Adventurous.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Adventurous man

Adventurous.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Adventurous

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt

“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.”

― Oprah Winfrey

“Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.”

― Danny Kaye

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

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Are you dating a narcissist?

By David Joel Miller.

Can you spot the narcissist in your life?

dating a narcissist

Is he a narcissist?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can result in long-term emotional damage. Much has been written about the consequences of relationships with narcissists. There are books about healing from the damage narcissists can do. Some people report having had multiple relationships with narcissistic others.

How do narcissists manage to appear so wonderful at the beginning of relationships? Do you know the signs to watch for to spot a narcissist? How long does it take for a narcissist to reveal they’re true nature?

People in recovery from relationships with narcissists have reported that in the early stages of dating, the narcissist is a great deal of fun to be with. On average, it took seven dates for the narcissist’s true nature to appear. Unfortunately, many people had begun sexual relations with the narcissist before the troubling aspects appeared. They often did not realize what they have gotten into in time.

It’s important to know that there are several kinds of narcissism. In psychology, sometimes the term narcissism describes people who are high in self-confidence. In mental health, pathological narcissism is called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There’s a world of difference between being in a relationship with a strong, assertive person and having a partner who only thinks about themselves.

First date with a narcissist.

People who sought treatment for the consequences of being in a relationship with a narcissist reported that in the beginning, the narcissist appeared agreeable, competent, intelligent, confident and entertaining. The narcissist is often a very good dresser. They’re likely to surround themselves with expensive things, fancy cars, extravagant homes, luxury possessions, rather than practical items.

When the narcissistic problems appear.

By the seventh date, the problems were apparent. The narcissist began acting arrogant, overestimating their abilities, bragging and hostile. Pathological narcissists consider themselves successful with the opposite sex because of having had many serious relationships. Often they were dating and sleeping with, multiple people at the same time.

Highly narcissistic people experience more extreme emotions. While emphasizing how strongly they were attracted sexually, they had high levels of jealousy and obsessed over their partner.

Relationships with narcissists are characterized by being full of turmoil and are high in instability.

Most narcissists are men.

The characteristics that define narcissism are traits that have traditionally been valued in men. The narcissist is all about being important. The have a high need for admiration. Grandiosity and self-centeredness are other defining characteristics of narcissism. Narcissists are competitive, but for them, competition is all about winning. Some high self-esteem is a good thing, but having too high an opinion of yourself results in toxic relationships.

Women who score high narcissistic traits.

Some women score high on personality tests for some narcissistic characteristics. Rather than being important, women tend to emphasize being close. They’re likely to be overly invested in others. As a result, women are more likely to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or dependent personality disorder.

It’s common to find dependent people, those with low self-esteem, attracted to narcissists. In the early stages of the relationship being with this fabulous other makes them feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, they rarely realize they have begun a relationship with a narcissist until they are so deeply involved they find it impossible to leave.

More about Narcissists.

As we move through our series of Narcissism posts, feel free to ask questions and leave comments. To help you find these posts, below are some links to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that all the posts about narcissists appeared in the narcissism category but links to future posts will not be live until future posts appear.

Narcissism category.                          Personality disorders.

Narcissistic traits.                               Psychology. (coming soon)

Narcissistic relationship partner.        Relationships.

Self-esteem.                                        Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Perfectionists make themselves unhappy.

By David Joel Miller.

Trying to be perfect causes pain.

Unhappiness

Unhappiness
Photo courtesy of Flickr (Family O’Abé)

Some people believe that the way to achieve happiness is to be perfect at everything. Unfortunately trying to be perfect leaves you chasing an unattainable goal. The closer you get to your goal the larger the gap between what you have accomplished and perfection will appear. Often perfection seekers become so focused on their errors that they become blind to their accomplishments. In students, we often find the B student is far happier than straight A student. These perfectionist habits can follow people the rest of their lives and create a lot of unhappiness.

Here are some of the reasons why people who aim for good enough may be happier and enjoy life more.

They focus on learning the big idea stuff, not every detail.

Students who attempt to get straight A’s often try to memorize large masses of data. The average student is more likely to try to grasp the concepts and may be better applying those ideas to other novel situations.

Outside of school perfectionists can’t let go of that focus on detail. Some parents are so busy trying to create the perfect birthday party for their child, the right napkins, the right gifts, the right guests; they forget to include some fun things for the child.

