About the episode:
Today we reconnect for a second episode with Narcissist Negotiation Expert, Rebecca Zung. Learn some identifying factors in recognizing if someone is a true narcissistic person, and some actions steps you can take, whether this person is a colleague, boss, partner, or friend.
Listen to the podcast here:
About Rebecca Zung:
I was a college dropout and single mom who went back to law school then rose to becoming one of the top divorce attorneys in the country. Now I help people negotiate with narcissists through my online programs, YouTube channel and podcast.
Watch the episode here:
You’re going to want to share this episode out and I’m going to ask you right now to everyone who’s listening, share with at least three people because this is going to be so important today for everyone to hear. You’re probably going to pick out about 10 people in your head and think, “oh I know somebody who’s going through that. I know somebody who’s going through that right now, they need to wake up, they need to wake up.” My guest today was a college dropout, a single mom who went back to law school, then rose to becoming one of the top divorce attorneys in the country, and now she helps negotiate with narcissists. Through her online programs she helps people negotiate with narcissists, their narcissist partners, whatever through the programs in the YouTube channel and her podcast. This is episode number two. Welcome back, Rebecca Zung.
Thank you so much for having me. I always love spending time with you.
Oh thank you so much. We’ve done a lot of fun things back and forth over the past couple months, I’ve been on your live talking on cybersecurity related to divorce and relationships.
You are a favorite of my audience and my community.
Yeah, that’s awesome. There’s been a lot of people that have reached out over that, I’ve just tried to help them through a lot of things because I love giving the advice, as I’m sure you do too, a lot of my services or B2B is not really to an individual so when those types came in like we were talking, let you know like with your show when you’re on the Ed Mylett Show a little bit ago, it was hundreds of messages from doing the live just trying to help people out, even to where it was just interesting and this will lead in good to our conversation to like one scenario, this person had influence and the ability to do things like wiretaps on phones or certain recordings in the house, and it was like “How do I get away from this, it’s on the mobile phone, first get away from an Android and go get an iPhone because it’s more difficult then. Second, you’re going to have to communicate through something like Signal to have completely private communications, but my point is that, this stuff happens. This is how the people that you help, the types of individuals that they’re in a relationship with think, and it’s sick.
So much, I mean and not just in personal relationships business relationships too.
The way they operate in their romantic relationships, is how they will operate in their business relationships as well.
It’s so intriguing on how that carries over and crosses over in that aspect too.
Totally, I mean they’re the same. They’re very paranoid people, so they act the same, regardless of whatever relationships they’re in, they don’t trust people. That’s how they are. They’re very controlling and extremely toxic to be around they’re really a scarcity mentality to the extreme. The way I like to look at it is like this, they’re almost like people who are starving or on massive survival mode at all times. You’re not going to want to give anything to anybody else because you just feel like you, if you give to anyone else, then you’re not going to have, and that’s kind of how they walk around at all times.
Wow, for everyone listening to this, we’re talking about narcissists. Those qualities, those character traits.. And coming from what we talked a little about last time, my experience even within the church realm because there’s a lot of pastors that are this way, it’s that type of position that’s prone to that, similar to politicians. I had a scenario with a business partner in the past too that was like this.
Relationship wise though, because that really hits home for a lot of people. Is there a way because I’m part of the conversations that we’ve had, and I’m active in your group too. I see a lot of the scenarios that pop up, and they’re asking “what do I do with this?” and I’ll even see a lot of text messages like screenshots of text messages that will come up when it comes to dealing with the kids and some of the messages are just so out of this world from these individuals, almost like they’re disassociated from reality.
Yeah, they’re always trying to get their narcissistic supply so whether they’re sending text messages, whether they’re just speaking to you, whatever it is, they’re always trying to get that narcissistic supply. They’re constantly trying to trigger and goad people into an emotional response, regardless of whether it’s a romantic relationship or business relationship. The reason why they do that is actually several layers deep by the way, because by triggering you and goading you, number one, they’re testing you to see if they have control over you.
I mean it’s a way of seeing. “Is this person a good form of supply for me? Are they a good target? Are they a good victim?” That’s number one. Number two is, they actually just get off on it, they think it’s funny or they actually enjoy watching people squirm, intimidating them and controlling them. Number three is, when they get those responses a lot of times they can use those responses against you down the road, whether it’s in a court or if it’s for work, Anything you write becomes something that can be used against you at some point, there’s many different layers to why they’re trying to trigger you.
If I’m hearing you, the first one is, they’re trying to poke you, whether it be embarrass you, just get a rise out of you, just to push your limits and find out where your threshold is. So that they can gauge how much control they can have over you, to see if they’re a good match to feed themselves, is that accurate?
