Anxiety in Dysfunctional Environments

Codependent and Narcissistic environments often find a person with seemingly free-floating negative feelings that don't appear to be attached to specific events. However, if one were to observe closely and objective, one would fine that specific events are quite present, just covered up, rationalized, or justified. A person in such an environment can find themselves with: 

~A pervasive feeling of doing something wrong or inadequate, no matter what one is doing or what's going on

~the feeling of being less capable of doing things or learning how to do things than others

~the feeling that others believe one to be incapable, weak, less intelligent, clumsy, or emotionally unstable

~a feeling of always waiting for the "other shoe to drop";anxiety about social or group situations

~feelings of dread about social, school, or work situations or other group situations 

~suspicion or knowledge that one is being gossiped about, triangulated against, sabotaged, slandered, or plotted against

~suspicion or awareness of disrespectful, cold, unfair, unethical, uncaring, or even cruel treatment from an individual, or others in a group

~the feeling that events, plans, and information are being hidden or lied about

~the feeling that others seem to "see" a person as very different from who or what one is really like

~pervasive, ongoing guilt and shame for not being able to make others completely happy, for not doing enough for them in daily regular life, for not being nice enough, available enough, generous enough no matter what one does, and even if others are able-bodied and not suffering from trauma or illness.

~feeling like a "lower-status" person in a group

~may try to dominate or scapegoat others in the group, or try to make them look or feel like they're "lower status" in order to remedy one's own feelings

~feeling frustrated like one is being blocked, ignored, and dismissed

~feeling like one is self-centered, selfish, arrogant and narcissistic when doing basic self-care, buying basic self-care products, maintaining or buying things that are considered "normal" in the society, or even buying or making food for one's self.

 ~feeling like one is self-centered, selfish, arrogant and narcissistic when making positive announcements about one's own self, aspirations, plans, and life, or when seeking sympathy, empathy, or help when needing anything or dealing with hardship

~feeling shame or guilt for other feelings such as sadness, frustration, anger, fear, anxiety, enthusiasm, happiness, joy, or excitement

~feeling shame, guilt, anxiety, even frustration, desperation, or depression around holidays and other celebrations; and when there is any scheduling issue regarding other people.

~feeling shame, guilt, or anxiety (sometimes even panic) whenever one is trying to get something specific done that is not FOR someone else.

~feeling like one is blamed too often, judged too harshly, treated unfairly, and uncared for by both individuals and the group in general.

~feeling like one is being watched and reported on

If these feelings seem familiar, look up "Invalidation", "Passive Aggressive", "Codependency" and "Narcissism". There is quite a lot of information available right on the Internet to help one learn about what they're dealing with, both with the other people around them, and with themselves.

A couple of recommended links:
Light's Blog
Redlight Runners Anonymous 
Passive Aggressive 

Being Human

Signs of a mature and secure Human Being:

~Straightforward and honest
~Supportive of the other people in their life
~Compassionate toward the other people in their life
~Respects themselves enough to be respectful toward others
~Recognizes and respects the boundaries and dignity of others, as well as their own.
~Has the emotional, mental, and physical health of others as a regular top priority, as well as their own.
~Protects the reputations of their partner, children, family and friends
~Is strong enough to mean what they say, and say what they mean
~Is secure enough to admit mistakes and to feel remorse for causing pain or problems
~Is strong enough to care about others as well as themselves
~Would step in front of a bus for their partner, children, family or friends, not throw them under one.
~Would rather choose to do what they know is "right" than betray someone for personal gain, comfort, or satisfaction.
~Does not try to manipulate others, control others, or fool others to get what they want and avoid consequences, and knows why those things are wrong.
~Makes genuine commitments willingly and openly.
~Doesn't ever fake commitments he or she is not serious or genuine about.
~Knows what "Tolerance", "Being Real", and "Peace, Love, and Understanding" really are.

~M. M. Black 2013

Paper Cup Telephone Lines

Remember paper cup telephones? They only work if the line is tight, and both ends are being held. In a relationship with a Narcissist, it's like a telephone game between two children where one is being the Commander who gives orders into their cup, and one is being the Private who holds their cup to their ear and listens, and takes orders. No questions asked. Or the Boss and the Assistant, or the Royal and the Servant. One person talks, gives instruction and orders, and the other listens and does what he/she is told; that's the game, if you don't play "right" you're messing it up. Communication only goes one way, but both ends are being held.
Imagine what it's like to be the one giving the "commands".
Imagine if you had a string or a wire attached directly from you to the other person in your life. A "direct line" from them to you, That is how you like your life to be, that's what feels normal and right to you. A direct line from you to the other person, all the time; so when you pull on the string or send a message over the wire, the person on the other end feels or hears it immediately and responds right away. You know they feel the string pull or hear the message because it's a direct line, and you know they're holding it because the string is tight.

Now, picture having that same kind of direct line to more than one person, in fact every person in your life who's anything more than a distant acquaintance. If you feel that they're a personal connection, then you string the direct line.

Those who are closer to you have shorter, tighter lines, and you fully expect them to respond immediately whenever you give the slightest pull on their string. In fact, you expect them to be considerate enough to watch for you to get ready to pull the string or send a message on the wire; you think this would be the polite thing to do, for them to be vigilant of your needs so you don't HAVE TO pull the string or send a message at all.  
Having a direct string or wire to each person means that everyone needs to be careful of tangling the strings, or and careful of stepping back and pulling them from your skin. It would hurt if they pulled them, and if they got tangled it would create a mess. If they pulled them out then they wouldn't be attached to you, and therefore wouldn't know when you wanted them.
So, everyone has to make sure they remain orderly and in place, so as not to mess up the lines that are attached to YOU.
The lines cannot be crossed because it could create interference, which means your communications could get interrupted or lost. Nor may people attach lines from one to another, because if you summon one of them, they might be busy  tending to someone ELSE and won't be able to respond quickly enough.

It doesn't matter how many people you have direct connections to, every one of them is important; if you need a certain thing from a specific person, they MUST be available because only that person can fulfill that particular need. Besides, it's important to have as much back-up as possible.
 All of the lines only go one way. If you pull on them, they come to you. If someone else pulls on the line, you may answer, but you are not going to move to fulfill their request or their need; these are one-way only.
Like a light bulb with a pull-string: you pull the string, the light goes on. You pull it again, it goes off. The light bulb does not pull the string to make you do anything.
The only exception to this rule is if one of the lines would be pulled out or lost if you didn't do something to help the person (like when a light bulb needs to be changed because it's burned out). Then you might do something because if you don't, you'll risk losing that line, and possibly a couple of other lines as well. You don't want to lose any of them unless they don't "work" at all anymore.

There is one or two people whom you have a two-way line with; when they pull on the line, you feel it and immediately jump to ask them what they need. It annoys you very much, even enrages you at times that they have the nerve to do this and expect you to jump for them. In retaliation, you pull on the line right back. They jump when you pull it, and they get angry also. So they pull the line and you jump, and you pull the line and they jump, and you both become angrier and angrier. You threaten to "pull out the line altogether" and so do they, but neither one of you does, because neither one of you wants to give up even ONE of your lines. You are also both afraid that if they pull out their line, it will mess up all the rest of the lines attached to all the other people.  You don't want anyone to see someone pulling out a line, they might get ideas...

Telephone Line
M.M. Black

The Myth Of Power

There is a certain Myth that all Controllers need others to believe in order to remain in control and maintain "power". How they get people to believe this Myth is not some kind of swift stroke of genius, or hypnosis technique. It's worked into the minds of people, little by little, not just by the one Controller, but by generations upon years of story telling, demonstrations, accidental and purposeful training, and emotional conditioning.
This Myth is the belief that Controllers are entitled to Control, and that they have some kind of internal Power or authority over others.
They know the signals and the behaviors because they learned them by watching and by acting them out on others, testing them, honing them. They learned them the same way anyone learns how to act as they're growing up: from other people. Some of them even learned specific techniques to make others fall for their displays of "authority".
Those who were learning things other than how to look, sound, and act like a Controller were not interested in learning the signals and behaviors, and were too busy doing other things.
The Myth is learned slowly, bit by bit, by each of us as we grow up, so by the time we reach young adulthood, we barely remember what the world looked and felt like before we believed in it.

(To put it starkly, if the kid in front of you in First Grade turned around and took your lunch box out of your hand, you would have either yelled out for the teacher or chased him down and taken it back yourself. When that same kid tries his control tactics on you many years later, he will have learned how to push the right buttons to get you to give him your lunchbox. The reason the buttons are there, but they weren't when you were little, is because of the Myth.)

Men Lead, Women Follow?

Google the phrase "Men Lead Women Follow" and you will get a quarter of a BILLION hits.

Which begs only one question:

Why the obsession?

Why are human beings apparently obsessed with who "follows" whom, and who "leads" whom?
What is this adamant, relentless obsession with who gets to wear the Crown?
Where does this come from, if humans are so, so, so intelligent and self-aware?

