Toxic Family Holidays Gathering Guide

Uploaded 11/16/2022, approx. 27 minute read

The holidays are upon us. Sounds like the title of a horror movie franchise. And not in vain. We are going to be reunited with our families and then reunited with our therapists.

Because nothing can be worse than meeting your parents again or having to share a dinner table with your siblings. You thought you got rid of them, but you never do. You never do. They stalk you forever.

Today I am going to discuss, number one, how to cope with toxic families.

Number two, the dynamics of toxic families. And the inevitable number three, an insider view of how narcissists experience holidays, birthdays, and other dismal days.

Okay, for those of you who are lucky enough to not know who I am, my name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and a professor of psychology to the most unfortunate students on earth. Those who are forced to listen to me and pretend that I am fascinating. That's a prerequisite for passing my courses.

Okay, I'm going to start with an article in Time. You remember Time magazine? Magazine, a sheaf of papers collated and assembled together, which include content. No, okay, forget it. Once upon a time there was a magazine and it was titled Time. The competition was titled Newsweek and it's now strictly online.

Anyhow, 50 years ago, exactly, Time magazine on September 25th, 1964. I was three years old, three and a half years old, by the way. That's the second important historical event of the day.

But on that day, Time published an article. The article reviewed an academic study and the academic study said that couples who stay in abusive relationships and fight do so because the fighting can, I'm quoting, I'm not inventing this, I swear to you. The study said that couples remain in abusive relationships because of the fighting and the fighting balances out each other's mental quirks.

The study was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry and it looked at 37 cases of assault between couples in Massachusetts.

It found something interesting, a common trend, I'm quoting again from this incredible piece of history of psychiatry.

Though reasonably hardworking and outwardly respectable, the husbands in the study were in reality shy, sexually ineffectual mother's boys.

You try to publish such a study today, see what happens to your tenure.

The wives continues the article.

They forfeited a pattern. They were aggressive, efficient, masculine and sexually frigid.

I'm lucky I was only three years old. Imagine living in such an environment.

The article continued, usually the wife was boss and her weak-willed husband was content to play the subservient role until he had a few drinks. Then, inebriated, role alternation would take place and the husband would insist belligerently upon his conjugal rights.

This is a euphemism for the husband would rape his wife.

What is interesting is the last paragraph in the study. It said, the periods of violent behavior by the husband served to release him momentarily from his anxiety about his ineffectiveness as men while giving his wife apparent masochistic gratification and helping probably to deal with the guilt arising from the intense hostility expressed in her controlling, castrating behavior.

I'm not drunk. I'm not high. This is a real study. It was really published in 1964.

Okay, that's a perfect segue into the issue of toxic families.

Toxic families of families were one or more members of the family, behaves in abusive, controlling or humiliating ways.

In other words, it's toxic.

Personality clashes play a role.

Disagreements about politics and sports, a hint, do not discuss politics and sports if you want your life expectancy to remain the same.

Also, don't try to contradict conspiracy theories. It's a wrong way to go about it. Conspiracy theorists are heavily emotionally invested in their pet theories and would regard any attempt to refute them as a personal attack.

So some people simply avoid reunions on Thanksgiving or Christmas or Rosh Hashanah or whatever the Muslims have for family reunion. They simply avoid family reunions. It's too much. They can't take it. They can't take the questioning. They can't take the needling and the pricking. They can't take the insults implied and explicit and implicit. They can't take the relative positioning comparing children, each couple's children to the others. They can't cope with the competitiveness and so on and so forth.

So they simply avoid such families.

Here are several tips on what to do.

Number one, accept, admit that your family is seriously dysfunctional, toxic and bad for you. Embrace this knowledge. Do not reject it. Do not deny it. Do not reframe it. Do not pretend. Do not fake. Do not bury things or sweep them under the carpet.

Acceptance is the first step to healing. You need to accept.

