Episode 092: Narcissist Relationships Part 2of 2 Healing After Abuse
Episode 092: Narcissist Relationships Part 1 of 2 Healing After Abuse with special guest Susan Ball
Unless we’ve personally experienced a narcissist relationship, we may tend to underestimate the damage a narcissist an do. In this EP we explore the key characteristics of a narcissist with Susan Bell. Susan is the founder of Empowered Her, author, speaker, and self-worth activist. Susan shares her knowledge & personal experience to teach us how to identify & escape the toxic narcissist relationship.
Meet Susan Ball, founder of Empowered Her, author, speaker, and self-worth activist and she’s on a mission to free women from their abusive relationships. Susan’s message is simple and begins once a woman escapes her abusive, toxic or ugly relationship. She wants women to aim higher, learn to recognize just how much they are worth, believe in themselves and establish healthy boundaries, as they begin to dream again and love themselves unconditionally. Susan is a passionate, fierce cheerleader who encourages women to rekindle their joy and embrace their big, bold, blissful life!
Leanne: 00:05 Welcome to Life Lafter Divorce, episode 92. I am your host, Leanne Linsky
The Boyfriend: 00:09 and I’m the boyfriend.
Leanne: 00:10 Welcome back to another wonderful week of…
The Boyfriend: 00:12 divorce!
Leanne: 00:12 Look at that. We have got this down like finishing each other’s sentences, the whole thing.
The Boyfriend: 00:20 Boooo
Leanne: 00:20 We’ve become that couple on a divorce podcast of all things. Hey, so welcome back. We are glad to be here and why you’re settling in tuning in. Make sure you rate, review and subscribe. Check out the website at lifelafterdivorce.com. And Hey, if you’re on the website for any given amount of time, you might notice that we may invite you to subscribe to our newsletter. Probably want to do that sooner rather than later because you may win a prize. That’s right, there will be a drawing sometime in the summer, like a little door prize, if you will. Yeah, a little door prize. And you know, the other cool thing about the website is we have an online store and it just so happens to be shopping season for the holidays.
Leanne: 01:11 So check that out while you’re there and why not prep yourself for the upcoming year and book your Free Life Coaching Session with me and get a head start on making good, positive change for the end of the year.
The Boyfriend: 01:29 Yeah.
Leanne: 01:30 Yeah. Why not, right?
The Boyfriend: 01:31 Yeah. Why not?
Leanne: 01:33 So last week we had a juicy episode with Susan Ball where she shared a all about the details of like identifying a narcissist, kind of outlining what kind of behaviors they to watch for and what they do and what happens in a relationship with a narcissist. And when we ended, it ended with her husband, her running, literally learning from her husband chasing her and threatening her in front of a police station. Right. And he was arrested and put in jail. So this week we’re going to find out what happens next and we learned some other really, I think, important things. Susan really gives us a lot of information about, what happens next, not only in her personal, situation, but also in general, what happens next, what happens when you do get out of a narcissist relationship or relationship with a narcissist? How do you heal from that? And you know, I’m kind of curious, boyfriend, like we don’t have kids, but if we were to have none that we know of, but if we were to have children, how would we, what would you want your kids to know? Like would this have ever entered your head to, to your kids about this kind of.
The Boyfriend: 03:01 No, I’ve never dated a narcissist. I didn’t even know there could be women narcissist, but we found that out. and so I, and I’m, I don’t identify as being a narcissist, so I don’t know much about that behavior so I wouldn’t even know how to talk to my kids about it.
Leanne: 03:20 Right. So I think that’s what I think is. So what I really liked that’s different about this particular conversation is because, yeah, how, how do you like this wouldn’t type, why don’t they teach us this in school? That’s my big question. They don’t teach you like, so, so I think this, this is where we kind of even go beyond the narcissist relationship after what happens after and how not to repeat this pattern. So if he
The Boyfriend: 03:51 and how she interacts with her kids and tries to help them learn about behaviors and make good choices in relationships, that’s, that’s I think is the most interesting thing that I found out about this episode because she does provide that information for her children, which is something
Leanne: 04:08 we didn’t get. I mean, we never entered my mind. So in case you have not yet gone and listened to episode 91, I’d like to reintroduce our guest. Our guest is Susan Ball, founder of empowered her author, speaker, and so forth, activists, and she’s on a mission to free women from their abusive relationships. Susan’s message is simple and begins. Once a woman escapes her abusive, toxic, or ugly relationship, she wants women to aim higher, to learn to recognize just how much they are worth and for them to believe in themselves and establish healthy boundaries as they begin to dream again and love themselves unconditionally. Susan is a passionate, fierce cheerleader who encourages women to rekindle their joy and embrace their big, bold, blissful life. So without further ado, Susan Ball
Susan: 05:22 and I ran for the front door because the police station was about four blocks away, and will, they opened the front door and I slammed it behind me. He caught onto what was going on. He chased me to the police station, threatening to kill me.
