

GG, I've done exactly what you've done. Still do at times. Right up until my twenties, I tried to rationalise my mother's behaviour until I discovered the disorder of Narcissism. She fits it to a tee. I've also tried to rationalise my exAH and exDFH's behaviours and I got stuck there for a while, a long while. I think I was in shock...PTSD. One day, when you're ready, you will come to accept they are what they are, disorder or not. I have done so with my mother, exAH and am getting there with my exADFH. I'm a slow learner but I'll get there one day as I'm sure you will....
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:14 AM
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Thank you floss. Um yes my threads are all about him because the forum is family and friends of alcoholics. Duh. I'm not here to check in with you guys and assert where my "recovery" is. While I am apparently focusing on him...apparently you are focusing on me. I don't post about ME because I don't need this thread for that. Furthermore, you don't know me. Don't make assumption. If you hadn't noticed, I haven't even posted on SR much lately because I don't care as much lately. That's progess but I guess you guys already decided different from your magic crystal balls over there.

if you aren't interested in the topic of this thread, there are plenty of other threads you can post.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:51 AM
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Well, from looking at GG's joining date, she's only been on for 3 months and she's seeing a counsellor and is nutting out, in her own time, where she's been and where she wants to be. It took me a year from joining SR to write my first post and I've only posted 191 times. I have a life time of unravelling, I can't see myself getting past step one for a few more years, lol.

And I thought I was all done with that years ago. I was the spiritual one, I practised and learnt raja yoga, hands on healing, Reiki and Seichim, past life regression, chakra healings/cleansing, rebirthing, forgiveness. I have loads of spiritual books and have talked to my 'guides'. Who was I kidding? That's what I call diversion tactics. I was living in a fantasy world where everyone was love on the inside. Stepping out of my 'love and light' world has been a revelation. It's now that I can look at the 'reality' of my life and hopefully lose the 'magical thinking' without turning cynical? This is the time in my life where I can say, "That person is not healthy for me and I need to guard myself from them" instead of "Oh, they just need acceptance. They're hurting. If I treat them as I'd like to be treated, they'll be magically transformed by my healing, loving energy". Give me a break! I was doing that for YEARS. I did it my whole life and right up until 3 or 4 years ago. It was time for me to wake up out of a so-called 'spiritual coma' and face the fact that my life was unmanageable and also to face the fact I was raised by an alcoholic who abandoned me and a valium popping violent narcissistic mother only to go on repeating those patterns with partners. To go from where I was and to tap into that suppressed anger, fear and grief was one giant leap for me. I felt unsafe, scared and unsupported. This is when I needed to research the reality of what I was living, including the alcoholism and abuse I lived and turn to my Higher Power. Right now, I feel like an infant learning how to walk.

We all come from different places, different backgrounds and have had different experiences. We may not all think the same, but sometimes we need to know there is a safe place we can share as many of us have not had this before. Some of us have fumbled along until we've reached a brick wall, our rock bottom. That brick wall brought me here, as it has many. Speaking for myself and maybe for some others, as long as I can trust I'm heard and not judged, whilst also accepting there are differing opinions, not taking offense at the differences, and accepting gentlly guided 'tough' love when I'm ready, I will continue to feel safe to post and will continue to grow in my recovery.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by goldengirl3 View Post
Thank you floss. Um yes my threads are all about him because the forum is family and friends of alcoholics. Duh.
LOL. This cracks me up because I had the same reaction when I first started therapy. She wanted to talk about ME. My life, my parents, my childhood. Not very bright for someone with a Masters Degree. Didn't she hear me when I said I was seeing her because I was married to an alcoholic? Duh.

We all come from different places, different backgrounds and have had different experiences.
I totally agree with this, which is why I can only share from my own experience. That being, the cause of someone elses behavior is of much less importance to me than how it affects me and how I respond to it. And when I get all wrapped up in diagnosing someone else, I forget that I can trust myself to recognize unacceptable behavior. I don't need to recognize every condition and symptom in the DSM IV in order to protect myself. I simply have to decide what is acceptable and what is not--to me.

For example, I have a boss who can be a real d!ck sometimes. When he treats me with contempt, I can go all victim, wonder if he's an alcoholic, narcissist, or was abused as a child. Or, I can simply acknowledge that he's behaving like a jerk, and figure out the best way to respond in terms of protecting myself from his behavior.

