Breathing naturally will help you feel refreshed, balanced, and content. Shifting Standards. gaslighting tactic (see below), this is another way for the narcissist to maintain control over the victim. By moving the goalposts in this way, the narcissist seeks to confuse and humiliate their victim, often to the point of inducing depression, apathy, and other psychological problems in the victim. Harsh Judgement. When listening to the narcissist's stories about other people, including their past relationships, their partner heard a lot of harsh judgment against those people. At the time, they were likely moved to pity by the tale, unaware that this facet of the narcissist's personality would one day be aimed at them. This is one of the more common ways the narcissist makes the victim feel inadequate because it fits in with their sense of superiority. They constantly complain about what they think is wrong with the victim, implying that they are sub-par and that they could be better if they only tried. These are among the more common tactics that narcissists use to get under the skin of their victim, but two more deserve a little more explanation: Gaslighting and the Flying Monkey. Gaslight Is More Than Just a Movie The fascinating thing about this response is that it doesn't distinguish between actual danger, memories of danger, and potential danger. Running away from an actual tiger, remembering a tiger attack, and imagining a tiger attack all trigger the same set of physiological responses. Whether the danger is real, remembered, or imagined, our heart races, our blood pressure rises, and our breathing speeds up, while our appetite vanishes, our stomach acids drop, and our sexual response seems to disappear. What is really important to remember is that our bodies handle modern sources of stress--deadlines at work, worries about money, relationship problems--in very much the same way as actual physical danger. So when we're stressed by any actual, imagined, or remembered challenge--from a near miss in traffic to an angry boss--we trigger that response, which always begins with our adrenals releasing a cascade of stress hormones. When we need to rise to the occasion--whether to flee from a mugger or meet a deadline--we're very grateful for this hormonal cascade. But when our stress response goes off too often, when we can't turn it off, or when we feel as though most of our days are lived in unremitting stress, we have a problem. At this point we are facing genuine health risks to our heart, our cardiovascular system, and our immune system (stress suppresses our immune reaction). And of course, all those stress hormones flooding our system play havoc with the rest of our hormones--including our sex hormones.

Our bodies are built to handle one-time emergencies, whether it's a late night, a major deadline, or a week spent taking care of a sick child. This is an exercise to practice many times, to move toward more natural breathing. Learning natural breathing is an ongoing practice. The more you practice, the more you'll move toward natural balance and a natural state of contentment. Whenever you are just sitting, relax your lower jaw and open your mouth slightly. Try to make your breath very shallow and relax your whole body. This is not deep breathing through your diaphragm, but rather quick and shallow breathing through your throat. Start feeling a smile in your inner being, like in your belly. Let this smile spread from inside to your whole body. You are one big smile now. You can use this any time. In 1944, Ingrid Bergman starred in the movie adaptation of the play, Gaslight. She played a woman whose husband was trying to convince her that she is insane by manipulating things in the house and denying that anything has changed when she asks. name Gaslight comes from the way he would slowly dim the gas lights in the house while insisting to her that nothing had changed. then, it has come to mean manipulating a person's perception of reality, making them second-guess their choices and even their sanity, all to increase their dependence on their abuser, who is really seeking full control of their victim. convincing you that you are delusional, they can continue to avoid any responsibility for their own actions. You can't take a joke. narcissist is telling you that calling you something horrible and demeaning is really no different from harmless teasing and that you lack the wit or even the intelligence to understand that. Again, this undermines your perception of what is really going on in your relationship. You're harboring something that's in the past.

