okay so Dr Romney I'm so excited to be here with you narcissism is not a diagnosis okay wait what the core of narcissism is a deep insecurity you're not crazy you're around somebody who's making you believe you are I'm trying to pick my mouth up off the floor if we only said one thing in this entire podcast episode is never ever call out a narcissist hey it's Mel and welcome to the Mel Robbins podcast okay I am so excited for today's episode because I've been waiting to introduce you to a friend of mine who has profoundly changed my life she is the world's leading expert on narcissism


she is also the host of the hit podcast navigating narcissism which has just been renewed for its second season she's a best-selling author she has just left Academia after several decades so that she can fulfill her mission to get information out into the world to help people understand narcissism to protect themselves from narcissism and more importantly to heal from the experiences of interacting being raised by or dating narcissists so Dr Romney I'm so excited to be here with you I'm so happy it's so good to see you it's been a while the pandemic you know changed the game right we've been we've been in touch electronically I think I'd


even done something with you electronically over the pandemic but it's it's such a different game to be in person it's so good to see you and thank you so I mean it you profoundly changed my life and the reason why is because I have like many people had a lot of experience with folks that are narcissists and you what I learned from you about what narcissism is what it isn't the tools that you have taught me in order to spot narcissism and to protect myself from it have just completely transformed my life and so I'm really excited to be able to introduce you to our audience and to have you do the same for them right and


so narcissism I find to be an absolutely fascinating topic and the reason why I don't think it's dark is because I believe that when you understand what it is and what it isn't and when you have tools all of a sudden there is a light at the end of the tunnel that you're walking down and you realize you're not crazy you're around somebody who's making you believe you are correct that's beautifully put and I agree with you in a way what it is is you're giving you know back in the day we would have said a road map no I'd like to think of it as GPS I'm giving people a I'm hoping to give people a guide to what they're dealing with and not in an accusatory


your bad I'm good way but in more of a this may not be good for me and to not the challenge in this space of the narcissism space is so many people invest themselves and will can I get this person to change can I be better can I do different to pull something different out of them and it's to say stop that that's not going to change right it's like trying to change the weather there's nothing you can do to make Chicago warmer in February is going to be cold bundle up great City but it's going to be cold okay I wanna I wanna just uh go there was a wake-up call right there


when you're done listening to this episode and you understand what narcissism is and you learn the signs to Spot It takeaway number one is you cannot change the weather in Chicago and you cannot change the behavior of a narcissist so let's start at the beginning because people are fascinated by the topic of narcissism the word is now thrown around all the time what is the definition of a narcissist okay so let's get I'm I don't even want to go to Step Zero from step one here is to say narcissism is not a diagnosis okay wait what it's not everyone's like don't diagnose people I'm like okay I I roll up to someone I


said if I called you stubborn would you tell me I'm diagnosing you they're like no if I told you you were agreeable would you tell me I'm diagnosing you no then why are you saying narcissism is a diagnosis when it's not it is a personality Style just like agreeableness just like introversion all of those are personality Styles nobody's getting themselves all the b in their Bonnet when we say those other things wait a minute I thought that this was like a diagnosis see already I'm learning stuff from you so narcissistic personality disorder is a diagnosis right okay that is okay that's a very specific three words specific it's like


if let me put it this way no one would get mad at you if you walked up and said gosh you're sad you seem a little depressed don't diagnose me we'd be okay with you saying oh you're sad you seem a little depressed right why depressed actually is a kind of a clinical term right depression it's actually called major depressive disorder is a diagnosis that's actually more on point but this word has got people so worked up don't diagnose me it's interesting it's a pattern that is rewarded by society and yet people don't want to be called in I'm like pick a lane folks so it's so let's start here it is it is a personality style it is a maladaptive


style it is an antagonistic style but it's a style no different than any other personality style okay so just so I make sure that I'm tracking and everybody's tracking so basically we've collapsed two things when we talk about narcissism in society there is narcissists and narcissism which is a personality style that is maladaptive that we all might exhibit at some point no no okay no no no no no no I got a personality you got a personality people listening and watching this they've got a personality and that's their personality I know I'm for example Mel I'm introverted okay everyone's like no you talk so much um oh heck no there was a day the other day


where I didn't speak to a single human being and I didn't leave my house it was the best day of my week and people aren't you sad and you're we're going out I'm like have fun don't call me like we're good so I am a naturally introverted person I am never going to be the life of the party I am never going to want to go to a party I am not a joiner and after I spend time with a large group of people I Collapse into bed okay that's my personality okay I've been like that since all my life all right and that got shaped so if that is my personality some people aren't a little bit introverted there's extroverted person if you've ever spent


time with an extroverted person they actually kind of lose their mind I don't have plans where is everybody I can't believe I need to be alone I've worked with clients who extroverted and they really are upset about that and as an introverted therapist I for a minute I was like what like that sounds like fantasy camp like three days alone sign me up you know but I have to I have to be empathic too this is hard for them they're exhausted by being alone I have an incredibly extroverted child and when she's alone for six hours it she actually starts feeling very sad and so and that's real I can't say don't be ridiculous use your time alone like just


like if somebody said don't be ridiculous Romney you're at a party you know lighten up it's the same thing so that's why I'm saying you are what you are I I actually think a lot of people out there don't have narcissistic qualities so let this leads us to then what is this right personality but there's two things just so I'm tracking that we're going to talk about we're going to talk about narcissism as a personality style yep and then narcissistic personality disorder and I mean it's a diagnosis it's a diagnosis and you know what I don't even think we should talk about it okay because the effect is only one to maybe four percent


of the population has this personality disorder okay the vast majority of cases are never diagnosed and it is a I actually think they should get rid of the diagnosis I think it serves no function whatsoever I really don't it's the only diagnosis in the world where having it means you do more harm to other people than to yourself most disorders are based on the distress that the person themselves are facing a person with major depressive disorder is really struggling a person with generalized anxiety disorder is experiencing distress even other personality disorders like borderline personality disorder these are people


who are having a lot of distress narcissistic personality disorder as long as life's going the way they want it to they are happy as can be and until something goes wrong then they make a mess scream at everyone and then when it goes back to the way they are they tend to make more money they're much more successful they tend to have more success in dating so I'm that this is a tough diagnosis to give out now let's break down what narcissism is okay great so so if I and I just want to make sure because this is such an interesting topic and obviously there's lots of content out there all over the place but you are in my opinion the world's


leading expert on this and so what you're basically saying is if we just understand what a narcissistic personality is that's enough yeah because then you can spot the signs then you can learn to protect yourself and if I'm going to extrapolate what you're saying you're basically saying the one to four percent of people that ever get that diagnosis anyway already have the personality type so it doesn't matter it's just blown out out of proportion and they're finally now in therapy and don't most narcissists don't know go to therapy that's the thing that's what I'm saying so there's a lot of people out there who


may have this quote unquote diagnosis they're never going to get diagnosed because they're never across the table from a licensed mental health professional who's actually the only person qualified to issue such di said diagnosis and I'm going to be honest with you even the majority of people who have the disorder it's never documented anywhere because the insurance company ain't going to pay for therapy for it because you can't do anything about it so done hold on so that was also just she you just said it again you cannot change the weather in Chicago and you cannot do anything to change somebody with a


