On Trial With a Narcissist: No One Wins

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

Proverbs 9:7-9

If Amber Heard imagined or expected that the #METOO movement would be there to back her, or feminists, or women in general, she was sadly mistaken in this tragic turn of events. Unfortunately, the narcissist always wins, or, at least, he is empowered to continue being who he is. Her path to redemption now, will only take place if she seeks solace through healing: with psychotherapy, meditation, supportive friends and taking time to herself.

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The Madman and the Shaman

Illustration by Arthur Rackham

The difference between a madman and a shaman is that a shaman comes back, they gain something and use the tools they have learnt to heal others through their own survival guide. ~ DiosRaw

I would like to address these terms as archetypes. The Madman representing the narcissist, the person in denial, the person who wishes to live with their head in the sand. The Shaman representing the teacher, the master, the healer. The madman stays complacent and will never change. The shaman forever grows but also gives back to the community.

Just yesterday, my client was asking me “How can they [the narcissist] see things that I can see but they don’t learn anything?” It is a question I have asked myself a million times when I have dealt with a narcissist (or a person in denial) in life. This would be similar to looking up at the stars and not noticing how beautiful the night is. It would be similar to seeing a deer in your back yard and not wondering why it chose your yard and no other. A person who looks at a forest but is annoyed for it blocks the sun. A suburban person killing a wild animal for getting lost and having no place to go (especially in a new development, that has eliminated their habitat).

Each day we are giving new opportunities to grow. We make mistakes over and over again. The madman pushes them away and blames someone else. They end up being served the same lessons over and over and over again. Yet, they continue to see the mistake as being the other persons fault and refuse to take responsibility for how it occurred. For their own role in the matter. They live a life with a mask on. The eyes look out upon the world but see nothing. Their body is rigid with control or force. Trying to manipulate people into doing their bidding. Their mind stays unnourished and never blossoms. Like the movie “Groundhog Day,” each day is repeated, over and over again for the rest of their life.

The shaman grows from these mistakes. The shaman looks at these lessons as blessings that provide pain but also comfort. They explore the pain, knowing that at some point they will heal from this, and at that time, will be stronger and wiser. The comfort is the realization that this will pass one day, once they rise above the struggle. While they may not love the obstacle and would not wish it upon others, they understand it is there for a reason. Once they have embarked on this journey and have come to the destination, they give it back to others. Like with Jesus on the cross, he acknowledges that the nails hurt but willingly sacrifices himself for others. This is the shaman, a person living with “Christ” Consciousness.

The shaman can be the psychotherapist, the naturopath, the holistic practitioner, the massage therapist, the chiropractor, the professor, the spiritual teacher, many many titles can come from this archetype. At the same time, people may have these titles and yet be the madman instead. The madman can be anyone. You must trust your instinct and stay mindful of the choices you make. You can be the shaman.

Confessions of a Trauma Bond Survivor

The Covert Narcissist taking his mask off – in the end.

I met with a woman, I will name “Annika,” (a favorite pseudonym of mine), who told me some details about her life story with men. She gave me permission to write about her story here. I am going to write this in “first person,” as if it were a memoir. She is not a client and, I say this, so if my clients are reading this, they won’t think it is their story. I am breaking this up into different parts. I start with this aspect of her journey: coming back from being in a trauma bond after the break-up with a covert narcissist.

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Corridor of Mirrors: Portrait of a Covert Narcissist

Last night, I watched a 1948 British classic, “Corridor of Mirrors.” I started by looking on Kanopy, at various films and kept seeing “psychological” thriller or mental health issues and I said to myself “not in the mood for psychology tonight.” Then I see this film and it says it is about a man who thinks this woman is his reincarnated lover from 400 years ago. Sounded intriguing to me and I set about to watch it. The sound was horrible and I had to re-start it three times and finally, put on closed captioning so I knew what they were saying. I was a little confused with the storyline in the beginning too, but kept at it. Then, we get to the character Veronica, who “is allowed” to live in the basement of the mansion. It is where the main male lead, Paul, lives in. Veronica spells out his personality, almost like she is giving the description of a covert narcissist. I thought to myself, “Oh, well now, I have to sit up straight and pay more attention to this storyline.” I just can’t get away from my specialization at the office. And, I knew this was going to be a film I would be talking up to my clients. And, it is an amazing film. It is different from Gaslight, which is focused on the title. This film, bares a lot more explanation to the average person. So, here we go.

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Loving the Narcissist: Patterns of Survivors

The Journey

Let me in, let me see what is inside

Let me feel that place where you are trying to hide.

Two wounded souls from different places in time

Coming together without a map or a rhyme.


As you suffer in silence, I fly around in the dark

and search for words to help you embark.

