The Birth of my Authenticity

One day I awoke to find myself in a narcissistic and abusive cult. Tearing it to the ground and getting everyone else out is how I discovered my authenticity. This awakening freed my authentic voice and gave me a sense of truth I had never known before. After being in the cult for 18 years, getting out was not easy. 

It was 2020. After decades of vocational study, professional work, and deep psycho-spiritual development, something in my life was still tormenting me. So when the leader of the group suggested I try Iboga, I took a leap of faith. Iboga is an African psychedelic used in recovery from addiction and for psycho-spiritual development. Bwiti is the spiritual discipline associated with this medicine that several tribes in Gabon and Cameroon practice.

During the Iboga journey, I received a clear message from the medicine: I was following my mentor and not myself. The truth of this statement was very simple and profound. This truth turned my whole life inside out. 

The medicine dropped me several layers deeper into my being. Things I used to be unsure about became crystal clear. After the medicine journey, I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I could feel it in my body. As I reintegrated into daily life, this sense of authentic truth only grew deeper and stronger. I would no longer yield to suggestions from others when they felt wrong to me. 

The more I spoke my truth, the more conflict brewed with the leader. Eventually, the leader of the cult read a piece of my writing expressing exactly what I felt about him, his psychological abuse, and his lack of integrity with the work he professed to embody. He accused me of being out of integrity and threw me out of the group, claiming it was for my own good. As he threw me out, he pressured me to donate my shares of our co-owned business back to the other partners. It was at that moment that I fully realized I was in a mind-controlling cult.  

Over the next month and a half I did everything I could to communicate to everyone in the group about what I was seeing. At first, no one would listen. However, the spark was alive and after a crucial conversation this spark grew into a flame. Within about two months of my awakening to the cult, everyone was able to liberate themselves from the group except for the leader and his wife. For those of you who don’t know what it’s like to be in a cult, getting out is simply the first step in a long journey of recovering our authentic selves. At the time I got out, I didn’t realize how long my true journey to recovery would be.

The process of liberating myself and supporting others in their liberation from the cult showed me many of my gifts in leadership. I came to realize that I was an extremely authentic person fiercely committed to honesty. I started to find my voice and truth in the world. I was no longer satisfied with following other leaders and wanted to collaborate with peers while being the biggest version of myself I could possibly be. 

As I grew into this next layer of myself, I realized that not only was my fiancé acting in a toxically selfish way toward me, but so were the managers at my company, many of my staff, and about half of the people I had called my friends. I arrived at a crossroads. Should I continue to follow my mind and make life a comfortable place for manipulative people just as they are and thus deny myself? Or should I follow the truth of my heart even if some people will be uncomfortable with my authenticity and fall away from my life? 

Samantha is my friend, musical partner, and a longtime employee at my company. Together, we improvised a song called “The Crossroads.” Singing this song was a watershed moment. It was a point of no return, like crossing the Rubicon for Julius Caesar. After singing this song, I knew the path I was required to walk to fulfill my destiny. While playing the guitar and singing, it became crystal clear to me what I had to do with the company and what role Samantha was going to play. She sang herself into the leader position of the company as she helped guide me forward on my journey. 

I drew a line in the sand and vowed to be completely honest and true to my heart moving forward–both at work and in my life. I let all the chips fall where they may. This led to lots of conflict as I entered into a complete revolution. Over the next five months, 20 of the 22 staff left or were fired as we reshaped the company in a way that was more congruent with our values. We wanted to create a company that works for everyone. To do that, I had to start with myself. I started prioritizing my truth over compromising and appeasing others to avoid conflict.

Authenticity became my new religion. I spoke the truth in every interaction and was no longer afraid to say anything to anyone at any time. When I initially came out of the closet as my authentic self, I was so full of repressed anger toward the cruelty and lies that were suddenly clear to me. I was furious at all the lies and manipulation in our culture. Anytime I sensed a micro-expression of hostility toward me or anyone else, I would fiercely state what I was perceiving. I did not realize how sensitive my awareness had become and how difficult some of my perceptions were for others to understand. I noticed how I was able to feel negative and unsafe energy somatically as a stab to my solar plexus. At the time, I was unaware of how unique my perceptions were, and expected others to hear and accept my experience as valid truth.

I drank deeply from the well of inspiration. The stars shone brightly for me and I drew on the sun’s rays each morning. I received a deep vision of a world that truly works for everyone. I began receiving  profound visions of love, and was moved to do what I can to bring them into being. As a result, I founded Heart-Centered Revolutions, a nonprofit dedicated to making this a world that truly works for everyone. I became inspired to bring more empathy and unconditional love to this world. I completed my first two books and started 30 others on self-care, unconditional love, parenting, empathy, divisive energy, leadership, and so much more. My creativity that had been repressed for 18 years came bursting out. 

In time this radical authenticity softened in me. I began to realize this authenticity was what my father and my whole family had modeled for me. It was something that had always been inside of me all along. I’m grateful for the cult experience and all the narcissistic abuse because it helped me find what I always had deep down inside. 

Authenticity is an integral part of my life’s mission and work. I believe it is part of each of our destiny paths. When we find our authentic way of being, it becomes crystal clear what we came here to do. By turning our passion and energy toward what we love, we set ourselves on the path of fulfilling our deepest purpose. When any of us fully and truly become ourselves, the whole world blossoms. This is my vision for how authenticity can spread from person to person. 

You are drawn to this work because you are a carrier of the seeds of authenticity. May these seeds be sown in your life, family, community, and work. May a truly authentic way of being take root and blossom in all our hearts and in our world.