narcissistic personality yeah and let's push this a little bit further okay so this is I'm going to be sort of a provocateur here personality is tough I I there's there's different schools of thought on how much personality can change all right there's a little wiggle room and I think the more the greater a person's flexibility psychological and personality the healthier the person is it's almost like your body the more flexible you are likely the more you work it out the less likely you're going to develop osteoporosis and break bones and all that flexibility is everything but it I would say it matters more psychologically than it even means


physically right it's why people stretch before a workout oh that's interesting because what I'm thinking about right now is there's a there's a pretty uh well there's a pretty famous Ted talk but I think it's Dr Schwartz talking about personality and what he basically says and now I'm realizing it's the flexibility you're talking about he like you said I'm a professor and I am very introverted but when it matters to me I can be flexible I can stand in front of that you know that that classroom and I can profess but the second that lecture is over I Collapse I'm done that's it that's it so the flexibility you're talking about is


that an extrovert like me can shut up and be alone when it matters an introvert like you can step in front of the mic invite people into your home when it matters but that flexibility is very limited it's tied to when it's important to you but then you go back to your Baseline is that what you're saying in fact there is a theory and I hope I credit it's his right person I think it's Campbell people is the one who writes about this the idea of the Rubber Band Theory of Personality and the idea of the rubber band is that you we all have our personality rubber bands just sitting there in its state that's who we are but we can stretch it okay we could


stretch it a bit but when back to baseline or even at times of stress we go to our Baseline personality right the challenges is that that person with a narcissistic personality not only has trouble stretching it's not even the stretching as much as the changing you see here's the challenge with the narcissistic personality which I still haven't described and I'm aware of it sorry but the uh with a challenge with the narcissistic personality is is that it's it's a very egocentric self-serving style right it's designed to get them what they need it's it's what they what helps them feel safe what helps them feel happy with very little regard for


anyone else other personality Styles agreeableness in fact agreeableness is considered the counterweight to narcissism so narcissism is actually what's called it's it's a real personality style it's disagreeableness or antagonism right so if narcissism's disagreeableness agreeableness is the other side of that agreeable people are I love agreeable people they're the best like I just would like like a little commune full of them we're never going to take over the world and we're not going to make a lot of money but let me tell you so fun empathic warm flexible uh make accommodation for other people follow


the rules highly ethical that's agreeableness opposite of narcissism right so what is narcissists so narcissism is a person who has a lack of empathy and I'm going to talk about or performative empathy which I'm going to get to in a minute okay so but they have inconsistent or low empathy they're very entitled they're arrogant they're egocentric they are chronically validation and admiration seeking they need to be in control all the time they are poorly emotionally regulated prone to show strong shows of Rage if they're frustrated or disappointed or aren't getting their way


they're very easily provoked and very thin-skinned if anyone gives them feedback or criticism like they just rage very quickly they can't regulate themselves at those times they're very pretentious they tend to be very superficial um I mean the list goes It's that kind of stuff now the core of narcissism is a deep insecurity and that's the piece we forget these are not people actually who at their most Primal unconscious level believe their hype they are that all of this stuff is to create almost a suit of armor around that unprocessed insecurity the narcissistic person is always fighting a battle against shame and the


shame is that an unconscious level people are going to see they ain't all that so if anything even pokes them that like even someone makes a joke at their expense they lash out to maintain dominance because that's that you also want to know what motivates the narcissistic person power dominance control and frankly safety because all those things keep them safe if they're in control if they're the boss if they have all the money then they feel okay all the power whatever the fame whatever it looks like then they're okay that's narcissism what's tricky about narcissism is there's different I forgot to also they're very grandiose so they


live in a fantasy world I'm gonna have the perfect love story look at my perfect life you can see how social media took this grandiosity and blew it up into something that I've been been studying narcissism since before there was social media and I was like what the holy hell just what have you seen I mean what happened was narcissism's always been around as long as they were human beings I'm guessing like Attila the Han was probably a narcissist Napoleon might have been a narcissist I think if you go all the way back in the history books in fact when I helped my daughter with all of her ancient and you know even modern European history I'm like narcissist


narcissist narcissists I said you see how much they shaped history to this day so I think that what it's always been there yeah okay the difference was back in the day if you needed validation okay you and I are both old enough to know about rotary dial phones and no answering machines and no social media okay so there was a time if you needed validation you actually had to clean up and leave the house true right like you actually had to get up and go you couldn't become famous right even if you wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper on some kind of rant the editor was going to get a hundred of these or they'd get 100 of


these and pick one so there was no public place to do this so where narcissists really did their their their dirty work was they would harm the people around them very dominant probably cruel to spouses cruel to children I think if you look at Family Lines of this intergenerationally they'll say like yeah really brutal father really brutal grandfather really brutal great grandfather and it often links to things like hierarchies patriarchies like things that are all very very hierarchical one person gets the final say not because they're a good person right but just because so these systems have always been there and so


what happened though is one day I remember it so well I remember the house I was living in somebody said to me have you seen this thing called Facebook I'm like Facebook and every I remember what a Facebook was Facebook was that called both pictures that you'd get in your first year of college like I that's what it was called where I went to college so there's a Facebook and I'm like what is a college thing and they're like no you need to go check this out they said create an account so I did and I was like oh this is what happened to all those people I went to high school with okay but at the moment I thought oh God


you just write stuff and people like it what went through my head in that moment I remember my kids were really small at the time and I it's the moment sticks in my mind I thought this is going to be a disaster you know it must have been like being like a like a pulmonologist or a cardiologist when cigarettes were out you're like what is happening and so at that moment I thought the game's about to change I had no idea what was going to come with the Instagram and the influencing and I had no idea what was coming there but I thought wow no nobody needs to leave the house they can put forth a false version of themselves the grandiose version the fantasy version


and sit at home and let the validation come in my concern was that this was going to make their narcissistic symptomatology worse overall and I think that has been borne out wow so can I ask you a question because this is one of the things that really changed my life when you taught me that narcissists are not born they're made what is it can you explain that to everybody because this is this is a game changer yeah understand this so nobody's Born This Way okay I mean even in a family structure where you have a grandfather a father like these dominant or mother person it you're not born a narcissist everyone listening to this it


will say there are four kids in our family and I have a brother who's narcissistic and the rest of us are really cool and nice and kind to each other so think of how many people out there who have siblings like I'm my sister's really kind and my other sisters really really narcissistic so it's if that was the case it should appear in all siblings or at least at least 50 percent of them it's made so here's the most likely explanation is that there may very well be this has not been isolated yet but there may very well be a biological vulnerability to it and that would be probably delivered through something


called a child's baby's temperament temperament is the genetic part of our personality anyone who spent time around a baby won't know some kids soothe really easily some kids are just they're easy they're easy Smiley friendly babies they're really sweet kids right right and as they grow up they stay sweet and like teachers like them and they have friends and they're just sweet sweet then they're those kids who will not stop crying and they're demanding and as they grow up look at me look at me look at me look at me look at me and they're always doing things for attention and they're disruptive and they won't sit still and and as they


