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It was never our intention to inflict emotional pain on our only child. Unfortunately, children can be ignored and forgotten in the sea of their parent’s emotional disabilities. Children can be transported all over creation. Children can be hurt by their parent’s ability to love. The loudest voice in our house was always his, although he may disagree. His voice was loudest not by volume but by lesson.
Our son was and is a constant reminder to us to deal with what is under the rug. The rug that came to every house no matter how many different places we lived. Loudly and quietly our son picked up frayed corners of the rug and begged for us to sweep out the truth and deal with it. While he lived in our house we could not look under that rug.
In his absence the rugs were lifted up and the brooms, dustpans, and mops came out. He was wise enough to realize that he could not carry the burden of being the family truth-teller any longer. As children his father and I were carriers of those torches, until we unknowingly passed that burden on to him.
Our son could not become a man in our house. When he turned eighteen, against our wishes, beliefs, and understanding, he chose the toughest road to becoming a man. A mission that most would never choose to undertake.
To prove he could.
To get out of his comfort zone.
To grow out and up.
How will it be when he comes home?
How can we admire him more?
It is not his choices that make us admire him, it is his resolve.
Our hope for him?
To see himself as we see him: tender, sweet, smart, quick, handsome, brave, honest, wise, deep, funny, harsh and strong.
The dark clouds through which our son views himself are hereditary and learned behaviors. Our only consolation to him is that the taskmaster he carries on his back gets quieter with age. The clouds dissipate with time. The choice to embrace happiness does become a habit, and is worth fighting for.
In and of him….
We see choices that become flaws and then become character. We see blame that becomes a vice and then becomes responsibility. We see innocence hardened by experience that then becomes wisdom. Finally, we see love disguised as pain that will become freedom.
Our son was born with our adoration. He was protected fiercely from our families. He didn’t understand because there was no need. Protection of your child from the psychopaths that his parents grew up with happened only relying on our instincts. We knew what evil was and while his father and I were toiling away with our handicaps, we were able to make sure he was the only child in generations of children that was not sexually abused.
Does he carry scars from his parentage? Yes, he does.
Whatever he needs to say, however, he needs to be heard, and his father and I listen. Did he grow up under the horrific conditions we did?
But he still deserves to be heard for what we weren’t capable of being for him.
And we will listen. In the sea of our ever-changing emotional disabilities, we will always listen.
I’ve had a lot of survivors of psychological abuse come to me for advice especially after listening to my radio show and reading the article I wrote with Andrea Schneider titled Is Narcissism Psychological Viagra? Our sexual feelings when it comes to psychological abusers are not widely discussed. Nor are the ways in which we need to heal that part of us that was awakened by false love.
I know that for me, the person I thought I was wholly in love with was a mirage. Looking back on him later – after much time in recovery and speaking with experts all over the globe about narcissistic abuse – I see how powerful the mind can be. Your imagination is what predators count on and bathe in, literally, in order to feel alive. It is intrinsic to you as a feeling, empathic human being to love, give love, share your soul, and fantasize. This is not intrinsic to a narcissistic abuser. They do not have the ability to go to the depths that we can. Our ability to dive into the deepest parts of the ocean is what they crave because they can’t go there alone. They can’t go there at all. Their emotional impotence won’t allow for it.
Kim Saeed, a profound healer of narcissistic abuse, asked me if I’d write a book with her about narcissism and sex. I can’t think of anyone better to dive into the deep end with about this potent subject matter. It’s part of the uncomfortable conversations that must be engaged in when it comes to narcissistic abuse.
I had up until that point, the most powerful orgasms of my life when fantasizing about William. We never had sex. It was an emotional affair that I took seriously. He took it as seriously as he does every man and woman with whom he has engaged in these games his entire life. How devastating it was for me to truly learn what jealousy, envy, and hate feel like. William was the best teacher I have ever had – even more than my biological father who molested me.
How can this be true? What my biological father, whom I’ll refer to now as Kirby, did to me was horrifying. Children come into this world and we are supposed to trust our parents. We do trust our parents. They are the wayshowers for every relationship we’ll have and many of us spend our lifetime working on those relationships with other people. I didn’t have a frame of reference that Kirby wasn’t supposed to kiss me the way that he did, or that I shouldn’t have been sleeping in the same bed with him into my pre-teens, or that he shouldn’t have been showing me pictures of his own penis. I only saw him every other weekend but every other weekend I was alone with a psychopath.