Leanne: 05:36 Oh
Susan: 05:37 Yeah. They arrested him at the police station.
Leanne: 05:40 Oh my God. Thank God first of all, that you are within running distance. Yep. Yeah. And that they caught him basically in the act of threatening you.
Susan: 05:53 Yep. Well, it gets better. His girlfriend bailed him out of jail next day.
Leanne: 05:56 Oh my God. And you had only been married. Oh Geez. So his girlfriend bailed them out?
Susan: 06:06 Yep.
Leanne: 06:06 Wow. Okay. Well, she was winning.
Susan: 06:10 Yep that’s what I said “Winner”.
Leanne: 06:13 Good luck. what happened after that? Were you able to move out and like, I can’t even imagine.
Susan: 06:22 Well, you know what? I was brokenhearted because anybody who’s out there listening, I was broken hearted and I was thinking that I wanted to fix this because you’re in that mentality, right? I want to fix this. It’s my fault. He’s got a girlfriend. I must have done something wrong, and I remember calling my sister and my sister came to the house and she sat me down and she said, really, really? So that he can either kill you or kill one of the girls or any of this kind of stuff. She said, it’s time for you to leave the town, leave the house. I didn’t want to leave my home. This was my home, all of that stuff. But you know what moved me forward was my two little girls. I did not want them to think that this was a healthy relationship and I say to women who I speak with all the time. If you have children, they’re learning from you,
Leanne: 07:16 right.
Susan: 07:17 They’re learning either learning to be the victim or the abuser, one or the other.
Leanne: 07:22 What was that the first time that your girls had seen the abuse? Yes. Okay. Yeah, so that, that was the game changer for you. Now, if they hadn’t seen that, do you think you would have stayed?
Susan: 07:35 I know that’s a question I’ve asked myself over time and I think I would have
Leanne: 07:40 really.
Susan: 07:41 I think I would have, because there was a big part of me that had, and this was something that I know lots of women fight with inside and that’s the guilt and shame. I had this horrible guilt and shame that I had to tell people that I picked this person and I had this horrible guilt and shame that I had invited all these people to this is bogus wedding
Leanne: 08:03 [inaudible] and
Susan: 08:05 that I had scammed them somehow out of their money and their gifts. So I had all of this guilt and shame and I felt very, so I didn’t have a way of explaining how this happened to me.
Leanne: 08:20 Right. And with that, did you feel like if you had told people about it, they would be like, well, how come you didn’t know? Why didn’t you leave sooner and bombard you with quite.
Susan: 08:29 Yeah.
Leanne: 08:30 Because they think they’re being helpful, but I, no, right. Yeah. Because people, I, I completely hear what you’re saying and, and people don’t understand. you know, a lot of it we hear like why don’t they leave or why would you stay or something’s wrong with them that they stay, but this stuff, if they start with the emotional abuse first and get in that place of that it’s your fault and that you should be ashamed and that you’re less than and this is what you deserve, right?
Susan: 09:01 Yes.
Leanne: 09:03 I think it’s a gradual thing. So to, to people who haven’t experienced this, it’s easy because I, before I had experienced anything with a narcissist and their emotional abuse before that, I, I probably would have been on the other side. Like how could someone do that? Like why would it, why would you stay like who in their right mind because guess what, a life quickly teaches you lessons on humbles you and you find out firsthand that that’s because it can happen to anyone. And and it’s not a sign of a person being a woman being weak. Like it’s not a weak woman. It’s just not a weak person who falls into an abusive relationship, whether it’s emotional or physical. It can happen to anybody.
Susan: 09:50 Well, his next girlfriend, that’s the question you always say to yourself, oh, I thought I was independent and strong, and how did this happen to me? next girlfriend? We actually got talking a little bit after everything blew up and she contacted me. She said, I’m so embarrassed and ashamed to tell you I’m a psychiatric nurse.
Leanne: 10:14 receipt. This is exactly what I’m talking about and see. Okay. So when she told you that, how I can only imagine how she felt having to tell somebody. Right? Yeah.
Susan: 10:27 What is she going to go to? To Talk to you?
Leanne: 10:31 Right? Because they would say, how have a view of all people didn’t know?
Susan: 10:37 Right. I’ll tell you something to be quite selfish about it. Yeah. That was one of my biggest healing moments really. It was like really? Because yeah. Could easily get, you know, caught up in something like this.
Leanne: 10:57 Right. If it could happen to her who is knowledgeable and educated on the topic, if they could happen to her, then I don’t feel so bad. It happened to me.
Susan: 11:07 Yeah.
Leanne: 11:12 Baggage off your shoulders. I’m sure.
Susan: 11:14 What does that is for? Anybody who’s listening that is a fact. I’m not lying about that. That’s who she was open to anyone and I have a client right now. She’s a Harvard professor, so it can happen to anyone at any time. These men and women are very, very good at this.
