How Denial Obstructs Character Growth

Two Types of Denial

We’ve all heard the term “denial.” Unfortunately, however, the term is frequently both misused and misunderstood. Actually, we commonly use the same word to describe two very different realities.

Freud spoke of denial as an unconscious defense mechanism. He saw it as our mind’s way protecting us from consciously experiencing unbearable emotional pain.  You don’t choose that kind of denial. Nature employs it for you, without your awareness. I give illustrative examples of it in my books. Tactical denial is different. Some folks use it consciously and deliberately to evade responsibility and manipulate others. (See the sections on denial in both In Sheep’s Clothing and Character Disturbance.) (See also: Denial – What It Is and Isn’t.) But both kinds of denying hamper our ability to profit from past mistakes. So, no matter the form, denial obstructs character development.  And it almost always wreaks havoc in relationships, too.

Reckoning with Denial

Popular 12-step programs all start with the first step. That involves correctly identifying and accepting (“admitting”) the true nature of one’s problem. (It also involves humbly admitting  powerlessness over it.) Before you can effectively tackle any issue, you have to know clearly and accept what it is. And you have to admit you haven’t been dealing with it very well. Denying only gets in the way of that honest self-reckoning. And it keeps you from taking that all-important first step toward character growth.

Sometimes the truth is just too hard to hear or bear. So, you might not be emotionally ready to come to terms with it. But other times you might simply be getting too much out of whatever you’ve been doing. That will leave you with little motivation to do things differently. You might know at some level that you need to change your ways  But you might also be too stubborn or prideful to admit you’ve been going down the wrong path. You might also be too averse to the idea of heeding someone else’s direction. We humans are great self deceivers. And sometimes it’s just as hard to admit things to ourselves as it is to own up to them before others.

Pathological Denial

Unfortunately, we can deceive ourselves so earnestly and so often that we begin to believe our lies. This really gets in the way acquiring any motivation to change things. And it probably represents the biggest single impediment to character growth. Much character pathology comes from believing our own fictions. I’ll be talking more about this in next week’s post. And I’ll be providing an illustrative example of how denial – in any form – obstructs character growth.


The workshop schedule for 2018 will post in about 3-4 weeks. The first venues will be in the Philadelphia area and in Dallas.

Character Matters will feature a rebroadcast of an earlier program this Sunday. So, no phone calls can be taken.




76 thoughts on “How Denial Obstructs Character Growth

  1. Very interesting topic, we can deceive ourselves so earnestly we begin to believe our own lies. Maybe the X really did believe his lies, or some of them. Funny though how his lies would only benefit him, no one else.

  2. This is exactly and precisely “The Doctrine of the Many I’s” GI Gurdjeiff speaks about.
    We all lie to ourselves and it is about catching ourselves in the act of self delusion that is paramount to our becoming whole and healed.

    If we deny all wrong doing and blame how we feel on outside circumstances and others then all we are doing is creating a story to support a false belief we have about ourselves. Who knows what motivates anybody else – WE ARE NOT THEM.

    It is self defeating and we end up pushing people away and destroying our own soul in the process. Comes a time when we have to stop judging others and just allow others to be who they are without judgement – if we don’t like them then we don’t have to be around them. If you don’t like something – leave. It’s pretty simple.

    It’s time we stopped blaming external events for all the woes in life and start looking at ourselves to see how we contributed to the actual circumstance that brought us into pain and misery in the first place. Because at the end of the day, despite the “stories” we allowed it and helped contribute to it.

    Again this does not apply to abused kids they had NO CHOICE – all of us who have become involved in CD have had that choice. To stay or to walk away. And no matter how many fancy stories we invent about why we stayed – WE STAYED.

    So whose fault is that?

    When we take full responsibility for what we allow or bring into our own lives is when we will take an empowered stance in life. Not before.

  3. Eudoxia

    We are not responsible for the CD, when and if we bring them into our lives. The CD forms a relationship with the rest of humanity; in the same way that a cat has with a mouse. Or a hourse has with a leech. We are ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR OURSELVES. What others do to us is out of our control. The CD is CONTROLLING, MANIPULATIVE and above all DECEITFUL.

    1) Isolating you from friends and family.

    2) Chronic criticism—even if it’s ‘small’ things.

    3) Veiled or overt threats, against you or them.

    4) Making acceptance/caring/attraction conditional.

    5) An overactive scorecard

    6) Using guilt as as a tool

    7) Creating a debt you’re beholden to

    8) Spying, snooping, or requiring constant disclosure

    9) Overactive jealousy, accusations, or paranoia.

    10) Not respecting your need for time alone

    How are we responsible for the above tactic’s. They are going to charm your socks off, the CD is an inteligent parasite

    1. How about when one is raped? Is this a victim or someone that needs to own their part in the rape?

      I believe I have written on this in the past. Why do woman stay in bad relationships instead of leaving. There are many complex reasons and factors that are part of these relationships and need to be considered. Many in society who have never experienced or lived in one these relationships are quick to come up with their perceived fix for this problem.

      There is no right or wrong, it goes by an individuals conditions, finances, upbringing, socioeconomic circumstances, support systems, housing, education and the list goes one.

      The last thing for a these people and yes they are victims is to have someone point a finger at them and ask them to own what they did wrong. These people need understanding and compassion, many of these people who are victimized did nothing wrong. I am not their judge and jury, I have not walked in their shoes., be it from me to point a finger when three are directed back at me.

      Rather, I would extend a hand of understanding and love. Many are in such a state they cannot handle rejection, least of all the question of what part they played in the abusive relationship. What can I do to help my fellowman to help themselves. is a question I ask myself. Most of all people victims need validation, love, understanding, acceptance and support.

      I have learned there is a time and place for everything, one persons path to find healing may not be anothers path, the modality of choice used to heal is also a individual choice, the time it takes one person to heal is different with each person. The choice to leave or not leave is also a individual choice which needs to be respected.

      We are all different, unique individuals with wants, needs desires and beliefs. More than anything a person has the right to choose what they feel will be beneficial to them, be it right or wrong at the time. I respect ones rights to to make their own decisions. I may explain why I feel it is counterproductive, and the reasons why, but in the end it is a choice only that person can make and I respect that choice.

      I respect ones right to disagree with me as much as I hope the other will respect my right to disagree. Many learn from trial and error, we can use it to become stronger, wiser and understanding of life and others. We are all unique and that is what makes all of us beautiful..

