Mental Health Month Day #17 “Narcissism”

https://mirrorwithoutglass.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/mental-health-month-day-narcissism/

Social Media has spates of trending headlines and buzz-words. Periodically, ‘Narcissism’ will be among them. We know the basic meaning, the mythological story and how a modern narcissist can hurt relationships be they friendships or otherwise. But if we were asked to clearly define the process it might be tricky. That’s because the issue with a buzz-world is we gloss over the deeper meaning, we stereotype it, until we’re using it out of context and it loses the potency of its original meaning.

Thus, you will hear many people calling out narcissists, and in truth, fewer people are true clinical definitions of narcissists than we would imagine. Equally, some of those who labor the point regarding narcissism, are in fact guilty of the very thing they decry.

A narcissist as their core, is someone with low empathy for others, high self-regard, an inflated and delusional sense of self, an entitlement and sense of superiority to others. They can be charming and appear popular and ‘normal’ in some settings, only to be a down-low narcissist, or they can be an overt example. typically a narcissist is considered to have some sociopathy and inability to care for others meaningfully, as well as a belief they deserve more than others and others should act accordingly. Likewise, a narcissist will seek adoration and forms of worship over say, maintaining a give-and-take relationship. If they do something that appears giving it is with the knowledge they will get something in return, thus it is insincere.

Narcissists can also be very successful because they have less quam about their actions, they are confident, bullish, determined and strive for what they believe they are ‘owed’ as well as not being perturbed about the cost of achieving this or the damage inflicted upon others. Some narcissists will play games with people to manipulate them, in this sense they can be also described as sadistic and cruel.

As with any mental disorder, narcissism is on the spectrum and varies a great deal. It is a personality disorder manifested often early in life, and can be controlled, hidden or overt, depending upon its specific characterization within an individual. In other words, one size does not fit all. Typically with any personality disorder, it cannot be completely ameliorated but you can lessen its outcome if you are open to that, which many narcissists will not be because they suffer the delusion of self-aggrandizement.

Most of the time if someone hurts us, and we call them a narcissist they are not. Sometimes when someone calls out narcissistic behavior they are enabling it by their reactions to it. An example would be, if you call someone narcissistic but you do much the same in your own interpersonal relationships with people. It is possible to be  narcissist and not be aware of it.

With varying degrees of personality disorders, it is very hard to definitively say someone is a narcissist because many times you can display narcissistic behavior but not have enough to qualify for the actual personality disorder. With any mental illness it is dependent upon frequency, duration and extent of (symptoms).

If you are in a relationship of any kind with someone who is a narcissist you will expect to experience some of the following;  A sense that you are not entirely worthy of the individual and they feel you are lucky to be with them, difficulty in expressing successfully your perspective and that being understood. It is not as simple as being vain, confident, or even arrogant, narcissism is at the very core of a person’s nature and decision-making process.

Likewise, those subject to the natural manipulations of a narcissist will become versed in how to respond ‘correctly’ to their needs and thus, alter their behavior accordingly. It can take years to re-train yourself out of responding this way to a figure-head such as a narcissistic parent, or lover, and the beating it gives a person’s self-worth and confidence can require a lot of work to re-balance. This is because a narcissist is so confident they convince others they are right, even in the face of common sense. A narcissist parent will rear a child who is always considering the parents needs rather than the other way around, and thus, does not develop fully because they are attuned to the needs of another and not so much, their own.

We have been discussing how judging any mental health manifestation is wrong, and should be avoided at all cost. With Narcissism it is somewhat different. Narcissism, along with Sociopathy, Psychopathy, and other extreme personality disorders and mental disorders, has a poor cure or treatment rate, it often causes a great deal of harm and pain to others, and many who are ultimately imprisoned share these traits. While no good comes from judging, it is worthwhile considering whether becoming close to someone who is unable to treat these symptoms is a good idea, given the likely outcome.

