Are you the Target or the Arrow?

“To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first, and call whatever you hit the target”
― Ashleigh Brilliant

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Random things have a way of connecting, creating a pattern, a bit like random stars get clustered into constellations.

I’ve often marveled at the designs attributed to constellations, wondered why whoever connected those sparkly dots not only connected them but also decided they were a dragon or a bear or pair of scales. They just look like random dots to me, yes, sometimes I see threads connecting them if I stare long and hard enough and force myself to see those lines (because they are supposed to be there), but the designs they make don’t look like anything other than a connect the dots puzzle which creates a weird shape.

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Cetus_or_Sea_MonsterCetus or Sea Monster by Samuel Leigh

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Even though I’m dense when it comes to constellations, I’m fairly adept at connecting random dots in the space of the mind and giving those shapes meaning.

Sometimes it takes a while… my mind is running on an old system which can’t be updated without causing ancient software to experience major glitches.

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“Maybe I’m lucky to be going so slowly, because I may be going in the wrong direction”
― Ashleigh Brilliant

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The other day I saw a beautiful effect in the sky between Sun and clouds (pic somewhere below). One of the first thoughts my mind coughed up about it (because the mind has to chime in when you see something and categorise it, discuss it, make sense or nonsense of it, sing a song about it, etc) was – circle around the Sun – which then led to humming what I could recall of The Windmills of your Mind, which led to an argument in my mind about something (my mind loves to argue with itself, I think it’s some sort of aerobic exercise), then led to another song, a favourite of mine, Will it Go ‘Round in Circles…

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That song reminds me of life with narcissists, because the same thing happens over and over again and again with them. They keep doing the same thing, stuck on repeat (sometimes shuffling through a small selection of repetitive behaviour) hoping for different results… maybe that’s what they’re hoping for, a magical change, a miracle, it seems that way but… I’m just projecting a theory onto them based on my own reasons for doing the same thing with them hoping this time they’ll behave differently.

At least that’s what I used to do with them until I realised that we were permanently going around in circles. The same old, same old results because we were doing the same old, same old dance.

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“It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.”
― Ashleigh Brilliant

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Sometimes people ask – Am I the narcissist or are they? – This is a tricky question to ask and answer.

Hard to ask because people usually only ask it after a relationship has reached Mount Unpleasant Point.

Maybe they’ve been accused by the other person of being a narcissist or they’ve decided the other person has something wrong with them, they’ve done some searches online and found Narcissistic Personality Disorder (which nowadays comes up almost too easily as an internet diagnosis for what’s wrong with the other person)… which is probably what the other person did too if they got the accusation of ‘Narcissist’ in first.

The criteria for a narcissist has grown to include pretty much all selfish and egocentric behaviour, which is common amongst the human species, so the label is pretty much one size fits all.

We’re all narcissists and we’re all doing the narcissist thing of thinking everyone but us is the narcissist.

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angry and impatient - ashleigh brilliantby Ashleigh Brilliant

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Of course we’re not all narcissists, but we do all have the ability to be narcissistic.

This is a natural and normal human talent, it’s part of the developmental stages of being human. It can be healthy, it can be unhealthy, for us, for others. Being narcissistic and having Narcissistic Personality Disorder are very different – but it can be hard to tell them apart.

Partly because those with the disorder are sometimes better than the rest of us (they actually think they’re always better than everyone else, even when playing the – I’m the worst – game) at appearing to not be narcissistic. They pay more attention to how they appear and what others think of them, thus they’re more adept at putting on a show, dressing themselves up to impress.

To answer the question – Who is the Narcissist, me or them? – can be difficult because it assumes that only one of you can be the narcissist. A bit like a game of ‘It’. Are you ‘It’ or are they?

Thing is, both of you could be narcissists.

Both of you could be seen as being the narcissist by the other, experienced in a way which fits the criteria even though maybe neither of you is a narcissist, it’s just that your relationship has hit an impasse and your respective minds are trying to find reasons for why it has, can’t accept things, needs to find someone to blame for it going from honeymoon to bittermoon, and all the other things the mind does to make everything more complicated than it already is.

