How Can You Spot A Narcissist?

images-6They are like human magnets, drawing in those around them. They can be downright captivating, but within them lies ulterior motives. Narcissists thrive on being admired by those that surround them, and find it difficult to be told that they are not beautiful or brilliant. Like the Greek mythological figure Narcissus, they are cursed because they love no one but themselves. They are destined to waste away, alone with their vanity and need for acknowledgement. The truth of the matter is that we all have a narcissistic streak, as it is a trait that varies in degree from person to person. There are some aspects of narcissism that are healthy and adaptive, like confidence and self-sufficiency. But when taken to the extreme, they become classified as narcissistic personality disorder. So what are the characteristics of a true narcissist?

High levels of self-esteem, grandiosity, self-focus, and self-importance are common amongst narcissists. Narcissists think that they are more attractive and intelligent that everyone else and have no problem telling those around them. They carry themselves with the utmost confidence, ensuring that those around them take notice. At first narcissists may just seem arrogant and full of themselves, but there are clear Unknown-1differences between a narcissist and someone who is self-centered. Narcissists are vain to an extreme degree, feel entitled, and use different manipulation techniques to ensure that everyone around them admires them.

Big, anonymous cities are where narcissists will thrive, often finding careers in entertainment-related fields. Narcissists are quick to accept positions where they will be leaders, allowing them to dominate and impress others without the negative impact of a bad reputation (which is often achieved through their promiscuity and socially unacceptable behaviour). This need to lead is not necessarily to manipulate others, but to receive more recognition and positive reinforcement from others.

This allows for a narcissist to be comfortable maintaining distant ties with those they surround themselves with. The way that narcissists interact with others is especially interesting. While they engage in less desirable communication techniques (yelling, cursing, arguing, etc.), they still engage those around them. This is all to maintain power in an interaction. They tend to not reciprocate conversation very well, “glazing over” while others are speaking. Narcissists are not interested when the attention is not on them.

images-2Another important characteristic to consider about narcissists is their sexual habits. Men and women who score high on narcissism tests express more interest in short-term physical relationships, rather than long-term relationships. In order to engage those they desire, women will often times dress more provocatively, while men will engage more in bragging and using their wit. Promiscuity is the direct result of their search for the best deal for themselves. They use this as another way to control their environment, and even when in a committed relationship they are much more likely to be unfaithful. Unknown-2

Narcissists have a very Jekyll and Hyde personality. When the charm and dazzle wears off, and those around them start to become disenchanted, narcissists transform. They become angry, hostile, and will punish anyone who does not support their grandiose vision of themselves. Rejection is not something a narcissist will ever come to accept until they can come to terms with their warped sense of self.

Narcissism is a complicated and serious disorder. While we are all a little bit narcissistic, the degree to which it comes out depends greatly on our underlying beliefs about ourselves. Narcissism is handy in reminding us how important we are, helping to build confidence and self-esteem. But it can be a very lonely disorder. Despite having all the followers they could possibly want, narcissist are left standing alone, the only ones truly able to fill up the hole they are constantly trying to fill with admiration. Hope, faith, love, and understanding can guide a narcissist away from the fate of Narcissus, the namesake of the disorder. With a little support and a lot of hard work/reflection, narcissism is something that can be conquered.

Advertisements

Sub-Personalities

Sometimes it may feel like a different person takes over us when we are in need of protection. Sub-personalities, not to be confused with multiple personality disorder, are this “other person” that works to keep us safe and secure. We use these sub-personalities to have a variety of needs met. So what is a sub-personality and which one do you use?

Sub-personalities are fragments of a whole. They are the parts of us that we use to meet our needs, as well as protect ourselves. We use these personalities to adapt to different situations, to tailor our reactions in order to get the desired response from others. These personalities come in several combinations and take different forms in each person.  Each of us has between four and eight sub-personalities, which I have listed below:

1) Abuser/Bully multiple_personality_disorder_by_blacksheepart-d60w6xu
2) Addict
3) Approval Seeker
4) Caretaker
5) Chronic Crier
6) Comedian
7) Controller
8) Inner Critic
9) Fixer/ rescuer
10) Judge
11) Lost Child
12) Martyr
13) Over Achiever
14) People Pleaser
15) Perfectionist
16) Pillar of strength
17) Rebel
18) Spiritualist
19) Teacher
20) Victim 

In my office I often see this combination amongst other combinations that I will write about in future blogs.  These three often pair together and have much in common; “The Inner Critic”, the “Judge”, and the “Perfectionist”. Each of these sub personalities and those above will transform to meet the needs of the situation and those that we are interacting with. Knowing these sub-personalities and how they affect your reactions is important so that you can see when they are doing more harm than good.

