Narcissistic Family Systems

Trauma-Informed, Virtual
Coaching and Christian Counseling

What is a narcissistic family system?

A narcissistic family system develops when there is a highly toxic or narcissistic individual in the family. Narcissism rarely operates alone. Everyone close to a toxic or narcissistic individual is assigned a role. Sometimes these roles change, but often they are fixed.

Enabler
Fan
Golden Child
Scapegoat Child
Invisible Child
Manipulator
Mascot
Caretaker
Hero
Responsibility Taker
Flying Monkey

Everyone is automatically assigned a role by a narcissist. If you don’t participate, the narcissist will employ several cast members to smear, isolate, and abuse you in one way or another. Often, this abuse is covert and hidden from the other cast members.

Parents, in-laws, grandparents, children, distant relatives, friends, business partners, cousins, spouses, and more are asked to participate. A narcissist’s children have roles similar to supporting actors, extras, and stunt-double. Their job is to help the narcissist look and feel specific ways (powerful, perfect, worthy, etc.).

Everyone in a narcissistic family system is a victim of abuse. A relationship with a narcissist is destructive for everyone involved. Sadly, some of their children may become narcissists themselves. At the same time, their children who develop high levels of empathy might become unwitting enablers of many narcissists for years to come.

A victim trying to leave the toxicity and heal from narcissistic abuse quickly figures out the tentacles of narcissism reach far and wide. 

Healing and getting free from a narcissistic family system is possible, but it requires highly specialized support. 

If garden-variety interventions for families in crisis are used, they almost always backfire. The abuse will likely escalate, and the impacts will cause unimaginable pain and suffering.

Do You Need?

Answers

Are you constantly confused and questioning everything? 

Get the validation and insights you need to unravel your individual situation and clearly understand the truth about what is happening.

Direction

Have you tried everything, but nothing seems to be helping?

Get the personalized guidance, effective strategies, and roadmap you need to confidently choose your next steps.

Healing

Are you realizing just how deeply you have been impacted?

Get the trauma-informed support and direction you need to overcome the impacts and move forward in your life.

My Approach

I believe we are all beautifully unique, including YOU, so a “one size fits all” approach often isn’t helpful and can even be hurtful. So, instead of using a cookie-cutter plan, I enjoy working together with you to create a path forward that considers your unique personality, challenges, and strengths.

I believe that you are the expert on you. My role is to listen and learn about you so that I can provide the guidance and support you need to get to where you want to go. The best growth and healing occurs in a space where you feel free to ask questions, disagree, and talk about what is helpful and what isn’t.

I believe every person is valuable. Unfortunately, trauma often causes us to confuse the impacts of trauma with our identity. When this happens, we are left feeling deeply ashamed, hopeless, crazy, and weak. I value you, and I want to create a safe space where you can feel and know your value too!

Services

Important!

Willow Life Coaching and Counseling, LLC does NOT provide medical services. Please see a licensed medical provider if you need medical and mental health services.

About Me

Bonnie Ronstrom

I’m a certified life coach, victim’s advocate, and pastoral counselor. I specialize in walking toward healing with those harmed by toxicity, narcissism, and spiritual abuse.

My passion is to provide the validation, support, training, and resources individuals and organizations need to overcome the devastating impacts of toxicity and abuse.

Whether you need a one-time consult or a place to heal, I look forward to meeting you and exploring how we can best work together. I work with clients from all over the world through virtual, trauma-informed coaching, Christian counseling (non-medical), groups, training, and consulting services.

Contact Me

Frequently Asked Questions

Christian Counseling

Do you take insurance?

My services are not medical, so they are not covered by medical insurance.

Who do you work with?

I work with English speaking adults from diverse cultures, countries, and backgrounds.

If you didn’t see an answer to your question, the link below will take you to more frequently asked questions.

What does working together look like?

The various parts of us (body, mind, soul, spirit, emotions, personality, abilities, etc.) are so intricately woven together that all aspects of us are impacted when we experience hardships and trauma. For this reason, I believe the most profound growth and healing occur when all parts of us are part of the process.

When we first meet, I’ll ask about your goals and what you hope to gain from working together. Some people have a clear picture of what they want, while others are overwhelmed and focused on surviving today (an expected impact of abuse and trauma). If this is your situation, we can start with your immediate needs, such as helpful information, clarity, a safety plan, or strategies to calm the chaos and anxiety.

I let each person decide how often they want to meet (permitting time in my schedule) and if they prefer to meet via phone or video chat.

As we talk, I discover your personality, experiences, preferences, and abilities. Getting to know you is an essential part of helping me present options and strategies that will be effective for you. I don’t believe a one-size-fits-all approach works. 

 

Part of being trauma-sensitive is that I’m always listening for potential triggers and roadblocks so that together we can develop creative ways to help you keep moving forward and avoid being retraumatized. 

Trauma alters how our brain and nervous systems function. Even when we are no longer in a harmful environment, having “trauma brain” causes physical problems and makes everyday tasks and interactions difficult. An essential part of healing is helping your brain and nervous systems return to healthy functioning. Thankfully, our brains are capable of changing and developing new patterns. Even though trauma is devastating, healing is possible!

People are traumatized when they go through deeply distressing events. When these distressing events are ongoing (such as in the case of Narcissistic Abuse), the impacts are profound.

When there is stress, our brains temporarily change how they function to help us respond to the stressor and recover afterward. Prolonged trauma causes our brains to take on new patterns of functioning. Certain brain areas become overactive while others under-function. These changes are sometimes referred to as “trauma brain.”

Here are just a few of the signs of “trauma brain.”

Lack of focus

Memory issues, Forgetful

Fatigue, Unmotivated

Anxious, restless

Emotionally reactive

Difficulty feeling connected to anyone

Difficulty thinking through challenging topics 

More impulsive

Drawn toward addictions (food, shopping, drugs, researching, etc.)

Sleep difficulties

Loss of hope or difficulty thinking about the future

Jumpy 

Overthinking & obsessing

Headaches, stomach and intestinal issues, auto-immune disorders

Skeptical of everyone and everything

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