enter preschool and school the teachers always sit down stop that so they're already starting to get kind of bad vibes from their constant attention-seeking Behavior it's probably an interaction in fact the kid may not be getting enough attention or attachment needs met so you have this biological temp vulnerability yep in the hands of a skilled attached warm present loving consistent parent that might be manageable and that sort of ah energy might get turned into athletic interests or creative interest and that child won't feel pathologized for their style but I hate to say it probably for the majority of kids with


that style it's a lot of stop that sit down can't you be more like your sister you're going in the corner you're you're making a mess you're going to the principal so that kid is getting invalidated every time they turn around that invalidation plus the temperament plus the possibility that they don't have a an environment where there's a possibility for secure attachment plus the possibility of trauma chaos and neglect that's one Pathway to develop a narcissist so so if I can just make sure I'm understanding what you're basically saying is even regardless of temperament if you're not getting your emotional needs met if


you do not feel safe and secure in your house if you have a parent that abandons you a parent that's abused yeah you know somebody with mental illness and addiction somebody who's unpredictable that you as a child don't feel safe or you don't feel seen all those emotional needs and that's what leads to narcissism but not always in fact I wouldn't say the vast majority of the time many many many many people grew up in situations like that of trauma of neglect of abuse of chaos and they do not go on to become narcissistic they typically go on to become rather anxious adults with poor self-appraisal who don't know their value and worth a whole


nother different burden to carry but the narcissism oh no no I was actually talking about myself Madeira so yeah that's all me you know so it's a um but at the end of it what we see is that it's still the problem is is that these paths aren't linear I always say narcissism is a story the development of narcissism is a story we can tell backwards but never forwards so if I I'm thinking I have some clients who have been through horrific Early Childhood trauma horrific um physical abuse sexual abuse violence it grew up in chaos to tell you that these are some of the most empathic loving human beings I've ever met would


be actually missing the mark they're they're just solid people if anything they don't understand their value like their their harm is very internalized it's like I'm not good enough I'm not doing enough but there's so much goodness so much empathy they've gone on to become amazing parents all of that right so that it's that that early chaos does not damn someone by a long shot but it does set up these what are called adverse childhood experiences it definitely if we've used I definitely if we view this from a probability standpoint there's more negative outcomes that could come either internalized


disliking oneself or externalized and that's more of what narcissism could potentially look like now there's a secondary path to narcissism okay and that secondary path is actually one we probably should be monitoring in modern times quite a bit which is the overindulged child the child who gets whatever they want money is spent on them lavishly you're so great you're so smart there was a study done out of Amsterdam now it'll be interesting to see what happens when these kids turn into adults he was studying children but what he found this guy thinks his name is Eddie brummelman's at the University of Amsterdam and what he found was that


children who were told they are more special than other children those were the kids that were already showing entitlement and other sort of soft signs of narcissism so it's not that you're telling your child they're special it's that you're more special than somebody else oh that was sort of that that was the sort of the penny drop moment which is very much what you could imagine a more narcissistic parent doing my child is more special than the other children my child deserves special treatment my child should play the whole game my child should get this my child should get that but you're looking at kids where they're not taught the most


there's two critical things three critical things I'd say every child needs okay so there's three critical things secure attachment so explain it secure adaption secure attachment happens when a child has at least one primary caregiver that is consistently available that the child feels that they can call that caregiver when they need them that that that that secure attachment develops over the early years and we're talking birth to like two or three this is something where you got to get you got to lock this in early okay right that securely attached child in those early experiments done by John Bowlby


and Mary Ainsworth sort of seminal work in the field what they found was that the child who was securely attached when Mom would leave them with a strange situation that would be a preschool or babysitter or something like that the child would whimper a little like where are you going but then they would actually calm down very quickly with the soothing of a caregiver and then when the parent came back to pick them up the child would be thrilled to see them in children who are more anxiously or avoidantly or insecurely attached there would be almost difficult to soothe kind when at the point the parent came back and more importantly I mean when the


parent left so they'd be difficult to soothe when the parent left and when the parent came back the child would actually either go into absolutely like another meltdown almost like how could you leave me or they turn their head away from the parent you see where is that securely attached child would actually be happy to see the parent when they got a turn see okay so now that secure attachment is number one and that's created by consistency and availability in that early environment you need one parent doing that and it one primary caregiver to be honest it's anyone whoever that child identifies as such number two


is that children need to they they need to learn how to soothe themselves and they learn need to learn how to be disappointed okay and we're not letting them do that like sometimes you fail sometimes you don't get the teacher you want sometimes they run out of chocolate ice cream by the time you get up and you know what you sometimes you lose that shoots and ladders I remember like saying I'm gonna win this game and the other people don't let them win them I ain't gonna let them win so I'm getting up to the top of the shoots and letters and I'm gonna win and I'm saying wow that felt good when my daughter said that's not fair I said oh ho ho ho I won


this game let's be present with me winning you want to play again sure we can do that again but you need to learn to be present that not every outcome is the way you're going to want it to be that's number two number three is empathy you've got to Foster empathy in children and Foster compassion that can be through books they read stories they experience sure but above all else in the home how do they learn that it's modeled for them they see parents empathizing or caregivers empathizing with each other other they see extended family empathizing with each other they see empathy in the classroom they see empathy in the world you can and you can


imagine a child who sees none of that or the parent is acting in a very entitled manner like oh let's just go to the head of line we're more important than these people or oh gosh you know we're not sitting in that line all these things parents do that they think are innocuous in an airport at a soccer game at a theme park your kid's learning and their their brain is just an explosion of neurons and dendrites and that's getting filed away under we're special you know the reason why this is so interesting to me is because I think one of the challenges when you have these either a narcissistic parent or sibling or boss or somebody that you're in a


relationship with is that you think that somehow everything is your fault yes and when I learn from you that narcissists are made in childhood mm-hmm it just opened up this door for me to go oh wow so they didn't like choose to be this way they're not consciously doing this it's what it is it's it's a regulation issue right so it's the sense that a narcissistic person never quite feels safe in the world right because they never feel safe they're always on the offense and the defense simultaneously right I'm gonna win I'm gonna dominate me me and are you looking at me you're looking at me and then rage rage rage so that constant offense


defense that they play is a make some very antagonistic unless things are going exactly the way they want and where narcissistic people are tricky is that if they feel safe I gotta tell you it might be one of the most engaging entrancing exhilarating charismatic Charming experiences you've ever had they've hung the moon they've hung the sun only for you it is I mean it's dopamine okay it's literally a Jacqueline experience it is but then at a time they don't feel safe or they're bored it's over and people will spend their lives trying to get back to that hung the song hung the moon kind of a moment


and they said they really don't have any more use for you anymore then that's it you ain't gotta feel that again well let's talk about what are the five warning signs that someone's a narcissist so I would say number one would be that they're very reactive if they experience any form of feedback or criticism so if you say anything even even like a really thoughtful critique like you know I would consider rewriting this paragraph throw the paper in your face really really oh so you're James Joyce you write it you know that kind of thing so very reactive very quick okay number two oppositionality if you tell them to do