      1. BTOV

        When people are fresh out of abusive relationships of course they need compassion and understanding – it goes without saying and we have all been there before.

        I have had this now twice in my life where I have had to take a big step back and ask myself how did I allow this to happen?

        At the end of the day it amounts to false beliefs we have created about ourselves in childhood. These false beliefs play a big part in relationships we form later in life with others.

        I am not pointing fingers at anybody. I am saying we are fully responsible for the quality of our own experiences and what we will tolerate or not and if we don’t like what we are manifesting in life then there is only one way to change it. “As within, so without”………………

        We can’t change something while we are in it. By the time that has been created we are dealing with the past. As it has already been set in motion what has been created can’t be uncreated on the spot.

        Some who have been in serious relationships and have had their entire lives destroyed by narcs have come out thriving post abuse. Where other’s stay in the abuse post abuse and can’t manage to break free of their own mental prisons. Some people have attachments to trauma.

        People can stay addicted to “the story”. Most of “the story” is inaccurate – it’s our minds attempting to interpret our emotions nothing more. When we shift out of “the story” we can heal.

        I’ve mentioned before the 4 core programs people have – they are: victimhood, unworthiness, loss and disempowerment with their various subsidiaries sub scripts of you like. It are these false beliefs we have about ourselves that need clearing. That’s how we fix the outside by fixing the inside – “As within, so without”

        “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears”
        …………………….Marcus Aurelius

      2. BTOV, Why do we stay, why don’t we question? For me, I believe it was because I was taught as a child not to question, to be grateful for whatever positive attention I received from my father, so the CD love facade felt normal. WDYT?

    2. Joey,

      Off topic, hoping to catch you. How are you doing? I am glad you pop in once in a while. I have to tell you I have sent that poem out to several people and they loved it. Someone told me this person must know you well as they pegged you perfect. I hope one day I can own those.

      Just want to let you know how much pleasure and joy you bring to so many with your loving words of wisdom. We love poetry for the fact it expresses thoughts we posses but can’t quite put them into words, however, the poet does it for us.

      Thank you, you have touched many, more than you realize.

      Hugs and many blessings Kindred Spirit

    3. Joey

      We are not responsible for another’s behavior. We have no control over others or how other people behave. The only control we have is over ourselves, we are responsible for ourselves and ourselves alone. It is up to us as to what we are prepared to tolerate or not.

      You had no choice as your mother and grandmother were both that way but when you woke up to it you said enough is enough and you walked. So did I in my circumstances.

      The points being made are about self deception not narcs deceiving us. How many times has anybody who has been involved with a narc lied to themselves about the other person and for how long? That’s the ultimate question – it’s a pertinent question and can only be answered by each individual.

      1. Joey/Eudoxia,

        Someone with BPD, certainly can go very far to the wrong side, so to speak, if though, that they have the ability to have a spiritual awakening, have compassion for others, for themselves, and to make amends, I do think that the process is reversible.

        Narcissistic maybe, but if you’re able to see what you’re doing, get help, and be able to halt the process, this is when I do believe that a 12 step recovery program, can change your life.

        I have BPD, yes-however, I realized that I was becoming just like my mother, the person she wants to see more of. Herself.

        When someone else convinces you that you’re crazy, and the storm is brewing in the wrong direction, sometimes, you can see that there is enough good in yourself to make a change.

        What I learned from my NPD/BPD mother was how to be a very selfish person, behave like the center of the universe, though when I see the pattern in myself, and have made a conscious decision to make the rest of my life an amends, whatever that may be-my life from this point forward has to be about other people. In every way possible.

        The best gift of a 12 step program is that no matter how far down the scale you have gone (pretty far), you can see how your experience can benefit others. And an amends, is also a commitment to not continue the same path, to change and grow. I do grasp the spiritual thing, I have the capacity to be honest. And be committed to my amends as to make the obligation to stop behaving in the same type of path that I learned.

        This is the gift I have in my father’s genetics. Mental illness is usually a 50/50 contribution, in this case, I belive that with an NPD/BPD parent that hers is probably more like a 80% contribution.

        My inheritance would allow me to make a financial amends to a fair degree. But I also cannot accept the current stipulation-that my brother manage it due to my “mental problems.” She will have to keep that money-if I take a loan out, or whatever is going to be the case, I guess that it’s the fact that I can see my own actions were wrong, and stop the process-pay whatever “penalty” lies in store. And to accept it.

        To be able to know that I can unlearn every bad habit she taught me.

        I’m sorry for the sorrow your mother caused you-and I wish you the very best in your journey to healing.

        Because of my NPD/BPD mother, I grew up and for 40+ years believed her (as it began when I was at minimum, 8 or 10, that my father did not want me, did not love me, nor did he want to take care of me. Due to that, she had me all to herself (a dream come true?), and that didn’t turn out so well.

        Did I belive her lies about my father to me, yes-for many years. Then when I did the steps, I realized that it was the opposite was true. Change can happen-not for a narc, no-not at the age of 75.

        My father isn’t perfect, but he has made his amends to me, a continuing process-and thank God I have his genetics.

        With a narc bully at home, or 30-90 of them at school, what you wind up doing to yourself is usually worse. Guilt maybe, but when you can recognize that as a maladaptive pattern, the ability to change is always there.
        But when I made amends to my father, that was one step. The rest of my amends prove that I also don’t have to turn our like your mother-I can’t do that to anyone at this point. Nuff, I guess.

        And Emotions Anonymous program.

        God bless.

        1. JC

          With your BPD – are you referring to Bi Polar or Borderline? There are two types of BPD Classic an Quiet. The classic is more BPD/NPD comorbidity.

          I believe the quite BPD are the ones who wish to heal themselves knowing deep down there is something going on with them and they engage in behaviors they would rather correct than continue not so for the classic BPD.

          I also believe it’s the quiet BPD that Dr Bessel Van der Kolk has been attempting to try to alter to Developmental Trauma Disorder unsuccessfully. I wish him ever future success here.

          You have come a long way JC and you are very strong willed and determined and above all you are open to share your truth. That’s the difference between remaining a trauma case or evolving beyond it. It’s the point of self work recognising maladaptive patterns in us and correcting them.

