How To Deal With A Narcissist

Dealing with a Narcissist

We’ve all dealt with a narcissist at one point or another in our lives whether from a co-worker, family member, friend or lover. It’s a draining experience, leaving you emotionally fatigued and sapped of your energy. Sometimes it’s easy to notice the signs and leave before getting hurt, but sometimes there is a cost to leaving that we cannot or do not want to pay. This is most common with family, friends and job situations. It takes a lot of courage to make these different relationships work despite feelings of needing to leave so you don’t get hurt. However, there are steps you can take to help you cope with the narcissist in your life and keep your relationships intact as much as possible or necessary.

So, how do you identify the type of narcissist you’re dealing with? Researchers have categorized narcissists into two different categories: grandiose and vulnerable. Grandiose narcissists have incredibly high self-esteem, believing themselves to be superior to everyone else. They are the stereotypical narcissists that people think of when they hear the word narcissist. Vulnerable narcissists have low levels of self-esteem, high levels of insecurity and tend to compensate by focusing only on themselves. This means they have high self-absorption and self-centered tendencies. Once you know what kind of narcissist you are dealing with, you can change your interactions with them to keep your relationships healthy. For instance, grandiose narcissists are wonderful helpers with goals if you give them an important job and praise their work often. Vulnerable narcissists need constant reassuring that they’re doing a good job, though you’ll need to be sure not to accidentally offend them in the heat of a moment.

While it can be difficult or frustrating to think about where people are coming from, or why they are the way they are, it is key to helping you understand them. There are always more events in a person’s history that have affected them more than they let on. Figuring out someone’s motives and why they lash out the way they do can also help you handle their angry outbursts and regain patience and tolerance. While it is important to find out where the person is coming from, it’s equally as important to listen to your own feelings and thoughts. What actions and behaviors of theirs bother, triggers or hurts you?  What goals do you have pertaining to your relationship? Are you willing to push past your own feelings to maintain it?  After you take a look inside yourself and evaluate how you feel you can figure out where to draw the line and form boundaries.  Where to push forward and cope with your feelings.  In the end this experience will teach you a lesson about yourself and how to handle things in times of distress.

Unlike any other people, narcissists require a gentle touch when communicating with them. It won’t be as honest and open as with others, nor will it be as straightforward. They may get defensive quickly but this is because of insecurities, sensitivities or an inherent lack of empathy they might have. Be careful not to let things backfire on you as you’ll end up in a direct conflict, which is never fun and was never your intention. Communicate as gently as possible without compromising your own values and recognize if and when you should gently step back, or put your foot down, as long as it is done respectfully. If and when you put your foot down to draw some boundaries between you, be prepared to face the consequences. No matter how gentle you were in laying down the law, they may take it as a direct attack and treat it as such. depending on the person and situation, they may or may not end up resenting you.  It is important to remember that this is part of the process. It is better to recognize your own needs, values and limits than to compromise these things for someone else

While humor isn’t called for in some situations, it might just be your saving grace. Finding humor in a narcissist’s behavior may help you cope. You can also use these moments to call out their behaviors with a smile or a light joke. Remember to choose your time carefully so as to not accidentally offend them and make the situation worse. Choose to keep humor to a minimum in moments of high stress, anger or distress.  However, when a narcissist does something naturally, without thinking, if you point it out in a light-hearted manner it is more likely to be well received, listened to and potentially corrected. Depending on how close you are to the narcissist, you may have to decide if they need more help than you can provide.

Sometimes in order to maintain or regain a healthy relationship with people who are close to you, keeping a distance doesn’t always feel like an option. Many psychotherapists are trained to help with this disorder and can help them.  Remember that loving someone is sometimes is not enough.  If possible, put your attention on the positives, as this person obviously has positive qualities, or else you wouldn’t be trying to maintain your relationship with them. Focus on the good qualities and the reasons why you want or need to maintain things when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. Integrate this into your plan so you can enjoy the most of this relationship. For instance, if you know a certain place or situation may trigger them, avoid it to the best of your ability. The same goes for conversation topics; if you know of a subject that gets them going, steer clear of it and talk about something else. Go out to places you both enjoy and focus on the things you both enjoy discussing. Always remind yourself of why this person holds great value to you and that no one is simply the sum total of their disorder.