something they they'll go out of their way they don't like being told what to do so you might ask them could you wear a mask that was a big one during the Panic could you wear a mask how dare you tell me to do this um could you not park there that's reserved parking for the people who are coming to get that I don't know coming to for whatever reason how can today's parks are hard these spots aren't you I'm parking right here they if you tell them to do something it is as though they feel they're being dominated and controlled they ain't having that that's another thing is you see oppositionality


they are their empathy is very superficial some people say no no they had empathy I'm like talk to me about that empathy and what you'll see is that it is very performative it's very superficial so can you give us an example an example might be um oh my gosh oh my gosh you're you're sick oh wow that's got to be really really hard are you okay are you okay that sounds nice okay then yeah very quickly it'll be like you're and now you want to talk about like you'll I'm the other person now yeah I know he's been sick but it's


brought up all this other stuff for me you know like I'm really feeling like lost and I'm realizing how much my brother is how I and then the narcissist is gonna be doing a lot of like this they don't want to hear it so they'll they'll come in with it they'll they'll I always say this narcissistic folks are great at thank you cards and thank you gifts but they're really bad at a true gratitude so they will be seemingly empathic but as soon as you go in a little deeper like you're actually really talking about your brother's illness affected you now you'll see they'll tune out like too much emotion coming their way too much need so it's


very quick silver what I call thank you card empathy like it'll seem so on point but they're not really present with you they'll cry at a movie but when that same exact thing happens in their life there's they're they're actually treating the other person badly and they don't even connect the two like you were just crying when those that man beat someone in the in the story and then yet you were threatening so like how do you not see and they don't see it they do not see it so there is a performative quality to the empathy and there's also a transactional quality to their empathy they'll be really warm to you when they need something but when they get it


they'll actually click out and that's a really bad feeling because you'll recognize oh they were just nice to me to get that thing so I'd say it's this inconsistent performative sort of pseudo superficial empathy that's another thing um the fourth I would say is egocentricity it's really hard for them to not hijack a conversation interrupt people and constantly make it about themselves so even when somebody might say I went abroad from my very first trip and it was amazing and I went on an airplane and I did this and I did that I got my first passport like really sweet it's so beautiful to hear people and you just sort of drink it all in the


narcissistic person give them like three minutes and they'll like what airline did you take yeah and I I take that Airline it's not that great what hotels you're saying like the hotel I'd recommend in Rome is this it's oh I went there I went to that restaurant and it just becomes now it's their travelogue and they're yammering on they just love to hold to court and Mama it's always the conversation always steers back to them they cannot simply be present with somebody else telling a story or will interrupt or will sort of be contemptuous and be like like that there'll be a lot I'll do that for the camera like like a lot of like oh my


gosh we're listening to this sort of like summer vacation story great what a good use of my time if anyone's ever watched succession I'd say the best contemptuous narcissist performance I've ever seen in my life is Roman played by Karen Culkin it he's never have I seen that narcissistic contempt so consistently played by a character if anyone if you want to know what that looks like watch success is that the same thing as triangulation no so triangulation is creating chaos in environments so is that a fifth sign to look for a triangulation I would say that it's hard to look for triangulation you have to look for the soft signs of


triangulation which be gossip talking badly about other people trying to get the goods on other people so they're always trying to like sort of talk to me about this person talk to me about that person and then you'll come to find out they're doing the same thing about you to someone else yeah wow and what is the fifth sign if it's not that sort of soft trying regulation thing I would say then it is it's it's constantly having to put other people down to lift them up you know oh yeah he he thinks he got the right Tesla yeah that actually that's just sort of the Baseline model or like Ugh nobody stays on that side of that Island it's very it's it's putting other


people down and it is contempt I would I would wrap up contempt in that narcissistic people are notoriously contemptuous it often comes out as snobbery but it can even come out even like like oh god dude like nobody's doing that and like make fun of someone and it can really it can hurt the other person and then what the narcissistic person will often do is they will then turn around say I was just making a joke so now if you react to it it's a joke but if you say something to them and you say it's just a joke they'll still rage you and I'll throw in a sixth sign or it could be 5A is um gaslighting they're they're constantly doubting


reality um I never said that I never did that um I didn't put that there um that never happened and then when you try to push back on that when you try to push back on that they'll say oh my God you're so sensitive or have you seen a shrink because people don't usually react the way you are so they leave you feeling as though you're impaired so I'd say that gaslighting is like I said 5A because I gave you contempt as five well okay so I don't know if anybody else listening is having the experience I'm having right now where I I have a pit in my stomach because I have at least one person very


prominent person that I have in my mind in my life and I'm like check check check check check check somebody's talking at the table they're rolling their eyes at other people somebody leaves the room they just immediately trash them as they leave what I want to know is we'll get into what to do but now that you're really kind of pulling apart the signs and we've learned that there are sort of two tracks in childhood where this behavior and this personality type is made what is the impact if you have a parent that is like this like as an like if you've been raised by somebody that exhibits all five of these or you're


like oh my God I think my mom or my dad was a freaking narcissist like a check check check how does that impact you now that you're an adult so it's not good that's the best answer I can give you it is not good so let's remember two things first of all I'm going to add a 5B to that list look for entitlement like that idea if they won't wait in line they're they're special they expect special treatment and they get really angry if they're not given special treatment that's another sign to look for but let's remember this about narcissism it's on a continuum not all narcissists are the same so a


person who is dealing with more what we call a milder lighter narcissistic person is having a very different experience than somebody who's dealing with a rather severe narcissistic person and I think that what that has sort of muddied the waters in this conversation because if a person dealing with a milder narcissist here's the story of somebody who's dealing with a really severe narcissist or saying well maybe I'm not dealing with a narcissist because I'm not living in Terror you know I'm not isolated from all my friends I still think that person dealing with a lighter narcissist is still feeling unseen unheard


self-blaming and all of that it's just at a different level the reason I bring this up is with the parents right I do think that any narcissism in a parent is never good for a child um but at the more severe levels it's absolutely devastating what it does is it hijacks a child's sense of self identity autonomy they don't believe in themselves they believe that their needs are not in fact they've been shamed for their needs their entire life how you want something from me you know like that's what the parents attitude is maybe not that explicitly but people who grow up with narcissistic parents the vast majority become rather anxious


adults who are not aware of their own self-worth who have very inaccurate self-appraisal usually in the wrong direction they do their devalue themselves entirely they don't trust themselves they down sell themselves they don't aspire to things that they actually could do because in some ways they've so internalized the way they were shamed by that parent but above all else they sort of lose their entire sense of self because their parent never let them develop it because in essence the parent really experienced a child as an extension of themselves what does that mean when the child's the extension of


the parent so it means that the child should have no needs outside of that parent so if the child goes along everyone gets along if they're Mommy Mommy you're so pretty and we'll do anything you want and they eat the way the parent wants and they do the sport the parent wants and they excel at what the parent wants and they they're just become literally the parent and have no Identity or need outside of that everything's gonna be just fine but that's not how kids work the whole point of being a child is to individuate and become autonomous and once that happens the parent is not interested in that and they don't like it so the child will


always feel that they're almost in psychological servitude to that parent they're not allowed to have a reality outside of the parent wow let's talk a little bit about this sort of whiplash because you know when you're dealing with a narcissistic parent or spouse or boss it feels like I keep reading these comments from our audience about like on one hand you're like okay there's the Tantrum Behavior but you still feel responsible for them you still feel guilty when you're mad at them you still want to please them correct why because that that there's a guy named Daniel Shaw who writes about this brilliantly


