Recognising Toxic and Emotionally Abusive Behaviours
(**this page is still under construction**)
The purpose of the subconscious mind is to make things easier for us and to keep us safe. This helps us to understand that everything we do, even the things that we do that we don't like that we do (like overeating, biting our nails or getting impatient with our children), on some level are trying to fulfil a positive purpose - to make things easier for us, to help us to cope better, or to keep us or others safe.
We can understand this to be the case for others too. Others also do things with the positive intention of making things easier for them or keeping them safe, even though the outcomes of their actions may not always achieve this. They may hurt or offend others without that being the intention or focus of their behaviours or words.
Most people have sufficient levels of empathy and compassion to be motivated to learn from the experience, make amends, or find a better, safer, healthier, kinder or fairer way the next time.
However not everyone is like this. There are individuals who really don't care if they hurt others while trying to achieve their goals, who will feel no remorse for damage they might cause others in their pursuits, or who will even intentionally hurt others to achieve their goals.
If you have ever had one of these Crazy Makers in your life, the likelihood is that you will have come away from the situation with some degree of emotional confusion or wounding.
Identifying a Crazy Maker
The Dark Triad of Personality recognises three types of personality characteristics that can cause significant damage towards others.
Narcissism (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)
Psychopathy/Sociopathy (Anti-social Personality Disorder)
We can all recognise certain negative traits in our own behaviours at times, particularly when we are stressed or under pressure. Negative and positive personality traits can be seen on a continuum, where in appropriate amounts they may have some practical survival function in certain circumstances, but at the extreme they can become damaging, toxic and abusive.
A lack of empathy and compassion are often characteristic of people displaying behaviours at the extreme end of the continuum, where these behaviours are recognised within the framework of a personality disorder.
Why are they like this?
It is still unclear why some people will behave in these abusive ways towards others, but it is generally agreed that there is a contribution from both nature (they were just born like that) and nurture (they have learned to be like that).
Nature Some people are just born like this, and it might be that they have inherited the traits. Research continues on possible structural differences in the brain.
Nurture/Learned Sometimes the behaviours are learned, from caregivers who have similar traits, as coping or survival techniques. Alcoholics and addicts will display more and more narcissistic qualities as their illness progresses. Those close to them can similarly display signs of C-PTSD, and their children may learn these adaptations as a coping or survival strategy. If unrecognised, these may then be passed on when they themselves become parents.
Indeed, some of the behaviours of victims of narcissistic abuse may begin to display protective behaviours when experiencing Complex-PTSD (which is sometimes mis-diagnosed as a personality disorder, by those unfamiliar with these types of abuse, the resultng protective responses and the lasting effects). In recovery they can begin to recognise and self manage any unhelpful, protective behaviours that might be damaging to others, particularly their children.
Abuse by proxy
ACoAs - Adult Children of Alcoholics/Addicts
ACoNs - Adult Children of Narcissists
Anti-social Personality Disorder
Cluster B Personality Disorders
C-PTSD - Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Cycle of Narcissistic Abuse
Divide & Conquer
Fauxpology (false guilt)
How things look vs how things feel. In narcissism, there is a tendency to be more concerned with how things look to others rather than how things feel to the individual.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
PTSD - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Reacting vs Responding
Self Esteem (a judgement of own self worth)
Sense of Entitlement
Shifting the Goalposts
What you do vs Who you are - In narcissism, there is a tendency to value others for what they do, or provide for narcissist, rather than to value who they are as an individual. Children brought up by narcissists will often feel that they are only valued for what they do, produce, or provide for others, rather than for who they are as a person.
Recognising Crazy Making Behaviours
Coping with Crazy Makers