[This is a repost of a post published in November 2014.
This is one of those posts which I not only remember writing, but I also recall exactly what inspired me to write it.
At the time I was receiving quite a lot of comments on my posts about narcissists, ‘narcissist’ was a trending hot topic (and accusation), and every now and then someone would share a relationship story where they either accused someone else of being a narcissist or suspected themselves of being the narcissist in the relationship (and sometimes I was asked to clarify who the real narcissist in the relationships was – as though a total stranger met randomly online through a blog post whom they didn’t bother to get to know any better than that could do that), but, based on their own version of the story… neither person sounded as though they were a narcissist.
There may have been some elements in the relationship which were narcissistic… but being narcissistic and being a narcissist are very different things which are easy to confuse and consider to be one and the same thing.
So I wrote this post in an attempt to capture the confusion and complexity of relationships when the accusation of ‘narcissist’ becomes a part of that. I wish I had done it more clearly, but I still love this post as is.
* K-drama meme used as featured image explained: Last night I binge-watched a K-drama which I gave up on halfway through due to too many illogical plot devices (and too many really ludicrous ‘villains’ keeping the ‘true lovers’ apart) to keep it going – My Love Eun Dong (aka This is My Love). It would have worked better with fewer narcissists doing what narcissists do in the name of love… but that’s what makes it a great TV show to watch if what you’re after is – A TV show/film which shows you multiple aspects of narcissistic love (including narcissistic family and friends calling what they’re doing to their loved ones the consequences of love/for the best/for the good of those who are supposedly loved by the narcissist/overly narcissistic person, etc). Villains often think they’re the heroes of the story… and the heroes often view themselves as the villains who know they’re bad and must sacrifice themselves to make amends. Aish!
I’ve checked all of the links included in this post and they lead to where they’re supposed to – thank you article writers for keeping your links working after all these years.]
If Jane accuses John of being a narcissist, and Jane then tells Mark, Mindy, and Sue that John is a narcissist, and Sue (triggered by her own personal and painful experience of a romantic relationship with a narcissist from which she has yet to recover) then tells Tom that John is a narcissist, Mark (who is the child of a narcissist and has PTSD because of it) tells Robert that John is a narcissist, and Mindy (who doesn’t think she knows any narcissists but is frightened because she’s heard such frightening stories about them) tells Melissa that John is a narcissist – Is John a narcissist? Or is John the victim of a narcissist?
Melissa (who loves to gossip about others, yet hates it when others gossip about her) tells Letitia that John is a narcissist, Robert (who never liked John because Jane loves John and Robert loves Jane) tells Margaret that John is a narcissist, and Tom (who wasn’t listening when Sue was talking as he had his own problems on his mind which empathic Sue failed to empathically notice) tells no one (and is later accused by Sue of giving her the silent treatment, but she doesn’t accuse him directly, instead she tells Joan about it). – Is John a narcissist? Or is John the victim of a narcissist?
Letitia (who loves talk about herself, uses the gossip to start another conversation about herself) tells Mary that John is a narcissist (then she launches into a long tale about how she knew John was a narcissist because of this thing he once did to her), Margaret (who is in love with Robert, knows that Robert loves Jane, thus Margaret hates Jane) tells Lucy that John is a narcissist (and that Jane deserves that kind of karma), and Joan (who not only had to hear what a narcissist Tom is, also heard that John is a narcissist) decides to tell lots of people via her blog that her friend Samantha (a thinly disguised Sue) is a narcissist (as she is always accusing others of being narcissists, which Joan has read on blogs about NPD is often the sign of a narcissist). – Is John a narcissist? Or is John the victim of a narcissist?
In the meantime, Jane has decided that Mark, Mindy, and Sue are not the sort of friends she thought they were as they were not supportive enough towards her when she needed them to be.
