Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Part II: Never Get Involved in Abusive Relationships Again

"Three Messengers" (painted version)
© 2017 by Lise Winne
design dedicated to Lenora Thompson and Five Hundred Pound Peeps

This time, I'm not going to say as much on this topic because I have a great link at the end of this post.

If you read Part I on healing from abuse, you know that one of the first parts of healing has to do with not exposing yourself to your abuser any more, saying no to any more abuse.

I think many survivors feel as if they have lived in a war zone, and after it is all over, they feel as though they are thrown into a cold desert as well. It is not an easy ride, and is quite painful for most of us.

Your abuser has either become physically abusive, or he's discarded you (and discarded you without any support, and even taking away as much support as he possibly can: your mutual relationships, perhaps leaving you financially stranded as well, perhaps trying to take your kids away, or your dignity away with erroneous allegations and smear campaigns).

Abuse makes you feel alone. Everything feels depleted: there is no love (where you thought there was); there is no kindness (where you thought there was); there is no understanding (abusers mostly throw their interpretations in your face); there is no financial net (it seems they want you to become destitute or suffer in that way too). Abuse will make the huge majority of the people on the planet feel depressed (and grieving). And yet ... it is still not the end of the world!

You may feel alone because you either do not feel comfortable around people the abuser knows, or you don't totally trust them, and that is a big problem. These people will not necessarily become your support group either, or show that they care at all. It is a shock when you find that they love your abuser more. They may even invalidate your feelings, and refer to issues you have with your abuser as "your problem." Some people even laugh at you, as though they are at the movies, watching you suffer. This is shocking, but it happens. But even then, it is not the end of the world.

The awful thing is, you get used to it, the betrayal is like a domino effect. The people who really hear you are the people who are left standing by you. That is, believe it or not, a good thing. It is like everyone in your life is put on trial. Will they betray you, or will they stand by you? Will they take sides, or love you both? If they are your family, they are likely to love you both (which will still mean some discomfort, and separation, because abusers are very manipulative and pit people against each other to get the upper hand).

So, the best thing to do when you are alone in a desert bloodied and bruised from a war is to withdraw from people who know you both, at least in the beginning, when your feelings are too raw and tender, and find other survivors. People who are in all stages of recovery become your best support.

In my own personal life, I got to know many of them in Alanon and CODA. I intuitively knew I needed to withdraw from people I shared in common with the abuser, which was very early in the game, during the devaluation stage, not the discard stage. I knew from what my father told me, that I was going to be targeted (because he knew the people better than I did -- I was an innocent, and I believed that the people in question loved me, unconditionally even, and wow, was I wrong!! -- but he knew better, and I intuited that he might know better, thus seeking support).

When you are targeted, there is not much you can do about it. It's not like you can persuade someone against it. The only thing you have are boundaries, what you will and will not put up with.

For me, being a target had probably been set in motion by people in my life from the time I was a toddler (narcissistic evaluations of people never change, even when you are old, they are that rigid).

My instincts proved to be right about finding new people, and spending a lot of time with people not connected to the narcs, because what an amazing community they are! And most everyone can be contacted by telephone when you are going through a rough patch -- but I'll get to that later as it deserves a post all its own. I'm just giving you a heads-up now so that the desert does not look empty.

However, you have to be very careful at this stage.

The last thing you want to do is to get entangled with another narcissist, or sociopath, or psychopath, or batterer. Overwhelmingly these kinds of people are NOT in survivor groups -- it is too boring and emotional for them (i.e. not fun, and they are all about finding fun after a relationship has ended). They also find empaths sickening, and there is so much empathy-laden talk in these groups that it would drive any narcissist or sociopath away. Narcissists and sociopaths usually like to dominate, lecture, give advice and manipulate people to their way of thinking, and they can't do that either in these groups. However, the rare narcissist or sociopath might feel it is a good way to find vulnerable prey (as empaths are the people targeted for abuse), but if you make it clear that your boundaries are firm, that you are too wounded to be in another relationship, they will tire and give up the chase. Most survivors are raw with wounds: the last thing they want is to be seduced or talked into another enmeshed relationship.

That's a big difference between a perpetrator and a real victim: the real victims are too guarded and hurt to go after another relationship, whereas perpetrators pretend they are victims, but never seek help, live it up and love bomb new targets right away.

So, how do you keep narcissists and sociopaths away from you?

I didn't need to write this part/answer, because I found the perfect article to address this issue (with all of the detail and signs you need to look for to stay out of these kinds of relationships forever):

Never Get Involved with a Psychopath, Narcissist, Sociopath -- or any abuser -- Ever Again -- by Adelyn Birch

from Higher Perspective:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

shaming from abusers, narcissists

In this post I talk about how children and adults react to shaming. At the end of the post, I also talk about why narcissists shame others and what it had to do with their childhoods.

Note: abuse is primarily perpetrated by people who have Cluster B personality disorders. It can also be perpetrated sometimes by alcoholics who are under the influence of their drug. See my post on who perpetrates abuse HERE.

In this post I primarily talk about narcissistic abuse.

Shaming is usually one of the first abuses that the narcissist uses in his awful bag of abusive tricks.

Shaming is defined from the Out of the Fog website as:

a technique used by abusive people to divert attention away from their own behavior and issues by putting pressure on a victim so they can maintain control. The victim is put into an impossible situation, where they feel they are inherently flawed and so can never measure up to the standards being imposed on them, and therefore must dedicate themselves to attempting to make up for their ‘badness’.

As a tactic, shaming is often used by Personality Disordered parents who misdirect their anger at their children. Unchosen children and adult children of Personality-Disordered parents are often made to feel worthless, useless, unloved and unappreciated ...

The difference between blaming and shaming is that in blaming someone tells you that you did something bad, in shaming someone tells you that you are something bad.

As a public school teacher, and teacher at Head Start, I was not allowed to shame a child. That is because it damages a child's self esteem, his sense of himself as confident and able to handle assignments, challenges, and problems. Shamed children actually perform worse, much worse, not better, in school. Furthermore, the child feels resentful towards the teacher for not seeing him as worthwhile, so the teacher may receive disciplinary problems from the child, worsening the relationship between adult and child.

Shaming a child can mean immediate dismissal because you are making your issues with a child personal rather than professional: the goal is to motivate a child to do better, and it is impossible to do so if you are constantly sending the message that the child doesn't measure up, that he's a failure, that he has to do better for you.

And doing things for you doesn't make sense because the ultimate goal of teaching is to get the child efficient enough to survive in the world when he or she becomes an adult.

Every child I encountered as a teacher who had a discipline problem or who was floundering in school with an "I can't do it" attitude, or a "I'm not smart enough" attitude, or a "I'm never going to amount to anything" attitude, came from a home where they were being shamed ... and SHAMED A LOT! For me, it was the eye-opener which got me to change my teaching style into an empathy based motivational style approach. I tell about my teaching style to counter shaming at the bottom of this post.

It is important to remember that children do not come out of the womb bucking authority, or unable to focus on their studies, or lashing out at objects in a classroom, or depressed, or feeling they can't do as well as others in their class, or feeling worthless, or worth less than their other siblings: they are reacting to something in their background. I found the kids who were bucking authority were easier to work with than depressed children who had given up because they were still fighting for themselves, whereas the children who felt they could do nothing right had stopped fighting and had swallowed all of the humiliating shaming and blaming (i.e. accepted they were at fault, accepted they were unlovable or worthless, accepted they were "less than", or what ever was being shoved down their throats). They were depressed, in obvious pain, and spiritually listless. They were often withdrawn, self isolating, to protect themselves from any more bullying or abuse. Getting them away from their self-defeating internalized dialogue, their authorities' or peers' judgements, and out of their shells, was extremely challenging. If I got them motivated, and enjoying what they were doing, it could sometimes be short-lived because their parents, or guardians or peers (or whoever it was), wanted them to feel bad about themselves and their abilities, so back into their shells they would go.

I found the reason for this was so they wouldn't challenge their abusers concepts, and risk further abuse. Getting out of role, seeing themselves as extremely able, competent, autonomously efficient is extremely challenging to abusers, especially parental abusers.

So a lot of learning disabilities can have a lot to do with abuse, which I will cover in a later post.

For parents with a Cluster B personality disorder it is often their goal to make children and others feel incompetent, "less than" and worthless, even if the teacher is trying to do everything to counter that "I'm-defeated-at-learning" internal dialogue. Because abusers are shame-based, and grew up seeing and hearing shame-talk from their own parents, they project their own shame on to their child, so that the child can feel as bad and worthless as they feel, or felt. They want to feel better, less shameful, than the person they are shaming, by comparison, so they use the tactic to perform a one-ups-man in a kind of competition. With a child, it is never going to be on an even playing field, so it is pretty desperate on their part, done for narcissistic supply, for on-going dominance, to make themselves feel they can effect their child, even if it is a negative effect. The short term gain of feeling that their child is more shameful than they are can and does turn the relationship between parent and child into one of distrust at the very least, and estrangement at the most. This attributes to why shamers (abusers) are such poor listeners: their goal is not to make their children or anyone else in their lives feel better; it is to dominate and to feel better by comparison, period.

If you listen carefully to abusers, their shaming can get pretty childish, where they will use erroneous blaming, mirroring and word salad to gain an upper hand. It doesn't mean they can't do a lot of damage to others, but with abusers it is important to see them as childish, as not quite grown up enough to handle adult self reflection, adult compromise, adult interest in opposing views without going on the attack, adult research. They also are poor at controlling their temper, unable to see others' perspectives because they think of their own needs and a come-back first. They shift blame onto others so they won't ever (and I mean EVER) be accountable. The fact that they do this with predictability means they don't want to grow out of it either, which makes them ultra rigid in their thinking, and the relationship unable to evolve.

In close personal relationships and in child abuse, shaming often starts in a very subtle way, barely perceptible, as arrogance, that "I'm better than you are, so you need to listen to me, and my lectures" kind of thing.

Which is to say that shaming wouldn't be possible without arrogance and without shutting your mind off to others' experiences, feelings and thoughts (i.e. without perspecticide and prejudice).

And yes, parents can be prejudiced against their own children. It is what happens when parents practice rampant favoritism and scapegoating (i.e. assigning one child to take all of the blame for the family's troubles).

Children who are shamed repeatedly become dysfunctional at some point in their lives. Unless there is another parent, or grandparent, or aunt, or someone the child can trust who is trying to counter the shaming, the child is going to either be reactive in a way the parent will not like, or close down. In other words, it doesn't work at motivating a child to do what you want in any kind of long term way because the labels themselves tell the child they have defeated in pleasing the parent. The child will either fight against the awful labels and go AWOL, or accept the labels and get depressed. Both are bad choices for both parent and child.

