Originally Posted by Jackblack
Hold has said himself that he does not know if the forum is a help or a crutch.

If the forum is giving him too much sympathy and enabling him to stay in his position, I think it better for the posters to change their direction, rather than the idea of banning Hold from this forum in the assumption that this is somehow going to transform him.

To remove the forum would remove some sympathy but also deny him the cutting posts from TR.

I agree. There is no way to ban someone from this site, unless that person breaks the site terms and conditions, which HOLD certainly does not do. HOLD probably knows what I meant when I posted what I posted, which is that he must choose to walk away from this site for while, as this site serves primarily as a distraction for him, just like it did me. For narcissists, sites like this don't help, they simply feed the narcissism. Narcissists will do pretty much anything to remain distracted and to avoid working on their own problems. We are professionals at practicing avoidance when it comes to change. smile

To be clear, I don't believe your assertion that having other posters change their message to HOLD will help. It's been ten years, and I've been around here about that long as well (though you won't find many posts about my own life except in the archives possibly), and I've seen a lot of 2 x 4's hit HOLD over the years with no substantive results. So I ask you, what is anyone here going to do differently that is going to have any real effects on HOLD? What are you going to do JackBlack? Hit him harder? Already been done by many MANY people before you. On the rare occasions when someone can actually get through HOLD's skin, he'll simply avoid responding to your posts, or placate you enough to shut you up, or at worst, if you can manage to see through the placation, he'll simply reply and ask you to stop posting in his threads (seen that before too with Starfish if memory serves).

I know my responses here may seem uncalled for, but it's only because I honestly believe it's the best thing for HOLD - he needs some tough love so to speak. You can't outplay a narcissist, trust me, I know, I have major narcissistic tendencies myself. I think HOLD needs a long term break from this forum (he's had minor breaks from posting at MB in the past as well). Many here, including myself, reached that same conclusion, and left for a while, or altogether (like Starfish and Takola).

I believe the primary reason HOLD stays here is because this site fulfills one purpose only for him, it's a coping mechanism. He has no plans to change, and as he has said many times, he's simply biding his time, therefore this site serves as a coping mechanism to vent.

What I think has changed over the last year or so, is Mrs HOLD. She is finally waking up to the fact that HOLD isn't going to deliver to her any time soon what she wants in a spouse. Therefore, she is making the changes necessary in her life to move on, when the time is right. Hence the weight loss, the job, and other substantive improvements in her life.

There is a sliver of hope as I see it. As Dr Schnarch wrote about in his book Passionate Marriage, when one spouse starts the process of differentiating (changing their inner core), the other spouse must react. The initial reaction is to resist the change. Dig in the heels and try and convince the differentiating spouse to stop the process of differentiation. If the differentiating spouse doesn't stop, then one of two outcomes is possible. One, the resistant spouse is forced to start their own differentiation process (i.e. changing their inner core values), or the the resistant spouse refuses to change despite the pressure to better themselves. In the latter case, eventually the differentiating spouse will eventually leave the relationship, not because they are bitter or angry per se, but because that spouse has better differentiated him/herself enough that they can no longer remain in the marriage and maintain their more healthy internal/core values.

Obviously I don't know Mrs HOLD, but from what HOLD represents of her, she has started her own process of differentiation, and since we are "one" in marriage, change in one spouse means change for the other spouse. HOLD is experiencing pressure/anxiety as a result of Mrs HOLD's process of better differentiating herself. Right now, HOLD is trying his best to paint two different, yet directly opposing, pictures. On the one hand he appears to be supportive of her efforts, and in some ways he really is genuinely supporting her efforts to change. On the other hand, he's painting himself into a corner, because HOLD refuses to better differentiate himself.

I've seen many here wonder out loud why HOLD refuses to change, that he is addicted to his misery per se. In part, that may be the case, especially for a narcissistic personality. However, Schnarch says this is a natural reaction even for otherwise healthy people. We all cling to the familiar, even when the familiar is bad for us. We all resist the process of differentiation - because that process, while necessary, is painful and plagued with uncertainty. No matter how much the misery may hurt, it is familiar to HOLD, and as a narcissist, the unfamiliar is, well, terrifying in most respects, because the unfamiliar is something that is external and therefore not at all welcome in the narcissistic worldview.

Think of it this way. The process of differentiation is the process of gradually increasing the scope of ourselves (self expansion). Think circle of life, with one big circle, and one really small circle within the big circle. The small circle represents you. The large circle represents what you can be. Now comes marriage, now there are two circles within that big circle - one for you and one for your spouse. We all start off small, and the two circles intersect (cross over one another) just a little bit when we're first married. In otherwise healthy marriages, the crucible of marriage, the process of differentiation, gradually grows the size of the small circles into larger circles - as each spouse undergoes differentiation. The two circles also increasingly intersect - representing the two spouses becoming one. Eventually, the small circles become so large and so intertwined that they appear as one large circle that eclipses the size of the larger circle that originally contained the two smaller circles.

HOLD's problem with respect to this process, has to do with his narcissism. Narcissists are unable to make the leap to better differentiation, regardless of the amount of pressure. For otherwise normal people, who initially resist differentiation, the anxiety/pain/depression/discomfort of the familiar eventually becomes more painful than the fear of the unknown. At that point, the resistant spouse jumps into the circle and starts their own differentiation process. For a narcissist, no amount of pain offered up via the misery of the familiar will permit the jump into the unknown. Narcissists aren't really capable of much personal growth - defined as the expansion of self. To experience self expansion (differentiation) - you have to both acknowledge and embrace that which is external to you - the unknown. Not exactly something a narcissist can easily accomplish IME. Herculean efforts are required for narcissists to better differentiate themselves.

To circle back to my original point, I believe this forum directly conflicts with HOLD's ability to better differentiate himself, because this forum serves as a feeding tube for his narcissism - his ability to continue to choose to merely cope rather than to choose to change. Who knows, maybe HOLD can succeed where I failed, and figure out a way to use the MB forums to effect positive change rather than to merely cope. I couldn't do it personally, which is why I left for several years and am now only back in a limited capacity. HOLD, what say you?

God Bless,


All I want to do is learn to think like God thinks. , I want to know Gods thoughts; all the rest are just details. , When the solution is simple, God is answering. - Albert Einstein

INTJ married to an ENFJ