The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Dealing with Narcissism: Insights and Coping Strategies for Caregivers

March 26, 2024 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 206
Dealing with Narcissism: Insights and Coping Strategies for Caregivers
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
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The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Dealing with Narcissism: Insights and Coping Strategies for Caregivers
Mar 26, 2024 Episode 206
Cathy VandenHeuvel

Join us for an insightful discussion on "Dealing with Narcissism: Insights and Coping Strategies for Caregivers." In this episode, we delve into the challenging realm of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and its impact on caregivers. Host Cathy bravely shares her personal journey of recognizing and navigating her mother's NPD, shedding light on the complexities of caregiving amidst mental health disorders.

Discover the signs and symptoms of NPD, gaining valuable knowledge to identify and understand narcissistic behaviors in your loved ones. From manipulation and entitlement to fragile self-esteem and extreme demands, we explore the multifaceted traits characteristic of NPD.

But it's not just about recognition – it's about empowerment. Learn practical coping strategies and boundary-setting techniques essential for safeguarding your well-being while caring for someone with NPD. Cathy offers heartfelt advice based on her own experiences, highlighting the importance of self-care and resilience in the face of adversity.

Tune in to gain valuable insights and actionable tips for navigating the complexities of caregiving amidst narcissism. Together, let's embark on a journey of understanding, healing, and empowerment.

Send us a Text Message.

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening. If you know of another caregiver who could benefit from this podcast, please copy and share this episode.

Follow me by clicking on the links below:

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join us for an insightful discussion on "Dealing with Narcissism: Insights and Coping Strategies for Caregivers." In this episode, we delve into the challenging realm of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and its impact on caregivers. Host Cathy bravely shares her personal journey of recognizing and navigating her mother's NPD, shedding light on the complexities of caregiving amidst mental health disorders.

Discover the signs and symptoms of NPD, gaining valuable knowledge to identify and understand narcissistic behaviors in your loved ones. From manipulation and entitlement to fragile self-esteem and extreme demands, we explore the multifaceted traits characteristic of NPD.

But it's not just about recognition – it's about empowerment. Learn practical coping strategies and boundary-setting techniques essential for safeguarding your well-being while caring for someone with NPD. Cathy offers heartfelt advice based on her own experiences, highlighting the importance of self-care and resilience in the face of adversity.

Tune in to gain valuable insights and actionable tips for navigating the complexities of caregiving amidst narcissism. Together, let's embark on a journey of understanding, healing, and empowerment.

Send us a Text Message.

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening. If you know of another caregiver who could benefit from this podcast, please copy and share this episode.

Follow me by clicking on the links below:

Speaker 1:

Well, hello, my friend, and welcome back to another episode of the caregiver cup podcast. It's Kathy here again on another week of the episode. I've been toying with this episode you all or this episode topic for a long, long time I was in denial that my mom had narcissistic personality disorder. I didn't want anyone to know. I also believe my father-in-law had some behavioral traits of this as well, and this is extremely hard to admit as I continue to process my caregiver experience with my mom. There's a chance you are dealing with the a full-blown narcissistic personality disorder with your loved one or family member or some narcissistic behaviors, and so I thought this would be a good episode to record and talk about, because it's something that we may not dig deep enough into to figure out and we may be dealing with the surface issues and really thinking about that. First and foremost, I want to tell you that my mom was this wonderful person with a huge heart. She was one of my best friends, and when her narcissistic personality disorder was low or she was really really not having very many symptoms at all, we had great experiences and fun memories and beautiful times together, but when her disorder was at its peak or it was rising. It was so stressful to me. I could feel the knots in my stomach and my tension in my shoulders and I was very emotional and I didn't show it, but it was just eating away at me and I was just trying to just get through it. So my hope for this episode is that you gain understanding of narcissistic personality disorder. Really, what is narcissism? What are some signs and behaviors and symptoms of it, and what to do if your loved one has moments of it, or you kind of think about it or you know it's a full-blown disorder, both for dealing with it, for them and for you, and so that's my hope for you.

