An Inconvenient Introspection about Narcissists

“So here I am, just another a narcissistic blogger looking for ego-boosting hits, and happy to get some by writing a controversial piece that suggests that you, dear reader might be a narcissist among narcissists, in an increasingly narcissistic culture.” – Jeremy Sherman, Ph.D

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The quote above comes from an excellent article – A Possible Sign That You’re a Narcissist by Jeremy Sherman, Ph.D –  about the trending hot topic of the stretched out moment, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

It’s not your typical article on the subject, and that’s what makes it excellent in my view. It spins the issue around and asks the reader to pause, introspect and self-reflect.

It’s easy to look at others.. See their faults, flaws and personality disorders. Not so easy to look at ourselves. To see our faults, flaws and possible personality disorders.

To really look at ourselves without using others to buffer the impact of an inward focused stare which asks us if perhaps we’re projecting our own darkness, faults, flaws, personality disorders onto to others so that we can see ourselves as bathed in light, faultless (or just not as faulty as someone else), flawless (or just not as flawed as someone else) and personality disordered (disordered personality… who me? Not me! You!).

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“The diagnosis “narcissism” cuts both ways too.  Surely there are people who are universally self-absorbed, though not as many as currently get pegged as narcissists.

Many people are misdiagnosed simply because they are more interested in themselves than in us, which can be really frustrating to us, especially if we feel that their attention is our God-given right, in other words, especially when we’re narcissists.

Hence, one possible sign that you’re a narcissist, is a pre-occupation with ways to label others as narcissists with self-certain authority.” – Jeremy Sherman, Ph.D

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When we accuse someone of something, of being something… are we sure we’re seeing them as they are or are we seeing them as we are?

When we don’t like what we see in someone else… are we seeing our own reflection in them, are they mirroring back to us the parts of ourselves from which we have disassociated?

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This article is not saying – If you accuse someone else of being a narcissist that means that you’re a narcissist.

So don’t go there, unless you want to.

It is simply saying that when you diagnose someone else with something, being something, when you accuse someone else… take a look at yourself too. It could be informative.

An important element of relationships is that our relationships with others helps us to get to know ourselves better, and getting to know ourselves better helps us to know others better.

It’s difficult to be compassionate towards someone else if we’re being hard on ourselves, but if we’re compassionate with ourselves… if we cut ourselves some slack… then cutting other people slack, being compassionate towards them, becomes easier. Maybe… just a little less difficult.

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Empathy… is as overused a term as ‘projection’ and ‘narcissist’. And we tend to use it to highlight our pros and spotlight someone else’s cons. They lack empathy – a sign of a narcissist!

But if we’re really as empathetic as we have diagnosed ourselves as being… wouldn’t we understand why the other person, narcissist or not, is being unempathetic towards us according to us?

Tricky to ask… tricky to answer.

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Ego is always waiting in the wings to trip us up. Ego isn’t a villain, but it is when it only sees itself (us) as the hero and can’t perceive its heroism as someone else’s villainy.

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This article isn’t saying that if you’ve diagnosed someone as being a narcissist… they’re not a narcissist. They may well be exactly that. But what happens next?

You can’t change things, other people (would you want someone to change you just because you’re not who they want you to be for them?), solve the problems you’re having with this other person by informing them that they are a narcissist. If they are a narcissist telling them that they are will make things much worse. If they are not a narcissist… it will also makes things worse.

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If you don’t like someone the way that they are… the problem is yours, not theirs. They may like themselves that way, and even if they don’t – that is not your problem, it’s theirs.

And if they don’t like you the way that you are… that is their problem, not yours. If you don’t like yourself the way you are… that is your problem, not someone else’s.

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All of this is problematic… where are the solutions?

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If we have a problem… usually we also have the solution. Most problems contain the solution within them. The wound contains the healing. Our problems with others… we contain the solution within us. What that solution is… requires introspection and self-reflection, which may be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and may reveal things which we don’t want to know about ourselves.

Sometimes we’re afraid of what we’ll find if we look at ourselves. Really look at ourselves. Not just a quick glance in the mirror. With flattering lighting. So we don’t look at ourselves and we look at others instead. We contrast and compare. We judge and label. We tend to favour ourselves when we do this, flatter ourselves by unflattering others, use others to make ourselves feel good… sometimes we make them feel bad to make ourselves feel good, we make them look bad so we can look good… but what is our real look, and what is theirs? What is real and what is just a perspective of a version of real?