Leanne: 11:34 Yeah, and I think that’s the such a big message because so many people don’t see that. They just see people who have been abused as as weaker people and that is not the case. It’s not that they’re not educated or they’re not strong. It can happen to. Yeah. Anybody because these people have been doing this their whole life.
Susan: 12:00 Oh yeah. They are masters of deception. Yeah,
Leanne: 12:05 and they’re typically pathological liars, so they’re very good at it, right? Like,
Susan: 12:12 yeah, because when I look back on it, when he told a lie, yeah, nothing happened to his face. When I tell a lie, people can generally tell that I might not be telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Right? Because your body language changes. Are you starting to fidget or I don’t know, but nothing happens to them. Nothing.
Leanne: 12:34 Right? Because in their mind they’re telling you the truth. They’re true. Yeah. Yeah. So, so fascinating. Yeah. These people are, are masterful, very scary people really. And you know, so when we talk about narcissists at the beginning, you had mentioned psychopath and, and some people now say sociopath, but not when we say narcissism, we think one thing, and then we say psycho or sociopath, people think something different, but aren’t they one in the same?
Susan: 13:09 They are one and the same. So sociopaths are people who have no empathy [inaudible]. So the socially, they don’t know how to feel the harm something and they don’t feel any kind of empathy for them. And narcissist, sociopathic, quality. So. But they can pretend that they do. That’s why they get you wrapped up in this because they will hurt you. Whether it’s verbally, emotionally, financially, any of those. They physically, they will hurt you. They will go away. You’re crying, you’re devastated. Then they come back and they are the sweetest things that ever existed. Right? And they’re not doing it because they’re empathetic. They’re doing it because it’s part of the game. They let you move your piece, one, one spot, one square, and then they pull you back to, and then they let you move one and they pull you back and they keep playing that game and they love it. They love it.
Leanne: 14:08 Yeah. And people ask, you know, it’s confusing because they don’t have empathy, but people ask, but they do have feelings like they feel they do have certain feelings, right?
Susan: 14:22 Not that we do not, like we do. They have feelings that their biggest motivation is control. What can they control and how are they going to make that happen. So they can, what’s the word they can, bring about the illusion of feelings depending on what they’re trying to control. So if they want to control your parents by getting your to think that they are a loving, caring husband, they will bring on compassion and empathy and interest and tears and all of that stuff. And it’s all a mash. None of it’s real. Yeah. But when you need them, your parents are like, but he was so good.
Leanne: 15:13 Yeah. He should have won an Oscar. That’s how good he was, right? Yeah, it’s very, very scary and they’re not. They’re very complex people because we don’t know which side we’re seeing of them. So it’s not like you is. No. Unless you’re in a relationship. Is there any easy way to identify a person before you you get sucked in?
Susan: 15:36 I think the easiest way is besides the love bombing, if they’re talking about all their exes as if they are just the scum of the earth and it was all their fault and so on and so forth. Big Red Flag. That’s a narcissist. Narcissist speaking. If they start to say to you, you know, I really don’t like your friend Beth, I really think you shouldn’t. You know, I don’t want her coming around. Huge red flag because that’s the beginning of isolation. If they start saying things like, well, I liked that dress, but I would prefer you aware of this one. That’s not being kind to you or nice to you. That’s manipulation. That’s control, right? So there’s subtle little things, Leanne, that if you see them happening or you go out with your friends and they say, this is a big one, you go to go out with your friends, you’ve been seeing him for a while, you’re in the love bombing, you’re always together. And then you say, you know what, it’s my night, I’ve, I haven’t been for a month, so I’m going to go. What they will do is they will sit there and they will start to get very upset. They might even cry tears and they will say, you know, I thought we were together in this. I thought that you loved me. I thought that you wanted to spend time with me. I don’t understand. Which makes you question, what are you doing? Do you really want to go to.
Susan: 17:00 Right, right. Yep. Okay. And then you say, oh, well this one time, one more week won’t hurt. Right, right.
Leanne: 17:09 Okay. So yeah. So just be conscious of the little things really, because they’re gonna seem like very little things.
Susan: 17:17 Yeah. Yeah.
Leanne: 17:19 No, it’s not like someone like he’s doing something so outwardly crazy that everybody would be like red flag, red flag. These are little things that may seem like nice gestures or oh, he just really likes me. Or you know, he’s being thoughtful or whatever. Or like this is his pet peeve now. They’re a little things that really add up quickly.
Susan: 17:43 Correct. Okay. So what I say is if you have a life, if you’re a single woman and you have a life, go to the gym and you do all these things and you go to art gallery openings with your friends, don’t stop doing those things no matter how much he cries, because if he cries, he wants to manipulate you. He wants to take away your life. He wants to suck all the energy out of you. Keep living your life because you want a codependent relationship or an interdependent relationship, not a codependent one.