Lastly, it is most important to accept them as they are. While it may feel like you’re walking on eggshells at times, it is important to remember that nothing a narcissist is necessarily doing is about you entirely. It is not that they do not want to see things from your point of view for instance, but that they are unable to.  You must accept that you will never have an equal relationship with this person if you choose to maintain contact with them. This is all up to you as you may have good reason to try and keep an equal balance with this individual. You cannot expect them to change for you and instead you must change yourself and the strategies you use to keep them in your life. If you choose to do so, it may help to remember that they are more than their shortcomings.

Oceanside Malibu
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Improving Self Esteem

Improving Self Esteem

It is not unusual for people in treatment for addiction to describe feeling like they never belonged, how they never fit in or how they always felt ‘less than’ other people around them. For anyone who felt that way growing up, using substances may have been the first time they were able to quiet those feelings.  Briefly and early on in substance abuse, drugs and alcohol can give an individual a glipse of what if might actually be like to feel good, about life and about oneself.

The factors that contribute to low self exteem include trauma, disapproval from parents or authority figures, uninvolved parents/caregivers, extensive bullying and generally feeling unsupported. Whatever the cause, an absence of self-esteem is like a hole in our spirit that we must learn to fill with something other than alcohol and other drugs. A healthy sense of self-esteem is an effective tool we can, and must develop to help us stay clean and sober.

By the time a person arrives in recovery, what little sense of self-esteem they had before addiction took hold has likely bee n beaten out of them. Using alcohol and other drugs often takes one to very degrading places. Eventually, one winds up trading morals and values for another drunk or high.  In doing ‘esteemable’ things, we can help ourselves overcome the feelings that come with a life in addiction and start to build the framework upon which a real sense of self-esteem can grow.

One might not realize how many negative thoughts pass through the mind each day. If someone sat in front of us saying the things we think about ourselves, we might have a hard time not swinging at them. But we’ve been talking to ourselves this way for so long, that we don’t even notice it. When we start paying attention to these thoughts, we can develop the awareness that will let us take a breath and replace those thoughts with something positive.

While an addict may feel like nothing more than a series of faults, flaws, and mistakes sewn together with bad luck. The reality is that we really aren’t any worse than most of the people we pass on the streets each day. Yes, we do have flaws. Yes we have made mistakes. But we are not those things. We can look at our whole selves and take account of the positive things that are part of who we are, while we work on eliminating the negative parts of our character.

Few people ever get anywhere by spending all of their time thinking about themselves. It is in working with others that we can see the growth in ourselves. But, we need to be careful. Helping others generates some powerfully positive feelings and can be very rewarding. If we go too far chasing that reward, we wind up with no time left to work on ourselves. Worse still, we wind up pinning our sense of self on the outcome of someone else’s efforts, which is a sure path to disaster.

Building self-esteem through positive steps helps an individual develop an awareness of who we really are. We can gently guide ourselves away from the old patterns of berating and degrading ourselves, and learn to take an honest view of ourselves. With our new perspective, we can develop the self-esteem we were always looking for in the next drink or drug and recover.

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Treating The Person, Not Just The Addiction

whole person treatment program

The whole person treatment approach to substance abuse recovery focuses on the balance of the spirit, mind, and body in order to achieve a healthy state of being.  Oceanside Malibu Addiction Treatment Center offers various treatment approaches to help guide individuals or couples towards tailoring a unique treatment plan designed for healthier, more balanced outcomes in their lives.

Throughout the course of recovery, an addict or alcoholic may encounter challenges beyond just dependency on a particular substance. A whole person treatment approach may guide a person towards better coping skills, accelerated healing, and a healthier outlook. A whole person treatment approach may also help to improve sleeping patterns, elevate mood, boost physical immunity, and reduce stress or anxiety.

The benefits of physical exercise in addiction recovery cannot be overstated.  Exercise can release endorphins in the body. This can produce a ‘natural high’ which helps promote good feelings and may enhance self-esteem. Exercise helps reduce stress and may also decrease stress related cravings. Physical exercise can also function as a healthy distraction. If you’re jogging, swimming in the ocean, surfing, playing volleyball, or riding a bicycle (in other words, staying active), you may be more likely to focus on the task at hand then on your cravings for a particular substance.

Equine therapy, massage, stretching, breath work, yoga, reflexology, aromatherapy, and relaxation exercises may all fit into the category of spiritual exercise. These various techniques have been shown in some instances to improve heart function and even lower cholesterol.  As the mind and body are connected, the staff at Oceanside Malibu focus on both to help as an aid towards achieving sustainable recovery.

