If you strip away from narcissists all the accessories which people (who consider themselves not to be narcissists) give them, labels such as evil, monster, toxic, manipulative, Machiavellian, vampire, walking dead after your brain juice, etc, you may actually be horrified to find someone who is a person that is not unlike you in their needs, wants and ambitions.
Narcissists are people.
Humans just like you, me, and everyone else.
They’re just humans who don’t particularly want to be human because the human status is a painful, complicated, bothersome and sometimes boring one.
If you’re honest with yourself and have an intimate self-reflective chat between you and all the other facets of you… you’ll probably find aspects of you which kind of agree with narcissists on things like not wanting to be human, or at least not wanting to be an ordinary human being.
It can be shocking and annoying to agree with a narcissist once you decide that you disagree with them… there is a certain amount of right in their plethora of wrong, and sometimes that’s something worth checking out for yourself not for them – as every relationship we have, good or bad or whatever, teaches us something we need to learn.
The harder the lesson, the more important the teaching… or something like that.
If your introduction to the world of narcissist came from falling in love with a narcissist, chances are one of the things which inspired you to fall for them was the fact that they made you feel special, different, anything but ordinary. You probably liked that and wanted more of it, so you fell for them and settled in for a wonderful relationship treat where they made you feel as though you were one of a kind, rare, unusual, super special… and they did that… but at some point it stopped being done in a positive manner and became negative because the unique snowflake that the narcissist saw you as being started to melt under the hyper-critical gaze of a narcissist.
You were still ‘special’ only now you’re they’re special kind of hell and they’re your special kind of hell because of it.
They’re hyper-critical because they’re seeking perfection as they’re idealists who don’t realise that ideals are there to inspire not to be made into a reality – we’re supposed to reach for the stars but live on Earth, admire the sun but not actually visit it with wings attached to our backs with wax which can’t take those kind of temperatures.
We’re all prone to being idealistic and narcissists often attract us to them because they seem to embody our ideals, they’re a dream come true… shame that dreams can turn so quickly into nightmares!
It’s not our fault (although they do like to blame us for everything).
It’s not their fault (although we do like to blame them for everything).
It’s not anyone’s fault (although we do all seem to like to find fault and make someone else responsible for it).
Some people are narcissists and some are not.
The two types of people often interact because that’s what people do and things go great until they go not so great and then get worse.
One of the things which non-narcissists pride themselves on having and like to point out that narcissists do not have is the big E – Empathy.
I read an article which claimed that if you take Tylenol (or any medication which contains Acetaminophen) your ability to empathise may be reduced (that article can be found here – Empathy Is Killed By Popular Painkiller Found In 600 Different Drugs). Mind you if you’re taking something like Tylenol chances are that you have a headache, or some other pressing physical pain, and if you have a headache or are experiencing the pressure and stress of personal pain… you’re probably not in the sort of mood or frame of mind to deal with someone else’s issues and be empathic or sympathetic. It’s their effing turn to do that stuff!
Most of the narcissists I have known are under the impression that they are very empathic (more empathic than anyone else ever). I’ve had heated arguments with them about this because their version of empathy feels more like them projecting/transferring their own emotional state onto me (while disassociating themselves from it) and then telling me what I’m feeling (which is what they’re actually feeling), and telling me that what I’m feeling is bothering them because they’re empathic (while apparently I am not) and my pain is causing them pain (so could I please stop feeling shit!).
If someone who claims to be an empath or empathic only picks up ‘bad feelings’ from you while all the ‘good feelings’ belong to them – there’s something awry with their empathic picture. Real empaths and those who are genuinely empathic pick up both good and bad and the in-between, they benefit as much as they suffer, the glass is in constant flux of fullness, emptiness and halfness (which could go either way towards full or empty).
If an empathic person sees their empathic ability as solely a negative thing… gotta wonder about them and their version of empathy.
The empathy issue is usually where I fall out with a narcissist (and where I often realise someone I thought wasn’t a narcissist may be one… there’s always room for doubt as this may just be a one off instance), because their version of empathy isn’t the same as mine.