Usually to get to the shaming stage, abusers take certain steps and a path:

1. they love bomb you first and begin to give you advice (the premise is that they care so much about you that they want to see you go in the right direction with your life)

2. then they add persuasion into their advice, but in order not to be too devious and obvious about it, they sometimes give you options, seeming to care about your autonomous decision-making. However, if you listen to them carefully, they are always rooting for one direction, one decision

3. after awhile they begin to lecture you. This is the stage where they start treating you like you are a child (called infantilization). They want you to feel like a child, because children are malleable, impressionable and can be easily controlled

4. after they have been lecturing you for awhile, they add a subtle sprinkle or two of gaslighting (they want you to feel that you are stupid or crazy in some way, too infantile, that you can't perceive things the right way, and that they are the only ones worth listening to). This is the stage where they start to attempt to exert control over you, to turn you into their marionette or flying monkey. Note: flying monkeys are marionettes too, but they do dirty deeds for the narcissist such as being henchmen who shame others for the narcissist. The flying monkeys confront others so that the narcissist doesn't have to and can blame someone else when things go wrong. This is called triangulation. The point of triangulation is to control and bully by proxy.

5. the advice, lectures and gaslighting all escalate to the point where they start to use abusive tactics if you don't do what they want. Stonewalling, mild silent treatments, being prickly and insulting, and using targeted sarcasm towards you are all signs that they are feeling not in control of you enough. You are supposed to only care about what they think and feel, to be desperate for their approval and love after all, because they deem themselves to be the most important person in the relationship between you.

6. all of this will escalate to the shaming stage eventually. It can happen fast, or slowly, depending on whether you put the narcissist front stage and center in your life, or off to the side. They hold out on really obvious shaming until they feel that you care about their opinion and being in their good graces. They have to feel that they finally have the power to make the shaming work to dismantle your self esteem. Note: narcissists are extremely irritated by people who have healthy self esteem -- that is why they become abusive in the first place: it is part of their envy, which many narcissists feel is at an unbearable level. They simply have to try to make you feel guilty and ashamed so that they can feel better about themselves and better about their stature in comparison (they make it their mission in life to appear better than others). They also want to be admired for having better perspectives, so that they can keep drawing in an entourage for continued narcissistic supply. They feel they have to win at the "perspectives contest" to recruit flying monkeys on to their side to fight a battle against you. Narcissists are never satisfied with the amount of control that they exert over others because it is an insane insatiable need of theirs which no human being can possibly fulfill (see Henry the VIIIth). Human beings were never cut out to be mindless marionettes (or Stepford children, wives or husbands -- after the movie The Stepford Wives).
Flying monkeys will always have an agenda of their own apart from the narcissist, which makes narcissists fly off into a rage and get paranoid. Narcissists feel that their perspectives should always take precedence over others (called perspecticide). Perspecticide is just another power and control tactic, but it also puts the narcissist into a one-dimensional fantasy. It is hard to control others when you are so closed to others' perspectives. This is largely why tyrannical leaders, who tend to be narcissists, tend to lose wars, even if they win some battles here and there.

7. maintaining a continual shaming agenda and escalating it feels necessary to a narcissist to keep you in your place, to subvert you, and dominate you. Shaming is always used with other forms of abuse eventually, especially when the narcissist does not feel he is able to maintain total control of you, and to get ever-more control of you, and your perspectives. Shaming makes all of their lectures and advice (which turns into commands and arm-twistings) into a fantasy of the truth for the narcissist. The reason it is a fantasy is because reality, itself, is skewed by them -- they want to control all of that too.

Typical ways you are shamed:

1. You are labeled as evil and you have an agenda to hurt them and others.
   If this leaves you floored, like "What happened? Why do they think this way? Can they be right about any of this?" -- it is usually a sign of their projection of their own qualities on to you. The reason why narcissists use projection so much is because they are not investigators; they like to re-tell events and experiences; they are super judgmental; they are mostly pathological liars where they are always champions; they jump to conclusions on most topics and therefor have no real understanding of what is going on, so there is nothing left other than projection.
   Other signs of projection include erroneous blaming: nit-picking and blaming you for things that aren't substantiated or are their interpretations of your feelings, thoughts and experiences. If they talk over you, and don't consider your perspectives, feelings and thoughts, this is perspecticide, something abusers use in spades. Shaming you by saying that you are evil is the way they try to get control over you. You are particularly deemed to be evil when you aren't doing things and seeing things exactly the way they want you to, and you are good when you are doing and thinking the way they are. Narcissists are glib black and white thinkers (this is called splitting -- it is extremely hard to live with and is unjust ... splitting is a post I have been working on and have yet to publish).
   Most abusers use shame in tandem with verbal abuse. They particularly use animal names associated with evil: snake, serpent, black widow spider and sometimes rat.
   If they don't use animal names and insults, they will usually argue with you in a way that lets you know that they are suspicious of your motives. This, they hope, will keep you on edge, and doing exactly what they want, so that you feel you can get out of being perceived as evil (i.e. get you out of "the penalty box" they put you in).
Children being shamed (to perceive themselves as evil):
   First of all, I am of the same opinion of life coach, Richard Grannon, in that if you shame children and give them the silent treatment throughout their lives, you will destroy them. They will either be destroyed from within (suicide, suicide ideation and thoughts, feelings of worthlessness, and impaired by PTSD), or from the outside (prey for other narcissists and sociopaths, unable to perform tasks at their true capacity because PTSD disables them, especially in terms of learning and response). You also won't be able to control them because shaming and the silent treatment will create such debilitating C-PTSD symptoms, that they won't be able to function in the capacity you want them to.
   Children with PTSD tend to be labeled as "space-y", "not with-it", "disorganized", "emotional". PTSD episodes are involuntary: it is the organic and normal way that the brain responds and protects itself from on-going stress, threats, fear and isolation. Furthermore, the child will eventually run away from what is causing the PTSD (in this case the parents). It is common for PTSD sufferers to self-isolate as well to keep from being triggered. Triggers are events, emotions and things that remind him of his abusive parent (the symptoms flare up just as when he was a child and he becomes unable to function at full capacity).
   By the way, self isolation, lack of trust in others and going to a therapist to treat the PTSD symptoms are how real victims act (this is in contrast to narcissists and sociopaths who pretend they are victims and spend time love bombing new targets and living it up).
   Even if a parent compares the child negatively to another sibling to get him to compete with the sibling for Mom or Dad's love, the child internalizes that he is bad, worse than his sibling. A lot of children, especially young children, do not comprehend that they are expected to play a game in order to be loved and considered for parental kindness. It is not wired into their DNA. The sibling that he is deemed to be "worse than" will also keep trying to push that sibling around and manipulating the parent's perceptions so that the child who has been labeled as evil remains being perceived as evil forever.
   When a child's self esteem has been so riddled with bullet holes, he usually becomes the scapegoat of the family. He is no longer a loved child: he is a "role", a dumping ground for family rage and ostracism. He is often also kept from family events or described as "the crazy one." While the family sees benefit in blaming one member continuously and for everything, most of what they plan in terms of keeping the scapegoat in role usually goes awry. See how toxic family roles work in this post.
Once the child becomes a scapegoat, he knows he can't win with his parents, and that what ever he does will always be perceived as him being bad. This is one reason why parents use erroneous blaming like the child being punished for a look on his face, being ridiculed over an attitude (that often doesn't exist), being shamed over telling his parents that he is being bullied at school or sexually molested by a creepy uncle -- all of it will be re-framed to look like the scapegoat caused the abuse. Sometimes the child's concerns and allegations will be ignored altogether. The narc parents use their interpretations of the child's feelings, facial expressions and thoughts in order to punish him and keep him in the penalty box (and role of scapegoat).
   Scapegoats overwhelmingly become estranged from their parents (the reasons include severe PTSD, which manifest as nightmares and an inability to sleep, feelings of fear and hypervigilence, headaches, pains in the muscles and joints, inordinate amounts of time in self-imposed isolation, shame about being disabled by symptoms -- which I will cover in another post -- but that is not all ... they know that within their family if they stay they will continue being targeted for ongoing injustice, ongoing escalation of abuse (perhaps to the point of danger), hopelessness, unkindness, lack of empathy for their plight, favoritism of a sibling, perspecticide, gaslighting, erroneous blaming, and all the while he may be treated much better by outsiders than those within his family -- in other words, it all contributes to total estrangement).
   The scapegoat role does not stop once he has disappeared, however: another child or substitute is usually assigned the role until the narcissist has only one child left -- which can quickly turn into no children at all. It all depends on whether the golden child lives a long time, doesn't get in an accident, takes care of his health, whether he is a bully golden ( a golden child who has become another narcissist) or an ultra-empath golden. The difference between the bully golden and the empath golden are night and day: the bully golden scapegoats and bullies a sibling to get higher stature, is arrogant, charming, swashbuckling and funny while deriding others, while the ultra empath golden is taught to be humble, to take care of Mom or Dad's every ache and pain, to sacrifice everything, even a spouse and career, to practically live their whole lives under their parent's roof in service to their parent's every wish, need and pretend victimization. So the type of golden child the parent has in the end will determine the course in the parents' lives: the bully golden is not such a good bet, whereas the ultra empath golden can sometimes be brainwashed into accepting the on-going role of caretaker (but even then, not always).

2. You are labeled as stupid, and shamed to believe that you are stupid.
   Note: if you misplaced the car keys, forgot to take out the garbage on pick-up day, drove past your exit on the thruway, or didn't complete a task just the way your abuser expected, this does not make you stupid. Albert Einstein, the physicist genius, often couldn't find his way home and no one dared to call him stupid.
   Abusers and narcissist's use the "stupid" remark to get you to bend to their will, to get you to perform tasks perfectly for them, to try to get you to perceive them as the smarter ones in the relationship (so that you feel stupid in comparison). If they can convince you that you are stupid and that they are smart, then they can control you in such a way that they get to make all of the decisions in your life. "What's the matter, stupid, can't you do anything right?" may be their favorite taunt.
   "You need to be smart about this" is the way they take control also.
   Advice becomes a lecture. Lectures become commands.
   "You're not smart enough to make that decision" is what their whole agenda is. It is to take away your autonomy and the autonomy of making your own decisions.
   Never believe that others can make better decisions about your life than you can. You are experiencing all of the aspects around a decision while they are not. They have a brief one-sided glance about your experience from what you have told them. This does not make them experts on you or your life.
   Also their making decisions for you, are not necessarily ever going to be for your benefit, and may be very sabotaging (they are usually for their benefit, or to make them look good). There is always an agenda in it for them.
   You will always know that their trying to take over your decision-making and managing your life is not to your benefit when they call you stupid. It is too degrading a comment to be anything but hurtful and harmful. It is a derogatory label meant to make you feel "less than" perfect with the mind you were born with. Non-abusive people treat mentally challenged people much better than abusive people do, without the bigotry, without shaming, without blaming, and with more understanding and compassion for their condition. There is really no excuse for this form of verbal and emotional abuse.
"Retard", "dunce", "mentally challenged", "not too smart", "imbecile", "wrong-headed", "space cadet" and "space-head" are still verbally and emotionally abusive labels even if some of them are more intellectual than others.
Children being shamed (to perceive themselves as stupid):
   It should be obvious why this is extremely damaging to children. Children have to make a choice of whether they will fight this label or go along with it.
   If they are fighting the label, it causes undue stress and is a huge challenge to the narcissist's perception of themselves as an authority. Fighting the label means getting out of role, the role the narcissist put you into in the first place, the "my stupid child" role. So this means fighting over books the narcissist tells you that you can and cannot read, or trying to convince you that you are not capable of understanding, or cannot grasp the deeper meaning of. They may tell you that you have a sixth grade reading level. In addition, you are fighting the narc parent over facts, over vocabulary words, over correct spelling, over how to solve a math problem, how to do a science experiment, indeed it can be anything. Fighting over perceptions, fighting over homework and how much you should do, fighting over coaching and after-school programs, taking books away from you in a rage, throwing away your books, telling you to do mindless chores when you are trying to complete a school project, and a host of other things the narcissist may try to sabotage to keep you in "stupid mode" is par for the course when you are labeled "stupid".
   If the child is going along with the labeling (which is the easiest route by far), you will end up with an under-achiever child, a child who feels hopeless about learning, a child who stares out the window in class because "it is of no use", a child who may be so dependent on others (though not necessarily his unkind parent), that his growth into adulthood will be stunted.
   The parent has made his child unable to learn to control him or her, but in the end, the conforming-to-the-label child becomes stupid, just for the parent. Typically narcissists feel ashamed of their underachievers and throw them under the bus further by scapegoating them.
   Note: PTSD can produce learning disorders because the brain is too preoccupied with trauma and trauma-related concerns.