Leanne: 18:10 Right? Right. So, so as Susan. So now, because is it because of your own experience that you ended up becoming a coach for other people who are healing from narcissistic abuse?
Susan: 18:24 Yes, because and it wasn’t because I decided to do that, Leanne, I actually met a couch who was an old family friend and she helped me in my recovery and it was mind blowing because I had been struggling as a victim of domestic violence for a long time. I was drinking too much and all sorts of bad behavior because I felt sorry for myself. It was very big to me. Yeah. And she, I was very big to me.
Leanne: 18:50 That’s okay. You know, after something like that I can see. Yep. That’s. Yep. Pretty severe. Yeah,
Susan: 18:59 but she helped me, but I got. I got talking to her and she said to me, you’re very, you’re very good. Talking to people and very outgoing and stuff like that might be something you want to consider is becoming a coach. And I thought what a stupid idea, but ultimately I started to see that this was a way that I could reach out to women who were in this situation because having lived in. One of the things I did like when I was going through counseling, and I’ll be quite honest and there’s a lot of people, women out there that I did not like when the therapist or counselor, when I would say to her, have you ever been in one of these relationships? Will. No, but I read it in a book.
Leanne: 19:43 Oh,
Susan: 19:43 I don’t want to talk to you.
Leanne: 19:45 Right, right. Because they don’t know.
Susan: 19:49 No. Well you can read all you want in a book. It doesn’t, it doesn’t translate to having experienced it. Yeah.
Leanne: 19:57 Well, when, so how soon did you end up becoming a coach? So you’ve at first year, like, no, I’m not going to do that.
Susan: 20:06 it took me about five years altogether. Yeah. And then I didn’t want to specialize in this particular niche. I thought, no, no, I don’t want to talk about that all the time. That’s terrible. I just want to help women live their best life. But the odd part was that only women who were in bad relationships were contacting me. So I said, okay,
Leanne: 20:32 it picked you. Yeah. Wow. Why
Susan: 20:37 want to talk to another woman or men who contact me, wanting to talk to someone who’s experienced it because I can give them real life examples of something that happened to me.
Leanne: 20:49 Right. Because this way they also know that they’re not crazy. Yeah. Because that’s how we feel when we come out of a situation like that. We feel we’ve been gaslit for so long that we feel like, oh, obviously I’m like, I’m just. I don’t. Nothing makes any sense.
Susan: 21:06 No, exactly. So you questioned everything.
Leanne: 21:09 Yeah. So when you, when you coach people, what, what is this process like? How do. Because this can linger for many years like this chain, this is life changing, you know, and, and even if a, a narcissist wasn’t physically abusive, what you call them malignant, right. Is that a difference? Even if there’s emotional abuse like that, is it, do you find that more confusing when there hasn’t been any physical?
Susan: 21:35 Yes, because a lot of women come out of it and the first thing they’ll say to me is they’ll tell a little bit of their story and then they’ll go, but I don’t think I was abused. Yeah. Yeah. Because the common thing out there is quote unquote domestic violence and domestic violence means that you got beat up to women. They don’t see it as being emotionally abused or abused or narcissistic abuse or any of those things. They don’t qualify as domestic violence in their mind. They won’t go to a shelter. And I’ve had women contact me there in a very bad situation. Mentally, emotionally, their children, all of those say, I’ll say to them, contact the shelter right away. Oh, but he doesn’t beat me.
Leanne: 22:26 this all sounds familiar. Yeah. Well he hasn’t done that and their key word is will yet. And a lot of cases like he hasn’t done that yet
Susan: 22:38 and he probably will. Right. And they don’t change. There’s no fixing them.
Leanne: 22:45 Yeah. Well when they. So when people come to you, where do you start?
Susan: 22:53 We start by rebuilding her competence. So the very first thing that has to be rebuilt and the way that I do that is I have every one of my clients and anybody who’s listening, I highly recommend this. You start keeping a success journal because I want you to celebrate every success that you have, whether it’s tiny minute, medium sized jumbo or the big one. Every time you do something and you celebrate it, you’re building in your mind, oh, I already did that. Oh my God, I can do the next thing because look at all the things I’ve already done.
Leanne: 23:31 Yeah,
Susan: 23:33 We celebrate them all. And we are conditioned to only celebrate big milestone event, you know, birthdays, weddings, graduations, so on and so forth. I want women to everything have a dance party at the end of the day, even if you only did one tiny thing, celebrate it. Yeah. Even if you only picked up the phone to the shelter to say, do you have any space? Celebrate that success, because that’s success. Right? And the big one is if you’ve left, the very first thing you put at the top of the page is, today I am no longer with my abuser. I am successful because that’s a huge step.
Leanne: 24:18 Yeah. And maintaining no contact Dr. bigger one. Yeah, celebrate. Yeah.