For me empathy is about understanding where someone else is located, coming from – while putting yourself aside for a moment. It’s not about you, it’s about them – what you get out of it is understanding them, and by understanding them you may also understand what’s going on between the two of you if there’s a relationship issue going on at the time.
Understanding others also helps us to understand ourselves better because… as much as we all have differences we have similarities.
And as much as we don’t like it – we have similarities to the narcissists in our life.
We were attracted to them as much as they were attracted to us – it’s as much a part of our algorithm of life as it is theirs. They’re a number in our equation as much as we are a number in their equation… but our task is to figure our own formula out, not theirs. However maybe trying to figure their formula out is a part of figuring ours out…?
What do narcissists want?
They often want something very similar to what we want.
And many of the problems which we have with narcissists – are problems which they have with us.
They want us to love them but we don’t love them the way that they want to be loved.
They want us to understand them but we don’t understand them the way that they want to be understood (and since they’re super rare and super special they quite like the fact that no one understands them as it confirms how rare and special they are – but it still frustrates them because they need stuff from us and if we don’t understand them we won’t give them what they need).
I saw an Entertainment News headline the other day which stated that – Jaden Smith claims he always knew he was different and that no one would understand him. I have no idea what he actually said, I just read the headline and went – Welcome to how everyone feels privately about themselves and about others not being able to understand them! Welcome to being an ordinary human who feels anything but ordinary (but who somehow thinks that everyone else is ordinary in comparison)!
Oh woe is me – this woe makes me special (even though everyone else has a similar sort of woe)!
(I both love and hate this quote… it’s made me think and rethink a lot)
Narcissists want us to accept them. understand them, love them… but to do that for them we want something similar in return. If they do it for us we’ll do it for them… and we do it for them while we think they’re doing it for us, but the moment that we begin to suspect they’re not doing it for us… we’re so not going to keep doing it for them!
And this is where the love affair with the narcissist who made you feel special ends and the hate affair with narcissist who makes you feel a special kind of hell begins.
There are times when I think that people seem to benefit more from the hate affair they have with narcissists than the love affair which got them into this sort of situation in the first place.
Humans sometimes get far more out of hate than they do from love… hate has an intensity which lingers on and on and on and inspires a deeper delving into ourselves, we have to dig deep within to find the strength to face those whom we decide and deem are our enemies…
whereas we tend to surf the surface when we like, love without worry, and feel okay about things, others, ourselves…
sometimes those we hate mean more to us than those we love
sometimes the negative gets more of our attention than the positive… think about it, how often do you notice you head until it aches and aches in a way that needs something like Tylenol, then you notice it and can’t seem to not notice it. All those times it doesn’t hurt, did you notice those… but now it hurts…
There are many similarities between narcissist and non-narcissists…
one of which is that both of those sides don’t think they’re narcissists, but may think that others are.
The similarities are informative, and if you’re one of those who is endeavouring to understand the narcissist in your life (because you’re genuinely empathic and don’t limit your empathy to those of whom you approve, and empathy is an intelligent process for you rather than just an organic one) then the similarities are a key to finding the understanding which you’re seeking.
Something else I read while roaming t’internets was that ‘liking’ quotes online may be a sign of low IQ or something like that… all I got from reading this was a sense of wonder about the person who wrote it (it was on the same Psych blog as the Tylenol thing and you can find it here – Why You Should Avoid Wise-Sounding But Meaningless Quotes) as it seemed to reveal more about them and their perspective than it did about the subject and others.
However the differences are what makes the difference.
Narcissists are often the ones most likely to label someone else a narcissist and add all those other labels – evil, monster, toxic, manipulative, Machiavellian, vampire, walking dead after your brain juice, etc, – to it and be adamant that they’re right about it with no room for doubt whatsoever.
Most humans, of the non-narcissist variety, cut other humans slack because we all need a bit of that, a lot of that… we can all be un-empathic headaches to others… we don’t mean to be or want to be but sometimes that’s just the way we are or how others experience us (and vice versa). So we give others the benefit of the doubt (’cause doubt ain’t always a bad thing) and hope they’ll do the same for us because sometimes taking that kind of risk pays off!