Sunday, April 1, 2012

Looking into the Eyes of Narcissism

Discover how Kim Cooper and her husband were able to build a better relationship and marriage by learning the difference between “Healthy Narcissism” and “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”…

  • Healthy Narcissism: is a feature related to Greatness.
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Someone who lacks empathy and is impatient, rude and dishonest (manipulative) with their family. Someone who is trapped in false pride with an inability to admit shame or guilt.

Introducing Kim Cooper, a woman whose journey to find a solution for NPD with in her marital relationship, that lead to helping others benefit from what she discovered.

Kim is the author of Back from the Looking Glass, The Love Safety Net Workbook, 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence, Emotional Stupidity, and The Little Book of Empathy Love and Friendship.

You can follow The Love Safety Net and Kim Cooper on Google+ here...

Kim, your story is very inspiring. Just about everyone around you was giving advice to end your marriage, professionals, family and friends.

However in your heart you knew there how to be an answer, that your marriage could be saved and your family can stay together and there could be peace in your home.

Where most would of just divorced, you decided to do something different. You researched, studied and found out about a behavior problem.. that could disturbed anyones life, to put it mildly. Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Looking at it from the perspective of a woman.. Women are known to be the nurturers, and many times suffer from self esteem issues. They can be their’ own worse critics at times. Taking full blame for what is wrong in their relationships when it could be your partner is suffering from NPD to some degree or even yourself.

“Awareness is the beginning to understand possible change.”

There can be a new understanding of how NPD can effect a family, spouses and children, and what you can do about it.

So lets begin Kim...

Margie D Casados: What got you started on this path?

Kim Cooper: Well to be honest Margie most of my adult life had been one bad relationship after another. I had been hurt so many times and I had hurt men too. Once I was married to Steve and we had kids however the hurt reached a whole new dimension. The fights no longer only affected us, and because I was stuck at home looking after them and our life was so chaotic, financially and socially I was really very trapped.

I had tried just about everything you can imagine to “fix things” with us, including a lot of sensible approaches that looked like they might work (but didn’t) but also out of sheer desperation I tried a lot of superstitious nonsense too!

The change really came however when I finally met a police officer who started teaching me how to handle Steve better. I am sorry to say I did not get this help the first time I approached the police (that was actually a disaster) it actually took quite a long time for me to find this help.

Margie D Casados: How did this effect you personally, what changes did you see in yourself?

Kim Cooper: Well one of the first things this man taught me was that I needed to stop being emotional when I asked for help. That was advice I really needed to hear. After that there were so many changes that I hardly recognize myself when I look back now on how I was behaving then.

Margie D Casados: What have you discovered about yourself, then and now?

Kim Cooper: I came to discover that I can trust myself and really that is all that matters. Other people might let me down but that doesn’t mean I need to let myself down. That was an amazing thing for me to come to experience. I think before I was always looking for someone to help me come to terms with myself.

Margie D Casados: What did Narcissistic behavior teach you? What did codependency teach you?

Kim Cooper: Once I put myself in Steve’s shoes I was just shocked at how bad it must have felt for him to have so completely given up on love or of ever being treated fairly. You see I knew deep down he really cared about us – but he wasn’t playing fair because he had come to believe life would never be fair to him. He had actually given up on life and on love before he even met me.

So his narcissism taught me that I wasn’t going to gain his trust by playing nice. If you play nice with someone who is lying to you or not playing fair with you that doesn’t make them trust you – it just makes them think you are a pushover and an idiot!

I had kept telling him I could take care of him, that I could love him and make it all better. However, I came to see that in his head he was thinking – “How can you help me when you can’t even see that I am lying to you and that you are in danger!” Because you see that was the kind of world he had come from. He had seen a lot of relationships while he was growing up where people cheated on each other and he had given up on love.

So that was a big turning point for me. Before I only saw myself as the victim and that I had it so bad. Once I saw how he had given up on love I realized what a truly terrible place that was and that I was not going to be able to save him from the desolation of that place without becoming very strong.

Later this helped me see my own narcissism too. Like the times I longed for someone to love and adore me. As if that was magically going to fix everything in my life. Because that is what giving up on love feels like. It is when you have that longing for some fantasy stranger to love you – because you have given up on your marriage in real life. It is easy for us to forgive ourselves feeling that way but it really hurts when it happens to us.

As for what my codependency taught me, I guess that would have to be that emotions can be very useful and also profound in how they teach and direct us without them needing to take over our lives or tear us apart.

Margie D Casados: How did this effect your family and friends?

Kim Cooper: Ha! That is a very good question Margie, but the answer may not be what you expect! You see before I had always been looking for friendship outside my family (old and new). Friends to support me and help me feel okay about myself – but after I started getting better all of that stopped. I have a very few close friends now and a lot of people fell away.

Instead of looking for friends I started looking for people who really were in qualified positions to help me. I started making business contacts too and forming a network of people in my community who respected me. I did things I never imagined I would do such as looking for a church to join with our family and enrolling in community activities. This has been great for both Steve, myself and our kids. I never believed I would EVER see Steve coming to church with us but the first day he did he was just so proud that he felt good enough about himself to be seen out in ‘decent society’ in that way. I know that might sound strange saying decent, but that is really what it was like. Church is as much about publicly stating our morals now as it is about anything else. It is about saying we are working on building a solid respectable family – instead of in the past when we were more worried about looking cool.

