Have you ever noticed that when you’re focusing on a subject…
you see it everywhere…
and suddenly stories pertaining to that subject come at you from every angle?
There is a psychological term for this phenomenon…
it’s not this – but this is an interesting phenomenon…
if I ever knew what it was called, I’ve forgotten it and can’t be bothered to look it up… however I do keep it in mind whenever my focus shifts onto a subject because…
it’s useful to do so…
it’s fun to see it happen…
it’s weird, and what is weird is often wonderful in some weird way!
The other day I decided to do a series on my blog about identity, the self, and how to figure it out. I started here – Discovering Who You Are – wherein I asked a lot of questions and then said I’d share my answers in following posts (which I sort of have and sort of haven’t…), or at least what has sort of helped me ‘find myself’.
[I am fairly certain of ‘who I am’, but I like to leave it open-ended… it took me ages to have that kind of fairly certainty, and in that journey back to my self I learned that it’s best to keep things flexible, open, unfinished… there’s always something new to learn or re-learn, or something like that.]
And in the days following that decision I’ve noticed articles online, storylines on TV, in Film, and in Video Games, and events in daily life, echoing the subject of this point of focus.
I’m not a ‘thing’ so I wouldn’t name myself… but you’d probably say that’s semantics
The article which stood out the most was one which was titled – Have You Found The Real You? – on a Graphology blog. The article was interesting and not interesting simultaneously… the ‘not interesting’ bit was finding out that the whole thing was a sales pitch for services the blogger was offering at a price to help people find themselves (if I was a younger me I’d have been very tempted by this offer and probably found it interesting, may have even bought into it if I could afford it… older me has learned some things from what younger me found interesting and did because of it), the ‘interesting’ bit was the preamble to the salespitch.
I was into graphology back in the day… these days… I don’t use handwriting that often, and it makes me wonder if graphology can really reveal the ‘self’ when most selves these days type, text, email, and rarely hand-write things… hand-written things are almost an anomaly whereas once it was how we expressed our selves – so can it still show who we are if it is no longer used like it was once used, to express the self?
When I did look into graphology what I found out left me with the same awkward feeling that palmistry did… who decided that this meant that and why? Am I to be judged by those who came before and those who made judgments about those who came before… and who are those doing the judging, why are they the judges of me, others, who I am, who others are… or aren’t?
[I can be a frigging nightmare when it comes to asking awkward questions – I tend to ask these more often when I feel an awkward feeling that something is wrong, not quite right, a bit skew-whiff, with the picture being presented… and I’d like some more information, data, details… apparently this is bothersome]
I’ve been into pretty much everything (I’m one of those annoying people who say ‘been there, done that’ when you’re telling them about some new exciting thing you’ve discovered… I haven’t been there and done that with everything but so many ‘new’ things are just new versions of old things…) at some point in my life (so a consistent part of my ‘self’ likes to explore, experiment on myself, research).
I tend to do it haphazardly, slightly superficially at times but not always, and then move on to whatever one thing leads me to next . Usually I go backwards while going forwards – researching whoever was the root of someone else’s action (in other words if I was still interested in graphology, I might take this Graphology blogger up on their offer but I’d also look into who inspired them to become a graphologist, who they studied… then research that person – the further back you go the more things are connected to other things – for instance astrology used to be a part of astronomy, the further forward you go the more things separate and become isolated from other things).
Last night I saw an episode of Catfish wherein the person who asked for help from the Catfish team was someone whose online identity was being used by others, and they were paying for the negative things these others were doing and saying online in their name. It was a complicated episode for many reasons, one of which is that this had been going on for more than a decade… and the online world has changed a lot since then, but… some things and people never change.
In that episode they confronted one person who had used this identity (for several years), and this person said that since others had been borrowing this identity they kind of thought it was the perfect identity to borrow, use, and use to abuse… of course, in their listed reasons for doing this they said they did it because they were going through a tough time in their life… they couldn’t be themselves, but they could be themselves by being someone else…
and it never occurred to them that pretending to be someone else, a someone else who was real, would affect the real person… because people… we’re so caught up in ourselves, and when we’re in pain we don’t think beyond ourselves, beyond alleviating our pain which may include hurting others but those others… are never as real to us as we are… and we can always justify our behaviour while judging and condemning others for doing the same thing – if it hurts us it’s bad, but if what we do hurts someone else we might say it’s justice which is good, right?
we don’t like it when people dehumanise us, but if we’re doing it to others… we may use the same excuses others use when they do it to us… but it’s okay when we use them…
while everything MTV can be rather superficial… you can find the depth there if you want to… and this episode had depth to it even if it was glossed over for the sake of the Catfish formula and ratings, entertainment and such.
