Hacking Narcissism with Nathalie Martinek

This newsletter is called Hacking Narcissism. I chose this name because I believe that each of us yearn for connection with each other and it’s our narcissistic tendencies that get in the way of building and sustaining mutually beneficial relationships that enable both people to thrive.

We suffer in inequitable, co-dependent and exploitative relationships - from interpersonal to relationships within community, with institutions and systems. For each of us to intentionally cultivate mutually trusting and beneficial connections with others, we need to become aware of all the behaviours, beliefs, expectations and rules that create the conditions for unfulfilling, exploitative and harmful relationships.

Hacking means disrupting status quo - the way you are in relationships that contribute to suffering. Once you develop awareness of the relationship rules you can break, expectations you can dismiss and behaviours you can interrupt you’re creating change in the way you experience your relationships. This means you start to take responsibility for what you say, expect of others and do, and seek to change when you learn of negative impact on another, while also spotting these traits in others and responding in different ways that don’t fuel conflict.

This is what it means to hack our own narcissism, navigate relationships with people who rely on narcissistic traits for their success, and to become a narcissism hacker to cultivate healthy and nourishing relationships.

I write about all about the things that happen in relationships that cause distress and suffering and what you might do about it.

Why did I start this newsletter?

I needed an outlet for what I was learning navigating challenges I was experiencing in my personal and professional life. Like you, I’ve experienced betrayals and I have been the betrayer. I have been bullied and I’ve participated in helping bullies. I have been manipulated to provide my resources to others and I’ve sought attention and significance from all the wrong people in ways that were mutually hurtful. I’ve suffered moral injury from violating my principles and experienced institutional betrayals. All of these have contributed to deep suffering that prompted deep examination of myself. What I share with you are the fruit of these deep dives into suffering so you don’t have to go through it alone.

Over the years I was also dissatisfied with the explanations developed through academic research that trickled into popular science and psychology about the causes and solutions to suffering. My scrutiny of literature and my own self-examination kept me returning to the idea that relationships are the cause of suffering and therefore hold the key to wellbeing. This Substack has become my own platform to present theories, frameworks, content and processes that contribute to suffering and our liberation.

I give readers the reasons behind the problems in a relationship, what to do about and more importantly, what to NO LONGER DO that is keeping them stuck in power struggles and drama. The strategies and tips I provide don’t come from books or advice from anyone else. These tips were developed and tested out by me and countless others who I’ve supported to break patterns of power struggles over the years with family members, social groups and in professional relationships. My job here is to give you content that inform and guide as well as describe the steps to change. With me, you get content and process of change. Change in perception, change in expectations about your relationships so they become realistic, change in actions to take so that you can interrupt patterns that sustain suffering, give you space to recover from the impact of these negative relationships and plan your next step to eventually extract yourself from the relationship web of suffering.

In this sense I’m also your peer going through the lessons of life and sharing what I’ve learned here. I hope I can provide language that describes your experience of suffering that will help you feel seen and less alone, because I didn’t have this as I was working out what was underlying my suffering without a known cause.

What this platform is not

I’m not here to build a community though this is what many social platforms want people to do. Communities take more resources than I have to monitor and moderate discussions. Unfortunately, many communities dedicated to healing, recovery and anti-oppression eventually manifest all the toxicities that the group intended to eradicate because the leader succumbs to the lures of power, significance and attention, making them yet another knowledge vamping cult-like leader who failed to hack their own narcissism.

This is what I do want. I want to get to know you, my readers, as you get to know me. Everything I write is everything I’ve experienced. I speak from me and we. I share what I learned through implementing the approaches, processes and practices I developed and uncovered along my journey that have been trialled and validated by others. I want to be able to relate to you and for you to relate to me as your peer liberating from the web of suffering. The foundation of health is supportive, caring and encouraging relationships as we each navigate our own trials, tribulations, joy and victories. I’m in it with you.

Some of the content might be triggering because you will see things about yourself that will immediately evoke feelings of shame and judgement that might compel you to send me hate mail. Rather, please use the trigger as an opportunity to discover new things about yourself and an invitation to reflect on what might need to change. The comment section for each piece is open for your questions and challenges about the content so that I can respond to you.

This is a free and paid resource

I aim to keep most of the content free and the researched, descriptive, process-focused content (“how to”) is behind a paywall. This work is one of my jobs that I would like to eventually sustain me and my family financially. Each newsletter is constructed with caution and care, knowing that you and every other reader will view the guidance I provide through your own lens of experience and biases. This takes me considerable time and effort that is totally worthwhile because of the positive impact it has had on so many people. If you enjoy this newsletter and get value out of it, please consider a paid subscription.

If you know someone can benefit from this content to help them navigate tricky personal or professional relationship, consider gifting them a subscription.

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Free vs. paid subscription

Free subscription:

Paid subscription:

  • ‘How to’ guide each month like this one

  • Long form essays like this one

  • Monthly office hours to ask me anything about your relationships

Founding members:

  • All of the above

  • Digital copies of specific compilations and The Little Book of Assertiveness eBook via email.

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Welcome to Hacking Narcissism! I’m glad you found me so we can hack narcissism and cultivate fulfilling relationships together.

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I write about power, control and navigating narcissism in relationships, institutions and our own behaviours.


I write about power, control and hacking narcissism within yourself, your relationships and institutions. I'm an ex-systems biologist turned Narcissism Hacker, coach and consultant helping people navigate life, workplaces and relationships.