and I want to credit him because I'm going to use his language he he talks about and it's going to use a technical term and I'm going to bring it down to what all of us how we'd make sense of it he calls having a narcissistic parent he calls it a loss of inter-subjectivity that's a real fancy way of saying it's my reality it's my way you are you're almost like a non-entity here you everyone exists to serve me I don't want you to have needs I don't want you to be something separate and a healthy parent the child will be sad and the parent will sort of even at the parents in a good mood the child will stop and be with their sad child and listen to them


and empathize whereas a narcissistic parent will say um this is my birthday what is happening here like wait you're not get this kid away from me like how dare he cry on my birthday it's that kind of thing right so you the child is not allowed to have any sort of experience outside of that of the parents and then the CH and the parent really expresses the resentment at the child having needs thus the child internalizes a sense of Shame and even guilt over having needs so when they go into adulthood that shame and guilt persists because that that relationship a lot of therapists don't address it that explicitly it's not an easy cycle


to end because remember unlike an adult narcissistic relationship the child needs the parent the child needs a parent for safety for shelter for food it's not like you can divorce a parent and say I'm going to start dating again and see if I could find someone better that is not how this works the child knows the parents the only game in town and identity is very much shaped by that attachment relationship by that caregiving parental relationship so what you're learning is that you're a pain in the neck don't need so much you're are not good enough because if you were good enough that parent would be regulated that parent would be happy so you're


doing something wrong and the narcissistic parent explicitly and implicitly communicates that to them I wish you'd never been born you're so much trouble I would have had such an amazing career if it weren't for you a child shouldn't be hearing that they'll shame a child's weight like oh goodness so somebody's eating too much it's because you're a bad reflection on the parent if you don't look the way the parent wants you're not doing what the parent wants oh my kid he wants to play a violin he won't even play sports all of those things are the child is supposed to be a functionary for the parent and so as that person goes into


adulthood I would actually say it's almost a three-part Whiplash there is the sense of you know what the Tantrum is You See It Coming you then have the experience of is this my fault I need to calm them down I feel bad and then you have the third experience that you may still have some good moments with that parent that parent may be really smart really interesting really fun I mean in fact a lot of people say as I got older there were parts of my parent I enjoyed because I noticed there was something fun but I still felt the shaming and the blaming and it's very interesting for a lot of narcissistic parents they like


babies because babies are sort of like an accessory like a bag you can kind of take them around like you know and show them around town once they stop being baggable and carryable not so interesting but not so cute on social media then there's this whole long period where that child needs more than it can give back then the child gets into late adolescent in early adulthood the parents interested again they can go out to dinner with them they can go to a bar with them they can go on an interesting vacation with them they can bring them into the family business and so now they're interested in their kid and for some kids who desperately wanted


that love they go all in on that they're like I'm gonna play tennis with my dad or I'm gonna I'm gonna help my mom in her business because now now I'm gonna get I'm gonna get that love the love you wanted when you were four and you couldn't quite work in the family business so now that now now that try and that's where we get to this idea of the trauma Bond okay let's talk about this because I I I know that what's happening as you're listening to this is you're probably going ding ding ding ding ding and we're focusing on parents right now but we are going to get into romantic relationships but I think it's an important distinction that with the


parent-child relationship you are there like you don't have an option and so what do you do now if you're sitting there listening to this and you're going oh my God that's me and I do keep jumping back into the fire it's like this are they super hostile or you know are they loving me did I get it right and now I'm getting affection or um are they trying to annihilate me because they're not getting what they need for me and I'm not behaving so as an as an adult now if you're going this is me what do you do so a couple things all right number one I am not going to sugarcoat this and say there's like three easy steps to pushing


back from a narcissistic parent this ain't Tick-Tock folks like this is hard work okay there is no three-step five-step ten step or even 172 step plan here okay I'm gonna take a deep breath because I I need everybody one of you to hear this is not Tick Tock okay you need to wake up and realize that first of all you're not changing the weather in Chicago and you're not going to change the personality type if your parent is a narcissist or you are in love with one okay it's okay so number one is the acknowledgment and this is the hardest part of all although you're this person's child


narcissistic people view all the people around them as objects like my coffee maker or my tea maker this morning I made a cup of tea I don't think about my tea maker unless I want a cup of tea when I want a cup of tea me and my tea maker interact the rest of the day don't think about it once at all at all why would I I don't need a cup of tea right and that's how a narcissistic person result thinks about other people do I need oil from you yeah do I need something from you oh yeah I do need something from you now you're my central Focus I'm thinking about only you but just like if that tea maker waddled over to me and said hey could you listen


to me I'm like what you're a tea maker like go away this is not Beauty and the Beast appliances do not talk get the hell away from me you are a tea maker learn your place so for a narcissistic person we all serve a function for them whether it's your their lover whether you're their accountant whether you're their cleaner that's why narcissistic people always have like a team around them it's always about the team I'm like of course you have a team around you because everyone serves a function for you I'm trying to pick my mouth up off the floor because this is a revolutionary idea for me that a narcissistic person isn't ever


thinking about you unless they need something exactly and yet if you have ever been in a serious relationship with a narcissist or you were raised by one you think about them all the time all the time all that you're ruminating them they're not thinking about you unless they need something from you or you're a blockade to something they need right like you're not signing the deal or you're because you're sick they can't go to something now they're thinking about you because they're mad at you right but it's it's so it's going back to your parents I'm like going back to that parenting issue so as you get into adulthood you are an object to them so


like what can I do what can I this you're never going to be able to read their mind and give them everything they want there is no there you will never be able to none of us are mind readers you're never going to be able to fully anticipate and what's so sad is people who are all in with narcissistic parents or even narcissistic Partners will will literally try to devote their lives to anticipating the narcissistic person's every need so they can finally finally win them over that they could do it just right so that's not possible because none of us are mind readers remember so what do you do you give out you you at that point you're like okay I


I can only be the best person I can be live in a way that's in line with your own values right now this is why I'm saying that this is not an easy Tick Tock strategy because even as you do that even when the day comes you realize my parents never gonna end my my parent is never going to change none of this is my fault it's really just my genetic bad luck that this is the parent I pulled yeah um again I am not responsible for any of this I need to stop taking my bucket to an empty well they are never going to notice me they are never going to have empathy for me I cannot live my life as a sacrifice to them and forever keep


trying to please them and not living my own true authentic path all of those things are important here's the part that I'm saying is never this is just the work is and then when you tell your parent no I'm not coming to dinner this Sunday I'm not I didn't feel good last month I'm taking a pass really you're not coming I was making that special thing and I really miss you and I'm thinking of you and and you know I'm getting older 95 90 of people are going to break under that one and they're going to show up and guess what's going to happen at that dinner again


the criticism the humiliation the devaluation the invalidation right so I say to people you got two options here either be with the the guilt of saying no or go to the dinner with realistic expectations that when you and almost make it a game like a personal Bingo you know it's not quite a drinking game because if you took a shot every time they invalidated you'd be loaded before the main course came but if you I I literally have done this where I'm like okay I'm going to collect points at this dinner for every five invalidations I'm going to go like I'm gonna get a scoop of ice cream all right and then like and then it's like a little thing that pays