When she called Mindy at work to discuss John being a narcissist some more, Mindy was brusque and told her that she didn’t have time to listen to her (what she actually said was – can I call you back later, I’m in a meeting – that meeting was for a possible promotion for which Mindy had worked very hard). – Is John a narcissist? Or is John the victim of a narcissist?
When she tried to talk to Mark after turning up on his doorstep sobbing, he sat in silence (listening to her for hours) and she felt that he didn’t understand her pain as he had never had his heart broken by a narcissist (Mark rarely tells anyone that his parent is a narcissist, however he did once tell Jane. She reacted in the way that most people who haven’t had a narcissist as a parent do when a child says something unflattering about their parent. He never spoke about it with her again after that). Jane left Mark’s home wondering if perhaps he was a narcissist too, and this made her wonder if perhaps she was a magnet for narcissists. After Jane left, Mark found himself feeling the way that he always did after an interaction with his narcissist parent, as though he had somehow failed the other person, not been who they had wanted him to be for them, his efforts to be a good person had not been good enough, yet they were good enough to be branded as bad. Mark began to regret having told Robert that John is a narcissist, as he wasn’t certain who the narcissist was anymore. – Is John a narcissist? Or is John the victim of a narcissist?
Whenever she spoke with Sue, Jane had the distinct impression that there was a competition going on between them as to whose narcissist was the worst (and could be upgraded to being called a sociopath). Whenever Jane discussed a narcissistic crime which John had committed, Sue would interrupt with a much worse crime which her narcissist-sociopath ex had committed against her. Jane could not win as Sue had been scouring the internet for information on NPD (especially the kind which supported her story) for years, she was a member of several forums and communities for victims of narcissists, she collected quotes about narcissists, she watched every video on the subject, and sounded very knowledgeable when she spoke about the disorder and its effects on those who have a relationship with someone with the disorder. Sue saw herself as an unofficial expert on the subject and often remarked that she actually knew more about it than official experts because she had lived it whereas they hadn’t. When Jane questioned Sue’s assertions, Sue was hostile – in a similar manner to the way that Sue described the hostility of a narcissist, particularly her ex towards her. How dare Jane, a newbie victim of a narcissist, doubt Sue, a seasoned victim of a narcissist (who is no longer a victim but an activist against the evil that is NPD), and through doubting her, criticise her, invalidate her, in a narcissistic manner. – Is John a narcissist? Or is John the victim of a narcissist?
Maybe John wasn’t the narcissist but Jane was – a narcissist playing the victim of a narcissist.
Sue’s attitude and words really hurt Jane very deeply. She had always seen Sue as a compassionate, empathic, highly sensitive person – as Sue often pointed all of this out about herself and Jane had no reason to question Sue’s version of herself… until now, when Jane needed Sue to be all the things which she claimed that she was. She needed Sue to walk her talk, but Sue’s walk was her talk… or so it seemed to Jane.
Even though Jane was deeply wounded by her last interaction with Sue, and suspected Sue of being a narcissist, one of those ones who isn’t as obvious to spot… what were they called again? She also felt grateful to Sue, as her eyes had been opened to a new possibility. Perhaps John was not a narcissist, maybe Jane was.
Jane didn’t really want to consider this option, however… Sue’s stories about her ex made Jane realise that John wasn’t as bad as she had thought he was. She had been very angry with him… she was finding it hard to remember why. They had had an argument, and things had escalated from there. All those little things which had annoyed Jane about John had come together and formed a giant annoyance.
– Is John a narcissist? Or is John the victim of a narcissist?
John was an introvert and Jane was an extrovert. He was often silent when she wanted to talk. He wanted to stay at home when she wanted to go out. He was a pessimist compared to her, she was an optimist or at least she worked at being a positive thinker (followed all the advice of the Positive Thinking movement) and found his realist approach to life to be a downer, toxic to her need to be constantly on an upper. Her idealism, which was prone to tip over the line into perfectionism, found his acceptance of imperfection and chaos to be irritating to her need for perfect order, to control what was uncontrollable.
