Double-bind, no-win as key to figuring out real-world narcissism

I believe I am well-suited to providing a key to figuring out if you are being tormented by a narcissist or are caught up in a narcissistic social structure, family or otherwise.

My qualifications are I was uniquely incapable of figuring this stuff out for many years. Being uniquely incapable qualifies me because I really know what it’s like to be abused by narcs for long periods of time, decades of time. I was also a serial fool, falling for more than one narc, more than one narc situation.

Cut to the chase: The key to figuring out narcissists and narcissistic situations is the double-bind, the no-win. Narcs put you in double-binds and enjoy watching you squirm. That’s how you can identify them.

I was raised in a narcissistic home. As Scapegoat, I accepted the program since that was all I knew. As a kid I had no clue.

Looking back, I do remember the frustration of being trapped in no-win situations. But at the time, I had no concept that these situations had been created or managed by one or more of my narc family members.

The key to understanding why narcs use double-binds is understanding that at their core narcs are very simple. Narcs want narcissistic supply. If you don’t give them supply, they will get mad at you. If you do give them supply, they will act like they like you.

Like or don’t like. That is the core of a narc’s social psychology. It is two-polar.

If you are a Golden Child (GC), the narc will like you till they don’t. If you are a Scapegoat (SG), the narc will probably always hate you though they do enjoy watching you suffer and may appear to like you when you do.

A GC’s ‘s life is dedicated to avoiding narc anger while feeding the narc with supply. An SG’s life is filled with being caught in some kind of double-bind. The best an SG can do is not be noticed.

GC’s have it worse than SG’s because a GC is raised to be especially shallow. Very hard for them to get beyond that.

The presence of a GC and SG in the typical narcissistic family structure is a result of the narcissistic parent’s or parents’ need to either like or hate. So they like one child and hate the other. It really is that simple.

So, if you think you are dealing with a narcissist, the way to tell is they will put you in double-bind, no-win situations. No matter what you do, you will be wrong. You may not notice what’s happening at first, but you probably will feel it. You will feel frustrated, nervous, anxious, sad, or have a nagging sense that something’s not right. Once you are sure of what you are seeing, get the fuck out of there. It’s almost impossible to fix a narc.

If you are in a GC or similar position with a narc (even as an adult), it will be harder for you to see what is happening, but you may be able to see other people being trapped in double-binds.

One more point—narcs are very good good at impression management and torturing select people. It can be very hard to see what they are doing because most of what they do may be done behind your back. A full-on narcissist is a very simple (two-polar) but vicious individual. There is no point in hating them, let alone challenging or trying to fix them. Their simple two-polar nature makes it almost impossible for them to change.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and Functional Interpersonal Meta Linguistics

Functional Interpersonal Meta Linguistics (FIML) is the use of language to understand interpersonal communication.

More precisely, it is the use of language to completely understand real-world, real-time interpersonal communication events.

FIML disables psychological presupposition and framing whether emotional, psychological, intellectual, or other. This happens because FIML only uses data agreed upon by both partners.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is sometimes described as a “brain orgasm.” It is a feeling of profound clarity and may be accompanied by tingling sensations, pleasant light-headedness, or a sense that the blood and nerves are flushed with a clean feeling.

ASMR is often associated with tactile or sensory perceptions, but a successful FIML event can also produce ASMR sensations.

The pleasure of a successful FIML event comes from a state of psychological disarray resolving into everything being in the right place, all the pieces coming together as they should.

Once experienced during FIML practice, ASMR acts as an additional reward to having resolved a state of confusing communication into something wonderful. It is a pleasure to figure something out with FIML and also it is an even greater pleasure to have that accompanied by an ASMR brain orgasm.

Give it a shot. Two people who care about each other. It’s not that hard to do and will change your life.

In praise of psychologists

Psychologists work with many people while also having large bodies of information collected by other psychologists. This allows them to see patterns that individuals working alone cannot see on their own.

I am a lone worker on the edge of the field of psychology. I see things very much from a linguistic or psycho-linguistic point of view. I am not well-trained in any of those fields but I am fairly well self-educated in them. I think my perspective has allowed me to see something no one else, to my knowledge, has seen. And that is the need for a practice like FIML.

That said, I have been intellectually limited by my poor ability to see the patterns in human behavior that so many psychologists can see.

My main example of this comes from my long quest to understand my self and the family I grew up in. This quest led me to gradually understand the narcissism of my parents and vaguely grasp how this affected me and my siblings.

I learned the concept of narcissism from psychology but had trouble applying it to my family. The dynamics of two parents and four children confused me. I have read a fair amount about the dynamics of narcissistic households, but never fully grasped how that applied to me and my family.

