Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Spiritual Narcissist

The Spiritual Narcissist

I’ve been putting off writing about narcissism for months now. Having navigated the world of narcissism my entire life due to the nature of my family, it’s taken me 45 years to shake the feeling that narcissism is home or how love feels. As sad as this is, I’m grateful that now I feel in every cell of my body the presence of a narcissist. It no longer feels like home.
It feels like my heart closing, an energetic shield going up, and the need to be fully present in order to protect myself from damage or harm. I immediately become hyper aware, the ease and grace I usually live with is put on hold as I navigate the predator at hand and my fight or flight response. The truth is, we are all unknowingly responding this way. Another word for this invisible, internal, survival mechanism is anxiety.
According to Karla McClaren, the author of The Language of Emotions, anxiety is caused by being around incongruent people. A narcissist is nothing if not incongruent. Their main subconscious focus is to maintain their image at all costs.
So what is the clinical description of narcissistic personality disorder? According to Google Health:
Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which there is an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with one's self.
A person with narcissistic personality disorder:
  • Reacts to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation 
  • Takes advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals 
  • Has feelings of self-importance 
  • Exaggerates achievements and talents 
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love 
  • Has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment 
  • Requires constant attention and admiration 
  • Disregards the feelings of others, lacks empathy 
  • Has obsessive self-interest 
  • Pursues mainly selfish goals
  • Treatment
    Psychotherapy may help the affected person relate to others in a more positive and compassionate manner.
    The cause of this disorder is unknown. Narcissistic personality disorder usually begins by early adulthood.
    Tests & diagnosis
    Personality disorders are diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation and the history and severity of the symptoms.
    The outcome varies with the severity of the disorder.
  • Relationship and family problems
  • Alcohol or other drug dependence
  • We live in a world of narcissists and therefore a world of anxiety but instead of building a bridge back to a more conscious connection to self and crossing it, we drink, shop, live in denial, have affairs, watch television, take prescription drugs, isolate or become content with the malaise or unease we’ve come to know as life.
    So what is a spiritual narcissist? According to author Jorge Ferrer, “Spiritual narcissism believes that one deserves love and respect or is better than another because one has accumulated spiritual training instead of the belief that accumulating training will bring an end to suffering.”
    I take what I do very seriously and am always on the look out for my own narcissistic tendencies. I have learned that my calling often attracts spiritual narcissists. It’s been eye opening going to different workshops to realize the facilitator is a narcissist. I watched one coach, tell a client (without getting to the core of her problem), “If you weren’t already signed up for my program, I’d know how to get you there.” Yikes! He was such a narcissist that he had no idea he’d just told a room of people that he’s a master manipulator. The worse part is the client and most of the room didn’t realize he was either. Why? Narcissism feels like home and a lot of those in the room (I’d soon discover) were narcissists. Like attracts like.
    The trickiest part of getting healthy and away from narcissists is knowing when you are in the presence of one. Getting to the point where it no longer feels like home. A simple rule is this, whenever you feel unease or anxiety after being around someone or in conversation with them, most likely they have some narcissistic tendencies if not a full blown narcissist.
    I’ve spent the past year learning to navigate clients that are narcissists, most go away because we are not a fit. I won’t uphold, take a stand for, or “give permission” to their egomaniacal wants and their egos don’t like it so they run. At first I was so triggered by them, I quietly fell apart inside and didn’t know what to do. Now that I’ve practiced standing still, staying present, and not becoming my six year old self, I am learning how to work with narcissists but for a recovering co-dependent empath this was no easy task but definitely part of my journey.

    I truly believe if anyone comes to me there is a reason and with my new found strength and know how, I might be able to help. It’s a different language, a different way of working through the thick veneer of protection but I truly believe all things are possible. Through my own healing, I no longer feel the need to fight or flee. I can hold a space of divine love and begin the process of integrating the psychology, spirituality, and body, if they are willing.

    For more information about me and the work I do, got to 

    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    A New Awareness...

