Heavily processed photo of graffiti

I write this Blog for the Survivors

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

Art by Rob Goldstein
I Married Another Narcissist…Again….

Narcissism was always a big topic among adult survivors of abuse.

My Mother met the criteria for a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for a diagnosis of Pathological Narcissism
The DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for a diagnosis of Pathological Narcissism

 

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
complete stranger.

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.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Found on Twitter

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.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Found on Pinterest

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.

A quote about the children of narcissists found on twitter
The children of narcissists are taught to think this kind of selfishness is normal.

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;

Troubled people.

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.

Art by Rob Goldstein
For the Survivors

 

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015

 

 


 

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36 thoughts on “I write this Blog for the Survivors

      1. Your reblog are getting so much attention and people think it’s it’s me. I resent an invitation last night, just accept and send back. I do the rest and people will stop thinking I’m the genius behind the writing.
        Be well. 🙂 M

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Well done. Survivors of anything need to learn something new or our default is to surround ourselves with the type of people we’re trying to escape from. I got a whole psychology degree for this reason.

    And I think narcissism is the default state of humanity. The old question: What would keep people up late at night? Know that a thousand unknown people would die of hunger, or that tomorrow you would lose your toe?

    That doesn’t mean that most people don’t keep it under control. Just that it’s a constant battle to do so. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree with you–in fact Psychotherapy agrees with you. Narcissism is an expression of the infantile perception of other as object. These objects are there to meet its needs. Our ability to understand that other people have their own lives and needs, that they have their possessions and we have ours, this evolution of the child’s perception of itself usually begins at two it is usually in response to learning the meaning of ‘no’ and the shame children feel when they are caught ‘being bad’.

      If the Mother is unable to teach the child to tolerate shame, it the parents are unable to let the child explore and make mistakes…If the parents don’t teach the child empathy the result is a kind of narcissist…and the worst of them are the ones that are so unable to empathize with others that they destroy people for pleasure.

      Narcissism is the primitive default and thus a kind of emotional learning disability.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. I am here through our mutual friend Erika. I like how your say we are all a little narcissistic, as we cannot avoid it. But, we cannot build our self worth by putting others down, as you note, whether it is in person or on the internet. A good piece of advice I received from a personal friend who helps teens, is that she tells them not to give your power away. She advises that you only become offended if you take offense. So, if don’t respond to internet trolls in kind and focus on civility that keeps the argument on your terms. It does not mean you let people walk all over you, but it means you are not going to give a name caller power over you.

    Well done and best wishes over the holidays, Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading the post and for leaving and excellent comment. I agree with everything you say. It’s a fine line between not letting someone walk over you or falling into the trap of haggling over the self evident. I am able to ignore almost everything once I realize what I’m dealing with. Cycles of repetition in relationships are a real problem for survivors. Erika is a wonderful blogger and person. Welcome to my blog…I will be sure to visit yours.

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  3. This is an amazing post, Robert! I don’t even know where to start. I feel every line as such a deep truth and not only a personal oberservation or experience. It is amazing how you make such a big picture of it. This for example I can only confirm by my own experience: “Abuse is the insinuating cut; a demeaning attitude, an implied statement of worthlessness.” This is the bottom line of abuse to me and it doesn’t matter whether it happened deliberately or not. You are so right, there is a narcist in each one of us in some way. But it is about to see and realize it and to do something about it but to excuse it.
    I missed this post but I am glad Sandra included it in her weekly pics! That is a amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Erica–and my deepest gratitude to Sandra. These are the hardest posts for me to write because I always worry that I am not clearly stating that the problem is not as much the narcissist as it is growing the skills we need to recognize when we are in the presence of one so that we can protect ourselves.

      In an intensively competitive fight for survival on a hostile planet that plays host to thousands of predator species humans somehow made it to the top of the food chain. That means that we are smart, clever and instinctively a nasty piece of work. The only tool we have for transcending our natural view of the world as eat or be eaten is our ability to use reason. The narcissist is a predator. We don’t have to become a super-predator to protect ourselves; we can use reason to understand that using other people as prey no longer serves our interest as an intelligent species.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That again is an amazing statement which I agree with fully. Your are right what you say about human being predators to make it to the top of the food chain. It is a very good picture. I like when you say that we don’t have (and must not) become super-predators. Actually we have to go right the other way. Narcists are around for sure. We need to recognize them and understand we mustn’t take their actions and attitudes personal because they are narcists. A process I had to go through too!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I find myself feeling a bit sad about the one that continues to send me long, long, long multiple emails and comments that alternate between accusing me of being the worst person on the planet to praising me for being a great writer who should be above calling people ‘narcissists’.

        Long, rambling letters and comment bombs are one of the behaviors associated with narcissists and online predators.

