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In this episode, filmed in Los Angeles in summer 2021, Chelsea sits down with Dr. Ramani to talk about narcissism, financial abuse, and how to identify toxicity in your own relationships.

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Hello, everyone, and welcome back to an all new episode of The Financial Confessions.

I'm your host, founder, and CEO of The Financial Diet, Chelsea Fagan. I'm also someone who loves talking about money in all its forms.

And one of the most frequent intersections that we love to touch on when possible, here at TFD, is the intersection of mental health and finance. Obviously, we've already done episodes, here on TFC, that are all about mitigating your own relationship to finances, managing your emotions around financial decisions, coming to a higher area of clarity around your boundaries and your financial desires. But something that we haven't talked about as much is what happens when you might be in a situation, in a personal relationship, where money is a huge negative factor, where it's a part of a negative power dynamic, it's a tool of control.

Now, a lot of you listening and watching may have either suffered from or be currently suffering from some form of financial abuse. But it's important to state that you don't necessarily have to experience financial abuse to experience all kinds of negative interactions, power dynamics, and emotions with another person around the topic of money. And much of the time when we have those sort of negative money relationships with other people, a lot of this can stem from a narcissistic person in that given relationship.

This can be family relationships, romantic relationships, professional, friendships, et cetera. And that can often be what is most difficult to deal with and understand. Understanding this behavior, both in the context of the relationship itself and in the context of how money factors into that relationship as a tool and a unspoken third person in the relationship, is something that a lot of us need to get a much better handle on, whether or not we're currently experiencing one of those negative or narcissistic relationships.

So all of that being said, we wanted to bring on someone who speaks to these issues in a really thoughtful way. This is someone that a lot of you, if you watch YouTube, might be familiar with. She had a very popular Red Table Talk that we loved here.

She also recently launched a series specifically on the intersection of narcissism and personal finance because, as I mentioned, money can be a huge tool in those types of dynamics. Without further ado, I'd love to introduce our guest. She is psychologist, YouTuber, expert on all things narcissism, Dr.

Ramani Durvasula. Welcome-- Thank you so. --Dr. Ramani.

Thank you. I'm Dr. Ramani.

It's so nice to be here, Chelsea. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you for being here.

So first and foremost, as I mentioned in the intro, for a lot of negative relationships, money can often be one tool among many that is either an expression of those negative dynamics that are happening or a powerful tool in keeping a person around. Can you talk a little bit about, first and foremost, what a narcissistic person-- who and narcissistic person is and how many factors into their dynamics with others in their life? Yes, so just so we're all on the same page, so we're clear on when we're using this word narcissism, what it means.

Narcissism is characterized by a person who has a lack of empathy. They're very entitled. They're very grandiose.

They're very arrogant. They can be very controlling, very egocentric, validation and admiration-seeking all the time. They're very sensitive to criticism.

And that's more of what we traditionally think of as more of like a grandiose form of narcissism. There's also a vulnerable form of narcissism that has all of those qualities, but they come out in a more passive-aggressive, victimized, anxious manner. The thing we know that is in common across all forms of narcissism is that narcissistic people are deeply insecure.

And they chronically have these feelings of inadequacy that are bubbling up under them. That's why they have this sort of big, grandiose, angry, victimized kind of-- they don't want anyone to see that icky stuff, right? That they think, at least, is icky.

And there's a lot of shame around that. So that's what a narcissist is. And what is the difference-- I would say this is for people at home, but it's also for me-- what is the difference between a narcissist and a sociopath?

Yeah, so that's a good question. There's a lot of confusion. A lot of the confusion is because there's so much overlap.

Now, sociopathy or being a sociopath is an interesting word because it's actually not a clinical word. So there is narcissism-- OK, we got that-- then there's a term called psychopath or psychopathy. Now, that's probably the most terrifying, chilling pattern of all.

Because these are people who are very charming, aloof, cold but also really calculating and can be very, very smart. The key difference between those psychopaths and those narcissists is that the psychopaths don't get anxious. They're very resistant to stress.

So they're just really cool, cold, callous operators, but because they can be very smart. And they can be charming as a way to get there what they need. In other words, it's not that narcissistic person who's trying to be charming so they can get a validation.

Psychopath doesn't care about validation. So the relationship between narcissists and money is so simple and so complicated. And what I mean by that is it's-- the simple part of it is money in our culture is such a source of power.

For narcissists, it becomes the easiest path forward to power. And narcissists love power because it helps them feel safe. If they have all the money, then they have all the power.

And then their inadequacy and their insecurity is kept at bay. And it pumps up all that entitlement, and all that grandiosity, and all of that. For narcissistic people, relationships are, by and large, transactional.

They buy people. They buy people to be conveniences. They buy people to have sex.

They buy people to be their spouses. They buy people because it's an easier arithmetic for them. The incapacity for intimacy-- that is such a classical part of the narcissistic relationship.

And it's all relative. I'm not just talking about billionaires and millionaires. I'm even talking about somebody who doesn't have a lot of money.

There's always someone who's got less. And so they use it as a transactional tool. And it's all about luring the promise of I'm going to buy us a house.

I'm going to take us on a vacation. I'm going to get you a great car. I'm going to get you a great diamond.

Ring I'm going to support your dreams, whatever the finances are in an intimate relationship. Money is used as a reel to bring someone in. The flip side of that is that even the money is this transaction and it allows them to have power in a relationship, ultimately, it allows narcissistic people to be in control in a relationship.

And financial control and financial abuse is a relatively common dynamic we see in narcissistic people. So if they have the money, if they have more money, which they typically will choose a partner where that's the case or they will set it up over time. For example, you should leave your job.

I've got this. I've got this covered, boom. Now, they've got all the money.

They tend to keep all the passwords. They tend to keep all of the accounts. They tend to control everything.

And over time, that's not just fiscal control, it's psychological control. It's part of a dynamic we call coercive control. Financial abuse is often a really sort of key part of that.

So you have these two elements of both power and control. And then there's also punishment. They'll often use money to punish.

You're taking advantage of me. You're a gold digger. Oh, that's a bad look.

They'll really, then, have painted this person into a corner around money. And then they will humiliate, degrade them, and shame them around even having to beg for the smallest amounts of money or criticizing them, even if they're trying to use that money to spend money on fundamentals-- shoes for kids, stuff for the house, the electric bill, any of those things. Remember-- and a point I didn't make earlier and I really want to make is that narcissistic people always think people are out to get them, almost to the level that it feels like a paranoia.

And so it's not quite clinically a paranoia, but it's something we call persecutor ideation. That's a fancy way of saying they think everyone's out to get them. And they think everyone's got it in for them.

So it's this really interesting push, pull with money because a narcissistic person wants so desperately to be liked and validated. So they'll spend lots of money on a person or on people. But then they'll turn around and resent those people saying, you're all taking advantage of me.

