What type of person brings out the best in you? What type of person brings out the worst in you? Do you ever wonder which type you are for others? Do you bring out the best in people or do you bring out the worst in them?
I was thinking about that last night while watching an episode of a TV drama. In it there was this hungry ghost of a man who was going around sowing seeds of disturbance in the minds and hearts of others. His goal was to inspire them to kill each other because he wanted them dead.
He had been a horrible man in life and death had done nothing to improve his character.
In life he had held a position of great power, and had abused it to achieve world domination through murder and destruction. His plans had worked but had also backfired, and he’d ended up miserable blaming everyone except himself for his own misery.
He was killed by the hero of the story in an act of revenge – the villain had caused the death of the hero, his loved ones, and many other people. The hero had been granted immortality and other supernatural abilities, and the first thing he did with it was the kill the villain.
The story is in some ways about two 900+ year old grumpy old men who are stuck in an ancient grudge match, feeling sorry for themselves for having been wronged by the other, and they haven’t learned anything in all that time because neither of them does much in the way of self-reflecting.
“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
They’re like those people who keep focusing on what’s wrong with humanity, rather than what’s right with it, and humanity keeps proving them right because their rigid stance, their self-righteousness, their need to see things the way they see them, won’t allow them to notice when humanity proves them wrong.
They keep asking the wrong questions, of others and of themselves. They avoid answering their own questions by asking more questions of others. When others ask them questions, they respond with a pat and shallow smarty-pants answer because a deeper and more considered answer would require for them to look where they don’t want to look.
People like that put all of their energy into maintaining a painful status quo within and around themselves, and blame everyone else for it.
The deity who made the hero immortal gets fed up with him, and confronts him directly about his wallowing in his self-righteousness, in his wound of having been wronged, in his fault-finding approach towards others including the deity, and says: “God is just the one who asks questions, Fate is the question I ask. The answer is for you to find.“
The hero gets angry and tries to beat the deity up. Once again showing that he’s really not a good listener, and doesn’t want to learn anything. He likes being stuck in his own personal hell, and keep others stuck there with him.
I thought it was interesting that I watched that last night, had those thoughts about it, and this morning read this:
One effect of this astrology could be a tendency to talk more than you listen — especially about yourself (and perhaps your past). That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you also listen to what you’re sharing; in doing so, you could offer some valuable clues about yourself, and it would be a shame for you to miss them.
Whether or not the other person is paying attention or is preoccupied with their own agenda is another matter — though with Pisces, such a sensitive sign, I suspect we’re all a little more primed to pick up on others’ subtleties. Calibrate your inner sensors to alert you when you veer toward self-righteousness or arrogance, and conversations will likely at least stay energetically sound, even if it takes a few tries to communicate clearly.
Borasisi — an object associated with belief — looks like a reminder to give yourself a reality check. Are you sure you’re being completely honest with yourself about a certain matter — especially something about yourself, which you may be unknowingly expressing?
tend to bring out the worst in me… because I used to be like that, and they remind me of how frustrating it is to be rigidly trapped in a hell of your own making, blinded by your own fears, furies, and refusal to see your own faults.– excerpt from Reflections From The Perfectly Imperfect by Amanda Painter for Planet Waves
Self-righteous fault-finders tend to bring out both the worst and the best in me.
The worst… they remind me of when I was a self-righteous fault-finder trapped in a hell of my own repeated making.
There was a time when I used to start conversations with the words – The problem with you is – The problem with this system is – The problem with that person is – The problem with this place is – The problem with…
What I really needed to say was – The problem with me is that I keep focusing on what the problem with everything and everyone else is.
The best… they remind me that I eventually figured out that the real problem was me, my thinking and my attitude, and I did eventually say what I needed to say and heard it.
“To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.”― Plutarch
Part of the problem with me back then was that I’d spent too much time in the company of narcissists, had allowed their ways to infect me, had got caught in the rhythm of their patterns, and had become narcissistic in my approach to life, people, the world.