Sometimes they’re doing that to us, and we end up feeling bad so that they can feel good about themselves.

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Does Your Pursuit of Self-Esteem Damage You?

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Does your pursuit of self-esteem damage others?

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The Daily Post recently asked – How are you at receiving criticism? Do you prefer that others treat you with kid gloves, or go for brutal honesty?

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What if the person you consider to be a narcissist, thinks you’re the narcissist in the relationship?

Is one of you right and the other wrong? Who is which?

Could you both be right? Could you both be wrong?

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“One culture’s expectation is another culture’s narcissism. An American of low-to modest income expects running hot water–feels entitled to it in ways that would look narcissistic to the Sudanese.

It’s no wonder that our culture’s side-effect is a whole lot of us writing off our fellow men and women, as un-satisfying social products who fail to meet our justified “needs” (an inflated term for wants) because they’re narcissistically flawed.

Indeed a reasonable assessment of the world right now is that we have squared off as dissatisfied factions quick to diagnose our opponents as narcissists.” – Jeremy Sherman, Ph.D

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If my mother had known about NPD when she spent hours upon hours, day after day, year upon year, telling me all the brutally honest truths about my father (which she told me she didn’t want to tell me but told me anyway)… she would have probably accused him of being a narcissist. But that term was not trendy, a hot topic, in those days.

Never once did it occur to her how what she said to me about him affected me, she claimed to consider this… but she didn’t, especially when she used her favourite verbal weapon – you’re just like your father – when she was sharing a brutally honest awful truth to me about myself and about him. Where was she in all of this brutally honest truthful awful truth sharing light… hidden in the flattering shadows.

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My father, just like my mother, had he known about NPD, and the accusation of ‘You’re a narcissist”, had that been a trendy hot topic in those days, would have accused my mother of the same thing of which she accused him.

Both of them would have been thoroughly convinced of their righteous diagnosis of the other – they, of course, would be the angel versus the devil. Not a drop of narcissism in their blood.

But what about my blood?

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I sometimes come across people who claim that all narcissists are evil, those who claim this have often had a child with a narcissist… so what does that make a child of a narcissist?

Are they half-evil, as they would be half-Italian if one parent was, say, Italian?

Are they always on trial, with the good parent being judge and jury whose judgement is always pending, moment by moment… if the parent sees the child as good (as long as the child is behaving as that parent wants them to, making that parent feel good about themselves as a parent and person), like them, then the verdict is not guilty… but should the parent decide otherwise… guilty as charged with no recourse to an appeal.

You, the child, live from moment to moment, trending hot topic to trending hot topic, hoping for a reprieve… but never getting it.

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Most people tend to give us compliments when they feel good about themselves around us. When we make them feel good about themselves. When we smile because they are there, seem happy when in their company, when we compliment and complement them.

And most people tend to criticise us when they feel bad about themselves around us. When we make them feel bad about themselves. When we frown because they are there, seem sad when in their company, when we criticise them.

You can’t make anyone feel anything… but you can perceive things that way and so can they.

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“Once we face squarely into the possibility that diagnosing others may be a work-around to avoid inconvenient introspection, we dull the double-edged sword a bit, and become a little more self-reflective.” – Jeremy Sherman, Ph.D

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I have diagnosed both of my parents as being narcissists, as having NPD. Sometimes I see them as malignant narcissists. I have yet to make the leap to calling them sociopath narcissists… labeling them narcissists was enough for me, for what I needed.

And that is all the diagnosis is about for me… it is for me. It is my view of my relationship with them… a view which I needed to clarify my own confusion, to work through my own issues. Whether they really are/were narcissists… ?

Considering how others perceived them… sometimes the views of others confirm our views, and sometimes they don’t.

I’ve been through many stages while writing about this for my blog… or more accurately, I wrote about my story and my view of it for myself and shared it on my blog, for very selfish, self-indulgent, self-reflective reasons – doing it publicly meant I couldn’t pretend I hadn’t said what I said, didn’t think what I thought… I’ve spent a lot of years worth of time lying to myself, silent, keeping schtum, then feeling sorry for myself because of those lies, that silence,… that delusion… illusion.

Enough…

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“Diagnoses help us cope confidently with the people who trouble us. If we know that people have a condition, we can make more confident accommodations to them (“I shouldn’t take it personally; he’s got an illness”), push them more confidently (“Look, you’ve clearly got a condition and you need treatment”) or walk away from them more confidently (“Why did we divorce? It turns out my ex is a narcissist.”)