          Being involved with narcs until we wake up to what we are dealing with tend to invite us out of integrity behavior wise by pressing all our buttons. It’s very difficult to keep a “cool head” around them when they are dishing out projection identification . But it can be done.

          This is why I am doing what I am doing – stitching up all the gaps in me that can be used by NPD individuals can use/sense to hook into me. Not going to happen.

          We have to assume total responsibility for ourselves in order to evolve ourselves out of the disempowered states we end up in once we’ve liberated ourselves from their lives. It is not easy but it is not difficult – the only difficulty is self generated.

          Our ego will want to defend it’s victimized position and goes into opposition with our core self. This then becomes the internal battle between the black and the white wolf. Which one wins is determined by which one we feed.

          You are doing great JC keep doing it – high five to you!

          1. Eudoxia,

            I have a quite borderline personality. So basically, what I tend to do to myself as I mentioned, is worse.

            But the difference is that I run from drama and conflict-so it’s more of a CPTSD-and I have been reading Van der Kolk. And have found his books helpful.

            Any medication seems to change me and not for the better-I mean the mental health meds. I prefer my oils and my herbals. I recently found a lot of relief from anxiety from plant based stuff. It’s gentler on the system. Doesn’t produce false positive drug tests, etc-for an NPD to capitalize on.

            And since I said, “No, not punishing myself for your shortcomings,” my life has gotten a lot better. Long road ahead, but nothting that with support of friends and family, my father, and the spiritual solution, I know it can get better-and that there is always hope.

            People have observed that I can be very compassionate towards others-I have really been showing myself none.

            But when this is a time of change, etc, the anxiety goes only up in times of uncertainty.

            No question can someone with BPD go very much to the “bad side” (everone has one). But I think of the Cluster C’s, that if you have the capacity to recover, the right things on your side, that there is always hope.

            You have to not be in denial at 75. And no way like my mother, do I realize now more than ever that my actions directly affect others-and stuff I had on my resentments list, I have let those go-no right to be upset.

            But I found that I have gotten some good coping skills. The spiritual side, my capacity for love and compassion-that is how I am different from my mother-or anyone else in the other Cluster C.

            Typical NPD/BPD mother, my mother basically since she is in love with herself, raised a child to be just like her.

            Thank God for my father’s genetics. And the 12 step program.

          2. Euxodia,

            When BPD is an inability to self-soothe, it is the maternal child bonding that teaches you how to do that, and someone with NPD isn’t going to be able to bond with their child. They can’t (Dr. Simon, please feel free to put your two cents in).


            When the mother walks away from the baby or turns her back, the child does anything and everything to get her attention and draw her back to the baby. If the mother returns, the child continues to interact. If the mother does not return, the baby becomes withdrawn, irritable, throws toys on the floor, etc.

            Then combine this with the mother pawning this child off on family friends, and that child’s friends families.

            How would anyone be able to self-soothe?

          3. JC

            Thanks for that – mirroring is important and can critically impair emotional development. Great short vid btw.

            I saw another one once where it showed the mother who was being guided by a psychologist doing two different things. Giving her baby lots of attention, smiles and facial expression. Then not using a flat unemotional stare.

            Needless to say the baby when when the mother was flat and unemotional became clearly distressed – it was very obvious. Children who were emotionally neglected in life let alone abused are going to have developmental disorders of some description.

            The fact you have acknowledged it and are doing something about it is the healthiest approach you can take and that seems to be the case with a lot of the quiet BPD. I have a few of them floating about on the periphery as well. One of them is my friend’s daughter who is also undergoing therapy and has expressed a need to heal and take responsibility for herself.

            I think JC when you mentioned Cluster C – it’s Cluster B that have the NPD, BPD, HPD and APD personality disorders. I am going by the DSM 4TR not 5 so unless they’ve changed it and they probably have I can’t say.

            I don’t believe quiet BPD should be on Cluster B at all while I do believe the classic BPD Mommy Dearest types most definitely should be. And no at 75 they are not going to change.

            It comes down to this JC we have to be the change we want to see :-

          4. Jc,

            It seems we run out of reply buttons here. I think you are doing a great job doing positive work to heal yourself. 12 STEP groups are great and hopefully you can find a good sponsor, this will be key to a faster recovery.

            “Popular 12-step programs all start with the first step. That involves correctly identifying and accepting (“admitting”) the true nature of one’s problem. (It also involves humbly admitting powerlessness over it.) Before you can effectively tackle any issue, you have to know clearly and accept what it is. And you have to admit you haven’t been dealing with it very well. Denying only gets in the way of that honest self-reckoning. And it keeps you from taking that all-important first step toward character growth.”

            In all this you have done a great job. Self discovery and acceptance can actually be a rewarding and joyful journey. I agree with you on the medications and am glad you are proactive in finding alternative solutions. I have done the same in the area of using herbal remedies to treat myself too. I t has been extremely selective in what I used and it has proved beneficial.

            The special gift of life we have been given is we are all unique and wonderfully made by our creator. We may have genes inherited from our parents, however, we are not them. We are ourselves, and have the right to choose to live the way we decide and have the right to rid ourselves of the negative lies we have been told about ourselves. I think you are doing an excellent job. To break the ties from the destructive parents we love can be a painful process. I believe we can use this pain and turn it into strength and use if for good to benefit all.

            One can take all the negativity to add to our life experiences to not only help ourselves but others. I also, think JC as you heal and vomit up all the negative toxins and lies you will become more authentic in who you really are. You may find in fact you aren’t BPD at all, it was a manifestation due to all the trauma you endued without a support system.

            JC, you are on the right path and 12 Step Programs are great, keep up the tough work, always being honest and taking responsibility. Not an easy job by any mean. I hope in time you can make peace with your past trauma and peacefully let go of the mother. You are you, distinct and separate from her, its your life and its your right to live it. CD individuals use Fear, Obligation and Guilt (FOG) to try to control us. Please remember this word and apply it when you feel those old tapes playing.

            I attended Alanon for 3 years and am grateful for all I learned. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a 12 Step Program to anyone, in fact I think the program structure would benefit everyone.

            I think when you can come to terms with the mother, you will find peace in setting her free from your life. I think you did a great job in the last interaction. Keep going forward and don’t let anyone take that from you.

            I hope your knee heals and you are free of pain. Knees are tough to deal with. I think Dr. JC you have the knowledge to treat yourself.

