The Narcissist and the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)

Originally Recorded 1/7/22

Tony talks about the connection between Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) and Narcissism. He refers to the website Highly Sensitive Person (, and he discusses an excellent article, “Do Highly Sensitive People Attract Narcissists?” By Andre Solo from

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[00:00:08] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode 18 of Waking Up to Narcissism. I’m your host, Tony Overbay. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist host of the Virtual Couch podcast, and let’s get right to today’s show. Today is one that I already can tell you is going to go on a lot of different directions because I have so many tabs open. I have so many emails open in front of me. I had a direction that I was anticipating going and then as I was going to find a couple of emails to read at the beginning of the show because I get more feedback around people shared experiences that I wanted to maybe start every show with, with an email that I received. And then as I started reading the one of the emails, I thought, Oh my gosh, I need to talk about this and I need to talk about this. So, so buckle up and enjoy the ride. Let’s start with this email, and I’m going to change a little bit of the information so that it is not not identifying of sorts, but I have to tell you, if I read an email, it is most likely I’ve gotten several that are of a similar nature. This one says I don’t usually do this, which, by the way, I’m so honored when people write for the first time, I get a lot of those. They said, I don’t usually do this, but they felt like they had to send a message and personally, thank me for helping them feel validated and known.

[00:01:17] They said that they grew up in a home with a narcissistic parent. They had dealt with narcissistic companions. They had served a service mission for their church, for their faith, and they had recently moved out of family members home where the family member and their spouse both displayed narcissistic tendencies. And I love the fact that this person is using that phrase also correctly, those narcissistic traits, those narcissistic tendencies and not meaning to go in a different direction halfway through the first email. But I want to tell you, I hope you can feel the significance of it was several episodes back where I really tried to make sense of the narcissistic personality. Disorder is a pretty small group of individuals, but that we all have these narcissistic traits and tendencies because they really are just showing up emotionally immature until we learn that that’s what we’re doing. And then we seek some help. We learn how to differentiate, we learn how to find ourselves our voice. And there’s there does need to be a lot of acceptance and a lot of grace there because so many people then go back and think, Oh my gosh, why? Why did I let myself get in this situation? Or how did I let myself get in this situation? And that can drive one crazy? So we’ll talk a lot more in future episodes about the concept of acceptance, because acceptance is really giving yourself grace and understanding that you were just trying your best, trying to be the best person you could be, whether it was in an emotionally abusive relationship of trying to keep the peace or buffer for the kids, or trying to make your spouse happy so that they will succeed or that they’ll fulfill their dreams.

[00:02:51] But all the while a lot of times putting your own needs second or third or whatever that would fall and when in reality, we want to help you find yourself your sense of self, your purpose and then come from this place of confidence because an emotionally healthy relationship is one again where there are two autonomous, interdependent people with their own unique gifts and talents and abilities. Going through life together because that truly is is edifying. It’s where one plus one equals three, and we just don’t come from the factory with those tools because of all of our childhood abandonment and our attachment and our desire for external validation to make us feel better. And all of those things that you’re going to hear over and over again as we do more and more episodes because boy, we need to learn by repetition. We really do. We go from not having any awareness to then being aware. And sometimes we think once I’m aware, shouldn’t I be able to figure this out? And that is just the awareness is just where you’re getting started. Matter of fact, awareness can be pretty frustrating because it takes a little while of being aware of something to then start changing your behavior.

[00:03:56] And even when you start changing your behavior, when you let your foot off the gas or stop being as intentional, your brain is going to go back to the patterns that it knows of familiarity. So. So let me get back to the email. They said that they listen to a podcast where I talked about how we learn not to trust ourselves and how important it is to learn to do that again, to to find ourselves, to discover ourselves. And they said it was one of the most validating things that they’ve ever experienced, which I am so grateful for. They said they constantly second guess themselves. They worry if they’re doing something wrong or somehow contributing to the problem or just making a big deal out of things. And they say now that they understand that’s because of the environment that they grew up in and they’re trying to practice trusting themselves more. And my podcast and their own individual therapy has helped. And then there’s so much there we could talk about. But then I love that they said my podcast has also helped them discover that they are an HSP, highly sensitive person, and that has helped them understand themselves on such a deeper level. And then they said they would love to see more content about HSP and narcissistic relationships that entire dynamic. And that is so, so significant because the I realized I talk often about HSP or highly sensitive person or pathological.