Diagnoses are in this respect very useful, but they’re also dangerous which is why we’re cautioned not to “psychoanalyze” each other. Diagnoses are double-edged swords, great for cutting through uncertainty, but also great for machete-cutting each other down thereby freeing each ourselves from the inconveniences of self-reflection.” – Jeremy Sherman, Ph.D

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My blog gets a lot of ‘hits’ because of some of my posts on narcissism.

Sometimes it gets ‘hits’ because I happen to be a Sun sign Capricorn which many people who are into psychology/astrology, pop versions of it or otherwise, perceive like this – “are all capricorns narcissists” – that’s a recent search term which led someone to my blog. Whether what they found on my blog answered their search query…?

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Most of the feedback which I get on my blog is what would fall under the label ‘positive’. My ‘positive’ label may be different from yours.

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Someone once called me a narcissist in a comment… they did add ‘heh hehe heh’ to it… signalling that they were baiting me and doing it humorously. That comment made me take a self-reflective, introspective look at myself.

What I found while looking within was… you know, I could be a narcissist as far as someone else is concerned… and strangely enough the idea that I could be a narcissist according to them didn’t and doesn’t concern me. It informs me.

It’s their problem, not mine. They have the solution to their problem… ignore me or dump me because I’m ‘toxic’. Do what you have to do… don’t expect me to do it for you.

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This is who I am… don’t like it? Then don’t put up with it, don’t put up with me.

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Don’t expect me to change for you because you don’t like who I am… I don’t expect you to change for me because I may not like who you are.

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Just accept the fact that we can’t like everyone even when we would like to do so (and would like others’ help us in doing so, in liking them, so we can like ourselves for liking all others… if they’d only change for us so we could like them)… perhaps who we are, as is, isn’t the kind of person who likes everyone, as they are, as is.

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Anthony Hopkins philosophyvia Anthony Hopkins [Capricorn]: Darkness Visible/Oxford Astrologer

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21 thoughts on “An Inconvenient Introspection about Narcissists

  1. Thank you for sharing your sensitive information on this site.

    Note:I am not diagnosing nor prescribing any psychological strategy. I am making some possible suggestions for recovering from Narcissistic injury but it is vital that you have your health care providers permission before pursuing any treatment. Also, please contact a Domestic Violence hotline or 9/11 if you are in any physical danger. I read that 1 in 3 Domestic Abusers are Narcissist.

    Possible Suggestions for recovering from Narcissistic Injury, if you have safely left your Narcissist and go “no contact:

    1. Get into the type of therapy that you feel pertains to your needs.
    2,Inner Child work ( want to clean out the core injury). I’ve been told that a qualified therapist that uses hypnosis can help you “heal” your “inner child”.
    3. EFT ( Tapping).
    4. Look into Quantum Healing Physics ( study Vibrations, Energy and Frequency levels). Raise you Energy levels.Energy rises to its own level.
    5. Study NLP ( system in which people communicate). Help’s to understand yourself and others.
    6. Look into 5 Rhythms ( Mind, Body and Spirit connection). Great workout.
    7. Have a medical check up ( take care of any health issue’s). If you go to an ND ask about vitamins and minerals.
    8.Go to Dentist ( fix any dental issues)
    9. Go to a Nutritionist ( take care of yourself internally and externally.)
    10. Go to the hairdresser ( get a beauty make-over)
    11. Go outside for a walk daily ( if your health permits). Get some shine shine.
    12. Surround yourself with people that make you laugh and feel good about yourself.
    13. learn about and set boundaries.
    14.What are your non-negotiable in relationships ( and stay firm).
    15. Learn about love and what it is and what it isn’t. Don’t let ANYONE treat you in a non-loving, disrespectful way.
    16. Create a Vision board. ( use the Law of Attraction)
    17. Use the power of positive thinking to change your thinking ( I mentioned this to some extend in saying you have to raise your energy).
    18. Seek G-d ( for me this is actually # 1). I believe in the power of prayer, etc.
    19. Exercise
    20. If you can afford it, go to a personal shopper to help you choose clothing that brings out your best qualities.
    21. Do things that your enjoy ( if you enjoy the arts, it’s a good way to release pain in my opinion).
    22.Give yourself time to rest and time to heal. ( Be kind and forgiving to yourself. You deserve it).
    23. When you are feeling stronger and more settled in your life, help other’s.
    24.Go to an Astrologer or if you know how to read your chart, and learn about your strengths and potential weaknesses and work on it.
    25.Forgive the Narcissists and forgive yourself. And move on.
    26.Figure out at any given time, where you are in the following equation:
    ID The problem ( Narcissistic injury) + Solutions = Desired results.