Then plan ahead. Plan ahead because the main mechanism in operation in toxic families is control. People compete for control. We will discuss a bit later in the second part of the video, the dynamics of toxic families. It's a lot about control and what is called emergent dynamical roles. Again, we'll discuss it a bit later.

But suffice it to say at this stage that it's about control.

Toxic families dysregulate you and they dysregulate you on purpose. They do it in order to re-establish the old order of things, the packing order and in order to manipulate you.

Now, none of this is done or a little of this is done malevolently or maliciously. A very small part of it is premeditated. There's no grand scheme. There's no psychopathic kind of a master plan. These are just dynamics that have characterized the family early on and have never changed because they cannot change.

People put you down. They mock you. They ridicule you. They abuse you verbally, sometimes physically. They manipulate you. They use brutal honesty or a biting dark sense of humor. They make demands that you cannot meet. They set you up for failure. You know all this. Prepare yourself. Ask yourself some very basic questions.

Why am I going there? How much time am I willing to spend there? What are my boundaries? How am I going to communicate my boundaries? What are the red lines beyond which I simply pack and go? What do I need to avoid? Who do I need to avoid? What makes me angry and what I can overcome?

Answer all these questions.

In order to set healthy boundaries, firm boundaries, not aggressive and communicate them efficiently. Expect nothing. Don't expect that you will heal your childhood wounds. Don't expect to have a frank conversation. Don't expect to change the family dynamics in any meaningful way. Don't expect to resolve all grudges, inheritance issues or the division of property. Don't expect to regain your father's love or your mother's attention. Forget all this BS. This should have happened a long time ago. The person who irritated you last year will irritate you again. The one who needled and pricked you will do it again. And the one who humiliated you in public and shamed you by exposing your secrets would be only too delighted to repeat the performance. Expect the worst and then be surprised by how much worse it can become.

So this is a question of attitude actually. Rather than experience anxiety, do something relaxing before the trip. Do something relaxing during the reunion.

I don't know. Meditate. Think about the last book you've read or the last sex you've had. I hope it was good. Yoga. Put on earphones. Listen to music. Start dancing in the living room. Go for a walk. Minimize the pressure. Reduce and ameliorate the stress. Eliminate the anxiety by becoming emotionally numb. Indifferent. Don't show your emotions. Adopt something called reduced affect display. Because anything you say or do can and will be used against you in the court of your family.

Avoid getting sucked into arguments. Don't be drawn into the incessant family drama. Don't of course apologize or defend yourself or make excuses or create narratives that render everything you have ever done and said palatable. Forget them. They're not your point of reference.

Focus on getting through this. This is bootcamp. This is a revisit of the worst period in your life. Focus on rendering it a kind of illusory nightmare.

Tell yourself I'm just dreaming this. I'm about to wake up.

Avoid sensitive topics. Don't engage when you are facing inappropriate or insensitive questions. People will try to provoke you. They will try to bring out the worst in you. They will try to humiliate you. They will try to make you behave in ways that you will regret the next morning.

Don't fall in this trap. Don't swallow the bait. Don't be baited.

So if you're faced with criticism, just shrug it off. They know how to push your buttons. They know where all your nerve endings are. They have spent decades at becoming experts on how to decompensate you, force you to act out and watch you disintegrate into a heap.

Don't give them the pleasure. Don't give them a pleasure. If they try to start a conversation that is touchy, sensitive, harmful to you psychologically, just refuse to participate, try to talk about something else. If they refuse to talk about something else, don't get angry. Get up and walk away.

At all these points you need to develop God's point of view. People are stupid. People are helpless. People do things that irritate other people. People are insensitive. They have no empathy. They're narcissistic. They're grandiose. They're childlike. In short, people are delightful.

Accept this. Tolerate it. Remember that you have to tolerate it for a short while, luckily for you.

Find a distraction. Positive psychology. Think about something positive.

Try not to think at all. Watch a movie on the telly. Do something. Serve the internet. As a last resort, watch one of my videos.