But it was a narcissistic person that set up this dynamic this way. And even when people try to pull back and say, no, no. You don't need to pay.

What are you saying, I can't afford to pay this? So you can't win. And it really-- I have to say, of all the most problematic dynamics in a narcissistic relationship, issues around money maybe some of the worst.

This is so fascinating. So one of the things that really stuck out to me when I was watching some of your videos is just the extent in the comment section. And we're talking about videos with hundreds of thousands of views, of people being like, I can't believe it.

You've described this relationship to a tee. This is my mother. This is my ex.

This is my brother, whatever it might be. And my question on that element for people identifying this in their life is twofold. One, are we specifically speaking about people who would meet the clinical definition of narcissistic personality disorder when we're talking about narcissists?

And, B, is this something that is sort of an innate quality? Can this be contextual? Can these kind of behaviors arise around certain issues?

Essentially, when does a person know they are dealing with a quote, unquote "actual narcissist?" OK. So let's get clarity right away on this diagnostic issue because this is the thing, it's ironic. This diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder didn't even come into our diagnostic framework until 1980.

So this is very recent, OK? And, now, they want to get rid of it. Oh, why?

Because it doesn't stand up well. The prevalence of narcissistic personality disorder in most clinical research studies is somewhere between 1% and 6%-- Of the population? --of the population. I can promise you, 25% of people out there have a level of narcissism significant enough to make an impact on their and other people's lives.

You might say, what's the difference? In order for a diagnosis to be issued, not only do people have to meet this laundry list of issues-- which lots of people meet the laundry list. There's like nine things on it.

You got to have five, then you've got this-- all the things I'm talking about, lack of empathy, entitlement, arrogance, envy, all of that. The challenge is that in order to get a diagnosis in our diagnostic manual, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, you also have to either show that the patient or the person is experiencing what we call subjective distress, meaning they're uncomfortable, like you might see in a person with depression. A person who's depressed is miserable.

Or it has to be causing them impairment. But they have to think it's causing them impairment not their wife, not their partner, not their kids, not their parents, not their children, but they have to think that. Well, they don't.

They're often living a life of Riley, going around and destroying everyone else's lives with little regard for what it's doing to them. So such a small proportion of folks like this show up in therapy. So we're not even going to talk about it as a diagnosis.

And NPD is not even a thing we're going to worry about. In that way, narcissism is a personality pattern. And it's getting more and more common all the time.

So it's almost a non-starter because nobody watching this video can make this diagnosis. It takes me four to six weeks sitting in a room week after week after week to say this with some confidence, that this is NPD. It doesn't matter to me.

These patterns in anybody, regardless of all the bells and whistles around the diagnosis, cause problems for other people. And that's why I do what I do. So, essentially, what you're more providing for people is a set of tools, understanding, context to be able to mitigate these relationships from their perspective.

Because as I was mentioning in the intro, part of what is always so frustrating about these financial dynamics between people-- and, ultimately, I think money is still the number one cause of divorce. I have to check that, but it's always very, very prevalent. [? It's at ?] [? least ?] like a plurality.

And it is also a huge power dynamic between things like family members, obviously, colleagues, et cetera. But a huge part of the problem is no matter how much you talk about improving your own personal relationship to money, and improving your own habits, and things like that, we don't often give people the tools to deal with a person who isn't acting rationally, who isn't acting in good faith. We'll tell someone to communicate about your financial needs and boundaries.

But what if someone is, either intentionally or not, going to disrespect and bypass them? Well, that's every narcissist in the world. There's not a single narcissistic person in the world that is ever going to honor boundaries around money.

Right. So how do people go from just cultivating good habits within themselves to actively arming themselves to deal with someone who's not responding in a way we're trained to expect? If that's something I could explain on this video, then I'd be out of a job.

And I would be the most popular psychologist on the planet. So that's the deepest iceberg on the planet. Right.

People are often raised by people like this, OK? So there is a natural draw, in a way-- or maybe even not even a draw as much as an inability to even see it because this dysfunction you grew up with then reproduces itself in an adult relationship. And you can't quite figure out what's going on.

And there's all kinds of complex dynamics, like being trauma bonded to someone, justifying their behavior, and getting stuck in something and not being able to get out. So even when I try to arm people with the tools, there's all the nonsense of society. Oh, let's give people the benefit of the doubt.

Let's give them a second chance. They're under a lot of stress. They don't really mean it.

We'd have to eliminate all of that. We'd have to eliminate all of that and say, the first time somebody is not empathic, the first time somebody mistreats a server in a restaurant, say, now, the big boundary goes up. And you take 10 steps back.

And then you move very tentatively. How many people do that? Right.

Not the first time, the 55th, the 79th, 115th. And by then, they're in really deep. And there's nothing worse than trying to disentangle yourself from a narcissist.

There is no easy way to do it. If they want to do it, they'll go. And they'll leave you in lurch.

But if you want to do it, it's almost a bigger nightmare than staying. So you can't win. You know, it's incredible.

Yesterday, one of the women that we interviewed is a former child actress who is writing a memoir about her mother who was extraordinarily abusive and has passed away many years ago, eight years ago maybe. And when she shares even very top-level anecdotes about her experience with her mother, they're very disturbing, hard to hear. But one of the things she said was that even when I would talk about some of these things, almost universally the response from people around me was like, she's trying her best.

She's doing her best-- That's a good one. Yeah. --very much without explicitly saying it, essentially, insinuating that it's my responsibility to accept these things. And she was saying, looking back, she knew that would be an example of a relationship where it has to be no contact.

But I think what a lot of people struggle with is-- and going back to my question about the extent to which this is innate versus contextual-- is mitigating their own expectation that a person or the relationship dynamic can improve. Right. So that's the hardest part of all, right?

Because the vast majority of relationships out there, if you give it a tune up-- you work on communication, people learn to be present with emotion, you can make some progress. These relationships remain relatively unfix-able. Because personality is one of those things that's kind of permanent.

It's like a psychological fingerprint. But when you talk about maladaptive, unhealthy personality patterns like narcissism, one of the hallmark characteristics of it is it's rigid and it's pervasive. So it cuts across all situations.

The narcissistic person is difficult with their family of origin, with their partner, in the workplace. And some people say, well, I had a good experience with them. And I'll always say, what do they need from you?

That one time they needed something from you, and then they got it, and you may not have ever seen them again. They'll try to charm a bartender. You know, and then the bartender will say, well, they're perfectly charming.

I'm like the context is, what are they trying to get? It's all transactional. So when, people say they had a perfectly good experience.

I'm like you had something they needed, OK? You either brought power, you brought status, you brought esteem, or you brought resource. So in that moment, you were a thing they were trying to acquire.

