Where Does Narcissism Come from? Part III

Two recent small studies have indicated that narcissists suffer from a lack of grey matter in the cerebral cortex; as one of them (Altered Brain Structure in Pathological Narcissism) says, there are “structural abnormalities in precisely that region of the brain which is involved in the processing and generation of compassion” (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/1306/19101434.htm). The other study, which I found at psychcentral.com>News>Research News indicates a very similar result. In a nutshell, these studies, through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, indicated that the brains of the narcissists studied are underdeveloped in the areas that control empathy, compassion and selflessness.

So, finally, there is scientific evidence that narcissists have a definitive problem with their brains. This is something that I have instinctively believed right from the beginning of my investigation into the causes and effects of narcissism.

It felt to me, and still feels, that to espouse the notion that narcissism is caused by poor parenting from the mother is totally simplistic and completely lacking in a recognition of the complexity of the human brain; it’s reductionist, to say the least. To say the worst, it just seems to be another attempt to arbitrarily throw responsibility for a societal problem onto the shoulders of women, again.

Yes, there are mothers who are responsible for having perpetrated the narcissistic wound in their children. But there are also fathers, other caretakers, and perhaps anyone else who came into contact with the child who later develops Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

However, I’m getting off-track a little here.

I see these two studies as having a couple of serious problems.

Firstly, there’s no way that the MRI can determine if the damage inflicted was the result of childhood experiential trauma to the tender developing brain or if the child was born with it.  The damage could also be a combination of both brain chemistry and  experience.

Secondly, the studies are both very small. Less than 50 partcipants. What can those small numbers tell us about anything? Well, as for most things in life, researchers have to start somewhere, and so it was that they started with two small groups. There other thing the small numbers tell me is that the researchers had trouble finding narcissists who would participate. In fact, in one of the studies, the participants were incarcerated.

Narcissists, by their very nature, can’t abide any kind of recognition that they might be less than perfect. To participate in a study where you might be confirmed as having a brain development issue – well, that’s just not on their radar.

To me, it’s perfectly understandable why the researchers turned to a, er, captive audience, so to speak. It must be frustrating to try to study a group that refuses to be studied, that in fact refuses to believe there’s anything wrong.

What would happen if, for instance, diabetics refused to be studied? If they refused to acknowledge that their pancreases aren’t functioning properly? I can easily see researchers turning to a prison population to try to get information.

However, I can also see something else, too: the probable, eventual dismissal of any attention to the issue from the society at large. This would be completely normal, really. What to do with a population that refuses to even recognize that there’s a life – threatening health problem?

Conversation on the matter would likely go something like this: Well, we’ve tried everything. If they won’t recognize the problem then there’s nothing we can do. We just have to let them go. It’s too bad when they go into shock, but that’s their own fault, isn’t it? Just wheel them out of the road when that happens. That’s all we can do.

Eventually, the only people who might care about those with diabetes would be those who have some sort of personal connection. Most others would likely just melt away. Research would become a niche area reserved for eccentrics. Really, there would be little reason for most people to remain involved.

Of course, this is not how we feel about diabetics. Behaving that way would be cruel and bordering on psychopathic, even if it were true that diabetics are unable to recognize their own illness.

Why is narcissism an exception, then?  It’s starting to take on the same proportions; it’s beginning to become a very serious, international mental health issue. We are suffering from it personally, economically, and politically. It is widespread and is spreading further. All any of us has to do is Google “narcissism” and look at the results. An awful lot of people have been victims of it: it infects our work lives, our home lives, and every level of government and finance. There are also serious concerns about what’s happening to our children and young adults in this atmosphere of helicopter parents and societal fear of failure.

But it’s not perceived as a problem. Or if it is, it’s someone else’s, or it’s the narcissist’s own. Just wheel them out of the road. Or more correctly, wheel the carnage they cause out of the road.

Yes, these scientists seem to be very alone and out in the weeds with their research, but in my opinion they should be supported and encouraged in every way possible. We need the information. Our world needs this information.

What is your opinion? Should narcissism research receive more support? Should we  begin treating narcissism as a serious mental health issue that society needs to work on?