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“I have abandoned my search for truth and am now looking for a good fantasy ”
― Ashleigh Brilliant

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One of the things which has helped me become more responsible (at least my mind thinks I am) when dealing not just with narcissists but with everyone, especially myself, is to recognise my own narcissism – but not as something disgusting, horrifying, defective, abnormal, needing to be fixed, eradicated, cut off like a gangrenous limb. Just be aware of it, and let it be something to consider when facing a problem in a relationship and in life.

Perhaps I’m being an a-hole… that’s why I’m so certain they’re the a-hole and experience them that way. What if I took a-hole-ish-ness out of the equation and saw myself and other as just human doing human shit and complicating it with more human shit, like ego bollocks?

Self reflection is key. It is a key that can unlock our own mysteries. For instance if something we keep doing keeps getting us the wrong results, not what we wanted, perhaps we’re doing something wrong. An element needs a rethink. Maybe all of it needs a review.

One of the things which can trip all of us up is – the need to be right.

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“My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I am right”
― Ashleigh Brilliant

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Why are so many of us afraid of being wrong?

That fear causes many relationship problems, including in our relationship with ourselves, in our ability to express ourselves, to just be ourselves, to create and share. We’re sometimes so afraid… we don’t even try.

This morning I read this post on The Daily Post – The Scariest Post I Ever Published. It’s probably my favourite one they’ve done on there because it makes the people behind the blog of the blogging platform human. More than that, they’re admitting to being human and to having human feelings and fears.

It may be strange to say that. Of course they’re human! However, especially online, we sometimes lose that perspective because everything is virtual, therefore not really real, in our faces, in front of us, living, breathing flesh.

Even when we have someone in front of us… we sometimes forget that they’re as real as we are.

There’s a lot of talk about empathy these days, particularly in connection to narcissists. Many people go on and on about being empathic, often seeing that as the reason why a narcissist targeted them, however for all the empathy they claim to have, and have had for the narcissist, they can’t seem to see things from the perspective of the narcissist – which is empathy 101, seeing things from the perspective of the other person (even if the other is a narcissist).

Perhaps they’ve mistaken empathy for something it isn’t, just as they mistook the narcissist as being someone they aren’t.

I’m guilty of doing that.

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Circle around the SunSolar inspiration

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That post was the last dot in a series of dots which I connected into a constellation. It spoke of the concern bloggers sometimes (often) have of making themselves a target by sharing their views, lives, anything which matters to them.

Rewind to yesterday. After seeing the Sun halo which kicked up some songs, the song which came after the Billy Preston one was a nursery rhyme with sinister connotations – Ring a ring o’ roses. At that point I realised my mind was just being… my mind and was caught in a random associations cycle. Luckily my cat distracted me and that little interlude was over.

Sometime later I was having a conversation with myself about targets. It didn’t occur to me that it was in any way connected to the Sun halo, as that was a ring, a circle, to me, however it became a target later when I found a tick on my leg in the evening (these are connections my mind made, I’m not expecting your mind to make them too… so don’t worry if you think I’m cray-cray).

At first I thought it was a random food crumb, I’d just eaten some burnt toast and it looked like a fleck of burnt toast… and particles of food do have a way of ending up inside my clothes, don’t know how they do it, they’re stealthy like that. I was going to flick it off but… something told me that it wasn’t a food crumb. Upon closer inspection…

If you’ve never found a tick on your body…

It’s a bit like realising that you might be in a relationship with a narcissist.

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before everything changed - ashleigh brilliantby Ashleigh Brilliant

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Ticks can give you Lyme Disease. It’s only an infinitesimal possibility where I live, however… a human doesn’t need more than that to get paranoid and create drama for themselves. In fact a human doesn’t even need a possibility, minute or otherwise, for that to happen as we are all blessed with imagination which doesn’t take much of a push for it to go into overactive.