This had a very surprising affect on our kids too. Being teenagers I thought they might be worried about us not trying to look cool anymore – but that isn’t what happened at all. They don’t always like coming to church with us but it turns out that they love how stable we have become. Like my 15 year old son even told me that some of his friends’ mothers have tried to flirt with him at parties when they are drunk. He said he wanted to let me know how glad he was that I wasn’t like that and that I that am not like so many of his friends’ mums who still try and act like they are teenagers or in their twenties when they are not. I was so flattered and thrilled when he said that he loves it that I am not ashamed of how old I am and of being a solid and sensible mum.

So really the effect is hard to overestimate. I mean truly, absolutely everything about our life has changed for the better and we don’t look very hard for friendships outside our family – but still we really do have a lot of very solid and wonderful friends now including our son’s girlfriend and our other kids’ friends.

Margie D Casados: How did this affect your Marriage?

Kim Cooper: Steve and I are best friends now. We work together and do everything together and laugh all the time that we are becoming one person! It is so funny that becoming more emotionally independent has actually made us more interdependent in our life. We play team with everything and we take care of each other and ourselves.

Margie D Casados: What did this discovery do for your husband?

Kim Cooper: Well it wasn’t just one discovery! Unfortunately for me it was a lot of trial and error and I made a lot of mistakes. At first Steve fought me tooth and nail – but I understand that now. That was part of me proving I was tough and trust worthy. His vulnerable side was never going to trust that I could be an equal partner in taking care of us unless I was able to take his “bad side” down. I remember saying it to him just like that once. I looked him straight in the eye and I said, “I am not going to let you drag our family’s reputation through the gutter! The side of you that wants to do that is my sworn enemy and I swear I will take that part of you down! But the honest side of you that wants a better life for us and is scared, I will always protect.”

I saw he liked that. He didn’t believe me at first and ‘oh my!’ did he test me – but I was good to my word. So when his bad side finally did come down and he started being able to show his fear everything changed. You see then he could start being honest about things he was failing at and so he could start learning again. He has come so far and has since picked up an incredible array of skills. He is so confident now and so solid I would trust him with my life.

Margie D Casados: What did it do for you?

Kim Cooper: Well it is still a work in progress of course (lol) – but I know I am much less of an emotional burden on my family and I have dug really deep and realized a lot of skills too.

Margie D Casados: Where is the NPD path leading you to now?

Kim Cooper: Professionally, and now that our manuals are not only e-books but are finally in print, we really hope this year to partner with as many government and church organizations as we can to help get our program out to as many families in crisis as possible. On a personal level I look forward to our new stability continuing to spread and bring healing to our extended family and community … Eventually I think I would love to be building a nice garden somewhere while also seeing our emotional intelligence exercises being taught to kids in school.

Margie D Casados: What do you hope for people who are suffering from NPD or their loved ones? How will they benefit by your teachings?

Kim Cooper: I hope that they will find the peace we have and know that there is hope. It was once taught that a person’s character was formed by the age of 7 and that as people got older they never changed. We know now that is simply wrong. It is actually easiest to learn emotional intelligence skills in your 40′s and so things can get better. A person with narcissistic tendencies however feels very vulnerable inside and so it is hard for them to let that outer shell down without there being a lot of no nonsense love and support around them.

Margie D Casados: What do you see in the future for Narcissism?

Kim Cooper: I hope that they come up with a better name and diagnostic criteria for this disorder rather than simply pulling it from the DSM (because of the current confusion) as is now planned. I also hope that a better understanding of the profile of this disorder comes to the community so that crimes involving domestic and family abuse (including missing children) can be better understood. Like in what I said to Steve all those years ago, I have sympathy for the individuals – but not their behavior – and so I think that having a clearer picture – even down to an accurate criminology profile for narcissists and also codependents – would help solve and also prevent many terrible crimes. I think it would also make our society a much safer, happier and less chaotic place to live.

Margie D Casados: If there were one message that you would want to share about your experience, What would it be?

Kim Cooper: You don’t have to live in shame and silence! If you and your partner are fighting or you do not know how to deal with your negative emotions (without drugging yourself or giving up on your dreams for yourself) please have a look at what we teach because if it could change ours – and so many people’s lives – so drastically, there is a very good chance we can help you!

Discover more about What is the Narcissistic / Co-dependence Marriage?

Even more for you on our blog Narcissism Daily Mirror here

Kim’s story has truly been a fascinating one…

Thank you Kim for sharing your message.. and helping us to understand more of how NPD can possibly effect someone’s life and that there possibly can be a solution to this problem.

5 comments:

  1. Loved this article Margie and congrats on the new Healing book and the new blog here!

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  2. Thank you Chris.. After reading about Kim's story from her ebooks and benefited from it. I truly wanted to share her message, and possibly help others.

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  3. After my never ending search for hope it seems that I stumbled upon a glimpse of what i believe to be Gods love....looking forward to learning more ;-)

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    1. Kim Cooper is a gem.. hopefully this link will help:)
      http://www.narcissismcured.com/index.html#theartofhealinginfo

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    ReplyDelete