Susan: 24:26 Yeah. So no contact. All of those. Celebrate everything. It’s day five of no contact dance in your living room. That’s a big deal.
Leanne: 24:34 Yeah, right. Absolutely. It is. Yeah. Have a nice bubble bath and say yeah it did. It. Did that, made it through the day, didn’t respond, didn’t respond. Yeah. And so once you start getting successes, you know, am rebuilding that confidence, what, what did it, what comes next? Like I feel like, even though like confidence is rebuilt, that sometimes it’s still like, do people go into isolation a bit?
Susan: 25:08 They do a little bit while their first healing because we all have to go to the place where we’re comfortable But one of the things that I really, really a harp harp on with my clients is what I call raw rage and wheat. Those emotions need to come out and a lot of times we’re told by people and I was, you know, kind of buck up your other there. Now when you’re going to get a job, time to move on, you’ve got two kids to look after, blah blah blah. But nobody said to me, damn straight, you’re angry. You know, be angry him. I lost my home, my dream, my everything right and cry, cry, those big, ugly tears for the same reasons. The last is huge because a lot of times we build it up and we built it up to this dream relationship because he’s so good. He’s so good. So you want that everyday you crave that everyday. It’s like a drug, right? So if you can just get through the seven nasty days, that one day is worth it
Leanne: 26:31 You know, that’s a really good point is that’s a big thing because you’re not just grieving that relationship but you’re grieving because everything that had been fed to you as a lie. So it’s not like, oh, someone just left me like in a normal relationship where maybe there is infidelity or some. But that person not only just left me, they lied to me about my whole life, like nothing I knew was true. Nothing that I thought was true. Everything turned out to be an ally like I had been living a fake fake life or a facade.
Susan: 27:02 Exactly. It is. So you have to grieve that, that law. You have to grieve and forgive yourself for getting caught up in this. Yeah. And, and forgiving yourself is a big step. [inaudible] so that I have my clients do that shit with that emotion. If you feel anger, if it’s coming up in the boiling up in you, it doesn’t mean you punch something or do anything like that. You can even write it down or you can just sit there and say, swear inside your head, do whatever it takes to really, really let that anger just having an escape. Because if you hold it in, you’re going to get bitter and you’re going to get ugly. Yeah. And that’s what’s going to happen. The same with the crying and then we move on to actually talking about what happened in an emotional sense. Because when you’re healing, you have to get back in touch with your emotions, leanne, all of them that did once, the bad ones, the sorta in-between one, all of them. You got to get to know them. So I started a process of writing, writing about knee bent, writing about a memory grammatically correct. Just write about it. You can type it right in whatever, flip your switch right about it, but after you’ve done writing it, put it away, go back after a certain amount of time, read it and note down. What emotions does it bring up? Does it make you feel angry? Does it make you feel stupid? Does it make you feel sad? What does it make you feel? And then after that, ask yourself, do you want more of that or less of that in your life and how are you going to do that? Right? And that’s where the changes have start to happen. But suppressing any of those emotions, suppressing any of those memories is a bad idea. Yeah.
Leanne: 28:58 Because it will bubble to the surface and the next relationship,
Susan: 29:02 correct? Yeah. And see if you’re compatible with somebody, that’s where you get to the, this is what I want in a relationship, this is what I value, this is my boundaries. But you have to go through the emotional healing and it’s difficult. I mean, I had to go through it and it’s not easy and it’ll bring up things that are like, Ooh, I don’t want it. Ooh Yah.
Leanne: 29:29 So, so, okay. So just listening to you, I could see where like those, those exercises and going through that process would make such a huge difference for your relationships. So when you think back to what you’ve learned, had you done those things after your first relationship with a narcissist before your first husband? Would that, how would that have changed things for you?
Susan: 29:54 It would have changed all sorts of things because I would have recognized in myself that I had, what’s the word I hadn’t. I had never in my whole entire life stood up for myself. I raised my hand, I use my voice and said, hey, that’s unacceptable. Like if somebody tapped their watch now and said that to me, I would smile intake. Right. And, and, and if they said, well I’m not, you know, we’re not going to have dinner together. I would say, okay, well I’m taking myself by why when I was young and I didn’t have boundaries, I didn’t understand what I wanted or who I was not devastated me. Yeah, right. If I hadn’t taken the time, I would have discovered that I had some issues from my childhood that had never been resolved and I was so desperate to be loved. Then I would put up with all kinds of things.
Susan: 31:05 Yeah. So, so yeah, big difference because. And do you find that when people are coming to you for coaching, have they experienced like more than one narcissist relationship? Like you’ve had have people? Is that A. Yeah, it’s a pattern.
Susan: 31:21 It’s a pattern and when I say to them, we’re going to break the pattern and it’s usually 99 percent of the time something that happened in childhood. Not because somebody maliciously, he did it to you, Leanne, not at all. Right. It could be an event that you do you forgotten about and it’s like, oh my God, there it is.
