Growing up with a self-centered mother is not only painful and confusing during childhood but it will also impact how you choose people to be around as an adult. Listen to Michelle Piper, a therapist who specializes in treating survivors of narcissistic families, talk about the impact of Narcissistic Moms on our lives.
Michelle Piper has a practice based out of San Diego, California and also manages her www.narcissisticmother.com website, where she offers advice and understanding of the narcissism spectrum and how to live with the narcissist in our lives.
Listen as Amee and Michelle discuss why first knowing if you grew up with a narcissistic mother can be the key to unlocking all of the other troubles you may be experiencing in all aspects of your life and how to start your recovery.
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF EPISODE
*May contain some grammatical errors
Ameé: 00:49 One of the features of One Broken Mom is to talk about the kinds of broken moms who are out there so that we can get an understanding of what influenced the they'll have over their children and how their behaviors can can be damaging. And the reason I do this is not finger pointing or shaming, but I'm hoping that the listeners out there might be able to recognize yourself in one of these discussions and that it could help you develop a greater understanding of maybe what's going on in your own life. Plus, I really do believe it's important to listen and to be self reflective but not self critical enough so that you can determine that maybe if you've been doing and carrying forward with your own children some of these destructive behaviors so that you can stop. And so this is a process of self improvement because you're a human as well as improving your parenting and the life that you are generating for your children.
Ameé: 01:40 So today I have with me Michelle Piper, and she's a San Diego based psychotherapist who specializes in working with survivors of narcissistic abuse and has a powerful website called narcissisticmother.com. I discovered Michelle many months ago while researching the topic of narcissism through my own healing process and I subscribe to her blog. And when you're an adult who's attracted to the charisma and the charm of narcissistic people, there is a reason for it and sometimes it's because those people bear some familiarity with our parents. And so Michelle, I am honored to have you on the show with me today. Thank you so much. Awesome. And so I want to start off, tell everybody, how did you get into the practice of providing treatment and help for adults of narcissistic parents?
Michelle Piper: 02:25 I think probably the way a lot of people get exposed to this topic, you start working with it or getting exposed to it before you realize what it is. So, you know, I've been practicing for over 20 years and about 15 years ago or five years ago, I started a blog. So that's 15 years into a practice where you start to realize you're repeating yourself a lot. So you think maybe you have a narcissist, you know, that raised you or you know, there was somebody in the narcissistic spectrum around you. And the exciting thing about was once we had language around it, uh, we were able to identify the behaviors that are pretty typical. And patterned in family systems where there's a narcissist and so narcissistic mother ended up being a, um, a blog that I wrote because that way we could start addressing the most common thing I was seeing in practice, which was people were so angry or frustrated or anxious about their lives and sometimes the patterns that they kept repeating, but they didn't realize where they had started.
Michelle Piper: 03:34 And often it starts, of course, in the caregivers we've been exposed to and in our culture that's often predominantly the mother. Yep. Yep. That was one of the reasons I ended up landing on you through that journey of like, Hey, I seem to be making the same stupid mistakes over and over again and I don't want to do this anymore. So I think I'm going to. I'm going to stop. Why is it important then to find out and to try and understand if you had a narcissistic mother? I believe it's important to understand it because if you don't realize by or if you don't understand what formed your behaviors, then it's very hard to respond to them. So it gives you kind of a superpower. It accelerates your ability to respond to habits in your life that are self destructive. So the main thing I say to people is knowing about the narcissistic family system and a narcissistic mother is empowering and not knowing is disempowering because in the family system as we grew up, we would have normal responses to boundary violations like anger or anxiety or just comfort.
Michelle Piper: 04:46 And if we express them, we would get in trouble or scapegoated or a shut off from the caregiver. So in the case of a narcissistic mother, the child might be angry that mom is forcing them always to have a short haircut when there's no need to do it. And the, uh, the daughter or son might always be asking why they can't be more of an individual. And that reaction is not a discussion by the mother. It is shaming or shunning or a pitting the siblings against each other to tease each other. It isn't a respectful conversation about the why behind these decisions. And so what happens is when people as adults feel anger, anxiety and negative feelings as a proper response to how their boss treated them or their sibling or their partner, um, they then turn that energy on themselves that they are wrong. And instead they need to learn appropriate ways to express that anger or discomfort that they can assert boundaries.
