The other day in a post I said – Ask Me Anything – and fantasticomundodecarol – very thoughtfully asked me:
How are you?
It’s a fairly common question which people ask each other. A simple question which should be easy to answer, and yet this is the kind of question which tends to surprise me and confuse me.
I’m never prepared for it, nor do I ever know how to handle it once it happens (which is pretty much my modus operandi for life).
Especially if the person asking it is genuinely asking it rather than going through polite small talk motions, and really wants an answer rather than a polite small talk reply.
However the people who ask me the question usually don’t notice how perplexing it is for me… or do they? Maybe they do… particularly if there’s an awkward silence after it has been asked while I stare at them as though they just asked me to multiply 350,996 by 4632.
But just as things threaten to go somewhere weird, I remember an answer and give it to them wrapped up with a big relief-filled smile – I’m fine! How are you?
And I am fine, just as I just said I was. Please don’t question it because then I might have to use my fingers to do the math and we’ll be here until the next big snow storm.
Did any of you experience ‘the Beast from the East’? The Weather News people weren’t making it up, were they. It really did happen just as they said they would. And in some places they’re still snowed in up to their eyeballs… where I am it’s almost as though it didn’t happen and was all a feverish hallucination.
Sometimes how we are is like that too. A sudden storm hits our being and we’re buried under emotion, frozen with fear, sick with chaos, our mind shooting out bolts of crazy, our souls trying to find some light in a dark abyss, We’re both falling and being fallen upon. We’re certain we’re going to die, and then… suddenly we’re okay again.
Being human is not dissimilar to being planet Earth. A lot happens to it, inside and outside, but somehow it keeps going around and around, doing its thing.
I think part of the puzzling aspect of being asked how I am for me is…
not so much the bit which comes from growing up with narcissists, where you come to realise fairly quickly that no one gives a flying eff how you are, they’re only asking you for some convoluted reason which is always about them and how they are. The simplest version of which is that they’re asking you the question to prompt you to ask them the question so that they can then spend the next fortnight or longer answering it, dragging you into some drama they created to keep themselves from being bored.
Narcissists need life should be exciting all the time, boredom is frightening to them, it is the grim reaper sharpening its sheath… the only way to stay alive is to make things exciting, cause a drama, as that keeps boredom and thus death and the neant away from you.
Or something like that…
As much as I may seem to spend most of my time thinking about my self… I don’t actually think of myself that much. I sort of do but I sort of don’t, it’s all rather abstract…I use myself a lot as a template to understand others, and to explore the world of human experience.
I use myself and my own narcissism to understand narcissists.
Other people make more sense when you approach them through yourself without your self getting in the way… which it can do, it’s very good at turning into an obstacle, particularly when it’s on a high horse… high-horsing is also helpful in understand people like narcissists. Falling off the high horse is helpful for understanding why humiliating and embarrassing experiences are intensely useful to human development.
So being asked: How are you?
brings me back from the abstract into my body and into myself and often I have no idea how I am, not in a way that can be put into words. I’m obviously okay enough to be floating off in the abstract. When I’m physically ill, I’m totally in my body and often wish I wasn’t, but the body is the boss during those times.
I do keep tabs daily on how I am but I don’t discuss it much with myself unless it is relevant to something I’m cogitating…. for instance that lump on my knee (it’s still there, but isn’t impairing the movement of the knee as much as it was) has been a most interesting companion and inspiration for cogitation…
but if I answered – How are you? – by telling the person who asked me that question that my lumpy knee has made me ponder the notion of subservience in a manner which I’d never done before and that has led me to explore certain things which have nothing to do with a lumpy knee and yet they do further than before, and I have finally gotten an inkling of some understanding which I’ve totally missed many millions of times before (which I may forget as I have forgotten understanding before), which has helped me to see something in writing that makes writing not the focus, therefore when we read it’s not about the words… that really doesn’t work as an answer to that question.