My FIML partner has explained it to me many times, even including naming which of my siblings was the Golden Child (one of my sisters) and who was the Scapegoat (me), but I never was able to grasp the logical simplicity of the whole-family narcissistic dynamic.

Until I read The Narcissistic Family Structure. I saw that short essay for the first time the day before yesterday and after reading it felt like all the pieces had at last fallen into place.

I felt deeply relieved, even liberated, to read that post. My dad was the overt narcissist as described, my mom was his narcissistic enabler, one of my sisters was the Golden Child and I was the Scapegoat. It was clear as a bell. My other sibs were the “other children.”

The structure is fairly simple once you see it. I bet it’s one of several basic default dynamics that can occur in any small hierarchical group, including the nuclear family.

Only the work of many psychologists over many decades could have produced such an elegant description. After reading it, in addition to feeling relieved of a burden and happy to see the whole puzzle fitted together, I also felt a kind of unemotional thought compassion or existential compassion for my family.

My Golden Child sister, who has grown into a narc herself and who can be exceptionally underhanded, is truly not to blame. She had it even worse than me. I was isolated and demeaned, but my situation also forced me to see that something was wrong. My sister has never figured her role out because her role rewarded her for being underhanded while preventing her from seeing anything else.

My dad died at a fairly young age. After that, my mom flared into full-blown overt narcissism for a few years, but then quieted down. Without his support, she didn’t have enough fuel. About fifteen years after my dad died she even cam to me on her own and provided me with an extensive apology and revision of my/our past. She admitted everything without my prompting and without either of us having any understanding of narcissistic family dynamics. I respect her immensely for that.

I hope that any psychologists reading this will note that my mom really did turn around. She really had been a narcissist with malicious traits and she really did apologize for all of it extensively and over a period of several years.

I also want to thank the profession of psychology for having been able to accumulate enough knowledge to abstract out the basic structure of narcissistic families. I could not have done that on my own.

My FIML partner was crucial to my finally seeing the light. She held to her explanation for almost ten years before I at last got the point. I love it when people do that—stick to their guns for years for your benefit. It’s quite rare and very beautiful.

It may be that as the Scapegoat it was hard for me to see the forest for the trees. I know it was very hard to see my dad critically or to stop idolizing my Golden Child sister. As a Scapegoat child, I learned to accept the drama as presented. My dad was perfect and my sister was beyond awesome.

I write this stuff on the off-chance that someone will benefit from it, much as I did from the post linked above. I think it’s also part of being a former Scapegoat—you spend all your time trying to figure people out.

You could explain FIML as the mind of a Scapegoat forever wondering what is going on.

And also, FIML does transcend one individual’s psychology to reveal a method of finding the deeply unique patterns that make up the intricate structures of all individuals.

The Narcissistic Family Structure

NM: I can’t believe [recently-deceased spouse] NF would have spoken against me…

There are five “roles” within a Narcissistic Family structure:

  • The head parent/spouse – Will be an overt N with a virtual God-complex within the home, or a covert N who controls the family using an overt N spouse as a shield. Usually a Malignant Narcissist who may take extreme measures to maintain the status quo.
  • The secondary parent/spouse – A weaker-willed enabler/codependent of the overt N, or the overt N thug and scapegoat of a covert N who will set up the secondary as the public head of the family. The Overt N may also be a Malignant Narcissist, though not as consistently malicious as the Head N.
  • The Golden Child – A common term referring to the preferred child within a family. Anointed as such by the head of The Family.
  • The Scapegoat – The child who bears the brunt of any family turmoil. Will often have the most expectations placed upon him/her.
  • Other children – In families with more than two children, the non-GC/SG children can usually move up and down the spectrum between GC/SG. If a GC(less likely) or SG separates from The Family, one of the other children will be placed in that role.

Continue reading…

The above post very clearly and concisely describes the structure and dynamics of a narcissistic family. Please click on the link and read the entire post. If you recognize this structure, you very probably are in a narcissistic family. ABN

Thoughts hidden by subjective phrases

After years of clearing up my mind, I noticed that my inner voice sometimes uses short phrases to bring negative trains of thought to an end. It was a habit I was aware of but had never given any thought to.

The phrases are not pretty; e.g. “I hate them all,” “fuck them,” “who cares about assholes like that,” etc.

My guess is this kind of inner speech is not uncommon. I was using it to end various lines of thought that had wandered into painful territory.

Having a clearer mind today or at least believing I did, I decided that when phrases or words like that came up again, I would not let them shut off my thoughts as I had been doing. Rather I would let the thoughts continue, explore what was there.