            Never lose the faith and know you are accepted with open arms here as another Kindred Spirit. Keep fighting the good fight.

            Big Hugs

    4. Intelligent parasite – I like that! Or like bad bacteria that keeps adapting to the environment in order to survive!

  4. “It’s time we stopped blaming external events for all the woes in life and start looking at ourselves to see how we contributed to the actual circumstance that brought us into pain and misery in the first place. Because at the end of the day, despite the “stories” we allowed it and helped contribute to it.”

    “If you don’t like something – leave. It’s pretty simple.”

    These are huge generalizations Eudoxia. Then again and with all due respect you seem to have all the answers, just not the ones I’m looking for.


    For what it’s worth I completely relate to your comment.

    1. And with all due respect to you to SYdNeY when I was referring to we – I was referring to people in general – all of us. So yes it was a generalization.

      People tend to go in one of two ways – they either become conscious co-creators of life or victims of circumstance. That’s simply a choice every single one of us has and I’ve made mine and it’s not the latter.

      “One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.”
      ― Nelson Mandela

  5. SYdNeY

    I copied this from the link below

    In other compartments, CD’s can maintain a “rolling” set of short term and long term individuals, some of whom eventually reject them, while new people do not know the person well enough to come to a conclusion. In this “rolling” way, there are always plenty of people who are being worked on until the controlling and self serving behaviour becomes intolerable.

    1. Joey that is a great link, sent some shivers up my spine. It’s like the Cole’s notes of narcissistic behavior. “Rolling” is a perfect term because yes there are always plenty of people who are being worked on.

      And this:

      Narcissists who control spouses, close friends, or children can fake just enough of being “good” that affection is held. In cases of essential others, such as colleagues, superiors, the public, or those who do not know them well, the narcissist may hide or control their worst behaviors, playing the role of a great person. Yes, yes, yes!!

      There are just SO many of THEM!

    2. Joey,

      I just read this link and it is great. I have met many people like this, what is interesting is is underneath these people have a gnawing, inkling of knowing they are maladjusted. Many are always searching for an answer when it is right in front of them. What is so sad it is like beating ones head against a wall hoping they will see the light. I pray one day they do. I still pray for those in my family, I guess I will never stop hoping. It seems I always glimpse the good things about them and I hold that memory captive.

      I didn’t post for awhile, a dear friend died and we werent sure of whent the memorial would take place. Then another dear person lost their beloved granddaughter. I met her once at a family function I was invited to, what beautiful woman. She was just starting med school, so kind, giving, loving and full of life, hope and dreams to make this a better world.

      She struggled with cancer for 3 years before passing. This granddaughter was the apple of my friends eye. To make matters worse my friend almost lost his daughter in a fatal car crash that left her dealing with chronic pain and the death of her beloved husband. So you see, untold sadness an loss, this is only part of it.

      I am writing to both my friend and his daughter, as I know her too. I am at somewhat of a loss for words. I am at a loss right now, I feel their pain. I know, regardless of how sensitive all this is, when someone loses someone it is extremely appreciated when someone takes the time and effort to physically write their condolences. I know this from having been in both positions. If any of you have any thoughts I would truly appreciate.

      Sincerely appreciate your thoughts.

      1. BTOV

        Losing children is tragic and I too have seen parents going through this it’s heart breaking and a lot of them never recover because they can’t resolve the grief.

        I would suggest you speak to them straight from your heart – it will be greatly appreciated. Try not to take on someone else’s pain – this of course is easier said than done.

        Sending you a big hug………………………

      2. BTOV

        God our Father,
        we thank you that you have made each of us
        in your own image,
        and given us gifts and talents with which to serve you.
        We thank you for [Name],
        the years we shared with her,
        the good we saw in her,
        the love we received from her.
        Now give us strength and courage
        to leave her in your care,
        confident in your promise of eternal life
        through Jesus Christ our Lord.

        1. Joey,

          Your posts nailed it. I am glad you are doing so well Little Brother. The world is a better place when we know we have touched another. You have touched my heart. I was feeling rather down and alone this morning. You brought a smile to my face a reason to make this a wonderful day.

          From the mouth of babes. I can say this since I am the elder, I admit many times you by far are the elder. Thank you for your words of encourage and the words to share with my friend.

          Life and love for another is not about always being right and getting in the last word. Its about knowing when to lift another up when they are down, not with cheap words but truly caring about another. Its not about I’m right your wrong, its the offer of help, concern, reaching out and showing love for one another and respecting the others voice.

          I hear someone, stepping softly,
          ever so gently,
          I see them picking the other up,
          leading with kindness and humility.

          As I look up, I see a gentle hand,
          of a very strong man,
          strength of character is his badge
          he has carried many on his broad back.

          His gentleness never waivers and then again,
          He reaches out to raise up another from a place of sorrow,
          He is tired tired and worn, wearing his badge of character
          With his back of steel he stops, he still picks up another.

          This gentle giant is holding now my hand
          brushing the tears from my tired eyes
          as I look up I know I will survive,
          I see now I am in the gentle hands of my little brother,

          I know now I will be alright.
          I should had known, there is no other like him.
          God hears the voices of his children crying
          He knows our needs and sends soft, gentle feet.


        2. Joey,

          All I want to do is put my arms around my friend and cry. I know I must be strong and am looking for just the right words instead of weeping and being emotional at their loss. I need to approach from a loving, emotional and spiritual position of strength so they can absorb my strength. My friends are deep Christian believers and truly live the life of Christ.

          From the bottom of my heart, Thank you, Thank you, these words fit like a glove, the perfect words I have been searching for.

          I appreciate your helping me with this. I can’t thank you enough for these loving words that say everything. I don’t know whether to give or write this to my friend the Grandfather or to his daughter the Mother. I will pray about this, God always hears his children’s prayers. I have written may times for others and at this time a loss for words or am afraid of saying the wrong things.

          God bless you Joey, you have such a loving, kind, thoughtful heart.


          1. BTOV, I just now read this. I work full time and so theres not much time. I am glad to find out they are believers, that can make all the difference. As Psalm 34:18 states “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in Spirit”. They have Gods help and His grace to see them through. Of course we know its still so painful, still there is that “friend that’s sticks closer than a brother”. Just being there means so much, just your letter or your presence is comforting to those who are grieving. To know others care means so much.