If a glass which was part of a set broke, he just shrugged, cleaned up the mess, and moved on – he occasionally suggested that the glass had broken itself, and no one was to blame for what was meant to happen – whereas she would feel her entire world fall apart, shatter with the glass, and its pieces would dig into her as though she had stepped barefoot onto a shard – she then had to get rid of all the other glasses and buy a new full set or else she’d feel that somehow she was settling for less than she deserved.
Jane sometimes felt that way about John. That she deserved better than him. That she had settled for him because she didn’t want to be alone. She wanted to be loved and he had offered to love her. He wasn’t Mr. Right, he was Mr. He’ll do for now. And she had tried to turn him into Mr. Right for her. He had gone along with it… and perhaps he’d done that for her and resented her for not accepting him as he was, for wanting him to live up to the potential which she projected onto him, to be better than he was… but what if… he was better than she thought he was. What if he was actually better than her, rather than her being better than him.
John was oil and Jane was water. Is one better than the other, is one right and the other one wrong? Depends on which one you are… maybe.
Jane was uncomfortable with this train of thought, but maybe she needed to be, maybe her comfort zone was only comfortable for her and everyone else suffered for it, was uncomfortable because of it, but put up with it for her and her needs of them to be who she wanted them to be for her, so that she could see herself the way that she wanted to see herself.
Jane decided to go online to get a second opinion, because she could do it anonymously (was her need to be anonymous another sign of her narcissism – to be who she was not, present another false persona). She was frightened. If it turned out that she was a narcissist… narcissists were considered evil, horrible beings who made life hell for everyone else, and there was no cure for it. She decided to face the worst while hoping for the best.
The second opinions which she got left her more confused than clear on the matter. Many of those who answered her questions only left her with more questions. It seemed as though the parameters for what defined NPD kept changing. The DSM-V didn’t help because it was too vague, the kind of vagueness which left her wondering if perhaps everyone was a narcissist, some knew it and some didn’t, some accepted it and some denied it, everyone put a spin on it to suit them and their version of reality. She was not the only one who questioned the DSM-V (if she had been, she could have dismissed it or seen it as yet more proof that she was a narcissist in denial), even those in the professions of the mind were doing so – Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Rethinking What We Know.
Then Jane came across this article – 19 Ways to Tell if You Expect too Much in Relationships – and even though she scored highly which made her realise that she had been very narcissistic in her relationship with John, the situation wasn’t hopeless. The hope or hopelessness of it depended on her. She could learn from what had happened and choose to change herself in a natural way or choose to continue on her present path, staying exactly the same yet expecting things to change miraculously on their own. Still expecting other people to change themselves to satisfy her, how she perceived herself and others, reality and so on.
The first thing which she could change was her tendency to try to change others to suit her expectations which inevitably led to her being disappointed in them, and also with herself for choosing such a disappointing person with whom to be in a relationship.
She may judge those she loved for being unworthy of her love (which she wanted to view as special), but she judged herself even more for falling in love with those she eventually deemed to be unworthy of her love – which then meant that she needed someone to blame (other than herself, which she did anyway). Maybe she needed to accept them as they were and take more time getting to know them, who they really were, rather than expend her energy on expecting them to take the time to get to know her, and to prove to her that they knew her by catering to her needs, and live up to her expectations, demands, of them for her.
Jane felt a a ray of sunshine break through the dark clouds which had been a part of the weather of her life for a while.
Did it matter if John was a narcissist or not? Did it matter if Jane was a narcissist or not? Surely what mattered is what you do with those sort of questions when they enter your conscious awareness.
Jane couldn’t do anything about John, John was John, and he was responsible for himself. However Jane’s opinion of John was her responsibility, something which she had neglected to realise before, she had considered her opinion of him to be his responsibility… and his opinion of her? If she was honest with herself, she really didn’t know what the answer to that was. She did try to manipulate his opinion of her in the past, and his opinion of her did affect how she behaved with him, and with others. More often than not, if the opinion was a bad one in her opinion, she would go out of her way (and often not be herself but pretend to be someone else) just to prove him wrong.