out during the week like Tuesday I'm going to get ice cream and on Thursday I might get a massage like 15 invalidations is usually a massage for me so I'm like objective yeah and I'm like I'm going in I'm like do it again it again do it again we're 13. I really want the massage so so let me ask you this question so should you ever confront a narcissist like somebody's going to come listen to this podcast be like all right that's it I'm calling Dad nope nope I can't if we if we only said one thing in this entire podcast episode is never ever call out a narcissist we would be giving the single most brilliant piece of advice why do you


never call out a narcissist I should I'm going to temper that with it depends on what you want if you're doing this because you want to say it's like a gotcha moment haha I see you okay and they're gonna rage at you and they're going to scream at you and there might be a smear campaign now and they may be telling everybody out there that not only you an ungrateful kid but you are the narcissist and you're the one who's harmful and everybody needs to keep their distance from you and I mean they will really do such a number on you that and they're not going to change so


if all it is for you to say I see you I think the better way to do to play that is you see them now change your behavior stop being supply for them stop engaging with them stop taking the bait so are you saying if you call home and the first thing out of somebody's mouth is haven't heard from you in a long time you should not say you know the phone works both ways no way now if you know this person's narcissistic absolutely not so they say haven't heard from you in a long time and you'd say no you haven't oh and whoa and then where are they going


to go with that because what you've done is you've taken away the volley they're playing tennis you need to play Solitaire can you give us some other role plays um so puts put another conversation starter out there for me um uh why don't you come to Thanksgiving and you and the year and the Assumption in this one is why don't you come to Thanksgiving because this person's committed fully tonight you got to come to me okay so you go this is where and I'm going to step back before I role play that I'm going to


introduce the concept of True North okay that's true north okay true north is a big healing but we call Healing technique for folks or at least it's a more of a management technique than healing I should say True North is that you need to figure out what in your life is worth fighting for so maybe you're not going to Thanksgiving this year not only because you don't want to see them but it's your your kids playing football that day all right and you do not want to miss that football game or you have you do actually have a big deadline at work the Monday after Thanksgiving and you want to get it done or you said tack with it this is the year we're actually


going to go to You're gonna go camping or we're gonna go to Hawaii for Thanksgiving okay because that's what my family has always wanted to my you know whatever your friends you've decided to take a trip with your friends your true north is what is healthy for you okay so you've got to be clear on that it sounds like it's a balance between how much guilt can you tolerate right kind of it is it isn't because the guilt is people feel guilt people feel guilt when they believe they're doing something wrong so to which I'd say what did you do I give you a guilt if you committed a crime if you're guilt if you stole something you feel guilty if you cheated


on someone so when people my clients tell me all the time I feel guilty I'm like tell me what you did wrong and that's when I get to pause they're like I don't want to go to Thanksgiving I'm like where's I'm sorry so help me understand where that's wrong well that's what they want I'm like I hear that but how is that wrong because the Axiom to that is not doing what they want is wrong okay everybody did you hear that this is a huge takeaway so if the lights are going off in your head and you're and you're starting to go wait a minute I definitely either had a parent that had some narcissistic


personality or I'm in a relationship with somebody like this the reason why you feel guilty is because if you don't do what they say that's wrong correct that's exactly that's what you were trained to believe you are trained to believe that is and if you had a parent like that let's say this is even happening in your your committed relationship or your marriage then that's another time when you were you're almost indoctrinated into believing not doing what another person wants is wrong and I I like make the argument about it for me this is foundational like because what happens is the Tantrum throwing yes the shaming


the gas I didn't say that like all the Adolescent tantrum Behavior adolescent toddler yeah is what actually has trained you to believe that not doing something that that person wants is wrong that's why you feel guilty that's why you feel good holy yeah wow how the hell do you get rid of that programming well first of first of all is one of the only paths forward to Healing is getting comfortable with being uncomfortable right right that's I don't like that answer and I know people don't like that answer I'll tell you why everyone goes to the damn gym and they lift the weights and they do this and they're crossfitting that and and


they're in pain do they want a hot ass or they want abs or they want arms they want to look good why are you willing to tolerate pain there and you're not willing to tolerate pain here pains pain folks oh okay I mean I'm I'm I I thought I had learned everything there was to learn about narcissism from you but I'm having major breakthroughs right now and insights uh so should authentic or empathetic people how do we protect ourselves from narcissists in life it's a tough one I I think that it's every so often Mel every so often and they're like that perfect


seashell that's not cracked you find on the beach and I find these people who've actually never encountered I find these people who have never encountered narcissism they had two loving parents they grew up in a happy home they love all their siblings they met someone in college they fell in love they both got good jobs I I do I'm happy for them I'm happy for them and those people just like you talk about narcissism to them and I could be talking about like the you know like just some sort of like they think I have a tinfoil hat on they really do and I


get it I get it because they have absolutely no schema for that but going back to the world of the authentic and the empathic that's also especially the authentic folks it's a rare group being off here's the thing about authenticity now and something we lose and I think it really gets brought into Stark relief when we're talking about narcissism people talk about authenticity like it's an easy thing the hardest thing in the world is to be authentic because to be authentic is to be unpopular to be authentic is to blaze your own trail even when other people are cluck clucking at you and stigmatizing you and looking giving you the side eye what are


you doing like people don't do that you know you're supposed to do the sort of missionary position follow the rules kind of life and authentic people say no that's not who I am that's not what I'm about authentic people are very clear on their values what they stand for what matters for them and so I'm not saying that authentic people don't feel guilt they'll feel tremendous guilt but they'll also feel committed to the potential within them and the people they care about and to say ultimately giving in to this person's abuse is not doing honestly me any favors for sure it's not doing my kids any favors it's not doing the people I care about any


favors and it's actually not doing them any favors because it's reinforcing them in this sick cycle and I don't want to be part of this so we've got to get away from the idea that authenticity is easy authenticity authentic people actually often have smaller social networks than other people because they've called away all the dead weight they've cleared away all the branches that are that are dead like they said no I will not have people around me that are unhealthy that are invalidating I mean it's it's it is a brave stand and it's not an easy stand and some people say authentic people are selfish they're cold they're uppity they'll you know that they'll really


paint them in like oh who do you think you are that you get to do that and all the authentic person is doing is trying to draw boundary against unhealthy people it is not easy to do because a lot of people feel like you gotta go you have you have to put up with the unhealthy people that's what we do families stick together and all that kind of stuff and to which I say no I mean why would we punish a person for again genetic bad luck for the rest of their lives is it normal for people to listen to you and start to worry am I a narcissist because I'm also


sitting here going oh my God like do I I I kind of sound like this sometimes like when I'm frustrated like is this me like now I'm starting to worry like did this get like uh is this my personality so here's the thing no all of us all of us and sometimes even every day have moments when we're not graceful what we need to look at is how quickly and how authentically we make amends so if you snap at someone at work that you catch that and within you know very quickly say ah that was not okay I am I I take responsibility for that you you are not responsible for that I was having a bad day but that's not your problem and so I apologize that we when