I’m fine, how are you?
better than expected considering, but I’ve become tired of considering those things…so now onto pounder better things. : )
Thank you for sharing 🙂
There is something about becoming tired of the usual path the mind takes us along which feels like pausing at a crossroads and giving ourselves a choice, even if we end up going down the usual path, it’s a little bit different, and those little bit differents eventually add up and change the landscape.
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I am well – now. The flu I had turned into pneumonia and so I was sick for a while, but I’m getting better now. 🙂
Otherwise, I am busy. Almost too much for thinking at times. 🙂
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Glad to hear you’re better!
Sometimes our bodies force us to take a time out to just be within ourselves, and we have no choice but to focus upon self-care. It can be both a harrowing time and a deeply peaceful time simultaneously. There’s that moment in recovery when you’re well enough to enjoy the time out you’ve had to take from the circus of human life.
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You mentioned in one of the steps about making sure they aren’t acting narcissistic versus being a narcissist. I searched on google, “what’s the difference between acting narcissistic versus being a narcissist or NPD.”
No site made a separation between essentially stating you can’t act narcissistic and not be a narcissist. I want to ask, what did you mean by your statement?
Thank you for sharing 🙂
I’m giving you a link to an article:
The intro to the article touches upon the issue to which I was referring:
“Every once in a while, a new diagnostic label emerges into mass consciousness and people start to use it (and misuse it) as a synonym for bad behavior. This year’s label seems to be “Narcissist.” I thought that it might be useful to clarify what mental health professionals mean when they talk about narcissism.”
The article then goes on to discuss more about pathological narcissism = NPD and the distinguishing markers of the behaviour of those with NPD
There is a spectrum to Narcissism which includes healthy narcissism which is a vital component of self esteem – (for more on healthy narcissism this is a decent article on the subject – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/contemporary-psychoanalysis-in-action/201609/what-is-healthy-narcissism), and since all humans have a degree of narcissism within them as we all go through the narcissistic phase of development, we can all behave narcissistically.
Certain situations, such as those which cause us stress, pain, grief, anger, fear, may cause us to act/behave badly towards others. This can result in others being hurt by our behaviour and perhaps even labeling us as a ‘narcissist’. Narcissist has in recent years become a go-to accusation. While some of those who have been accused of being ‘narcissists’ may well be narcissists, many of them do not have NPD but they may be going through a period of their life which is making them act in a narcissistic manner. Or they may appear to be narcissistic to those around them simply because those around them do not have all the information needed to understand why a person is behaving the way that they are. Or the person accusing them may be a narcissist. Those with NPD tend to be quicker than most to label others as ‘narcissists’.
You might want to google search – normal or healthy narcissism versus pathological or unhealthy narcissism – as this will bring up more results discussing what I meant by narcissistic behaviour versus having NPD.
This is an interesting article on narcissism, which looks into popular ‘myths’ about the subject and explores it from the viewpoint of a mental health professional – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201601/9-myths-about-narcissism-almost-everyone-believes
Mainly what I was trying to convey in what I said was that we need to be careful when it comes to ‘diagnosing’ people (and remember that others can ‘diagnose’ us too just as we’re ‘diagnosing’ them). We need to take the time to assess the person and the situation, the context around the person, with due care, taking ourselves into account too because our perception of others is coloured by ourselves, our situation, our context.
This is an article worth reading as it explores the ‘narcissist’ phenomenon from an alternative angle – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ambigamy/201501/why-some-people-maybe-even-us-think-theyre-so-special
Difficult people are everywhere in life, because life and being human is difficult. Others may experience us as being a ‘difficult’ person, even though we do not think we’re difficult at all, and may think that they’re the difficult one. Not everyone who is ‘difficult’ is a narcissist or has NPD, they’re just a human being like we are who has up days and down days, and goes through tough times, coping as best as they can which sometimes makes everything worse. We can all be a-holes sometimes, the difference is self-reflection – those with NPD do not self-reflect.