Now for the answer!
What part of the brain will a person use to "answer" these questions?
Where is their "logic" or "evidence" REALLY coming from?

How about let's ask a couple more questions. (If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice!)

If there's a community that is populated only by males, all of whom have the same IQ, the same skill set, and the same school/academic record, who gets to be in charge?
Who gets to decide who's in charge?
Why does anyone want to be in charge of anyone else?

And another one:

If there's a community that is populated only by females, all of whom have the same IQ, the same skill set, and the same school/academic record, which females get to be in charge?
How would it be decided, and who gets to decide?
Why does anyone want the job of being a boss over their equals?

How long would an all-male community stay peaceful, and make progress?
How long would an all-female community?

What would be the focus and goals of an all-female community that was populated by females of equal skill and intelligence?  What would they be planning? What would they be working on?

What would be the focus and goals of an all-male community that was populated by males of equal skill and intelligence?

Do you believe you could know the answers to these questions?
How do you perceive people?

Do you perceive males as all being similar to one another, or as diverse individuals with unique abilities and personalities?
Do you perceive females as all being similar to one another, or as diverse individuals with unique abilities and personalities?

Which group would you like to see all of the individuals genuinely free and happy?
Where does that come from inside of you?
Do you really know where it comes from, or do you just think you do?

The answers are within. Happy hunting (or is it gathering?)

Why Are People So Immature

People are only as mature as they can handle. They might not be grown-up enough to care about others, or know how to treat people, so the choice falls to you whether you want to put up with it or just leave them where they sit. The last thing you need to do is take them too seriously.

Controllers, Hamsters, and Narcissism

Controllers in relationships with other people (parent/child, 'partner', 'friend', etc) are like the kind of children with pet hamsters who think the hamster is just another toy,... that happens to be alive.

They leave it in the cage till they feel like holding it or playing with it.

It doesn't occur to them that the hamster might be lonely, bored, or scared, and if it does, they don't actually care, it's just another "burden" to care about the hamster's "feelings" or "well being".

If the hamster declines being handled, it's the HAMSTER'S "FAULT"

They expect it to be "happy" in the little cage, however small or stark it is. If they add toys or tubes, the hamster "better be happy" and "appreciate" their effort and expense. If the hamster doesn't seem content with its environment, then the HAMSTER is to blame, it can't be because the human didn't do something correctly, or didn't do enough.

The hamster's needs are last on their priority list, and are categorized as "chores". Clean my room, put out the yucky garbage, make my stupid bed, do my dumb homework, feed and give water to the hamster, clean the cage if absolutely necessary. It's just another annoying job; the fact that the kid WANTED the hamster (so bad) is simply "forgotten".

The hamster gets taken out of the cage when the child feels like playing with it or showing it off to his or her friends. When the hamster jumps or runs, it gets caught up and shoved back in the cage. When someone squeezes it too hard, it bites them, of course; but the human's reaction is to scream, throw it across the room, and call it "mean". The fact that they squeezed and hurt it gets conveniently "forgotten".

The kid doesn't really care when his or her friends chase it, scare it, squeeze it, or let the cat chase it, or the dog knock it around.

The kid is not at all interested in learning about hamsters, what they do in the wild, what they need, or what they like; he/she already thinks he/she knows everything there is to know; it's a little fuzzy animal that humans have as pets, and you have to feed it and give it water... (what else is there to know, and who cares, anyway? It's just a hamster, and just a pet, everyone has them, just do like everyone else does, no need to learn anything, either about hamsters, or about THIS hamster...)

The hamster is not allowed any hamster friends; the kid wants to be the hamster's only friend. So it makes the hamster be alone and dependent on him/her for any interaction and companionship.

The hamster is left behind for pretty much anything and everything that the kid is doing in the rest of his/her life. It isn't allowed its own friends, but it doesn't get included with the kids' friends or family either. It gets left in the cage and expected to still be there, "waiting", like an inanimate toy, no matter how long the kid leaves it in there.
If it was in its own natural environment, it would have lots of friends and activities, and would not be alone or isolated.

If the hamster doesn't get fed, watered, or kept clean, or taken out of its cage, this kid says who cares? It's just a hamster...

When the hamster gets older and loses its baby-look, the kid doesn't "like it" as much because it's not as "cute" as it used to be, and neglects it more and more.

When the hamster gets sickly from malnutrition or lack of care, the kid blames the hamster and wants a "better one" (zero comprehension of the kid's lack of care causing the hamster to be sick).

When the hamster finally runs away or passes away, the kid does get a "new one", and treats the new hamster the same way.

Message To Young People; 20 things

If I could go back in time to my teenage self, I would tell myself a few things:

1) Trust yourself more

2) Believe in yourself more

3) Stay true to yourself and what you know is right

4) Find out what that all means

5) Older people are human beings like you, not some other "tribe"

6) Don't trust people just because you like them, because they're funny, attractive,"cool", or seem mature; look out for manipulation and control, listen to the messages from your feelings, watch for clique, faction, and gang behavior; gauge people's intentions and character by their actual behavior, not by their "apparent coolness" or apparent "lack of coolness". People aren't supposed to cater to your moods, or vice versa. (See number 13)

7) DO your dreams, don't NOT do your dreams.

8) People WILL TRY TO STOP YOU from doing your dreams, no matter what they are. Find one or two people who don't have this agenda, and if you can't find someone now, keep on your path, you'll find a genuine friend or mentor eventually. Those who try to steal your ideas, or who try to talk you into doing something or giving them something in order to help you achieve your dreams are not to be trusted. (Taking classes and lessons are okay). Find out about how successful people you know or admire walked past those dream-stoppers and kept going.

9) You might not actually know who IS trustworthy and has your back, and who IS NOT, but don't just ditch people who aren't perfect, and don't hang too tightly to people you trust; see number 13. Anything whatsoever that has to do with "business" or any kind of transaction should always be in writing, in writing, in writing, and legally documented, documented, documented.

10) You're right about peace, love, and understanding, they ARE the most important things. Along with dignity, civility, respect, empathy, fairness, integrity, and freedom, for one's self and for others.

11) Even though you're right, hardly anyone is going to agree with you or understand you completely, and you won't understand others completely either, even your closest friends and family. And that's okay.

12) Expect opposition, expect bullying, expect ridiculous prejudice against you, and DO NOT let any of it get inside your heart; if it does, do heal it.

13) "Healthy Boundaries" are among the most important things in your life, now and always; learn what they are and all about them. Along with this:  Learn. How. To. Survive. Off. The. Land. You will have much more confidence in caring for yourself and dealing with "life". You're a child of the Earth, you are supposed to learn about the Earth's resources for your own survival, just like every other creature of this world. 

14) Racism, sexism, ageism, and other "isms" are actually used as control tactics that manipulate ALL citizens, not just the obvious ones. There's much more to it than what it looks like.

15) If you want to learn about navigating the world you are living in NOW, the people around you, their agendas, issues, and motivations, ASK them about the way they grew up, what they did, and what was going on in the world during their youth and early adulthood. You'll learn way more about history and humans than from a book.

16) ALL THINGS in this world: governments, businesses, gangs, schools, police, musicians, actors, scientists, athletes, religions, any group you can think of, is populated by people, just like you and me. Human beings who decided to go to school in order to get the degree that got them that job. Human beings who worked as hard as they could to get what they have. Human beings who are doing the best they can, and others who are always trying to get away with something; some who are very kind, some who are very mean, some who are all of the above. Human beings who were raised in a very different family, or a very different community, some of them were protected and treated well, some of them were treated poorly, some of them had to grow up around adults who were always doing things to scare them, some of them were raised like princes or princesses, and some of them aren't cared about at all by their families, whether they're poor or very wealthy, or in the middle.

17) You are a bright, burning flame, you have one precious and beautiful life; learn to look and see your Life Light, feel your soul within your body, and know it's real; you fit and belong with all the other beautiful, shining, bright Life Light on this incredible planet. The Life Light in other human beings, and in all the rest of what is Alive, here on this Earth, spinning around our spectacular Sun.

18) Don't assume others are bad, and don't assume others are good; they are all Alive with that bright, burning Life Light, and that's truly precious and beautiful, but it tells you nothing about their behavior, intentions, or motives.

19) You are absolutely being influenced by the media, music, and the people around you, and so are other people, no matter how smart or cool a person is. READ THE LYRICS of the songs you listen to, see if they reflect the kind of life you really, truly want for yourself. Don't blindly follow other people's beliefs, conformity, OR rebellion; don't pollute your body or your mind. Find things out for yourself. Listen to others' points of view, their opinions and beliefs, but don't become indoctrinated by them. DO keep asking questions, all the days of your life.

20) Be yourself, you are who you're supposed to be. Follow your dreams, make yourself a lovely life, make money, follow your values, don't "step on" others, and don't let others step on you. Protect yourself, protect and nurture your genuine friendships, protect your loved ones. Self-discipline and improvement are about learning about ourselves and the world, and improving our behaviors, choice-making, skills, empathy, and interactions with other people, but our Spirits are already beautiful.