It has long been known that meditation is a highly useful in recovery from addiction because it is helpful in slowing down or clearing an alcoholic or addict’s racing thought process. The practice of meditation can also improve impulse control and low frustration tolerance. This is extremely useful for addicts in fighting cravings and dealing with stressful situations in earlier recovery and treatment. Oceanside Malibu offers an ideal environment for the practice of the preceding techniques. Located directly on the beach in Malibu, our clients are afforded the luxury of sunrise or sunset oceanside meditation, surfing, swimming, walking and volleyball — all with the Pacific Ocean — the cliffs and hills of Malibu, as your view.

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Why Choose A Sober Living Facility?

Choosing A Sober Living Facility

While many may be familiar with the detox and initial stage of the recovery treatment process.  A phase which sees people receiving extensive psychotherapy and counseling, participating in group activities and learning important life skills that help form a foundation for achieving lasting recovery, sober living is often less discussed.  A more thorough approach to treatment such as aftercare, sober living, and transitional living may be less familiar to those who have not personally been through the recovery process.  Furthermore, it is important to understand how outpatient programs, sober living and transitional living programs may be of benefit in helping people further their success rate by building upon the foundation of the work initially begun in the early treatment phase.

Outpatient care is a continuation of the rehabilitative care a person receives after the initial detox at drug treatment program.  A successful treatment plan, particularly with individuals whom have struggled and failed in the past, usually contains some type of transitional or sober living component. These facilities, can be exceptionally comfortable and accommodating to clients. They can help them integrate into the community while providing a high client to staff ration, ongoing consultation with a professional therapist and foster a sense of belonging in a supportive, family like setting. Some facilities will continue to make themselves available to clients after they leave and include follow up aftercare services to their alumni as part of the treatment plan in order to increase the likelihood client will be successful in his or her endeavors.

Sober living is usually intended for people who have recently a residential detox treatment programs or hospitalization for drug addiction, but are not yet ready to return home. This process involves the reintegration of an individual into society and the beginning of an individual effort to take full responsibility for one’s own life, central to which is the abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Individuals can move into a sober living facility after completion of a detox or short term addiction treatment program.

Clients may be required to participate in house activities centered on encouraging an environment of personal responsibility and learning or reestablishing essential life skills. Facilities employ professionally trained staff around the clock to attend to clients at all hours, providing counseling and encouragement in treatment goals. While rules at transitional living facilities tend to be far less restrictive than residential detox centers, active involvement in one’s treatment plan, groups, meetings, obeying curfew and house rules or routine drug screening, depending on the situation, may be required. Transitional living also usually allows for more liberty in regards to weekend passes, family and guest visits.

Sober or transitional living centers, allow people more time after detox to regain their independence and learn responsibility. Moreover, individuals can remain in transitional living for as long as they feel comfortable and deemed to be progressing towards their recovery and treatment plan goals. Sober living facilities offer true hands on aftercare, combing structure, support, recreational activities and community integration with in house professional therapeutic services and treatment planning and around the clock support. The extra or extended layer of care that sober living provides really does help to more greatly ensure positive outcome measures for longer term sobriety rates than detox alone.

Malibu Addiction Treatment, Outpatient & Sober Living
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Moving Forward To Sobriety

Moving Forward To Sobriety

The past may have influenced where you are today, but where you want to be in terms of your sobriety tomorrow is up to you. No matter when, how, or why you started using or abusing drugs, at one point it became a learned behavior.  You may have learned about drugs in your own family.  For some, a family member may have turned you on or used with you.

You may have tried to escape feelings or memories that brought you to a place you didn’t want to be and self-medicating became easier. Even with the innocence of having fun with friends, it still can become a bad habit that leads to addiction that could destroy your life. Most importantly, anyone can change bad habits; because anything learned can be unlearned.

While bad habits may be hard to break, good choices are not as difficult as we sometimes make them. Imagine a dog accidently trapped in the trunk of a car. No matter how short the trip was, the dog, if given a choice, would never want to go in a car again. There would be no denial it was a bad experience; one he would not want to relive again. Yet, even if you had a bad experience or a major consequence at any time during your use, why would you ever use again?

Regardless of the consequences, staying builds tolerance. The more you tolerate, the more you use, and the longer you stay. Denial keeps you trapped. You ignore the warning signs and problems that come with continuing to engage in drug use. Ultimately, it’s too late. Many describe this as their “rock bottom.” In order to change a behavior, you must first change your attitude toward it. You must acknowledge that you have the problem and how it has impacted your life

If your perception is you are not addicted, you will continue to use in spite of the problems your using causes. Your faulty thoughts, feelings and interpretations will keep you stuck in denial. Conversely, if you hit rock bottom and are not in denial, you’ll seek help. Changing your attitude will help you change your behavior and the quality of your life. Your attitude can ultimately lead you to addiction or recovery. When you are in denial, your thoughts, feelings, perceptions and interpretations are distorted.