Leanne: 31:44 How do you, how do you get to that? How do you figure like that’s. That’s like a lot of inner work that you’re doing at that point that they, that that comes up, right?
Susan: 31:56 A lot of inner work, but when they do the writing that I was talking about where they take a memory and we’re talking about that memory and how it made them feel, I will ask them, does it remind you of anything else that happened in your life
Susan: 32:12 which will make them go, oh my God, I remember this time. You know, my dad and I went to a kid’s birthday party and blah, blah blah, and then you have that moment of and how did that make you feel? So you go back and forth between the two and then the pattern emergence and the moment emerges and the, the, the, the thing that you’re carrying around with you that is sort of subconsciously, energetically, I’m like causing a problem for you. And, and I don’t mean that in a mean spirited way, I certainly didn’t look at myself and say, Oh my God, that was my issue. I have to fix that. No, it wasn’t about fixing. It was about understanding it and understanding how it was affecting my life now. And it wasn’t about accusing anyone or confronting anyone. I ended up with a much more compassionate and loving relationship with my parents when I went back and I figured out what the problem was completely differently. I went, wow, I get it. Right,
Leanne: 33:24 right. Because things happen when we’re kids and we don’t know the whole pitcher, like our memories are not. I mean some things happened so long ago. So we remember bits and pieces, right?
Leanne: 33:37 Yeah. So it. So when we recognize those feelings and can identify the feelings with those specific memory, I can see. So I’m just like connecting the dots in my head as you’re saying this. I’m like, this makes so much sense. So when, so when you’re coaching people and they’ve gone through this, like how soon are people ready and really prepared to hear your puppy. How soon? How soon are people ready to go into a new relationship?
Susan: 34:06 You know, that varies. That varies. I always say to all of my clients to plan on one year plus one day before you even consider dating or even thinking about it at minimum
Leanne: 34:23 and why? Why is it what it. What is it about a year? What do you think?
Susan: 34:29 A year you go through all four seasons. You go through all of the patterns, you go through all of the memories of your lifetime and you clear them over that time
Susan: 34:41 because every season, every month, every holiday triggers something [inaudible], right? So in narcissist, love to ruin holidays or if they can ruin Christmas, it’s the best day ever. Oh No, they love to do that. They, they not with your parents, they would never do that. It would be a lovely Christmas. Right? But generally you would go to his parents because he’s going to manipulate it that way and he is going to ruin that day for you and make you look like a complete and total wreck. Wow. That he has to put up with. I see. Yep. Yep. Yep. So then you, his parents aren’t and so on and so on. So the year a day is so that all of those things that you’re going to go through with all the tools that you know, we develop in your coaching sessions, you have a whole year to work through all the triggers because there will be things you forget.
Susan: 35:50 Yeah. And suddenly you’ll be walking down the street, you know, something, there’s a display in a window or car goes by and it’s a certain type of car and this memory gets triggered and all these emotions come up. Now if you’re with somebody else, you have to explain yourself, but you don’t even really understand what’s going on. Yeah. So you’re more of the point. You’re suddenly crying or you’re angry or you’re feeling something and you go, Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. And you’re making excuses for your behavior. So he give yourself the whole year. The whole cycle of a year will have the opportunity to have all of those things happen organically.
Leanne: 36:31 I, yes, I completely see that. And you know, so when people, so let’s say people go through this this year and a day and they go through the coaching and they get into a place that’s okay. I would imagine like even to, even though the, a lot of those things have been cleared, when they step into another relationship, do you find that people come back and want some more coaching because you know, as long as we’re aware of those things, we still have to develop new behaviors in our relationship.
Susan: 37:01 Yeah. And the big one always comes down to trust. Yeah. Trust. And the only way I had to learn this myself, the only way to learn trust again, is to take that big, courageous step. Suck it up, sit on the couch, crying your eyes out while your new boyfriend is out with his friend bravely. When he comes in, Dab your eyes and check. Did you have fun? Right? And as you keep doing that, you start to recognize he’s not doing any of those things because there’s no other way.
Leanne: 37:39 Yeah. And would it be safe to warn your new boyfriend or girlfriend that these things are not? You’re not projecting these things on them, but you’re still triggered or. Yeah, still, yeah, because they would have to understand why you’re doing it because a lot of people might think, don’t project that on me. I’m not him. I’m not her.