we when we do those things now no narcissistic person in the world is ever going to do that unless a publicist makes them or and then you can tell and then you can tell do it or or um because they're trying to save face or they'll say my favorite the the narcissistic apology which is I'm sorry you feel that way that's how narcissists apologize I'm sorry you feel that way oh I'm like oh hell no the minute I hear that I'm like this conversation's done and I don't storm off I usually I'm very you got to learn your sort of like nod Mona Lisa smile and say you know I gotta jump now some people say that's passive aggressive well there's no there's no


path forward and if I'm not in the mood for a fight you'll say you know okay you know I gotta I gotta jump thanks again are we and then close off the conversation whatever else needs to get done now before we jump into the Dynamics of romantic relationships and narcissism and how to how to know whether or not you're dating one or you're married to one although I'd suppose if you're married to one you probably know it but can you talk a little bit about family roles where there are narcissistic parents I found that to be fascinating yeah so in a narcissistic family and and is assuming there's more than one child


and even if there's not that child could still be placed in a role we have some sort of classical roles that kids fall into and roles are never healthy in a family system because in a way you can see that each of these trials children are either being put in the role or have taken on this role as a survival need versus a child just getting to be a child right so the number one classical role sort of The Golden Child right this is the child who has been anointed by the narcissistic parent it could be that that child is it resembles the parent the child is um getting a lot of validation from the world they may be good at something and


so that they're they're the one who is you know always you know I don't know doing well at sport or people like them or they sing well or whatever it may be that the parent is like getting a lot of validation so they make that child The Golden Child now usually to have a golden child you need another sibling to sort of create that dynamic because that other child's not The Golden Child right so it's clear there's sort of a chosen child in the household go do golden children remain golden children permanently not necessarily if there's a point at which The Golden Child decides to step out of ranks or do something that aggravates the narcissistic parent


they will the crown shall be removed from their head the other the other primary role in these families is the scapegoat now the scapegoat gets the worst of it and I would say in some cases the scapegoats get it so terribly in narcissistic families they come out of childhood with something that looks like complex trauma they are constantly criticized compared to other kids they're literally not given one kid's tuition will be paid for and the scapegoats will not the scapegoat will be expected to get a summer job to help the family The Golden Child will get to go to some special camp like it's it's a stark Market


difference the scapegoat will endure abuse that other siblings in the family don't don't endure why is escape goes a scapegoat it's hard to know it I've heard every reason in the book the scapegoat simply knows they're the scapegoat and it is actually a because the scapegoat is a terrible Legacy to take into adulthood because they will forever wonder why what was it about me what do you have to say to somebody who's listening saying that was me you know I would say we we do we will we'll start with trauma work you know validation of their experience because for a lot of scapegoats they were told you were treated no differently so we


start with straight up you were treated differently what that happened and that's the foundation and you you kind of jump you keep grow from there and that this was real and and that then you explain to them how narcissistic families work and how narcissistic personalities were because ultimately it wasn't their fault it wasn't the scapegoat's fault um the next type is what I call sort of the helper you know the helper child is almost like a sort of a personal assistant they are constantly exhausting themselves to do things for the parent they may watch younger siblings they might try to keep the house clean


they'll and they'll feel like they have to do this not to be like a responsible player in the household like everyone doing their part but because they feel that this is the only way to get seen recognized or avoid the narcissistic parents abuse and other type of child we see is the fixer the fixer is almost like this mini Diplomat who's trying to insert themselves in at all times trying to make sure like for example if you have a narcissistic parent and a non-narcissistic parent there can be really terrible verbal abuse sometimes even violence but more verbal emotional abuse and that fixer child will constantly be inserting themselves and


they're almost like a court jester to keep the parents from fighting they will be they will stay up later than they want to to make sure that the parents don't argue they'll try to they'll often sometimes even fall on the grenade so that there's not they'll sometimes try to protect the scapegoat so that's the fixer one thing that really struck me and what you're saying is having one parent versus two I guess I just assumed there was always one oh there can be two two narcissists are attracted to each other oh heck yeah why flashy superficial grandiose we're gonna be the greatest thing ever we're gonna save the world together I'm hot you're


hot let's go be hot and save the world you don't think those people are drawn together oh actually that's true you see them all over social media social media La all the time and those that's a nightmare scenario for a child because nobody they only pay attention for their children when it's a good social media moment like I'm a mom blogger and they've got their sort of teeth whitened kind of husbands smiling and the children are in white shirts white shirts who puts a child in a white shirt I don't think I I never owned anything white for my children now they're like in their 20s so no but they've got the white shirt and the white teeth and the


look at us and but then when the cameras are off not so interested in those kids and anymore that's true and kids know when kids know when it's phony exactly and so and that's a new way this is a first generation of kids that were raised from social media with social media from front to back yeah the data now needs to be collected that's but we've now also but we've forgotten about the the uh the truth teller the truth teller that is a profound child in the in the narcissistic environment this is the kid who sees it and gets it and they don't have a vocabulary for it and some ways are a bit horrified because they're like oh God and the truth teller


struggles the truth teller may have fantasies of like oh my gosh I wish this parent would leave or I hope they never come back they're terrible this is awful now the truth teller can overlap you'll have scapegoats who are truth tellers you'll have helpers the helpers not so much the poor helpers are sort of like lost in there trying to make Mama Martini kind of thing but the scapegoats can sometimes be truth tellers but the truth teller can sometimes ultimately be scapegoated because in a weird way the narcissistic parent almost has this sense that that little little kid has their number and it brings up a lot of Shame for that parent so they'll try to


silence that child and almost do the equivalent of almost like um excommunicating them like putting them in the cheap seats and ultimately like I said scapegoating them and then every so often there's the brainwashed child who thinks the narcissistic parent is just great and doesn't see it even into adulthood and when other siblings say you know mom's a narcissist and they'll say don't say that she gave up everything for us you know you're too selfish to see so they're like they're fully in the cult Dr Romney you are unbelievable thank you for my personal therapy session it's funny how that happens oh my gosh


um I learned so much and I think there were there were a number of things that really stood out to me obviously you can't change the weather in Chicago that's relieving I also love that insecurity is at the core of someone who's a narcissist and that helps me distance Myself by feeling a little empathy I know that's weird but the empathy is kind of tied into the guilt a little bit like I actually feel bad I wish this person were happy yeah and I think that are they happy because they don't know they're not and in that balancing act now of one thing that so many survivors are


afraid of like ah they're narcissists it feel it feels so dismissive to them is I don't want to lose my empathy and my compassion empathy and compassion doesn't mean you hang out and be someone's emotional punching bag empathy and compassion means that you can gracefully step away and even if they're raging at you you don't need to get in the mud with them because you do recognize that they're having their pain but empathy and compassion doesn't mean you forever remain someone's prisoner um that's beautiful the other thing that that I learned in this episode that was incredibly helpful and I'm sure was helpful for everybody else is the moment


that you said when we role played about the calling you know like I haven't heard from you in a while that idea that they're not thinking about you unless they need you correct even though they're suffering they need Supply right narcissistic people care deeply how things look to the world so it looks good to the world if you show up for dinner you show up for Thanksgiving whatever it is right that's what it is is that that's their supply comes from it's not did we have an a loving compassionate Thanksgiving even if we ate it out of takeout boxes does it all