31 thoughts on “Where Does Narcissism Come from? Part III”

  1. Personally I’d much rather see expertise and funding go not into studying the brains of these unfortunate humans but in getting the word out to people, young and old, of the existence and real danger of these stealth predators!!! Until shortly prior to escaping from my narcissist user/abuser, I was completely unaware of “pathological” narcissism, knowing of narcissism simply in the mainstream “oh he’s so self centered” type of way. Had I known earlier of this disorder, I likely would have recognized an actual pathology and gotten away, instead of trying to figure out what seemed definitely aberrant and totally head scratching, but not “crazy.” It was absolutely key to my escape that I recognized pathology of a personality disorder.

    The research into the brain structure is intellectually interesting and would be of some comfort for parents of pathological narcissists but unless brain surgery is on table as a “cure,” i think more people could be protected from harm if we can get the word out that the narcissism spoken of our society has a extremely significant continuum and that those on the top are dangerous and their abuse incremental and insidious. Too many people just don’t know. They are better protected by knowing that the charmer may actually be an abuser waiting to strike and know what to look for. Get in into the curriculum of other life skills. Not kidding. We’re afraid of the boogeyman in the dark alley as we should be, but charmed by the handsome man in a good suit. And this is especially true for the good perhaps naive and trusting souls that are like live bait to these sharks.


    1. I hear what you’re saying. I was married to a narcissist, and like you, I mean full-blown NPD. He was a complete predator and con man who, as it turned out, had almost made a career of manipulating and using others. He is completely beyond help, of course, because there’s no way that he would, or ever even could, recognize himself for what he is. It is also very likely that I am the child of a narcissist (my mother passed away many years ago and so I am reconstructing with the help of a much older sibling), which is part of the reason why I married one, so yes, I really do hear you.

      I agree that there needs to be education about them and I like your idea of adding it to the life skills curriculum in schools. You’re very right that young people are not taught to look out for the charming guy (or gal) in the great outfit. However, expanding research into the brain chemistry of narcissists would be invaluable, I think. If there were the possibility of some sort of early intervention, society would benefit enormously – so much suffering could be reduced.

      Thank you so much for coming by and for your thoughtful, honest comments. 🙂 The more dialogue and information we have about this, the better.

      1. Yes. Absolutely true if there was some way of using findings to help. I am far from a scientist so I don’t know what might be possible! !!!

        Interesting thought. … my ex was diagnosed with ADHD and after deeply researching narcissism and it’s often attendant sociopathy or sociopathic – like leanings at the least, I came to the conclusion that what had been assessed as ADHD behavioral traits was most likely not that, but rather engendered by whatever brain malfunction was responsible for his narcissism/sociopathy. I came to believe that the stimulant medication he was given for the supposed ADHD actually made his “bad” behavior worse and that he very well may have behaved more humanely if not jacked up on speed.

        I wish I could reference the sources I consulted that led me to this conclusion but had he been diagnosed with narcissism instead if ADHD, and yes, If his ACTUAL brain chemistry was recognized and ailment understood, he may have not received what I consider, as an amateur, the absolutely wrong medication, and ideally a helpful medication or other intervention.

    2. Neither of the links you mentioned above worked, they came back Page Not Found. Can you address this problem as I would like to read the studies your partially cited here regarding Narcissism. Thank you.

      1. My apologies. The direct links seem to have collapsed. If you go to https://www.sciencedaily.com and search for “Altered Brain Structure in Pathological Narcissism” you will find it. A search of https://www.psychcentral.com will provide the other article. Alternatively, you can just google “Altered Brain Structure in Pathological Narcissism” and the search will turn up a number of articles in which you might be interested.
        Hope that helps.

  2. Im grategul they are doing these studies. Anything to help bring awareness to this and to help the victims to he reassured that it is nothing they’ve done and not their fault unlike what the Narcissists would like them to believe is so important. I also think this helps with realizing that there truly is nothing we can do and that they truly cannot change which can be hard to accept.

    1. Thanks for coming by and commenting and also for the follow. 🙂

      I hope researchers can continue with this – find the money, etc. But the real problem is finding the subjects. Narcissists are obsessed with covering their tracks and trying to emulate what they perceive as “normal behaviour.” It’s so rare to find a narcissist who knows he or she is a narcissist and who then would be willing to undergo testing – although in a weird way, this could appeal to their need for supply. It’s no wonder one study turned to a prison population!

  3. In my humble opinion, the idea of giving medication to narcissists is a complete minefield – I don’t think that researchers know enough yet to be pulling out the prescription pads.

