Are you temporarily narcissistic? I am sure it shocked or surprised several people when I confessed that I “felt” I was temporarily narcissistic after being psychologically abused by a covert narcissist. You might be asking yourself if someone you know is temporarily narcissistic. Narcissism is not a subject many like discussing or even thinking of. Let me give you an example. There are websites out there like Matchmaker. fm and PodMatch.com, which support people wanting to be interviewed by various podcasts. On Matchmaker, I sent a guest request to several podcasts and was shocked by the response I got. I submitted 85 proposals, and only one person responded within one week. The answer was positive, yet I never got a response from the remaining 84. Then on PodMatch, I accidentally triggered a podcaster with my guest request. Unusual right? He responded that he hadn’t addressed his narcissism story to his mental health followers and did not think he could handle this subject matter. He said to give him a few months to think it over because it triggers some unpleasant memories. This should prove how damaging a narcissistic person’s behavior and actions can be.
Are you temporarily narcissistic?
Carrie Barron, M.D., who is the director of Creativity for Resilience at University of Texas Austin’s Dell Medical School, arguments that some people can retreat into a temporary narcissistic state after experiencing a major life event that is damaging to their sense of self. Barron wrote in a series of Psychology Today articles, “Sometimes reality is too much to bear and a vulnerable person retreats into what has been described as secondary narcissism.” This retreat is a coping mechanism and can appear to be considered narcissistic, but there are settle differences. The one being abused can withdraw from their friends and family after a major setback at work or within a romantic relationship. This person can neglect many of their responsibilities in the process, or the person might retreat into a fantasy world due to a feeling of hopelessness because something major is going on in their life. This is what Barron calls “reactive temporary narcissism.”
What is Reactive Abuse?
Reactive abuse is when an abuser will provoke, bait, or continue pushing someone to their limits until they react in a manner that the abuser anticipated and can use against them. Now, some people might call this victim-blaming, but this term is commonly misunderstood and thought to be considered the victims reaction is abusive, but that is not what it means. Reactive abuse is not calling out the victim as being abusive. Instead, it’s a reference to the type of abuse the victim is experiencing in the moment. When we talk about abuse, we usually unpack it by what form of abuse. There is financial abuse, verbal, emotional, spiritual or religious, psychological, and physical. All these different forms of abuse types can be used against a victim. For example:
- Physical abuse means physical violence is being used to abuse. When the abuser pushes back or fights back, the narcissist will declare that the abuser started it first.
- Emotional Abuse means your emotions are being used to abuse. The abuser will flip the switch and play victim. Saying that you are being emotionally abusive by not taking their feelings into consideration. Completely disregarding that your feelings got hurt first and you were just defending yourself. If you fall this game, you will end up feeling guilty and apologizing to your abuser.
- Verbal Abuse means words are being used to abuse. Again, the abuser can flip it on you and take offense to your verbal comments in defense. Claiming that you are the verbally abusive one.
- Reactive Abuse means your reactive response (to abuse) is being used to abuse. You are fighting back, but it can be used against you and people might not believe that you were the one being abused. How and why? You are the one still heated and upset. The abuser is now calm and collective. The heated and emotional charged one can appear to be the abuser, when in fact your adrenaline is still pumping cortisol into your system.
It’s often misunderstood because a victim’s reaction can make them look like the aggressor. That’s the point of this valuable lesson. Abusers use reactive abuse to project blame onto the victim, especially to get out of legal charges of assault, battery, or domestic violence charges. Sadly, they are often believed and it can have severe consequences for the victim. Therefore, it’s also important to understand that a victim’s reaction can vary. Let me give you an explain. A victims reactive response might not always appear like anger to others and law enforcement. Their reactions could make them look jealous, revengeful, bitter, emotionally unstable, mentally ill, destructive, and overprotective.
The key point is abusers manipulate their victims to get them to react. They feed off it and it is entertaining to them to witness their victim lose control and fall apart. Abusers are skilled at pathologizing. Pathologizing is the act of labeling normal human behaviors and emotions as abnormal or pathological in the mind of the abuser. It can be damaging to both the individual who is pathologized and to their loved ones people’s emotions. The abuser will abuse their victims for hours, days, weeks, or even years before the victim reaches a breaking point and reacts to the abuse.
Cry Wolf says the abuser, “Look at their abusive behavior”
There is a pattern to this mind bending reactive abuse. Let’s follow the pattern.