Heart-Centered Revolutions was created to lead humanity into an age of empathy and unconditional love. You’re invited to participate in the revolution through joining our mailing list for the newsletter  and enrolling in events or courses.

The best way to join this revolution, though, is to practice opening your heart with empathy and truly coming from unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. For more on how to bring heart-centered principles into your everyday life, we have a collection of books to help guide you. You can also continue your exploration of heart-centered principles by reading the articles on our blog. We offer business consulting and personal and parenting coaching, as well as workshops and courses. 

If these words and ideas truly resonate with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution!

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Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to making a world that works for everyone. 

Narcissism in the Family

We all have an ego. The ego is like our psychological skin; it holds our sense of self together, and literally is our sense of self. Children are in a developmental process as they form their ego, which is necessary for survival as a core aspect of the human experience.  

I define narcissism as an excessive focus on self preventing us from having a healthy sense of connection with and empathy toward other people. I’m using a more expanded definition of narcissism than the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is the manual mental health professionals use to diagnose and treat patients.

Narcissistic abuse is rampant in families and our society as a whole. Oftentimes, parents have unconscious narcissistic patterns that play out with their children and their spouses. This is felt by the children as excessive coldness, being treated like an object by the parents, or in some cases, being emotionally manipulated. In extremely toxic cases the children can experience a complete lack of love from the parent who has this pattern and it may come with physical, psychological, or sexual abuse. If your child is suffering extreme abuse from your spouse, you may need to take legal action or get the help of a therapist, CPS (Child Protective Services), the police, or whatever agency is required.

While we are not all pathological narcissists, we all have narcissistic tendencies. Any time we become unfeeling or frozen in trauma we lean toward narcissism.  While parenting, notice when you don’t use empathy to relate with your child. Notice when you treat them like an object. It can be easy to shift out of subtle narcissistic patterns by simply choosing to feel and consider your child in every decision you make. If you have more pervasive patterns of narcissism in your parenting and personality structure, a trained professional can help you with these patterns. Your spouse may be able to identify this pattern in you more easily than you may be able to yourself. Many narcissistic people are unable or unwilling to look at these patterns in themselves. If you are with someone who is unable to look at their patterns of narcissism, this can cause serious damage in your relationship and the co-parenting. It’s good to consider leaving, if the relationship is abusive and toxic. 

Signs of narcissism include excessive defensiveness and a denial of the other person’s feelings. Narcissists will use a technique called gaslighting in which the other person denies your experience, blames you, and makes you seem crazy for the feelings you simply have in response to their abuse. 

The specific tactic narcissists often employ in gaslighting is DARVO: Deny Attack Reverse Victim Offender Relations. Initially, you might say something relatively innocent like, “It hurt my feelings when you ignored me last night.” Using DARVO they will say something that denies your statement: “I didn’t ignore you.” Next, they move into the attack: “Why do you take everything so personally?” Then they will make themselves the victim by saying something like, “Now you’re blaming me for all your problems.” A simple sharing of feelings that could have been resolved by a simple act of listening and understanding instead becomes a psychological war over whose reality is right. 

When you receive a defensive reaction from someone, first check yourself for blame. If you were blaming them, then defensiveness is appropriate. If you were simply sharing your feelings, then the defensiveness is their issue not yours. Staying calm while stating the facts and pointing out the dynamics is usually best. Beware that someone who is entrenched in this pattern may be very difficult to communicate with. 

Children can also embody narcissistic tendencies. Many children will abuse their parents with narcissistic patterns of behavior. Often loving and compassionate parents will feel bullied by their children. When the child doesn’t get what they want, they can throw enormous tantrums and blame the parents. I’ve seen situations in which it becomes so miserable for the parents that many parents begin to give in to the child’s demands, simply to attempt to keep the peace. Although I have tremendous amounts of empathy for parents who give in to children’s bad behavior, this is not heart-centered parenting. 

Heart-centered parenting does not allow disrespectful behavior to run the show. In heart-centered parenting, we know we don’t want to reinforce selfish behavior in our children. We want to encourage their best behavior. It’s good to set firm boundaries on the children’s disrespectful tones. Children should be considerate and loving to their parents. Children can not survive without their parents. Children need their parents for food and shelter and there should be gratitude and appreciation from the children towards the parents. Every parent has unconscious patterns which will affect the child. Assuming the parents are not abusive, children should not be allowed to carry blame and longstanding resentment toward their parents. If they are carrying blame, this is typically indicative of a problem in the dynamics between the child and parent. Whatever is happening in the dynamics, acceptance is the best medicine for it. When we have acceptance, everything else becomes easier to sort through and find the best action to take. 

Often children will carry resentment when the parents are carrying resentment. The children may need to be encouraged to move through the dynamics. This will flow better when the parent is not holding any issue against the child. Ideally, this is done by the parent who is not having the issue with them, encouraging the child to feel their feelings, to accept and forgive their parent as soon as possible. 

It’s okay to be angry with your children. Every parent gets frustrated and annoyed with their children. Long-term resentment is a different story, however. It’s best when you can use the resentment as the basis to work through the dynamics of your relating to find deeper connection and greater love. The first step to more connection when you feel anger, is to accept what you feel. Then, if there is a message that needs to be communicated, express what you need to say to the other person. When you communicate what is needed and are received, the anger will typically dissipate. Express the anger in a way that is as loving and compassionate as possible. 