[00:05:07] Kindness on this waking up the narcissism podcast, and without a doubt, if you hop over on the virtual couch, if I do an episode specifically on highly sensitive people, HSP or I had a guest on that really was just mind blowing. She’s an expert in that field named Nikki Eisenhauer, who has her own podcast, which is called Emotional Badass. I used to have a real problem saying that second part was, It’s funny. I talk about my own emotional immaturity. I felt like I was doing something wrong. But she has a phenomenal podcast that is all about space and highly sensitive people. And if you Google hsp highly sensitive person in narcissism, well, then prepare to. I was going to say, get your mind blown, but just prepare for a lot of information, a lot of data. So let’s talk about HSP. That is where we’re going for the rest of today’s episode. I’m first going to go to this person and this is a highly sensitive person website. This was the first website that I really started to do a deep dove on after one of my clients a few years ago had came to me and said, Hey, I’m a highly sensitive person, and I unfortunately dismiss that and I said, Oh, OK, yeah, you seem pretty sensitive. And then they said, No, it’s a thing. And so the highly sensitive person.

[00:06:17] It’s also known as sensory processing sensitivity, and it’s there’s a lady named Elaine Aaron who started researching high sensitivity, she said in Nineteen Ninety One and and she continued to do a lot of research around HSP or sensory processing sensitivity. And there’s some traits here that are there some interesting facts that I want to share? She said. If you find you are highly sensitive or your child is, she said, I’d like you to know the following the first thing she said Your trade is normal. It’s found in 15 to 20 percent of the population, which is too many to be a disorder, but not enough to be well understood by the majority of those around you. And she said it’s innate. In fact, biologists have found it in over 100 species, and probably there are even more from fruit flies, birds and fish to dogs, cats, horses and primates. And so, she said this trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy of being observant before acting, so the brains of highly sensitive persons actually work a little differently than others in the on the house person website. There’s a really cool tab that talks a lot about the research behind sensory processing sensitivity, but when she talks about that certain type of survival strategy, that is when someone has grown up and sometimes a little bit more of a chaotic or hectic, or maybe a loud or emotionally abusive, or if a parent or someone was narcissistic as well that then they learn to read the room.

[00:07:34] That’s the way that I like to say it is that an HSP was more just observing before entering, so learning to read the room. And so Elaine Aaron says that you’re more aware of other subtleties, and that’s because your brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply. So, she said, even if you wear glasses, you see more than others because you notice more. But then what are some of the the caveats to that? She said. You are also more easily overwhelmed because if you notice everything, you’re naturally going to be overstimulated when things are too intense and complex, chaotic or novel for a long time. And I think this is where things get pretty fascinating when someone gets into a verbal sparring match with a narcissistic person and they are already highly sensitive that then they are going to be more easily overwhelmed. They’re going to be overstimulated when things get too intense or complex. And what that means is they’re their body is going to react. It’s their heart rate’s going to elevate faster there. And when the heart rate elevates, the cortisol releases the fight or flight chemicals and the brain. And so then you check out of your prefrontal cortex, the part where you’re doing the logical or rational thinking and you are your amygdala fires up, you’re in this fight or flight mode. And she said this trait is not a new discovery, but it’s been misunderstood because HSP is preferred to look before entering new situations.

[00:08:53] They’re often called shy, but the shyness piece is learned. That’s not innate, and she says it. In fact, 30 percent of HSP are actually extroverts, although the trade is often mislabeled as introversion, and it’s also been called inhibited ness or fearfulness or neuroticism. And she says that some HSP behave in these ways, but it’s not innate to do so and not the basic trait. And this part is so fascinating to me. Sensitivity is valued differently in different cultures. So in cultures where it’s not valued, HSBC’s tend to have low self-esteem. They’re told Don’t be so sensitive or get over it, don’t worry about it. And so they start to feel abnormal. But if you do, and I have been unable to find this data when I did a HSP episode on the virtual couch again, but I had stumbled just a little bit of information in an article that talked about HSP, maybe in Third World countries where it was nurtured from birth. So if somebody was not continually told their entire life, it’s not a big deal. Get over it and rub a little dirt in it and don’t let it get you down that that person, when it’s been nurtured from a young age, then they become almost like these the shaman of the village, the medicine person, because that has been attuned that that gift of sensitivity or empathy allows them to pick up on a lot of subtle.

