Several years ago I attended a private function at a highly esteemed religious institution (neither the name nor the type of religion is relevant to this article). I was excited to meet face-to-face people who possessed an excellent reputation and were valued amongst the masses of their religion. The nature of the engagement allowed these leaders to be in a more natural environment where they could let their guard down. Unfortunately, the excitement was quickly squashed when the true nature of their character was revealed. The enthusiasm was instead replaced with disgust. What did become apparent was a group mentality of narcissism. The dichotomous thinking was extreme: either you came from them and were 100% for them or you were neither. There was no middle ground, no grace for differing opinions, no real forgiveness for disloyal behavior, no tolerance for those who didn’t follow their rules, no mercy for the suffering (this is seen as consequence of poor choices), and no allowance
While it may seem the use of the word ‘delusion’ is a bit strong to people diagnosed with hoarding, the rational they use to justify their behavior does appear to others as delusional. The classic definition of delusional thinking is an unrealistic unshakable belief or strong conviction in something that is not true or based in reality. There is usually overwhelming evidence contradicting the belief or conviction yet the person holds it to be accurate. The DSM–V lists hoarding as a separate disorder from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). While there is some overlap in the behaviors, the underlying rational for the dysfunction is different. This will be more clearly demonstrated through the following ten statements. A person with this disorder: Has persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. This difficulty is due to the perceived need to save the items and to distress associated with associated with discarding them. The difficulty
Abuse has a pattern similar to an addiction. Once the abuser has utilized an abusive method for a long period of time, the victim develops a tolerance to the abuse so it no longer has the same effect. This aggravates the abuser who then escalates. It should be noted that there are seven primary ways a partner can be abused: mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially, verbally, and sexually. So abuse is not just about physical violence. However, it is in the escalation that the abuser can become more obsessive, intense, erratic, and dangerous. Knowing these signs can be the difference between life and death. The following checklist is slightly modified to be gender neutral but taken otherwise in whole from Gavin De Becker’s book, The Gift of Fear. Remember an abusing partner (AP) can be male or female, from all socioeconomic groups, from any demographic, and have a variety of traumatic history. The victim has intuitive feelings that they are at risk. At the inception
Hindsight is 20/20 vision when it comes to the fall of a relationship. What was once overlooked, minimized, explained away, or discounted now becomes an obvious sign of a deteriorating relationship. At first they seemed so charming, helpful, generous, innocent, and gentle but then things turned and an entirely different picture became apparent. Charming converted into controlling, helpful developed into obstructive, generous transformed into manipulative, innocent turned into culpable, and gentle grew into turbulent. The nature of the relationship is irrelevant, it can happen at work, home, or with friends. But what is relevant is learning the warning signs early on to prevent another loss of employment or heartbreak. The following are ten signs a relationship is going sour. To simplify the explanation, Person A is the one displaying the warning signs whereas Person B is unaware of the potential harm. Transfers risk. Person A asks Person B to assume their risk over a potentially
Recently a teenager came into my office complaining about the anxiety they were experiencing from their Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) parent. They gave me a few examples. The compulsive handwashing that led to dry and sometimes bloody hands was imposed on everyone in the household. There was a sense of superiority that this family did things such as proper cleaning and sterilized laundry better than others. The excessive rituals before and after people would leave the house were designed to impress a magazine decorating editor. Unable to keep up with the expectations of the parent, the teenager felt defeated. But after meeting the parent, it became apparent that in addition to the OCD they had Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This changes everything: the approach, the treatment planning, and the management of the OCD because the underlying motive is completely different. A person who has NPD and OCD is not likely to change their behavior but it can be guided so as not to
The short answer is yes. While this might seem like a strange concept, those who have been victims understand it all too well. An acquaintance starts sending excessive messages, magically showing up unexpectedly, asks too intimate or probing questions, gives inappropriate gifts, and seems to immerse themselves into environments or other friendships just to stay close. At first glance, this might be innocent but over time it becomes something quite different. In order to better understand what this looks like at an addictive level. It is best explained first by having a definition of what it means to be addicted to a substance. Then that same definition can be applied to a person later. 1. Substance abuse. Just about any substance can be abused when it is used beyond the recommended dosage. The substance meets a desire for an escape, pleasure, numbing, or fantasy. Seen in the reverse, this is the inability to consistently abstain from a substance without a physical or emotional reaction
Source: Can You Be Addicted to a Person?
Not everyone who comes into counseling truly wants to get better. Some are present because a relationship, an employer, or the legal system mandates it. Unfortunately for the therapist, this is not always transparent initially. Or is it? In Galvin De Becker’s book The Gift of Fear, he identifies patterns of behavior that can be seen at a first encounter which help to discern the difference between a safe and unsafe person. The same concept can be utilized in a therapeutic setting. While not every client who doesn’t want to get better cannot be deemed unsafe, there are some who are. In addition, there are those who are not honest in therapy for the purposes of continuing to manipulate or control another person. And then there are those who attempt to gain control of the therapy session and therefore the therapist for the purpose of not having to accept responsibility for their issues. There are three types of clients who potentially fit this situation: those with a personality disorder,
The media loves to cover narcissists almost as much as a narcissist loves to be covered by the media. And why not? The narcissist’s stories are colorful, prone to exaggeration, intentionally divisive, and feature them as the star. It is easy reporting because it is naturally interesting, requires limited verification, and is emotionally charging. A person either loves the narcissist or intensely hates them; there is little area for grey which makes for a great story. The same is true on a smaller scale when meeting a narcissist for the first time. They have larger than life personalities, can command large or small crowds, exude confidence, and are immensely charming. Who won’t want to capture the attention of such a person? It validates the hidden desires of worthiness, acceptance, and recognition. It is an immediate ego boast to capture the attention of a narcissist. But there is danger in being lured in by a narcissist. What looks good now can have devastating consequences later.
Source: The Dangerous Lure of Narcissism
Twenty years ago, men were the thought of as the main perpetrators of workplace sexual harassment with women as their victims. Having been one of those victims in two separate work industry environments, with a boss and co-worker, the demoralizing encounter left a scar. It was frustrating to be recognized not for my hard work but rather, my appearance and naivety. But as with everything else, times have changed. There are now mandatory trainings on the subject, reporting is semi-confidential, and awareness has increased. But unfortunately, the perception that it is dirty old men sexually harassing young women has remained. This could not be further from the truth. Women can be perpetrators and the harassment is not confined to heterosexual interaction. Regardless of the players or their sexuality, the pattern is the same for the perpetrator. I have seen this entire pattern happen over a period of years or as short as a couple of hours. It depends on the agenda of the perpetrator and
Ever wonder what it is like to go see a therapist? Perhaps there is a troubled relationship that is rapidly deteriorating. Or a boss that can’t be satisfied who chooses to verbal assault their employees. Or a traumatic event that never seems to leave current thoughts. Or a recent loss that is so overwhelming, forever changing the future. Therapy is very useful in these cases and can improve a person’s life. But the expectations a person enters into the therapeutic process often limits the ability of the therapist to do their best work. Over the years, clients have shared some misguided perceptions of therapy. Here are a few: “Therapy should make me happy.” The intent of therapy is not ‘make’ a person happy. Happiness is a feeling which can be based on circumstances, outlook, and personality. The real purpose of therapy is to become fully functional, present, and connected in all environments and relationships. “You need to change my … (spouse, kid, parent, or co-worker).” Every person