Stolen moments meet us half way

to carry us forward thru a whole new day.


Two lovers gather in the evening silence

Yearning to touch and find their way once more.

They seek solace in the arms of each other

Hoping to find what they are looking for.


The past sits on the edge of reason and doubt

While it waits to be soothed and coddled.

Confusion lurks and passions await

Time moves on in haste.


The bed feels empty; the mind is reprieved

By a thought or a gesture that provides some relief.

I wait and I ponder and I wonder as I wander

The roads are clear but the climb is steep.


The painting is finished but the oils have yet to dry.

The journey is in motion and there is still more to do.

The dancers step forward and take their cue

While the room lets out a sigh…


The sounds are released and they move

Two people together, aware of nothing

But the instruments guiding their way.

When you find yourself writing poetry, you might be in love with a narcissist. The Imposter Syndrome, Anxious and/or Avoidant types, Survivors of Narcissistic Parents, Empaths and Highly Sensitive People. These are the patterns of women that I see who attract the narcissistic partner. Often these are very strong professional women in very capable positions. Many times, they make more money than the partner and, in these cases, I see the male taking a more entitled role. For example, the male tends to become very lazy in the sense that he is not pulling an equal share of the weight, in the home, to compensate for his wife or partner making the higher income. This makes her life even more difficult.

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Patterns in the Narcissists Behaviors

Personally and professionally, I have dealt with narcissistic men in relationships, as family members, as clients, and in business. I like to study patterns that I see that continue to appear over and over again, as a psychotherapist and began to reflect on this when it came to the narcissist specifically; for this post. This is not research, just an observation that I have seen, heard, learned of. I do not work with the narcissist (except when they are part of one of my couples), so I often hear it from the partner. If I am working with a couple, I am able to listen to them when I do a family history and glean more from them with the questions I ask. You have read many articles on line, most likely, about the narcissistic relationship to the wife/girlfriend. This article is going in a different direction.

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Anger and Pride – A Fortunate Man: Denmark 2018

The Irony! I just finished watching this 2 hour and 47 minute film that I think will become or should become a classic. I wasn’t able to find a good trailer online with subtitles and so you will have to just read what I am telling you here. (smiling) This is a movie about a poor man who dies a poor man and the reason is because of his anger and pride.

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The Survivor of the Narcissistic Parent Meets the Narcissistic Partner

I write what I am learning. I teach as I grow. I make the same mistakes as anyone else, only my skills show me how to coach people based on what I have uncovered. I am not right, I just write what becomes aware to me as it happens. When I have been in relationship to men, I have hidden behind them and not been my true self. I have been afraid, just as my clients have been afraid, because we were taught to be. When it is over, I reflect and feel the guilt and shame of not having said what I should have said. Of not standing up for myself. Of not really being the partner to them because I was too busy trying to make them love me. This is what happens when you are the survivor of the narcissistic parent. You meet the narcissistic partner and dance with them using the same song you were taught as a child. I will make you love me, no matter what it takes. When you do, I will finally succeed in having the love I have always wanted. Because, if I can make you love me, I will have finally turned this wrong into a right. Jeannine Vegh, M.A., I.M.F.T.

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Two Therapists at the Movies: Gaslight

Talking about the 1944 movie Gaslight and its relation to Narcissism.

Elizabeth Miller, LISW, LLC https://elizabethmcounseling.com/

Jeannine Vegh, IMFT at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC https://jkvegh.com

Survivors of Narcissists Workshop available at Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/embracing-me/?referralCode=C515C00CF7BBEE83BEC5 Blogposts on Psychology, the Arts and Ohio Women’s History https://discerninggal.com

Disclaimer: As we are two humble therapists, all discussion you see between us in the video/podcast is based on our training and education, therapeutic work in our practices, and thoughtful opinions formed over our years of working with the population we discuss. We are not the last word in this discussion, and we commit to providing ongoing resources beyond ourselves to enlarge your understanding of this complex subject. Thank you for viewing and we hope this will be helpful in your recovery process.

Two Therapists Discuss: Parental Narcissism

Episode Three: Parental Narcissism

Elizabeth Miller, LISW, LLC https://elizabethmcounseling.com/

Jeannine Vegh, IMFT at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC https://jkvegh.com

Survivors of Narcissists Workshop available at Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/embracin…

Blogposts on Psychology, the Arts and Ohio Women’s History https://discerninggal.com

Disclaimer: As we are two humble therapists, all discussion you see between us in the video/podcast is based on our training and education, therapeutic work in our practices, and thoughtful opinions formed over our years of working with the population we discuss. We are not the last word in this discussion, and we commit to providing ongoing resources beyond ourselves to enlarge your understanding of this complex subject. Thank you for viewing and we hope this will be helpful in your recovery process.