    G-d bless you and others that are learning to create a life filled with love, kindness and contentment!

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I’m guessing you’ve had personal experience of being hurt by a narcissist, and that these suggestions come from things which you’ve done yourself to help you to recover from your own pain and experience.

      If this is the case then you might find this article interesting – http://narcissisticbehavior.net/narcissistic-victim-syndrome-what-the-heck-is-that/ – as it looks into the deeper aspects of being injured by a narcissist, which do need to be understand so that a pattern won’t repeat.

      For me personally the #1 helpful factor is – not feeling the need to find a fix to a problem, but instead taking a time out to get to know ourselves, and really listen and hear our own story as we tell it. Our relationship with ourselves is our primary relationship, and if we can accept ourselves as we are… it is an overall healing experience.

      Best wishes on your journey!

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  2. this sounds more to me like being able to make excuses for bad behavior. Narcissism is real and the traits speak for themselves. I have been raised by narcissist and married to them. You choose to be in a relationship with somebody the reality is that you should expect some give and take as well as changes in behavior. I expected my ex to treat me with respect and its a fair request. You can’t expect to say I am what I am take me or leave me, it’s your problem not mine. There are universal morals and people should be held accountable for them. Is it ok for me to commit murder and just be able to say oh well it’s who I am if you don’t like it then it’s your problem. That what I am getting from this blog. I hear a complete lack of empathy but excuses to behave badly. That book the 4 promises or whatever justifies the same attitude, that we can sh.t on people all we want and if they don’t like it oh well move on.

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    1. Thank you for sharing.

      Since you’re an adult child of narcissists, you may be interested in a survey being conducted at the moment by the University of Georgia’s Communication Studies Department which aims to create a scale to help people to identify parents with Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

      https://ugeorgia.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bpUcPJ3CkaLjOPb

      Valerie Coles, Ph.D. and Dr. Jennifer Monahan are asking Adult Children of Narcissists (ACoNs) to participate in the survey online – you can do so anonymously – to help them in their research.

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  3. Its all about balance isn’t it? When I would think of my narc ex I could not help but see my own part in it. After all I wanted his attention most of the time and was upset, hurt and at times angry when that seemed too much of an imposition for him. So in one way I wanted him to be a certain way but due to his conditioning and mindset he was another way. And he didn’t want to accept me as I was so in the end it was doomed. I was just reading a quote from the Four Agreements today which said. Don’t take things people say or do personally, it isn’t about you but about them, their projection, their dream. Once you don’t look so much to others for confirmation you feel more of a sense of peace. As a chronic people pleaser I am glad these days not to care so much when people don’t like me. It feels better to be that way and that was the way my ex partner was so… it seems there were big lessons in that relationship for me. Maybe I needed to become a little like the narc in some way. And I can certainly see elements of my own self preoccupation. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own story we don’t see the other view. This was a really insightful post. More food for thought.

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    1. Goodness! The Four Agreements! The Don Ruiz book, right? That takes me back… time traveling back to about 15/20 years ago! I read it when I was into Castaneda… it’s very Castaneda-ish with a bit of Buddhism throw into the mix. Great read!

      The whole ‘Don’t take things personally’ thing… like the non-attachment thing in Buddhism… is wise and sound advice, but so infernally hard to do because we’re wired to take stuff personally. Yet it is essential when dealing with a narcissist. It’s always all about them even when they’re making it all about you.

      I agree that we need to see our own part in our relationship with a narc, because our part is vital. But we need to realise that it’s not a blame game, it’s an insight game. If we acknowledge our part in the dynamic, then we have the info we need to free ourselves from the pattern… bit by bit.

      I do think that those who are most prone to getting caught up in a narc’s web tend to lack enough narc within themselves, the healthy version of the natural trait… so the unhealthy version is an experience in stirring our healthy narcissism. Once it is stirred… and we let it out, then we… don’t need them anymore (ouchy for them 😉 )

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      1. So true. I guess that was what I was trying to say. I needed to be more narcissistic in a good way. I do think a Catholic education sets us up for vulnerability to narcissists. I just read this blog on how someone thinks everyone should learn to forgive. I have a problem with that if it means we don’t learn to get the hell out of there and set better boundaries.

