I HAVE ADHD PODCAST - Episode #257

April 2, 2024

You're Not the Problem: The Impact of Narcissism and Emotional Abuse with Helen Villiers and Katie McKenna

You might remember psychotherapists Helen Villiers and Katie McKenna from episode 200 where we talked about toxic relationships and their impact on ADHDers. You may also know their podcast called In Sight: Exposing Narcissism.

Well, since we last visited, they’re ALSO co-authors of You’re Not the Problem: The Impact of Narcissism and Emotional Abuse and How to Heal.

I’m honored to have these two incredible ladies back on the podcast to discuss some of the emotionally abusive behaviors they commonly see from parent to child. Even if you believe you had a very normal childhood and your parents were wonderful people, I’d urge to to listen to this episode. 

A lot of the tendencies your parents might’ve had (or have now) may be your normal, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some generational trauma at play. 

Note: This is not me saying your parents aren’t wonderful people; they very well may be! But recognizing some of these tendencies can be PIVOTAL to unpacking and working through your ADHD — and they can help you avoid repeating the same behaviors.

So, without further adieu, I re-welcome, Helen and Katie!

Does this episode resonate with you? I invite you to join my group coaching program FOCUSED. This program is for you if you’re interested in regular coaching calls and a supportive community with all the tools needed to thrive with ADHD.



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Kristen Carder 0:05
Welcome to the I have ADHD podcast, where it’s all about education, encouragement and coaching for adults with ADHD. I’m your host, Kristen Carter and I have ADHD. Let’s chat about the frustrations, humor and challenges of adulting relationships working and achieving with this neurodevelopmental disorder. I’ll help you understand your unique brain. Unlock your potential and move from point A to point B. Hey, what’s up, this is Kristen Carter and you’re listening to the I have ADHD podcast. I am medicated, I am caffeinated. I am regulated, and I’m ready to roll. Today I have two of my favorite guests back with me again, psychotherapists, Helen Villars, and Katie McKenna. They were here for Episode 200, which was titled, maybe I’m not the problem. And then they went ahead and wrote the whole damn book on this topic. They wrote the whole book on this topic, and it is titled, you’re not the problem, the impact of narcissism and emotional abuse and how to heal. I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy, and I am telling you, you need to go order this book immediately. It is so good. I am giddy with excitement. So maybe I’m not as regulated. As I said, I was totally fine. Let’s get rollin. Helen and Katie, welcome to the podcast.

Helen Villiers 1:38
Oh, thank you for having us back. It’s just like, our favorite thing. So that’s great.

Katie McKenna 1:45
It’s a pleasure. And we were talking and we’re just so excited that you’ve had one of the first we do this, and that we’re able to discuss this here. So when

Kristen Carder 1:52
you told me that, that I was one of the first people to read the book, and that this is your first interview, I could not contain myself. I cannot be could not be cool. I’m so so honored really is the word. I’m so honored. Thank you so much.

Helen Villiers 2:09
Well, thanks for taking the time to read it. I mean, you know,

Kristen Carder 2:13
the fact that it I already pre ordered it the day, you said that pre orders were out. And so I will still get that copy. The one that I have, I feel so special because it says coming in April 2020, for not for sale. So I feel like this is such a gem. Yeah, really cool. goes. So. So I have so many questions. And I will try to keep this interview at a reasonable timeframe. But I want to start here. Your book can help anyone who’s struggling with relationships and emotional abuse. But the perspective of the book is for children of narcissistic parents. And I’m curious, why did you feel the need to write the book for adult children of narcissistic parents?

Helen Villiers 3:03
Well, I think both of us realize that there’s just so many of them out there, you know, and this is something that’s been talked about more and more and more on social media, which think people discuss their narcissistic parents an awful lot. And also that there’s a lot of misinformation flying around, which is, you know, difficult. And my master’s was in working therapeutically with adult children of narcissistic parents. And it just seemed to make sense that because because it starts in childhood, if you’re having difficult relationships in adulthood, that has started in childhood, you have learned a pattern in childhood. So it’s important that we trace back to where it started so that we can undo it, unravel it, and heal it. So I think, yeah, it’s just all of those reasons that it’s really important to understand our own experience. But also, there’s so many more people coming to the understanding of what they’ve experienced and what the behavior they’ve experienced, but maybe don’t have really well researched reliable knowledge, you know, don’t want to sound really arrogant and narcissistic. But, you know, we’ve got between us we’ve got that information. And yeah,

Katie McKenna 4:15
yeah, for me, you know, I’m thinking even back to why we set up the podcast and with all my clients that are coming in, you know, they grow up and what they think is, you know, they say, Well, I had a wonderful childhood, my family was normal. And the truth is, is that yes, it is your normal, but that doesn’t mean that it’s healthy because these family systems it’s not only on your own mother and father this will be obviously your extended family your your aunties, your uncle’s because this is what’s grown up around them also. So it’s a it’s a system that it’s happening. And what happens when somebody comes to therapy and there’s also a privilege, by the way and going to therapy is that it can take a long time to work through the denial and education, and all stories although very unique to each person. We’re all really coming down to the same thing, you know, we were looking at this dysfunction, we were looking at this emotional abuse. So when we set up the podcast, one of the reasons was actually that when people can hear their stories in other people, when they can learn, oh, my God, this is a thing. This is not just me, because a lot of times before I was doing this sort of work when I was in, you know, being the therapist, the client, the client would say to me, but you have to say that, of course, you say that to all your clients? And the truth is, is that one No, I don’t have to say it. I know, I don’t say it to all my clients. You know, we’re very selective. When we call abuse abuse. That’s one thing that we say repeatedly, like, we don’t use that word lightly. And we use it coming from an educational piece. So the book really is, again, to make this information as accessible to people so that they can educate themselves empower themselves. And this, you know, generational trauma that’s been passed on, like a baton to the next generation is really to somebody has to say, No, I’m not going to accept that. And I’m going to educate myself and empower myself to not do that. And there’s a heaviness and a weight in that because it’s like, it’s not my fault. It’s not my fault that this happened. But this is where it is our responsibility. And yes, so yeah, and that’s where the book you’re not the problem was born from.