3. You are labeled as crazy, that you can't do anything right, and are shamed for perceiving things differently than the narcissist, or you are shamed and smeared to family and friends as crazy for reacting emotionally to abuse or going to a therapist for help.
   Note: If you don't go along with the narcissist or the narcissist's views of things, you are NOT crazy.
   Again, abusers call you crazy to get power and control over you. This is generally referred to as gaslighting which is so common among abusers that it is practically a given. The post on gaslighting covers a lot more detail than here, so if you are interested, pop over to that post. Note: abusers not only tell you that you are crazy, they tell everyone else that you are crazy too. It is hard to find a survivor who hasn't been gaslighted.
   The most common form of gaslighting is to tell the victim that he has bipolar disorder. Sometimes they try to convince themselves, the victim and others of an "addiction" if the bipolar disorder scheme does not work. "Addiction" may be a little easier to use than bipolar, especially as no one but a mental health professional can give an official diagnosis (and narcissists hate it when the diagnosis comes back as just PTSD).
   If the victim has to take a prescribed medication or they drink once in awhile this is commonly used to say the victim is an addict. If the victim takes medications for anxiety or Prozac, you can count on the perpetrator using that as "proof" and expounding on it.
   If all of that can still be mis-proven, they try labeling in other ways: "drama queen", "creating too much drama", "being too sensitive", "confused again", "needing help", "not able to perceive things correctly", "need help", "need counseling", "too emotional", "too reactive", "making mountains out of molehills", "emotionally challenged", "psychologically challenged", "can't see the good in what I've done when I've tried so hard" (notice the focus on themselves), "here we go again", "unable to differentiate reality from hallucinations", "living in a fantasy", "living in a dream-like state", "disagreeable", "cannot decipher reality from things that are unreal", "schizophrenic", "Asperger's", "criminally insane", etc.
   They use any bit they think they can get away with to be unkind to you, to isolate you from family or friends, to smear your reputation. In return, they hope that you will rely on them to tell you how to perceive things, how to respond to things, how to do things, so that "you don't become upset" ... inferring that you will become upset at the slightest thing if you don't follow their orders. When victims get away from these masters of gaslighting they discover that no one else views them as insane except the gaslighters!
   A note about PTSD: PTSD can make a person appear to be insane because the brain is in a hypervigilent state, ready to respond to an attack, whether the attack is verbal, emotional, stalking, physical or sexual. PTSD has nothing at all to do with being insane, but gaslighters like to use it anyway, just to appear infallibly "correct" in their labeling of their victims as insane.
If they can't convince others, they are known to discredit the mental health professional, or professionals. If mental health cannot work for them in labeling their victims, in the way they want, then it has flaws -- this is all diverting, dodging and word salad by the way.
Children being shamed (to perceive themselves as crazy):
   When I asked several forum groups "You know you have been gaslighted when --" the majority of respondents said "when you can't make a decision for yourself, when you are frozen and experience high anxiety over the decision-making process, when you fret endlessly over any possibility of a mistake you might make." This is because parents groomed them to think that their decision-making abilities were flawed. Indeed, this should show that the agenda of gaslighting is to take away all decision-making from the child.
   Another one was "You wonder if you're crazy when you are victimized by others." The reason for that reaction is because part of the gaslighting process is to convince you that you hurt other people, not that they hurt you. This is also called being groomed to take abuse.
   Another one was "Your concerns and feelings never matter" -- again, that is a perspecticide issue, but the reason for the abuser using perspecticide is that he or she tries to convince themselves and others that you are crazy and aren't worth listening to.
   Abusive parents use gaslighting to justify hitting, beating or slapping their child. They use it to justify breaking the child's toys or giving them away. They use it to justify ignoring their child when he is being victimized by others. They use it to justify whitewashing and being cruel to their own child.
   Gaslighting is one of the most damaging things you can do to a child. If he thinks of himself as crazy, he can never be autonomous. He can never think for himself. He can never be heard. He can never be taken seriously. He can never voice his concerns and experiences. He can never trust because reality and truth are always being nullified by the narcissist. The narcissist also labels the child's experiences as the perceptions of an insane mind. He goes through childhood feeling deaf, dumb and blind even when he is not. He is groomed to be ultra-sensitive to his parent's feelings and explosiveness while they justify never being sensitive to his feelings at all (as all of his feelings are deemed, again, to come from a place of insanity).
   When you have grown up being gaslighted constantly and you have figured out why, you can experience intense anger and hurt over it. Often you will not know the extent it was used on you until a no-contact separation has occurred.
   In the old days, gaslighting was used as an excuse to lobotomize, commit your child to an insane asylum, sell you to the sex trade, enslave you, beat and bludgeon you, tie you up or lock you in a room by yourself for days, weeks or months. Child abuse awareness put an end to some of those practices, but there are still too many loopholes for abusive parents.
   My own feeling is that gaslighting children should be illegal. There is no reason why a parent needs to be playing with a child's perceptions or labeling them as insane on an on-going basis except to hurt the child. It is bigotry and it is cruel.
   Normal parents do not use gaslighting as an excuse to abuse or neglect their child, or use it in cruel discards. If they do have a child who is experiencing real mental illness, they are always involved in the process of caring about their child, and seeing to it that the child receives help. Narcissists never care about their child and show it by lengthy silent treatments, abandonments and never caring about their child's experiences, perceptions and outcomes.
   Gaslighting is one of the more sadistic things that narcissists do to their own children.

4. You are labeled as being lazy, and are shamed into perceiving yourself as lazy.
   One way to tell if you are dealing with an abusive person is to work as hard as you can. Even when you work hard, an abusive person is still likely to call you lazy. He doesn't respect your work ethic or how hard you work.
   Narcissists are also always competing, and they have to convince themselves and others that they work harder than you do, or that they work harder than anyone else does.
   In one conversation I had with a wife whose husband's favorite phrase for nearly everyone in his life was "lazy", I told her my husband worked 3 jobs, often 12 - 16 hour days. She told me that her husband worked harder than that. "So, what you are telling me is that he sleeps 6 hours a night? I doubt it!" She looked sheepish after I said that. Her husband was a hard core alcoholic, had no trouble taking really long "cocktail hours" day in and day out, but it was the competition that mattered to her!
Narcissists usually delegate, so perhaps they are the epitome of laziness. If it's not fun, or makes them a lot of money, or makes them look good, or they cannot charm someone, they generally disappear. They aren't into relationships for genuine reasons because they cannot love or feel empathy for anyone. Most of their relationships are based on what the other person can give them or do for them, or how they are perceived by others in society, or they are simply not interested in the other person at all. They use weak individuals or people who are down on their luck for sycophancy or extortion if they can get any co-operation. So perhaps the "lazy" labels are just projection on their part. In my own life, the most lazy, self-indulgent, partying people were narcissists, and the hardest working, most giving, who also volunteer for women's shelters, soup kitchens and orphanages and such, are empaths and scapegoats.
   From reading forums I know that there are narcissists who do a lot of things for their communities (mostly to get narcissistic supply and keep up with the Jones's in Hyacinth Bucket fashion), but I have personally never known one. The love bombing stage is the closest I have experienced the phenomenon, but it is over pretty quickly to make room for the solicitations, the intrusive and adamant advice, the constant lectures, the constant interrogations, which inevitably turn into hyper criticisms and micro-managing. This doesn't equate to hard work; this equates to delegating so that they don't have to work so hard.
Children being shamed (to perceive themselves as lazy):
   When children are taught to perceive themselves as lazy, they take one of two routes. They fight it and see it as a challenge, or they accept it and give up.
   There are much better ways to get your children to work hard than labeling them in a derogatory way, a label that causes resentment and where they feel they might not be able to escape the branding no matter what they do. It is a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" attitude that children adopt, especially if they have a narc parent who does not necessarily want to be challenged and proven wrong, or who thinks any degrading label is motivational.
   Again, most studies show that the best way to motivate children is not to make them feel worse about themselves, but to make them feel better about themselves.
   So how do you do that with a "lazy" or "dreamy" child?
   You can send them to structured learning experiences or classes, and share the experience with them.
   You can have a blackboard in the house where they write down what chores or jobs they accomplish from a list of things that help the household run. When they accomplish something you ask how they liked it, how it made them feel. You give your child a hug.
   You can ask them to help you with something and make it fun to be with Mom or Dad doing a chore.
   You can suggest that you wash while they dry dishes at the sink, and while they are drying, come up with a song you can sing together.
   You can talk to them about what they are interested in and learning at school.
   As long as you are engaging your child, and the child is getting some kind of reward of appreciation and attention, you never need to use the "lazy" label ever, which may just put them on the defensive anyway, or make them feel that you can never appreciate them no matter what they do. Living up to your standards is not about them; it is about you, so the gears need to be switched so that they are living up to their own standards instead.
   Self reflection, a lot of questions and interest in work they are doing works so much better than damning labels. They learn to trust your guidance rather than feel hurt and resentful about "the label."
Note: using the "lazy" label once or twice in their lives does not make you abusive. In order to be abusive, the abuse has to be a pattern, and used fairly consistently (see wheel of abuse).