          2. Kat,

            Truly, when use all our experiences for the good of mankind we will grow. Actually, we get a far superior education from hands on experiences we have gone through. This is where the term “Let Go and Let God” is so important. We follow in the footsteps of Christ and we will be blessed.

            Kat there are many here who have their own beliefs and I respect that, many have valid points that have opened my eyes to many things I was not aware of and I am grateful for this. So many of the posters here have and share continually important and positive input which is extremely beneficial to our healing. It is our individual choice to choose what will work for us.

            Kat, if I may ask, are you located in the states? I am, so is LisaO, JC and Lucy. Eudox is in Austrailia, Joey and AndyD are in England, I think Jean is too. Please correct me if I am wrong. Also, if I may ask , how old are you and your children. I ask only as it lets us know you better. It seems you are becoming one of the regular posters and we welcome you, SYdney and JC too.

            We are all unique, quirks and all. I think everyone here is special and adds that special touch. Have a wonderful day, Kat. Just know you have a place where you are accepted for you, we are all honored to share your journey. We learn so much from each other.

            A special thanks to all, your all amazing and many blessing.

          3. BTOV, I am in the states. Gee, I hate disclosing my age, maybe I don’t want to face up to it. Let me just say I am over 55 and my two children, a son and a daughter are both in their later thirties now. My “earth suit” is showing many signs of wear, but our spirits I believe are not subject to time. I am divorced and have not remarried. Heres something unusual, I am from a family of 10 kids, 5 girls, 5 boys. Its interesting because only 5 of us had kids, and 5 of us are not married presently. I am happy to be here, I am learning a lot and really enjoy the positive “vibe” here. Posters here express their opinions but there is not the constant bickering and fighting like so many blogs now. Thanks for asking, I learn a lot from you, you have turned the bad situations in your life into growth and that takes a lot of work. I am a late bloomer but better late than never.

      3. BTOV

        I have yet to find words to the loved ones of the deceased. Anymore I give a hug and say I’m sorry. I acknowledge that it’s tough. I don’t go with the time heals . . . etc. It does, but those words never did me any good while suffering the loss of my parents.
        Just you being there, being present in their bad time is what matters.

    3. Joey,

      I am seeing this right now. The local CD here has a new supply source. She has also changed persona – she’s gone from the Suicide Squad look to the butch dyke look because one of her sources is a lesbian. Assuming that’s the reason for the change in appearance to the total opposite of the former.

      It will be interesting to see how long before the new supply chain disappears – I believe one already has. It doesn’t take long that’s for sure. It’s interesting observing this from the periphery – and of course the primary source of supply has not long broken up from a 17 year relationship with a narc.

      They love wounded souls.

      1. A CDN dream-give it oxygen and money, right?

        I have heard here, that there is a lot of benefit, and I have seen this from the benefits in my own life, of the 12 Step Recovery process. BPD, etc, I do not think that you can go wrong-a 12 step approach will put the brakes on anything, so long as the person has the ability to be honest.

        I like the Emotions Anonymous program. I think if there were meetings in my area, then I would be a regular there, I think it’s helped me more than anything else, as I now have gone to plant based to treat any depression or anxiety-and I do feel better.

        And I now know that not only is the 12 Step approach a good way of living, but that if I had done it a long time ago, then things would have turned out differently.

        My CDN mother, at least she has religion, that is a good thing really-it will give her a leg up when she goes to meet the Lord. That I can take comfort in. She can’t get the spiritual aspect of any of this. But God takes into account what made her the way she is-her own father. I think when she had me, it was a trigger she could not cope with. She can’t bond, because it was never safe to do so.

        It is not how I am like her, it is how I am different-what I have that is different, is the capacity for change, the compassion that I got from my father-and bad as it sounds, from the family friends, and nurses, she pawned me off on-really it’s a good thing.

        And I am 43-not 75. Thankfully.

        I think also to note, the DSM 5, seems to have more than a few issues, I prefer the DSMIV-TR myself, for definitions. Basically, though as only a reference, as I see it can also serve as a billing/coding list.

        1. JC

          “I think also to note, the DSM 5, seems to have more than a few issues”

          I’d day all of them do and that’s pretty obvious and with many in the psychiatric and medical professions as well. Far from a consensus but quite a few are voicing more than adequate concerns.

          I use the DSM4 TR myself for clarification on Cluster B – but that’s pretty well it. As far as I am concerned I’d say Cluster B cause just about everything else in there………………………….and I sincerely mean that.

          1. In saying that JC – quiet BPD or rather Developmental Trauma Disorder – DTD should not be in Cluster B, that’s my feeling anyway.

  6. Eudoxia,

    I found two things that apply to myself-maybe not all of it, but the first are characteristics of a daughter of a narcissistic mother.

    It is called the Still Face experiment-I have described my mother as not really emotionally unavailable, but emotionally vacant.

    When what happened from very early on, was “I love you, I won’t abandon you-your father did not want you-he had a vasectomy 10 days after you were born….See this written proof, he doesn’t want to take care of you…” And waves said proof in my face at 14. So I spent 40+ years believing her, because this was what she did from the very start. I believed her, because why would my mother lie to me about that, right?

    Yeah, then she had me all to herself. It didn’t turn out well. Well, not 100%, I decided that one way or another, I unlearn this.

  7. I can only speak for myself, but in my FOO, my father was not a narc but was alcoholic and abusive and detached. I was trying to find the link between my father and the NARC Ex because the personalities seemed so different. I think I found it in that my father was not capable of intimacy, and as a NARC, either was my EX. Of course I didn’t come to this realization for a long time. The thing is, how to heal and break the cycle. I was in denial with the EX for a long time, I think your mind really can play tricks on you and you don’t even realize it. I know I didn’t, not for a long time I didn’t, denial is like that. When I “woke up” and faced what I know I needed to do, basically because there was no choice left unless I wanted to go down with the ship with my two children, I made plans to get out.

  8. Kat,

    What woke you up?

    I read something on a blog, and I can’t remember which the name of it right now — she said, in referring to a toxic relationship, “Believe that he/she’s bad.” Just believe it. We tend to deny, make excuses, try to reason it, think and think and think on it, going into past events, blah blah blah! Just BELIEVE THAT HE/SHE IS BAD! That was my wake up. Just believe he’s bad. And he is. And I believe(d) it .