Yes, toxic families are even worse than my videos. Can you imagine? Don't watch cat videos. Watch me. You can text with someone. You can talk to someone. You can confide in someone, a good friend, and you mate. An intimate partner. Share. Sharing is caring. Caring is unburdening. Hang out with your family only minimally. And try to dedicate the rest of the time to smiling and happiness.

Go your own way. Go your own way and forget the highway. Focus on loving yourself. You are in the lion's den. You have just entered inferno. And you're being told to forego all hope. Ye who enter, well, forget this advice. Keep hopeful.

Realize that this is a temporary situation about to be terminated. Don't adopt their point of view. Don't consider yourself a bad object. Worthless, inadequate, a failure, a loser, a disappointment. That's how they see you. You don't need to see yourself this way.

Remind yourself of everything that's great about yourself. Everything that you have accomplished and that you are lovable. And you are worthy of love and respect.

How do I know? Because I don't know. You're married. You have an intimate partner. Someone smiled at you when you bought a candy.

So remind yourself that not everyone shares the point of view of your toxic family.

You could come to the family gathering with a friend or partner. And this may force your family to be a lot less toxic.

Like, you know, you don't launder the dirty laundry public. So they will try to act and pretend and so on. But it can be a double edged sword. They can draw your partner into the negative dynamics of the family. Your partners may be supportive, but they may suddenly prove to side with your family, prove to be unsupported. They may side with your family.

So don't isolate yourself. But try, in my opinion, not to involve third parties in all this mess, because you may end up losing these third parties, your friends or even your spouse and so on.

Prepare an exit strategy. You're a hostage. You're a prisoner. You're an investor in a scam. How do you get out? If things become unbearable, if you can't stand it anymore, leave. If you can't leave outright, pretend that you have to leave to do something. I don't know, to buy cigarettes in the grocery store. You have to go for a walk for your constitutional doctor's orders. You have an emergency at the local hospital or you're an astronaut and your rocket is about to launch.

You know, reasonable explanations as to why you are living in a hurry. Take a child with you when you walk away. Safeguard the children. Protect them from the toxicity of your family.

Once all this is over, once the drama is finished, the curtains are drawn, you will emerge from this shaken and steered and you would need to talk to someone. Make plans in advance.

Stay with a close friend, with an intimate partner, with a colleague that you're pals with. Agree to talk to them immediately after the event. It's kind of debriefing. It's like an espionage mission at the heart of China or Soviet Russia.

You need to be debriefed and at the same time deprogrammed and detoxicated. Tell all the stories to your nearest and dearest and I'm not talking about you toxic family. Show your partner the Horn, your close friend, to push him to a corner and share with him everything bad that's been done to you at the reunion. This so-called get together. Compare your experiences to his or her experiences. You may be surprised.

And so that way you will unburden yourself and you will regain reality testing because one of the things that toxic families do, they gaslight you. They destabilize your perception of reality and your trust in your own judgment.

So you begin to see things their own way or to doubt yourself. You need someone to restore reality to you and you have two options. You can pay my fee and I will do it for you which will make you even more depressed or you can talk to a good friend. My advice, free of charge, do the latter.

You know what? Push comes to shove. You don't have to go. This is not the army. You're not on the draft. You're not being mobilized. You will not be penalized if you don't go there. You're forcing yourself to go because of what guilt, shame, sense of obligation. Are these more important than your mental health, anxiety and ensuing depression? Don't be angry. I'm not telling you to be angry, but maybe you need to stay away. Maybe if you stay away, they will value you more. Maybe your absence is even more helpful than your presence. Maybe it will help you to develop new habits that will make you happier and maybe then you will be a new person and maybe you will induce positive dynamics in the family next time you go.

Do what's good for you. You don't owe anyone anything except me of course.

Okay, family dynamics.

Toxic families are a variety of families. It's a sub, it's a variant of the family structure and there's a whole field called family dynamics.

The family is a system. Relationships dynamics are interactions between people that determine how these people think about each other or relate to each other.