5. You are shamed for being too fat, or too skinny, or too old, or too young, for your skin color, or your ethnicity, or your sexual persuasion, or for not going along with a custom, or family attitude or agenda (i.e. they become prejudiced against you).
   You can't do anything about your skin color. In most instances, you can't do anything about your sexual persuasion either (i.e. who and who you aren't attracted to). You can't do anything about your age or your ethnicity. So this kind of shaming is ignorant in that it does not take into consideration the other person's perspectives at all. Again it is a form of perspecticide where the abuser is trying to superimpose and enforce his version of what he thinks is the truth on to others. It is to get a person or people to regard themselves as not deserving of the rights and privileges of others. The abusers are not listening, not considering, not open. Their motivation is to shove their own perspectives down other people's throats, and to reject or bully those who do not go along with them or agree with them.
As for weight, there are so many factors that go into why a person gains or loses weight. Prejudicy about weight can often translate into prejudicy about the other person's frame of mind. Anorexics often feel they are too fat, and when they look in a mirror they see an overweight person. Some anorexics find the taste of food to be disgusting, like eating sand. Does shaming a person about their self image, their relationship to food, their taste buds, work at getting them to consider a healthy weight? Absolutely not!
   Most of us, if we are at all human, will have some sort of weight issue or body image issue at some point in our lives. If you are ashamed of yourself and are shamed by others over your body image, you may not feel like going out as much, or feel that you cannot do activities you want to do or would like to try, or you are going to accept less than good treatment from others because your self esteem is in the gutter. Self-imposed isolation is what happens to a lot of people who have poor self esteem, not joyous motivation, but perhaps that is what abusers want from their victims: to be alone without social support.
   Weight is a complicated issue having to do with the diet you grew up with (and either rejected or accepted), how you deal with hunger, how you use food emotionally, what the going and changing trend is for a "perfect body", what the "experts" are saying about food (in terms of whether a particular food is good or bad for you), what the food companies are pushing in terms of advertising their products, how you want to look, thyroid issues, how comfortable you feel in your own body, whether you are depressed and don't sleep enough (where all of us tend to gain weight) or in shock (where all of us tend to lose weight), and so on. Then there is the fact that menopausal women tend to gain weight in their bellies because it is the body's way of holding on to estrogen so that you won't have a hormonal crash. Some cancer treatments can make you look bloated.
   There is also the fact that our skin loses elasticity when we age, so we're going to become wrinkled naturally.
   With so many factors going into how people gain and lose weight, and how we all age, the shame around weight and body issues should be forsaken for the sake of all of human-kind.
   Certain families can have attitudes and agendas that harm one of their own with prejudicial points of view. If the whole family turned against the member, these would be your family scapegoats.
Families can shame their members, and find that it doesn't make a bit of difference in terms of the direction of the child: "But we didn't bring him up to be gay!" ... "But we didn't bring up our daughter to join a rock band and move to California!" ... "But we didn't bring up our children to go off and do their own thing. They were supposed to run the family business!" ... "But we didn't bring our daughter up to be a ballerina. She was too fat!" ... "But we didn't bring him up to be a war correspondent and risk his life. Doesn't he think about how this impacts us?" ... and sickest of all (and typical for abusive parent thinking): "But we didn't bring up our child to make their own decisions; we always wanted to make their decisions for them, or to at least be a big part of the decision-making process where we could heavily persuade."
Children being shamed (to perceive themselves as less than others):
   If children are turned into family scapegoats, or are derided for their appearance, or expected to be Mom or Dad's slave, or expected to change their sexual orientation, then these children will likely be estranged from you sooner or later. They are not going to be open to your perspectives any more than you are open to their perspectives. The communication shuts down. Shaming children about who they are will make them see how different they are from you, rather than going along with what your perspectives are and what your prescription is for their lives. Most parents intuitively know this, but abusive parents with Cluster B personality disorders never "get it", and keep trying for a different outcome, all the while pushing their child away.
   As divorces became the new trend in the 1970s, where more divorces were recorded in human history than in any previous year, decade or century, child-parent estrangements are now the new trend. Are we at all surprised? I think the hedonistic generation who expected children to adjust to divorce without having feelings about it, who wanted free sex and un-ashamed adultery for themselves while neglecting the kids or put them in the middle of court custody battles, who wanted drugs, booze, and sending their kids outside all day long to play, or away to day care, or the neighbors, and once they hit 18 years of age expected those same children to completely fend for themselves without additional parental help, now cannot accept their adult children being untrusting of parental authority and perspectives, with a life that is not under Mom's or Dad's total control. Really???

6. Shamed for not being a sycophant or for not being perfect in actions, looks and deeds.
   Narcissists and sociopaths crave sycophants. It is the pinnacle of their desires and fantasies, what they live for. They would love to be king and queen of everyone's lives, to throw fits to get people to do things for them, to have people defend what ever punishing things they do to others, to have unlimited sex partners and slaves at their disposal.
   However, there is a reason a lot of people died and were overthrown with this kind of system, even the head narcissist (or king or queen).
   The way they try to make other people fawn all over them is to punish when something or someone is going against their wishes, and reward when they are getting the level of narcissistic supply they can live with at that moment ... until the next time ...
   Having people around who are trying hard to please, being waited on hand and foot, people deferring to them, people defending any hair-brained scheme they come up with and any punishing they do to others is what they want, but most of the time, things don't work out the way they want.
   Of course, this is a fantasy, and unless they are born into a lot of wealth, are a real king or queen to begin with, where they don't need to worry about public opinion, don't need to show they care about anyone but themselves, can destroy others at will without protest, they aren't going to live like this even if they try very hard, which they won't.
   Yet, narcissists and sociopaths are disordered enough to expect this fantasy to come true, and when they don't have these entitlement expectations met, get depressed and start their discards and lobve bombing of targets who they think will give it to them.
   However idealized the narcissist and sociopath think sycophancy is, it is also not a very natural state to be in. People who work hard for tyrannical narcissists, malignant narcissists and sociopaths are in it for something other than total on-going sublimation to someone else's will. While there are certainly a minimal few who might view total servitude and flattery-making to be their calling, most of us are not.
   Unless slavery is part of the culture, there is an expectation of trade in the arrangement.
   Even when there is a trade agreement that will satisfy the narcissist for the immediate future, there is some expectation of graduating from the position of sycophant.
Children who are shamed about not being perfect (or not being a sycophant):
   High expectations of children being "perfect" for their parents all of the time is a form of abuse. No one can be perfect, least of all, all of the time, and least of all children towards their parents.
There are the very common stand-by erroneous abuses that Cluster B personality disordered people are famous for: punishing a child for a facial expression, for causing drama, for an attitude. Unless you ask the child what his facial expression is, what his attitude is, what he is feeling so strongly about (expression of feelings is commonly referred to as "drama" by Cluster Bs), you are damaging your child. Unless you put things in the first person "I can't seem to understand your strong emotions" (instead of laying guilt on your child for "drama-making"), then you are shaming your child for having feelings. When children grow up thinking that there is something wrong with their facial expressions, for instance, this is where suicide ideation starts to enter the mind of the child (i.e. "my facial expressions are betraying me and they aren't doing what I want them to do because when I'm feeling sad, Mom thinks I'm being ungrateful instead"). This is no worse than being prejudiced against a person because of the color of their skin, and assuming that the color of the skin makes the human being unfriendly, or non-empathetic, or violent, or unpredictable, or not human. Again, shaming and prejudicy are the same thing.
   Children of narcissists and sociopaths are often shamed for not sublimating themselves to the will of their parent. They are also shamed for not being a sycophant. The natural biological progression in a child's life is NOT to put his parent on a pedestal, NOT to be sublimating his will to the parent, NOT to be the parent's sycophant. This is because he (or she) is supposed to be getting ever more autonomous, to be able to live without the parents, to bring up his (or her) own family. This is why the peer relationship becomes more important to children when they enter the teenage years than their relationship to the parent. It is natural to rebel to some degree, and by your twenties to tell your parents that you can make all of your own decisions about your own life without their input or help.
If you have narcissistic parents, they find all of this a great challenge. It is common for narcissists to discard (give a long silent treatment) when their child is in their twenties. They want the control of their child, but they can't have it, and they have a temper tantrum about it.
   Some children are conceived for the sole purpose of being Mom or Dad's life-long slave or sycophant (and Lenora Thompson's story illustrates this -- she was allegedly brought up to be an ultra empath golden child, to forever live with Mom and Dad, to take care of their every need, ache and pang, and never get married). She and I have become friends, and she has inspired me (more on that later). Needless to say, she is completely estranged from her parents because she dared to get married to a man she adores, and now she has proven to be the ultimate non-sycophant by writing about them for big publications like the Huffington Post and Psych Central.
   Any time you want to be autonomous, or make a decision for yourself, many narcissists will try to talk you out of it (you're too crazy or stupid or disabled or unattractive, after all, they say). If they can't talk you out of making your own decisions, most times they give you a silent treatment until you can do the right thing by them again by giving them power, control, admiration for their self-glorified decision-making skills and putting them front and center in your life again. This should prove that narcissists don't bond with their children AT ALL.
   If the child is young, he or she won't understand anything about this. The emotional abuse and constant and inappropriate parental wrangling for power and control (infantilization) can cause brain damage to their child (experiencing C-PTSD at a young age can cause brain damage).