    1. Lucy, thanks for asking. We were having our lives threatened by people I didn’t even know. Apparently he was ripping off drug dealers and telling them I was holding the drug money. He wasn’t even living with us at the time, we were just in the area. I had one guy tell me he was just going to start shooting thru the windows, even after I told him I had absolutely no knowledge about it and he wasn’t even living with us. So, I had to leave the area, I packed stuff in my car with the kids and left shortly after that. I didn’t even drink alcohol but he had become an addict. I didn’t sort things out until later, I think I had PTSD, I think its called from living with him. It took a long time to recover and sort things out.

      1. Kat,

        I missed this post, it must had come in while I was typing. I am sorry you had to go through this. Lucy is right, we need to keep in our minds the are BAD. We can always pray for their souls.

        I credit you for having the strength and courage to leave not easy when your being hunted down. You are deemed guilty by association and many will reject you for your bad choice. I am sorry people act like this instead of giving understanding and helping to lift one up.

        I am sure you have PTSD, we can get it under control, however it never leaves us. Its an imprint like having your back broken and having to heal. There is always a residual. We can turn it into a blessing, it gives us the ability to understand and empathize with others who have experienced the same pain. You see, the PTSD can be a sentence or a gift, it all depends on us.

        It sounds like you are on a good path Kat, I am glad you found your way to Dr. Simons blog. Be well and keep up with the good fight. Paul said, he accepted grace as a reward for his affliction. I think it is good enough for me to.

    2. Kat,

      Not sure what FOO is? I know the CDN use Fear, Obligation and Guilt (FOG) to manipulate us. When we truly love someone, things that we normally would not agree with are masked with a false idealism of the loved one. We see them as we want to see them, our inner consciousness deludes us and protects with false thoughts. We don’t really want to see the truth although we know in our hearts something is wrong

      When we look at ourselves and that loved, we need to step out of our comfort zone, step outside of ourselves as if we were looking at different people and objectively appraise the relationship. When we are able to do this we see all the flaws and hypocrisy of that relationship.

      When we see the truth we can chose to act on it. Yes, we must change our belief system and incorporate the truth. We come to the realization we were hoodwinked and in ways gullible and culpable in believing a lie. Yes, the mask is off, we see the truth, we see who he/she really is.

      The choice is our to Deny the truth or Believe the truth…. We mustn’t beat ourselves up for having been deceived. We must become stronger in knowing truth, living truth and growing in truth. I believe that is what this blog is all about. We are learning to see those false beliefs and replace those faulty belief systems by growing in character.

      Dr. Simon has been teaching us all along about the principles of strong character and what it does for one. I believe having strong character will counter any further CD persons from entering my life. I set standards of principles I must follow and what I expect in another. When I falter from using these principles is when I stumble.

      Kat, for me it is living in and trying to follow in the the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Prayer and the teachings of Christ are what has set me free, keeps me humble and most of all gives me the strength to go forward. This is my personal truth, I may not agree with anothers truth, however, I respect the others truth. In this world, many times, and I am guilty of it, forget to remember, We are all brothers and sisters.

      1. BTOV, thank you. FOO is family of origin. For a long while I did beat myself up, I thought if I was that stupid not to see thru him I must be mentally deficient. It was all the FOO issues that created blind spots. When I moved back in the area of my FOO, that was difficult as well because of the family dynamics. I decided not to be around certain members of my family and only to keep in contact with those who are understanding and supportive. Only someone who felt very badly about themselves would have stayed in that situation and I finally could do it no more for my childrens sake, but I still have much to work on. It is God who has given me so much, without His presence I don’t know where I would be.

        1. Kat,

          You are very welcomed, Kat. When the FOO is so dysfunctional the dysfunction becomes the norm. We know nothing else. Same as society, norms change here, what was frowned upon yesterday is the norm today and vs a vs. Don’t get caught up in the world, the world is lie. Don’t blame yourself, these are consequence we aren’t responsible for. We do become responsible when we begin to know the difference. Then we can search for answers. The Truth sets us Free.

          Having the resources of the internet at our disposal makes all the difference too, if used in the right way. It wasn’t until the 1980’s I believe anyone even acknowledged narcissism and it was accepted a s mental illness?. So much is out there and discussed today. There was a period I searched the medical libraries for information on things that bothered me. There was very little out there. I have several books written 40 years back but nothing covered the indepth information there is today at our disposal.

          Also, many in society condemn the woman/man ( most men hide from being ostracized) for the abusive relationship. Many times we are thrown to the side as trash and guilty for having caused it or should had known better. What does society expect, when one lives and is born in poverty, ridden with drugs and crime. We don’t have jobs for these people, any supportive structure, except contempt for the low life’s, many think these victims are.

          We as a society, a community have an obligation to reach out and help. This is called Compassion, Empathy, Love our Neighbor as Ourself, something that is lacking today, even in many, so called Christian communities and churches. People’s lives are changed, transformed from just omeone caring enough to reach out and offer another a chance. It only takes one person to care to make a difference for many.

          Kat, it sounds like you have hold of the prize in your sights, never take your eyes off of it. The world will lie, cheat and steal, anything to take your prize, protect it with your life and teach your children to do so to.

          I would suggest you go back into the archives and read Dr. Simons Topics on building Character. Grasping onto what Dr. is teaching will reinforce you faith. Listen to Dr.. He knows and cares…………….

          There are many ways touted out there, many are good, I have been here for a long time and this blog, Dr.s writings, You tubes and most of all Dr.s book, IN Sheep’s Clothing made a big difference in my life. Dr. Simon is constant and well respected for his work throughout the world. Read, read and keep reading, also post and take all the good you can that works for you in your life from this blog and the people who post here.

          Hugs and you are Blessed

          1. Kat,

            I believe you will find many good links posted regarding Life Coaches and such. Many are remarkable and will also be of a benefit to you .
            These coaches will inspire you in your walk.

            I think our AndyD relies on In Sheeps Clothing. In all is simplicity everything is truly in that one book.