Ameé: 05:59 Yeah. Yeah. And actually, I mean, you hit it right on the head because that was one of the things that I discovered in my professional life was, you know, I'm a, you know, like to think of myself as a smart woman. I'm well educated and you know, have had some success. But man, I had some triggers every once in a while. And it, it, did, it just kind of like boiled up these feelings inside of me of not being listened to and slash or not being trusted or you know.
Michelle Piper: 06:29 Yeah. So, and you know, when you have this strong reactions, you know, that are bigger than the moment, it's always historical. Yeah. So one of my mentors said hysterical always means historical strong response. That's beyond the experience. You Bet it's in that childhood previous experience, but most often you can find it pre 18.
Ameé: 06:50 Yeah, yeah, for sure. So when we talk about narcissism, you know, there's all these profiles that most people think of and you know, I, narcissistic mom isn't Joan Crawford "Mommy Dearest" or Lucille Bluth from "Arrested Development." When people think of them as arrogant, fluent, you know, self involved manipulators. Some narcissistic moms can actually appear to be the opposite, you know, a covert narcissist, which is a word. So what truly defines the narcissistic mother?
Michelle Piper: 07:39 I think the easiest definition for this is to say that if somebody, if the mom feels like crap and she feels justified to make somebody else around her feel like crap because she feels like crap. That's narcissism, right? Pretty late.
Michelle Piper: 07:41 You know, that sort of boils down to if I don't feel, you know, happy, if I don't feel good, then it's justified for me to treat you as less than.
Ameé: 07:52 Yeah. Yeah. And um, and I know sometimes, you know, just through experience too is, you know, they can appear to be, like they're trying to be super helpful, but it's, I've seen, I've seen folks, you know, affected by this where their autonomy is just completely stripped from them. And so they just, they've suddenly start, they don't have any say, you know, the weather, um, you know, mom is coming into try to sweep up all the problems or the because they believe they just know best. Um, and so it's just, it's one of those definitely challenging personalities that, you know, you focus on narcissistic mom, obviously you have a website called narcissistic mother. What's the difference between narcissistic mom than a narcissistic dad?
Michelle Piper: 08:35 You know, in our culture we spend most of our time with our moms or, and slash or we have the expectation that they are supposed to fill a caregiving role unique to any other. And so of course there are people that take on that role that aren't the typical female mom, you know, but we have expectations that this person is our caregiver and is our most trusted person on the planet. And we crave being loved by that person unconditionally. So the power that a mom has is unparallel now with when we say, well, what's worse? Narcissistic mom or narcissistic dad that is like saying, well, you know, do you want a brain tumor or heart problems? The lesser of two evils, right? So it's why I write and I narcissistic mother.com is because people are asking about it and desperately want help about it. And um, and so that's why I've focused so much time on it.
Michelle Piper: 09:45 And it's also because it is the covert narcissism really that I find is the most difficult for children are narcissistic mothers to deal with because males tend to express their narcissism or overtly females more covertly. So often people have a harder time recognizing that their mother did have narcissistic tendencies or as severe as the narcissistic personality disorder. And so that's why, to me, the writing was so important when I started writing it, I was going through cancer and think, well maybe it will be around and it'd be good to leave something behind that shows, you know, a little bit of what I've learned over the years and I didn't, I've just always seen the healing power of people being able to name things. And then beyond that. So once you name something, it's like you've turned the light on in a dim room and you don't have to be afraid of every shadow.
Michelle Piper: 10:43 Um, it's also so helpful then to know how to respond and to start to identify behaviors because the light comes on and then you can identify, each thing is, oh, this is actually a predictable pattern and behavior that I can now develop a better response to. Because in the past, most my of my responses have sucked back. And you're like, wow, lucy and the ball, you know, Charlie Brown, it's like falling for that. And so it's so nice to have identifiable patterns that you can respond to. And another thing I always caution people is don't go and use these labels at home. It's going to make everybody mad and it isn't helpful. It puts people on defensive space. What's always best is to identify the behaviors you find troubling the response you'd rather have to it and then give that person a chance to respond that way. And unfortunately a narcissistic mom is often going to fail. And, um, you know, to the extent that they can change or learn, they will and to the extent that they can't, you will need psychological distance and sometimes even physical distance from that person to be your best self and to be your best self for your children and your significant other.