Kristen Carder 6:16
Taking care of your house isn’t always easy, but it should at least be simple. Like, why isn’t it more simple. And that’s why for the last two years, I’ve been drinking ag one persistently, pretty much every day. It’s just one scoop, mixing water once a day, and it makes me feel so much better. I’ve noticed improved, focused, better mental clarity, better concentration. And what I just learned about it is that it supports healthy hormone production, which is so important to me, now that I’m in perimenopause, I truly do feel so much better. And that’s because each serving of ag one delivers my daily dose of vitamins, minerals, pre and probiotics, and more. It’s just like a really powerful, healthy habit that’s also powerfully simple. And it has to be simple, right? Because I have ADHD, if it’s not simple, I’m telling you, I’m not going to do it. That’s just the truth. This is so simple. Now, you all know that for decades, I have reached for the coffee pot, the instant that my eyes open. And when I introduced the I use the word habit very loosely the habit of drinking ag one. I’ve done that later in the day. But to my absolute shock, I’ve been able to change that. Now I drink ag one first thing in the morning, which is recommended for optimal nutrient absorption. I literally picture my like gut and my cells just like absorbing all of the goodness first thing in the morning. And I’ve got to tell you, I do feel a difference. I fill up my shaker with extra cold water. My eyes are not even open yet. I add one scoop of ag one I shake it up good to go. It takes me 30 seconds max from start to finish. And I am not exaggerating it. It’s so simple, or I wouldn’t do it. And it’s helped me feel so much better, especially in the mornings. If there’s one product that I had to recommend to elevate your health. It’s a big one. And that’s why I’ve partnered with them for so long. And exclusively. They’re the only product that I’ve allowed to have ads on this podcast because I believe in it so much. So if you want to take ownership of your health, start with ag one, try ag one and get a free one year supply of vitamin d3 que two and five, free ag one travel packs with your first purchase exclusively at drink. Ag one.com/i have ADHD. That’s drink ag one.com/i have ADHD, check it out. So I’m so glad that you said that Katie, that most people who come to therapy, or just in passing even will say like, yeah, my childhood was normal. There was nothing in you know, out of the ordinary or nothing traumatic about it. And I will raise my hand and say I said the same thing to my therapist in my first couple of sessions. Like I don’t I don’t really have any

Helen Villiers 9:21
my natural been

Kristen Carder 9:24
lucky to have that clarity. Well, I do.

Helen Villiers 9:29
Too much. I didn’t know. I thought I was the problem. You know, that was literally me going there to say can you fix me please? Yeah. Then it was Yeah. So.

Kristen Carder 9:40
Okay, so I think most people listening are kind of like, oh, this is about like I can imagine we have 1000s of listeners and I can imagine all the ADHD years. Most of them listening will say this episodes about narcissistic parents. My parents weren’t perfect, but they certainly weren’t narcissistic. I don’t need to listen to this episode. And I Just want everyone to like pause and not, not click off. Because the truth is, so many of us don’t realize how impactful our parental relationships are. So many of us don’t realize how toxic our parental relationships are. And so I wonder what you would say to someone who’s like, this probably doesn’t apply to me. Like, let’s just talk about what are the traits of narcissism? And how might someone see them in their parents?

Helen Villiers 10:30
Well, I think it’s really important to say not everybody needs to be full blown NPD to be toxic or emotionally abusive. So that’s the first thing. And then the second thing is that most parenting styles were based on emotional abuse. Right? So up until very recently, when we started doing gentle parenting and attachment parenting, which you know, a lot of naysayers will be like, Oh, it’s let your child do anything. And that’s not what it is. It’s actually about being kind and respectful to your child as an autonomous human being, imagine me. So I think it’s important to just recognize that yeah, they might not be as toxic and unfollow some that stories that we hear or that we use on our podcasts. But emotional abuse was the method in which children were controlled, you know, fear, obligation and guilt. Those are three emotions that are weaponized against children in order to keep them dutiful, to keep them behaving in line to keep the family thing up. Right? Guilt I must, if I don’t prioritize my parent above myself, then that makes me a bad person. And, you know, so. So just bear that in mind when you’re sitting there kind of going, Wow, they weren’t that bad. And you’re all right, you know? And then I’ve just offered this, what happens if you say to your parent, I don’t like it when you treat me that way? Do they listen to they respect? Do they change? Do they apologize? Or do they criticize shame, humiliate Stonewall abandon, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. You know,

Katie McKenna 12:00
I want to add on from that, because when Helen thing, what if we say that I don’t like X, Y, or Zed, because there’s a lot of people that won’t even recognize that, that they can say no to X, Y, or Z, that that actually the behavior is wrong or bad, or what it really is, is manipulative. And what I asked them is, what if you want to say no to your parent, what if your parent asks you for, you know, the left to the supermarket, or they want you to ask somebody else to do something. So we see this, you know, typically with siblings, that if one sibling you know, won’t come home for the weekend, and the mother or father triangulate and bring sibling a and saying, or your sibling be one come home for the weekend, and I’m just so annoyed at them, and I’m so disappointed. And what happens if sibling a was to say, Well, ma’am, you go and talk to him. You tell them that, and what what are you met with? What sort of anger or resistance or fine D like that? What sort of passive aggression? Is there? One of the way that I asked them to look for trauma? And again, it’s so normalized to people is, were you given the silent treatment? Because that’s abusive, right? Did your child and give you the silent treatment? And typically, my clients will be like, oh, yeah, and depending on which parent, let’s just say it’s the mom. Oh, yeah, mom used to do that all the time. That was normal. But we were so used to it, like it didn’t impact me. And actually your nervous system is impacted, you will go into a state of survival. The purpose of giving somebody the silent treatment, and especially a child is to elicit the phone response, it’s to get the child to feel bad, to feel guilty to feel responsible, they will want to repair the relationship, and ultimately that then they will be submissive in the relationship. So when someone has given somebody that silent treatment, they’re being abusive, they’re being controlling, they’re weaponizing the child’s guilt and empathy against them. They’re not allowing autonomy. And that’s the biggest thing. Can your parents receive your know? Do they let you express your wants? Do they allow you to be different? Or is it their way or the highway? Yeah.

Kristen Carder 13:52
And by the way, the silent treatment works? Yeah, of course it does. Yeah, yes, it works like a charm. When

Helen Villiers 14:00
a child is completely dependent on their caregivers, they have no autonomy, they have no agency, they have no way of providing or defending themselves, or if we go back to sort of caveman times when you’re in those communities and, and a child would have been fully dependent on their parent to provide food and shelter. And they still are, obviously now we’ve got services that can get involved, but they don’t tend to where emotional abuse is happening, because it’s apparently not as bad when friends it’s pretty much the cornerstone of all abuse, but there we are. But the child needs the relationship with their parent to be safe for their literal, physical survival, not just their emotional survival, their physical survival, because if the parent is displeased, they will not only withdraw love, but they may withdraw food and shelter. And if we look at Maslow’s was that thing of hierarchy? Higher hierarchy? Yeah. The if we look at that food and shelter at the bottom right, so they have to that absolutely the most simple Wouldn’t things we need because our physical survival is dependent on it. So a child will do everything and anything to keep that relationship safe. So when a parent says, I’m going to abandon you now, because you’ve displeased me, the child will naturally go into the foreign response, because it’s the most successful response for them. As a child, they have no, they can’t fight, they can’t freeze, and they can’t flight. So they have to fall mommy, mommy, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to. I’m just I love you so much. And oh, my God, you know, writing little notes, maybe, and, you know, apology letters and taking all the responsibility for the thing that’s happened. That’s why the book is called, you’re not the problem because the child learns in these systems, that they are the problem, that if something goes wrong in the relationship, it’s their fault, and they have to remedy it. And they do that as a very basic survival principle, apart from anything else, apart from the fact that feels awful. It’s literally about the physical survival. You know, it’s really awful.

