I believe in the power of community.
I also believe in being as honest as I can be in the moment.
By that, I mean we base our ‘truth’ on what we know and what we let ourselves know.
I am most honest when I am willing to be honestly wrong.
Pathological narcissism is a huge problem for the United States.
In the late 1970’s, sociologists noticed the emergence of a form of
individualism that recognized no obligations to the community.
The narcissism that emerged in the late 70’s now dominates our lives
regardless of our politics.
The best-known social critique of that period was The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations by Christopher Lasch.
Lash saw the emerging cult of the individual as a social pathology that was in essence anti-social, nihilistic, and self-destructive.
He wrote: “The best hope of emotional maturity, then, appears to lie in a recognition of our need for and dependence on people who nevertheless remain separate from ourselves and refuse to submit to our whims. It lies in a recognition of others not as projections of our own desires but as independent beings with desires of their own. More broadly, it lies in acceptance of our limits. The world does not exist merely to satisfy our own desires; it is a world in which we can find pleasure and meaning, once we understand that others too have a right to these goods. Psychoanalysis confirms the ancient religious insight that the only way to achieve happiness is to accept limitations in a spirit of gratitude and instead of attempting to annul those limitations or bitterly resenting them.” The Culture of Narcissism
Narcissism was always a big topic among adult survivors of abuse.
My Mother met the criteria for a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
I think it is safe to say that learning how to avoid narcissists as adults is a problem for survivors.
Abuse isn’t all punches and kicks.
Abuse is the insinuating cut; the demeaning attitude, the implied statement of worthlessness.
One popular strategy of abuse on social networking sites is ‘triangulation’.
Triangulation consists of bringing another person into the dynamic of a relationship, whether it’s an ex-lover, a current mistress, a relative, or a
This triangulation can take place over social media, in person, or even through the narcissist’s own verbal accounts of the other woman or man.
If someone sends a series of damning smears against you on Twitter
that person is probably a narcissist.
Healthy adults do not need to publicly humiliate other members of their communities.
Stalking is any pervasive and unwelcome pattern of pursuing contact with another person. This includes using alternate accounts to make contact as a ‘different’ person.
Overt Stalking is characterized by confrontations, demands for attention, threats, pleading for recognition, persistent unwelcome advances and intrusions, phone calls, or unwanted and digressive comments to a blog or Face Book page. Covert Stalking is hidden and includes tracking, and spying. Out of the Fog.
Online harassment involves a pattern of repeatedly sending unwanted messages, emails, or other communications.
For many survivors the primary abusive relationship was with a narcissist who forced the child to normalize behaviors that healthy people consider unreasonable.
For some adult survivors malice is love, demeaning insinuations are high praise, and the destruction of one’s reputation is nothing less than the sacrifice one is expected to make when one has offended the gods.
We survivors often gravitate to people who psychologically resemble
our abusive parents.
This repetition compulsion is how the narcissist gets in to our lives.
I have always been as attracted to women as I am to men.
My ‘hetero-sexuality’ is more physical while my ‘homo-sexuality’ is more intellectual and spiritual.
My problem with women is that my only template for understanding them as intimates is my Mother.
Let’s review that short list of symptoms from the Online DSM 5:
-Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
This is not the same as believing in one’s abilities or having an exact sense of one’s accomplishments and potential. A child with a healthy sense of self believes she can be a doctor and prepares to enter a medical school. When she graduates, she can accurately predict that she will work as a doctor. She will then develop a sense of her skills through trial and error and criticism from her colleagues.
A grandiose sense of self-importance, at its most extreme, is what allows a Mother to drown her children because she wants to marry the hot trucker she just met.
On the internet, this grandiosity is often expressed in numerical values.
I don’t have a problem with playing the numbers. I like it when my stats go up and hate it when they go down.
But, I also know a thousand ‘likes’ doesn’t mean I’m a genius.
-Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
I see the battle cry “no limits” everywhere these days.
No limits to what? Your selfishness? Your sense of entitlement? If you mean no limits to your imagination I’m with you.
But if you mean you think you can do and say what you please regardless of who you hurt you’re probably an unpleasant person and a detriment to your community.
-Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high status people (or institutions)
How many ‘best people in the world’ are roaming the internet tonight stalking people who have no interest in them, conducting covert smear campaigns, or involved in premeditated abuse?
According to Pew Research
60% of internet users said they had witnessed someone being called offensive names
53% had seen efforts to purposefully embarrass someone
27% of internet users have been called offensive names
22% have had someone try to purposefully embarrass them
18% said they had seen someone be stalked
8% have been stalked
-Requires excessive admiration.
This is not the same as asking for an opinion or inviting someone else to enjoy a creative moment.
The only opinion the narcissist wants is a complete agreement with whatever it is they think they deserve.
-Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.
Everything a Narcissist does is a work of genius. Especially if it’s stolen.
-Is inter-personally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
Do you think being asked to return a tool a friend has lent you is an unreasonable intrusion on your life?
If so, you are a probably a pathological narcissist.
-Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
Do you believe that you absolutely must say what you please when you please because you absolutely must ‘express yourself” even if the expression has nothing to do with the topic and the platform isn’t yours?
If so, you are a probably a pathological narcissist.
Why do I write this blog?
I write it for me…and I write it for people like me:
People from bad backgrounds;
We survivors have already been through enough shit from our so-called ‘betters’.
The only way to transcend abuse is to blow a hole in the veneer of perfection our abusers want us to protect.
I’ve known many narcissists in my life.
If you think you see yourself in something I write I suggest a therapist.
Attacking my post won’t cure you.
Narcissists are at the mercy of an intense envy that drive their grandiosity and sense of entitlement.
They look for people who are vulnerable and expect them to live at the mercy of their envy too.
It is true that I have mixed feelings about everything and tend to be suspicious; especially of people I meet in virtual reality.
I’m only human.
That means that I am flawed and I screw up.
But I want to be better than ‘only human’.
So I try to follow-up by admitting when I am wrong and I try to make an amends for the harm I’ve caused.
There is one point about that apology and that amends.
They are for the person I’ve harmed, the apology is specific to offense, and I offer it with the understanding that I may have lost that friendship.
I do not pretend I’m perfect.
But I try to live by a code of conduct that is better than I am.
I am open about my illness; I am not running around trying to pass myself off as a paragon of joy and sanity.
I will never be all smiles.
If you want to befriend someone whose personality is parceled out to twelve distinct aspects, a guy who is often confusing and who often contradicts himself then I welcome you into my world.
But understand this: I will be what I say I am. You can leave. I will always have to live with me.
You don’t have to be a pathological narcissist to be a rotten bully.
Both the narcissist and the bully feed on silence, shame, and complicity.
Expect no consideration from me if I discover that you’ve betrayed my trust.
I write this blog for survivors because we will never finish surviving.
And we need all the information and validation we can get.
(c) Rob Goldstein 2015