7. You are shamed by proxy, by being rejected, "ghosted" or discarded by your own family members.
   This is when perspecticide gets totally out of hand (usually). Unless your family member is a child molester, hard core addict and/or a criminal, it is unkind to totally discard another member -- that's something most normal un-brainwashed people understand.
   When the family member has a Cluster B personality disorder, you can be rejected or "ghosted" for no reason at all. They manufacture reasons, but most of them are erroneous (a facial expression, perhaps they feel criticized, perhaps they just don't like something you said -- it tends to be small: think Princess and the Pea).
   Narcissists practice idealize, devalue, discard in their relationships as a way to try to manipulate people, and they will do it with their own family members too. For them, boredom, lack of dopamine and excitement is at the core of why they devalue and discard. They think that the family member is making them feel negative feelings, making them unhappy, and especially unhappy about themselves and their image, so they devalue and hunt for a new source of narcissistic supply which will help dopamine levels rise again. There is nothing the victim can really do, no amount of pleasing, until the NPD person has recovered from their narcissistic wound-injury.
   In the meantime, if you are normal, you won't react well to the idealization followed by the discard because normal people bond.
   Narcissists like the excitement of the other person bonding to them, but they don't bond themselves.
   That is always important to know and recite to yourself if you have ever been involved with a narcissist: they never feel bonded. The closest they feel to bonding is admired.
   When they don't feel admired, they feel like scared little children. Lack of admiration also makes them feel wounded in a way that any normal person will not understand. So they try to counter that by punishing the person who they deem is not admiring them enough, and looking for admiration somewhere else.
   This is why during breakups you will find that the real victims will get depressed and often self-isolate, whereas the narcissists will go out and party, go on expensive vacations, hunt for new narcissistic supply right away, love bomb and flatter their new targets immediately, pretend to be victims of their old targets, and even betray their old targets by getting involved with the people who have hurt their old targets. They are hard-wired to betray, punish and push your buttons in an attempt to either get what they want or leave you feeling worthless and destroyed.
   So people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder can feel extremely hurt by their spouse and children because of the narcissist's own brain chemistry: lack of dopamine, lack of excitement, lack of self assuredness, etc, and instead they feel bored, disinterested, without the limelight they crave. Not having enough limelight to them translates as their feeling hurt, depressed and feeling narcissistic injury. If they feel they don't have enough power and control this means, to them, that they are stunned by the target's ingratitude at not being a willing sycophant. They follow all of this up with breaking promises and vows, and a heartless blaming shaming discard.
   One reason narcissists tend to pick loner members to love bomb is that highly connected, popular, happily married members present a challenge to the narcissist in terms of the narcissist being the center of attention. They don't want to be in competition with anyone when it comes to getting admired. This is the biggest reason for all of the "drama" in abusive families, the backstabbings, betrayals, making family members a laughing stock, smear campaigns, ostracisms, money-grabs, and so on. The narcissist feels threatened by shame, that's all.
   One reason why narcissists flatter you so much is that is what they want for themselves. They want flattery, not necessarily love, definitely not bonding (except on your end), not necessarily familial trust and closeness, just flattery, period.
Children being shamed by parental rejection and ghosting:
   Young children under ten tend to idolize their parent. So rejection, silent treatments and ghosting as a way to shame a child is extremely painful and traumatizing. It can cause serious C-PTSD and brain damage to a young child. It is traumatizing to older children and adult children too, even though they probably don't idolize their parent, and may not experience any brain damage, at least to the extent a child under ten will.
   The pain and trauma is experienced purely because children have bonded with their parent. It is a neuroscience brain chemistry thing, and something that narcissists and sociopaths do not experience or feel themselves. Children assume the bonding is reciprocal (which it is not: see my previous paragraphs in this post on being shamed for not being a sycophant).
   Narcissistic parents do not care what their children go through as a result of discards. It is likely they don't think about it much either. This is because they put their thoughts toward love bombing their new target, their new source of narcissistic supply. They can do this so seamlessly and easily because of narcissistic splitting (which translates into regarding one person as all bad and evil, and the new target as all good and altruistic). The splitting takes place in the narcissist's own head, not over anything external (or sometimes it is barely external). Splitting is why the narcissist can turn off the love at a moment's notice, deem you to be unworthy of their love bombing, and make a sudden and swift exit.
   If sexual slavery were legal in the USA, narcissistic parents would be the type of parents who would sell their "unwanted children" into sexual slavery and not think twice about it or feel guilty afterwards. The splitting is what allows them to be cruel and not care. The bonding to the children is just not there once the split from "he's a good child" to "he's a bad child" has taken place in the narcissist's mind. They have deemed them to be bad children who deserve to be sexual slaves because the narc is not getting enough narcissistic supply from the child. But the trauma is extreme to the child who assumed the bonding was real all along. First they are exploited for money by their parent, then they are exploited for sex by their slave-masters.
Lack of bonding with a child puts the child at great risk for further abuse from others, exploitation and C-PTSD.
   Discards and silent treatments cause permanent child-parent estrangements because it ignores the normal, natural child bonding chemistry with the parent.
   One reason why narc parents sometimes try to get back in their child's lives as though nothing has happened at all or because they missed something about the supply (called hoovering) is precisely because the narc parent does not understand bonding. A child's tears and an inability to have anything more to do with his parent may be the only clue that the child experienced pain as the result of the de-bonding. Will a child's tears effect a narc parent? No, because a "bad child deserves tears" in their extremely limited capacity for understanding others' perspectives.
   Again, narcs don't feel bonding, because, most likely, their own brain chemistry was damaged when they were children (narcs come from abusive homes).
   Shaming via parental rejection doesn't usually stop there. Usually smear campaigns and trying to enlist flying monkeys to further shame the child is the next step in the child's demise (forever damaging the previous healthy emotional well-being and the relationship between parent and child).

Why narcissists are afraid of shame, why they like to inflict it on others, and what they grew up with

Narcissists come from abusive homes. They either watched a lot of shaming or were shamed themselves. Shaming is verbal prejudicy, and there is only so much of it that human beings can take.

For example, say you are shamed in your family of origin for being fat. Every time you saw your family you were shamed about your size. Say that every time you return home, your family members, when they talk to you, only focus on that subject. Someone from your family tries to talk you about good nutrition, another family member makes fun of your size, another family member makes fun of the fact that you can't do the three legged race, another family member lectures you about how you need to lose weight in order to attract a mate, another family member doesn't want to sleep in the same room with you because you snore all night (from being fat) -- the whole family is shaming you over being fat. At every dinner, your weight comes up too. So it is like it is the only thing they see, that defines you. What ever else you talk about is ignored, and even when you talk about diets, that is ignored too (perspecticide). It is like your family has decided that all you deserve is lectures, and until you can follow their life prescription for you (which is really for them), you are marginalized as being "the fat person of our family."

In a lot of families, shaming takes place for other reasons too: for being gay, for being sensitive and emotional, for being a vegetarian, for being an artist when most of your family are scientists, for failing at a line of business, for dressing like a bohemian, for getting tattoos, for living a foot loose and fancy free lifestyle, for being diagnosed with a physical or mental illness -- it can be anything, and it is all about intolerance.

So, how do people react to being shamed over a lifestyle choice, for something they are interested in, or over something they can't help (like a physical or mental illness, or because they are sensitive)?

Answer: They find others who are in the same boat and those people become their support, their closest friends and allies. In other words, they distance themselves from the family members who are shaming them and shift it to a community of people who understand them.

Sometimes, but rarely, they conform to their family (but mostly this is a painful existence that usually ends).

The gay community is a very strong community, and they have an interest in getting laws passed, in educating others, so that the shaming and intolerance will stop.

The Women's Liberation movement got people to stop looking at women as mere extensions of their husband's will and identity, and went further to change laws so that women got equal pay for equal work.

Likewise, nowadays, victims of child abuse have been forming their own community (and this is where my friendship with Lenora Thompson comes in -- who I mentioned above). We talk about parent-child estrangements and parental discards, we talk about why gifts aren't really gifts when they come from narcissistic and sociopathic parents or grandparents, we talk about being shamed over feeling hurt, about the secrecy of abusive families, we talk about scapegoats and golden children in narcissistic households, we talk about the pressure to be a slave-sycophant from narcissistic parents, etc. Come join us if you are one of us, for united we stand ... just leave a comment ...

Narcissists and malignant narcissists come from families where shaming and prejudice are/were rituals. It's probably an every-day occurrence if you listen carefully. Also if you tune in to narcissistic and sociopathic chatter, someone is always being derided. Someone is always being made fun of. Someone is always being scrutinized for what they say and what they do. Narcissists especially love to talk about other people more than any other subject. Malignant narcissists love to needle you about subjects you take seriously and believe in. Stories from both kinds of narcissists are also usually told in such a way that sounds competitive: "I did ____________, when they only did __________." They also claim they are victims in all of their past relationships where they initiated silent treatments, discards and insults. Since they always talk about people, it gets other people talking about people too. So everything is geared towards talking about someone, shaming someone, group-shaming someone, rinse, repeat.

If you are at all normal, you will be rolling your eyes at some point. Then they pounce like a tiger on you for it: "You are rolling your eyes! How dare you do that after my 108th victim story! You need to be punished!" which starts another round of shaming ...

Note: yes they were victims of child abuse once, but if they are shaming others a lot, discarding others, verbally abusing others, they have become a perpetrator. They are no longer a victim, even if they think so in their own minds.

The thing about shaming is that it is playing on people's fears, of being socially isolated, unloved, not good enough, not worthwhile, different, a freak of nature, not deserving of love or kindness.

Since shaming is such an ingrained habit in abusive families, and such an all-encompassing family pastime, they don't want the shame sticking to them. Narcissists aren't the types of people who went out to form their own community; they stayed in the family system and figured out a way to make the shaming pastime work for them. So they reveal very little about themselves (if they are nobodies with no convictions, and no controversial interests, and do not say much, and at least act like a sycophant for their parent, and put on a different mask for each person they encounter, and insist that everything that goes on in the family stay in the family, they won't be targeted for shaming -- they believe). They also shift shame and blame off of themselves on to someone else, the "It was ALL his fault!" pronouncements even if they have to lie and alter the truth so that shame doesn't have to stick to them at all. They are also known for dodging, deflecting and word salad explanations if "the shame monster" is getting a little too close for their comfort.

One reason they want admiration so badly, and so overwhelmingly, is that it is the opposite from shame: they feel that flattery is their comfortable soothing white fairy anesthetizing drug that will keep them away from "that bad 'ol shaggy shame monster."

The other way they try to keep "the shame monster" away from themselves is to interrogate their targets (while love bombing them at the same time) so that what the target reveals can be used later for shaming purposes (or other abuses). They don't reveal much about themselves because they don't want a shaming weapon to be used on them in retaliation.

One reason why they shame the other person during a discard, or a beating, or emotional blackmail, or for not being a sycophant, is because aggression and predatory behavior feels like an antidote to shame for them at that singular time. It is a rash decision-reaction which they hope won't have repercussions.

"Singular time" however, becomes their nightmare (they don't really have a singular time as abuse tends to escalate, and they tend to always be thinking about repercussions). Most abusiveness cannot be hidden forever, so eventually the truth comes out, but in the meantime, their paranoia soars. Of course, they spend inordinate amounts of time trying to figure out how they will talk their audience out of what they did, and what the victims of their abuse have done to provoke them, to put the shame back on some other person instead. They have to appear perfect, you see, at least to themselves. If a narcissist gets quiet, and isn't shame-talking and being harshly judgmental, he is usually depressed over something shame-related. Narcissists become horrified over shame-based issues, even when they indulge in shaming so readily themselves (it is an eat or get eaten situation for them). They are afraid of shame, more than anything else. They are scared of it more than losing a relationship (they slough it off: they are perfect while the other person isn't), more than getting caught (they reason they'll talk themselves out of it), more than compassion and caring (they reason they can fake empathy to not be suspected of being cruel). Shame is their on-going preoccupation and they put it above work, family and everything else in their lives (thus the never-ending fruitless pursuit of narcissistic supply, whereas others have healthy self esteem based on what they do, their occupations, how they care for others, and have the ability to apologize to others when they make mistakes).

Apologies are not something narcissists are capable of because, of well, shame again. How will they get flattery, and feelings that they are exceptional and always have to win, when they have to make a dreaded apology? Which shows that apologies show a lot more strength than what narcissists do.

It has been argued that the shrunken brains of narcissists (less gray matter) happened as a result of child abuse and neglect by psychologists like Judy Rosenberg, and others.

Where is there less gray matter? In the part of the brain where empathy resides. Incidentally, the part of the brain that is damaged first in alcoholism, is the part of the brain where empathy resides as well. Perhaps if the brain is going to be damaged, the body says it doesn't need empathy as much as other brain functions (just a thought) ...

The other thing that shrinks the brain is pathological lying. Narcissists usually lie a lot. It tends to escalate too as there is more and more to cover up. Then there is rewarding and punishing people who don't lie for the narcissist. All of this lying has to do with shame (and putting on one face for the Jones's, putting on yet another face for their lover in the extra-marital affair, putting on another for the long suffering husband, putting on another for each child, putting on another for each in-law, and trying to keep the face they show to the lover from being exposed to the Jones's, the inlaw from the kids, the husband from the lover, etc, i.e. trying to keep all of the faces and masks separate).