- The victim reacts to abuse and the abuser points a finger “Look, they have such an abusive behavior towards me! Look at them. I am doing my best to not respond to their abuse towards me. They are like this all the time when we get into a disagreement.”
- The actual abuse is minimized, justified (by the reaction), or denied. Now, the reaction to abuse becomes the focus. The focus is removed off the abuser and now completely on the victim because the victim is still emotionally charged.
- The abuser will find any and all grey areas to manipulate situations in their favor and benefit. Projecting almost everything they are really doing onto the abused person. It can be shocking how they use reactive abuse to manipulate outsiders and law enforcement. They can often appear believable because of their calm and “I am just trying to help them” demeanor.
- The abuser plays the victim and convince others that the real victim is crazy, unstable, and abusive. The abuse is minimized or ignored while the victim’s reaction is magnified. And when you are the victim, it is logical that you would get even more triggered or upset because nobody believes you or you breakdown crying because you then believe that it is all your fault. Self-doubt and gaslighting from everyone can destroy one’s self-esteem and self-worth. . If you watched the bodycam video of Gabby Petito, you will see like I did, how the script was flipped and Gabby was told by the officer that she was 100% at fault and the abuser. We all know now that she was not.
When people are unaware and uneducated about reactive abuse, it can lay a toxic foundation for the abusive manipulator to continue abusing and shifting blame upon the victim easily. And we all saw how Amber Heard filmed Johnny Depp breaking down and falling apart in the court. It is common for the abuser to film your reactive abuse response to show others or a court how unstable you are. Sorry, Johnny that you were abused in such a horrible manner.
Next, I need to address what a narcissistic dog whistle means. Most people are unaware of this term and how it can trigger a reactive abuse response. One reactive abuse tactic narcissists like to use in settings with an audience is called “dog-whistling.” A dog can only hear a dog whistle, but the narcissist knows how to get the victim’s attention and reaction in the same manner as if he was using a dog whistle. It’s a form of covert control in abusive relationships. Let me explain. The victim is conditioned to respond to certain tones of voice, facial expressions, body gestures or eye rolls, and keywords. Reactive abuse is designed to induce negative feelings. These feelings can range from fear, self-doubt, jealousy, disappointment, humiliation, anxiety, inadequacy, shame, vindictive nature, and guilt. All these negative feelings can be projections from the abuser but done with an undertone of affection or disappointment.
Therefore, let me give you an example. The abuser would saying something that is hurtful, insensitive, painful, embarrassing, or something about a sensitive topic discussed by the two of you in private. Yet, to outsiders, it doesn’t seem unusual or abusive because it can be done in a casual and affectionate manner to mask the undertone of contempt. Therefore, when the victim responds negatively, it’s easy for the abusers narrative to appear believable because the victim can appear emotionally charged, unstable, mentally ill, or abusive because they are REACTING instead of RESPONDING. The victim feels the need to defend themselves to save face or shift the blame back onto the abuser, who is hiding in the shadows of deception.
What is secondary narcissism as a temporary state?
The best way for me to describe secondary narcissism is to tell a story first. Let’s say you have worked at your job for twenty, thirty, or forty years. You love it and are planning to retire one day from the company. You have maybe a year or two before retirement, and you are excited to have an office party thrown in your honor. You are also happy to receive your retirement package and leave the company in good standing. Then out of the blue, the company gets bought out by another company, and your new employer wants to make budget cuts. Without notice or warning, you are let go. Regardless of your loyalty towards the company, you get a severance package instead of a retirement plan. No party is in your honor, and you leave the company with your head held down. This situation traumatizes you. You do not know how to tell your wife, kids, or family members. You have heard of this nightmare situation before, but never in your wildest dreams thought it would happen to you. You can’t handle it, so you pack a suitcase and leave. Maybe you make some excuse and say you are going on a business trip out of state or the country for several weeks or months. You might even pretend you are still employed, but the fear of informing your family and friends is too devasting for you. You might crash at a friend’s house or in a hotel room. You can find yourself picking up addictive behaviors like day drinking, binge drinking, porn addiction, or binge-watching TV day after day. You don’t answer phone calls or return text messages because you are pretending to be at work. You feel so hopeless and isolated. Everyone can tell you are off, but you still cannot muster up the courage to tell people what happened at work. So, you go inward. Finding ways to self-soothe yourself and heal. You become so isolated and fragile. You fantasize about what you feel you deserve – which was the big send-off party and company cheer. Instead, you are stuck in shame, humiliation, and anxiety, and the fear is facing the truth of what happened is overwhelming. Your family depends upon you, but this situation is too big for you to handle. Your reality is too much to bear, and you feel incredibly vulnerable.