When I was twelve I “told” on Kirby to my mother. He was getting bolder in the seduction of his daughter, and me being the empath I was, I could feel it. I was starting to feel sick like him. Even though I didn’t know it was wrong, I knew it was wrong. The Sunday night I told my Mom was the last time I would ever see Kirby.
There was life before “telling” on Kirby and there was life after. What happened next was the shocking reality that I had no family support other than my mother, there was blame of me for “seducing” Kirby, the society of the early 80’s did not talk openly about incest, and yet there was me, Kristin, with a fire in my belly and a voice to be heard.
I am proud to say I was part of the movement that made speaking out acceptable. I began as a teenager to speak at every school, conference, and soapbox I could about sexual abuse. It was my way to take his shame and get it out of me. I had no idea how powerful it was that I was doing this and I was in every kind of therapy imaginable. However, while I was waging a war against abuse in my life, I was a ghost in high school. There was no way I could concentrate on studying while this epic upheaval was going on in my personal life. My mother was dealing with her own abuse issues that came to light while she was in therapy to help me. It’s already difficult to be a normal teenager, living a normal teenage life: I was thrust into a hurricane the moment I told my mother what was really going on with Kirby.
The slow seduction of your own child can only be perpetrated by a psychopath. His needs before his daughter’s. But he was my parent. I was birthed into trusting him. I learned not to trust him.
Thirty years later including seeking out therapy as needed, I met William. I was freshly divorced and living on my own for the first time, and had spent several months taking care of my own needs – after figuring out exactly what my needs were. I had already had a long career with Fortune 100 to Fortune 1000 companies and was feeling good about myself in a way I had never before experienced. It was at this healthy point in my life that I was introduced to William. I wasn’t attracted to him in any way. He had a failing company in a small town and needed an adviser and a lifeboat. He gave me an office to work in for my own company in exchange for my advice. He spent months slowly seducing me. I did not know him or trust him. I actually thought he was a “thin read”, as my mother pronounced him, a bit of a bumbling idiot. But this is just how good psychopaths are – whatever we need them to be in order to get us hooked is what they’ll use. The juicier the bait you are, the more fun it is to take you down.
Imagine a small-town guy that isn’t very bright (this was the line he used on everyone he was trying to seduce) going after a woman with my corporate success history, my vocal stance on sexual abuse, and my bleeding heart advocacy for mental wellness. I now understand it was a backwards-compliment that I was a big target for William. I was his polar opposite. He dips his toe in the shallow end of the pool and I swan dive into the deep end. It was a match made in hell.
And there began the slow seduction of Kristin. It is not lost on me that William showed up in my life in order for me to finally confront Kirby. I had done the work. I had been in therapy. I had spoken about predators on a public stage. I was in no way unaware that predators exist. What I wasn’t aware of, however, is how they use our own power to abuse us. I wasn’t aware of the term narcissistic abuse. Predators have no power of their own. William did not automatically have my trust as Kirby did. William had to work for it. William was married with kids. William knew exactly what to say and how to play with my emotions. It is ironic that he often took me aside to ask which one of his staff I felt was “playing him”. The player is always worried about being played even if the player is just a small-town guy who isn’t very bright.
As the host of Mental Health News Radio, I interviewed Dr. James Fallon, a renowned neuroscientist who found out he has the genetic correlates of a psychopath. Dr. Fallon confirmed that not all psychopaths have a high IQ. As I had learned from many of the mental health specialists on my show psychopathic abusers create toxic triangles with the people in their lives by pitting them against each other in order to make sure the pyschopath is always the center of attention. All people are merely objects to be manipulated. The feelings of their prey are only a consideration if those feelings can be manipulated or manufactured in service of the abuser.
Psychopathic abusers use our own imagination and, especially our wounds, against us. Their main excitement in life is seeing themselves the way we saw them when they first had us hooked. As an example, in the beginning William behaved like a little kid falling over himself to talk to me, be near me, touch me, and have my attention. He once did chin-ups using the door frame of my office, exposing his abdomen, and blocking me from leaving. As his games progressed, they became darker and more sinister because I wasn’t willing to be a participant. Frankly, I was shocked that an adult man would behave this way. I had been working with men and women for twenty years who behaved in all sorts of ways but this was a whole new level. It was subtle and seemingly innocent. The author of The Empowered Whistleblower, Dawn M. Westmoreland, confirmed this was sexual harassment.