Ameé: 11:55 Right now narcissistic mothers tend to project rolls onto their kids. Um, you know, uh, I, and, and I know that for me sometimes I, I changed the role would change depending on, you know, the age, the circumstances that you've identified, some common roles that children with narcissistic parents tend to have kind of dumped on top of them. Would you mind sharing that with everyone so that they might again understand more about this dynamic in this type of a family? Sure.
Michelle Piper: 12:25 And you know, this goes right down to that nice predictable pattern thing where you can start identifying the roles that you're being put in. Even as an adult child, you know, when you go home for Thanksgiving or whatever, it's helpful. It helps you have a kind of, a sense of comedic detachment sometimes and you're like, okay, I guess I have the scapegoat hat on. So there's these different roles and um, one is the hero child and a lot of times we envied this child in the family system or it feels really good when we're in that role because we're seen as kind of the savior for the family or the way someone who makes the family look good or where somebody who is solving the problems for mom and, or rescuing a sibling. And so this person is falsely empowered because they're under 18 and they're being put into an adult role.
Michelle Piper: 13:16 And so this can also create narcissism in that child or narcissistic tendencies. So, um, unfortunately the hero child may not get to always stay in that role either and they can be dethroned and suddenly become a scapegoat because they've failed in that false empowered role. Um, and so the scapegoat is the one that everybody's subpoint too and go, well, we're having problems in his family because of you or I'm retiring because of you or I have heart problems because of you blaming is endless and the scapegoat is so handy too for the siblings because okay, we're all relieved at mom's mad at this person. That means she's not mad at me, you know, sometimes we're happy to see that happen and other times we're just relieved that it's not us. And then we have to deal with the guilt of feeling that way because again, we're children.
Michelle Piper: 14:11 So we feel like a normal kid would, you know, thank goodness it's not me. And then, you know, as you mature, you feel some guilt on having, let that person be thrown under the bus or sometimes even pushing them under, you know, you don't have to deal with it. And then, you know, there's the mascot child that is kind of, you know, like the court jester and they're just trying to keep everybody entertained, keep it light, interrupt when there's tension between the family. And of course we can always move to all these different roles like you identified due to age or circumstance. We can switch these roles within even a day, you and your mood and the mom's mood. And so, um, another role, and of course this role gets talked about often towards the end is the last child, the last child knows how to fade into the woodwork and often we'll find another family system to hang out with or get over involved with a significant other when they're young. Um, sometimes even marrying out of the family as quickly as possible so that they don't have to participate in this painful system.
Ameé: 15:21 Yeah. Yeah. And that's all super sad. I mean, and I think that when people don't realize that, you know, that that inconsistency, especially if you're flip flopping between those roles, that, that just creates so much insecurity. Um, you mentioned something in here that I wanted to kind of touch on, which is, you know, your mom's narcissistic and it doesn't just happen around you, like there's an influence on, on what you grow and develop into an adult and you know, we've mentioned that many times. Does narcissism begets narcissism all the time or do some children grow up and actually kind of take on, they call it an echo, which is like the opposite of narcissists.
Michelle Piper: 15:59 Yeah. So that's a big question because there's so many different reactions. So the echo is, um, is very common and I think most of us that grew up in a family system, a narcissistic family system, have a piece of that where we've learned it's better to not say anything. It's better not to feel, like I talked about before with not wanting to feel when your boundaries are violated because it costs a lot to stand up for those boundaries. You might then become scapegoated or mocked or shunned hit. So there's a lot of reasons and good reasons why people develop echoism. That was a great way in that situation to survive. So we have to always respect that these things come out of survival needs and so later we might have this tendency, we have to have compassion for the tendency to say, well, of course I'm doing that because in the past that was the best way to deal things. However, right now when I'm trying to champion for a raise or I'm trying to raise my kid, right, it's not good for me to sit, you know, set my instincts aside and try to fade into the woodwork I need to show up.