    I’ll never forget holding Cole, just less than a month old and hearing we were going to war. It was March 20, 2003.  My dad and step mom were visiting, watching the news when we heard. I got up and walked out of the room but said nothing.  My dad, a Vietnam vet, and I had very different views about religion and politics. It was always best to keep quiet.  
    I thought the “war” would be short lived and would have little affect on me.  Looking back I see how selfish this was but at the time I was in my early 30’s, in a theater/film crowd, and had just had a baby.  I figured in eighteen years when Cole was old enough to join the military, it would be sorted out. 
    When I became a Certified Equus Coach in 2013, one of my dreams was to work with returning soldiers suffering from PTSD. I’m not sure why.  I had yet to meet someone who had returned from Iraq or Afghanistan but sometimes the “why” of our dreams doesn’t make sense until it does. In December of 2013 my dream came true with Save A Warrior.  I got to see first hand the affects of trauma, some of it childhood trauma compounded by war. 
    Soon several more clients arrived on my door step suffering from some sort of trauma. I realized I was being given a sign and needed a better understanding so started to research and discovered Peter Levine’s Waking The Tiger, Healing Trauma,’ an incredible book that should be a must read for every human.  As I started to get an understanding of what someone experiences who suffers after a trauma and discovering my own trauma, I also realized that my intuitive abilities come through my “felt sense”  all that energy that is constantly moving just below the surface. 
    This is what I feel when I’m working with a client.  I feel their “felt sense” energy in my body and it gives me information. It builds a picture in my mind of the person’s life and I feel their trauma as well.  But I also realized something else. 
    Standing in front of my first Save a Warrior Cohort back in March, I felt completely at home with this amazing group of men. I understood their humor, toughness, kindness, and how something about them was just out of reach. For the first time, I completely understood that I was raised by a father (and probably a mother) who suffered from undiagnosed PTSD. 
    And then it dawned on me. The “why” of my dream to work with returning soldiers is to heal my own childhood wounds of being raised by a father who was always just out of reach even though he was right next to me.  

    Sunday, November 16, 2014

    Fear or Love, Survive or Thrive...

    Fear or Love, Survive or Thrive… 

    I sat down to write this post not sure what it was going to be about.  I knew fear was the theme but how would I couple it, with love or vulnerability? Then I read the below Facebook post by my dear friend and Spiritual Advisor of nine years, Marla Frees and found my answer.  She wrote out the thoughts I’d been thinking so beautifully, why create more work for myself and not just share her beautiful writing and wisdom?  Enjoy!  

    Life when really lived...changes.

    If you are living your life invested in love you are growing, learning, moving, morphing...the essence of transforming. 

    If you are living your life out of fear, you are in a loop of reaction, retaliation, denial and suffering.

    We all are faced with illness sometime in our life. 

    We lose the ones we love.

    Our lives do not go the way we want. 

    What can we do to make sure we survive the upsets and losses?

    Face it all, like it is the very best gift that the Universe has given you. 

    The expectations we have are silly ways our egos need to make us feel better but those expectations very well may not be the best FOR us.

    There is gold in the deepest of pain. There is light in the loss of love.

    We must cry and grieve, dig in and fight the greatest of fights and rest in the arms of our creator. 

    May we be brave enough to accept that today we have the opportunity to live, love and find joy.

    May we not just survive...but THRIVE.

    You can find Marla at
    If you are interested in working with Stacey J. Warner and the herd in Malibu go to 

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    Wu Wei in Action, Non-Action

    Wu Wei in Action, Non-Action
    Back in September I was facilitating an equine assisted workshop in Pennsylvania.  I thought for the final exercise it would be fun to gather the group together and have them do a “Herding” exercise. 
    Their job was to have a horse join their “herd.”  
    The four women entered the arena with one horse. They had a couple minutes to discuss how they were going to get the horse to “join up” then there would be no verbal communication for the rest of the exercise. 
    They decided to bring their energy down and walk towards the horse.  The horse completely ignored them and looked off to his distant herd. 
    One woman in the group had done the exercise before and decided to take the lead offering to act like a horse to get the horse curious but to no avail. 
    After about ten minutes, I gathered them over and asked how it was going.  They were frustrated, one woman wanted to quit but her friend talked her into staying. After a short discussion they were at it again. 
    Letting go brings success…
    As I watched, there was a moment where I could see they collectively  went limp or as I prefer to say, surrendered and stopped trying to make something happen.  It was then the horse got curious and followed them through the obstacles.
    It was a brilliant way to end the weekend.  Absolute magic.  Surrender to what is, stop over thinking and appreciate with loving kindness everything around you.