Every psychopathic abuser is different in how they play their games but inside they are all the same – empty and dark. In one afternoon, William went from being an idiot that repulsed me to being the most handsome man I had ever known. This “transformation” occurred when he claimed he was upset over a death in his family. I reacted the way any caring person would and William‘s short-term bereavement was the bait he used to hook me. He had found his way in and from then on he didn’t try to stop himself from rubbing my shoulders or rubbing up against me as we passed in a hallway. Though I never touched him, I did talk to him privately saying this behavior made me uncomfortable. Once when I was leaving the building for an appointment, William shouted out in the voice of a five-year-old like Mommy leaving daycare for the first time, “Bbbbut, where are you going? When are you coming back?” I hadn’t nursed a child in twenty years and yet I immediately felt my milk come in. I was entranced by this neediness as much as I was repulsed by it. Thus is life for William. Women and men are equally enchanted and repulsed by him. That’s his “shtick” as a psychopath.
No overt braggart was going to enchant me. One would have to be much more subtle and play the fool. William made playing the fool a form of art. I was certainly fooled into loving him by the innocent boy routine because grown men were still terrifying to me in many ways. I had big Daddy issues to match William’s bigger Mommy issues. My early childhood sexual wounds fed this relationship like an eternal spring. This awareness is why when survivors come to me asking for advice, I can sense those that have been sexually abused as children. The psychopath(s) that come into our lives are there to suss out those wounds for healing. What happened with William was that slow drip of seduction, just like Kirby, but William had to work harder for it. He wasn’t my parent.
I recently ran into William after a few years of no contact. Seeing him with the knowledge that all of my study about narcissistic abuse has given me allowed me to pop any final balloons of delusion I might have had about him. A friend and powerful healer, Evelyn Ryan, has sarcastically pointed out, “A turd is still a turd even if you roll it in glitter.” I am amazed at my ability to ascribe God-like status to someone so weak, insecure, and small. I almost felt sorry for him until I remembered – feeling sorry for William was part of his psychopathic voodoo. He’ll cleave to your breast to rescue him and then punish you for it.
Watching this cleaving with one employee of his after another was where I learned what it meant to feel jealousy. Everyone is at one time so special until he’s had enough of them or they’ve had enough of him. You can never do enough to please William and his entire company is operated in a way where everyone trips over each other vying for his attention. Others expressed similar experiences, “William and I were once so close and then he completely changed into a different person. I don’t understand what happened between us.” In my case, I started speaking to him the way his wife did – with disdain and disgust.
Many survivors of narcissistic abuse feel embarrassed about how infected they feel over a person with whom they may never have had sex. I tell them they are lucky it didn’t get that far. Imagine how much worse your journey might be if you had? Whether you’ve had intercourse with them or not, you must work hard to take your sexual power back. It’s daunting work especially for childhood sexual trauma survivors. So much shame was poured into us as vulnerable children, shame that belongs to the predators. We have carried it around like an anvil on our backs. Then a psychopath or two comes along. They open us up, knowing we are wounded profoundly, obtain our trust and we love them like we’ve never loved anyone. Eventually they will dump all of their shame into us and use our trauma to beat us into submission.
Shortly after I realized I was speaking to him with disdain and he was never going to halt his mind games, I moved out of his building. I was maligned and shamed by him, and by his staff and our mutual friends, for “preying” on him. Psychopathic abusers are masters at playing the victim by blaming those they are victimizing. It’s what they do. William was in heaven. He got a nice vacation from the shame he carries around every day by pouring it into me and it almost put my lights out. Having his staff continue to act in service of him by trying to pull me back into that drama was almost overwhelming.
William picked the worst possible person by targeting me. The big mouth activist who started a radio show where she talks all about narcissistic abuse. Do you think that has stopped William from preying on women and men? Absolutely not. Like a five year old in a grown man’s body – he can’t stop himself from opening presents before Christmas day. Of course he’s still playing games, triangulating his staff and “friends” with his spouse, and creating bonfires of drama all around him while pointing fingers at everyone else when he is the one holding the match and the gas. It’s what they do because they have no depth or strength to deal with themselves. Emotional impotence.
I did give William one last chance to apologize before I ceased all contact. Naturally, he didn’t show up for our appointment. He may almost be convinced he did nothing wrong. His own sexual wounds make him surround himself with controversy around a person with whom he may be having an affair. The stark reality is probably that if he has sex at all, it’s only with himself and occasionally his wife. I know that he knows what he did with me. I know that he can’t sleep and has panic attacks in the night. He told me about them. I am finally proud to note I’ve been added to the list of things that go bump in the night for William. I am one of many people on a very long list.
