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Have a Narcissist or Sociopath in Your Life? Cambridge Has a Support Group for You

Have a Narcissist or Sociopath in Your Life? Cambridge Has a Support Group for You

Narcissists and sociopaths wreak havoc on others' lives. There is no need to be alone with it. Cambridge has a support group for you.

Have a Narcissist or a Sociopath in Your Life? You’re in Good Company, and There’s a Cambridge Support Group for You

If you have a true narcissist or sociopath in your life, you feel the consequences. It is no fun. It is harrowing.

In truth, we all have some narcissism in us. We are interested in what we are interested in. We all sometimes put our needs ahead of others’. But a person who is a narcissist is to the extreme of self-centeredness, to the exclusion of caring about others in even the most meager of ways. Taken to the extreme extreme, narcissism becomes sociopathy – having no conscience. People who are narcissists or sociopaths are disturbing, frightening to be in relation with, filling us with dread. That dread is a natural response, given that human life is in part about relationships. Without caring, without empathy, there is no way to relate, to reach someone, to resolve conflict, to receive sincere help, to receive love. Or even, to give love. True narcissists or sociopaths just do not relate.

So, what if you learn that a close family-of-origin member is a narcissist or a sociopath? Or what if you come to see that a spouse, the parent of your children, or a supervisor has no concern about your feelings, or even no conscience? And what if you find that what comes with that narcissistic or sociopathic personality – gas lighting, manipulation, lies, pitting others against you – has always or recently plunged your life into living hell? And you feel ashamed, alone, frightened, confused. Perhaps you even wonder if you’re the problem. What can you do?

You can seek support, comfort, validation, and tangible guidance. There’s no need to be alone with this. One place to go for support is a Meetup group that takes place monthly, currently in the Harvard Square area. Right here in Cambridge, there’s a place you can go, whether you are newly awakened to the cause of your suffering or have known about it for the decades. The Meetup group is called the Metrowest Narcissistic Abuse Peer-to-Peer Support Group. The group meets for two hours with a solid structure, facilitated by a survivor/recoverer of narcissistic abuse. The structure invites one person to share for fifteen minutes, and then, for the next forty-five minutes, receive the support they ask for, be it feedback, expression of similar experiences, or advice on how to handle, say, a court appearance with a narcissistic father of your child. Then the second hour creates round-the-room sharing of everyone else’s lived experiences. No one is required to share. Some folks come and sit and listen. Some sob quietly without saying much. That’s fine. That’s fine.

“The group has been incredibly helpful, especially the first time I went. I felt validated,” says Jane, a woman who has attended the Meetup a number of times. “What I talked about – patterns – was really familiar to other people, so they could relate.” The validation is often the learning – really learning, and the knowing, really knowing - that the cause of the problem is external to you. Getting that – really getting that – takes time and reinforcement, because the narcissistic/sociopath is extraordinarily skilled at manipulating the recipients of harm into believing that they have brought it on themselves. “I discovered it’s okay for me to feel the way I do,” Jane emphasizes. And that validation gives survivors hope that things can get better.

Beyond emotional validation, group members are certain to hear shared experiences from other survivors about how to cope with interactions and fallout from relating with a narcissist or sociopath. “The group empowers people to handle situations in a different way. I learned from others’ inspiration,” Jane tells me. “Oh, WOW! I can do that? I need to do that! Yes!” Jane says, referring to ways group members talk about setting limits with their perpetrators. Or handling court appearances for child custody or housing crises with someone who lies, manipulates, and can turn everyone against their target.

So come with your disasters, your terror, your dignity, your shame, your integrity, your doubts, your dread, and anything else you portage around with you because of the narcissist or sociopath in your life. Unload, support others, learn, bear witness, feel comforted. You are in good company. Rest assured that confidentiality is significantly emphasized in this Meetup: What is talked about in the room stays in the room. This is so important for those of us who are afraid of the narcissists or sociopaths in our lives. If you are wondering how many folks tend to come: Size varies from seven to around twenty attenders, both men and women, adults only.

The Meetup meets monthly, is free of charge, but donations are welcomed to defray the cost of renting space. Visit Meetup.com, join Meetup.com itself. From there you can ask to join the support Meetup group itself to start receiving notices about meeting days and location.

Comments

Thanks for sharing this information and valuable resource, Helen!

Happily, Siobhan! I'm so glad the group is there...it helps so, so many...Thank YOU...