Kristen Carder 16:02
And it’s not something that the child chooses to do. Correct. It’s just automatic, no,

Helen Villiers 16:06
your brain, your your lizard brain, your amygdala goes straight into that trauma response, without even your prefrontal cortex won’t even know right, so your your logic system is stored in your prefrontal cortex, your survival is in your amygdala. And your amygdala is stronger than every other system in your body, because it’s all about your survival. So it’s taking care of every kind of, it’s always scanning for threats all the time, making sure that you are safe all the time. And of course, if you’re in an unsafe environment, it’s going to be an overdrive, which therefore means you end up developing hyper vigilance. But yes, the you will have no choice but to develop phone response, because your brain is just identifying the threat and trying to remedy it all the time, beyond your control completely.

Katie McKenna 16:51
And people will recognize that what they call fight or flight, right, we generally use that shorthand, you know, fight or flight, whereas actually, it’s freeze, fight flight or phone. And this is what we’re talking about. That’s stress response, that survival response. And this is healthy, actually, to be able to toggle into any one of them either a phrase or fight or flight or phone. But it’s really important that we’re able to toggle back out of it back into our parasympathetic and where a trauma response is born, is when we end up living in that trauma state. So that’s where that terminology can come out of, and we, it can be confusing for people to be able to pull this apart. So I’m really glad you asked that question.

Kristen Carder 17:27
So one of the direct quotes from your incredible book, you’re not the problem available now on Amazon. Is the brain perceives emotional and physical threat in the same way.

Helen Villiers 17:41
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.

Katie McKenna 17:42
Yeah. The analogy that I have for this is that when we’re watching a movie, you know, and something scary is happening in the movie, we are frightened, you know, if there’s something scary creeping up, you know, behind the window, and something or, you know, you hear that music, you’re scared, although you’re sitting in an adult in the safety of your own home, you can turn off the TV, you can turn on the lights, but the perception, it’s it’s hitting that amygdala first, when we have fear, our amygdala will respond appropriately. And it can tell the difference between real or imagined. It’s the same way we cry when somebody dies on screen, right? We know that actor is alive and well living somewhere. But we will have this huge emotional reaction to that because it’s hitting our brain different. It’s why then when somebody is in anxiety, that when they feel fear about something in the future, if I’m scared at the thoughts of you know, walking in to a cancer and ordering a coffee, what am I going to say to that person in front of me imagine this could happen. And imagine I spend my coins all over the counter, or I can speak in front of them. And our body is responding as if we’re actually standing in front of that person. So my heart will start beating faster, my hands will be you know, sweaty and clammy, my stomach will feel sick. And what Helen was talking about the amygdala will absolutely overwrite and hijack our prefrontal cortex, which is why it’s really that part of our brain is where we think and we are logical, which is why we struggle to string a sentence together. And then afterwards, we go home, and we regulate and then we think of all the things we should have said and like, Oh, why didn’t I say that? And then we will continue this cascade of, you know, barrage and shame where we pride ourselves on Oh, I’m so stupid. I’m the problem. There’s something wrong with me. And again, this is where education is so important. One

Helen Villiers 19:22
of my favorite things is you know, when you watch jumpscares on your phone, you know when like, I bloody hate them, you know? Like can’t just cannot stand them but you know, that thing of like, say someone kicks a ball to the screen, sorry, and you flinch, but you know that logically here, you know that it’s not coming but your amygdala goes well, that’s a threat. And it it makes you jump. Exactly what happens.

Kristen Carder 19:49
I’ve thrown my camera at my kids love to send them to me.

Helen Villiers 19:57
Do you know what’s really interesting about it is that I have found that people who have grown up in kind of tricky situations and who may be more hyper vigilant, are much more sensitive to jumpscares than people that haven’t. You know, I

Kristen Carder 20:11
always say to Greg, real life is scary enough, I do not need to watch a movie that that has jumpscare I can’t, I cannot either. Oh, it’s so funny.

Katie McKenna 20:23
This is, again, a really good way to tell with people that you have around you. So I personally don’t like jumpscares. So my kids know that. But more importantly, my husband knows that. So there’s no me walking around the corner and him going boo to frighten me. So this is what we’re talking about. Can somebody hear your No, if you say to somebody, I don’t like it, when you do that. They don’t have to have the same experience. They don’t even have to understand it. But they do have to respect it. If you’re going to be in a healthy relationship. And this is that’s just a really good way to highlight where your know can come into situations into relationships. It’s

Helen Villiers 20:54
a really good point. Because yeah, I don’t like them. And if I was around somebody who kept doing it to me, then I would remove myself from that relationship, because they’re not safe. What they’re telling me is that they like me being on edge. They like me being scared. And why would you want to keep me in that state when you know, it threatens and upsets me? And I don’t like it. And it makes me feel horrible. Because it does when you when we have those responses, our body floods with adrenaline and cortisol, which on its own is just bad for us. You can’t you know, it’s good in a short term thing to survive a genuinely threatening situation. But to be consistently doing that to someone, especially when they’ve told you I don’t like it. Well, what you’re seeing is you you enjoy traumatizing me. I don’t want to be around anyone that wants to do that.

Kristen Carder 21:36
No, thank you. No, thank

Katie McKenna 21:38
you. And I’m wondering actually precedent when you because we all got sidetracked there when you were asking us about the main traits. I wonder if you could even briefly just go through the traits. And I’ll even give examples of what they can. Yeah, absolutely.

Helen Villiers 21:49
So the five main traits are grandiosity, entitlement, exploitation, motivation, empathy, and impaired self awareness, and what that actually means. And I’ll just break them down and in Katie, if you can give those examples that would be really good. So grandiosity Is this, like, unfounded sense of superiority. And one thing, just to be really clear, before we carry on is that there are healthy versions of this. And we go into that in the book, and we explain what the difference is, and essentially its cost to others, and also the foundation so in NPD, or narcissistic behavior treats, grandiosity is this unfounded sense of superiority over everyone else, believing that they’re better than everyone else, they know more than everyone else, that they are the best thing that ever happened to the world. But like being an expert on something, but they don’t have any reason to believe this very, and people will say something like an overinflated ego, you know, that kind of thing. Yeah.