What do they do together? How they work together and much more.

And so relationship dynamics is a field that is applied to family dynamics.

It's ways in which family members interact.

Now there is a huge variety of dynamics, etc.

I will not go into it. This is not a video about family dynamics, but I will mention examples of family dynamics.

There's the authoritarian family where there's one top honcho. That's one guy and he rules the rules. Usually it's a man, but it could be a woman. This person sets all the rules. There's a dictator in effect. If you don't comply, you're punished, etc, etc.

Then there is a competitive family where all the members are always in competition to see who can do better, who can get more, who can outweigh who and who can suppress who. Siblings usually are competitive, so they form a competitive family subsystem.

Then there is the uninvolved family. Uninvolved family is possibly the worst possible kind of family. It's when family members go their own way, drift apart, are totally detached, cold and distant. They don't care about each other. They are utterly indifferent. They're not present either physically or emotionally. They don't give attention to each other and so on and so forth. This kind of family is super destructive.

Then there is a communal family. It's a family in which each member feels valued, knows that they can share their thoughts and opinions safely. It's a secure base. That's the optimal healthy family.

Finally, there's alliance-based families. These are sort of dynamics that happen when some members work together in a coalition to use other members to get what they want. So it's a very manipulative type of environment and within each and every one of these types of families, there are roles. Each one of us is allocated a dynamic emergent role. We play this role in the family consistently and repeatedly and habitually and it sticks with us for life.

When there's a family reunion, these roles are reactivated. You can't get rid of them. They are, again, with you for life.

So it's the role of the hero. It's the golden child. It's a well-behaved overachiever. They maintain an image of perfection. They have big goals. They are a bit grandiose. The hero, the golden child, is the golden standard for everyone else. This kind of child sets the expectations.

But the hero could be a parent. If the parent is highly narcissistic or selfish or egocentric or whatever, the parent is likely to set himself or herself up as the hero and the children should measure up to the hero.

Another role is the rescuer. It's a family member that's always doing something for someone else. It's a family member who is a people pleaser. Her job, her energy is to help others, to make sure that everyone has what they need, to try to ensure that no one does anything they should not do. They never focus on themselves and what they need.

And so they are fixers and saviors and rescuers and that's for life.

Then there's a scapegoat. It's someone who is the troublemaker, the black sheep, the failure, the loser. Everyone blames them for the issues in the family and for the dysfunctional dynamics of the family.

All this is happening because of you. We are divorcing because of you. Your siblings are failing at school because of you. You brought so much trouble and pain and hurt to this family.

Scapegoats fail to follow the rules, they find the consommations, they reject authority, they exhibit self-destructive behavior. Usually it's the weakest link, it's the weakest person in the family.

There is another rule which is the switchboard. It's a family member who has all the information. It's like a database, the internet, the family's internet. Not only does this person have all the information, he undertakes functions of communication. They keep up with everyone's schedules, school and appointments. They are present in healthy and dysfunctional families, but in healthy families, the family members get everything they need and the switchboard makes sure that they fulfill their commitments, which is a functional thing.

In a dysfunctional toxic family, the switchboard feels the weight of everything on their shoulders. So switchboard children, for example, are parentified. They act in lieu of the parents. They gather all the information about all the other members of the family. They communicate this information between members of the family. They make sure that all family members are adherent to their timetables and schedules. They make sure everyone gets what they need and fulfills their commitments. They're kind of micromanaging the family. They're like chief executive officers, but they're children after all. So that's a form of parentifying.

Then there's a power broker. It's someone who controls everything. They make sure they remain on the top spot in order to maintain control. They're present in all the situations, in all the events. They use information or leverage information and they thrive on controlling everyone. They need to control all the time.

Now, they often masquerade this control in terms of tough love or responsibility or just being there for you. But that's nonsense. That's control. And they want you to be dependent on them.