Yeah, early on they’re conditioning you because they want to see if you’re going to be a good source for them, as far as a good source of supply or is a good target for them. Then you allow yourself to be conditioned to a certain extent, and you don’t even realize it’s happening, you know you’re over there thinking, “I don’t want to rock the boat” or sometimes I think early on at least for me, when things were happening earlier on with the business relationship I was in, I was like kind of confused to what’s going on here. Or maybe, I’m reading too much into this. There’s other signs that point to the fact that this person is actually very nice, that maybe they are a person of integrity, maybe I’m mis-reading things. You start to question your own mind and so you do let things go. And all of that is kind of the process of conditioning you early on in the relationship, and so they’re testing you to see how much they can get away with early on.
It’s so interesting because it almost sounds like your’s was with a business partner from what you’re explaining, and it almost seems as though they can kind of convince you. You’re thinking this person is a person of integrity, it’s almost like they’re trying to get you to doubt yourself and your own instincts. Is that accurate?
100% They’re trying to get you to doubt because they’ll say things to you like “I am a person of integrity, nobody is more honest than me.” They’ll actually say that to you right to your face. They’ll even do things that make it seem like they’re super honest early on in the relationship, that make it seem like they are. So when they start doing things that don’t harmonize with what you know to be true or whatever. It gets very confusing and then they start to do things that are really passive aggressive, and then they start to gaslight you, where you actually aren’t believing what you’re seeing or what they’re saying is it harmonizing with what you know to be true and then that’s when you start to think you’re going crazy and they want you to think you’re crazy.
Yeah, then you’re in a position that you’re controllable.
Oh 100%, which is what they want, because that’s when you start to think that you’re going crazy. That’s when it weakens you, destabilizes you, and that’s when they have a lot more control over you.
Can you give me an example or just elaborate a little bit, unpack that when you think you’re going crazy. What does that look like, how do you show up in those moments?
Well I mean it’ll be something over time. It’ll happen many times but for example, it doesn’t seem like much when I give one or two examples but when it happens a lot over time it seems like a lot, it becomes a lot. So for example, it might be, I’m going away with the guys this weekend. “Oh you’re going away this weekend is our anniversary. How, why would you go away this weekend? It’s our anniversary.” “Oh I, we talked about this, you agreed.” “We never talked about this,” “Oh yeah, we had a whole conversation about it and you agreed.” “We never had a conversation about that.” “Oh yeah, we totally did, you don’t remember? And they say it like so, “sure, like we absolutely had a conversation about this and you absolutely agreed,” and you’re feeling like, we never had a conversation about this, and then it happens over and over and over again, that is gaslighting.
Yeah, making you question your own reality.
Oh my goodness. You’re amazing at helping people at bringing awareness to this, and then with your programs you also help people get out of this. What’s that first step because you know there’s gotta be moments I would think where you start to realize, “oh this is a toxic relationship, and this person is not a good person.”
That’s actually the first step I think the first step really is starting to realize, “wait a minute, this person is a narcissist,” and just you know, starting to watch videos like mine or other people out there and realizing the signs of what a narcissist is. One of the beautiful things about PTSD from narcissism, once people start to realize the type of relationship that they’re in, they can actually heal much faster because they start to realize, “oh my god, I’m actually not crazy. This actually is a thing, and it’s actually called gaslighting and there’s a name for this, and it’s called narcissism and it’s called narcissistic supply and there’s names for all of these things that have been happening to me. And there actually is a term for Energy Vampire , that’s why I feel like that your life has been drained out of me, there’s a thing that’s actually called that.” That’s actually the first step because when you can start putting some space between the stuff that’s been happening to you and actually observing it almost as a third party, it actually is the first step to healing. Then you can go into okay, now what do I do, but that’s really the first step.
Yeah, and then from there on, I would hope that you could start to formulate an action plan.
It seems like a lot of this from what I’m hearing you can take time to, is that correct? To where it’s that you’re in this mode, where you are almost in a state of disbelief? Because if you get into business with somebody that ‘s this way, it probably takes time and almost like tallying up things over the course of time. Is there this clicking moment or a tipping point after a certain period of time and what do you typically see with your clients? Is it like that lightbulb goes off and it’s like “wow, I am coupled with a business or romantic relationship with a narcissist, where’s that tipping point?”