[00:10:07] Rates in people and in situations, and you find that a lot of times people that have more of these HSB qualities are they’re more hyper vigilant. They may feel like they are very people that aren’t going to get along or cars that are going to merge onto the freeway and get in front of them. And here is the thing as a recovering or as a fellow waking up to my own narcissistic traits and tendencies that I realize and I’ve got this thing, I’m doing it with my hands and this isn’t on a video, but I look at it as it really is a spectrum and on if I’ve got on my left to my left hand at one end of the spectrum is a very highly sensitive person and if on the very far right is a pathological malicious, malignant narcissist that anywhere in between. So if you’re moving up this spectrum that anywhere now, I wish I was doing this on video today. But if you are upstream of then you aren’t aware of what that highly sensitive person is experiencing or is going through. So my wife, for example, is has highly sensitive person sensory processing sensitivity. And so as we identified that, I realized, Oh my gosh, I have spent plenty of time saying, Hey, it’s not a big deal, don’t worry about it. And so then when she would express to me her sensitivity, and since I don’t have that same level of sensitivity, then I would find myself saying, OK, well, you know, maybe making a big deal out of something.

[00:11:26] And it’s really again, it’s not a big deal. But now, man, when I step into my, you know, emotional maturity. Who on earth am I to tell her what her feelings are? Emotions are. And that just breaks my heart. Because if you aren’t experiencing the things as an HSP experience as them, then the only thing one can do is understand that that is not my experience and look at that person with curiosity. Tell me more. Tell me what that’s like and not say, don’t worry about it, because that doesn’t make somebody say, Oh my gosh, I hadn’t thought about not worrying about it. And if we really go deep, the concept of psychological reactants again, the instant negative reaction of being told what to do if I’m going to tell an HSP, don’t worry about it, I would imagine they are really going to worry about it then. So it’s just a fascinating thing to look at the concept of. If you are in a relationship with someone with big time narcissistic traits or tendencies, there’s a chance that they are going to absolutely, excuse me, discount your sensitivity. Or if you are saying that you feel like you are very empathetic or an empath, then there’s not going to be a Oh, tell me more about that.

[00:12:26] It’s going to be, Oh man, this again. I don’t even know what that means. And so that’s why I love bringing awareness around to HSP is because HSP is now often feel like, Oh, there’s a name for this thing. And I really hope that the person who is not the HSP understands that that’s OK to not be that. And so it’s OK for somebody else to have their own experiences and feelings and emotions, and that it’s not our job to tell them to don’t worry about it or get over it. So I’m going to jump from the highly sensitive person person site to a website that I found that I really enjoy, and it’s called highly sensitive refuge, and I’ll put a link to that. But there is a really good article back from May of 2019. Nineteen, it’s by Andre Solo and it says, Do highly sensitive people attract narcissists? So I’m going to do a little bit of reading and I’ll make some comments at the end. He goes into seven. I think it’s seven signs or seven ways to help yourself if you are an HSP in a narcissistic relationship. So he says that there were kind, funny, even loving when they want it to be. They had big dreams. They seem to sweep you up in them, but things never, ever turned out the way that they wanted them. Nothing was ever good enough. And then these people would explode and confusing bouts of anger or blame or self-loathing, which he said, of course, required you to soothe them.