A sign of Lyme Disease is a rash which looks like a target. But I have to wait about a week for that to develop, if it does – not everyone who gets Lyme Disease gets the rash as a warning. So how do you know if you do or don’t have Lyme Disease!?!

I have been bitten by a tick before… maybe I’m crazy because of it but I don’t know it (I was crazy before then, however… there were ticks in my childhood and… yeah… faulty memory + hyper imagination + limitless human ability to turn nonsense into something = …

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“I don’t have any solution, but I certainly admire the problem.”
― Ashleigh Brilliant

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When you’re human and you read up on symptoms… suddenly you have them even if you don’t have them.

Read up on narcissists and suddenly you begin to see them everywhere, in all of the people you know, maybe even in yourself (depends on who is the centre of your universe as to where your focus goes and how you share out the cookies of blame and other crumbs).

Some of the symptoms of Lyme Disease are very vague and could be attributed to anything, including being my age. Joint pain… I wake up feeling like an unoiled Tin Man every morning. Fatigue… story of my life (especially growing up in Dramaville, thanks to my parents who could turn a crumb into a frigging mountain of giant ticks from some B-movie which is always playing).

Some of the criteria for spotting a narcissist… are also vague even when they think they’re precise (It’s a Fine Line Between Narcissism and Egocentrism – A simple trick of the mind that can lead to emotional chaos.).

Someone I follow on Pinterest posted a link to this – How To Spot a Narcissist… – it’s quite good… just as the articles listing Lyme Disease symptoms are quite good. It covers some of the basics, but… can’t really cover your individual experience (if you do indeed have one and aren’t mistaking something else for it – people aren’t as easily classified as we’d like them to be, and hate it when others try to do that same thing with us).

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“I don’t understand you. You don’t understand me. What else do we have in common?”
― Ashleigh Brilliant

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As someone recently said on a review of a film I was considering watching – I chose to focus on the things I liked about.

One of the things I liked about the above mentioned article on spotting a narcissist was that even though they did the ‘it’s not your fault, it’s the narcissists’ fault’ thing (which is true to a degree but some people take it too far – been there, done that), they also brought it back to you – it’s not your fault but you do need to consider that maybe you had a part in what happened.

You need to explore why you ended up in a relationship with a narcissist, and need to do it from your angle. Stop circling the Sun and be the Sun who has a circle around it.

Doing it from their angle… is worth some research but… you could get hopelessly lost in that labyrinth. Losing yourself in places which you really don’t want to visit.

I’ve seen articles on why narcissists are attracted to people which claim they pick you based on you being something akin to a spongy substance which will absorb all their abuse and absolve them of it. You may end up abused by what you read about this subject. Please remember that humans write those articles – humans are prone to being human, and that includes pretending they’re above being human, they know it all, you know nothing, and… sometimes a narcissist may be the one writing those articles (they can write about narcissists too, they can read about them, and they can think while reading and writing that they’re the only one who understands anything about narcissists… yet, of course, they’re not a narcissist).

One of the things which that article said was this:

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“A huge part of wellness is surrounding ourselves with healthy people and healthy relationships.”

via How To Spot a Narcissist and Walk Away

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This is quite good advice… it’s also something which narcissists do. Sometimes the reason you attract a narcissist is because you’re the sort of healthy person with whom they want to surround themselves so they can be healthy too.

So, there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re not weak, too sensitive, too empathic, codependent, or some of the other reasons which are sometimes given for attracting a narcissist. Maybe these do apply, they’re worth considering, but… maybe they don’t apply. Maybe it’s your strength, your ability to be insensitive (also known as not taking everything personally), your lack of empathy (also known as not making everything about the other person and their personal issues), your independence, which is what attracts a narcissist.

If a narcissist sees you as having what they want, as being who they want to be, they’ll make a beeline for you. They’re a bee, you’re an awesome flower, they want your pollen.

And sometimes you’re just a creature who has blood, they need blood… and that’s all folks!

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“All I want is a warm bed and a kind word and unlimited power.”
― Ashleigh Brilliant

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