When you find yourself in this situation, secondary narcissism is considered a temporary state. You are isolating yourself from your support systems. Your ego has been massively wounded, and you will feel the need to retreat. The good news is this form of narcissism is treatable. There are two forms of secondary narcissism. The first one is disassociation, and the second is escape. Dissociation is when a person physically disconnects from others and a mental disconnection from unbearable realities. Since you are disconnected, it is logical to detach yourself from others and turn your attention towards the self, almost like you got into a big fight and needed to lick your wounds. Freud defined secondary narcissism as having two different impacts on various people. For some, you can find a withdrawal of libido. In others, there can be a strong upsurge of sexual desire to dominate another person, which is a form of delusional grandiosity.
Understanding secondary narcissism
When a traumatic event happens, a part of us can split from the primary self. That part is wounded and can get stuck in regression. You face the trauma head-on daily, but the injured part can stay stuck in the past, frozen in time. Even the memory can be frozen in time with the emotions wrapped up inside. Your ego has been shattered; you can be stuck in a sense of entitlement and envy; you might want to exploit your employer, seek revenge, or crave what you thought was rightfully yours because you did not get the retirement package you depended upon. You can feel screwed over and angry. So, you withdraw within yourself, nursing that wounded part of you, isolating yourself from those who love you. Now, as I have mentioned before, when a traumatic event happens, there is likely a younger version of yourself still stuck in the past that did experience trauma. Let me explain. The hopelessness one feels after being let go by their employer can lead to the “flight response,” which can be based on early childhood experiences of helplessness. People with a high risk of secondary narcissism are workaholics, overthinkers, perfectionists, and individuals who struggle with anxiety. This childhood flight response stems from an insecure attachment, authoritarian parents, physical abuse, verbal abuse, bullying, and empathic flaws involving humiliation, shame, degradation, exploitation, or neglect. A neglectful or absent parents’ unpredictable rules can also interfere with a holding environment and cause hopelessness. All these patterns and behaviors were either modeled to them or became a self-preservation attempt just to survive.
Now here is the tricky part because I try to see both sides of the coin. Let’s say your old employer was kind, had excellent communication skills, had a positive mental attitude toward life and his employees, and did their best to make the work environment harmonious and healthy for all employees. The new employer is a psychopath narcissist who lacks empathy and will have no guilty feelings for letting go of loyal, hard-working employees. Most people would be traumatized by the dramatic shift from safety and security to being unemployed and kicked to the curb. There would be anger, confusion, disappointment, humiliation, and hopelessness when someone has dedicated a large portion of their life to a company that treated them like their loyalty and work ethics didn’t matter. That is why large employers need this information. Everyone is struggling with something in their life. That is why we need to be kind and considerate to each other instead of complete assholes. Because the truth is that hard-working employee did not deserve to be treated so poorly and made to do the walk of shame. There still can be an early retirement party, a reduced retirement package, or something done to soften the blow to a vulnerable person’s ego.
What is narcissistic withdrawal?
This comes from Wikipedia, “In psychology, narcissistic withdrawal is a stage in narcissism and a narcissistic defense characterized by “turning away from parental figures, and by the fantasy that essential needs can be satisfied by the individual alone”. In adulthood, it is more likely to be an ego defense with repressed origins. Individuals feel obliged to withdraw from any relationship that threatens to be more than short-term, avoiding the risk of narcissistic injury, and will instead retreat into a comfort zone. The idea was first described by Melanie Klein in her psychoanalytic research on stages of narcissism in children.“
What is narcissistic victim syndrome?
Narcissistic victim syndrome or narcissistic victim complex is a term that collectively describes the specific and often severe effects of narcissistic manipulation. While this isn’t a recognized mental health condition, many experts acknowledge that narcissistic abuse can and does have a severe and long-lasting impact on mental health, self-esteem, emotional regulation, and the body. PTSD impacts the adrenal glands, liver, nervous system, ability to sleep, and much more. If you have heard of the medical medium Anthony Williams, he talks about the hidden impact of PTSD. A narcissistic victim syndrome is a form of emotional abuse caused by being in a relationship with a narcissist. However, it does not limit itself to emotional side effects. There can be many physical effects of narcissistic abuse that we may overlook, such as adrenal fatigue, insomnia, stomach cramps, heart palpitations, weight gain, weight loss, or poor hygiene.
