Anticipatory Anxiety — DSM (Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Worrying about the future can be very stressful and distracting. The best way to resolve anticipatory anxiety is to simply not care so much about what will happen tomorrow.

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5 Sure-Fire Ways You Must Follow To Triumph over ‘Inner Conflict’ — Thrive Global

In this world, no one is free from conflicts; it may be external or internal. Managing external conflict is a much easier task than the inner one. You can easily ignore the person who is bothering you or force to do something. But, when it comes to fighting with yourself, then it becomes severe.

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Facing Your Daily Stresses And Anxieties In The Business World — Stress Management 1 dot GA

Everybody deals with anxieties and stresses in the business world. As a result, here is a list of techniques that a person can use to help manage their daily stresses and anxieties at their job and/or in the business world. Sometimes, we get stressed when everything happens all at once. When this happens, a person…

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Natural Meds for Anxiety? — Kenneth S. Arfa, MD

A patient asked if any herbs or supplements might help her anxiety symptoms. She worries frequently during the day and feels constantly tense. She’s not alone in seeking help from complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). According to the medical source UpToDate, one-third of patients treated in primary care use CAM. Two-thirds of American adults use […]

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Is it Better to be Completely Honest, a Strategic Truth-Teller or an Occasional Liar? — Damon Ashworth Psychology

I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye […]

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Schizophrenia and the Evolution of the Human Brain — Dr. Elliott Gruen

An experienced psychiatrist, Dr. Elliot Gruen currently practices in Maine. Dr. Elliot Gruen draws on experience with a range of psychiatric conditions, including an in-depth familiarity with schizophrenia and its development. Schizophrenia is a complex mental illness that affects approximately 1 percent of the population. It causes abnormal activity in many different areas of […]

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How to Turn Negative Urges into Positive Actions — Dr. Eric Perry, PhD

Written by Dr. Perry, PhD Image Credit: Pixabay “Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” ~Hans Selye Sublimation is a subconscious psychological defense mechanism whereby we take a negative impulse and channel it into a positive behavior. This is similar to displacement (click here to refer to my earlier post […]

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Competitive Stress — Human Performance Psychology

The indisputable essence of sport is competition. The whole social and pedagogical activity in the service of sport has as a major objective the moment of “confirmation of efficiency” in the competition. Everyone knows that in most situations the competition has the gift of ambitioning the competitors. The phenomenon is of a social psychological nature […]

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Can a Narcissist Love?

Source Link: https://psychcentral.com/lib/can-a-narcissist-love/?li_source=LI&li_medium=popular17

Anyone who’s loved a narcissist wonders, “Does he really love me?” “Does she appreciate me?” They’re torn between their love and their pain, between staying and leaving, but can’t seem to do either. Some swear they’re loved; others are convinced they’re not. It’s confusing because sometimes they experience the caring person they love, whose company is a pleasure, only to be followed by behavior that makes them feel unimportant or inadequate.

Narcissists claim to love their family and partners, but do they?

Romance vs. Love

Narcissists may show passion in the early stages of dating. But that sort of passion, according to Jungian analyst Robert Johnson, “is always directed at our own projections, our own expectations, our own fantasies … It is a love not of another person, but of ourselves.” Such relationships provide positive attention and sexual satisfaction to support a narcissist’s ego and self-esteem.

For most narcissists, their relationships are transactional. Their objective is to enjoy uncommitted pleasure (Campbell et al., 2002). They’re playing a game, and winning is the goal. They’re engaging and energetic and possess emotional intelligence that helps them perceive, express, understand, and manage emotions (Dellic et al., 2011). This helps them manipulate people to win their love and admiration. They brag to be respected, loved, and gratified. Additionally, their good social skills allow them to make a good initial first impression.

They can show great interest in romantic prospects and seduce with generosity, expressions of love, flattery, sex, romance, and promises of commitment. Amorous narcissists (Don Juan and Mata Hari types) are adept and persuasive lovers and may have many conquests, yet remain single. Some narcissists lie and/or practice love-bombing by overwhelming their prey with verbal, physical, and material expressions of love.

