Facts You need to know to protect Yourself
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DISCLAIMER: Growing Awareness Pty Ltd as publishers of this web-site and John Bligh Nutting as author do not dispense or recommend medical or psychiatric advice, nor prescribe the use of any technique as a form of treatment for any diagnosable medical or psychiatric condition. Any such action should only be taken by you as your personal choice and either directly or indirectly on the advice of a physician or a qualified therapist.
Setting the Scene - What is are NBP Games
A behaviour pattern
If someone repeats a similar kind of behaviour fairly often it’s a pattern. A simple pattern can just be a harmless “habit”. The more complex the behaviour the more significant the pattern. If the behaviour leads to negative outcomes for other people it’s important to look at it from both points of view, the individual who repeats the pattern and other people on the receiving end.
Patterns are one of the things this website is about.
These are complex patterns because they are include severe power and control issues such as taking power away from people, undermining their self confidence, hurting or punishing them.
A full on narcissist who has been diagnosed with a personality disorder (NPD) does this and worse but lots of other people just use a selection of similar NPD behaviours.
In a light hearted mood we might label them as “Junior Narcissists” but since I have a strong bias against labelling I prefer to describe them in terms of what they are doing. They are following some but not all narcissistic behaviour patterns.
If you are reading this website there is a fair chance that you are, as I am, troubled from time to time by people who display one or two or more Narcissistic Behaviour Patterns.
For a start please let me assure you that being troubled about this is a healthy and natural reaction. I’d be worried if you were not troubled. But if the stress and pain is becoming too difficult then this website is for you. The more you understand what’s going on behind the scenes the less troubled you become.
One of the first steps in this website is to look at a troublesome process called “labelling.” Labelling is a dysfunctional activity anyway. So we need to look at ways to protect yourself from labelling because NBP players do it a lot.
At the same time you and I need to be very careful not to label other people in terms of who they are. If we label or describe someone as “being” narcissistic or as “being an NBP” then we’re getting into power games ourselves.
Let’s call them NBP Players
But it is OK to hang a descriptive label on what they are doing. So let’s describe them as NBP Players. By the way, NBP players like to label other people but hate it if anyone tries to label them.
Protecting yourself from labelling is simple really as long as you can just refuse to accept any “You are a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _” kind of label that anyone, not just an NBP player tries to hang on you. See page about labelling
Overall patterns - Power and Control
NBP patterns are all closely related to power and control issues inside us, yours and theirs.
For NBP players it begins with a deep down but very well hidden sense from their childhood, of never having enough power or control. Getting more and more power and control and hanging on to it becomes their life mission, their Life Game. That’s sad because they never get to know the joy of contentment, of being able to relax, to pause and enjoy life. They are driven by fear.
Why am I making my NBP book Free?
Because. In my lifetime (I turn 80 this year) I have had many experiences as the target for NBP players. If only there had been someone who could have told me back in my youth about NBP I could have learned to identify those patterns and kept them out of my life!
That’s what this free book and my NBP website are there for. So you can see the patterns and set yourself free from the tricks and traps that NBP can set up around us, until we know about them!.
John Bligh Nutting
QCA (Clinical); Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists - ARCAP;
National Australian Register -Psychotherapists and Counsellors Federation Australia (PACFA) 20969;
State Register - Clinical Counsellor - Queensland Counsellors Association (QCA) 230-80156;
Past Member, International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD)
Professional Member, Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA) 32974
Narcissism - Narcissistic personality Disorder NPD
Google “narcissism” or similar words and you’ll find hundreds of pages. It’s big issue and one that has people every day turning to the internet seeking help and answers. It’s about a way of controlling others by psychologically, manipulatively undermining them, taking their power away from them, then using it to build up the narcissist’s own image of themselves.
In its most serious form narcissism is classed as a disorder but one with an interesting twist from a medical point of view. Typically the “patient” never presents for treatment while people around them wind up on psychiatrists’s couches seeking understanding of what is going so terribly wrong with power and control issues in their lives!
NBP Narcissistic Behaviour patterns
This website and your free book are not about the disorder NPD but it is about the lessons we can learn from studies of NPD and apply them to a lesser form, the one more commonly experienced where people follow one or two or just a few narcissistic type patterns. They are NBP game players.