I’ve had pieces of myself – some of which I thought were intrinsic to my self, my identity, etc – ‘borrowed’ by other people… it can throw your whole sense of self out of whack sometimes, especially when it’s done by a narcissist who does it so blatantly and boldly, and may then even accuse you of copying them when you know that’s not the timeline… but they’ll get you to doubt it until you’ll doubt everything about yourself… or what you thought was you.
This week I got a comment on one of my posts from someone who didn’t introduce themselves, didn’t say anything about themselves at all (other than what could be gathered by what they did say – which can reveal a lot, but it can be misleading too), didn’t say why they had read the post or what they thought of it, didn’t explain their comment… all they said was – “I am confused because you mention one time you are not a victim of this abuse and then a few paragraphs down you say you are a victim of this….”
I re-read my post (which is this one – The New Face of Children of Narcissists) to see if I could see what they were seeing… I couldn’t (however I did notice a few typos, which I didn’t fix)…
My initial thought about this comment was…
well, I had several thoughts about it depending on the level of me which was looking at it…
One level of me – just shrugged about it.
I couldn’t see why it mattered to them if I was or wasn’t something – they didn’t explain why it was relevant to them to have this clarified. Why do they care about my ‘status’ or story? I doubt very much if they care about me… so what prompted them to ask what they asked, and why should I reply… chances are if I do reply (and I did), I’ll most likely never get a reply to a reply from them. So many comments online are hit and runs…
Besides… being confused when it comes to narcissists and those who have been affected by narcissists is normal, natural, par for the course… Narcissist sow seeds of confusion… not always to confuse others deliberately, but sometimes due to that… mostly narcissists are confused and you get that confusion passed onto to you (with added extras). Those who have been affected by narcissists may confuse others when they share their story…
I’m a child of narcissists (I said this in the post, ergo I am the victim of narcissistic abuse… the two things go together, that seems fairly clear) and that position causes a certain ambiguity about being a ‘victim of narcissists’… there are times when narcissist parents are great (at least my parents could be great – when they were good, they were very very good…)… are you , their child, a victim of them then? Sure, it’s clear that you’re their ‘victim’ when they’re being raging, bullying, intimidating, control freak a-holes (when they are bad, they are horrid…)… but even then, a child tends to blame itself for the mood, behaviour, etc, of the parent, and a narcissist parent will encourage the child to blame itself (so there’s that – and that can be very confusing).
It can be tedious to always be a ‘victim’… that’s not all that you are, is it?… sometimes you just want to be a person without that kind of label…
Another level of me wondered if this person commenting could be one of those people who like to poke bloggers while showing how clever they are (posts about narcissists can attract comments from… narcissists, people trying to be the smartest in the room, people who like to display their ability to find what’s wrong with you, your flaw, your inconsistency, etc… while hiding their shit behind their reveal of your shit – clever them!).
Another me thought that they, like many people these days, may be suffering from communication miscommunication in their delivery of self expression due to texting too much, commenting on FB and other similar social media posts, where people blurt things out bluntly without thinking about anything other than what they feel like blurting out and that it needs to be blurted out, quickly, they don’t give an intro, don’t explain, don’t do small talk, and don’t consider whether the receiver can decipher their blurt (do they even care if you can or not?)… and they tend not to return once they’re done with their blurt, they’ve moved on to blurt elsewhere.
And then, child of narcissists me, thought that perhaps this person was a child of narcissists too… who had only just begun to look into it, speak about it… children of narcissists find self expression difficult and often do it awkwardly… running away to hide once they’ve done it, taking cover from what their few syllables uttered may cause to befall upon them…
We all do that to some degree or another in life…
sometimes you have to say things without thinking about the consequences of saying them…
the burden of speaking…
the troubles caused by expressing yourself, and letting your self have its say so that you can hear yourself speak… and perhaps learn about yourself through the listening to your speaking…
we all may run away once we’ve said something… particularly if it was weighty, of importance to us, and we were afraid of how it would be received, of how others would react…
the self isn’t all about us being ourselves…
others have a part to play in it, and those others sometimes shape the form it takes, wittingly or unwittingly…
even those who think they have no influence at all… make a mark on others…
What about you… have you noticed something you’ve been focused upon turn up in everything and everyone?
I have. I think it’s because I’m thinking about it and then I just notice it more. The something would have been there whether I noticed it or not, probably. 🙂
The mingling of interaction often means that we pick things up unconsciously – that a turn of phrase for instance becomes “ours” and then it occurs to ask yourself where you got that from. Your post is interesting because I just referenced you today – you’ve maybe seen it already. I used a style of phrase – “peoply peopleness” – that someone commented on which in turn made me think about it. And I thought, I think I got that from Ursula (I’m not really sure, but it is a style that I think I learned from you). I incorporated your style into my languaging without noticing (my apologies – I hope that I haven’t offended you, but it was unconscious). Phraseology often doesn’t mean much to me – more often it’s the thinking that’s triggered and then I’m off to the races. 🙂
Thank you for sharing 🙂
What an awesome, beautiful and brilliant post you created for the Summer Spotlight! I hadn’t already seen it. You have a great eye, those photos are stunning! And I agree about New Zealand, I’d love to go there but I doubt that I ever will. There’s a beach there called Hot Water Beach, where you can make your own spa just by digging a hole in the sand and it fills with hot spring water.