Katie McKenna 22:44
So an example of that is that no matter what you’ve done, I’ve done a better so if you have a black cat, I’ve done a better Helen, you told that joke on the podcast that if you’ve gotten to Tenerife, that I’ve gotten to 11 rates, and they will devalue anybody, so they will say that, Oh, I could have been this, that or the other. So I could have been a professional football player, only that I you know, hurt my ankle. And has this shows up as well is that the competition so that if you have a pain in your head, they have a migraine. So if you have an ailment, they have something worse than them, so that it will always be bigger or better or worse, in a way to silence you and yet to center them. So for someone

Kristen Carder 23:17
who’s covertly narcissistic, would this be maybe judgment, like toss one of my Yeah, sitting in judgment, of someone else, so maybe, maybe your parent says like, oh, I can’t believe the neighbor’s wife goes to work and leaves her kids at home? I would never think of doing such things. So somebody who’s covertly narcissistic might not necessarily talk about themselves in grandiose ways, but they will put down other people.

Katie McKenna 23:46
Right, Kristen I love that you said that, um, because actually covert is much harder to spot, which is why we have so many examples in the book of this for people to be able to recognize it, and to really see it, because that scathing judgment, what they’re still saying is that I’m superior, I’m better than them, because I would never do that. And it’s scathing judgment, and often done passive aggressively behind closed doors. So the public aren’t privy to this, right. And this is why it can be such a lonely experience for a child growing up in this environment, because they have first hand experience what the truth is of their parent. But outwardly people can say, oh, no, they were lovely. Because typically the mother that would say that if she met that other mother that put the child in childcare or went out to work, she would just be so lovely to them and see how amazing she was and how wonderful she was, and then be completely different behind closed doors.

Kristen Carder 24:35
Yeah, yeah. I appreciate you saying that. Yeah, that’s really clarifying.

Helen Villiers 24:39
I just also because I’m clinical about this and obviously, this is my academic see this is the my ADHD coming in, or maybe the but it’s more the pedantry for me. So it’s, one of the things that we explain in the book is that clinical thinking has moved away from this kind of division of covert V overt, and the reason being thing is that actually that can trip people up again as well, because, well, they’re not always like flashy and brash and talking about themselves. So they’re not always and sometimes they can be over. And it’s what if we kind of moved away from this, this binary idea of it. And now we’re moving to this kind of integrated that a treat. One trait might be more overt presenting, or it might be more covert presenting. But everyone will be unique in their behavior, as with any of these kinds of conditions, that you know, just to be really mindful that if they’re not overtly grandiose, but they’re overtly exploitative, it doesn’t mean that they don’t still fit in this kind of behavior that they are, you know, we can still apply it to them. So just, you know, being really mindful of that. So, yeah, should we move on to entitlement, let’s do it. Okay, so entitlement is the idea that their needs are more important than anybody else’s, that they should have their needs met above everyone else’s, regardless of what it costs to anyone else. And so that means that they will use exploitation to feed entitlements. So it’s using other people to get those needs met, because those two go hand in hand. And the thing again, to remember is that grandiosity is like the central the sun, I suppose, of all the behaviors, and that everything else is revolving feeding that sense of superiority. So if I can exploit that person to get this need met, it proves that I am superior and better than everyone else. So yeah, so entitlement is this, I want what I want, I’m gonna get it, I don’t care whether or not it costs you anything. I don’t care whether it hurts you, if you deny me what I’m demanding, you challenge my sense of superiority, and therefore I will unleash the narcissistic rage on you the smear campaigns, you know, that’s where those behaviors when we’re looking at kind of where they start smear campaigning, it’s where the grandiosity, their superiority has been challenged. So entitlement is that I want whatever I want, and I have it regardless of

Katie McKenna 26:55
yeah, there’s nothing that the narcissistic parent doesn’t feel entitled to. And that’s from time, money, clothes, labor, emotional labor, friendships, information, they will feel entitled to everything and typically we can hear them say, Well, I’m your mother, of course, you should have told me first right? So entitled to that information, you know, send your husband ran this even on live jobs for him to do so entitled, if they want time with our grandchildren, they will feel so entitled in that and be very demanding of that. So typically, whatever the narcissistic once they get because they’re so manipulative, and they don’t care who they harm in their work to get that need met. So the other person’s need will be completely ignored, unless it’s within their gain. So for example, if that husband if he was to go around and do those jobs, well then he would be praised as what the daughter in those instances and because there would be again and it but again, the minute the know is starting to be held, we will see this narcissistic rage that Helen’s talking about so the stonewalling the abandonment, the smear campaign, the silent treatment, the discard, it’s

Helen Villiers 28:03
really important actually that narcissistic rage can be quiet, as well as loud. So it doesn’t have to be a big shouty, angry screaming match. It can be the stonewalling the abandonment, those silence that discard, you know, it’s really important. Oh

Katie McKenna 28:16
my god, and actually, can we sidetrack a wee bit there when we’re talking about that, that rage? Because I think this is what people think when we think of abuse. When we ask people what is abusive. That’s what they go to, or somebody’s raging and shouting at me the whole time and berating physical, whereas what we’re sorry, and physical and sexual, yeah, but when we talk about what is emotional abuse, they will typically describe this rage, whereas what we’re talking about is seething, silent rage. And again, that’s what the silent treatment is. Yeah, I saw you. Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. Okay, so we’re gonna move on now to motivational and wait, before

Kristen Carder 28:50
we do. I just wanted to say that entitlement is the reason why it’s so hard to say no, to a narcissist, because they feel 100% entitled to your yes, at all times. is So on display when you try to say no, for for small things? No, sorry. We can’t come over this weekend. No, sorry. The kids aren’t available. No, sorry. You know, I’m not gonna be able to take you to the doctor because I’m at work or No, I’m not available. The entitlement is How dare you say no to me, because I’m entitled to your time, your energy, your money, your effort, like all of the things. So the entitlement, in my mind, is what makes it so hard to say no.

Helen Villiers 29:31
But it’s also the positioning. So the request is not usually a request. It’s a demand. And it’s usually phrased in such a way that it’s a statement rather than a question. So it’s the I need you to take me to the doctors on Thursday at 11 o’clock, rather than telling Are you free? Could you take me to the doctor and Thursday, and they might even ask the question, but it depends obviously on how like, expose the behavior is but it’s the demand which is so much harder to say no Are to first of all, but also you’ve learned that when you say no to them to these demands, you get punished. And it’s not just that you get punished, you get a barrage of abuse thrown at you in one way or another. So it’s either that very loud abuse or that very silent abuse, or it’s the triangulation, and it’s the turning your sibling that Oh, my God, she was so selfish. She won’t even take me to the doctor. And how else am I meant to get there? And I can’t believe she won’t do that after everything I’ve done for them. See, fear, obligation guilt is weaponized against you so much and so continuously, that to say no to the narcissist really doesn’t feel like it’s an option. And you know, this is where people who haven’t grown up in this and haven’t experienced this really don’t understand how hard it is to find your know. Because that is like, I think one of the most liberating things for me was learning to say the word no, in a No, I don’t like that. No, I’m uncomfortable. No, thank you. I don’t want to do that. And I still find it hard now. After years of therapy and knowledge and study and all the work that Katie I do, bloody writing a book on it. And I still can struggle to find that no, just because of the conditioning around using it was so strong. And when you grow up, being told that every time you use that word, no, you are a bad, evil human being, you know, the cost of it is to, like, feel like you’re the worst thing that ever existed the most toxic human literally worse than the devil. That it’s, I mean, yeah, so I think people really struggle to understand how it isn’t a choice until you really become aware of it. And even when it is a choice, it’s really hard to utilize the choice that benefits you instead of them. You know, it’s painful.

