What Does That Say About Me?

Every now and then someone you know will make a statement about themselves and then pause, perhaps because they realised the statement they made exposed them to your eyes in a way which suddenly made them feel vulnerable to critical judgment (or perhaps for other reasons), before asking – What does that say about me?

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Usually – What does this say about me? – isn’t a question (even if it is disguised as one), but a segue to a revelation they will make about what they think their statement said about them, and often what they think their statement said about them is critical, judgmental… maybe they’re doing to themselves what others have done to them, replaying an old recording, or maybe they’re momentarily looking at themselves the way they would look at someone else if someone else had made the statement they’d made.

Have you ever had anyone say – Does that make me a bad person? – after a statement they’d made about themselves?

And then you’ve felt obliged to do the polite thing, insert the correct social response, tell them “No, not at all” or something along those lines… because they’re probably not a bad person (at least not for that statement they’ve just made), and you know that all they need from you is a friendly reaction to ease whatever unfriendly thoughts they’re having about themselves (which are part of some inner argument or issue of theirs to which you may or may not be privy).

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When I was younger pretty much everything I said about myself (or any other subject matter) to others… I’d end up worrying about it, whipping myself for having said it, wishing I hadn’t said it (or anything at all), believing that it somehow fixed in stone some terrible truth about my self.

I grew up with narcissists… so this kind of paranoia, fear, is really quite normal and logical… anything you say within earshot of a narcissist could make the sky fall and the world implode, and if you’re talking about yourself… how dare you take up time, space and oxygen doing something so selfish – if you had been talking about them instead them you would be so useless, futile, and a killer of planets.

But as I got older I slowly realised that… you can make almost any statement about yourself and it is soon forgotten if it was noticed at all in the first place, thus there is no need to tie yourself up in uncomfortable and painful knots being anxious about what whatever you said says about you…

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however it can be interesting to explore your reaction to it, as that does say something about you which may be worth hearing… it doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about your identity but it can reveal where you need to figure a puzzling problem out.

While there are many things you can say, inappropriate, awkward, antagonistic, etc, which may ruffle the feathers of others… the ruffled feathers soon right themselves and the owner of those ruffled feathers moves on (perhaps they even enjoyed getting all ruffled up, and they may have even blown things out of proportion to do so)…

unless you’re dealing with a narcissist, they never move on from the slightest slight (and may obsess about it and plot revenge for years)… they only want others to move on from the stuff that they say which doesn’t just ruffle your feathers but regularly plucks you naked and raw (for examples just check out Narcissist 101 – DT). Narcissists can be rather useful tools for finding out who you really are, what you’re actually made of… and they can help you to see who others really are, what they are actually made of… but it is a gauntlet to run… and there must be easier ways (humans do seem to prefer the hard ways, perhaps because we’re forced to learn that way…).

But you might find it harder to move on and unruffle your feathers due to what you said which said something about you… something which made you feel wrong about being yourself in some manner.

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Maybe you gave away (mainly to yourself, but you think everyone is watching you as closely as you do and is as interested in yourself as you are) that you aren’t who you were trying to be…

you disappointed them…

you disappointed yourself…

they couldn’t control you…

you lost control of yourself…

you…

…revealed your true self which isn’t the self you’re wearing at the moment, is a bit too wild and crazy for popular viewing, is someone you’re rather afraid of due to all the unknowns which come with it…

all of the above, none of the above… what about the below?

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Last night I was playing a video game (The Talos Principle), which has a lot of philosophy, mythology, psychology, science, and human theories about being human woven into it. At one point you’re trying to prove to a computer that you’re human… the computer was programmed (supposedly) by humans, but… all humans have different ideas about what it means to be human and if your ideas differ from those who programmed a machine to decide if you’re human or not…

anyway…

the computer also has all these files (which are a bit of a faff to read, and yet not always), and in one file there was a sentence about ‘the shadow anchoring a being to the Earth’… that intrigued me… without our shadow would we float away… is that what gravity is made of…?

Is our shadow far more than we give it credit for being… should we value it and chase it as much as we do the light? Is it perhaps not what we think it is, not what we have been told to believe that it is…

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I still worry sometimes about – what something says about me – I think it’s normal and natural to do that (I didn’t always see things this way),  but I don’t agonise over it, beat myself up, or go over the scene of the crime over and over again, regretting what happened, imagining how things would have turned out if they had happened differently, etc, like I used to…

I tell myself to shut up and fuggedaboudit about the same amount as I used to… I just do it differently, for a different reason, with a different attitude… not sure this difference is better than… it just is what it is at the moment…

and the moment is really all I know… and even that knowledge is fleeting…

What does this say about me?

Does it matter to know what it says about me?

Will it say today what it says tomorrow about me?

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why does this list exist?

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What about you…

What does this say about you?

 

7 comments

  1. One day I was in a group, and we did this exercise, where you had to say “I am…” and complement it with any word that came to your mind. The exercise was made in pairs, and while one was doing it with eyes closed, the other one was watching the participant, and drawing whatever they “saw” (or didn’t see) on a sheet of paper.

    One curious thing that happened to me, is that many times I said things like “I am brave”, and shortly afterwards “I am a coward”, and so on. What I mean is: once you stop identifying with a statement, you get free to just respond to life in a day-to-day basis. Because everyone has both aspects of a trait.

