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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

You May Be An Unknowing Target: Narcissist Bait

One of the tenets of being an Adult Child Of Alcoholics is having a difficult time taking compliments. Typically the reaction ranges from ignoring the compliment to minimizing it or to deflect on how great the other person is. My theory is that ACAs are fearful of accepting the affection we so desperately crave because it can become a powerful emotional hook and we are afraid of becoming dependent on them. Those with low self esteem are especially vulnerable.

This is exactly what narcissists depend on as one of their tactics to ensnare someone into a relationship. A narcissist will initially idealize their object of affection in order to convince them that they truly love them.

According to Shahida Arabi’s article on “5 Sneaky Things Narcissists Do To Take Advantage Of You",

“Be wary of: constant texting, shallow flattery and wanting to be around you at all times. This is a technique known as “love-bombing” and it is how most victims get sucked in: they are flattered by the constant attention they get from the narcissist. You may be fooled into thinking that this means a narcissist is truly interested in you, when in fact, he or she is interested in making you dependent on their constant praise and attention.”

IDEALIZATION is usually the first phase of the relationship with a narcissistic person, the next two being DEVALUATION and DISCARD. Eventually, the self centered flatterer will change to criticism and withdrawal with just enough spurts of positivity to keep you hooked. Finally, you will be discarded, typically in a cruel manner.

"During the DISCARD phase, the narcissist abandons his or her victim in the most horrific, demeaning way possible to convince the victim that he or she is worthless. This could range from: leaving the victim for another lover, humiliating the victim in public, blatantly ignoring the partner for a long period of time, being physically aggressive and a whole range of other demeaning behaviors to communicate to the victim that he or she is no longer important… During the discard phase, the narcissist reveals the true self and you get a glimpse of the abuser that was lurking within all along. You bear witness to his or her cold, callous indifference as you are discarded. This is as close you will ever get to seeing the narcissist’s true self.” -Shahida Arabi

Narcissists are not inherently evil although it may seem that way. They are victims of trauma/ abuse and are acting out their dysfunction. This doesn’t mean one should overly empathize with them. The best way to handle a narcissistic person is to have little to NO CONTACT with them whatsoever. At least until you are strong enough to deal with their insidious tactics. Otherwise the temptation for them to suck you back in and for you to succumb to it may be too great.

Have you been or are you currently involved with a narcissist?

Read the full article here: http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2014/08/5-sneaky-things-narcissists-do-to-take-advantage-of-you/

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Dr. Drew On Trauma And Emotional Disregulation

http://www.kabc.com/common/page.php?pt=Dr.+Drew+Midday+Live+-+03%2F03%2F15+-+12PM&id=40341&is_corp=0



You may be familiar with Dr. Drew Pinsky’s work as an addiction specialist on the show Celebrity Rehab, his own TV talk show and now as a radio host on KABC 790 AM. Dr. Drew’s radio show is available as a free podcast. On March 3, he had a few interesting things to say about trauma, dysfunction, emotional disturbance and addiction. Check out the podcast at about 2:45 after the beginning.

Drew says, “Finally people are starting to make the connection between adverse health affects and (childhood) trauma… the consequence of that trauma is emotional “disregulation"… if you’ve been traumatized it shatters the brains ability to regulate… it creates a child who is unwilling to trust another person and unwilling to be vulnerable and re-enter that frame where they can build an emotional landscape that could lead to flexible emotional regulation.

Instead, they reach for alternatives- sex, drugs, cigarettes, high calorie/ processed food… this is more than emotional eating. This is eating in an attempt to fill a void/ regulate painful emotions and un-regulatible feelings. Pain, somatic dissociation, poor self care.”

He says that when children are traumatized it affects their brain physically. “It actually has a measurable effect on their memory- their hippocampus is structurally different.” They have a higher probability of difficulty in school, ADHD, problems functioning academically, drug and alcohol use, behavioral problems. “When you can’t regulate you’re more likely to drink and not do so good in school.”