Kristen Carder 31:51
Oh, my word wasn’t?

Katie McKenna 31:54
It is actually entitlement, then it’s really interwoven with exploitation. So Helen, do you want to say a wee bit about exploitation?

Helen Villiers 32:02
Yeah, absolutely. So exploitation is literally what we’ve just said, I’m entitled to your time or energy to take me to do the thing, I want you to do a go to the doctor. So exploitation is again using other people or things or, you know, it’s taking money from charities, it’s, you know, the amount of people that I’ve worked with, or even interacted with online, whose parent narcissistic parent has set up credit cards, or put bills in their name when they were children. So they turn 18. And suddenly, they’ve got $500,000 worth or pounds worth of debt, it’s a lot easier to do it in the States than it is in the UK, that they’ve got all this debt, because their parent took out credit cards. But then on top of that, because the child feels so guilty about saying, No, they won’t hold their parent accountable for it, they won’t report them for the fraud. And so they are saddled with this debt. Because it’s so and here’s this parents saying, okay, that’s quite an extreme example, but it’s the, I will just take your time, I will take your energy i, i will exploit every resource you’ve got, or that I can find and mine to benefit me, regardless of the cost to you. So it’s one thing to go to your friend and say, Hey, can you give me a hand and helped me move house on Friday? And it’s another thing to say, Oh, can you help me move house on Friday? Oh, my God, why wouldn’t you say yes, that’s so selfish. You’re so evil, you’re so mean, you’re so after everything I’ve done to you, for you, rather to you for it. But it’s this the idea of using someone we’re allowed to ask people for help and we’re allowed to say can I use the resource you’ve got kind of borrow some money off you? But as long as we’re sitting accepting their no and not punishing, you’re shaming them for it. And you know, really, we go into that in quite detail in the book about the difference in the kind of where our responsibility lies in terms of if we keep giving who is the person who’s got to take responsibility that because if you’re a giver, and you keep giving and giving and then you get annoyed because someone keeps taking, we’ve got to look at our own behavior in that too, which is really difficult. But yeah, exploitation, just hoping themselves to absolutely everything with no no care for the cost to anybody.

Katie McKenna 34:16
Yeah, again, there’s nothing that the narcissistic parent won’t exploit they will exploit the relationship with the child they will treat their child as servants You know, in the book, we go into gratification instrumental, emotional, and then narcissistic and really quickly instrumental is where the child is the parent to their siblings, where they you know, do the kids homework, you know, cook the dinners, really Cinderella, you know, sweeping, cleaning, mopping cooking, being the adult before their time. The emotional gratification is where they’re, you know, Mommy’s Little confidant mini therapist, the goal between the mediator in the relationship and being that emotional caretaker, which just carries such a weight of responsibility, and narcissistic provocation which encompasses both instrumental and motional ratification, but also where the narcissistic parent projects an image onto the child. And all of this is exploiting the relationships where they’re standing in that place of superiority and denying their child, their childhood, their freedom, their own relationships. And we give again loads of examples for people to recognize this, because when we see how exploitive and it’s when Helen gave those examples about money being the extreme end of the scale, what we see in much smaller ends of the scale is where the parent again feel so entitled, and then will exploit and take the child’s birthday money, or, you know, if there’s any occasions, bar mitzvahs, or christenings are communions that they will just feel entitled, and they will exploit that and keep that. So this will be a constant in their life. And again, they won’t recognize it, because it’s so normalized to them. So I

Kristen Carder 35:48
have a couple examples that I think are less extreme that might be helpful. You know, when I talk to clients, and I hear just about their relationship with their parents, a lot of my clients will say, like, my, my mom calls me to talk about her relationship with my dad. My mom calls me when, you know, they’ve had a fight. And yeah, I just want to point that out as an example of exploitation where the mom is using a child to regulate her own emotions, to kind of be mediator in the relationship, hey, can you talk to your father about this? And even as an adult, that’s exploitative, that’s not an appropriate relationship with a parent child?

Helen Villiers 36:32
Absolutely. No, no, it’s

Katie McKenna 36:34
absolutely inappropriate, it’s 100%. Wrong. And it’s these boundaries being ignored. And where the parent is reversing the roles of the parent child relationship and making the child be the adult in that relationship. We you know, typically, before people are aware that their parents are abusive, we typically hear them same about one or other parents, then on a well, poor mom, or poor dad, like they’re just not able. And then that’s because they have positioned themselves as the victim in that space, which will take us on to motivational empathy now and the minute and they will weaponize that against the child that the child feels responsible. And there’s again in that because if you feel responsible and protective of me, you’re less likely to leave, you will stay at home, you will stay close to home and there will be a game for the narcissistic parents, because then you can take care of me, you can run all my errands for me, I can treat you as if I own you, and you can do all my bidding for me. And I mentioned there that that actually ties in with motivational empathy, which is one of my favorite things to bring awareness to and let people know about it. Wasn’t

Helen Villiers 37:34
this the first episode we did on Patreon Casey motivational? And it

Katie McKenna 37:39
was the thing that tripped me up completely. Yeah, when we are talking about with abuse that I didn’t realize, because I was one of those people that thought that narcissists had no empathy. And when I learned about motivation and empathy, that they will weaponize and use your empathy against you use your guilt against you. Because for me, the child, I had thought that this was just me that I had did this, all these things of my own volition. And so I suppose here I’m going in answering the throwbacks to let you get the science petfirst.