When you are struggling with narcissistic victim syndrome, you are used to the narcissist using words that aim to invalidate you and the people around you. They belittle and manipulate their partners, parents, and children. As a result, the people around the narcissist will experience narcissistic victim syndrome and will end up feeling inadequate and worthless and start to seek approval over the littlest things. Ultimately, they no longer know who they are due to identity erosion.
12 signs you are dealing with narcissistic victim syndrome
- You thought you had the perfect relationship. Everything started out perfectly. They were loyal, offered financial support, they praise you (appearance, work ethics, religious views, morals, hobbies). They are affectionate, romantic, kind, generous, and religious/spiritual. It was fast and you fell hard. This is the trap and why love bombing is so effective. This early stage might have felt so intense and overwhelming you never had the time to stop and consider whether they might be too fantastic or perfect.
- The devaluing begins. When the narcissist knows you are hooked, they will slowly start to give you backhanded compliments, comparisons, criticism or just joking comments. These are mainly done to compare you to another woman or man. Some would call this behavior “negging”. The act of “negging” describes a situation where someone insults another person or undermines their confidence, under the disguise of an attempt at seduction. The insults and backhanded comments are made in an effort to increase the person’s need of the manipulator’s approval, thus making them more vulnerable to future advances. I wrote about this tactic in my book, The Undetected Narcissist and I I gave several personal examples.
- You doubt the abuse took place. The narcissistic abuse and manipulation are often subtle. When the narcissist gaslights you, it can be even harder to recognize the abuse. In public, these behaviors might be so well disguised that others cannot hear or see these same destructive behaviors. Therefore, they fail to recognize them as abuse. This can be especially challenging when you are seeking help or support from a friend, family member, or therapist. When the narcissist tries to gaslight you, you might not even fully understand what’s happening. You only know you feel confused, upset, or even guilty for your “mistakes”, which might not be mistakes because you were either baited or provoked.
- Feels like you are walking on eggshells. One of the most common narcissistic victim syndrome symptoms is FEAR. The fear of upsetting this person, being insulted, triggering your partner’s anger again, or being given the silent treatment. You become afraid, so you start to watch your every move, decision, or even every word you say. Now you are in a trauma-bonded relationship. No matter how much you try to be perfect for this person, it is never good enough.
- The smear campaign begins. People with narcissistic traits often need to maintain their image of being better than you or others to keep earning admiration. To do this, they may try to make you look bad. Then, the narcissist will begin pointing out problems. When you start to question the narcissist’s behaviors, they might lash out by openly directing their rage toward you with insults and threats. They will sometimes involve others in criticizing you publicly or behind your back. The narcissist might try to get close to one of your loved ones and then tell stories that twist the facts about your destructive or disturbing relationship behaviors. The narcissist is trying their best to discredit you. Even worse, when you react angrily, and who wouldn’t, the narcissist will do their best to use your response to back up their lies. Here is the problem you will find yourself in. People with narcissism often have a knack for charming others. It worked on you. That persona they showed you in the beginning, is still what everyone else sees, except for you at times. That is why they can often win the support of your loved ones (for example, how my son’s father won the support of my father) by insisting they only have your best interests at heart. In my situation, it was our son that used as the pawn. The challenge most narcissistic victim syndrome face is when you try explaining the abuse, your loved ones might side with the narcissist because the narcissist got them first and painted an ugly picture about you—stating to your loved ones that they are only trying to help you because you are so confused and unstable, when in fact, the narcissist is just using, manipulating, and abusing your loved ones and turning them against you.
- You feel alone and vulnerable. A narcissist wants everyone to think that you have a perfect relationship. What people see on the outside never matches what is happening behind closed doors. Suppose you try to tell others about an unhappy and unstable relationship. In that case, the narcissist will jump to action, getting others to side with them and shifting the blame from the abuser’s actions and behaviors to gaslighting everyone. Making comments like you are overly sensitive during those times of the month, you are just really clumsy and fell, you really should be medicated because you are emotionally unstable at times, or you are such a negative person, and when we met, she was so positive all the time. Therefore, you will start to feel alone because nobody is listening or taking your side seriously. They are only seeing and hearing what the narcissist wants. You isolate yourself from your close friends or family, which is what the narcissist wants. Yet, when you slowly withdraw from society, you set yourself up for becoming even more vulnerable to your abuser. So, you feel trapped and start to believe there is no way out of your situation. I recommend seeing a therapist because feeling alone and vulnerable can be extremely dangerous. Because you can start to think of taking your own life, become an alcoholic to numb the pain, take drugs, or fall into a deep depression.