Thanks to what I learned through my experience with William I finally confronted Kirby. Kirby didn’t want to “show up” either. Confronting Kirby was the point of the William journey. And confront Kirby I did. I blind carbon copied his second wife when I emailed Kirby about what he did to me and how it has affected my entire life. I didn’t have the opportunity to confront him earlier because he disappeared in order to avoid criminal charges. I knew involving his spouse was the only way I would receive a response. I did not know where he lived nor did I have a phone number but his wife had mistyped a few letters in his email address and it had ended up in my inbox.
Kirby did finally acknowledge what he did to me. I read the words that I had needed to hear for 44 years, “What I did to you was not your fault. I am profoundly sorry for everything I did. It was wrong. I was wrong. None of it was your fault. I hope and pray you can forgive me.”
It has been more than two years since that email exchange with Kirby and I haven’t felt the need to engage with him further. I heard through a family member that his wife left him not long after that exchange. If that happened, I certainly don’t feel bad about it.
Here is how I personalized what I learned to help heal the sexual trauma from all of my dealings with William:
Your abuser(s) used your sexual trauma to seduce you. The mixture of shame, danger, passion, and excitement is more powerful than any drug you could ever take. You have to treat it like an addiction because that is exactly what it has become.
You must, for a time, allow yourself to continue the sexual fantasies of your psychopath. The modern day – happening right now – abuser that is in your life. But you will do this fantasizing with a purpose and it will only go on for a time. You, your therapist and/or life-coach will make a contract that this only goes on for a time. Go ahead and fantasize. When you orgasm say the abuser’s name and picture all of the energy of that orgasm pouring out of you. Picture it for what it is – toxic, dark waste wrapped in shame and evil. Let it flow out of your body and picture it floating away from you – across town, down the hall, over the ocean to wherever your abuser lives. Picture this shame seeping in through every pour of your abuser’s body. That shame is simply returning home.
The fantasy was just that – a fantasy. The shame, however, was real. You must put that shame back where it belongs – not inside of you.
Whether you see this as crazy or not, this was one thing I did that helped me get William and his endless neediness and shame out of my head, my body, and my heart. I gave him back what he was using me as a vacation from. I did this exercise until I just didn’t need to do it anymore. Until the very thought of anything sexual with him became exactly what it would have felt like: disgusting.
And when I saw him with all of that gone, I forgave myself. I was never in love with him. I was in love with my intoxicating version of him which was pretty damn powerful. And I realized that narcissistic, sociopathic, and psychopathic abusers have no power. They only visit power through us and when we do whatever it takes to reclaim our power, we begin to finally heal all the way back to the first one that abused us, even if that was a parent.
*The term Take Your Power Back was inspired by author Evelyn M. Ryan from her book, “Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips and Tools for Abuse Survivors.”
I’ve met both.
All genders, races and sexual preferences.
I’ve definitely had my own selfish moments. And I’ve acted like a jerk.
Anyone who has experienced narcissistic abuse knows there is a significant difference between the selfish jerk and the disordered-obnoxious-selfish jerk. One doesn’t trauma-bond with a mere selfish jerk. You don’t obsess, have panic attacks, develop an eating disorder, dive into mental illness, and have your soul ravaged over just a selfish jerk. You don’t question every relationship as well as your ability to differentiate what is real and what is Memorex with just a selfish jerk.
Selfish jerks make promises they never deliver. They rarely apologize. They are obtuse. They are passive aggressive and, yes, they are weak. They leave people hanging. They don’t share their feelings even when someone is being extremely giving to them. They disappear over ridiculous slights without offering the ability to confront anything. Some rant and rage and wallow in the hood: The Victimhood.
Selfish jerks can have temporary missives with their behavior. They say they don’t want to hurt anyone. If cornered, some will even apologize and evolve. They were triggered. Sometimes they were triggered out of an abuse they’ve suffered. Afraid of rejection, they may run with their tail between their legs while espousing their “word as their bond”.
Selfishly-disordered jerks (psychopaths and sociopaths) do all of the above but they do it with sadistic enjoyment of other people’s pain. They plot, strategize, and plan soul-crushing emotional time bombs and then smile like Damien’s child when they see the carnage they’ve created.
I watched a man decimate his wife regularly and publicly while smiling as the blood drained from her face and pooled in her neck. It was frightening and sickening to witness his black, vacant eyes and the smirk on his face as he left her emotionally bereft by an unauthorized, sneak attack or a full frontal assault.