I’ve seen many children embody narcissistic tendencies around the use of technology. Because they can be so extremely addicted, they will say or do anything to attempt to gain access to the technology. The last thing on the child’s mind when they want their technology is considering their parents’ feelings and perspectives. This is why boundaries around technology,  disrespectful, and narcissistic behavior are so important. Any statement that is demeaning or subtly objectifying of the parent should be corrected. When you fight the small battles for basic respect and empathy in every interaction, it is easier to win the bigger victories for your child’s overall potential. As parents, we are dedicated to helping our children to realize their fullest potential as much as possible. Correcting their out of line behavior, while nurturing and encouraging their positive behavior, is essential to having the best possible outcome. Narcissistic tendencies can be very intense. The more patience and loving acceptance you bring to the whole dynamic, the better everything will go. 

When you are setting boundaries, try setting them with empathy and compassion as well as firmness. Remember that like all of us, your child is simply acting unconsciously. Punishment is not what is required, just firm boundaries to help them learn. Compassion is the way of the heart. In heart-centered parenting, we do not seek retaliation for bad behavior; we simply do not encourage it, reward it, or allow it. We nurture our children’s true potential. Everyone has the potential to live in connection with their hearts and treat each other with kindness and respect. This is our guiding star as we parent.

Join the Revolution

Adam Bulbulia’s upcoming book, Parenting from the Heart: A Guide to Create a Family Culture that Works for Everyone will be available on Amazon, as are his earlier three books on the topics of nurture being, love, and authenticity. As you continue your exploration of heart-centered principles, we invite you to read other articles on our blog. We also offer parenting coaching, personal coaching, and business consulting.  

To join Heart-Centered Revolutions and make a world that works for everyone, sign up for our mailing list. This act places you firmly at the center of our communication channels. By far, the best way to join this revolution, though, is to practice opening your heart and truly coming from empathy and unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. 

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If these words and ideas truly resonate with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution!

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Breaking the Narcissist Spell

If you’ve had the unfortunate (or fortunate) opportunity to be close to a narcissist, you know the intense spell or trance they can put you in. I say unfortunate because they will twist and break your heart in ways that are unimaginable to a kind and open person. They use you as an object, manipulate you for their own end, and cast you out like yesterday’s trash when they are done with you or when you are no longer under their spell. And, I say fortunate because you will understand darkness and know evil in a way that can help you unleash your purpose and destiny when you use this pain for good. 

Spell Casting

Narcissists mesmerize us with their charm. They make us feel so important and valuable. We all long to be loved. Knowing this, narcissists shower us with affection, praise, and love. When we are in their presence, it can feel like we are able do anything. The love we’ve always longed for is possible. Where we’ve doubted ourselves, they assure us that with their help. We can do anything we desire. That’s how they make us dependent on them. They rope us into needing them in order for us to unfold. Without them, the potential they see so clearly in us would fall apart. They show us how we would be stuck in our patterns without them.

Narcissists are often masters of a unique set of skills. These skills give them their power and influence over you. It may be an ability to read people, a specific kind of intelligence, enthusiasm, or charisma. They often can see your gifts and your potential, and they exploit it. They will often trap you in some bind with them where you are left believing their spell and believing you need them to survive or make your way in the world. They feed off of your insecurities and fears and exploit any weaknesses of yours they have access to. 

Worming into Your Soul

The narcissist weaves a web of lies and worms their way inside your soul. They start with truths, then move to half truths, and soon they tell you outright lies. They will find any opening they can to get you back and keep you inside their illusion. When you begin to put up boundaries, they will often find ways around the boundaries and make you feel guilty for wanting space from them. They very rarely respect heartfelt boundaries.

The Secret Weapon: They Blame You For Their Behavior

The narcissist is a master of a secret weapon. They take the unconscious things they do and blame the other person for them. Because this dynamic is in the field of connection between people, there’s a truth to it that is very hard to shake when they point to you with blame. It’s especially impactful when they come at it with such force. They are master hypnotists of directing our attention to the facts they want us to see and misdirecting us from the truth. For example, they tell you that you are afraid and that they are here to help you. It is really their fear they are pushing down, that you are picking up on. But it’s hard to tell. They make you feel wrong for feeling it and then offer to help you and now you are hooked in their illusionary world. 

There are many ways they can do this. They can project their intimacy issues, vulnerability, judgmentalness, arrogance, and a myriad of other challenges onto you and make it seem like you are responsible for it. Because it is happening in the field, it can be confusing to you when the other person is insistent that you are responsible for the dynamic. 

A Special Kind of Ugly

Once the narcissist’s spell has been broken, they will appear ugly to you in a particular kind of way. Their energetic body has been contorted and manipulated in such a way that they are simply not pleasing to look at when you see them clearly. You may wonder how you could have ever been fooled by them. Everything that they were doing is so obviously a sham from this new perspective outside of the spell. It’s like waking up from a nightmare that you thought was an actual reality. If they were lovers, you may wonder how you could have ever been attracted to someone like that. If you gave them money, friendship or trust, you may think how could I ever have believed in this person. The change is awe inspiring when you wake up. And waking up can feel awful at first. There’s a lot of trauma you will awaken to as you wake up to these tendencies. 

Boundaries Are the Saving Grace

Boundaries help us free ourselves from this narcissistic abuse. Boundaries arise from the heart and protect us from the narcissists attempts to get into our life or hypnotize us with their spells. Boundaries break the spell. When you hold your true boundaries, your own desires clearly arise from the heart. You can discern what desires are your own, what you are okay with, and where your limits are.  The narcissist can no longer touch you when you can set the boundary. You also need to take space and get clear on the pure desires that naturally rise out of your own heart. Your boundaries protect you and keep you safe from their evil manipulations. The ultimate boundary is getting free of them energetically, interacting with them only when you feel inspired to, in whatever capacity you feel is right for you. The level of interaction you desire can change at any moment. You feel free to answer to that change when it informs you and naturally occurs within yourself. 

