Monday, July 23, 2018

Toxic Relationships

9 Signs you could be dating a person who has Narcissistic or Borderline Personality traits. 

By     Mark Allison LMFT

What just happened?

Make no mistake about it, the narcissist knows exactly what he/she is doing.

If you were listening closely at the beginning of the relationship, they were telling you who they were.   They said it with such frankness that you may have mistook it as self-deprecating behavior.   

It was not!

They were warning you right up front 
and giving you a chance to get out before they hooked you in.   

The narcissist is a master of disguise, they have spent most of their life studying what people are attracted to and how to manufacture exactly what someone wants.   They do this because they themselves lack deep feelings and have almost no sense of self. They feel so empty inside that the only way out of their internal solitude is to temporarily latch onto someone who has feelings so they can vicariously enjoy it.   

I say temporary because the narcissist inevitably gets bored.  Once they have used up all the narcissistic supply that their host can offer, they detach themselves, taking whatever fresh blood with them and search for their next target. 

It’s an endless and insatiable thirst and it’s why they rarely will stay with any one person for the long term.  If they do stay, rest assure, they are cheating and lying right under the partner's nose.

Here are 9 signs that you may be involved with a narcissist/borderline:

1. The ‘blank stare’.   Its amazing but they will look at you as if they are looking through you…. And they are!

2. The ‘sadistic laugh’.  They will laugh at you when you are most vulnerable, usually right after they have done something to hurt you in the relationship.   If you confront them about this, they will tell you they felt ‘uncomfortable’ by your emotions, so they laughed instead.   It makes no sense, but the 'N" rarely does make any sense.

3. Projection: They will bring up their concerns that you are sleeping with someone else when that is the furtherest thing on your mind.  In reality,  they are thinking about sleeping with someone else or more likely, have already done so.

4. They lie.   Everything in their life is a lie.   The relationship you were holding onto dearly, to them, was just a fantasy.   It was mere entertainment to escape their own boredom.

5. They accuse you of having "anger issues" or "rage" when you become upset over their indiscretions and deceptions. Shape shifting the blame back onto you.

6.  Gaslighting: They gaslight whenever they are caught in a lie.   Gaslighting is a control technique to convince someone to doubt the facts and their own feelings. 

7. Stonewalling:  If they don't agree with you on a topic or decision they simply ignore it.  They will pretend you never said it.  They will give you another 'blank' stare and often just change the topic to something about themselves. 

8.  Silent Treatment:  If you should happen to catch them in a lie or reveal one of their many deceptions you will be punished with the silent treatment.   They disappear for minutes, hours or days and then reappear when they feel you are desperate enough to give up your position and accept the abuse as your fault. 

9.  Boredom:  Narcissistic people often are bored.   Because they are incapable of deeper authentic feelings and lack the desire or ability to care for others, they need constant stimulation to feel alive.  
They will often yawn when it's your turn to speak or become distracted with other things when they are not at the center of attention. 

These are just a few of the behaviors you may experience if you are in a relationship with a person who has narcissistic or borderline traits/personality.   These are highly abusive relationships and it often takes longer for individuals to recover from them once they are free from the abusive partner.  It's important to see the "warning signs" before you are fully invested into the relationship with someone like this.

 If you find that you seem to "attract" people like this into your life, you are not alone, but gaining insight into why your 'tolerance' is so high for abusive behavior will help prevent repeating this pattern over and over again in your personal and professional relationships. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fair Rules Of Engagement

Fair Rules Of Engagement

The art of couples' conflict resolution

By Mark Allison MFT


A misconception couples often make when they come to therapy is that they are there to resolve differences.  They may feel having a third person i.e. a therapist come in between them to act as an 'emotional referee' may be helpful.  The reality is that any time two people choose to live and share their lives together there will be times that they will upset each other and ultimately have arguments about it. 