What I found is a bunch of old memories and emotions that were fairly easy to clean up. They were not so much repressed as not having been visited for many years. The nasty phrases were like labels in an old, unused filing cabinet.

About half the material was out of date and easy to toss. Another one-quarter was pertinent but was stuff I had dealt with in other ways and was thus redundant.

Only about a quarter of the material lying behind those nasty phrases deserved more thought.

In some of the most interesting cases, I realized that I was letting someone off too easy by hiding their behavior inside a neutral memory. They actually had been horrible but I had been too young to understand (narcissists, for example). Analyzing that stuff over again in a more mature mind was a bit of a chore, but the results have been good, even refreshing.

The process is ongoing. It does resemble cleaning an attic or an old filing cabinet. The stuff I found behind those nasty phrases was not all the stuff from my past. It was just stuff where I was blaming someone or feeling angry about something or had been harmed by someone. The bad stuff I’ve done is elsewhere in my mind.

I am struck by several things concerning those phrases and what lay behind them. One is a lot of that material dates back to childhood and early adulthood. It was not so much unconscious as not having been visited for a long time. Though most of it does not have strong emotional valence, some of it is very revealing because it brings together memories that had been disconnected, leading me to understand dramas or aspects of experience I had not understood before even though I had lived them. I also notice that it was just a few words that closed off those “files.” The power of words to command silence in the mind.

I had been dismissing all that material with just a few words whenever I didn’t feel like going there, which was every time. After not going there for many years, it was refreshing to poke around and rearrange those parts of my mind. I am quite sure I freed up some memory space and removed some snags in my thinking by dealing with that stuff. I also see new patterns within my general sense of my past, patterns with better explanatory power, both truer and more concise.

I see our minds as having a structure sort of similar to language or a forest. Trees of ideas, memories, and feelings grow and change. It’s good to remove some of them sometimes, put the space to better use. Buddhist practice is very helpful in endeavors like this. Rather than get all worked up with Freudian passions and delusions, we can simply observe, dismiss, refile, erase, upgrade, or reimagine as needed based on our capacities and understanding of what’s best.

Our bhavanga or “storehouse consciousness” contains memories, pictures, ideas, words., explanations They flow along with us, in many ways are us. When the mind is clear, a lot of that material can be rearranged for the better. There aren’t many rules for that. Just do your best.

The existential beauty (and chemistry) of updating beliefs

A new study shows that updating beliefs about the world requires and stimulates dopamine release in the brain.

Lead author of the study, Matthew Nour, from University College London and Kings College London has this to say about the findings:

“We found that two key brain areas of the dopamine system (the midbrain and striatum) appear to be more active when a person updates their beliefs about the world, and this activity is related to measures of dopamine function in these regions.” (Source)

Healthy people update beliefs when new evidence is presented. The study may also show that abnormal dopamine functionality is implicated in schizophrenia and paranoid ideation by interfering with normal updating.

The study can be found here: Dopaminergic basis for signaling belief updates, but not surprise, and the link to paranoia.

I like this study because participants were measured while changing minor, short-term beliefs.

Small changes in beliefs manifested in short-term memory lies at the heart of FIML practice.

FIML relies heavily on changing inaccuracies in the short-term memory bank because this data can be isolated and objectively agreed upon by both partners and because this data is by definition fairly small and thus easily changed.

A year of FIML practice may entail a thousand or more small updates in perception, belief, and self-knowledge. Each individual update is typically small, but the aggregate of many updates over longer periods of time creates the basis for very large psychological transformations.

And since these transformations are based on more accurate data, they lead to a more realistic view of the world and the self.

Moreover, by regularly making many small updates in their perceptions of each other and themselves, FIML partners are constantly exercising their dopamine “updating system,” thus strengthening their abilities to function well in any environment.

FIML changes can come quickly, but it is long-term practice that brings the best results.

The above study shows that something very real happens when we update our perceptions. I would maintain that making this happen often with meaningful psychological information through FIML practice leads to very significant and beneficial changes in psychological functioning across many domains.

Study identifies effective ketamine doses for treatment-resistant depression

A study led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators identifies two subanesthetic dosage levels of the anesthetic drug ketamine that appear to provide significant symptom relief to patients with treatment-resistant depression. In the October 2018 issue of Molecular Psychiatry they describe finding that single intravenous doses of 0.5 mg/kg and 1.0 mg/kg were more effective than an active placebo in reducing depression symptoms over a three-day period. Two lower dosage levels that were tested did not provide significant symptom relief, although some improvement was noted with the lowest 0.1 mg/kg dose. (Source)