The longer you engage in self-defeating behaviors, the more you train your brain that your chemical use is a viable option in your life.  In reality, if you are addicted, you are not choosing any options. The drug has control.  You may be powerless over your chemical addiction, but you are not powerless over the choice to use or not to use. Your brain works like a computer. It stores memory and connects links together.  When you continue to use, everything you do while using becomes connected and natural.  Not using creates anxiety and overwhelming feelings. The brain looks for normalcy.

Chemical addiction is a disease. You may not have caused it, but you are responsible to find a way to treat it.  Abstinence is the first step. You may be powerless over chemicals, but remember you are not powerless over making the choice to use or not to use.  If you struggle with problems from your past, you do not have to let them have power over you in the present.  Do not let anyone dictate the direction your life will move in the future. Stay sober and live a happier and healthier life.

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Remaining Active In Recovery

Staying Involved in Recovery

The people you surround yourself with may influence your recovery or hasten a relapse. The people that surround you are a reflection of yourself. When you leave treatment, you are no longer the person you once were, but are instead a brand new version of yourself. If you go back and hang out with the friends or family members that got you into trouble in the first place, you are setting yourself up for failure.

A person’s environment is an important factor to maintaining recovery. Your living space can be another contributing factor for relapse. Most former active addicts lived in an area that had easy access to their substance of choice. It is highly recommended that you move into a sober living house or transitional living home for a short period of time. These places will not only help you adjust to life outside rehab, but they will give you a support group of like minded individuals who are trying to stay the same course.

Another factor that puts you at a higher risk for relapse is the lack of a support structure. When you’re in treatment, you are held to a tight schedule, and not many people can deal with life after rehab because their lives lack direction and accountability. There are two ways of going about making your own support structure. The first is getting a counselor that you meet with on a regular basis, the frequency of which is entirely dependent upon your needs.

It’s important to look for and find a support group. This is the more casual route to take since a support support group may be several well-grounded friends or a spiritual center like a church, temple or mosque. In fact, many spiritual centers have support groups designed specifically for people like you who are looking for accountability. There are also long standing support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous who have a great track record and a great mentoring program which helps maintain sobriety and reduces the risk of relapse

Being involved with a sponsor or mentor in your first year of sobriety is crucial. Having a support group around you to keep you accountable is one of the most powerful tools for you to use in recovery tp avoid relapse. Knowing that you have a team that is rooting for you can help in keeping your cravings in check and keep your mind focused.

In order to keep the mind sharp, one could also participate in some mental exercises. This can include mediation and physical exercise, and while that may seem like an odd pairing, both have been known to release dopamine and serotonin into the brain that allow your mind to relax. These chemicals come naturally, and when combined with the rush of endorphins, can create a potent package that will help heal the damaged portions of your brain. The more you do these two things, the better off you are going to be over time in decreasing the odds of a relapse.

Volunteering your time can be one of the most rewarding experiences because you are actively helping to improve the lives of others. Going to your former rehab and support groups can help you not only deal with your daily struggles, but help others see what recovery can look like and know that they are not alone. If you want an extra incentive to stay the course, choose to work at a low bottom or indigent recovery center. These places will show you the worst of the worst and remind you about how far you’ve come in your journey. Also, one can attend conventions and events for AA, NA and NAMI to further educate yourself and reach out to other addicts.

Knowing who you are is also a good way to combat addiction. To know how you are doing, whether you are happy or sad means you can tell when you are having trouble keeping yourself on the straight and narrow. Relapse occurs when you allow certain behaviors to slide. You’ll fall into habits you shouldn’t do anymore and you will soon be hitting the bottle or your drug of choice again. Keeping yourself in check and knowing when you’re slipping is important because you can get help before a relapse occurs.

Being active in your recovery is vital. Thinking that you are able to maintain a sober lifestyle without any work being put into it can end in relapse. One must be diligent about their new lease on life and protect it from the demons you know all too well. If you are able to work on this, and keep doing it, you’ll find that you’ll be the experienced one at the group meetings with years of wisdom under your belt. The road to recovery never truly ends, and success is a war without end, but the little victories will add up and pay off every time.

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