- Your self-esteem and confidence diminish. During the devaluation and criticism phase, you can notice that you start questioning your choices and decisions. It can feel like brain fog because your abuser frequently makes you believe you make bad decisions and can’t do anything right. For example, your abuser might have called you incompetent, stupid, or ignorant. What is even more sinister is this can be done with an undertone of false affection, such as saying, “Babe, you’re so dumb. How would you manage to get dressed without my help?” Over time, you can absorb these insults and attach them to your self-perception, leading you to second-guess yourself constantly. Also, gaslighting tactics can make you doubt your decision-making abilities.
- You freeze up from shock or an abuse overload. As you have heard me mention in past blog posts and on various podcasts, we all respond to trauma and other forms of abuse in different ways. Some people might confront the abusive person by going into the “fight” mode. Others might want to escape the situation by going into “flight” mode. When these two different methods don’t succeed or you feel unable to fight or flight, you might respond by “freezing” or going into “fawn” to appease your abuser. The “freeze” response usually happens when you feel helpless or are in complete shock. Sometimes it can involve “dissociating or dissociation” since emotionally distancing yourself from the abuse can help decrease its intensity, effectively numbing some of the pain and reducing the distress you experience. But I need to heed a warning; dissociating is a form of PTSD survival. When you lose time or cannot remember what happened, your brain and emotional state just went on overload, and you check out. You are physically here, but mentally you are far, far away. Depending upon the severity of dissociation, you can seriously hurt yourself and another person. I could unpack dissociation because I specialize in this area, but I won’t. My main concern is you can create a “PART” that becomes your protector against the abuser. That part will want to fight, and each time you dissociate, that part gets stronger and stronger. So be warned. If you notice that you are dissociating, please seek professional support. Even if you don’t think you have PTSD, you can have hidden PTSD that was formed during childhood, and this new abuser has triggered and reopened the burred trauma wounds.
- It’s all your fault. Narcissistic people have difficulty taking responsibility for their negative actions, verbal assaults, and harmful behaviors. This can make you feel like you have done something wrong because the blame is constantly cast upon you. This can happen out of deceit. Let me give you a few examples. Your abuser can insist they said something to you, but you cannot recall the conversation. Then your abuser gets angry at you, and you go into fawn mode. Trying to soothe them by apologizing and agreeing that you were wrong is all your fault. They are saying that you should have been listening better. Another one could be that you suspect they have been cheating on you. You will explain the concerning behaviors, lack of physical intimacy, strange text messages, and late nights at the office you’ve noticed. After all, you are just asking if something’s going on. In turn, your abuser’s manipulation response might be extreme anger. They may respond with accusations of their own and redirect blame. They might comment about your physical appearance and personal hygiene; you’ve become distant and say things intended to hurt and belittle you. What started as a concerned attempt to communicate can turn into barrages of rage, anger, jealousy, accusations, and insults that can cut like a knife. This explosive harmless conversation can leave you feeling helpless and dependent. You might go as far as saying that you are grateful they’re willing to remain with someone like you who makes many mistakes, is mentally unstable, and damaged goods. The sad truth is that some people, even after leaving the relationship, can carry the belief that they can’t do anything right. When things go wrong in other areas of life, they might blame themself for causing those problems. Always saying they are sorry when there is nothing to be sorry about.
- You begin to experience physical symptoms, which can be unexplained. When stressed, the body will react, and physical symptoms will show up. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. There can be a pain, nausea, insomnia, muscle aches, headaches, migraines, extreme fatigue, appetite changes, ulcer, lack of energy, gastrointestinal distress, panic attack, anxiety attack, and stomach pain. Remember when I talked about hidden PTSD? When people experience chronic abuse, their cortisol levels skyrocket. Your adrenal glands and nervous system can become shot, and your immune system can become vulnerable to ailments. Your body can become accustomed to always being hypervigilant. For example, when you hear your abuser’s voice, your stomach begins to tighten up and hurt. Another example would be that you struggle with insomnia and have a hard time shutting that chattering mind off because you know your abuser will do something tomorrow when your family comes over to celebrate your birthday. This leaves you constantly on the edge of your seat, finding it difficult to relax and feel safe.