[00:13:40] And he said worse, if you brought up any of this and tried to address it, they couldn’t seem to see it, and they only denied or rationalized what had happened. So he says your only option, it seemed, was to keep giving and giving until you were completely spin. So he says, does that sound familiar? If it does, you probably had a narcissist in your life and welcome to the club, unfortunately. And he goes on to say that sadly, for highly sensitive people, HSP, it seems to be a pretty large club, considering that less than one percent of people are pathological narcissists. You wouldn’t think that HPE’s are more likely to run into them than anyone else, but he said. But what if sensitive people are particularly prone to a narcissist needy, controlling behavior? And I love the fact that he brought up what I’ve been speaking of on this. The podcast of less than one percent of people are these pathological narcissists, and what he didn’t address was how many people are then on that spectrum that narcissistic traits and tendencies. So I feel like that give a little bit more light on the fact that there are so many apps that do find themselves in relationships with people pretty high up on that narcissistic trait and tendency spectrum. So he says, let’s explore what makes a narcissist a narcissist and why he might be a natural target for them.

[00:14:48] And honestly, this is why I love this article. I had not heard of this. There’s a concept in Jungian psychology called the shadow self, and as a matter of fact, I’ve been prepping and an episode on the virtual couch about that. And Andrea says narcissists are a highly sensitive person’s shadow self. So he says, narcissists are people who live with narcissistic personality. Order. Have an unconscious belief that they are superior to others, and I know that we talked often on this podcast about it does come from that emotional immaturity that that the pathological defensive needs to cover up this these feelings of insecurity by proving that they are special because they feel like if they are special, then people will love them and people will not abandon them. So then they have to continually put themselves on a one up position of others, break others down. And so with that, he says, comes a craving for attention and respect, often wealth or fame and almost a lack of empathy for the needs of others. So the result is an individual who will manipulate or use others in order to get what they want. And and as as I love sharing now that need for external validation so they will manipulate or use others to get what they want, meaning that they will use others to help them externally validate themselves because they lack a real depth or maybe a sense of self, or they form their sense of self off of what others say.

[00:16:06] If others adore them, tell them they’re amazing, or if they can put themselves in this position of power, then they feel like they are a better person or a good person. So being a highly sensitive person, on the other hand, is perfectly healthy and has nothing to do with ego. Highly sensitive people have nervous systems that process all input very deeply from sights and sounds to thoughts and emotions, and they tend to be creative and thoughtful and caring. They can also get overwhelmed easily because all of that processing leads to overstimulation, and I believe it can also lead to some pretty big fatigue. And so when someone gets in a quarrel with a narcissistic individual, it can literally be physically exhausting because of all of the overstimulation and processing that’s happening to the brain of an HSP. So then Andrea says, So what are these two have in common? And he says almost nothing. And in one key way, they’re almost perfect opposites, empathy. So he says, you see, even though highly since high sensitivity is primarily about how you process information, the reality is that most HSP are extremely empathetic. So in fact, the brain regions associated with empathy are much more active in space than in non HSP. And HSP in general tend to be more giving altruistic nurturers, and this is what I thought was so deep. He says that makes the narcissist who almost has no empathy.

[00:17:21] Essentially, the HSP shadow self. So then why do highly sensitive people attract narcissists? Why would somebody who is caring and empathetic want to be around somebody who has no empathy? He says. On the surface, they wouldn’t. But then narcissists don’t exactly walk around holding a sign that says, I would like to use you. In fact, they do the opposite. He talks about many narcissists learn to act charming and friendly and flattering in order to mask their tendencies. And then he does bring up the fact that this is mostly unconscious because, like almost anything that makes someone a narcissist, typically they don’t know that they’re doing it because they are just doing it, that it is the air they breathe because it does come from these, these insecurities, these childhood attachment or abandonment wounds. And this just, you know, insatiable need for external validation, almost like there’s a hole in that bucket that it can never quite get filled from a validation standpoint. And they don’t necessarily have the tools to then validate themselves internal validation so that they can show up in a conversation and be curious and not feel like it is criticism. So this is where André says, though, that many narcissists will even then love bomb, the people that they want to get close to building them up to feel good around the narcissist and therefore not run away like an addictive substance. And anyone, HSP or not can get hooked.