Helen Villiers 38:08
Okay, so basically, in the DSM five, there are a list of criteria that are used to diagnose all conditions. But then this instance MPd is in the Cluster B personality disorders. And the common misconception is that narcissists have a complete lack of empathy. And that is not what it says in the DSM five. And listen, I know it’s problematic as a document itself. I’m not sitting here going, yeah, the DSM five. But it is what we do. And as a result of that, I mean, I did a lot of research into how we understand what what’s in the DSM five now. And the impaired empathy criteria is really important because a lady called Elsa running system, then who she’s a Harvard psychology professor researcher, then went and did some more research into what empathy looks like in NPD. And what she coined was the term motivational empathy. And it’s the idea that they use empathy to motivate you to meet their needs. So they weaponize your empathy against you, in order for you to deny your need, so that you will meet theirs. And that might be saying things like, and Katie, I’m sure is going to give loads of examples, but just saying things like, I’m the worst person in the world when you try and hold them accountable because it’s makes you feel bad or like threatening of suicide, because it makes you feel bad for them to stop you holding account stop, you’re challenging them, stop you telling them that their behavior is unacceptable, because then obviously, that makes you a terrible person if you’re making someone feel bad. So the narcissist will use your own empathy against you. They will weaponize it against you in order to manipulate or coerce you into meeting their needs above their own. And what they do are the three emotions again, that they weaponize to force that to is the fear obligation and guilt because empathy will drive all three of Those, the fear, the obligation is the empathy or I should really do, it makes me a bad person, and they’re really struggling. So I should really go and take them to the doctor. You know, it’s the, if I was a good person, I would put their needs above mine, because they are more important than me because they are suffering more than I am right now. Right? So one of the things I cannot go on about enough is motivational empathy. It’s almost like a specialist subject in a specialist. But the motivational empathy aspect is the thing that trips people up all the time. Because they can turn it on when they need to, they can say I thought of you because I went and you know, one of those things were like, a partner would come home and go, I picked up some fish and chips on the way home that so you don’t have to cook. And it’s like, well, yeah, but okay, but we need to finish that discussion we were having earlier. Oh, for God’s sake, look, I’ve done something nice for you can’t you just let it go? Why do always have to make it so difficult. I’m just trying to be a good person. And you’re doing that right? As they you feel bad because you’ve made them feel bad. And there’s your empathy kicking in to silence you. They use your empathy to silence you. And this is where people get so confused, because they’re expecting there to be cold heartedness calculated. And what they’re actually talking about is psychopathy, or antisocial personality disorder. Those are two different things. And I could go on about that, too. I’m gonna contain myself.

Katie McKenna 41:27
It’s really interesting.

Helen Villiers 41:28
I could stand and do a lecture for three hours on it. So but basically, lack of empathy is psychopathy. And in very short narrative, not all psychopaths will kill antisocial personality disorder is what it’s called now, but I’m using all terms. Not all psychopaths are murderers, as we see in the press, the ones that are typically have NPD as well as psychopathy. And actually, I kind of sit with an idea of can someone who’s got NPD have psychopathy. The clinician say yes, but I struggled to understand that because of the empathy factor. So but the point is that Ted Bundy, for example, famous psychopath, also NPD diagnosed. So, you know, like, really be really careful when you’re listening to there are some people who’ve got big profiles going around saying, there’s a total lack of empathy, they are wrong, and they’re not describing it properly. And it’s actually really irresponsible and very frustrating that they’re doing so, you know, because it does. So let’s Sorry.

Katie McKenna 42:33
Okay, no, and I completely agree. And let’s talk about this and that people can recognize some behaviors because the parents will use motivational empathy from dead dash with their child. So from Why don’t you that you met DDOT from day one, from day one? Sorry. Well, I

Kristen Carder 42:47
I love that. I think

Helen Villiers 42:51
American I think it’s an Irish thing. I don’t think it’s like, from day one, we

Kristen Carder 42:57
need to say day one. No, no, we got it. Okay. Continue.

Katie McKenna 43:04
Where they will say things to their child like, Oh, you made mommy so sad. Yeah. So if you have a Becky or a sweet, well, you give mommy one. And if you don’t, that makes me so sad. Or if you really want to go and you know, spend a night or go with your friends or spend a night at an at an auntie’s house, you know, who do you love more? Do you love them or me? Right, and your guilt tripping? You’re and that’s what people typically know motivational MPs, guilt tripping or pulling at? Heartstrings, we see this then where it’s done explosively around money, where the parents will guilt up their child, you know, I have I have no money, I don’t know how I’m going to pay the bills for the weekend. You know, and again, the child wants to rescue them, what they don’t realize is that they’re being exploited. And I always hear people that say, Well, what if they don’t have money? You know, we didn’t come from money, and what if we actually couldn’t pay the bail. And still, what I say is that that was not the child’s responsibility. This was up to the parent to discuss this with the other parent to go to their own family members, their own parents, their siblings, to go to Citizens Advice to go to the local food bank, or whatever that looks like in your area. This was not to put this on the child. And typically, when we look at this parents, there’s still money for, you know, whether that’s, you know, cigarettes, or alcohol or, you know, golf or whatever those things are. And so we’re looking again, at purely exploitative measures to again, place that responsibility and that burden on the child. We see this around big days, like Mother’s Day, you know, where a son is, in their own relationship with their own wife. And then the mother in law will be like, Well, I’m your mother, do you not care about me? Can you not spend time with me? And because of their entitlement, they will center themselves and think the whole world should revolve around them. And actually what the son should say in that instance is no, I care about my wife, she is my priority and should prioritize the wife but typically, there’s fear because again, what’s going to happen with that narcissistic rage, so motivation and empathy is to guilt trip Somebody to, again elicit that guilt to make them feel responsible. So for all the listeners listening now, I wonder if I was to say it to us if you knew me, and I was to say, or, you know, over a friend’s 40th This weekend, and I’d really like to go, like, she’s so important to me and me and my husband just haven’t been out together in ages. And, you know, actually, we’re struggling a wee bit, and we need some time together, and I don’t know what I’m going to do. But that’s the response, right? Oh, my God, you know, you can have empathy and say, Oh, my God, what are you? Like, that’s really shit, like, how are you going to manage that? But actually, what somebody using motivational empathy to exploit is hoping for is that that person is going to rescue and fall in and go, Oh, I can do it. My Oh, I don’t mind them for you. And then here are the the narcissistic person can be exonerated? Oh, no, no, I wouldn’t expect you to do that. No, no, I’m sure will. Are you sure? I know. Suddenly, you’ve offered for the thing. So I haven’t been an adult and asked because there is nothing wrong in healthy friendships, being an adult and saying, Hey, Kristen, you know, can you babysit this weekend for me if you’re not doing anything, right? Because you see the way you have the freedom then to say no one that I know for a lot of this clientele group that can really struggle with their nose. But there’s more space in that. Yeah, so motivational empathy, guilt tripping, pulling on heartstrings, typically, you will view the person then and I say the victim, quote, unquote, you know, for them, they’re not able to do this thing by themselves. There’s huge infantilization going on, where that’s exactly they’re putting themselves in that position that I’m not able or capable to do any of this stuff. And it’s only you that can do that for me. Yeah.