So the goal is not necessarily to prevent arguments but rather to learn how to argue or disagree in a away that is safe, productive and healthy.  There are different terms for this skill set, it is often referred to as conflict-resolution or how to fight fairly

Listed below are the 12 'Rules of Engagement' I often give couples to work on when they struggle with how to fight fairly.

  1. Don't bring up something that bothered you from days or weeks ago now.   The contextual meaning will be lost. After 48 hours you need to move on to something newer.

  2. If something bothers you and your partner does not want to discuss it, schedule an time within a 24 hours to discuss it.  You don't have to stay up all night debating an issue when the both of you need sleep.

  3. Keep to the issue at hand, fighting fairly means that the both of you will stay within the topic being discussed

  4. Keep the argument between the two of you.  Don't bring 3rd parties in like sister-in-laws, ex-boyfriends etc.

  5. Fighting fair means you don't bring up past history,

  6. Avoid name calling.  Good or bad.  Be respectful to each other.

  7. Avoid humor or sarcasm.

  8. Listen instead of waiting to talk

  9. Try to use “I” statements instead of “You”

  10. Don’t interrupt

  11. Avoid using “Never” and “Always” in your statements to each other

  12. Be aware of your voice tone and refrain from raising your voice or screaming.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Last Saturday my sister's dog Sage passed away.  She was 11 years old.    Not only was Sage close to my sister but she touched all of our hearts over the years.   Her gentle spirit made us calm and we always felt safe when she was around.  And she always was.  She is missed. 

Night Into Day
When we lose our friend,
the loss we feel is indescribable. 
It’s hard to imagine someone 
who is always there for us.
Who is always happy to see us 
no matter what kind of day or 
mood we might be in. 

Who year after year grows more attuned to us. 
Who senses our thoughts and feelings, 
Our friend teaches us to give and to love. And to be loved. 

Sage 02/21/15
They remind us to live in the moment
To accept things as they are.
And they teach us, to let go.
That our mortality is very real.
That one day, we too, will leave this earth.
And that,  it’s okay.
We don’t have to 
live in fear of it.

Is it a tragedy
anymore then the sun rises
And sets each day? 
As if each day dies into night 
only to be reborn into
Another day. 

And when we chose 
to have this Knowledge
We became the observers of this…
Because we know.
We have found compassion.
And with our Heart, 
comes Love. 

And with Love comes Loss.
Which is a privileged gift 
For those willing to receive it.

And this is a beautiful thing.
It truly is!

For Sage from her family.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Therapy Nook - Mark Allison: Fair Rules Of Engagement

Therapy Nook - Mark Allison: Fair Rules Of Engagement: Fair Rules Of Engagement The art of couples' conflict resolution By Mark Allison MFT ...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Therapy Nook - Mark Allison: Martin Luther King Jr: Finding Hope Inside of Eac...

Therapy Nook - Mark Allison: Martin Luther King Jr: Finding Hope Inside of Eac...: By Mark Allison, MFT.,  Beverly Hills Therapy   An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines ...

Martin Luther King Jr: Finding Hope Inside of Each of Us

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Jamal Rutledge (center) was honoredfor
 helping to save the life of his arresting officer, Franklin Foulks (second from left)

Look closely at the photo on the left.  That gentleman in the center, Jamal Rutledge who earlier saved the life of the man to his left, is an alleged criminal.   Actually the man he helped save the life of,  is his arresting officer.  

Officer Franklin Foulks was in the middle of booking Jamal for an undisclosed crime when the officer collapsed to the ground holding his chest in pain.  Jamal, who was handcuffed at the
time began kicking the security fence to attract the other officers of Foulks condition. Fortunately, thanks to Jamal’s quick thinking, the two other officers were able to start CPR and call for additional medical help.  