NBP Game players
NBP players use narcissistic type games to control their relationships and to tap into other people’s energy as often as they need to for their own gratification, to fulfil their own needs.
Any one of a hundred tricks and games NBP players use to keep you trapped in their web.
Is the essential strategy for getting out and staying out of a NBP driven relationship.
Control is something we all “do”: the way we ‘make things happen’; ‘get the job done’ or make changes. It can be gained, learned, exchanged, stolen, switched on and off.
Power is something we all “have”. It’s our ability to exercise control and make changes when and if we want to. You can ‘be empowered’ without needing to use it all the time. It’s stored inside you like power in a battery.
Power is like knowing you have a car, control is using your car to move from where you are now to somewhere you want to be. Some people have more power than others.
Some people including NBPs pretend to have power that is not real.
Some people specially NBPs can take control and power from you dishonestly.
That’s like stealing your car.
Different Levels of NBP player patterns
Their Life Game is all about Power and Control
Basic NBP player patterns - Level 1
These games are the easiest to spot while they are happening. Most NBP players do a few but not all of the games . They’re centred on the NBP player’s aim to strengthen their sense of power and control. For a full list of basic Level 1 patterns and games Go to the NBP checklist page on this site and then Activity sheet NBP- 1 in your free book.
Basic patterns like these are the easiest to deal with. If someone is displaying just one or two on the list this will help you identify, understand and deal with the stress those patterns are causing you.
Once you identify them, quite quickly you learn to avoid getting engaged with the NBP player, which is what they want and why they say and do these patterns.
The less you engage, the less drama, the less attention you pay to their game. The less power you lose!
If they don’t get results there’s hope the NBP will play them less often and that means less stress for you.
Emotional Unbalancing reduces Other People’s Power and Control - Level 2
At the same time as the NBP is trying to build up their power they are trying to reduce yours. They know getting you off balance is a key. For a full list of Level 2 patterns and games Go to the NBP checklist page on this site and then Activity sheet NBP- 2 in your free book.
Criticising, guilt tripping, invalidating, minimising, denigrating or any other similar process puts people off balance emotionally and undermines their self confidence.
That makes it harder for people to protect themselves and the more they feel out of balance the better the NBP player looks in comparison.
NBP Patterns which Increase Engagement - Level 3
Not every NBP plays engagement games. But those who do become hooked on the increased power engaging creates for them. It’s impossible to compete with their powerful engaging skills. Super charming, spellbinding, they learn to do whatever keeps them in the centre of the stage.
One or two very professional talents or very special skills help them rise closer to the top of the tree.
A unique personality style excelling in conversation, fascinatingly attractive, captivating in romance, are personal qualities that help them stand out in a crowd and attract attention.
For a full list of Level 3 patterns and games Go to the NBP checklist page on this site and then Activity sheet NBP- 3 in your free book.
Some NBP patterns create serious and more complex problems - Level 4
NBP players at this level are working much harder to get and hold increased power and control while seriously undermining or unbalancing people around them.
They don’t just play hard at their Life Game of Power and Control, they’re aiming for a Gold medal. People around them can suffer severe damage unless they are aware that the power and control game has been raised up to the danger level.
For a full list of Level 4 patterns and games Go to the NBP checklist page on this site and then Activity sheet NBP- 4 in your free book.
Also on this website
More Pages on this website and in your free book:
Addicted to Adrenalin
Why do NBP players need so much drama and attention? Because drama, engagement and attention increase their adrenalin levels. Adrenalin not only helps energise them, it’s a powerful emotional pain blocker.
They discovered a long time ago how well adrenalin worked for them this way, reducing their emotional pain. It was more powerful than alcohol or nicotine (and cheaper). It was a fast low cost form of self-medication and back then, as each adrenalin “hit” was helping them feel better, it was also helping them become a bit more addicted, to this way to block out emotional pain.
The adrenalin high is created inside but it takes an outside event like drama or a high level of engagement to trigger it. So, without outside help to build up the drama, they can suffer severe emotional pain.
Every time you join in an argument, or try to defend an impossible accusation or a refute a crazy prediction you are blocking their next drama driven adrenalin fix. You suggest calmness and rational thinking, you try to explain that there really isn’t a problem, but you will get no thanks because you are just delaying the drama they are seeking.