If you need help getting free of narcissistic abuse, please reach out to Adam Bulbulia for coaching to support you

We want to hear from you. If these words and ideas truly resonant with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution! Share your thoughts about this article and like us on Facebook. You may also continue your exploration of heart-centered principles with new articles on our blog, or through our collection of books covering an assortment of topics. 

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you!
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A Molestation of the Soul: Exposing the Subtle Evil of Narcissism

Narcissism results in the molestation of the soul. This molestation starts in the one who engages in narcissism and continues with all who they relate to in any degree or depth. The molestation is against the natural way of being in which we are true to ourselves and others. 

Narcissism is a distortion or lie which hurts the heart and soul of everyone it touches, much like someone who molests a child. Children are innocent. When a molester touches a child sexually, this molester corrupts the child’s soul with their unconscious evil. Similarly, a narcissist corrupts the soul of innocent people with their lies. By nature, innocent open hearted humans generally believe what other people say. We want to trust them and be open to how they present themselves. Narcissists take advantage of this innocence and feed on the power of lies. Narcissism is a disease that is passed from perpetrator to victim. Often narcissists experienced narcissistic abuse in childhood. 

What is Narcissism?

Narcissism is a personality disorder defined in the DSM V (Diagnostic Statistical Manual) as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.” According to diagnostic statistics on the Discovery Village Website, .5%-1% of the U.S. population are diagnosed with the disorder. In modern society, there appears to be an uprising of people who believe they have been abused by narcissists. It is my personal belief from experiences I’ve had at work and in dating, that narcissism is much more common than the statistics would indicate. I would estimate that 20% to 30% of the people I know display significant symptoms of narcissism. I believe we are all on the spectrum of narcissism just by nature of having egos. The more we accept these tendencies in ourselves the less we act from them.

Narcissism is Unconscious

Narcissists are not trying to be narcissists. It is a result of a deep and complex wounding structure that has made narcissists incapable of feeling their feelings and relating to others in a more authentic way. I call it evil because it distorts the soul. It’s evil in the sense that it is a pattern of unconscious action emanating out of fear and manipulation. It’s evil in that it has a harmful or detrimental effect on both the individual and the people with whom the individual comes into contact. Unchecked narcissism profoundly limits the potential in any interaction. 

Molesting Others

The narcissist unconsciously molests the innocence of anyone who believes their lies. Narcissists take advantage of and feed off of the goodness and trust in the ones they profess to love. At root, a narcissist feels fundamentally bad about themselves. We all feel this way somewhere inside at times. However, the narcissist hides this fundamental badness or the core wound that they can not ever feel or know about with an essential lie. Once the narcissist commits to this lie, they can never relax and be at ease again. 

They must stay vigilant to avoid ever feeling the wounding trauma again. Many narcissists create a lie as to why it’s hard for them to form friendships or how people don’t understand them. My longtime mentor considered himself to be an especially deep feeler, and thought that no one could ever understand him. Yet it wasn’t his depth of feelings that made him hard to be with, it was the depth of his egotism and manipulation that turned everyone away from him.

The Narcissist Wound

All of us have core wounds from childhood. Much of our life path is a reaction to this core wounding. Many of us are not fully in touch with this wounding. Yet, the narcissist does something very special and disturbed with this wounding. They pretend it’s not there, or create a fake narrative around it, denying the truth of their actual experience. Nearly everyone denies the full extent of their trauma. If we didn’t it would be hard for us to live our lives. We simply cannot face everything all at once. The natural denial we all have is simply a lack of awareness of the impact of something. In the narcissist, however, it becomes a huge lie they’ve spun around it. The narcissists have suffered an extremely heavy blow to the ego in childhood. They have created a false self around this blow in order to never feel it or be vulnerable again. Instead of the wound, they have a story of grandeur which works around the essential trauma. This is completely different from the common kind of denial that everyone else lives within.  

My former mentor had lost his sister at a young age. He had constructed a fantasy that he would learn to transcend death and bring her back as a result of his deep denial to the pain of losing her. He constructed a cult that hid his deep wounded inner core. His fantasy centered on believing in attaining immortality and transcending death. He was dreaming that he would and could one day be reunited with his sister on this side, I believe. When he dies, he may be reunited with his sister. However, some of the ego’s desires are not meant to be fully realized in life.

One narcissist who worked in my company was irate when I asked him to be vulnerable and open rather than continue to defend. He told me it was a crime for an employer to ask an employee to be vulnerable. This is because narcissists are terrified of true vulnerability.

Narcissists become masters of deception. They weave together lies and spin half truths to make you love and adore them. They play poker with human emotions and go through many of the motions of a loving connection. For example, in Northern California many narcissists love giving really deep hugs to show you how much they care. This is the culture of the open Californian. All of the motions of giving a hug in a culture valuing that seem right, but it doesn’t feel good. The narcissist feels nothing for the other person. They are walled off from themselves and incapable of real feelings until they confront their core wound and get honest with the truth of their self-deception.

DARVO: the Narcissist’s Weapon of Choice

I had never heard of DARVO before I began my study of narcissism. However, I have experienced many people using this weapon repeatedly and it always feels confusing. 