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        1. Its funny I never read that Four Agreements book but I was talking to a friend and she helped me to see what was going on with my family and she mentioned this it wasn’t personal thing and then I went to my daily meditation book and there was a short quote from the Four Agreements which said basically the same thing. I am thinking this.. We need to know our hearts so taking it personally may be necessary so we know what hurts and learn we don’t have to hurt as much by continuing to subject ourselves to that hurt. What do you think?

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          1. Most things are personal… however taking them personally is only a portion of the bigger picture. If we’re too focused on our personal side of things, busy caught up in taking things personally and reacting to that, we may miss the personal side which belongs to someone else, what they are taking personally and giving because it’s personal.

            What do I think? When interacting with others, take a step back, pause, breathe, and take a long panoramic look at the bigger picture which includes many small ones. Usually whatever is going on is mostly about the other person, them taking things personally and acting and reacting because of it, their personal view obscures their view of your personal view… and often vice versa.

            Other people… are the same as us, we’re all focused on ourselves in a personal way 🙂

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            1. Sometimes the stepping back comes later. But that’s Moon Mars talking. It gets very caught up in its own emotional storm. I have read somewhere it being described as selfish. I really get what you are saying here. However some times the stepping back takes some time and we go through the instant reaction response and suffer the fall out before coming to understand more. If as children we didn’t get mirroring then how do we learn what is us and not us. Its a complex issue. And for some of us it takes some years to come to these kinds of understandings. Which is one of the reason your blog helps so much.

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              1. I have a Moon/Mars connection too. Much of how that aspect expresses itself, within and without, depends on the type of interaction between them, how their energies blend or don’t blend, and where those energies take place and find or don’t find expression.

                Our interactions with others help us (or hinder us, and help us with the hindering) to figure out our interaction with ourselves. We can be our own mirror and talk with the mirror to understand what the reflection is saying, as well as what we are projecting there.

                I used to talk to myself in the mirror as a child, as though talking with a friend. I stopped doing that a long while ago, but I still view my mirror reflection as a friend. I think it taught me to figure things out for myself, discuss things with myself… it taught me to self-reflect, which is very useful when the people around you are using you as their personal mirror and throwing things at you when you don’t give them the reflection they want 🙂

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                1. That is just beautiful. I too talk to myself all the time. I feel we all do it, some maybe unconsciously. I feel that its the Moon Mars part of myself that wasn’t liked much and others find jt offensive. I just wrote a blog on the scapegoat and I guess it touches indirectly on what you have just written to me. I was thinking this morning of the book Trapped in the Mirror. I use the mirror a lot but when the inner critic was harsh it had some very nasty thing to say. But what you wrote is so spot on self reflection helps us as only we can know how we relate to ourselves from within and when we are in the midst of conflicts and having stuff thrown at us we can and do get blindsided in the early stages. There could be a great blog on this comment of yours. Reading this fills me with joy. 🙂

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                  1. Having just re read my comment I know what you are saying is about mirror talk, more than just inner self talk. In the mirror work we can see into our eyes and into our soul on some level when we talk to ourselves so it can go deeper. And the reflector we need is always there with in. It wont abandon us. 🙂

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                  2. TY 🙂

                    There is a quote which I love because it is both wise and unwise, deep and shallow, about the self and others, the self with others, the other with the self, at the same time – “Mirrors should think longer before they reflect.” ― Jean Cocteau.

                    He also said – “What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.” ― Jean Cocteau.

                    We often get so caught up in ourselves… we forget that others do so too. And we get so caught up in what we want others to accept about us that we don’t see what they want us to accept about them. We get caught up in what offends them about us… we may fail to see that perhaps they’re offended by us because they’re caught up in what they think offends us about them… the circle flows around and around yet we tend to only notice the currents which are relevant to our point of focus, and we sometimes miss all the other relevancies 🙂

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  4. “It’s their problem, not mine. They have the solution to their problem… ignore me or dump me because I’m ‘toxic’. Do what you have to do… don’t expect me to do it for you.” And there you have it. 🙂

    It’s true. We do have to understand that labels are just tools for interpreting the world around us. They can be useful tools, though, for getting a handle on a difficult situation. Being able to identify patterns may open our eyes. Ultimately it is about us: freedom of discernment, freedom of association, freedom to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. And yes, if we don’t use our freedom responsibly, we may hopelessly muck up our lives.