"Be what you is, because if you be what you ain't, you ain't what you is!"

Dedicated to the precious young ones in my life 

Topic Dodging; Subject Changing

"Topic dodging is a political control tactic that's used often in regular conversation.

You say "Look at that tree, what kind is it?"
I say "Which tree?"
You say "That tree, right in the middle."
I say "That tree? Oh I thought you meant the one over there with the red pointy leaves, that's a Tupelo tree. See it?"
You say "Oh yeah" and look at the Tupelo tree.
I say "They're really good for carving wooden models like ducks. The wood is easy to work. It's also used for pulp for making paper, and it's used for the inside of plywood, and the inside of furniture."
You say "Oh interesting" or "I have one in my backyard" or "My cousin carves ducks". You might be impressed, or you might be annoyed, but either way I was successful in my intention to divert the topic.

Now you've forgotten about the original tree, pretty much, and your original question, and I don't have to admit that I don't know what kind of tree it was. Also, the impression now (unless you realize what I did) is that I'm more knowledgeable than you are about trees in general; I knew facts about trees and you didn't even know the names of the trees. I "win", I just smoke screened you into allowing me to be "dominant", subconsciously now you might actually see me as the Leader in our relationship. My intent was really just to avoid answering the tree question without getting noticed, but the effects of my dodging went further.

What you don't realize is that it was only one tree that I knew about, and it was limited information. I kept talking, filling the air with "facts" so I could keep control of the topic, and you wouldn't ask anymore direct questions, so I would not have to admit not knowing the answers. And even if you did ask another question, I could have done it again with each new question. As long as you don't realize I'm diverting the subject, you won't catch on.

Insecure people may do this often, trying to avoid embarrassment or ridicule, but Narcissists nearly always do this when they don't know an answer or don't like a topic. They can not just say "I don't know", and they can't have someone who's 'supposed to be' lesser than them know something that they don't.

How Are You Conditioned To Behave?

In your community, work, and social circles, do you notice more people treating you better when you express enthusiasm and speak and behave with confidence?
Or do they seem to treat you better, more kindly, with less resistance, when you're being passive, acting less confident, self-deprecating, or when you're worried, nervous, or pessimistic?
Do more people seem to treat you better when you act like you're GOOD at something, or knowledgeable about something, or do they seem to treat you better when you act like you're NOT GOOD at something, and LESS knowledgeable?

Obstacle To Change, Fear Of Leaving

Obstacles To Change

One of the biggest obstacles to change can be our fear of humiliation, rejection, and slander. It's not just the "name calling", its what can come with it.

A person who has been rejected by the Personality-disordered for any reason, serious or trivial, real or completely false, is usually ALSO smeared to whomever possible, directly attacked either verbally, physically, financially, or emotionally, and often "kicked out" of home, family or social circles, community circles, work, and cut off from normal resources.

Without access to normal supports and resources that others take for granted (don't even realize they have), the person is not able to live their life "normally" in the same way as others, and can then be conveniently labeled as a "loser".

When someone labels a person as "loser", "unstable", or "bad news", few are aware or mature enough to investigate past the label, and simply avoid being associated with the person, or give them any resources or help, and often won't even treat them with normal or minimal courtesy and manners.

So while they're trying to recover from rejection and attack, they are also struggling for regular survival, which means they have LESS resources for recovery than others (money, human connection, access to travel, access to healthcare for themselves or their children), never mind daily life. They are actually MORE LIKELY than before to be targeted by those with ill intent.

Human beings like to go by what they've heard about others; almost everyone denies that they do it, but almost everyone does it. So if the odds of a person getting hired, getting a loan, getting anything whatsoever, even fair customer service or plain social courtesy from others are very low if someone has even IMPLIED that they are "less than". Only if a person had a positive impression of the person FIRST, or if they personally are attracted to them in some way, will they "give the person a chance". Most humans LIKE an excuse to think of a person as "less worthy" than themselves.

It's no wonder that the fear of other people's reactions often deters a person from changing their lives, leaving negative situations or  stressful relationships, doing things to improve their situations or taking positive risks (like returning to college, getting a new job, quitting substance abuse, writing a book, going to church, singing on stage, volunteering, taking certain classes, or learning a trade. Or changing careers, running for office, or doing something outside of their stereotype.) If the change is likely to poke someone's brittle or inflated ego, then the odds of them doling out negative consequences against the person are high. The more people there are in a group who have brittle or inflated egos, the higher the odds are of dramatic negative reactions to any changes, especially if a person has already been targeted.

Superior To You

It can be difficult to keep in mind that many children are literally taught that they are superior to others by the adults around them, and that this supposed superiority is what makes them valuable. In other words, they're taught that humans are either Superior and therefore valuable, or Inferior, and therefore not valuable.
They are taught to believe that any person can ONLY BE one or the other.

So they live life trying to make sure they are accepted in the "Superior" group. They judge all others to be either in the "Superior" group OR the "Inferior" group.

To them, if they are not seen as a member of the "Superior" group, then they will be considered "Inferior", and therefore tossed aside, left out of important groups, and treated terribly.
(How accurate is this belief in our culture?)

They believe that if they are a member of the "Superior" group, then THEY are entitled to disrespect, rule over, and/or use those who they think are in the "Inferior" group.

They DO NOT KNOW that this concept is not "the way things are", because they were taught so early that it IS "the way things are". In their minds, the sun comes up in the morning, the sky is blue, water is wet, coffee is a drink, grass is green, and people are either Superior, or Inferior. 

In the person's mind, every human goes into a category. Every person is classified with a "value", in basically the same way objects are classified. You (and they) are placed either in the "valued" group, or in the "non-valued" group.

Only those whom the person has placed in the "valued" group will be treated with normal, equal, or above average respect, courtesy, attention and integrity; listened to, or believed. In fact, those who have been placed in the "valued" group will often be given much, much more credence, recognition, credit and respect than they have actually earned. Their obvious mistakes or even blatant violations of laws, rules, and respect toward others are likely to be excused, covered up, or rationalized. (The reason any of this exists in the culture at large is because of the very large number of people who were raised to think this way, usually by those who were also raised to think this way, and so on. It doesn't require an entire family to raise a child this way, only a few poignant adults at a few poignant periods in the child's development).

Those who the person has categorized in the "non-valued" or "inferior" group will be treated as a lesser and lower-status being at all times, in all things. They will be interrupted when they speak, even "shushed", they will be "disciplined" like a child, they will be ASSUMED to have less knowledge, experience, or understanding, they will be assumed to be less capable and less able to learn. It does not matter what the person does, anything and everything that they do or say will be doubted, ignored, argued with, or deemed "unnecessary" and "unimportant".

It can be hard to imagine it from a different point of view, but it's important to understand since it's really the way so many people are raised.

We will and do come across "Superior/Inferior" minded people all the time. We will have to go to school with them and work with them. They're at the grocery store, the electronics store, and the hardware store, both as customers and as employees. They're probably at the doctor's office, the hospital, government offices, recreational facilities, and in your child's elementary school. They play and coach sports, they are dance class and yoga students and teachers, they're at the gym, they might be in the Police Department, they may be running local businesses and politics.

To put it into perspective:
The Superiority/Inferiority-minded person will categorize every person he or she comes across, based on certain superficial key traits that they learned during childhood. So a person applying for the Front Desk position at a Doctor's office who is Superiority/Inferiority minded is already categorizing the rest of the staff as "above" or "below", before they even get the job, and that includes the ENTIRE staff. The person may place the Doctors themselves in the "Superior" category at first based on their titles, but then again they may not. If the person uses "Race" as an assessment tool, then that will supersede the Doctor's degree. So if the person sees dark-skinned people as Superior, then he or she will place the dark-skinned Doctor in the Superior category. If he or she sees light-skinned people as Inferior, then he or she will place the light-skinned Doctor in the Inferior category.

Whatever the person uses as "assessment tools" supersede everything else. A person they've categorized as "Inferior" could save their life, their children's lives, and find a cure for world hunger, and they would STILL classify them as "Innately Inferior", perhaps with an 'asterisk' (*Inferior but above other Inferiors).
If they use gender as an assessment tool, then ALL PEOPLE of one sex will be placed in the Superior category, and ALL PEOPLE of the other sex will be placed in the Inferior category. After the initial categorizing, they may "reassess" an individual, but it's usually a change from "Superior" to "Inferior", not the other way.

Other common keys for assessment can be age, height, appearance of physical strength, vocal tone, accent, mannerisms, hair, clothing, or subjective physical attraction. Anything may be used, however, keys are limited only to the person's imagination.

