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  • Joey Udovich

UMD expert shines light on common toxic behaviors that affect relationships.

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

R.O.S.E.S., Inc. free July webinar features critical mental health topics; August 24 will continue toxic behaviors series.

OLNEY, Md. – Gaslighting and narcissism, while harmful to relationships, are also poorly understood. In its mission to increase dialogue and education about mental distress and disorders, R.O.S.E.S., Inc. focused on these topics during its monthly complimentary webinar. The webinar featured Tiara Fennell as the guest speaker.

(Above: Tiara Fennell’s professional headshot.)

Fennell, M.S., LCMFT Director of University of Maryland’s Center for Healthy Families, opened by explaining the importance of recognizing and dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Between .5% and 5% of the U.S. population suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which shows up in behaviors including taking advantage of others, having an unreasonably high sense of self-importance, needing constant admiration and feeling that they deserve special treatment and attention.

Narcissistic tendencies are also detrimental to their recipients. Fennell says that victims of NPD can include a loss of self worth, inability to forgive oneself and developing people pleasing tendencies. Some of these symptoms can even be physical, such as headaches, stomach aches and difficulty sleeping.

“It is scary knowing how NPD can affect us,” says Joey Udovich, an attendee of the webinar. “It is crazy to think that mental abuse can cause physical ailments.”

Fennell said to heal from narcissistic abuse. “Acknowledgement and acceptance is the first step.” Then, she advises we set clear boundaries, practice self-compassion, talk to others, and seek professional support. “[Professional support] can offer good skills, reflections, and tools to not only heal from this experience but to help spot warning signs early on as you continue to build relationships,” says Fennell.

(Above: Information on healing from narcissistic abuse, from Fennell’s presentation.)

“The advice Fennell gave us was just what I needed,” says Udovich. “Sometimes I forget that it is okay to seek out professional help. I can’t do everything on my own, and sometimes it will be difficult to identify narcissistic behavior. It’s good to know that there are always trained professionals that are here to help.”

Fennell concluded her presentation by providing resources for the attendees, including the Center for Healthy Families. This resource provides individual support as well as couples counseling and family therapy. Fennell encourages everyone to seek out professional help, as it is the best way to heal from NPD and toxic behaviors.

R.O.S.E.S., Inc. provides free monthly webinars, covering a wide range of mental health topics. These webinars feature experts, guest speakers and opportunities for the audience to ask questions. On August 24th, ROSES will be hosting its next webinar on Dealing with Narcissism at school and work. Anyone can participate, whether you have experience with the topic or just want to learn more. For more information on upcoming webinars, visit our website here.

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