I send you Happy New Year greetings as we enter the year 2018! It's a great time to construct a vision board! Do you know what a vision board is? Check out my article on Psych Central for instructions. It's a new year, full of possibilities. In my next post, I will share with you some self-care strategies to incorporate into this new chapter you are creating in your life. In the meantime, consider creating a vision board to help guide you in the direction of manifesting your goals and dreams for the coming year! Best wishes to you.... Andrea :)
Hello readers. I have been pretty swamped writing for Psych Central and working with clients, thus my delayed posting. I wanted to share some articles that are relevant for this time of year:
Don't Be A Grinch: Managing Holiday Stress (Psych Central)
Beware of the Hook: Narcissists Tend to Hoover Around the Holidays (The Minds Journal)
Also, I've been busy podcasting on a range of topics that are related to healing in the aftermath of trauma...Trauma is a very broad category...I work with clients who are healing from toxic relationships as well as those who have experienced traumatic losses. Listen in at my podcast site The Savvy Shrink to hear some episodes. More are coming up in the new year!
Have a good week, and watch for more posts soon!
Happy Halloween....I wanted to point your attention to my most recent blog, as I discuss cognitive dissonance, trauma bonds and healing, while sharing excerpts from my ebook, Soul Vampires: Reclaiming Your LIfeBlood After Narcissistic Abuse....here's the podcast: enjoy!
Hello, and Happy Autumn...just an update for those of you following me on Andrea's Couch blog....I have been busy writing for Psych Central on a number of topics (weekly) ranging from trauma-informed interventions to narcissistic abuse recovery, maternal mental health, special needs parenting, and other topics. Please follow my Psych Central blog, entitled The Savvy Shrink here.
In addition, I have written many articles for The Minds Journal and goodtherapy.org Please go ahead and click those online journal titles to locate the articles for those publications.
I also have a new podcast, also entitled The Savvy Shrink, which you can find here.
Thanks for following me, and stay tuned for more practice updates. I continue to provide trauma-informed and strengths-focused services for my clients in my private practice and in telehealth consultation/life coaching. Still working on ebook updates and other projects. Just recently completed a comprehensive EMDR training.
Namaste, Andrea :)
Hello there -- greetings from blazing hot Southern California...Just wanted to point your attention to some new articles I have written for Psych Central on Narcissism and Psychopathy in the Game of Thrones here. I am now a weekly blogger for Psych Central, and I will be writing on all things trauma-informed, including recovering from toxic relationships, maternal wellness, special needs parenting, trauma/loss, and more.... The blog for Psych Central is called The Savvy Shrink, which you can also follow me on Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn and Instagram. In addition, I got started with my podcast, also entitled The Savvy Shrink. You can listen to my first interview with Kristin Sunata Walker, CEO of everythingehr.com and Mental Health News Radio, as we discuss corporate narcissism here. My next guest, just interviewed, is Christine Louis de Canonville, therapist in Ireland and writer of The Three Faces of Evil: Unmasking the Full Spectrum of Narcissistic Abuse (2015). Stay tuned when that episode is up and ready for listening as we discuss the difference between co-dependency and co-narcissism. Stay cool in the heat, folks! And as always, Namaste.
Hello there -- Summer greetings to you. Just an update for those who are following me on my blog here From Andrea's Couch.....I have a few new and exciting offerings to mention. Firstly, I am honored to be podcasting with Mental Health News Radio on my own podcast entitled The Savvy Shrink. I interviewed my first guest, Kristin Sunata Walker, CEO of everythingehr.com and Mental Health News Radio, on the subject of female entrepreneurship and workplace narcissism. Please listen and follow the blog here. It will shortly be up on iTunes and other online platforms.
Also, I am excited and honored to announce that I am now providing a weekly blog article for Psych Central! You can follow my blog at Psych Central, also called The Savvy Shrink, right here. As with articles I have posted here on my own blog, for goodtherapy.org and The Minds Journal, I will be sharing knowledge and information on topics including (but not limited to) narcissistic abuse recovery (healing from toxic relationships in love/work/family, maternal wellness, special needs parenting, and trauma and loss. My podcasts will also address those themes and interview experts in the field who share my passion for trauma-informed and evidence-based interventions for our fellow human beings who are healing in the aftermath of trauma/loss.
My website is due for an update, so please be patient with me while I work on that and add some additional tabs. My ebook Soul Vampires: Reclaiming Your LIfeBlood After Narcissistic Abuse (2015) is gestating a second edition with companion workbook, due date not clear just yet, but stay tuned for details :)
Thanks for following me and journeying with me as we uncover and discover all sorts of news, findings, interventions, and healing practices in the field of trauma and recovery.