Narcissists lose interest as the expectation of intimacy increases or when they’ve won at their game. Many have trouble sustaining a relationship more than six months to a few years. They prioritize power over intimacy and loathe vulnerability, which they consider weak (Lancer, 2014). To maintain control, they avoid closeness and prefer dominance and superiority over others. Game-playing thus strikes the perfect balance to both get their needs met and keep their options open to flirt or date multiple partners (Campbell et al., 2002).

A sudden breakup can be traumatic to their ex, who is bewildered by their unexpected change of heart — proposing one minute, and then exiting the next. They feel confused, crushed, discarded, and betrayed. If the relationship had continued, eventually they would have seen through the narcissist’s seductive veneer.

Some narcissists are pragmatic in their approach to relationships, focusing on their goals. They may also develop positive feelings toward their partner, but more based on friendship and shared interests. If they marry, they lack the motivation to maintain their romantic façade, and employ defenses to avoid closeness. They become cold, critical and angry, especially when they’re challenged or don’t get their way. They’re likely to support their spouse’s needs and wants only when it’s inconvenient and their ego is satisfied. After devaluing their partner, they need to look elsewhere to prop up their inflated ego.

How is love defined?

Real love is not romance, and it’s not codependency. For Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, it’s “to will the good of another.” In The Psychology of Romantic Love (1980), Nathaniel Branden states that “To love a human being is to know and love his or her person.” It’s a union of two individuals, which requires that we see another person as separate from ourselves. Further, in The Art of Loving (1945), Erich Fromm emphasizes that love entails effort to develop knowledge, responsibility, and commitment. We must be motivated to know another’s wants, needs, and feelings and provide encouragement and support. We take pleasure in their happiness and try not to hurt them.

When we love, we show active concern for their life and growth. We try to understand their experience and worldview, though it may differ from ours. Caring involves offering attention, respect, support, compassion, and acceptance. We must devote the necessary time and discipline. Romantic love can evolve into love, but narcissists aren’t motivated to really know and understand others (Ritter et al., 2010).

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, narcissists “lack empathy and have difficulty recognizing desires, subjective experiences, and feelings of others” (p. 670). Research shows that they have structural abnormalities in brain regions associated with emotional empathy (Schulze et al., 2013). Hence, their ability to appropriately respond emotionally and express care and concern is significantly impaired.

Narcissists have s several hurdles to loving. First, they neither see themselves nor others clearly. First, they experience people as extensions of themselves, rather than separate individuals with differing needs, desires, and feelings. Second, they overestimate their own emotional empathy (Ritter et al., 2010). Third, their defenses distort their perceptions and interactions with others. They brag and withdraw to control closeness and vulnerability, project onto others unwanted, negative aspects of themselves, and they use denial, entitlement, and narcissistic abuse, including blame, contempt, criticism, and aggression, to ward off shame. Perfectionistic narcissists callously put down others and may attempt to destroy adversaries in order to sustain their illusion of perfection (Lancer, 2017). All these issues impair narcissists’ capacity to accurately take in another person’s reality, including that person’s love for them. In fact, narcissists emotional intelligence helps them manipulate and exploit others to get what they want, while their impaired emotional empathy desensitizes them to the pain they inflict.

Can we measure love?

Love is difficult to measure, but research shows that people feel love expressed by: 1) words of affirmation, 2) spending quality time, 3) giving gifts, 4) acts of service, and 5) physical touch (Goff, et al. 2007). Another study revealed that participants also felt loved by a partner who: 1) showed interest in their affairs; 2) gave them emotional and moral support; (3) disclosed intimate facts; 4) expressed feelings for them, such as “I’m happier when I’m near you”; and 5) tolerated their demands and flaws in order to maintain the relationship (Swenson, 1992, p. 92).