Don’t be surprised then if, instead you find yourself in a war zone or perhaps it’s a drug war! It doesn’t really matter as long as it gets the drama going again..
Nothing else needs to make sense to an adrenalin addict. What makes sense is helping set up the drama so they get their next fix!
How do I know about this? Because for many years I was a full-on workaholic. Maybe not so much addicted to drama but to the high I got out of working 80-90 hours a week. (There’s drama in that anyway but it’s kind of respectable)
I was an adrenalin junkie, just like my poor NBP father who taught me how it worked.
An unusual (repeated) pattern
Note: Why would someone “shoot themselves in the foot” again and again? If a behaviour pattern results in major negative outcomes for the person (with fewer problems for other people) and they then repeat the pattern, that has to be significant. It’s described as RSDP Repeated Self Defeating Patterns. That’s different to NBP and a whole area which I cover in my other books, and websites and briefly on this website Self Defeating RSDP .
Why do some people use child-like games and follow child-like patterns to deal with their issues?
NBP players use child-like games and patterns to deal with their own inner fears
NBP players seldom reach true grown up emotional maturity. That’s very sad for them and very bad for you. Behind their power plays and disempowering games you can see a kid or at most a youngish teenager, but a very clever one, trying to cope with life, using kids’ strategies and child-like approaches to life’s problems. Examples:
1. If criticised, corrected, told they made a mistake NBP players respond, not just with anger but with more dramatic opera-level histrionics (remarkably like a kid’s tantrum!) They are never wrong.
2. Exquisitely sensitive reactions to imagined hurts or insults. They want you and the world to see them as a poor little innocent victim. (It’s only a kid’s mask to hide what they are really doing) Message: To misunderstand, misjudge or even ignore a poor helpless kid is a terrible thing to do. Feel guilty.
3. Each time NBPs reduce someone’s power they believe that makes them more powerful (so similar to a playground bully)
4. If they are hurting that gives them the right to hurt or punish others! (a child’s game of victim-martyr-avenger)
5. I want what I want, and I want it NOW! (impatient kid) whether it fits in with your plans or not.
6. I promise from now on I’ll .. never tell another lie ./.. be sensible / stop doing it ..…/ ..be faithful .. etc etc (….whatever it is you really, really want them to promise). (...they’re not lying deliberately. Like a kid they really mean to stick to those promises, but they lack a grown up’s ability to hold to a promise for very long)
7. Fibbing if they believe they can get away with it (a kid’s way of avoiding trouble)
8. I’m hurting or I’m unhappy or both and that’s your fault. (a kid’s strategy, first seeking attention and sympathy but if that doesn’t get results, adding blame. It’s all a kid’s lead up before putting pressure on you for something they want)
9. If someone else has power NBP players feel entitled as a right to take it from them (the way a child takes or breaks other kid’s toys). In this case trying to undermine, unbalance or disempower power levels in people close to them.
10. A child-like need to attach themselves to people with any kind of power, but once engaged starting to take some of that power (or a lot if they can) by any means, fair or unfair. (like a kid in a candy or sweet shop)
11. Rude Little rebel games (enjoying being a naughty kid)
12. Sulking (won’t talk, won’t smile, no matter what you try, I’m not going to be a happy kid)
13. Teasing, baiting, name calling, insulting, belittling
This website is aimed at helping you protect yourself from all this (because nobody else can do it for you) by making you aware of what is going on underneath the NBP player’s pretend grown up masks.
Accept the reality. Not much use expecting an emotionally immature kid to act like a grown up just because they, or their calendar claims they are an adult.
Quote from the late Robin Skynner a pioneer in the field of family therapy and author of “Families And How To Survive Them” (1983) co-written with John Cleese ….
“If people are unable to control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people’s behaviour.”
Websites in our Growing Awareness and Flying Awareness Series -
|Checklist for NBP|
|No power over NBP|
|Avoid labelling with NBP|
|Your PowerOver NBP|
|Games NBP Play|
|NBP Case Studies|
|How NBP is created|
|Anti labelling Kit|
|More notes on NBP|
|Don't Give Your power Away|
|Question old rules|
|Sorces of Power|
|Self Defeating RSDP|
|DTD Developmental Trauma Disorder|
|Is it Safe for me to Change|
|Personal or Impersonal|
|The Path and the Holes|
|More About John Nutting|