299779_237911279591395_412890649_nThe inner critic is that little voice that attempts to keep us safe, that little flashing warning sign that goes off when something doesn’t feel quite right. It is a collection of the judgments and criticisms that we have received our entire lives (both positive and negative) that is meant to keep us on track. This little voice can often manifest itself in a negative way, especially when coupled with the judge. This sub-personality is like a built in security system, meant to keep us in check with reality. In order for this sub-personality to do more good than harm we need to learn to communicate with it. By making choices independent of the criticisms, assessing the validity of those criticisms, and changing the negative into positive, we can use the inner critic to take a more whole look at situations.

The judge often comes paired with the inner critic. This sub-personality projects poor self-image in order to defend and protect. It is based in shame from previous criticisms and has a strong hold within our fear of rejection. It will attempt to control the situation 557233_379170868798768_1066134704_nby pointing to others’ flaws and shortcomings instead of allowing us to come to terms with our own. The judge is often decisive and observant, but is also intolerant and far too judgmental of others and ourselves. In order to combat the judge in us we need to learn to face our fear of rejection, accepting that we will not always be accepted. We also need to do inner work on self-image and the basis of the shame in our lives. By stopping the negative behaviour and addressing the inner messages we are receiving, we can learn to see the bigger picture and be more accepting of ourselves and of others.

The perfectionist is another shame-based sub personality. This shame is based in past failures. The perfectionist causes us to be more expectant of others than ourselves, in the fear that we may fail them before they will fail us. The perfectionist will attempt to control the situation by making us perfect, or what they deem to be perfect. But despite all of this talk about perfection, the perfectionist is very aware of the shortcomings and causes a lack of confidence. While the perfectionist is often times responsible and will give everything their best, they will often times be very rigid and cause conflict when it is not necessary. In order to come to terms with the perfectionist we must accept the fact that we are only human. Mistakes will happen, but that is okay. Vulnerability and fears should not rule our lives, and neither should shame. By setting appropriate and achievable goals, and learning to treat ourselves with the love and respect that we deserve, there is hope to have a more positive perfectionist.

Sub-personalities may only be fragments of the whole, but they are essential to who we are. Keeping them in check is a very important part of maintaining healthy relationships and boundaries. Letting these sub-personalities go unchecked is going to cause unnecessary turmoil and stress. With inner work, we can develop a better understanding of our sub-personalities, and use them in positive ways in our day-to-day lives.

Conquering Fears in Relationships

shutterstock_105933593  Fear. It can take over your thoughts, and in turn you can build up so many walls and blocks that you end up feeling alone and misunderstood. So many of us long for a meaningful relationship to another person, but it is fear that gets in the way. Fear of rejection, fear of judgement, fear of abandonment and fear of trust are just a few of the many fears that we must overcome in order to gain a meaningful relationship.

Fear of rejection is all about self-confidence and self esteem. It stops us from chasing after our dreams because we do not want to be turned down or fall. Every no we receive brings us closer to the door with the possibility of a yes, that is why it is so important to work through your fear of rejection and learn to cope rather than avoid.

shutterstock_123809797Fear of judgement stems from not having fully accepted ourselves. We are our own harshest critics. Full self-love and acceptance can change that, although we can never be 100% of anything 100% of the time. It does not mean that everyone thinks the way you do about yourself. People’s judgements on others have very little to do with the person being judged. It has much more to do with the person doing the judging. Their own insecurities come out against others. People will judge no matter what situation you are in, but it should matter not what they think, but what you think about yourself.

A fear of abandonment is within all of us, but the severity is based solely on our personal experiences in the past. With some it is much closer to the surface. A fear of abandonment can manifest in several different ways, the most apparent of which is the need to be clingy and demanding. Another way people cope with the fear of abandonment is rejecting their partner before they themselves are rejected, running away from relationships before they have reached their full potential. And finally, there are those who will change their whole entire person to become the “perfect” partner for the person that they are interested in. These coping skills are poor and maladaptive, which can cause train-wreck relationships to become normal. This is where being able to develop trust in your partner is so important.shutterstock_107413730

The fear of trust is a big deal in relationships, romantic or otherwise. It is a pretty common occurrence. We have all been hurt by someone we trusted, someone who decided that what they wanted was more important than our trust. But we have to keep in mind that we cannot punish everyone else for that person’s mistakes, especially when seeking out new relationships. It is perfectly normal to have a period of trust building and cautiousness in the beginning of a relationship. However, at some point we have to decide whether or not we can trust the other person. Trust is the foundation of every good relationship, and without it, you don’t really have a relationship at all.