Ameé: 17:10 Yeah. Now I know from my own experiences that I felt like I sometimes I feel both of those roles, you know, I, I definitely, I mean, let's be honest here, you know, when somebody decides that they're going to start a podcast, you know, that means that, you know, Gosh, I, I guess I feel I'm special enough to have something to say, um, might be healthy narcissism that healthy narcissism. Yeah. Then also, and I'm dealing with it right now, which is the, you know, having spent a couple of years where I have, I've known as, I just don't say anything. Then I play Kate, you know, the situation here is how we will all survive it and maybe my fingers are crossed and it's that of always wanting to do enough that maybe they'll notice you and love you for it. Um, and so it's. And that man, that teeter totter of living in that kind of life is just, you know, it's unsettling and your stomach is falling out every other day because you're rising up to stand up for yourself and do something amazing and then you're falling the next moment because you've got this personality around you that you're just, you're walking on eggshells with him and stuff, right?
Michelle Piper: 18:11 Yeah. That's dangerous for us in the workplace and also with the partners we pick in the friendships we pick because we are good at handling narcissists, having grown up in this system and so a lot of times people who can't succeed around a narcissist than distance themselves, but those who have grown up in these systems often not know how to get around a narcissist longer than somebody doesn't have that kind of informal training. Yeah. You find yourself getting promoted by a narcissist and you know, following along in their careers to getting recruited to be a friend, to buy one of these people. And so, you know, when we also go back to that initial question that you had about, you know, why is it important to know if you've had a narcissistic mother? It's because it affects your, your continued relationship and career in print parenting choices moving forward.
Ameé: 19:10 Yeah. One hundred percent. Um, you know, there's a couple of groups that I participate on on facebook too, which are narcissistic survivors of narcissistic abuse and stuff like that. And you know, I do see a common common thread throughout this where, uh, you know, there's a lot of, um, there's a lot of feeling like they just spectated the whole event and you know, and like I said, I asked these questions because I'm not into victim shaming and I always clarify like I've, I've, I'm going through this, I've gone through this myself, but part of healing was coming to this awareness of recognizing that there is, there is some attraction to the narcissistic personality. And I think that sometimes when, when somebody doesn't have enough self awareness, they don't understand that they feel like the narcissist pick them off the street like a mugger no, I mean like, for lack of a better metaphor here. But the reality is, is that there is something in us that, that drew us to it, good or bad, which is that familiarity, you know, that personalities.
Michelle Piper: 20:12 Yes. And so of course there are some narcissists that will target people, the malignant narcissists and they are aware of their narcissism and they are proud of it. You know, I've had narcissists to say to me, well, if you had all my assets and all of my heart as I was like, yes, you too would be a narcissist and I don't have a problem with it. But there's people that don't realize what, you know, what system they're functioning out of and they're just attracted to you. Just like you're attracted to them out of familiarity and you don't even know it.
Ameé: 20:48 Yeah. Um, so the parenting piece of all of this, which is if we're apparently, you know, and I am and we detect in our children's something that appears to be narcissistic. I'm self centered, you know, manipulative or anything like that. Um, you know, what do we need to start kind of checking, you know, is it in ourselves? I, you know, I guess it is. Let me say this again. I'm like account accountabilities and important piece for me. Um, and so if I am sitting here looking at a kid that is behaving in this way, um, you know, our, our assumption or our reaction as a parent is that they need to be fixed. But is there any truth to maybe I need to be looking at what I might be doing that's making my child feel like they have to act out in this way. Does that make sense?
Michelle Piper: 21:35 Absolutely. So, um, you know, a good parent, I always think a good parents always asking what am I doing wrong? What might I be doing wrong? And that humbleness always leads to better parenting. It seems like. And I'm, when we see a child acting out in a certain way, uh, if they're under 18, you know, we have to look at it as our responsibility to help teach them and to look at it as a skill deficit. So not to look at it as this, you know, strange birthed character problem, look at as something that's person could be trained out of. And so empathy training is so important to avoid narcissistic behaviors, you know, trying to get that kid to imagine what it's like to have that treatment be done to them. Um, if there's, if it's negative treatment or when people are, you know, when you're praising your child to praise him for the efforts they put into it instead of the accomplishment.
Michelle Piper: 22:42 Um, and the, the traits that you saw that were good, that made that happen. So good grade was, well, you know, you've really helped support the teacher, you know, by listening and not interrupting and class. And then she was able to teach you. And you know, there's also a gratitude training, the empathy and then the gratitude of, well, what all contributed to this. I mean, the fact that you can even talk on a podcast, you know, we have to humbly be grateful to the people way back when that were inventing, you know, the worldwide webs. Right?
Ameé: 23:19 And this laptop I'm looking at.
