About narcissism…

Written by on April 16, 2007 in Conversations on the Healing Journey with 0 Comments

Last night I discovered the duplicitous nature of several conversations I had with someone a while ago. I was pretty pissed and wrote about it, “Why Do We Do This?“, on my website about relational aggression.

You know, on this healing journey, I’ve noticed a recurring theme throughout a lot of situations that hurt people and in my own experiences. For the longest time, I thought the main issue for me to deal with was the fallout from the incest. I thought it was the sexual abuse that inflicted the greatest damage, that presented the biggest obstacle for me to overcome and process through.

But there’s something else, something even more insidious that seems to be like a source, a wellspring of dysfunction that supports and gives life to myriad forms of abuse.

Incest is one of them. Physical violence is another. Emotional violence, thievery, murder, slander, even “idle” gossip that actually has the well-being of another person as its target, all have their roots in this. I see a common thread in all the conversations I’ve had with people, the manipulation, the deceiving, the entitlement that appear over and over again no matter the form of abuse.

It’s narcissism. Not just the shallow vanity stuff of conceit, but the pervading sense of entitlement and total lack of empathy for other people. Oh, not that they can’t read people and even go through the motions of caring. But they don’t care. What they pick up is noted for what use it can be put to – either now or later. And if they feel an emotional charge that they call caring, it can be turned off at the drop of a hat, when it is to their advantage…or on a whim.

In its more extreme forms narcissism appears as the sociopath. Other times it skirts along an almost benign shallowness, except that it can leave an emotional devastation in people’s lives, as if it were a tsunami, or just slowly erode the banks of your spirit, as one selfish act after another gently laps up against your shore…

Narcissism, a complete sense of entitlement, is what enabled my father to help himself to his children as his needs dictated. He, through his own twisted psychology and preference, chose the venue through which to express this entitlement. And like most narcissists, he had his justifications, his reasons for his behavior.

But he did not do this to “other people”. We weren’t “other people”. We were extensions of him and objects, at the same time. We were a function. To what use? For what purpose? What value did we have for him? We lived to reflect and meet his needs. How he hurt us is incest, but what fueled that abuse was his own narcissistic drive – not his sexual one.

But narcissism, also, gives people a sense of entitlement to use other people in more subtle ways, and not just use but use up. Use up our energy, our time, our resources of caring and goodwill.

They can pump you for information as if you were nothing more than the wooden handle by a well. They can you seduce you with smiles and kind words. Oh, my goodness, and how smooth they are with flattery. Not even heavy, overbearing flattery. That would be too obvious, but just enough to make you think they are validating you in a positive way…so you will share more, give more, dance more at the end of their strings.

Narcissism renders other people invisible. They are seen only in what good they can be to the narcissist. The narcissist needs this…and calls it love…or friendship…or caring.

So whether you’re so despicable you can use children or whether you “just” use your friends, the underlying sense of entitlement is what makes using anybody acceptable at all.

And that always, always hurts.

I’m going to be spending more time looking at this.

Oh, goodness, not to draw more of it into my life! Puh…leeze! But to acknowledge what’s there, has been there and will continue to be there until we can own it and then, and only then, address it productively.

Because you see, we’re all in the same boat. And our children, our family, our community and the earth, herself, is affected by these blinders of entitlement that afflicts us all in various ways. Some of us are more pathological in our narcissism than others, but I look around at our community and look at the way our society has impacted the environment and other people, and how we have all done this at various times throughout history, and I think the whole entitlement thing permeates not one person or one culture but our human race.

But so does kindness and compassion, and so does that irresistible drive to reach out and become more than who we are…

And that needs to be owned – and consciously acknowledged, as well.

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About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, using spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. Demian is a traveler on the healing journey with a lifelong love affair with the creative process. .


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