Kristen Carder 46:36
So guilt is a really good indicator that motivational empathy may be being used against you. Yeah, I

Helen Villiers 46:45
think it’s a discomfort feeling. Because guilt is actually a really healthy thing. It’s not, there’s a difference between difference between, like toxic guilt and healthy guilt. Guilt is usually showing us where we miss align to our own values and our own belief systems and everything else. And here’s the problem with that is that we grew up in these systems, that guilt gets weaponized and, and you are taught that this is what a good person would do. And when you’re not doing that, that makes you a bad person. So then it becomes like this toxic guilt, because it’s not actually working to keep you on track to what your belief system is. It keeps you on track to what their belief system is, and it becomes a should rather than a want. Yeah, so guilt. I don’t know if we should be looking at that to be guiding as in these scenarios. What it is, is I would actually say that a feeling of oppression, that I’m not allowed to say, No, I’m not allowed to hold you accountable. You’re making excuses. And I guarantee you now you know what we’re talking about. And if you read the book and read more about it, you will not stop seeing it. Because that is what happens. I mean, talking to Katie, when I first explained it to her, and now like you can see it everywhere, can’t you Katie and as Can I

Katie McKenna 47:55
always knew what it was. But I didn’t realize that it was so manipulative. Yeah, I thought it was like just a characteristic characteristic that was born that that’s what the were, you know, I knew it as guilt tripping. I didn’t realize how purposeful it was, again, motivational empathy that the we’re using this to use your empathy against you. You know, we typically hear from a lot of our clients that I’m an empath, I can just feel other people’s emotions. And this is really telling where this comes from, because me and Helen are both in agreement that there’s no such thing as an empath. And actually, what they’re describing is hyper vigilance that I can read body language, I can tell the difference between your eyes, shifting your tone of breath, the tilt of the head, frown, you know, the walk of your footsteps, how you close the door, how you put down your glass, and that’s hypervigilance born from trauma. And it’s not that I have the superpower, that I’m able to read other people’s emotions. And you know, we can have huge resistance from people saying, No, that’s not true. But actually, yeah, when I suppose this is the purpose of the book to actually read it and to recognize this behavior. And just before we move on, Kristin, I think what you were describing there, or I could be wrong, but what I think you were describing, actually, when you were talking about guilt is possibly shame. And I think a lot of people can get the two of those mixed up. So guilt, as Helen was saying is a healthy thing. I have never seen one of my clients come in and know what healthy guilt is because it has been weaponized them so much. And then talk about guilt. So in their current relationships with their friendships with their bosses, you know, in the romantic relationships, they’ll say, Oh, I can’t say no, I would just feel guilty. Whereas actually, when we look into it, and I say, Well, what is the fear? And it’s that well, that I’m a bad person, and they’ll get angry with me. And that bad person, if I’m a bad person, that will mean that they don’t love me. And so we’re really tapping into the emotion of shame, which is a universal emotion we all have, but isn’t known about isn’t talked about, but it’s an emotion that the narcissist uses and weaponized as against their child the whole time, the child is actually brought up in shame, and they won’t be able to separate it from themselves. You know, when somebody is Angry, we typically know that this is just an emotion, you know, and that they get angry. And what does that look like? Well, they shout or somebody can clench their jaw, or like punch their fists, I know what that looks like. But actually, when somebody lives in this emotion, their whole life shame, they’re not able to separate it from themselves. And they will typically think that there’s something fundamentally wrong with me, I am deeply flawed, and I’m scared for you to see the real me because if I show that to you, if I say no to you, you will reject me and, and I don’t want to sit with that shame. So I’m going to avoid the shame at all costs.

Helen Villiers 50:32
I just want to add something with that hyper vigilance thing, and then just give a bit more evidence around why we don’t believe in the Perth hype, and we actually believe it’s hyper vigilant because people will give us so much backlash, I get people saying the most offensive things to me, you don’t know what you’re talking about you, you know, like really nasty stuff. Because they’re so heavily defended in the identity of being an empath, as though it makes them special and superior and different from other people, it gives them a special skill. Now, listen, there are parts of being an empath hyper vigilant, that can be when boundaried very useful in terms of skill sets, in terms of possibly as a sales or manager person, they can be really, really useful skills, right? But when they are unbounded, they’re actually very, very toxic, because they’re assuming feelings or experience, they’re assuming all sorts of stuff and projecting them to, and it denies somebody’s autonomy, instead of just saying, Hey, are you upset with me? And accepting the answer? It’s, well, I can tell you are and blah, blah, blah. But the thing that we have to know about the hyper vigilant state is what we were talking about right at the very beginning, your amygdala is always scanning for threats. And if you grew up in these environments, what people say to me is, well, I can just tell from the entering a room and I don’t even know the person, and I can tell that they’ve had a bad day, or there’s certainly other and I’m like, yes, because your amygdala is attuned to that they are your amygdala is literally programmed to do that, because it kept you safe. And when people say to me, Well, I had an amazing childhood. No, you didn’t. And I’m sorry, I’m really harsh about it. Because actually, one of the greatest indicators of an insecure attachment style is people idealizing their childhood, right? They sit there and tell me that will tell everyone. I had a perfect childhood idyllic, it was wonderful. No, you didn’t because nobody does. Because every human on this planet is flawed. You can’t, you know, yes, you might have had a great like relationship, you might have some really good, but there’s always going to be some childhood trauma, always. You cannot escape it. And as parents, we can’t help it from our children either. So it’s but it’s the rupture repair that Katie and I talked about a lot. The point being, nobody has a perfect childhood. And if you come and tell me that you did I know immediately that you’re lying, or hiding or in denial, because you don’t want to look at stuff. So yeah, just get on my soapbox about that one. Sorry.

Katie McKenna 52:58
And when we’re just talking about remembering childhoods, one of the biggest things we actually see is that people don’t have a memory from their time that they say, you know, I don’t remember my childhood. When I’m eight or nine, or you know, 10, or 12. And that is it. That is a huge red flag again, what we would see is that somebody is living in that trauma state in that survival response. And they’re not laying down memories that were somebody that obviously is growing up in a good enough healthy environment. They’re not laying down those memories in their hippocampus, they’re distorted, disjointed.

Kristen Carder 53:27
Can we pause there and just kind of differentiates somebody who struggles to remember their childhood? Because perhaps ADHD is a factor? And what I want, because I do hear from so many ADHD ears, like, I don’t remember my childhood. And I want everyone to really understand that ADHD doesn’t affect your long term memory.

Helen Villiers 53:52
No, it does not. No, it does not. So we don’t blame

Kristen Carder 53:56
not remembering childhood, on ADHD. Absolutely not. ADHD affects your working memory, which is that bulletin board in your brain where we put the sticky note, and we say, Okay, I need to keep this in my mind. So I can finish this task, I need to remember to stop for milk on the way home. That’s not long term memory. That’s just like remembering the thing for long enough to complete the task. But what ADHD does not affect is, you know, we went to Disneyland when I was six years old, or, you know, remembering your childhood in general milestones. And exactly, that’s not going to be an ADHD characteristic. So if you are thinking like, Well, yeah, I don’t remember my childhood because I have ADHD. That is likely on 100% Not the case. Yeah, absolutely.