Conclusion

People who love narcissists are starved for many of these expressions of love. Sometimes, narcissists are remote, dismissive, or aggressive; other times, they show care and concern and are helpful. It’s not that narcissists are incapable of feeling or even intellectually understanding someone’s feelings. The problem appears to be rooted in childhood trauma and physiological deficits that impact emotional assessment, mirroring, and appropriate empathic expression. (Unconscious or unexpressed: “I love you, but”); Expressed: “I’m too busy to come to the hospital,” sounds pretty cold, but may not reflect the narcissist’s love for the person hospitalized. When the importance of a visit is explained to them, they might make the trip.

They may show love when they’re motivated. Their love is conditional, depending upon impact on the narcissist. My book Dealing with a Narcissist explains in detail how to navigate and beneficially use this in relationships with narcissists, addicts, or anyone highly defensive. Because narcissism exists on a continuum from mild to malignant, when it’s severe, selfishness and inability to express love become more apparent when greater demands are placed on a narcissist. Dating or long-distance relationships that have fewer expectations are easier.

Bottom line: Wondering whether a narcissist loves you is the wrong question. Although it’s wise to understand a narcissist’s mind, like Echo in the myth of Narcissus, partners overly focus on the narcissist to their detriment. Instead, ask yourself whether you feel valued, respected, and cared about. Are you getting your needs met? If not, how is that affecting you and your self-esteem and what can you do about that?

References:

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Branden, N. (1980). The Psychology of Romantic Love.  Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, Inc.

Campbell, W.K, Finkel, E.J., & Foster, C.A. (2002). Does self-love lead to love for others? A story of narcissistic game playing, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(2), 340-354. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5a8d/b3534f5398d42cfd0160ca14f92fd6bf05e5.pdf

Delic, A., Novak, P., Kovacic, J., & Avsec, A. (2011). Self-reported emotional and social intelligence and empathy as distinctive predictors of narcissism” Psychological Topics 20(3), 477-488.  Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0fe0/2aba217382005c8289b4607dc721a16e11e7.pdf

Fromm, E., (1956). The Art of Loving. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers.

Goff, B. G., Goddard, H. W., Pointer, L., & Jackson, G. B. (2007). Measures of expressions of love. Psychological Reports, 101, 357-360. https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.101.2.357-360

Johnson, R. A. (1945). We, Understanding the psychology of Romantic Love. San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers.

Lancer, D.A. (2017). “I’m Not Perfect, I’m Only Human” – How to Beat Perfectionism. Los Angeles: Carousel Books.

Lancer, D.A. (2014). Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You. Center City: Hazelden Foundation.

Ritter, K., et al. (2010). Lack of empathy in patients with narcissistic personality disorder, Psychiatry Research. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2fe3/32940c369886baccadb14fd5dfcbc5f5625f.pdf.

Schultze, L., et al. (2013) Gray matter abnormalities in patients with narcissistic personality disorder. Psychiatric Research, 47(10), 1363–1369. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.05.017

Swenson, C. (1972). The Behavior of Love. In H.A. Otto (Ed.) Love Today (pp. 86-101). New York: Dell Publishing.

© Darlene Lancer 2018

 

Mindfulness Meditation Therapy — Online Mindfulness Therapy

The growth of interest in Mindfulness Meditation in the West and its therapeutic application for healing the many forms of emotional suffering that we all experience as human beings is a phenomenon of great significance indeed. This movement is not about adopting yet another religion, not about learning a new set of rules to try to live by, and not about finding another set of rituals and practices to follow.

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Psychological Blocks in Mental Health — SENIOR ACCREDITED PSYCHOTHERAPIST / COUNSELLOR -Dr.Fawzy Masaoud-LONDON, ENGLAND

Blocks usually occur either before choice or before action. A counsellor ought not to try and push the client into making a choice or action but is better off trying to point out to the client that they are facing a block that is impeding them. A common problem is the adage “better the devil […]

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8 Ways Self-reflection Improves Your Life and Helps You Become Happier — Thrive Global

Self-reflection or introspection means being impartially self-aware and analyzing your beliefs, feelings, actions and emotions. You should use self-reflection to think about how your life is currently like and your role on earth. Self-reflection, when used well, will turn your life around. On the other hand, when misused or when you become obsessed with it…

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