Surviving Narcissistic Abuse in Childhood: Leaving One’s Self

A very wise client – Mario* – identified his goal in therapy in our first session to “not care so much what other people think”. He survived a childhood with a narcissistic father who sadistically enjoyed making Mario suffer. Mario lamented how he found himself feeling preoccupied with what other people might think negatively about him. He would find himself …

enabler parent

‘Better you than me’ – Going unprotected from narcissistic abuse by the enabler parent.

“Nothing in this world lasts without protection.” “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke Good things in the world do not survive unless they are protected. Think of a human baby. As cute, fun, and loving as they are – they are equally vulnerable. Most often these awesome creatures …

a narcissist

Why a Narcissist can’t stand your happiness

One tell-tale sign of having been abused by a narcissist is feeling wary of your own happiness. That may sound strange or odd. Why would anyone shy away from smiling, laughing, getting excited, or feeling vitalized? The answer takes a little explaining but gets to the root of the narcissist’s danger to others. Happiness in healthy relationships As I’m writing …

children of narcissists

Why adult children of narcissists can be so money and not even know it

I have a very smart and wonderful client, Karen*, who recently said: “I feel like you are always telling me that I’m right and everyone else is wrong Isn’t it somewhere in the middle?”. Her question gave me pause. Was I erring on the side of being too supportive and excusing her of responsibility? Had I abandoned ‘therapeutic neutrality’ in …

Good Will Hunting

‘Good Will Hunting’ through the lens of Control-Mastery Theory

Good Will Hunting is one of my favorite movies. Will’s character is so compelling. By day he hangs out with his hard-living friends. By night he exercises his genius by solving quadratic equations, reading voraciously, and thinking big thoughts. Put another way, his public self seems to contradict his private self.   And the contradiction goes in an unusual direction. …

parentification

Kids taking care of parents: Why The Godfather and Dave Chappelle say parentification is bad

Don Vito Corleone in the Godfather was not a paragon of gender equality. Witness his famous statement: “I spend my life trying not to be careless. Women and children can afford to be careless, but not men.” His statement on women is false and misogynous but he offers a truth about children: they need to feel safe being careless.   …

Eagle Fans Therapy

Eagle Fans: Super Bowl Therapy

I moved to the Philadelphia area in sixth grade.  Coming from southern California, I had trouble finding friends who loved football as much as me.  The first Tuesday morning at my new school in the Philadelphia suburbs, all my classmates were talking about the Eagles performance against the New York Giants the night before.  I thought I was in heaven.  …