Picking a favorite golden child among their children who they shower with affection, and rejecting/abusing a scapegoat who sees all of the masks and faces that the narcissist wears, has everything to do with shame. As long as the narcissist feels he can squelch the voice of the scapegoat by calling him insane and not worth listening to, and enhance the voice of the golden by saying how wonderful he is, "the shame monster" is kept at bay for the narcissist too.

Basically shame is at the core of every narcissistic discard, every abuse, every kick, shove, insult, perspecticide, triangulation, favoritism game, interpersonal lecture, every flipped tale about who is the victim and who is the perpetrator, and almost everything they talk about with others ...

Where ever there is a lot of shaming going on, there is usually a lot of other kinds of abuse and lying going on as well.

How I tried to counteract shame-based thinking as a teacher:

I have found, personally, that the only way to motivate children to be interested in school and assignments is to focus on their positive traits, their talents, what they are good at.

I would often decide to focus on an underachiever, or rebellious student, asking him to come on my break or after school (which he thought was either going to be a lecture about how he was failing, or about his discipline problems). Instead, I would give special attention to the talents he already had, and focus his energy on those. I would try to get him out of role, out of character, which is the only way to really change a student's life so that he will have a different attitude about learning. Where does this role come from, this role that he's always an underachiever or rebellious? From his family first, and his peers second. He has been lectured about it incessantly by someone.

I took the tack that these students had already been lectured by parents and other teachers for years over the same issues, and I didn't need to. It hadn't changed anything anyway.

One-on-one student to teacher, giving the child undivided attention is the only way I saw to get them out of the role. Invariably a discussion about how his family was treating him would come out. What were the members of his family doing? Shaming him. This proved to me that families have much more to do with learning disabilities and rebelliousness than schools.

Anyway, I would put up the works in front of the class the next day to show what I liked and as good examples of what the rest of the class might want to try to make their pieces better. I would focus on what the under-achiever was doing right, while never mentioning what they were doing wrong. This worked contrary to what the over-achievers were sometimes expecting, to always be first, to always be the star of the show, to have their work pinned up, so sometimes it motivated them to work much harder (the over-achievers, I found, are really competitive and they want the underachievers to stay in role behind them, are not pleased when underachievers are doing stellar work, and so on). It "raised all boats" as the saying goes.

Grades, which I never liked giving out, can make a child feel ashamed too, and pigeon-holed, so even there, I focused on their strengths (and told them that by law, I had to give out grades). "Don't be discouraged; always do your best" was what I tried to emphasize.

As for the rebellious kids and under-achievers? I think they appreciated that I saw worth in them, and in what they were doing.

With the rebellious kids, I told them they could channel their rebelliousness through art, to make what they were feeling. A lot of them were angry at the schools for putting labels on them and treating everyone like just another cow in a herd. The only way to get out of the herd mentality enforced by the school, was to act up once in awhile, to challenge it. Schools have something to learn from students too, so sometimes these works made it to the bulletin boards in the hallway.

Some of my students told me I changed their life. I like to think it was because I would not accept shame-based roles, and sticking labels on kids, and looked at them as human beings worthy of attention and praise for talents they possessed.

Some of the kids "resented" being taken out of role however, and got angry with me, because they were picked on so much more for being "exceptional". So, sometimes, they just wanted to be unexceptional, because that was what was comfortable to them. It was what people expected of them too, and they went backwards just so they wouldn't be bullied. Yet, I hope eventually they saw that they could open that door back up again, if they wanted, to reject the shaming, even if it had to be in adulthood, to dare to live an authentic life, even if I was no longer in their lives.

"Judge not or lest ye be judged."

Further reading:

11 Ways Narcissists Use Shame to Control -- by Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC

Shaming Children Is Emotionally Abusive: Children Respect Those Who Respect Them -- by Karyl McBride Ph.D. for Psychology Today

Shame -- by Jim Hopper, Ph.D.

Parents who shame kids are committing ‘child abuse’: psychology prof -- by Patricia Kozicka for Global News

Narcissistic Parents Shaming Children Is Comparable To Emotional Abuse -- By Karyl McBride, Ph.D.

How Abusers Rely On Shame To Keep Victims Down  -- by Seraphina Malizia

Toxic Silence: Why Narcissists Go Silent and How to Cope -- by Angela Atkinson

from M. Funkhouser (when it comes to abuse, this is the truth):

from © Emm Roy:

My own:

© from "Boots":

My own:

found on the High Octane Humor website:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

love bombing by narcissists and sociopaths

Note: when I talk about narcissists and sociopaths (Antisocial Personality Disorder), I am talking about the clinical condition in the DSM. See my post on what abuse is and who perpetrates it HERE.

Here is an excellent article about how narcissists groom people to believe they are soul mates.

In this post, author Alex Miles describes the love bombing manipulative tactic as:

... initially carried out through excessive phone calls, text messages, emails, the constant desire to be in close contact whether virtual or physical and the desire to be connected almost every moment of every day ...

... Love bombers are masters at flattery; they will constantly be telling their target how much they adore them, how beautiful they are, how funny, talented, special, precious and any other sweet nothing they can think of. Love bombers will make their partner feel as though they are the only person in the world for them, telling them how grateful they are to finally be understood, what terrible previous relationships they had, how they have found the love of their lives and that they are for-sure certified soul mates ...

Love bombing by narcissists and sociopaths is fraudulent because it is designed to draw a person into a loving, trusting relationship without the intentions of making the relationship loving or trustworthy. Love bombing for narcissists is about obtaining narcissistic supply (attention, flattery and power and control over people) and for sociopaths it is about obtaining IOUs (guilt trips, control, exploitation, extortions, blackmail, and either brutal shaming kinds of discards or vengeful retaliations over the sociopath's need for absolute dominance and sadism in the relationship).

The fact that it is a fraudulent set-up can deeply wound and shock its victims.

You will know that the love-bombing-idealizing-"can't-live-without-you" person is a narcissist or sociopath if they suddenly switch off the love, i.e. stop the behavior without warning and become hyper critical, rejecting and prickly instead. In addition, the reasons for stopping the flow of love with silent treatments and criticisms won't make sense, as most people with normal constitutions know that genuine love cannot be so easily turned off like a faucet. In fact, the person who professed to love you so madly becomes cruel, edgy, dismissive and sometimes even seething.

Narcissists and sociopaths do this to see if you will try to please and placate them (i.e. the victim giving the perpetrator what they want).

In fact, the cruelty gets worse and worse over time (sometimes in a short amount of time, sometimes over years) to see how many and what kinds of excuses, lies, gaslighting, degradation, bullying and dodging the victim will endure before backing away and breaking free from narcissistic or sociopathic bonds. In that way, victims are treated like lab rats where the scientists amp the voltage on the electricity on the rats to see how much pain they will withstand while still accepting bonding with their electrocutors.

In fact, real life (without the rats) reveals that victims of child abuse will typically endure the pain the longest and at the higher levels with their partners because they were taught by their abusive parents to normalize abuse. That is a classic textbook fact that has been studied extensively. It puts them in considerably more danger than people who come from normal supportive families.

If the victim came from a very protective normal family with a lot of inter-generational support, the victim will exit the relationship early on, much earlier than the victims of child abuse, thereby surviving the incidents much better.

Narcissists and sociopaths do not necessarily know these facts, so their experiments with amp-ing up the pain and cruelty on their victims, and figuring out when to enact their discards are purely for self serving, trauma bonding purposes.

The cruelty of love bombing followed by a discard feels very much like date rape. The trauma from the experience is extremely similar in duration and in terms of how it feels for victims. In other words, they accept the relationship (or date), and are brutally treated and abused (or raped) by their perpetrator.

However in terms of society's attitudes, date rape is taken much more seriously where an arrest can made, and where the staff at a hospital can help intervene to get the victim the help she (or he) needs.

With brutal love-bombing-idealization, devalue, discard treatment from a narcissist or sociopath, the victim has no real support from any kind of authority unless he or she goes searching for it. Traumatized victims tend to self-isolate, so it is often very hard to get the help needed. This puts victims at an extreme disadvantage in terms of feeling safe from their perpetrators compared to date rape victims.

If the love-bombing-idealization, devalue, discard treatment came from a parent, the trauma is even more pronounced than it is between partners because it is in a children's DNA to trust a parent to care about them, at least when they are still a child. Love bombing and idealizations from previously abusive parents should never be trusted. Parents love bomb their children out of their own insecurities: this is very common when the child is not sticking to the role the narc parent prescribed (highly successful scapegoats and failure criminal addicted goldens are highly challenging for a narc parent and love bombing gets them back into their children's lives to get the roles straightened out, or so they hope). Children who are in the public eye may make previously abusive rejecting parents highly uncomfortable where love bombing seems like the perfect antidote to avoid the fall-out of being exposed. Children who are highly successful in law or law enforcement may also make abusive parents uncomfortable enough to love bomb. These are all highly manipulative and untrustworthy, but many children fall for love bombing (at least once), if only to have a relationship that they have never had with their parent, a loving relationship. Most will eventually find out that the love was not real at all.

Why narcissists use love bombing:

The love bombing maneuver is the first move in a narcissist's bag of awful tricks and one he (or she) is most comfortable with and provides the most satisfaction in terms of obtaining narcissistic supply. It is gratifying to the narcissist that it often works, and that victims are so easily susceptible to it.

It most resembles seduction, but it is more insidious if only because there is a brutal ending to the seduction.

The targets chosen for love bombing tend to have low self esteem, are uneasy about their own decision-making capabilities, are susceptible to being talked into things, are highly empathetic, seem gullible, and were most likely groomed in childhood to believe they deserved abuse and/or abandonment (and are therefore love starved). They might have also been taught as children that they didn't deserve boundaries of privacy either (therefore were/are open to inappropriate interrogations and enmeshment). They may not, as children, had any true ownership and decision-making power over their own toys, projects or clothes.

The narcissist can find that indecisive, insecure empaths bend to his will a lot more easily than other types of people, so that is why they are chosen. Adult children of child abuse are hand-picked by narcissists and sociopaths as soul mates because they seem like the easiest targets to persuade -- in all kinds of ways. One reason why narcissists and sociopaths feel that victims of child abuse are their soul mates is that they think that the victim of child abuse will put the narcissist at the center of their world and attention, just like the target put their abusive parent at the center of their world when they were growing up. The narcissist slowly inserts the power and control into the relationship, like a poison, including making decisions for the victim. They try out making their "soul mates" walk on eggshells first, then perhaps a little love starving or silent treatment here and there, taking away friends and family slowly and deliberately too (isolation), testing gaslighting strategies and trauma bonding strategies after that, and eventually when they have their victims into a state of bondage and confusion, they explain away the abuse with blaming, blame shifting, confusing flipped tales, deflections, nit picking, projection, lectures and dodging (in other words, word salad arguments). This strips the victim of autonomy, thinking for himself and control over his own life, the same way the parents took these things away from the victim when he (or she) was a child.