The message here is that you're nursing an old wound that is your own fault anyway and you need to get past it so I can move on to what I want to do next. We have more difficulty with prolonged stress unrelieved by relaxation or restoration. That's the situation so many of my patients are in: the hormonal cascade set off by their prolonged stress disrupts their hormones and well-being on multiple levels, contributing significantly to their health problems. This was certainly Michelle's situation. From the moment her baby woke her up in the morning until the moment she lay down to sleep at night, she felt as though she was always on the go, always on call, always faced with demands that were just a little too much for her to meet. Because the demands were unrelenting, she never really knew how to turn off that stress alert response. As a result, her system was almost continually flooded with stress hormones. Coping with continual stress in the present was challenging enough. But there was another dimension of Michelle's stress that further complicated the picture. Michelle was also dealing with stress from the past. Sometimes the sources of our stress have more to do with echoes from the past than with situations in the present. You can practice the inner smile in any situation--while sitting, lying down, standing, driving, or working. Breathing consciously and smiling will bring more awareness and concentration to whatever you are doing. Meditation and breathing exercises help you learn to put distance between yourself and your thoughts. With practice, your mind becomes flexible and pliable and you have more clarity about your direction in life. Flexible, adaptable species survive and thrive while those that are inflexible become extinct. Abdominal breathing--especially when it is slow, deep, and long--combined with certain mindfulness practices directed to specific energy centers, can help you receive the energies of the earth, nature, and the heavens. In natural breathing, when you breathe in, a respiratory wave starts deep in the abdominal cavity and flows up to the head. When you breathe out, the wave moves from head to feet. To sense your power center (hara), lie in relaxation pose.

Hara breathing can be done standing, sitting, or lying down. By doing this, the narcissist trivializes the pain their partner suffered and tries to mask the truly cyclical nature of the abuse. If you see any of the abuses cited above in your own relationships, either as the victim or the abuser, you will want to take a closer look at your situation and those involved and make some changes before it goes too far. Just because someone's a narcissist, that doesn't mean they have to act alone. Called Flying Monkeys by Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC after the creatures dispatched by the Wicked Witch to go after Dorothy. Obeying without question, they do her bidding. It works the same way with narcissists, and even more so with sociopaths and psychopaths. After all, by sending a loyal henchman out to take care of the dirty work, they can at least appear to have clean hands. You've seen this in action, though you may not realize it. How many times have you seen some spokesman for a narcissistic entertainer, politician, or CEO coming forward to make their boss look good after some scandal? What was Michael Cohen when he was helping to cover up Donald Trump's affair with Stormy Daniels? By the time Michelle was four, she had three younger siblings. Michelle's mother was overwhelmed by her situation, and Michelle vividly remembered the constant crying of babies whose diapers had not yet been changed. Michelle also remembered her mother's periodic explosions of rage. You're no help at all! Michelle's mother would yell at her four-year-old daughter. Don't you see what a hard time I'm having? Afterward, Michelle's mother was apologetic and tried to comfort Michelle. But to Michelle, these outbursts were terrifying and she tried to be the best little girl in the world in hopes of avoiding them. She learned to take care of herself, and she tried to suppress all the anxiety she felt about making a mistake, creating more problems, or making life harder for her mother.

This anxiety came with a price, of course, because from a very young age, Michelle was carrying an enormous amount of stress. The hara is located two inches below the navel. It's the physical and spiritual center of the body. Cover the navel with your hands. Breathe gently, in through the nose, filling the abdomen with air, and focus on your navel. On the exhale through your mouth, contract the muscles of your abdomen. Tighten the abdomen as much as you can. until you feel your breath being drawn from deep within your hara. When you breathe from your navel, you will feel the abdomen expand and contract. Take a deep breath and feel the diaphragm muscle move downward on inhalation and upward on exhalation. Sit or lie in a comfortable position. These are all examples of flying monkeys. The question is, given the often-public floggings they risk by carrying out their narcissist's orders or covering up their actions, why do they do it? Because there is a pay-off for both parties, at least for a while. According to Hammond, these flying monkeys often have their own psychological disorder, and that allows for each to feed on their relationship in some way. As long as they can garner power, influence, money, prestige, or some other benefit, the partnership works. Once those benefits are lost, or a greater benefit is offered, the narcissistic flying monkey flies away and could even turn on their former idol. Cohen is a good example of this in that he turned on Trump when it benefitted him more to do so. Generalized Anxiety Disorder. In this case, the constant anxiety of the flying monkey is attracted to the arrogance of the narcissist, but it lasts only until the anxiety eases.