~Those who are in "Superiority/Inferiority" mindset usually don't know the difference between objective fact and subjective opinion, because they were not taught the difference, so when they find a person to be attractive, they believe that EVERYONE has the same opinion of the person's appearance, including the person themselves. They believe most or all of their subjective opinions to represent objective reality. "Vanilla is better than chocolate" or vice versa. This cognitive gap plays a rather large role in their thinking process. Whether it's nature or nurture remains unsolved, but it appears that it's directly encouraged at a young age instead of guided away from, regardless of its origin.

Watch the way people interact with others to see if, and how, they classify people. Sometimes we might do it ourselves and not realize it, since we were most likely raised alongside those who were being taught this way. It can even occur within the same family, under the same roof.

Reacting To Others: Narcissists Don't Like It When

Narcissists in particular do not like it, and will feel entitled to "intervene/retaliate" if a target:

~is doing something that might be construed as "important" by someone

~receives sympathy, empathy, or understanding from others

~does not agree 100% with what they say

~is not doing a task exactly the way they want them to do it (even if it's done correctly and well)

~does do a task correctly and well

 ~appears to feel confident, in control, relaxed, or deeply happy

~receives recognition or praise from others

~receives, earns, inherits, or wins material possessions (assets, money, or any other object)

~is apparently liked or favored by a child or an animal

~is liked, loved, cared for or praised by a family member

~is liked, loved, cared for or praised by friends or a romantic partner

~is treated fairly and courteously

~is treated with respect

~appears to be very capable, talented, skilled, intelligent, or strong

~appears to be seen as having attractive "looks" to others

~appears to have fair or high potential for worldly success

~speaks their own mind; does not make sure to line up their thoughts, feelings, and opinions with them or the rest of the group

~shows independence, initiative, and autonomy

~stands up for themselves OR others (even strangers who are not within the personal group) against unfair treatment, disrespect, injustice, or abuse.

~expresses any needs for any reason, or has any expectations of the Narcissist regarding their needs

~does not put all of the Narcissists' needs, wants, or ego before all of their own needs and goals.

~has friends and connections outside of the circle of influence and control

Accountability, being wrong, and blame to someone who suffers from Narcissism is akin to holding their hand to a hot stove, or telling them to pick up a poisonous snake. No matter what is actually happening, they CAN NOT be the one who's wrong. Sharing accountability is the closest they might come to it, like "I'm sorry if you're sorry", or "we're both to blame", or "everyone is to to blame". Their inner world needs to stay as a perfect sanctuary for their very fragile self, in constant protection mode as one would do for their body if they had serious burns; no one may come near unless they are going to CARE FOR them, and only if they're going to do it very carefully, and they MUST do it THEIR WAY because the fear of pain, damage, being dominated, being disrespected, or being taken advantage of is all-consuming.

The focus of Narcissists is on themselves being right, being innocent, being in control, being superior, and therefore "entitled" to be above reproach, judgment, disagreement or shame all of the time.

If they disagree with a target, they're right; if a target disagrees with them, they're still right, because they see every thought, feeling, and action as either "right" or "wrong"; there are no discussions where one learns new things or other points of view from the other (unless the other person has been designated as a "Leader" or "Guru" person). (Targets are NEVER learned from because they are seen as categorically inferior, they are always seen as "wrong", or "trying to get attention", or "rebelling").

It's really all about self-protection, self-preservation, and feeling like they belong and are important and in control. They achieve the feeling of belonging and superiority by pointing to someone else and saying "look everyone, HE or SHE doesn't belong with US, he or she isn't as good as WE are!" This creates a feeling of "us" vs. "them", which makes the pointer an automatic member of the "US" group.

To a Narcissist, anyone who is not playing and living exactly to their own personal parameters that make them comfortable, and let them feel like they're in CONTROL and ABOVE, is being hostile, crazy, out-of-line, demanding, and self-centered.

They may have developed it during childhood, protecting themselves from the people around them, because they were not receiving adequate protection and guidance from mature adults (whatever the individual circumstance).

Basic Narcissism behavior is not from a person being innately superior and therefore deserving control and power, even if the Narcissist believes this to be so.
It's developed from fear of being inferior, dominated, rejected, unrecognized, unloved, unwanted, disrespected, and out of control. It's ALL ABOUT dynamics with other humans.

One Sided Friendship, Relationship

When another person is upset about something, and the person they're upset with refuses to listen to or acknowledge the reason, and then turns it around on them and accuses them of causing THEM to be upset, that's a Narcissistic behavior.
Why? Because the person who is originally upset is being treated as if their feelings, concerns, and point of view is NOT VALID. They are being treated as if they are a less important being, and therefore their point of view is silly, unimportant, trivial, or wrong.
John tells Mark that he's really dedicated to making their band work. John says whatever it takes, this time he's really going to give 100% because it's just as important to him as it is to Mark. For three weekends in a row, Mark and John practice in a practice spot between their houses, and everything is great. The fourth week, John says he can't practice unless Mark comes to his house, so Mark does. The same thing the following week, Mark drives to John's house again. Next week the same thing. The week after that, Mark has something he needs to do, so he asks John to come to his house instead to practice. John says "sure", but when the weekend comes he says he's too busy. The following week, Mark goes back to John's house. The week after that, Mark says again "I have something I need to do, can you come to my house instead". John says "I don't know", and then doesn't show up.
The following weekend Mark starts to really feel taken advantage of and fooled; John obviously is NOT "into" making the band work, or giving even 50%, never mind 100%.
Mark calls John and expresses his concern and his disappointment.
John's reaction is to accuse MARK of not caring enough about HIS needs and life, and that Mark is being "unreasonable" and "out of line". John absolutely not only refuses to acknowledge what's really going on or take any responsibility, but he also refuses to listen respectfully to Mark's concerns or feelings, and has zero care about how Mark feels. (which is not "normal" friendship or coworker-relationship.)
As far as John's concerned, he is doing NOTHING AT ALL that could be considered wrong, or even a LITTLE BIT unfair, or even slightly disconcerting.
As far as John's concerned, ALL of the problems are because MARK ISN'T COOPERATING WITH HIM, and accommodating HIS schedule, HIS wants, HIS comfort, HIS desires, HIS moods, and HIS feelings. He honestly does not see Mark as an equal person to himself with equally important and valid ANYTHING. If Mark wants to do this band, he should come to HIM, and if he doesn't, then Mark is the one who's making everything "difficult" and being "emotional".
John literally does not have the ability to be half of a cooperative, fair, or equal partnership. Any human who he partners up with, who gets close enough to be a part of his "inner circle", is taken off off of his "High Shelf" of important people and things, and put into his "used and old stuff" box that no longer seems worth making an effort for. When he wants to use them for something, he wants them available and ready, but when he's not interested in using them, he expects them to just sit in the box, and not go and do anything else on their own, without him, while he's off doing HIS own thing.
If anyone in that "used/old stuff" box complains, however, John will threaten them, or throw them into the trash heap.
(Possessions don't have the right to complain to their owner, they're just possessions, it's annoying and stressful).

Are You More Important Than Your Partner?

If you adamantly don't want your lover to leave you, but don't actually take them as seriously as you take yourself, or care THAT much about their feelings, needs, life, children, or the future of the relationship (you just want it to stay the way you want it, you don't want to make any more effort, and only make changes if they're beneficial for you) then you make be caught in a pattern of survival. This pattern could be construed as Narcissistic behavior because it's centered around yourself as the "important" person in the relationship, and makes your partner an "unimportant" person. If your desire for a relationship is with a loving, caring individual, then your equal effort is actually required. A loving, caring person will not stay in a relationship with a person who does not respect, care for, and love them in return. The only kind of person who would stay in such a relationship where the OTHER person (you) is "More Important", is someone who is not in recovery from a dysfunctional childhood, and therefore may not have healthy enough boundaries or behavior habits to co-create a solid, loving, caring relationship. If we want a healthy partner for love, care, support and friendship, then we need to find a partner who is aware and willing to make the effort, and WE have to BE a partner who is aware and willing to make the effort.
A Partnership is like a pair of support beams; if they're not both actively supporting equally and willingly, then the structure will collapse. If one of them has little or no interest in being an equal support, then the other one has to support both the structure AND the other beam all by itself; it will not be able to keep it up for very long at all, and if it doesn't get out from under, it may get crushed under the weight.