There's the lost child role. It's a member who makes themselves, it's a member of the family who makes himself or herself invisible. Their conflict averse. They don't want to engage in the toxic family's dynamics. So they go along with whatever is expected to them to maintain peace and order. They have a hard time standing up for themselves and making personal decisions because of their role.

And so this role is in dysfunctional families. It's a role of subservience. It's fear-based. The child is afraid not to comply because they're afraid that if they don't comply, the family will fall apart or they will somehow suffer. And it's always important to them to be good, to follow the rules, to make life easier for everyone.

In every family there's the clown, the court, Justin. It's someone who always makes jokes. Kids around lightens the atmosphere and the mood. They try to make everything amusing, but actually it's a very dysfunctional role because what they're doing is they're trying to ignore things. They're trying to deflect attention from real problems. They're trying to camouflage the serious dysfunctions and toxicity with humor. They feel pressure to always save the day by making everyone laugh in a problematic situation.

And this leads to the cheerleader. This is a family member who supports and encourages others all the time. They're a little like the rescuer. They help others, but they don't neglect their own self-interest, needs and self-care. So the rescuer is self-neglectful. The rescuer sacrifices herself just so that others can be happy. The cheerleader tries to bring out the best in you. She tries to encourage you and help you.

There are no cheerleaders in toxic families. None. Everyone in a toxic family is at each other's throats and most of it is done passive aggressively under the radar in a way that is really difficult to decode unless you are deeply enmeshed in the family dynamics.

There's the nurturer. It's someone who emotionally supports others. All these to remind you are dynamical emergent roles in families.

So the nurturer supports others. They are there for everyone to help them through problems. They mediate between different members. Nurturers are also seen only in healthy families. You do not have nurturers in toxic families.

Now I want to talk a little about the narcissist. What else?

I want to talk about how the narcissist sees holidays and family reunions and birthdays and all the other disasters that happen in life from time to time.

So I read this to you. This is something I've written actually and about myself.

Holiday blues are a common occurrence even among the mentally sound. In me they provoke a particularly virulent strain of pathological envy.

I'm jealous at others for having a family or for being able to celebrate lavishly or for being in the right festive mood.

My cognitive dissonances crumble. I keep telling myself look at those inferior imitations of humans, slaves of their animated corpses wasting their time pretending to be happy.

I can't believe that anyone is genuinely happy. I think they're all faking.

Yet deep inside I know that I am the defective one. I realize that my inability to rejoice is a protracted and unusual punishment knitted out to me by my very self.

I'm sad. I'm enraged.

I want to spoil it for those who can celebrate. I want them to share my misery.

Misery likes company. I want to reduce them to my level of emotional abstinence and absence.

I hate humans. I hate happy humans because I'm unable to be one.

A long time ago I wrote I hate holidays and birthdays including my birthday.

It is because I hate it when other people are happy if I am not the cause of this happiness.

I have to be the prime mover and the shaker of everyone's mood. And no one will tell me how I should feel.

I am my own master. I feel that their happiness is false, fake, forced.

I feel that they are hypocrites, dissimulating joy where there is none. I feel envious, humiliated by my envy and enraged by my humiliation.

I feel that they are the recipients of a gift that I will never receive. The ability to enjoy life. The ability to feel cheer.

And then I do my best to destroy their mood. I bring bad news. I provoke a fight. I make a disparaging remark. A snarky comment. I project a dire future. I saw uncertainty in the relationship.

And when the other person is sour and dour and sad, I feel relieved and good.

It's back to normal. My mood improves dramatically and I try to cheer her up.

Now if she does cheer up, it is real. It is my doing. I controlled it. I made it happen. I made her cheer.

It is a form of control.

Holidays remind me of my childhood. Of the supportive and loving family that I never had. Of what could have been and never was.

And as I grow older, will never be.

I feel deprived. I feel it's an injustice.

And coupled with my rampant paranoia, I feel cheated and persecuted.

I rail against the indifferent injustice of a faceless cold world.

Holidays are a conspiracy of the emotional haves against the emotional have-nots.