The first step the narcissist takes is to deny the truth of another. D stands for Deny. The narcissist pushes away from their reality anything that doesn’t fit or maintain their falsely positive self image. You might share with them a way in which you felt hurt by them, and they immediately deny any responsibility for what you are feeling or what happened. Next they attack you. That’s what the A stands for. They attack you for feeling the way you feel and suddenly put you on the defensive when you were simply sharing your feelings. The clincher is what follows: Reverse Victim Offender relations. R stands for reverse, V stands for victim, and O stands for offender. DARVO is an amazing and awful strategy the narcissists use to manipulate reality. 

In this reversal of victim and offender roles, the narcissist claims that you are blaming them. All of the sudden, they are victims of your emotional imbalance. If you’re used to relating with honest people, this doesn’t ever happen. When dealing with a narcissist, it’s easy to start to be confused and question yourself. You might ask yourself, “Was I in the wrong or misperceiving the situation?” Or, you might say to yourself, “They seem so certain of themselves and this was just a subtle feeling in me. Maybe they are right and I am wrong.”

The narcissistic abuse pattern is a kind of soul rape or emotional rape in which they defend their false self at all costs and try to hurt anyone they perceive as a threat to them. They rape every feeling that doesn’t conform to their self image. This rape can be subtle or overt.

Narcissists are proficient at turning your own gifts and strengths against you and using your kind of language and the things you say to find fault with you. They use DARVO in so many different kinds of ways it’s staggering. Sarcasm and jokes can be a disguise for it. Subtle belittling or put downs can be common. Even trying to support, while saying you are not as good as I am at this in a way that feels condescending. Narcissists deal in power. They absolutely require power and control at all costs, so they don’t get hurt again. 

Psychological Warfare

Anyone who has experienced the deleterious effects of DARVO knows firsthand how much a person can feel fucked with by this kind of psychological mainipulation and warfare. The narcissist is so desperately afraid of their ego being attacked that they are engaged in constant warfare against the outside world. Their warfare is almost always justified by a story of how many people have betrayed them and misunderstood their good intentions. This story hooks many of us because we all have stories of sincere betrayal and we can empathize with this.

Empaths: the Victims of Narcissists

People who have a tendency toward empathy often feel insecure about themselves. Empaths feel sensations from their immediate environment all the time, and have trouble telling what is theirs apart from their surroundings. With all these feelings and inputs to sort through, it can be difficult to know what is what. The narcissist, on the other hand, knows exactly what is happening. They generally have extreme confidence which is actually arrogance. The self-assuredness of the narcissist is very comforting to the empath who is unsure of most everything. Empaths are drawn to narcissist’s confidence, as we are seeking more confidence in ourselves. 

Instead of closing off to the wound, the empaths open their heart to the wound. This creates psychic abilities and gifts. And, in the places where the empath has not fully loved their core wound, they have developed ways to protect themselves from any other kind of wounding.

Narcissists Rape Vulnerability

The narcissist is terrified of true vulnerability. They avoid it at all costs. Often they have found a way to create a false sense of vulnerability in order to fit into society and build friendships. This false vulnerability will always feel a little hollow to anyone who is sensitive. Not only are they terrified of it, they actively rape vulnerability and exploit it in others. When I say “they rape it,” I mean this metaphorically, although there are many literal narcisstic rapists. Rape is an act of narcissism. Rape is an act of taking power over another body. Similarly, the narcissist takes power over another’s heart, soul, and mind. The narcissist worms their way into a position of trust in your life and exploits that trust for their own advantage.  

Since you can’t prove this on a physical level, they use this pain to create disassociation. They isolate their victims with this disassociation. Because the pain is often invisible, the victims of this pain start doubting themselves. The narcissist is experiencing dissociation already, as they need to stay out of their body to avoid their core wound. When they interact with others, they spread this dissociation and confusion to all their interactions.

The Narcissist Delusion

The narcissist takes advantage of this ability to draw others to them and uses the energy of empaths and others to empower their delusions. The more people believe in the narcissist’s sham, the more inflated the narcissist can be. Donald Trump is a great example of this. He took his sham of a personality all the way to becoming the president. Why did people vote for him? Are they stupidly looking for a savior, or are most of us just narcissists in hiding? I’m not certain of the answer to these important questions.

American Exceptionalism is Narcissistic

Growing up in the United States of America there’s so much narcissism. Just look at our name: we call it America, yet Canada, Mexico, and all of Central and South America are part of the Americas. So why do we take the name America, as if we are the sole America? We think we’re the best and that we’re better than everyone else. This isn’t just myopia: we are one of the most narcissistic countries on this planet. And, we are propagating our narcissism all over the world. I’ve always hated the narcissism at the root of this country.

Our World Breeds and Reinforces Narcissism

In our world, the ones who bravely declare themselves and their offerings succeed. Narcissists will do anything they can to get ahead in the world. They will often bury their fears and insecurities. The business world, built on the need to get ahead, is replete with narcissists. In fact, I had an employee who trained in ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) and I showed him the ropes. He became a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) under my supervision. After four years, this person started a rival company and poached my employees and stole clients. When I voiced my ethical concerns, many people met this with the saying, “That’s just business.” No, it’s not just business, it’s evil cruelty, and an open hearted person would never engage with that. 

The Path To Redemption

I believe any narcissist is capable of redemption, if they are willing to feel and be vulnerable. The narcissist must seek the real truth over their false idea of who they think they are in their minds. This is a tall order, as everything they have done in their life is to avoid their essential wounding. If a narcissist has a real desire to break free from the spell, they must find someone they trust who will hold their feet to the fire. The path to redemption is not an easy road.  