Speaker 1:

So let's begin this episode with some questions. Have you experienced a demanding loved one, like they're demanding something Go get me this, go get me that, or I need this, I need that or they're expecting and or they're expecting you to cater to their needs all the time. Are you then feeling resentment or anger or frustration over the situations that occurred? Because it's just an ongoing issue? Another thought is are they your loved one ignoring your feelings or desensitizing your thoughts and your feelings and your emotions? Are they making you feel shame or anger? You may be dealing with narcissism or a narcissistic personality disorder.

Speaker 1:

So let's start out with the definition of the narcissistic personality disorder by saying first and foremost it's a mental health condition. According to Cleveland Clinic when I did my research, it affects a person's sense of self-esteem, their identity and how they treat themselves and others. It's more than arrogance or selfishness, which I think that's sometimes what we think about In the worst cases, people with narcissistic personalities are not the only ones who are more important to anyone. I think that our various choices that it tells about you feelinh personality disorders and have been diagnosed with it. Between 50 and 75% of cases affect men and people. So it's more diagnosed in men than it is in women. Current state today. Now I would probably challenge that a little bit, but let's talk about some common traits of narcissistic behavior. First let's I wanna just say that it requires a medical professional diagnosis, but you can identify critical traits and exhibit classic narcissistic behaviors by just your observation, which I did with my mom and shared those with her doctor. But here are some of the common traits that you may notice or you may be shaking your head with.

Speaker 1:

People with narcissism tend to manipulate their caregivers and family members, meaning they consciously or unconsciously use others. They start forming friendships or relationships with people who boost their self-esteem and status and they wanna tend to be with them, or they deliberately take advantage of others for selfish reasons. And I could go into just some simple things and my husband and I laugh about it to this day Dennis's dad, my husband's dad, had passed away. It's been oh, probably a good 10 years, I don't know the exact year, I can't remember it right now, but it's been a while. He used to come over to our house and I have like a kitchen dining area together and I have like a bar in the middle and my kitchen is kind of a use shake with the bar and he would sit at the bar area or the counter area or the island area some people call it, and I would put a buffet style out for big family gatherings and I would put all of the things on the island and I had two bar stools on the island. I had my dinette area with all with table and chairs and then I set up another room with table and chairs. People would come to the island, fill their plate up and then go sit down and eat. Well, my father-in-law would sit at the island area, on the bar stool and everything would be in front of him. But he would ask me to make a plate for him. Kathy, can you put this on the plate and this on the? I would get so flipping angry at him because of that and I'm like, finally, eventually I said, no, get it yourself, I'm busy, and I joked about it. But he would always demand it, no matter how many times I would tell him that, and for me I laugh at it to this day. But he had those behaviors where he would demand people would get things for him.

Speaker 1:

Another trait would be they do not care about others, feelings and emotions, saying things that they would say, things that might hurt others. They see the feeling. They see the feelings, needs or desires of others as a sign of weakness and they're not returning kindness or interest in others that show them that. I have something really basic with my mom. But then I'll get into something even harder and I would come in the door on a Sunday, fun day, where we would spend time, and I would come in and I would expect you know, like a nice welcome and a conversation, and she would pounce at me and tell me everything that I needed to do and I needed to get done and all of her challenges. And she didn't see that at all and it started like becoming frustrating for me and I've had to have numerous discussions about mom wait, what are you supposed to do first and get her to go? And I'd have to coach her to channel. Let's sit down and have a conversation, we'll get to everything. If you think you can't remember something, write it down. And but she'd be throwing papers at me and telling me all of the things that I needed to do or there would be times where she would be insensitive about it. She would go ahead and she didn't care about my emotions and feelings. And I was gaining weight from the stress from menopause. I was gaining. I gained 30 pounds and my boobs were bigger, my stomach was bigger, my back fat was bigger, my butt was bigger and I was self conscious of it. And she would go out and we would have dinner with the family or we would go do something and she would say, look at me, I'm a skinny, 105 pounds. And look at Kathy, her boobs are getting bigger and her butt's getting bigger. But doesn't she look good? And it would just hurt and it would be insensitive and she didn't care how it affected me. She wanted everybody to notice that she was skinny. Oh my gosh, I would go home at night crying and angry and stuff like that.

