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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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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An Impossible Love: Un Amour Impossible

I will not put this movie (French 2018), in “The Arts” section because it is a psychological drama that hits on the topic of sexual abuse, narcissism and women being left alone for several generations; much like Antonia’s Line (Netherlands, 1995). The film starts out in the 1950’s post WWII France. If you are a great film lover, as I am, you will know when you see the cover and the title, it just hits you – I must watch this film. What really piqued my interest was the title “An Impossible Love,” which hit home for me. I saw other things in the description that I ignored at first until it came up on the screen. I love the way Catherine Corsini handles abuse of a child in this film. Extremely subtle. The topic does not even come up until much later in the film. The child’s older lover tells the mother, not to let her daughter visit the father anymore. The shock on the mother’s face, to realize a man she has loved for 16 years, but who has rejected her all the same, is now sexually abusing their daughter. The shock to finally take in the missing pieces of this puzzle “Rachel” has created, her fantasy that he was a great lover, that they had something special together, suddenly unravels before her eyes. Virginie Efira (with the help of the cameraman), gives a somatic demonstration of soul searching, confusion, awareness and reality in just a few seconds of this film.

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