Martin Luther King Jr. once said during a speech at a university, that morality was not a fixed state but rather a muscle that has to be exercised every day in order to strengthen it.  There was something about this photograph that caught my attention.  When I look at it nothing about Jamal looks criminal, quite to the contrary.  I see a strong gentle soul.  In my mind's eye I imagine that Jamal has always wanted to do the right thing but never thought he would be given the chance.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." In this moment,  I imagine that he has transcended his individualistic concerns,  that he was waiting for this moment in time to show that he was significant, that he has moral character, that he had something to say.  Jamal has spoken.  I only hope we can all hear him.   I will leave it at that.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

13 Secrets Of Happily Married Couples

It's often said that marriage is a lot of work -- so it's refreshing to hear from couples who not only figured out how to make their love last, but are having an awesome time doing it.
On Sunday, a Redditor posed the question, "Why are you still married?" The replies, from real-life couples who are just as in love now as when they said "I do," give a glimpse into the makings of a lasting marriage.
Below, 13 secrets of happily married couples:
1. They trust each other.
"We don't judge each other. We trust each other. We don't have one of those wild tempestuous marriages. No one will ever write a book about us and there will never be a Lifetime movie based on our relationship. But I am in exactly the kind of relationship I have always wanted."
couple tree
2. They take the good with the bad and become stronger for it.
"We are coming up on 19 years next week. I am still married because I totally respect him for how he has held my hand through the bad times. The good times were good, but the bad times were 10x worse. His friendship and commitment never wavered."
3. They respect each other.
"Married for 39 years. Why? I still get that funny warm feeling in my stomach when I hear his car drive into the driveway. He treats me with respect and he's a hell of a lot of fun on a road trip."
4. They're honest with each other.
"11 years together, two years married ... he provides me support when I need it andtells me when to 'suck it up, princess'. He deals with all of my family bullshit and brings me ice cream ... he gives the best hugs and is amazing in bed."
5. They find joy in the little things.
"He's the person I most want to hang out with whether it's going out eat, acting like an idiot at a concert, or just sitting together watching TV. And he feels the same way about me. It's great. No matter what life throws us (and it's thrown a lot so far!), we always know we will be there for each other."
man and woman in love
6. They embrace each other's differences.
"I love being married. My wife and I are opposites. I am impulsive, she is detailed. I am aggressive she is reserved. Together we are like a fucking superhero, winning and conquering all!"
7. Sure, they argue, but they always fight fair.
"[My husband] never has unkind words for me, even when he's upset. It means the world to me that we can 'argue' and still say 'I love you.'"
8. They have fun, even when doing absolutely nothing at all.
"The most important thing starting out was that we loved being with each other. We made each other laugh. We could do something or nothing and have a great time because we were together. We just fit."
9. They cheer each other on.
"Married for 25 years. She is a force of nature, all 104 pounds of her. This woman does everything, sings like an angel, dances, cooks, mixes cement, lays tiles, does woodworking, quilts, builds mosaics, gardens, runs her own restaurant and bed and breakfast. She is so alive. She lights up the room every time she walks in with her joy."
10. They love each other -- flaws and all.
"[My wife] made a man out of a mess. She allowed me to make mistakes without hating me for it ... she loves me when no one else does ... she made me whole."
11. They feel lucky that they found each other.
"We've been together for 10, married for three. He is literally the best person I have ever known. I would do anything for him. We make each other ridiculously happy, it's kind of gross ... We play video games together, go climbing together, cook together, you name it. Sometimes I cannot believe how lucky I am because this relationship is so damn easy."
man and woman playing videogames
12. They support each other.
"[My husband] is so supportive in everything I do. He lifts me up when I'm down, always encourages me when I feel discouraged and when I need to talk about my feelings, he's always there to listen. I mean it when I say I married my best friend."
13. They understand that "in sickness and in health" is more than a phrase -- it's a promise.
"We've been married nine years, together for 13. Eight years ago I became significantly disabled. We were a two income house and I took care of pretty much everything at home. And then I couldn't work anymore. I couldn't cook or clean. I couldn't do our grocery shop or pay our bills. I know he didn't think he could do it, but he does it all. He finished his PhD while still working and having to do all the housework and even down to having to bathe me when I couldn't ... He's a remarkable man and I adore him."