Jane realised others might be doing this too. Was her opinion of others (or their perception of her opinion of them) causing them to act out of character to prove her opinion wrong when her opinion was viewed as negative by them? And if her opinion was viewed as positive, did it pressure them into living up to her ideals of them, which they might fail to do and therefore think badly of themselves.
Jane found herself feeling very confused by the dynamics involved in relationships… did she ever think it would be simple?
Perhaps what she needed to do was to take a time out from all relationships except one. Take the time to get to know herself and to have a better relationship with herself, to get to know herself better. Her relationship with herself was the seed from which all her relationship with other grew. She needed to learn to accept herself as she was, to learn to love herself as is (including that she sometimes hated herself as is)… rather than as she wanted to be, as she wanted to see herself… for the purpose of how she would be seen by others, and therefore loved or hated by others. She had spent more time focused upon trying to control how others felt and thought about her, on controlling herself to control them, than she had on… finding out what would happen if she let things flow naturally. She really didn’t know what would happen if she stopped trying to be in control and let spontaneity take over.
Maybe now was the time to do that.
Jane felt rather good about this decision… albeit a bit nervous. She was leaping into the unknown. Why was she an unknown to herself?
She didn’t wait for an answer, instead she just smiled, a smile for her eyes only, and took a leap of faith in herself.
– Is John a narcissist? Or is John the victim of a narcissist?
– Is Jane a narcissist? Or is Jane the victim of a narcissist?
Either or. Either black or white. Neither nor. Neither black nor white. Both. Ambiguous. Shades of both, which cancel each other out, criticise or complement (and compliment) each other.
You decide. The choice is yours.
What you do with those three fingers pointing back at you, depends on you.
*all characters aren’t purely fictitious, they’re based on myself, on self-reflection, and observing the phases I have been through while exploring NPD from a personal, interpersonal, and impersonal perspective. I am a child of narcissists (according to me), I walk a fine line between being a narcissist and not being a narcissist, which way is which can be hard to tell sometimes, as narcissism is a natural human trait and phase of human development – sometimes it is healthy to be narcissistic and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes we are a narcissist to someone else because we are thinking of ourselves when they want us to think of them, and other possible optional reasons.
**pause before you judge yourself and others, and see what can be learned from what is here, now, as is.
***inspired by World Economics… Explained with 2 Cows
After checking the ghost stories, I decided to give A Korean Odyssey a try since it’s fantasy genre. It is better than expected and it gets quite funny at times. I think ghosts are really manifestations of our excessive emotional energy. Let go of self, embrace them lol hating them make them stronger…love will tame them and eventually heals them.
While watching Hwayugi, I saw an intriguing possibility and it would fits your comment “If she is also experiencing feelings for you – they may not be what you hope for them to be.” Haha, halfway thru the drama, my mind took off a different tangent. Oh I’m talking about my crush again, please excuse my ramblings. Coincidentally, I was also on a drama binge 😉
Please feel free to ramble, rambling is one of the ways we hear what we truly want to say and need to hear, sometimes what we truly want to say is in what we don’t say yet we can hear it when we allow ourselves to ramble.
A crush is a powerful experience, there is a focus to it, a joining together of different parts of ourselves, a light shining within. Wanting to talk about your crush is a natural part of the experience. So please feel free to talk about your crush if you want to. There is much to be discovered therein. Your crush shows you your heart, and your heart shows you much about yourself.
Hwayugi is an intriguing story, with some unique characters. It’s a show which does inspire much thought about life and our experiences of being human, and sometimes feeling confused about what’s real.