    As I said earlier, it’s very likely that my mother was a narcissist. However, I also think that I have a sibling with NPD, as well (- that’s why I married one, very familiar ground!). There are additionally some theories that NPD may run in families in a biological way, as opposed to being the result of nuture. She demonstrated serious mental health issues at a young age and was eventually dignosed with bipolar disorder and placed on a number of different medications to “regulate” her behaviour. Basically, all the doctor did was just turn her into an automaton who could be easily managed. She later took herself off all the medications except, for a time, Prozac. The Prozac, curiously enough – because anti-depressants are supposed to be useless for narcissists – seemed to help a lot with certain symptoms. In particular, there was no more raging. However, she stopped taking it, too, and soon went back to her old narcissistic self. The issue was that, in typical narcissistic fashion, she refused to believe that there was anything wrong with her. The rest of us, of course, were the nutty ones who were trying to make her life hell. As a result, my other siblings and I have had to go NC with her.

    So your point is well taken. The danger of mis-diagnosis together with a reliance on the idea of a “magic bullett” in the form of a pill or pills is completely fraught with danger. My sister might not be just narcissistic – there might be other PDs going on, and maybe that’s why the Prozac worked. Or, maybe it worked because narcissists are prone to depression. Or, maybe it was just her particular brain chemistry. If you feel that your ex was mis-diagnosed and then given a medication that exacerbated the situation, you’re probably right. I also believe that family members often are, when it comes to narcissism, the only people who know what’s really going on.

    The fact is that we just don’t know enough about what is going on in the brains of NPD people. They fit an identifiable pattern and we can predict their behaviour (and the fallout from that behaviour) with a great degree of accuracy. But that’s all we know. The rest of it is a sort of educated guessing, from what I can tell, anyway. Sometimes the guesses are right, sometimes not.

    Thanks again for coming by Comments like yours make me really think through my ideas on narcissism. 🙂

    1. Hi again. Re your comment “giving medication to narcissists is a complete minefield – I don’t think that researchers know enough yet to be pulling out the prescription pads.” Totally totally agree. What I find (and actually found, ie experienced) disturbing is not so much the lack of meds for these folks, yet or ever, but the lack of widespread awareness and deep understanding among the public and especially health practitioners, leading to missed diagnoses, and the very, very wrong medication .. making it worse (isn’t it bad enough!)…in my case the “speed” (Adderall and vyvanse) (sp) that he was taking effectively removed any “brakes” that he might have engaged IF sober (not on speed) to curb some of his more outrageous behavior.

      In reality it’s not possible or ethical for a doctor to diagnose an unseen person.. but let’s just pose a hypothetical…..

      If a person that was UNaware of NPD and perhaps even unable YET to articulate the various ways it was manifesting in a family member, but knew something was wrong.. if that person were to describe some of the behaviors of an NPDer to a doctor, the doctor would probably suggest any form of depression, anger-management issues, or perhaps bipolar or ADHD or some combination. NPD isn’t even on the menu. It’s not on the menu, so not only is it not considered, but the doctors also aren’t using it in the back of their minds to ask the right questions to tease out greater understanding from this person who is UNaware of NPD in her/her midst. He/she leaves the office without learning what she/he is dealing with. Same is largely true for sociopathy, (and i hope folks don’t mind here that i’m linking them a bit as I’ve perceived shared characteristics). Sociopathy is likely not considered because it’s still seen as marginal, found in the realm of “serial killers,” when my amateur understanding is that it manifests in a continuum of severity, and that is extremely significant. OR maybe the answer here is to RENAME Narcissism, choosing a name to incorporate more of the exploitive, remorseless, conscienceless etc qualities understood more broadly to be found in sociopathy. After all, the average person understands narcissists to be selfish, self involved “jerks,” but the toxic abusers they often are. Furthermore, a degree of narcissism is healthy; this is not true for sociopathy. Now I’m thinking the name of Narcissism is part of it’s PR problem, because it has way too many shades of.. grey? They just renamed chronic fatigue syndrome to systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID). And the renaming itself garnered press in major publications (and more awareness!) Win-win.

      And .. on the OTHER hand… there is the growing pathologizing of human experience in our culture (cultures?), as well as currently some pullback from that… so there is also sometimes a tendency to compensate in the other direction, by not putting a label on something, by not calling something a pathology.

      It can boggle.
      But I do wish it was on the Menu. This one, NPD, it needs to be on the Menu. With perhaps a different name. Shall we start brainstorming on that one? Does anyone think that a rename will help the cause of research, awareness and less harm done?