Narcissist Whispering

I’ve worked with empaths recovering from narcissistic abuse, as well as with narcissists. I love both of these forms of work and I consider it a sacred calling. The first step in working with a narcissist is to build a bond with them in which they trust you enough for you to be real with them and for them to not run away from the truth. After this happens, we get to the essential strategy, which I call “narcissist whispering,” which is to love them gently sometimes, and other times directly and clearly debunk anything false or grandiose that they say. 

Sacred anger is the guiding principle here. This is the anger an open heart feels in response to lies. Essentially, with their consent, I model for them how a healthy person relates to lies. Sacred rage and anger is in the service of the narcissist’s true potential. I derive no pleasure in having power over anyone. When they are in their true and vulnerable nature, I reinforce this with praise and gentle encouragement. This is the softer side of the whispering. The whispering is technically moving between gentle loving kindness and firm tough loving fierceness, as they call for it from their actions and behaviors.

We embody love for the narcissist’s true self. We don’t allow them to be false and we love them when they are true. Loving Our Way Out of Narcissism shows a path to this as well.

Developing Nardar to Stop the Spread

I’ve coined a term I call “nardar,” which is radar for narcissists. As you become more aware of narcissistic patterns, you will notice that narcissism is everywhere. I’ve had many narcissist lovers, employees, friends, and mentors. They are in every field or industry and they thrive in this society. The better you understand the spectrum of narcissism the easier it is to spot and help be a part of the cure for it. 

Narcissists are not bad people at heart. In the heart, all people are united in love. If narcissists can return to their heart, they will find that their true goodness and potential has always been waiting for them. They have lost touch with their hearts and become unconsciously walled off in their wounding. Let’s stand together for the open heart. Let’s stand together for empathy and truth. Let’s take a stand against narcissism and support everyone in the recovery from narcissism and narcissistic abuse. 

If you need help getting free of narcissistic patterns in yourself or narcissistic abuse from another, please reach out to Adam Bulbulia for coaching to support you

We want to hear from you. If these words and ideas truly resonant with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution! Share your thoughts about this article and like us on Facebook. You may also continue your exploration of heart-centered principles with new articles on our blog, or through our collection of books covering an assortment of topics. 

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you!

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Curing Narcissism with a Spectrum of Understanding

If we cured narcissism, I believe we would have a world that works for everyone. All the problems in our society from rape to murder, war, torture, greed, and economic oppression, bigotry, and all forms of discrimination stem from narcississm. I know this is a bold claim. Take a close look at society and you will find the disturbing truth that our modern world is overrun by narcissism. The key to breaking the spell of narcissism is understanding how it works and helping to bring love to all the feelings involved in this traumatic territory. When all the feelings are loved, the boundaries of the heart will be the guiding light to liberate us from this hellhole. 

Understanding narcissism is one of the keys to unlocking the potential in humanity: narcissism has infiltrated our economics, politics, and many human relationships. You can find it equally from the boardroom to the bedroom. These tendencies toward self-centeredness and entitlement are on zoom calls and in personal interactions. When we awaken to this phenomenon, we realize that it has permeated nearly every aspect of modern society. 

Understandings on a Spectrum

Many things exist on a spectrum or graduated continuum. Autism is one of the largest phenomena which illustrates the importance of understanding how certain phenomena exist on a graduated spectrum. With Autism, one side of the spectrum has people who communicate in such radically different ways that they are often unable to live independent lives due to profound disabilities. On the other side of the spectrum, we have fully functioning and creative individuals who can live independently and flourish. All autistic individuals need to be treated with respect no matter where they fall on the spectrum, just as with all people of whatever gender, race, persuasion, or distinction. 

Autism and narcissism are completely different phenomena. The reason I mention Autism is to help illustrate the need for a spectrum approach to diagnosis and treatment.

The Spectrum of Narcissism

On one end of the narcissism spectrum, we have those who are severe enough to have a diagnosis from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Their life is haunted by this force and they alienate everyone who gets close to them. Often they don’t realize this, as the narcissist is convinced that the problem lies in other people and not themselves. In the middle of the narcissist spectrum, we have people who are extremely egoic and always take things personally, but are better able to maintain relationships. At the other end, we have people who are very empathic, yet they are prone to underestimate themselves and rarely, if ever, inflate their egos. Even on this side of the spectrum, there’s a narcissistic quality in the ego deflation. The voice of “What’s wrong with me that I’m not good enough” has a kind of self obsessed focus that is narcissistic.  Ego deflation creates self absorption too. We often don’t see this kind of narcissism. 

We Are All on the Narcissism Spectrum

When I began my exploration of narcissism, I was coming out of a cult with a leader who was, upon reflection, clearly a narcissist. I began with a very “us versus them” mentality, believing we were in a battle for the human soul against the evil forces of narcissism. I recently realized that the polarized way of looking at this was in itself a narcissistic perspective. The idea of us vs them was polarizing me or dividing me against my fellow human beings. I was taking a narcissistic approach to narcissism by condemning it. In other words, in condemning it I became it.  

I’m now of the persuasion that we all are on the spectrum of narcissism. Just by virtue of having an ego, we all have self-absorbed tendencies and behaviors. We take positions and get completely identified in what we believe sometimes. If we want true wholeness, we can not condemn or judge these tendencies. We must learn to live with some ego identified tendencies and love them as part of us, just as we must learn to live with and love narcissists. I don’t mean that we have to put up with behaviors and treatment that feels wrong to us. However, we must learn to understand, allow, tolerate, and actually accept each other. Setting clear boundaries from the heart is the only appropriate action to take when you encounter any kind of narcissism.