[00:18:34] He says that what makes HSP is different is that their own high level of empathy means that they’re drawn to helping and caring for others. So here we go, and the narcissist has an endless need to be cared for and a need for attention and compliments and special favors and above all, constant reassurance. Plus, although they have very lofty dreams, nothing that they do or achieve is ever good enough, so they’re frequently upset or disappointed or can even be wildly angry. And he said, Isn’t there anyone who can treat them the way that they deserve? And because that would require them to take ownership or accountability and not put things onto others to make them feel better? So he says, yeah, unfortunately. And all too often it’s an HSP, the person who keenly feels the pain of others and takes a true sense of satisfaction from helping. So HSP are often the very first to try and console and comfort someone in need, and that puts them at risk of getting pulled into the narcissist trap. So this can quickly lead to a one sided relationship where the nurses gets all the benefits of the hospice, patience and compassion and caring and love, and often countless hours of their time. The HSP, on the other hand, gets only more and more exhausted, and they’re trying to figure out a way to to meet the needs of the narcissist. Yet those goalposts continue to move. He says they may face a barrage of freak outs and pity parties, verbal abuse and anger.

[00:19:51] And unfortunately, no matter how much they do, they will find out that it’s not enough. So he goes on to say that he gives seven ways to protect yourself from narcissist. He said If you found yourself pulled into this trap before, if you’re recognizing a current relationship that that looks like this. Don’t blame yourself. The reason you got drawn in is because you are carrying and giving, as I often say, you are the pathological kind person, and so when you meet that pathological narcissist or the person with the narcissistic traits and tendencies. Welcome to the human magnet, the human magnet syndrome. And so, he says, blaming you and emotionally beating you down is the nurses tool is how they get their supply. And it’s one that you have the power to give up. I no longer accepting that blame, but unfortunately, as many people listening to this, this podcast know that it is as easy as just saying, I think I’m done now because that is what starts to create the trauma bond of wanting to continually help and reassure and be that nice person and not abandon the narcissist and not make them feel bad. And so it can take a lot of effort and time and patience in leaving a relationship and even coming back at times to get to that point where you finally feel like I have had enough.

[00:21:01] So he does think you can make changes in your own patterns to avoid narcissists in the future or minimize the damage they can do? And here are the tips that he recommends no one question volatile or troubling relationships. One telltale feature of is that all of their relationships are troubled relationships, that they will have a shaky time and friendships and romance a career school situations where they need to work cooperatively with others, which means it’s a good idea to really examine relationships in your life that seem volatile. And you may not know if someone’s narcissistic or has narcissistic traits or tendencies, but I feel like you do start to recognize if you have a fight with them often, or if you and this is where I go back into that the body keeps the score. If you recognize that your you start to feel kind of a negative energy or vibe when you get around that person. If your heart rate does start to elevate and this is where I do often say relationships don’t need to be as difficult as we often have those difficult relationships, which made no sense the way I put that. But my point is that if a relationship is really, really difficult, if you feel like you have to start writing down things to try to even remember what the person is, where they’re going, or to continue to try to track in a relationship, then that doesn’t mean that’s a healthy relationship.

[00:22:09] As a matter of fact, it means that it probably is a volatile or troubling relationship. And this is where it can be difficult, especially for the HSP. But to label the relationship for what? What is the benefit of staying in this relationship? Is it that you can fix them or you’re going to be the one to solve this equation? Because if that’s the case, then that is going to take a tremendous amount of emotional calories and energy and only to find out that again, the goalposts keep moving or the rules of the game continue to change. So this was a little and I’m quoting this article, it’s amazing. And so I was about to say I will take some exception to number two. But he does say, ask your friends for perspective, it can be hard to see through the charm of a narcissist who’s buttering you up and surprisingly easy to make excuses for their outbursts of bad behavior. However, while you may have a hard time seeing it objectively to your friends, it’s often plain as day. And then he does say there are often caveats, though your friend might not have any meaningful insight if they haven’t seen you with the person firsthand. Or, of course, only friends whose judgment you trust will be really useful for. But in general, getting an outside opinion and listening to it, even if it’s hard to hear, can be a good way to check your own instincts about a person.