      1. I’m late in responding because I have been down with a bad case of flu and am only just getting rid of that fuzzy-headed feeling.

        I agree that a name change would probably go a long way to making society re-focus. Often, narcissists, as you say, are seen as just annoying jerks who can easily be brushed off. They are anything but, of course. A name change that reflects the seriousness of the situation would be completely appropriate. If the damage they cause was due to a contagious disease, the public wouldn’t be left in the dark like this. It reminds me of the so-called “tombstone safety” wherein a serious loss of life must occur before safety is improved. What kind of narcissistically-inspired event will happen before we start to do some serious study?

        I also see a continuum with degrees of impairment. My ex-narcissist is clearly an NPD person, but he also has some of the characteristics of sociopathy, as well.

        And doctors. I agree that narcissism doesn’t come up – if there’s stigma associated with mental illness, then personality disorders have been isolated on an ice floe and set adrift. I think that they would much rather give a diagnosis of bipolar than of a personality disorder, since there’s nothing that can really be done about them.

        I’m enjoying our discussion – thanks. 🙂

        1. I’m enjoying your comments too…and don’t have much to add at this time, as I’m just now doing some research into the area. As Counselors we have limited training of PD’s, but agree with the idea of a continuum for mental illness in general. I worked for four years in a County run mental health facility where I heard the term BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) daily to describe/negate clients and the issues that were at least real for them.
          You are right, Dr.’s pay them little attention…why…because they can’t be “treated” in the conventional sense with medication, whereas Bipolar, ADD, Depression, Anxiety, etc. can.
          In some cases where rage, Depression and other issues are involved medication may be helpful, but that is only a small part of the picture.
          Coming for a Holistic background myself I use and teach mindfulness/meditation to my clients and believe a more comprehensive treatment program is the way to go, but not everyone is open to this/willing to do this/able to afford it, etc.
          This may include; Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Massage…

          Thank you for sharing your insights and stories.

  4. I’m thinking that it needs to be treated more as a serious problem. It would be one thing if narcissists just only hurt themselves, but they have a great tendency to harm others, and who really knows how many are out there, or even those with tendencies. I think it is a serious problem like depression, which has recently become so big for treatment. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It needs it own PR campaign like depression has gotten!!!!…not sure if that PR started with pharmaceutical industry and was then picked up by media or how exactly depression became part of mostly everyone’s consciousness. Wouldn’t it be great if someone created a riveting bestseller and or juicy Hollywood film or Serialized blockbuster television drama to get the NPD discussion out there to the general public in a way that really really pulls on people’s emotions. Given what I know about “personality disorders,” I’m not hopeful that pharma will have any even quasi hopeful treatment, anytime soon. This one might need awareness first and foremost. How about a bestselling memoir by a celebrity. Or how about Stephen King incorporating extremely narcissistic character into one of his blockbuster books or even for goodness sakes James Patterson. I wish I wasn’t typing on my phone I could be so much more articulate. cheers to all

      1. Yes, very true. I think it will take a book or movie to raise awareness on the issue, because nobody will really give it the platform until it becomes a big deal with the media and public.

      2. Great idea about the movie! I have noticed that my “not very bright” narcissist came upon the word as he heard a co worker describe their boss! The general public needs to hear it more!

    2. Thanks, Benjamin. 🙂

      Yes, it is a big problem, and we have no idea how far it reaches. Many NPD people are diagnosed with depression – depression is a by-product of their condition – and are treated for it, but the underlying problem is usually not even recognized. It’s also fairly well documented that the medications we have now don’t often help, even if the NPD is spotted in the first place.

      1. That’s a good point. As much as depression isn’t good for anyone, perhaps it shows that narcissists do realize to some extent that what they are doing is wrong, and the depression is part of that realization. Though I might be completely off. You’re welcome. It’s a conversation that needs to continue.

      2. Why do you think depression is a byproduct of the npd condition? Aside from the complex matter of brain chemistry, might it be primarily due to the emptiness they can feel, particularly when supply is insufficient?

  5. Dear Lynette,

    Firstly, thanks for adding my blog to your personal BLOGS I FOLLOW list. I just saw that today.

    Secondly, I read your interesting “Top Ten Signs That You’re Living with a Narcissist” from December 2012 and wondered when you mentioned Johnny Carson if you were making reference to him being a narcissist. Because it sounds like he was….big time!