The Mind is Narcissistic & the Heart is Empathic

The mind is inherently narcissistic. Left to its own devices, the mind tends to orbit around fears and self-absorption. When the mind is in service to the heart, body, or whole being, then it is in its right place. When the mind is serving itself, it fully displays its narcissistic tendencies. The heart naturally takes care of the whole body by pumping blood and carrying oxygen to every part. The heart first fills itself with oxygen to oxygenate the blood. It then circulates the oxygenated blood throughout the body. This act of service places the heart in empathy toward every other part of the body. It’s my understanding that the heart feels every part of the body in order to nourish each part and carry the right amount of blood. When we center in our hearts, we are empathic. When we center in our minds, we are narcissistic. 

Malignant Narcissism

Malignant narcissists are pathological liars and manipulators. They often believe their lies as truth. These lies have devastating consequences on loved ones and those who are close to them. Narcissists are often incapable of true empathy and only treat others as objects in their environment to be used and discarded in order to fill their needs. Malignant narcissists often display sociopathy, characterized by lack of empathy and impulsive behavior. They account for some of the most gruesome human behaviors such as genocide, rape, and murder. All rape and most murder (that’s not in self-defense or war) is narcissistic. Most human cruelty is a result of malignant narcissism. 

All narcissism has an element of evil since it is covering up the truth and integrity of the being. To me, evil is not necessarily bad, it’s just a state of inauthenticity or lack of integrity. When a narcissist engages in truly evil action, they attempt to use lies and power to gain an advantage over another. They will attempt to manipulate and corrupt the soul of the person out of the selfishness or self-interest. 

Covert Versus Overt Narcissism

Overt Narcissism is much easier to spot. The person props themself above others continually and lives in a fairytale world about how great they are. The covert narcissist (or vulnerable narcissist) has learned to blend in with society and hide their narcissism. They’ve created a finely crafted false self to blend in. They do not appear to be grandiose, in fact they often appear deflated. The covert narcissists talk about their problems readily and can seem very open about their personal challenges. 

Covert narcissists get stuck on certain issues. With covert narcissists they will constantly reference themselves and every issue filters back to them. There’s a slight feeling of coldness from covert narcissists. When you are in a love relationship with them, and they are getting what they need from you, they will not appear cold in any way. It’s not until their needs go unmet that their true colors will emerge. 

When their needs are not met, they will immediately blame and lash out at you as the source of the problems. Their issues will seem logical and clear and draw on issues you actually have. And yet, the source of the issues will always relate back to them objectifying you in some way.  And when they are done with you they will simply move on and drop you very easily and quickly.

Covert narcissists are often more functional than other overt narcissists. Covert or vulnerable narcissists do not appear inflated often. They can have empathy, and seem more normal than even the other narcissists. My experience with a covert narcissist was hidden so well from me that it wasn’t until after a year of not being with this person anymore that I fully realized the extent of the trauma I had experienced. These covert narcissists in many ways are the most dangerous to everyday people because they are even harder to spot. All narcissists hide behind illusions and lies. But covert narcissists do it even better. They are the true masters of deception.

The Violence of Narcissism

Narcissists penetrate the other with their reality in the service of their ego. They function very much like a penis attempting to rape a vagina or asshole. If that metaphor is too crude for you, we could also say it’s as if they are psychically molesting you with their energy. They only feel safe if their sense of reality, which is a lie, is dominating the environment. They can hold their ego in and pretend to go along with situations. 

Everyday Egotism

Egotism of all sorts plague our world. Loving the Ego is the way out of this. There’s no problem with having an ego. It’s necessary for humanity. It protects us and serves us. The ego is like the psychological skin. The skin defines the barrier between your body and other bodies. It defines the barrier between self and other. But the ego must know its place. The ego is not meant to be the arbiter of truth. The ego, left to its own devices, will become infested by the mind and run on fear. This everyday egotism leads to narcissistic tendencies.

At the core of narcissism is self hatred. Underneath this core is unfelt fear. If the narcissist is willing to face their fear, everything changes. 

Spotting Narcissists

Spotting Narcism is not easy. Narcissists of all kinds are in constant hiding. Here’s the DSM’s list of criteria and then I’ll give you mine. Together, I believe they round out the picture. I find the DSM’s definition lacking accuracy in some of its features. At the same time, it is helpful and informative to understand how it is currently defined in the professional mental health community. 

DSM V (Diagnostic Statistical Manual):

Characteristics of Narcissism (for a simplified version of the DSM language, here’s a good article.)

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following: 

  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements). 
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. 
  3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions). 
  4. Requires excessive admiration. 
  5. Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations). 
  6. Is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends). 
  7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. 
  8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her. 
  9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or a grandiose logic of self-importance.
  10. A fixation with fantasies of infinite success, control, brilliance, beauty, or idyllic love.