Speaker 1:

Another trait of somebody with narcissistic personality disorder is they have extreme demands and rely on guilt. You might have even think about the extremes demands as entitlement, in a way inflated. They're expecting favorable treatment to an unreasonable degree. They get angry when people do not cater to them or appease them. And yeah, my mom would get irate if we weren't taking care of in line or people. Would you know the waitress would have be behind on the table. She would get upset about that.

Speaker 1:

But the hardest one for me and I don't know if I've told you this or not, but the hardest one for me of her narcissism was when I was hospitalized for COVID and I was hospitalized for five days and four nights and there were there was times where I didn't know I was going to make it out of the hospital because my blood pressure was so, so low. And when I finally got enough energy to have FaceTime people for just five minutes, because that's all the energy I had and I'd have to turn it off she was angry at me by saying that who's going to go ahead and take care of me if you're in the hospital and who's going to pay the bills, who's going to get my groceries and all of that kind of stuff? And I'm like Mom, I am sick, don't. Aren't you worried about me? We can. You can find other people to do that, and part of it is me I created that but part of it is her, her disorder. My brother was there, my siblings were there, my husband was available, but there was no concern for my health whatsoever.

Speaker 1:

Another trait is they exhibit this superiority complex. They think they're special and unique. They believe they should associate only with those that they see as worthy and really do that. And if they don't see people are worthy or people that are not adapting to what they want, they want nothing to do with them. My poor sister was shunned for a while and I jumped on the bandwagon with my mom and I regret this to this day. But yeah, she, because my sister set healthier boundaries. My mom didn't want to do it sometimes, didn't want anything to do with her.

Speaker 1:

Another trait is, despite a sense of superiority, they are hyper sensitive. This could be any emotion, but the one that comes to mind for me, and the one that I talk and coach a lot of my clients through, is arrogance. They are arrogant, they are sassy and they patronize behavior. They behave in a way that's snobby or disrespectful or disdainful. They talk down or act condescending. For example, a lot of my clients may talk about things like their loved one is hurting and they're sick and they have every right to go ahead and feel pain and not be their best self. But when they demand that you go get them something, or they demand that you stay home and be at home the whole time for them, or they demand that they don't need help, they only need your help. They demand that you need to get in here right now and take care of me that kind of thing and they're not being respectful to you. Those are signs of narcissistic behaviors. Many people with narcissism lack maturity as well, and I even beg to add emotional intelligence, because the disorder and this mental illness becomes so much they can't go ahead and problem solve or they can't keep their emotions intact, which looks like they are immature.

Speaker 1:

And I can recount so many times as a child where my mom would act up for attention and it would be almost embarrassing and my friends would think I have such a great fun loving mom and she would act immature, narcissistic personality disorder treat. Another one is they take all criticism personally and deeply, whether that be out of anger and spite, and not want to see anybody anymore. To drama, to extreme sadness, to the point where my mom would cry wolf. She would tell me that she's going to commit suicide. She would tell me that she didn't want to live any longer. She would tell me nobody loves her anymore. So it would be drama. And then that would. She would go on and on to the point where she wouldn't answer her phone at her apartment and I would call, and call, and call. I call the neighbors and she wouldn't answer her door, and so she would play into that. And then I would end up having to go over there and she would be sitting on her chair watching TV and she'd be perfectly fine. And so this mental illness becomes even more intense and I would find out that it was due to something somebody said and she didn't. She wasn't mature enough to process it.

Speaker 1:

Another trait is they need constant recognition and attention. This is exhausting. They need it all the time, whether they're bragging about their achievements or their grandchildren or their situation. They're exaggerating to the point where it's almost like a white lie kind of thing, or they're lying to the point of no return. They need, they have a need for admiration because their self esteem is so depleted or fragile. They're there, they doubt themselves, they self criticize, their empty inside, and so they're looking and fishing for feedback, compliments, recognition, and then they will go ahead and do things like that. I've experienced this all of all of my life.