    Last week I watched a fascinating PBS documentary on his life and career, his failed marriages, his estrangement from his 3 sons, his battle with alcoholism and spousal abuse, HIS COLD MOTHER, and his famous “aloofness”. For anyone who grew up, like I did, watching The King of Late Night, here’s the link below.

    What blew me away the most is the fact that because he had alienated so many people throughout his life, that he died alone. How sad is that?

    There’s also a new book that came out in 2013, written by his longtime lawyer and friend Henry Bushkin, simply titled, Johnny Carson.

    Take care. Juliet

    1. Thanks so much – I watched the documentary and really enjoyed it. 🙂

      At the very least, I would say that he certainly leaned that way, and that his mom was narcissistic, for sure. He is described as having a very flat affect outside of his television appearances; this suggests to me that he maybe felt quite empty, which is a rather definitive narcissistic trait. His personality really comes across as a construct; it’s not at all round and fully-developed. Then there’s the failed marriages and relationships with his sons. So yes, I did pick him as a sort of poster boy for narcissism when I did the “top ten” list.

      His mom’s behaviour and treatment of him and his sisters sounds very narcissistic to me. She had a “golden child” (his sister) and she was highly critical of him (he was likely her “scapegoat”). He spent much of his life trying to please her while she continued to carp. Classic narcissistic parenting stuff.

      You are very welcome for the follow – I enjoy your blog! 🙂

  6. I believe I have been seeing a naracissist for the past five years.
    I read the above & it is like reading his autobiography.
    I am left broken, my heart has been ripped out from my soul so often.. I feel worthless, rejected, mentally ill, I think about taking my life to avoid my pain.

    He has betrayed me in every way, affairs, verbal abuse, compulsive lies, financially.. My list could go on.
    Still he can’t leave me alone.. He loves me, wants to marry me, is sorry today, then tomorrow I’ll have a fuck off text. I ask for help please, how do I stop this pain now? how do I get this man out of my head? Will I ever recovery? Will I ever trust again? Will I ever truly love again? I know I sound like some sad case woman! I am after this abuse. But I’m being honest… I don’t wish to live with such pain.

    1. Hi Gail,
      First of all, if you can, see a counsellor or doctor or someone else you can confide in about this. No one is worth you feeling, even if it’s only briefly, like you might want to take your life. I can’t emphasise enough that you need to talk to someone. No one, EVER, should have enough power over you to make you feel this awful.

      The best way to deal with a narcissist is to go “no contact.” This can be very difficult to do but it is the only way. Don’t respond to him AT ALL. No phone calls, e-mails or social media. Stay away from the places where you know he might be and away from the people he associates with. Don’t even look at the texts he sends – it would be best if you blocked him.

      This narcissist, like all narcissists, is just playing with you. He WANTS to make you feel bad because he feels bad. He will never love you, and your love for him cannot save him.

      Yes, you can recover, you can trust again, and you can love again. You can get your life back. I am proof of that. There are many others on WordPress who are also proof. Look up Ursula at anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com. Her parents were both narcissists and she has many, many insights into NPD people.

      No one wishes to live with the pain that NPD people inflict. They are abusive, and many people who have been in “relationships” with them have suffered from PTSD. The way you are feeling happens a lot and happened to me, too.

      You will have to work at this, though. None of it is easy. Going “no contact” is hard. Taking a clear look at yourself and figuring out why you got involved with a narcissist in the first place is hard. Fighting for your life is hard. But it is so worth it! I am now married to a wonderful, wonderful person. My life is better than it has ever been. But I had to slog for it.

      Be gentle and kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for making this mistake. It’s okay. Many others have made the same mistake and have felt as awful as you do.

      Take care of yourself and let me know how you are doing.