I watched it at first because I have always loved the story of the Monkey King. When I was a child I used to watch the TV Japanese series Monkey. And I was born in the year of the Monkey 🙂
Yes – this post is so great! 🙂 You’ve perfectly captured the confusion around trying to figure out who’s a narcissist, why labelling people as such is extremely problematic, in short, how very GREY the whole thing is. Am I a narcissist? Are you a narcissist? The entire nature of the narcissist is to confuse and obfuscate and be oblivious – you’ve captured that brilliantly. 🙂 I really felt that as I read.
Thank you 🙂
You’re right about there being lots of grey areas. Sometimes when I read a post about narcissists what comes across the most is the writer of that post’s need to get rid of those grey areas, because that’s what is hurting them the most and they want to get rid of the pain it is causing, which leads to everything being either black or white. So the narcissist becomes this mythical villain who knows what they’re doing when they cause confusion for the equally mythical hero-victim of the narcissist. Sometimes the narcissist does know what they’re doing and is doing it deliberately, but more often than not the manipulative confusion is simply the result of the narcissist passing on their own confusion and the manipulations they are doing on themselves to escape something uncomfortable and painful (like being human and how much that distresses them), and the manipulations are the kind which children do when they’re caught red-handed in a lie or some other embarrassing situation by their parents.
The reality of many narcissists is that they’re also confused and manipulated, and they’re passing on to others what was done to them. They’re repeating their wound over and over. Sometimes they do to others what they think others are doing to them, what they are afraid of – being confused and manipulated. And they often think that what they’re doing is heroic rather than villainous, which adds more confusion and manipulation to the already confused and manipulated pot.
The grey areas are where the real gems of understanding are to be found 🙂
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Yes – that’s also how I see it. Took me a while to get to that though where my ex-N was concerned. I was so angry at myself and him and scared that my ability to judge was seriously impaired. And then there was the fact that I’d had to become narcissistic myself in order to pry him out of my life. It takes a while to get the equilibrium back again, so I understand when people go through that phase. What I see sometimes is that people don’t seem able to get past that – that’s definitely concerning.
That’s a keen observation about getting stuck in certain places and phases. I think where people get stuck is where the present story connects to a past story, one which may be too painful, too complicated, or too buried in the subconscious for them to see. It is often an ‘origin’ story, which keeps repeating, wanting to be resolved. To move on they need to see what they aren’t seeing – which is always tricky as that has become a blindspot, and sometimes the only way to spot it is by seeing it in others, and then making the connection between others and ourselves. What we see in others exists in us too, otherwise we wouldn’t recognise it or notice it. Or something like that 🙂
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Yes – being able to see it in others is almost essential. I agree that that “aha” is what leads to recognition in ourselves. Being able to stand back from the trees allows you to see the forest.
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The story of my crush began in a K-drama fashion…so fittingly it would end in that prescribed manner too.. haha. Excuse me for one final ramble about her..
Couple months ago, there was a group project for her class, one of my group member screwed us up big time so she had to intervene and help our project completion. That was how our texting started. (Lol I hold no grudge against…yet never forgive the mate that screwed up… for what would happened later. If not for the incident, I would always just be admiring her from within.)
From the first time she asked about my ex relationship, I had the feeling it was due to her past experience with narcissists or maybe other trauma. They always say damaged people are attracted to each other. Pisces have a strong intuition and is often on point. Never asked her regarding this, given her reserved nature she probably won’t answer. Knowing this, I kept all questions to myself. She will tell if she wants to.
Questions like is she happily married or if she had any feelings for me, etc. I didn’t bother to find the answers becos it would not change anything, or would it? At those times when our gaze met, I felt naturally drawn to her and there were moments when I felt she was drawn to me too. Always remember when we look at each other so subtly… (haha I’m fantasizing here, it’s one-sided remember…) Snap! Tear away that gaze, look at reality. I wouldn’t dream we could be together. I’m prideful and towards her I feel inferior. The difference in our social status is obvious enough. Not to say she being cautious of her teacher status.