Grooming Others To Be Supportive

The smaller details in the patterns reveal the bigger picture: Wondering why people seem so supportive of some people, no matter how trivial their complaint or accomplishment? And others get so little support it's ridiculous, no matter how severe the problem?
The individuals in a group actually get "groomed" to be supportive of the person who complains the MOST, and who is constantly making announcements about themselves. They are being conditioned with little social signal rewards, over and over.
At the same time, the same people are getting "groomed" to be UNsupportive toward people who DON'T complain, who don't boast, and who don't make continuous announcements.
They don't realize it, it's not on purpose, they're just being subconsciously trained that when they are supportive toward one person, they will receive a small reward. When they are unsupportive of that person, they will receive a small "punishment" (like those psych. experiments with the small electric shock). When they show support or respect toward a person who they are "supposed to ignore", who's been designated as a scapegoat or target, low person on the totem pole, they ALSO receive a small "punishment".
If they diverge from the expected behavior, they receive an ABSENCE of reward, and an increase in "punishment".
Let's say there's a pair of office "buddies" who pal around together, but one of them (Jules) is decidedly the dominant one, the "star" of the pair, and the other (Sal) is the "sidekick" (in the dominant one's mind.) When Jules talks, it's usually either about hs ailments, his boat, his kids' sports teams, or his adamant, absolute views. This doesn't really "make him a bad guy"~ but notice when SAL starts to speak, JULES talks over him. Whatever Sal is talking about, Jules pipes in and over. Jules wants ALL EYES ON HIM, all the time. If Sal is limping because of the bike accident he got in this morning, and you ask him if he's alright, when he starts to tell you the story Jules will be standing there filling in the details. If you stand there any longer, Jules will be telling you about the bike accident he was in last summer.
If Jules is talking about something and Sal pipes in, and you say "What did you say, Sal?" Jules might wait for him to say a couple of words, but soon enough he'll be interrupting and diverting your attention back on himself.
You get USED to this, it becomes "normal". The built-in adaptation to the environment we have in our human brains takes over and tells us "this is the way it is; Jules is the one to pay attention to, Sal is the one to ignore, and it's okay, everyone does it." If Jules is speaking and Sal starts to talk, everyone ignores Sal and keeps listening to Jules. If Sal is talking and Jules starts to talk, everyone AGAIN ignores Sal, and turns their attention to Jules.
Jules has groomed the group to be USED TO supporting and listening to him. Jules has also groomed the group to be USED TO dismissing, ignoring, and disrespecting Sal.
This is how it's done.
Jules cuts his finger on a piece of paper and the world stops; Sal gets hit by a car and everyone says "poor Sal" but goes back to what they were doing.
Jules doesn't go to the hospital to visit Sal more than once, but when Sal gets out, he drives Jules around for a week because he can't drive his stick shift with the paper cut. No one notices the disparity.
Jules is upset because the electric company messed up and now he has a late payment on his bill, everyone is sympathetic and up in arms!
Sal is upset because he was mugged on his way to work, they punched him and took his whole wallet; everyone says "oh that's too bad" and then "But you need to look on the bright side and quit complaining, at least you're alive!" and go back to what they were doing.
The entertainment, advertisement, and political science fields know all about it, and do it on purpose, every day.

Why So Many Lawyers And Doctors Condescend

Condescension is not a mark of expertise, efficiency, or experience. It's actually an indication of defensiveness.
Think about it this way: If you start to ask me a question, and I don't actually listen to what you're asking because I think I already know what you're going to say, does that mean I'm psychic? 
And if I think I can predict what you're going to say by the way you look or sound, does that make me a genius, or does it make me something else entirely? 
If I think I know what your mental limitations are by the way you speak, compared to the way I and my friends speak, what does that say about me? Does it say that I'm GOOD at judging others, or NOT so good at judging others? Why am I judging others in the first place, except to gauge whether they're dangerous to me or not?
If I'm judging others, what does that say about my ability to do my job well for ALL of my customers, clients, or patients? Am I only making real effort if I personally like the person?
Why do I think that I know what your entire "story" is, what you're going to ask me, or the limits of your intelligence, knowledge, or expertise? Why do I actually believe I can know any of that, for ANY reason? Am I some kind of god-like entity? Or am I just a child in a grown-up body who wants to BELIEVE I'm a god-like entity? Maybe my colleagues believe it too, so we all encourage each other in our shared fantasy?
Even if I WAS a god-like entity and COULD know your "limitations" and all the information about you, your story, or your life before actually finding out anything, WHY then am I acting so rudely, disrespectfully, and presumptuously?  
A real god-like entity would know better than that.
And if it has to do with my job, why am I treating a potential client, customer, patient, or student (where my money comes from) with disrespect? Is that a SMART thing to do? Do I think I know exactly how much money this person is going to make me, or not make me, just by meeting them or speaking to them for a moment? By their voice, their sex, the look in their eye, the vernacular they use? Is that SMART, or is it NOT so smart?
Do I have any idea WHO this person is connected to, or associated with?  Does it make me SMART or IGNORANT if I don't care? 
Why do I not care about sabotaging my own career and reputation by treating someone with disrespect? Or is it that I believe I can tell the future and am omniscient, and therefore KNOW whether this person is "insignificant" or not?

If I believe that I'm categorically "above" the majority of the human species, then what other kinds of things do I believe?
If I'm making judgments about people based on not enough information, what else am I making judgments and decisions about based on not enough information?
So the next time you are speaking to someone like a doctor, lawyer, nurse, teacher, psychologist, support technician, clergy, contractor, veterinarian, store clerk, musician, artist, janitor, mechanic, friend, relative... pretty much anyone... and they talk down to you, counter you, treat you with disrespect or like you're an idiot, a beginner, or a child, lecture and over-explain like they have obviously assessed you as their inferior, they are revealing their self-consciousness about their limitations, not their expertise.

Your Own World

Imagine yourself on your own planet. You get to make this world into whatever you want it to be, it's your creative project, and it's all about how wonderful your life is, and how beautiful the world is, and how you are helping it to flourish and blossom and grow! This world is God's gift to you, you are the painter, the sculptor, the writer, the songwriter, and the healer. The beauty and the life is yours to appreciate, to enjoy, and to live inside of.

Now, picture every other person on their own planet, all with the same beautiful gifts given to them by God, all with their own paintbrush, their own animal companions, their own living, breathing world that they get to live in and create their own beautiful lives.

Floating over in the distance, you see that some people have lost hold of their world, they're floating away from their personal planets and are drifting aimlessly, lost, scared, and confused. You drift over to them and help them catch their planets again. They are grateful, and you are happy for them.

Everyone's planets resonate with one another, spin around one another, creating the most enchanting, glorious, soothing, harmonious music ever heard. They reflect glints and colors off one another, combining in a complex and spectacular light show.

Someone in the distance seems to be drifting toward you, and you notice that their planet is bigger than the others. As they loom closer, you see that their planet is actually a group of planets that are revolving in a tight cluster around a central planet. Some of the planets around you seem to pull away from you, and drift toward this strange cluster. The person on the central planet is beckoning you. You find it strange and unsettling, and are saddened that some of the others around you who were making beautiful music and lights seem to have drifted into the cluster's gravitational pull. You feel alone, and you want to join them so you can be with them, but you sense that something's not right.

The person on the central planet beckons to you again. You call out 'I don't think I want to join you, thanks anyway". The central planet person begs you, promises you all kinds of things, comforts and extra privileges and powers. You still refuse politely. Suddenly the central planet person begins to throw stones at you, apparently trying to knock you OFF of your planet... some others join him. You start spinning too fast, all you can do now is hold on as tight as you can to your planet so you don't spin off into space and lose hold of your Sacred Gift.

After what seems like a very, very long time, your planet starts to slow down its spin. You look around and find yourself alone, your planet undone, all that you've created and loved and lived seems barely alive. Others float by occasionally, but they stare at you as if you're some kind of strange asteroid who doesn't belong. No one offers to help you rebuild, except for one person who keeps criticizing you and telling you to "get over yourself".

Exhausted, you fall asleep in the ruins of your planet. You dream of wonderful times past, and you also dream nightmares of terrible ordeals.

When you wake up, your planet is still in ruins. No one has come to rescue you, help you, or even offer you rainwater. Everyone who floats by just stares at you like you're some kind of strange object who isn't welcome or wanted.

You drift in space, alone on your rock, for what seems like a lifetime. No one seems to notice, no one seems to care, and you are losing hope that you will ever see life on your planet again. Nothing you do seems to make anything grow. You fear the others who stare at you, you avoid the ones who criticize and point at you, and you worry that the cluster will come back and finish the job.  You are so tired. You are ready to give up, but you don't really want to. You just don't seem able to bring your planet back to life, and you're not sure anymore if it's worth the effort.

Then one day, you feel the warmth of the sun on your back. You turn and look, and remember. The sunlight is just as golden as it's always been, full of life-giving energy. You lay in its rays, soaking up its energy, feeling its warmth, letting yourself remember the beauty you used to live inside of.

The next day, you feel a raindrop on your head. You look up, and there's another planet above you; someone is sharing some of their life-giving raindrops, letting them fall on you and your little planet.

The next day, you notice some little green shoots on one of your trees. You hadn't noticed it before. And there, in what you thought was a dead pool, is a little green frog, and next to it a little green turtle. Over a hill, you notice a tiny red blossom all alone in a patch of dirt. You close your eyes and listen; a song sparrow sings in the distance.

Each day you find a new shoot, a new little blossom, another glorious little life. Each day you feel gratitude for the sun, and the water that turns to life-giving rain. Your planet did not die after all, it was just dormant, resting, waiting for the sun and the rain, waiting for a safe time and space to grow again. You can feel the life slowly coming back, flower by flower, tree by tree, bird by bird, turtle by turtle. You ARE still alive, you always were. You feel blessed, and hopeful.