They enjoy what they have.

The B average student who occasionally gets in A is likely to be delighted. The student with an all A’s record gets one B, is likely to consider themselves a failure. Their effort to be perfect interferes with their ability to be happy with what they have.

Many adults are unable to enjoy their successes. The matter how much you accomplish someone else may have done more. Perfection is a yardstick that keeps stretching. When you focus on an imperfection, it grows to you can’t see anything else.

They can take the time to enjoy the process.

All A students frequently sacrifice their friends, family, and social relationships because they feel they must study constantly. Students with lower GPA’s often can enjoy a better school life balance.

When you focus only on getting everything right, the stress can become unbearable. The matter what you do you’re likely to be miserable. People who enjoy the process can cut themselves some slack.

They don’t need to always be right. Fewer conflicts.

Students who are driven to get every answer right find themselves arguing when they get a question wrong. Students who are less grade motivated more easily entertain other possibilities. They are better at developing learning relationships rather than conflicted, I am right, you are wrong, relationships.

In the workplace, perfectionists find it difficult to admit their errors, to themselves and to others. There are likely to develop resentments and blame others when things don’t go right.

They see possibilities, not rules.

Students who attempt to get all A’s are likely to seek for absolute rules. Other students are more capable kicking around alternative possibilities. They may better grasp how to apply principles to varying situations.

Perfectionists tend to have lots of rules for themselves and others. They live in the land of tyranny, of the must’s and the should’s. This inflexibility creates conflict. People who attempt to live life on the “good enough” basis are more open to change and new experience.

They can think for themselves.

Creative students can see how to take what they’ve learned and applied it to other areas and other situations. Students are motivated to be perfect are likely to look for the page number on which the correct answer appears.

At the heart of creativity is an openness for novelty and new things. When you continue to do things the way they “should be done” nothing can ever change.

They can apply information from other disciplines.

B students may know a little about many things. They often are motivated by trying to see how the past knowledge applies to the current issue. It may also look for ways to take what they are currently learning and apply that new knowledge to the things they already do.

Allow yourself to be open to new possibilities. You may well discover that trying something new will bring you a lot of happiness.

They get to know themselves.

Learners who seek internal validation learn because it makes them happy to do so. They’re able to test new knowledge against what they already know and see how this connects with their values and goals. Students who are highly motivated to find the “correct answer” may lose who they are in their effort to think like the master.

When you stop trying to come up with the right answer for others you may find the right answer for you.

They see things as they are.

Students who are motivated by high grades often believe that their self-worth is measured by their GPA. Students who are more internally motivated, avoid the delusion of thinking that a particular score on a test in any way measures their worth as a person.

As an adult, being open to possibilities, allows you to enjoy the process of life by avoiding focusing on who or what is not perfect.

They know when to keep at things and when to cut their losses.

B students tend to put the effort to get big picture ideas. They know that beyond a certain putting in more time studying results in ever decreasing returns. Spending large numbers of hours trying to memorize every fact in a book made increase their final grade by a point or two, but memorized facts are likely to be soon forgotten.

Throughout life knowing when to stick to something until it’s finished and when to give up on something that will never be possible is an important skill. Far too many people stay stuck in an unhappy situation because the only option they know is to keep working harder trying to get everything perfect.

One key to happiness is to strive for your very best while accepting that your best is good enough.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Father.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Fatherhood

Happy Father’s Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Father.

“We never get over our fathers, and we’re not required to. (Irish Proverb)”

― Martin Sheen, Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son

“My father taught me to work, but not to love it. I never did like to work, and I don’t deny it. I’d rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh — anything but work.”

― Abraham Lincoln

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (F60.81.)

By David Joel Miller.

Pathological Narcissism.

Proud peacock.

Narcissist?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

When certain patterns of behavior, or your inner experience, become continuing, pervasive, and inflexible and deviates from what your culture expects, you may have a personality disorder. Narcissistic personality disorder involves an extreme need for admiration, delusions of grandeur or grandiosity, and a lack of empathy.

This particular disorder is rarely diagnosed because those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder do not believe there is anything wrong with them. Lacking empathy, the narcissist blames their problems on others. What brings the narcissist to therapy is most likely extreme impairment in social relationships or a deteriorating job functioning.