Have haves not. Bird days are an injury to me. An imposition.

An reminder of vulnerability. A fake event artificially constructed.

I destroy in order to equalize the misery. I rage in order to induce rage.

Holidays created me an abandon of negative, nihilistic emotions.

The only ones I consciously possess.

On holidays and on my birthday, I make it a point to carry on routinely as if nothing is happening.

I accept no gifts. I do not celebrate.

I work till the wee hours of the night.

It is a demonstrative refusal to participate. A rejection of social norms.

An in-your-face statement of withdrawal and avoidance.

It makes me feel unique. It makes me feel even more deprived and punished.

It makes me feel powerful. It makes me feel helpless. It feeds the furnace of hatred, the bestial anger, the all-engulfing scorn that I harbor, first and foremost, to myself.

I self-load.

I want to be drawn out of my sulk and pouting. Yet I decline any such offer. I evade any such attempt. I hurt people who try to make me smile and to forget.

In times like that, in holidays and birthdays, I am reminded of this fundamental truth.

My voluptuous, virulent, spiteful, hissing and spitting grudge is all that I have. Those who threaten to take it away from me with their love, affection, compassion, care, joy each year, those who threaten to take this grudge away from me are my mortal enemies indeed.

So this is my personal confession.

More structurally, the holiday season should be a time of family get-togethers, love shared, relatives and friends brought up to date. Holidays are supposed to be the reification of that contradiction in terms of mass or group intimacy.

Instead, for victims of family violence and abuse, the holidays are recurring nightmares, replete with danger and duplicity, a theater of the absurd with menacing overtones.

This is especially true when the offender also has narcissistic or antisocial personality disorders. It is important to understand the mindset of such abusers and what they do in holidays and birthdays.

Number one, envy. Holiday blues are a common occurrence even among the mentally sound.

When abusers with narcissistic and antisocial personalities, this holiday blues, this envy provokes a particularly virulent strain of pathological envy.

The psychopathic narcissist is jealous at other people for having a family or for being able to celebrate or for possessing the right festive mood. The narcissist keeps telling himself, look at these people wasting their time pretending to be happy.

Deep inside, the narcissist knows that something is wrong with him. He realizes his inability to rejoice and that it is a protracted and unusual punishment meted out to him by his own hands.

The narcissist will never admit it, but the narcissistic or psychopathic abuser is actually sad, enraged, envious. Consequently, he wants to spoil the party for everyone else. He wants them to share his misery, to reduce them to his level of emotional abstinence and absence.

Holidays remind the narcissist of his childhood, the supportive and loving family he never had.

The narcissistic and psychopathic abuser, they feel deprived and coupled with rampant paranoia, they feel cheated and persecuted as I said. Holidays are a conspiracy to them.

Then there is passive aggressiveness. Holidays and birthdays are injurious impositions and reminders of vulnerability.

The abuser ruins such events, destroys them in order to make everyone else as miserable as he is. The abuser rages in order to induce rage. Holidays create in the narcissist an abandon of negative nihilistic emotions.

On holidays and birthdays, even on his own birthday, the narcissist makes it a point to ignore everyone, to remain indifferent to the event and to any participant in the event.

It's a kind of demonstration, a kind of protest, a rejection of others and what they can offer.

The narcissist on the one hand wants to be loved, wants to be fitted, wants to be cheered up, wants to experience joy. On the other hand, he rejects people who try to help him with that.

And so it's very difficult to somehow interact with the narcissist of these days.

Narcissists are also control freaks. They are unhappy when other people are happy. They want to cause happiness in other people because they also want to be able to take it away. They have to be the cause of everything. They're the pivot. They're the axis around which everyone and everything should revolve.

And so they're counterdependent in a way.

The psychopathic narcissist projects his own desolate inner landscape onto other people. He's convinced that people are faking and feigning their happiness, that this happiness is false and false. He feels that they are hypocrites.

So besieged by knowing inadequacy, the narcissistic abuser does his best to ruin it for everybody else, to deconstruct the celebratory mood.