In fact, the abusive partner tries to groom his lover into a child-like marionette for himself.

Effective cult leaders love bomb in order to obtain new recruits and getting people to worship them.

Why sociopaths use love bombing:

Sociopaths use love bombing in order to get what they want from the other person. They don't demand flattery and adulation so much as exploitation. They want to get as much as they can for as little as they can. They use what ever power they have at their disposal to get more out of a situation than they give.

Sociopaths are notorious for price bargaining and expect IOUs over any kindness or mercy at all. In the movie "Shelter", about the homeless in new York City, a man lets a homeless woman sleep on a hard concrete boiler room floor in a building so long as she provides him with sex (the sex is demeaning and sometimes brutal as well). There is a power imbalance, and the man uses his power over the desperate homeless woman who is caught outside in a raging snow storm with nowhere to sleep for the night, and exploits the situation for his own gratitude: it is typical sociopathic exploitative behavior with a degrading IOU attached to it.

Obviously this scene has nothing to do with love bombing, but a sociopath may think love bombing is necessary if he wants something from someone with more wealth or social prestige. Love bombing is also used on people who can get him out of jail or prison. He might feel love bombing is necessary to get co-operation for a revenge of some sort. Love bombing might be necessary to take advantage of a situation which the sociopath thinks will provide him with a life of little work, more relaxation, more leisure, more wealth. Power is sought for its own sake, not for the sake of an empathetic vision, though the sociopath might pretend he is an empath to get into a position of power (and later try to stage things, trump up conspiracies, create confusion and chaos to solidify his power).

While sociopaths can try to work up the same kinds of gaslighting and trauma-bonding strategies over their victims that narcissists use, sometimes they take control right away, making a person hostage.

Sociopaths take the path of least resistance to get what they want and love bombing is used only when the sociopath feels it must be used to obtain one of his desires (usually at the expense of the other person).

Love bombing is used for conquest only.

Sociopaths tend to work alone as much as they can. They rarely trust others. They also tend to think that everyone is too stupid to pull off the effective manipulative maneuvers that they deem they are superior at.

How to tell if the love is real or not real

It is sometimes really hard to tell if the love and soul-mate pronouncements are real or not real. The best way to tell is to study the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder (another link) to see if the person love bombing you has any of the traits of these personality disorders, though it is hard to tell in the beginning.

In the meantime, you may want to figure out if all of the love-of-my-life pronouncements are for-real or a scam (before you get hurt). Here is one way to tell:

On narcissists:

Narcissists can't stand any kind or amount of criticism:

The love bombing will stop for narcissists if they feel at all criticized by you, or if you want to take the relationship really slow. Love bombing is also likely to stop when you are comfortable with them, and under their control. If you really want to find out whether you are having a whirl-wind romance with a narcissist, criticize them over something minor (perhaps about creativity, boundaries, respect, empathy, anything that narcissists tend to lack) and see if they blow up at you, or get distant, insulting and rejecting. They cannot stand to be seen as a regular person with flaws. While normal people will bristle over being criticized, and can feel hurt, narcissists will either go on the attack, or feel so wounded and hurt that they will withdraw from you and try to make you feel insecure about their love. You will quickly get the feeling that they cannot handle criticism at all, in any kind of  normal way.

Narcissists tend to lack creativity. They tend to be very formulaic. So, if you are going to criticize them, how they could improve one of their projects with creativity, would be the area to try out the experiment. Watch their expressions.

Narcissists can't stand boundaries and the fact that you think about other people or things other than them:

The other thing that narcissists hate is boundaries. One of the reason they love bomb you and appear to have the greatest sympathy for you is to break through your boundaries and get to know what makes you tick.

Narcissists have a track record of idealize, devalue, discard cycles in their relationships and they pretend they are victims in their past relationships:

Right off: real victims go to therapy, and they are usually in therapy for a long time, and often with other survivors, and they usually get diagnosed with PTSD. They usually read a lot about abuse and have an understanding of the subject. Note: do not confuse therapy with couples counseling which narcissists are sometimes willing to do. We're talking domestic abuse counseling, narcissistic abuse counseling or trauma-related counseling.

Narcissists almost never go to therapy unless their reputations are on the line from public exposure, or they don't want to lose narcissistic supply from a lover or spouse, or they are court-ordered. Narcissists blame others and try to suck in others (empaths) for sympathy for their pretend-victim status.

Narcissists also tend to take up other relationships (especially with their victims' rivals or best friends -- anything that hurts the target) very quickly after a relationship has broken off. They also tend to take extravagant vacations and cruises, or go on expensive shopping sprees, or buy luxury items after the dissolution of their relationships, whereas normal people tend to isolate themselves and get depressed. Real victims also tend to get very skittish about getting into new relationships after they have been victimized and tend to want to go very, very slow: in other words, they are generally NOT the love bombing types of people.

So, if your date (or new friend) has a lot of victim stories, find out if they have gotten treated in therapy for it and how long (get proof). Find out if they just left a relationship (big red flag as real victims don't go hunting for a new relationship or love bomb a new person right after a breakup). Dig into their past to find out if they leave victims behind or if they were victimized because they were groomed to take abuse as a child (child abuse). Are they a scapegoat of their family, or are they a golden child? If they are a scapegoat, they are more likely to be real victims. If they are a golden child be aware that over half of golden children grow up to be bullies with entitlement issues (making them primed to be a narcissist).

If there are also signs of idealize, devalue, discard in their past relationships, you are probably dealing with a love-bombing narcissist who manipulates people.

Narcissists are glib and arrogant:

Most narcissists pretend they are experts and superior at everything and that you need to listen to their expertise, advice and lectures. They also tend to be charming. They give a little too much advice. They pretend to be interested in all of the same things you are interested in (mirroring), but they act as though they have superior knowledge of those interests.

They ask way too many questions of you while not revealing even a tiny fraction of those same subjects about themselves. Do not mistake this manipulation tactic as their being interested or enthralled with you.

On sociopaths:

They are also a Cluster B like a narcissist, so there are some similarities, but the difference is that they don't necessarily go into a rage when you criticize them, they don't have the kind of abuse cycles that narcissists do (they tend to discard you for good and move on to other prey), they don't like societal attention or detection, they tend to fib quite a lot more than narcissists, and they tend to be even more exploitative than narcissists.

Sociopaths look very uncomfortable when a conversation topic turns to empathy.

Watch their facial expressions or boredom when this topic comes up. Rarely will they look engaged or look people in the eye when this topic takes a dominant place. Mostly they look away. If they do engage, they will not be in agreement with an empathetic view-point. Sociopaths are into punishments, retaliation and they make "they deserve what they had coming to them" kinds of statements.

Sociopaths hate it when you want to slow things down

That is because they want what they want, and they want it NOW! The more you slow things down, or show them that they aren't any more important than others in your life, the less they can overtake you with their own agenda. Sociopaths are not good at wait ... and wait .... and wait.

Sociopaths aren't attracted to you when they feel that knowing you is of no benefit to them:

If you think that the person you just got to know is a sociopath, and you want him to disengage, appear really boring, to have nothing that will be of interest to him (finances, connections, compassion for his plight, sex, anything you can think of). Giving back any gifts is also a pretty good idea. Dressing down is another good idea. With sociopaths, you have to appear confident in yourself and your boundaries. They like easy prey, and if you make it clear that your boundaries are firm, that you are surrounded by protection, and that you have nothing to offer them, they usually go away unless they are totally obsessed with you.

If you are an empath, pretend NOT to be an empath. They target empaths by the boatloads for abuse.

If they are obsessed with you, or keep trying to contact you when you have said "no", or they want to make an example of you, call the police (with evidence). Sometimes criticizing them and/or exposing them will usually make them back off too. They may want to retaliate because of the actions you take, but they usually won't if you make it very clear that there is absolutely nothing about you that is of any use to them, including any ego boosts or reciprocity of feelings, and that you are surrounded by other people who love you and protect you.

Also making it known that you don't keep secrets, especially theirs, can work too.

Sociopaths generally insult others a lot (it is their favorite pastime), and especially behind their backs in long cynical, if sometimes humorous condemnations, so if you insult them a little in return, especially if you are the opposite sex, that is a language they understand. Make sure not to get taken in by their escalations of bigger and bigger insults: you just want to send them the one-time message to back off and leave you alone.

Generally, it is not a good idea to insult anyone (it is a form of verbal abuse), but if done right, and once, it can also be one of the few ways sociopaths understand that there is nothing in the relationship for them. Contempt, disgust and disapproval are emotional-type boundaries that tend to work so much better on sociopaths than, say, telling them how hurt you are by their actions and their complete lack of empathy, why you need to be left alone, why you can't seem to tolerate their particular personality or ways of doing things. The former usually gets them going off in another direction, whereas the latter keeps them coming back at you.

Making it very clear that you won't be taken in by ANY love bombing at all, no matter how much they try, and showing disgust about it and them may be a good idea when it comes to the sociopath.

Sociopaths leave a trail of victims who no longer want to associate with them.

That is because the wounding, threats and betrayal that sociopaths do is great.

If you talk to the sociopath's victims, they usually complain of the sociopath's need for pathological control. Sociopaths don't give up on a "punishment" or other sanction/maltreatment unless they have what they want from you. Sociopaths are also noted for using medications, mind control, cult-like persuasion, brainwashing, forced addiction to alcohol or drugs on their victims, threats, staged incidents, re-telling of the events or feelings of others, scare tactics, or some other penance to control their victims.

"You should never have done that" or "said that" is a typical phrase of the sociopath if and when you look into their past, tell of a past incident you don't like that they were part of, or even contact someone from their past.

If the sociopath has children, most of them try to get out of child support payments at some point during their lives whether they are rich or poor, so that is another sign. In general, sociopaths like to break agreements, promises and boundaries.

All sociopaths tend to be sadistic in some way. They get off  on hurting or punishing others who do not go along with their agendas. They particularly enjoy the punishment of animals and small children. So look into their past for these signs.

Sociopaths have very few, if any, close friends.

Love bombing of a child after the child has been discarded (estranged, shunned, punished by ostracism by a narcissistic or sociopathic parent for a few years):

When narcissistic and sociopathic parents love bomb their estranged children to try to get them back in the family or back into a role again, it is called hoovering. I have yet to do a post on hoovering, but basically it comes down to love bombing with the idealize, devalue, discard cycle of abuse (the idealization stage being the love bombing stage).

Children are often not especially valuable sources of narcissistic supply. Most children do not idealize a parent beyond ten years old. The reason why is that they were meant, by biology, to grow up and move away to start their own families. They are also not good supply because they know too much about their parent, and are usually onto them even when they don't say so. Information within a family is so porous and leaky that the narcissist is more likely to be dealing with shame and depression in the long run, especially in old age, if they try to turn their children into narcissistic supply.