    2. Dear Gail

      I was where you are
      So much pain
      I’m a year and 2 months out
      I am almost myself again
      I moved states
      Left my whole life behind
      Left friends neighbors works home house
      Slept for most of a year
      slowly started to do Meetups and network for job market
      Started making new friends
      Definitely went no contact
      TRUST that you will make it through even if it doesn’t feel like it right now
      I was in great pain for very long time
      Please write again ,

      1. Can I ask please.. Are you over this pain now? You mentioned a year & two months on.. I’m worry about carrying this pain for so long.
        I struggle from day to day, some days I just wish to cry, others run away, end things, just to escape my constant pain & anger.
        I need some help now.
        I’m not sure if you read my last reply..? Above.
        I feel so weak & I can’t stop recalling life events with him… His Compulsive lies, false promises and his heartless actions. Now he wishes to repeat this with me again, like he hasn’t caused enough destruction he wants more.
        He seems to be all around me, I can’t run away because of my son is having chemo, I must remain for him. But I wish so much I could do the same as you. G

        1. Hi Gail,

          I am over this pain now!
          I was in terrible terrible pain, so much so that it became like physical, doubling over with emotional pain.
          I didn’t see ANY horizon (even though of course i knew it was there).
          I think I did read your last reply? I replied re addiction? Or did I miss something?
          You don’t need to move or run away to get away from him. If you know what he IS, a type of human monster, then make the decision to stay away from him. I know it’s very difficult, again, because, in part, these relationships can be like an addiction. That’s one reason why I moved! I just didn’t want to have him anywhere near me, conniving, manipulating, working on my weaknesses Just In Case I succumbed. But more so, I didn’t want him anywhere near me AS I UNDERSTOOD WHAT HE WAS.
          You say he’s heartless. I believe you. So stay away from him (sometimes easier said than done, but it can be done, even if it takes a little time… counseling helped me a lot!)
          You say you want to escape this pain and anger.
          Boy do I understand!
          You say you need help.
          Help….Two things: please for your own sake find a counselor to help support you, and my goodness with all that you are dealing with now it could only help!! And START your own escape by staying away from him…. or if you can’t quite do it yet, work with the counselor to help you GET to the place where you are able to do so (it took me a long time to get to that place where i was able to leave! It didn’t happen immediately! Despite the mistreatment I was emotionally tied in with him; took time to unravel, and not fast enough.)
          Once you stop contact, little by little you will come back to yourself.
          I only really started to heal when I went no contact.

          Do you have a counselor, or a way to find one?

    3. Thank you so much. I can’t see though my tears to write in depth at this moment, I am grateful.
      I know you are right, I must stop contact. Yes the hardest part, to stop.
      Seems so contradictory.. “hurts being in contact” yet “so difficult to stop contact”! It’s because I’m weak, my son started chemotherapy three months ago.. My son is poorly.
      Just the point my naracissis started seeing another women behind my back. Neither of them showed any remorse when I found out. She thinks he’s God, like I did once upon a time.

      Now after I moved out with my son, homeless.. He loves me, it was a massive mistake, asks me to move back & marry. Fact is; this is the second time he’s shit on me with another women, only his timing now is despicable. Five years hes promised to marry me (this I thought was my security, to show his commitment, so I believe) but in honesty behind closed doors my life was horrendous, why would I choose to marry him! He controlled everything, yet somehow made me feel like decisions were my choice. I couldn’t even watch my own TV program.
      He is an extremely wealthy man, he’s wants for nothing in life, yet I sit today homeless with my poorly boy & no funds behind me (because I left his house, I left everything) He plays on this.. Says he will send me money if I sleep with him.
      He says I’ll have the perfect life if I go back.

      I know in my heart I should never go back, I could list so many things that’s happended (it’s embarrassing) I chose to over look his behavior for a peaceful life & blamed myself along the way. But I’ve never had peace since the day I met him, why do I still believe there’s hope for us! It’s all sick. His world is sick & some how he corrupted mine to such degree I can’t see my own self worth. I will not do anything silly, I must pull things together & I will but some days are so hard.

      1. Relationships like this become like an addiction. It can be very difficult to break the addiction by going no contact, but in time it doesn’t feel so difficult at all to stay out of contact.

        I’m very sorry about your son’s illness and cannot imagine the stresses you face. Of course it makes sense to want to seek comfort and connection from “our person,” especially when faced with a life crises but you know he’ll only compound your pain, even if offering a temporary salve.

        I encourage you to find a counselor who can help you separate from him.

        We all overlooked behaviors and made excuses in our own minds. It feels embarrassing, yes, and yet it’s so often repeated in our stories that it’s more like a trap than a personal failing.

        Keep us posted. Try to do at least one good thing for yourself everyday. It’s very hard, very very hard. We’re proof that you can make it through. It may not feel like that now, and it is hard. Make a new life for yourself. Lots of steps. One at a time.

        I’ll be looking to hear from you.

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