Well, for me, I didn’t even realize that the person that I was in a relationship with was a covert narcissist until I was actually already out of the relationship. I just knew that I needed to be out of the relationship. I just knew that this was not serving me anymore . Those people who follow me on a regular basis, know that I had this moment where I was in Maui a couple years ago now, and I was at the top of the mountain in Holly Alcala, (if anybody’s ever gone there you should totally if you ever go to Maui, totally you need to get up at sunrise and you need to go do this thing, it’s definitely on your bucket list. And yes, you have to get to be at like 2:30 in the morning and it’s like I’m not a morning person either but you definitely you get up and you go, and it’s like 90 degrees down at the bottom of the mountain, it’s 30 degrees up at the top and you have your blankets and everything and it’s unbelievable; this experience. The viewis just like heaven on earth. Un-believable.) I’m up there and it’s gorgeous and it’s heaven and you can’t even describe how beautiful. I’m thinking and I’m looking and I’m with my family and my daughter and my husband and it’s stunning and it’s heaven. One of my thoughts about this narcissistic business partner came creeping in, and all of a sudden it hit me and I thought, “no, no, you don’t get to be here. You do not get to be here with me at this moment” and I just had this moment of like “no you don’t, get to be here.” I just realized at that moment I have a choice. I just decided at that moment that, if I am thinking about that, or her, or that situation or what’s going on with that, then I am not in creation mode. I can’t be in both at once, and I just made a decision at that time that I was going to create a plan to get out of that situation. It was a very tiny little thing anyway, it wasn’t even making any money but it was enough to make my life crazy.
Sounds like my scenario.
I just decided I was gonna write my second book which ended up being Negotiate like You Matter and I made a plan for that and I made a plan to get out of that situation, that business situation. I just came down from that mountain and I was “this is it I’m, creating a plan for my life and I’m going to remain in creation mode, I’m creating a plan to get out of this. I’m going to only think about that when I have to think about that and every other moment I’m dedicating to creation mode using my gifts from God to help other people.” That’s what I’m doing, and from there I wrote negotiate like you matter. Robert Shapiro ended up coming forward and offering to write the foreword for the book, and from there all of these other things have flowed that I’ve ended up doing in my life. I can’t say I easily got out of that relationship, it’s never easy to get out of a relationship with a narcissist, but I did end up getting out of that relationship. I just remained focused on, You know, you can’t be in both places at once,you’re either in victim mode or creation mode, you can’t be in both. I just made that decision at the top of that mountain and I really tried to stay focused ever since then.
Wow, was getting out of it worth the work?
Oh god, yeah. That was so miserable, it was the most horrific. This is the thing when I speak about negotiating with narcissists on my YouTube videos and in these interviews, people can feel my authenticity. I know from where I speak, I’ve lived it. I know it and I can say to people, “listen, I’m a lawyer. I certainly am nobody’s a fool in a lot of ways, but it could happen to me, it can happen to anybody.”
Wow, as I’m sitting here, I’m picking out a couple of very powerful moments of your story, you’re in this just very beautiful space. While you’re in this amazing place with people that you love, with people that are providing beauty in your life. This person creeps back in in this moment, and that sounds like it was like your tipping point of course as you’re explaining to where you realize it’s even when the individual is not around. They’re still an energy vampire.
They don’t even have to be when in proximity of you, but because of all the emotions and everything that they’ve created through the course of time and these little nitpicky things and the pokes and controlling aspects of them, that it’s those things are almost like a, almost like an autonomous firing mechanism that’s within you. Now at this point so where, even when you’re having the time of your life, they still show up, even though they don’t show up. That’s powerful.
Right. Throughout most of my life and in my day, I probably didn’t notice it as much because if I’m going about my day fine, but in that moment, it was, “Oh no, yeah, you don’t get to be here.”
Yeah, your story is beautiful because it was even though it was rough at that moment, I’m sure and all the work following that, if we can unpack that a little bit too. All the work following that was probably pretty horrendous, but still it was the moment to where it’s beautiful, there was a recognition of what was going on, and it’s the start of the creation of something new, which is an amazing time in your life. There’s going to be a lot of work to get to where I need to be but I love you saying that.. Oh god, yeah it was worth it.
If we can take that I know yours was a business partner, but what were the reasons why I was so rough trying to get out of that relationship.