Speaker 1:

Like I said before, my mom with her narcissistic personality disorder. People would title her as the life of the party. Oh, janet's here Now we can have a good time and she was fun. But other times, the things that she would say or do, she would because of the immaturity and mental illness. They wouldn't be appropriate, they wouldn't be safe, they wouldn't be nice. If somebody didn't go along with the fun, loving fun of the party, she would start criticizing them because of her lack of self esteem. And then the opposite would occur as well Somebody that's narcissistic. The opposite could go to. They want attention for, like, a loss of a job or a car accident or things are worse, because of host repairs. Like my mom, she wanted extra attention because of dad dying, which she deserves the attention and the empathy for that. But she's not the only one that's experiencing the grief, and so we all can grieve and emphasize with her. But everybody had to drop their emotions and and take care of mom's emotions when it came to cancer and lupus and her situation, to the point where she would tell everyone that her life is terrible, that I don't have anything to look forward to. I wish I was dead kind of a thing, and it would be exhausting, because what would Kathy do? I would try to lift her up, I would try to talk her out of it and I was using all of my energy to go ahead and keep her happy, and I'll talk about this in a list in a little bit.

Speaker 1:

Does any of these traits sound familiar to you when you're dealing with your loved one you know, or maybe a family member or a friend that you're dealing with? I have dealt with friends that that I could no longer be friends with because their narcissism was so toxic and and such an energy depleter. I could not deal with them because they were almost like helicoptering over me and because they were, they were so insecure. And let's talk about the causes and let's try to understand why people have narcissistic personality disorders. One one reason why is genetics. People with narcissistic personality disorders are more likely to have parents or close relatives with it. So yeah, I can see some, some of my grandparents. Maybe the reasons why my mom was the way she was.

Speaker 1:

Another cause is observation or limitation, meaning children can observe, imitate and learn traits and behaviors that can develop into narcissistic personality disorders. For example, like a negative childhood experience. There may be a link between negative child experiences or trauma, rejection, neglect, lack of support during childhood can also contribute to developing narcissistic traits, another one that I wanna talk about. Another cause is a parent parenting style. Overindulging children or overprotective or helicopter parenting may lead to a child who grows to expect and demand the same treatment they receive from their parents or parental figures. It may also keep your child from learning to regulate their own feelings and emotions, which can contribute to trouble controlling emotions when things don't get their way, and so that can go ahead and lead into the adult narcissistic personality disorder. Another cause which I never thought about could be the culture. Research indicates that the culture you grew up in can influence your risk of developing narcissistic personality disorder. The risk seems to be higher in cultures where individualism and personal independence are more encouraged. People who grow up in cultures that encourage a sense of community and collective action are less likely to have this disorder.

Speaker 1:

Interesting just trying to find the cause and just kind of think through it because I think it's an important piece it reminds me of kind of going off on a sidebar. Here is I have a dog trainer coming in once a week to help me training my dogs, and my trainer is trying to understand her grandma's dementia and her mother's anger towards her grandma's dementia and I love the fact that she is doing research and attending webinars trying to understand the dementia, because her mother was getting angry at her grandma because she was acting out and she was talking about things like a rug to a dementia patient may look like a hole in the floor because the surface isn't the same and noise may be causing issues as well, and so when we try to understand why somebody has it, we're more empathetic and open to trying to figure out ways to manage it. That's what I'm trying to get at Now. There are complications of the narcissistic personality disorder that are really kind of geeking me out a little bit, but I'm just gonna skim the surface here. And complications could lead to mood disorders or bipolar disorders, which I always thought my mom had, but now I really realize that it was probably just narcissism, but it can lead to anxiety and depression, which it did in my mom are most likely to happen in people with this disorder and really being able to have a professional diagnosis. Another complication is other disorders like borderline personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder which my mom experienced and didn't wanna socialize and she was like the butterfly for the longest of time or body dysmorphia disorder with.