Michelle Piper: 23:22 Exactly. And it's hard to feel grateful sometimes.
Ameé: 23:28 Yeah, for sure. Um, so social media culture, I mean everybody talks about narcissism now that selfies are a sign that you've gotten narcissistic personality disorder and you know, and all this other stuff, you know, is there, do we really have like a splurge of narcissism have happening around us, you know, or some of this healthy, unexpected, you know, you know, that we should be like, is it really weak emotional development, um, or, you know, do we have an epidemic on our hands?
Michelle Piper: 23:57 There certainly is an epidemic and I don't know that as I'm simply contributing to narcissism what I see that it contributes to most of all his anxiety to see a deep insecurity in people. Um, more so than I saw 15 years ago. And these poor kids are coming in at 11 complaining about the video presence that their peer in high school or elementary school is able to maintain. They can twerk on video but their mothers won't let them. And it's so sad, you know, and just the whole thing is, um, it makes the parents so much more challenged to develop a separate sense of character in the child more so and more early than ever before.
Ameé: 24:45 Wow. So this just just got really hard, you know,
Michelle Piper: 24:55 After 20 plus years, it's so sad to see this difference in what the kid is talking to me about it, you know, at Penn than they used to. And so, um, does it increase narcissism and to be taking pictures of oneself and you know, having to document everything visually, uh, that remains to be seen. It seems intuitively that that's the case. But honestly, where I see it show up most in, um, in my coaching and in my counseling practice is in anxiety and low self esteem.
Ameé: 25:30 What do you, what have you seen, you know, when these kids that are, are, uh, dealing with, um, narcissism or narcissistic abuse? I know it varies because we've all got different experiences and stuff like that, but you know, what are some key things that, you know, mom or a parent might be doing that kind of, you know, birthing or creating this anxiety for these kids?
Michelle Piper: 25:50 Oh, great, great question. So one, it's not reinforcing internal and external boundaries for the child. So boundary work with the child will help create a healthy psyche. And so explaining to the kid, you know, we're good at talking about the external boundaries. Don't take candy from strangers, you know, what kind of thing you know, and thankfully, you know, somebody is touching you inappropriately, you know, report this or that or tell mom or dad. But our internal boundary work with our children is still weak. We're not saying is this a teaching the child and say, is this true for me and is true for my trusted others and uh, are these things consistent with my values and with my trust. Others values like my parents are my family and without this boundary it's very hard for anyone to say, well, that's not okay for me, so we become very easily manipulated if we don't have strong internal boundaries and I try to get people to picture a castle and you've got your interior castle where there's the court and exterior where does the grounds and then there's the protective wall around it and the moat and then we have the larger lands and when we get a comment or requests, we want to see that outside of our internal boundary way out beyond the moat and we want to decide, is this safe for me to bring in to the castle?
Michelle Piper: 27:26 Is this safe for me to consider? Is this true for me? And it has to pass that boundary of your values before it comes in. So if somebody says you're a jerk, you have to. You have to go, well, okay, who's saying it and why does this person get a vote? Is this a trusted other? And you know how to validate these things so they don't come in and affect the person. So to protect somebody from developing reactive pathological patterns like narcissism, you want to build healthy self esteem and healthy self esteem is reliant upon value based internal and external boundaries.
Ameé: 28:10 Interesting. Um, and so you just made parenting super hard now. Um, so if you had a narcissistic mother and you were listening here going, man, this sounds like it. Um, when you're counseling somebody that's trying to deal with that, what are the first steps that somebody needs to take?
Michelle Piper: 28:30 You know, it starts to get them to a place of healing and recovery from this one is to, uh, first describe the behaviors, recognize the behaviors, start to see them as a pattern. And I'm detached from believing that it was something about you that caused these behaviors. And so the first thing to do is not to go to
Michelle Piper: 28:55 your family members and say, I think moms a narcissist because you're going to get attacked because nobody likes to say bad things about their mom and the labels not helpful often to the person. So if they were here at through another, then you're going to develop an angry defensive response. Yep. And so that's my first thing is please don't go to everyone right away and I think she's a narcissist or accused or directly because you're not strong enough at that point to deal with the backlash. Yeah. It's really important to first protect yourself. So I guess my first response here is step one is self protection and to get as much as you can about this and go onto different groups and blogs because the stories are so similar, they're going to make your spine tingle, right?
