A Difference of Opinion and Perspective

How do you react when someone disagrees with you?

How do you act when you disagree with someone?

What about when someone agrees with you, what reaction do you have?

And when you agree with someone how do you act?

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Malcolm X - evolution

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Do you observe yourself?

Do you watch how you react to the actions of others?

Do you explore the optional reactions which you could have had?

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gym thoughts

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Do you observe others?

Do you ask yourself why they are the way that they are, and wonder what their story is, what is motivating their actions and reactions?

Do you wonder how they are with others versus how they are with you? Do you gauge your influence on them, that they may only be this way around you? That perhaps they are only this way because that’s how you see them as being, and who they are to you isn’t who they actually are but an optical illusion based on yourself – how you see yourself becomes how you see them?

Do you observe yourself observing others?

Are you a perceiver or a judger?

If you are a judger, how do you use your judgment?

Do you spend a lot of time judging others, and if so what purpose does it serve for you?

Do you spend more time judging yourself than others, do you use your judgment of others to judge yourself, and what purpose does that serve for you?

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passive-aggressive note - buzzfeedvia BuzzFeed

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If you are a perceiver, how do you use your perception?

Is your perception open or narrow? Do you take in all the details in the picture which you see, or do you focus on one spot blurring everything else out?

How does your perception affect how you see the world, others, yourself? Is life in black and white and only black or white, or does it have many shades of grey in between? Is it in technicolour with millions of shades and hues?

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Marcus Aurelius

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Most of us do a little bit of everything, however we have default settings. Do you know your default settings, are you conscious of them and why they are your default settings, or is it a subconscious, unconscious, tendency?

When you have an opinion do you know that it is a perception based on your personal settings, on the position from which you view the world, others, yourself, or do you think your opinion is solid and factual – if you think it then it is a fact, supported by all those others who think as you do… But what about all those others who don’t think as you do? Do you dismiss their opinion as fiction whereas your opinion and the ones of those who agree with you (or whom you think agree with you – perhaps they’re only doing so to please you or you’ve reinterpreted their opinion to back up your own) is fact?

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Krisy Kreme - awesome advert

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Being human, living life, is very complex and complicated and can make us all feel a little bit too crazy for comfort, so we simplify hoping to find a bit of solace, a bit of order in chaos.

But sometimes our quest for order is the cause of worse chaos than the original chaos itself.  Our solution to a problem causes a greater problem (cane toads). Our desire for a magic pill which will cure us instantly…

I recently saw an advert for a fix-it-all cure for those who have been wounded by a narcissist. I have to confess that my first thought was – This fix-it-all cure is probably being brought to you by a narcissist, and if you buy into it that explains exactly why you ended up being attracted to and attracting, then being wounded by a narcissist in the first place. That’s a rather unempathic thought… or is it?

I recently took an ‘Empathy test’. One of the questions left me a bit bewildered (actually several questions bewildered me, but one appeared to be a clue to a treasure hunt), so I pondered it and it left me with a Hmmm… of a possible insight.

50. I usually stay emotionally detached when watching a film.

– optional answers allowed for this are – Strongly agree, slightly agree, slightly disagree, strongly disagree (there was no – neither agree nor disagree – option which bothered me, as sometimes that is the answer, so not including that option makes the result of the test faulty).

This question was repeated (with slightly different wording) on another test from the same site. What struck me the most about the question was the other questions which it prompted, such as – If I stay emotionally detached from a film, does that make me unempathic? If ‘yes’ – why? Surely remaining detached is a sign of logic, and empathy is a logical process – unless you equate empathy with sympathy, then we’re talking about a difference of opinion about what empathy is.

And there is definitely a big divide in opinion about empathy, at least in the ‘narcissist/NPD’ blogger community… an in the being human and the rules of such a thing society.

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empathy

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One of the best search terms I have found in the search term stats of my blog is this one – why do empaths find it hard to tolerate narcissists? – why indeed, if they are truly empaths then they should be able to understand the other side of the relationship equation, the narcissist’s viewpoint, regardless of agreeing or disagreeing, opinion, perspective or judgement. That is true empathy – which isn’t always agreeable to the person exercising it and may even cause cognitive dissonance between their world view and the narcissist’s.