[00:23:11] And I do agree with that, and I like the way that he said that there are caveats there. One of these days, I want to do a whole episode on what I call the psychology of the peanut gallery that if we ask others for their opinion, sometimes they may not even have a real opinion, but then they feel like they will let someone down if they don’t give an opinion. So this is where it is often good to try and trust your instinct or trust your gut. And we don’t want to look for Switzerland friends who are going to immediately say, well, two sides to every story if the person that you’re asking them about is truly being emotionally abusive. Number three, he says, expect the worst. It may seem totally contrary to an XRP’s natural idealism, but one useful mental practice you can is if you can think someone’s a narcissist to expect the worst. And he says it goes like this. If this person is a narcissist, they don’t believe they’re doing anything wrong and they won’t change. So what if their current behavior continues forever? Would I be OK with that? With the relationship? Be worth it? And and in this scenario, trying to just take a look at the worst case future can often be enough of a slap in the face to make it much, much easier to start to pull back from the relationship. Number four, he says, pull away from the narcissist as early as possible.

[00:24:20] Generally speaking, the right time to disconnect from a toxic person is as early on as possible, and that’s especially true with the narcissist. Why? Because at the start of the relationship, there is little at stake, and it’s only a small part of your life, but the nurses demand all the attention you can give them. So he goes on to say that within months or a year, they could be the main focus of your life, especially if they’re your partner. So it really is much easier to back away earlier than later, because I think often we take that what’s called, I think in economics, the sunk cost principle where we feel like we’ve invested so much time that we need to see this thing through because if we back out now, then all the work we’ve done will be lost. And and I will say that isn’t a very healthy way to look. If we’re talking about a relationship before I get to number five, I finally. To do this and during the quick, quick add for my sponsor,, if you are looking to the world of online therapy, not sure where to turn? Can’t find a therapist that has openings around you, which is a very real thing. You can go to virtual couch and get 10 percent off your first months of treatment, and the intake process is really good. You’re going to ask or they’re going to ask you questions.

[00:25:29] You’re going to answer a lot of things online, and it will match you up with the therapist or a counselor that can address your concerns, whether it’s anxiety and depression, OCD, parenting, marriage, all of those sort of things. And you can communicate through telehealth or email or text or phone all those things. You owe it to yourself to get yourself in the best position you can be. Again, the first rule of getting or dealing with relationships with narcissists that I talk about is being able to raise your emotional baseline or really find yourself in as good of a place as possible because you’re going to be dealing with a lot of heavy things. So sometimes therapy or counseling is one of the best things you can do to really practice self-care. So go to virtual couch today. Get 10 percent off your first month’s treatment. All right. We have three more five, six and seven. So number five, practice setting clear, firm boundaries, narcissist, he says. Hate boundaries because the world is supposed to be about them, not anyone else, and boundaries force them to confront that. That is not what the world is about, but at the same time, firm boundaries allow you the space and emotional clarity you need to take care of your own needs. And as as I often say, the unfortunate thing is that when you are setting boundaries with someone with narcissistic traits or tendencies that often they view the boundary as a challenge.

[00:26:42] And so setting a boundary is absolutely essential, but holding the boundary can be really one of the most difficult parts. And here’s where I’m going to continue to say Give yourself grace. If you set the boundary and say, Hey, when you raise your voice, I’m going to leave the room. And then he raises his voice, or she raises her voice and you leave the room and then they continue to now mock you or say, OK, look, you’re leaving me, you’re banning me. Just know that now they are most likely pushing some of the buttons that they know will get you to come back so that they can possibly continue to verbally assault you. So the best way to set a boundary, Andre says, is say clearly, directly and as a fact, not a request, for example. Not clear example is I’m really tired tonight. It’s OK if we do this at different time. Clear is, I’m not going to come over after eight o’clock anymore, even if you’re stressed out. If you need to talk, we can set up a time on the weekend. And again, that’s where he says, just be ready because narcissists believe that every know can become a yes if they push hard enough. And I think that’s so well said. So don’t treat your boundary is something you’re willing to argue and don’t make. Number six is get some emotional distance. That narcissist can be infuriating, and they will beat you to argue with them, feel sorry for them, try to help them.