If down the line, for some reason, they had no use for you, they're not going to give you the time of day. So in that way, there's a consistency. As long as they need something, they'll actually will turn it on with a person.

But the rigidity and the odds-- it doesn't change. The radical acceptance around this is it doesn't change. So armed with that knowledge, I tell people-- the idea you said, this concept of no contact.

No contact has actually been shown by data to be the single most useful intervention for dealing with the narcissist. As soon as you no longer have to deal with them anymore, most people report improvements in their health, improvements in their outlook, improvements in mental health, improvements in everything OK? It's like really removing a disease from a person, if you want to look at that way.

So they feel better instantly. But for this, some people when they go no-contact, the thing that's still kind of gnawing at them is guilt, grief. Wow, I don't have a mother anymore.

Or I don't have a family anymore. I don't have a spouse anymore, whatever. I don't have a job anymore, whatever that narcissistic situation is.

And those feelings are real. So even the person says, oh, my goodness. It's so nice to not deal with this abuse, and this invalidation, and this lack of empathy, and this absolute sort of rageful situation.

It's so nice. It feels great. I am grieving this.

I felt like everyone else has a relationship with their mother and now I don't, in the case of the example you're giving. And so I tell people, I'm not telling you to go no-contact. You can have all the contact you want but with radical acceptance and realistic expectations.

They're never going to change. So this relationship, at best, is going to be this superficial space. And if for any reason you activate their inadequacy or shame, they're going to go off on you.

And you may not even know what's going to activate that. For example, let's say you have a new watch or a new electronic they've been trying to get and couldn't. And you have it.

Even without saying anything, like literally putting it in your pocket, that could throw them off on a rage episode. So it's kind of like living in a minefield. Wow.

So as I mentioned in the intro, some people are financially abused, now or before. But some people may not meet the criteria of financial abuse but finances, money, and the role it plays in certain relationships can be very toxic. How do people know the difference between money as just a sore subject between us-- it's not pleasant between us-- and I'm being financially abused?

I think with financial abuse, part of what we look at are the dynamics around money. I actually don't know what the hard and fast definition is because it's not a thing in the diagnostic manual. So when I look at the issue of financial abuse, I look at whether they have access to their financial information.

If they have access to the passwords, the numbers of the bank accounts, that at any time they know the balance, that they're allowed to maintain their own independent pot of money or source of money, that they don't have to go through someone to get money for simple, daily expenses-- not big ticket stuff like a car or house, but like little things. Like I need to go and buy a pair of socks-- you don't need to go to somebody for that. Those are the things I look for when it's a case of financial abuse.

So when a person says, even though I'm spending my money, my partner gives me a hard time when I want to go on a girl's weekend. But it's all my money, they just give me a hard time. But they can't stop me because it's my money.

I wouldn't necessarily view that as financial abuse, but I would be concerned about that underlying dynamic, if that makes sense. This is why it is the single piece of advice I've given to everybody, everybody when they enter in relationships. You got to have your own money.

Yes. You got to have your own money. Because I will tell you the people I see who get it the worst from the narcissistic people are the ones who gave up control of their finances.

And, unfortunately-- I'm going to use a heteronormative framework here. Please do. And I'm going to use a gendered framework here.

The whole heroic, well, we decided I'm going to stop working and stay home with the kids. And, thus, Dr. Ramani puts her head in her hands.

And I'll tell you why. I think it's-- I have children. I love my children.

I didn't get to stay home with them for my own financial reasons-- don't regret it because it has made me a financially independent person. But I'll tell you, even in a person who has less money or even much more money, it's that romanticization of, look, someone's going to take care of me. And it plays into this really, really scary fantasy, especially female gendered girls are sold.

And then Prince Charming nine times out of 10 is a narcissist, OK? That's just how that goes. Prince Charming-- charming, that is narcissistic quality.

And so the very person who sweeps in with all the flowers, and this, and the that, and wants to take care of everything-- I would say you always look a gift horse in the mouth. And that's the piece that messes it up for everyone. So they're going through a divorce.

Their absolutely sunk because all the money comes from there. They're just wanting to go back into the workplace but that's not the precedent. They're trying to exert their own independence, maybe get something-- a business venture started as their kids get older.

So really to give up that control is where a lot of people get painted into a corner. And I wish-- you're asking what we could do to prevent it. Nobody should ever not have their own source of finances or income, ever.

Go off. OK. There's so much in there.

One thing that I do also want to underscore is that even for couples for whom the platonic ideal of the man who takes care of all the financial management-- and also, should be noted, that even in couples where women work full-time, earn comparably to their spouse-- men still manage the long-term financial planning disproportionately. Women manage the day-to-day finances but the man's deciding retirement, home buying, things like that. But even in a situation where it really works where the woman stays home and, essentially, lives off of her husband's income and the husband manages the money, the amount of financial work that would need to be done to compensate for that power differential in terms of giving her all kinds of access to and joint ownership of all of the investments, of all of the accounts that you have, of the credit cards like, everything would have to be, essentially, very manually tilted so that the power differential is somewhat evened out.

You'd also need a solid prenup. We recommend everyone gets prenups but, especially, in cases where you have none of your own money, your name's not even on half this stuff, absolutely. And I think a lot of people don't acknowledge the inherent power dynamic that emerges in situations like that, even if the person went into it, in both cases, with the best intentions.

You are now in a situation where a woman has the same financial relationship to her husband that her children have to her husband, where, essentially, if he doesn't buy it, if he doesn't earn it, it doesn't happen. And actually on your video about narcissists and personal finance, there was a woman who left a comment about how if she hadn't been secretly saving money for the past decade when her husband left her-- or I think it was she tried to leave her husband-- she would have, essentially, been homeless-- Yes. --because he, essentially, immediately locked everything, put her out of everything. And now even just going to court to attempt to fight it, she doesn't even have the resources to pay for that.

And, obviously, as you said, having your separate money is really important. And I want to take a moment because I made my statement so strongly. But I want to temper it with-- I very much appreciate the cultural issues around this, the differential opportunities given, especially, to a person who has children.

I'm very aware of that. Child care is expensive. For a lot of people, they sit down and do the numbers and say, it's cheaper.

It's better for you to stay at home than us to be giving this off to a child care setting. It's interesting. With my own staff, one thing we have often talked about is this idea of, at a minimum, try and get a credential that you can always work, like nursing license, a cosmetologist license, or a barbering license, something that's a thing you have-- an electrician, plumber-- anything where you have a skill that requires a certification and people always need.