But I digress… back to that Empathy test question…

IMO (in my opinion – and from my perspective), if you get too involved sympathetically/empathectically with the characters in a film or TV show, you’re more likely to end up being attracted to and attracting a narcissist (particularly people who have NPD), as they offer you a fictional character with which to have a relationship (a Prince Charming or a Cinderella, etc,), and the length of the relationship relies on how long you’re willing to believe that they are who they pretend to be (ergo you are also who you’re pretending to be). It’s when you stop believing (and pretending) that things go to a place where people search for –  How to piss off a narcissist – which is one of the top searches which lead people to this blog.

That particular search… makes me wonder who is the actual narcissist? Something which I sometimes wonder when reading posts by ‘victims of narcissists’. I really don’t want to wonder that… but I do. If I could read my own posts on the subject impartially, I might wonder that about myself too.

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the things you say - mark amend

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The lines get very blurred, and the thing is… a relationship with a narcissist once it goes wrong will bring out the worst in you no matter how hard you try to remain within the confines of the best of you. If you’ve ever wondered why good people can end up being bad, how a peaceful soul can end up committing homicide, what makes a tree-hugger want to chop down the tree which they were hugging (and feed it branch by damaging carbon-footprint chainsaw severed branch through a woodchipper), and you can’t empathise at all with them… consider yourself lucky, you’ve never been in a relationship with someone who has NPD… or you’re lying to yourself (in denial or in the/de Nile) for self-appearance’s sake.

If you’re the victim of narcissist abuse, and you’re trying to understand how a narcissist could do that to someone else, and you would like a shortcut to gaining insight into their psyche of someone with NPD – look at how the wounds which they have inflicted upon you have affected you, your actions, reactions and your view of the world. Pain is a shortcut to understanding NPD. Pain, our own personal version of it, especially when it drowns us in its terrible waters, turns us all into unhealthy narcissists who can’t see our own narcissism but can see everyone else’s and how theirs hurts us but not how ours hurts them – we can’t afford to see that, can’t empathise or sympathise with that!

Sometimes… it’s all too overwhelming.

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why I am still alive...?

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Once in a while I come across the writings of a victim of a narcissist (especially if they happen to be a child of a narcissist, an ACoN) with whose story I can relate… until I hit a wall, a trigger which makes me view their words in an opposite manner from the way that they intend them to be read and heard. And I occasionally end up sympathising or maybe empathising or both with the narcissist rather than (or also with) the victim of the narcissist – which can be confusing but is also par for the course where NPD is concerned. Contradictions abound aplenty.

Status – complicated as usual.

The long and short and very complicated of it is – If you want to know if a child of a narcissist is a narcissist too, pay attention to how they treat their own children. If they are telling you how much they have suffered because they were the child (particularly the scapegoat) of their narcissist parent, and at the same time they are discussing their own children (in an unempathic/sympathetic manner – with one being the ‘golden child’ and another the ‘scapegoat child), are they a victim of a narcissist or a narcissist pretending to be a victim of a narcissist or both and other things? Is the wound being passed on without it being conscious or is it conscious and deliberate?  Do they see themselves as a victim and can’t see the victimisation they are inflicting on others (on their own children) in their default ‘I am a victim of a narcissist’ (and if I am a victim no one else in my life can be, and they certainly can’t be a victim of me, but I can be of them) victim setting?

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Parenting - perspectiveMy parents constantly drove this point home when I was a child.

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We all walk a fine line, sometimes that line is a tightrope – one of the best child of narcissist posts I have read is How To Be An Adult Child Of A Narcissist – and we lose our balance and fall… which way we fall… changes our perception and opinion.

We often don’t allow others the same privileges which we allow ourselves. That’s a very human default setting.

If that sounds unempathic, I apologise to those whom it offends. I am a child of narcissists, and when I hear a parent, whether they are a child of narcissists themselves or not, accuse their child of having NPD, it triggers the deepest pain in me whether I want it to or not, whether I’ve dealt with stuff or not. I chose not to have children myself, because I couldn’t trust myself not to pass on my own wound. Perhaps that choice was narcissistic. For me it was pre-emptive empathy. As a child I just wanted to die, to put an end to the endless pain… I didn’t want my child to feel that way, no child should have to grow up feeling that way.

That’s just my perspective and opinion.

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This Be The Verse - Philip Larkin

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Sorry for the heavy, here’s some light to balance it out.

Look at this image:

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win or loose?