          2. Some of my family members were like that, making fun of me and disrespecting me because of what happened. Saying it could never happen to them, they would never be fooled like that. Because of their disrespectful demeanor towards me I just didn’t go around them. There was no point confronting them I felt, they wouldn’t have been convinced of whatever I said anyways, they had written me off. That hurt, but the main thing is how we feel about ourselves which is what I am working on. I have been reading some good books on emotional abuse and depression. I am building a new identity for myself, kind of an image of me and who I am in Christ. Not that pitiful creature I felt I was but someone who takes God at His Word and is “more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus”. Hugs back to you BTOV, your words are healing.

  9. The Character Of A Happy Life

    Poem by Sir Henry Wotton

    How happy is he born or taught,
    That serveth not another’s will;
    Whose armour is his honest thought,
    And simple truth his highest skill;

    Whose passions not his masters are;
    Whose soul is still prepar’d for death
    Untied unto the world with care
    Of princes’ grace or vulgar breath;

    Who envies none whom chance doth raise,
    Or vice; who never understood
    The deepest wounds are given by praise,
    By rule of state, but not of good;

    Who hath his life from rumours freed;
    Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
    Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
    Nor ruins make accusers great;

    Who God doth late and early pray,
    More of his grace than goods to send,
    And entertains the harmless day
    With a well-chosen book or friend.

    This man is free from servile bands
    Of hope to rise or fear to fall;
    Lord of himself, though not of lands;
    And having nothing, yet hath all.

    1. “Whose armour is his honest thought,
      And simple truth his highest skill;”
      from the poem posted by Joey.
      Honesty and truth is the light at the end of the tunnel.

      1. Kat,

        If we all lived by honesty and truth, there wouldn’t be a need for the tunnel.

        I do get it. In a sinful world, precious words.

        1. Kat,

          No reply button. So what makes you think your so special. Didn’t you realize most of us are old bats, sometimes we can get pretty fiesta too . Ha Ha, couldn’t help myself, no offense. I hope Andy and Joey are smiling, I sure know they both aren’t going to comment, “not touching this one.”

          Smiles and Giggles, great medicine…..

          1. Kat and BTOV

            Yes, I’m in the old bat category as well. I’ll never remarry. I do not believe in marriage anymore, not for me again, ever.
            And feisty, oh yeah. Big time. Not so much now that some of the anger is gone and am no longer being badgered by the CD in court, but yeah, there is still a fire burning inside me.
            And I’ll stick with the honesty and truth, let the CDs live their ugly lives out with the lies.
            And come to think of it, I’m beginning to believe that honesty and truth are solidly ingrained into a person. If you’re an honest person you stay that way, through all the obstacles, but it just feels wrong to lie. And that is what separates them from us.

          2. BTOV and Lucy, for what its worth, you both are not old bats to me, always learning and growing makes us young at heart. I don’t blame Andy and Joey, they are smart. Its funny, for all the wisdom my pastor has, me and one of my sisters who attends the same church were talking to him, and he said he used to get our names confused but he remembered because he said “one is the pretty one and one the younger one”. My sister said “but I am the older one” – fast comeback but I know my sister would be considered the pretty one. But lol, I thought, way to put your foot in your mouth pastor.

          3. Kat,

            You are right, we are young at heart. OK, then I am a young old bat at heart…….

  10. Kat,

    I applaud you for leaving when you saw fit, that it was time to go. That took courage. You know there are always those people out there who pass judgment on your choices. But they don’t know the whole story. And you left when you saw fit to leave. And were of your wits enough to know who was toxic to you and who you could trust to be around, to help in your healing.
    Be easy on yourself. You did it.
    We’ve all got a future and thank goodness it’s one without the demeaning, demoralizing, pathetic CDNs that were once a huge part of our life.
    Isn’t it glorious to wake up without them?

    1. Kat,

      Joey has an unusual talent for saying the perfect words needed just at the right time. Those thoughtful words, are for all of us, but especially for you, Kat, at this time. Don’t ever let anyone pull you down, they have not walked in your shoes.

      Regardless, of what we have gone through, where we have been, where we are at, we own those shoes. I can say I know what you may be feeling to some extent, because I have gone through similar, however, I am not you. How you feel is you, your individual right to own, not for me to judge.

      All shoes are imprinted with the feet of the individual owner. We are all different, feel and express things different, cry and laugh at different things. What may be painful for one may not be painful to the other. Its all an individual choice, what may work for one may not work for another. So in working the principles of this blog we must be mindful of other.

      Sometimes, Kat, I have been rather opinionated and I apologize. I must always keep in mind we are individuals, unique and different. Sometimes I say things in not always the right context and must be careful of that. All I truly want is for healing, we all heal in our own way and own time. There are many helpful suggestions given on this blog, choose what works for you.

      Be happy and try to live life to the fullest in principle and character.
      Hugs Kindred Spirit

      1. BTOV, I have been making note of the links and the other ways in which other people are healing. It is very helpful to read what is posted. I agree that our temperaments are all different and what is hurtful to one may not affect another as negatively. I can tell from what you post that your heart is definitely in the right place and I can take from each person their own unique vision. I really cannot afford counseling so I try to read a lot and get the most of what I can out of books, this site and other links. I think its going to be a life long process but I really hope I can help other people who may be experiencing this kind of emotional pain. Hugs and positive thoughts to you and all.

    2. It sure is Lucy. I don’t know why any of us had to go thru that, but I do believe we can turn it around for the good. That’s what we have to do, we can grow from it and help others.

    I am doing very well, better now than I have EVER done in my Whole life.

    “You will have to live with those memories and make them into something new. Only by acceptance of the past will you alter its meaning.”

    T.S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party

    I think that just about sums it up



    1. Joey, that’s great you are doing so well, what a blessing.
      I like that – you will have to live with those memories and make them into something new.
      My something new is going to be reframing those experiences to see a bigger perspective.

  12. Kat/Lucy

    Just to suggest something. Try and do a new thing every day. It can be ANYTHING YOU LIKE e.g take a diffrent bus home from work or were ever. Go to that coffee shop or bakers. Do what YOU WANT TO. There are no more problems; only life and a world.

    Me, I am chatting to a lady. I have had my eye on for a long time. I look straight into her eye’s as I talk to her and that is it “I TALK TO HER”. I am quite shy by nature. Talking to a stranger, i.e a girl I have never spoken to before is nerve racking. I am in a sense saying “I like You”. If her answer is…….. Then it is HER ANSWER ? “are Well”

    1. I like that suggestion a lot Joey, that gives me hope and actually some excitement, something to look forward to. I am very anxiety prone, and really struggling there. That gives me a concrete action I can take.
      You really know what to look for in a person now, that is something all of us can take away – we can live in a CD free zone, or if we have to be around one at work we pretty much know what to do and not do.