Hello! I just wanted to alert subscribers to my blog that shortly I will be launching a podcast entitled The Savvy Shrink! I am excited to interview top experts in the field of mental health in specialities such as narcissistic abuse recovery, maternal mental health, special needs parenting, trauma and loss, and other subjects. I am very interested in bringing attention to evidence-based and trauma-informed interventions for those who have experienced trauma and loss, and it will be very informative to interview people who bring their expertise from a wide variety of modalities and approaches to healing. Stay tuned for social media links as this podcast is in its very infancy and website updates here as well. Thanks for your patience! Namaste, Andrea :)
By Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW
Summer season can be a joyous time for family reunions and treasured memories of gatherings by the beach, fireworks, camping adventures, etc. For some, unfortunately, this scenario is not the case. In families where an individual has narcissistic tendencies (or exhibits behaviors of full blown NPD or malignant narcissism), such reunions transform into a nightmare. Much literature has been written on the subject (see below for resources). This article is merely an attempt to remind survivors of narcissistic abuse in family systems that there is hope to heal and that there are things you can do to protect yourself from further exposure to the force field of toxic emotional abuse by a narcissist (or other psychological abuser) in your family:
1) If the toxic individual (whether family member/friend/boss/lover/ex-lover/colleague) will be present at the family gathering, you are under no obligation to attend. It is okay to bow out of any commitment where you feel you will be exposed to further emotional abuse. Remember that psychological abusers like to send FOG (Fear/Obligation/Guilt) -- if you are feeling immersed in the FOG haze, likely a manipulative tactic has been deployed to cause you cognitive dissonance and emotional pain. Again, protect yourself and place your emotional well-being as number one. That action is not selfish -- it is an act of self-care.
2) You can go No Contact with toxic family members, just like you would with a toxic ex. It may feel guilt-inducing, and other family members may not understand why you have chosen to proceed with No Contact. However, remind yourself that you have every right to protect yourself from psychological harm. The toxic family member may have done a very skilled acting job of convincing others that you are the crazy one (projection/blame-shifting) or that they are just perfect (false mask) and why would you treat them so unfairly (playing the victim)?... Stick to your fortitude and know you are setting a healthy boundary by protecting your emotional and physical health from further abuse by a toxic person. You don't need to justify or explain it to any one.
3) Such like an abusive ex, if a toxic family member is harassing, stalking, or generating unwanted contact, you have every right to pursue legal action and consult with an attorney or Legal Aid regarding filing a restraining order and other protections (like a Cease and Desist Order). The added layer of legal protection is an additional barrier of accountability and potentially containment of an abuser. Narcissistic people do not want to be exposed for their transgressions.
4) Seek psychological counseling to receive support for separating and extricating from toxic family systems. There are licensed therapists who specialize in helping to empower their clients from a strengths-focused (versus victim-shaming/blaming) perspective. Interview potential mental health professionals who are trauma-informed and know something about narcissistic abuse, to be sure you feel empowered, not shamed or blamed. Good psychotherapy can be invaluable in healing from any residual trauma, depression, anxiety that has stemmed from a family system perpetuating narcissistic (or other forms of) abuse.
5) If your tribe (by blood) has some toxic members, you can create your own tribe of unconditionally supportive, authentic and safe members -- these individuals don't have to be related to you by blood. They can be friends, colleagues, neighbors. Look for authenticity, integrity, reciprocity, compassion, empathy, honesty, accountability and compromise as important features in healthy relationships.
6) If a toxic person wants to get better, you can't do the work for them. They have to figure out their own pathway of healing and connect with the motivation to do so, and usually that involves a ton of therapy over a long period of time. Just because someone begs and pleads for you to stay in the relationship (whether familial or romantic), doesn't mean you are obligated to do so. If a person is capable of change, you are going to see evidence of sustained, continuous behavioral change over a lengthy period of time, with evidence of accountability and empathy and remorse for harm caused. For individuals who are further on the spectrum of narcissism, change is very limited and so is insight. A malignant narcissist/psychopath will not change...they are sadly welded to their ways and hardwired to be who they are. Someone with "traits" of narcissism may have some limited ability to shift and change if they can harness some insight and empathy.
7) It is not your job to diagnose your family member or determine "where" on the spectrum of narcissism your family member lies. What you need to focus on is : YOU. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of finding a skilled, strengths-focused clinician to assist with healing.
8) Read up on narcissistic abuse and family systems to understand your situation and gain some detachment and distance from the emotional pain. (see below for resources)
9) Self-care -- you've heard the word, do the action...good sleep, good nutrition, exercise, strong social supports. Yoga, meditation, stress reduction exercise, omega-3 fish oil, nature, journaling. Boom.
10) Have hope that you will move through the pain. Whether or not your family member is capable of repairing the hurt, you will move on to have healthy connections with healthy members of your tribe or those who you have vetted to become a part of your newly founded tribe. We are social creatures as human beings; humans need and deserve to be surrounded and supported by people who are trustworthy and respectful. Bottom line.
McBride, Karyl (2009) Will I Ever Be Good Enough?, Atria Publishing. (references daughters of narcissistic mothers -- however, substitute appropriate gender pronoun -- the book does a good job of explaining narcissistic family systems)
narcissisticbehavior.net -- Christine Louis de Canonville's website on narcissistic abuse recovery
selfcarehaven.org -- Shahida Arabi's website on narcissistic abuse recovery
blogtalkradio.com/mentalhealthnews -- Kristin Walker's podcast programs interviewing experts in narcissistic abuse recovery field
Summer time is often a season of playfulness, long daylight hours, rest and relaxation, and outdoor activity. For many, vacation and family reunions take place. Where the summer solstice occurs in the northern hemisphere, the sun shines for the longest stretch of time, allowing people to linger outdoors, play in lakes, pools, and oceans, catch fireflies, camp, connect with nature. Some feel summer is a time of rejuvenation and renewal, while others harness the sun's energy and complete projects that have been put off. However you view summer, the longer daylight hours symbolically also shine light on darkness, from a healing perspective.