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    1. The ‘it’s your problem, not mine, so you deal with it’ thing comes from a lifetime of making the (endless and dramatic) problems of narcissists mine, thinking somehow that I had to ‘fix’ their problem for them, and realising that I was doing this to myself by accepting their view of what a problem was and how relationships are supposed to work.

      So I had to hack my mind and reprogram that part of it, keep reminding myself that if someone has a problem with me, it’s their problem. I will listen to it just in case I am the cause of the problem they have with me, but if what they want is for me to not be myself to fix the issue they have with me, that’s not going to happen. I’ve tried doing that, it creates an even larger and messier problem.

      Narcissists operate on the basis that what is wrong is other people, and if they could get the other person to ‘fix’ themselves, then the problem would go away and their life would be perfect, they would be happy… but they are never happy because their eyes are focused on what is wrong with the rest of the world and until it is all ‘fixed’ to be as perfectly ideal as they need it to be they can’t be happy, and if they are not happy no one else is allowed to be happy.

      I do flip it around. So if I have a problem with someone, I ask myself – What is my problem and what is my solution? – for the most part the problem only exists in my mind’s eye, so I just need to adjust my perspective, sort myself out. Sometimes all it is is a clash of personalities, incompatibility, which is only a problem if I choose to make it into one, and even then, it’s still just my problem and not theirs… unless they also have the same problem only in reverse. Then it’s best to just agree to disagree.

      Labels are very useful, as long as we know how and why we’re using them. We need to be aware of our motives and intentions, and we figure those out by introspecting and self-reflecting, asking ourselves why and listening to our answers.

      When I use the label ‘narcissist’ I tend to do it for the reason that Jeremy Sherman outlined in his article – so I know who I am dealing with and how to adjust to that interaction to make things easier for myself. When I know I’m interacting with a narcissist or someone who is very narcissistic, I switch off certain parts of myself which I have on when I’m with non-narcissists. Doing that makes a big difference for me.

      I’m still wearing my ‘L’ plates as far as relationships are concerned, but I think I’ve made a bit of progress. It helps to keep in mind that what we want for ourselves… others usually want that for themselves too. Freedom is a universally desirable thing 🙂

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      1. L plates?

        You make such wonderful replies. I am always sorry when I don’t get to them in a timely manner.

        I have difficulty sorting out the genuine aspects of my personality from those instilled by narcissists. I suppose it’s a puzzle I needn’t figure out, but again, labels give me a chance to reflect and reconsider: who am I? who do I want to be?

        I could do better with the trick of flipping things around, but once a person or situation drives me crazy long enough, I do sometimes get there. 🙂

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        1. No worries 😀

          L plates are a sticker which learner drivers have to put on their car in the UK and some other parts of the world – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L-plate – to warn other drivers that they don’t know what they’re doing yet (the understanding is still a work in progress) and thus need to be given a wide berth.

          There’s a funny sketch (totally tangential to this convo) about learning to drive… it’s a bit sexist (those were the days)… Bob Newhart/Driving Instructor – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaUYQZR-y7I

          Whether we’ve been exposed to a narcissist or not, who we are (and who others are) is always a puzzle to be figured out, throughout our lives (because the image changes)… it’s just more scrambled up when a narcissist messes with our pieces.

          Labels and similar things help us to put the puzzle together – this is a piece of sky, this is green so it probably grass, this looks furry so it’s part of the cat (if we know there is a cat in the final big picture, if we know what the big picture is… which we may but usually do not), this is a blurry pink thing no idea what that is, but the colour helps to group it with other pink things…

          Love the puzzle metaphor!

          And sometimes it’s better to flip it all around because we see more clearly that way. But it usually requires a level of frustration before we resort to that tactic… unless, like me, you’re brain is wired to flip things around mode (even when I don’t want my brain to do that!).

          We live, learn discover… and share. Love sharing! ❤

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  5. Once again, an excellent blog well worth the read. Thanks, Ursula. I think Dr. Sherman’s article is applicable to diagnoses of normal and perhaps unhealthy narcissism. The kind of narcissism everyone struggles with in a society condoning/encouraging highly individualistic behavior. What is defined as “agentic”. Finding balance is the key to being content and happily connected to others and ourselves because: Narcissism repels. Narcissism separates us from relationships either because other people are repelled by us, or we by them.