And when he has rendered his family in social circle sad, distraught, unhappy, then he feels elated, feels relieved. What can he do about such people? Party poopers, wreckers of joy, hateful people, self-hating and other hating. What can you do about them?

Well, act against your better instincts. Do not try to involve the abuser in festivities, family events, birthdays, holidays, special occasions and gathering. Forget about it. Such attempts will only infuriate the abuser further, as I've just explained.

Instead, leave the abuser be. Let him be. Let him sulk, mired and immersed as he is in his self-pity, seething envy and martyrdom complex.

He needs to go through this. It's a process. Go out, join friends and family, and family at their abodes, celebrate to your heart's content, leave the abuser behind, even if your abuser happens to be your husband, or your wife, or your child.

Chances are that by the time you have returned, your abuser will have forgotten all about it and things will revert to normal, whatever that means.

Admittedly, some abusive intimate partners will be spoiling for a fight, no matter what. There is nothing you can do about it except to set boundaries and punish misbehavior and mistreatment.

Whether you choose to involve your abuser in holiday activities or not is immaterial. He will torment you. He will haunt you all the same, just because you've been happy for a minute, just because you've been out of his or her clutches for a minute.

With a narcissistic and psychopathic abuser, no good deed goes unpunished and no good occasion goes home.

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Stalkers come in different types, including erotomaniac, narcissistic, paranoid, and anti-social or psychopathic. Coping techniques suited to one type of stalker may backfire or prove to be futile with another. The best coping strategy is to first identify the type of abuser you are faced with. It is essential to avoid all contact with your stalker, but being evaded only inflames the stalker's wrath and enhances his frustration.

Tips: Narcissist Weaponizes Your Children Against You (Pop the Red Pill Podcast)

Dr. Sam Vaknin discusses narcissistic abuse and how it differs from other forms of abuse. He explains how narcissists use children as pawns to control and hurt their ex-spouses, and outlines the five techniques they use to alienate children. Vaknin emphasizes the importance of telling children the truth about the alienating parent's harmful behaviors. Narcissistic personality disorder parents should be denied custody and granted supervised visitation only, as they are dangerous and generate sick dynamics with the child.

Destroy the Narcissist in Court: Divorce, Custody, and Aftermath

In summary, to effectively handle a narcissist in court during divorce and custody proceedings, it is crucial to remain calm, composed, and fact-based. Focus on exposing the narcissist's grandiosity and vulnerabilities by challenging their self-perception and accomplishments, while avoiding appearing vengeful or malicious. Provoke the narcissist indirectly by hinting at their shortcomings and mediocrity, ultimately leading them to lose control and expose their true nature. Maintain a holistic strategy that takes into account both the legal aspects and the narcissist's off-court life.

"Spiritual" Narcissist Casts Narrative Spell on YOU (with Dr. Lisa Alastuey)

Sam Vaknin discusses spiritual narcissism, where narcissists pretend to have spiritual functions, such as clergy, healers, or therapists, and claim a connection to a higher authority. He explains three types of spiritual narcissists: victim, godlike, and healer. He also delves into the role of narratives in spirituality and predicts a shift in power dynamics from men to women in the next 50 years. He advises individuals to create their own narratives and belong to themselves before affiliating with others.

When You Are Their Sex Prop: Exhibitionism, Autoeroticism, Masochism

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses auto-eroticism, exhibitionism, and submissiveness in sex, particularly in relation to narcissism and psychopathy. Auto-eroticism is when someone regards themselves as their own sex object, and it is often found in narcissists and psychopaths. Exhibitionism is becoming sexually aroused by being observed, which is also a form of narcissism. Self-trashing is a behavior found in narcissists and psychopaths, where they engage in degrading sexual acts as a form of self-punishment. There is a difference between self-trashing and being submissive in BDSM, as self-trashing individuals maintain control and defiance, while submissives relinquish control to their dominant partner.

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