But narcissists are bold and brazen, and most try to make their children into supply anyway, just for the hell of it. They overwhelmingly use triangulation, gaslighting, trauma-bonding, parentifying, infantilizingperfectionism and word salad arguments as their main on-going weapons against their own children.

Estranged, ostracized, shunned, rejected children are very, very common for narcissistic and sociopathic parents. It is usually the family scapegoats that are left out of the family. In contrast, it is so extremely rare for the rest of the population to treat children the way that abusive parents do. If narcissists or sociopaths are ever exposed about their abuse, they can meet with dismissal and derision from society (and this is when the tear-soaked "I have sinned" public displays come out, along with the love bombing of the children they dumped).

So, as you can see, making children into narcissistic supply for the narcissist has many drawbacks.

Some of the reasons why parents hoover (love bomb) has been talked about earlier, but if you are trying to look for signs to keep from getting into a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath, the following are better tell-tale signs of hoovering children:
* one sign of narcissists and sociopaths is that they are estranged from at least one of their children. This is usually the scapegoat child. They absolutely need a scapegoat to keep the bad deeds they do to others from being exposed and attributed to them, so they adopt one of their children to take all of the blame for their deeds instead. This is the big reason perpetrators pretend to be the victims of their scapegoat estranged children. However, children who are estranged don't make very good garbage cans for blame. Cluster B disordered parents cannot blame someone who is so far outside of the family that no one knows where he lives or what he is doing, has no contact with anyone in the family, so hoovering here and there becomes the way of continuing to effectively scapegoat, especially if there are any eyes on the situation.
* when the golden child is not satisfying them enough, isn't giving them the narcissistic supply they demand -- and they demand A WHOLE LOT, so it is not uncommon for friction to arise with the golden at some point and for an ostracized scapegoat child to be hoovered back in to challenge the golden
* when the golden child dies and all that is left is the scapegoat, so even if the scapegoat has been discarded for years, the narcissist will usually try to hoover the scapegoat back in to take the golden child's place
* the narcissists or sociopath are publicly exposed or they feel they are in danger of being exposed and rush to love bomb their estranged child to keep the child "from talking" (hoping the child will display loyalty to his parent in return for parental love bombing)

Love bombing sentences to estranged children:
* "I always loved you. You are my child, but you didn't see it, so we spent all of those years apart."
* "I really wanted to know you better, but you seemed more comfortable not having a parent in your life."
* "I wanted you back in my life, but you never came back to apologize like I expected you to."
* "I'm not a perfect parent. I make mistakes. So, I asked you to leave and not contact me. Big deal! Get over it! Now I love you! So accept it!"
* "I made a mistake. I really wanted to know you, but (golden child) was so much more persuasive and loving towards me."
* "You and I weren't getting along then, but I loved you the entire time you were gone, so we should just forgive and forget the past."
* "We didn't have the same perspectives. But sometimes perspectives change. And now I see value in you where I didn't before."
* "I thought our relationship was too damaged to fix. So I didn't try. But now I see that it wasn't damaged because my love for you carried on through the years when you were absent."

This is all manipulative B.S. and word salad by the way, and indicative of the honeymoon stage in the cycle of abuse. Narcissists and sociopaths so rarely change their behavior or views that they cannot be counted on to be trustworthy. These kinds of statements show absolutely no awareness, empathy or love of any kind. The only sign of them wanting to really change into a loving human being instead of an abusing or rejecting one is their desire for total rehabilitation (i.e. a commitment to learn about their condition from professionals, reflection into their past and the childhood abuse they endured and genuinely wanting to stop it from continuing down through the generations, on-going therapy with a domestic violence counselor, anger management classes, a commitment to child abuse causes and the healing of its victims, etc). Even if they do all of this, which is extremely doubtful, they can never entirely be counted on in terms of telling the truth about loving their children in any on-going, promise-laden, empathetic way (or their grandchildren either). "A leopard never changes its spots" should always be heeded, I believe, and if they totally surprise you that they have changed (it takes years and years), then they have done themselves a service whether the people around them can put stock in it or not.

With sociopathic parents therapy doesn't make sense because they will take what they learned for more abusive "tricks and tactics". I'm not a believer in sociopaths transforming into anything other than double-trouble sociopaths, with even more sadistic games up their sleeves.

Children of abuse or abandonment should always have their guard up at all times -- my philosophy. If you have PTSD, trying to have a relationship with your abusive parent again or even seeing them, may make your PTSD soar and get so much worse. It's a case-by-case basis. I personally would never share intimate personal details about your life with them under any circumstances.

For more on how narcissists and sociopaths treat their children, you can go to the following posts:

Narcissists and Children -- my own post
Sociopaths and Children -- my own post
Psychopaths are unable to love their own children — here’s why -- by Lindsay Dodgson (this is a good article, however the research on the role of the Golden child is from only one source, and woefully inadequate and inaccurate -- from all of my own studies and research the conclusion is that half of golden children become ultra-empaths and half become bullies/Cluster Bs: see favoritism in the family ... in another post I will address why there are two drastically differing Goldens).
The Dysfunctional Ways a Family Protects a Narcissist -- by Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC, for Psych Central (note: this article has to do with narcissists who stay in one marriage. Cheating narcissists, huge enmeshed families, and broken families with step parents change the dynamic Ms. Hammond talks about quite a bit -- there is actually more hope for breaking the tradition of domestic abuse being passed down the generations when step parents and inlaws enter into a family like this).

Following love bombing by a narcissist or sociopath, there is usually a discard phase, as I have mentioned:

The reasons for discards are spelled out by Dale Archer, M.D. in this Psychology Today article:

1. The devalued partner no longer supplies what attracted the love bomber in the first place. Seeing his partner as exhausted, broke, depressed, or less attractive, the bomber discards her for someone shiny and new.

2. The devalued partner gets fed up and starts pushing back, demanding reciprocity for sacrifices or defending boundaries, making it clear she refuses to be manipulated anymore. Feeling exposed, the love bomber discards his non-compliant partner for one who doesn’t yet see behind his mask of phony perfection.

3. The love bomber uses the discard as part of the manipulation, fully planning to reconnect in the future. Think of it like devaluation on steroids. He disappears, sometimes without warning, leaving the victim feeling devastated and confused. Then days, and sometimes months later, he reappears, out of the blue, professing undying love and promising to change. Curiously absent in many cases is an apology. Instead, the return is a test of his power and control, a challenge to see if his discarded partner can be conned into another round of abuse. If so, the cycle repeats.

Whether the discard is followed up with a honeymoon phase, largely depends on whether the partner can be honeymooned back into the relationship. If there have been a lot of rounds of the abuse cycle, most partners realize it is a bad habit and start to separate, at least emotionally first. Love does not mean a cycle of idealizations and discards, and most everyone knows that.

For children, the situation can be quite different. While disordered parents expect a round of idealizations and discards with children too, their plans for a cycle of abuse go awry in a way that they don't for partners.

For young children who are discarded, it means going off to live with the other parent or guardian who will have quite a lot more influence than the narcissist (the narcissist can find that love bombing does not work at all on children they want back, that children feel high levels of anxiety and distress with a parent who discards, leading to life long estrangement).

For adult children, a parental discard means spending a lot more time with their own families or peers, which is the natural order of life anyway. The difference is that in normal families, parents have some input, and their input is welcomed and appreciated. Adult children of rejecting narcissistic parents do not want the input of their parent because the adult child does not want their own children to be exposed to experiencing idealizations and discards. This is the main reason for permanent estrangements (note: this does not come from a professional study; it comes from my own observations in forums for survivors of child abuse. Protecting their kids from grandparent discards or watching the grandparent discard is by far the predominant and overwhelming reason for permanent child-parent estrangements).

Children also experience the love bombing/discard experience differently than partners. Most adult children state (from forums again) that they felt that the experience resembled being brought up a mountain (love bombing stage) and then being shoved off of a high cliff once at the top (discard phase). In other words, it was just too painful to repeat again. Many children of narcissistic parents experience discards during the worst points of their lives too (major surgeries, major illnesses, being diagnosed with a life threatening disease, the death of their other parent, losing a child, etc). Parents like this do their discards during traumatic times for a reason: it has to do with the parent trying to get their child to trauma bond with them, which I will cover in another post.

For more on how narcissists apologize in order to love bomb discards, you can read the following post by psychologist Alexander Burgemeester: The Narcissist and Apology.

Always remember that love bombing is abuse!

Author Dale Archer, M.D. spells out the reasons why love bombing is abuse in the same Psychology Today article:

The important thing to remember about love bombing is that it is psychological partner abuse, period. When one person intentionally manipulates and exploits another’s weakness or insecurity, there’s no other word for it. Love is not about controlling who you see or what you do.

Healthy relationships build slowly, and are based on a series of actions, not a flood of words. Love bombers are experts at talking, but when held accountable for their words, they tend to lash out. It’s normal to feel confused, or betrayed, and the urge to make excuses for the love bomber is strong, because they’ve worked hard to tie your self-esteem to their good opinion. And that’s what makes this cycle of idealization, devaluation, and discard so devastating. Love bombers exploit the natural human need for self worth, and turn it into shame, regret, and self-loathing.

Further reading:

Love bombing -- from Wikipedia

** recommended: What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You” -- from the narcissist's point of view (posted by Athena Staik, Ph.D.)

Love Bombing: A Seductive & Manipulative Technique. -- by Alex Miles

** recommended: 5 Ways to Disarm a Love Bombing Sociopath -- from the True Love Scam Recovery website

The Secret Language of Narcissists: How Abusers Manipulate their Victims. -- by popular author, Shahiba Arabi

** recommended: How to Tell the Difference Between Narcissistic Love Bombing and Healthy Romantic Interest -- by Angela Atkinson from the Queen-Being website

What it is like to date a narcissist -- by Kerri Sackville

How and Why Narcissists Are Highly Skilled Abusers -- by Julia Hall

10 Signs You’re Putting Other People on Pedestals -- by Lenora Thompson for Psych Central

Avoiding Toxic People: Gas-Lighting & Love-Bombing -- by T├ímara Hill, MS, LPC for Psych Central

11 Things NOT To Do With Narcissists -- by Dan Neuharth, PhD MFT

5 Scientific Secrets to Handling a Narcissist -- by Eric Barker (note: the first bit of advice is NOT about how to handle them). The real crux of how to deal with them comes later: it means walking away, starving them of narcissistic supply, not hiring them for jobs, not listening to their "expertise", not getting involved in romantic relationships with them, not trying to parent with them, not getting involved in projects with them, not believing what they have to say, not trying to be close to them, not interact with them, etc -- in conclusion: just walk away).

One trait or behavior does not make a sociopath – look for a pattern of traits and behaviors -- by Donna Anderson

How Cults Work -- by CultWatch (discusses Love Bombing -- a very similar technique to narcissists and sociopaths in terms of how they try to isolate you from family and/or friends)
Sex and Aural Energy ("I always say, never sleep with someone you wouldn't want to be" -- part of the article)

How To Tell If Your Partner Truly Loves You -- by Katie and Jay Hendricks