I've seen for people-- because what happens is when you leave the workplace, it's not always easy to get back in. But if you hold something that is something that not everyone has and it can be used in a very practical way, having that, whether it's a trade, sometimes it's a degree-- I actually think a trade-- sometimes it's going to hold itself more in terms of economics than a degree always will because there's so many technological shifts. But I say this and I appreciate that many, many people were having to sort of robbing Peter to pay Paul on the child care stuff, on their own cultural limitations-- I get all of that, even issues around social class.

And this is why narcissistic financial abuse can be absolutely lethal for people who have fewer economic resources. Because they may end up staying in relationships that are not only financially abusive and psychologically abusive but also physically abusive. So it can really escalate.

And for people who have lots, and lots, and lots of resource-- here's where it gets interesting-- those are the two groups at most risk, in terms of narcissistic financial abuse. Those with almost nothing, right, because they really do run the genuine risk of losing children, ending up without a residence, having to go in and out of shelters, and just simply staying in something that's harmful for them because of the money. At the other extreme are people who say this life, this world that we've created is almost impossible to give up.

I've never lived in that world. So I don't know what it's like but I know people who have. And they're saying there's and away we go through the world-- I can't reproduce this unless I stay in this.

I think everyone in the middle is kind of like three bedrooms, one bedroom, I can adjust. I can make it work. They know they can get housing.

They know the settlements that they'll get or just what they can walk off with because they've got a source of income. It may not be the quality of life they had when they were-- financial quality of life-- when there were two people but that transition down is quite possible. But it's ironic at those two extremes of the distribution is actually where I see the greatest struggles.

No one can understand it unless you're in that situation. I never, ever, ever, ever judge a decision to stay in these narcissistic relationships. It's so complicated.

It has to do with life history. It has to do with all the enablers around. You had said that the woman you had interviewed once before say, they did their best.

They're doing their best. They do this. And you know what I hear people here-- as we're talking about financial abuse-- over, and over, and over again I hear this from folks going through divorces-- again, it doesn't matter, at any age, any gender, you name it, anything-- everyone around them saying, you sure you know what you're doing?

You really want to go back out there and you want to be single? You sure you want to make a go of this? And I'm like, OK.

This is great. It's a Faustian bargain. You want your friend to give up their soul to stay in this psychologically abusive relationship.

And I think, A, people often hide from the world what these narcissistic relationships look like because they're ashamed that they're in such a mess. I think people often don't get it. They think, oh, you can communicate through it, or every relationship has its troubles, or money is the main reason couples fight.

So they find ways to soft pedal this. And that's a real problem because I think that there's so many reasons people get stuck. There's so many reasons people stay.

Like I said, I never judge. My job is to give people the tools so that if they are staying, they have very realistic expectations of what it is they're staying in. Oh, absolutely.

And to be clear, my thinking there is that when you watch it as someone who could not even imagine that lifestyle, it is difficult to imagine being trapped in that to that extent. But I do think it's got to be very difficult-- for all the reasons you cited-- to even envision yourself in a different situation. This was a couple of seasons ago.

But one of our most popular episodes that we did on TFC was with a divorce lawyer in New York City. And he was just a character. So he was just interesting to watch.

But also his anecdotes were unbelievable. And a lot of what he described in the way people treated one another-- and we're talking about former married couples. A lot of the way that they treated each other, again, mostly over financial things, matches up with a lot of what you are describing here.

My question is, can situations like divorce bring out these behaviors, cultivate these behaviors in people? Is it sort of a systemic thing? Or is divorce a time at which people just sort of reveal their most innate selves?

The patterns were always there. The patterns were always there. The thing to keep in mind about narcissism in general, that's personality style, these are folks who fall completely apart under conditions of stress, frustration, or disappointment.

Anything that kind of pings their grandiose vision of, my life needs to be perfect. I'm perfect. The world needs to be perfect.

Well, when things aren't perfect, that's when everything blows up. So in that way, these patterns these toxic patterns were always in the relationship, always. The number of people who say, if you look at all the photographs scattered around our house-- us smiling in Hawaii, us smiling at Christmas, us smiling skiing-- and they say, it's just a fiction.

We got some smiling pictures. The rest of it was really, really like living in a Tennessee Williams play. It was a nightmare.

And so it really-- it's this idea that people were-- day-to-day life can really carry us a really long way, you know the stuff you need to do. Whether or not you have children or not, work, friends, running a house, then taking care of your pets, before you know it weeks, months, years go by. This is a lot of accumulated toxicity.

And so by the time it comes down to divorce, we go back to that idea like I said, a lot of narcissistic people feel that people are out to get them. So when it comes down to the point of the division of assets in a divorce, it brings out a kind of poisonous rage-- there is-- I can't even think of a good word for it because it's basically, you're not taking my stuff. And I don't care what I need to do, you're not taking my stuff.

The concept of a collective marital asset, doesn't exist for a narcissistic person. And that's when it starts getting real ugly real fast, because it's my stuff. It was never our stuff, that's your guidance, people should sign prenups is really quite sound.

Because I will say that, a lot of people say, well if I ask someone to sign a prenup they're going to leave. I say then, there you go, there you go. Yeah.

Maybe you might have just cut yourself out, it might have been a really important-- a really important protection you had. And some people even say, I'm the one who doesn't have and they're the ones who have everything. And I say, OK so what are you in this ride for?

Right. You know so, you got to figure out what-- if you sign something that feels right to you, and protects whatever you bring into this, and all of that. But I guess in the moments of picking China patterns and flowers people don't want to have these conversations.

They're very ugly conversations to have on the back end. Keep in mind though too, another thing that narcissistic people do do, is they love the game of the postnup. Sometimes they'll meet someone young, and they're both kind of coming up, and then the narcissist, of course who's now financially controlling the whole show is saying, I got a lot here.

And they will try to manipulate a postnup. And they will often do it quite coercively. And while-- as long-- sometimes if you have good lawyers, they can say this was done coercively, this isn't going to hold up.

If the person on the receiving end of that postnup doesn't have that kind of legal muscle they can easily, easily be railroaded. And when these retainers for these divorce attorneys are $30, $50, $80, $100 thousand, I don't know many people who have access to that kind of ready cash. So as I mentioned guys, you sent in a considerable number of questions for Dr.

Ramani. So I want to go through several of them. How do you assert boundaries with a narcissistic parent who keeps prying about my salary?

So it's an interesting-- let's just take a minute and talk about when you have narcissistic parents, right. To have a narcissistic parent it's an incredibly painful legacy, but it's a complicated one because of a lot of it comes down to the role you had in that family. Right.

Some people who had a narcissistic parent or parents, they were the scapegoat of that family and they really took a lot of verbal abuse, sometimes even physical abuse. They were the ones blamed for everything, the scapegoated child into adulthood carries a lot of burden. Then there's the golden child who's sort of like the repository of the narcissistic parent's dreams and they can do no wrong.