Hope that clarifies things, if it doesn’t let me know. It would help to know more about your story and why you’re looking into this.
How are you? Hope you are fine😀
Hi 😀 I’m fine, thank you very much for asking and caring! How are you?
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A bit tired, but fine 😁
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By the way, I miss your previous top image. Just curious why you changed it
Thank you for liking the previous header 🙂 I liked it too.
I’ve changed the header several times over the years that I’ve had this blog, and the change usually coincides with a personal shift. My blog is sort of a reflection of me, as well as being a way in which I communicate things with and to myself, it’s were all the different facets of the whole chat (and argue) with each other. I chat with myself a lot through visual imagery (which is why I use a lot of images in my posts… my earliest posts didn’t have images, so that’s changed too over time).
When there’s a shift with me personally, the blog tends to experience a shift too in some form. What I do in my posts often leads to a personal shift.
I also changed the blog theme when I changed the header, in fact changing the header made me review the theme I was using because the previous theme distorted the new header… and that’s when I found out that the theme I had been using was no longer being updated by the creator (they’d moved on).
The things I do on my blog won’t necessarily make any sense to anyone other than me, and sometimes it takes awhile for them to make sense to me. Using a drawing of mine as the header is a way of telling myself something which I needed to hear and listen to (which in part came about because of listening and hearing things differently). Hearing and listening to the message I was sending to myself… is always a weird adventure in shifting and changing and sometimes returning to a home base from which I’d strayed far and wide. The straying was necessary as is the coming home… more straying may ensue or not. We’ll see 😉
I’m curious too – why do you miss the previous image? And what message are you sending yourself by missing it?
“My blog is sort of a reflection of me, as well as being a way in which I communicate things with and to myself, it’s were all the different facets of the whole chat (and argue) with each other. I chat with myself a lot through visual imagery (which is why I use a lot of images in my posts… my earliest posts didn’t have images, so that’s changed too over time).”
I know the feeling of different facets chatting, though not through a lot of imagery. They are simply inside voices.
“When there’s a shift with me personally, the blog tends to experience a shift too in some form. What I do in my posts often leads to a personal shift.”
Sometimes the mood is bad during the shift, it’s hard to tell the others what you are feeling.
“I also changed the blog theme when I changed the header, in fact changing the header made me review the theme I was using because the previous theme distorted the new header… and that’s when I found out that the theme I had been using was no longer being updated by the creator (they’d moved on).”
Yep, shit happens.
“Hearing and listening to the message I was sending to myself… is always a weird adventure in shifting and changing and sometimes returning to a home base from which I’d strayed far and wide. The straying was necessary as is the coming home… more straying may ensue or not. We’ll see 😉”
It’s good to do the listening and hearing to yourself. It’s a way to know more about yourself. Swinging around is not avoidable, it is also not bad to return to home base. Enjoy the ride & process
“I’m curious too – why do you miss the previous image? And what message are you sending yourself by missing it?”
I don’t know much about art, just like it, and did not think too much at the moment. Message ? hmm…maybe I am getting old and start to miss the old days?
I agree the mood can definitely be bad during a shift, and it can be very difficult to put what’s going on into words (which aren’t swear words 😉 ) partly because shifts and changes often happen just as you’ve gotten comfortable with a previous shift/change. It’s like life waits for you to finally find your new comfort zone and then it says ‘Okay, time to move again!’.
I find getting older a fascinating experience. Suddenly you understand those things which the ‘old’ people in your life were always telling you that you’d only understand once you were their age. There’s definitely some nostalgia for the ‘old days’… but you also know that the ‘old days’ weren’t like you remember them. Memory has softened the sharp edges, and sometimes it allows you to see what you didn’t notice at the time. It’s good to appreciate what once was because it has just as much value as what is, and is an influence on what is one way or another.
Shifts an changes require a refocusing of the eye, and sometimes it’s all a bit blurry and that can make it all rather beautiful 🙂
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