Katie McKenna 54:45
Yes. And that is so important to say that I mean, all this piece that we’re doing and what the book, it’s educating, and what we’re doing is removing those layers of denial if people think denial as an onion, and we’re removing it layer by layer, and I also want to validate people’s resistance with that. So when they want to, at any part be like, No, that wasn’t abusive. No, that’s not you know, that was that was normal. Like, there’s nothing wrong with that that’s just the way they are. And here No, that is my ADHD, and where they’re resisting, hearing, actually, this is problematic, this is toxic. These are abusive behaviors, what we’re talking about, these are red flags, highlighting trauma. And depending on where somebody is, on their journey, whether they’re able to hear this or not, it can be very difficult and the resistance can be strong. So I just want to validate that offer compassion for that. And here’s a way to show the opposite of what narcissistic personality disorder is, is because your listeners are allowed to be angry. Yeah, you know, they’re allowed to disagree. They’re allowed to have their own opinions. But what I would offer to them is their responsibility to look up this Yes, question you have set by them. Get educated on this, you know, open your critical mind, because that is denied from the narcissistic parent, there’s one way the right way, this is the only way and anybody else that does it any other way as wrong to be little dirty, valued. So yeah, I just want to offer valid, you

Helen Villiers 56:09
should be angry, because we say that on our podcast all the time, you can be angry with us, you can be cross with us, we’ll still care about you anyway, we’ll still hold you with compassion, we will still accept you. And we will accept your anger, it doesn’t mean that we reject you. And that is something the narcissistic parent will never ever do. You’re not allowed to do that with them, you know. And then

Katie McKenna 56:29
I’ll just throw back to the last trait impair somewhere in which again, I think trips people up because they think that there’s no awareness, they don’t know what they’re doing, they can’t have met again, that kind of for them, which is born from the motivational empathy, putting them in the victim space. So what is impaired self awareness? So

Helen Villiers 56:45
impaired self awareness is literally that it’s the onion layer of self awareness. So when we think about self awareness as a healthy experience, it’s like reflecting on our behavior, or reflecting on why we react to things in a certain way, what wounds that’s triggered? Or what about the other person has made us feel uncomfortable? You know, it’s analyzing ourselves and our, the way we move through the world in terms of other people, and how we impact other people, too. So did I do something that upset somebody? And should I take accountability or just even talk to them about whether or not I, when I said that thing, did I get that wrong, and maybe I need to own that and what it was, so we were looking at our own behavior is what self awareness is self reflection, self understanding, and all that sort of thing. And again, people as Katie said, think that self awareness, there is a distinct lack of self awareness in narcissistic personality disorder. But again, in the DSM five, and I’m sorry, I’m quoting it again. But in the DSM five, impaired self awareness, is the criteria for diagnosis. And what that then means is that there’s no self reflection in terms of why do I need to behave in this way? Why do I need to be more superior than everybody else? Why do I need to control everyone else? Why do I need to abuse other people and because again, there is intent. And this is something that really people struggle with so hard, and the citation because everyone always asks for it is Mila Campbell and PIL CONUS 2007 showed that there is an intent to this behavior. So here’s the self awareness, there is an understanding that if I behave in this way, I will get whatever need met that I am looking for, or control dominance power over this person. So I know if I use behavior x plus behavior y, I will get Zed, right, or Z for the Americans. Thank you. So the impaired self awareness is all about the kind of knowledge of I know how to get the need met. But I don’t understand why I need to do my get my needs met that way. And I will not look at how my behavior impacts. So there’s like a brick wall. It’s not even brick an iron wall against looking internally as to why the behavior is there. What we see is a lot of externalizing behavior. So it’s their fault that I treated them that way. And if it was my fault, it was because they deserved it anyway, so I’m not taking responsibility for it. I’m sure people have heard the narcissists prayer. Have you heard that one before?

Kristen Carder 59:16
I’ve heard it. You read it. Yes.

Helen Villiers 59:18
So the narcissist prayer goes, that didn’t happen. And if it did, it wasn’t that bad. And if it was, it’s not a big deal. And if it is, that’s not my fault. And if it was, I didn’t mean it. And if I did, you deserved it. Right? And that’s the self awareness that I can squirrel away from all these things about I will never take accountability. I will never take ownership, I will never reflect on why my behavior might have been bad and except that I’m anything less than perfection. And I’m talking in the first person but the person with the NPD. And what the impaired self awareness does is allow the narcissist to be able to manipulate other people to control and dominate them using all the behaviors that we’ve just talked about to feed that gran.., grandiosity. But what it doesn’t allow is for a healthy self reflection, acceptance of flaws, and accountability, and so therefore shuts down any chance of having any kind of healthy relationship with somebody with it, because they just cannot. There’s like this. Yeah, like I said, a massive iron wall, that just halts all the kind of learning the idea that they, you know, the growth, the the opportunity for growth. And, and again, that’s really sad, because there isn’t really no hope, then if somebody is unable to do that, which people really struggle with there. There are thoughts that some psychodynamic therapy could work for somebody with NPD, but they would have to accept that they have NPD. And that in itself is it’s not my problem. If you’ve got problem with it. It’s your problem, not mine. And then that’s the overt reaction. The covert reaction is, how could you ever say anything like that about me? Oh, do that save the self victimization? Rather than? Why would you think I’m a narcissist? Because if Katie said to me, how are you displaying behavior that’s really narcissistic, instead of going, how could you? I can’t believe you say that to me. I’d say to her, What makes you say that? What have I done them? That makes you think that because I don’t want to be that person, whereas the narcissist will go? No, I’m not How dare you? Right? Or that’s your problem, not mine. It’s got me to where I am. And that’s what that study showed was that there’s there’s a difference in response, but it’s the responses. It’s not my problem. It’s your problem.

Kristen Carder 1:01:30
Yeah. Obviously, I could talk to you both for hours. And we’re already over an hour here. So I think what we need to do is come back and have a part two, would you be willing to come back? Let’s do a part two and get a little bit more into it. Because there is so much to uncover here

Katie McKenna 1:01:48
are oh my god, we haven’t even just touched on one chapter there. You know, what’s really then what is the impact of this on the child growing up in this and how their relationships now in adulthood, every single relationship they have will be impacted? And actually, you know, what’s presenting? So we would love to and as well to hear your takeaways because we just want to know,

Helen Villiers 1:02:09
I want to hear your thoughts.

Kristen Carder 1:02:14
All right. Well, suffice it to say this, this is the book of 2024 You all need to go order it right now. Please, please, please and Helen and Katie will be back soon for a part two. So thank you so much for being here. It’s

Helen Villiers 1:02:29
just such a joy as always.

Kristen Carder 1:02:32
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