But how do we overcome these fears? Well, it is a daily struggle. It takes a lot of reflection and deep inner work to break through these defenses. We have not only the outside opinions to combat with, but the internal ones as well. Our brain is pretty good at talking us out of things, but sometimes we just have to ignore it and take a leap of faith. Relationships, especially romantic ones, carry a lot of risk which is reasonable to be unsure of. But if we are unwilling to accept that risk, we may just lose out on having someone wonderful in our lives.

I Come First: Healthy Boundaries and Avoiding Burn Out

Expectations are a part of everyday life. We have expectations of others and them of us. There are times where there is so much pressure and so much to do, that it may feel like we are running in circles trying to get things done. The constant bombardment with new tasks and added responsibilities can weigh us down. If we are constantly putting ourselves behind others, we get burnt out. There is this constant drained feeling that just overtakes our emotions and our bodies.

shutterstock_62127079  So why do we feel the need to make everyone else happy? The biggest reason may be fear; fear of rejection, fear of being judged, and even fear of being alone. These fears can cause us to do crazy and unreasonable things for those around us, while we need to be thinking of ourselves as well. Finding a healthy balance in between what we need to do for others and what we need to do for ourselves can be a daily struggle. How can you find the balance between yourself and others?

Maintain healthy boundaries. Know when to say no and let others know what you are willing to do. There is no reason for you to be bending over backwards to make everyone happy all of the time. There should be boundaries for the amount of responsibility that other people can put onto you and you onto them. It is important to shutterstock_89030563know that saying no to things is okay.

Take time out for yourself daily. Turn off your phone, stay away from the computer, and just disconnect. Having time by yourself is one of the most important parts of the day. It is a time to reflect and heal and replenish your energy. It can be 15 minutes, or it can be 3 hours. But it is important to have that bit of time alone with yourself each and every day.

Ask for help. If you are feeling too overwhelmed, ask for help. If nothing else, talk to someone about how you are feeling and what you are taking on. Just getting it out can make a world of difference.

shutterstock_80333077Communicate your feelings to those around you. If you are feeling burnt out and under too much pressure, let those around you know. Communication is vital to every relationship and letting others know what you are feeling can open up doors to solutions you may not have thought possible. Just shutting yourself off from the world will not relieve any pressure, but it will create more problems for you in the long run.

There are times when we all feel overwhelmed and burnt out. However, it is how you handle these times that says the most about you. Take charge, find ways to feel empowered, and take care of yourself. At the end of the day, life is much too short to spend it being anything but happy.

 

 

Emotional Intelligence

National Bare Day is a campaign to advocate, educate, and change women into becoming more emotionally intelligent. It is an empowering campaign, looking to help women become stronger, more confident, and the leaders that they are meant to be. Emotional intelligence is something that is extremely important to maintain relationships and have inner peace.

Emotional intelligence is about more than just yourself. Emotional intelligence encompasses both the internal and the external, playing an important part in your relationships with others. While many models to explain emotional intelligence do exist, there are some that are more widely accepted than others.

Self-awareness is an important piece of emotional intelligence. Being aware of your own emotions, reactions and values allows for a greater insight into empathy and sympathy, two things that are essential to relationships with others. Becoming aware of your own emotions reinforces your mind-body-spirit connection. By strengthening this connection, you can come in touch with your deepest desires and goals. This is helpful when determining your values, giving you a center for your moral compass. With these values in place, you can become more aware of the impact that your actions have on others.

An exercise to improve self-awareness is to consider situations in the past in which you had a strong emotional response. Consider why you felt the way that you did, your reaction and the outcome in the situation. Consider the appropriateness of your response to this emotion and determine a way in which you could have reacted differently.

shutterstock_90072907Self-regulation is not something that can be easily mastered. With emotions like anger, self-regulation can be a challenge as it is a pure and passionate emotion. When anger goes unchecked, this can lead to serious problems in your relationships. Unchecked anger leads to senseless arguments when you lash out at those that are not the cause for your anger in the first place. Redirecting and controlling your disruptive emotions (i.e. anger) can lead to healthier relationships and a happier you.

An exercise to improve self-regulation is really thinking about what you are feeling, why you are feeling it, and what the next steps are going to be. Taking a deep breath before you lash out can be the difference in between a civil conversation and a violent confrontation. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What emotion am I experiencing?