    2. Joey,Kat, Lucy,

      Yes, it is a good idea to try different things, it also breaks up things that get monotonous. I know it helps me keep my attention longer on things I hate to do and helps me to get it done.

      Joey, looking one in the eyes is important, you can read a lot about a person in their eyes. A person once told me, ask a person to stare into your eyes for 3 minutes without say anything, then ask them to tell you what they thought. This will tell you a lot.

      Also, its important to have good eye contact for the reason it shows you are confident. I know at states in my life this was hard do. Now it is a mainstay for me.

      I am so happy for you Joey, you are doing so well. Being shy, my friend has a lot of benefits. I think you are a work in progress, sometimes shyness is humility. I would rather have a kind, quite man than a loud, pushy, forward man. You have good boundaries and have a working a gut now. That gut of mine said, I have had enough for ten lifetimes, now get away.

      Joey, sometimes two shy people don’t say enough and then we can get caught up in assuming. Sometimes its good to plain out ask, even if the answer is not what we want to hear. I know I must have the confidence to accept rejection. Its OK, to be rejected, many times its not rejection, its just being honest with someone and ourselves. The rejection is not personal, only if we let it be. Its all about acceptance of truth.

      Any thoughts from others on this?

  13. Checking in-I am going to be going to treatment, and a local chuch has discussed the idea of helping me with counseling, more than likely, at least, for survivors of narcissistic abuse. I think it will be helpful to also access resources from them to start the process of EMDR until I have had some support-as the rest of my family is either out of state, or pretty divided on the issue of contact with narc mother.

    I will be reading here, for a while, maybe, but probably a couple weeks before I am able to post.

    Cheers folks!!!!!

    1. JC

      Suggest you check out NARP it works along similar principles as EMDR.

      I can tell you right now, it rids us of false programming scripts we all carry since childhood that have allowed us to be narcissistically abused later in life. If you have been raised by narcissists then all the more important to look into it.

      It works and I was not raised by narcs but became a narc magnet – not anymore :-

      Best to you JC and if you ever want to email me feel free I am happy to give you my email address.

      Cheers hon


  14. Eudoxia,

    With the insurance being willing to cover continued IOP (I like the 12 step programs, and there is a center for women locally that will do a sliding scale (and I am off work for now with my knee), and they have someone there who can do EMDR at the recovery center.

    The pastor at my church also agreed to help-sticking it outpatient is preferred so I can remain home-I may need to put off grad school for one term, but I think it’s something they will understand, and maybe I can ask him about the NARP-most of our conversation centered around the issues with my mother that put me into the patterns they did-I probably do also have an attachment disorder, no idea yet, but it isn’t unreasonable-do the two compliment one another (EMDR and NARP)?

    I’ll be interested in more on the applications, if I have the chance to do both, then that will be the current plan.

    Get my ducks in a row so that I can focus better on my studies, will share more another time.

    1. Hi JC

      I have no idea about insurance coverage I’m in OZ this program was developed by an Australian who healed herself using it. There are thousands of us on board and it’s brilliant.

      The whole program is about 220 bux I think all up and you can pay it off $35 per month over 5 months. You have a life long membership and there are 10 modules plus a few more. You have unlimited support the whole time by not only fellow Thrivers but also very brilliant and amazing moderators as the site has a forum that is unlike any other on the planet. It is a total healing container. In other words no narc bashing allowed. The focus is on US and our healing and not about what was done to us.

      I’ve included a link to the program for you to look at also you can view many of Mel’s vids on Utube so you can get a feel for her and the program to see if it resonates with you or not. I’ve been on board for 5 months and I’ve had amazing results – things turn around BIG TIME.

      I can tell you know JC I’ve had CEN – Childhood Emotional Neglect all my life. Not from narc parents but just emotionally unavailable parents and this is what set me up for narc abuse. I’ve almost nailed it! I’ve been searching for this all my life on my spiritual healing journey and this program is right for me. I hope it’s right for you too.

      If it sounds like it might be a fit for you let me know and I’ll get my email to you. People rock up on the program in diabolical states and within weeks they’ve completely turned around. It truly is quite miraculous. I spend quite a bit of my time there these days. It’s simply fabulous :-

      I decided I’d researched enough on narcs to the point of intellectual and emotional exhaustion and I’m just getting my mojo back now …………YAY

      1. Euxodia, just a question, could you comfortably say you are not dependent on that site? The goal of counseling is to make you independent, not to create dependence. I am not trying to be a trouble maker, or facetious, but a lifetime membership?

        1. Kat,

          I can comfortably say I’m neither dependent nor codependent on anyone or anything. It’s a closed forum for members only – no trolls allowed. This program is about self partnering – dependency on anything isn’t what it’s about. You can join in the discussion, start a thread or share experiences what ever happens to be the case.

          It’s a closed forum for a reason, many people with good intentions can inadvertently cause damage to others. The road to hell is paved with good intentions yes?

      2. Insurance, on that, no.

        Sometimes, you pay it yourself.

        I’ve mentioned that I live near Mayo, I’ve also asked help there from them, so waiting and seeing. I was given advice, to try something else, and given a name near me.

        I may have BPD, and Joey is right, but I do believe once anyone, including someone with BPD, once you get over denial (as Dr. Simon is right) , character growth is possible, and a 12 step group, as at least I can show someone compassion and understand the spiritual connection.

        It is how I differ. Which is why I never allow myself to be compared with someone. Or vice versa. This demonstrates the capacity for change.

        1. JC

          I have no idea how any of that works in the US. I know it’s demented over here and I want no part of it.

          You do what is right for you and don’t allow others or authorities to dictate what you need only you know that. Go with what your own inner guidance tells you and you can’t go wrong.

  15. JC

    I have experience attending group sessions along with an intense education seminar with NAMI National Alliance Mental Illness.
    It’s an organization across the US, the meetings are free. You can go on the internet to find one hopefully near you.
    I attended as a parent of mentally ill person and it was a support group with a leader and they provided much-needed guidance tools and resources to contact for further help, if needed.
    They have groups for people with a variety of mental health issues.
    I highly recommend this group for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *