How to stop being a victim of a narcissist
Several years ago, we wrote a book called The Back Door to Your Teen's Heart. The back door is our parenting philosophy for Narcissistic-age kids. Why the back door Because the front door simply doesn't work with teenagers. Girls in these twelve-to-fifteen years are narcissistic. They are awkward and unsure of themselves which really makes them unsure of everything else. This is often especially true of their relationship with us. It's not cool as a fourteen-year-old to be close to your mom, but, as we sneak around and come in the back door, they are caught off guard. They are often talking to us without even realizing it. They are relating and allowing us to drive, shop, and love them through these Narcissistic Years.
Girls hunger for deeper relationships in these sixteen-to-nine-teen years. They are biologically wired to give to others in ways that are more compassionate, more self-aware, and more abstract than ever before, and they are also able to do this with more logic and less emotion than they ever could have in those Narcissistic Years.
The psychologist Michael Gurian calls this age the most frightening episode of life a girl will experience, and with good reason. As a parent, you see her narcissism, you see her moodiness and her irritability, and you hear in her voice her insecurities about friends . . . or boys . . . or both. From twelve to fifteen years of age, your daughter has an excuse. Well, maybe not an excuse, because there are ways to challenge the behaviors and attitudes that often permeate adolescence, but there is a biological reason for the tu-multuousness of her behavior and emotions during these Narcissistic Years.
By the time a girl reaches her Narcissistic Years, her personality has mostly developed but then it changes. In her Adventurous Years, your daughter wanted to go to the movies with you. Now she wants you to drop her off a block away. Before, she would actually tell you about her day when you picked her up from school. Now she speaks in one-word utterances. The three relational areas of most importance to girls in the Narcissistic Years are
We hear these words often from parents of Narcissistic-age girls. They are said with a little hope, a little hesitancy, and a lot of trepidation. Puberty can be a dreaded word for parents and understandably so. Puberty wreaks havoc on the brain of your daughter and often the peace of your home. In the Adventurous Years hormones began to enter the brains of girls. It is in these Narcissistic Years that they take center stage. As the hormones surge through your daughter's brain, puberty begins. In his book, The Wonder of Girls, psychologist Michael Gurian has compiled this list of all that puberty affects in the life of your daughter Basically, hormones affect just about everything in a girl's life besides the color of her eyes. Thankfully, our culture is giving more and more credibility to the effect of hormones on women. These effects are also true and often especially true in the life of your Narcissistic-age girl. Her period most likely begins and is becoming regulated during these...
Welcome to the world of parents for Narcissistic-age girls. What is happening in this world Her answer would be whatever . . . So their choices come in other ways. Narcissistic-age girls assert their independence in what room they choose to spend the evening (usually theirs). They control how much they're willing to communicate with parents (usually not very). In these twelve-to-fifteen years, the thinking of girls becomes more abstract (which we talk more about in the section on spiritual development). They are able to see into situations and into people with a little more awareness, but this awareness is clouded by their narcissism. We believe this is the real heart of twelve- to fifteen-year-old girls they are aware but narcissistic. They argue and push away but want to be tucked in.
Friendships take on a whole new level of importance in the life of a Narcissistic-age girl. Several years ago, a family came in for counseling with three girls. one was in fifth grade, one in seventh, and one in tenth. The parents were getting a divorce. The youngest and the oldest daughters were torn up about it. For their first appointment, all they could do was cry. The middle daughter in seventh grade, however, was entirely different. She came in and told us she was fine with her parents' divorce. What she really wanted to talk about was her friend who was mad at her. The middle daughter did grieve her parents' divorce several years later, once she had moved out of her Narcissistic Years, but in those years her friendship difficulties superseded those of her family. We talk a lot with parents of Narcissistic-age girls about how their voices become quieter while peers' voices become louder, and it is in these years that this principle takes effect. When she's not with her friends,...
As we were writing this book, we asked two different groups of girls, one in their Narcissistic Years and the other in their The majority of adjectives to describe the Narcissistic-age girls have to do with how other people see them. The adjectives for the Autonomous-age girls have to do with who they are. NARCISSISTIC YEARS
A friend and I (Sissy) actually had this conversation in a grocery store a few years ago. Her daughter was in the middle of her Narcissistic Years, and her mother had lost all sight of how to help her. She knew her daughter felt bad about herself she knew she was struggling with friends, but because of the way this daughter treated her and her brother, this single mom was at the end of her rope. She couldn't drum up compassion for her daughter let alone a vision.
What a powerful lesson for Caroline to have learned at two. Even as a little girl, she is aware. Girls are typically tuned in to the nuances of your behaviors and emotions (maybe with the exception of those in the Narcissistic Years). They will notice your sadness and often try to be a source of comfort in small ways or in big.
Daniel's frustrations are shared by many parents of teenagers. It is especially difficult to see your daughter's strengths when she is in her Narcissistic Years (see chapter 4). It feels impossible to point out the good in her when she is selfish or angry or disobedient. Those parts of her are so painful, so disappointing, that they become all many parents see.
One of the most common phrases for girls to say to each other in these twelve-to-fifteen years is, What's wrong In their Adventurous Years, girls didn't say these kinds of things. If her friend was sad, your daughter drew her a picture or tried to make her laugh. As they reach the Narcissistic Years, however, girls ask. When one of their friends is sad, they ask what is wrong (often ad nauseum) and usually believe the answer has something to do with them. This has to do with the relational nature of girls in their Narcissistic Years. Like Thomas, girls in their Narcissistic Years want to touch the holes in Jesus' hands and side, which is why girls come home so often talking about a retreat in which everyone cried. It is why things like nailing sins to a cross or washing feet have such meaning for twelve-to-fifteen-year-old girls. Girls want to know Jesus in a way that is more of a reality than an idea. And on and on until every camper was talked about. Gideon's story spoke to all...
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