Narcissists communicate by finding fault, flaws, problems, defects, with everything and everyone around them.
Their aim is to be perfect, and part of achieving perfect requires the constant pointing out of the imperfections they see everywhere.
They’re trying to make the world a better place for themselves by criticising it.
In their view, their criticisms are constructive, necessary, the awful truth which must be told and they’re very brave for telling it, a blessing bestowing upon the criticised – just don’t you dare criticise them (and anything you say may be construed as a criticism of them), as your criticisms are destructive to their well-being, self-esteem, are mean and painful, how dare you they’re very sensitive y’know.
They will critique-nag you to death, but their nagging means they love you, it’s for your own good, you must get rid of everything which is wrong with you and be remade in their image of you, into who they’ve decided you have to be for them to not be so irritated and pained by your existence.
This is a brilliant post about nagging by Nobody’s Reading Me: How To Be Nagged
Spend enough time in their company and you’ll find yourself becoming just like them. To yourself, and to others.
Doing it to others becomes a passing it on stress-release from the pressure building up inside of you because of what the narcissist is doing to you, which you’re also doing to yourself.
“No matter how much fault you find with another, it will not change you.”― Wayne Dyer
The critical voice of the narcissist gets absorbed into your mind, your brain is washed by it, and turns into the voice of your inner critic, picking holes in you until you’re a sieve – all the good stuff runs out of you and away from you, while all the bad stuff gets stuck in there.
All these problems with you are the enemy. You must fight until death do you part.
A lot of the problems with you which the narcissist finds in you and generously tells you about aren’t actually problems of yours at all but those of the narcissist. They get rid of their problems by dumping them onto you and everyone else – this way they’re clean while we’re all dirty.
We are where they place all their own inner enemies and thus we become the outer enemy. It’s easier to fight yourself when yourself becomes someone else.
“The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography.”― Oscar Wilde
A narcissist or narcissistic person must always have an enemy – to be a hero they need a villain.
Sometimes the enemy is a person – it could be you, it could be a public figure.
It often changes, and their enemy one day could be their best friend the next day, often it’s their latest saviour and angel who fell off of their pedestal due to being pushed and became the devil.
But one thing stays the same, whoever is their enemy is their enemy for the same reasons.
Sometimes the enemy is a system, against which they fight tooth and nail, trying to expose the faults and flaws, and heroically save the world from the system, the demon in the machine.
This is a fantastic post about the repetitive need for an enemy by Bottomless Coffee 007: No Matter the Year, No Matter the Progress, We Are Never Without the Need of an Enemy
Narcissists tend to bring out the worst in people, and once that happens to you, you usually have to go through the hell of it to get out of it.
It might take 900+ years to do it… and you may feel ancient once you get through it, but a rebirth of sorts awaits.
You discover many treasures along the way, which while in hell may look like lumps of coal, a burden to carry to make the journey harder, but in the bright light of your emergence from hell, the coal may reveal itself to be diamonds.
You may find that many of those things which you thought were so wrong with you, suddenly become what is right with you.
And that gives you the ability to see the world and everyone in it differently. What if all those faults are not faults at all. What if your enemy was an ally. What if what appeared destructive is creative.
“Was it you or I who stumbled first? It does not matter. The one of us who finds the strength to get up first, must help the other.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
I’m intrigued to see what happens next in the TV drama, to follow the path of the story and discover where all the characters end up.
I know that for the next few episodes the plot is going to get increasingly irritating as the villain manages to infect everyone with his ancient grudge and grumpiness.
Friends will become enemies. They’ll lose sight of the good in each other and themselves. They’ll sacrifice what they have gained because of what they once lost. The past will become more important than the present. They will fight, try to kill off the bad they see before them. Get rid of their own faults by getting rid of the faults of others. Not see that what they are seeing is what they are getting… and to get something else they must see differently.
In some ways this show is bringing out the worst in me, I find myself picking out the flaws and faults of it… and yet it is also bringing out the best in me, making me reflect upon my own journey from way back there to here now.
“Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain.”― Henry Ford