One great paradox of narcissists is that despite their beliefs in their superiority, they often are very vulnerable to challenges to their self-esteem. Narcissists need to feel they are better than others in order to feel okay about themselves. This dichotomy results in a high sensitivity to criticism. They often meet perceived attacks with rage.

Even when forced into counseling, the narcissist likely will continue to insist that the problems are caused by others. The DSM lists nine characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder. Having five or more of the characteristics is required to receive the diagnosis. I have paraphrased these from the APA DSM-5.

1. Excessive self-importance, grandiosity.

They expect that everyone will recognize their superiority to others. The narcissist boasts, brags, and exaggerates their accomplishments and are shocked when other people do not recognize their superiority. There is an exception to this if they actually are superior. As the saying goes, it’s not bragging if you can do it.

2. They live in a fantasy world of power and success.

They are preoccupied with fantasies of limitless excesses, absolute power, unrivaled beauty, and brilliance, or ideal love. Narcissists are prone to compare themselves favorably with famous people.

3. The narcissist has a firm belief that they are better than others.

He believes that he should only associate with other superior beings. They expect to attend the best schools, drive the best car, and live in the best neighborhood. Believing they are better than others, they are quick to find fault with the accomplishments of others.

4. The narcissist can’t live without the worship or admiration of others.

Narcissists are often desperate for recognition from others. They expect to be the center of attention and are shocked when others don’t notice them. Narcissists will fish for compliments and be insulted when they feel underappreciated.

5. The narcissist believes they deserve special treatment.

Because they believe they are superior to others, they expect their needs to receive the highest priority. They have a sense of entitlement and a belief that the rules should not apply to them. They see themselves as too important to have to wait for their turn or to stand in line.

6. Give the narcissist a chance he will use you to meet his needs.

Given his sense of entitlement, it’s not surprising; narcissists have no qualms about using others. Sometimes this is a lack of sensitivity, but it may also be rooted in their belief that they are more important and deserving than others. Don’t expect a narcissist to feel guilty for taking advantage of others.

7. Empathy is foreign to narcissists.

The narcissist is incapable of seeing things from others point of view. He can’t see why the feelings or needs of others should matter and expects others to be fully committed to meeting his needs. While they will talk at great lengths about their concerns, they will have no patience to listen to the problems of lesser beings.

8. Narcissists feel entitled to the most and the best.

The narcissist believes others hate him and are jealous. He believes he is entitled to the biggest and best. If someone else has something of value, the narcissist believes it should belong to them.

9. The narcissist excels at arrogance.

The narcissist criticizes everyone. They are quick to use derogatory labels such as stupid, lazy, fat, and rude.

Having read those nine characteristics, you probably have a pretty good mental picture of a narcissist. While I referred to the narcissist as he, it is possible to encounter a narcissistic she also. Some of the characteristics of this and other personality disorders sound like immaturity. To use the personality disorder label, we require that this disorder first begins in early adulthood.

In adolescents, these characteristics may not be fixed and would be described as narcissistic traits. In the adult population, it is estimated that up to 6% of the population have severe enough narcissistic traits to receive the diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. About 75% of those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are men. One possible explanation for the high rate of narcissism in men is our culture’s emphasis on competition and winning. More on that in an upcoming post.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder overlaps and co-occurs with depression, especially Persistent Depressive Disorder, and hypomania in bipolar disorder. People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often also have Histrionic, Borderline, Antisocial, and Paranoid Personality Disorders.

More about Narcissists.

As we move through our series of Narcissism posts, feel free to ask questions and leave comments. To help you find these posts, below are some links to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that all the posts about narcissists appeared in the narcissism category but links to future posts will not be live until those future posts appear.

Narcissism category.                          Personality disorders.

Narcissistic traits.                               Psychology. (coming soon)

Narcissistic relationship partner.        Relationships.

Self-esteem.                                        Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Tolerance.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Tolerance.

Tolerance.

Tolerance.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.”

― Robert F. Kennedy

“The highest result of education is tolerance”

― Helen Keller

“In order to have faith in his own path, he does not need to prove that someone else’s path is wrong.”

― Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Increase your self-esteem by liking you.

By David Joel Miller.

Raise your self-esteem by learning to like yourself.