Speaker 1:

When people have this narcissistic personality disorder, they may also look at their bodies in a different way. Negative feelings about their bodies and appearances can make them this more likely to happen. My mom was always conscious of what she looked like and she was never thin enough. It can lead to substance abuse disorders like alcohol, cocaine, any type of caffeine my mom drank Coca-Cola like it was just water, because they need to help them when reality doesn't meet their expectation. And then the other complication which we've already talked about is suicidal thoughts and suicide. Narcissistic personality disorder may experience extreme depression and even despair when faced with challenges, failures and rejection. They have a hard time dealing with those and they're less likely to impulse acts of crying out for help. This means people with narcissistic personality disorders are more likely to complete suicide, which I am glad that my mom wasn't that deep and she voiced it to us. But again, being aware of that is just a huge piece. So that's why I think that a doctor diagnosing it is so important and you as your caregiver, being that caregiver advocate, it's so important for you to go ahead and really address things. Just something as simple as talking to my spouse and he doesn't have narcissistic personality disorders, but he does get moody, he does get awily and being able to say these things to my doctor and his doctor are so important to go ahead and protect his health and wellbeing and my health and wellbeing. But let's talk about what you wanna do and how you wanna deal with this.

Speaker 1:

People with narcissistic personality disorders may be unable to see their signs and symptoms in themselves and may not be open to them. Often, family, friends or loved ones may be the first to suspect someone with this disorder. If you suspect that your spouse or your parent or any loved one that you're dealing with has behaviors of narcissism, you should keep in mind the following things First of all, see the doctor and talk to the doctor about it, but you also wanna think about you cannot change someone with narcissistic personality disorder, no matter how hard you try. Trust me, I tried and tried and tried and tried, and didn't really understand and accept it. I wish I would have did this research while my mom was still alive.

Speaker 1:

The only person who can change their behavior is themselves. While you may feel frustrated by your loved one's unwillingness to change, remember that it is not your fault. You can encourage them to receive care, but they have to want to fix themselves and they have to be the ones to want to succeed, and that's hard to swallow. It's almost like an addict. You can't change them. They have to change them and they have to get the help. They have to go ahead and look at their options for help. One, though, thing that you can do and you have control over, is stay calm and don't take things that they say and they do personally. People with narcissistic personality disorder may try to antagonize or draw a reaction out of you, especially when lashing out. Don't take it personally and don't respond in a kind way. If at all, don't respond at all.

Speaker 1:

Now I have learned with my mom without doing any of this research and without knowing it. I was doing some of those things, like when I walked into the door I would say, ah, can I sit down first? And then, when I explained it and explained how I felt every time she did that, then I would say, ah, what are we supposed to do first, mom, let's hug, let's sit down, let's have a chat First and then we'll go ahead. Or I would say I know you don't mean that, mom, I know you don't mean that junior. Or I would use the humor in junior because my father-in-law junior, what do you think? I have arms that long? Why don't you get your stuff? I know you're a big boy and I would just do stuff like that and he would joke and laugh and then he would get his stuff.

Speaker 1:

Third thing that you want to think about and do is set healthy boundaries for yourself, because people with narcissistic personality disorder often consciously or unconsciously try to get what they want by going to others. If you have a love of one with this disorder, setting healthy boundaries may be necessary. Make sure you communicate what you're willing and unwilling to do in a respectful way when they are in a good state and hold fast. Once you set those boundaries and really set your boundary and put your foot down and really do that, it may be difficult, but getting and giving into their demands won't help, because it's almost like I'm gonna use a dog training experience. If I go ahead and I'm training my dogs to go to their spots when somebody comes to my house. I'm training my dog to go to their corners or their spots and I give them a treat and make them sit and stay and what, ultimately, what I want them to do is when I say, okay, they can get up, but while people are coming in the door, I don't want them jumping on me. Well, all of a sudden, if I change it up and saying, oh my God, jamie's here, come over here, jump up, well, I'd have to start over. Or I'm saying it's okay to go ahead and break the rules and so, with a narcissistic personality disorder, love one, you want to set healthy boundaries and you want to think through. If you're struggling with some of the things that they're doing right now or saying right now, or they're acting right now, I want you to go ahead and start brainstorming things that you can do to change yourself. Maybe it's being quiet, maybe it's being respectfully saying you know, I just need a couple of minutes and I'll be there. You know I'm always going to be there, but I can't drop everything right now. You know how to respond and you want to try different things. You want to do different things.