Obviously someone who is a sociopath or narcissist shouldn’t be precluded from having a relationship or a life, but unfortunately in some ways, the damage of their personality can be so bad that it does come to that. Of course I feel some compassion for this, but it is tempered by the fact that someone who is a sociopath or narcissistic does not experience compassion or empathy and simply goes through life feeling they deserve what they want at any cost. Some milder forms that are say, manifested by trauma, can be treatable, but if they are entrenched, it is often a poor prognosis.

I have met some people who repeatedly are attracted to narcissistic types, this is because they learn patterns and unconsciously respond and repeat them without meaning to, because of early exposure to that kind of behavior. You could almost say it was masochistic and it is, though not consciously. It is a little like ‘better the devil you know’ because the familiar patterns of treatment become instilled and it is hard to break the cycle. In this regard, the victims of narcissists are more likely to be seen by mental health professionals than the perpetrators.

Ultimately then when we talk of narcissists we usually refer to the damage they wrought upon others and how best to help those people.

Learning to spot the signs of a narcissistic personality as well as increasing self-worth are the keys to overcoming the damaging cycle. This can include watching for people who only know how to talk of themselves, rarely show interest in others, and if they do it’s very much crafted toward gaining trust to get what you want. This is of course hard to gauge as it can be subtle and most of us have been on the losing end of a friendship with a narcissist.

There is no cure-all but the more self-respect we have, and the greater awareness of being taken advantage of, as well as looking out for people who are self-obsessed, will help us circumvent typical narcissists. This can include setting boundaries, ensuring that friendships are relatively equal (give-and-take) watching for obvious signs such as being self-obsessed, lack of empathy, lack of interest in anything but self, self-aggrandizing behavior, a need to be worshipped and/or continually praised and excessive vanity.

Just as those who are raped as children, can sometimes go on to rape children when they are adults because they are subverted into a twisted parody of their own abuse, and act it out, the same is true with narcissists. The victim of a narcissist will often exhibit narcissistic behaviors also. They will assist without knowing, the antagonism with the narcissist by responding/reacting in such a way that feeds the ego of that narcissist, they will also expect some of the same things their narcissist expects such as attention and adoration. It’s almost as if they learn from their oppressor and take on some of the traits.

This can be ‘fixed’ and is highly receptive to therapy, the first step being, admitting you have done this and wanting to stop doing it.

Breaking the cycle including your own reaction/response to narcissists is key. In some ways if you do not do this, you will aid and abet the narcissist and even attract others to treat you this way, just as you would any addiction. The behaviors are learned and highly addictive as all extreme forms of behavior are, especially if learned in childhood which they often are, such as in the case of a narcissist father and their children. The kids are literally trained into subservience, into blaming themselves as a narcissist will not take blame on themselves and are very good at displacing blame onto their victims.

Learning to be attracted to non-narcissistic people can be challenging when you are taught to be drawn to the magnetic inflated personality of a narcissist. Other people may appear ‘boring’ and ‘bland’ and not push your buttons including your sexual-desire, attraction buttons. It may seem ‘sick’ to be attracted to a narcissist but they are very adroit at becoming attractive enough to gain many followers. this is why narcissists are often in positions of power and/or lead others. They do have a magnetism and charisma that superficially impresses others. Sadly in some cases they are revered and never held to task for their less desirable traits.

It could be said our society is sick for our worship of certain narcissistic figure-heads and we should question the message we are sending by glamorizing narcissistic people in the media en mass. In many ways it is our society that creates a narcissist and certainly, we perpetuate them. What this also means is, we can change that.

Cynthia

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Let me tell you a story …

once there was an ugly girl, by ugly I mean her soul was desolate of compassion

nobody could see her true make, because she kept her cheeks brightly daubed with grease paint

every so often she’d be provoked and the alabaster devil would crawl out

betraying her neutered joins beneath camouflage

she asked me

BITCH why are you so fucking NICE?

venom dripping from her opaque maw

she could hardly contain her tiny fanged roll of hatred

as if by being merciful I disobeyed natural laws

her hellish countenance, displeasured turn of rule

she was without color, an albino sheltering behind false eye-balls

gathering fruits of her murder, dragging the axe behind

wishing so much to rise it over head and crack my tinted neck

why for some … it is a sport to undo others?