I witnessed another as he sat back in his office chair, smiling widely while stretching out his arms and lacing his fingers behind his head. He had just figured out that he had complete control of one of his employees who was in desperate trouble with her child and her finances. “Who would hire her after what she’s done to her kid? She’s got medical expenses for the rest of its life. She’ll take whatever I dish out and beg for more.” This was bone-chilling to witness. She still works for him but he is probably right–she’ll never quit. He will pass her over, use her to triangulate with his wife, her coworkers, her husband and friends for two reasons–the eternal boredom of his emotionless life, and, because he can. This is better salvo than an orgasm. For predators like this it is a calculated traumagasm they’ve been perfecting all their lives.
I always wondered why he chose to show me what he looked like under his mask of sanity and “Aw, shucks” persona. It didn’t scare me but I certainly was disgusted. I was also and already trauma-bonded with him and it took a full year after the latest round of pain infliction on everyone around him before I got out for good.
Was he a selfish jerk? Absolutely, but he wasn’t obtuse. A selfish-disordered jerk doesn’t have occurrences of insight about their behavior in order to change their ways. Selfish-disordered jerks know exactly what they are doing and feel they are entitled to do whatever they want. They know it–not feel it–and are just entitled to know it. Disdain is the favored resting place when they have ravaged another source of adoration to the point of exhaustion. Or they simply do it out of boredom. Or because something shinier came along.
Selfish jerks also use social media to attack because they cannot deal with face-to-face confrontation. They hide behind self-righteousness and the flavors of a weak constitution. They don’t mean to inflict pain, they are acting out of their pain. On the other hand, the psychopathically disordered are far removed from their pain. They hunt to hurt.
While we know the difference through our own experience and by educating ourselves about the ravages of narcissistic abuse, let’s try to behave responsibly. Not everyone is a sociopath or a psychopath or even a high-spectrum narcissist. Some people are just plain selfish: temporarily or permanently. Watering down the significance of narcissistic abuse by labeling anyone who’s just a selfish jerk as a member of the satanic club of psychopathy is not good for the cause.
Confront and move on from just selfish jerks. Always and forever go NO CONTACT with disordered-selfish jerks. They’ll beat you with your goodness, enjoy your beheading, and convince you to come back for more.
Life always comes back to serve them up with a wonderful thing called age. Selfish-disordered jerks don’t age well. The older one gets the uglier it is to behave like a spoiled, demonic child unwilling to share the toys in their shrinking sandbox of life.
Luke Skywalker was cute as Hell and I almost put a picture of him on my bedroom wall amidst all the other pictures I had cut from magazines in my youth. In my middle-age reflections I realize I had assembled a collage of disturbed men, including Steven Collins during his stint on the 1982 adventure show, “Tales of the Gold Monkey” and Gerald McRaney, from the American television detective series, “Simon & Simon” which ran 1981-95. However, none of those heroes could hold a candle to Han Solo.
I see these figures now as my early training towards “love”–with psychopaths, sociopaths, and malignant narcissists. Han Solo was devilishly handsome and lived outside the universe of acceptable behavior … I mean outside the entire universe. Not even the dregs of universal society liked him. But, Han got the princess and young girls like me were groomed to believe that underneath that roguish behavior beat a heart of gold, the best sex we could ever have, and our soulmate. Does anyone else find this utterly disturbing in 2016?
After recently watching “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, the latest addition to the franchise—I realize I am continuing the love affair that began in 1977 when the original film hit the big screen. Today, however, it did not surprise me that things didn’t end up happily ever after between Han and Leia. I was seven when the first “Star Wars” came out and, with the help of my father, I ditched school to see “The Empire Strikes Back”. In the years afterward the amount of time I spent staring into space and fantasizing about Han Solo was in direct proportion to how much time I needed to pretend my father was not unhealthily obsessed with his only daughter. I stole issues of his “Playboy” so I could cut out pictures of Han Solo to further cement in my psyche that sociopaths are who I should aspire to bed, wed, and procreate with. Why “Playboy”? It was the magazine that littered my father’s one-bedroom apartment and what he regularly threw on the coffee table in front of me with a pious comment like, “This is what real women look like.” I don’t cook (maybe on purpose), but I know this was a recipe for disaster.
In fact, I married my Han Solo. He was sixteen years older than me and, at my tender age of eighteen, rushing into a relationship with a 35-year-old man seemed like a wonderful idea. The fact that I was pregnant three months into our relationship and felt I deserved so little from men that I skipped out on birth control to try and secure him was simply the icing on the cake. It didn’t matter; I was already pregnant before that bright idea sprang forth.