  • What caused me to have this emotion (i.e. anger, sadness, ect.)?

  • How am I going to react to this feeling?

The third question is an extremely important one. This is where controlling your response to an emotion comes into play. Think carefully before you act and react to the emotion(s) that you are feeling to gain the desired outcome.

Social skills are also an important part of emotional intelligence. Knowing how to relate to people and maintain relationships can be challenging in a culture in which rely so heavily on electronic communication. However, social skills are still as important as knowing how to communicate through text messages and e-mail. Picking up on social cues and knowing what is appropriate to say in which situations is at the core of having good social skills. There are many ways to develop better social skills. A few things to consider to develop your social skills are:

  • Approachability – How approachable are you? Do you have a friendly demeanor? Do you have an easy time walking up to others and striking up a conversation?

  • Language – Do you use language that is relatable to those you are speaking to you? Are you using language that is appropriate for the situation that you are in?

  • Active Listening – Are you an active participant in the conversation? Do you find yourself dominating the conversation? Are you really taking the time to listen to and understand what the other person is saying?

shutterstock_102337144Empathy is something that many people struggle with, but it is essential to emotional intelligence. Empathy as part of emotional intelligence is being able to consider someone else’s feelings when making decisions. It is about being able to put yourself in the other’s shoes, and truly feel how they would feel if you were to make a decision. You need to consider all possibilities, and be able to accept the other’s feelings when you make a decision. This comes into play in every relationship, and when empathy is not considered, can form a rift in between both parties.

Empathy is something that comes with time. It is not easy to be understanding and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You have to be truly open and receptive to another’s emotions in order to be truly empathetic. Empathy is something that is very important during the recovery process. You need to gain some empathy in order to understand the worry and other feelings that your family and loved ones have experienced while you were addicted. You need to be able to put yourself in their shoes, understand the significance of their feelings, and how those feelings reflect on your past behaviours.

During recovery, emotional intelligence is something that is extremely key to the process. Without an understanding of yourself and the relationships that allowed your addiction to continue, you may not get to the bottom of the root cause of your addiction. In recovery, you experience a complete transformation of your routine, your thinking, and your values. You have to choose life instead of addiction in order for the recovery to shutterstock_117884191be successful. By gaining emotional intelligence during recovery, you can set new goals, new values, and start to evaluate your relationships outside of recovery. You will gain a fuller understanding of what it means to be in a healthy relationship with others, and use your newly set values and goals to determine the validity of the relationships in your life. Emotional intelligence will allow you to start making decisions about which relationships you are going to continue to be a part of and those that you are going to move on from.

Emotional intelligence is something that is much more important than many people realise. It is an essential part of daily life and relationships. Having emotional intelligence will allow you to have a stronger mind-body-spirit connection, and a deeper connection to those that you are about. Gaining more insight into your emotions and those that surround you can allow for a better understanding of yourself and others.

Spicing Up Your Sex Life: Tantra

shutterstock_92960689 Spicing up your sex life is something that many couples wish for. Restoring some of the passion and desire in your sexual relationship is something that is possible. Practicing Tantra can be a great way to look at sex between you and your partner in a new way. Tantra is about uniting body, mind, spirit with your partner and with the divine. Your ultimate goal is for the unity of sexuality and spirituality, not orgasm.

Tantra is the sacred art of sex and unity. It involves a variety of exercises, that increase the length of lovemaking and are meant to bring you and your partner closer together. Some of the exercises include breathing, contractions, sound, and visualization. Tantra is a multi-stage lovemaking that can take your sex life to a whole other level. So lets take a look at the Tantric Stages.

Creating a Sacred Space is the first stage in Tantra. Any space can be a sacred space, but it has to be somewhere that you are both going to be comfortable and relaxed. Cleaning the room, using candles, and cleansing the room of negative thoughts/energies, are essential to this stage. Thinking about your intentions for the night are important. Think about how much you love your partner, how much you care for them, and think positively about the activity to come.

The Lover’s Purifying Bath is meant to wash away the worries and thoughts surrounding you both. Having a shower or bath together is a great way to ignite the spark of passion that will be needed for the events to come. It should be a slow and sensual process, allowing you and your partner to explore each other’s bodies and enjoy spending time together.

Foreplay is a great time to talk to your lover. Let them know how much you care forsexAddiction them, how much you love them, and how much you respect them. Make sure that what you are saying is 100% true, otherwise there is no meaning behind your words. Make your lover believe what you are telling them. Foreplay is also the time to tune into your lover. Harmonize your breathing and look into each other’s eyes while you slowly explore the other’s body. Exploration can include caressing, touching, and kissing. While exploring, go slowly! Find new ways of touching and kissing your partner, instead of just going straight for the sweet spots. Ask your partner questions about what turns them on, and do your best to do things that they like.