Self-confident people

Being self-confident.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The person whose evaluation of you is most likely to affect your self-esteem is yourself. Part of building up your self-confidence is to become your own best friend. If you wouldn’t want to spend time with you, your attitude makes it hard for others to enjoy your company. Work on feeling good about yourself by liking yourself more.

Here are some ways to like yourself better.

Increase self-esteem by silencing Mr. Negativity.

It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’re constantly being put down. Don’t be the one criticizing yourself. The words you say to yourself are powerful. Stop calling yourself names. Stop beating yourself up. When Mr. negativity whispers in your ear, tell him to be quiet. Don’t allow negative thoughts about yourself to take root in your mind and grow.

Set clear goals for your life.

It’s difficult to get anywhere when you don’t know your destination. Set clear goals, ones that have measurable results. Make sure these goals are doable. Avoid goals like I’m going to lose 50 pounds. When you don’t lose the weight as quickly as you planned, it is easy to get discouraged. Tell yourself you will begin exercising 10 minutes a day.

Break goals up into chunks. Pay off an extra $10 a month on your credit card. Go back to school and take one course. Do all the small chunks, and over time you can accomplish great things.

Make your self-care a priority.

If you don’t take care of yourself who will? Eat a healthy diet. Get plenty of rest. Include time in your schedule for relaxation and to socialize the positive people. When you value something, you take care of it. Show yourself and others how much you value yourself. Demonstrate yourself commitment by good self-care.

Insist on being treated respectfully.

Respect yourself and expect others to respect you. Give others the sort of respect you would want. Set boundaries on what you will accept and stick to them. When they don’t set boundaries, you lose yourself. While you may not be able to control what others say to you, it is in your power to stop being around people who disrespect you.

Your opinion about you matters the most.

Stop living your life by other people’s opinion. Do the things that make you happy and please you. Stop grading or evaluating yourself and accept you just the way you are. Do the best you can. Stop trying to be perfect and embrace your imperfections. Don’t let others opinion of you pull you down.

Make meeting your needs a priority.

Don’t get so busy doing for others that you fail to make meeting your needs a priority. If you respected someone, you would treat them well. If you want to have self-respect, treat yourself as if you deserve to be treated well, and then live up to that standard.

Let negative things go.

As much as is possible, leave the past in the past. Don’t be ashamed of what has happened; your past has made you who you are today. Don’t hold onto resentments. Live in the present. Holding on to the pain of the past maintains the pain in the present.

Expect things to get better.

Having a positive view of the future conveys the feeling that you believe things can get better. Work on growing your hope. If you find you are short on hope seek out supportive people who have hope for you. What you look for you will see. If you are constantly expecting something to go wrong, the smallest obstacle can ruin your whole day. When you encounter an obstacle, keep your eyes on the goal. Climb over that obstacle, go around it, but whatever you do don’t sit down and spend time with that obstacle.

Grow a positive support system.

Add to the positive people in your life. Everyone needs a support system. Some supporters will be friends, some family, and some people who were part of your support system will be professionals. Don’t expect any one person to meet all your needs. People who feel good about themselves have many relationships with others that make them feel good.

Live in the present, while growing towards the future.

Brooding over the past keeps you stuck. Worrying about the future will make you frightened and anxious. Living each day minute by minute can help you to feel competent.

Focus on the positive.

Whatever you look for you will find. People who look for and expect the negative find problems everywhere. Become a positive happiness expert. If you look, all around you good things may be happening unnoticed. Incorporate some of those positive events in your life.

Know when to cut people and things out of your life.

A healthy environment means getting rid of the garbage. There are things in your life that are no longer useful or helpful, start cleaning them out. If you spend all your time with negative people, you will have no time to make positive friends.

Be constantly learning new things.

Be curious, learn all you can. The more you learn, the more you know, the better you will feel about yourself. Pursue the things that interest you. Approach each day as a gift. Expect to find something good in each present.

Make your life an adventure.

You only get one life. It can be boring, or it can be exciting. Within your comfort zone, experience all the new adventures you can. Keep putting pressure on that comfort zone, and it will expand. If each day, week, and year, you do new things, your comfort zone will expand tremendously, and you will be able to look back and all the wonderful experiences you’ve had.

In what ways, will you go about enlarging your self-esteem this week?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books