[00:27:48] And all of this just can pull you in further. So simply learning about how narcissism works can help create distance and make it easier to resist engaging, which is part of what I love about the feedback that I’m getting from waking up. The narcissism is just beginning to have more and more of that awareness, so he gives some examples, though he says narcissists don’t actually realize what they’re doing, so there’s no point in arguing with them. You will never win, which is my fifth rule of interacting with narcissistic people, which has realized that there is nothing that you’ll say or do that will cause that aha moment or that epiphany. There isn’t any point in argument, he says. They’re incapable of seeing their own flaws, so there is no way for you to help them or fix them as something they have to come to on their own and narcissistic personality disorder, Andre says. He says it’s a illness and it’s likely been with them since adolescence, so they aren’t going to change unless they are aware and they get help if they desire to change. And even then, it can be a challenge. But it isn’t your place to try and bring that awareness to them or try to fix them. And number seven, he says, practice a different kind of compassion. He says something I find oddly comforting is that a narcissist behavior is motivated by, he says, wait for it.

[00:28:53] Extremely fragile self-esteem. He said, Yeah, all that self-aggrandizing is because they don’t love themselves, and that makes them seem a lot less intimidating. And it’s also a way to feel compassion toward him, he said, without engaging that it must be tragically hard to go through life, not loving oneself. And it means that nothing will ever truly bring them happiness. And he said understanding that can often soften your heart even as you pull back from them. And so I feel like that is a really good way to end this, because when I do, I talked last week about the four pillars of a connected conversation, and in that first pillar where I talk about assuming good intentions, and then I added a Part B to that, which is the or there’s a reason why someone does the things they do. That is difficult, as it can be at first, absolute. And I’m not even saying that this is something that might even be possible, but as people learn to start to differentiate, start to find their sense of self, their sense of purpose, start to trust their gut again and and remove themselves from those unhealthy, emotionally abusive or narcissistic relationships that at that point, you then can start to maybe look at the fact that there is a reason why they’re doing what they’re doing. And it’s most likely because they do have a hard time taking ownership of their behaviors or actions.

[00:30:02] Or they may feel and I go with this one so much now. They take a disagreement or someone telling them no. As criticism and that criticism. And this is absolutely because of those childhood wounds. The criticism goes immediately to shame that if somebody says, No, I really don’t want to go hang out with you today, then they look at that as not just, OK, that’s kind of a bummer, but they look at it like, Oh, it’s because you think I’m a horrible person. And so at that point now we trigger the defensiveness and they’re going to go to great lengths to protect that fragile ego. And protecting that ego can look like a variety of things, including getting angry or withdrawing or gaslighting. So when you really are able to start to step back and take a look at that, you can start to recognize that there is a reason that they are doing what they’re doing. And it typically, well, it comes from a place of insecurity or not really having a true sense of self and wanting to project things onto you, wanting you to take the blame so that they don’t have to. And that’s the thing that’s so fascinating when you start to come to this awareness and you realize that it’s actually not that scary to say my bad, then it can really become empowering. Ok. Hey, I am so grateful again for I will tell you right now if you’ve still sticking around here, I recorded my first interview for waking up to narcissism and it’s with with someone that was in a relationship with a narcissist.

[00:31:20] And her story is just amazing. It really is. It’s fascinating. And she also had a narcissistic parent, and I believe that’s going to be coming up next week. I’m waking up to narcissism and I am going to do a lot more of the Q&A, so I really would love for you to get your questions in. You can just go to Tony over and submit through the contact form, but get those questions in and we will get those answered and start doing some episodes around just Q&A. And again, thank you so much. Hey, while I’m doing a call out shout out, I get several emails from people that say that their therapist is the one that pointed them toward me. And so if you are a therapist that listens to the podcast as well, I would love to. I would love to have some feedback from you. If you can shoot me a note as well, I would love to maybe get a therapist or two on here, and then I have some ideas of wanting to almost come up with some content that maybe will help therapists that is not familiar with working with narcissism or personality disorders that can help maybe more in that assessment process. All right. Everybody have an amazing weekend, and I will see

[00:32:18] You next time on waking up to narcissism.

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