Intercourse during Tantra can last for hours. For this to happen, lubrication is absolutely essential. Good lubrication can be achieved through a clitoral orgasm, or using some sort of personal lubricant. To make the intercourse last longer, it should be interspersed with oral play, touching and kissing.

The Passion Pump is all about remaining in sync with your partner. Women want to use vaginal contractions along with their man penetrating them in order to achieve this synchronization. Men, just lay with your penis inside of her vagina and allow her to squeeze you using her vaginal contractions.

Afterplay is different in Tantric lovemaking. During regular lovemaking, it ends with ejaculation. With Tantra, love making ends when/how you want it to. Wind down from your passionate Tantric lovemaking with caressing, talking, cuddling, or anything else that you and your partner enjoy.

Tantra is a great alternative to traditional sex. It can reignite the spark between you and your partner, something that is wished for by many partners. Taking the time to get to know your partner in an intimate way, can bring you closer together than you might have imagined.

Pornography: Addiction and Communication

shutterstock_71881093  Pornography is something that many people avoid conversation about. The truth is, many of us have watched/saw porn at some point in our lives, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is perfectly normal in this day in age, with pornography being just a mouse-click away. Pornography is being used for a way to find our sexual selves, explore fetishes and situations which we may not experience in our own lives. Pornography is also being used as a way to enhance our sexual pleasure.

Pornography is very much a double-edge sword. On one hand, it is a great way to spice up your sex life, enhance your solo sessions, and allow you to explore your sexuality in a way which might not otherwise be possible. On the other hand, many of the women/men give an unrealistic goal for your sexual partners, both in their technique and their physicality. In reality, there are not many women other than adult actresses that look, dress, and act like they do in pornography. For men, this can definitely be a problem.

With unrealistic expectations due to the adult film industry, men are often left unsatisfied with their sex life. There are many men who can watch pornography and still have great sex, however, there are also those who seek out more “pornography-style” sex with partners. Not many women are willing to participate in the kind of sex these men are looking for, and this is where pornography becomes the prefershutterstock_68280889ence for these men.

Pornography addiction is a real and serious problem. There are men who will sit and watch pornography for hours on end, finding satisfaction in that aspect of their sex life rather than in a partner that can reciprocate. Pornography addiction can make it difficult to become aroused by a partner in real life, leading to more sexual dysfunction which can cause the person to distance themselves even further from real-life sex.

Pornography can cause a lot of problems in a marriage if there is not an open line of communication between both parties. Let’s expand upon this using an example.

Frank and Louise have been married for 13 years. They have 2 children, 12 and 10. Frank says their sex life died pretty quickly after Louise gave birth to their second child, and admits that he watches porn frequently. He says that he is still very much attracted to Louise, but just finds that she is often “too tired” or just disinterested. Frank states that he enjoys having sex with Louise, but he would enjoy it if it happened more frequently. Louise says she misses being intimate with Frank, as they once had a very active sex life. Louise, however, has trouble initiating because she finds that Frank does not seem that interested in her. Louise knows that Frank enjoys porn, but does not know how to talk to him about it because he gets defensive and shuts down. Both are adamant about loving the other, they just long for intimacy.

Основные RGBNow this is a classic case of lack of communication. Because the lines of communication are closed between Frank and Louise, they don’t know that they both want the same thing- a healthy sex life. Frank is clearly uncomfortable speaking to Louise about watching pornography. Louise doesn’t seem to have a problem with Frank watching porn. She does however have a problem that it is done in secret. She also feels intimidated by the adult actresses because her body does not match theirs after having two children. Frank’s obsession with the porn is the easy way out for him. He doesn’t have to engage in a conversation about porn with Louise if they don’t talk at all.  If Frank and Louise could have an open and honest conversation about porn and their sex life, they may just find their spark again.

When pornography goes from watching to addiction, it can cause some serious social, spiritual, and emotional problems for the person that is addicted. We need to keep in mind that the men and women in porn do not experience real sexual intimacy like you do with your partner. This sexual intimacy is coupled with a willingness to be vulnerable and honest. Shame often keeps us from having open and honest discussions with ourselves and others, but watching porn is nothing to be ashamed of. It is perfectly normal to engage in a behaviour that fills a primal need. Pornography is like most things in life- good in moderation, but potentially dangerous when abused.