- Self-care diminishes. Once the relationship is established, slowly, the abuser will set rules, and these rules are about meeting their needs, not yours. Everything is about how you can please them, and this can be used so easily by saying a few words, like, “My ex always had a hot meal for me when I came home from work. She knew how to make me feel special. I know you would never do anything to make me feel unloved in this relationship, babe.” If you are a people pleaser, that comment is gold. Soon, you will find yourself only living for your partner, and your needs will no longer be met. If you stay in this trauma-bonding relationship, you will eventually neglect your needs. Discovering your cup of self-love and acceptance is bone dry.
- You have trust issues and no longer recognize yourself. An abusive relationship or work environment can cause you to question everything around you. Eventually, depending upon the severity of the abuse, you can become paranoid, where everyone trying to get close to you may seem to be a threat. You can experience anxiety and depression, questioning their motives, the reasons why they are there for you, and even their kindness towards you because you expect it will be a trap. You even question yourself and can no longer trust yourself or your judgment. When you look in the mirror, you don’t even trust to recognize yourself. You feel like an empty shell. You find yourself shattered by all the accusations, lies, defamation of character, words thrown at you, and the emotional abuse you have endured. In this state, you also discover difficulty setting boundaries because your abuser does not care about boundaries. Even if you try to stand your ground and set healthy limits, your abuser will not listen to you. If this happens repeatedly, you can relinquish what you are fighting for. Unfortunately, this can be the same with your other relationships because your sense of being heard, respected, or in control has been destroyed or weakened.
So, let’s put this into a story. After all, we learn and retain much more information when we put these 12 signs into a story. If you recall the story about secondary narcissism, this story will be about Kris. Kris is a man in his mid-fifties. He is a workaholic and perfectionist. He is the big dog around the office. People look up to him and admire his work ethic. Kris plans to retire next year and has never once worried about his career or future with the company.
To Kris’s surprise, he discovers the owner has sold the company, and a new senior management team will be up and running next week. The previous owner assures Kris that his position as VP of executive sales is still rock solid. Kris is showered with admiration and praise when he meets the new owner. It appears Kris can do no wrong. Every day, Kris is showered with glory by his new employer and has been showing the new management team the ropes around the office and his role within the company.
Then Kris starts to notice a shift. The owner has a temper and starts to make unrealistic demands. Kris observes how the owner starts to make slightly undertone insults and backhanded comments to various sales reps, employees, and Kris. Since Kris is the VP of executive sales, he finds himself in a position to take all the blame. The blame for not training the sales staff properly, a sale falling, and the drop in the new monthly sales projections. Kris soon discovers himself walking on eggshells, trying to appease his new boss and his unrealistic demands. Kris tries to talk to a few of his coworkers about the blame game, but it appears his coworkers are siding with the new employer. Stating that the new employer has observed Kris taking more extended lunch team building meetings, spending more time on the phone instead of in the field with his sales reps, and just bidding his time before his retirement. This makes Kris worried, and the anxiety kicks into overdrive. Kris starts to work longer hours, taking work home and strives to be perfect to prove his worth. Yet, somehow Kris keeps making a mistake after mistake. Leaving him confused and filled with self-doubt. He is making Kris start to overthink things and trying harder to prove his loyalty to the company.
At a company holiday party, Kris overheard his boss accusing him of doing something stupid with a new client. Kris first went into freeze mode because he was shocked. The whole story and gossip behind his back is a lie. After a few drinks, Kris decided to confront his boss in private. Before Kris knows what is happening, his boss flips the script on Kris. His boss got angry, accusing him of calling him a liar and making Kris question his motives, actions, future with the company, and reality. Kris is humiliated because when his wife gets wind of the argument, Kris feels ashamed and embarrassed. The next day at work, Kris feels like the running joke around the office, and his self-esteem plummets. Kris is no longer getting high fives and praise from his coworkers. Now all Kris notices are his coworkers are gossiping about him behind his back, avoiding eye contact, and giving him the cold shoulder. Kris starts to wonder if the rumors and gossip are true. They were wondering if he was beginning to have issues with his memory.