    Applying “normal” narcissism to bloggers is a reasonable gauge for knowing when “we” are out of balance (cuz I am a blogger, too and have observed my reactions to cruel or flattering responses). I’m just as wacky when someone’s comment lifts me to the moon as I am when obsessing over a hate comment. Getting to balance is key and the more confident we become and the more we recognize our worth, the less crazy-making other people’s opinions/comments.

    Okay…I wanted to add my big fat opinion here because narcissism isn’t always normal. It’s also pathological and that’s where people get scared. At first, I didn’t want to examine my own narcissism for fear I might abandon my children, or poison my spouse, have an affair on my way to robbing a bank after sending hate mail to a list of bloggers. My point being that narcissists don’t just live for other people’s flattery to inflate their self-esteem; they live to hurt people. They hurt themselves. As a psychologist told me, the best way for a professional to determine pathological narcissism in a client, is to count up the victims in their wake. Normal narcissists may annoy people but they don’t dismiss the hurt they’ve caused.

    Perhaps bloggers have a narcissistic desire to be heard and understood. BUT, this type of narcissism is healthy when it leads to forging connections. I think that any of us in a media-saturated, “you-deserve-the-best society” inundated with advertisements confusing self-gratification with self-fulfillment (even love!), could use a careful examination and regular check on our normal-to-unhealthy narcissism. We will live happier and better lives. AND, by the time our lives are over, we won’t leave a trail of victims…

    Hugs,
    CZ

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      I agree that balance is key, and being aware that balance isn’t a static state, that achieving balance is something which is continuously in motion, the scales tip this way and that, then even out, then tip again. This is natural, normal, healthy. We’re all a work in progress.

      That’s one of the things I liked about the article, it was a balanced view in progress, asking questions, exploring optional answers, encouraging us to look at ourselves when we look at others to see the natural balance which exists in relationships, and how things can tip this way and that yet still have a balance as long as we’re willing to see it, to question ourselves when we question others, to check in on our own condition when we’re pointing out the condition of others. Self-reflection and introspection help us to understand ourselves and others. The world within us exists in others too, they are are mulit-dimensional as we are.

      If you read Jeremy Sherman’s bio, he explains his approach:

      “I never refer to myself as an expert in anything, but rather a specialist in those questions that interest me (see below). I write with no authority. I read lots but cite rarely in my articles which should be read as opinion pieces, not declaration of scientifically proven fact. I will not pull rank on readers: My ideas are only worth considering only if they’re based on good reasoning. I change my ideas over time. Caveat emptor. They say “don’t believe everything you think. I’ll go one further: I don’t believe everything I write, in that for every argument I make, I aim to be able to express convincingly the counterargument. I try to live by the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.””

      Most of the time the reason we can spot a trait or behaviour in someone else is because that trait or behaviour exists within us too, we’re familiar with it from the inside out. If it didn’t we probably would overlook it in others. We’re attracted to those with whom we relate, and we relate because we recognise what we know, we know it because we do it. Each trait or behaviour has a spectrum from one opposing extreme to another, similar to the spectrum in the options of answers to personality tests.

      If a personality test asked – Are you a narcissist? – most of us would probably opt for an answer in between ‘Always’ and ‘Never’ because we have a balanced view of ourselves and know that sometimes we are, and sometimes it’s a healthy thing to be, sometimes it’s not. So we’d probably choose ‘Sometimes’ as an answer. A narcissist, someone with NPD, would in all probability opt for ‘Always’ or ‘Never’ depending on what kind of a narcissist they are and what they think is the answer which is the ‘superior’ one to give. Unless they’ve done some research which has informed them that ‘Sometimes’ is the superior answer to give. They are always performing to an audience, even if the audience is only in their head.

      Someone with NPD doesn’t take a personality test to get to know themselves better, they take to prove that they are better than others and have the best persona.

      I read a very witty and insightful take on the whole ‘all writers/bloggers are narcissists’ concept – http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2014/04/10/narcissists-as-authors-youre-welcome/ – he captured it beautifully and humorously.

      Those with NPD often think everything they do, they do it for you… and you should be grateful (even if they did just character assassinate you and ruin your life). To them, you’re not a victim left in their wake, they’re the victim. They graced your life with their presence.

      Thank you for sharing your ‘big fat opinion’ is always welcome 🙂

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