They don't always have the easiest path in adulthood because they sometimes feel some guilt and grief over what happened to their other siblings. Or they become narcissistic themselves or they feel kind of stuck with the narcissistic parent who is sort of their biggest cheerleader. There's what we call the-- there's the invisible child who never gets seen.

The narcissistic parent is like, you don't even exist. You're not giving me any supply. You're not cute enough.

You're not good at soccer enough. Yeah, no, not so much. There's what I call the handmaid, or the handmaster, or the handperson, child, which is the child who's always the one who's constantly-- they're almost like the family butler.

They're just keeping everything running. And I think they really do believe that if I do enough for this parent, then they will love me. And so they really are always taking care of the parent.

At a very young age, they become parentified. They learn to prepare meals, they take care of their siblings, those sorts of kinds of functions. There's the fixer, the fixer tries to make everything right.

They run around and like, oh you don't know, I'll take care of it, because they don't want the narcissistic parent to unleash their rage on the family system. And then there's the truth teller. The truth teller is this really prescient child who in this wise way, at a very young age, is able to look around and kind of, they have the narcissistic parent's number.

And in an interesting way sometimes as young as five or six, that truth teller's like, I see you. But they can't say anything, they can't say, you know I think you're a narcissist. But there's a way-- they hold their space in a way that almost shames the parent.

The parent almost is like, they know there's somebody who's got their number. And in that way, the truth teller can often end up becoming scapegoated as a result. So you see these roles are so divergent.

So when you get a question like that, you have this prying narcissistic parent. Narcissistic parents have notoriously bad boundaries, they're intrusive when you're a child and they're intrusive when you're an adult. So it comes down to bigger questions on why do people feel uncomfortable setting boundaries with their parents, especially a narcissistic parent.

Likely because she's been browbeaten, I don't know if it's a man or a woman, they have been browbeaten their whole lives. Knowing our audience it was almost certainly a woman. OK so, she's been browbeaten her entire life by this parent.

I do think that the day you start setting boundaries is the day you can keep setting them. And she can give it very vague answer say, it's more than enough, it's enough for me to live comfortably, I'm good with it. You don't have to give a number and if pushed say, you know I almost feel like sharing my salary with you feels like sharing my medical history with you, I'm not really interested in that, this feels private.

Let's say, it's more than enough, it's better than I was doing before. You can give a vague answer. And if you're struggling with that, to really ask yourself, what feelings are being brought up in you around setting this boundary and giving this vague answer to your parent.

Because you are well within your rights, this person will probably say, and the parents are going to keep going, keep going, keep going. And that's where I always say, you've always got the out. Go to the bathroom say, oops I got to take this call, or say I've just got to step away for a minute.

And then finally you can lay down the big boom and say I don't want to talk about this. The worst thing that narcissistic parent is going to do is rage at you, hopefully you don't live with them, and you step away. And that's the part that people are a little bit uncomfortable with.

I think in a lot of that-- I can almost even hear it in the question, there's that feeling of-- to me, like what or what are you afraid of? Like what's the worst possible thing that could happen? And to your point, it's they'll rage at them.

And you could assume that if this person knows this narcissistic parent their whole life, they know they know to be raged at. And you can already mentally prepare for, OK this is how they're going to react, it'll blow over and it is what it is. There's also an interesting flip to this.

What we don't know about this person is whether they're very happy with this new salary or this new salary is actually not a great salary. Maybe they're in a profession they love but the salaries aren't great, and that they don't want to deal with the shaming and criticism and hostility. Oh, what, that [SCOFFS]?

You could have been a high school dropout and made that much money. And that fear of getting that kind of pushback. That shaming that you've gotten your whole life, like, you study hard for the math test.

You bring it home and say, OK, well, this is really easy. Big deal that you got an A. Narcissistic parents do tend to demean their children as a way to pump themselves up as parents.

Very well said. Oh this is interesting, how do you successfully deal with having a narcissistic manager or boss? My temptation is to say quit.

But that's not an option for most number 1, 2, 3, all the way through 10 is document. You've got to document the heck out of everything. Because if this continues to escalate to a point where there may be a need for HR involvement or even legal involvement, it ain't worth nothing unless you've got everything saved.

I tell people when you start a new job, you've got to start that sort of file that you hope you'll never need. And it's where you start saving stuff, every voicemail, a lot of it may be dull, like oh this is boring, I don't to save all of this. But it's important you be organized because having to go backwards and get it all can be very time consuming.

And like I said, after a year or two you really do have a wonderful collaborative relationship with someone you may not need to have that fervor. But if you're only late to the game saying, this is a real problem, go back quickly and start getting all that documentation. But you need the documentation not just for the HR and legal piece, but also for your sanity.

Because a lot of people will have this toxic boss, toxic manager, and say oh, they are my boss, you know maybe I'm making too big a deal of this. Or you know, they're not supporting my friend, they're supposed to be making me work. Save them.

Show them to your sanest friend and say, does this seem normal to you? Yeah. Because sometimes it's someone else saying are you serious?

Like this is 27 lawsuits waiting to happen or yeah that's about what I experience at my job. Hopefully you have a friend who's sane and really can not gaslight you and minimize what you're going through. But get some reality on it.

I also tell people, if you can, try to have somebody who is your mentor is probably a heavier word than would fit for some people. But maybe a mentor or your professional guide person who doesn't work with you. Maybe it's someone you work with in a prior job, maybe it's somebody who knows your industry and you're just friends with them.

Ask them, like is this up-- like is this normal, is this up to snuff? Get guidance, again that pair of eyes on a situation from somebody who doesn't have skin in the game but who gets the industry, then is also able to say what the parameters are. And maybe even what kinds of actions you can take under these conditions.

A third is, don't fall into the gossip wagon. It's so easy to fall into the triangulated mess that is a workplace run by a narcissistic boss or manager. And that gossip will come back and bite you.

Because I'll tell you, the only person who's better at that than you, is that narcissistic boss. Who is constantly trying to wreak chaos in the workplace by talking about people behind their backs, so don't do it. And definitely don't take it to social media.

Some people will make that mistake feeling like, oh I just need to vent about this, so they go to social media to complain about a workplace or a boss. Maybe they don't even name names but they do enough that they're actually in violation of a workplace policy. Now all of a sudden, despite you having to deal with the narcissistic boss, you're the one in the hot seat and they may remove you.

So you've got to be aware of those issues too. Now, those are sort of housekeeping issues. A big piece of this is gain allies and create healthy friendships at work.

Again, not to gossip, but that you'd be surprised that there may be sane people there. And that might be A, enough to help yo. But B, it's also another pair of eyes on you like saying, this person's done amazing work, like I've worked with them they've been great.

So it's that but it's also-- it's a place where you can still grow professionally. Saying OK, it's not in my head, there's actually someone saying that my work is good. So there's that piece.

But when it comes to dealing with the manager or boss, less is more. To the degree you can, always ask to meet with somebody else present. Because otherwise you're going to go down a rabbit hole of a they-said-they-said hell that you're never going to be able to get out of.

Because that's what HR always said, well, you said that-- it becomes that. Try to always have a third person present. Perhaps even ask that meetings could be recorded so you can listen to them later.

Ask minutes to be taken. And if none of those things can be created, write-- as quickly as you can-- write a summary of everything that was said at the meeting. Send it to that manager saying, I just want to give you a summary of everything that happened at the meeting.

You can't use really toxic terminology. Right. But at least it's showing a record.

And either they're going to agree that that's what happened or not. And say, if we're not in agreement let's figure out where the agreement point is, so you're again, creating this constant paper trail. There's a technique I give everybody who is in a narcissistic relationship, usually it's intimate relationships and family relationships, but at some level it would apply in the workplace.

And it's what I call the DEEP technique. And the DEEP technique stands for, D don't defend, E don't engage, E don't explain, and P don't personalize. Mm wow.

So what ends up happening is, if you don't defend, don't explain, don't engage, and don't personalize you almost become quite robotic. You're documenting everything, you're almost like a soldier at that point, just like doing what needs to be done. And in doing that, you don't start getting into-- because the mistake a lot of people make with narcissistic people say, I need you to understand this.

And I'm like, they're not-- mm you're going to be standing here till next week. They're not listening to you. They don't care, so there's no explaining.

And when people can just stick to the facts, get to the brass tacks, and get things done. Then in that period of time if you're lucky, maybe the manager or boss will get fired. Maybe you'll get moved to another division.

Maybe you'll succeed in finding another job. These are not going to be jobs that work well for the long term, they're not. Oh, yes.

They do not, so what we're trying to do for folks, is create a stopgap. But sometimes that stopgap has to last a year or two. Yeah.

So that's where this combination of techniques I'm giving, can really come together and help people survive these kinds of situations. Absolutely. This is also why we have emergency funds, to help in situations like this.

But I would also say, and I know this is a bummer but, when you go to HR about your boss, I think you already have to be financially ready to leave that day, from the job. Because I think the thing that often people underestimate is the extent to which HR works for the organization. Yes, yes, yes.

Sometimes you can luck out and HR will really help you, but sometimes they might come in and defend that boss or manager who has a great relationship with the company. There's two issues, not only does HR work for the company, HR doesn't understand narcissism. Right.

I have yet to meet an HR person who does and if they do, they're not bringing it to bear in the workplace. And as far as the HR person is concerned, let's say you have a good solid HR person who actually gets it, there's not much they can do with it. I'll tell you-- if I can give everyone listening to this, one piece of advice when it comes to HR, never, ever, never go into an HR office and use the word narcissist.

You have sunk your ship if you do that. Because they're going to view you as the antagonistic, problem, name-calling person. You've got to go in there with behaviors-- on this date this happened, on this date this happened, on this date this happened-- with as much documentation as possible.

And you'd never, ever, ever, you never use the word narcissist in HR. And you never used the word narcissist in a court of law. It will always come back and bite you.

Despite everything this word tells us about a situation, no one is going to implement it. And when it comes down to it, unless you've got one heck of a really creatively written employee manual, narcissism ain't against the regulations. But the behaviors that come up under it-- abusive language, inappropriate workplace behavior-- a lot of that's there.

So don't say someone's a narcissist. Give them a list of behaviors. HR can work with that.

So one thing that people are asking quite a lot, in various, honestly sort of endearing ways, is if they know whether or not they're a narcissist. For example, one person says-- I don't take criticism very well. Am I a narcissist?

It's such an interesting question. Because it's, again, not so simple. I gave a laundry list of qualities that are associated with narcissism.

If you're willing to do the deep dive and cop to it and that's the case, then I can even give some tips on what to do about that. Because it's not an easy path forward. Are there unicorns?

Sure. Are there people who have these personalities and say, I don't want to be this person, then they find a heck of a good therapist and they put their head down and they do the years of work it would take to cause a shift. Now, there's a significant chunk of people out there who call themselves narcissistic and they're not at all.

They've been called it by other people, they're in narcissistically abusive relationships, and they've been told they're a rotten person so many times they actually start to believe it's true. So it's not that. That group actually is really going through it.

They're going through a lot of pain and they're trying to say, well, maybe I'm being too demanding in my relationship. And the things they're demanding are honesty, trust, kindness. And they've been told so many times, that's too much to ask, they think, well, maybe I'm narcissistic for wanting honesty, trust and kindness.

So that those are not narcissistic people. But again, I gave you a list. And in fact, if you go to any of my books, I have, like, 30, 31, 32 criteria that people-- we have it on our website, everything that you can go down and say, OK, how many of these am I?

And the key core ones are things like that lack of empathy, the arrogance, the entitlement, the grandiosity, the tendency to feel like a victim all the time. Those are the sorts of issues. Now, being sensitive to criticism, none of us like criticism, none of us.

Here's the issue. When someone criticizes, you do you lash out at them, scream at them and scare them? Not OK.

That's more of a narcissistic pattern. When someone gives you criticism and you're like, maybe this is true and maybe I'm not very good, and you kind of go into more of an anxious or depressed neurotic crisis over that, probably not narcissism, probably actually somebody who may want to do the work and therapy on anxiety and maybe depressive symptoms and even self-esteem. It's really that reaction.

If people are given criticism and they get very passive aggressive, so they may not be like, rah, screaming, but they get really passive aggressive. That might indicate narcissism. So it's not just about being sensitive to criticism, and that's actually a really good piece of feedback I should shape out.

Is being sensitive to criticism in a way that when the criticism is levied on them, they lash out at other people either directly or passive aggressively. And actually, that reminds me. Early in our conversation you noted that narcissism is increasing in the population from what you can see.

Mm-hmm. Why is that? I think a few things.

Social media, social media lit a-- Ain't that the true. --lit a fuse on this one. I remember back in whenever it was, the mid to late 2000's, I had two young children at the time. I was going through a tough time myself, but I was doing this work on narcissism.

I didn't quite understand what social media was. I wasn't on Myspace. And then someone's like, hey, you should look at this thing called Facebook.

So I remember the first time I looked at it and it was like one of those movie scenes where someone's eyes get really big and you're like, the aliens have just landed. We're in so much trouble and no one believes you. I thought, oh my God, we have finally given the narcissist away to main inline validation and admiration without leaving their houses.

Back in the day, they'd actually have to get dressed and leave the house and go glad hand out at a bar or at work or at a party. I'm like, now these fools can sit home and seek out admiration 24/7. And they can be paranoid there, and they can be manipulative there, and they can confuse people there, and they can cheat there.

And I'm like, oh my. I'll never forget the day. I can still see the home I lived in at the time.

And it was late at night and like I said, someone said, you should check this out. And I got sick. I thought, this is going to be a disaster.

It's a disaster. So I think that's a big piece of it. We live in a time where people are able to commodify attention seeking.

It used to be that you actually had to have a skill set. You actually had to be able to do something. Balance the books, fix a tire, clean a window, be a cashier.

Those things, you actually have to be able to do something. That's gone. Well put, yeah.

But there is a little bit more, though. I mean, I can't just make social media the bad guy, because there's other bad persons, because there's other things that are happening. We've enabled these patterns.

So all of this attention seeking that's going on and all of these people who are being cruel to each other, we let them off with a, they're doing their best. They don't really mean it. We have to say, this is not a healthy pattern.

This is not OK. We're not good with that, this is not OK. So there's also a lot of enabling.

And I also think that we're so focused on achievement outcome and money, ironically. The person who has the most money is the best person, right? We worship billionaires.

Why? They have $1 billion. That's all they've got.

That's not a virtue. It's just simply like saying, I have an orange shirt. OK.

So it's all of these things are coalescing, this focus on materialism, people being measured on the quality of their sneakers, or their handbag, or their car they drive. We've not only lost our true north, I don't even think we know what direction north is anymore. It's funny that you say that about the billionaire thing.

I always, given the sort of space that we exist in, I'm very aware of the sort of business guru industrial complex, motivational speakers, financial gurus. A lot of those people have been exposed for all kinds of stuff in their personal lives. But even just on their outward appearance and brand, you sort of-- I'm not going to say narcissism, but don't get a great vibe from a lot of them.

But what's so fascinating is that a lot of these gurus and business champions, whatever, business kings essentially, write these books, do these speaking circuits, write these articles about how to be more like them, their life tips. And I'm like, you've been divorced three times, your personal life is clearly in a complete shambles. You're being sued by your brother.

Why would anyone want to be like you? But I think you're totally right, that there's such a unique and singular minded focus on professional and financial success as someone's metric of value that we overlook everything else. Yes we do.

Yes we do. And we think, someone's got money, they must be doing something right. Maybe they're doing a lot of things wrong and that's how they got all that money.

I have to ask, are professions like a politician, actor, motivational speaker, I feel like, are these areas where narcissists tend to concentrate? Yeah, there are definitely some more narcissism heavy professions, and those would be professions that don't require empathy and that are associated with attention and validation seeking. Any kind, acting, politician, anything where it's all about the win, the game, the prophet with little regard around empathy or caring for other human beings, for sure.

And so it's in professions where empathy is the main stock and trade, you're not going to find as much narcissism, because they're not going to be able to hold the job. Yeah. Why are we celebrating narcissism so much in our culture lately?

See things like reality TV. We're not. So, I think we're not celebrating narcissism because I actually still don't think most people get what it is, right?

We're celebrating buffoonery. We're celebrating ridiculous behavior. I don't know.

I mean, imagine many of the folks watching this, I remember, many of us can remember being in, I don't know, kindergarten or first or second grade, and there would always be that kid who would behave badly, like do bad things. Or like misbehave, or do silly things or be the class clown. I was such an anxious kid.

I would look at them wide eyed. But in a way, I was kind of entertained by them. Ooh, I wonder if is going to get in trouble.

And we've always, as children, we look at that child, that person who breaks with-- breaks with the herd and behaves in a way that's either entertaining or outlandish. And so we're sort of drawn to this outlandishness. But I think there's also something else.

I think that these reality shows are all designed to show something we're missing in our lives. You don't have this fabulous lifestyle. You could be making these wonderful cakes.

And it's all done in this mean-spirited, judgmental way. It's what we call a vicarious experience. A vicarious experience is an experience we watch and we emotionally identify with, but we're not actually in it.

So we watch judges humiliate someone who just sang a song or made a pastry. And at some sick level, it's like the town square. Once upon a time, in the town square, they'd bring the town drunk out they'd put the town drunk in the stocks and everyone would throw tomatoes at them.

We shame people for behavior. In this case, these people are just putting themselves out there. And it's you're off, you're voted off, you go away.

And I think it really is a playing out of the picking of teams we went through as kids. It's these ancient, shameful, scary experiences. And we reality TV has managed to harness all of this and turn it into an attention seeking spectacle.

And then these people go on and make rather profitable careers off of this. So people, and again, so they've achieved the ultimate success, they're rich. So as a last question, probably this is I would say, some version of this is like 30% of what we received, which is, can narcissists change?

And especially as it pertains to finances, to people who might have their finances tangled up with a narcissistic person. A, is it even realistic to expect, hope, think, work toward them being able to change? And B, is it pretty much across the board that you must decouple your finances from a narcissist?

They're not going to change when it comes to money. Money is too high stakes. It's the one thing in the relationship-- You might even see a narcissistic parent get a little better, when the kids are there.

In some ways, not because they want to be a better parent, but they want to show you they can be a good parent, right? So it's not even about the investment and the parenting, but like, I'm going to show you I'm a great parent. Great, if the kids win, fine.

You do you. Like show up to the football game out of spite. Yes, exactly.

That's exactly what they're doing, right. And so money is different because money is power. Money is control.

Money is admiration. Money is validation. It is the thing every narcissist out there either has it, desperately wants it, and if they don't have it, that brings out all this victimization, passive aggressive, anger at the world.

You'll see, there's an interesting pattern we sometimes see of like, you know why I can't get the partner I want? Because I don't have enough money and all the rich people get all the-- And they get really dark and angry. And you're like, yikes.

And so it's this, I think that when it comes to money, you are going to see no change. Till the day they die, they're going to be like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings. My precious, my money.

Like they're that all of their life. It's how they control people. How could you take away their magic wand?

They will not stand for it. I've never, ever, ever, and I have watched some of these clients go to their 80's, never. It's really when they honestly get demented and someone might have to take the whole show over, but never.

So no, the answer to that is no. On the other issue, which is should, people decouple their finances? Listen, a lot of people aren't saying, hey, I'm about to marry a narcissist, so better decouple those finances.

Right. I think that this is, and this is what your show really is about, is financial hygiene, financial wisdom. This is a question that cuts far beyond narcissism.

I think that everyone, especially women, should really, really be aware of how money works. Money's a long game. How to invest for the long term payouts.

All of the things. How property is acquired. What are good places to park your money?

And we're just now maybe getting into generations of women who are starting to learn how money works. But again, I'm shocked at how much that financial literacy piece is missing and it's actually more embedded in how we teach men and boys and people who identify as men and boys than we do girls and women. And so I think that when it comes to decoupling, that's a really hard genie to stuff back into the bottle, right?

Right. If you're already coupled, I think that from the jump people should always say, I want to maintain some of my own accounts. That as a couple you come together regularly, whether that's monthly, whether that's quarterly, to look at the family books, to make sure that you're saving to the same goals, that you value the same things.

And if you haven't figured out before you marry this person, assuming you have a say in partner choice and all of that, but if you haven't figured out before you're marrying someone what their values are and how they function with money, then you are marrying this person way too quickly and without enough information. Right, exactly. And that has nothing to do with narcissism.

But the problem is, is once you bring narcissism into the picture, now you've put a magnifying glass on this. So those financial issues are going to become volatile. They are going to become risky and problematic.

And so that's the piece about, be very clear, have that physical literacy piece hopefully nailed down for yourself. But I know, I mean, I'm preaching to the choir here, but I know a lot of people are resistant to that. This should be taught in high school.

Oh yes. Every year of high school, this should be being taught in a very meaningful way. You'd be better off teaching kids about financial literacy than about sex at this point, really.

And so I think that the decoupling almost feels like trying to put a Band-Aid on an arm that's been cut off. I think that's a little bit late, but I do think it's really thinking about, how can I ask the questions before I get in too deep with this person? And if they're being wonky about money, don't try to justify it.

Say, this is not going to be cool. I want you to fast forward the clock to having maybe children or lots of shared stuff and you're like, this is not a healthy relationship anymore. What would that look like?

Instead of decoupling finances, think about what would a scenario look if this was not working for some reason? And anyone who is out there confident, oh, this will last forever. You know what?

People die. Oh, yes. It's not just about a divorce.

We talk about that all the time. It's not about breakups. You might be married to a real, difficult, narcissistic person and then they die and you don't even know what these are.

They may have been frittering away money on things that they like and you recognize that what you thought was the nest egg has $25 in it. So this isn't just about, well, we're going to stay together till we die. Maybe you are and you still could be in a tough spot.

Absolutely. And I do want to give, because a lot of people in here we're talking about family relationships as well. Yeah, yeah.

So I do want to quickly acknowledge also, because obviously, a romantic partner is such a high level of financial entanglement that it can be very difficult to decouple, even after you identify a person as being a narcissist. But in the case a family member, whether it's a parent or another family member, I think, would it be fair to say that if and when you've identified this person as a narcissist or this relationship as a one sort of in the narcissistic context, is that an indication, I need to do whatever necessary to remove money from our relationship? Yes, absolutely.

So one, again, I've said this over and over, is that narcissistic relationships are transactional relationships. If you think your dear, old, narcissistic parent has been giving you money and not expecting something in return, you're high. They might be expecting your time, they may be expecting you to always be at the Thanksgiving table, they may be expected to be the chosen grandparent.

I don't know what it is they're expecting. They may expect you to take care of them when they're older. As weird as it sounds, you may not necessarily, quote, unquote, "get it in writing", but you got to be pretty clear on what all of this.

Because again, as soon as you get into that transaction, it can be hard. I've worked on multiple situations, worked with multiple situations where people actually when they weren't willing to play anymore were handed a bill for their childhood by their parents and they're like, this is what you owe us. And that number went anywhere from $75 to about $450,000.

I'm like, OK. They literally handed them a bill, itemized, itemized. Estimates on everything from diapers to formula, to bikes, to you name it, because that person did not want to be in this financial game with their parents anymore.

It gets that bleak. Do not be surprised when that-- I wasn't. I was like, I want to see the statement.

You know, I'm really curious what they're charging you for. And so, because basically, in all of these cases, this person wasn't going to get on board with what the parent wanted. And this is where actually when the parent has more financial means than their children do, it can get real ugly real fast.

Because people find themselves having to go to the parents to get, I don't, help with a tuition payment, or help with their kids, or help for their health problem, or a down payment on a house. If you have a narcissistic parent, you'd be better off renting. Because I have to say that you could get yourself into something so psychologically problematic.

And where this also can continue to escalate is when we start looking at trusts, wills, estates, how money is going to be handed out when people die. Narcissistic parents are notorious for using their estate as like a little punitive game. Well, you didn't come to Thanksgiving.

You know, I do need to meet with the estate attorney. Just have to make sure things look a little bit more fair. And you're like, what?

And so, but they'll just keep moving it around. It becomes this interesting shell game. And then don't forget about narcissistic siblings.

Sometimes the parents are actually perfectly nice people, but the sibling is narcissistic and really wants to get more of their share of the pie than anybody else and we'll really gerrymander the finances and manipulate the parents to get them to give over more control, power of attorney, you name it. And what you thought might be coming to you as a nest egg in the case of a parent's passing, it's all gone, and that was because of a sibling who got in there. And if they managed to do enough of that gerrymandering, there might not be much you can do because the parent's signature is on all of the documents and they were of sound mind.

So this narcissistic stuff in a family system I think actually in many ways can do so much more harm because it's your childhood. People might think, this is really what the person who was my parent that brought me in the world is doing? Yep.

It's always transactional. Whether it's a parent, whether it's a sibling, whether it's a partner. I've seen adult children do this to, again, to their parents.

So it doesn't matter. It's always a transaction. It doesn't matter the relationship.

So you want to be very clear on what the terms of engagement are on this financial contract with this person. Well, it has been an absolute-- Thank you. --pleasure having you on TFC. I know everyone is going to be so thrilled with this episode.

It is a hotly, hotly requested topic. So where can our audience go to get more of all the amazing work you do? So go to YouTube, because that's just sort of our little budding library that's not little, it's big.

A video a day you make. A video a day. So we have hundreds-- Incredible. --and hundreds of videos up there.

And right now, we have series on finances, we have series on just about anything you want. And it keeps coming because we get wonderful suggestions from the people in our community on YouTube, which is a wonderful community. I have a website, which is DoctorRamani.com, D-O-C-T-O-R R-A-M-A-N-I.com.

And if you go there, you'll see sort of everything is kind of there. It's like a one stop shop. You can get my books, you can link to the YouTube, follow our social media.

We have upcoming seminars. We usually do seminars about once a month, and those are great times. We will have a topic.

Sometimes it's often around healing, sometimes it's more specific around specific groups like parents and all of that. So there's all kinds of opportunities to get more information there. So we've got it all there.

Follow us on social media, again, @DoctorRamani, and always putting out whatever wisdom that's being shared with us or that we have on-- And I say us because I really value my team. And so to make it about me, that's all good and well, but none of this would exist without all of us working together. I love that.

Well, you're doing incredible work. Thank you. And thank you so much for gracing our show and thank you guys all for tuning in.

We will see you next Monday on a new episode of The Financial Confessions. Goodbye everyone.