Change Is

Observations and Reflections as the year comes to a close

 

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.”
Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

 Change is :

1)      Change is fear

2)      Change is pain

3)      Change is love

4)      Change is acceptance

5)      Change is hope

6)      Change is feeling

7)      Change is action

8)      Change is living life

9)      Change is flexibility

10)   Change is enjoying life

11)   Change is dealing with inconveniences, hassles and things that aren’t fair

12)   Change is grief

13)   Change is sadness

14)   Change is peace

Most of all change is possible

 

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20 Identifiable Traits of Female Narcissists

According to the largest study ever conducted on personality disorders (PD) by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), 6.2% has NPD [Narcissistic Personalty Disorder](Stinson et al. 2008).  Of the people meeting the criteria for NPD, 62 percent were men and 38 percent were women (Stinson et al. 2008).

Since 38 percent of NPDers are women, it would be good to know what makes them different.

Here is a nice behavioral list: (Walsh  2010: http://www.hookingupsmart.com/2010/06/28/relationshipstrategies/20-identifiable-traits-of-a-female-narcissist/)

 

Physical Appearance

 

  1. She dresses provocatively, flaunting sexually suggestive body parts.
  2. She focuses attention on makeup and hair, even for the most mundane tasks or events.
  3. She is overly confident about her looks. Research shows that narcissists are no more attractive than other people, but they believe they are much better looking than other women.
  4. She places high value on brand names, and feels entitled to wear “the best.” She frequently purchases new clothing, and does not distinguish between wants and needs.
  5. She is more likely to have plastic surgery, most commonly breast augmentation.
  6. She enjoys being photographed, and often asks others to snap her picture. She enthusiastically shares the best pics of herself on Facebook or other social media sites. She will sometimes invest in a professional photographer for a portrait that she uses on Facebook or for online dating.

 

Personality/Character

 

  1. She insists on being the center of attention, and is often the most charming person in the room. Narcissists are very outgoing and excel at marketing themselves.
  2. She often seeks favorable treatment, and automatic compliance. She believes that she is special, and that she deserves fame, fortune, success and happiness.
  3. She is highly materialistic.
  4. She is prone to envy, though she presents as supremely confident. She seeks opportunities to undermine others, and enjoys sharing confidences about how the two of you are better than others.
  5. She is convinced that others are envious and jealous of her, and often uses this excuse for her lack of real, intimate friendships. When her friends enjoy successes of their own, she finds ways to punish them by downplaying their achievements.
  6. She lacks empathy, and even common courtesy at times. She puts others down, including you. She does not hesitate to exploit others.
  7. She is very competitive.
  8. She believes that she is intellectually superior to her peers.
  9. She blames others for problems. Narcissists don’t believe that they make mistakes, and lack the ability to process shame.
  10. She displays a haughty attitude when she lets her guard down or is confronted. She will act impatient, arrogant and condescending. She will often excuse her own shortcomings by claiming that others are pressuring her or expecting too much of her.
  11. She is dishonest and often lies to get what she wants. She will never admit this.
  12. She is “psycho:” She engages in risky behaviors, has an addictive personality, and is prone to aggressive behavior when rejected. (Note: This is most common with Histrionic Personality Disorder.)
  13. She is unpredictable in her moods and actions. You have trouble figuring out what she wants and where you stand.
  14. She is capable of short-term regret, and will apologize profusely if backed into a corner. However, she will quickly rationalize her behavior and return to narcissistic patterns.

A person does not have to have all 20 characteristics to meet NPD criteria

 

 

 

Couples Communication -What’s Old Can Be Used in the Present

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have seen many couples over the years. Not surprisingly, the ones that come to my office have conflicts with their partner. The issue that needs most work is  how the couple can communicate better.    One of the   patterns that couples repeat is reactive communication.  Through our sessions, we get to figure out why one or both of the partners are reacting so strongly.  Eric Berne, a psychologist, in the 1960’s, developed a type of therapy called Transactional Analysis.  Berne suggests that it is the transactions between people that get them to react in communications.  He hypothesized that all people had 3 internal states-Parent, Adult, Child and that these are triggered in couples communications.

Nick Davies, a  psychologist in Australia, does a great job of explaining these internal states in the following video:

Let’s take a look at the following slides to see specifically how this works: [click on the slideshare button in the lower left hand corner to hear the narration]

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The NHL and Parenting

I have been a hockey fan for most of my life. I was struck by The National Hockey League’s(NHL) speed, power, grace, and excitement. It is a sport with a regular season that goes on too long. However its claim to fame is its playoff series, a 16 win marathon that culminates in the celebration of Lord Stanley’s cup. It’s a sport played by professionals from 18-48 making it a sport played by both the youngest and oldest professional athletes.
The NHL also has a rather strategic way of policing its players who do not follow the rules. In fact, the league’s penalty system gives us a good model for parenting strategies. It disciplines its players immediately, for a specified period of time, and uses effective time outs (penalty box). It is also dishes out consequences based upon the person’s behavior.

The NHL has a very specific tier system which looks something like this:

  • Minor Penalty(tripping ,holding, high sticking, inference, slashing) 2 minutes
  • Major penalty(fighting) 5 minutes
  • Misconduct(usually towards referee) 10 minutes
  • Game Misconduct(major offense—hurting another player etc) Thrown out of game, possible suspension or fine.

When a player commits a wrong doing, it’s not only the player who is penalized, it’s his team. When a player goes to the penalty box for a two minute tripping minor, his team also plays shorthanded for those two minutes. Playing shorthanded increases the possibility that the opponents will score a goal making the penalty much more significant.