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Observe your reaction. Now, ask yourself… What did you just lose (or loose)? What did you just gain? Did you gain something from what you lost? Or lose something from what you gained? Or… something else such as… did you feel compelled to repost this, just in case?

I found this on Pinterest, the Pin had comments, many of those comments focused upon the grammatical errors – which made me wonder if the grammatical errors were deliberate, and if this image was designed as a test of what it is to be human, of opinion, perspective and…?

What do you think?

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12 thoughts on “A Difference of Opinion and Perspective

  1. I chose not to have children for similar reasons. You can have all the ideas in the world about parenting but when it comes down to it deep instinctual programmed things leap out. I only know this from my experience of having a puppy… getting in a real lather in the same way my mother probably did if I made a mess, it shocked me at times. It seems to me that lived reality is so different at times to what we imagine it. And then with the empathy/narcissism issue its something to question how our own outrage at lack of empathy can be triggered in such a way its hard to show empathy for the one treating us with lack of empathy… which seems to require and extension of feeling beyond concern primarily with our self and ideas of the ways we “should” be treated. Also if we go through enough pain in childhood there is less to give because so much of our own energy gets tied up in self protection and that has repercussions in later relationships, sadly.

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    1. When I was in the first flush of euphoric love for my partner, I did get very broody. Hormones, brain chemicals and stuff. But my mother was still in my life at that time (trying to mess up my love life amongst other things – oh the stories of her shenanigans at that time!!!) and there was an incident which led her to decide without any evidence that I was pregnant (I was actually very ill at the time and she misinterpreted my symptoms as usual – apparently in her mind my looking like a corpse meant I was with child), and the tone of her voice and look in her eye… worked as a deterrent for any such thing. It aborted any inkling of a twinkle in my eye. I couldn’t bring a child into this, I wasn’t sorted out enough to do it. My partner did have a significant say in this, but I don’t like to share his views on my blog because that’s a privacy boundary.

      I think that just as a lack of empathy is harmful, so is too much of it. Children of narcissists can be too empathic, which is just as problematic as lack of empathy where relationships are concerned, including the relationship with the self.

      We live and learn, I guess that is life 🙂

      Thank you for sharing!

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  2. May wellness and well-being bless you, all whom you love, and all life.
    As many as 14 personality “disorders“ are found in different versions of the DSM. Is there such a thing as a personality “order?” If so, what makes a personality “ordered?”
    More than seven billion people on the planet, and everyone of the seven billion uses the same word, “I.“ Whether in Spanish as “Yo” or German as “Ich” or Latin as “Ego,” there are more than seven billion people who say “I.”
    What is the point? Remove “I.” What remains?
    Consider doing a fast. This suggestion comes from the writings of Gay & Kathlyn Hendricks. For three days remove all personal pronouns from conversation and writing. Remove I, me, myself, you, he, she, him, her, they, them, we, us. Write poetry or even a blog without any form of a personal pronoun. Why? Perhaps, veils and disguises may be removed and order may come from disorder.

    Ever look closely at the word “blame?” Remove the first letter. Lame is what remains. B + lame. be–lame.

    In the poem, Testament, Erica Jong wrote:
    Rage is a common weed.
    Anger is cheap.
    Righteous indignation is the religion of the dead
    in the house of the dead
    where the dead speak to each other in creaking voices,
    each arguing a more unhappy childhood than the other.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I did a similar experiment years ago as the one suggested, the fast of personal pronouns. Experiments like that were very popular in the late 80’s and early 90’s as people were into the New Age movement, and they were interesting to explore. The play on words was a big part of a lot of workshops at that time, things like disease = dis-ease, and many variations on that. I still enjoy the play on words, it can be an intriguing insight, I also like to investigate the origins of words because meanings change over time.

      I went for about a year not talking about myself at all in conversations, which was not difficult as this is a learned tendency and it’s easy to deflect personal questions. However this made it rather difficult for others to get to know me and it made people feel uncomfortable.

      One of the most insightful tests I’ve done is communicating and conversing without words.

      It’s fun to explore and learn. The more we learn, the more we realise just how much we don’t know, such as what it is to be human and what it all means. So many theories, often propagated as facts, the more who believe in a theory the more real it becomes, or seems to be.

      Thanks again for sharing an interesting perspective and ideas, much appreciated.