M.M.Black 2013

Teachers Who Are Narcissists Aren't Fun

Narcissists (and those who are Narcissistic) make terrible Teachers! They don't make good teachers, they make terrible teachers. The former student who reports that a Narc. teacher was "the best teacher" was almost always either one of the teacher's "Golden Pets", or the student was conditioned to be co-dependent (respect Controllers/misinterpret the flags).
A teacher, coach, professor or instructor who is Narcissistic does the same behaviors with students as with any other relationship: It's all about HIM or HER. The only students the N. Teacher "likes" are those who fit in with his or her expectations, comfort zone, and ego for whatever reason. Any students who DON'T FIT are ignored, cast aside, dismissed, and even sabotaged, depending on the severity of the particular teacher's Narcissism issues.
Consider a music instructor with Narcissism: He already believes himself superior, right from the get-go. He's most likely teaching because it gives him automatic "subordinates" who are subject to his scrutiny, judgment, and criticism, and who SEEK HIS APPROVAL, quite literally; they have to get it in order to pass the class!
How does he conduct his class... He assesses which students he LIKES, first, and actually coaches those particular students along (hopefully, for their sakes). He makes "normal" eye contact, giving them neutral and positive feedback, giving them accurate feedback (hopefully). He may allow the ones he really favors to receive extra instruction after class. If there is a student that he really favors, he may REALLY "coach" that student, trying to mold them into a prodigy, his personal "project". That student will get "First Violin", or be featured regularly in solos. The N. Teacher will focus his or her instruction often directly on that student, as if there's no one else in the class, or as if that student is a "fellow Peer" to the Teacher, and they are "among novices". That student will be put in the awkward position of "Leader Of The Class" whether they like it or not. That is the "Golden Student" of the class.
Being the "Golden Student" is NOT that student's fault, not in the least. Yes, some students are also Narcissistic, so they would JUMP on the chance to lord over the other students and be the Teacher's "Pet" or "Assistant", but it's still the N. Teacher's doing. The relationship is authority/subordinate, the student is in the subordinate role. That student is actually in the most danger of sabotage of all the other students, because if he or she makes any "wrong move", he or she is going to receive the wrath of the N. Teacher's injured ego. Also, if that student, say, writes a brilliant new song, the odds of the N. Teacher claiming it as his own are pretty high, and then the N. would probably "cover it up" by discrediting the student with a smear campaign and bad grades. Or, the N. teacher might try to use the student as a Trophy or a Winning Horse, and parade him or her around as much as possible, which means the student can't do anything else and must be at the N's beck and call, or be REJECTED.
There are other students in the N. Teacher's classroom that are also in direct danger. Those are any student who fits the profile of the N's personal prejudices. So if the N. is racist against white people, all the white students are probably going to get treated poorly. If the N. is racist against Asian students, same result; African-descent students, same result, and so on.
If the Teacher has prejudice against female students, then the male students will get "normal" or favored treatment, and the female students will be treated like "losers" and "idiots". If the N's prejudice is anti-male, then the result will be the opposite.
Narcissistic Teachers don't TEACH OBJECTIVELY, or with caring, or with empathy, or even sympathetically. Their goal is not to educate the whole CLASS, and treat all of the students with equal respect, and be a positive, respectful ROLE MODEL and MENTOR for all of the students. He or she is ONLY interested in the life and future of him or her SELF, and perhaps a little bit in chosen "Golden Students", but only because he or she wants their attention or company, and also wants them to reflect well on him or her.
If a Narcissistic Teacher finds ANYTHING "unlikeable" about a student, that student WILL BE TREATED with disdain, dismissal, or worse, literal sabotage or abuse. A student who exhibits anything that the N. Teacher feels uncomfortable about, annoyed by, prejudice against, or threatened by will cause the N. to treat them with disdain, just like a classroom PEER might. It could be anything at all, something like a facial scar, or a certain last name, or a certain hair cut or clothing, or their family's "wealth" or "poverty", their family's Political Party, the student's tone of voice, the student's mannerisms, body type, height, face, etc,
Ad infinitum. 
A student with a high level of talent, capability, apparent intelligence or "good looks" will immediately catch the attention of a Narcissistic Teacher, and the Teacher will either make that student "Golden", or make that student a TARGET, to be "knocked down" and "put in place", or just generally sabotaged. There will be no in between, no neutrality; Narcissistic people don't have neutrality with other people. It's either "good" or "bad", "winner" or "loser", "Favored" or "Rejected". 
Obviously, the more savvy N. Teacher will be keen on hiding his or her real motives and behaviors, just like any other Narcissist, especially toward other adults. So if a student complains about them, the student will be ignored.
There is NO field of work that is immune to Narcissists. Any jobs that place one in a position of authority over other people, and that also place one in a position to receive admiration and recognition from others are very attractive to Narcissists.

Who's Fault Is It, Anyway...Relationships

What's your fault in a painful relationship?
He ignores you when you talk...
Nope, not your fault.
She stands you up for dinner or lunch dates...
Nope, not your fault.
He criticizes your hair and clothes...
Nope, not your fault.
She criticizes the way you walk...
Nope, not your fault.
He accuses you of flirting with random men when you are quite certain you're not...
She tells you you should "just get over it"...
He always seems to have something more important going on than spending time with you...
She accuses you of being crazy or abusive every time you're upset about her name-calling and aggression.
He often critiques, assesses, and criticizes your "housekeeping", your driving, and your decisions.
Nope, still not your fault.
She changes the subject every time you're speaking.
Nope, not your fault.
He got fired.
She was in your car when someone else hit you from behind.
He pays way more attention to and engages much more with other women, and to other people in general, than to you, both in social media (Facebook) and in real life.
No, still not your fault.
She doesn't like what you do for a living, or what your interests, pursuits, and goals are.

So what the heck IS your fault?
Here's a hint: The only things that are your "fault" are things that YOU do and say, not things that THEY do and say. If you said something mean to them, that's your "fault", you did that. If they said something mean to you, that's THEIR accountability. THEY said the mean thing, not you. If they didn't call you back so you got mad and retaliated, that retaliation is yours, you own it. If they retaliate BACK, that's THEIR action, they own it.

If someone is criticizing you left and right, putting you down, lying, putting other people above you, then there is something seriously wrong with this picture. Why would they DO things like that to ANYONE (can you picture them doing those things to their best friend, or their favorite rock star?) and also, why are you allowing it?

Worried That You Might Have A Personality Disorder? Mental Illness? Trauma?

Sometimes labels can drive us away from healing, because who wants to be stamped with a disorder? The truth is all humans are susceptible to disorder, emotional dysregulation or mental illness. Finding healing is more important than the label.
In order to heal, we need to somehow identify what's going on, so we know what to work on and why. We can do it without labeling ourselves, we can simply find out what we're feeling and doing that's not on the axis of "healthy", and find ways to heal those things.
Those who have dealt with painful, stressful, or scary events in their past, especially ongoing relationships, often develop certain coping mechanisms to deal with the situation their in at the time, but that don't work very well for the rest of life, when there's no huge crisis or danger. Those coping skills during "regular life" are much like carrying a semi-automatic weapon, a bullet-proof vest and a shield to the grocery store; unless you live in a literal war-zone, you don't need to bring it; if we feel like we do, we're either in the wrong place, with the wrong people, or it's a coping mechanism from the past that really needs to be identified and healed. Or bringing a giant net everywhere one goes to "capture" new friends or lovers, or a stun-gun, or candy and gifts to lure them, or a conductor's wand to boss them around. That's obviously not the way to make real friends, or develop a healthy romantic partnership.
These coping tools and weapons are also manipulative ways to do business, and those with true inner integrity don't want to use those, they want to make an "honest living", and create healthy relationships.
Identifying some of these developed coping mechanisms can be difficult because they can feel embarrassing to admit we have them, because we don't want others to notice (especially if they're prone to bullying), and also because it's hard to look at one's own back, and inside one's own head. Also if we don't know we're doing it, how can we know we're doing it? We can though, and once we get rolling it can actually become interesting, even fun, and definitely liberating.
A few basic coping mechanisms that many people develop are:

Retreating when stress, anxiety, fear, or discomfort is felt in any situation.
Making up "reasons" for one's retreat that are either completely false, or psychosomatic. (I have to go, I'm late for... I can't come, I have to... I can't go to work, I'm sick again...) The body and mind is very, very good at "getting us out of" stressful situations, it can even make us sick if that's what seems to work.

Making sure we are only dealing with one person at a time, so when we're with one person, we make sure we're not with another.

Catering to those who make demands on us to avoid and alleviate the stress they cause when we don't give them what they want.

Shutting out those who do NOT make demands on us, in order to cater to those who do (to avoid stress, and avoid jealousy coming from the "demanders")

Arranging our lives so that we can be available to those who make demands on us, or who have taken over the driver's seat in our own lives. We often do this and then "hate" our lives, and can't seem to make our lives better.