Susan: 38:02 It’s a funny thing. When I met my current husband and we have a very healthy relationship, I told him a certain part of my story because I felt that it was necessary. I think it’s necessary to share your story. You don’t have to go into gory details but that you’ve had a hard time and you might have issues with trust store or these sorts of things, but I didn’t tell him that I was strangled to, to blocking out. That would hurt him to think that I got hurt that way. I remember one day this was a funny story because for many, for a longest time I couldn’t wear turtlenecks and I live in cold Canada, so turtle necks are pretty important. Yeah. And we were going somewhere and I thought, well, I’ve got to wear a turtleneck. It’s really cold and I put on this turtleneck and I came out of the bedroom and suddenly I started screaming, get off me, get off me, and I was just ripping this shirt off and he’s like, after it was all over, he’s like, what was that? And I was hysterical and I had to tell them the rest of the story
Susan: 39:05 and he said I would have preferred to know instead of having this, you can just make sure that it’s beneficial to tell, but don’t make it the highlight of your relationship and don’t make it the thing you’re going to talk about on the first date or second date or this Thursday. Right. It doesn’t need to be mentioned until there’s some sort of relationship starting to develop,
Leanne: 39:41 right? Yeah.
Susan: 39:43 You want to get to know each other before you start telling all of these these horror stories.
Leanne: 39:49 Yeah. You need some trust there. You need a safe, safe space to do it on both sides. Right. Because that’s also not something easy for a new person to hear. That’s right. Yeah. Not that they’re going to judge you, but I think that can I. They would question, can I handle this? Yeah, yeah. Wow.
Susan: 40:15 They don’t know what you’re going through. They don’t know what’s going to happen. And, and also you don’t want to be sounding like the girl on the date who’s talking about her ex that he’s the bad one.
Leanne: 40:28 Right? Because now you’re doing the. He’s crazy and they’re going, wait, I heard this podcast where she said if people are talking about
Susan: 40:37 exactly you want to leave it until there’s a level of a relationship, whatever that looks like before you start, say you know anything about it and you don’t have to tell the whole story.
Leanne: 40:51 Yeah, right. Or, and it’s all but it’s all too and how we present it to it. Because if we’re like, I have to tell you something and it’s very serious and you know, like we have to talk, then you’re presenting it as a bigger thing. But if you say, hey, is it okay if I share something with you so that if something comes up, you know, where I’m coming from, like it’s, it’s how we present it and how we wrap it up in a, in a package to a new person.
Susan: 41:21 Exactly. And that’s exactly. I presented to my now husband was,
Susan: 41:30 there are some things that might come up in our. A little. Yeah, just, you know, I, I’m, I’m still struggling with some issues of trust and they come because of this reason. Yeah. I mean, you know, despite the fact that I was strangled and, and raped and treated like garbage, the fact that he cheated on me really hurt. Yeah. That was the one that I really struggled with Leanne. So with all of my clients and women I talked to, there is one moment or one thing that they will pick up and that the one. Right.
Leanne: 42:09 And it’s not always the one that we would pick.
Susan: 42:12 That’s right. Because people will look at me and he almost killed you. Yeah. But he cheated. Yeah. Yeah. I’m mad about that.
Leanne: 42:21 There’s. Well, there’s, there’s a whole different sense of betrayal there now. It’s not just between the two of you. Yeah. And as, as absurd as that may sound to somebody else. That’s, that’s your trauma.
Susan: 42:36 That’s right. [inaudible].
Leanne: 42:38 Yeah. And we all process those things so differently. So. Yeah. So, so wow. I’m just, I just am like, there’s so much to these complicated relationships with narcissists and God, I hope people out there that you haven’t had your experiences or that you don’t have to experience us and to educate. And my other question is, is, you know, we talked about having children with narcissus, but what, how do you, how do you talk to people who haven’t had this experience and prep them, like if your, your daughters, how, how do you talk to them about it so that it doesn’t happen to them?
Susan: 43:17 When they were growing up, they, we talked about them to them honestly and openly about what happened, about healthy relationships, about men. We talked about everything. What happened to me after that was my girl. So Leanne was kind of a good thing. I became a very open mom talking about all sorts of things and my girls really respected what I saw in one of their boyfriends. So if I saw something and, and the boyfriend left and I sit down with them and I’d say, you know, what did you think about this when he said that? Or He did this? I thought it was crappy. Yeah, because it was.
Leanne: 44:10 I like the mom voice,
Susan: 44:15 but I never told them. I never said you can’t see him again or did you see what he did to you? I always did it in a conversational way. Ah, you know, what were you offended by that or was it just me? Am I. Am I being overly sensitive? Yeah. So that they would start to see different patterns of behavior. And my youngest one, her first dating or first dating experience, she was like 16. And the fellow came to the house and a heard of come up the driveway and he honked his horn, right? Yeah. My daughter looked at me and I thought, I’m not gonna, say anything. Don’t say anything. And she opened up the door and she showed it not going out with you, you jerk if you can’t walk to the front door. I’m not interested in. She slammed the door and I’m like, yes.
Leanne: 45:18 Oh Wow. What an awesome moment. Right? Yeah. Yeah. And I like how your, your approach with them is conversational and not as in your example that you’re not telling them. You’re asking them, what did you think? What do you see? And let them. Because now they’re aware of it.