Whatever works for you is great. Just sharing what works for me.

L
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:00 AM
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You guys don't even know the context of the conversation with the therapist. You've been given ONE line that was said. You are still focused on fixing me. You can't even keep yourself from trying to fix a complete stranger on the internet.

Maybe I just like debating things and thinking about things?

Talk about controlling. Like I said - move on to another thread if you aren't interested in the topic.
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:41 AM
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I have a friend that I've been having trouble with. As I read these threads today, I am thinking "THIS is what she needs to know about herself. THIS is why she's acting this way. THIS is why she can't/won't/doesn't..."

And then I realized: I have the choice of how much access I will allow her.
I do. Me, me, me. I can protect myself from her behaviors that hurt me.

There are a million reasons why she is who she is and does what she does and all I can do is take care of me and my children. Thank you, God, for that realization, because 4 people is already a lot to worry about.
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:54 AM
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Floss your post truly hit home for me. I just became a member at the beginning of the week and have already made progress. Sharing with others and reading their posts. I realized that I am not alone. That I am not the only person who has an alcoholic mother (even though she is dry - she was and still is an alcoholic). I am not the only person with an ABF who can be abusive at times. I am not the only person who is codependent. I am tired of feeling alone. SR has been a God send for me.

Goldengirl...my exH is a narcissist, but not an alcoholic. My mother - alcoholic. Current BF - alcoholic. Now I am not sure if the alcoholism breeds narcissism, but all three of these people display the same characteristics. Was my mother and BF narcissists before they were alcoholics? I have no idea. BUT they all have the same exact behavior. Bottomline, I don't want to be around people like that anymore or at the very least I am going to find a healthy place for ME so that when I do encounter people like that in the future I will recognize them for who they are and stay away from them.
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:35 PM
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Thanks Codie...and welcome to SR....and I agree, some alcoholics (not all....as my RAF has empathy which was truly evident when he cared for his partner 24/7 during her battle with cancer) display behaviour that seems narcissistic. And yes GG, I believe my mother has always had those tendencies. Her sister said she was very violent as a child. She ripped a door off it's hinges and used to bash her as she was growing up. I don't know what went haywire with my mother as a child or whether she was born with it, but her behaviour continued into adulthood.


I totally agree with this, which is why I can only share from my own experience. That being, the cause of someone elses behavior is of much less importance to me than how it affects me and how I respond to it. And when I get all wrapped up in diagnosing someone else, I forget that I can trust myself to recognize unacceptable behavior. I don't need to recognize every condition and symptom in the DSM IV in order to protect myself. I simply have to decide what is acceptable and what is not--to me.


Sometimes that's easier said than done. I couldn't trust myself. I'm still battling with that now. I was brought up with a lot of violence. My personal boundaries were violated on a daily basis. I ended up with no or little boundaries. I inherently knew as a child that what I lived with was not normal. We were also isolated and the only comparison I had of my family to what 'everyone' lived out there was, sadly,the Brady Bunch, and Eight is Enough, lol. So, as an adult, even though I recognised I was being abused (only if it was physical/sexual or profanity yelled at me), I had no ability to pick up other types of abuse like emotional and mental abuse, spiritual abuse, control etc. So, yes, I have been in so many situations where my gut feeling says one thing but my head says another and I don't know which one to believe. I've had to relearn all of that stuff and it's slow progress. Now when my gut senses danger, even if there's no evidence of it, I'm starting to listen to it.

Also, when I grew up with such abuse, as a child, I took on all of those things I was called. My siblings and I were blamed and bashed on a daily basis for everything, about everything, and we were made to believe we were not worthy of being alive. We were told that consistently. For me, it was like a light bulb being switched on when I 'disovered' my mother's disorder. Thank God, I had a name for it. I wasn't alone. There are professional people that know these types of people exist. They know what they do. They know my mother. I'm not crazy! It was then that I realised there was nothing I could do or say that would ever change my mother's behaviour and make her realise what she did/does to us. It was then that I could take steps to protect myself. It was then that I could gently tell my older sister when she continued and still trys to gain my mother's approval that it's no reflection on who she is as a person, but our mother will never love us. It's been since then I've been able to help my younger sister realise that she truly is beautiful and her hair is gorgeous, as she grew up believing she was ugly and was too scared to go to the hairdresser because she was told (as we all were) that our hair was disgusting. It's because I know it's not me, but my mother's problem/disorder that I have never allowed her to be alone with any of my children etc etc.