    As a side-note: I’ve been reading some of your posts, and I’m still a bit confused as in what you mean with “narcissist”. Because I recognize some traits of other “disorders” or behaviours, and I still don’t understand your perception of it. For example, today you mention that narcissists tend to tie themselves to descriptions (if I understood that correctly: when you mention “this kind of paranoia, fear, is really quite normal and logical”), as in making sure that their social image remains intact. Until now, I would have understood that that was a trait of somebody simply insecure, or turbulent (that’s a word I find particularly descriptive of this psychological issue).

    Anyway, thanks for another of your posts: your blog is a good example of having long and interesting posts.

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      The exercise which you described reminds me of one I read about which took place at a workshop, wherein people were asked to replace the label with their name with a label which told others what they wanted the most from other people. One person labeled themselves with “Please Love Me” and this became the most popular label and person in that group for that day because they basically said something which everyone could relate to, which most people wanted, and they had been open about it in a way which others had been hesitant about because saying what you really want makes us feel vulnerable.

      The thing about being brave and also experiencing cowardice is that they are not mutually exclusive, dualities work together – to be one you usually need to also be the other too.

      I love what you learned from doing it, that group sounds rather fun!

      re: narcissists

      Being confused when it comes to narcissists, and what a person means when they say someone is a narcissist… is par for the course when it comes to the subject. Especially nowadays when ‘narcissist’ has become a popular label to apply to others (and narcissists use the label too… so that muddies the waters quite a bit).

      When I was talking about the paranoia, fear, that was something I experienced especially with regards to dealing with my parents. The effect narcissists have on others often leaves others feeling insecure, permanently anxious, tormented by doubt and self-doubt, paranoid, hypervigilant, and many other symptoms which are now explained by C-PTSD.

      NPD has many overlaps with other disorders, and narcissists display a variety of behaviours, psychological issues, etc, which aren’t always associated with NPD (although the psych community has been refining their perception of the disorder in recent times). Narcissist used to mainly mean someone who was obsessed with themselves, vain, egotistical, these are elements of NPD but there is far more to it than that. ‘Turbulence’ is a great descriptive of narcissists – they are turbulent, inside and outside, and they create a lot of turbulence for others, particularly with their dramas. They are insecure, that is a big thorn for them and spur for a significant portion of their behaviours. They tend to lack a solid sense of self, a core self, they don’t self-reflect, and they need others to mirror them, tell them who they are, confirm for them that they are. They project and are prone to transference – they tend to see others as extensions of themselves rather than as people. Spending time with a narcissist will leave you with the feeling that you are an object rather than a living being.

      Trying to explain what I mean by narcissist… would require that I know what you think a narcissist is so I can work within your parameters, and it would also help to know the pop culture which appeals to you as there are many examples of narcissists in pop culture and I could use that to show what I mean. For instance, there’s a film which I think captures perfectly what I think of when I think of a narcissist, but it’s a foreign film (South Korean), and rather obscure – Hansel and Gretel. Donald Trump is a good example of a narcissist (but he has been used as an example of many other personality disorders).

      This is a post I wrote about a common experience with my mother – https://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/missing-teaspoons-and-other-very-important-issues/ – having parents who are narcissists varies a bit from knowing someone as an adult who is a narcissist because these disordered people are a part of your formative years, and you don’t realise that they aren’t, and their world view, isn’t ‘normal’.

      Just ask me questions if you need further info and I’ll do my best to try and answer (I’m an INTP… I love being asked questions and attempting to answer them!)

      Love your blog, btw!

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      • Thank you very much for the insight. Until now I did know the term, but only used it (and had seen it used) to refer to a mild selfcentredness. I was not aware that it had been studied to such extent.

        INFP here. It amazes me how in a short span of days I’ve found many people who have explored the Myers-Briggs indicator. A blog I recommend you: INFJoe

        I’m glad you enjoy my blog! It’s fun to do.

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        • The term Narcissist these days when used by people (particularly online) tends to refer to Narcissistic Personality Disorder more than it refers to the regular narcissistic behaviour (as in self-centredness) which all humans have. In recent years NPD has been a hot trending topic on the internet, with narcissistic abuse being a point of focus.

          The MBTI is very popular, fun and informative. INFJoe is awesome, thanks for the referral 😀 This is one of my fav sites – http://oddlydevelopedtypes.com/content/3-signs-you-are-infp

          When I first started on WordPress someone recommended that I follow WP’s own blog – https://dailypost.wordpress.com/ – they give loads of hints and tips for bloggers, it’s useful for getting to know other blogs and letting others getting to know your blog by joining in with the community or linking your posts to a prompt (which is a preferred option for introverts), the Daily prompts are helpful to keep things going when you hit that wall of blogger’s block which most bloggers hit at some point once the initial flush of blog love wears off a bit, and the WP team are a great bunch.

          You have a wonderfully individual vibe!

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          • Turns out, I’m an INTP: I’ve always scored almost 50-50 between T and F, and after studying the matter, and taking a specific test, I’m INTP.

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            • Welcome to the INTP club 😉

              The MBTI is a useful getting-to-know-yourself tool, but we don’t have to be just one type, or fit precisely into our dominant type (that’s just the sort of thing an INTP would say). It’s a guideline. I have also fluctuated between an F and a T, when I was younger I was much more of an F, I’ve become more of an INTP as I get older (part of that may be because I’m more comfortable being openly weird these days). I’ve noticed that I use the words ‘I think’ more than ‘I feel’ but I think I may have used ‘I feel’ more than ‘I think’ before. INTP’s like to test the tests 😀

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