“Daniel” was a charming scoundrel with the FBI on his tail and a trail of broken relationships, money problems, health issues, drug addiction, and “accidents” to his name—but he loved me. He was the ultimate scoundrel and I was his princess. Sadly, he did not come equipped with a furry Chewbacca dispensing sage advice that hardly anyone can understand. Did Chewbacca also have a wife and children? What were they doing while he was traipsing around the galaxy with his good buddy, Han?
After my credit was ruined, I had gone bankrupt with Daniel before the age of twenty-four, and was about to embark on single parenthood, I became the main attraction for every malignant narcissist, sycophant, sociopath, and psychopath within a 10-mile radius (quite a few of them from Daniel’s own family), I finally divorced my Han Solo. He wasn’t out saving the universe in death-defying and heroic ways. He was having an affair with one of my girlfriends and eventually stole thousands of dollars from his employer. For a few years he lived under an assumed name in a foreign country. On the rare occasions I did receive child support he mailed gold nuggets placed in a film canister that he got from blowing up mines and soul-searching in the wilds of British Columbia. The exchange rate netted me about $600. The parallels are there, folks. I don’t need to spell it out for you.
Does it surprise me that the child of Han Solo and Princess Leia turns out to be a psychopath that kills his own father? Not in the least. Does it surprise me that the relationship between Han Solo and Princess Leia has been glamorized across planet earth for decades? Not in the least.
Han Solo is not my dream man anymore. It has taken years of therapy and a lot of bad decisions to get here. A few of those years I could have settled for a Jabba the Hutt, but I did not. It was important for me to deglamorize deplorable men even if my first example of what a man is would send me on a journey of deprogramming that will probably last my lifetime. You see Daniel and I had a son. Somewhere in the back of my mind I hung on to the idea of not wanting to punish my only child for being a male. The amount of work it would take to pull away from what had seemed like normal male behavior was enormous. Even when one is raised with wolves in sheep’s clothing (no offense to actual wolves) somewhere I knew I did not want my son to follow in either of our father’s footsteps.
I am the one who introduced “Star Wars” to my son. He is now in his middle twenties and wanted to see the newest “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” with his mother. We had a good time and, now at age forty-five, I have a very different opinion of Han Solo. I hope the Leias of the world grow up to realize they deserve so much better. Some of them do. You can be a princess, a mother, an Admiral commanding half of the galaxy all on your own or do this with a wonderful, strong, non-sociopathic partner.
Is our son doomed to become like his father, or worse? Real life is the deglamorized version of every parable ever turned into a movie. My son–so far so good–has sought counseling as an adult–knows exactly what a sociopath is, and, while he loves his father very much, is not living a duplicate life. Han Solo does not age well, no sociopath ever does. Some end up being financially supported by one of their princesses, hardly able to walk, and live life as a hermit. They don’t get their second act, like Luke Skywalker. Too many lives were destroyed in the wake of their disorder and, finally, they are powerless to do anything but exactly what Admiral Leia Organa is still willing to put up with in the name of, “He’s the father of my only child.”
Our son is not a psychopath but he did “kill” those fatherly traits he could have easily adopted. He’ll live with how he had to do this for the rest of his life. He will also wrestle with loving his father with every beat of his heart while resisting the often easy road of becoming the exact opposite just to prove he is not, “Like father, like son.” I admire him for it, but neither he nor his father live in a galaxy far, far away, and I am a proud and recovered Princess Leia.
“Kristin Walker skillfully writes an excellent article comparing and contrasting Star Wars characters with those on the spectrum of narcissism ranging up to extreme narcissism, in the form of psychopathy. So often in Hollywood productions, we see characters exhibiting narcissistic tendencies in the plot-line, if not full blown psychopathy. Kristin highlights the importance of learning from movie characters how individuals have choice with whom they choose to engage in a relationship. Although Han Solo may look like that guy with swagger and perhaps a knight in shining armor, he is far from perfect, and certainly let down Princess Leia with his self-absorbed tendencies. Although a beloved character to many, Han Solo definitely can fit the profile of someone who might look like a Casanova, somatic narcissist. We certainly don’t wish him the ending he got in the most recent film, but it is telling that his son wrestles with ego as well, and ultimately is the undoing of Han.” – Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW and author of Soul Vampires: Reclaiming Your Lifeblood After Narcissistic Abuse.