Rorschach of destruction splattered on pavements

I shall never know

she wanted my extinction

eradicate a girl who is not like her

crying; who does she think she is?

challenging the natural order of our dirt filled minds

bent on collapsing compassion

 

why are we suspicious of those who are tender?

as if they must all contain a poisoned dart or

some ulterior motive

it is not so very strange to be considerate

 

she was the butcher’s knife in plain sight

questioning my integrity implying I had some

hidden destination

everyone would rather believe kindness an invention

cruelty the status quo

they joined in their discrimination

sending me out in the wilderness

where I watched them eat each other

the way glinting crows starved of fresh meat

will turn sharp on their neighbor

and I

have been wild ever since

Fur

3d5e44b257578850726dffec1e5af373If we are honest

few things are honest anymore

everything is manipulated or

viewed through a lens

where is truth?

truth isn’t what most people want

not really

if a woman says

do my thighs look big in this?

is she asking for truth? or encouragement?

sometimes truth burns

sometimes it’s like an assault

if you live in the path of truth too long

you become immune to its sting

and nothing can hurt you anymore

but freedom

is not for everyone

 

the truth was

she hadn’t loved me in an eternity

if at all

whilst that felt like acid on my soul

it released the hope

to find another host

someone maybe who wasn’t being lied to

told she was the most beautiful

told she hadn’t aged a day

told she was the only one

how often is that so in a crowded world?

Disney would have us believe

frequently

but love

the real kind that doesn’t like the over-used name

that love is rarer than anything

maybe it doesn’t touch every person

you have to be capable of it

few are

it takes a humility of spirit and a depth

this society doesn’t encourage

 

the only way forward

listen to your gut

the feeling of worms and knives being turned

tells you when something isn’t right

even if others protest so loudly

it splits darkness from night

hold on to your truth

it’s there on the edges of deception

always reflecting never concealing

how easy it is

to believe someone when they say

it will only ever be you

there will be no one else

you are irreplaceable

how easy to want that to be true

 

but we are only savages playing in

high heels and wigs

we are wolves sitting at wooden pews

kneeling before weeping effigies

is it any wonder they cry for us?

we are children licking our sticky fingers

and plundering the honey jar

we are humans without conscience

if we briefly entertain it

soon we’re running in the opposite direction

for it takes the end of ego to

go to war with illusion

far better to sup on the drug that promises

a less sorrowful life

 

who wants to believe they are not

the one who will be loved

the one who will be held dearly

who wants to believe it might not

happen to them?

rather we deceive ourselves gladly

for one toke of the pipe

one last hit

a quick injection of bliss

to believe even as the voice inside says

this is not real

the fantasy, the fairy tale

we grew up thinking showed us

the future

as faulty as a soothsayer

gazing into empty crystal

there are no answers in lies

 

so when she told you

you were everything to her

she omitted the part that came after

unless you’re no longer

in which case another

will in time replace you

and you will walk alone as you

always have

wondering why

your heart was built of

fur

prickling from the

inside

out

Extinguished

how-do-you-say-goodbye-to-someone-you-cant-live-withoutYou cannot see

that my legs are missing

my arms are omitted

my heart does not beat

my eyes do not see

you may say

how dare you

when there are crippled

and broken and rusted and

crusted and burnt and damaged

people who really have

no limbs

no vision

no fingers to touch with

and still

I will show you

the circumstance of hurt

invisible

unmentionable

lest we are judged

left more alone as consequence

wounded warriors who have seen no war

do battle over and over

with scars that do not heal

eyes that cannot burn

more than a slow life time

flame flickering

on and out

persisting to burn

even though it is

extinguished