Ameé: 29:51 Right.
Michelle Piper: 29:51 And they're scary when you read that many stories and you're just like, wow, it does feel like it's epidemic in nature that there's, it's all over the world because I'm coaching people from Australia and Germany and London and India and the US. Not like it's a small thing.
Ameé: 30:08 Right? And so protection first. Okay. And sometimes that's an emotional separation. And sometimes I think you said it's physical separation.
Michelle Piper: 30:17 Yes. And um, you know, you can do that very compassionately. You don't have to make an announcement that I think you sucked as a mom and therefore I'm not going to be interacting with you. You can simply say, you know, I'm going through a lot right now and I need to take some space. I would appreciate it if you'd just let me reach out next. And to the extent that the narcissist is pathological, there'll be able to endure that so somebody more on the healthier side is going to be able to give you a week or two. Somebody who is pathological, manipulative and I'm very fragile, is going to attack. And so if you're way over there where the person will just attack you, it's important to literally, if you can take a vacation and go somewhere and do an intensive with a professional who can get you educated quickly, you know, do like, um, uh, the four to six hour workshop type setting where you just go and get educated and understand what's going on. Read as much as you.
Ameé: 31:25 Yeah. Well, and I think, you know, and I wanted to to say or ask it, it seems like deciding that, you know, hey, this was my environment that I grew up with, that, you know, working it out with your mom right away. And I've heard this from other people like, well, what if they just say they're sorry, they just apologized for all of that, but you know, through my own therapeutic process, part of it was no, you, like you said, you have to protect yourself first. You have to get everything about you, you know, you're not a child anymore, you're not the little kid in the house where, you know, maybe that collaborative therapy is necessary. Now the adult you've, you've inherited everything that you got. It's up to you to fix what you have. Um, would you have broken that you need to get repaired? Yes. And that's reparenting the self and um, you know, like how I like to think of it is that you, we all have parents that had some failure with us and that's, you know, we have to have the acceptance of that because we're all human and the adult champion in us, uh, is very important to those inner children inside of us.
Michelle Piper: 32:31 You know, I think of, uh, our inner child like are for you and I, we have our little girl and our middle child and the team. I think of it kind of as a minivan of inner children and the team is kind of Sassy and you know, tell people off in the middle is about justice and wanting to fit in and the youngest is about love and wanting so much just to give love and be loved. Oh Wow. Yeah. And it's awesome to dialogue with those from your place of a functional adult adult champion. So I'm thrilled that when you're saying how you went through your process and s and we're always still going through a process. If we ever stopped then we're probably falling into a little bit of narcissism, right? Yeah. So I'm glad that you had that protective.
Ameé: 33:21 So you started this off talking about your blog that you have narcissisti mother.com in your resources that you have that are just an invaluable. And so I'd like for you to, um, to, to talk about what you do in terms of being able to help. I'm narcissistic abuse survivors and families that are dealing with it be able to do this process of healing and recovery.
Michelle Piper: 33:45 Great. So I'm a psychotherapist with a private practice in California, however, my work with nurses, cystic survivors is um, about coaching. So that is separate from the therapeutic process. So when I'm doing coaching, it is to augment if somebody is already doing a lot of reading, done a lot of self development and slash or is also in therapy. The coaching process is about psychoeducation. This is a developmental issue that we need so much education about that it's important to. I think it's very helpful to have somebody that's teaching you very quickly on how to protect yourself and how to repair it yourself. And that is very didactic conversation, much more of a coaching conversation than the therapeutic, uh, trying to resolve trauma and things like that. So there's two sides to recovering from a narcissistic abuse. One is education and two is the psychological side effects that we have. And so for the psychological side effects, you know, psychotherapy for things like trauma and all the different things that we did self destructively to cope with. Having been raised in that narcissistic family system or being exposed to a narcissist you can deal with in that way, but it is greatly accelerated by learning from the specialists out there, um, about the specific ways in which narcissists acts so that you can protect yourself and not imitate those behaviors by accident when you're under stress. Right?