Kris is no longer his happy, positive, or hid outgoing self when the holiday is over. He went from being Mr. Social or Mr. Friendly around the office to isolating himself from his office friends and even the sales reps he supervises. To add to Kris’s distress from all the worry and overthinking, Kris has developed an ulcer. He was popping antacids like candy and struggling to sleep at night. Kris’s home life has also taken a turn, and he can’t seem to talk to his wife about what is happening at work. His wife thinks it might be having a mid-life crisis, as his boss mentioned during the holiday office party after Kris had too much to drink and made a fool out of himself. Kris doesn’t know who to trust and has become afraid to discuss his problems and concerns with his friends, family, or coworkers. He’s a man, after all. Men don’t talk about their feelings or issues. Real men deal with their own problems – alone even though Kris feels like his world is crashing around him.
Then one day, Kris fell for a trap his new boss baited for him. Kris was given an important task to prove that he could still manage and handle being the VP of executive sales. The owner wanted Kris to take an essential potential client out for drinks and pitch the company’s new spring selection. His boss told him to be at the hotel at 7:30 pm to pick up this new potential client. Kris’s boss told the new client that Kris would pick him up at 6:45 pm, have dinner at 7:30 pm, and dropped off at the airport by 9:30 pm. When Kris showed up, the client was pissed. Since the new client did not have Kris’s phone number to see if Kris was running late, he was forced to call the owner. The owner explained that Kris was on his last leg with the company, and he was trying to help him out. The owner knew the new client did not like excuses and would rip Kris a new one when he arrived late.
Long story short, the meeting with the new potential client was a disaster. Kris was 100% sure his boss told him to be there by 7:30 pm. After all, he had it written down, and his assistant had the same time in her planner. When Kris went to confront his boss about the miscommunication in time, his boss exploded. Yelling so loud that everyone in the office could hear him say, “Again, you have the audacity to call me a liar. How dare you insult me like that, Kris. You give me no choice in this matter. I am forced to write you up and need to talk to HR. And I don’t even want to hear your lame apology. You can’t even be brave enough to face the reality that you messed up big time. You’re a joke. Get the hell out of my office. Be prepared to pack up your office by the end of the day, Kris.”
Well, Kris went from being the star employee to being unemployed. What if Kris was educated in narcissistic abuse? Could he have noticed the warning signs but not taken the bait? Would he have been able to coast along for one-year without getting fired and receiving the retirement package he longed for in the end? There are many possibilities if only he were informed or prepared to respond when dealing with a narcissistic instead of being reactive.
But what if…Kris was unaware that this was the plan from day one because the new owner promised the position to someone on the new management team. The owner just had to find a way to get Kris logistically and legally fired. Now Kris has secondary narcissism, experienced reactive abuse, and is left with having narcissistic victim syndrome. Here is a scary fact. We hear these types of stories all the time. Right now this might be happening to someone else, and in my opinion, it is a crime. When will laws change and this form of abuse be addressed legally in court for all victims, not just celebrities?
So, when I said I felt I had temporary narcissism, I was referring to isolation. I lost faith in humanity. I lost faith in the world and saw humanity’s ugly and dark side. I no longer trusted the legal system, lawyers, judges, parent coordinators, and some mental health professionals because they were all in the dark regarding psychological abuse. I did not feel like I had a place in this world anymore. I wanted to move to the sticks or another country. I lost faith in our government because when I spoke with a domestic violence advocate, I discovered this happens daily to loving parents like myself and innocent children. In other countries, it is considered a crime and child abuse. I did not fantasize about what should have been or could have been. I was pissed and humiliated; my world was destroyed personally and professionally. And I was very reactive to the abuse, which did not support me in court. On the contrary, it benefited him in proving his case against me. I had to find my way out of the darkness. I could not find one book with a story of narcissism. That is why I wrote my book, The Undetected Narcissist. I knew people and families out there needed to hear a story that they could relate to regarding family law and narcissism. Because if I ask you now to recall the 12 signs of narcissistic victim syndrome, you will most likely struggle to repeat what you heard. But if I invite you to tell me the story about Kris today, tomorrow, next week, or next month, you can recall the story much more easily because it is accessible within your memory recall. Again, humans are storytellers, and stories help us learn, retain information, and apply these stories to our own life experiences.
Thank you for supporting my work and this information about…are you temporarily narcissistic. I hope I answered your questions and made you feel better about yourself and your situation. Many blessings!