NARCISSISTIC SPECTRUM or NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER?
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is difficult to diagnose and in many cases a diagnosis serves no purpose. The very nature of a narcissist is to deny they are flawed in any way and therefore they will also dismiss a diagnosis. Current thinking considers that there is no 'cure' or 'treatment' for this disorder. In my therapeutic approach I prefer to think of the condition as a spectrum rather than a disorder
Narcissism is a term that is currently overused and has become a label attached to people who are not diagnosed and so I approach this issue with sensitivity. Traits of narcissism - egocentric behaviour, manipulations, outrage etc are all normal behaviours in small children and babies and serve as survival mechanisms to ensure our basic human needs are met. If not responded to appropriately in early life some of these behaviours can become embedded as personality traits and impact on all future relationships.
Many adults therefore, do display some narcissistic traits and this may not be problematic. However, those traits may emerge as a dominating force in some relationships and cause harm in several ways.
The harm manifests in the partner feeling fragile, crazy, like a failure, unworthy of love, unsure of themselves, increasingly isolated and often afraid. As the person tries to meet the increasingly difficult demands of their partner, they are met with more manipulation, coercion, threats and ultimatums (mental and emotional abuse).
For clients, the realisation that the person they fell in love with is not who they seem is a slow and painful dawning of realisation and they are often shocked at finding themselves in the situation.
The work for the client is to understand why they became attracted to this person, in an effort to avoid repeating a similar relationship, and more importantly how they permitted certain unacceptable behaviours early on in the relationship, setting the tone for further disregard of boundaries from their partner down the line. Invariably the clients I work with have fragile self esteem and are unable to set and maintain boundaries.
I offer a specialised service for clients affected by problematic narcissism.
This therapy is gentle and self-directed. My role as your therapist is to guide you to your own understanding, to accompany you on your journey of healing, to help you make sense of the past, to learn to love yourselves and to see a future in which your happiness, safety and heartfelt dreams become reality.
One of the biggest challenges for clients exiting relationships with narcissists is that each contact with their ex triggers them in some way. Going no contact is not always possible especially if children are involved and even more so if court proceedings are dragging out. Text messages and emails from the ex may be emotionally draining, abusive, coersive and emotionally draining. Being able to separate the nonsense from the relevant detail is a skill which needs to be aquired in order not to encourage the behaviour but after years living with a narcissist we find ourselves 'broken' and unable to see through the bluster. Our view of all the words can become skewed until we learn to become less emotionally attached to the drama and confusion they love to create.
Eleanor offered counseling to me at one of the lowest points in my entire life, and after a year of sessions with her, I'm arguably the best me I've ever been. Potential patients will be hard-pressed to find a more empathetic counselor who listens to what you have to say and provides you with the insight that will allow you to grow in the direction that is best for you. Though I no longer need regular sessions, I will be a lifelong customer of Eleanor as the need arises, and I will be quick to recommend her to anyone in need of counseling in any way, shape, or form.
COMMUNICATION BRIDGING SERVICE
I offer a standalone service to help clients communicate effectively and objectively with their NARCISSISTIC ex. This service does not provide 1-2-1 counselling but does manage and in turn help you to manage your interactions in an appropriate way which does not encourage the narcissists behaviour but does move things forwards towards a solution.
The service is designed to help clients exiting a narcissistic relationship to manage their interactions better and change the historical basis of the relationship. It is a stand alone service for clients who perhaps can not afford or are not ready for the depth of therapeutic work and can be an invaluable tool for dealing with the narcissist and retraining the client's brain to reduce instances of emotional triggering. It is not suitable for clients who are still living with a narcissistic partner or parent.
I have received excellent ad hoc coaching advice from Eleanor for managing conflicts during my divorce from a narcissist as well as with narcissistic professional peers.
Her guidance has incrementally helped me to develop resilience and the ability to react less and respond more calmly when exposed to the triggers narcissistic behaviour generates in me.
Professionally, the support has help me to communicate more safely in person and over the telephone, which has helped me to achieve what I set out to do, rather than be tripped up by narcissistic patterns.
Matt August 2020
I also run small support groups for individuals recovering from the effects of narcissistic abuse.
RECOVERING FROM DIVORCE/SEPARATION
Divorce and Separation can be an especially stressful experience, where both parties are often left emotionally bruised and with a sense of 'matters unresolved'. People can continue to experience the loss of what was and what might have been for quite some time.
At the end of a relationship people often need to work on rebuilding their self-esteem and developing new found confidence.
It is always helpful to work on establishing clear values and boundaries as a framework for setting goals and planning for the future.
DEALING WITH ANXIETY or DEPRESSION
Everyone is likely to feel anxiety at some time in their lives, however, for some people it becomes an all-consuming problem, which is debilitating, pushing them into a state of fight, flight or freeze. Anxiety arises when a person becomes overly concerned, even afraid of the future and unable to refer to and detach from events in the past which continue to undermine the present.
Depression conversely is a deeply overwhelming sadness caused by an inability to move forward, to leave behind the past with acceptance. An inability to look to the future.
Counselling can help clients to rationalise these difficult feelings and begin to build a broader perspective of their world, ultimately alleviating the pain experienced within. I provide a safe place to explore uncomfortable feelings and make sense of them.
LOSS & GRIEF WORK
Dealing with loss can be a challenging experience for most people which can, if not fully processed, leave the individual feeling hopeless, helpless and unable to perceive a future with a new outlook.
Bereavement is not always the result of the death of a loved one, but can be the end of a relationship, retirement from a long work career, significant changes to health, loss of support structures due to relocation etc.
Anticipated end of life can create difficulties for many people whether it is anticipating their own death or the death of a loved one. Periods of serious illness or the diagnosis of a terminal/incurable condition force us to confront our mortality, many are left with no place to explore feelings about these issues.
Counselling offers a safe place to bring these topics into the open and navigate our way through the complex emotions which arise when confronted with loss, mortality etc. IF clients are unable to visit me due to illness by agreement I can come to your home or Hospice/hospital.
CONFIDENCE & SELF ESTEEM
Self Esteem and self-confidence are natural to us - we are born with a strong sense of our importance and are not afraid to make our needs known. For all sorts of reasons as we grow and learn to moderate our demands from others some of us develop the sense that none of our needs are important, that our wishes need not be valued. As we deny these aspects of ourselves our respect for our Self tumbles and we fall into behaviour patterns which serve to devalue us further- negative self-talk, self-criticism, unexpressed anger and an overwhelming sense of failure pervade our lives and impact on wellbeing and potential.
Counselling work for low self-esteem/worth focusses on identifying our strengths, finding reasons to self-affirm and developing self-compassion enabling individuals to grow in confidence. The work is tailored to the client and therefore, gentle and often involves identifying areas of childhood experience which may have contributed to the lack of self-worth.
WALKEASE© is an excellent approach for many clients with varied therapeutic needs. Therapy begins with a face to face consultation in the counselling room. WALKEASE© may be introduced early in the process, or later when a relationship is firmly established. It is not a requirement of being in counselling.
When WALKEASE© therapy has been included as part of the counselling process I have noticed significant changes. I have observed the healing process accelerating, physical health improving, self esteem climbing and mood calming. The idea of filling an hour talking one to one in a small space can be daunting and off putting for some. The idea of talking and walking one to one has less intensity and may feel more comfortable.
Please contact me and we can talk about starting WALKEASE therapy.
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