        It’s sad to think that someone is so terrified of his own weaknesses that he will spend so much energy and time trying to control other people’s perceptions of reality.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You said a very important thing: “It’s sad to think that someone is so terrified of his own weaknesses…” It is about that person not about you. If you can then block those emails and comments. You don’t need to deal with them. As this person decides to behave that way so you can decide not to participate!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am a survivor. My therapist describes my mother as having NPD, but I don’t know. True, my mother is pretty screwed up, but her dx isn’t my problem. I’ve been lucky that somehow mother wasn’t able to ruin my life. Not saying she didn’t try. Now my six kids are almost all grown, and I get to reflect on our similarities (there are many), and our differences – foremost being that I have always tried to take responsibility for myself, and not to punish others for my hurts and failings. Sounds like what you are doing, too. Nice to meet you, nice to know that we are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for an interesting comment. I think that one of the most difficult things for me was the effect my Mother’s pathology has had on the way I choose relationships. If you are not damaged to the point of endlessly repeating the cycle of abuse in order to figure out how to make it right then you have been spared some of the worst damage. It took me years of therapy to figure out why I kept finding myself in intense relationships with both men and women for whom love and loyalty were a means to an end, usually a selfish one. Thank you for noticing that I try to take responsibility for myself. I’ve also learned that I have a right to hold other people accountable when they are damaging to me. To the extent that I was trained to enable every aspect of my Mother’s pathology her diagnosis was important to me as it was the only way I could learn how to neutralize its effect on my life. Thank you for reading the post and leaving a comment. It’s nice to meet you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe I was fortunate to have a sister, as mother seems to have held her responsible for everything, including me! In my mother’s world my sister was the ‘good’ one and thus to be trusted, and I could do nothing right. It’s not that I didn’t want to fix things, but that I was convinced that it was hopeless. In the long run that seems to have helped me, as I sought psychiatric help at an early age, and my sister is still enmeshed with mother. Thank you, I am learning just from our exchange, and it is good.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. My experience with Narcissistic Personality Disorder has been minimum. I have shared life and space with one — also she was bipolar and self-medicating with alcohol. I would describe her as dual. I loved her deeply, as deeply as she was troubled, and in the end she took her life. I miss her. I miss that side of her I loved. Arguments with her turned into what felt like the end of a relationship. That was my first clue. Fighting with her was like breaking up with someone in high school. I’d get so tired when she was in a bad mood. I’d be the person she blamed for all her shortcomings. She really did thrive on drama. It took me a long time to figure out how to avoid direct involvement, but this still led to a barrage of insults and accusations. (They don’t let go. Maybe they don’t know how.) I was fortunate not to have fallen in love with her and fortunate she moved out. Our friendship was much easier to sustain/endure when we were apart. But I can shed some light on the “Why the Narcissist turns” bit. My therapist says it’s because initially, they praise you, likely in truth, because there’s something about you they want or admire. Now, when this really came home for me was when our mutual friend commented how much my roommate modeled me, imitated me. I hadn’t noticed. But, when the problems began, it was because I expected her to apologize and right her wrong. She would not. She would never deign to humble herself.
    Did I mention I loved her? Incredibly, she made me feel safe. I felt she was kindred as soon as I met her, and I still miss her. She stole from me, she lied to me, she betrayed my confidence, and still I miss her.
    Now, the other one, he is the father of a friend. I can say two nice things about him: he is kind to animals and he’s a very good cook. That’s it. That’s all I got. I’ve been privy to a lot of his life these last 20+ years and I mean to tell you, I really wish my friend would cut ties. But he is his father. I suppose he loves his father.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One falls in love with them which is what they want; and when the punching starts its disorienting. It is interesting that we can love and miss someone who betrays what we consider the understood norms of civilized behavior. It’s hard not to be moved by your story. I am so sorry that your friend took her own life. It may have been that there were qualities there that countered the negative effect of her narcissism. For myself, I won’t give myself willingly to a narcissist nor will I let one abuse me in silence. I have turned so much of my life over to the narcissism of my Mother that my immediate response to watching the pattern emerge in others is to walk away. The last thing I will let a narcissist do is dictate what I write and how I should perceive my experience. The thing that I do remember is that their envy and shame prevents them from ever offering more than a vague and non-committal “I’m sorry.” I don’t expect them to suddenly become civil or to suddenly experience regret for behaving like a selfish child. If they were emotionally adult they wouldn’t be narcissists.

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    1. I once felt dead inside. This was shortly after I stupidly allowed a group of people; narcissists all, to fleece me out of a couple of thousand dollars. I was so humiliated and uncertain of my ability to judge the safety of the people around me that I shut down. For me, writing this blog is a soul saver. There is nothing more replenishing than finding that the majority of the people in this world are not soul sucking parasites. My spirit is fed and replenished by the many wonderful people I’ve met through my blog.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have been encouraged to continue my blogging. It was meant to be a release and just tell the story of what an adventure I have had, albeit mostly tragically sad.
        You’re right. I have found so much kindness and support here and I am so very grateful.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Enjoy your relationship. Other’s opinions don’t matter.That you now have legislation on your side it shows there are a majority of reasonable people out there over the bigots and haters.
    I hope this is the real thing for you.
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely—I believe that life is a miracle, I believe that we are here to love and to help each other. These beliefs are why I have no room in my life for people who take pleasure in destroying others. By exposing the strategies of narcissists I may be saving someone else from unnecessary heartache. The narcissists I’ve had to deal once had me convinced that I was worthless and could trust no one. That’s a terrible way to live, and as I’ve learned, not necessary. Thank you for reading the post and leaving a comment…:)

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    1. Thank you–it’s good to hear that I’m helping. It often feels as if the forces that seem to enjoy the pain of others are overwhelming. What I’ve learned is to keep no secrets…Narcissist depend on secrecy and the silent shame of their targets to cover their tracks. If you ever get an email from someone you barely know that trashes someone you don’t know the only question to ask is why. Why is the sender trying to manipulate you into disliking someone you don’t know…

      Liked by 1 person

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