Hiding our actions, lying.

Holding onto people who we don't really like because we can't stand the pain of separation, and are afraid to risk rejection.

Making sure we "fit in" with others in order to avoid their rejection or bullying, or in order to manipulate them into "liking us".

Making ourselves the "boss" of other people in an attempt to make them into a subordinate, so they'll feel obligated to stay with us or "look up to" us.

Giving unsolicited (unasked for) advice, forcing "caretaking" on others, jumping on opportunities to treat others like they're ignorant, weak, or incompetent in order to get a feeling of importance or capability.

Jumping off-subject, off-topic, the moment we feel discomfort, or feel bored.

Seeking adrenaline-rush by over-spending, driving fast, dominating others, being hostile and aggressive, or other behaviors.

"Self-medicating" within the frame of self-pity.

Keeping emotional injuries "open" because healing them means letting go of certain things like identifying ourselves as wounded, and therefore having an excuse for rage and other behaviors.

Labeling others as either "good" or "evil"

Triangulating; gossiping; creating factions and cliques; trying to ostracize certain people from larger groups we're in.

Trying to separate people from one another, or keep them separate from one another.

Being passive-aggressive, hostile, and/or retaliating toward anyone we feel envy or jealousy toward.

Avoiding doing things to actually heal ourselves; dropping things that were working to heal ourselves and going back to old habits because it's more comfortable.

Caring more about our own comfort than the actual needs of others in our lives; treating others without respect because it's "hard" to behave in a respectful manner.

Feeling guilt and/or shame when we're doing anything other than catering to certain "demanders" in our lives.

Government Or Sports?

What would happen if people took solving Government problems half as seriously as they take SPORTS? Hahahaaa!!!

Serious, Studious, Intensely Concentrating-Problem Solvers In Washington, D.C.

When is the last time everyone in your algebra class was working on a resolving a difficult problem, and they all kept getting up and blaming each other for how hard it is, calling each other names, casting shame, and getting on the PA to talk about their classroom "rivals"? Ever see your accountant do it? You don't even see it during a litigation process. The only other place you see the level of HISTRIONICS that comes out of Washington and is all over the media is on the Jerry Springer show. And WWE.
Know why?
Cuz it's all PRETEND.
What's the benefit of it on the Jerry Springer show, or on "Pro. Wrestling"? It's the SAME in Washington! They want your votes! They want to keep their jobs! They want to influence YOU, they want you to HATE THE OTHER GUY so they can get away with whatever they want!
It's called "theatrics" and "manipulation" and few do it better than Politicians!
If anyone was actually trying to resolve the issues WE want them to solve, they'd be QUIET AS MICE, working diligently at it, the way a person who's working on their own accounting, budgeting, and planning (or math problems) is.
QUIET, concentrating, helping each other figure it out.

The False Power Of Controllers

The "power" a Controller has over a target is largely false. An important part of the process of gaining control others, whether it's one person or a group, is building up one's appearance of power in the MINDS of targets.
Individual Controllers do this, and so do POLITICIANS. By acting as if one is more powerful than another, Controllers are able to convince a person that they ARE ACTUALLY more powerful. Larger physical stature helps this process along, as does certain vocal frequencies. (Larger in general, or just larger than a specific target.)

Controllers will often purposely seek to create a network of people around themselves, which makes them appear supported, popular, and therefore appear MORE POWERFUL. Many do try to recruit others in this network to target the same person (scapegoating, smearing, bullying, ostracism.) Further, many also try to recruit those who are connected to the target to join them instead, and turn on the target.

The more people a Controller seems to be connected to and supported by, the larger and more powerful a Controller will appear. The more powerful a Controller appears, the more likely a target will feel dominated by them, and the more they will be worried about consequences for standing up to them.

Social signals play a large part for most Controller's power displays. Rude behavior, invasion of personal boundaries, treating others with disrespect, cutting in line, standing in front of others, walking in front of others, taking things from others, making "directing" gestures, speaking "over" or "through" a person's head to another person, purposely refusing to acknowledge a person's presence or speech, making unnecessary loud NOISES either with their body or with objects, walking "tough", standing "tough", and condescending at any opportunity. Pretending they don't NOTICE that a person is being treated disrespectfully or rudely by someone else.

Other animals do many of these things as well when trying to display dominance, obviously without the words.

A Controller might not even be doing the social signals on purpose, they might just have picked up certain speech patterns and body language from a parent, or other adults present in their childhood (like any child would), and might actually believe that people are "submitting" to them because they're innately superior.

These tactics and signals work so well that a single individual can make a an entire country believe, and submit to their "Leadership". It's been done so many times, in recorded history, documented and exposed, it's truly stunning how the human species still falls for it en masse on a regular basis.

People are susceptible to believing a person has more power because of various displays, because it's wired into the Homo Sapien brain to submit to or follow whoever seems to have "proven" their superior power. These "proven" power displays are going on all the time with a Controller, it's how they live their lives. If you've ever watched documentaries showing group animals' behavior, especially groups who always have a "leader", you can see how certain individuals seem simply obsessed with power and dominance displays, it seems like that's their favorite thing in the world to do, they do it at any opportunity. This is the same with Human Controllers, they're living inside of their desire for control and power over others, so much so that they might not even be aware of it.

Whether it's a personal relationship, a family dynamic, a community, an organization, a business or a national government, the tactics are the SAME. It is more about the BELIEF that an individual has much more power than they actually do that usually causes a target to feel trapped and fearful, less than the reality. It actually can cause a target to avoid seeking a way out, seeking help from others, and going about meeting their own needs.

Envy And Fleas

When you refer to yourself, or I refer to myself.. 

When I talk about myself and use "I" and "me", or when you do the same thing,...
When you try to tell your story, or if I say your story reminds me of something in my own life...
When you share your observation, or when I share my opinion..
When I'm venting (so it's all about "me") or when you're venting (so it's all about "you")
When I'm overwhelmed or expressing a need, or when you are either or both~

 if a Narcissist is listening (or reading), they are thinking "Narcissist! You're so self centered! It's all about you, you, you! You want all the credit, you want to be the center of attention, you're always trying to get attention, praise, and sympathy! You always think you know're so self-righteous... you're so..."
Because Narcissists can't stand it when others are the subject or center of the conversation (unless it's negative.)
They can't stand it when someone else is talking about themselves for more than five seconds (that might be too long).
They resent it when someone else is getting attention, credit, or praise from others.
They hate it when someone else is celebrating or happy about anything that doesn't include (or FEATURE) them.
They don't like it when someone else seems to be doing well, or doing something well, or getting even a moment of recognition or reward for it.

If they were to time how long they talked about themselves, and how long you talked about yourself; how long they listened to you, and how long you listened to them, they might see a clearer picture. If they listened to the content of what they were talking about, and the content of your communication, they might get some more clarity. If they realized that they aren't thinking of you as a PERSON like themselves but only as a sounding board, a support, or an audience, without real emotions and needs of your own...

Focusing resentment, envy, and projection on a person who is actually in a leadership position by default is not uncommon, there's always at least one employee who resents the boss for having the "leader" position, band members who resent the front person and/or the songwriter, interest-group members who resent the person who founded the group (but don't leave), actors who resent the director (but don't want the job), recovery group, 12 step, and support group members who resent the group leader just because (but stay anyway). Students who resent the teachers. Martial Arts students who resent the Sensei.

This envy can also be found as "fleas" on targets of Narc. abuse, especially if the abuse took place during childhood. There was almost certainly comparing going on; this child is better than that child, why can't you be more like her, look how HE behaves, see how nice she looks, isn't SHE just beautiful, isn't HE so handsome, don't you wish you were as strong as he is...
There was most likely withholding of approval, acceptance, and praise for a variety of "reasons"; punishment, control, manipulation, "keeping her humble", keeping the spotlight on the Golden Child.
There was probably a lot of exclusion going on; "We're going to dinner, you stay here" "We're going on vacation, you're staying with so and so" "Stay in your room until the guests leave" "The wedding does not allow children"
There was probably consistent put-downs all around, "Give that here, you do it like THIS!" "You throw like a girl" "You look like a boy" "You're so lazy" "You're so slow" "You're not the beautiful type, you're more like a farm girl" "Girls don't like little boys who whine"

And there was probably a lot of spotlight-stealing, spotlight grabbing, spotlight hoarding, invalidation, getting knocked off the proverbial stage (by those who were supposed to support), and spotlight blocking. Grandstanding, pontificating, lecturing, and story-telling. Lots of "I, me, me, I, me, and then I, me, I, sometimes a we, we, and then we, and then I..."

So, in retrospect, it's understandable that a person who grew up dealing with Narcissistic behavior might pick up a few resentments, triggers, or "fleas".

