On one of the narcissistic abuse (n/a) channels, a speaker (not Simon) talked about a concern that n/a is leaving the realms of the professionals and has become a mainstream-healing topic which is frequently not getting the depth of psychological attention it deserves. He asked for comments and I would like to share my reply with you for the sake of letting you know where I stand on the topic. By naming it and sharing it, you might be more empowered to navigate your journey more powerfully as well.
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The problem is that too many therapists have been blind to narcissistic abuse when it is “only” invisible (not joined by physical abuse) – most are inept at recognizing the symptoms and clueless about remedy. Christine Canonville is a therapist and criminologist from Ireland who is creating awareness among therapists (and now the legal system) about coercive and ambient abuse. Through her youtube talk to therapists in Ireland, I learned the term co-narcissist (the targeted person) and her description of such a person shed brilliant light on the topic.
Prior to that, I had seen various professionals (psychologists and therapists) and it took years for ONE therapist to finally name that “narcissistic abuse” was probably the hand I’d been dealt. BUT he concluded by saying that the narcissistic family member “really loved me.” Another therapist said that what I was probably dealing with was cultural patriarchy (Israeli / Iraqi family). Both of these intelligent therapists gave me partial truths due to their own lack of awareness. They both missed the mark. As did many before them.
Over the last year, the youtube stations which are education-oriented, critical-thinking oriented, and where people share personal experiences authentically without being victim/overly emotional oriented have been the most healing balm for me. I agree Richard Grannon and Vital Mind are excellent. And I have also appreciated 3 women: Meredith Miller, Permission to Exist as well as Surviving to Thriving. NOT for their accuracy but for examples of people maintaining a sober attitude and clear thinking while sharing their difficult experiences as well as their experiments in new behaviors and outcomes – with their kids, new spouses, in relationships and at work.
Through them, for the first time, I could see that I am not alone. For the first time, I could feel validated at the levels of depth of toxic shame which I experienced for so many years in isolation. I could witness people who experienced similar challenges making it through to the other side. Not perfectly. But beautifully. The literature prior to theirs was extremely limited and the psychologists who talked about it offered very little hope at any sort of healing. You wonder why people are shifting away from psychologists and professionals? This is why I did.
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To be clear, I am not a fan of n/a forums or groups. I’m not interested in joining them. But I am interested in learning from those who are pioneering the conversation. At JBL, our n/a conversation sits in a much wider context: Empower your joy. Embody your truth. Live your dreams. The people I work with and coach are people who are committed to the larger conversation. My take on it: if n/a is getting in your way, then learn about it, get straight to the healing modalities that work, and apply them to your life. Snap out of it as quickly as possible. And get on with living.
Ha! While searching for a feature image for this post, I entered the phrase “together is Better” and a book by one of my favorite speakers, leaders and teachers appeared in the results. So… Simon Sinek… I’m happy to plug your beautiful book!
Here’s to more joy empowered, more truth embodied and more dreams fully lived.
2 thoughts on “Wonder why people are shifting away from psychologists and therapists? This is why I did.”
I’m glad you raised the issue about why some are shifting away from therapists. People can and do get better, recover their lives and thrive after narcissistic abuse without seeing a therapist. It is good to know this, in my own experience my life got better only after I got rid of the therapist. When I sent for couples counseling my narcissist partner charmed the therapist. The blinders the therapist wore were absolute because my now ex was the clinical director of a mental health center and the therapist at one time was his student.
He knew exactly what to say and I was then victimized by the therapist that enabled him to continue to be monstrous. It turns out my now ex’s clients were exploited, used, manipulated and gas lighted by their therapist. Mental health was the perfect place for a predator to hide because no one believes the victims.
Another family member, a therapist as well, masters victim blaming to the point her clients get suicidal and must be hospitalized without understanding the dynamic because she is a relationship “expert.” She fosters their dependence on her while her ability to push buttons and trigger them makes her feel powerful. She wants gratitude and adulation from them and wears the master therapist button with unending arrogance. It is not surprising that after I survived these narcissists I got an education that allowed me to investigate mental health providers malfeasance for the State government.
What I saw makes me shudder, I suspect a large number of narcs go into the profession and that statistically there is a higher concentration of narcissists that are therapists then other professions. I did a research paper on recovery, the participants that experienced real recovery from the wounds and damage of narcs credited the mutual support of other survivors as the number 1 best help toward recovery. Therapists were at the bottom of the list with several of the cohort commenting their therapists did more harm then good. I investigated thousands of complaints about all manner of incompetent therapist. Some were just incompetent, others were sociopaths and most quite invested in their ego.
My caveat is this therapy is okay if:
1. They aren’t a narcissist themselves
2. They aren’t game playing head tripping, ego driven Dr. Phil wannabees
3. The therapist understands you are central in your own recovery
4. They understand what the dynamics of a non-relationship is when a narcissist is one of the partners
5. That their time with you is limited as you find your own way and you will
6. They are essential honest about their limitations and they work hard to learn
7. That peers are the most powerful influence in recovery as is the courage of the person recovering themselves.
8. They aren’t into labeling everyone that comes through their doors with a mental illness (scarlet letter and something narcs love to see happen to their victims.
Many people told me over the years, and I bear witness that this is my own experience if I’d stayed in therapy I would never found my way into a better life. As one said “I only improved when I divorced the therapist”. When I’ve spoken in groups of peers about this, if a therapist finds their way into the audience they raise hell about that statement. Because it is after all, all about them in their minds and this is the red flag for a narc therapist that they are more interested in their reputation than the recovery of those that dealt with the abuse.
Good on you for trusting YOU, Grace Mercy Joy. Thank you for sharing your experience. It will give others a boost of strength if they are looking for such a message. WE GOT THIS.