      Best wishes to you too, may your journey through life be a wonderful adventure!

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  3. I do feel for the people who have NPD. Their thinking is completely disordered and living inside their heads must be complete hell. I do think that it is a form of mental illness, even though it’s not classified that way.

    However, that doesn’t mean that I want anything to do with them. My brief tenure with my ex- narcissist was a horrifying experience – you are completely right that he rubbed off on me. He had me feeling so awful about myself that I started behaving as he did. I am glad that I was able to extricate myself before it got any worse. A good counsellor helped me to get my life (and myself) back again.

    An excellent post, Ursula. Very thought-provoking. 🙂

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      One of the ways I tend to suspect that I’m dealing with a possible narcissist is by how I react not just to them but around them. My ‘bad’ side tends to push to the forefront, knocking my better sides out of the way. Mostly I find myself being angry for no logical reason. The more irrational we feel around someone, if we’re not prone to being irrational, the more likely it is that something about them is causing this feeling. Those with NPD tend to bring out the irrational in the people around them, because in some ways it is the only way to relate to them as it is how they relate to others.

      Since all humans naturally go through a narcissistic phase of development, we all have narcissism as a part of us, its purpose is to help us define ourselves as an individual. It can occasionally become a bit grating, but overall it is a positive support to our psyche. Until we get caught up with someone with NPD, and then their distortion distorts us. Their disorder causes chaos for our order.

      I was reading an article which said that in business it helps to have narcissists as part of a team – however their description of a narcissist was of people who are confident in their abilities, perhaps verging on arrogance but not unfounded arrogance, who know their talents and where they excel. That’s not a narcissist, that’s healthy narcissism. The kind which challenges, inspires and encourages others. Those with NPD are not that kind of a narcissist and they only make great team players if destruction (and self-destruction) is the goal.

      You come across as being very level-headed, so I think you would have always extricated yourself and done it with aplomb (which may have been one of your natural traits which drew the narc to you). My guess is your counsellor was good because you were a wonderful patient, someone who actually wanted to heal and move on to something else, more rewarding and satisfying. Living well is indeed the best revenge (without all the things which revenge usually requires of us).

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      1. Thanks, Ursula. 🙂 He repeatedly said that he liked how I lived my life, how good I was with money, how I got on with others. In retrospect, I realized that those things drew him, and they were also the things that he attacked as soon as we got married. Really screwed me up for a while, but you’re right, I wanted to get my very simple, but very rewarding, life back.

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  4. Maybe the person who made the image made the error on purpose, or perhaps that person believed that he or she was reposting something beneficial to others. I’m not sure. I did notice the errors, but they weren’t the first things I noticed. I didn’t focus heavily on the errors because I know that everyone makes mistakes. My first thought when I saw it was, “No, I’m probably not going to get money in 25 minutes if I repost this.” Then I thought, “No, I’m probably not going to lose anything if I don’t repost it.” The missing apostrophe in youll, the word loose, and the various other errors were afterthoughts. I just now realized that the right coin image would not fit into the left coin image perfectly if one were to try to put them together, lol.

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      It’s an intriguing image + words. It stirs up a lot and challenges the viewer to really observe what they’re seeing and how they’re reacting to it in thought, feeling and otherwise.

      Usually when I see something like this which has the feel of a chain letter, I react with a sense of foreboding as it smacks of blackmail of a very icky sort. But this stood out as being something different. I guess what caught my attention the most was the concept of loss and the alternative ways that can be interpreted. When we form a judgement, jump to a conclusion we ‘lose’ objectivity. If we conclude that we have to repost this then we lose our free will and things like that. We are obeying orders due to fear and hope mingling and confusing us. Picking up on the grammatical errors could be a defensive coping mechanism, and by using that we ‘lose’ our fear of the image and what it represents.

      The person who posted (or reposted) it said that they were doing it ‘just in case’ but they said that with humour, and I liked how they did it – they were acknowledging the human psyche including the funny side.

      I hadn’t noticed the size of the coin and the part removed and whether they would actually fit together. I imagine that if you do something like that, it’s going to be fiddly and may require several goes until you get a desirable result, so it’s probably two separate elements from many experiments to get it right. Or it was done using a computer program.

      It’s always intriguing to observe ourselves observing things. Sounds like you have a great eye for detail and are good at seeing the bigger picture with details included.

      Liked by 1 person

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