In one reply you mentioned that you too fall madly in love with the minds of others while studying their teachings and when study end love begins to dissipate…I’d guess she probably was in that state too though I also think it might not be my mind that attracted her… haha. While watching Hwayugi, it strikes me that it could be my “Korean look” (thanks to my hairstylist) she fancies since she also likes to watch K-drama lol
When Pisces love, they are intense. I tried not to be overboard with my emotions. But still, I made my confession to her after the subject module was over and there were no more classes with her. All of a sudden I wanted answers. Really? I requested to meet up for a talk. From the time the confession was made, I anticipated my going away. Never thought she would not reply my last text, I would be gone soon as the course is at its end. Unexpectedly she later responded with a brutal reply. A reply I deemed fit. Though I Become Ethereal her words were still piercing me, there was bleeding internally. She has a kind soul so I could her imagine her difficultly putting those words in place, but she needed to do it right. And she did well. Yes, with her last text, the story has ended. Our lives are once again separated and will not cross paths in future. God knows.
Over the years, I learn to be ‘ethereal’ where nothing really hurts. Though this time I did had a minor injury, it was a good thing in the way that my heart has gone with her (an abstract idea can’t explained). Aside to the story, Become Ethereal is a dragon shout that turns you into an ethereal form in Skyrim, game I played few years back. Did I read before from your blog that you played too? Many times reading your posts, I do see familiar/similar ideas in relations to what you are writing, and yet it is not so familiar/similar after all. Finding the familiarity in the unfamiliar, seeing unsimilar in similarity. – that’s part of the enjoyment in reading your posts 🙂 I haven’t thank you enough for reading and replying to my comments. So thank you again.
Thank you 🙂
The way you tell your crush story is so beautiful, it’s not rambling at all, it’s living poetry – the poetry of living, breathing, feeling. You are not afraid of loving deeply, and feeling both the pleasure and pain of it simultaneously. Perhaps it is because of your ability to become ethereal.
(and yes, I have played Skyrim – what an immense and amazing game. I play a lot of video games, it’s something my partner and I do together – it’s an intriguing way to explore relationship dynamics, and to discover more about another person and yourself. Last game we played was Assassin’s Creed: Origins – the story also has a love story entwined within it, which ends yet does not end with separation. My two top favourite games are Witness and The Talos Principle – both are about solving puzzles with a philosophical thread running through them)
You’re very noble in your love – that is inspiring. And you’re very true to yourself – also inspiring.
One of the things I’ve noticed in Kdrama is at the end of the story the love almost always requires a separation from the loved one.
In the Kdramas with mythical beings, someone always seems to die even if they come back later in some form of their former self.
In the Kdramas without mythical beings there is often a period of time where the two lovers must live apart, face life alone, maybe to reunite, maybe not.
I was trying to figure out why that is a feature of Kdrama.
I think perhaps it’s a nod to the original version of fairy tales (which Kdrama seems to use often – little mermaid and cinderella seem to be a favourite in Kdrama) where there wasn’t a tidy ‘happily ever after’ like there is nowadays with fairy tales being rewritten for Disney.
I also think that perhaps there’s an attempt to show the difference between romantic love – the love which brings two souls together with its head-spinning blinded by love intensity, and the love which happens once the romance fades – a love which requires work, effort, perseverance, dedication to remain together, weather life storms together, get to know each other behind the facade, allowing the ideal and idea of love to get battered and honed, maturing, etc. Once the bubble of romance pops… that’s when you enter the real adventure of giving your heart to someone else, of being in a relationship with someone else, of letting someone else be that close to you and see that much of you, and vice versa.
It’s wonderful when someone sees the light within us shine… but we all have darkness, and will the person who saw our light still love us once they see our darkness where the light may not shine?
I agree with you about why your crush was brutal with you. And I reckon she was brutal more for herself than for you – she needed to do it, and it probably hurt her too to do it. She won’t forget it. Since you say that she is a kind soul (and her behaviour when your team was in difficulty confirms that), then her unexpected brutal reply to you would be something unusual for her – when someone behaves in a manner which is unusual for them, it tends to be a sign of someone stepping far out of their comfort zone to protect something which is at risk. She was drawing a clear line and boundary, not to be crossed, and it most likely required all her strength and determination to do that. She cared about you, but her caring for you cannot cross this line and boundary.