Because I was a big form of supply for her. I try not to give too many details because I don’t ever want this person back to haunt me. Narcissists never attach themselves to you, because you have so little value. They always attach themselves to you because you have so much. They always find people who can give them more than what they have. They find people especially in business, because they have more talents. It’s better, they’re further along in the continuum in whatever way. Then they figure that they’ll attach themselves, they present themselves in such a way that it makes it seem like they’re equals or that they have other things to offer, and then they rush the relationship so you’re in very quickly, it’s the same way that they are in a romantic relationship too. In romantic relationships, they want to get married right away, they want to move in right away, and business relationships are the same way they want to partner immediately they want to, it’s the same. If you’ve ever heard the story of the camel nose under the tent, but there’s the story of the sheep in the desert and this man camps for the night and the camel pops his nose under the tent and says, “oh please sir it’s so cold out here. Can I just put my nose under the tent?” He says “I don’t really want it but you know, I guess so.” A little while later he goes, “oh, can I just have my head under the tent?” and next thing you know the entire camel is under the tent and you can’t get the camel out from the tent. Now suddenly he can’t get the camel out and that’s how they are. They’re in very quickly and you can’t get them out, and that’s kind of how it was. Then they don’t do anything, they end up having less talent and trying to take credit and it was all of that.
Yeah, sounds like a lot of jealousy in there too.
Yeah, jealous and passive aggressive, and stealing money and all of the things.
If I was hearing it while we’re talking, it’s almost devaluing it in a way too, is that accurate because they see you as so much value.
Definitely devaluing and the passive aggressive stuff and I mean to be honest with you, I try not even remember most of it because I try not to live there anymore.
No, that’s good. You’ve moved on and are healing. I appreciate you sharing your story too, because it is always a process to get out of a scenario like this. It’s hard work but again, at the end you said, “oh god yeah, it was worth it. Oh Lord,” because what’s your life like now, without this pull in this energy suck?
It’s I mean it’s so much better, so much better and I wish everybody well, I just wish them well like over there.
As long as you’re not in my field, I wish you well.. That’s hilarious. Goodness. Going through this process, you have a lot of courses and I think everybody that is in a scenario like this needs to sign up for it because from what I’ve seen and even in my experiences too, with business partners, and in the church setting for me. I was also in business. It was that I didn’t realize, for a long time at the beginning that I was in this relationship with a narcissist, because there was always these little good things that I could find about them, and especially in the church, and the othere business, there was a service industry and security industry, and I was seen as someone that really wanted to help people, I can see their heart, I can see the core of them that they really want to just help everybody else that’s out there, but then as I started to look through things and realize that I needed to get out of that. It’s almost towards the end of going through removing myself into being completely out of that scenario, is when I would look back and I was like, “Oh, the whole reason why they did this was really just to bring attention to themselves anyways.” The whole reason why, where I thought they wanted to help people, was really them just bringing more attention to themselves. That seemed like a tactic, is that true?
Especially covert narcissists, because covert narcissists are definitely drawn more to being pastors and politicians and people like that, because then they can look like they’re the good people. That’s what I was dealing with in my business situation, and we have a family member, my husband and I had a covert as well. Everybody thinks they’re so wonderful. The family member that we have to deal with like, as soon as somebody is sick the family member rushes right to the person side and is the first one that shows up, and it’s just so transparent, you know, I mean because then everybody thinks that this person is absolutely wonderful, but it’s really so that they can get the attention for being the first one who shows up. They actually use other people’s sicknesses and things as an opportunity to get attention for themselves.
It’s twisted, very twisted. Where’s the point in the getting out to where things start to get easier? Because it’s a lot of hard work, I’ve been through it with several business partners now, because I can’t look back because I didn’t have the benefit of your knowledge in what you teach. When I look back, it’s where I actually finally feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Because it can seem hopeless for a long time, at least it seemed like that way for me. I didn’t realize that there was light at the end of the tunnel while I was going through it. Is that even possible, while you’re going through it to see that light?
The light almost comes when you don’t even expect it. I recently had heard that this former business person that I knew had reached out to a third party, somebody who’s kind of tangentially related to people that I know. So still trying to poke her way into my world I’ve kind of put up very strong boundaries as much as possible, but I had heard through the grapevine that this person had tried to reach out and when I had heard that I actually, but my first thought was, really, and then I thought, oh, so pathetic. I just honestly felt nothing other than it’s just so sad, and then I felt nothing. The fact that I felt nothing to me was “wow, I really moved on.”
That’s gotta be huge. That’s gotta drive the narcissist insane too if they know that.
I don’t know what she knows or doesn’t know, and the fact that I don’t even care. I actually don’t even care.
Oh sure, I’m thinking of those individuals who might still be in that relationship to where it’s like no more. I’m not gonna put up with this anymore and when they go on their tirades or if it’s a tirade or they’re gaslighting, and then it sounds like it could be a strategy for somebody in a narcissistic relationship to where they just let it roll off their shoulders and don’t even engage or they say, “Yeah, whatever. Or, I don’t care,” and then just kind of walk away that’s kind of drive them nuts
Right, it does, 100% This is what I say to people is like if you can like basically wipe them from the CPU of your life, going back to your language.