I’m not really sure if ‘peoply peopleness’ is one of mine but it is the sort of thing I might say when I can’t think of a way to describe something or someone due to my internal thesaurus/dictionary suddenly being on the fritz. That kind of descriptive is quite common in the UK, that may be from where I picked it up.
Absorbing certain elements of other people is a totally normal and natural human activity, it’s considered a regular feature of socialising and is often advised as a social skill to use when interacting with others as it creates a comfortably familiar bond.
My partner and I get a good chuckle out of it particularly when some new verbal mannerism affects us and we’re not sure who picked it up and infected the other person with it. If it’s something weird it probably came from me because I like to mess around with language, I get pronunciations all wrong, I often can’t remember words for things and so I make stuff up, cobble together different words sometimes from other languages, and those around me may end up talking utter gibberish if they absorb too much of my style of expression (and they’ll start getting weirded out looks from other people which is a regular experience for me when I talk) 😉
The kind of ‘borrowing of the self’ to which I was referring in the post is more of the Single White Female film kind. My mother used to do it with me and it got freakier each time she did it. She once decided that she was a poet and asked me to read her poems, and they were almost word for word poems I had written years earlier which she had insisted I give her copies of because she wanted to keep them ‘safe’ as I often destroyed my creations. When she did that I knew that she was certain that her poems were all hers, and if I’d said anything about them being almost identical to mine she’d have blown a fuse. I know I’ve mentioned that story before in my posts and I think we discussed it… didn’t your mother do something similar with you? Narcs have a way of morphing into you, of taking ‘you’ and making it ‘them’, and sometimes when they do it… it’s a bit like the invasion of the body-snatchers.
I enjoyed this post very much, because I experienced it especially when I inquired what was behind prayer, some months ago. I felt that there was something psychological behind the “ask and it will be given to you”.
There are many other valuable points in your post: I especially liked the quote about how one would probably not list themselves if they were to say what they loved.
Thanks for the post, and see you around!
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Prayer is an intriguing subject to explore, it seems to be something humans have done in varying ways since recorded history, and seems to tap into something in the human psyche. The ‘ask and ye shall receive’ aspect of it is similar to certain aspects of the Power of Positive Thinking movement which works with the idea that you can make things happen using thought – which psychologically might fall under the category of ‘magical thinking’.
This is an interesting article about Magical Thinking which includes some thoughts on prayer – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/psyched/201309/all-paths-lead-magical-thinking
I love where your inquiring mind has taken you!
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Thank you very much. 🙂 Shucks. I’m blushing now. 🙂
M and I were a lot alike to start with. Both insecure Leos, very similar backgrounds and likes/dislikes. But we’ve also noticed that we have become much more like each other (kind of how people start to resemble their dogs, except human 😉 ). Because I grew up in a bilingual household I have some odd pronunciations and grammatical constructions and M has picked up some of those. I have picked up stuff from him as well. So yes, it does help to cement a bond (and is probably very important in pair bonding).
Yes, we did discuss that creepy copying that narcs do and specifically about your poetry. It’s almost as if they want to absorb you. SWF is a good example. My mother did that across a band of behaviours although it was my oldest sister (not my sister J) who turned it into an art form (I can’t remember if I wrote to you about my mother or sister; they both did it). At least that’s how it felt – like I was looking at a sculpture of me-but-not-me. My sister is quite present for me at the moment because I very unexpectedly encountered her late last month. It’s
(To continue – not sure what happened, WordPress gremlins?)
It’s as you say weird. She did this narc thing where she was all happy to see me in spite of her negative behaviour the last time I saw her. It really shows how they lack a centre – there’s nothing but a big hole.
I understand the distinction you’ve made – I can be perhaps overly sensitive about making sure that my behaviour is respectful, especially with people who have had narcs in their lives. 🙂
Happy Birthday!!! to you and to M 😀
That’s intriguing about encountering your sister. Do you think she set up the encounter? It’s rather interesting to re-meet a person you haven’t seen in awhile as it can show you how you’ve changed in the manner that you relate.
You are one of the most considerate souls I’ve had the pleasure to know – don’t forget to consider yourself too ❤
Thank you – we are 6 days apart and have our anniversary between them. 🙂
She didn’t set up the encounter as I was unexpectedly in the city where she lives. I was just picking up a coffee at a cafe. I hadn’t seen her in nearly 2 years but she really hasn’t changed. I felt guilty about walking away but really can’t have her in my life.
Thank you very much 🙂 – I do consider myself.
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