Could parents discipline their children using the NHL model? Yes! Good parenting is based upon immediacy and “making the punishment fit the crime”. The NHL has got that down perfectly. The NHL is already using a “time out” model, (penalty box), so that too is a good fit. Most penalties committed by children at home or in school are usually minor. They need some immediate consequences. A simple timeout, whether in a time out chair or sent to their room, will usually suffice as a consequence. The penalties and consequences could be adjusted according to the age of the child— a seven year old who doesn’t listen and a 15 year old who doesn’t listen could both be “minor” penalties. However the consequences of these “minors” would be different. This model also allows parents to identify appropriate consequences depending upon the infraction. A child who is bratty towards his sibling and one who steals from a store would need very different consequences. The NHL model also reinforces that yelling is counterproductive. There is only 1 reason to yell at a child, that is when they are in DANGER! I’ve never seen a referee yell at a player. He has pointed to the penalty box, asked nicely for the person to go, asked with a little more assertion, warned that the player will get a misconduct penalty if that does not go, and then gave them the 10 minute misconduct. No yelling to reinforce the consequence occurred.

The NHL also rewards good behavior. There are the Player of the Week, and Player of the Month awards. At the end of the season, there are the trophies for Most Valuable Player, Best Goalie, Best Defensive Player etc. The best NHL award is The Lady Byng trophy which is given to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability”. Imagine an award for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct in a professional sport. It is these awards and trophies that players can aspire to in order achieve bonuses in their contract. Using this incentive plan is also a way for parents to help their kids change behaviors. If you give a child a specific goal to work for (i.e. getting dressed in the morning by themselves), then they can have good reinforcement towards that goal—praise, stickers etc. Once the behavior is learned, no more struggles! Incentives also work with teenagers. Since teenagers always need something—phone, ride, clothes, money, they too can be asked to change their behaviors in order to achieve what they want.

The NHL has perhaps the finest conditioned athletes in the world, but ones who need structure, discipline, consequences, and incentives in order for them to have maximum performance. We want our kids to have their own maximum performance. To have that level of achievement, they need parents to give them incentives and consequences. Once children learn new behaviors, they feel better about themselves. Over time, they become happy and healthy kids. When they are happy and healthy, then they can win their own “Stanley Cup”.

Watch this video to learn more about the NHL:

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Fog Closing In

Here is a gem from the Alfred Hitchcock Presents series. Note this is October 1956. It is 4 years before the film Psycho is released.  Note how the husband tries to investigate the wife’s anxiety(5:00).  Pay attention to her reaction to his comment”maybe you need to go to a Psychiatrist ”  Thankfully  the mental health field has progressed since 1956.  Enjoy!

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I will survive

As I was driving today I heard this classic from the Grateful Dead “Touch of Grey”.  It’s a song I’ve heard many times, and like most songs, it fills up space while driving.  However  these lyrics stood out:

I know the rent is in arrears,

the dog has not been fed in years

It’s even worse than it appears

but it’s alright…

I will get by, I will get by, I will get by, I will survive.

 

 

On a cloudy fall day, you can’t beat a song with denial,hope,perseverance, and a mechanism to overcome. Enjoy!

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Boundaries

Having boundaries is a significant sign of  having a good healthy self.  If I feel good about myself, then I want to associate with people who keep that good feeling going.  However, if I don’t feel good about myself, I may allow people to treat me badly, and as a result feel bad.

Here is a list of behaviors that demonstrate unhealthy boundaries.  Identify which one(s) you do, and identify:

1) the origin of the behavior

2) how the behavior has effected you

3)what you can do the change you behavior

feel free to comment on  this list

 

 

 

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The fight, Part 2,- The Final Round

If you missed part 1 you can read it here

Announcer  “I’m here at ringside and in an unprecedented move, the fighters are returning to the ring.  Disease looks confused, but is never one to turn down a fight.  Mary, in a very nontraditional decision, has asked all of her handlers and doctors to go back to the dressing room.  They can only watch this fight.  No doctor or handler can step in. There is no referee. It’s only Mary vs. the Disease”

“The bell rings and the fight is on.  Family and friends look on as Mary’s condition has weakened.  She can hardly stand in the ring.  She is exhausted and wobbly.  The clock ticks by.  Each second seems like an hour.  In spite of her feeble state, Mary  keeps challenging Disease to hit her.  She chides Disease for being weak.  She challenges Disease to take his best shot.  Disease laughingly throws a few punches.  The weakened Mary goes to one knee on the first punch.  Mary gets up.  She challenges Disease to hit harder.  Disease obliges and Mary goes down again.  Mary gets up.  Barely able to stand, and barely able to speak, she gestures to Disease to hit  her again.  Disease, again, throws a punch which knocks down Mary.  Remember no referee, no handlers, no doctors at ringside, no one can stop this fight.  It’s a brave, last stand for this warrior who is clearly no match for a strong Disease.  Mary gets up again!!  Family and friends at ringside are teary.  They cannot do anything to stop this.  They are watching Mary fade away.  Minutes later, there are no more punches, there are no more gestures, there are no more comments.  The fight is over.”

Mary fought her last round. She was a gallant fighter who survived and lived against all the odds.  She managed to get knocked down, get up, fight and live. She continued to do this for many years.  However on July 10, 2013 she was no match against a strong disease.

All fighters who have fought their last round get memorialized with a 10 bell salute in order to remember their time in the ring.This one is for Mary:

10 bell salute

In the sport of boxing, we cheer for our favorite fighters in each of their fights.  We relish their victories, and root for their comebacks when they lose.  In real life, we do the same.  The major difference, however, is that when a person loses, there is no rematch, and the losses are more painful.   What this tells me is that we have to rely on the basic tenet of any type of recovery; we have today.

 

 

 

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