Whatever your take on the symbolism of summer, I encourage you to connect with its meaning as it applies to your life. If we are to harmonize with the seasons, summer can be a time of illumination, whereby the sunshine casts laser beams of bright light upon personal goals, areas of growth and discernment, additional studies needed for personal or professional endeavors, or perhaps a return to the child-like playfulness that summer is often associated with.
Some ideas for further exploration:
*find a new hiking trail
*research classes (whether online or in person) to enrich your knowledge base of your profession or personal growth
*read a book purely for fun
*watch a movie for an escape
*luxuriate at a beach, mountain meadow, desert panorama and take in nature's bounty
*move your body in a new way, whether by trying out yoga, hiking, swimming, dancing, etc
*enjoy seasonal foods and recipes (strawberries, sweet corn, watermelons, etc)
*fine tune plans and strategies for professional endeavors and take action-- one action (no matter how small, per day)
*clear the clutter to open space for the new (throw out, recycle, sell items no longer needed)
*get a musical instrument and take lessons or play music that inspires and energizes or relaxes
*be ok with resting on a hammock and taking in the peace of the sun's rays
*celebrate friendship with authentic friends
*build a sandcastle at the beach or make a fort in the forest with your children or friends
*create a painting, collage, sculpture symbolizing the summer season
*rest, restore, rejuvenate and play hooky from work for a pampering self-care kind of day
By Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW
It's hard to believe we are now entering summer season! The school year for us moms is rapidly coming to a close, while many of us continue to do the juggle dance of work and family year 'round...My first priority is always my family life, with focus on my 16 and 11 year old sons....they certainly keep me on my toes.
I am fortunate to be able to blend a very busy private practice with an active family life. Life doesn't slow down for me very often, and I do need to take intentional time off to replenish and fill my cup...which I will be doing this summer for sure. But before, a little update regarding the goings on at my office...From Andrea's Couch...
I have two primary practice specialties which address trauma and life cycle transitions. Most of you know that women's reproductive mental health is one of my loves. I work with many moms (and their families) who are struggling with perinatal depression/anxiety, birth trauma, perinatal loss (miscarriage, stillbirth), infertility, and women entering/in perimenopause. I also volunteer as a Co-Coordinator for Postpartum Support International whereby I provide resources and support for new moms who are looking for qualified mental health services during the childbearing year. It's my 11th year with this largest non-profit dedicated to women's reproductive mental health. I have historically provided trainings and also spoken at conferences for this practice specialty, which will continue to be a part of my practice offerings. I have also incorporated a newer practice specialty over the last 5-10 years...
I discovered also that many of my general population clients had been exposed to narcissistic abuse (a specific form of emotional/psychological abuse) in love, work or family life domains. My most recent work has centered on helping those clients affected by narcissistic abuse in addition to supporting new and expecting parents in the transition to parenthood. Many of you know about my publications. I wrote an ebook entitled Soul Vampires: Reclaiming Your LifeBlood After Narcissistic Abuse . My ebook is available on Bookbaby to access via most online platforms for downloading. I will be updating a new edition over the summer with new resources and links, as well as finishing up a companion workbook for survivors, which I am proud to say, is trauma-informed. Many of you have read my articles for goodtherapy.org and The Minds Journal on subjects ranging from women's reproductive mental health, narcissistic abuse recovery, special needs parenting, grief and loss, expressive arts and trauma. Stay tuned for more publications on these topics and others. I am glad you are following me also on my blog here.
I wanted to update my readers about some new practice offerings on the pipeline coming up...since our world is becoming increasingly technological, I am working to increase my services telephonically and via webcam. Many of you know that I offer psychotherapy and life coaching via telehealth consultation/psychotherapy for those that are geographically far from my office. I am also in the process of uniting forces with another provider to co-facilitate an online support group for survivors of narcissistic abuse (in family of origin and also romantic relationships).
In addition, I am hopping on the podcast bandwagon as well, with the assistance of a cherished colleague. I am looking forward to interviewing many experts in various mental health specialties and sharing their wisdom with you.
I am also getting EMDR certified this year. I completed the first half of the 50 hour training...and I am so excited to utilize this modality in-office for my clients impacted by trauma. One thing that unites all my clients, whether they are experiencing depression, anxiety, PTSD, C-PTSD, grief, loss, stress, etc...is trauma...EMDR is proven to be a very effective modality in helping people move through trauma. I also like to incorporate mindfulness based CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) with expressive arts modalities, and other interventions.
That's about it for now...sending you well wishes as you begin to enter the summer season...may you replenish, restore, and relax this summer. You deserve it!
Andrea Schneider, LCSW
Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW