Wondering what to expect at your first ALANON meeting? Here’s a quick list of expectations directly from the source’s mouth, noting that attending ALANON meetings can help Narcissistic Abuse victims who feel they need for direct, personal, “face to face”, validated, experience-based social and moral support. But do have the presence of mind to remember what you know about Narcissistic Abuse recovery. People who are dealing with Cluster B people should absolutely avoid taking generic advice about how to deal with a social predator.
Group support meetings are oftentimes filled with deeply psychologically and morally confused people. While there may be a surface level presentation that all who attend are kind-natured people who have for whatever reason found themselves struggling to deal with the caustic lifestyles of alcoholics and other self-indulgent and typically cantankerous people, one cannot and should never presume that everyone present in the meeting is either honorable or playing with a full deck of cards when speaking of intellectual nature.
Many of the meetings are also filled with people who have narcissistic personality traits like codependents, Covert Narcissists, entitlement-based thinking, are Flying Monkeys, love to stir the pot, who get off on listening to other people in pain, and a host of other socially toxic thinkers who, typically due to a combination of nature and nurture, willingly enmesh themselves with toxic peer groups specifically because they simply don’t know better.
For these reasons alone, when and if someone recovering from Narcissistic Abuse elects to attend, be mindful that as an empathetic person with porous ego boundaries you are ripe for social and emotional abuse by people who themselves are on the low end of the totem pole as predators. Be careful to avoid people who strive to promote psychological intimacy with you too fast, anyone making romantic advances, people who are dogmatically religious zealots willing to bypass common sense for the sake of religion, or those people who no matter how much good advice is given to them by rational, kind-hearted and loving people that they stubbornly and obstinately refuse to take it.
But if you think you are at a stage of recovery where you personally feel — regardless of what anyone else does or says to steer you away from going — that you simply need to sit in a group with other living, breathing, IRL people, one of the safest and most welcoming places in the world can actually be to attend a meeting of those who are actively coping with abuse on an everyday social and emotional basis.
ALANON is a self-help based support group for the closest personal friends and family member of people who are alcoholics or problem drinkers, not a group known for providing wise guidance or counsel to Narcissistic Abuse victims in general. The organization typically expresses their mission statement and sets the tempo of their family-oriented but adult content themed meetings as follows:
- Al‑Anon is a mutual support group. Everyone at the meeting shares as an equal. No one is in a position to give advice or direction to anyone else. Everyone at the meeting has experienced a problem with someone else’s drinking.
- You are free to ask questions or to talk about your situation at your first meeting. If you’d rather just listen, you can say “I pass,” or explain that you’d just like to listen.
- Every meeting is different. Each meeting has the autonomy to be run as its members choose, within guidelines designed to promote Al‑Anon unity. Al‑Anon recommends that you try at least six different meetings before you decide if Al‑Anon will be helpful to you.
- Al‑Anon is not a religious program. Even when the meeting is held in a religious center, the local Al‑Anon group pays rent to that center and is not affiliated in any way with any religious group. Your religious beliefs—or lack of them—are not a subject for discussion at Al‑Anon meetings, which focus solely on coping with the effects of someone’s drinking. Here’s how one Al‑Anon member found the “Higher Power” of his own understanding.
- It will take some time to fully understand the significance of anonymity to the Al‑Anon program. But at its simplest level, anonymity means that the people in the room will respect the confidentiality of what you say and won’t approach you outside the room in a way that compromises your privacy or the privacy of anyone who attended an Al‑Anon meeting.
- The meeting will likely begin with a reading of the Twelve Steps of Al‑Anon. It will take some time to fully understand how the Twelve Steps can be a helpful tool in recovering from the effects of someone’s drinking. But Al‑Anon gives you the opportunity to grow at your own pace.
The important thing for Narcissistic Abuse victims to remember when attending ALANON or any group therapy meetings is that most people attending do not have their heads fully wrapped around the concept that staying with an abusive person is actually enabling. Because ALANON is aimed to support family members of toxic personalities, there is an implied “we’re stuck with him or her” that tends to go on in meetings.
Do not let other people’s willingness to enable abusers to color your perspective on who you are as an individual. Going low to no contact with a Cluster B predator is absolutely the RIGHT moral advice, noting that some individuals — the people the meeting participants pray will stop drinking or drugging themselves out of their gourd — can develop addictions without having full-fledged personality disorders.
If a person has exhibited strong traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Anti-Social Personality disorder over time, the right advice is to go NO CONTACT or functionally limit all social interaction. Such personality types are considered untreatable by most (meaning nearly all) mental health professionals.
People who fail to display the character traits of an abusive personality type before they start exhibiting personality traits of alcoholics, problem drinkers, or even pharmaceutical addicts are those most likely to benefit from going to rehab and working through their addictions issues. Such people can and should be considered candidates ripe for entering psychotherapy and working with behavioral specialists to learn how to cope with triggers likely to cause them to relapse as well as to reprogram their own intellect with regard to impulse control issues.
Those who use alcohol or drugs as an excuse to abuse without consequence are of a different sort. People who relapse purposefully on a whim and take great pleasure in verbally or physically aggressing their loved ones without remorse are oftentimes Machiavellian Sadists — not true addicts who are propelled in foul deeds by ingesting a substance. Family who knows the dark side of their problem drinker’s personality type tend to feel great frustration when and if they are told directly or by implication that their Abuser is sick — meaning medically ill — at the core of their bad behavior.
If you suspect your person of interest is mean-spirited, a pathological liar, abusive by nature, enamored with toxic peer groups, and actually enjoys hurting other people’s feelings for fun and sport, chances are while they may have developed an alcohol addiction that the reason they were drawn to overindulgence in the first place is as a means of self-soothing their atypical mental and emotional behaviors. If they are a person with a Cluster B personality type, egocentrism and grandiosity are the two most prevalent, diagnostically required behaviors.
A person who has one too many cocktails at a party then drives home is exhibiting lapsed judgment as well as anti-social behaviors. If it happens once, they might get a DUI or hurt someone on the road because while inebriated their natural reason function was depleted.
This is not at all the same as the person who drives themselves home from the bar nightly. It’s also not the same as a person who prides themselves on their ability to drink or lights up regarding the telling of any party war stories glamorizing drunk, stupid, reckless, immoral, and purely narcissistic or sociopathic behaviors.
Attending a meeting with the intent to observe and really listen to people’s stories of having to deal with a substance abuser can be incredibly helpful for a person actively involved with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery. It’s not that you are there to spy on meeting participants or look down on them for not realizing when and if they themselves are behaving like co-dependent co-Narcissists.
If your challenging loved one or person that abuses you has a drinking problem on top of a personality disorder, realize they are not likely to improve their personality type with the removal of alcohol and whatever other mind or mood-altering substances they enjoy taking. What they are likely to do is take on the personality affectations of something called a “Dry Drunk” — meaning they will continue with the same STINKING THINKING patterns of an Alcoholic minus the DUI and general BO and bad breath smell.
Since many people with addictions issues have Cluster B personality disorders driving their psychological addiction to egocentrism from their core, attending a few meetings in your local area to simply listen to advice about how to cope with irrational, hurtful, or their immoral behavior can be a true blessing to Narcissistic Abuse victims and survivors seeking intellectual human companionship coupled with understanding and wise moral support. But it can also spark massive feelings of guilt about going no contact with an Abuser, having to sit there and listen to a group of loving but psychologically unwell people hell bent on acting like Flying Monkeys, who stay with their abusers for egocentric reasons like finances, and it can truly infuriate you to have to listen to people wallowing in self-absorption while they blame their CHILDREN for making it necessary to stay involved with toxic romantic relationships.
That’s why we proffer the information about what to expect from a group interaction with a clear NARCISSISTIC ABUSE RECOVERY WARNING. Taking advice from people who are at a psychological or emotional education level that allows them to say things like, “I want to leave, but we’ve decided to stay together for the sake of the children” or “BUT I LOVE THEM!” is simply not advisable for any person who has been targeted for social and emotional or physical abuse by a Narcissist, Sociopath, Psychopath, or any other toxic peer group like a family of Covert Abusers and Enablers.
So go when and if you feel like you need a hug and are craving a passable but generic cup of coffee. Attend. Say hello. Listen 10x more than you talk or respond. Bring a little journal with to write down any ah-ha moments, wise insights, or reminder notes of similar situations of abuse reported by other meeting attendees that seem to reflect Narcissistic Abuse patterns.
Then, take pride in the fact you are one step ahead of the game if you have ever even heard the term Cluster B or have a clue why enabling a toxic person is bad news for everyone — the targeted victims, scapegoats, and especially collateral damage victims like children. But do try to use your self-awareness of being on the healing path wisely — never to put down another person’s current level of emotional or psychological development.
If you feel so inclined, discreetly make up a batch of flyers that list your favorite Narcissistic Abuse recovery groups, Facebook fan pages, online forums, closed groups, and websites. For instance, post something on the bulletin board with pull off tags people can take home with them that say something like FlyingMonkeysDenied.com on the pull off the same way one might advertise used textbooks for sale on a campus website.
Then, when and if you do elect to share your OWN story… let people in the group know your person enjoys their addictions issues rather than struggling with them. It might be a real eye-opener and healing moment for other people in the group to realize some people on the planet (our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, spouses, or lovers) might be broken biologically by nature or nurture in general… not simply thanks to the addition of an addictive substance like alcohol.
ALANON meetings can offer tremendous support for Narcissistic Abuse victims when and if the group is made aware of Cluster B personality disorders. Learn how to be an abuse recovery advocate for those whose stories in the group match the symptomatology of a person who suffers from C-PTSD as a result of enduring ongoing abuse while resisting the urge to take bad advice from well-meaning people who know nothing on an academic level about the nature of people who have atypical personality disorders — or who themselves are actually Covert Narcissists, Flying Monkeys, and willing Enablers.
Check out the following resource link for more information about local meetings in your area –> http://al-anon.org/find-a-meeting
But if you attend and feel yourself slipping into an emotionally regressed state of missing your Abuser or wondering if you are a bad person or going to hell for going NO CONTACT or filing for a divorce, do a quick re-read of this article. Then give yourself a solo hug of comfort and moral support from us. As Narcissistic Abuse recovery advocates, nothing is sadder than knowing how badly we all wish we could use self-help strategies and things like family counseling sessions to talk sense into our abusers and help them change.
But bottom line reality is those people who have Cluster B personality disorders tend to use and abuse things like drugs and alcohol because at their core they are primarily bored, have a streak of sociopathy that extends into the realm of self-harm by compulsive self-indulgence, and that listening to them tell war stories about how much fun they have while partying makes us throw up in our mouths a little bit when and if we are forced to them brag about how much fun their party-party personality types are when and if they are at their local club or bar.