You can go in there and like, you know, like, ever existed. That would be like the best, you know where “who, what, what was their name again,” and absolutely have almost nothing about that’s the true winning. Honestly.
For sure. Can that happen while you’re still in the relationship?
I guess you’d have to define what is in the relationship, but does that mean
Married still in the business partnership still connected to them at some point.
Still married. No. Still in a business relationship, probably not, but if you’re related to them like maybe it’s an extended family member. You know you might be able to have strong enough boundaries where you can figure out a way to co-exist by seeing them at certain functions and be able to figure it out. But still married. Definitely not.
What’s the biggest way that you help people because I don’t know if we got into that before because I see your heart. For me from what I observe of you in our conversations, you mentioned your authenticity. It’s almost as if you went through this junk in your life and I share that perspective too, to where you don’t want to see, or at least try to minimize as many people who go through it out there out in the world, or at least if they’re going through a try to help them out of it. What really really drives you to just reach out to everybody and be like “hey there’s hope!”
That’s what drives me. Honestly, I feel like I’m on a personal mission. It’s my crusade,
I feel like every thing in my life has happened, all my law practice, my negotiation skills, everything that I gained as a lawyer, then dealing with narcissists in my own life. All of it happened and came together for a reason. Then I’ve been given the gift, as far as my power to communicate and I think it all came together for a reason. I know that I’ve helped a lot of people and I think that’s why I’m on the planet right now, is that I’m supposed to be doing this.
I love it. I really been trying to tap into the human side of you today because I see you, I follow you, you just like you follow me, and everything’s alwa,ys I love your demeanor, on your content because you were just like so matter of fact and cut and dry and like this is who these people are and you’ve got to wake up and this is how you get out of the situation, don’t worry there’s hope and it’s just so incredible the way that you come across so confident you’re right, your ability to communicate is amazing. I see it, there’s a soft side to you too, and that’s really the reason that I see that you’re doing this and it’s amazing. I’m gonna encourage you, we’re friends at this point, let that show what you do, because it’s incredible. Everyone who’s listening it’s like you’ve got to follow Rebecca, because one she’s gonna help you get out of the bad situation. First, you’ll help them recognize that they’re in a bad situation. That’s the first part, but then you’ll also help them get out of that bad situation but the place you’ve come from is just so pure and clean. I love it.
Thank you. Thank you. I think the people who follow me, who are my regular people they’ve heard all of these stories before.
If they find you on Instagram which is pretty much where I see all of your content, you know, for the most part it’s just like man you are just You’re spitting truth fire all over the place, it’s incredible. I love it. Thank you. That’s awesome. Leaving people with this please, if they feel that they’re in a bad relationship, when we’ve already established that they’re not crazy, right, because they’ve been gas lit to the point where they’re made to think that way but it’s okay, you’re not crazy. After they recognize that, what’s the first step for them to actually make a change?
Definitely create a plan. On the podcast, not my YouTube videos, but the podcast interview that I just published this past Monday, was actually an interview that I did with one of my former clients Lorraine Carlo, and she’s not somebody famous, she doesn’t have millions of followers. She’s a former client who was willing to tell her story. She was married to a malignant, crazy narcissist. Who is willing to tell her story! Listen to her story. She actually tried to leave once without a plan and had to go back and he made her life a living hell. Don’t make that mistake. You have to create a plan, I do encourage people. Once you have figured it out, that’s why I created the slay program I have slave for divorce, I have slave for business, in my slave for divorce program, I actually walk you through how to create strategy how to create leverage, but in the strategy section I actually lay it out step by step, how to create a plan, all the things you need to do before you leave. If you are going to leave, so have a plan. I do encourage you, if that is where you are in the process, have a plan before you decide to just leave. Don’t just leave. If you are in an abusive situation and you do need to get out right away, go to a shelter or something like that, you know, get yourself to a place where you will be safe. Ifyou’re not in a situation like that then have a plan.
I love it. Everyone can follow Rebecca at Rebecca Zung on Instagram and your YouTube channel just search Rebecca Zang, and then all of your stuff will come up, it’s beautiful, and to get your programs, what’s the website everyone can go to?
slayyournegotiation.com or you can go to Rebecca Zung.com. I do have a free, free crush on my negotiation prep worksheet that people can grab, if they would like. It’s a free ebook, and they can just go to winmynegotiation.com and grab that it’s really easy URL to remember just winmynegotiation.com
That’s awesome. I’m gonna head out there too. I just want to look at it, because I’m sure it would have helped me in my scenario years ago. Rebecca, you’re amazing. Thanks for being a good friend and an amazing guest and just an awesome human for helping so many people. Thank you.
Thank you for having me.