Speaker 1:

Another one is protect yourself, because people with this disorder often resort to gaslighting. What I mean by that is trying to convince you that either you or they said or did something differently. They're trying to go ahead and twist it around and make it your issue and they're trying to undermine your boundary. Keep notes or journal it out. If you think you'll need to be certain in the future about what you said or you did. You know, start practicing this. They may also lash out, or either by either verbally or physically, out of anger because you're not coming to them at the drop of the pin. Or you know, you said that you had a discussion with them and said I'm going to go ahead when I eat my lunch. I need 15 minutes to just sit and relax and eat If they're done, before you're done you, they need to be respectful and let you finish your meal before getting up and getting them their dessert. I'm just using that as an example and so, again, they need to be respectful and they don't need to lash out. You need to be sure to protect your own health and wellbeing.

Speaker 1:

Another one, and really another one that's really important is take care of your own mental health now, because this is affecting you and you may need to go ahead and seek some support Whether it's a therapist, whether you work with me from a coaching perspective and we come up with some strategies. Doing so can help you better work through your emotions and difficulties surrounding this narcissistic personality disorder and gets you to be proactive and prepare on how to deal with the effects of this condition in your loved one, because not only do you have to think about how you're going to respond or react or what your actions are going to be, you're going to think about how it's beat you down from an emotions and an energy perspective after you're done taking care of them in that situation, because anger, resentment, frustration, sadness whatever your emotion is it's exhausting you and it's depleting your energy and your overall wellbeing, and so we have to find ways to protect that. The last one that I want to talk about is don't ignore the warning signs for you and your loved one. People with narcissistic personality disorders have a higher risk of dying by suicide, so you want to pay attention to that. If you suspect a loved one with narcissistic personality disorder is withdrawing or considering harming themselves, talk to them directly, be honest with them that you're worried about them and that you're going to talk to their doctor. If you think it's to the point where you need to go ahead and get emergency help right away, I would call your local service number or 911 immediately if you think that they're in some sort of danger. So you want to do that Now.

Speaker 1:

I want to thank Cleveland Clinic for providing most of these notes today. I did a lot of research and so I'm talking off of their notes, but I think the notes are just phenomenal and have helped me understand the warning signs, the symptoms, what to do. You know narcissistic personality disorder isn't a flaw or a character defect. It's a mental health disorder. If you have it, there are things you can do to help yourself and strengthen your connection to others in a healthy way. If your loved one has it, you need to go ahead and be their advocate and you need to go ahead and talk to them. If they're open to it, share that you're going to share it with their doctor or their health team and then you have to implement ways for you to go ahead and work through that as a caregiver of a narcissistic personality disorder loved one.

Speaker 1:

But this condition can severely damage relationships and disrupt your life. It can. I've seen it so many times. There's sometimes where nobody wanted to come over by my mom because we never knew what we were going to walk into. I read it in my dad's journals of there were good days for my mom and there were bad days to my mom. I truly wish you only can wish, but you have to also think of this as a gift now but I truly wish we could have gotten her help sooner. You shouldn't ignore it or avoid the reality of the situation. It and if your loved one doesn't want to deal with it, then you need to go ahead and talk to a professional to say how am I going to work through this? If you know someone with the narcissistic personality disorder, learning about it can help you take care of yourself and try to help them. Sometimes the best thing you can do is establish your boundaries and not engage, especially if you see that it could be a danger to you emotionally or physically. Remember that you can't force somebody with narcissistic personality disorder to change. They have to be willing to do so. I can't believe I said narcissistic personality disorder and I didn't flub up very much. It's like a tongue twister. But on a personal note here, to kind of wrap it up here, I have just a couple points here I wanted to make note of, and this wasn't in the Cleveland Clinic, this was just something I googled out in the internet that I thought was really important to share as well.

