Here's the fourth in this series of unseen video snippets, where I share some bitesize pieces of information on the subject of narcissism. The paperback version of my critically acclaimed book Rethinking Narcissism, with updated material and resources, was just released on July 5th, so if this subject interests you, subscribe below to receive updates!
"I wanted to provide what empowered people like myself, to give them simple tools to find out what they can do in a relationship with someone who is extremely narcissistic. I've integrated the research on couples therapy and relationship change and change in narcissism... to come up with what I call empathy prompts. Empathy prompts are simply a 2 stage process where you affirm the relationship with the person that you are with and then you state your most vulnerable feelings and I'll give you an example but first I have to give you some stop signs. What are the stop signs?"
"With any of the strategies in this book, when you are talking about seeing if there is hope in a relationship you have to be aware of danger. The 3 stop signs I coined in Rethinking Narcissism are first, emotional and physical abuse. It doesn't matter if emotional and physical abuse are caused by alcoholism or gambling addictions or narcissism. If the person is abusing, they are the ones who need to stop the behavior first; that's in their hands. If they are not getting help with that, you need help figuring out how to leave the relationship and how to get the best of what you can. Same with denial, anybody who is in denial of their problems, always in denial, they are not going to change. That means you need to get help figuring out what the next steps are, maybe leaving."
"Psychopathy is a pattern of remorseless lies and manipulation. If you catch them in an affair or you catch them in other deceits without flinching-- they just lie to you--that can be a sign of psychopathy and it's a notoriously bad indicator when it comes to people who are extremely narcissistic. I have very little hope for relationships like that. If you don't see those stop signs you might try empathy prompts. If I was aware of this at the time, I might have tried an empathy prompt with my mother along the lines of, "Mom, I love you, I care about you so much. You are so important to me and I just feel so alone and overwhelmed in this task of taking of care of your move after dad is gone, I just feel completely alone and I so need you to be a part of it."
"That is an empathy prompt. First you are telling the person they are important to you and then you are speaking, really you're hurt from a very vulnerable place. People who are capable of empathy at all melt when they hear empathy prompts and it speaks volumes about them if they don't. This is just one example. I give many strategies in the book. This is how I found my voice. Really my recommendation is if you don't see those stop signs and you're trying to figure this out in your relationship, give it a couple of weeks, 3 weeks and if you see no softening at all, the person can't apologize or they can't say, I'm sorry, I understand that that would hurt you, that's when you move to, again, I need to get help thinking about`what my next steps are. Maybe its leaving."
"Just to cap off, the rethink here is, narcissism is in all of us, it's a pervasive universal human drive, what drives people to become disordered, narcissistic personality disorder--extremely narcissistic-- is that incapacity to depend on others when they feel vulnerable and instead they turn to feeling special like a drug to soothe themselves."