Dr. Drew says people engage in dysfunctional behavior such as substance abuse because they are so unregulated. Whatever the particular psychological disturbance, ultimately the causational link is trauma. Drew says his patients had twofold problems- addictions AND underlying trauma. Pain, PTSD mental and emotional pain, feelings of emptiness, propensity to reenact their trauma- it ALL stems from emotional disregulation. Attempts to solve that include self medicating with substances and or coping behaviors.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Claudia Black Launches Center for Young Adults in Recovery



“Our mission at the Claudia Black Young Adult Center is to help young adults and their families forge recovery paths, so they can heal, blossom, and thrive."- Dr. Claudia Black

The center focuses on a nurturing community, family systems, proven testing and assessments, life skills, experiential therapies, and 12-step work. Trauma comes in many forms, including but not limited to bullying, sexual assault, abandonment and many have faced absent, controlling, or addicted parents.

The Claudia Black Young Adult Center utilizes an array of experiential healing modalities – along with other therapies - including neurofeedback, mindfulness practices, equine-assisted psychotherapy, challenge courses, and trauma-informed psychodrama, along with EMDR and Somatic Experiencing.

Dr. Black’s work with children impacted by drug and alcohol addiction created the framework for the adult children of alcoholics’ movement. She has also authored over fifteen books, including Intimate Treason; It Will Never Happen To Me!; and Changing Course: Healing from Loss, Abandonment and Fear.

The Center, located in Arizona, is one of three treatment programs run by The Meadows. To learn more call (800) 244-4949 or visit http://www.themeadows.com

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

ACOA And ADHD



“Adult children of alcoholic parents have the highest rate of attention disorders among any clinical group.”- according to professor Steven L. Schandler, director of the Addiction Research and Cognitive Psychophysiology Laboratories at Chapman University.

In a recent Orange County Register article
(Click here for full article), Schandler also claimed that when ACOAs with ADD consume alcohol, “their systems slow down to a 'normal' level, which enhances their ability to process information.” This self medication can be a risk factor in ACOAs becoming alcoholics themselves. Children of alcoholics are up to 14 times more likely to have substance abuse problems than children of nonalcoholics.

It has also been documented that People with ADHD have at least one defective gene that makes it difficult for neurons to respond to dopamine, a key neurotransmitter regulating attention and feelings of pleasure.

What do YOU think? Do you find yourself drinking alcohol or binging on sugar or junk food in order to “feel better” or think more clearly?

One coping skill that has proven to work is exercise. Working out changes your physiology and increases chemicals called endorphins that make you feel good naturally. Plus exercise can increase blood flow, self esteem and help ward off anxiety.

What's your favorite coping mechanism?

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Traumatic Memories



When writer Annette McGivney set out to do research on a murder for a new book, she developed nightmares, panic attacks and insomnia. Her diagnosis was delayed onset post-traumatic stress disorder. The cause was 30 years of repressed fear that she had successfully kept a secret — especially from herself — that as a little girl she feared her my raging father would kill her.

“Most adult children (of abuse) reach adulthood with their secrets intact,” writes Judith Hermann, M.D., in “Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence from Domestic Abuse and Political Terror.” But “as the survivor struggles with the tasks of adult life, the legacy of her childhood becomes increasingly burdensome. Eventually, often in the third or fourth decade of life, the defensive structure may begin to break down…”

Annette writes: PTSD is not a sickness. It is the mind and body’s normal reaction to what is perceived as life threatening circumstances. But for adults who have experienced chronic, prolonged trauma — usually on the battlefield or growing up in abusive homes — this fight, flight or freeze reaction becomes deeply imbedded in the central nervous system and can make the challenge of recovering from PTSD daunting, and for some, seemingly impossible.

For her, the answer was in tackling the trapped energy - “the poison that lies beneath the surface”. Under the guidance of a trained trauma therapist, Annette was able to re-experience those episodes when she was on the receiving end of her father’s rage. Eventually, through Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) and Somatic Experiencing (SE) techniques, “That kid in me became convinced she was finally safe and could start to let down her guard… Instead of re-experiencing what actually happened, I chose escape. I envisioned calmly walking out the back door of my childhood home and down my sunlit driveway into the woods where I loved to roam.”

After three and a half years of working on recovery every single day, Annette remains on a lifelong journey toward healing and has found peace in the present.


Annette McGivney is a writer and 18-year Flagstaff resident. She teaches journalism at Northern Arizona University and is the Southwest Editor for Backpacker magazine.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

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