For example, I have a boss who can be a real d!ck sometimes. When he treats me with contempt, I can go all victim, wonder if he's an alcoholic, narcissist, or was abused as a child. Or, I can simply acknowledge that he's behaving like a jerk, and figure out the best way to respond in terms of protecting myself from his behavior.

That's where I'm heading. That's where I want to be and thank god, I'm getting there, finally at the age of almost 40. I'm realising now, I don't need/want to be around people like that or if I have no choice to put boundaries in place.


Whatever works for you is great. Just sharing what works for me.

L[/QUOTE]


Well, that felt emotionally cathartic...Think I need to go for a walk....
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:42 PM
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Now this is where I get confused and I may not be interpreting it correctly however, I've noticed that on one hand you said GG's focus seems to be on HIM. On the other hand, you spoke about your experience with therapy in that your counsellor wanted to focus on you and you were there to talk about what was going on with your spouse.
Exactly. And if she hadn't been wise enough to gently steer me away from talking about him (which is pretty much all I wanted to do) and get me to face myself (which was not at all what I wanted to do--because it's hard!) then I would have wasted a lot of time and money, and would probably still be stuck.

That is the experience I was attempting to share.

L
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:49 PM
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Ha ha, yes, I realised what you were saying, and I edited that out of my post....See, I was confused!
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:06 PM
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Oh, and I totally get what you're saying about trusting yourself. It's not as if you wake up one morning and trust yourself. It's taken a long time for me to get to the point where I trust myself. Ultimately, though, that's the only thing that really matters. And it only happens when you can let go of "what's wrong" with everybody else.

The world is full of messed up people. There is no way I can figure them all out in order to keep myself safe. I have to learn how to keep myself safe no matter what kind of messed up people I encounter.

L
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:16 PM
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It's now that I can look at the 'reality' of my life and hopefully lose the 'magical thinking' without turning cynical? This is the time in my life where I can say, "That person is not healthy for me and I need to guard myself from them" instead of "Oh, they just need acceptance. They're hurting. If I treat them as I'd like to be treated, they'll be magically transformed by my healing, loving energy". Give me a break!
I love it when I come here and stumble on a gem like this. That is so me, too. And it's a freeing feeling to be able to say, "that's just wrong" without feeling like you're about to be struck by lightning.
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by goldengirl3 View Post
Thank you floss. Um yes my threads are all about him because the forum is family and friends of alcoholics. Duh. I'm not here to check in with you guys and assert where my "recovery" is. While I am apparently focusing on him...apparently you are focusing on me. I don't post about ME because I don't need this thread for that. Furthermore, you don't know me. Don't make assumption. If you hadn't noticed, I haven't even posted on SR much lately because I don't care as much lately. That's progess but I guess you guys already decided different from your magic crystal balls over there.

if you aren't interested in the topic of this thread, there are plenty of other threads you can post.
I'm a little confused here.
You started a thread about a topic that's been discussed and probably heatedly before. I'd like to think we're all ultimately here to listen to everyone's situation, reflect on our similarities, find commonalities and respond to what other people brought up. This entire friends and family section is a safe place for all of us to come and share our experiences and try to find some recovery or solace and hey guess what? Maybe even make some friends and find out that we're not alone and probably have the same problems. Sometimes it doesn't always travel the intended path but it's just strange to start a thread only to tell people to post somewhere else.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:18 PM
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I was posting because the thread was being focused "You need to do this or you need to do that" instead of allowing me to follow my own path of how I process things rather than the proposed topic of the thread. If they want to talk about something else, there are other threads for that and it basically makes my thread useless for the topic it was meant for.

Like floss, I too was horribly abused by my mother. My self-worth is crap and has been crap most of my life and that always kicks in in high gear when in a relationship. Well...a bad relationship. Because the first place I go to in my mind is that I am a piece of crap afterall.

The counselor is trying to get me to understand that I'm not a defective person.

But sometimes it feels like when I post certain things on these boards, people just start diagnosing "CODEPENDANT!! AHHH" to every thing you post. It gets irritating. Telling someone to just focus on yourself and not think about it just doesn't work for ME. I've known myself for years now and I know how I work through things. I think it death and then I'm done.
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