Speaker 1:

Additionally, some older adults develop narcissistic behaviors after dealing with extreme grief or deep depression from a death of a loved one, and I think that's where my mom's plummeted or spiked. I mean because after my dad died it got even worse. Dementia also plays a role in the development of narcissistic behaviors. As loved ones age, the abusive behaviors may worsen because of the dementia and as a family caregiver you may eventually need to step away and plan for long term care If that narcissistic behavior affects their health, because that could I mean. I'm not an expert at all and I've never had to experience anybody close to me with dementia, except for Dennis's grandpa, which I didn't have to deal with them. But dementia causes many types of behaviors anger and physical abuse and emotional abuse and so those are things that you want to consider as well when you're looking at your loved one, because it is a mental health issue. But it also may be part of their diagnosis as well, or their medication they're taking. And I could go on and on. So to end today, I'll be honest when you are thick into the challenges of caregiving, you may not recognize your loved one's narcissistic personality disorder or not want to deal with it and deal with another symptom or another issue.

Speaker 1:

But when I came to the realization that my mom had a mental illness or a mental disorder, it became easier to let go of the emotions or of the situation or the hurtful comments. I delivered my messages differently, knowing she had the disorder and was okay. If she was mad at me, I was okay with it. I had to be okay with it. I learned to let go of the guilt and the shame. I learned to communicate better with my siblings, the neighbors, her friends, knowing that she was going to try to expand her story and get them to side against me, and that was just my mom's way of trying to go ahead and find people on her side.

Speaker 1:

But the major win was giving her signs and symptoms of this disorder to her doctors. By going ahead and sharing what behaviors I observed, specific stories, what I saw, what I heard, her doctor was able to treat her depression and anxiety and we identified patterns of her symptoms. I did this by journaling you all so and my friend I did this. By doing that, she was more stimulated by the weather. If it was dark and gloomy outside for days, her depression would set in and then her narcissistic behaviors would follow and she would have anxiety. She would go, she would socialize and then she wouldn't socialize. She was stimulated by lack of activities. When there wasn't activities going on or there wasn't parties or birthdays or great grandchildren events going on, she would go ahead and be very depressed. And I even noticed her diet. When she would have narcissistic behavior disorders, she wouldn't eat. She wouldn't eat and it would just feed it and feed it and feed it. But when she was active and socializing and eating well, she was more of the mom that I knew and more of my mom and my friend.

Speaker 1:

I sure hope this episode really helped you think through this very hard topic. Oh my gosh. And part of my negative, or my pessimistic, brain is like Kathy, should I hit the publish button or not? Because this is really personal. This is really personal and I almost feel like I'm how do I want to say it? I feel like I'm talking behind her back. I'm feeling like I'm doing something wrong, but in turn, I need to help other people. I need to be honest about this very hard topic and give you ideas to help you through this hard disorder when dealing with your loved one and this hard disorder of how to deal with and be a better version of yourself and take care of yourself through this.

Speaker 1:

So here's to you the caregiver that's dealing with narcissistic personality disorder. You are not alone. You don't have to hide in the closet. You don't have to feel shame for having a loved one that's this way, and what I want you to really think about is it's not just them being arrogant, it's not just them being angry or demanding. It is the disorder, and they have a choice and you also have a choice. So have a good rest of your week, my friend, and I hope you enjoyed this episode. Can you do me a favor, if you and if you found this episode helpful, can you go up and give me a five star rating? Can you go up and give me a review? Can you share it with on your social media site? Will there be Facebook, instagram, or share it with another caregiver that might be dealing with the same thing? I just know that this hard topic is something that's out there that not a lot of people talk about. Have a good day. Bye now.

Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder Causes
Dealing With Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Navigating Narcissistic Personality Disorder Caregiving
Support for Caregivers of Narcissistic Personalities