look good it doesn't matter if everyone's miserable I mean if I screamed at everyone I need the picture I need the picture I need the picture right so it's Supply it's all about narcissistic Supply so they need you there they need someone there by and large narcissistic people need other people some narcissists are introverted by by and large it's an extroversion pattern we see in them but it's the I need I need to look good I need you to tell me I'm great I need you to come over and I need to feel like look at me I've got a big family not that they care about the people in the family it's just like look at everyone around the table


this is my family like you're a thing you know versus human beings who may actually that Year may have had an incredibly difficult year and that's a year you don't want to get on the plane or you don't want to drive the four hours or you've been not feeling well on your for a compassionate family member to say Hey listen I you know I'll even send you I'm going to send you some taken get some rest I love you like Thanksgiving is about that we care wait people do that yes they do and again and again those are our agreeable folks but no narcissistic person's ever going to do that and that imagine though that was your reality that someone's like hey you


need to do what feel you'd want to show up you're like hell no I'm driving through a snowstorm to get to you it's too cool to spend time with you so the very person would give you permission to say you need to do what feels right for you it's exactly the person you would probably trudge through like the rain to get to whereas the narcissistic people they feel entitled to you being there when they want you there which is why you also experience a lot of rage right okay this has been so amazing now uh when we let our audience know that we were going to have you on uh the comments the forms blew up with questions about dating and work and so


we're gonna have you back we got to do two of this conversation and we have to focus on dating how to spot it what to do I want to talk about work and so we will definitely have you back but you also have a tremendous amount of resources for people and I know that your thinking as you're listening to this or you're watching us on YouTube that okay I gotta dig in deeper I want to go deeper into my own healing and so I'm super excited that you have so many resources and so we're going to link to everything everybody in the show notes and also in the comments here on YouTube but uh I would love for you to tell everybody where they can find you and


what how they can dig in deeper with you so I'd say the the best first stop is our YouTube channel my YouTube channel we tell them the URL so it's it's Dr Romney okay if it's keep it simple just Dr Romney go to YouTube and it is an incredibly comprehensive and every day grow every day we post a new video and this is now very much a channel that is growing in response to what people want we get dozens of content suggestions a day sit with them take them apart figure out which ones are would be a good thing for people to hear about and so this is now a channel that's very responsive to the the wonderful wonderful audience that we have that's a great place to


start I have a podcast of people want to hear other people's stories of narcissistic relationships tune into navigating narcissism you can get it at iHeart or wherever you get your podcast join subscribe there's such fascinating conversations from people who've been in Cults people who've been in abusive relationships people who are spiritually abused I mean people who were a woman from the Tinder swindler like anything you can imagine related to narcissism we're hearing the stories and we often tend to focus so much on oh the the bad the bad narcissistic cult leader or whatever now we're talking to the


survivors this is a forum for the survivors I love that because here's the thing everybody she's the world's leading expert in this and I know that we've spent a lot of time talking about narcissism and understanding it so you can spot it so you can get some distance from it so you can understand the biggest takeaway she kept saying it's not about you it really isn't like it feels like nothing wrong it feels like it is and you're not changing the weather in Chicago they're equal equal opportunity offenders but I love that you're providing so many tools for healing and one of the most important ones everyone is the fact that


you also offer a monthly subscription program where you can jump in and not only be with a world's leading expert but you can also be with other survivors correct which is very rare I mean I think that what's hard is that and it's a safer platform than even a lot of social media because it's close to only people who are in it we it's moderated multiple times a day keeping survivors safe is really important to us and so it's a chance and it's amazing to see what happens in that Forum it's Survivor support each other learning from each other's stories getting a sense of hope sharing ideas just just being cheering each other on which is what we need


validating their experience which sure I'm giving through the content but to have that place to know that you're not alone in this these are thousands of people who are going through it too so just you know it's it go get into that link join our healing community on healing from narcissistic abuse no matter what form of narcissistic abuse you're going through this this uh the content in this healing program will be useful absolutely amazing you are a complete gift thank you thank you all of your wisdom your time your expertise the tools the learning today it's just every time I spend time with you it deepens my healing it makes me smarter I just love


having you in my life so thank you thank you so much Melissa my pleasure I can't wait to have you back we're talking dating and work next people here we go and for you in case nobody else tells you today I love you uh Dr Romney loves you too we believe in you and we believe in your ability to not only create a better life but to heal from the things that are painful in your life and we are both here to support you so thank you for spending your most precious time with us yeah thank you [Music] thank you foreign

Key Themes, Chapters & Summary

Key Themes

  • Understanding Narcissism

  • Narcissistic Personality Traits

  • Insecurity and Shame in Narcissism

  • Narcissism in Personal Relationships

  • Family Dynamics and Narcissism

  • Strategies for Dealing with Narcissists

  • Setting Boundaries

  • Emotional Well-being and Self-Protection


  • Defining Narcissism: Beyond the Clinical Diagnosis

  • Identifying Narcissistic Traits

  • The Root of Narcissism: Insecurity and Shame

  • The Impact of Narcissism on Relationships

  • Narcissism in Family Contexts

  • Approaches to Interacting with Narcissists

  • The Importance of Boundaries

  • Conclusion: Coping with Narcissism in Daily Life


In the podcast "You’re Not Crazy, You’re Just Dealing With a Narcissist" from The Mel Robbins Podcast, the discussion delves deeply into the nature of narcissism, its impact on relationships, and strategies for dealing with narcissistic individuals. The podcast features an expert in the field of narcissism, offering profound insights and practical advice.

The conversation begins with an exploration of what narcissism truly is, emphasizing that it is a personality style, not a clinical diagnosis. The expert clarifies the distinction between narcissistic personality disorder, a specific diagnosis, and general narcissistic traits, which are more widely observed in various degrees in the population.

Key traits of narcissism are identified, including lack of empathy, entitlement, arrogance, validation-seeking, control issues, and emotional reactivity. The podcast emphasizes the core of narcissism: a deep, often unacknowledged insecurity and a constant battle against feelings of shame. The discussion also highlights the difference between healthy self-esteem and narcissistic self-absorption.

One of the central themes of the podcast is the impact of narcissism on personal relationships, particularly familial and romantic ones. It explores how children raised by narcissistic parents often grow up with distorted self-images, leading to challenges in their adult lives. The conversation provides insights into the dynamics within narcissistic families, identifying roles like the scapegoat or the golden child.

A significant portion of the podcast is dedicated to strategies for dealing with narcissists. The expert advises against confronting narcissists directly, as this often leads to increased conflict without any positive change in behavior. Instead, the focus is on understanding the limitations of changing a narcissist's behavior and learning to set boundaries to protect one's emotional well-being.

Throughout the podcast, the conversation is interspersed with personal anecdotes and questions that help demystify the complex nature of narcissism. The expert's approach is both empathetic and pragmatic, offering listeners valuable tools for recognizing narcissistic behavior and coping strategies for dealing with it effectively.

In summary, the podcast provides a comprehensive guide to understanding narcissism and its impact on interpersonal relationships, offering practical advice for those who find themselves dealing with narcissistic individuals in their personal or professional lives.