Susan: 45:41 Yes. And they’re looking at things and talking about it. I can remember as they grew older and relationships became more intimate, they would come to me and sometimes the questions were really hard for me to listen to you, Leanne, but I thought if I don’t talk to them about this stuff, who’s going to talk to them about it?
Leanne: 46:01 Right? Yup. Yup. And
Susan: 46:06 sometimes I had to turn away and take several deep breaths
Leanne: 46:12 or a drink.
Susan: 46:17 What I knew that if they didn’t understand how intimate relationships and sexual relationships work and what a healthy one is, they might find themselves in unhealthy situations like that.
Leanne: 46:29 Right? Yeah, yeah. Wow. And, and so really what we can do with kids is just have those conversations and keep the, keep it open for more.
Susan: 46:42 Yes. And if they come to you and it, you see something, if you see something, you see your daughter being treated poorly in your opinion, please don’t say to her, I don’t like the way he treats you, that’s not good for you because you will push her farther towards him and he will pull it all the stops to make it work for him. Right. You need to sit down with her and talked to her about what you’re seeing and is she comfortable with it? Right. And if she says, you know what mom, I was thinking about, I don’t, then you have an opening, but you still want to have a conversation. Not Dictate or say anything derogatory about this person
Leanne: 47:29 because you’ll lose
Susan: 47:31 Oh you’ll lose. And he will win big time because as soon as she goes out to talk to him about that, he’s going to say, I told you I don’t like your mom. She’s interfering in our lives and where are you now? Isolation. Manipulation. You are. Yeah. You were thought of your mom,
Leanne: 47:48 right? Do you ever coached parents?
Susan: 47:52 No.
Leanne: 47:54 God, I could think of a bunch that might need you.
Susan: 48:01 Now that you mentioned it, I’ve been talking about it. I’m thinking that’s a very interesting coaching coaching parents of teenagers who are starting to do
Leanne: 48:09 date. How do you have those conversations? Because you know, you think about that. How do people talk to their teens? I mean you see it in movies or you know, lifetime movies all the time that these are. This is exactly what happens. This is the path they go down and parents think that they’re putting a foot down and they want to prevent it. Because if you had thought, if your parents had come to you and talk to you that way, you know, it probably wouldn’t have helped you either.
Susan: 48:40 You know, it would have pushed me when I was dating the fellow who was a narcissist. The guy with his watch. I can remember lots of time. My mother saying to me, I don’t like him
Susan: 48:51 I just don’t like him anytime he’s around here, I just don’t like them. Well, you know what that made me do.
Leanne: 48:57 Yeah. Yeah.
Susan: 49:00 Then I started to ignore more and more of the red flag. So. Yeah, because it’s like, oh, my mother doesn’t like him, but I’m going to like them.
Leanne: 49:07 Yeah, right. Hmm. Well, kids, we think we know so much, but even kids, that’s even when we’re adults, right? Even when we’re adults, because I had friends tell me what are you doing? And the more they treated me like I was being stupid or crazy, the more they pushed me away into being stupid, you know what I mean? Like they, the more they put me into that spot. yeah.
Susan: 49:35 What is a good friend question? If you have a girlfriend who and you see all the red flags and her boyfriend, one of the best questions that I use this sometimes with my clients is to say, if someone was treating me like that, what would you say to me?
Leanne: 49:53 Right.
Susan: 49:55 And a lot of times people will go, because what would they say?
Leanne: 50:04 Yeah, exactly. And that’s kind of when they have that step back moment, like, yeah, yeah. So true. So true. Gosh, you’re just full of so much information and it’s such good stuff. And I know it’s super helpful because when we talk about narcissism on the podcast, these get a high volume, so it’s much more common than we’d like to like it to be. if we’re, if you were to leave our listeners with a one final word or juicy bit of advice or thoughts, what would that be?
Susan: 50:47 When you see red flag, whatever it may be. It could be small. It could be being. When you see one, don’t go into denial. Don’t try to excuse it. Believe it. It’s real. That’s who he is.
Leanne: 50:59 Yeah. Yeah. Trust your gut. Trust your gut on this has been awesome. Suzanne. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for taking this time and a lot of time, with us and really going through and being so thorough on everything. This has been so helpful and I appreciate you sharing your, your own personal story because wow, you, you get it. You’ve been there. You truly know. And I can only imagine you’re a tremendous help to to those you serve.
Susan: 51:35 Thank you so much for having me. I really do appreciate you giving me all this time to talk about this because it is an important topic.
Leanne: 51:42 It is so important. So thank you so much. I’m going to share all of your contact information in the show notes, which will be located on our life after divorce website. Also show notes are the little blurb on iTunes at Telus what this episode is about and anywhere else that you’re catching the this episode on. So thank you so very much.
Susan: 52:04 Thank you for having me. Leanne.