It's not healthy to feed those fleas, they are parasitical and will bite at and suck at a person's spirit, and make healing more difficult. They can be picked off and the bite marks can be healed as soon as one starts looking for them and seeing them for what they are. It's not the same as self-deprecation; these fleas are not part of "who we are", they're side effects, little things we picked up and held on to. They may have helped us to cope in the environment at the time.

As Suzanne Wingrove said, "Send that which you want to get rid of, that which you want to throw away, that which you see as garbage to the Earth; She will turn it over into compost and create new life with it."

Above Reproach

When we begin to believe that we are one of those without arrogance, bigotry, or ego, we may want to count our resentments and annoyances toward others.

The Costs Of Beliefs, Stereotypes, Assumptions And Ego

The "Crazy-Making", Narcissistic, generally abusive behavior coming from men does LOOK different on the outside from abusive behavior from women, but when we look under the hood, it becomes clear that it's the same engine that drives the vehicle.
The reason the behaviors themselves are different is not some kind of scientific biological process, as so many would like to think. The REAL reason is simple:
Manipulators, abusers, and controllers TAILOR their behavior to what WORKS FOR THEM as an individual.
Even if they don't KNOW they're doing it, they learn by trial, error, and mimicry what other people will ALLOW them to get away with. They learn what other people EXPECT from girls and women, and from boys and men. It's not about who THEY REALLY ARE, it's about what OTHER PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE.
So if Sharon believes that all men are naturally good at fixing things, and women are NOT, she's already opening the door to the next male manipulator who's playing on that belief.
If Sharon believes that all (or most) women are natural caregivers and men are NOT, she's again already opening the door to the next female manipulator who's playing on that belief.
That looks like:
(Sharon is going to have a rough year~ good thing she's not real).

Sharon has an 8 year old daughter, Missy. Her mother is elderly and is thinking about going into a "home". A new neighbor, Mike, moves in nearby.

Sharon and her Mom visit several elderly-living places in the area. They speak to staff and take facility tours. They both agree on one of the places, the staff was very friendly to them, and seemed very caring.... After a couple of weeks there, Sharon's Mom begins to seem withdrawn. When Sharon speaks to staff, they assure her that everything is fine, that this is to be expected. Then Sharon's Mom starts to seem spacey, and is not caring for herself like she usually does. They assure her it's "age". Then Sharon notices a bruise on her Mom's arm, they assure her that her Mom did that to herself. One day Sharon comes in one day before visiting hours and finds her Mom tied to a chair all by herself, crying, calling for a nurse. She overhears staff complaining about her, "o.m.g. that whiny old lady, I wish she'd just SHUT UP!" "I KNOW! Did you give her an extra dose? If you didn't, I'm gonna. She pissed herself again, I'm not cleaning it up."
When they hear Sharon's footsteps, they both immediately stand up straight, smile sweetly and scurry around, pretending to be very concerned about Sharon's Mom's needs and comfort, and go on to Sharon about how "stubborn" she's been.

Yes, Sharon gets her out of there and brings her home, but she had no concern before that about how her Mom was being treated. Her conditioned belief in gender stereotypes "Females Are Naturally Compassionate Caregivers" had her TRUSTING them, ASSUMING that they were what she expected them to be. She also bought into the "Super-Responsible-Capable" act that certain staff members put on. When they acted friendly and kind, it solidified her TRUST in them personally. When they flattered her, she trusted them MORE. When they acted BRUSQUE , "VERY BUSY" and RUDE , she believed it conveyed CAPABILITY, EXPERIENCE and EXPERTISE. She actually had passed over the facility that would have treated her Mom very well because they didn't behave in this manner, they were very polite and genuinely kind, not bossy or condescending, which Sharon misinterpreted as lack of experience and capability.
Sharon needs a babysitter for her 8 year old daughter. She looks around to area families to hire a young person for the job. She decides on a 15 year old girl from the neighborhood. Sharon doesn't realize it, but she chose this girl because she appears older than another friend's daughter, not for any other reason. Also, she chose a girl instead of a boy, because of her gender beliefs (like in the nursing home.) In reality, outside of Sharon's presumptions based on superficial appearance, the friend's daughter with the younger appearance is actually MUCH more responsible than the girl she chose, and much better with kids. Her other friend's son, who also wanted the job, is a very responsible boy who babysits his own little sister, very well.

Again, Sharon made the decision based on nothing other than her own stereotypes and assumptions. Sharon calls it her "gut feeling", so she thinks she's accurate. Unfortunately, the girl Sharon hired wants the money so she can buy marijuana... from the kids she invites to Sharon's house while she's babysitting... who all smoke in the bathroom out the window and ignore the child... in order to keep her secret, she threatens Sharon's daughter...

Sharon's daughter tells her Mom that she doesn't like the babysitter, but Sharon's response to her is "You'll just have to get used to it." The babysitter reports to Sharon that her daughter "acts up" and doesn't want to follow the rules... Sharon believes the babysitter, and keeps her on for another year. In the meantime, Sharon's daughter shows changes in her behavior, acting out and seeming despondent, to which Sharon blames on her daughter's "moody personality". Luckily, the babysitter gets a job at a fast food restaurant and can no longer babysit. But damage has been done.
Sharon needs some household repairs done. Her friend Molly has been doing carpentry and remodeling for years, so she asks her advice about the repair work. Molly offers to do it for free if Sharon buys the material. Oddly, Sharon does not say "great, thank you!". Instead, she implies that she doesn't want to do it "right now", maybe next month, and she doesn't thank Molly for the offer, either, she just changes the subject.
Sharon met her new neighbor Mike a week ago, and invited him in for coffee. Mike works as a sales rep. at an electronics store, but also works for his male friend doing remodeling. Sharon asks Mike about the repairs she needs done around her home. He doesn't really know how to do them, but he pretends he does to save face, kind of making guesses and using appropriate words and phrases. Sharon falls for his smoke screen because of her conditioned belief that men automatically know about such things, and know better than women. She asks Mike to schedule the repair work with his friend's business.
Mike says "Oh sure, we'll TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOU." This is a phrase he learned many years ago that he knows most people, especially women, tend to respond to, especially coming from men. (Men respond well to it also, especially coming from women. It invokes a cradling, care-taking feeling, sincerity notwithstanding.)
Sharon feels a little excited at the prospect of having men in her home doing repair work. She really doesn't want Molly to do it because she's secretly envious of her and doesn't want Molly to get the credit for it. Also, she was conditioned as a child that men are naturally good at carpentry and repair, and women are not, and she has built this belief into her OWN identity and life, as well as projecting it onto others.

In other words, she TRUSTS MIKE AND HIS MALE FRIEND, and she wants to trust them. Not because she has any REAL reason to trust them, she has never dealt with either of them before, she doesn't know them well personally, or in business. She has no real reason to trust them, and yet she does, because of her own conditioned beliefs, assumptions, and emotions.

Mike and his friend charge Sharon full price but tell her they're giving her a discount... because she's a friend... which she believes and does not check up on... not only because she TRUSTS them, but because she LIKES trusting them. While Mike is in her house, he takes a few things he thinks she won't notice missing. She doesn't pay attention because she likes trusting them. Mike's friend tells Sharon she also needs some other work done, most of which she immediately agrees to even though it's a strain on her budget. Mike's friend "cuts corners" and "takes shortcuts" on much of the work, but Sharon doesn't pay attention, or even notice. One of the repairs isn't even done, it's just covered over.

The jobs take several weeks, because Mike's friend has put Sharon low on the priority list. Her behavior has shown him that she's easy to manipulate, she'll believe whatever he tells her.

Part of Sharon's gender belief conditioning was also "Do Not Question Men" and "Ignore My Suspicions About The Motives And Actions Of Others". Her subconscious fears consequences that she might get if she questions their prices, the time they're taking, and even the missing items in her home, so she just DOESN'T question them.

In the meantime, Mike has ensconced himself into Sharon's personal life, and is slowly finding out more and more about her and her finances.

Sharon no longer calls Molly, she feels shame about the way she treated her but can't let go of her ego enough to admit it and apologize. She's still envious of Molly and doesn't like that Molly does things that she herself can't do. If she had simply treated her friend with respect, she would have saved not only a huge amount of money, but the repairs would have all been done correctly and well. There would not have been an opportunity for Mike to get so close to her personally or steal things, the friendship with Molly would have grown stronger instead of getting ruined. It would have also helped Molly's business reputation, which would have improved both of their lives materially.

So Sharon's beliefs, conditioning, and ego cost her quite a bit, in many ways, and also cost Molly.

Avoiding all mistakes is not actually possible, we can't know what we don't know, and manipulators purposely hide things from our view, and purposely present their 'best face'. But we do have control over our own beliefs and assumptions about people, both ourselves and others, and how quickly we "let others in" before we get to know them for real. We also have the ability to observe our own ego-driven behaviors (like rejecting and diminishing others due to our own resentment or envy) from the privacy of our own eyes and ears. 

No one else has to know we're watching others, or watching ourselves.