20 Signs of Narcissism I’ve Experienced

  1. Constantly Lying. There’s always a level of a lie happening either to themselves or others.
  2. Always Self Referencing. They tend to link every topic back to self and what the self needs. They are not good at the win-win or sensing others’ needs. They can be extremely good at reading other people’s needs to appear to be good or right, but it’s got an insincerity embedded in the center of it.
  3. Weave a Web of Stories Around Them. They weave a web of stories that support their position and how they want to be received. 
  4. Create Divides Between People. (usually unconsciously) and sees the divide as stemming from the other.
  5. Blaming Others. They will tend to blame others either overtly or subtly. They will have very good reasons for why they blame others.
  6. Holding Grudges. These may be obvious or subtle. Even when they admit their wrongdoing, they don’t completely let the issue go. Apologies will be insincere like there’s still something unresolved.
  7. Always Assuming. Everybody makes assumptions sometimes. The narcissist assumes everyone else is assuming what they’re assuming in a way that’s not coming from the other people. For example, someone who is insecure is reading their insecurities into the interaction and projecting them onto the other person, thus assuming what they are doing.
  8. Behaviors Coming from Fear, Anxiety, and Protection. They filter input from the world through the lens of anxiety, fear, and protection. Their behaviors take a defensive stance against life as they are constantly defending and protecting themselves.
  9. Excessively Mental. Constantly referencing thoughts in the mind and not slowing down or taking the time to feel more thoroughly into the body. 
  10. Constantly Experiencing Underlying Stress. It takes an enormous amount of force and energy to resist being true to your being. But the narcissist has become so unconscious to this force that their body always bears the strain somewhere. We all have this tendency of somatizing our imbalance. It’s often more extreme in narcissism.
  11. Self-loathing. “Holding onto self-loathing with both hands” as Aaron Rivera says. Holding grudges and longstanding resentments. Sometimes this is overt. But sometimes it’s hidden behind false confidence (aka arrogance).
  12. Crazy Drama Making. “Say one thing, do another, then argue that’s not what you did.” (lyrics from “Straight Jacket,” a song by Alanis Morissett). The narcissist will spin drama around them, especially if anything gets close to exposing their pattern.
  13. Can’t Take Feedback. They will rebut, deny, or pretend to listen while never actually taking in feedback. They may show they are trying to learn, but they rarely if ever move off of their position or sincerely take in input from the outside.
  14. Uses DARVO. Deny Attack Reverse Victim Offender Relations. DARVO is the preferred weapon of most narcissists.  
  15. Alienation and Isolation. Often they feel alone and don’t have an easy time forming friends. Even when they have friends, they don’t often feel close to them. And they don’t enjoy time alone.
  16. Excessive Body Discomfort. Uncomfortable in one’s skin. Carrying undue stress constantly that they are trying to avoid. 
  17. Voice is Grating, Hollow, or Guarded. Their tone of voice is grating, hollow or guarded. It’s not pleasing energetically to a sensitive ear. The tone of voice is slightly thin and hollow (energetically) – even if they have theater training or other professional speaking, there’s something that just sounds and feels off to it. A non-narcissistic voice is open and honest. A narcissistic voice always has something veiled or hidden. 
  18. Power-Over Relating. They tend to relate unconsciously from a power-over dynamic rather than power-with. They will intimidate, bully, and use leverage to get whatever they want. They will often use cold logic to get their way. Much of the legal system is set up to serve narcissists communication style – point and counterpoint, with no empathy.
  19. Boundary Crossings. Narcissists will often cross both directly stated boundaries, as well as implied boundaries. They are so focused on what they want, they don’t really perceive the other’s wants and needs.
  20. Attempting to Gain Believers. They gain believers who will enable them to be the way they are. The more people believe in their lies, the easier it is for them to feel justified in the life they are living. Each narcissist is like a mini cult. They surround themselves with people who empower their lies. The symptoms of this disconnection run very deep. Another way of saying this is that our society is plagued by disconnection and it sorely needs and craves connection. When each and every person has enough connection, empathy, and love, our society will become what it is meant to be.

Survival Strategies

There are four ways we abandon our experience: fight, flee, freeze and fawn. We fight when our experience is intolerable to us. This is the narcissistic tendency. We flee into activity or something that will distract us from our experience. We freeze into a dissociative state with substance or sleep or checking out. We fawn and go along with something that doesn’t feel good, as an attempt to fit in. This is the codependent strategy. We abandon our own pain and we turn to care for someone else. In both codependency and narcissism, we use the other. Fawning is not violent or evil. Fighting without provocation (when it’s uncalled for by the energetics of the situation) is violent and evil and leads us into narcissism. 

The Antidote for Narcissism

The antidote for narcissism is simply to center yourself in your heart. When you center your energetic awareness in your heart, you no longer come from narcissistic tendencies. The heart wants what is best for all our relations. It is not biased and it does not discriminate against feelings or people. It simply loves. When you center in your heart, you will also feel and be more aware of attempts to manipulate and use power over you. The more we all can center in our hearts, and unconditionally love ourselves and each other, the better we can make a world that truly works for everyone.

A Hope For Healing

When love is restored to any trauma wound, the wound resolves. Innocence has been lost in these wounds. When love touches the wound and the healing happens, we reclaim our lost innocence. Goodness, joy, and power returns with the return of our true self. There’s a deeper sense of knowing, purpose, and being after we’ve healed these wounds. The gap has now been closed, the separation and division has ended. We return to a deeper state of wholeness and oneness with ourself and all that is. 

Anyone who is impacted by these kinds of wounds, come gather around Heart-Centered Revolutions.  We have the tools and perspectives to make a world that truly works for everyone.

If you need help getting free of narcissistic abuse, please reach out to Adam Bulbulia for coaching to support you

We want to hear from you.If these words and ideas truly resonant with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution! Share your thoughts about this article and like us on Facebook. You may also continue your exploration of heart-centered principles with new articles on our blog, or through our collection of books covering an assortment of topics. 

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you!

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