Ameé: 35:36 Yeah. And I, you know, and I guess the biggest piece of one of the biggest values that I see in all of this is, you know, when we had talked a little bit offline about it is I know from my own experiences that, you know, this attraction to the narcissistic personality wasn't just in romantic relationships but also business relationships. And you know, this coaching allows you to say, listen, these people are in my life, they can't go away, you know, or they can and we can choose to. But if not, every narcissist has to be kicked out of your life or can be kicked out of your life. You have to find a way to be able to engage and interact with them. And so I was like, Wow, coaching is great for that. It allows you to, not boot them and run, but to learn how to thrive and survive with them in your, in your kind of gravitational pull that you have.
Ameé: 36:23 Right. And it doesn't mean that you can control them like some people, uh, especially those who are in romantic relationships with narcissists want to believe, you know, maybe there's a way that we can work through this and stay in the relationship. Um, I wouldn't recommend that when you're dealing with somebody that you have to work with that's a narcissist or that you're choosing to work with because they're part of a team that you can't separate from. Then the day to day coaching is so helpful because it just, you know, they're like, okay, they did this Zinger, you know, this is a new one. I don't know how to respond to that effectively. And it helps to have a strategist where you can run things by and also do role plays and scripts and things so that you can prepare for the next round. Because unfortunately narcissists have very repetitive behavior.
Ameé: 37:11 Yes, they are predictable. That's what we mean. You can count on, well, and I wished, you know, listening to this, you know, 10 years ago, this would have changed my life because, you know, I, you know, my unraveling, you know, one of my unraveling points was, was encountering narcissism in the business environment and not knowing like we talked about here. Why is it important to know that you had an, a narcissistic family, you know, kind of dynamic was that as I was engaging with this person, it was drawing out old wounds that I didn't even know existed. And it was, you know, I was generating these, you know, um, automatic responses. I dug my heels in, I defended myself, you know, and then I found myself just caught up in a cycle of doing this for years and you know what I mean? And it's like, I just was like, oh my gosh,
Michelle Piper: 38:00 Yeah, t's almost a dissociative state where it's like you have a control panel that a narcissist formed when you're growing up. Another narcissist can go, oh, there's the panel and just, you know, que, the responses
Ameé: 38:16 You know, not knowing that that's what I was going through. I mean, it took seven, eight years to, you know, I'm sitting there going, wait a second, I had enough self awareness to see that I was, you know, the same buttons were being pushed, the same results were happening and I didn't want this to continue on any longer and stuff. So how can people reach you or reach out to if they'd like to, um, to have you help them out with coaching, um, through narcissistic mother.com.
Michelle Piper: 38:41 They can, uh, they can just email firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm editing a book right now that'll come out later in the year. So if somebody wants us to notify them of when that's out, you know, send us your information. Um, and there's also, as you know, there's the, the email us, uh, the mailings that are like weekly that come from the blog that are helpful and supportive because they're taking one topic at a time and talking about them.
Michelle Piper: 39:14 And it's a fun site because you can take a survey too. There's a little humor, um, and some of the posts. And so it's a great resource and then it leads you to the comments on there. People are talking about other resources that they found. So often I'm finding more resources about the narcissistic abuse recovery community, comments of other people that are survivors that are commenting on the blog.
Ameé: 39:42 Right, right. Yeah. And that's where I, you know, I started to reach out as well too, just to, not to, not only um, you know, not to be involved in a bunch of pity parties but because that's not my deal, but to also say, you know, hoping to be able to reach out and share those experiences with other people. So she, from a point of encouragement, um, you know, when you're in that narcissistic, abusive state, you know, some, you know, no matter how resilient you feel like you grew up being, it still wears you down and finding out and you know, and I think that sometimes a, a, a survivor or somebody who's going through the abuse, you know, it can conflict with your, your own sense of self intelligence, of like it should be smart enough to not be here.
Ameé: 40:23 Like what, how am I, why am I in this state? And that has nothing to do with your Iq, you know, it, it, it goes back. So Michelle, I know that you were really busy and that's why I'm just so grateful that you were able to find the time to sit down and do this with me. And um, I think this is gonna help so many people out there and so I'm super appreciative of you, of you being on the show with me today.
Michelle Piper: 40:45 Oh, and thank you for your work. You know, as I've said before, I appreciate your approach of not shaming the mom and not shaming the victim, you know, and I prefer, of course call the person the survivor because having been one, I like to say I've survived.
Ameé: 41:04 Yes, definitely. Definitely. Well, you have a fantastic day. And um, and again, thank you so much.