Life has a way of balancing experiences out, particularly if we’re still asking questions (certain types of questions have a creative effect – causing things to happen) about an experience – maybe one day you will find yourself on her side of the story with someone else on your side of the story, and you will do to someone else something similar as what your crush did with you. And you will have to step far outside your comfort zone to draw a clear line and boundary, not to be crossed, between you and them. Perhaps this has already happened before this experience… is there anyone you can think of who has or has had a one-sided crush on you?
Some relationships, all relationships… mirror the one we have with ourselves, with all of the myriad facets of ourselves. Sometimes the questions which relationships with others cause us to have, make us go within to find the answer which can’t be found outside of us, and in doing so we get closer to ourselves and maybe own the disowned parts of ourselves.
Take good care of yourself.
Thank you. True love in itself is noble; sacrifice and endurance are part of it, if it can survive the most bitter ordeal, then you have truly loved. And there are many kinds of love as there are many hearts…
With mythical beings, death almost signifies rebirth. When love surpasses death and still remains in the new being, that is eternal love. This is a romantic and fictitious notion I only saw in dramas. A Chinese mythical drama also named ‘Eternal Love’ captured this notion superbly where the two lovers went thru three lifetimes (from being celestial to human) of love, pain and suffering, yet love persisted till the end. The ending if considered a reunion is only between the reinstated celestial female lead and a spiritual memory of the male lead who gave his up his existence to save her lol mythical beings can’t die but could expend all energy till they cease to even exist in a spiritual form. So the spiritual memory the female lead held was probably her own memory infused with an unending love. i think whether in Chinese or Korean drama, the idea is that whatever that could finally overcome pain, suffering, death, separation,darkness, madness, etc. would at last emerge immaculate. I guess the idea is related to some Confucian teachings but can’t pinpoint which is it.
“will the person…still love us once they see our darkness where the light may not shine?” If love is blind, doesn’t it find its way better in the darkness 😉 hmm…for those who have not experience darkness, they might will find it hard to swallow… what/how do you define dark?
What you said here – “i think whether in Chinese or Korean drama, the idea is that whatever that could finally overcome pain, suffering, death, separation,darkness, madness, etc. would at last emerge immaculate.” – is part of the philosophy of alchemy, where elements are transmuted through various processes, turning lead into gold, etc.
I agree with you about love when it is in its blind phase being more suited to find its way through the dark. It leads us into territory we might otherwise avoided had we been able to see. At some point though the eyes start to see what they did not see before and the next phase of the love journey begins.
Your question – what/how do you define dark? – is excellent! Darkness is similar to love, there are as many versions of it as there are people in this world. Sometimes the dark is the light which has been hidden due to an event, or a repeated experience which has made a person afraid of their own light. Their beauty has become something they have been slowly convinced to believe is ugly, and so they hide it.
Such as when you grow up with narcissists and have been programmed by them to view strengths as weaknesses – your kindness becomes naivety, your generosity becomes something which will be taken advantage of, your dreams and hopes become something to be mocked, and so on. What is natural becomes something to be ashamed of, while what is unnatural gets promoted to your life’s CEO. Being ruthless becomes better than showing mercy, coldness trumps warmth, taking is viewed as more successful than giving, etc.
One of the most intriguing aspects about falling in love is how it makes people fall in love with themselves as much as they fall in love with the other person. But in our modern times self-love is a conflicting and conflicted experience – we’re allowed to love others but are we really allowed to love ourselves? We’re told that we should love ourselves, but in the same breath we’re told not to love ourselves.
Also interesting in how often love turns into hate – with hate sometimes being a more passionate experience than love.
There’s a lot to ponder 🙂
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